July 13, 2019

Week 139

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

This is the longest week so far, and it felt that way. The chaos of our lives has obfuscated the damage and extremes under Trump, as each week blurs into the next week’s crises and unprecedented actions. This week’s turmoil centered on Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and the resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the 13th Cabinet member to depart the regime — next week there will certainly be new plot lines to engage and exhaust the American people.

This week the Democrats seemed to take a step back, amid party infighting. Notably, the Trump regime continues to successfully stonewall all the House efforts at accountability, and seemingly Democratic leadership is taking a slight uptick in Trump popularity as a rationale to back off in tone, while in actuality, the lack of action by the Democrats has normalized the previously unthinkable of accepting foreign help and obstructing justice. While the country eagerly awaited Robert Mueller’s testimony on July 17, that too evaporated and became a moving target.

Trump careened from one rage to another this week, but notably, he is largely getting his way. When things go against him, he finds new ways to re-center and seize the narrative. His central message of immigration continues to be front and center and Fox News seized on the theme of “these are not our children” to dull the news on conditions at detention centers, as deportation raids were set to start. Trump continued to repeat his themes that the media is “the enemy of the people,” that he will serve more than two terms, and that Democrats are enabling millions of “illegal aliens” to vote — all setting the stage for an unpredictable 2020 election.

  1. On Saturday, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested by federal agents at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after arriving from Paris. Agentsnalso broke down the door of his Manhattan townhouse to execute search warrants.
  2. Daily Beast reported Epstein was arrested by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force on charges of sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. He will appear in court Monday.
  3. On Monday, Politico reported the White House was closely watching the media coverage of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s involvement with the 2008 plea deal with Epstein, but Trump was sticking with him for now.
  4. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters of Epstein, that he “knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” adding, “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his.”
  5. On Tuesday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters that Trump “hasn’t talked or had contact with Epstein in years and years and years — and over a decade at least,” while defending Acosta.
  6. NYT reported in 1992, a Florida businessman flew in 28 girls for a “calendar girl” competition at Mar-a-Lago. He told the Times the event meant for VIPs was only attended by Trump and Epstein.
  7. Epstein was photographed at Mar-a-Lago in the 1990s and early 2000s, but he was not a member. Trump later distanced himself from Epstein, reportedly over a failed business arrangement between them.
  8. WAPO reported Epstein’s black book contained 14 phone numbers for Trump; Melania; his personal assistant, Norma Foerderer; his houseman; his security officer; his brother Robert and his wife; Ivana; and Ivanka.
  9. During the week, an additional 14 women came forward, saying Epstein sexually assaulted them as children. Epstein’s lawyers asked that he be released from prison to stay at his $77 million mansion awaiting trial.
  10. On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup. It took Trump several hours to send a congratulatory tweet, hours after former president Obama and others leaders had done so.
  11. On Tuesday, the team was honored at a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan. Captain Megan Rapinoe said the team accepted an invitation from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to visit, but has not heard from Trump.
  12. The team was the third, along with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, to have an invitation rescinded after players publicly criticized Trump or indicated they did not plan to attend.
  13. Rapinoe told Trump on CNN, “Your message is excluding people,” adding, “You have incredible responsibility as the chief of this country to take care of every single person,” and “you need to do better for everyone.”
  14. On Thursday, ABC News reported the NYPD is investigating vandalism of eight posters of Rapinoe in the New York subway which were defaced with various homophobic statements as a possible hate crime.
  15. On Saturday, in memos dating from 2017 to present leaked to the Daily Mail, U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Ambassador Kim Darroch, a top British diplomat, described Trump as “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent.”
  16. Darroch wrote Trump’s White House was “uniquely dysfunctional,” and unlikely to “become substantially more normal” and warned Trump could be indebted to Russians, and his career could end in “disgrace.”
  17. The British government defended the ambassador, saying in a statement “The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country.”
  18. On Monday, Trump tweeted he will no longer deal with Darroch, saying, “I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US.” Despite his claim, Trump has met Darroch several times.
  19. Trump also tweeted, “The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister,” adding he “thoroughly enjoyed” his recent visit, and was most impressed by the Queen.
  20. On Tuesday, Trump again attacked Darroch, calling him “the wacky Ambassador, “a very stupid guy,” and “a pompous fool,” adding, “tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military.”
  21. Trump also attacked Prime Minister Theresa May on Brexit, tweeting, “I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done,” adding, “A disaster!”
  22. On Tuesday, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended PM May, responding to Trump, tweeting: “these comments are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country.”
  23. PM May stood by Darroch in a statement, calling the leak “unfortunate,” adding the “selective extracts” leaked “do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship.”
  24. On Wednesday, Darroch, after facing days of intense criticism from Trump including Trump calling him a “pompous fool,” resigned, saying he could not be an effective ambassador if the Trump regime would not deal with him.
  25. Lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mark Warner expressed disappointment. The Daily Mirror headline said, “Traitor Boris backs Trump not Britain,” citing Johnson who is likely to replace May.
  26. On Wednesday, another ambassador told the Times, “It could have been any of us,” saying disdain for Trump is almost ubiquitous, with almost all foreign officials describing living in something of a black hole in D.C.
  27. On Thursday, German, French, and European Union ambassadors held a breakfast for Darroch’s departure, showing solidarity and their support for him, including tweets noting who “our true friends are.”
  28. On Sunday, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli told “Fox New Sunday” that he expects a citizenship question to be on the 2020 Census, saying Trump “has expressed determination.”
  29. Cuccinelli also criticized House Democrats visiting detention facilities, calling it “the height of hypocrisy,” saying they “come down and complain” but are “not helping fix the problem.”
  30. On Sunday, acting secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan told “This Week” that reporting on conditions at detention centers are “unsubstantiated,” claiming “there’s adequate food, water,” and showers.
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media, in particular the Failing @nytimes, is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the Border Detention Centers.”
  32. Trump tweeted, “people should not be entering our Country illegally…We should be allowed to focus on United States Citizens first,” adding, “Border Patrol, and others in Law Enforcement, have been doing a great job.”
  33. On Sunday, the Times defended their reporting in Week 138, issuing a statement saying, “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting on the U.S. Border Patrol’s detention centers.”
  34. On Sunday, Trump also attacked Fox News in a series of tweets, saying, “Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams.”
  35. Trump complained, “@FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats,” adding, “& even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as a “source” of information.”
  36. Trump also tweeted Fox News “is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!” and complained about Democrat Donna Brazille, “she is all over Fox” and Shepard Smith, “by far their lowest rated show.”
  37. On Monday, AP reported Trump was upset at the network airing a scene at a sports bar in France during the United States women’s World Cup Championship, where the crowd was chanting “Fuck Trump!”
  38. Fox News also angered Trump, airing two segments on Sunday which cited NYT reporting on child detention centers in Texas, with a commentator from a liberal watchdog group calling it “the stuff of nightmares.”
  39. A poll by YouGov Blue and Data for Progress tested the impact of the phrase “These are not our children,” used repeatedly by Fox News to defend Trump’s immigrant policies.
  40. When asked whether they agree with the statements that migrant detention centers have “unacceptable conditions” or that migrants are “not our children,” the split was 40%/60% for Republicans, and 92%/8% for Democrats.
  41. On Tuesday, NBC News reported according to accounts collected by Department of Homeland Security case managers, migrant children held at a border station in Yuma, Arizona alleged sexual assault and retaliation by CBP agents.
  42. The 30 accounts collected between April 10 and June 12 include being touched inappropriately by agents, and being retaliated against for complaining about unsanitary conditions, hunger, and overcrowding.
  43. One child stayed in soiled underwear for 10 days because he was afraid to ask for a clean pair. All of the children interviewed had been held at the border station longer than the 72 hours allowed under the law.
  44. On Tuesday, 18 Jewish protestors from the Never Again Action group were arrested by Capitol police in D.C. as they protested the regime’s immigration detention camps and called for the defunding of ICE.
  45. On Wednesday, Yazmin Juarez, the mother whose toddler died weeks after they were released by ICE, testified before the House Oversight Committee, saying, “I watched my baby girl die, slowly, and painfully.”
  46. In the hearing on the treatment of migrant children, Juarez described seeing a number of sick children in the detention center where they were held. Juarez has filed a wrongful death claim against the Trump regime.
  47. An attorney advocate told the panel she interviewed hundreds of immigrant children who complained about “open” toilets, saying they are embarrassed to use the toilets. One boy said he tried not to eat to avoid it.
  48. On Friday, the House released a report based on testimony and subpoenaed information on child separations under Trump, with new information on 2,648 children who were separated from their parents.
  49. The report found at least 18 migrant children under the age of two were separated from their parent, and “kept apart for 20 days to half a year.” Also, children were kept at Border Patrol facilities longer than 72 hours.
  50. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence visited a migrant detention facility in McAllen. WAPO reported he saw 400 men crammed behind chained fences in sweltering heat, without enough room to lie down on the concrete floor.
  51. When reporters arrived the migrant men screamed they had been held there for 40 days or longer, were hungry, had not been able to brush their teeth, and had to ask permission to go outside to get drinking water.
  52. The patrol agent in charge admitted many of the men had not showered in 10 to 20 days. Pence said, “I was not surprised by what I saw,” adding, “I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed,” and “This is tough stuff.”
  53. Pence blamed Democrats, saying they need to “step up, do their jobs, and end this crisis,” and gave a more positive view than Democrats and news reports, “Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for.”
  54. Pence also said, “What you saw today was a very clean facility,” adding, “it was just a few short weeks ago that Congress finally acknowledged the crisis and gave us an additional $4.6 billion in humanitarian aid.”
  55. Pence also praised employees at the facilities, saying, “I was deeply moved to see the care that our Customs and Border Protection personnel are providing,” saying they are “doing a tough job in a difficult environment.”
  56. On Friday, the Intercept reported Border Patrol chief Carla Provost was a member of the secret Facebook group “I’m 10-15,” discovered in Week 136, which is under investigation by Homeland Security.
  57. On Friday, Adweek reported Ogilvy’s leadership team looked to address staff concern over its work for CPB, which had not been previously reported. Many agency staffers were unaware of the relationship.
  58. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled a new Commission on Unalienable Rights, which he said would present him with “an informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.”
  59. On Thursday, 22 countries including our former allies Britain, France, Canada, and Germany issued a joint statement condemning China’s mass detention of Uyghur and other minorities. The U.S. was not a signatory.
  60. On Monday, William Latson, a principal at a Florida high school, was reassigned to an administrative position over a 2018 email exchange in which he said the Holocaust was not “a factual, historical event.”
  61. On Tuesday, WAPO reported while the Senate has confirmed Trump’s judicial picks to circuit courts at a record pace — 1 in 5 seats on the appellate bench— not one of the 41 judges is Hispanic or black.
  62. On Tuesday, Mississippi Today reported Robert Foster, a Republican candidate for governor, denied a woman reporter access to his campaign, saying being alone with a woman could be used to smear him.
  63. Foster said, “I put my wife and my Christian beliefs above anyone else’s feelings or opinions.” As the story gained national attention, Foster refused to back down, saying, “perception is reality in this world.”
  64. On Tuesday, a panel of judges on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sharply questioned attorneys defending the Affordable Care Act, signaling the panel may throw away part of the law.
  65. The case could be the third to head to the Supreme Court. The DOJ, which typically is charged with defending the nation’s laws, declined to discuss the litigation.
  66. On Wednesday, a Catholic high school teacher who was fired for being in a same-sex marriage sued the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, saying it “illegally interfered with his contractual and employment relationship.”
  67. On Friday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he had a change of heart over his tweet to “withdraw all financial incentive dollars” from Nike following the Betsy Ross sneaker controversy, and would welcome a new Nike plant.
  68. On Friday, the District’s attorney general issued subpoenas to the National Rifle Association and its foundation “as part of an investigation into whether these entities violated the District’s Nonprofit Act.”
  69. On Sunday, Rep. Justin Amash, who last week left the Republican Party, told “State of the Union” that high-level Republicans have privately thanked him for supporting impeachment.
  70. On Monday, Rep. Amash resigned from the House Oversight Committee. He had been the sole Republican joining the panel’s Democrats in efforts to investigate Trump.
  71. On Sunday, Rep. Peter King said on a radio interview, “there was severe, serious abuses that were carried out in the FBI and, I believe, top levels of the CIA” against candidate Trump, adding it is “going to come out.”
  72. On Sunday, an ABC News/WAPO poll found Trump reached a career-high approval rating of 44%, 2 points better than the prior peak, while 53% disapprove.
  73. The poll also found 37% are for impeachment, steady from April; however opposition to impeachment has grown to a new high of 59%. By party, 61% of Democrats, 37% of independents, and 7% of Republicans are for it.
  74. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Times, Trump “would rather not be impeached,” adding, “he every day practically self-impeaches by obstructing justice and ignoring the subpoenas.”
  75. Asked if Trump had pressured her on the issue, Pelosi said, “He may have one time said something like, ‘I’m glad you’re not doing this impeachment because there’s nothing there,’” adding, “But that means nothing to me.”
  76. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported multiple House Democrats, including several moderates, who are for starting an impeachment inquiry said it was based on feedback from their constituents.
  77. On Monday, Trump retweeted a two-year old tweet with a fictitious quote by Ronald Reagan predicting Trump would be president. The account who first sent the quote had 13 followers.
  78. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter, saying he violated the First Amendment, in a case that could have broad implications for public officials.
  79. Trump had unblocked seven of the people behind the lawsuit while the case was appealed. A spokesperson for the DOJ, which is defending Trump, said we “are exploring possible next steps.”
  80. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump’s U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended data collection for Honey Bee Colonies, part of an Obama-era focus on protecting pollinators whose populations have plummeted.
  81. The annual survey was suspended for the third since Trump took office. Budgetary concerns were cited. The USDA also moved key research units from Washington D.C. to Kansas City, sparking an exodus of experts.
  82. On Monday, as environmental issues gained traction in the 2020 race, Trump delivered a speech defending his record on the environment. WAPO reported Ivanka had also pushed him to address the environment.
  83. Speaking from the White House, Trump said, “We want the cleanest air, we want crystal clean water, and that’s what we’re doing,” adding the regime is pursuing “technologies and processes” to make production cleaner.
  84. Trump said the U.S. “does not have to sacrifice our own jobs to lead the world on the environment,” saying the regime is working “harder than many previous,” maybe all of them, and mocked the Green New Deal.
  85. Trump was joined by three Cabinet secretaries overseeing energy, two of whom are former lobbyists for the coal and oil industries (Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt), and did not mention climate change.
  86. Trump nonsensically claimed no one had heard of “forest management” to prevent wildfires until he took office, saying, “you don’t have to have any forest fires” if you clean the forest, like they do in “forest nations.”
  87. Environmental advocates described Trump’s speech as a “1984” moment. Federal data showed air quality has significantly worsened under Trump, with carbon dioxide emissions having their biggest increase since 2010.
  88. Fox News, uncharacteristically, cut into Trump’s speech to fact-check him live. Host Shepard Smith said on air that Trump’s policies have been “widely criticized by environmentalists and academics.”
  89. On Tuesday, CNN reported a whistleblower said he was pressured to reverse an environment finding that Mike Ingram’s proposed housing and golf course project in Arizona desert would threaten endangered species.
  90. The decision came after Interior Department Sec. Bernhardt met with Ingram at a Montana hunting lodge, which was not listed on Bernhardt’s official calendar. Ingram is also a donor and fundraiser for Trump.
  91. Whistleblower Steve Spangle, a 30-year veteran of the Fish and Wildlife Service, was overruled by higher ups. The meeting was one of at least 11 Ingram had with top officials at the Interior and the EPA.
  92. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Rod Schoonover, a State Department intelligence analyst, resigned after the White House blocked part of his testimony to Congress on climate change and its threat to national security.
  93. Schoonoever’s testimony cited scientific journals and intelligence reports, and concluded climate change could cause increased humanitarian crises, competition for resources, and risk of political instability.
  94. On Sunday, WAPO reported in response to their inquiry on if career attorneys would withdraw from the case on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the DOJ said in a statement it was changing lawyers.
  95. Reportedly, at least some of the career attorneys had legal or ethical concerns over Trump’s orders. It is a nearly unheard-of move to switch legal teams in the midst of such a case.
  96. The DOJ said new lawyers will be part of the department’s Civil Division and Consumer Protection Branch. Analysts say the new team will be proceeding on increasingly shaky legal ground.
  97. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said in an interview that he believes there is a legal path for the regime to add the citizenship question, but declined to give details.
  98. Barr said Trump is “right on the legal grounds,” adding, “I felt the Supreme Court decision was wrong.” He also acknowledged that some of the career attorneys did not want to continue working on the case.
  99. On Monday, Speaker Pelosi said she planned to schedule a full House vote “soon” to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for defying House subpoenas related to the citizenship question.
  100. On Tuesday, Trump quoted a “Fox & Friends” co-host, tweeting, “There should be a question about Citizenship on the Census,” adding, “Working hard on something that should be so easy. People are fed up!
  101. On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York rejected the DOJ’s request to change lawyers in the 2020 census case, saying, “Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons.’”
  102. Judge Jesse Furman said to change its legal team, the DOJ must meet the legal requirement of satisfactorily explaining the existing lawyers’ departure and showing the switch would not impede the case,
  103. On Wednesday, a second federal judge, Judge George Hazel in Maryland said he shared the concern of the federal judge in New York, and denied the DOJ’s bid to withdraw the attorneys from the 2020 census case.
  104. Judge Hazel wrote he was concerned that “a shift in counsel at this late stage may be disruptive to an already complicated and expedited case,” but with assurances was “inclined to ultimately permit the withdrawal.”
  105. On Monday, in an interview with the AP, Barr accused Democrats of trying to create a “public spectacle” by subpoenaing Robert Mueller to testify. There is no indication Mueller does not want to testify before Congress.
  106. Barr also said the DOJ would seek to block any attempts by House Democrats to subpoena members of the special counsel’s team.
  107. On Monday, Barr told reporters he is recusing himself from the Epstein case, saying, “I am recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined.”
  108. During his Senate confirmation hearing, when asked if he would conduct an investigation of the DOJ’s handling of the Epstein case, Barr responded, “I have to recuse myself from Kirkland & Ellis matters, I am told.”
  109. On Tuesday, the DOJ said Barr would not recuse himself from the SDNY prosecution of Epstein, but he will remain uninvolved in the DOJ’s review of the handling of Epstein’s 2008 plea deal in Florida.
  110. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “the Radical Left is using Commerce to hurt their “Enemy,”” citing a planned boycott of Home Depot over its owner’s financial support of Trump. Notably, Trump has called for boycotts too.
  111. On Monday, CNN reported Felix Sater is scheduled to testify to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. In Week 136, Sater was a no-show to scheduled testimony, saying he overslept after taking a sedative.
  112. On Tuesday, a House spokesperson said Sater “has not fully cooperated,” saying he obstructed the panel’s investigation by withholding documents and testimony, adding he “will remain under subpoena until he does so.”
  113. On Monday, AP reported a federal grand jury is probing whether GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy used his position as vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee to cultivate business deals with foreign governments.
  114. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee seeking records relating to 20 individuals and businesses, investigating whether Broidy violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  115. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that allows Congress to obtain Trump’s state tax returns. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said he will not seek Trump’s state returns.
  116. On Tuesday, the California Assembly passed a measure requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns. The measure passed the state Senate, and awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
  117. On Tuesday, in newly unsealed documents, federal prosecutors told a judge they no longer plan to call Michael Flynn as a witness in the trial of Bijan Rafiekian, Flynn’s former partner in a consulting business.
  118. Flynn was set to cooperate in exchange for a lenient sentence, but the July 3 filing said in an abrupt shift that prosecutors will instead argue Flynn was a co-conspirator — raising concerns Flynn may expect a pardon.
  119. On Friday, an attorney for Bijan Rafiekian said in court that federal prosecutors have extensive evidence that the Turkish government tried to influence Trump’s 2016 campaign through Flynn.
  120. Rafiekian’s trial starts next week, and Flynn was, until last week, supposed to be the government’s star witness against Rafiekian on their being paid by Turkey to push for the expulsion of cleric Fethullah Gulen.
  121. Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell claimed the government is trying to get him to lie, saying Flynn did not intentionally lie about the role of the Turkish government, but signed documents without reading them first.
  122. Powell said, “Should the government’s case here fail, it will not be because of anything Mr. Flynn did or did not do,” claiming the government is trying to retaliate against him, and his former lawyers struck a bad deal.
  123. Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack, part of Mueller’s team who worked on Flynn’s case, said it is the “first time” he is hearing that Flynn does not believe he was “willfully” or “knowingly” lying to his former attorneys.
  124. On Tuesday, Politico reported the House Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday to authorize 12 subpoenas for witnesses in the Mueller probe, representing a broadening of the panel’s Trump-related investigations.
  125. The 12 include Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Robert Porter, David Pecker, Rick Dearborn, Jody Hunt, Keith Davidson, and Dylan Howard.
  126. On Thursday, the House Judiciary voted to approve the subpoenas for 12 witnesses. The panel also approved subpoenas for documents and testimony from regime officials related to the “zero tolerance” policy.
  127. On Monday, Congressional Democrats issued 37 subpoenas for Trump’s financial and business records, as part of an emoluments lawsuit brought by more than 200 Democrats in Congress.
  128. The subpoenas were issued to Trump Tower, his hotels in New York and D.C., and Mar-a-Lago. Plaintiffs are also seeking information on trademarks granted to Trump businesses by foreign governments.
  129. The DOJ asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a court filing to dismiss the case or put subpoenas on hold, saying the judge “ignored the unique separation-of-powers concerns.”
  130. On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District dismissed the emoluments lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. who claimed Trump’s business holdings were a conflict of interest.
  131. The court ruled the lawsuit failed to definitively show state or foreign governments switched to patronizing the Trump Hotel DC because it distributes profits to Trump, rather than the hotel’s characteristics.
  132. On Wednesday, Trump celebrated the win, tweeting, “Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt,” adding, “unanimous decision in my favor.”
  133. Trump also tweeted, “I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!).” The attorneys general said they would file an appeal.
  134. On Wednesday, at a White House ceremony for Trump to sign an executive order on advancing kidney health, Trump said “the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It’s an incredible thing.”
  135. On Tuesday, Reuters reported three members of the DOJ’s Inspector Generals office met with Christopher Steele in London during Trump’s visit in early June, interviewing him for 16 hours over two days.
  136. Inspector General Michael Horowitz met with Steele as part of the DOJ’s inquiry into the early stages of the FBI investigation into Trump, Hillary Clinton, Russia, and Carter Page.
  137. Horowitz’s investigators found Steele’s information sufficiently and surprisingly credible, dampening expectations of Trump’s allies. Mueller’s team interviewed Steele twice in September 2017.
  138. On Tuesday, Politico reported only a small segment of members of Congress have read the Mueller report. Sen. Tim Scott said, “What’s the point?” while Sen. Lisa Murkowski called it “tedious.”
  139. On Tuesday, Yahoo News reported Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, was behind a fake intelligence report that circulated in the summer of 2016 about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
  140. According to the fake report, Rich was on his way to alert the FBI to corrupt dealings by Hillary Clinton, and was killed by her associates. The conspiracy was picked up by a website which frequents in Russian propaganda.
  141. Over the next two and half years, Russia state media also ran with a conspiracy that Rich was the source of Democratic Party emails leaked to WikiLeaks, which was first floated by Julian Assange on August 9, 2016.
  142. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted at the first interest rate cut in over a decade. Fed watchers noted Powell has been under extreme pressure in unprecedented attacks by Trump to cut rates.
  143. On Wednesday, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said he would not resign if Trump asked him to, saying “the law clearly gives me a four-year term and I fully intend to serve it.”
  144. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump’s July Fourth event cost the D.C. government $1.7 million and other costs for police, bankrupting a special fund to protect the city from terrorist threats and other security needs.
  145. On Tuesday, Trump praised Labor Department Secretary Acosta, telling reporters he felt “very badly” for him, and Acosta “works so hard and has done such a good job,” adding he is looking at the situation closely.
  146. On Wednesday, Politico published an excerpt from an upcoming book saying the GOP almost abandoned Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tape, until his ferocious attack on the Clintons in the third debate.
  147. On Wednesday, the Guardian reported that in Acosta’s 2020 budget for the Labor Department, he planned to slash funding for the International Labor Affairs Bureau, the agency that fights the sexual exploitation of children.
  148. On Wednesday, Acosta held a press conference to defend his role in brokering the plea deal for Epstein in 2008 after a chorus of Democrats called for him to resign. The conference was watched closely by Trump.
  149. Acosta, who was the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, said of the victims, “I wanted to help them.” While Acosta condemned Epstein’s “horrific” crimes, he refused to apologize, typical of the Trump strategy.
  150. Acosta claimed prosecutors in his office overrode state authorities because they wanted to make sure Epstein went to “jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator,” rather than “roll the dice” at trial.
  151. Later, Barry Krischer, a former Palm Beach state attorney, said Acosta was trying to “rewrite history,” adding, “I can emphatically state that Mr. Acosta’s recollection of this matter is completely wrong.”
  152. Krischer said Acosta’s office abandoned its own 53-page indictment after secret negotiations with Epstein’s lawyers, saying “the U.S. attorney’s office always had the ability to file its own federal charges.”
  153. On Wednesday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Acosta, requesting that he testify before his committee this month, saying, “Your testimony is even more critical now” with the SDNY indictment.
  154. On Thursday, in a series of 20 morning tweets, Trump raged on a variety of unrelated topics as news of Epstein was unfolding, and announcement were coming on ICE raids and a citizen question executive order.
  155. Trump tweeted, “The Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media,” adding, “they have lost tremendous credibility since that day in November, 2016” when he came down the escalator (it was 2015).
  156. Trump attacked “The Fake News Media” for saying “the banks didn’t like me,” adding Deutsche Bank was “one of the largest and most prestigious banks in the world! They wanted my business, and so did many others!”
  157. Trump attacked 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom he again called “Pocahontas,” tweeting an apparent typo of “1000/24th” instead of 1/1,024th Native American. Trump then deleted the tweet.
  158. Trump tweeted about serving more than two terms, “when I ultimately leave office in six years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding),” saying the media “will quickly go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval.”
  159. On Thursday, NYT reported nationwide round ups by ICE of thousands of members of undocumented families for deportation are scheduled to begin on Sunday, and continue over several days.
  160. ICE is reportedly targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered to be deported. The raids will include “collateral” deportations, deportations of immigrants who happen to be on the scene during the raids.
  161. The operation, originally announced by Trump in Week 136, was postponed partly because of pushback from his own immigration agency. Agents have also expressed apprehension about arresting babies and young children.
  162. On Thursday, in the morning, ABC News reported regime officials said Trump was expected to issue an executive order to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, and announce it later on Thursday.
  163. Later Thursday, at a press conference with Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross, Trump backed off from his efforts to add a citizenship question, including without explanation, an executive order.
  164. Instead Trump issued an executive order directing every department and agency to provide the Commerce Department “all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country.”
  165. Trump said, “We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete, and accurate count of the noncitizen population.” Barr said this would mark the end of the three court cases on adding the question.
  166. Trump said he is “not backing down,” claiming Democrats are trying to hide “illegal aliens in our midst,” adding, “this is part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of the American citizen.”
  167. Barr seemed to blame the shift in strategy on timing “to implement any new decision” as forms are being printed, claiming the citizenship questions would have survived a legal review by the Supreme Court.
  168. Barr also said the information may be used for congressional redistricting: “There is a current dispute over whether illegal aliens can be included for apportionment purposes…this data may possibly prove relevant.”
  169. On Thursday, Trump hosted 200 conservative social media personalities, including controversial names like Sebastian Gorka, “Diamond and Silk,” and James O’Keefe at a “Social Media Summit” at the White House.
  170. Trump bragged how his tweets used to be more effective: “I used to watch it: it’d be like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” adding, “Like when I said, remember I said somebody was spying on me?”
  171. Trump said, “To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad,” adding, “To me that’s very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”
  172. On Thursday, the American Federation of Teachers union sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, alleging her department mismanaged a program that forgives teachers’ and public workers’ loans after 10 years of payment.
  173. DeVos tried to end Public Service Loan Forgiveness for three years by removing it from her budget, but lawmakers have funded it. The lawsuit alleges DeVos denied applicants “on arbitrary and capricious grounds.”
  174. On Thursday, WAPO reported in an upcoming book by reporter Tim Alberta, former House Speaker Paul Ryan said of Trump, “ he didn’t know anything about government … I wanted to scold him all the time.”
  175. Ryan also said people around Trump “helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time.” The author said he did not think Ryan could stand another two years of Trump, and viewed retirement as an “escape hatch.”
  176. On Thursday, Trump attacked Ryan on Twitter, calling him “the failed V.P. candidate” and “lame duck failure,” and saying his “record of achievement was atrocious (except during my first two years as President).”
  177. Trump also tweeted Ryan “quit Congress because he didn’t know how to Win,” adding, “They gave me standing O’s in the Great State of Wisconsin, & booed him off the stage,” and, “He promised me the Wall, & failed.”
  178. On Friday, before heading to Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin for a rally, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn, Ryan was a “baby,” and a “terrible speaker,” and “didn’t know what the hell he was doing.”
  179. Trump also claimed Alberta may have paid Ryan for an interview, telling reporters, “maybe he gets paid for that.” In a tweet, Alberta responded, “I did not pay Paul Ryan for the interview.”
  180. Trump allies in the House dismissed Ryan’s take, calling it “a little bit of revisionist history.” Rep. Amash called Ryan one of Trump’s “biggest enablers,” calling it “ridiculous” he waited until he left to criticize him.
  181. On Thursday, William McGinley, the chief liaison between the White House and federal agencies, resigned. McGinley was one of the last remaining senior staffers from the beginning of Trump’s time in office.
  182. On Friday, Acosta resigned as Labor Secretary. Trump, standing with Acosta on the South Lawn, announced the resignation, saying Acosta had called him that morning saying he planned to step down.
  183. Trump said, “This was him, not me,” adding Acosta “has been a “great, great secretary” and a “tremendous talent,” and noting Acosta “went to Harvard, a great student.”
  184. Trump named Acosta’s deputy, Patrick Pizzella, to serve as Labor Secretary. With Acosta’s departure, four cabinet positions will be led by acting secretaries (labor, chief of staff, defense, homeland security).
  185. Including Acosta, 13 Trump Cabinet members have departed, not counting those who served in an acting capacity. Several also left under ethics scandals including Scott Pruitt, Tom Price, David Shulkin, and Ryan Zinke.
  186. Standing with Acosta, Trump attacked familiar targets for 30 minutes. He said the Times is a “very dishonest newspaper” doing “a tremendous disservice to this country,” and “They are truly the enemy of the people.”
  187. Trump also mentioned Article 2 of the Constitution on the executive branch, saying, “Nobody ever mentions Article 2,” adding, “It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before.
  188. On Friday, Mueller said he would postpone his testimony to allow members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees to question him. Under the July 17 deal, Mueller would have appeared for just two hours for each committee.
  189. Because of the five-minute questioning limit, only senior members of each committee could participate, raising an outcry from other committee members. Negotiations continued between parties during the day.
  190. Later Friday, the two House committees and Mueller seemed to reach agreement to postpone his testimony until July 24, and give both panels more time to question him.
  191. On Friday, speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump berated House Democrats on the testimony, saying there is nothing Mueller “can say,” adding, “He’s written a report.
  192. Trump added the report said, “It said no collusion, and it said, effectively, no obstruction,” adding, “They want to go it again and again and again because they want to hurt the president before the election.”
  193. Trump also confirmed ICE raids are set to start on Sunday, and will target criminals, saying, “There’s nothing to be secret about. ICE is law enforcement, they’re great patriots. They have a tough job.”
  194. Most mayors in the 10 cities targeted have criticized the raids, and said they will not cooperate with ICE or give them police database information or cooperation. New Orleans was removed due to a tropical storm.
  195. Trump criticized “mayors in sanctuary cities” citing New York City’s mayor, saying, “But a guy like de Blasio probably wouldn’t want the raid. Many mayors do…They don’t want to have crime in their cities or states.”
  196. Trump said of the controversy between Speaker Pelosi and four freshman Democrats, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should treat Pelosi “with respect,” also claiming she lied about a migrant woman drinking toilet water.
  197. Trump also said of the four freshmen, also including Reps. Omar Ilhan, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, all of whom are women of color, that they are a group of people that he does not “know where they came from.”
  198. On Friday, tens of thousands of protestors participated in over 700 “Lights for Liberty” immigration vigils around the country to protest conditions at immigration detention centers at the southern border.
  199. On Friday, Axios reported Trump is privately telling confidants that he wants to remove Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Sources said the conversations on the topic have been happening for months.
  200. A source said Trump views the Office of DNI as an unnecessary bureaucratic layer and since he cannot get rid of it, he wants to “downsize” the office. Reportedly, Trump is no longer listening to Coats.
  201. On Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Trump regime, saying the DOJ was within its rights to withhold Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants from sanctuary cities.
  202. On Friday, CNN reported a federal investigation by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office into whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign finance laws looks to be wrapping up without charges.
  203. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission voted to approve the $5 billion Facebook settlement over releasing private information on users to Cambridge Analytica. Democrats labelled the settlement “chump change.”
  204. BuzzFeed reported on a secret recording of a meeting revealing Russia tried to funnel millions of dollars into Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini’s far-right party. Salvini is known as “European Trump.”
  205. The meeting of three Russians and three Italians, including a close aide to Salvini, was held in October 2018 to discuss a strategy to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow.
  206. No evidence has surfaced that the deal went through, or showing Salvini’s direct involvement, but the tape ignited questions of whether the far-right League party broke Italian political laws.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, July 13, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence visited a detention center in McAllen, Texas on Friday and saw hundreds of migrant detainees packed into their holding areas surrounded by a chain-link fence.