W

September 28, 2019

Week 150

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

This week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump. I’ve always had the sense that when we were finally on the road to the end of the Trump regime, the weekly list would ramp up big time. Week 150 has 225 not normal items, 10% more than any other week — a sign of the bedlam we will face as the truth slowly drips out, and Trump uses every means possible to distract from it and remain in power.

The impeachment inquiry, although narrow in scope, has already turned over and intertwined troubling items from earlier weekly lists, which like so many in the chaos, were normalized and forgotten. Although the impeachment inquiry is focused on Trump’s conversations and actions towards Ukraine, we already have reporting of similar cover-ups of communications with leaders from Russia and Saudi Arabia. As the inquiry expands it is also ensnaring others, including Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, whose repeated efforts to cover up for Trump are gradually being assembled into a mosaic of behavior unbefitting his office.

It is remarkable that it took 150 weeks for a courageous whistleblower to bring Trump’s actions into the light of day, after all the highly decorated and reputable officials who worked for the regime at one time or another allowed Trump to operate our government in the fashion of a mob boss, and left in silence without speaking out or exposing corruption and criminal activity for the good of the country.

  1. On Sunday, WAPO reported so far 18 House Republican have announced plans to resign, retire, or run for another office in 2020, imperiling the GOP’s chances of taking back the House in 2020.
  2. Since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, nearly 40% of the 241 Republicans who were in office then are gone or are leaving due to election loss, retirement, or quitting in disgust.
  3. On Monday, a report by the Brookings Institute on turnover of White House “A-Team” jobs found 78% of those senior positions have turned, and 31% having turned more than once.
  4. The author of the study, Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, told NBC News, “It’s historic, it’s unprecedented, it’s off the charts,” adding in 32 months Trump surpassed “all of his predecessors who served four-year terms.”
  5. On Monday, in an op-ed on the growing threat to journalism, NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger said Trump was ready to allow an NYT journalist to be arrested in Egypt. The reporter’s native Ireland got him out.
  6. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which took place the day after Robert Mueller’s public testimony, revealed a leader convinced of his invincibility.
  7. Trump criticized Democrats for what he called “the Ukraine Witch Hunt.” Some Democrats expressed concern that House Democrats’ unwillingness to impeach Trump has only encouraged his lawlessness.
  8. On Sunday, Trump told reporters he discussed Biden on the call, saying it was “largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”
  9. Trump also told reporters the call was “absolutely perfect,” adding, “It was a beautiful, warm, nice conversation,” but added the Bidens “were involved in a lot of different things that took place in our country.”
  10. On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney was the lone Republican to speak out, tweeting if Trump “asked or pressured” Ukraine to investigate “his political rival” directly or indirectly “it would be troubling in the extreme.”
  11. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “This Week” that Trump 2020 rival Joe Biden should be investigated if he improperly intervened to protect his son from an investigation in Ukraine.
  12. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “Meet the Press” that “there was no connection” between military aid to Ukraine and and Trump’s interest in investigating the Bidens.
  13. When asked why Congress should not see the whistleblower complaint, Mnuchin said “I think that would be a terrible precedent,” and added, “I think things are being implied that just don’t exist.”
  14. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani made an unscheduled 11-minute rambling appearance on “Fox New Sunday,” calling out various Ukrainian officials and George Soros for being involved in a vast criminal conspiracy.
  15. Giuliani cited “Ukrainian collusion” aimed at influencing the 2016 U.S. election, saying of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with China, “When the rest of this comes out, this will be a lot bigger than Spiro Agnew.”
  16. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “State of the Union” if Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden, the only remedy may be impeachment, saying, “we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.”
  17. Schiff added Trump “sought foreign assistance and welcomed foreign assistance in the last presidential campaign as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again but now using the power of the presidency.”
  18. On Sunday, WAPO reported House Democrats are becoming frustrated with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unwillingness to move forward on impeachment, with one saying on oversight, “We’re been very weak.”
  19. Speaker Pelosi said in a “Dear Colleague” letter, sent on Sunday to Republicans and Democrats, “If the administration persists in blocking this whistle-blower…they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness.”
  20. Pelosi also signaled in her letter, “a whole new stage of investigation.” Meanwhile, NYT reported Trump told aides that the Democrats are overplaying their hand, and worked to focus public attention on Biden.
  21. Several freshmen House members conferred over the weekend, with one saying in an interview, “There are lines being crossed right now that I fear will be erased.” Influential Chair Schiff also shifted toward impeachment.
  22. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found 69% of voters say they do not like Trump personally, regardless of their feelings about his policy agenda. Just 29% say they like him personally, and 25% approve of his policy agenda.
  23. On Monday, Trump claimed the Nobel Peace Prize is rigged against him, telling reporters he “would get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t,” adding Obama “had no idea why he got it.”
  24. On Monday, Facebook removed a patriotic “I Love America” page with 1.1 million followers, after discovering it was run by Ukrainians, and had become heavily into pro-Trump and conservative content in recent weeks.
  25. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump told acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to hold back almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine days before his call with Velensky.
  26. Officials at the Office of Management and Budget, which Mulvaney heads, relayed the orders to the State Department and Pentagon during a mid-July meeting, saying Trump had “concerns” about how money was spent.
  27. For two months, regime officials told lawmakers, who had given bi-partisan support to aid for Ukraine, that delays in the aid were due to an “interagency process.” The aid was finally released on September 11.
  28. GOP senators on the appropriations committee said aid was held up while Trump assessed if Zelenksy was pro-Russian or pro-Western. The ranking Democrat threatened to freeze spending if the money was not released.
  29. On Monday, a senior official said the money was held up over concerns about “a lot of corruption in Ukraine.” Trump repeated that his call was “a perfect phone call,” and said he was considering releasing the transcript.
  30. When asked about withholding aid in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens, Trump also told reporters, “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”
  31. Trump also said, “Joe Biden and his son are corrupt,” adding, “If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair right now.”
  32. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of trying to “politicize” the whistleblower complaint. Republicans largely remained silent about the complaint, except for Lindsey Graham.
  33. On Monday, seven freshmen Democrats who are veterans of the military, defense, and intelligence in swing districts wrote in an op-ed if allegations are true, “we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.”
  34. The seven wrote, “We have devoted our lives to the service and security of our country….we have sworn oaths to defend the Constitution,” adding, we join to “uphold that oath as we enter uncharted waters.”
  35. On Monday, WAPO reported Speaker Pelosi is quietly sounding out her caucus to gauge support for impeachment. On Monday night, 146 House Democrats backed impeachment.
  36. On Monday, at the United Nations summit in New York, Trump skipped key climate crisis talks, instead reserving a conference room and chairing his own meeting on religious freedom held in the same building.
  37. On Monday, Trump mocked 16 year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who spoke at the U.N. on dangers to the environment, tweeting, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
  38. On Tuesday, Fox News apologized for what it called a “disgraceful” comment about Thunberg by guest Michael Knowles who called her a “mentally ill Swedish child.” Fox said he will not be booked again.
  39. Fox News was silent on host Laura Ingraham likening Thunberg to a murderous cult of children from Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn,” saying, “I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, ‘Children of the Climate.’”
  40. On Thursday, the Trump regime slashed the refugee cap to 18,000 for the coming year, down from 30,000 last year, 45,000 in Trump’s first year, and from 110,000 when Obama left office.
  41. Most of the 18,000 slots are reserved: the regime will reserve 4,000 for Iraqis in the U.S. military, 5,000 for those persecuted for religion, 1,500 for Central Americans, and 7,500 for family reunification.
  42. With the revised cap, the regime essentially eliminated all spots for people fleeing persecution or war. When Trump took office, the U.S. was the world’s leading destination for refugees.
  43. On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League said in a new report it was classifying the ‘OK’ hand gesture as a hate symbol, along with several others, to its database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.
  44. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s efforts to detain migrant families indefinitely, preserving the the landmark 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement.
  45. Judge Dolly Gee wrote the Trump regime’s efforts failed “to implement and are inconsistent with” the Flores Agreement, adding, “The blessing or the curse […] of a binding contract is its certitude.”
  46. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s efforts to expand a program known as “expedited removal,” which fast-tracked deportations by sending recent border-crossers within 100 miles back to Mexico.
  47. The judge said the regime’s decision-making process appeared to violate federal law and appeared arbitrary. She also faulted the regime for not carrying out the notice-and-comment practice required to change federal law.
  48. On Friday, the American Medical Association, citing a wave of killings of at least 18 transgender people across the country, most of them transgender women of color, declared the killings an “epidemic.”
  49. On Tuesday, the U.K. Supreme Court’s 11 justices unanimously ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspending Parliament for five weeks ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline was illegal.
  50. The court ruled the suspension “void and of no effect,” and Parliament reconvened Wednesday. Amid calls for him to resign, Johnson, who was at the U.N. General Assembly said he “disagreed profoundly” with the ruling.
  51. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters before delivering his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Trump changed the story on why he halted aid to Ukraine, saying it was not about corruption but aid from European countries.
  52. Trump said, “I’ll continue to withhold [aid] until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine,” falsely claiming, “Because they’re not doing it; it’s the United States. We’re putting up the bulk of the money.”
  53. Trump said he authorized the release of the call transcript, saying, “You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” adding, “NO quid pro quo!” and saying he is the target of the “most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”
  54. Trump later said Pompeo had received permission from Ukraine for the release, tweeting, “they don’t know either what the big deal is.” One person familiar said of the release, “It’s an incredible miscalculation.”
  55. On Tuesday, Trump delivered his third U.N. General Assembly speech. Uncharacteristically, a subdued Trump read from the teleprompter with little inflection in his voice. World leaders remained quiet as he spoke.
  56. Trump delivered a 30-minute nationalist speech, saying the future belongs to “patriots” not “globalists,” citing illegal immigration and socialism, and criticizing other countries that he believed are treating the U.S. unfairly.
  57. In a 24-hour period, 57 House Democrats, including moderate Democrats who won in Trump districts, switched their position to supporting a formal impeachment proceeding, bringing the total to 197.
  58. Rep. John Lewis announced support, saying, “There comes a time when you have to be moved by the spirit of history to take action,” adding, “To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”
  59. Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat joined the call for impeachment. Sens. Patty Murray and Debbie Stabenow, the No. 3 and No. 4 Democrats, have already come out for impeachment. Ten other senators joined as well.
  60. An NBC News analyst said Trump called Pelosi Tuesday morning, and asked, “Can we work something out” on the whistleblower complaint. She responded, “Tell your people to obey the law” and she was moving ahead.
  61. Pelosi told Trump, “You have come into my wheelhouse,” due to her 25 years in House Intelligence, including as chair. Pelosi and her leadership team considered forming a select committee to conduct the inquiry.
  62. On Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST, Speaker Pelosi took the extraordinary step of announcing a formal impeachment inquiry, speaking for five-minutes in front of American flags, saying that Trump had violated the Constitution.
  63. Pelosi said, “The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
  64. Pelosi said for the past several months House committees have gathered “all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article 1 powers” including “the utmost gravity of articles of impeachment.”
  65. Moments later, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “Such an important day at the United Nations,” adding, “the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.”
  66. Trump also tweeted: “Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?” adding, “They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!” and “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  67. Shortly after, Trump told reporters impeachment is a “continuation of the witch hunt” and will be “a positive for me in the election,” adding, “By the way, she hasn’t even seen the phone call. The phone call was perfect.”
  68. Trump , who was unusually subdued, alleged, without evidence that Biden and his son profited from dealings in Ukraine. He also insulted journalists, and accused WAPO of publishing a “fake article.”
  69. During his press conference, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut away to tell her viewers, “We hate to do this…But the president isn’t telling the truth.” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell said, “We don’t know what he’s talking about.”
  70. Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising text after the announcement, raising $1 million in 3 hours, and according to campaign manager Brad Parscale’s tweet, bringing in $5 million in the 24 hours post announcement.
  71. Later Pelosi told reporters, Trump admitted he spoke to Zelensky “about something that would assist him in his election,” adding, “so, that has changed everything,” and “It’s really a sad day for our country.”
  72. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump has approved and the White House is preparing to release the whistleblower complaint to Congress by the end of the week, reversing its position to withhold the document.
  73. On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding measure urging Trump to release the whistleblower complaint. The measure was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s moves with Ukraine began shortly after Zelensky was sworn in in April, and Giuliani saw him as a political neophyte and possible ally to go after Trump’s political opponents.
  75. After the Mueller probe ended, Giuliani focused on Ukraine, and pushed for personnel changes at the U.S. embassy, while deploying his own emissaries and seeking meetings with officials working for Zelensky.
  76. Giuliani targeted the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a career official, falsely claiming she had a secret role in exposing Paul Manafort and was part of a conspiracy by George Soros. She was fired.
  77. WAPO also reported National Security Council officials feared, based on meetings before the July 25 phone call, that Trump was prepared to use U.S. leverage with Ukraine’s new leader for his own political gain.
  78. Officials described an atmosphere of intense pressure inside the NSC since the existence of the complaint became known. Trump tweeted of the whistleblower, “Is he on our Country’s side. Where does he come from.”
  79. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 37% of voters said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 57% said he should not. The poll was conducted last Thursday through Monday.
  80. On Wednesday, the White House released a rough, five-page transcript of the call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, describing it as a memorandum of a telephone conversation that is not a verbatim account.
  81. The White House said the transcript reflects the notes and memories of those in the Situation Room during the call, and that a number of factors “can affect the accuracy of the record.”
  82. The call begins with Trump congratulating Zelensky, but quickly Trump pressed him to investigate his political rivals, including Biden and a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s email server is in the Ukraine.
  83. When Zelensky mentions buying more U.S. missiles, Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” adding, “The server, they say Ukraine has it.”
  84. Trump repeatedly said Zelensky should work with AG Barr or Giuliani to investigate Biden. Trump said, “I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”
  85. Trump also told Zelensky, “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution” of his son, adding, “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution…It sounds horrible to me.”
  86. Zelensky responded “my candidate” for the prosecutor job “will look into the situation,” and noted he stayed at the Trump Tower during his last visit to New York City.
  87. In a statement, spokesperson Kerri Kupec said the DOJ’s criminal division “reviewed the official record of the call” and found “there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted.”
  88. Kupec also said Barr did not speak to Trump “about having Ukraine investigate anything related to former Vice President Biden or his son,” nor did Barr discuss “anything related to Ukraine” with Giuliani.
  89. Trump publicly acknowledged he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son. Hunter Biden was not accused of any wrongdoing. Joe Biden and other Western officials did pressure Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor.
  90. Shortly after the transcript was released, Trump claimed victory, telling reporters, “It’s the single greatest witch hunt in American history. Probably in history, but in American history. It’s a disgraceful thing.”
  91. Trump also said “There was no pressure,” and “the way you had that built up, that call, it was going to be the call from hell,” adding people are instead saying, “I never knew you could be so nice.”
  92. Later in a joint appearance at the U.N., Zelensky told reporters “nobody pushed me,” and Trump added, “In other words, no pressure.” Trump also said Pelosi “lost her way” and had “been taken over by the radical left.”
  93. Trump also tweeted, “Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call — got them by surprise!”
  94. Trump quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, tweeting, “Democrats have been talking” about impeachment since “before he was inaugurated,” and host Brett Baier, “You don’t see a direct quid pro quo in this.”
  95. On Wednesday, WAPO reported several Senate Republicans were stunned by the transcript, and questioned the White House’s judgment in releasing it, with one anonymously calling it a “huge mistake.”
  96. Sen. Romney said “It remains troubling in the extreme,” while aides for others fretted having to defend Trump. Loyalist Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, “What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger.”
  97. On Wednesday, Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, Graham’s best friend, said the GOP is “excluding people for the wrong reasons” and is no longer “the party that my husband and I belonged to.”
  98. Axios reported some of Trump’s advisors thought the release was a mistake. White House counsel Pat Cipollone invited Trump’s most loyal lawmakers to come hear talking points in the morning before the release.
  99. Later Wednesday, the White House mistakenly sent Trump-Ukraine talking points to Democratic lawmakers and staffers, in an email titled, “What you need to know: President Trump’s call with President Zelenskyy.”
  100. Talking points included there was no quid pro quo, and what Trump talked about “was entirely proper,” and Trump did not mention Giuliani or Biden “until after President Zelensky had raised Giuliani first.”
  101. On Wednesday, Politico reported House Democrats discussed narrowing the impeachment focus in a morning meeting to Trump’s implicit threat to withhold military aid unless Ukraine investigated the Bidens.
  102. Democrats hoped to seize the public fervor and move to articles of impeachment by year-end or sooner. As of Wednesday morning, 208 House Democrats had come out for starting an impeachment inquiry.
  103. On Wednesday, WAPO reported acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire threatened to resign if he could not speak freely at his testimony Thursday before the House and Senate Intelligence committees about the whistleblower complaint.
  104. After the Post reporting, Maguire denied it, saying in a statement, “at no time have I considered resigning my position,” and the White House press secretary tweeted, “This is actually not true.”
  105. Later Wednesday, NBC News reported Trump allies are concerned about Giuliani’s exposure, given he has no official role. A senior official said his claim that the State Department “asked me” to look into Ukraine is false.
  106. The State Department, however, acknowledged one of its officials put Giuliani in touch with a senior aide to Zelensky, but said his claims that he worked through State to coordinate his talks is highly questionable.
  107. On Wednesday, NPR reported the Pentagon sent a letter to four congressional committees in May certifying that the government of Ukraine had taken reform steps, okaying $250 million in military aid.
  108. On Wednesday, the whistleblower complaint was delivered to Congress late in the day to a secure facility where senior intelligence lawmakers, known as the Gang of Eight, were able to view it.
  109. On Wednesday, the House voted 421-0 on a non-binding resolution calling on Trump to turn over the whistleblower complaint. The measure was amended to mirror the Senate version passed unanimously Tuesday.
  110. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to terminate Trump’s February declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. Eleven Republicans voted with Democrats.
  111. To date, the regime has reprogrammed about $6.1 billion of funds to build Trump’s wall. The Senate also voted to reject the emergency declaration in March, but the measure was vetoed by Trump.
  112. On Wednesday, at a pre-trial conference for Roger Stone, the defense revealed they may call Steve Bannon as a witness, and the judge deferred ruling on whether a clip from “The Godfather” can be used by prosecutors.
  113. On Wednesday, a federal judge issued a one-day stay of the Manhattan District Attorney’s subpoena for years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, instructing lawyers to come to agreement on how to proceed.
  114. On Thursday, the Manhattan DA office said it “reached a temporary arrangement” to pause the subpoena until October 7 or two business days after the judge rules on whether it should be permanently barred.
  115. The letter also said Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, “will resume gathering and preparing all documents responsive to the subpoena,” and will begin “a rolling production” at the expiration of the arrangement.
  116. On Thursday, the Hill reported a group of scientists whose advisory panel was disbanded by EPA director Andrew Wheeler plan to form their own group to study air pollution without the backing of the government.
  117. A former director of the Science Advisory Board said, “This is the first time in the history of EPA where the credibility of the agency’s science review process has been so compromised” that an independent group is needed.
  118. On Wednesday, NYT reported in late August two top intelligence officials asked the DOJ if the whistleblower complaint should be forwarded to Congress, and were told no, the DOJ would handle the criminal referral.
  119. After four weeks, the DOJ decided Trump had not violated campaign finance laws. After the call transcript became public, the DOJ response furthered the perception AG Barr is acting as Trump’s ally and protector.
  120. A DOJ official said Barr did not know about the call until the DNI and IG sent the complaint; however the DOJ advised DNI Maguire not to forward the complaint to Congress and ruled out criminal conduct by Trump.
  121. At the behest of Trump, Barr is also overseeing a review into what role countries, including Ukraine, played in the FBI’s decision to start a counterintelligence investigation of Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
  122. On Thursday, Trump tweeted the “markets would crash” if he was impeached. On Tuesday, ahead of Pelosi’s announcement, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq had the worst day in a month, but rebounded on Wednesday.
  123. On Thursday, a declassified copy of the whistleblower complaint was publicly released, detailing Trump using the power of his office to try to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election by investigating Biden.
  124. The complaint showed the whistleblower was not just alarmed by the call, but also a four-month pattern of behavior, and this was “not the first time” a transcript was placed in a highly classified server to protect Trump.
  125. The complaint is based on months of conversations with colleagues “in the course of official interagency business.” The whistleblower was not a direct witness to many of the events described in the complaint.
  126. The complaint stated State Department official T. Ulrich Brechbuhl was in the room for the call. After the call, two senior State Department officials had to advise Ukrainian leaders on “how to ‘navigate’” Trump’s demands.
  127. The complaint cited multiple White House officials who were “deeply disturbed” about what they heard on the call, believing that likely “they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.”
  128. The complaint states Trump “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions” to help his 2020 reelection bid, adding Giuliani was “a central figure in this effort” and Barr “appears to be involved as well.”
  129. The complaint by an intelligence official cited an attempted cover-up, saying “senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript.”
  130. The complaint stated the transcript was placed on an isolated computer system: “the President’s call with President Zelensky was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council.”
  131. The complaint added, “this set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call,” noting it is “customary” to keep transcripts of calls in the Situation Room.
  132. The complaint stated there were “approximately a dozen” White House officials listening to the call, and the whistleblower said “multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.”
  133. The complaint said Trump made clear a future meeting or call with Zelensky would depend on whether he would “play ball” on investigating Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and other matters.
  134. The complaint says Trump “instructed Vice President Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine” for Zelensky’s inauguration, saying it was “made clear” to them Trump wanted to see how Zelensky “chose to act.”
  135. The complaint cites a four-month pattern of actions and cover-up that “pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.”
  136. On Thursday, the LA Times reported speaking at private breakfast in New York where he wound up U.N. events, Trump called reporters “scum,” and raged at Democrats and the whistleblower.
  137. Trump said the whistleblower “never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call,” and, “I want to know who’s the person” and who gave them the information, adding, “Because that’s close to a spy.”
  138. Trump also said of the whistleblower, “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
  139. Trump said of Biden, “you have Sleepy Joe Biden who’s dumb as a rock…and his kid, who’s got a lot of problems, he got thrown out of the Navy…and now this kid goes into Ukraine, walks away with millions of dollars.”
  140. On Thursday, Chair Schiff called Trump’s remarks “witness intimidation,” citing Trump’s “suggestion that those involved in the whistleblower complaint should be dealt with as “we used to do” for “spies and treason.”
  141. On Thursday, Pelosi told reporters, outlining information in the complaint, “This is a cover-up.” She also said her caucus had reached a consensus that impeachment would focus on “this allegation” related to Ukraine.
  142. On Thursday, acting DNI Maguire testified publicly before the House Intelligence Committee for three hours — the first Trump regime member to speak publicly about the whistleblower complaint.
  143. Maguire defended his decision not to turn over the complaint to Congress, saying he consulted with the White House and DOJ and could not act until they resolved if it contained materials protected by executive privilege.
  144. Maguire said he consulted with the White House, then the Office of Legal Counsel. The OLC found the complaint was not of “urgent concern” under the whistleblower law, which mandates handing it over to Congress.
  145. Maguire expressed “support for the whistleblower,” who followed regular procedures for raising a concern with the inspector general, and whose identity he said he did not know.
  146. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Adam Schiff has zero credibility. Another fantasy to hurt the Republican Party!” Schiff told reporters, “I’m always flattered when I’m attacked by someone” of Trump’s character.
  147. Trump also tweeted, “Liddle’ Adam Schiff” said that “the Whistleblower, even though he or she only had second hand information, “is credible.”” calling it a “Democrat Scam!”
  148. Shortly after, the NYT reported the whistleblower is a male who works for the CIA. Lawyers for the whistleblower refused to confirm, and said publishing information about him was dangerous.
  149. The Times also drew widespread public criticism for revealing information on the whistleblower. Dean Banquet, the executive editor, said the Times was right to provide information to let readers decide if he is credible.
  150. On Thursday, CNN reported Giuliani told them he has “no knowledge of any of that crap” in the complaint. Giuliani, who was in a room at Trump Hotel DC, could be heard listening to Maguire testify in the background.
  151. Giuliani also refuted that two State Department officials had spoken to him to “contain the damage,” saying he had a “nice little trail” of text message conversations with the top U.S. diplomat, Kurt Volker, to prove his story.
  152. On Thursday, Pompeo told reporters he had not fully read the whistleblower complaint, but said, “To the best of my knowledge” the actions undertaken by State Department were “entirely appropriate.”
  153. On Thursday, NYT reported in the complaint Trump told Zelensky Marie Yovanovitch, his former ambassador to Ukraine was “bad news,” adding, “She’s going to go through some things.”
  154. Yovanovitch, a decorated 33-year veteran of the State Department, was vilified by the right-wing news and called a “joker” by Donald Jr., for allegedly being disloyal to Trump and disparaging him behind his back.
  155. A former Ukrainian prosecutor claimed Yovanovitch blocked him and his team from getting visas to come to the U.S. and deliver damaging information about Joe and Hunter Biden to the FBI.
  156. Later Thursday, appearing on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show, Giuliani read a series of personal texts from his iPad to show how involved the State Department was in his actions with Ukraine.
  157. On Thursday, WAPO’s impeachment count tracker noted 218 House lawmakers now support an impeachment inquiry of Trump — a majority of the House.
  158. On Thursday, Hillary Clinton said in an interview with CBS News that Trump “knows he’s an illegitimate president,” and that “he knows” that he stole the 2016 election through “many varying tactics.”
  159. On Thursday, Morning Consult found support for impeachment is up 13 net points since the weekend, with support for impeachment up 7 points from 36% to 43%, and opposition dropping from 49% to 43%.
  160. On Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont was the first GOP governor to back an impeachment inquiry. Later that day, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker became the second. Both have been openly critical of Trump.
  161. On Friday, Rep. Mark Amodei became the first Republican member of the House to back an impeachment inquiry, saying “I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes.”
  162. On Friday, the Connecticut Post was the first editorial board to call on Trump to step down, citing Trump’s behavior being “far outside the accepted norms of a democratic leader.”
  163. On Thursday, Vanity Fair reported on “management bedlam” at Fox News as Trump faces impeachment, even as allies put on a brave face and parrot talking points, concerns remain about the unraveling of his presidency.
  164. Reportedly, host Sean Hannity told friends the whistleblower allegations are “really bad,” and Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch is already thinking about how to position the cable network in the post-Trump era.
  165. Infighting has also broken out between the network’s news and opinion sides, with battles playing out on-air between Shepard Smith and Tucker Carlson for two days, while executives asked them to stop on day three.
  166. On Friday, Fox News host Chris Wallace clashed with fellow host Sandra Smith, saying, “The spinning that has been done by the president’s defenders over the last 24 hours since this very damaging” and “deeply misleading.”
  167. On Friday, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera told “Fox & Friends” the whistleblower is a “rotten snitch,” adding, “I’d love to wap him, but that’s another story.”
  168. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt said there is no proof that Trump did anything wrong in asking Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, falsely claiming, “we don’t have proof that the president was holding back” aid for the investigation.
  169. On Thursday, Politico reported that Chair Schiff told his committee the White House had “hijacked” the release of 53 witness interviews authorized by the committee under then Chair Devin Nunes over a year ago.
  170. The transcripts were delivered to the DNI for review, then in March when the office said it was ready to share, the White House intervened, holding them up for months to supposedly screen for executive privilege.
  171. On Thursday, Pelosi announced that the House Intelligence Committee will take the lead on the narrow impeachment inquiry. Pelosi said, “the focus now is on this allegation,” adding, “This is a coverup.”
  172. The Judiciary Committee will continue its probe of the Mueller findings and more, and the other four committees will also continue their ongoing investigations of Trump while the Ukraine investigation plays out.
  173. On Friday, Trump attacked Schiff in a series of tweets, saying, “To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing [sic] Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff.”
  174. Trump apparently was referencing a segment on CNN, but it was unclear what he meant. He also tweeted, “Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong.”
  175. Dictionary Merriam-Webster tweeted a clarification, “A hyphen is a mark-used to divide or to compound words. An apostrophe is a mark ‘ used to indicate the omission of letters or figures.”
  176. Trump also attacked Schiff for describing at the opening of the hearing him telling Zelensky “seven times” to “make up dirt on my political opponent,” tweeting Schiff, “fraudulently read to Congress.”
  177. Trump added “HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT” and “lied to Congress” and “attempted to defraud the American Public.” Trump called on Schiff “to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!
  178. Schiff responded, tweeting “You engaged in a shakedown to get election dirt from a foreign country.” Trump responded, saying Schiff should be “investigated” and called him a “sick man.”
  179. Trump allies mocked Schiff on “Fox & Friends,” with Trump attorney Jay Sekulow likening it to a “‘Saturday Night Live’ routine,” and White House spokesman Hogan Gidley calling it “some type of crazy cosplay.”
  180. On Friday, House Freedom Caucus Chairman-elect Andy Biggs introduced a resolution to censure Schiff, saying his comments were an “egregiously false and fabricated retelling” that “had no relationship to the call itself.”
  181. On Friday, on MSNBC, Speaker Pelosi accused the White House of “a cover-up of the cover-up,” and said AG Barr has “gone rogue” with his handling of the controversy.
  182. Pelosi later told CNN, “I do think the attorney general has gone rogue,” and “He has for a long time now,” adding, “it’s curious that he would be making decisions about how the complaint would be handled.”
  183. On Friday, more than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials said in a statement Trump’s action are a “profound national security concern,” and they support an inquiry to determine the facts.
  184. The statement, signed by officials who worked for administrations of both parties, said “there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.”
  185. On Friday, WSJ reported Pence advised Trump not to release the transcript of the Ukraine call, raising concern of the precedent. He later sided with Trump who felt messaging had got away and it was his only option.
  186. On Friday, CNN reported Corey Lewandowski has had conversations with White House officials in recent days about taking a position within the regime as a lead in the impeachment team.
  187. Discussions, including a Thursday afternoon meeting at the White House revealed Trump does not yet have a strategy. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied an impeachment response team is in the works.
  188. On Friday, CNN reported the White House acknowledged regime officials directed that the call transcript be filed in a highly classified system, confirming allegations in the whistleblower complaint.
  189. The phone call did not contain intelligence secrets or military plans, which would merit moving it to a highly classified system. There is also no evidence of any wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.
  190. On Friday, NPR reported according to a newly released Senate report after an 18-month investigation, the National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election.
  191. The report also described how closely involved the NRA was in organizing a 2015 visit by some of its leaders to Moscow. Sen. Ron Wyden said the Senate investigation could have legal implications for the NRA.
  192. On Friday, NYT reported Trump met with the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre at the White House to discuss prospective gun legislation, and whether the NRA could help Trump as he faces impeachment and a tough re-election.
  193. LaPierre asked Trump to “stop the games” over gun control legislation. Later that evening, the NRA issued a statement denying the Times’ reporting of a special arrangement pertaining to support.
  194. On Friday, WAPO reported the Fraternal Order of Police, an umbrella group of D.C. police unions, is holding its annual holiday gala at Trump Hotel DC, drawing criticism over costs and association with Trump.
  195. The head of three police unions said they were put off by the selection. Some are also upset over the choice given they went without pay for six weeks during the government shutdown in early 2019.
  196. On Friday, Kurt Volker, who served part-time as the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine, resigned. House leaders announced Friday they would interview Volker as part of their investigation next week.
  197. On Friday, three House Democrat committees sent subpoenas to Pompeo, the first subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry, demanding he produce documents and a slate of witnesses relating to his dealings with Ukraine.
  198. The subpoenas from Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs stated: “Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
  199. Deposition requests also went to Yovanovitch; Volker; George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state; T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a State Department counselor; and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the EU.
  200. Democrats said, despite the two week recess starting Friday, more subpoenas were forthcoming, as well as possibly the first formal impeachment hearing next week before the House Intelligence panel.
  201. On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters he hoped the U.S. would not release transcripts of the phone conversations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump.
  202. Peskov said “we would like to hope that it wouldn’t come to that in our relations, which are already troubled by a lot of problems.” He also called publication of the Trump-Zelensky call “quite unusual.”
  203. On Friday, WAPO reported at Trump’s 2017 meeting in the Oval office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, he said he was not concerned about Moscow’s 2016 election interference.
  204. Trump cited because the U.S. did the same in other countries. His remarks alarmed White House officials and prompted them to limit access to a memo summarizing the meeting to an unusually small number of people.
  205. The White House limited access to Trump’s calls with foreign leaders after remarks he made to leaders of Mexico and Australia appeared in the media. The Lavrov meeting memo was limited to an even smaller group.
  206. On Friday, CNN reported the White House also tried to restrict access to Trump’s calls with Putin and Saudi Crown Prince MBS. Reportedly aides took remarkable steps to keep the conversations from becoming public.
  207. For Trump’s calls with Crown Prince MBS, a transcript was never circulated to officials who ordinarily would have access. The call happened shortly after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  208. Access to the transcript of at least one call with Putin was also tightly restricted. It was not clear if aides also moved these calls to the highly secured electronic system cited in the whistleblower complaint.
  209. On Friday, WAPO reported Giuliani canceled a scheduled paid appearance on a panel at a Kremlin-back conference in Armenia next week that Putin and other top Russian officials are expected to attend.
  210. The conference was sponsored by Russia and Moscow-based Eurasian Economic Union, a counterweight to the European Union. Earlier Friday, Giuliani told the Post he still planned to attend, but canceled later.
  211. On Friday, WAPO reported in remarks to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Thursday, Trump said he discussed Hunter Biden’s China work with Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone CEO and his China go-between.
  212. Trump alleges, without evidence, Hunter got the Chinese to put $1.5 billion into an investment fund. Investigators may now examine if Trump sought information on the Bidens in China. Schwarzman had no comment.
  213. Later Friday, Bloomberg reported a spokesperson for Schwarzman said, “Steve never spoke to the president about Joe Biden or his family, nor has he had any conversations with the Chinese about Biden or his family.”
  214. On Friday, a Hill-HarrisX survey found support for impeachment proceedings rose by 12 points from June to 47% support, 42% oppose — the second poll in two days to find a dramatic increase in support.
  215. On Friday, Deutsche Bank told a federal appeals court that it has the tax returns of two Trump family members, but did not disclose their identity. Capital One told the court it did not have any tax returns.
  216. On Friday, the chair of the Federal Election Commission Ellen Weintraub revealed in a series of tweets that GOP FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter took the unprecedented step of blocking publication of a weekly digest.
  217. The blockade came after Weintraub included a “Draft Interpretive Rule Concerning Prohibited Activities Involving Foreign Nationals” on the FEC website. Hunter objected to it being added to the “Weekly Digest.”
  218. On Saturday, Politico reported Republican lawmakers are concerned about Giuliani’s public behavior and statements, with several saying he should stop speaking out, or go on vacation away from the public eye.
  219. Republican lawmakers are also privately expressing concern about Giuliani’s role in the Ukraine episode. Democrats are considering bringing him to testify after subpoenaing State Department documents.
  220. On Saturday, a third poll in three days showed growing support for impeachment: a NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist survey found 49% approval for impeachment, 46% disapprove — a 10 point jump.
  221. On Saturday, in a tweet, Trump explicitly singled out two Jewish members of Congress and four women of color, calling them “Do Nothing Democrat Savages.”
  222. Trump tweeted, “people like Nadler, Schiff, AOC Plus 3, and many more, had a Republican Party who would have done to Obama what the Do Nothings are doing to me,” adding, “Oh well, maybe next time!”
  223. Shortly after, Trump sent an additional three tweets, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  224. On Saturday, Trump arrived at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia for his 233rd day of golf at a Trump course, and 306th visit to a Trump property since taking office.
  225. As the week ended, 225 House members had come out for an impeachment inquiry, including 223 of the 235 House Democrats, one Independent, and one Republican.

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US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, announces a formal impeachment inquiry of US President Donald Trump on September 24, 2019, in Washington, DC. — Amid mounting allegations of abuse of power by the US president, Pelosi announced the start of the inquiry in the House of Representatives, the first step in a process that could ultimately lead to Trump’s removal from office.