W

December 21, 2019

Week 162

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

In this historic week, Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Unlike his recent predecessors who faced the process, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Trump showed no remorse; rather as the vote was occurring, Trump blasted impeachment and his political opponents in a two-hour meandering speech at a campaign rally in Michigan. Even by his standards, his rhetoric was mean and petty — invoking a deceased Congressman, and suggesting he was watching from hell as his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, voted for impeachment.

Republicans continued to stand by Trump like sycophants. The hubris of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying their minds were made up and the Senate impeachment trial would not be fair, led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold the articles of impeachment, refusing to transmit them before Congress recessed for the holiday break. Reporting continued to expose Trump’s strange ties to Russia, while in plain sight Trump allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin while continuing his frosty relationship with Ukraine.

As Trump continued his war on the so-called deep state, the exodus of senior employees at the Pentagon continued, and morale at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office plummeted. The country felt on edge and divided as Congress and Trump departed, with Pelosi in control of the process, and no clear road ahead. Christianity Today, a mainstream evangelical magazine, called for Trump’s removal in a scathing op-ed, calling him “profoundly immoral.”

  1. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading statements as of December 10, his 1,055th day in office. Trump is averaging 32 per day over the past two months, a new high.
  2. Trump has ramped up the lies while in office: in 2017, he told 1,999 false or misleading claims, in 2018 he told 5,689, and so far in 2019 he has told 7,725 false or misleading claims.
  3. On Monday, PolitiFact announced the 2019 Lie of the Year is Donald Trump’s claim the whistleblower got this Ukraine call “almost completely wrong” — a statement it called “more ridiculous than wrong.”
  4. PolitiFact said it only uses the term lie to describe a “falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative.”
  5. On Saturday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN on impeachment, “I have made up my mind,” and said that Trump’s Senate trial “will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly.”
  6. When pressed about forming an opinion before the trial, Graham responded, “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind,” adding, “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”
  7. On Saturday, Trump attacked Rep. Debbie Dingell, who recently lost her husband, after a Fox News appearance, tweeting last time he spoke to her she thanked “me for granting” funeral service honors for her husband.
  8. Trump also tweeted he watched “her ripping me” in the “Impeachment Hoax,” adding “pathetic!” Dingell tweeted she would work with him on legislation, “but I’ll also work to hold this Administration accountable.”
  9. On Saturday, Trump also attacked Fox News, tweeting it was “hard to believe” the network would be interviewing “sleazebag & totally discredited” James Comey and “corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Fox is trying sooo hard to be politically correct,” yet “Commiecast MSNBC & Fake News CNN…ratings TANK,” saying they will “all die together,” and “Only pro Trump Fox shows do well.”
  11. On Sunday, as Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat who won in a Trump district, but was likely to lose the 2020 Democratic primary, said he may switch parties, Trump tweeted, “heard Jeff is very smart!
  12. Trump, who met with Van Drew last Friday, also tweeted of Van Drew’s no vote on impeachment, “Thank you for your honesty Jeff,” adding, “Democrats know you are right,” but “don’t have the “guts” to say so!”
  13. On Sunday, five of Van Drew’s staffers resigned in a letter, citing his “decision to join the ranks of the Republican party led by Donald Trump,” saying they can “no longer in good conscience continue our service.”
  14. CNN reported a sixth staffer resigned late Sunday. On Monday, NYT reported a seventh staffer resigned. Two Republicans who were planning to run in his district said they would work to defeat him.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Graham told “Face the Nation” that Rudy Giuliani was welcome to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at.”
  16. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” Trump “is openly seeking interference in the 2020 election,” and “he poses a continuing threat” to our national security and our election integrity.
  17. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “This Week,” “It’s a clear and present danger,” adding “and not something we can turn away from because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty.”
  18. On Sunday, a fight broke out as Chair Adam Schiff was about to speak at an event to thank Congress for passing the Armenian genocide resolution. Protesters called Schiff a “liar” and held signs saying, “Don’t Impeach.”
  19. On Sunday, James Comey told “Fox New Sunday” he took responsibility for errors made in the Justice Department Inspector General report, saying, “I was responsible for this,” and “I was overconfident in the procedures.”
  20. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “As bad as the I.G. Report is for the FBI,” and “Horowitz was appointed by Obama,” adding, “tremendous bias and guilt exposed,” and Horowitz has “Big credibility loss. Obama knew everything!”
  21. Trump also suggested Comey should go to jail, tweeting, “So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” adding, “because he got caught red handed,” and, “Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”
  22. On Sunday, Trump also picked up a GOP line that he was asking Zelensky to do the U.S., not him, a personal favor, tweeting, “A PERFECT phone call. “Can you do us (not me. Us is referring to our Country) a favor.””
  23. Trump also quoted Fox New host Jeanine Pirro, tweeting, “There is no bribery, or any crime at all,” and Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk, saying, “The President did nothing wrong here. There is no crime.”
  24. On Sunday, a Fox News poll found 50% say Trump should be impeached and removed, 4% say impeached but not removed, and 41% say Trump should not be impeached — up slightly (49%/4%/41%) from late October.
  25. Trump, who had claimed strong polls and lack of support for impeachment, tweeted, “The @foxnewPolls, always inaccurate, are heavily weighted toward Dems. So ridiculous,” and, “Get a new pollster!”
  26. Trump also tweeted, “Approval Rating in Republican Party = 95%, a Record! Overall Approval Rating = 51%.” This was the 12th time Trump claimed, without citing a poll, his approval with Republicans was 95%.
  27. Trump also tweeted Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said the “Impeachment Hoax” is “lying, corruption and propaganda. Should never be allowed to happen,”” will be on Mark Levin’s show at 8 p.m.
  28. Trump also again attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quoting a tweet of her news conference with the line it “wasn’t true,” adding, “Because Nancy’s teeth were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!”
  29. Trump also tweeted, “Congressional Do Nothing Democrats are being absolutely decimated in their districts on the “Impeachment Hoax,” and “Crazy Nancy is finding defending Shifty Schiff harder than she thought!”
  30. On Sunday, North Korea issued a cryptic threat, saying it will send the U.S. a “Christmas gift.” Saturday, North Korea state media reported “another crucial test” was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite site.
  31. On Monday, Bill Webster, the former director of the FBI and CIA, said in an op-ed that he was “deeply disturbed” by recent comments by Trump about director Christopher Wray, including that Trump could fire him.
  32. Webster also said he was “profoundly disappointed” in his “longtime” friends Rudy Giuliani for his activities, and Attorney General William Barr for his disparagement of members of the FBI.
  33. On Saturday, the Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party said the state’s purge of 234,000 voters last Friday was the “product of a right-wing legal and political strategy to prevent eligible voters from voting.”
  34. The Milwaukee Sentinel found that 55% of the voters purged lived in municipalities that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. In 2016, Trump won by roughly 20,000 votes and Gov. Tony Evers won by less than 30,000 votes.
  35. On Monday, a federal judge in Georgia said he would allow that state’s planned voter roll purge of over 313,000 voters, or 4% of registered voters, but would allow a second hearing to reinstate the voters on Thursday.
  36. Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, filed the emergency request. Voter purges became a hot-button issue in 2018 when Abrams ran against Brian Kemp, who was then secretary of state.
  37. On Friday, AP reported Justin Clark, a top political adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign, told influential Republicans in Wisconsin to expect more aggressive use of Election Day monitoring of polling places.
  38. Clark said, “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” adding, “It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
  39. Clark made the remarks on November 21 at a meeting of the Republican National Lawyers Association. A 20-minute audio of the event was provided to AP by the liberal group American Bridge.
  40. On Sunday, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed calling four witnesses, including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, who knew about the Ukraine aid, in Trump’s Senate trial.
  41. Schumer also proposed Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, an Office of Management and Budget official. The four were subpoenaed by the House. Schumer said he would welcome witnesses with “direct knowledge” of aid.
  42. On Monday, just after midnight, the House Judiciary Committee released a 658-page report, making the case that Trump committed “multiple federal crimes” as part of the first article of impeachment.
  43. The report cited Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud when he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals, and his actions need “not rise to the level of a criminal” to merit impeachment.
  44. The report said Trump’s “conduct here was criminal,” saying his behavior is “both constitutional and criminal in character,” and saying Trump “betrayed the people of this nation” and should be removed from office.
  45. The report, which came the day before the Rules Committee formally considered the articles of impeachment, provided a thorough analysis, starting with Trump “welcoming” Russian interference in 2016.
  46. The report found Trump “has fallen into a pattern of behavior: this is not the first time he has solicited foreign interference in an election, been exposed,” adding, “He will almost certainly continue on this course.”
  47. The report called Trump “the Framers’ worst nightmare,” saying he “abused his power in soliciting and pressuring a vulnerable foreign nation” and endorsed “a debunked conspiracy theory” promoted by Russia.
  48. The report included a 20-page scathing Republican dissent from ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, saying, “The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments.”
  49. On Monday, 30 freshman Democrats pushed for Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party, to be the impeachment manager for Trump’s Senate trial, under the notion he could reach conservative lawmakers.
  50. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job,” and said Democrats are making “life easy for the United Republican Party.” Twitter users mused at the new party, “United Republican Party.”
  51. Trump also tweeted of the 2020 debate, “I look very much forward to debating whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates.”
  52. Trump left an out to possibly skip the debate, claiming without proof “the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers,” and that he “will make a decision at an appropriate time.”
  53. On Monday, six moderate Democrats elected in districts that Trump won backed impeachment. Roughly a dozen moderate Democrats had yet to announce their decision.
  54. On Monday, 750 historians signed a statement saying “Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president.”
  55. By Wednesday, the list had grown to over 1,500 historian signatories calling for Trump’s impeachment, including many high profile names like Pulitzer Prize winners Ron Chernow, Jon Meacham, and Taylor Branch.
  56. On Monday, in a federal court filing, House Democrats told the court lawmakers will continue their impeachment probe after the House vote this week, and regardless of the Senate trial outcome.
  57. The filing also indicated the House Judiciary Committee plans to continue its impeachment investigation arising from the Mueller probe, started earlier this year, which may lead to further articles of impeachment.
  58. The House general counsel also argued the House’s demands for grand jury materials related to the Mueller probe were still urgent, as the documents could become relevant to the Senate trial.
  59. On Tuesday, McConnell rejected Schumer’s request to call witnesses and set parameters for the Senate trial, calling it a “strange request,” and accusing him of trying to “short-circuit” their plans to negotiate the trial.
  60. Schumer replied that McConnell’s direct clear coordination with the White House takes away any chance of bipartisanship. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will attend the GOP Senate lunch on Wednesday.
  61. On Tuesday, McConnell also told reporters, “I’m not an impartial juror,” adding, “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”
  62. Later on a radio show, McConnell said witnesses would cause “mutual assured distraction,” adding, “I think we’ve heard enough. After we’ve heard the arguments, we ought to vote and move on.”
  63. CNN reported McConnell’s remarks infuriated Democrats. Schumer said he was “utterly amazed” McConnell would describe himself as not impartial, and challenged other GOP Senators to pledge to be impartial.
  64. On Tuesday, in an interview with BBC News, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Trump “is not a lawyer,” and said of McConnell not being impartial, “If a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified.”
  65. On Tuesday, all the other House Democrats in districts won by Trump came out for impeachment on both articles, except for Rep. Jared Golden who supported just article one and Rep. Ron Kind who did not declare.
  66. Later Tuesday, the House Rules Committee reached an 11th hour agreement on the rules for the impeachment debate, after a day of partisan bickering, agreeing to permit six hours of floor debate.
  67. The small committee’s hearing was the last chance for Democrats and Republicans to spar over charges before the full House vote.
  68. Rep. Jamie Rasking cited Giuliani’s activities, saying the crime is “in progress, up to this very minute,” while GOP Rep. Tom Cole said. “There’s no way this can and should be viewed as legitimate.”
  69. This marked the first time in history that the Rules Committee, which is traditionally used by the House speaker to set the schedule for the chamber, has ever taken up impeachment.
  70. On Saturday, LA Times reported $20 million of the $250 million Pentagon portion of Ukraine aid has yet to be disbursed, and is sitting in U.S. accounts. One Senate aide said the reason for the holdup was unclear.
  71. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Giuliani shared his Ukraine findings, citing “corruption in 2016 was so extensive it was POTUS’s DUTY to ask” for an investigation, and “Impeachment is part of Dem cover-up.”
  72. Giuliani also claimed according to “Witness Yuri Lutsenko, inheritor of Shokin’s office” that “Amb Yovanovitch perjured herself at least twice,” and “Clear doc proof of money laundering by Burisma & Biden’s.”
  73. Shortly after, Schiff told “This Week” of Giuliani, “the misconduct continues,” saying, “Giuliani went to the White House to brief Trump after his trip to Ukraine,” adding, “This is an ongoing threat to our democracy.”
  74. On Monday, in an interview with The New Yorker done in November, Giuliani said he viewed Marie Yovanovitch as an obstacle to digging up dirt on Joe Biden: “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way.”
  75. Later Monday, on Fox News, Giuliani backtracked, claiming Yovanovitch “was acting corruptly in that position and had to be removed,” saying she had made untrue statement to Congress without offering proof.
  76. Giuliani also told host Laura Ingraham “I didn’t need her out of the way. I forced her out because she’s corrupt,” adding, “She should’ve been fired if the State Department weren’t part of the deep state.”
  77. On Monday, NYT reported Giuliani provided detailed information to Trump about how Yovanovitch was impeding investigations into Trump’s political rivals ahead of 2020, setting off her recall as ambassador.
  78. Trump then connected Giuliani to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information. Within weeks, she was recalled. Giuliani told NYT, “You’d have to ask them [Trump and Pompeo]. But they relied on it.”
  79. On Monday, Trump told reporters Giuliani had not told him much about his recent trip to Ukraine, but said he “knows what he’s doing,” and “he’s a great person who loves our country and he does this out of love.”
  80. On Tuesday, Giuliani told CNN that Trump has been “very supportive” of his continuing efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s behalf in Ukraine, adding he and Trump are “on the same page” and are “on offense.”
  81. On Tuesday, Giuliani tweeted, “Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians,” adding, “She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE,” and “enabled Ukrainian collusion.”
  82. On Wednesday, journalists sharply criticized One America News (OAN) for ethical lapse in giving Giuliani a platform to spread propaganda, as he shared his three-hour documentary on his findings in Ukraine with Trump.
  83. Trump celebrated OAN’s decision to give Giuliani a reporting role, in helping to make his case against impeachment, especially as Trump continues his critiques of Fox News polling and guests when it suits him.
  84. On Thursday, at an event for Turning Point USA in West Palm Beach, Giuliani told conservative college students that Democrats “want to put Barr in prison, and they want to execute me.”
  85. On Saturday, Hallmark Channel pulled a series of ads by Zola featuring two brides kissing at the altar surrounded by friends, saying they “are deemed controversial,” after being a targeted campaign by a conservative group.
  86. On Sunday, after widespread condemnation, Hallmark Channel apologized and reinstated the ads, saying, “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” and said it would work with GLAAD.
  87. On Monday, West Point opened an administrative investigation “into the facts, circumstances, and intent of the Cadets in question,” who made an “OK” hand symbol during last Saturday’s Army-Navy football game.
  88. On Monday, LA Times reported under an agreement signed on September 25, the Trump regime is preparing to send immigrants seeking asylum to Honduras, even if they are not from that Central American country.
  89. The agreement, signed by Kevin McAleenan, then acting secretary of Homeland Security, and Honduras’ foreign minister, will effectively end the immigrants chances of finding asylum in the U.S.
  90. The regime has already started to send immigrants to Guatemala under an agreement that took effect on November 22, including a number of Honduran adults.
  91. On Friday, WAPO reported under a secret plan by Stephen Miller, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were embedded within government shelters that cares for unaccompanied migrant children.
  92. The agents collected fingerprints and other biometric information from adults seeking to claim the children. If the adults are deemed ineligible to take custody, ICE could use their information to arrest or deport them.
  93. Miller’s plan appeared to circumvent laws that restrict the use of refugee programs for deportation enforcement, as Congress had made clear it does not want sponsors to be scared away by the threat of deportation.
  94. After the Trump regime tried similar action in 2018, language was added to a 2019 funding bill specifically prohibited the Department of Health and Human Services from using child sponsor data. Miller’s plan circumvented HHS by using ICE agents.
  95. On Friday, NBC News reported an Iowa woman, Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, 42, has been charged with attempted murder after telling police she “intentionally” drove over a 14 year-old girl because she was Hispanic.
  96. On Saturday, 25 Jewish lawmakers called on Trump to fire Stephen Miller, saying, “His documentation of white nationalist and virulently anti-immigrant tropes is wholly unacceptable and disqualifying.”
  97. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed Michael Flynn’s motion to find prosecutors in contempt, saying there was no basis for his allegations that federal law enforcement entrapped him into a plea deal.
  98. The judge found Flynn told the same lies to the FBI, Pence, and senior White House officials, who repeated them publicly, leading to his firing in February 2017. Flynn will be sentenced on January 28.
  99. On Tuesday, Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch appeared on “Fox & Friends” to discuss his new book. Ironically, Gorsuch discussed American’s lack of knowledge of basic civics on a show that frequently distorts the truth.
  100. Gorsuch, who is meant to be a nonpartisan judge, opened his appearance on a hyper-partisan show, saying “Merry Christmas,” drawing a back and forth between Senators over the appropriateness of his statement.
  101. On Tuesday, Politico reported the Department of Transportation Inspector General found that Kentucky’s largest transportation grant under Trump benefited from Sec. Elaine Chao’s team input.
  102. A $67.4 million application for Boone County, a suburban district key to McConnell’s re-election, was granted despite the application initially be flagged as incomplete, while 55 other incompletes fell out of the running.
  103. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump intervened to slash Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico in a larger government spending deal unveiled this week. Trump has called the island “one of the most corrupt places on Earth”
  104. Bipartisan lawmakers on two key congressional committees had endorsed $12 billion for Puerto Rico over four years. Trump cut the allocation to $5.7 billion over two years.
  105. On Tuesday, NBC News reported William Taylor, who testified in the impeachment inquiry and who Trump called a “Never Trumper,” was recalled as acting ambassador to Ukraine as of January 1.
  106. On Tuesday, Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, excoriated Secretary of State Pompeo for “unceremoniously recalling” Taylor, a key impeachment witness.
  107. Menendez accused Pompeo in a letter of furthering Trump’s “inappropriate and unacceptable linking of U.S. policy to Ukraine to his personal and political benefit, and potentially your own.”
  108. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Taylor will hand over his duties days before Pompeo is set to visit Kyiv in January, so that Pompeo will avoid being photographed with him and raising Trump’s ire.
  109. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled Lev Parnas can remain free on bail, despite concealing a $1 million payment from a Russian bank account, saying he did not believe Parnas was being intentionally untruthful.
  110. An attorney for Parnas told NBC News that the payment in September came from Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch linked to Paul Manafort, who also has been linked to Russian organized crime.
  111. On Tuesday, Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years’ probation after federal prosecutors said he provided “extraordinary assistance.”
  112. The judge also fined Gates $20,000 although his lawyer said Gates is broke. Gates spent more than 500 hours with prosecutors and lawyers, and testified in the trials of Manafort, Roger Stone, and Greg Craig.
  113. On Tuesday, in a public order, Rosemary Collyer, the presiding judge over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, gave the FBI a January 10 deadline to come up with a proposal to address the DOJ IG report.
  114. On Tuesday, BBC reported the Trump regime is rejecting the House and Senate vote on recognizing Armenian genocide, siding with Turkey. The State Department said the regime’s position “has not changed.”
  115. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump ally Peter Thiel, a board member of Facebook, is at the center of the company’s decision to allow political ads without fact-checking for content.
  116. On Wednesday, The Hill reported principal deputy undersecretary of Defense Kari Bingen, the number two intelligence official in DoD, resigned, the fourth senior Pentagon official to resign in recent weeks.
  117. In addition to the four vacancies, six of the 21 deputy assistant secretary of Defense policy jobs remain unfilled, and several are filled by acting officials, including chief management officer and comptroller.
  118. Later Wednesday, The Hill reported Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, a longtime State Department official, resigned, becoming the fifth senior Pentagon official. Kaidanow started her position in September 2018.
  119. On Wednesday, CNN reported results in the annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” showed morale in the Secretary Pompeo’s office dropped substantially in 2019, declining nine points from the prior year.
  120. Staffers in Pompeo’s office rated it poorly for effective leadership, teamwork, work-life balance, and pay, placing it at the bottom rank for agencies. The State Department overall improved by 0.6 points.
  121. On Wednesday, Roll Call reported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review whether Donald Jr. illegally killed a rare sheep during an August trip to Mongolia, following a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity.
  122. On Wednesday, a New York judge threw out state fraud charges against Paul Manafort, dealing a setback to the Manhattan DA’s effort to make sure Manafort would still face charges if Trump pardons him for federal crimes.
  123. Manafort’s attorney argued the state charges covered conduct that he had already been charged for. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said he would appeal the ruling.
  124. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court struck down a central provision in the Affordable Care Act, saying requiring people to have health insurance is unconstitutional, and will send the case back to the Texas court.
  125. On Friday, a federal judge agreed to delay sentencing for Roger Stone by two weeks to February 20, because of a slowdown in compiling financial paperwork required by federal probation officials.
  126. On Tuesday, on the eve of impeachment, Trump sent House Speaker Pelosi a scathing six-page letter, which read like a string of his tweets, calling impeachment a “partisan impeachment crusade” and an “attempted coup.”
  127. In his rambling letter, Trump said he was expressing his “strongest and most powerful protest,” saying, “this impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” by Democrats.
  128. Trump also accused Pelosi of “breaking your allegiance to the Constitution” and “declaring open war on American Democracy” in pursuit of “this election-nullification scheme.”
  129. Trump said, “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” and, “You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.”
  130. Trump also cited lies and conspiracy theories, about his “perfect” calls, referring to the Steele dossier “as illegally purchased from a foreign spy by Hillary Clinton” and “the use of spies against my campaign.”
  131. Trump also repeated a refrain used by Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying, “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” and that “history will judge you harshly” for the “impeachment charade.”
  132. CNN fact-checked Trump’s letter, and found it included numerous false claims and conspiracy theories that have been debunked, as well as new claims that were false, misleading, or lacked content.
  133. Later Tuesday, when asked about Trump’s letter, Pelosi told a reporter, “It’s ridiculous,” adding, “We’ve been working…I’ve seen the essence of it, though, and it’s really sick.”
  134. Later Tuesday, NYT noted the letter, signed with a Sharpie, revealed how angry Trump has become over becoming the third president in history to be impeached. Aides say he wanted to get some things off his chest.
  135. While the White House tried to focus Trump on his accomplishments, the letter cast his record in the context of his victimhood, saying to Pelosi, “It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
  136. White House counsel Pat Cipollone was not involved in drafting the letter. Other Trump aides helped, including Eric Ueland, director of Legislative Affairs, Stephen Miller, and Michael Williams, adviser to Mulvaney.
  137. On Tuesday, Chair Schiff said in a letter that Vice President Mike Pence’s unwillingness to declassify his September 18 call “raises profound questions about your knowledge” of Trump scheme to solicit Ukraine’s interference.
  138. Schiff said, “Your unwillingness to declassify the Supplemental Submission raises the serious question” about whether Pence is obstructing the House “not just to protect President Trump, but yourself as well.”
  139. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Russia’s state TV has celebrated foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the White House. Rossiya 1 referred to Trump as an ‘agent’ in a segment, titled “Puppet Master and ‘Agent.’”
  140. The first deputy director general of Russia news agency ITAR-TASS said, “Sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power,” and joked about offering Trump asylum in Russia.
  141. On Wednesday, a new poll by Gallup found Trump’s approval inched up to 45% in December, his third monthly increase, while 51% disapprove (net -6). In November, Trump’s approval was 43%, 54% disapprove (-11).
  142. Gallup also found support for impeachment dropped. Support for impeach and remove was 46%, 51% against, down from 50% support, 48% against in November.
  143. On Wednesday, a new poll by Economist/YouGov found 50% of registered voters were for impeach and remove, 43% were against it.
  144. On Wednesday, the day of his impeachment, Trump tweeted to his followers, “Say a PRAYER!” adding he will be impeached “by the Radical Left,” and, “AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing.”
  145. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade tweeting, “My hope is that impeachment will never become this trivial again,” and adding, “Well said Brian!”
  146. Trump also quoted Rep. Doug Collins on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “They just wanted to get at the President. They had no intention of having a proper investigation,” adding, “They couldn’t find any crimes.”
  147. Trump also quoted Collins, tweeting, “It’s sad. Here’s a gentleman who came to the White House and all they had was [sic] never to let him have an easy breath,” adding, “All they wanted to do is impeach him.”
  148. Trump also tweeted Pelosi “will go down in history as the worst Speaker,” quoting a tweeted by Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett about Pelosi saying she did not read Trump’s letter, and adding, “Already thrown out once!”
  149. Just after Noon, Trump tweeted, “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
  150. On Wednesday, Pelosi opened the final House debate on impeachment, calling on members to stand up to “lawlessness and tyranny,” and saying, “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.”
  151. Pelosi said, “he gave us no choice,” adding, “For centuries, Americans have fought and died to defend democracy for the people,” and “our founders’ vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House.”
  152. Pelosi said Trump “is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections,” adding when history is written, I want to show them I was among the House “who stood up to lawlessness and tyranny.”
  153. Rep. Doug Collins rebutted, “There’s no bribery, no extortion, no wire fraud, no obstruction of justice anywhere in these articles.” The vote was expected to take place at 7 p.m. that night.
  154. Democrats characterized impeachment as urgent, with Chair Schiff saying, “The president and his men plot on,” adding, “The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is at peril.”
  155. House Republicans compared impeachment to Jesus’s crucifixion, with Rep. Barry Loudermilk saying, “Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers,” and Rep. Mike Kelly compared it to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
  156. Rep. John Lewis said, “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something,” adding our children and grandchildren will ask what we did and said.
  157. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said, “Those who vote ‘yes’ on today’s articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt for as long as they serve in Congress — which won’t be long.”
  158. Ally Rep. Devin Nunes said, “The Ukraine hoax was based on a supposed whistleblower who colluded beforehand with the Democrats,” and, “It’s not easy to make a coup attempt boring, but the Democrats found a way.
  159. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said, “What we are doing here today is not only patriotic, it is uniquely American. America is a story of ordinary people confronting abuses of power with a steadfast pursuit of justice.”
  160. During the debate, WAPO reported some House Democrats pushed Pelosi to withhold impeachment articles while continuing to gather evidence, citing concerns of whether there would be a fair trial in the Senate.
  161. Notable during the debate was the lack of Republican diversity: of the 197 House members, 90% were white and 92% were men. For House Democrats, of the 233, just 50% were white and 60% were men.
  162. On Wednesday, Pence said in an interview with ABC News that “we may” release the call transcript, adding, “But the fact that after his sham investigation is over, Adam Schiff is now asking for more information.”
  163. As the House debate continued, Pence called what was happening a “disgrace.” When asked if Trump’s call was “perfect,” Pence responded, “I think the president did nothing wrong.”
  164. On Wednesday, CNN reported Trump is hoping to move quickly to and through a Senate trial, asking Sen. Graham of Democrats, “What are they doing?” on withholding articles. Graham said, “I don’t know.”
  165. Late Wednesday, after over 11 hours of fiery debate, the House voted to impeach Trump on two articles. Trump is the first president to face a possible Senate impeachment trial in the year of his re-election.
  166. Hours before the vote, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Americans split on impeachment, with 48% for impeachment and removal, and 48% against it, down slightly from 49%/46% in late October.
  167. The House first voted on the article charging abuse of power at 8:30 p.m. which was approved 230 to 197, then for the article of obstruction of Congress which passed 229 to 198.
  168. After the vote, Pelosi warned her members not to celebrate — no applause, no cheers — by raising one hand and giving a stern look, while banging the gavel with the other.
  169. Every Republican voted against both articles. Two Democrats voted against both articles, including Van Drew. Rep. Jared Golden voted yes only to abuse of power. Rep. Justin Amash voted for both articles.
  170. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate for president in 2020, was the sole House member to vote ‘present,’ saying she “could not in good conscience vote against impeachment” or for a “partisan process.”
  171. On Wednesday evening, after the impeachment vote, Pelosi threatened to delay the Senate impeachment trial, citing concerns about an unfair trial, telling reporters, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
  172. As the impeachment vote was taking place, Trump held a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. Some television networks showed a split-screen or cut back and forth while the two articles were voted on.
  173. Although the White House had tried to portray an image of Trump in high spirits, during the two-hour meandering speech, Trump was red-faced, sweat beading on his upper lip, and slurred his words at times.
  174. Trump told supporters as he started, “By the way, it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” adding, “We did nothing wrong…and we have tremendous support in the Republican Party like we’ve never had before.”
  175. Trump added, “After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams,” Democrats are “trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans,” calling it “a suicide march for the Democratic Party.”
  176. Trump was mostly mean and petty. He mused that Bill Clinton called his wife, Hillary, “Crooked” and mimicked him telling her to visit swing states in 2016, “You horrible human being, you better start listening to me.”
  177. As he had done at a rally two weeks ago when a woman protested at his rally, Trump paused to single her out to his supporters, calling her a “slob” and “disgusting person,” saying police were too gentle in escorting her out.
  178. Trump invoked his son Barron, who in Week 160 First Lady Melania and other Republicans complained was off limits, saying if Barron did a rally in Manhattan he could get more attendees than “Crazy Pocahontas.”
  179. Trump attacked Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) for voting for impeachment, calling her “a longtime nothing much” and saying she should return his donations, and said of Schumer (NY), “He used to kiss my ass.”
  180. Trump again disparaged Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, calling her a “real beauty” for voting for impeachment, and noting he gave her family “an “A-plus” memorial” after the death of her husband.
  181. Trump added her deceased husband, Rep. John Dingell, must be “thrilled” looking down from heaven, then mused “maybe he’s looking up.” Trump’s comment drew moans from the Michigan crowd.
  182. Trump also yelled about light bulbs, saying “So we’re bringing back the old light bulb. It sounds like a little, but it’s big stuff,” and mused about toilets, but said if he said the word out loud the press would have a field day.
  183. Shortly after, Dingell tweeted to Trump, “I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”
  184. Several Republicans called on Trump to apologize to Dingell, including two members of the House from Michigan and Graham. Meghan McCain, daughter of John who Trump also insulted, called his comment “horrific.”
  185. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that unlike Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton when they faced impeachment, Trump shows no remorse, rather slamming his opponents and urged his supporters to wage battle.
  186. Also unlike Nixon and Clinton, both sides are dug in and the process has not moved their positions. There is a high level of rhetoric and anger. Trump’s constant misdeeds have taken away the power of shock.
  187. During Nixon and Clinton’s impeachments Americans were glued to their TVs, but Trump has managed to distract. A WAPO-ABC poll found that 62% were closely watching Trump’s impeachment, versus 82% for Clinton.
  188. On Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s comments about Dingell on “Good Morning America,” saying he “is a counter-puncher,” adding, “He was just riffing.”
  189. On Thursday, 20 Republicans lined up on the House floor to offer Dingell their support, including Conference Chair Liz Cheney. Others apologized, but Dingell said they had no reason to since they did not say the words.
  190. On Thursday, in an emotional interview with CNN, Rep. Dingell said Trump’s claim about granting funeral accommodations were not even true, adding, “My family’s still hurting. … We’re a family grieving.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump sent a flurry of early morning tweets, saying “100% Republican Vote. That’s what people are talking about. The Republicans are united like never before!” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  192. Trump also lashed out at a possible delay, tweeting, ““The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!”
  193. Trump also tweeted he got impeached “without one Republican vote” in “the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” saying, “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them.”
  194. On Thursday, a Trump campaign Twitter account, and accounts of other Trump allies, tweeted a video of House Majority Whip James Clyburn on CNN, claiming he called for Trump to be hanged. This was untrue.
  195. On Thursday, Democratic Senators tweeted photos of a stack of over 200 House-passed bills, 90% of bipartisan, which were “dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk,” saying McConnell, not impeachment, held up progress.
  196. On Thursday, McConnell blasted the House impeachment effort on the Senate floor in a 30 minute speech, calling it “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair” in modern history.”
  197. McConnell attacked Pelosi for being noncommittal on transmitting the articles of impeachment: “Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate.”
  198. Schumer spoke next, saying, “Can none of the President’s men come defend him under oath?” addressing his GOP colleagues, saying, “Democrats want a fair trial that examines the relevant facts.”
  199. Schumer added, “We want a fair trial. The message from Leader McConnell, at the moment, is that he has no intention of conducting a fair trial, no intention of acting impartially, no intention of getting the facts.”
  200. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi told reporters she is waiting on naming impeachment managers, saying, “The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate.”
  201. Pelosi added there needs to be a “fair process” before she sends the article of impeachment to the Senate, adding, “we’re ready.” Schumer and Pelosi met in the morning, and he told reporters, “We’re on the same page.”
  202. When asked what how she would respond to Republican criticism for holding on to the articles, Pelosi told reporters, “Frankly I don’t care, what [Republicans] have to say.”
  203. Pelosi also chided McConnell, saying our founders suspected “there could be a rogue president,” adding, “I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president, and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”
  204. Shortly after, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News that the White House is continuing to work with McConnell “to figure out the best way to move forward” on the impeachment trial.
  205. Shortly after, McConnell and Schumer held their first face-to-face meeting in a room off the Senate floor for 20 minutes to discuss the impeachment trial, but failed to produce any tangible results.
  206. After, McConnell told reporters, “We remain at an impasse,” and said the Senate would return to session on January 3. Senators and aides were pessimistic on an agreement given the two’s frosty relationship.
  207. Later, Trump tweeted, “Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate,” calling it a “SCAM,” and saying, “The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!”
  208. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump now bears the indelible mark of impeachment, perhaps his first time being held accountable despite the myriad of offenses committed during his time in office.
  209. On Thursday, Rep. Van Drew sat alongside Trump in the Oval Office to announce he was changing party affiliation and pledging his “undying support” to Trump.
  210. Trump told reporters, “I don’t feel like I’m being impeached because it’s a hoax, it’s a setup.” When asked how he feels about being impeached, he said, “It’s a horrible thing they did.”
  211. On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, became the 24th House Republican to retire in 2020. An ally of Trump, Meadows said he is open to a position in the regime.
  212. On Thursday, Putin defended Trump at his annual news conference in Moscow, saying he was impeached for “made-up reasons,” calling it “an internal political struggle, with the party that lost the election.”
  213. On Thursday, in an op-ed, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in the House Judiciary hearings, argued impeachment happens only when the House transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
  214. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Trump’s lawyers may argue that Trump was not impeached because Pelosi did not transmit the articles, saying the Senate would already have jurisdiction if Trump was impeached.
  215. On Thursday, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe said he disagreed with Feldman, saying, “under Art. I, Sec. 2, Clause 5, he was impeached on Dec 18, 2019. He will forever remain impeached. Period.”
  216. On Friday, Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland told CBS News that Trump “is completely baffled at the theory” Pelosi is holding back impeachment articles to “leverage some sort of specific behavior out of the Senate.”
  217. Ueland and white house counsel Pat Cipollone toured the Senate floor, which would serve as a courtroom, and checked out support spaces. They were also introduced to people who are there when the Senate is in session.
  218. On Thursday, WAPO reported that White House officials feared Putin influenced Trump’s view on Ukraine and 2016 election, and that his resistance to believing U.S. intelligence comes from this connection.
  219. Trump first heard the theory from Paul Manafort who suggested Ukraine may have hacked the DNC in the summer of 2016, not Russia. Gates said Manafort “parroted a narrative” advanced by Konstantin Kilimnik.
  220. When Trump took office, he believed Ukraine tried to stop him from winning in 2016. When he privately met Putin in July 2017 at the G20 summit Trump become more insistent that Ukraine worked to defeat him.
  221. Senior officials said chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all tried to caution Trump not to rely on Putin’s word. Trump spent hours with Putin at the G20.
  222. After the G20, Kelly also had Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and deputy Sue Gordon brief Trump that Russia interfered, not Ukraine.
  223. Trump did not believe U.S. intelligence. One former senior White House official claimed Trump said “Putin told me.” Allegations about Ukraine have also been promoted by fringe right-wing journalists and Giuliani.
  224. Starting in April 2017, Trump started pushing a false narrative that CrowdStrike, a computer security company the DNC hired to investigate the breach, was based in Ukraine. He pushed this on his July 25 call.
  225. Although senior U.S. officials, including the director of the FBI say there is no evidence, top GOP lawmaker who are defending Trump in the impeachment probe have also called for investigations of Ukraine.
  226. On Thursday, NYT reported prosecutor John Durham is scrutinizing former CIA director John Brennan’s role in how the intelligence accessed Russian interference, and has requested Brennan’s emails and call logs.
  227. Durham said he is looking into what Brennan told officials, including former FBI director James Comey about his and the CIA’s view on the Steele dossier, and to see how it compares to his public 2017 testimony.
  228. Durham has also been examining any internal debate within the CIA on whether Putin ordered Russian interference, a question of interest to Attorney General Barr. A CIA informant within the Kremlin was a key source for the finding.
  229. Durham’s pursuit of Brennan again raises concerns that Trump is using the DOJ to go after his enemies. Trump has frequently publicly attacked Brennan for being part of the Obama era “deep state” targeting him.
  230. On Friday, 11 members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Barr, demanding he and Durham resign, saying Barr pushed “conspiracy theories,” and Durham’s work is “nothing but a sham.”
  231. The letter cited the two “inappropriately interfered in independent Department of Justice investigations and intentionally used your positions to mislead the American public in defense of President Donald J. Trump.”
  232. On Friday, in the first post-impeachment poll, Morning Consult found 51% of registered voters support impeachment and removal, 42% are against it.
  233. The poll also found most voters want more witnesses in Trump’s impeachment: 54% say the Senate should call witnesses in the trial, 27% say they should not, and 19% are undecided.
  234. On Wednesday, the Mormon Women for Ethical Government, in a statement, called on “our co-religionists” Sens. Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Mike Crapo, and Tom Udall “to honor their oaths of office.”
  235. The statement said, “Any president or leader who forces political support and fails to honor and protect the free and legitimate elections on which our republic rests has lost the moral right to govern.”
  236. On Friday, in a scathing op-ed in magazine Christianity Today, editor in chief Mark Galli argued Trump should be removed from office. CT is a mainstream evangelical magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham.
  237. CT noted Trump “attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” calling it “a violation of the Constitution” and “profoundly immoral.”
  238. CT said Trump “dumbed down the idea of morality” in the regime, “hired and fired” people who are convicted criminals, and “admitted to immoral actions” in business and with women, “about which he remains proud.”
  239. CT added, “His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders — is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
  240. CT said Trump has a “grossly immoral character” and should be removed, “not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
  241. CT added the impeachment hearings have “illuminated” Trump’s “moral deficiencies,” saying, “This damages the institution of the presidency…the reputation of our country…and the spirit and the future of our people.”
  242. CT closed saying, “we have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years,” but Trump’s actions will “crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel”…and “down on a nation.”
  243. On Friday, Trump blasted CT in a series of tweets, calling it “a far left magazine, or very “progressive,”” adding it “has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years.”
  244. Trump also tweeted CT “knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript,” and would rather “have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”
  245. Trump also tweeted, “No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close,” adding, “I won’t be reading ET again” — seeming to make a reference to Entertainment Tonight (ET), not Christianity Today.
  246. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “I guess the magazine, “Christianity Today,” is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders,” adding, “no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!”
  247. Trump also tweeted a Breitbart article about Billy Graham’s son Franklin saying, “Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.” Trump thanked Franklin.
  248. On Friday, WAPO reported that behind Trump’s anger is a fear of losing evangelical support, who were key for him in battleground states in 2016. Recent polls show 75% of white evangelicals support him.
  249. White House officials were concerned Trump was bringing too much attention to the op-ed. Trump also put pressure on staffers to take action to counter the op-ed, like announcing an event already in the works.
  250. Later, editor Galli told MSNBC that CT is “not a far-left magazine,” and is often accused of being “too conservative,” adding it is “very rare” for CT to comment on politics “unless the moral stakes are raised very high.”
  251. Galli also said, “I don’t have any illusions” that his op-ed is “going to change many minds,” and said Trump’s immorality was a balance to Trump’s policy decisions, likening him to a wife abuser who also has good qualities.
  252. On Friday, former GOP Senator Jeff Flake said in an op-ed that Trump is on trial and “So are my Senate Republican colleagues,” saying it would be “indefensible” to echo House GOP and say Trump did nothing wrong.
  253. Flake said Trump had not changed or grown in office, saying, “If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now. And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late.”
  254. On Friday, Trump asked his supporters to donate to Van Drew, tweeting, “the Democrat Party’s Witch Hunt and CRAZY EXTREME policies are chasing common sense people,” adding, he “has my FULL Endorsement.”
  255. On Friday, Pelosi formally invited Trump to deliver his annual state of the union on February 4, and Trump accepted the invitation. The speech will take place during or just after the Senate impeachment trial.
  256. On Friday, Pelosi told AP that Trump “just got impeached,” adding, “He’ll be impeached forever. No matter what the Senate does. He’s impeached for ever because he violated our constitution.”
  257. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?” Members of Congress cannot be impeached.
  258. Trump also touted Putin speaking out against his impeachment, quoting a 36-hour-old AP tweet of a story about Putin defending him, and adding, “A total Witch Hunt!
  259. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Senate Republicans quietly removed the phrase “white nationalist” from a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act meant to address white nationalists in the military.
  260. The House amendment was drafted in July to specifically address the issue. The final bill only requires the DoD to monitor for “extremist and gang-related activity,” without referencing white nationalism.
  261. On Friday, West Point said the hand gestures made by cadets and midshipmen at last week’s Army-Navy football game were part of a game known as the “circle game” and not a white supremacist symbol.
  262. The superintendent of the US Military Academy said, “We investigated this matter thoroughly,” adding last Saturday they thought it was an innocent game, and “We are disappointed by the immature behavior of the cadets.”
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime threatened a presidential veto of a spending package if House Democrats did not remove language requiring prompt release of future military aid for Ukraine.
  264. The provision would have required the White House to swiftly release $250 million in military aid for Ukraine. The provision was removed and Trump signed the $1.4 trillion package last Friday night.
  265. On Friday, in a podcast interview with Michael Moore, Robert De Niro said Trump “needs to be confronted,” and “needs to be humiliated,” adding, “There has not been one thing about this person that has been redeeming.”
  266. On Friday, Facebook said it had removed hundreds of accounts with ties to Epoch Media Group, finding the group used fake accounts generated with artificial intelligence to spread disinformation in the U.S. and Vietnam.
  267. Content removed included 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups, and 72 Instagram account, and sparked concern that AI could be used to create wide-scale disinformation campaigns.
  268. On Friday, the Trump regime delayed the scheduled Jan. 1 phase out of incandescent light bulbs, a bipartisan effort started in 2007 to save $14 billion in energy cost and reduce carbon emissions by 38 tons.
  269. Trump’s Energy Department made a final determination Friday claiming that imposing stricter energy efficiency standards “are not economically justified,” and the decision would “protect consumer choice.”
  270. Late Friday, Trump left for a two-week vacation at Mar-a-Lago amid the impeachment probe. CNN reported aides are concerned Trump will mingle with informal advisors and friends who may influence him.
  271. There are also numerous remaining decisions to be made relating to strategy, the legal team, who will make opening and closing arguments, and arranging who will go on television afterward to amplify the message.
  272. Aides are also concerned that after Trump finally agreed with McConnell to a short trial without witnesses, friends at Mar-a-Lago could steer him back to his instincts for a longer trial with witnesses to vindicate himself.
  273. On Saturday, the Center for Public Integrity made public 146 pages of new Pentagon and OMB documents provided by the DOJ under a court order related to Trump-Ukraine. Again, substantive information was redacted.
  274. The documents revealed aid to Ukraine was put on hold at 11:04 a.m. on July 25, shortly after Trump’s call which ended at 9:33 a.m. via an email sent by Michael Duffey of OMB.
  275. Documents also revealed internal notes showing Trump gave a formal order blocking the Pentagon’s portion of the aid on July 12, which was communicated to OMB by one of his aides.
  276. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump has taken over the Republican Party by instilling fear. Any GOP lawmaker who speaks out against him publicly or privately will incur his wrath and be ostracized from the party.
  277. Republicans are left with the option of being fully loyal to Trump or retiring. Since Trump took office, a remarkable 40% of Republicans have retired or been defeated in elections.
  278. Trump rewards those who show loyalty with favorable tweets or by visiting their state. He has helped allies win primaries as well. Those seeking re-election know they need his support with the base to win.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds hands with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., as they walk to the chamber where the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachments charges against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.