September 07, 2019

Week 147

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

This week is not the longest list with Congress out on summer break for the sixth and final week, but it is perhaps the most alarming in terms of the irreverent authoritarian actions by Trump, who continues to push boundaries having suffered no consequences for anything yet. Examples of his power base expanding were reported, including the Pentagon refusing to cooperate in a probe of spending at Trump’s Turnberry resort, the Justice Department filing a bogus anti-trust case against four auto companies cooperating with California to cut emissions, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration backing Trump over its own scientists. Even the Republican Party continues to fold to Trump, as four states canceled their GOP 2020 presidential primaries, while those unhappy with the tone or direction of the party continued to retire rather than speaking out. Trump is also ramping up attacks on the free press, journalists, and now, social media companies ahead of the 2020 election.

Reporting this week also signaled continued concern about Trump’s mental health, and he spent the week fixated on a false statement made Sunday about Alabama being in the path of Hurricane Dorian, and continued on the story until Friday. As the economy weakens, and having no real accomplishments over the summer, Trump was likened to a bull seeing red, and again spent the week as much of his summer striking out at familiar and random targets. Court filings this week indicated Trump has no plans to cooperate with House Democrats when they return next week.

Meanwhile, news in Europe indicates that far-right populism there may have peaked as Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered setbacks, and far-right Matteo Salvini was pushed out of Italy’s new government. China acquiesced to protestors’ demands in Hong Kong, following 13 weeks of protests.

  1. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump’s campaign plans to make allegations of social media bias a core part of its 2020 strategy, hoping to turn his supporters against social media companies, as he does with the press.
  2. On Monday, as part of a long series of tweets, Trump tweeted, “Our real opponent is not the Democrats….our primary opponent is the Fake News Media,” adding, “They are now beyond Fake, they are Corrupt.”
  3. WAPO reported Trump’s continued attacks on the media are working with his base: a Gallup poll finds them deeply distrustful of national newspapers (25%) and CNN News (20%), while 69% trust Fox News.
  4. On Tuesday, Axios reported Trump’s war on the media is expanding, with allies targeting to raise $2 million to investigate reporters and editors at top media outlets like NYT, WAPO, and others ahead of the 2020 election.
  5. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Belgium for meetings with global leaders, without taking any members of the press along — not even a pool reporter. The move was highly unusual.
  6. On Saturday, four weeks after the El Paso mass shooting, a white man in his 30s committed a daylight drive-by mass shooting in West Texas that began at a traffic stop, killing seven and injuring 21.
  7. In the chase that followed, the gunman drove from Midland to Odessa on the highways and streets, while firing bullets on residents, motorists, and shoppers. The gunman’s motive was not known.
  8. On Saturday, in an op-ed marking 80 years since Nazi Germany invaded Poland, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called Trump the “global poster-boy for white nationalism,” and warned on forgetting the lessons of World War II.
  9. On Sunday, when asked by reporters if he had a message for Poland on the 80th anniversary of being invaded, and after canceling his scheduled visit, Trump responded, “I just want to congratulate Poland.”
  10. When asked about the mass shooter in West Texas, Trump called the shooter “a very sick person,” and added, “it could’ve been worse.” Trump later tried to change the topic when asked about gun violence.
  11. On Sunday, WAPO reported on Trump’s “lost summer,” saying while aides claim victory, Trump’s summer was filled with self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities.
  12. Other than finally getting his July 4 military parade, Trump focused on attacking four Congresswomen of color and the Federal Reserve as the economy faltered, Baltimore, and a series of mass shootings.
  13. A Republican operative told the Post the mood of staffers is “exhaustion, fatigue, wake us when it’s over.” Others lament that Trump could have used the summer to ramp up for the 2020 election, but did not.
  14. On Monday, a federal holiday for Labor Day, Trump lashed out on Twitter, sending more than a dozen tweets before 8:30 a.m. attacking familiar targets like Democrats and the media.
  15. Trump tweeted the “Amazon Washington Post” did a story on his “racist attacks against the “Squad,”” saying they have “brought racist attacks against our Nation” and Democrats are “the Party of the Squad!”
  16. Trump also tweeted, “The LameStream Media has gone totally CRAZY!” adding, “They write whatever they want, seldom have sources,” and “never do ‘fact checking’ anymore.”
  17. On Tuesday, the WAPO Editorial Board asked in an op-ed, “How many more names will be added to the list before McConnell acts on guns,” listing the names of those killed in mass shootings, including the seven in West Texas.
  18. On Tuesday, Walmart said it would stop selling handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would only bring legislation to the Senate floor that Trump would sign.
  19. On Wednesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution declaring the National Rifle Association as a “domestic terrorism organization.”
  20. The resolution was first introduced after the mass shooting in Gilroy, California in Week 142. Before the vote, the “carnage across this country,” was noted including recent mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton, and West Texas.
  21. On Thursday, CVS and Walgreen joined Walmart and Kroger is halting in-story open carry, citing the recent mass shootings.
  22. On Friday, the chairwoman of the Republican Party in Arizona said in an email that the GOP is going to stop pro-gun-control Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly — spouse of Gabby Giffords — “dead in his tracks.”
  23. On Saturday, Trump attacked former intelligence officials who criticized his tweeting a classified image of Iran in Week 146, tweeting: “Being scolded by failed former “Intelligence” officials, like James Clapper.”
  24. Trump added, “Sadly for the United States, guys like him, Comey, and the even dumber John Brennan, don’t have a clue,” adding, “They really set our Country back,” but “We are winning again, and we are respected again!”
  25. On Sunday, NPR reported amateur satellite trackers believe the image Trump tweeted came from one of America’s most advanced spy satellites. Almost everything about the satellite remains highly classified.
  26. On Sunday, Trump quoted an appearance by Jason Chaffetz on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting of Comey, thank goodness for Trump, “BECAUSE IF HE WASN’T ELECTED, THESE PEOPLE WOULD STILL BE IN POWER.”
  27. Trump also tweeted of Comey, “But where is the Supreme Court. Where is Justice Roberts? If you lie to a court, you should be held in contempt. So, if you abused the FISA, you must be held accountable.”
  28. Trump also quoted a WSJ writer, tweeting: “The vindication belongs to the President for firing James Comey. It was clearly the right thing to do. You don’t want an FBI Director with Jim Comey’s ethics.”
  29. Trump also attacked actress Debra Messing for demanding a list of attendees at his Beverly Hills fundraiser, saying when the Apprentice “became a big hit, helping NBC’s failed lineup” she “profusely thanked me.”
  30. Trump added Messing “even calling me “Sir.” How times have changed!” Messing noted Trump was tweeting in the aftermath of a mass shooting and while Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 storm.
  31. On Sunday, Trump also tweeted of Dorian that “South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Alabama is not in the path of the storm.
  32. Later Sunday, Trump made a similar misstatement to reporters on the South Lawn, saying, “We don’t know where it’s going to hit,” mentioning Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and “Alabama to get a bit of a beat down.”
  33. Later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham tweeted a correction: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”
  34. Later, from FEMA headquarters, Trump told reporters Category 5 storms are unprecedented, saying, “I’m not sure that I’ve ever even heard of a Category 5.” There have been four such hurricanes since he took office.
  35. On Wednesday, in a video released by the White House, Trump held up a National Hurricane Center “cone of uncertainty” forecast, which was doctored with a black sharpie to show a path that included Alabama.
  36. When asked about the altered hurricane forecast, Trump told reporters his briefing included a “95 percent chance probability” that Alabama would be hit, and when asked if the map had been altered said, “I don’t know.”
  37. Later Wednesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley confirmed the drawing was made using a black Sharpie, while criticizing the media for focusing on it: “Watching the media go ballistic.”
  38. Later Wednesday, Trump defended his use of an altered map, tweeting an earlier version of raw computer data from a week ago of the “originally projected path,” and adding, “I accept the Fake News apologies!”
  39. The WAPO’s Capital Weather Gang noted falsifying a weather report is a violation of 18 U.S. Code 2074, and the code says those who do “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.”
  40. On Thursday, the White House issued a lengthy statement from Trump’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser defending Trump and his use of a days-old map.
  41. The statement said Trump’s comments on Sunday to the press “were based on that morning’s Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama.”
  42. On Thursday, WAPO reported it was Trump who used a black Sharpie to add to the official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map on Wednesday, according to an anonymous White House official.
  43. On Thursday, Trump also sent a series of tweets, saying, “Just as I said, Alabama was originally projected to be hit,” along with a week-old map that showed a low probability of winds in a small corner of Alabama.
  44. Trump also tweeted, “The Fake News denies it!” He also tweeted, “What I said was accurate! All Fake News in order to demean!” adding: “I accept the Fake News apologies!”
  45. Trump also later tweeted, “I was with you all the way Alabama. The Fake News Media was not!” along with a tweet sent by the Alabama National Guard last week.
  46. On Thursday, CNN reported, according to an email from Fox News correspondent John Roberts, Trump called him into the Oval Office to insist that it is “unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm.”
  47. A White House aide said Trump also complained about Fox News host Shepard Smith’s reporting on the hurricane and Alabama, and told Roberts to “to hit back at Shepard Smith” for his coverage.
  48. On Friday, for the 6th day, Trump continued to defend his Alabama hurricane claim in a series of tweets, blaming “the Fake News Media” for being “fixated” on what he “properly said.”
  49. Trump also tweeted, “They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps,” adding, “This nonsense has never happened to another President.”
  50. Trump also tweeted, “four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology,” adding, “the LameStream Media and their Democrat partner should start playing it straight,” saying it would be better for our country.
  51. Later Friday, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration came to Trump’s defense, tweeting a statement denouncing its Birmingham branch which tweeted there was no storm threat to the state posed by Dorian.
  52. In providing Trump cover, the NOAA’s unsigned statement said Birmingham’s tweet gave “absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities” and differ from what was communicated to Trump.
  53. On Friday, Trump’s re-election campaign started selling Sharpie-gate markers. Campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted this marker “has the special ability to drive @CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy!”
  54. On Saturday, WAPO reported the NOAA’s backing of Trump over its own scientists led to an uproar in the broader weather community. Forecasters inside and outside the government spoke out against the action.
  55. Reaction called the NOAA statement “disgusting,” “disingenuous” deplorable,” and raised concern that there will be damage to the public trust in meteorologists.
  56. On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence, visiting Poland in Trump’s place, criticized Russia, citing “its efforts to meddle in elections across Europe and around the world,” saying now is the time to “remain vigilant.”
  57. Breaking from Trump’s conciliatory tone at the G7 summit, Pence also noted “Russian forces still illegally occupy large parts of Georgia and Ukraine,” and said Russia is trying to divide the U.S. alliance with Poland.
  58. On Tuesday, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, told reporters Trump made a “suggestion” that Pence — along with his wife, sister, and mother who are traveling with him — stay at his resort in Doonbeg after his trip to Poland.
  59. Pence and his family stayed at Doonbeg, rather than Dublin where he is scheduled for a full day of meetings and events with Irish officials. Pence flew an hour between Doonbeg and Dublin each way.
  60. Later Tuesday, Pence’s office released a statement blaming “misreporting,” and saying it was not Trump’s idea for Pence to stay at Doonbeg, rather it “was solely a decision by the Office of the Vice President.”
  61. On Wednesday, Trump told reporters “I heard he was going there, but it wasn’t my idea for Mike to go there,” adding, “Mike went there because his family’s there. That’s my understanding of it.”
  62. On Friday, NYT reported that House Democrats, furious over Trump’s promoting of his brand while in office, said they would investigate Pence’s stay at Doonbeg and Trump promoting Trump Doral at the G7 summit.
  63. House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler acting in tandem sent letters to the White House, the Secret Service, and the Trump Organization.
  64. In both cases, Democrats say Trump stands to financially benefit from U.S. taxpayers’ dollars and foreign funds — citing a possible violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
  65. In a statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Trump is violating the Constitution by making money off his lavish, ritzy resort properties…prioritizing his profits over the interests of the American people.”
  66. Later Friday, Politico reported an Air National Guard crew making a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies in the spring, stopped off at Trump’s Turnberry resort, which was not routine.
  67. The House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew made the unusual stop on the way to Kuwait and on the way back since April, but they have not received a single document from the Pentagon.
  68. The inquiry of part of a broader probe of military expenditures at Turnberry, also included cut rate rooms and free rounds of golf. Turnberry lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue increased by $3 million in 2018.
  69. On previous trips, the crew used a U.S. air base in Germany or Naval Station Rota in Spain to refuel. Instead, the military spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport in Glasgow, the nearest airport to Turnberry.
  70. In addition to Prestwick being out of the way and more expensive, the airport also has long been debt-ridden, since the Scottish government bought it for £1 2013. The airport is integral to the success of Turnberry.
  71. In June, the Scottish government put publicly-owned Prestwick up for sale. A former official told Politico choosing to refuel at Prestwick and staying private property would be unusual for such a mission.
  72. The Scotman reported Trump had in the past collaborated in a “working party” formed by Glasgow Prestwick Airport to help “pitch” the money-losing airport to prospective new airlines.
  73. On Tuesday, in a radio interview, Senate Majority Leader McConnell denounced political opponents who refer to him as “Moscow Mitch,” calling the nickname “over-the-top” and “modern-day McCarthyism.”
  74. On Tuesday, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told CNBC, “Liberal democracy across this globe is under attack,” adding, “I think it (Hong Kong) clearly is our business. It’s the worlds business.”
  75. On Tuesday, during a speech by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Conservative MP Phillip Lee crossed the House of Commons to be seated with the Liberal Democrats, putting Johnson’s party in the minority.
  76. On Tuesday, Johnson lost a key vote in the House of Commons 328–301, with 21 members of his Conservative Party rebelling and supporting the motion to block the U.K. from leaving the European Union without a deal.
  77. On Wednesday, the Guardian reported that within the past 48 hours, over 110,000 in the U.K. applied to vote, with young people, who tend to be more liberal-leaning, making up the bulk of the surge.
  78. On Thursday, Boris’s brother Jo Johnson resigned from Parliament, saying in recent weeks he has been “torn between family loyalty and the national interest,” and calling it on Twitter, “an unresolvable tension.”
  79. On Wednesday, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said the government would withdraw the contentious extradition bill that ignited months of protests.
  80. On Thursday, Pence was met with rainbow Pride flags as he arrived in Höfði House in Reykjavík, to meet with Iceland’s president, Guðni Jóhannesson. President Jóhannesson also wore a rainbow bracelet
  81. On Thursday, as Italy swore in its new government after an early election, far-right leader Matteo Salvini, who also had ties to Moscow, was ejected as two other parties formed an unlikely alliance.
  82. On Thursday, an op-ed at Politico Europe asked, “Has Europe Reached Peak Populism?” citing events in Italy, Britain, France, Spain, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic which suggest the tide is turning.
  83. On Friday, Britain’s House of Lords approved a bill blocking Johnson’s plan to leave the European Union without a deal in place, forcing Johnson to ask the EU to extend the Brexit deadline to January.
  84. On Saturday, the U.K.’s former director of public prosecutions said in an interview that Johnson could be jailed if he refuses to ask Brussels for a Brexit extension.
  85. On Saturday, AP reported a series of rallies in Moscow over excluding candidates from the September local election are the biggest protests against President Vladimir Putin in his seven years as leader.
  86. The protests are also causing divisions among Putin’s top lieutenants. Police have violently cracked down on some of the rallies that were not sanctioned. Putin backed the crackdown.
  87. On Saturday, far-right political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos led a “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston, while protestors held “2020 Trump” and “Build The Wall” signs. Counter-protestors vastly outnumbered marchers. 36 were arrested.
  88. On Saturday, WAPO reported Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch III described Trump’s 2017 visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, saying Trump did not “want to see anything difficult.”
  89. Also during the visit on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2017, Bunch describes in his memoir when he explained the Dutch role in the global slave trade, Trump said, “You know, they love me in the Netherlands.”
  90. On Saturday, the East Bay Times reported Isabel Bueso, 24, who graduated from California State University East Bay with honors, faces deportation to Guatemala despite needing treatments for a rare disease.
  91. Bueso’s doctor said in a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that she receives a daily enzyme treatment unavailable in Guatemala, and if deported she would have “severe symptoms” that would “lead to death.”
  92. On Saturday, NYT reported the body of Jimmy Aldaoud, 41, was returned to the U.S. He died over lack of insulin, after being deported to Iraq by the Trump regime after living in Detroit since he was 6 months old.
  93. On Monday, following backlash over the decision to immediately deport immigrants who face life-threatening illnesses, the Trump regime announced it would reconsider eliminating the “deferred action” program.
  94. USCIS eliminated the program on August 7, without public notice. The Department of Homeland Security told immigrants with life-threatening illnesses they must leave the country within 33 days, or face deportation.
  95. USCIS told the Times the agency is taking “immediate corrective action to reopen previously pending cases for consideration,” adding whether a “very limited version of deferred action will continue” is under review.
  96. On Monday, Ismail Ajjawi, who in Week 146 was denied U.S. entry, arrived at Harvard after staff from both the school and AMIDEAST, a scholarship organization sponsoring Ajjawi’s education, worked with federal officials.
  97. On Tuesday, Bloomberg Law reported Trump’s appointee to the Department of Labor, Leif Olson, resigned after a Facebook post he wrote in 2016 surfaced, suggesting the Jewish-controlled media “protects their own.”
  98. On Wednesday, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general, migrant children separated under Trump’s “zero tolerance policy” showed more fear, feelings of abandonment, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
  99. The report found while some were angry and confused, or cried inconsolably, “Other children expressed feelings of fear or guilt and became concerned for their parents’ welfare.”
  100. The children have suffered from night terrors, separation anxiety, and trouble concentrating. A child psychiatrist foresaw “an epidemic of physical, psychosomatic health problems,” and called it “a vast, cruel experiment.”
  101. A second IG report found thousands of childcare workers were given access to children before completing background and fingerprint checks. The report also found mental health professionals were overwhelmed.
  102. On Wednesday, 400 priests, nuns, and lay Catholics protested outside an an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in New Jersey, calling for the end of the Trump regime’s detaining migrant children and families.
  103. On Thursday, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 86, and his wife Rabbi Phyllis Berman were among those arrested for blocking an ICE office in Philadelphia over the Trump regime’s treatment of migrant children.
  104. On Friday, NYT reported the Trump regime is considering drastic cuts or completely gutting admitting refugees who are fleeing war, persecution, and famine from coming to the U.S. under a decades old program.
  105. With influence from Stephen Miller, the Trump regime has cut the cap on refugees admission. When Obama left office the cap was 110,000, in Trump’s first year it was down to 45,000, and then to 30,000 last year.
  106. The regime is proposing to further cut entries again, down to a discussed range of 10,000 to 15,000. Another option being considered is to make the number zero, with flexibility for Trump to admit some in an emergency.
  107. The president of Refugees International said, “At a time when the number of refugees is at the highest level in recorded history, the United States has abandoned world leadership.” The regime is meeting to decide Tuesday.
  108. On Saturday, HuffPost reported the Trump regime has not funded legal aid for migrant children, some under the age of 5, at three detention facilities, in violation of federal law.
  109. The regime claims it is funding legal aid, but multiple legal aid attorneys said this is not true, causing children to go through complex legal proceedings alone and at a greater risk of being deported.
  110. If a migrant children misses their initial court hearing, they are given a deportation order. A representative of RAICES said the regime “is attempting to systematically dismantle every framework of support.”
  111. On Friday, Jamie Riley, dean of students at the University of Alabama, who is black, resigned after Breitbart published three tweets from 2016 and 2017, saying police are racist and the flag represents a “history of racism.”
  112. On Monday, despite Trump cancelling his trip to Denmark in Week 145, several Danish groups protested Trump’s “sabotage of the global fight against climate change and his racist and discriminatory policies.”
  113. On Monday, WAPO reported the House Judiciary Committee plans to launch an inquiry into Trump’s role in the alleged scheme to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal ahead of the 2016 election.
  114. The committee will hold hearings in the fall. Although federal prosecutors did not indict Trump, House Democrats believe there is enough evidence to name Trump as a co-conspirator on campaign finance charges.
  115. When the House returns to session next week, the committee plans to focus on five possible counts of obstruction of justice. Hush money payments would be the sixth possible impeachment charge.
  116. On Tuesday, Stormy Daniels signaled she is ready to testify, tweeting, “I have no fear of being under oath because I have been and will be honest.” A committee aide said the panel is not planning to bring Daniels in.
  117. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Trump regime must immediately restore the press credentials for Brian Karem, a Playboy columnist and CNN political analyst.
  118. U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras wrote in his opinion, “Karem has shown that even the temporary suspension of his pass inflicts irreparable harm on his First Amendment rights.”
  119. On Tuesday, Trump pressed China to make a deal soon in a series of tweets, saying, “they would love to be dealing with a new administration,” adding, but if he wins, “Deal would get MUCH TOUGHER!”
  120. Stocks fell sharply on Trump’s tweets which were sent before the stock market opened, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 250 points, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 was down 0.7%.
  121. Shortly after, Trump defended his trade war with China, tweeting, “For all of the “geniuses” out there,” saying we have been “taken to the cleaners” by China,” adding, “the EU & all treat us VERY unfairly.”
  122. On Wednesday, a Hill-HarrisX poll found Trump’s approval with Midwest voters dipped amid his escalating trade war with China: dropping 5 points to 39% in late August, down from 44% the week prior.
  123. On Friday, Trump again attacked the Federal Reserve, tweeting: “China just enacted a major stimulus plan…In the meantime, our Federal Reserve sits back and does NOTHING!”
  124. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump appointee Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved freeing up $3.6 billion from the Pentagon budget for Trump’s border wall by defunding 127 military construction projects.
  125. The monies will come from projects approved by Congress, using an obscure statute in the federal code, which allows Trump in his role as overseeing the military to tap funds for other purposes.
  126. The regime said the 127 projects — half within the U.S. and its territories and half foreign — will be “deferred” until Congress can pass additional funding to “backfill” and fund them again.
  127. On Friday, NYT reported one of the programs impacted was a middle school set to be constructed at Fort Campbell Army base on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, where units are deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.
  128. Leader McConnell’s office told the Times he is “committed to protecting funding” for the middle school project.” A January op-ed in the Louisville Courier-Journal had praised McConnell for his part in securing funding.
  129. On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Flores announced he will not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the 5th Republican in Texas, and the 15th Republican overall, saying he will retire to spend more time with his family.
  130. Later Wednesday, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a mainstay in the GOP who began his public service in 1968, announced he would retire and not seek re-election in 2020.
  131. On Wednesday, the Trump regime rolled back requirements for energy saving light bulbs, by preventing new efficiency standards from going into effect on January 1 under a law passed by Congress in 2007.
  132. The move could contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The move to more efficient light bulbs started under the George W. Bush administration and had bipartisan support.
  133. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Joe Balash, a Trump appointee in the Interior Department as assistant secretary for land and minerals, resigned to join a foreign oil company that is expanding operations in Alaska.
  134. Balash is the third senior Interior Department Trump appointee to head to an industry it regulates: Scott Pruitt went to work for coal magnate Joseph W. Craft III, and energy counselor Vincent DeVito went to Cox Oil Offshore.
  135. On Friday, the Trump regime opened a new front in its legal battle with California, as Trump’s DOJ opened an antitrust probe into four automakers that are cooperating with the state’s clean air goals.
  136. The regime also notified the state that its attempts to circumvent the regime’s rollback of Obama-era pollution standards for automakers is illegal, as it sought to strip away the state’s authority to regulate itself.
  137. On Friday, former California governor Jerry Brown tweeted, “This smacks of Stalinism and bureaucratic thuggery at its worst,” adding, “Congress, stop this perversion of America’s legal system.”
  138. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board said the Department of Justice under Trump “has been reduced to an arm of the White House,” citing the DOJ opening an investigation into the four auto companies.
  139. The editorial board wrote that the DOJ “is supposed to prevent companies from acting in their own interest at the expense of the public,” adding, “the four automakers, by contrast, are acting in the public interest.’
  140. The editorial board called the investigation Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, and Honda, “an act of bullying, plain and simple: a nakedly political abuse of authority,” and “an embarrassment.”
  141. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the DHS for documents connected to Trump’s reported offer to pardon officials who broke the law to carry out building his wall.
  142. Trump continues to deny reporting on making an offer to pardon. His allies claim comments made behind closed-doors were make in jest. Democrats want to see records as they weigh the possibility of impeachment.
  143. On Wednesday, Politico reported Andrew Miller, the longtime associate of Roger Stone who battled testifying in the Mueller probe, was subpoenaed and will testify about his former boss in November.
  144. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported Trump’s summer schedule is extremely light. This week, other than his daily intelligence briefing and meetings with cabinet members, Trump has just one event on his schedule.
  145. Instead, Trump was consumed with sending a myriad of tweets and golfing. As Dorian approached, Trump golfed Saturday and Monday and sent more than 100 tweets as the storm ravaged the Bahamas.
  146. Former White House officials said Trump’s unscheduled days are highly unusual, and lend to the aimlessness of this regime. A former Trump Org executive noted Trump is working less now than when he took office.
  147. On Thursday, Trump again attacked Messing, tweeting “Bad “actress” Debra The Mess Messing is in hot water. She wants to create a “Blacklist” of Trump supporters,” adding she is “being accused of McCarthyism.”
  148. Trump also tweeted Messing is “also being accused of being a Racist,” adding, “If Roseanne Barr said what she did, even being on a much higher rated show, she would have been thrown off television.”
  149. Trump also tweeted, “Will Fake News NBC allow a McCarthy style Racist to continue?” adding “ABC fired Roseanne. Watch the double standard!” The Saturday tweet by Messing that Trump referred to was already deleted.
  150. Later Messing tweeted a New Yorker article highlighting Trump’s various Twitter targets over the past month, and adding “I truly hope his family gets him the help he needs. Sad.”
  151. On Thursday, NPR reported a new report by the Government Accountability Office found 99% of applications for the new Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program were rejected.
  152. The report covered the program’s first year from May 2018 to May 2019, and found the Department of Education approved 661 of roughly 54,000 requests, spending $27 million of the $700 million set aside by Congress.
  153. On Thursday, the White House announced that Avi Berkowitz, a 30 year-old administrative assistant to Jared Kushner, will become U.S.-Middle East peace envoy. The role was previously filled by Trump’s real estate lawyer.
  154. Berkowitz, who joined the regime to work for Kushner in 2016, has no foreign policy experience. In a 2017 profile of Berkowitz, Hope Hicks said his main duties were “getting coffee and coordinating meetings.”
  155. On Thursday, the WAPO Editorial Board said in an op-ed it had been “reliably told” that Trump is withholding $250 million in military aid to Ukraine in “an attempt to extort” help in the 2020 election.
  156. The editorial board writes Trump is “attempting to force” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to “intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation” of 2020 candidate Joe Biden.
  157. Trump claimed he held up the aid to Ukraine in order for it to be reviewed; however CNN reported the Pentagon has already completed its study of military aid, and recommended that the hold be lifted.
  158. On Friday, Reuters reported the House Financial Services Committee investigators have identified possibly failures in Deutsche Bank’s money laundering controls in its dealings with Russian oligarchs.
  159. The congressional inquiry found evidence of bank staffers in the U.S. and elsewhere flagging new Russian clients and transactions involving existing ones, and those concerns being ignored by managers.
  160. Congressional investigators are also examining whether Deutsche Bank facilitated funneling illegal funds into the U.S. in its role as a correspondent bank processing transactions for others.
  161. On Friday, Politico reported four states — South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas — are expected to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses. Trump’s challengers cried foul.
  162. Former congressman Joe Walsh said, “We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.” Republican National Committee officials said they played no role in the states’ decisions.
  163. The move demonstrated Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party apparatus, and revealed his allies efforts to silence any potential nuisance or public embarrassment on the way to his renomination.
  164. On Friday, Politico reported the House Judiciary Committee will vote shortly after returning next week to explicitly define the parameters of what Chair Nadler calls an ongoing “impeachment investigation.”
  165. Democrats hope that explicitly defining the investigation in a resolution will strengthen their hand to call witnesses to testify. Advocates for a formal impeachment inquiry have clamored for a clearer definition.
  166. On Friday, Business Insider reported Trump aides and confidants are increasingly concerned about his mental state, following erratic behavior, outbursts, and his fixations.
  167. One source said, “His mood changes from one minute to the next based on some headline or tweet,” making it impossible to keep a schedule, while another noted, “No one knows what to expect from him anymore.”
  168. Aides were also concerned about his fixation on Dorian and Alabama, saying his frustration has been compounded by the stress of the 2020 election and the weakening economy.
  169. As of Friday, Trump had sent 15 tweets along with five maps in attempt to prove his original false tweet was correct. Trump also attacked several other targets including actress Messing and other familiar targets.
  170. On Friday, Anthony Scaramucci told the Toronto Global Forum, “I think the president is in severe mental decline,” adding he is not saying it as an adversary, “I’m saying that objectively just looking at what’s going on.”
  171. On Friday, in an evening court filing, Trump’s attorneys asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the House Ways and Means Committee to force him to turn over his federal tax returns.
  172. Trump’s lawyers claimed the House cannot use the courts to enforce its subpoenas, saying the court does not have jurisdiction over the matter, citing “the separation-of-powers principles that inform them.”
  173. Trump’s lawyers claimed only the executive branch can decide whether to go to court to enforce Congressional subpoenas, and Chair Richard Neal’s lawsuit was not properly authorized since the entire House did not vote on it.
  174. On Friday, the IRS proposed scrapping a donor-disclosure requirement for some 501(c) nonprofits, after a federal court found in July that the agency’s rule of not disclosing names violated the law.
  175. The change would also include donors to politically active “dark money” groups” like the National Rifle Association which made uncharacteristically large contributions to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
  176. On Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and deputy secretary Gidley responded to WAPO’s “lost summer” op-ed with an op-ed in the Washington Examiner titled “The Washington Post’s lost summer,” claiming “media bias.”
  177. The op-ed claimed Post reporters “pushed their own personal political narrative” on Trump, and falsely claimed that WAPO did not report on certain stories that it actually did cover.
  178. On Saturday, Trump tweeted about “The Washington Post’s @PhilipRucker (Mr. Off the Record) & @AshleyRParker,” calling them “two nasty lightweight reporters.”
  179. Trump also tweeted the two WAPO reporters “shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House,” citing “their reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE.”

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Copyright Amy Siskind, September 7, 2019

Trump references a map while talking to reporters following a briefing from officials about Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office at the White House September 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump was briefed by (L-R) U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz, Deputy Assistant to the President and Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Peter Brown and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.