July 06, 2019

Week 138

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

This week, two years after visiting France for Bastille Day and admiring its military display, Trump hosted a “Salute to America” on July Fourth, replete with an expansive array of military hardware and troops. The scenes of tanks rolling into the nation’s capital drew comparisons to other authoritarian regimes who flaunt their military might through public displays, including North Korea, where Trump paid a surprise visit as the week began.

This week, Trump thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court’s decision in Week 137 not to allow a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Justice and Commerce Departments, after stating the questionnaire was being printed without the citizenship question, completely reversed themselves 24 hours later following a single tweet by Trump. By weeks’ end, the DOJ said it would, at Trump’s behest, try to put forth a new argument in court justifying the question, while Trump mused he had four or fives options to get his way. Notably, Trump has now challenged the authority of both the legislative and judicial branches — including the nation’s highest court — to counter his unilateral power. And the Justice Department, under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr has been rendered a tool to help his efforts.

Reports by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General revealed dire conditions at immigrant detention facilities at the border. Trump defended the facilities and Border Patrol agents, as protests and uproar from Democrats continued. Republicans remained silent.

  1. A study by the University of Tennessee found American voters were probably influenced by Russian propaganda during the 2016 election. Trump’s popularity correlated closely with activity by the Internet Research Agency.
  2. The study found that for every 25,000 re-tweets by Russian troll and bot accounts associated with the IRA, Trump’s poll numbers moved up by 1%. The IRA was a key weapon in Russia’s attack on social media.
  3. A new poll by Associated Press-NORC Center found Trump’s approval rating is 38% (60% disapprove), despite what almost two-thirds describe as a “good” economy. Just 17% say they benefited from the GOP tax cut.
  4. A new poll by Gallup found support for impeaching Trump at 45%, while 53% oppose. Support for impeachment is higher than it ever was for Bill Clinton (high of 35%), and close to the high mark for Richard Nixon (46%).
  5. Record temperatures hit parts of the U.S., with mussels frying to death in California, roads buckling in South Dakota, and 90 degree temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska. Last month was the hottest June on record in Europe.
  6. On Saturday, at the G-20 summit, Trump invited North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to meet, tweeting, “if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
  7. Trump told reporters “I just thought of it this morning,” and, “I don’t know where he is right now; he may not be in North Korea,” although he would know from his daily briefing. A Kim aide called the offer “interesting.”
  8. On Sunday, Trump made an unscheduled visit after the G-20 summit to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and crossed briefly into North Korea.
  9. Trump and Kim walked up to the line dividing North and South Korea and shook hands. Kim then invited Trump to the North Korea side, saying, “I never expected to see you in this place.” Trump said it was “my honor.”
  10. Trump was the first sitting U.S. president to visit North Korea. Trump and Kim met privately for 53 minutes. Afterwards he told reporters, “this was a great day. This was a very legendary, very historic day.”
  11. Trump said of their talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, “Very big stuff, pretty complicated, but not as complicated as people think,” adding the media has “no appreciation for what is being done. None.”
  12. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was bruised after pushing North Korean security officials out of the way to allow American journalists through to cover the meeting between Trump and Kim.
  13. Later at a news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump falsely claimed, “Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him. The Obama administration was begging for a meeting.”
  14. On Sunday, while traveling as a guest of the White House, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told “Fox & Friends” part of “what it means to lead a country” is “killing people” when asked about Trump meeting with Kim.
  15. On Monday, Fox News aired an interview Trump did with Carlson from Osaka. Trump noted clean Japanese cities, but said U.S. cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are filthy, adding he may “intercede.”
  16. Trump also made reference to “junkies” and homelessness, which he said is “a phenomena that started two years ago,” calling it “disgraceful.” U.S. homelessness has remained steady for the past three years.
  17. On Sunday, a viral video showed Ivanka Trump at the G-20 awkwardly joining a conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron, IMF director Christine Lagarde, and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  18. Lagarde, who nodded while May spoke, looked puzzled by Ivanka’s comment and pursed her lips. The video raised concerns about Ivanka’s role in U.S. foreign policy given that she has no expertise or experience.
  19. Ivanka also attended Trump’s meeting with Kim, posing for photos, giving news interviews, and parroting her father’s talking point. The trip represented Ivanka’s step onto the world stage, and she asserted herself.
  20. NYT reported the G-20 trip showed Ivanka’s unchecked ascent in the White House, as critics who spoke out no longer remain. Trump said to troops at a military base in South Korea, “She’s going to steal the show.”
  21. On Monday, White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp abruptly resigned over rumored tension with Grisham over leaks. Schlapp will work on Trump’s re-election campaign.
  22. On Tuesday, Politico reported one of the reasons Trump held off on bombing Iran in Week 136 was seeing Jack Keane, a retired Army general, say on Fox News that the downing of the drone may have been a fluke.
  23. On Sunday, cartoonist Michael de Adder was dropped by Brunswick News in Canada after a drawing of Trump standing over the two drowned migrant bodies with a golf club asking, “Do you mind if I play through?”
  24. On Sunday, 36 Jewish activists were arrested, as part of a 200 person protest blockading an ICE detention facility in New Jersey. The group protested conditions in the facility, holding signs that read, “Never Again.”
  25. On Tuesday, 1,000 Jewish activists shut down traffic in the heart of Boston chanting, singing, and drumming to protest immigrant detention centers in the city and around the country.
  26. Protestors started at the New England Holocaust Memorial and ended at a detention center where 18 were arrested for blocking the entrance. The protest was organized under the principal “Never Again.”
  27. On Monday, ICE confirmed that Yimi Alexis Balderramos-Torres, a 30 year-old Honduran migrant, was found unresponsive at the Houston Contract Detention Facility. The cause of death was undetermined.
  28. On Monday, NBC News reported an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General revealed border agents at a border station in El Paso were concerned about riots due to poor conditions.
  29. The May 30 report found agents were arming themselves and staying in holding areas, contrary to the Trump regime’s assertion that charges of poor conditions were “unsubstantiated.”
  30. The report said there were four showers for 756 migrants, and that cells meant for 35 were holding 155 adult males with only one toilet and sink, and so little space the men count not lie down to sleep.
  31. The report noted health risks, including lice outbreaks and agents trying to quarantine outbreaks of flu, chickenpox, and scabies. The facility also did not have clean clothing for children or soft mats for them to sleep on.
  32. On Monday, a group of House Democrats visited detention facilities in Clint and El Paso. The Clint facility was down from 700 migrant children in May to just two dozen. Several hundred migrants were at El Paso.
  33. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus organized the trip after outrage over the Clint facility. Lawmakers said they saw hundreds of sick and dirty children without parents, and inconsolable toddlers in the care of other children.
  34. In El Paso a group of migrant women were crowded into a cell with no running water and going without showers for weeks. One woman told lawmakers Border Patrol officers told them to drink out of the toilet.
  35. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered lawyers representing detained migrants and CBP to promptly determine if detention facilities in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley are safe for migrant children.
  36. Last week a group of doctors and advocates warned the judge of major health and hygiene problems. One doctor who interviewed 39 children likened the conditions at the detention centers to “torture facilities.”
  37. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the number of migrant children in Border Patrol custody dropped from 2,350 on May 30 to under 300 due to a 25% decline in undocumented immigrants crossing from May to June.
  38. On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s policy of keeping thousands of asylum-seekers locked up indefinitely while they pursue their legal cases, saying the Constitution entitles them to a bond hearing.
  39. In April, as part of the regime’s efforts to deter migrants, AG William Barr said the government would no longer allow bond hearings. The ACLU and another group sued to block the policy set to go into effect on July 15.
  40. On Tuesday, NPR reported Trump’s DHS sent out a batch of notices to immigrants they say are here illegally saying, “It is the intention of ICE to order you pay a fine in the amount of $497,777.”
  41. ICE claimed the Immigration and Nationality Act grants it the right to impose fines of no more than $500 per day on persons who violate the act. Immigration lawyers said they have never seen the fine used this way.
  42. On Monday, ProPublica reported that in a secret Facebook group of roughly 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents, members joked about migrant deaths, and posted disparaging content on members of Congress.
  43. The group was named “I’m 10-15,” referencing Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody,” and was created in August 2016. ProPublica linked the profiles to profiles of Border Patrol agents and at least one supervisor.
  44. In one post, members joked about the 16 year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May. Another was a graphic image depicting a smiling Trump forcing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s head to his crotch.
  45. Another post joked about a video of a migrant man carrying to carry a child through a rushing river in a plastic bag, with comments, “At least it’s already in a trash bag,” and “Sous-vide? Lol,” referencing cooking in a bag.
  46. Later Monday, ProPublica reported a spokesperson for the CBP agency said the agency immediately informed investigators with the DHS’s Office of Inspector General and initiated an inquiry into the Facebook group and its posts.
  47. On Tuesday, in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said the posts “appear to violate Facebook’s Community Standards,” particularly on hate speech.
  48. On Wednesday, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a series of tweets that he has ordered an immediate investigation into the Facebook group, calling it a “disturbing & inexcusable social media activity.”
  49. McAleenan added, “These statements are completely unacceptable, especially if made by those sworn to uphold the @DHSgov mission, our values & standards of conduct.”
  50. On Wednesday, Politico reported, according to one DHS official, Border Patrol leadership has known about the Facebook group since 2016, when agents reported offensive posts. No actions were taken.
  51. On Tuesday, the DHS Inspector General issued a follow up report to the one of May 30 as House Democrats spoke about observations of their visit. The inspectors visited five facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
  52. The report found overcrowded, squalid conditions are more widespread than initially reported. When inspectors visited some facilities, migrants banged on cells and pressed notes to windows begging for help.
  53. The report said “some single adults were held in standing-room-only conditions for a week,” adding, “both ICE and HHS are operating at or above capacity.” One senior manager called it a “ticking time bomb.”
  54. The report also found many migrants were given only wet wipes to clean themselves, and bologna sandwiches to eat, causing constipation and health problems. One migrant held up a sign that read, “Help.”
  55. Children at two of five facilities were not given hot meals. Also, 826 of the 2,669 children detained at the facilities were held longer than the allowed 72 hour period.
  56. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement the report “provides a shocking window into the dangerous and dehumanizing conditions,” and “The inhumanity at the border is a challenge to the conscience of America.”
  57. The House Judiciary and Oversight Committees both announced hearings next week on the conditions at detention centers. The House was on break this week for the July Fourth holiday.
  58. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump defended border agents and instead blamed Democrats, saying, “Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses,” and “Great job by Border Patrol”
  59. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats bad Immigration Laws, which could be easily fixed, are the problem,” adding, “Many of these illegals aliens are living far better now than where they came from,” and “safer.”
  60. Trump tweeted, “No matter how good things actually look, even if perfect, the Democrat visitors will act shocked & aghast,” adding, “Just Pols. If they really want to fix them, change the Immigration Laws and Loopholes.”
  61. Trump also tweeted if we really want to fix the crisis at the southern border, “tell migrants not to come into our country unless they are willing to do so legally, and hopefully through a system based on Merit.”
  62. Trump also tweeted, “Mexico is doing a far better job than the Democrats on the Border. Thank you Mexico!” The Mexican government has been busing home Central American migrants from Ciudad Juarez.
  63. Under a new Trump regime policy known as “Remain in Mexico,” asylum seekers are sent back to Mexico to await their asylum hearings, sparking criticism they have been unfairly returned and should have been accepted.
  64. Later Wednesday, Trump also tweeted, “If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come,” adding, “All problems solved!”
  65. On Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Trump regime plans to replace in-court interpreters at initial immigration court hearings with videos informing asylum seekers about their deportation rights.
  66. The regime cited cost cutting measures and the bogged down immigration court system. Advocates expressed concern the new system could jeopardize migrants’ due-process rights and add confusion.
  67. On Wednesday, in a letter to the White House, former Trump employees who are undocumented requested a meeting with him to discuss reforming immigration and to ask for protection from deportation.
  68. The 21 former groundskeepers, maids, and kitchen staff at Trump Organization properties asked the president to remember their years of service and “do the right thing” for them and others in the country unlawfully.
  69. On Friday, when asked about his properties’ hiring of undocumented workers and whether his golf courses still employ any, Trump told the Times, “I don’t know because I don’t run it.”
  70. Trump also claimed of having undocumented workers, “Probably every club in the United States has that because it seems to be, from what I understand, a way that people did business.”
  71. On Friday, Trump again defended detention facilities after the Inspector General report, telling reporters the ones he has seen are clean and “beautifully run,” adding, “I think they do a great job with those facilities.”
  72. Trump also defended Border Patrol agents, saying they “did not train to be doctors and nurses and janitors…They trained to be Border Patrol. And that’s what they’re doing, and they’re doing a phenomenal job.”
  73. Trump also threatened that his planned deportations were coming “fairly soon,” adding, “They came in illegally, and we’re bringing them out legally.”
  74. On Monday, the American Medical Association, which traditionally has shied away from controversial social issues, filed an unprecedented lawsuit against North Dakota to block two abortion-related laws.
  75. The group says the new laws would require doctors who perform abortions to lie to patients, and cited the laws “unconstitutionally forces physicians to act as the mouthpiece of the state.”
  76. On Monday, the Trump regime deferred enactment of the “conscience” rule which was scheduled to go into effect on July 22, facing a proliferation of legal challenges from government and advocacy groups.
  77. On Monday, the attorney for Marshae Jones, who was indicted in Week 137 for her fetus being shot and dying in Alabama, demanded the “unreasonable, irrational” indictment against her be dropped.
  78. On Wednesday, District Attorney Lynneice Washington said in a brief news conference that she had weighed the evidence in Jones’ case, and decided to dismiss the charges, and no further legal action would be taken.
  79. Washington, the first black female district attorney in Alabama’s history, appeared surprised by criticism that Jones, a working-class black woman, was treated in a way that no wealthy white woman would have been.
  80. On Wednesday, NYT reported a judge in New Jersey said a 16 year-old boy who videoed himself raping a girl at a house party, deserved leniency because he was from a “good family” and attended an excellent school.
  81. On Friday, a state appeals court overturned the decision, and warned the judge against showing leniency to juveniles of privilege. Prosecutors may now seek an indictment against the teen, who may be charged as an adult.
  82. On Wednesday, an Ohio judge temporarily blocked a law, set to go into effect on July 11, that would ban abortion when a heartbeat can be detected, saying the law “is unconstitutional on its face.”
  83. Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law in April, after his GOP predecessor John Kasich vetoed it twice. Ohio anti-abortion groups plan to bring the case to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.
  84. LGBTQ advocacy group Glaad announced a new campaign to work on a constitutional amendment to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination, citing Trump’s sweeping deconstruction of protections.
  85. On Tuesday, 206 major companies signed a Supreme Court brief submitted by LGBTQ groups arguing that excluding sexual orientation and gender identity from federal law undermines the nation’s business interests.
  86. On Tuesday, Nike dropped its planned launch of a Betsy Ross 13-star flag sneaker on July Fourth after Colin Kaepernick, a brand ambassador for the company, said the flag’s image had been co-opted by racist ideologies.
  87. In reaction, GOP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey withdrew a $1 million incentive for Nike to build a plant there, and other conservatives criticized the company for being unpatriotic. New Mexico welcomed Nike’s plant.
  88. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mockingly tweeted an image of the Betsy Ross flag, along with “Happy Fourth of July!” Observers noted his state, Kentucky, is not one of the stars on the flag.
  89. On Sunday, Facebook’s number 2 executive Sheryl Sandberg said the company will ban misinformation about the 2020 census, treating posts with the same extra scrutiny as an election for fear it could disrupt the count.
  90. On Monday, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office he is looking “very strongly” at delaying the 2020 census, saying, “It is a big difference to me between being a citizen of the United States and being an illegal.”
  91. Trump also told reporters said, without citing evidence, that immigrants living illegally in the U.S. are “treated better than the coal miner” suffering from black lung. Delaying the census would violate the Constitution.
  92. On Tuesday, the Justice Department said in a one sentence email to a lawyer challenging the question, “the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question.”
  93. On Tuesday, Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross mirrored the DOJ in a statement, “The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”
  94. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow” a citizenship question, falsely claiming asking the question has been “going on for a long time.”
  95. Trump also tweeted he has asked the Commerce Department and DOJ “to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion,” adding, “USA! USA! USA!”
  96. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted reporting that the Commerce Department is halting efforts on the citizenship question are “incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE!” adding, “We are absolutely moving forward.”
  97. Later Wednesday, on a phone call with a federal judge in Maryland, the DOJ reversed its position of 24 hours prior, telling the judge that the regime is looking for a way to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  98. U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel set up the call, saying, “I don’t know how many federal judges have Twitter accounts, but I happen to be one of them, and I follow the president.”
  99. A DOJ lawyer responded, “I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture other than what the President has tweeted,” adding, “I am doing my absolute best to figure out what’s going on.”
  100. As assistant attorney general told the judge that the DOJ had been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision,” but did not say who issued the instruction.
  101. In a separate filing to the Southern District of New York, that assistant AG said the DOJ and Commerce had been asked to “reevaluate all available options” and Commerce may adopt “a new rationale” for the question.
  102. WAPO reported a White House official confirmed that presses were still running on Wednesday and printing the census without a citizenship question. The citizenship question was last part of the census in 1950.
  103. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed,” adding the DOJ and Commerce “are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!”
  104. On Thursday, Axios reported Trump is considering using an executive order to add a citizenship question to the census, a continuation of his theme of expanding executive power over the other branches.
  105. On Friday, acting Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli told Fox Business including the citizenship question would help “with the burden of those who are not here legally.”
  106. Cuccinelli’s statement was unclear, differing from Trump’s stated rationale of gauging voting population. The census website states, “The Census Bureau does not collect data on the legal status of the foreign born.”
  107. On Friday, Trump told reporters that he is considering an executive order to add a citizenship question as one of four or five possible options, saying, “We have a number of avenues, we could use” one or all of them.”
  108. Trump added, “we could start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision,” adding Chief Justice John Roberts did not like their argument, “but he did say come back.”
  109. Trump also falsely claimed, “You need it for many reasons,” adding “Number one, you need it for Congress. You need for Congress, for districting. You need it for appropriations, where are the funds going?”
  110. Trump did not specify his other options. The Constitution assigns the responsibility for overseeing the census to Congress. Republicans have pushed for a citizen-only redistricting in 2021.
  111. The Constitution does not mention “citizens,” and when Congress debated the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, for apportionment of congressional seats, it used the term “persons,” and not “citizens” or “voters.”
  112. On Friday, the DOJ told Judge Hazel that they continue to push forward with efforts to add a citizenship question, but did not know what kind of rationale they would put forward.
  113. Later Friday, Judge Hazel rejected the regime’s request to freeze a lawsuit on the citizenship question, saying he would hear arguments on whether the regime added the question to discriminate against Hispanics.
  114. Judge Hazel opened the door to discovery, including evidence from deceased Republican consultant Thomas Hoeffler, and enjoined the regime from printing a census questionnaire with the citizenship question.
  115. On Friday, New York AG Letitia James said in a statement, “As we celebrate Independence Day” we “should be reminded that we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship, and must follow the law, even if we disagree with it.”
  116. On Friday, the ACLU and NY AG James filed a lawsuit against the Department of Commerce, asking the court to block the regime from delaying printing the census and from adding a citizenship question.
  117. On Monday, Guardian reported the State Department’s office responsible for negotiating and implementing nuclear disarmament treaties has been cut from 14 staffer to four in two years under Trump.
  118. Trump’s appointee to run the office, Andrea Thompson, Vice President Mike Pence’s former national security adviser, does not have a background in arms control, and has clashed with now former staffers.
  119. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has pushed the Pentagon to bring an expansive array of military hardware to the Mall in Washington D.C. as part of his grandiose “Salute to America” July Fourth event.
  120. Trump ordered a flyover of military aircraft, including Air Force One and the Navy’s Blue Angels, as well as an F-35 stealth fighter and the Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which flies the presidential helicopter.
  121. Trump also pushed the Pentagon to bring tanks to the Lincoln Memorial, where he planned to deliver his speech. National Park Service officials warned the weight of the tanks could damage the site.
  122. Trump bragged about using “Abram” tanks, which weigh more than 60 tons and “brand-new Sherman tanks,” which have not been used since the 1950s. The D.C. Council tweeted Monday: “Tanks, but no tanks.”
  123. Trump told reporters on Monday the event will be “like no other. It’ll be special.” The event has little precedent, save for an event by the Clintons to mark the turn of the century, which did not include military hardware.
  124. Trump got the idea for a July Fourth parade during his visit to Paris for Bastille Day in 2017 that included a military parade. Before Air Force One left Paris, Trump had already spoken to staffers about a parade in D.C.
  125. Trump dismissed staff concerns back then of tanks ripping up streets, saying he would find a way to work around it. He tried to hold an event for Veterans Day in 2017, which was quashed over its $92 million price tag.
  126. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees intended to be used to improve parks across the country to cover part of the cost of the event.
  127. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported the White House is handing out VIP tickets to Republican donors and political appointees for Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial. For decades the D.C. celebration has been non-political.
  128. On Tuesday, the military warned D.C. residents that armored vehicles will be rolling through their neighborhoods Tuesday evening and Wednesday, and told them not to panic.
  129. On Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser of D.C. told NPR Trump is “not celebrating the military but glorifying military might. That scares me the most,” and Trump looks to “dictators as an example of how to celebrate.”
  130. Local officials and residents expressed concern about the damage the massive military vehicles could cause to area roads. Air traffic will also be suspended during Trump’s event.
  131. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big. It will be the show of a lifetime!”
  132. Trump also defended diverting parks funds, tweeting the cost of his parade “will be very little compared to what it is worth,” and “all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all.”
  133. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump appointees have been working doggedly to assure there will be a large crowd for his event, and not have a repeat of his 2017 inauguration.
  134. The issue of crowd size has been a sore spot for Trump since his crowd was much smaller than that of former president Obama in 2009. White House staff were concerned that an expected storm might discourage attendees.
  135. The Trump regime provided 5,000 tickets to the military. Trump’s re-election committee gave free passes to allies, donors, and trade associations. Fundraisers and operatives also pushed out tickets.
  136. Trump advisers told WAPO the event is a way for him to associate himself with the flag and patriotism and appeal to his base, similar to his attacks on NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem.
  137. On Wednesday, the major TV networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC said they will not broadcast Trump’s event, instead carrying their regular programming. MSNBC will not air it, although Fox News and C-SPAN said they would.
  138. On Wednesday, House Appropriations subcommittee Chair Betty McCollum said she plans to schedule a hearing to get “a full accounting” from the Interior Department “on the use of National Park fees.”
  139. On Thursday, Russia-state media mocked the event, saying the tanks had “paint peeling off” and required “adhesive tape.” Experts said to Russia, where parades of military might are typical, Trump’s is not impressive.
  140. On Thursday, citing an article in the Daily Mail, which claimed several generals were opposed to Trump’s July Fourth event, Fox Business host and Trump ally Lou Dobbs called them “Snowflake Generals” in a tweet.
  141. On Thursday, CNN also reported military service chiefs, who have been asked to stand with Trump on stage, are privately concerned about his politicizing the event and putting tanks and armored vehicles on display.
  142. Defense Department guidelines prohibit men and women in uniform from engaging in political activity. Trump however tweeted on Tuesday, “the Pentagon and our great Military Leaders are thrilled” to participate.
  143. Far-right extremist group the Proud Boys clashed with far-left groups during demonstrations before Trump’s speech. A video captured a member of the Proud Boys getting fist bumps from a line of D.C. policemen.
  144. On Thursday, Trump spoke for 47 minutes at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., after a downpour delayed the start of his speech. Trump extolled the greatness of America, and atypically kept on script.
  145. Trump stood on stage with a pair of armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles in front of him, and a giant TV screen. Military and other VIPs stood in a section close to the stage, while his supporters stood over a thousand feet away.
  146. Trump read the speech from a teleprompter, at one point citing airports in the Revolutionary War, saying, “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.”
  147. Trump also praised inventors, saying, “Our quest for greatness unleashed a culture of discovery” and citing Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone. Bell became a U.S. citizen, he was Canadian when he invented the telephone.
  148. Mentioning Betsy Ross was the closest Trump came to engaging in politics in his speech. However, after his speech, Trump took to Twitter to attack his adversaries, including Sen. Kamala Harris and Colin Kaepernick.
  149. Trump also tweeted and retweeted a total of 13 photos and videos showing the crowd at his speech, which measured in the thousands. The D.C. July Fourth fireworks typically draw hundreds of thousands each year.
  150. The Trump regime declined to reveal the cost of the event. The $2.5 million diverted from the National Park Service is known to be a small fraction of the overall cost, which will be covered by taxpayers.
  151. On Friday, defending his gaffe about airports during the Revolutionary War, Trump told reporters, “I stood in the rain…The teleprompter kept going out and then at the end it just went out. It went kaput.”
  152. Trump said, “Actually right in the middle of that sentence it went out,” adding, “And that’s not a good feeling.” Trump insisted he knew the speech very well, “So I was able to do it without a teleprompter.”
  153. Trump falsely claimed millions were watching, “When you’re standing in front of millions and millions of people on television and — I don’t know what the final count was.”
  154. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump fumed about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General James, saying, “Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes.”
  155. Trump complained the two “sue on everything, always in search of a crime,” but “they never even looked at the disgusting Clinton Foundation,” and added it is “hard and expensive” to live in New York.
  156. Trump also tweeted “Cuomo’s A.G. is harassing all of my New York businesses in search of anything at all they can find,” adding “No wonder people and businesses are fleeing New York in record numbers!”
  157. Trump also tweeted, “I even got sued on a Foundation,” falsely claiming it “took Zero rent & expenses & gave away more money than it had,” calling it “another part of the political Witch Hunt.”
  158. Trump also complained about “what they are doing to our great NRA.” The NRA’s current meltdown has the Trump campaign and other Republicans worried that the organization might not be able to help them in 2020.
  159. Trump tweeted in 2016 “I won EVERY debate,” falsely claiming, “including the three with Crooked Hillary Clinton” despite modulating his sound in the first debate, and suggesting “this crew” of 2020 may use dirty tricks.
  160. On Monday, Politico reported Trump allies Reps. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and Devin Nunes plan to press Robert Mueller on whether his team had anti-Trump bias and if the probe started with inappropriate surveillance.
  161. On Tuesday, AP reported that Trump will hold a “Keep America Great” rally in Greenville, NC on July 17, the day of Mueller’s testimony.
  162. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about Mueller’s testimony, saying, “Robert Mueller is being asked to testify yet again. He said he could only stick to the Report, & that is what he would and must do.”
  163. Trump also tweeted, “After so much testimony & total transparency, this Witch Hunt must now end,” adding, “No more Do Overs. No Collusion, No Obstruction,” and “the Great Hoax is dead!
  164. On Monday, the House Oversight Committee asked a federal appeals court to uphold their subpoena of Mazars USA, saying Trump has “disdain” for Congress’s constitutional role in carrying out oversight.
  165. On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal filed a lawsuit against the IRS and Treasury Department over the committee’s demands for six years of Trump’s tax returns first requested in April.
  166. On Tuesday, in a letter to Congress, the DOJ inspector general said he is initiating a review of actions at the DOJ and FBI that led to the regime canceling a planned move of FBI headquarters out of the Hoover building.
  167. The investigation came after pressure from the House Oversight and Transportation Committees, who said Trump blocked the move to avoid redevelopment into a hotel that would compete with Trump Hotel DC.
  168. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, made misleading statements about the move to Congress, claiming it came at the request of FBI director Christopher Wray, not Trump.
  169. On Tuesday, Vice President Pence abruptly canceled a scheduled trip to New Hampshire to deliver remarks on America’s opioid epidemic. Rumors swirled Tuesday as no real reason was given for the cancellation.
  170. When asked by reporters on Friday why Pence cancelled, Trump said, “There was a very interesting problem that they had in New Hampshire,” adding the reason will become known “in about a week or two.”
  171. On Wednesday, when asked about critics of her refusal to visit to White House, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe told ESPN, “I think that I’m particularly and uniquely and very deeply American.”
  172. On Friday, Reuters reported U.S. soccer star Alex Morgan said the decision on whether to accept Trump’s offer to visit the White House will be made as a team if they win the Women’s World Cup, but is unlikely to happen.
  173. On Thursday, Rep. Justin Amash, the son of two immigrants and the only Republican for impeachment, announced in an op-ed he was leaving the Republican Party, saying our politics are in a partisan death spiral.
  174. Amash urged Americans to reject “partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us,” and the two-party system, adding, “If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.
  175. On Friday, NBC News reported New York Gov. Cuomo will act soon to sign two bills aimed at Trump: one would allow Congress to obtain Trump’s state tax returns and the other would curb his pardon power.
  176. On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told USA Today he has not been briefed on the DOJ probe launched by Barr into possible surveillance abuses in the early days of the Russia probe.
  177. On Friday, speaking to reporters before leaving the White House, Trump attacked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for not lowering rates, saying, “We don’t have a Fed that knows what they’re doing.”
  178. On Saturday, Trump thanked himself for a report that the U.S. stock market had hit a new high, tweeting, “Our Country is the envy of the World. Thank you, Mr. President!”
  179. Trump also touted strong jobs number on Friday, tweeting, “Strong jobs report, low inflation,” but warned “other countries around the world doing anything possible to take advantage of the United States.”
  180. On Saturday, Trump also attacked the Federal Reserve again, tweeting the stock market “could have been even better,” adding, “Our most difficult problem is not our competitors, it is the Federal Reserve!
  181. On Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the governor of Turkey’s independent Central Bank over raising interest rates to curb inflation. The surprise decree drew criticism, even by Erdogan allies.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, July 6, 2019

Members of the U.S. Army park a Bradley fighting vehicle in front of the Lincoln Memorial ahead of the Fourth of July “Salute to America” celebration on July 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump will deliver a speech at the memorial with military hardware on display including tanks, and flyovers by military aircraft.