W

April 27, 2019

Week 128

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

This week Trump’s White House refused all requests by House Democrats to interview current or former members of the regime, or to turn over records, including those requested by subpoena. The NYT Editorial Board noted Trump “is effectively declaring lawmakers powerless over him. This, warn the experts, puts the nation in uncharted territory and threatens to erode its democratic foundations.” With Congress out of town for a second holiday week, the feeling of Trump’s omnipotence was all the more palpable.

This week while the country grappled with the contents of the redacted Mueller report, Trump and his allies invoked a failed “coup” and threatened to investigate the investigator. They also sought to downplay Russian interference and its impact in 2016 — with Jared Kushner dismissing Russian efforts as “some Facebook ads.” Alarming reporting indicated Trump is refusing to work to safeguard the 2020 election, nor would his campaign pledge not to take stolen information again, even as FBI director Christopher Wray said Moscow’s interference in the past has been a “dress rehearsal” for the 2020 presidential contest.

  1. A Gallup study found a sharp increase in the U.S. from 2017 to 2018 of feelings of stress (from 49% to 55%), worry (40% to 45%), and anger (17% to 22%). All are at a record level since the poll started.
  2. The study also found Americans’ stress rate was one of the highest out of the 143 countries studied, beating the global average of 35% by 20 percentage points.
  3. On Sunday, as Trump’s team sought to shape the narrative on the Mueller report, Rudy Giuliani said on “State of the Union” that there is “nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”
  4. Giuliani also said former White House counsel Don McGahn was not lying but “hopelessly confused” and “wrong.”
  5. Later Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” Giuliani said the decision to use information stolen by a foreign adversary “depends on where it came from,” and “depends on the stolen material.”
  6. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “Meet the Press” that he would call McGahn to testify before his committee.
  7. Nadler also said some of Trump’s actions outlined in the Mueller report may warrant impeachment, saying “we may get to that, we may not,” adding his committee would “go where the evidence leads us.”
  8. On Sunday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings told “Face the Nation” if the House voted to impeach but the Senate did not, “I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution.”
  9. On Sunday, in series of tweets, Trump touted a NYT op-ed, saying, “Do you believe this? The New York Times Op-Ed: MEDIA AND DEMOCRATS OWE TRUMP AN APOLOGY,” adding, “Well, they got that one right!”
  10. Trump also tweeted he went through “the worst and most corrupt political Witch Hunt” in U.S. history, adding, “when it was the “other side” that illegally created the diversionary & criminal event and even spied.”
  11. Just before attending an Easter service, Trump tweeted, “Despite No Collusion, No Obstruction, The Radical Left Democrats do not want to go on to Legislate,” adding, “only to Investigate and waste time.”
  12. Trump also tweeted, “How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats?” adding, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  13. On Sunday, after multiple bomb blasts in Sri Lanka that killed at least 138 people, Trump tweeted that “horrible terrorist attacks” had killed “at least 138 million people.” Trump later deleted and tweeted “nearly 140 people.”
  14. On Sunday, Daily Beast reported that Russia state media channels broadcasted segments from Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show, which bashed “media hysteria” over the Russia investigation.
  15. On Monday, starting in the morning, Esquire reported that Trump tweeted 50 times in a 24 hour period, several of which included clips or quotes from Fox News, and retweets of allies like Rep. Devin Nunes.
  16. On Monday, Trump also retweeted a series of tweets by Tom Fitton, President of conservative Judicial Watch, including a list of names under “COUP UPDATE: Who needs to be investigated.”
  17. On Monday, Trump tweeted: “Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment,” adding there was “No Collusion, No Obstruction,” and “Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!”
  18. Trump also tweeted, “Isn’t it amazing that the people who were closest to me…were never even called to testify before Mueller.” AP fact checked this to be false, saying many were interviewed, including Trump’s family.
  19. On Monday, when asked by reporters during the White House Easter Egg Roll if he was concerned about being impeached, Trump responded, “Not even a little bit.”
  20. When asked if he was troubled that staffers did not follow his requests, Trump responded, “nobody disobeys my orders.” WAPO counted 15 instances of staffers disobeying Trump in the redacted Mueller report.
  21. On Monday, Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary said he had reviewed a less-redacted version of the Mueller report, which he said reinforced “the principal conclusions made public last month.”
  22. On Monday, in a call with House members, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said leaders had no immediate plans for impeachment proceedings: “This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy.”
  23. Reportedly, several House members pushed back on the leadership in the 90-minute call. Democratic leadership played down impeachment, but did not rule it out completely.
  24. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi said in an interview, “Impeachment is one of the most divisive paths that we could go down in our country. But if the path of fact finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”
  25. On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked the media. Trump attacked NYT economist Paul Krugman for his column saying Republicans no longer support American values, calling him “obsessed with hatred.”
  26. Trump tweeted, “I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time,” adding, “On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness” and “they are truly the Enemy of the People!
  27. Trump then tweeted, “Radical Left Democrats, together with their leaders in the Fake News Media, have gone totally insane!” adding, “the Republican agenda is working. Stay tuned for more!”
  28. Trump sent a fourth tweet at 6:27 a.m., saying “In the ‘old days’” a good economy would make a president immune from criticism, but under his “greatest economy in history” to the media, “it means NOTHING.
  29. Trump then attacked “Morning Psycho (Joe), who helped get me elected in 2016 by having me on (free) all the time,” saying his ratings had “nosedived,” adding, “Angry, Dumb and Sick.”
  30. Trump praised “Fox and Friends” calling it “by far the best of the morning political shows on television,” and quoted Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo for calling him “The best thing ever to happen to Twitter.”
  31. Trump tweeted a reference to Obama having “over 100 M” Twitter followers, adding his should be higher than that if “Twitter wasn’t playing their political games,” and “no wonder Congress wants to get involved.”
  32. Trump concluded the morning Twitter tirade which started at 5:59 a.m. at 7:47 a.m., tweeting his 2020 campaign slogan, “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  33. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump met in the Oval Office with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. A significant portion of the meeting was spent on Trump complaints that Twitter has limited or removed some of his followers.
  34. WAPO reported that Dorsey also called Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday, and stood by Twitter’s decision not to take down Trump’s video that led to a flood of death threats to Omar, saying the tweet did not violate its rules.
  35. Motherboard reported that Twitter does not use a proactive, algorithmic solution to white supremacy like it does for ISIS, because the company is concerned it would ensnare and lead to the banning of some Republican politicians.
  36. On Monday, Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wrote an open letter to RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, asking that the GOP pledge not to use “stolen information” in the 2020 campaigns.
  37. On Tuesday, as several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates committed to the same, the Trump re-election campaign refused to commit to rule out using hacked materials.
  38. On Tuesday, when asked if Trump will accept help from Russia in 2020, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said, “I don’t understand the question,” saying Trump has denounced Russian involvement in 2016.
  39. On Wednesday, when NBC News asked Vice President Mike Pence if he regretted using hacked emails or would pledge not to do so again, he sidestepped the question and said the Mueller report found no collusion.
  40. On Tuesday, Jared Kushner said in an interview at TIME’s 100 summit that the idea the Trump campaign colluded with Russia is “nonsense,” and all Russia did was buy “some Facebook ads” and “try to sow dissent.”
  41. On Wednesday, in an op-ed at Breitbart, Donald Jr. called the Mueller probe an “attempted coup,” adding “Russiagate” was “egged on by a wildly irresponsible media” and Democrats as “tax-funded opposition research.”
  42. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that shortly after the release of the redacted Mueller probe, a network of more than 5,000 pro-Trump Twitter bots railed against the “Russiagate hoax.”
  43. The bots were created last November and December, and had ties to previously pushed messages backing the government of Saudi Arabia. Twitter pulled down the accounts Sunday night, citing “manipulation.”
  44. On Wednesday, NYT reported in the months before she resigned, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was warned by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney not to bring up Russian election interference in front of Trump.
  45. Officials said Nielsen had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity during and after the 2018 elections, and was preparing for new and different types of interference in 2020.
  46. Mulvaney said raising Russian interference with Trump would question the legitimacy of his victory. Nielsen eventually gave up on a White House meeting of cabinet secretaries to coordinate a strategy to protect 2020.
  47. Nielsen instead pulled together her own meetings of cabinet secretaries and agency heads two times. She fumed when 45% of the cyberdefense workforce was furloughed during the government shutdown.
  48. On Wednesday, Facebook announced it expects to be fined between $3 to 5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations — by far the biggest fine yet by the agency.
  49. Facebook was accused of not protecting user data from being harvested without their consent by Cambridge Analytica, and also suffering a data breach which exposed personal information of 50 million users.
  50. On Thursday, Politico reported the FBI will meet with Sen. Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss the agency’s suspicion that Russians hacked at least one county in Florida during the 2016 election.
  51. Gov. DeSantis said at a press conference, “They won’t tell us which county it was, are you kidding me?” When former Sen. Bill Nelson raised the issue of hacking during the 2018 election, Sen. Scott called it “irresponsible.”
  52. On Friday, FBI director Christopher Wray addressed the Council on Foreign Relations, saying of Russia’s efforts to undermine American democracy “It’s pretty much a 365-days-a-year threat.”
  53. Wray also Russian efforts include, “fake news, propaganda, false personas, et cetera, to spin us up, pit us against each other, sow divisiveness and discord, and undermine Americans’ faith in democracy.”
  54. Wray said Russian efforts were “at full speed” during the 2018 midterm elections, and warned Russia keeps “upping their game,” and “2018 was just a dress rehearsal for 2020.”
  55. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the Mueller report, “despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money….($35,000,000),” found “I DID NOTHING WRONG.”
  56. Trump tweeted if Democrats tried to impeach him he would “first head to the U.S. Supreme Court,” claiming there are no “‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all.”
  57. On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump has so far tweeted about the Mueller probe more than 50 times since the redacted version was released last Thursday.
  58. In addition to tweets, Trump has made inflammatory statements about witnesses — both exposing him to further charges of witness intimidation, obstruction of justice, and impeding a congressional investigation.
  59. Trump also tweeted, “I didn’t call Bob Costa of the Washington Post, he called me (Returned his call)! Just more Fake News,” in response to a tweet from Costa Tuesday saying, “Trump called me this evening.”
  60. On Monday, Trump issued a memo saying, based on a recent Homeland Security report, visa overstay rates are “unacceptably high” and a “widespread problem,” and instructed federal agencies to consider action.
  61. Trump gave the State Department four months to recommend sanctions against countries allowing overstays — focusing on rates, not the number of overstays. Of the 20 with the highest overstay rates, 13 are in Africa.
  62. Customs and Border Protection announced a new holding facility in El Paso will be operational by May 1. CBP awarded the contract to build the facility to Deployed Resources LLC in a program to limit competition.
  63. On Tuesday, CBS News reported Larry Hopkins, the head of the United Constitutional Patriots, told the FBI that his militia group was training to assassinate former president Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros.
  64. The militia group was stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border where, according to their videos, they have captured and detained about 5,600 migrants who illegally entered the country in the past 60 days.
  65. On Tuesday, Union Pacific Police told the United Constitutional Patriots they would have to leave their campsite in Sunland Park, New Mexico by Friday, saying it is on private land. The group was there since February.
  66. On Tuesday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said the regime’s family separation policy, while it did deter behavior, resulted in “losing public trust,” adding “ family separation is not on the table.”
  67. However, CNN reported according to a senior White House official, talk of reinstating family separation is in discussion at the highest levels, with Stephen Miller driving those discussions.
  68. On Thursday, CBS News reported DHS is exploring five cities for new locations to set up permanent shelters for unaccompanied minor children, as the agency prepares for an expected increase in apprehensions.
  69. On Friday, WAPO reported the Pentagon is preparing to loosen long-standing rules that prohibit military troops from interacting with migrants entering the U.S. as part of Trump’s operation along the Southern border.
  70. DHS has requested the Pentagon to provide 300 troops to work as lawyers, cooks, and drivers to assist with handling a surge of migrants along the border. This would be the second waiver of the policy under Trump.
  71. Experts worry using military lawyers with little or no experience with immigration cases could slow down proceedings. The case backlog is 850,000 cases now, up from more than 630,000 when Trump took office.
  72. On Tuesday, in a handwritten letter filed in the Southern District of New York, Cesar Sayor, who pleaded guilty to mailing explosive devices, said attending a rally for Trump “became like a new found drug.”
  73. On Tuesday, at a town hall in Iowa, Rep. Steve King compared his experience with being censured in the House with the suffering of Jesus, saying, “I have a better insight into what he went through.”
  74. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on Trump’s Census citizenship question. The five conservative judges seemed poised to allow the regime to add the question. The decision will be announced in June.
  75. Adding the question could have broad effects: an estimated 6.5 million people might not be counted, reducing Democrats’ representation and funding when Congressional districts are allocated in 2021.
  76. On Tuesday, a report by the Census Bureau found Hispanic turnout surged from 27% in the 2014 midterms to 40% in 2018, the largest increase of any group. Latino voters supported Democrats by wide margins.
  77. On Wednesday, the Florida House passed legislation requiring people to pay criminal fines and fees before they can vote. In the 2018 midterms, Florida had voted to repeal the state’s lifelong voting ban for felony convictions.
  78. On Tuesday, Andy McKean, Iowa’s longest-serving Republican lawmaker, announced he is switching to become a Democrat, citing Trump as “a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children.”
  79. On Tuesday, an Oregon judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking new federal restrictions by the Trump regime which bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.
  80. On Thursday, a Washington state judge also temporarily blocked the Trump regime from implementing a ban on abortion referrals at federally funded family planning clinics.
  81. On Wednesday, John Ducey, mayor of Brick Township in New Jersey apologized for telling people complaining about parks and beaches being “invaded” and “ruined” by “Hasidic and Orthodox Jews” to call the police.
  82. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported Trump’s Mar-a-Lago received 58 applications from U.S. workers from 2014 to mid 2018, but hired just one, instead bringing in more than 375 low-wage workers on short-term visas.
  83. On Saturday, HuffPost reported that the military is investigating four more servicemen for possible ties to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, raising the total under investigation to 11.
  84. On Monday, Trump said he would not nominate his “friend” Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, tweeting Cain, “a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him.”
  85. On Monday, CNN reported on a number of interviews with and columns by Stephen Moore from 2000–2003, in which he expressed extremely sexist views of women in sports. Moore said his statements were “a spoof.”
  86. On Tuesday, Moore invoked Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on a conservative radio show: “They’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me.” On Wednesday, he said he would bow out if he becomes a liability.
  87. On Tuesday, Trump reversed course on attacking Harley-Davidson after the company reported a 27% drop in first quarter profits in part due to his tariffs, vowing in a tweet, “So unfair to U.S. We will Reciprocate!”
  88. On Tuesday, as Trump planned his next visit to the United Kingdom for June, a group of MPs called on British Prime Minister Theresa May and the government to rescind the invitation for a full state visit.
  89. On Wednesday the day after accepting an invitation for a state visit from Queen Elizabeth II, Trump tweeted a baseless accusation that the U.K. helped Obama spy on his 2016 campaign.
  90. Trump cited a claim by Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and blogger, who has made past false allegations. U.S. and British intelligence vehemently denied the claim when it first surfaced two years ago.
  91. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General has opened investigations of six Trump senior department appointees over possible ethical misconduct.
  92. The complaint outlined how, despite a Trump executive order requiring employees to recuse themselves, the six continued to discuss policy matters with organizations that had employed them in the past.
  93. On Thursday, Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt told the WSJ that the regime has indefinitely sidelined its plans to dramatically expand offshore drilling after a ruling by a federal judge in Alaska.
  94. On Monday, the Trump Organization sued House Oversight Chair Cummings and Mazars USA, seeking a court order to block the House subpoena for eight years of Trump’s financial statements.
  95. On Monday, the White House told Carl Kline, who formerly oversaw security clearances and now works in the Defense Department, not to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats to be interviewed.
  96. On Tuesday, Rep. Cummings said in a letter that the White House and Kline “now stand in open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena” and he will consult “about scheduling a vote on contempt.”
  97. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn to testify on May 21 and requested documents related to several incidents detailed in Mueller’s redacted report be delivered by May 7.
  98. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal that he would miss the April 23 deadline for providing Trump’s tax returns.
  99. Mnuchin questioned the legitimacy of the request, while Trump’s attorney called it a politically motivated fishing expedition. Mnuchin said he would make a final decision by May 6.
  100. On Tuesday, in an interview with WAPO, Trump said he is opposed to White House aides testifying in Congress, saying it was unnecessary since the White House had already cooperated in the Mueller probe.
  101. Trump said the White House Counsel’s Office has not “made a final, final decision” about asserting executive privilege, but he opposes cooperating with House Democrats, saying, “I don’t want people testifying to a party.”
  102. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s White House plans to fight the House Judiciary subpoena to have McGahn testify. McGahn was mentioned more than 150 times in the redacted Mueller report.
  103. McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, started discussions about testimony with the House Judiciary Committee. A friend of McGahn said, “He’s not eager to testify. He’s not reluctant,” but will cooperate with a subpoena.
  104. On Wednesday, the DOJ said deputy assistant Attorney General John Gore will not comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena to testify about the Trump regime’s addition of a citizen question to the Census.
  105. Chairman Cummings said Gore and the DOJ had not claimed “any legally valid privilege,” and could be held in contempt, and Gore’s behavior was part of a “massive, unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction.”
  106. On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a letter to Rep. Cummings, counsel Pat Cipollone said the White House will not allow Stephen Miller to testify before the Oversight Committee on the regime’s immigration policies.
  107. Cipollone offered to make “cabinet secretaries and other agency leaders” available instead. Democrats are concerned that although Miller has not been confirmed by the Senate, he is effectively in charge of immigration.
  108. On Wednesday, NYT reported the Mueller report also revealed Trump fixated on wanting former AG Jeff Sessions to target a political rival, Hillary Clinton, in ways not seen since Nixon’s presidency.
  109. The Mueller report revealed three times that Trump pressured Sessions, including calling him at home in the middle of the night in 2017 to order him to reverse his recusal and order the prosecution of Hillary.
  110. There is no evidence Sessions acted on Trump’s orders to reopen the FBI case, and it is not known what effect Trump’s orders will have on House Democrats’ decision to move forward on impeachment.
  111. On Wednesday, Giuliani warned on “Fox & Friends” that Hillary committed obstruction of justice during the investigation into her private email server, adding the days of “you cannot indict a Clinton” are over.
  112. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, it has been “incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media,” saying, “I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so.”
  113. Trump also tweeted, “If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself,” adding that he let the “illegal investigation (there was no crime), headed by a Trump hater” continue.
  114. On Thursday, Burck pushed back on Trump calling McGahn a liar, saying in a statement that McGahn’s conversations with Trump had been “accurately described” in Mueller’s report.
  115. On Thursday, when asked about the House subpoenaing McGahn, Trump told reporters “We’re fighting all the subpoenas. Look, these aren’t like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.”
  116. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump’s attacks on McGahn are driven by his growing belief that Democrats will use McGahn’s testimony as a cornerstone of possible impeachment against him.
  117. Reporting also indicated that Trump is the one driving the standoff with Congress. Trump is watching television, and urging everyone around him, from Giuliani to Cipollone to take a hard line.
  118. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump allies are urging him to stop talking and tweeting about Mueller, calling his continued attacks “a complete and utter disaster” which will generate more negative news cycles.
  119. On Thursday, NBC News reported that as part of its counterintelligence mission, the FBI is continuing to investigate Russian attempts to influence the Trump regime before and after the 2016 election.
  120. The FBI will assess the national security damage caused by senior members of the Trump campaign and transition team meeting with a sophisticated foreign adversary. Democrats have demanded to be briefed.
  121. On Thursday, the LA Times Editorial Board noted Trump has declared himself immune from congressional oversight, adding we will soon find ourselves in a constitutional crisis like when Nixon resisted subpoenas for tapes.
  122. On Thursday, Trump called in to Fox New host Sean Hannity’s show. The two spoke in a rambling interview which lasted for 45 minutes.
  123. Trump called the FBI probe into his 2016 campaign and the subsequent Mueller probe “a coup,” adding, “This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.”
  124. Trump said called the investigation “the greatest political scandal in the history of our country. Again, bigger than Watergate. Because it means so much this was a coup….This was an attempted coup.”
  125. Trump said Mueller went “hog wild to find something…which obviously wasn’t there,” calling the investigation a “one-sided witch hunt” by “angry Democrats” who are “very serious Trump haters.”
  126. Trump said the report found “No collusion and also no obstruction,” adding “the statement was made and the attorney general, you know, understood it very well…and made a decision right on the spot.”
  127. Trump said the report did not “mention Strzok and Page and McCabe and Comey and the lies and the leaks and overthrow and the whole thing with the Hillary Clinton got a win 100 million to 1, two lovers, two sick lovers.”
  128. Trump also threatened to declassify the FISA court applications related to the investigation of Russia’s meddling, saying, “Everything is going to be declassified and more, much more…It will all be declassified.”
  129. Trump told Hannity, “I watch you and Tucker and I watch Laura and your great guys in the morning with Steve and Ainsley and Brian. Brian came a long way. I kid him but he came a long way, and so many other people.”
  130. On Thursday, Abigail Slater, one of Trump’s top tech advisers, resigned to take a job at Fox Corp. as a senior vice president for policy and strategy.
  131. On Thursday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein fired back at critics of his handling of the Mueller report in a speech at the Armenian Bar Association, likely one of his last speeches as a senior DOJ official.
  132. Rosenstein said the information disclosed in the Mueller report “is only the tip of the iceberg of a comprehensive Russian strategy to influence elections, promote social discord, and undermine America.”
  133. Rosenstein defended his handling of the Mueller probe and report, saying, “It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.”
  134. Rosenstein called out the Obama administration for not going public on Russian interference and “how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America,” and the FBI and Congress for leaks about the case.
  135. Rosenstein critiqued Congress, politics, and the media, saying “There is not Republican justice and Democrat justice. There is only justice and injustice,” and referred to Trump in a positive manner.
  136. Rosenstein attacked the media, “Some of the nonsense that passes for breaking news today would not be worth the paper it was printed on,” and defended his deadpan facial expression standing behind Barr last week.
  137. On Friday, WAPO reported on Rosenstein’s efforts to protect Mueller while keeping his job. Rosenstein repeatedly assured Trump he would be treated fairly, that he was not a “target,” and that he was on Trump’s team.
  138. After the NYT reporting that he had suggested wearing a wiretap, Rosenstein got teary-eyed ahead of the meeting with then chief of staff John Kelly saying, “I give the investigation credibility. I can land the plane.”
  139. Rosenstein, whose status in the White House had been fluid, reportedly begged Kelly, “I can go. I’m ready to go. I can resign. But I don’t want to go out with a tweet,” citing his long career at the DOJ and his reputation.
  140. On Friday, in the evening, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee that Kline is available to testify May 1, but the scope “will be limited.”
  141. On Friday, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found 31% believe Trump is telling the truth about the Mueller investigation, 58% do not. On obstruction, 47% believe Trump obstructed justice, 41% do not.
  142. Nonetheless, support for impeachment was at just 37%, a new low, with 56% opposing it. Democrats support impeachment by 62%, while independents were at 36% and Republicans at 10%.
  143. On whether Russia undermined the legitimacy of the 2016 election, 42% said yes and 49% said no. On whether foreign interference threatens the legitimacy of the 2020 election, 53% said yes and 37% said no.
  144. The poll also found a large gender gap in Trump’s approval: with overall approve/disapprove at 39%/54%, with men approving by +1 (47%/46%) and women disapproving by -30 (32%/62%).
  145. Trump’s average approval rating of 38% through this point in the term is the lowest of any president in the poll. The other 12 presidents range from the second lowest, Ford, at 47%, to Kennedy at 73%.
  146. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un held their first summit. Putin said he will brief the U.S. and China, raising his profile in the stalemate over N. Korean denuclearization.
  147. On Thursday, WAPO reported the U.S. envoy sent to pick up Otto Warmbier in 2017 was given a $2 million bill for care of the comatose student. The envoy was instructed by Trump to sign an agreement to pay.
  148. CNN reported that the Trump regime did not pay the $2 million bill, and that North Korea did not raise the issue as it sought to ease tensions with the U.S. in 2018.
  149. On Friday, Trump tweeted the quote, ““President Donald Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States.”” It was unclear who the quote was attributed to, if anyone.
  150. Trump also tweeted more of the supposed quote, ““20 hostages, many in impossible circumstances, have been released in last two years. No money was paid,”” and added, “Cheif [sic] Hostage Negotiator, USA!
  151. On Friday, a Gallup poll found 20% of Russians — a record — would like to move to another country, including 44% of those aged 15 to 29, with dislike for Putin being correlated to wanting to leave.
  152. On Friday, speaking to reporters before leaving the White House, Trump said “I never told Don McGahn to fire Mueller. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I would have done it myself. It’s very simple. I had the right to.”
  153. Trump said “in the history of our country, there has never been a President that’s been more transparent than me or the Trump administration,” adding, “I let White House Counsel McGahn testify. I let everybody testify.”
  154. Trump defended his “very fine people on both sides” comment on Charlottesville in response to a Joe Biden campaign video, saying, “If you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly.”
  155. Trump told reporters, “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general,” adding, “Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals.”
  156. On Friday, the National champion University of Virginia men’s basketball team declined Trump’s invitation to visit the White House, just hours after Trump’s statements on Charlottesville, where the school campus is located.
  157. On Friday, Trump spoke at the National Rifle Association convention, railing against the Mueller probe, the “corrupt” news media, and the “bad apples” at the Justice Department.
  158. Trump said the highest level of the government “tried for a coup, didn’t work out so well,” adding, “Didn’t need a gun for that one, did I?”
  159. Trump said Democrats are “obsessed with hoaxes, delusions and witch hunts,” instead of infrastructure and trade deals, and renewed his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act
  160. Trump also announced the U.S. will withdraw from a United Nations arms treaty signed in 2013 which regulates conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
  161. Experts warned the withdrawal signals the U.S. is once again walking away from America’s leadership role. Trump said, “we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” while the crowd chanted “USA! USA!”
  162. Shortly after Trump’s speech, WSJ reported Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s CEO, said in a letter to the board sent Thursday that he is being extorted and pressured to resign by the organization’s president, Oliver North.
  163. North also sent a letter to the board later Thursday saying his actions were for the good of the NRA, and that he was forming a crisis committee to examine financial matters. On Saturday, North involuntarily resigned.
  164. Campaign Legal Center Action, a gun safety group, sued the Federal Election Commission for failing to act on its complaints that the NRA improperly coordinated political spending with Trump and others.
  165. Any significant FEC investigation requires four commissioners to vote to approve the move. Under Trump, the six-member body has two vacancies, and partisan gridlock has halted actions.
  166. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board said Trump is showing a new level of contempt, writing that, unlike his predecessors who invoked privilege in certain cases, Trump vows to “not cooperate with any congressional inquiry.”
  167. The Times Board added, “He is effectively declaring lawmakers powerless over him. This, warn the experts, puts the nation in uncharted territory and threatens to erode its democratic foundations.”
  168. On Wednesday, WSJ reported on a March 25 phone call with Michael Cohen taped by actor and Trump critic, Tom Arnold. Cohen, who begins a three-year prison sentence on May 6, said he remained “a man all alone.”
  169. Cohen walked back part of his guilty plea, saying “there is no tax evasion,” and said of charges and losing everything, “All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”
  170. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Deutsche Bank began the process of turning over Trump’s financial records to New York Attorney General Letitia James in response to a subpoena.
  171. On Thursday, a federal judge said Christopher Hasson, the Coast Guard officer who had been indicted on weapons and drug charges and accused of a terror attack plot, will be released from detention awaiting trial.
  172. On Friday, Rep. Maxine Waters, one of his Democratic targets, said in a statement: “There is no credible justification” for the judge allowing someone “clearly dangerous and unrepentant” to “walk free.”
  173. On Friday, Russian Maria Butina was given the maximum sentence of 18 months in prison for failing to register as a foreign agent and for conspiring to infiltrate Republican political circles for the Kremlin.
  174. After the hearing, a lawyer for Butina said he “disagreed strongly” with the sentence and said the case was marked by “complete and utter Russophobia.” Butina will be deported to Russia after her sentence.
  175. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian who plays a president on television, won the Ukraine presidential election by a landslide. Zelenskiy, who has never held public office, said he would fight corruption in the political system.
  176. On Friday, a spokesperson for the Council of Chief State School Officers, said Trump is not expected to attend this years National Teacher of the Year award ceremony.
  177. On Take Your Kids to Work Day, press secretary Sarah Sanders spent 28 minutes taking questions from children. WAPO calculated that so far in 2019, Sanders has spent 82 minutes briefing the White House press.
  178. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it will disentangle its brand from the GOP for the first time in 40 years, citing the party’s move to protectionism, nativism, and isolationism under Trump.
  179. On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft.” Nick is white. The number one draft pick Kyler Murray is a black man and was not mentioned by Trump.
  180. Trump tweeted to Bosa, who is playing for San Francisco 49ers, “always stay true to yourself.” Bosa has had to apologize and delete past tweets about Colin Kaepernick, including one where he called him a “clown.”
  181. The AG in the Polish province of Jaroslaw opened a criminal investigation into an anti-Semitic activity over the Easter holiday which involved an effigy of a stereotypical Jew being hanged, beaten, and set on fire.
  182. On Saturday, the NYT issued an apology for using a cartoon in its international edition showing the Israeli prime minister as a weiner dog with Star of David dog collar leading around Trump wearing a skullcap.
  183. On Saturday, one died and three were injured during a shooting at a Passover celebration at Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego, exactly six months after the shooting in Pittsburgh.
  184. Police detained a white male, 19, for questioning. Leaving for a rally, Trump called the attack a “hate crime” and “hard to believe,” adding, “My deepest sympathies to all of those affected.”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin greets North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un during their meeting on April 25, 2019 in Vladivostok, Russia. Reports have indicated that Pyongyang’s nuclear program will be at the top of the list of issues to discuss as the meeting between both leaders came soon after a failed summit between Kim and Trump in Hanoi, which ended without an agreement made.