W

December 14, 2019

Week 161

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

This week, the House Judiciary Committee debated and voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Donald J. Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. After two fiery days of debate, the panel took a somber vote Friday, marking the fourth time in U.S. history the Judiciary passed articles of impeachment. Remarkably, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox News the night prior, saying he was in “total coordination” with the White House, and there was “zero chance” Trump would be removed from office.

On the same day Democratic House leadership announced the House would move forward on impeachment, Trump hosted Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office, closed to U.S. press. Notably, the day prior, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has yet to be invited to the White House, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris, without Trump issuing any sort of statement or tweet in support of Ukraine.

This week the Justice Department Inspector General report was released, and although IG Mike Horowitz found no political bias and said the FBI was justified in opening its investigation, Trump and Attorney General William Barr both publicly disparaged the report. Former AG Eric Holder called on Barr to step down.

With impeachment in full gear, Trump, who fears the stain on his legacy, while portraying strength, has taken to binge tweeting — on one day alone tweeting or retweeting 123 times. The full House will vote on impeachment next Wednesday, and as the week came to a close, only one moderate House Democrat had defected.

  1. On Wednesday, Time named public servants who testified in the impeachment probe as the “Guardians of the Year 2019,” including Fiona Hill, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, William Taylor, and others.
  2. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump is ramping up the number of tweets he sends since the impeachment inquiry got underway. In the seven days ending on Thursday, he averaged roughly 60 tweets and retweets per day.
  3. The monthly tweeting during impeachment is Trump’s busiest, with over 1,000 tweets in October. The uptick started in April with the release of the Mueller report, as Trump exceeded 500 tweets, his highest since midterms.
  4. The month of December has spiked further, with an average of more than 40 tweets and retweets per day. The only other prior month since 2016 with over 30 tweets and retweets was in October 2019.
  5. Thursday was Trump’s busiest day of tweeting to date: with 89 tweets and retweets in the first three hours of the day, 123 overall. He also sent nine tweets shortly after noon, while receiving his intelligence briefing.
  6. On Saturday, the Boston Globe Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying Trump’s actions with foreign states are “an outrageous betrayal,” and that he “betrayed the US taxpayer” to advance his corrupt agenda.
  7. On Tuesday, the WAPO Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying despite “unprecedented stonewalling” that “more than enough proof exists” for the House to impeach Trump.
  8. On Wednesday, the USA Today Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying Trump’s “Ukraine shakedown and stonewalling are too serious for the House to ignore.”
  9. On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying, “Such an act of tyranny is what the Constitution was created to protect against.”
  10. On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, in Florida where Trump now has his primary residence, called for Trump to be impeached, and for the Senate to remove him from office.
  11. On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board called for Trump’s impeachment, adding “we hope the impeachment process and a trial in the Senate will give voters a more complete picture of Trump’s conduct.”
  12. On Thursday, the board of the nonpartisan ACLU voted 55-2 to adopt a resolution supporting impeachment for the second time in the organization’s 99-year history, citing “the extraordinary circumstances.”
  13. On Friday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said in a speech that Trump “is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” adding his “attacks have done some damage.”
  14. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence’s office turned down a request from House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for information on a call between Pence and Ukrainian President Zelensky made in Week 160.
  15. Pence’s office cited Schiff “continues to operate in an underhanded manner,” claiming Pence “does not even know what he wants declassified.” Pence aide Jennifer Williams divulged the September 18 call.
  16. On Saturday, at a State Department reception for the Kennedy Center Honorees, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quipped, “When will I be loved?” Honoree Linda Ronstadt later responded, when you stop “enabling Donald Trump.”
  17. On Saturday, BuzzFeed reported Carla Sand, U.S. ambassador to Denmark, banned Stanley Sloan, a NATO expert who is a critic of Trump, from speaking at a Copenhagen event celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary.
  18. On Saturday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Pete Hegseth said he was banned from Twitter after sharing a manifesto written by Pensacola shooter Mohammed Alshamrani, adding, “Big tech does the bidding of the Left.”
  19. On Saturday, Trump told reporters, “I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” adding, “He knows I have an election coming up. I don’t think he wants to interfere with that, but we’ll have to see.”
  20. Trump said of the shooting at the naval base in Pensacola, “I spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia. They are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” adding, “the King will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.”
  21. Ask about Rudy Giuliani’s trip, Trump said “he came back from someplace, and he’s going to make a report, I think to the Attorney General and to Congress,” claiming, “I have not spoken to him about that information.”
  22. Trump also headlined a closed-door Republican dinner in Aventura, Florida, where he brought army officers Clint Lorance and Mathew Golsteyn, whom he recently pardoned, on-stage, and openly mocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  23. On Saturday, in a speech to the Israeli-American Council, Trump mused, “You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax” of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, repeating the racist nickname, “You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas.”
  24. Trump also said, “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me, you have no choice.”
  25. Several Jewish leaders and organizations criticized Trump for trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The American Jewish Committee cited “money references that feed age-old and ugly stereotypes.”
  26. Trump also mused at the event about not leaving office after two terms, saying, “A lot of them say, ‘you know he’s not leaving’ … So now we have to start thinking about that, because it’s not a bad idea.”
  27. On Sunday, when asked if he spoke to Lev Parnas, Rep. Devin Nunes told Fox Business, “I got a call from a number that was Parnas’s wife,” claiming he did not know the person on the phone, so he “put them to staff.”
  28. On Sunday, Trump sent more than 100 tweets and retweets — his most in a single day so far and four times his daily average — attacking the impeachment inquiry and top Democrats.
  29. Trump also attacked Fox News, tweeting, “Don’t get why @FoxNews puts losers on like @RepSwalwell,” saying, “The Dems wouldn’t let @FoxNews get near their bad ratings debates,” adding, “yet Fox panders. Pathetic!”
  30. Earlier, “Fox News Sunday” hosted Rep. David Cicilline, a House Judiciary member, who said Trump’s actions were “a classic example” and that “all of the potential articles of impeachment are on the table.”
  31. Trump also quoted Sen. Ted Cruz from his appearance on “Meet the Press,” tweeting, “Any president has the authority to investigate corruption,” and “The President himself released the transcript of the call.”
  32. Trump also quoted Cruz, tweeting, “This is a kangaroo court in the House,” saying Democrats are impeaching “because they hate the president,” and, “this is Democrats putting on a circus.”
  33. On Sunday, WAPO reported Giuliani, while having a cybersecurity contract with Qatar in 2017 and early 2018, tried to replace Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Qatar in late 2018.
  34. Giuliani pushed for Scott Taylor, a former Virginia congressman, who he said would be more supportive of Trump’s agenda, highlighting Giuliani’s dual role marketing his access and being a shadow foreign policy adviser.
  35. In November 2018 Trump nominated Mary Catherine Phee, a talented diplomat, to the role vacant since June 2017. Her nomination expired, and Trump did not renominate her. The role remains vacant.
  36. On Sunday, WAPO reported as the FBI found the Pensacola shooting was terrorism on Sunday, Trump continued his defense of Saudis, while even his close allies called for a reassessment of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
  37. Trump, who typically would jump to label shooting by a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country as terrorism, continued to refrain and has yet to make a public call for full cooperation by the Saudis.
  38. On Sunday, Trump warned in a pair of tweets that Kim Jong Un could “void” their “special relationship” after North Korea claimed it carried out a “very important test” at its missile-engine test site.
  39. Trump also tweeted, “Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” adding, “He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore.”
  40. On Monday, a senior North Korean official called Trump a “heedless and erratic old man,” and said he should “think twice if he does not want to see bigger catastrophic consequences.”
  41. On Monday, the Trump regime blocked a United Nations Security Council meeting scheduled on Human Rights Day to discuss human rights abuses in North Korea, the second year in a row the Trump regime has done so.
  42. On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway claimed without evidence on “Fox & Friends” the impeachment inquiry is helping Trump in battleground states, saying Democrats are making him into a “victim.”
  43. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee held impeachment hearings. Lawyers on both sides from the House Intelligence Committee presented their findings, and were questioned by lawmakers and Judiciary lawyers.
  44. Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman argued Trump “directed a scheme” to pressure Ukraine to open investigations, and he “used his office” to withhold an Oval Office meeting and military aid to pressure Ukraine.
  45. Goldman also said that “everyone was in the loop,” and that “despite the public discovery of this scheme, which prompted the president to release the aid, he has not given up.”
  46. Republicans repeatedly interrupted the hearing, and argued Zelensky did not feel pressured, that Ukraine did not know aid was held up, and the aid was eventually released without any announcement of an investigation.
  47. Republican counsel Stephen Castor mostly attacked Democrats for the way they conducted the probe, rather than focus on Trump’s actions. They also claimed Trump was justified in investigating corruption in Ukraine.
  48. Democrat Judiciary counsel Barry Berke called Trump’s acts “brazen” and said “the evidence is overwhelming,” and that the the facts were “uncontradicted” and “cannot be disputed.”
  49. Berke played clips of Trump asking Russia to release Hillary’s emails, and then of Trump telling reporters he wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden, saying the House must act now because Trump is trying to corrupt 2020.
  50. Berke said Trump “really does believe he can act as though he were above the law,” and “can put his personal and political interests over the nation’s interests, over the nation’s national security interests, over the nation.”
  51. An hour into the hearings, Trump tweeted “Witch Hunt!” followed by a storm of tweets including “The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!” and “Read the Transcripts!”
  52. On Monday, NYT reported that Attorney General William Barr decided to make additional details about dossier-author Christopher Steele public as part of the release of the DOJ IG report.
  53. IG Mike Horowitz notified Christopher Steele on Sunday that the DOJ had allowed for the release of the information. Steele was not given details about the information, or how it would affect the report’s portrayal of him.
  54. The late notification was highly unusual given that witnesses interviewed, including Steele, had been given an opportunity to review and comment. The additional information on Steele was originally blacked out.
  55. On Monday, the DOJ IG released its highly anticipated report. The 434-page report concluded the FBI had an “authorized purpose” when it initiated its investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign.
  56. The IG examined over one million documents, and interviewed over 100 witnesses, saying, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions”
  57. The report debunked conspiracy theories promoted by Trump, his allies, and Republicans that the investigation was launched out of animus against Trump, or that the FBI broke its own rules on using informants.
  58. However, the IG report also found as the FBI renewed its FISA application to surveil Carter Page, officials emphasized damaging information on Trump associates and played down exculpatory evidence.
  59. The IG report found 17 errors or omissions by the FBI as it sought approval to conduct surveillance on Page in applications filed in the secret FISA court.
  60. The report also found the Steele dossier was not as reliable a source as officials described to the court. Horowitz launched a broader audit of FISA work to study how systematic FISA applications problems might be.
  61. Trump told reporters, “It is incredible. Far worse than I ever would’ve thought possible. It’s an embarrassment to our country, it’s dishonest. It’s everything that a lot of people thought it would be, except far worse.”
  62. Trump added, “This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow,” and “I look forward to the Durham report, which is coming out in the not-too-distant future. He’s got his own information.”
  63. Barr issued a statement, saying, “The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient.”
  64. Durham also took the unusual step of issuing a statement, saying, “our investigation is ongoing,” and “We do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
  65. The draft of the report had a footnote which noted Horowitz asked Durham whether he had evidence to support the conspiracy theory on Joseph Mifsud and he did not. That footnote was not in the final report.
  66. On Monday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said on-air of the IG report, “this comes against the backdrop of Donald Trump talking about the investigation of him in 2016 as a political hit job.”
  67. Wallace added, “At one point, he talked about President Obama ordering the wiretapping of the Trump Tower,” but said of the report, “the headline is they didn’t find the things that Bill Barr and Donald Trump alleged.”
  68. On Monday, former FBI director James Comey said his scheduled appearance on “Fox & Friends” for Tuesday had been canceled, saying he offered to “answer their questions,” but they “must have read the report.”
  69. Shortly after, FBI director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, was asked in an ABC News interview whether he thought the FBI unfairly targeted the Trump campaign. Wray responded, “I do not.”
  70. Asked about 2016 interference, Wray said, “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election,” adding for 2020, “we think Russia represents the most significant threat.”
  71. Wray said the IG report found “the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization,” but also found some actions “unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution.”
  72. Wray said he would address the “serious performance failures” found in the IG report, adding, “In my view, every error and omission is significant and it’s something we need to take seriously.”
  73. Wray said Trump invoking a “Deep State” out to get him was “a disservice to the men and women who work at the FBI,” saying it is “not a term I would use” and is “an affront to them.”
  74. On Monday, ABC News reported that Ivanka Trump met with British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who ran the Russia desk, when he left covert service and moved to private practice in 2010.
  75. Ivanka also stayed in touch with Steele, exchanging two additional emails, but the two did not work together. Steele told investigators he met with “a Trump family member at Trump Tower and had ‘been friendly’” with the family member for years.
  76. On Monday, ABC News also reported Giuliani said on a radio show he plans to transmit his “report” based on his recent Ukraine visit to AG Barr and to Republicans in Congress by the end of the week.
  77. Giuliani also hinted on the radio show hosted by Steve Bannon and Jason Miller that he may have spoken to Trump: “I haven’t been able to describe it to him in person, but it makes everything he did absolutely justified.”
  78. Late Monday, CNN reported at a private evening meeting between Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team, House Democrats decided to move forward with at least two articles of impeachment.
  79. A third article, obstruction of justice, was debated, but concern was getting moderate Democrats on board. House Democrats announced a news conference on Capitol Hill to share the next steps on Tuesday morning.
  80. Later Monday, AP reported the House would move forward on two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump did not respond on Twitter as the news came out Monday night.
  81. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi and leaders of six key committees said Trump’s actions towards Ukraine and efforts to block Congress from investigating left them no choice but to pursue impeachment.
  82. Chair Jerrold Nadler said Trump “holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security.”
  83. Chair Schiff said, “The argument ‘Why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: ‘Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election?’” adding, “Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”
  84. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee released a nine-page draft of the two articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of carrying out a “scheme” to benefit his own re-election, rather than the country.
  85. The draft stated, “Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”
  86. The draft also stated, “In the history of the republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House.”
  87. The draft was released ahead of a House Judiciary Committee meeting late Wednesday, in which the committee was set to debate the charges, before the committee was set to vote on the charges on Thursday.
  88. In reaction, Trump tweeted, “Nadler just said that I “pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.” Ridiculous,” claiming Zelenksy said there “WAS NO PRESSURE,” and “Nadler and the Dems know this.”
  89. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham accused Democrats of “manufacturing an impeachment inquiry and forcing unfounded accusations,” saying Trump will “address these false charges in the Senate.”
  90. Trump’s campaign war room account tweeted a video of Trump’s face superimposed onto the body of the Marvel Comics supervillain Thanos, citing the “sham impeachment,” and adding, “Trump’s reelection is inevitable.”
  91. As the House unveiled impeachment articles, Trump met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office for the first time since May 2017 after he fired Comey. The meeting was closed to U.S. press.
  92. The White House claimed they discussed arms control, denuclearization of North Korea, Iran’s nuclear program and trade, and that Trump warned him about election interference. Secretary Pompeo was also in the meeting.
  93. Trump tweeted a photo with Lavrov at his desk, saying, “Just had a very good meeting,” and, “Discussed many items including Trade, Iran, North Korea, INF Treaty, Nuclear Arms Control, and Election Meddling.”
  94. Shortly after, at a press conference at the State Department with Lavrov, Pompeo said, “On the question of interference in our domestic affairs, I was clear it’s unacceptable, and I made our expectations of Russia clear.”
  95. Lavrov said, “We have highlighted once again that all speculations about our alleged interference in domestic processes in the United States are baseless,” adding, “There are no facts that would support that.”
  96. Later at a press conference at the Russian embassy, Lavrov contradicted Trump, telling reporters the two had “not discussed elections,” then when pressed again, he gave a second answer that was more obtuse.
  97. Trump and Pompeo came under fire for meeting with Lavrov in the Oval Office one day after the first talks between Zelensky and Putin in Paris. Zelensky still has not been invited to meet Trump at the White House.
  98. On Wednesday, Pompeo told reporters, “Trump made clear in the meeting that he had with Foreign Minister Lavrov and the rest of the Russian team…America finds their meddling in our elections unacceptable.”
  99. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Ukrainian officials had hoped for a statement of support from Trump ahead of Zelenksy’s meeting with Putin, and had been watching Trump’s Twitter feed over the weekend.
  100. One official in the Zelensky administration said based on “the signals we got, we firmly believed there would be a statement.” Officials say Trump’s silence and meeting with Lavrov send “a terrible signal.”
  101. On Tuesday, GOP senator Mike Crapo blocked a bill re-introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R), meant to prevent Russia and other countries from interfering in elections.
  102. Crapo, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, said the Senate already passed sanctions targeting Russia in 2017, adding Trump “has probably put more sanctions on the Russians than any president in our history.”
  103. On Wednesday, the Kremlin announced Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on a phone call to continue military cooperation.
  104. The call came after the Senate Armed Services Committee backed a resolution to impose sanctions on Turkey for its offensive in Syria, and for the use of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
  105. On Thursday, over the objection of Trump and Turkey, the Senate unanimously passed the Armenian genocide resolution, after Republican Senators blocked it on the three occasions at the behest of the White House.
  106. On Tuesday, Trump also lashed out at Wray, tweeting, “I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me.”
  107. Trump also threatened to fire Wray, tweeting: “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”
  108. Giuliani also attacked him, saying, “Wray is wrong, he hasn’t investigated anything, he doesn’t know,” adding the FBI blocks any information “that would demonstrate the high level of corruption and collusion.”
  109. On Tuesday, Barr told NBC News that Horowitz used a standard that was “deferential” to the FBI, and a final judgement cannot be made until Durham completes his work, which he expects will be a “watershed.”
  110. Barr added, “our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press,” and the FBI may have acted in “bad faith.”
  111. When asked about the debunked claim Ukraine meddled in 2016, Barr said, “I am confident the Russians attempted to interfere…I don’t know about the Ukrainians,” adding, “I haven’t even looked into it, frankly.”
  112. On Tuesday, Politico reported a group of 10 vulnerable House Democrats whose districts are pro-Trump floated the idea of censure instead of impeachment at the Monday meeting. Pelosi has ruled out a censure.
  113. Later Tuesday, Trump and Pence held a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. In one of his most fiery speeches yet, Trump spoke for 65-minutes railing against Democrats, impeachment, law enforcement, and the media.
  114. Trump dismissed the inquiry against him as “impeachment crap,” and called the articles “flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous,” and “the lightest impeachment in the history of the country, by far.”
  115. Trump said Democrats are “impeaching me because they want to win an election and that’s the only way they can do it,” and that “the impeachment hoax is about overturning your great 2016 vote.”
  116. Trump said House Democrats are “embarrassed by the impeachment” but “the silver lining” is “that’s the reason they approved USMCA.” Earlier Tuesday, McConnell said he would not take USMCA forward this year.
  117. Trump said of his re-election, a “battle is the survival of the American nation itself,” and mused about ripping up the Constitution and serving 29 years: “Should we give it a shot? Maybe we will. I’m only kidding.”
  118. Trump said of the IG report, “The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign,” saying they “destroyed the lives of people that were great people.”
  119. Trump called FBI agents scum, saying, “Their lives have been destroyed by scum,” repeating, “okay, by scum,” and attacked Wray again, saying, “You have great people in the FBI, but not in leadership.”
  120. Trump noted the DOJ IG was appointed by Obama, referencing him as “Barack Hussein Obama,” and hyped the upcoming report by Durham, calling him “Bull Durham.”
  121. Trump spread unsourced claims about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, saying, “Did I hear he needed a restraining order after this whole thing, from Lisa? That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true.” Page tweeted it was a “lie.”
  122. On Tuesday, Trump allies in the Senate said they may not call witnesses in hopes of expediting the trial, which is expected to begin in January after the holiday recess. Sen. Kevin Cramer said calling witnesses would be “risky.”
  123. Trump was said to want a lengthy trial, with witnesses including Joe and Hunter Biden and Schiff. McConnell called that idea, in a closed-door meeting with his caucus, “mutually assured destruction.”
  124. On Tuesday, a poll by Hill-HarrisX found Trump’s approval with independent voters is dipping amid impeachment: from 44% approval in early November to 39% approve, 56% disapprove.
  125. On Sunday, NYT reported the Trump regime will block the World Trade Organization from appointing new members to a crucial panel that hears trade disputes. This is the second year the regime will do so.
  126. The panel is a seven-member body, with only three members left, two of whose terms expire Tuesday, leaving the group without a quorum for hearing international trade disputes.
  127. The move by Trump could spell the demise of the 24 year-old WTO, as Trump wages his trade wars. Trump took similar steps of not appointing replacements to de-fang the Federal Election Commission in Week 148.
  128. On Monday, in a 103-page filing made public, Amazon Web Services claimed that it lost the JEDI contract, worth as much as $10 billion, because of Trump’s attack on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  129. The filing claimed Trump “made no secret of his personal dislike” for Bezos by publicly criticizing him, then “used his office” to prevent AWS from winning the contract, including “behind-the-scenes attacks” against AWS.
  130. Amazon called on the Defense Department to terminate the award, and conduct another review of the submitted proposals. A Pentagon spokesperson denied any “external influences” on the award decision.
  131. On Monday, an analysis by the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign found American companies paid a record $7.2 billion in import taxes in October, twice the monthly average before Trump began imposing tariffs.
  132. The group found Trump’s tariffs have added $42 billion in import taxes overall. Small business owners said, “We’re paying the taxes, not China,” and, “This trade war has lasted long enough and done enough damage.”
  133. On Monday, Russia was banned from the Olympics for four years for tampering with doping tests. Russian President Putin said Russia had grounds to appeal, and said the ban violated the Olympic charter.
  134. On Monday, WAPO reported according to a DOJ spokesperson, AG Barr rescheduled his holiday party for 200 guests that was set to take place at the Trump Hotel DC on Sunday.
  135. The spokesperson said the new date would not be disclosed but it would take place at Trump Hotel DC. Protests were expected. The DOJ claimed Trump Hotel DC was not Barr’s first choice for venue.
  136. On Monday, HuffPost reported in a letter to Trump spearheaded by Sen. Kamala Harris, 27 Democratic Senators called for “the immediate removal” of Stephen Miller as a White House advisor.
  137. The letter cited leak emails, showing what is driving Miller is “not national security, it’s white supremacy,” adding he “is unfit to serve in any capacity at the White House, let alone as a senior policy adviser.”
  138. On Monday, Houston police chief Art Acevedo blasted “smug” McConnell, Cornyn, and Cruz for gun control inaction after a sergeant was shot dead, saying they “don’t want to piss off the NRA.”
  139. On Monday, New York AG Letitia James issued a new subpoena to the National Rifle Association covering at least four areas, including campaign finance, payments to board members, and tax compliance.
  140. On Tuesday, Trump paid $2 million to eight charities as part of the settlement for misuse of funds in his foundation. Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka were ordered go through mandatory training to ensure they don’t repeat the conduct.
  141. On Tuesday, in a filing, federal prosecutors recommended that Rick Gates gets probation, citing he continued to cooperate with Mueller even after getting pressure not to and offers of monetary assistance.
  142. On Tuesday, Lisa Page sued the DOJ and FBI for alleged violations of the Privacy Act by unlawfully disclosing information about her — a 90 page document including 375 text messages — to reporters.
  143. On Tuesday, Rep. Ted Yoho said he would not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the 23rd Republican to do so.
  144. On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected the Trump regime’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by watchdog groups American Oversight and Democracy Forward seeking notes of Trump’s face-to-face meetings with Putin.
  145. The groups argued Pompeo violated the Federal Records Act by allowing Trump to confiscate meeting notes prepared by State Department staffers, and by not preserving them. The judge was a Trump appointee.
  146. On Tuesday, Fox affiliate KTVI reported a Missouri teacher gave fifth-graders an assignment, asking them to set a hypothetical value on slaves. The district has placed the teacher on administrative leave.
  147. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Texas said the Trump regime could not use $3.6 billion of military construction funds to build Trump’s wall along the southern border, saying Trump overstepped his authority.
  148. The ruling impacted one set of Pentagon funds, leaving three others ruled on by the Supreme Court in place. The lawsuit was file by El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights.
  149. Pelosi said in a statement: “Once again, the courts have resoundingly ruled against the President’s attempt to negate our system of separation of powers,” and “Article II does not mean that he can ‘do whatever he wants.’”
  150. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Pentagon IG opened a review to determine if Trump’s deployment of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is legal, three months after 30 members of Congress requested it.
  151. The review will examine whether the deployment violates a law prohibiting active duty military troops from carrying out law enforcement duties, and will examine the troops’ activities, training, and the cost.
  152. On Wednesday, six doctors who wanted to give flu shots to migrant children at a detention center in Chula Vista, California were arrested by Customs and Border Protection after being turned away and lying down in protest.
  153. On Wednesday, NPR reported newly obtained internal emails from the Education Department revealed career department officials sided with defrauded students over Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos.
  154. In the cases of more than 200,000 borrowers, DeVos sided with for-profit colleges, saying students “got value” from the schools. Students claim the schools lied about job prospects and the transferability of credits.
  155. DeVos has the power to override staffers, and has done so. On Tuesday the department came out with a new plan to calculate how much debt relief, if any, students get. Most are unlikely to qualify for full relief.
  156. On Wednesday, ProPublica reported Donald Jr. shot and killed an endangered sheep on a trip to Mongolia in August 2019, and got a permit after the hunt, a rare occurrence. A total of 86 permits were given last year.
  157. Following the hunt, Donald Jr. met with Mongolia’s president, Khaltmaagiin Battuiga, before the leaving the country. He was given a permit on September 2.
  158. On Thursday, USA Today reported four months before Donald Jr.’s trip, the Mongolian ambassador and foreign minister visited Mar-a-Lago. It is unclear if Donald Jr, who was also there for Easter, met the officials.
  159. On Thursday, NBC News reported that the Pentagon IG will review the Army Corps of Engineers decision in Week 160 to award a $400 million contract to Fisher Sand & Gravel, after the company was touted by Trump.
  160. On Friday, NYT reported immense amounts of methane gas are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide, while Trump’s EPA weakens regulations. Visual imagery showed gas, which worsens global warming, seeping out.
  161. Fossil fuel companies contacted the Trump regime in March 2017 and argued for the rollback of methane emissions rules. In March 2018, industry lobbyists rebutted scientific evidence of large fugitive emissions.
  162. In August, the Trump regime proposed a broad rollback, rescinding direct regulations of methane emissions completely, and claiming companies would want to minimize leaks since methane is a valuable resource.
  163. On Wednesday, Trump sent more than 40 tweets and retweets on a variety of subjects, mostly related to impeachment and the DOJ IG report, before 9:30 a.m. ET.
  164. On Wednesday, AP reported Trump and his allies are continuing to work to delegitimize the impeachment inquiry, calling it a “circus” and a “farce,” and insist that Trump did not a single thing wrong.
  165. His allies have glossed over Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, instead stonewalling, using schoolyard tactics and taunts, and mocking and complaining about the process.
  166. Trump ally America First Policies conducted focus groups on independents, and found frustration with Congress and “endless investigations.” The attack strategy is to keep independents skeptical.
  167. On Wednesday, Sinclair Broadcasting said it was dropping Boris Epshteyn and other political analysts as part of a company-wide effort to move away from political commentary in favor of investigative journalism.
  168. Epshteyn’s political commentary had been “must run” across all of Sinclair’s 193 stations, and had been widely criticized. It was unclear what caused the shift ahead of an election year.
  169. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 45% support impeaching and removing Trump, 51% are against it. In late November, 45% supported impeachment and 48% were against it.
  170. On Wednesday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 45% support impeachment, 41% do not. The majority of independents also support impeachment, with 38% support, 35% do no support, and 27% not sure.
  171. The polls also found Trump’s overall approval at 40%, 54% disapprove, and among independents approval is 32%, 62% disapprove. Also, 55% say the country is on the wrong track, 32% say it is on the right track.
  172. On Wednesday, Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying the FBI was justified in opening its 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign, but he could not vindicate the FBI’s former leaders.
  173. Chair Lindsey Graham invoked J. Edgar Hoover, saying, “We can’t write this off as being just about one man or one event,” adding the system went “off-the-rails,” saying the FISA court would have to undergo significant changes.
  174. Ranking member Dianne Feinstein said, “This was not a politically motivated investigation. There is no ‘deep state,’” and defended the FBI’s for looking into alleged election-year wrongdoing as “motivated by facts, not bias.”
  175. Horowitz said the Steele dossier had “no impact” on opening the investigation, adding, “It was not known to the team that opened the investigation at the time they opened it.”
  176. Horowitz said he met with Durham in November to discuss his findings, and said they disagreed over whether the FBI should have opened a preliminary investigation, as opposed to a full investigation.
  177. Preliminary investigations do not allow investigators to seek surveillance warrants, but the FBI did not take that step until three months later. Horowitz said he was “surprised” by Durham’s public statement.
  178. Horowitz said he was “very concerned” about leaks from FBI field offices to Giuliani about the Hillary Clinton email probe, adding, “We are investigating” and have found some that “violated FBI policy.”
  179. Horowitz added, “What’s proving to be very hard is to prove the actual substance of the communications” between agents and reporters and individuals, and said, “We have other investigations ongoing.”
  180. While Horowitz was testifying, Trump tweeted, “They spied on my campaign!” Barr told the WSJ that Horowitz’s report did not go far enough, and the FBI’s handling of the matter was a “travesty.”
  181. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump expects to sign an executive order Wednesday which will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion.
  182. The regime said the order was meant to target anti-Semitism on college campuses, by withholding federal aid to institutions that fail to combat discrimination, citing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
  183. Jewish Americans and organizations, as well as pro-Palestinian organizations, condemned the order, citing a violation of free speech, and Trump’s own role emboldening white nationalism and perpetuating anti-Semitism.
  184. On Tuesday, a shooting spree occurred at a kosher marker in Jersey City, New Jersey, killing a police officer and three others. The suspects, who were part of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a hate group, were also killed.
  185. On Wednesday, Jared Kushner clarified in an op-ed that the order “does not define Jews as a nationality,” rather if Jews are discriminated against, “they are entitled to protection by the anti-discrimination law.”
  186. On Wednesday, Trump signed the order during a Hanukkah reception, saying it would extend the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, to include anti-Semitic “hate.”
  187. Trump also cited the Jersey shooting, saying, “Our thoughts turn to the grieving families in New Jersey,” and “we vow to crush the monstrous evil of anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it appears.”
  188. Joining Trump at the Hanukkah ceremony was evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, who once said Jews were going to hell. Jeffress said in his remarks, Trump is “the most pro-faith president in history.”
  189. Alan Dershowitz was also at the reception, and said in remarks the order “is a game changer,” and “One of the most important events in the 2,000-year battle against anti-Semitism.”
  190. On Wednesday, journalists also noted that the White House, for a second year in a row, canceled the media Christmas Party. Unlike the first time, this year the cancellation was normalized, and got little attention.
  191. On Wednesday, ABC News reported Trump is considering adding Alan Dershowitz to his impeachment legal team. Trump allies have been advocating for Trump to add to his team.
  192. Dershowitz has been in the news in recent months for representing now-deceased Jeffrey Epstein. Also, Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged in courts filings that she was lent out to Dershowitz for sex by Epstein.
  193. On Wednesday, CNN reported that while Trump publicly minimizes impeachment, privately he is somber. Trump takes impeachment seriously and does not want to be stained like Clinton who he referenced frequently.
  194. Aides say while Trump has been preparing to be impeached “for some time,” he was surprised by what did it, “Frankly, I think he’s a little surprised it’s the Ukraine thing that’s done it.”
  195. On Wednesday, Chair Schiff submitted additional classified information shared by Pence aide Jennifer Williams to Nadler ahead of the House Judiciary Committee debating articles of impeachment Wednesday night.
  196. On Wednesday, Pence again rejected requests from Schiff to declassify content of his call with Zelensky, saying in a letter the request, “coming after the completion of your report, serves no legitimate” purpose.
  197. Pence’s lawyer also rebuked Williams, saying “the contents of a classified call with a foreign head of state should never have been discussed in an unclassified committee hearing or an unclassified deposition.”
  198. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported federal prosecutors said in a filing that Lev Parnas received $1 million from Russia in September that he tried to conceal. The payment was made to his wife, Svetlana Parnas.
  199. Prosecutors said the undisclosed payment was “used on personal expenses and to purchase a home.” The payment raised new questions about the nature of Parnas and Igor Fruman’s work, and who they were working for.
  200. Prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Parnas’ bail, saying he “poses an extreme risk of flight, and that risk of flight is only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations.”
  201. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee began debate on the two articles of impeachment at 7 p.m. ET. Trump is the fourth president in U.S. history to face the prospect of impeachment while in office.
  202. Nadler said, “When his time has passed, when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns, as surely it will…history will look back on our actions here today. How would you be remembered?”
  203. Ranking members Doug Collins, screaming, railed against the Democrats for not allowing the Republicans to hold a minority hearing, and said Democrats are “tearing down a world leader” and calling Zelensky “a liar.”
  204. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said many of her constituents fled dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela, viewing the U.S. as a “beacon of freedom,” while “even the most powerful are held to account.”
  205. On Thursday, the House Judiciary continued the debate for more than 14 hours, before Chair Nadler ended at 11:15 p.m., saying, “It has been a long two days of consideration of these articles, and it is now very late at night.”
  206. During the Thursday debate, Republican screamed irate complaints about the process, complaining about their inability to take the lead or call their witnesses, and claiming it was the “death knell for minority rights.”
  207. Republicans frequently interrupted with tirades to propose amendments or parliamentary points of order, and demand roll call votes. They did not however directly defend Trump’s action or his so-called perfect call with Zelensky.
  208. Democrats and Republicans battled back and forth on a variety of topics, including who had the historic high-ground, with no agreements or consensus on the process or the wrongfulness of Trump’s acts.
  209. In one heated exchange, Rep. Matt Gaetz chided Hunter Biden for a substance abuse problem. Rep. Hank Johnson responded, “The pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do,” referring to Gaetz’s D.U.I.
  210. Collins spoke in a screaming voice throughout, calling the hearing a “kangaroo court,” and at one point abruptly storming out of the hearings, saying Democrats are trying to “knee-cap our democracy.”
  211. Trump watched the debate, live tweeting comments such as, “Dems Veronica Escobar and Jackson Lee purposely misquoted my call,” adding, “They know that but decided to LIE in order to make a fraudulent point! Very sad.”
  212. Rep. Escober responded to Trump by tweeting a greeting to him in Russia, saying, ““Privyet, @realdonaldtrump,” using the Russian word for “hi,” and adding, “No one is above the law, not even you.”
  213. During the debate, Trump spent the day on Twitter, sending more than 100 tweets, including numerous video clips of House Democrats, and claiming an unfair attempt to oust him from office.
  214. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed impeachment “lit up our base,” but Trump’s repeated claims on how impeachment would help Republicans was undermined by recent November elections.
  215. Collins said he would cut off debate in time to permit a vote late Thursday, but when they did, Nadler moved the vote to the morning, saying Trump should face charges in the light of day, not dark of night.
  216. On Thursday, Trump mocked 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg who was named Time’s Person of the Year, tweeting, “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
  217. After Trump’s tweet, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
  218. A few hours after his tweet, Trump’s campaign sent out an altered image of the Time cover with Trump’s head superimposed on Thunberg’s body with the tagline, “power of promises kept.”
  219. Other Trump allies joined in bashing the 16 year-old activist, a week after, led by First Lady Melania, they expressed outrage when Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan invoked Barron Trump’s name.
  220. Later Thursday, Former First Lady Michele Obama defended Thunberg, tweeting, “don’t let anyone dim your light,” adding, “Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”
  221. After Trump’s tweet and Melania’s silence were widely criticized, the White House said Friday, “Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”
  222. On Thursday, former AG under Obama Eric Holder said in an op-ed that Barr is unfit to be attorney general, citing his “words and actions have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution.”
  223. On Thursday, Pelosi told Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve said to many of my friends in the press, ‘You’re accomplices, whether you want to be or not,’ [and they say,] ‘If he’s saying it, then it’s news,’” adding, “it monopolizes the airwaves.”
  224. On Thursday, Pelosi said at her news conference that Democratic leaders are not whipping their members on impeachment, saying we do not “whip something like this. People have to come to their own conclusions.”
  225. Pelosi said, “The facts are clear — irrefutable, in fact.” When asked why bribery was not included as an article, she said she is not a lawyer and “the articles are what they are. They’re very powerful, they’re very strong.”
  226. On Wednesday, a Richland judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the South Carolina Republican Party’s decision not to hold a primary in 2020. Former GOP SC Gov. Mark Sanford suspended his campaign last month.
  227. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump is considering sitting out the 2020 general election debates, claiming he does not trust the Commission on Presidential Debates, a non-profit that sponsors the debates.
  228. On Thursday, Trump ally Mike Huckabee teased about an appearance on “Hannity,” tweeting he will explain how Trump “will be eligible for a 3rd term due to the illegal attempts by Comey, Dems, and media , et al.”
  229. On Thursday, former Gov. Bill Weld said as many as six Republican senators are privately supporting impeachment. Weld also said House Republicans will “regret” their decision not to support impeachment.
  230. On Thursday, Reuters reported the Trump campaign is countering impeachment by ramping up Facebook ads, running more than 2,500 ads citing “impeach” or “impeachment” in the week through December 5.
  231. On Thursday, the DOJ released internal Office of Legal Counsel memos sought by House Democrats, some dating back to the Nixon administration, used to justify their immunity claims.
  232. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell told Fox News Host Sean Hannity, he will be in “total coordination” with the White House on impeachment strategy, and “There will be no difference” between Trump’s position and our position.
  233. McConnell met with Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, and Eric Ueland, White House congressional liaison, earlier Thursday. He told Hannity, “Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel.”
  234. McConnell’s comments were remarkable: according to the Constitution, the rules for an impeachment trial of the President of the United States require the Senate to take an oath to act as impartial jurors.
  235. Late Thursday, the Trump regime released heavily redacted communications between government agencies on withholding aid to Ukraine, following a FOIA request by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).
  236. An official from CPI said, “Every substantive exchange between officials at the agencies was blacked out. Public Integrity is planning to file a motion Friday challenging the government’s response.”
  237. The Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget are required to turn over all documents from April onward related to withholding aid. More documents are required to be released by December 20.
  238. On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won in a landslide, handing the Labour Party its worst showing in more than 80 years. Johnson will now push forward with Brexit in January.
  239. On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement if impeachment comes to the Senate, “every single senator will take an oath to render ‘impartial justice,’” calling for a “fair and honest trial.”
  240. On Friday, after fiery debate Wednesday evening and all day Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee voted on the two articles of impeachment at 10 a.m. Unlike the debate, the vote was somber and without interruption.
  241. In the hours leading up to the vote, Trump continued his Twitter tirade starting at 6:51 a.m. saying, “The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday,” and calling them “Republican warriors.”
  242. Trump also tweeted, “the Dems have no case at all,” and “had no answers and wanted out!” Trump also falsely claimed, “My Approval Rating in the Republican Party is 95%, a Record. Thank you! #2020Election”
  243. Trump also falsely claimed, “Poll numbers have gone through the roof in favor of No Impeachment, especially with Swing States and Independents in Swing States,” calling it a “total Hoax” and a “scam.”
  244. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats have become the Party of lies and deception!” while “The Republican Party is more united now than at any time in its history — by far!”
  245. Trump also tweeted, “Congratulations to @foxandfriends on being named, BY FAR, the Number One Rated cable news show” and “CNN and MSNBC have totally tanked, their ratings are terrible. They have zero credibility!”
  246. The House took back-to-back votes on the two articles of impeachment, with votes falling along party lines, 23-17. The full House is expected to vote on the articles of impeachment next Wednesday.
  247. Nadler said, “Today is a solemn and sad day,” adding, “For the third time in a little over a century and half,” the committee had voted articles of impeachment against a sitting president.
  248. As of late Friday, only one Democrat, Jeff Van Drew, indicated he would vote no on impeachment. The count stood at 166 for, 159 against and 106 still undecided or no response according to a count by the NYT.
  249. Shortly before the vote, Giuliani was spotted at the White House. Giuliani said he wanted to brief U.S. officials on what he learned on his Ukraine trip. It was not clear if he met with Trump.
  250. Giuliani also tweeted, “The American people have already made up their mind on this #ImpeachmentScam,” adding, “This is a SMOKESCREEN for the Obama-Biden administration’s corruption. It will soon be proven.”
  251. On Friday, WSJ reported that last Saturday Trump called Giuliani as his airplane was still taxiing down the runway in Kyiv, asking, “What did you get?” Giuliani responded, “More than you can imagine.”
  252. Giuliani said when he returned, Trump instructed him to brief Barr and GOP lawmakers. Shortly after, Trump told reporters Giuliani would deliver a report to the DOJ and Congress, saying, “I hear he has found plenty.”
  253. During his trip to Ukraine, Giuliani met with a member of Ukraine’s parliament to discuss the creation of a group called “Friends of Ukraine STOP Corruption.”
  254. Several of Giuliani’s friends have urged him to lie low during the congressional and federal investigations. He texted on his trip, “Just having fun while Dems and friends try to destroy my brilliant career.”
  255. Shortly after the vote, Trump spoke to reporters during an Oval Office visit with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez, saying, “It’s a very sad thing for our country, but it seems to be very good for me politically.”
  256. Trump called impeachment a “witch hunt,” “hoax” and “sham,” saying his July 25 call with Zelensky was “perfect,” and adding, “To use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country.”
  257. Trump said, “My poll numbers, as you know, have gone through the roof.” This is false. Trump’s approval numbers have stayed the same. Support of impeachment surged at the beginning of the inquiry, then remained flat.
  258. Trump also said, “I’ll do long or short. I’ve heard Mitch, I’ve heard Lindsey [Graham], I think they are very much in agreement on some concept,” adding, “I’ll do whatever they want to do. It doesn’t matter.”
  259. Trump also said, “I wouldn’t mind the long process, because I’d like to see the whistleblower, who’s a fraud,” and threatened someday there will be Democratic president with a GOP House and they will “remember it.”
  260. On Friday, NYT reported Zelensky is eager to repair Ukraine’s relationship with the U.S. He has met with lobbyists to the Trump regime, hoping to open new channels of communications and re-establish ties.
  261. Zelensky’s team was discouraged by the absence of support ahead of his meeting with Putin, and frustrated about Trump’s meeting with Lavrov. When Giuliani came to Kyiv, no Ukrainian government official met with him.
  262. On Friday, CNN reported the White House has further restricted the number of officials who listen in to Trump’s calls with foreign leaders after the July 25 call led to the impeachment inquiry.
  263. The White House is also disseminating call transcripts to a much smaller group of people. Senior officials are looking to protect Trump, whose calls sometimes veer off into unguarded or undiplomatic territory.
  264. One official jokingly called the change, “The Vindman Rule.” On Friday, speaking to reporters, Trump referred in a mocking voice to “lieutenant colonel” Vindman, calling him a “beauty.”
  265. On Friday, the Supreme Court said it will take up the case of whether Trump must turn over his financial information to three congressional committees and the Manhattan District Attorney.
  266. The case will be heard in March, with a ruling before the court session ends in June — putting the landmark ruling likely coming in the months ahead of the November election.
  267. Pelosi signaled disappointment that the court took the case, citing further delays in Democrats’ investigation of Trump’s finances, saying the materials are “related to Congress’s need for legislation and oversight.”
  268. The historic case will test the Constitution’s separation-of-powers, and will mark the first time the president’s personal conduct has come before the court.
  269. A third case by the House Oversight Committee seeking 10 years of financial records from Trump, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka from Deutsche Bank and Capital One is still proceeding in the 2nd Circuit.
  270. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “It’s not fair that I’m being Impeached when I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong!” saying Democrats “have become the Party of Hate,” and “They are so bad for our Country!”
  271. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “After watching the disgraceful way that a wonderful man, @BrettKavanaugh, was treated,” and the “whole Impeachment Hoax,” “so many Dems are voting Republican!”
  272. On Friday, NYT reported Cipollone is expected to represent Trump at the Senate trial, along with outside lawyers. However, Trump has noted his lack of TV experience, and is asking people are who his lawyer should be.
  273. As the Trump regime prepares, talks over the weekend will focus on how long the trial will last, how much time each side will get, whether witnesses will be called, who will get to speak, and where they will sit.
  274. Trump continued to push for witnesses, including Hunter Biden, Pelosi, and Schiff. The Senate has specific rules for trials, revised in 1986. The Senate must take up impeachment 1 p.m. the day after the House vote.
  275. Resolutions may pass with a simple majority of 51 votes. Meaning with the Senate split 53 to 47, if four Republicans defect, McConnell could lose control of the proceedings, and can only lose 2 votes to pass resolutions.
  276. Unlike the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, where Trent Lott and Tom Daschle issued a joint statement after the House voted on articles, McConnell has yet to consult with Schumer on the parameters of the trial.
  277. On Friday, Reuters reported Trump ally Erik Prince held secret talks with top Venezuelan officials, including Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who is under U.S. sanctions, raising questions of whether Prince violated the law.
  278. On Friday, a Wisconsin judge ordered the purge of 234,000 voters who may have moved. The Wisconsin Elections Commission planned to remove them in 2021 if no response, his order would be before the 2020 election.
  279. On Saturday, Trump continued his Twitter storm, saying without evidence voters are turning on Democrats. Trump quoted a Congressman, tweeting, “Independent voters are fed up and frustrated with the Democrats.”
  280. Trump also quoted an advisory member to his campaign, tweeting, “There are 31 House Democrats in Trump won Congressional Districts. Those Dems will have to answer to their constituents come 2020.”
  281. Trump also retweeted a tweet by Donald Jr. targeting a list of moderate Democrats: “Enough! These Democrats in Trump districts said they were with @realDonaldTrump. They lied!”
  282. On Saturday, at the Army-Navy football game which Trump attended, cadets were shown in a viral video flashing the “OK” White Power symbol, a hand signal that has been adopted by white supremacists.
  283. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump met with the one Democrat planning to vote against impeachment so far, Jeff Van Drew, to speak about him changing his party. Van Drew was behind in his New Jersey primary race.
  284. On Saturday, as the week came to a close, an average of polls on impeachment by website FiveThirtyEight, found that 47.7% of Americans do support, and 45.7% do not support impeachment.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaks to the media following a House Judiciary Committee vote on the articles of impeachment against Trump, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.