August 18, 2018

Week 92

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

This week Trump met his match in former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who launched a new book and publicly shared her stories and perspectives on Trump and his regime members. Their feud played out like a reality TV show, as Omarosa released recordings and White House staffers reportedly are living in fear of the next shoes to drop.

Trump reportedly sought to distract from Omarosa’s tour by revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, an unprecedented, authoritarian-like move that set up another public battle with intelligence officers, while Republicans largely stood silent. As the first Paul Manafort trial went for jury deliberation, Trump and Manafort’s attorney seemed strangely simpatico, raising concerns. Other signs of peril for Trump from the Mueller probe emerged as reporting that White House counsel Don McGahn is cooperating, and Michael Cohen has gone strangely silent, indicating a possible plea deal. Meanwhile, the FBI fired Peter Strzok, leaving just one of James Comey’s corroborating witnesses still at the FBI: Deputy Director David Bowdich, who fired Strok contrary to FBI personnel office guidance.

Trump was again at war with the media this week, as over 400 news outlets published editorials critical of his treatment of the free press, to which he responded by calling the press the “opposition party.” The Senate took the unusual step of passing a measure stating the media is not the enemy of the people.

  1. The Boston Globe said it plans to organize news outlets to run editorials on August 16 speaking about the dangers of the Trump’s assault on the press. As of early in the week, more than 100 newspapers had signed up.
  2. On Monday, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told The Guardian that Trump’s anti-press rhetoric is “very close to incitement to violence” that leads to journalists censoring themselves or being attacked.
  3. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the “Fake News Media” refuses to report on “lowlife Christopher Steele’s many meetings” with Bruce and Nellie Ohr, adding Fusion paid for the “phony & discredited Dossier.”
  4. Bruce Ohr “STILL WORKS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF “JUSTICE”” adding, “our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action,” and, “It is all starting to be revealed — not pretty. IG Report soon? Witch Hunt!”
  5. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Fox New Sunday” that Bruce Ohr was “at least unethical” because his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele for the dossier, during the 2016 election.
  6. Graham added Bruce Ohr should not have had any role in investigating the Trump campaign, and “We need a special counsel to look at all things Department of Justice and FBI when it came to the Trump investigation.”
  7. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani changed his position, telling “State of the Union” that there “was no conversation” between Trump and Comey about “going easy” on former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
  8. On Sunday, Trump encouraged a boycott tweeting, “Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great!” He added that many competitors are coming to the U.S.
  9. On Sunday, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman told “Meet the Press” that she has personally heard a tape of Trump using the N-word during the filming of “The Apprentice.”
  10. Omarosa also provided a purported secret recording of chief of staff John Kelly “threatening” her in the White House Situation Room, a secure room where personal cell phones are not allowed, when he fired her in 2017.
  11. On Sunday, when asked to name the most prominent African-American West Wing staffer after the departure of Omarosa on “This Week,” Kellyanne Conway struggled to come up with anyone.
  12. On Sunday, at the “Unite the Right 2” rally at Lafayette Square in Washington D.C., fewer than 40 white supremacists showed up, after organizer Jason Kessler said he had hoped for 400 supporters.
  13. The group was met with by thousands of counter-protesters who filled their half of Lafayette Square, chanting, “Go home, Nazis!” “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” and “Black lives matter!”
  14. KTLA News reported that at an apartment complex in Century City, California, Miguel Sanchez recorded a video of he and his coworker being verbally attacked as “wetbacks” and having hot coffee thrown in his face.
  15. On Wednesday, a fire chief in East Syracuse, New York was demoted after a Facebook post about Rep. Maxine Waters, saying, “Maxine gives the word (expletive) a bad name.” The expletive was the N-word.
  16. According to a filing by the ACLU, two federal immigration agencies set a “trap” for immigrants seeking legal residency interviews at government offices, having them arrested and in some cases deported.
  17. Emails obtained revealed that ICE planned to target married immigrants who seek green cards. An ACLU representative said, “The government can’t create that path and then arrest folks for following that path.”
  18. On Wednesday, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a report that Trump’s zero-tolerance policy “exacerbated” existing problems with tracking children.
  19. Ahead of a subcommittee hearing Thursday, Health and Human Services said it is unable to provide data on separated children from this year “because of the toll the family reunification effort is taking” on resources.
  20. The Young Turks reported ICE has ordered 60 “Wraps,” full-body restraints that resemble straitjackets, for restraining detainees “who may be non-compliant” during removal operations.
  21. On Friday, NPR reported FEMA has begun scaling back financial assistance to Puerto Rico. FEMA said it will cover 90% of costs for emergency work, including items like power restoration and debris cleanup.
  22. The government of Puerto Rico plans to appeal. One official, Omar Marrero said, “Our government will continue demanding the equal treatment to which all Puerto Ricans are entitled as American citizens.”
  23. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s Department of Justice has abandoned its role under the Obama administration to stop states from implementing measures that suppressed the vote.
  24. Under AG Jeff Session, the DOJ has filed legal briefs in support of states resisting court orders to rein in voter ID requirements, stop aggressive purges of voter rolls, and redraw boundaries which dilute minority voting.
  25. After the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled struck down an Ohio law to scrub voters opposed by Obama’s DOJ, Sessions’ DOJ reversed course at the Supreme Court, siding with Ohio, as the lower court ruling was reversed.
  26. On Monday, Politico reported Trump offers White House staffers a merchandising credit from 15% to 70% off at his golf club, representing a blurring of lines between his private business and current position.
  27. On Monday, Forbes reported that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross met with Bill Furman, the CEO of Greenbrier Companies in May 2017, according to Ross’ calendar. At the time, Ross had a financial stake in Greenbrier.
  28. A report from government watchdog Campaign Legal Center found Ross took several actions that could affect his holding, including Greenbrier Companies coming before the department, possibly breaking the law.
  29. On Monday, in a press release the Department of Housing and Urban Development made its firmest commitment yet to tear down the 2015 Obama-era framework for enforcing the Fair Housing Act.
  30. The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, the strongest effort in decades to crack down on segregation and discriminatory housing practices. Secretary Ben Carson said the rule had “unworkable requirements.”
  31. On Sunday, Trump told WAPO in a statement, “Don has received notoriety for a brief meeting, that many politicians would have taken” adding “to the best of my knowledge, nothing happened after the meeting concluded.”
  32. Trump also said in the prepared statement that Donald Jr. is “a natural” and that his namesake has turned out to be “a wonderful son” who has taken to the new family business as a campaign star.
  33. On Sunday, Bobby Goodlatte, son of GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte tweeted that he “gave the maximum allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis, a democrat running” for his father’s seat. Bobby also helped fundraise for Lewis.
  34. Bobby tweeted, “I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding,” adding that the committee hearing was a “low point” for Congress.
  35. On Monday, Stephen Miller’s uncle, David Glosser, wrote an op-ed calling Miller a hypocrite on immigration, saying his great grandfather came to the U.S. as an immigrant fleeing anti-Jewish pogroms in what is now Belarus.
  36. Once his great grandfather had settled and raised money, he was able to gain passage for his family, a process now known as “chain migration,” and which Miller is advocating to eliminate.
  37. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Friedrich, who was appointed by Trump, denied a motion by Concord Management and Consulting LLC to dismiss an indictment on the grounds Mueller was appointed unlawfully.
  38. The company allegedly has ties to Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, a Russian businessman better known as “Putin’s chef” who is accused of funding a Russian troll farm used to sow dissent during the 2016 election.
  39. On Monday, CNN reported that according to two intelligence agencies, the Kremlin is “pleased” with the Helsinki summit between Trump and Putin, and said that it delivered a better outcome than it had expected.
  40. On Tuesday, Politico reported the FBI is examining a college U.S.-Russia exchange program involving Alexander Torshin. Six years ago he hosted young Americans visiting Moscow as part of cultural exchange programs.
  41. A former student who participated in the program said the FBI agents questioning him said they had “a great degree of confidence that the trips were part of an effort to spot and assess future intelligence assets.”
  42. On Monday, Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI. Strzok’s attorney said the firing was not handled in the usual manner of employee discipline, saying Strzok should face a demotion and a 60-day suspension.
  43. Trump tweeted, “Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI — finally,” adding, “The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer,” and “Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped?”
  44. Minutes later, Trump tweeted, “Just fired Agent Strzok” who “was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation” adding the investigation was “a total fraud” and “should be properly redone!
  45. Rachel Maddow reported the Trump regime is getting rid of Comey’s corroborating witnesses. The only one who remains, Deputy Director David Bowdich, fired Strzok contrary to FBI personnel office guidance.
  46. Of the others, Andrew McCabe were fired, Jim Rybicki, James Baker and Lisa Page were reassigned or quit under fire, and Carl Ghattas is leaving the FBI. Comey was also fired.
  47. On Tuesday, Giuliani falsely claimed in an interview about the Mueller probe, “If it isn’t over by September, then we have a very, very serious violation of the Justice Department rules,” citing a 60-day quiet period.
  48. Bloomberg reported, according to officials, Mueller can continue his probe up to and after the midterms without violating a Justice Department policy against actions intended “for the purpose of affecting any election.”
  49. On Wednesday, Giuliani said Trump’s lawyers are preparing a memo to oppose a potential subpoena from Mueller for an interview with Trump. He said they have not had a response from Mueller to their latest offer.
  50. Giuliani said Trump attorney Emmet Flood “would have a big role to play here and would assert presidential privilege.” He added Trump’s legal team is mapping out a subpoena battle that could stretch on for months.
  51. Daily Beast reported Daniel Gelbinovich, a former Trump campaign staffer, reached out on behalf of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich to try to find lobbyists to help him stay off the Treasury Department sanction list.
  52. On Thursday, the special master in Cohen’s case said in a filing she found more than 7,000 privileged items in total. Cohen and his attorney Lanny Davis have been silent this week, fueling speculation of a plea deal.
  53. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News he will ask Trump and the Treasury Department to lift sanctions on members of the Russian legislature so they can travel to the U.S. for meetings with U.S. officials.
  54. Paul wants to lift sanctions on two lawmakers, Leonid Slutsky and Konstantin Kosachev, who chair relevant committees. Kosachev was put under sanctions in April 2018 for his role in 2016 election interference.
  55. On Friday, Mueller’s team told the court in a filing that George Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with Russian operatives and “caused damage” to and had a “significant effect” on the government’s inquiry.
  56. Papadopoulos lied about the “timing, extent and nature” of the meetings and about his conversations with Joseph Mifsud, undermining investigators’ ability to “potentially detain or arrest” Mifsud in he was still in the U.S.
  57. In the filing, Mueller’s team recommended that Papadopoulos be imprisoned for up to six months. A judge is expected to issue a ruling on his sentence in early September.
  58. On Monday, the prosecution rested in the first Manafort trial after 10 days of testimony from 27 witnesses. The defense did not call any witnesses. Manafort has been charged with 18 tax and banking crimes.
  59. The last witness was James Brennan, a vice president of Federal Savings Bank, who said he faced so much pressure to approve Manafort’s loan, he lied on a form reviewed by federal regulators and the bank’s directors.
  60. Brennan said he gave a second loan for $6.5 million a “4,” a rating that would allow it to approved, under pressure from Stephen Calk . The bank lost $11.8 million on the loans it made to Manafort.
  61. On Tuesday, in a email released by the DOJ, Manafort sent Kushner a recommendation on November 30, 2016 to appoint Stephen Calk as secretary of the Army, as he received the first part of a $16 million loan.
  62. Manafort also included two other possible appointees. Kushner responded that same day, “On it!” Manafort got a $9.5 million loan in November 2016 and a $6.5 million loan in January 2017 around Trump’s inauguration.
  63. On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments in the high-stakes trial of Manafort. Jury deliberation began on Thursday.
  64. On Friday, as the country looked on, the jury in the Manafort trial broke for the weekend, saying they would not reach a verdict by 5 p.m. The jury will return Monday for a third day of deliberations.
  65. On Friday, Judge T.S. Ellis III revealed in court that he has received death threats during the Manafort trial, and has had a U.S. marshals detail following him at all times.
  66. Judge Ellis said several media outlets have filed a motion requesting the jurors’ information, and although “a thirsty press is essential,” he will not make names public to protect their safety.
  67. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad,” adding Manafort is “a very good person,” and, “I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”
  68. On Friday, Kevin Downing, Manafort’s defense attorney, told reporters they “really appreciate the support of President Trump.”
  69. On Monday, Trump traveled to Fort Drum to sign a defense bill named for Sen. John McCain. Neither Trump nor Vice President Pence mentioned McCain, who has been critical of Trump, at the ceremony.
  70. On Monday, NYT reported in the $716 billion military spending bill, Trump claimed the authority to override dozens of provisions said to be unconstitutional intrusions on his presidential powers.
  71. In a signing statement quietly released by the White House at 9 p.m., that evening, the White House said the executive branch did not need to enforce or obey about 50 of its statutes as written.
  72. Among the statues Trump’s executive branch said it could override was a ban on spending military funds on “any activity that recognizes the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea.”
  73. On Monday, at a fundraiser for Rep. Claudia Tenney, Trump called Rep. Maxine Waters  “a low IQ person,” and claimed, “she wants people to be violent. She wants people to attack.”
  74. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked “Wacky Omarosa” who he said was “vicious, but not smart,” saying she “begged me for a job, tears in her eyes,” and “People in the White House hated her.”
  75. Trump tweeted when chief of staff Kelly joined he told Trump that Omarosa is “a loser & nothing but problems,” but Trump told Kelly to work it out because “she only said GREAT things about me.”
  76. On Tuesday, George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, criticized Trump, amplifying a tweet asking what would happen if a CEO hadn’t fired an unqualified employee because the employee constantly praised him?
  77. On Monday, Trump tweeted on accusation of him using the N-word Mark Burnett, “called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice,” adding, “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up.”
  78. Trump also tweeted, calling Omarosa, “Wacky and Deranged,” saying of the tapes, “She made it up,” and that she had “Zero credibility with the Media” until she worked at the White House.
  79. Former Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson denied a conversation about Trump using the N-word took place, telling Fox News, “No, that did not happen. Sounds like she is writing a script for a movie.”
  80. On Tuesday, CBS News reported a new recording obtained back up Omarosa’s story that several Trump advisers discussed an alleged tape of him using the N-word during the 2016 campaign.
  81. Pierson is heard saying on the recording, “I am trying to find at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it,” and “He said. No, he said it. He is embarrassed by it.”
  82. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Omarosa on Twitter, calling her a “crazed, crying lowlife” and a “dog,” after her allegations against him of mental deterioration and racism.
  83. On Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders held the first daily press briefing in two weeks.
  84. At the daily press briefing, when asked if she could guarantee Trump had never been recorded using the N-word, Sanders said “I can’t guarantee anything.”
  85. On Tuesday, in a morning Twitter rant that lasted two hours long, Trump attacked Attorney General Sessions, saying, “If we had a real Attorney General, this Witch Hunt would never have been started!”
  86. Trump also quoted conservative guests on Fox News, including Tom Fitton, tweeting, “There would be no Mueller Special Councel to investigate so called collusion but for the machinations of Strzok & his colleagues.”
  87. Trump also attacked Strzok, tweeting he is a “fraud,” as is “the rigged investigation he started,” adding, “there was no Collusion or Obstruction with Russia,” and “why isn’t this so-called “probe” ended immediately?”
  88. Trump also repeated his frequent false claim, “The only Collusion and Obstruction was by Crooked Hillary, the Democrats and the DNC!”
  89. On Tuesday, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. filed for arbitration proceedings against Omarosa, after she released her tell-all book, for “breach of her 2016 confidentiality agreement with the Trump Campaign.
  90. Omarosa told PBS that she signed a nondisclosure statement Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and another one in 2003 when she was on “The Apprentice,” but did not sign one with the White House.
  91. On Tuesday, at the daily briefing, Sanders refused to answer whether she had signed a non-disclosure agreement when joining the White House, after claiming the agreements are common for government officials.
  92. On Tuesday, Omarosa claimed Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos mocked the black students after a speech, saying, “They don’t get it. They don’t have the capacity to understand what we’re trying to accomplish.”
  93. On Tuesday, Politico reported with Omarosa’s slow leak of tapes, Trump aides are “absolutely terrified,” much in the way that the WikiLeaks slow dump impacted the Clinton’s campaign.
  94. On Wednesday, Axios reported Trump advisers counseled him to hold his tongue when Omarosa’s book came out, telling him engaging would only boost book sales. First Lady Melania Trump advised him to stay above it.
  95. On Thursday, Vanity Fair reported Trump told advisers that he wants Sessions to have Omarosa arrested. One former West West official said, “He’s known her for 15 years and thinks it’s a personal betrayal.”
  96. On Friday, AP reported in addition to tape recordings, Omarosa has a stash of video, emails, text messages, and other documentation supporting the claims she makes in her book.
  97. On Thursday, a judge ruled against Trump, thwarting an attempt by the Trump campaign to keep a lawsuit filed by Jessica Denson saying she was subjected to “harassment and sexual discrimination” out of open court.
  98. The ruling exposes weaknesses in the confidentiality agreements that staffers at Trump’s White House, campaign, and the Trump Organization signed — impacting Trump’s looming battle with Omarosa.
  99. On Tuesday, Sen. Paul said of his recent Moscow visit that Russia will not admit to election interference, saying, “It’s like asking a country to admit to spying. Are we going to wait until the end of time?”
  100. On Tuesday, in state primaries, Christine Hallquist became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party.
  101. Also on Tuesday, Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar, who in Week 4 was verbally attacked by a D.C. cab driver for wearing a hijab, won her primary making her the second possible female Muslim American in the House.
  102. On Wednesday, in an unprecedented use of power, Trump revoked the security clearance of former C.I.A director John Brennan, citing Brennan’s “erratic” behavior and “increasingly frenzied commentary.”
  103. On Wednesday, at the daily press briefing, Sanders said Brennan “leveraged his status” with “access to highly sensitive information” to make “unfounded and outrageous allegations” against Trump.
  104. The White House announced the clearance of a number of other officials, including former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are also under review.
  105. On Wednesday, in an interview with the WSJ, Trump said his motivation for revoking Brennan’s clearance was “the rigged witch hunt; [it] is a sham,” adding, “and these people led it!”
  106. On Thursday, in a scathing NYT op-ed, Brennan wrote, Trump “revoked my security clearance: to try to silence anyone who would dare challenge him.” Brennan also wrote, “Russian denials are, in a word, hogwash.”
  107. Brennan also called Trump’s claims of no collusion “hogwash,” saying “the only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy.”
  108. Brennan wrote the other questions are whether “obstruction of justice” occurred, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted “laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.’
  109. Sen.  Paul, who in Week 89 encouraged Trump to revoke security clearances, applauded Trump’s move. Several other GOP senators backed Trump with only Sens. Corker and Susan Collins saying they were uneasy.
  110. On Thursday, in a WAPO op-ed, William McRaven, who was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command and oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, told Trump to revoke his security clearance.
  111. McRaven wrote Brennan “is one of the finest public servants I have ever known,” and “a man of unparalleled integrity,” and accused Trump of “McCarthy-era tactics” to “suppress the voices of criticism.”
  112. McRaven said he hoped Trump would “rise to the occasion” in office, but instead Trump has “embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”
  113. On Thursday, more than a dozen bipartisan former intelligence chiefs issued a statement in support of Brennan, praising his work as head of the C.I.A and calling “allegations of wrongdoing” against him “baseless.”
  114. They accused Trump of trying to “stifle free speech,” and declared the removal of a security clearance as a “political tool” to be unprecedented. They also said it was “clearly a signal” to silence other security officials.
  115. On Friday, Politico reported that Bob Gates, who ran the Pentagon under Presidents W. Bush and Obama, also signed on to the bipartisan letter, bringing it to 14 officials. Gates previously had not spoken out.
  116. On Friday, Trump told reporters outside the White House, “I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie,” and said he plans to “very quickly” strip Bruce Ohr of his the security clearance.
  117. Trump also said of Brennan, “I’ve never respected him.” Trump also denied he had silenced Brennan, saying, “If anything, I’m giving him a bigger voice.”
  118. On Friday, 60 additional former CIA officials signed a statement saying, “former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views” on critical national security issues without fearing reprisals.
  119. On Friday, WAPO reported that a draft of steps against Brennan had been prepared in late July, but the decision to move forward this week was made to divert attention from nonstop coverage of Omarosa’s book.
  120. On Saturday, Trump attacked Brennan, tweeting he is a “loudmouth, partisan, political hack” who cannot be trusted with classified information, adding, “He will go down as easily the WORST in history.”
  121. On Thursday, Politico reported that the media has had diminishing access to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other Pentagon officials. Press already has restricted access to briefings, interviews, and travel with Mattis
  122. At a recent meeting with the press, Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters she was watching what they wrote and put on-air, implying there would be repercussions for stories she and her staff did not like.
  123. On Thursday, 411 news outlets denounced Trump’s threats against the press in editorials. The Boston Globe wrote, “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous.”
  124. News outlets that participated ranged from big-city newspapers like the NYT and the Chicago Tribune, to smaller ones like the Van Buren County Democrat and the Swift County Monitor-News.
  125. On Thursday, Trump lashed out at the media, saying in all caps, “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY,” adding “It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”
  126. Trump also attacked the Boston Globe, tweeting the Globe which “was sold to the the Failing New York Times,” and “then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR,” is “in COLLUSION with other papers on free press.”
  127. On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution affirming that “the press is not the enemy of the people.”
  128. On Thursday, the Pentagon said the Trump regime may delay a military parade slated for this fall, noting the parade could cost up to $92 million, far more than the earlier estimates of between $10 million and $30 million.
  129. On Friday, Trump tweeted blame for higher cost on “the local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” saying “they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it.”
  130. Trump tweeted instead he will “attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base” and “go to the Paris parade,” adding, “maybe he’ll do a parade in D.C. next year “when the cost comes WAY DOWN.”
  131. On Friday, NBC News reported Trump is frustrated with his national security team’s Afghanistan strategy, and is showing a renewed interest in a proposal by Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s to privatize the war.
  132. On Friday, in a morning tweet, Trump pushed for an end to quarterly earnings reports and go to a six-month system, saying, “that would allow greater flexibility & save money,” adding he “asked the SEC to study!”
  133. On Thursday, the White House announced Melania plans to address a cyberbullying summit about “the positive and negative effects of social media on youth” in Maryland next week as part of her “Be Best” initiative.
  134. On Friday, NYT reported in a piece about Melania that Trump tried to dissuade her from starting her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, asking her to choose a different topic instead.
  135. Trump was reportedly warned Melania that she was opening herself up to questions and backlash given his tendency to bully on Twitter. Melania said she was prepared to face any criticism her project might attract.
  136. In a letter, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Dick Durbin asked Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley to make documents public which they say reveal Brett Kavanaugh “misled the Senate during his 2006 nomination hearing.”
  137. Questions are surrounding whether Kavanaugh misled the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006 about his work on terrorism policy for the W. Bush administration after 9/11.
  138. The senators also said less than 3% of Kavanaugh’s records have been made available to the Committee, compared to Elena Kagan’s nomination where 99% of her White House records were made public.
  139. On Friday, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York sued New York businessman Moshe Lax, a former business partner of Ivanka Trump, for $60 million in unpaid tax liabilities.
  140. Though the complaint does not mention Ivanka or accuse her of wrongdoing, Madison Avenue Diamonds, the business that she helped run for years, figures prominently in the government’s case.
  141. Lax told at least one associate that he has discussed financial strategy with Trump. Lax reportedly said he wanted to strike while Trump’s name was hot to turn Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry into a $500 million brand.
  142. On Friday, WAPO reported the DOJ is investigating whether Elliott Broidy tried to sell his influence with the Trump regime by offering to deliver U.S. government actions in exchange for tens of millions of dollars.
  143. Investigators are examining a plan Broidy allegedly developed to persuade the Trump regime to extradite a Chinese dissident, as sought by Chinese President Xi. Prosecutors have also subpoenaed Steve Wynn in the matter.
  144. Investigators are also investigating claims Broidy sought $75 million from a Malaysian businessman to exchange for getting the DOJ to end its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government.
  145. On Friday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has almost three times the number of exhibits it wants to show a jury in Manafort’s in the D.C. criminal trial, compared with what it used in his Virginia case.
  146. According to a court filing Thursday, prosecutors have “well over” 1,000 pieces of evidence for the D.C. case which starts in September. The evidence largely does not overlap with that used in the D.C. case.
  147. On Friday, the Hill reported despite Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s calls for senators to return to work this week, senators didn’t arrive until late Wednesday and held their last votes of the week at 1:45 p.m. Thursday.
  148. Seven Republicans, not including Sen. McCain, chose not to return to Washington D.C. At a private meeting Thursday, McConnell criticized his colleagues for skipping votes, and asked that they come back next week.
  149. On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked social media companies of discriminating against conservatives, saying, “If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC.”
  150. Trump tweeted, “Too many voices are being destroyed,” and “too many mistakes are being made” and hinted he may intervene if accounts of his allies continue to be shut down.
  151. On Saturday, NYT reported White House counsel Donald McGahn has cooperated extensively in the Mueller probe of possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
  152. McGahn has been had at least three interviews with investigators totaling 30 hours over the past nine months, discussing Trump’s rage over the Russia probe and ways he urged McGahn to respond to it.
  153. On obstruction of justice, McGahn has also provided a clear view of Trump at intimate moments at those times. McGahn’s cooperation began as part of Trump’s first team of criminal lawyers who decided to fully collaborate.
  154. Areas of interest include Trump’s comments and actions during the Comey firing, Trump’s repeated urging for Sessions to claim oversight of the Mueller probe, and Trump’s attempts to fire Mueller.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, August 18, 2018

Omarosa Manigualt Newman gets her hair done before promoting her new book on The ‘Today Show’ on August 13, 2018 in New York City. Omarosa Manigault Newman Former White House aide, recognizes that she taped her firing process of White House just to protect herself.