W

October 05, 2019

Week 151

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

With impeachment looming, Trump started this week by attacking the credibility of House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and the whistleblower, both of whom he also endangered with his rhetoric. Midweek, Trump shifted strategy, openly soliciting foreign help from China and Ukraine in the 2020 election on national television, speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of White House. Republicans remained silent on Trump’s unprecedented request, which the head of the Federal Election Commission reminded the country, in a tweet, is illegal.

This week others in the regime became ensnared in the inquiry, as reporting revealed the involvement of not only Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, but also Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and possibly Vice President Mike Pence, among others. Three House committee chairs sent subpoenas to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the White House, and witnesses started to appear before House investigators in private hearings. Polling showed a dramatic shift in attitudes towards impeachment, with the majority of Americans now in favor.

As noted last week, I had always thought as we approached the end of Trump’s time in power, the lists would balloon: following last week’s 225 not normal items — 20 items longer than any previous list — this week we hit 240 items. In addition to the news on impeachment, this week’s list has many important stories on the continued degradation of American values and the regime’s cruelty, which got lost in the chaos of the news cycle.

  1. On Saturday, NYT reported the Trump impeachment battle will for the first time in our country’s history test the scope of what is acceptable for a president’s interactions with foreign countries.
  2. The Constitution does envision a showdown over foreign influence over a sitting U.S. president, in the emoluments clause. Trump’s entire time in office has been overshadowed by questions of foreign ties.
  3. On Saturday, WAPO reported the Trump regime is investigating email records of as many as 130 current and former senior State Department officials who sent emails to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  4. Former officials received emails saying they sent retroactively classified information that now constitute potential security violations. The investigation began 18 months ago and was dropped, then picked up again in August.
  5. Although a State Department official told the Post the investigation has nothing to do with Trump, the action appears to be part of a pattern of his using executive branch powers against perceived political adversaries.
  6. On Saturday, WAPO reported with impeachment looming, Trump has sought to portray himself as a victim, with the “deep state” out to get him — a core to his public persona and a strategy used by past authoritarians.
  7. On Saturday, Trump tweeted a video calling impeachment “the single greatest scam in the history of American politics,” adding, “It is disgraceful what the Do Nothing Democrats are doing (the Impeachment Scam).”
  8. Trump also tweeted, “How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country, entirely rebuilt our Military into the most powerful it has ever been, Cut Record Taxes.”
  9. Trump also tweeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “told the Fake News” at the United Nations, “HE WAS NOT PRESSURED BY ME IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM,” saying that should bring an end to the “Witch Hunt.”
  10. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump is frustrated with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for not having a strategy in place for after the Ukraine call transcript was released. Sources say he is on shaky ground.
  11. On Sunday, Trump attacked House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff in a series of tweets, saying he “made up what I actually said by lying,” adding, “His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen” in Congress.
  12. Trump also tweeted that Schiff “wrote down and read terrible things,” adding he wants Schiff “questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.”
  13. Trump also demanded to meet the whistleblower, tweeting, “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser,” adding he/she represented “a perfect conversation…in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way.”
  14. Trump also tweeted, “I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION,” but also “the person who illegally gave this information” which was “largely incorrect.”
  15. Trump also tweeted, “Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President?” threatening, “Big Consequences!” and added, “What is going on now is the single greatest scam in the history of American politics.”
  16. On Sunday, Trump’s first homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, told “This Week” he repeatedly told Trump there was no basis to the theory that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 election on behalf of the Democrats.
  17. Bossert said he was “deeply disturbed” about Trump’s outreach to Zelensky, and condemned Rudy Giuliani, saying he and his team are “repeating that debunked theory to the president.”
  18. Giuliani told “This Week” of Bossert, he “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” and “Everything I did was to defend my client and I am proud of having uncovered what will turn out to be a massive pay-for-play scheme.”
  19. Chair Adam Schiff told “This Week” the inquiry was “moving forward with all speed,” and his committee plans to hear from the whistleblower “very soon.”
  20. On Sunday, AP reported Attorney General William Barr was “surprised and angry” to learn that Trump had lumped him in with his personal lawyer, Giuliani, on his call with Zelensky.
  21. On Sunday, host Chris Wallace reported on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump was working with two more personal lawyer “off the books” — Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing — to pressure Ukraine.
  22. On Sunday, a CBS News poll found 55% of Americans approve of an impeachment inquiry, while 45% disapprove. Notably, 23% of Republicans approve, along with 87% of Democrats and 49% of Independents.
  23. Also, 42% believe Trump deserves to be impeached over Ukraine, 36% believe he does not deserve it, and 22% say it is too soon to say.
  24. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” reported the whistleblower’s lawyers sent a letter to the acting director of national intelligence asking for “appropriate resources” to keep their client safe.
  25. They cited Trump’s threats and “certain individuals” offering a “$50,000 bounty” for their identity. “60 Minutes” reported the whistleblower is under federal protection because they fear for their safety.
  26. Shortly after, the attorney for the whistleblower tweeted, “no agreement has been reached with Congress on contact with the whistleblower.” CBS News said it “stands by its sources and reporting on the whistle-blower.”
  27. On Sunday, support for Austria’s far-right party plunged in the election. A covert video in May showed the party’s vice-chancellor offering a lucrative contract to a woman he believed was the niece of a Russian oligarch.
  28. On Sunday, Chair Schiff told “Meet the Press” that Congress is looking to obtain records of Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid reporting that the White House has hidden his calls with foreign leaders.
  29. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Washington would need Russian consent to publish transcripts of calls between Trump and Putin.
  30. On Monday, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s Chef,” for attempting to interfere in the 2018 U.S. election.
  31. On Wednesday, when asked by reporters if Russia plans to interfere in the U.S. election in 2020, Putin quipped, “I’m going to tell you a secret. Yes, sure. We’re going to do that. Don’t tell anybody.”
  32. Putin added, “We see that (the U.S.) is trying to use any pretext to attack Trump, and now they’re even trying to use Ukraine,” adding he has a good relationship with Trump “built on trust,” and did not interfere in 2016.
  33. On Monday, Trump again attacked the whistleblower, tweeting, “The Fake Whistleblower complaint is not holding up,” adding, “The Whistleblower knew almost nothing, its 2ND HAND description of the call is a fraud!”
  34. Trump also tweeted a conspiracy theory from a right-wing website: “WHO CHANGED THE LONG STANDING WHISTLEBLOWER RULES JUST BEFORE SUBMITTAL OF THE FAKE WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT?”
  35. Trump also tweeted, “Again, the President of Ukraine said there was NO (ZERO) PRESSURE PUT ON HIM BY ME,” adding, “Case closed!”
  36. Shortly after, Trump tweeted “if the so-called “Whistleblower” has all second hand information,” and “almost everything he has said about my “perfect” call” is wrong, “why aren’t we entitled to interview” them.
  37. Trump also tweeted he wanted to interview the whistleblower and “also the person who gave all of the false information to him,” adding, “It is just another Democrat Hoax!”
  38. Later Monday, despite legal protections guaranteed to whistleblowers, Trump told reporters “We’re trying to find out” the whistleblower’s identity.
  39. Trump also, despite not knowing the identity of the whistleblower, accused them of having political “bias” and being part of a “political hack job.” The whistleblower’s attorney said Trump is putting them at risk.
  40. Later Monday, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) sent a four-page statement saying the whistleblower used firsthand information and information from other sources in the August 12 complaint.
  41. The ICIG also clarified the complaint was processed under procedures put in place in May 2018, not, as Trump and his ally Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested, just before the complaint came forward.
  42. The ICIG also wrote, “the information provided as well as other information gathered and determined that the complaint was both urgent and that it appeared credible.”
  43. On Sunday, Trump quoted Pastor Robert Jeffress’s appearance on Fox News, tweeting: “If the Democrats are successful” in impeaching him from office, “it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation.”
  44. John Coates, a Harvard Law School professor, said Trump’s “threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power” is itself a basis for impeachment.
  45. On Monday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrinch, who led the impeachment against Bill Clinton, told “Fox & Friends” of the Trump impeachment, “What you are watching is a legislative coup d’etat.”
  46. On Monday, Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro told CNBC that House Democrats have “declared war” on Trump.
  47. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People.”
  48. On Tuesday, starting with Fox News host Sean Hannity on his show at 9:30 p.m. EST, talk of a “coup” was mentioned nearly every hour on Fox News. Right-wing outlets like Breitbart and Rush Limbaugh also used “coup.”
  49. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a video made by his re-election campaign repeating the “coup” claim against a back-drop of grainy shots of House Democrats and Biden. The campaign will spend $8 million to air the ad.
  50. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump again attacked Chair Schiff, suggesting he should be arrested for treason, saying he “made up a FAKE & terrible statement” which “bore NO relationship to what I said on the call.”
  51. Later, at a swearing in ceremony for his new Labor secretary, Trump continued, saying, “Adam Schiff — representative, congressman — made up what I said. He actually took words and made it up.”
  52. Also Monday, Giuliani told Fox Business News that Schiff “stood in front of the American people with millions of people listening and he lied,” adding, “just like he lied when he said he had direct evidence of Russian collusion.”
  53. Also Monday, Eric Trump told “Fox & Friends” that Schiff “is exactly why we need term limits in this country,” adding, “He’s a total disgrace.”
  54. On Monday, Trump quoted a pollster on Fox News, tweeting the idea of impeachment started “once they saw the President’s numbers going up, they said ‘We gotta do something,’ so they made this whole thing up.”
  55. Trump also tweeted, “The Fake News Media wants to stay as far away as possible from the Ukraine and China deals made by the Bidens,” adding, “A Corrupt Media is so bad for our Country.”
  56. On Monday, CNN reported the Trump campaign ran 1,800 ads on Facebook mentioning “impeachment” in the last seven days. The ads have been viewed 16-18 million times and cost $600,000 to $2 million.
  57. On Monday, Republican chairmen of two Senate committees, Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, sent a letter to the DOJ asking Barr to investigate ties between Ukraine and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
  58. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNBC that the Senate would “have no choice” but to take up impeachment and hold a trial if the House votes to charge Trump.
  59. On Monday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pressed committee chair Lindsey Graham to call Barr and other senior officials before the committee to testify on Ukraine.
  60. On Monday, former senator Jeff Flake called on his Republican colleagues to stand up to Trump in an op-ed, saying, “Trust me when I say you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.”
  61. On Monday, Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said he would retire. Rep. Chris Collins resigned ahead of a guilty plea, making 20 Republicans to exit in 2020.
  62. On Monday, the chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs Committees subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani about his interactions with Trump regime officials in his role as an intermediary with Ukraine.
  63. The letter from the three chairs cites “credible allegations that you acted as an agent of the president in a scheme to advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the Office of the President.”
  64. Giuliani was given an October 15 deadline to turn over information. Three of Giuliani’s business associates: Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, and Semyon “Sam” Kislin were also scheduled to give depositions.
  65. On Monday, WSJ reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, tying the State Department more closely to the impeachment inquiry.
  66. On Monday, NYT reported in a recent phone call with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Trump pushed the leader to help AG Barr gather information for a DOJ investigation meant to discredit the Mueller probe.
  67. Trump’s call was made at the request of AG Barr. The White House curbed access to the call transcript to a small group of aides, similarly to what had been done with the Ukraine call.
  68. The discussion revealed Trump once again using the power of presidency to advance personal political interests. The call was specifically made to request Australia’s help in Barr’s investigation.
  69. Trump essentially asked Australia to investigate itself. The FBI started an investigation of the Trump 2016 campaign after an Australian official told the department about George Papadopoulos’s London meeting.
  70. On Monday, WAPO reported Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials to ask their help in the DOJ inquiry, hoping to discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of Trump-Russia in 2016.
  71. In addition to the request to Australia, Barr made overtures to British intelligence, and traveled to Italy for a second trip last week with John Durham, who has been put in charge of “investigating the investigators.”
  72. Current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials expressed frustration and alarm that the attorney general was personally investigating conspiracy theories and baseless allegations three years later.
  73. In a statement, a spokesperson for the Australian government said it has “always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation,” citing the conversation.
  74. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Barr went to Rome with John Durham last week in an under-the-radar trip which was quietly announced just days prior, to look into events leading up to the Mueller probe.
  75. Barr and Durham were especially interested in what Italian intelligence knew about Joseph Mifsud, who allegedly offered George Papadopolous dirt on Hillary in London, and listened to a taped deposition he had given.
  76. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham asked in a letter for “continued cooperation” from Australia, Italy, and the U.K. in Barr’s investigation, including an Australian diplomat who he says was “directed to contact” Papadopoulos.
  77. Australia’s ambassador responded, tweeting, “We reject your characterization” of our diplomat’s role in the FBI’s 2016 investigation, adding we will work closely with Barr to “resolve any misunderstandings.”
  78. On Wednesday, the Times of London reported Trump called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 26, the day after his call with Zelensky, and two days after Mueller’s testimony, to ask for help discrediting Mueller.
  79. The call also came just two days after Johnson took office. Trump asked Johnson to help accumulate evidence that would discredit the Mueller investigation after it did not exonerate him.
  80. On Tuesday, the Hill reported former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, a contributor to Sinclair TV and a talk show host on Salem Radio Network, traveled with Pompeo to the Vatican as part of the limited press pool.
  81. On Tuesday, Hong Kong police shot a protestor in the chest, one of six live rounds filed by police, in one of the most violent days of protests, as China celebrated 70 years of Communist party rule.
  82. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!” — a communist government that has not held a free election.
  83. On Friday, CNN reported Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that the U.S. would remain silent on Hong Kong democracy protests while trade talks continued, a remarkable backing away from human rights.
  84. Trump’s commitment to not talk about the protests necessitated then-U.S. general counsel in Hong Kong, Kurt Tong, to have to cancel a speech on the protests in Washington scheduled for June.
  85. On Monday, in a court filing, a lawyer for House Democrats said they believe grand-jury redactions in the Mueller report revealed Trump lied about his knowledge of his campaign’s contacts with WikiLeaks.
  86. The filing was made with the House Judiciary Committee seeking Mueller’s grand jury materials, saying, “The text redacted…and any underlying evidence to which it may point are critical” to the investigation.
  87. On Monday, in a letter to the judge, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said it is joining Trump in the lawsuit to block disclosure of his tax returns, saying the complaint “raises a number of significant constitutional issues.”
  88. The letter puts the U.S. attorney’s office up against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Vance’s office have said their subpoena is valid and any dispute should be heard in state court.
  89. On Thursday, the Manhattan District Attorney has asked a judge in a sharply-worded court filing to reject federal prosecutors from backing Trump, calling the DOJ decision to intervene on Trump’s side “audacious.”
  90. The filing also stated, “Until quite recently and for more than a year, DOJ prosecutors in this very District conducted a highly publicized grand jury investigation into some of the very same transactions and actors.”
  91. On Tuesday, WAPO reported a federal judge warned U.S. prosecutors that they needed to either charge former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe or to drop their investigation on whether he lied to investigators.
  92. The judge said the prosecutors’ indecision was undermining the credibility of the DOJ, and said if a decision was not made by November 15, he would order them to release internal FBI documents related to McCabe’s firing.
  93. On Monday, attorneys for Michael Flynn said in a filing that a judge’s decision to overturn a guilty verdict for Flynn’s business partner Bijan Rafiekian last week “renders meaningless” his December 2017 guilty plea.
  94. The filing suggests Mueller team prosecutor Brandon Van Grack bullied Flynn into a plea deal. Flynn is due for sentencing December 18, but if he is granted access to additional Mueller documents, it will likely be delayed.
  95. On Tuesday, ISM U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, a gauge of U.S. manufacturing, came in at 47.8%, the lowest level since June 2009, during a severe recession. Experts cited Trump’s escalating trade war.
  96. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, blaming the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, saying he “allowed the Dollar to get so strong,” and adding, “They are their own worst enemies, they don’t have a clue. Pathetic!”
  97. On Wednesday, Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, and the top U.S. sanctions chief, resigned to join the private sector.
  98. On Tuesday, WAPO reported officials in Montana are warning residents for the second time this year about mailers sent by the Republican National Committee which look like official census forms but are actually solicitations for money.
  99. The mailers say “2019 Congressional District Census” and urge recipients to send at least $15 to “help pay for the costs of processing [the] Census Document,” and add to the confusion around the citizenship question.
  100. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled against the Trump regime, saying Harvard University does not discriminate against Asian-Americans in admissions — the biggest legal challenge to affirmative action in years.
  101. The judge wrote, “Diversity will foster the tolerance, acceptance and understanding that will ultimately make race conscious admissions obsolete.” The regime is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court.
  102. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Georgia temporarily blocked a new abortion law that outlawed abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, before many women realize they are pregnant, from going into law.
  103. On Tuesday, NYT reported at a meeting in the Oval Office in March on immigration, Trump was fuming and ordered advisers to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico by noon the next day.
  104. Trump also mused about fortifying the border by stocking a trench with alligators, adding electrified spikes that could pierce human flesh, and shooting migrants who cross the border in the legs to slow them down.
  105. People at the meeting included Kirstjen Nielsen; Pompeo; Kevin McAleenan; Stephen Miller; Jared Kushner, and other senior staffers. Trump said “I ran on this” and “You are making me look like an idiot!”
  106. White House advisers were able to convince Trump to give them a reprieve, and a week later Nielsen talked him out of it. Miller took it as an opportunity and saw to it that Nielsen and others were pushed out.
  107. On Tuesday, WAPO reported a Fairfax County police officer was suspended for turning over a driver involved in a traffic accident to Immigration and Customs Enforcement after finding they had an immigration violation.
  108. The Fairfax police chief said the officer violated a long-standing policy of not performing civil immigration enforcement for ICE, despite stepped-up enforcement by the Trump regime. The incident is under investigation.
  109. On Wednesday, NYT reported the Trump regime plans to collect DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of detained immigrants held in federal detention centers which currently hold more than 40,000 people.
  110. Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security said the DOJ was developing a federal regulation to give immigration officers authority to collect DNA. There is a 2005 exemption for collecting from immigrants.
  111. DHS officials plan to rollback the exemption in the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, and would provide a comprehensive DNA profile. The results would also be shared with other law enforcement agencies.
  112. On Thursday, AP and FRONTLINE reported the Trump regime is shifting caretaking of migrant children to the private sector and contractors from religious-based non-profits, which traditionally cared for children.
  113. The only private company to care for migrant children so far is CHS, owned by Caliburn International Corp. Former Trump chief of staff John Kelly serves on Caliburn’s board and stands to financially benefit.
  114. Conditions inside Caliburn facilities were described as jail-like. The children wear matching grey pants and black sweatshirts, and are not allowed to touch each other. There are alarms on the windows.
  115. A citizen whistleblower complaint claimed Caliburn’s revenues could increase from $65 million in 2017 to $275-325 million per year based on the child detention business. The business was awarded on a no-bid basis.
  116. On Friday, WSJ reported the Trump regime will deny visas to immigrants who cannot prove they have health insurance, or the ability to pay for medical costs once they become permanent U.S. citizens.
  117. Trump’s proclamation will go into effect on November 3. Trump cited, “immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs.”
  118. Stephen Miller and others in the regime are behind this latest move to limit immigration by placing financial burdens and obstacles on immigrants. Miller was also behind the recent “public charge” rule.
  119. On Friday, NYT reported the Agriculture Department moved this week to slice another $4.5 billion over five years from the food stamp program, trimming monthly benefits by as much as $75 for one-in-five families.
  120. The move, which changes how people’s income and expenses are calculated, marks the third time the regime has cut the program. Trump has used executive orders, since Congress would not comply.
  121. On Wednesday, Politico reported the House Oversight Committee is investigating two entities, a trade association and a foreign government, for booking a large block of rooms at Trump hotels and using few of them.
  122. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats asked the IRS Commissioner to strip the National Rifle Association of its tax-exempt status, after a senate report in Week 150 found it worked closely with Russians in the 2016 election.
  123. On Tuesday, Pompeo tweeted a letter accusing three House committee chairs of trying to bully State Department officials to testify, saying they were not given time to prepare or consult with department legal counsel.
  124. In response, the three chairs wrote, “Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress…is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”
  125. On Tuesday, WSJ reported House leaders plan to question former State Department officials: Kurt Volker will be deposed on Thursday and Marie Yovanovitch on October 11.
  126. On Tuesday, in a letter to the State Department, more than two dozen former U.S. diplomats and others experts said they were “disturbed” by reports linking Yovanovitch’s ouster to “absurd and unfounded allegations.”
  127. The letter also said Trump’s comments about her on the July 25 phone call “could be interpreted as a threat,” and “Such language and the broader attack on Ambassador Yovanovitch should be condemned unequivocally.”
  128. Also Tuesday, the State Department inspector general contacted several House and Senate committees, asking to brief their staffers on Wednesday on an undisclosed matter.
  129. On Tuesday, Politico reported in the spring of 2018 the Trump regime ordered an upgrade of the security of the National Security Council’s codeword system as part of an effort to ferret out and deter leaks.
  130. Part of the rationale for the upgrade of the system, known as NICE, or NSC Intelligence Collaboration Environment, was to prevent any leaks of the transcripts of Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders.
  131. On Tuesday, Giuliani hired Jon Sale, who served as an assistant special Watergate prosecutor, to represent him in the congressional investigation of Trump’s actions towards Ukraine.
  132. On Tuesday, Sen. Angus King told CNN that he and his staff had reconstructed the call between Trump and Zelensky using the memo, and determined more than two-thirds of the call time is unaccounted for.
  133. On Tuesday, Sen. Grassley, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, defended the whistleblower saying they followed protocol, and noted, “We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality.”
  134. On Thursday, a second Republican senator, Joni Ernst, also from Iowa, joined Grassley, saying, “I stand with Chuck Grassley on this. We have laws in place,” adding, “Whistleblowers should be protected.”
  135. On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that Schiff “should resign from office in disgrace, and frankly they should look at him for treason,” also calling Schiff a “lowlife.”
  136. Later Wednesday, House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy signed a censure resolution against Schiff introduced in Week 150 by Rep. Andy Biggs, the incoming chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
  137. On Wednesday, speaking to reporters alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisö, Trump called the whistleblower “fake” and “vicious” and into “some bad things” in a 40-minute press conference.
  138. A red-faced, enraged Trump also called the White House official who alerted the whistleblower a “spy,” said Schiff was guilty of “treason,” and said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “hands out subpoenas like they’re cookies.”
  139. Trump sparred with a Reuters reporter for asking about Ukraine, glaring at him and saying, “Are you talking to me?” then telling him, “We have the president of Finland, ask him a question.”
  140. When pressed again on Ukraine and Biden, Trump responded, “I’ve answered everything. It’s a whole hoax. And you know who’s playing into it? People like you.” Trump also called the media “corrupt” and “fake.”
  141. Trump continued to air grievances while President Niiniso looked on, repeatedly using the terms “hoax” “scam” and “fraud.” Niiniso barely got to speak, at one point interjecting, “I think the question is for me.”
  142. A Finnish reporter asked Niiniso “I have to ask, what kind of favors has Mr. Trump asked from you?” to which Trump interjected, “I think you mean the other way around,” before Niiniso gave a thoughtful answer.
  143. Trump said of impeachment, “We’ll work together with shifty Schiff and Pelosi and all of them.” He also added of the call transcript with Ukraine, “There are those who think I am a very stable genius, ok?
  144. Finnish reporters described the conference to their readers back home with ridicule and concern, celebrating Niiniso’s dignity during Trump’s unhinged monologues, and criticizing Trump’s treatment of the press.
  145. Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet wrote: “Niinisto’s visit was overshadowed by Circus Trump — President Niinisto asked Trump to safeguard U.S. democracy.”
  146. On Wednesday, former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenk said in a statement to Bloomberg, Joe Biden never asked him to open or close any criminal cases, saying nothing improper was done related to his son.
  147. On Wednesday, NYT reported the three House committees are preparing to subpoena the White House by Friday if it does not comply with requests for documents related to Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.
  148. Speaking to reporters alongside Speaker Pelosi, Schiff said, “We’re not fooling around here,” adding the House will not let this “drag on months and months and months, which would be the administration’s strategy.”
  149. Schiff called Trump’s tweet demanding to “meet” the whistleblower “a blatant effort to intimidate witnesses” and “an incitement of violence,” adding, We will do everything in our power” to protect the whistleblower.
  150. As Schiff was speaking, Trump tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT,” adding he “got overwhelmingly elected.”
  151. Trump also tweeted, “Adam Schiff should only be so lucky to have the brains, honor and strength of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” calling Schiff a “lowlife” who “completely fabricated my words.”
  152. Trump also tweeted, “Congressman Adam Schiff should resign for the Crime” of “fraudulently fabricating a statement of the President of the United States and reading it to Congress,” adding, “he is sick!”
  153. Trump also live-tweeted as Speaker Pelosi spoke about working with Trump on legislation to lower drug prices, tweeting, “It is just camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment.”
  154. Pelosi said Trump asking Zelensky for “a favor” was sufficient reason to move forward, adding of the founders, “They never thought that we’d have a president who would kick those guardrails over,” calling it “sad.”
  155. On Wednesday, NYT reported Schiff learned about the outlines of the whistleblower’s concern before complaint was filed, showing how determined the whistleblower was to make their concerns known.
  156. The whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee aide after he had a colleague convey his concerns to the CIA’s top lawyer. In both approaches, the accusation was left vague.
  157. In a news conference after the NYT reporting, Trump waved a copy of the article and said, “Big stuff. That’s a big story,” falsely claiming that Schiff “helped write” the complaint, and calling it “a scam.”
  158. On Wednesday, an Economist/YouGov Poll found support for impeachment increasing to 45% from 37% in late July. Democrats’ support jumped by 20 points, and Independents rose eight points.
  159. On Friday, CNN reported support for Trump’s impeachment is unprecedented: with both Nixon and Clinton, impeachment actions started off with more opposing than supporting impeachment.
  160. On Wednesday, after much build-up and speculation, the State Department IG turned over a packet of news clipping, timelines, and interview notes on the Bidens given to them by Giuliani.
  161. Rep. Jamie Raskin, who was the only lawmaker to attend IG Steve Linick’s briefing, called it a “completely irrelevant distraction,” and “essentially a packet of propaganda and disinformation spreading conspiracy theories.”
  162. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Mike Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader, at a time when Trump has using other channels to solicit information on his political opponents.
  163. Trump instructed Pence not to attend Zelensky’s inauguration in May, then months later Trump used to Pence to relay aid was still being withheld pending aggressive action on corruption ahead of Trump’s July 25 call.
  164. Officials close to Pence say he was not aware of Trump’s pressing for damaging information on the Bidens; although one of Pence’s top advisers was on the July 25 call, and there were visible signs of Trump’s strategy.
  165. Pence’s actions came as the U.S. ambassador to Kiev was abruptly recalled, Giuliani inserted himself into the U.S.-Ukraine relationship, and alarms were raised inside the White House about the whistleblower complaint.
  166. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani has consulted with Paul Manafort through the federal prisoner’s lawyer several times in recent months, in hopes of bolstering his story that Ukraine helped Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  167. Giuliani said he is looking into the existence of the black ledger obtained by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which revealed cash payments to Manafort that led him to resign from Trump’s campaign.
  168. Giuliani claimed the ledger was used as a pretext for U.S. authorities to re-open a case against Manafort. The FBI already had a case open about his Ukraine work in 2013, and Mueller’s team did not mentioned the ledger.
  169. On Thursday, WAPO reported an IRS whistleblower filed a complaint saying he was told at least one Treasury Department political appointee acted to interfere with the annual audit of Trump or Pence’s tax returns.
  170. The Trump regime dismissed the complaint as flimsy because it was based on conversations with other government officials, but House Democrats were alarmed by the complaint which was flagged in a federal court filing.
  171. On Thursday, Pelosi told “Good Morning America” the Democrats’ investigation does not “hinge on” whether McConnell “has the guts to really do what the Constitution requires,” or “the impact” on the election.
  172. Pelosi added, “separate from that, the reelection of Donald Trump would do irreparable damage to the United States,” adding, “we have some serious repair and healing to do in our country for what he’s done so far.”
  173. On Thursday, Trump shifted strategy, snubbing his nose at impeachment and telling reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”
  174.  Asked what he hoped Zelensky would do after his July 25 call, Trump said, “If they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens” — seeming to underscore his claim he did nothing wrong asking.
  175. Schiff cited Trump “encouraging a foreign nation to interfere again,” telling reporters, “It endangers our elections, it endangers our national security, it ought to be condemned by every member of this body.”
  176. No Republicans condemned Trump. Instead, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy prodded Pelosi in a letter asking if the House would vote on an official impeachment inquiry and if the GOP could call witnesses.
  177. Pelosi responded in a letter, noting McCarthy’s request came “shortly after the world witnessed President Trump on national television asking yet another foreign power to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections.”
  178. On Thursday, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson defended Trump’s call on Ukraine and China, saying, “If there’s potential criminal activity, the president of the United States is our chief law enforcement officer.”
  179. On Thursday, CNN reported Johnson was a signatory to a February 2016 bipartisan letter to then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to make “reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office,” similar to Biden’s request.
  180. On Thursday, Ellen Weintraub, the head of the Federal Election Commission, re-upped a June tweet of a memorandum stating it is illegal for anyone running for public office to solicit help from a foreign national.
  181. On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in an op-ed on Trump’s calling a foreign head of state to investigate his political opponent, “Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea.”
  182. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump ordered the removal of then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, saying she was undermining him abroad and obstructing his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Biden.
  183. State Department officials were told in the spring that her removal was a priority. Pompeo supported the move. Career officials told Yovanovitch they could not shield her from Trump and his allies.
  184. Giuliani told the Journal that Yovanovitch displayed an “anti-Trump bias” in private conversations, and had been obstacle to Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Giuliani said he alerted Trump of both.
  185. Giuliani gave Pompeo a document on March 28 detailing a timeline on the Bidens’ dealings with Ukraine, as well as allegations of impropriety against Yovanovitch, including that she was “very close” to Biden.
  186. Trump said of her on Thursday, “I don’t know if I recalled her or somebody recalled her but I heard very, very bad things about her for a long period of time.” Yovanovitch will testify before lawmakers on October 11.
  187. On Thursday, Trump again mocked 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, quoting a tweet that referred to her as “an actress,” and telling the person who tweeted it, “Keep up the great work.”
  188. On Thursday, Fox News host Sean Hannity took a shot at his colleagues on his show, saying, “We have a few resistance people on the channel,” as the civil-war within the network continued to spill out publicly.
  189. On Thursday, Politico reported Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to depart from the regime in November. Unlike most in Trump’s cabinet, Perry had largely avoided controversies until the Ukraine investigation.
  190. Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee pressed Perry for information about his May travel to Ukraine, and asked who asked him to attend Zelensky’s inauguration.
  191. Perry is also part of a House subpoena sent Monday to Giuliani on the inauguration, but has not been directly called to testify himself. He has frequently visited Ukraine, including meeting with Zelensky.
  192. On Thursday, Trump said in a speech in Florida the regime is looking at starting a news network, saying CNN is “terrible for our country, adding, “we ought to start our own network and put some real news out there.”
  193. Trump also said of CNN and other media, “they are so bad for our country,” adding, “I go out there and they say, ‘Boy, the media hates your country,’ and it’s just a shame. It’s just a shame. And we really are.”
  194. On Thursday, a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll found a plurality of Americans (45%) support impeachment, while 38% disapprove — a major shift in attitude since June when 32% supported impeachment, 61% disapproved.
  195. Shortly after, Trump tweeted as U.S. president, “I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION,” including “asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!”
  196. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “As President I have an obligation to end CORRUPTION, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries,” falsely claiming, “It is done all the time.”
  197. Trump also claimed he is duty-bound to investigate corruption, tweeting “This has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens. This does have to do with their corruption!
  198. On Friday, CNN reported that Trump and Giuliani are taking charge of the narrative on the impeachment inquiry, sidelining White House officials and making it harder to defend Trump and hurting his case.
  199. White House officials say Jared Kushner and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney are the two most focused on developing an impeachment strategy. It was unclear if one had the senior-most role.
  200. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “This is not about politics. This is about corruption,” adding, “if you look and you read our Constitution and many other things, I have an obligation to look at corruption.”
  201. On Thursday, former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker gave a 10-hour deposition to the House Intelligence Committee, along with texts sent relating to Trump-Ukraine.
  202. Volker, the first State Department official to testify, told House investigators he warned Giuliani against trusting information he was getting from Ukrainian political figures about Joe and Hunter Biden.
  203. Volker claimed he was never given an explanation for Trump extending an invitation to the White House to Zelensky that was later withdrawn, or for halting military aid, which deeply concerned Ukrainian officials.
  204. Giuliani told the Post he “did not recall” being told by Volker, saying, “I’m pretty certain he never said that the claims weren’t true,” he would have “asked him what kind of investigation he’d done and how he knew that.”
  205. On Thursday, NYT reported that Volker and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., worked on a statement in August for Zelensky that would have committed Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents.
  206. Volker told Congress Thursday that Giuliani provided him and Sondland with critical elements of the language. The Ukrainians did not release the statement which would have given credence to allegations on Biden.
  207. On Thursday, in a letter to members of the three House committees from their Chairs, dozens of text messages from top State Department officials about a possible Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo were released.
  208. Late Thursday, Democrats publicly released text messages between U.S. and Ukrainian officials. The messages revealed how Trump tied the release of military aid to investigations that could help Trump’s 2020 campaign.
  209. The three committee chairs said the released text exchanges represented “only a subset of the full body of the materials” provided by Volker, and they hope to make the rest public later.
  210. Texts were sent by three U.S. diplomats: Kurt Volker; William Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine; and Gordon Sondland, a major GOP fundraiser and ambassador to the E.U.
  211. The texts revealed U.S. diplomats encouraged Zelensky to conduct a public investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for a visit with Trump at the White House, in what one diplomat called a “crazy” swap.
  212. The texts lay out the raw contours of a potential quid-pro-quo exchange. An adviser to Zelensky appeared to agree to an investigation of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden served on the board.
  213. Before the July 25 call, U.S. officials said Ukraine needed to open investigations in order for Zelensky to get a meeting with Trump, which was urgently needed by Ukraine given ongoing Russian aggression.
  214. U.S. officials said Trump would not set a date for a meeting until there was a “deliverable” — a publicly announced investigation. An aide to Zelensky said he understood a meeting was contingent on the investigations.
  215. In late August, Ukrainian officials became aware military aid was also being delayed. Taylor asked Sondland if other Americans knew of the delays in aid and a meeting, and added Russia must be pleased.
  216. On Friday, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, said he would audit several cases handled by his predecessors, including a criminal case involving the company that employed Hunter Biden.
  217. The move sparked concern that Ukraine was bowing to political pressure from Trump. Ryaboshapka said he intended to review 15 cases, including one on the owner of the natural gas company Burisma Holdings.
  218. On Friday, Trump tweeted a headline by conservative Washington Times about the texts, falsely claiming, “Ukraine envoy blows ‘massive hole’ into Democrat accusations,” and adding, “Case Closed!”
  219. On Friday, WSJ reported Sen. Johnson said he was told by Sondland in late August that the hold-up in military aid to Ukraine was related to a desired investigation that Trump and his allies wanted.
  220. Johnson said when he called Trump the next day on August 31, Trump flatly rejected the claim: “He said, ‘Expletive deleted — No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?”
  221. On Thursday, Sen. Ben Sasse said, “Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth. If the Biden kid broke laws…that’s a matter for American courts, not communist tyrants running torture camps.”
  222. On Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney became the second Republican to criticize Trump, tweeting Trump’s “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.”
  223. On Friday, Rep. William Hurd, who is retiring in 2020, said “it is terrible” for Trump to ask China to probe Biden, adding congratulating China “on 70 years of communism via a tweet” is also something he would not do.
  224. On Friday, intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson testified before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. Atkinson received the whistleblower complaint.
  225. Atkinson, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, deemed the complaint an “urgent concern,” which requires the complaint be given to Congress, but acting DNI Joseph Maguire refused to on advice of the DOJ.
  226. On Friday, NBC News reported weeks before the whistleblower complaint became public, the CIA’s general counsel, Trump appointee Courtney Simmons Elwood, made a criminal referral to the DOJ about it.
  227. The move meant that she and other senior officials concluded that a crime had been committed, raising further questions about why the DOJ later declined to open an investigation in Trump pressuring Zelensky.
  228. On Friday, chairs of the three House committees requested a wide-ranging batch of documents from Pence in the impeachment inquiry, relating to Trump’s pressuring Ukraine and any role Pence played, by October 15.
  229. On Friday, WAPO reported senior staffers working for Trump have all along been worried about his calls with foreign leaders, citing his diplomatic blunders, making promises he could not keep, and asking for favors.
  230. Aides said in his first call with Putin, Trump said something like, “Oh my gosh, my people didn’t tell me you wanted to talk to me.” Trump has also been consistently cozy with other authoritarian leaders.
  231. Aides bristled on how Trump spoke to longtime allies, especially women leaders like Theresa May. Unlike past leaders, Trump has rejected much of the protocol and preparation associated with foreign calls.
  232. On Friday, the three House committee chairs subpoenaed the White House for Ukraine documents, after the regime failed to comply with repeated requests, marking the third subpoena sent since impeachment began.
  233. In a letter to Mulvaney, the three said, “We deeply regret that President Trump has put us — and the nation — in this position,” and gave until October 18 to respond. The White House called it political posturing.
  234. On Friday, NYT reported a second intelligence official who was alarmed by Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is considering filing his own report and testifying before Congress.
  235. The official has more direct information about the events, and was interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations in the first complaint.
  236. On Friday, Bloomberg reported Trump ordered a cut to national security staff as the White House confronts an impeachment inquiry. The stated reason was to make the council leaner under the new National Security Adviser.
  237. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “the so-called Whistleblower’s account of my perfect phone call is “way off,” not even close,” adding, “Schiff and Pelosi never thought I would release the transcript of the call…they got caught.”
  238. Trump also tweeted, “This is a fraud against the American people!” However, documents, firsthand witness accounts, and public statements by Trump over two weeks have bolstered the facts outlined in the complaint.
  239. Trump also attacked Sen. Romney, tweeting, “If Mitt worked this hard on Obama, he could have won. Sadly, he choked!” and calling him “a pompous “ass” who has been fighting me from the beginning.”
  240. After golfing, Trump tweeted, “Not only are the Do Nothing Democrats interfering in the 2020 Election, but they are continuing to interfere in the 2016 Election. They must be stopped!” It was unclear what he meant.

The Weekly List podcast is here! You can find more information here by clicking here.

THE LIST — weeks 1–52 of The Weekly List is out as a book! You can order your copy by clicking here.

Trump and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2019.