September 01, 2018

Week 94

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

This week the death of Senator John McCain loomed large. McCain’s military and public service, and his statesmanship stood in sharp contrast to Trump, who acted like a petulant child, refusing to issue a statement of praise or keep the White House flag at half-staff. As the week ended, and virtually every official in D.C. attended a nationally televised farewell for McCain, Trump busied himself tweeting false statements, before heading to a Trump golf course in Virginia.

This week, Trump said he would push out two more senior officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House counsel Don McGahn, from his dwindling ranks of insiders. Trump aides and allies worry that his legal team is vastly understaffed to address the fallout of Democrats taking control of the House, as well as the growing list of legal exposures facing him.

This week had shocking stories on the treatment of marginalized communities — from passports being denied to U.S. citizens on the Mexico border, to a revised official death toll of nearly 3,000 in Puerto Rico, to White House officials with ties to white supremacists involved in immigration policy meetings — as well as stories of corruption. But as with many weeks, these stories quickly got lost in the chaotic and exhausting news cycle, even in August.

As the week drew to an end, Trump’s approval dropped to 36% in two polls, as he is reportedly increasingly isolated and making decisions based on his instincts alone. An arrest was made of a California man who threatened to violence against the Boston Globe, calling them the enemy of the people. And still, elected Republicans refuse to confront Trump, offering instead their public support or silent complicity.

  1. WAPO reported a growing number of U.S. citizens along the Mexico border whose official birth records show they were born in the U.S. are being denied passports by the State Department, reminiscent of the Holocaust.
  2. The Trump regime is accusing possibly thousands of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, undertaking a widespread crackdown.
  3. Although the State Department claims it has “not changed policy or practice,” cases identified and interviews with immigration attorneys suggest a dramatic shift in both passport issuance and immigration enforcement.
  4. WAPO reported passport applicants with U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. Others are stuck in Mexico after their passports were revoked.
  5. On Sunday, Axios reported it has obtained a spreadsheet prepared by Congressional Republicans which details the investigations relating to Trump and his regime Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House.
  6. Investigations listed include: Trump’s tax returns, family separation policy, and hurricane response in Puerto Rico. The spreadsheet also catalogues more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress.
  7. Techcrunch reported detailed voter data on 14.8 millions Texas voters was left unprotected online by Data Trust, the GOP vendor in Week 32 involved with exposing data of 200 million voters before the 2016 election.
  8. On Saturday evening, Sen. John McCain passed away. Trump rejected a White House plan to issue a statement praising the life and heroism of McCain, opting instead to send a tweet and not issue the statement.
  9. Trump’s unwillingness breaks with precedent of U.S. leaders releasing effusive official statements for noteworthy Americans. Instead, White House aides posted statements by officials other than Trump.
  10. While golfing Sunday, Trump did not say a word about McCain, while former presidents and world leaders issued statements. White House flags were lowered to half-staff on Sunday, but then fully raised on Monday morning.
  11. On Monday, facing public outcry and criticism from veterans groups, including the American Legion, Trump ordered the White House flags back to half-staff, matching the Capitol and other government buildings.
  12. WAPO reported Trump’s actions are part of a pattern of him not performing basic rituals while in office. Trump has also been shunned at two funerals (McCain and Barbara Bush), as well as a royal wedding.
  13. On Tuesday, a report by the George Washington University commissioned by the Puerto Rican government found Hurricane Maria caused an estimated 2,975 deaths in the six months after the storm made landfall.
  14. The government of Puerto Rico accepted the GWU estimate as the official death toll, ranking Maria among the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Previously, the government had acknowledged only 64 deaths.
  15. On Wednesday, when asked about the GWU report, Trump responded, “I think we did a fantastic job,” adding “it’s hard to get things on the island,” in comparing relief efforts to those in Texas and Florida.
  16. Trump also praised FEMA as “very brave” in its response to the storms, and added, “I only hope they [Puerto Rico] don’t get hit again. … Puerto Rico had a lot of difficulties before they got hit.”
  17. On Tuesday, the Atlantic published emails it obtained revealing Ian M. Smith, a Homeland Security staffer, sent friendly emails with a group that included known white nationalists as they planned various events.
  18. In a 2015 email, Smith responded to a group dinner invitation whose host said his home would be “judenfrei,” a German word used by the Nazis to describe territory that had been “cleansed” of Jews during the Holocaust.
  19. The address of the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer is included in one of the threads. Smith responded in an email to the Atlantic, saying he no longer worked at DHS, and did not attend events in the emails.
  20. On Thursday, WAPO reported that Smith attended multiple immigration policy meetings at the White House, convened by Stephen Miller, when his boss was unable to attend due to thin staffing in the policy office.
  21. On Tuesday, the Inquirer reported a Philadelphia homicide detective is under internal investigation for calling colleagues “filthy savage” and a “grotesque, primal animal” in a letter about leaving leftover food out.
  22. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said letter raised concerned about “racial bias or inappropriate biases, and placed Detective Jimmy Crone on administrative duty pending an investigation by Internal Affairs.
  23. LA Times reported the FBI and Capitol Police want to interview Omar Navarro, Rep. Maxine Waters’ opponent, about tweeting a fake letter saying she wants to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in her district.
  24. On Tuesday, in the Oklahoma primary, 15 of the 19 Republicans who voted against raising taxes to increase teacher pay last spring were defeated, in a victory for teachers who had been striking.
  25. On Tuesday, in a Florida primary, Democrat Andrew Gillum won an unexpected victory, positioning him to possibly become that state’s first black governor.
  26. On Wednesday, the day after Florida’s primaries, Trump backed GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News voters would “monkey this up” if they elected his African-American Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum.
  27. After the comment was made by DeSantis, Fox News anchor Sandra Smith said on air, “We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement.”
  28. On Thursday, Snap, the company behind Snapchat, apologized after its map feature mislabeled New York City as “Jewtropolis.” Snap said the incident was due to vandalism of data from OpenStreetMap.
  29. A 9 year-old boy in Colorado committed suicide after being bullied in fourth grade. His mother said the same kids who were picked on him last year, were “meaner to him once he came out and said he was gay.”
  30. Vermont state Rep. Ruqaiyah “Kiah” Morris, the only black woman lawmaker in the state, announced she will not run for re-election in November, citing online harassment and racist threats made at her.
  31. On Thursday, Miami Herald reported Bank of America froze the account of Saeed Moshfegh, an Iranian getting his Ph.D in physics at the University of Miami who has been in the U.S. for the past seven years.
  32. Moshfegh was told by his local branch that the documentation he had provided could not be accepted. The American Banker said Bank of America is facing a backlash over questions about customers’ citizenship.
  33. On Thursday, according to court papers filed by the government, 497 migrant children separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy have still not been reunited more than a month after the court imposed deadline.
  34. Nearly two-thirds of the separated children, including 22 “tender-age” children under the age of 5, have parents who were deported, mostly within the first weeks of zero-tolerance. Little progress is being made in reunification.
  35. On Thursday, D.C. police arrested 55-year-old Lionel Kevin Hyater and charged him with yelling threats and racist slurs at a crossing guard near an elementary school. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
  36. On Friday, the Trump regime announced it will stop all funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees. The move was led by Jared Kushner and UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
  37. The U.S. had been the main funder of UNRWA. The cuts will make the continuation of the agency’s operations in the Middle East almost impossible, and could further destabilize Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank.
  38. On Friday, Iowa authorities confirmed that a white supremacist group is using Mollie Tibbett’s death in robocalls. The call script says, “We don’t have to kill them all, but we do have to deport them all.”
  39. On Monday, Seth Frotman, the government’s top official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau overseeing the $1.5 trillion student loan market resigned. He had been with the CFPB since its inception in 2011.
  40. Frotman accused Mick Mulvaney of hiding a report which raised alarms of banks overcharging student loan borrowers. Mulvaney also downgraded Frotman’s office, moving it from enforcement to consumer education.
  41. In his resignation letter to Mulvaney, Frotman said “under your leadership, the Bureau has abandoned” the consumers it is tasked “with protecting,” instead serving “the wishes of the most powerful financial companies.”
  42. On Monday, the inspector general of the General Services Administration said in a report that Trump was personally involved in scuttling a plan to rebuild the FBI headquarters across the street from the Trump Hotel.
  43. The report cited GSA and White House officials met about the headquarters project in January, and that Trump was personally involved in one of those meetings.
  44. The report said that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy gave “incomplete” and “misleading” testimony to Congress in April, but did not disclose the involvement of Trump or other White House officials when questioned.
  45. On Wednesday, NYT reported proposed rules being prepared by Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education would bolster rights of those accused of campus sexual misconduct and reduce liability for colleges.
  46. The new rules would narrow the definition of sexual harassment, holding schools accountable only for formal complaints for conduct that occurred on their campuses, as well as establishing a higher legal standard.
  47. On Monday, Trump hosted a Mexican delegation in the Oval Office for a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. As the media looked on, Trump fumbled with getting Peña Nieto on the phone.
  48. After several attempts, an aide finally took the receiver and patched Peña Nieto through. The call, meant to highlight a discussion on trade, broke protocol for conducting diplomacy, making it more into a spectacle.
  49. Trump said, “It’s a big day for trade. Big day for our country,” as he talked about replacing NAFTA. Peña Nieto mentioned Canada several times, while Trump threatened to move forward without them.
  50. On Monday, the Editorial Board of the WSJ criticized Trump’s revised U.S.-Mexico deal in an op-ed titled, “Half a Nafta,” citing exclusion of Canada, and saying of Trump, “self-damage isn’t always an effective restraint.”
  51. On Monday, WSJ reported that Trump’s USDA pledged to pay farmers $4.7 billion, saying payments would help protect farmers from “unjustified tariffs” some nations have applied in response to Trump’s trade wars.
  52. Farm groups said the spending will not make up for their losses. USDA officials said they could decide by December to make a second wave of direct payments to farmers to offset losses from Trump’s policies.
  53. On Thursday, in a letter to House and Senate leaders, Trump said he wants to cancel a 2.1% pay increase set to take effect in January for civilian federal workers, instead giving workers no pay increase.
  54. Pay for military personnel will not be affected. U.S. troops will get a 2.6% pay increase next year as part of a $716 billion defense spending bill that Trump signed earlier this month.
  55. WAPO reported Trump in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe earlier this year, Trump said, “I remember Pearl Harbor,” before railing against Japan’s economic policies. Trump was born after Pearl Harbor.
  56. Reportedly, Tokyo’s patience is wearing thin. Abe concealed a meeting with North Korean officials, and Japan’s trade minister warned Tokyo would retaliate if Trump follows through on his threat to impose tariffs.
  57. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported White House officials discussed inviting Trump’s real-estate friends to stage an “intervention” after Trump’ recent erratic behavior after betrayals by Michael Cohen, Allen Weisselberg, and David Pecker.
  58. Sources say, “this time really feels different.” Trump is increasingly acting alone and going on his instincts. Reportedly, Jared and Ivanka had advised against revoking security clearances, but it brought Trump “joy.”
  59. On Monday, Tampa Bay Times reported Florida attorney general Pam Bondi was co-host of Fox News’ “The Five” three times last week, an unprecedented situation for a sitting elected official in Florida.
  60. Bondi sought guidance from the Florida Commission on Ethics on whether publicity could be considered a gift to a public official, but as of Monday, according to a commission spokesperson, no opinion was rendered.
  61. On Monday, at a White House dinner, Trump warned 100 evangelical leaders that Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently” if the GOP loses control of the House.
  62. Trump added, “When you look at antifa…these are violent people.” This is the latest example of Trump using the specter of violence by his political opponents to fan flames of cultural division.
  63. After reporters and cameras left the room, Trump asked the leaders to use their pulpits to help Republicans win in the midterm elections after falsely bragging that he had gotten “rid of” the Johnson Amendment.
  64. On Tuesday, after a Monday segment on Fox Business on the matter, Trump tweeted that Google has their searches “RIGGED” for him and others, claiming, “Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out.”
  65. Trump also repeated the claim that “96% of results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media,” adding, “they are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
  66. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that Google, Facebook, and Twitter “better be careful,” saying the three technology companies “are treading on very, very troubled territory,” favoring liberal viewpoints.
  67. On Tuesday, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the White House is “taking a look” at whether Google should be regulated by the government. Regulating search results could violate the First Amendment.
  68. On Wednesday, Trump continued his attacks on Google, tweeting a video that alleges Google promoted Obama’s State of the Union addresses multiple times on its homepage, along with the hashtag, #StopTheBias.
  69. On Wednesday, Steve Bannon, who was a co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, told CNN that all the data social media companies like Google and Facebook have should be “put in a public trust.”
  70. On Friday, Trump ally Sen. Orrin Hatch wrote a formal letter to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to “reconsider the competitive effects of Google’s conduct in search and digital advertising.”
  71. On Monday, WSJ reported Paul Manafort sought a plea deal from Mueller’s team to resolve a second set of charges he faces in a Washington, D.C. court in September, but talks broke down.
  72. The plea discussions took place while the jury in the first trial was deliberating. In a filing Friday, prosecutors said they expect to take 10 to 12 days to present at the second trial, and submitted over 1,500 exhibits.
  73. On Tuesday, the Atlantic reported Rep. Devin Nunes traveled to London to try investigate Christopher Steele’s record and whether British authorities had known about his repeated contact with Bruce Ohr.
  74. Nunes requested meetings with three U.K. intelligence agencies — MI5, MI6, and GCHQ — but those meetings did not happen. Agencies were reportedly concerned about stirring up controversy.
  75. On Wednesday, in a court motion, Mueller’s team asked the judge to review to review “four documents” between Manafort and one of his former lawyers. Normally such communications would be protected.
  76. Mueller’s team argued that attorney-client privilege does not apply when the client enlists a lawyer’s help to commit a crime — in this case related to false statements made about Manafort’s and Rick Gates’ foreign lobbying work.
  77. On Wednesday, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, wife of George Papadopoulos told ABC News that he will stick with his plea agreement with Mueller, ending weeks of speculation that he may back away.
  78. On Friday, a court filing by lawyers for Papadopoulos said Trump and Sessions both supported a proposal during the 2016 campaign that Trump meet with Putin.
  79. Papadopoulos’ account contradicts Sessions’ testimony to his former Senate colleagues in November 2017 that he had “pushed back” against the proposal by Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting.
  80. Trump has claimed does not remember much of what happened at the “very unimportant” campaign meeting, which was memorialized in a photo posted by Trump posted on Instagram.
  81. On Friday, lobbyist Sam Patten pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party and helping an Ukrainian oligarch illegally purchase tickets to Trump’s inauguration.
  82. Patten also pledged to cooperate under the plea agreement. Although charges were not brought by Mueller, they stem from his team’s work and overlap with its continuing investigation.
  83. Ukrainian oligarchs formed Opposition Bloc, which worked with Manafort and Gates in 2014, before shifting its political consulting and lobbying business to a company started by Patten and Konstantin Kilimnik.
  84. The charges against Patten show that prosecutors are looking into efforts by foreign interests to funnel money into Trump’s political operation, including his inaugural committee, in an effort to curry favor.
  85. Serhiy Lyovochkin, who serves in the Ukrainian parliament and is part of the Opposition Bloc, matches the oligarch description. Prosecutors say that Patten arranged meetings with congressional officials for Lyovochkin.
  86. On Friday, CNN reported two relatively junior prosecutors, Ryan Dickey and Brian Richardson, are no longer working in office space occupied by Mueller’s team. A spokesperson said neither left over bias or wrongdoing.
  87. On Tuesday, in a prolific series of morning tweets, Trump claimed that a report was just out that “China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private Email Server,” and questioning whether the FBI and DOJ will investigate it.
  88. On Tuesday, Fox News, which Trump frequently watches, amplified the story, airing a segment with a guest calling it a bombshell if true. The false story originated at conservative website The Daily Caller.
  89. On Wednesday, Trump repeated his false claim, tweeting, Hillary’s emails, “many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China,” adding the FBI and DOJ should act or else “their credibility will be forever gone!”
  90. On Wednesday, the FBI took the unusual step of issuing a statement saying, “The FBI has not found any evidence the [Clinton] servers were compromised.”
  91. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted false claims made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on his Tuesday show, including “The Obama people did something that’s never been done…They spied on a rival presidential campaign.”
  92. Trump also tweeted, “Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for information from the Russian government to use against her government,” another false claim by Carlson.
  93. On Wednesday, Trump attacked CNN, tweeting, “CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie,” and attacked Carl Bernstein, “a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool.”
  94. An CNN article written Jim Sciutto, Marshall Cohen, and Carl Bernstein in July had asserted Michael Cohen claimed Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting. One source, Lanny Davis, backed off his claim.
  95. On Wednesday, CNN responded, tweeting, “CNN does not lie. We report the news…CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but @carlbernstein is not one of them.”
  96. On Wednesday, Trump pressed the Supreme Court chief justice for action on the Steele dossier in a pair of tweets quoting Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett, claiming, “Ohr told the FBI it (the Fake Dossier) wasn’t true.”
  97. Trump quoted Jarrett, tweeting, “This is a fraud on the court. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is in charge of the FISA court,” saying he should direct “Presiding Judge, Rosemary Collier, to hold a hearing.”
  98. Trump also suggesting Bruce Ohr should be fired, tweeting, “How the hell is Bruce Ohr still employed at the Justice Department? Disgraceful! Witch Hunt!”
  99. NYT reported Bruce Ohr, who has been with the Justice Department for three decades with a strong reputation, is at risk of losing his job as Trump threatens to revoke his security clearance.
  100. Colleagues are confused about why Ohr has been targeted. Ohr has fought Russian organized crime, including investigating Oleg Deripaska, whose name resurfaced amid scrutiny of contact between Trump associates and Russia.
  101. On Thursday, Trump extended his attacks to Nellie Ohr, Bruce’s wife, tweeting, she “is a Russia expert who is fluent in Russian. She worked for Fusion GPS where she was paid a lot,” adding “Collusion!”
  102. On Friday, AP reported this week when Bruce Ohr met with lawmakers for a private interview, he disclosed previously unreported details of his July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele.
  103. According to multiple people familiar with the encounter, Ohr said that Steele told him at breakfast that Russian intelligence believed it had Trump “over a barrel.”
  104. Ohr also reportedly learned that Carter Page, then an aide to the Trump campaign, had met with higher-level Russian officials than he had acknowledged.
  105. Ohr told lawmakers he could not vouch for Steele’s information but said he considered him a reliable informant. Ohr told his superiors, including then Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, about his meetings with Steele.
  106. On Tuesday, the Senate reached a deal to fast-track confirmation of seven federal district judges. The latest confirmations mean Trump has already confirmed 60 judges to U.S. federal courts.
  107. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s deal to fast-track Trump appointees infuriated many who called it a “surrender.” Reportedly, Schumer cut the deal so Democrats up for re-election could get back to campaigning.
  108. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that in the last month, Trump has privately revived the idea of firing attorney general Sessions in conversations with his aides and personal lawyers.
  109. Trump’s attorneys advised him not to fire Sessions until after the Mueller probe is complete. Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow advised Trump that Mueller could interpret firing Sessions as an effort to obstruct justice.
  110. But Senate Republicans, who initially had stuck by their former colleague, have reportedly resigned themselves to the fact that Trump will likely fire Sessions after midterms.
  111. On Wednesday, Axios reported White House counsel McGahn will step down this fall after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, or after the midterms. A successor has not been formalized, but McGahn is pushing for Emmet Flood.
  112. Shortly after, Trump tweeted McGahn will be “leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully)” of Kavanaugh, adding, “I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!”
  113. WAPO reported Trump’s announcement via Twitter came as a surprise to everyone, including McGahn, and follows a pattern of Trump wanting to appear as if he is in control of departures from the White House.
  114. Many Republicans lawmakers, who see McGahn as accessible and a stable force, were stunned and dismayed by Trump’s announcement. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “sad news for our country.”
  115. Trump told reporters Wednesday that he is not concerned about anything McGahn might have told Mueller’s investigators, saying, “We do everything straight; we do everything by the book.”
  116. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump’s advisers and allies are increasingly worried that does not have the staff nor the strategy to protect himself if the Democrats take control of Congress in the midterms.
  117. Advisers worry there will be an onslaught of subpoenas and that Democrats may pursue impeachment charges. There have been discussion on staffing, including possibly adding Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell.
  118. Even with McGahn’s exit, Trump has not directed his lawyers or his political aides to prepare an action plan for after midterms. Aides worry he does not understand the magnitude of what could be in store.
  119. Politico reported Trump has been lobbying Republicans senators to get them to turn on Sessions. Trump has been frustrated since March 2017, but in the past 10 days, has been venting to any senators who will listen.
  120. A handful of GOP senators are frustrated with Sessions, including Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, who have been irritated by his opposition to a criminal justice reform bill they support. Few Republicans publicly support Sessions.
  121. Graham, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, last week changed his public stance to say, “I do have time for hearings on nominees” that Trump would send, adding, “I didn’t have [time] last year.”
  122. On Thursday, NBC News reported White House ethics lawyer Stefan Passantino, who had been in charge of making sure White House officials complied with government ethics rule, resigned.
  123. On Wednesday, Capital and Main reported under Republican governors, New Jersey and Ohio committed at least $650 million of pension cash into a hedge fund that has taken control of David Pecker’s American Media Inc.
  124. The holdings in AMI represents 23% of the hedge fund, Chatham Asset Partners High Yield Fund’s, portfolio. Chatham is owned by a GOP donor, whose fund also has officials who serve as directors at AMI.
  125. In 2013, Chris Christie’s administration moved $300 million of pension cash into the Chatham. Three months before Christie left office, his administration steered another $200 million to another Chatham vehicle.
  126. On Tuesday, Abigail Spanberger, a former C.I.A officer running as a Democrat for Congress, accused a super PAC aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan of improperly obtaining her entire federal security clearance application.
  127. Spanberger sent a cease-and-desist letter to the executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, demanding the super PAC destroy all copies of the forms, and agree not to use the information for any purposes.
  128. WAPO Editorial Board wrote the Standard Form 86 filled in by Spanberger is “intrusive, requiring answers to 136 pages of probing questions about finances, medical history and family,” and said we should all be alarmed.
  129. On Thursday, NYT reported that Trump and Cohen worked to devise a plan to buy up all the dirt on Trump that the National Enquirer and its parent company AMI had collected on him, dating back to the 1980s.
  130. The plan was never finalized, but shows how concerned Trump was about information amassed by AMI. For two decades, Pecker has told his staff to protect Trump, by, in some cases, buying up troublesome stories.
  131. There was concern Pecker could leave AMI, and perennial talk about American Media’s business troubles. Also, in a conversation recorded by Cohen, Trump said of Pecker, “Maybe he gets hit by a truck.”
  132. On Thursday, Trump continued attacks on the media, saying not only CNN, but also NBC News is “the worst,” adding “Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse.”
  133. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that “Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape” — the interview where Trump cited the Russia investigation as a reason why he fired James Comey as FBI director.
  134. Trump also tweeted, “I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is,” saying they “they only have their hatred & agenda,” and calling them, “Enemy of the People!
  135. On Thursday, the FBI arrested Robert Chain, a 68 year-old California man, after he made repeated violent threats against the Boston Globe, after the newspaper announced a coordinated editorial response against Trump.
  136. Chain made approximately 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between August 10 and 22, 2018. On one call, Chain said, “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every f — -ing one of you.”
  137. On Thursday, a federal judge blocked grizzly bear hunts outside Yellowstone National Park, as he deliberates over lawsuits challenging the Trump regime’s removal of endangered species protections for the bears.
  138. On Friday, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Trump’s disapproval hit a new high for the poll of 60%, 36% approve. 45% of whites back Trump, while 19% of nonwhites approve.
  139. The poll also found 49% believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, 46% do not. 63% support Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, 29% oppose the probe.
  140. On Friday, a new Investor Business Daily/TIPP poll also found Trump’s approval at 36%, a 5-point drop from last month, with 56% disapproval up from 43% last month.
  141. The poll found Trump’s approval with Republicans fell from 83% last month to 76% this month. Trump also saw a big drop off from men, from 49% last month to 40% this month.
  142. On Thursday, at a raucous campaign rally in Indiana, Trump threatened to “get involved” if the Justice Department and FBI don’t start “doing their job and doing it right,” adding, “what’s happening is a disgrace.”
  143. Trump’s advance team blocked the camera of a photojournalist attempting to take a photo of a protester whose presence caused Trump to temporarily stop his remarks.
  144. Trump complained that the Justice Department is not going after Hillary Clinton, saying, “look at what she’s getting away with.” The crowd chanted familiar refrains of “U-S-A!” and “Lock Her Up!”
  145. Trump also complained about the media, despite the arrest earlier in the day, saying, “These are just dishonest, terrible people. I’m telling you that. Terrible people.”
  146. Trump also accused Democrats of wanting to “raid Medicare to pay for socialism,” adding that he did not think Indiana wanted to end up like Venezuela.
  147. Non-partisan watchdog group Free Speech for People sent a letter to New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood saying the Trump Organization should have its corporate charter in New York revoked, citing Cohen’s guilty plea.
  148. Anti-jail activist Elisabeth Epps, a criminal justice reform advocate who has helped hundreds of poor people get out of jail or get reduced bonds, was sentenced to prison. Hundreds have written letters of support.
  149. On Friday, comments Trump made about Canada in an interview with Bloomberg, that he thought were off-the-record, were leaked. Trump had said he’s not going to compromise with Canada.
  150. On Friday, in a series of tweets Trump said, “Bloomberg violated a firm OFF THE RECORD statement,” and “more dishonest reporting…At least Canada knows where I stand,” and asked for an apology from Bloomberg.
  151. The Toronto Star reported Trump’s leaked comment confirmed suspicions by Canadian negotiators as evidence that the U.S. was not making a legitimate effort to compromise.
  152. On Friday, Trump sent a letter to Congress late in the day, saying he would enter into a trade agreement with Mexico, and stipulating Canada could be added later — potentially jeopardizing his goal of renegotiating NAFTA.
  153. On Friday, Giuliani told CNN that Trump’s legal team is preparing a report that will contain sections rebutting potential conclusions Mueller’s team could reach.
  154. On Friday, in a rebuke to the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, California lawmakers voted to pass the nation’s toughest net neutrality law, preventing Internet providers from favoring certain websites.
  155. On Saturday, virtually every official, Democrats and Republicans, in Washington, D.C. gathered at the National Cathedral for a nationally televised farewell to Sen. McCain. Trump was not invited.
  156. Instead, Trump spent the morning sending a series of eight tweets, covering topics from NAFTA and Canada, to the “Fake Dossier,” to FISA hearings, to the media, to attacking the Justice Department and FBI.
  157. After sending his tweets, Trump left the White House at 10:30 a.m. to go golfing at the Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County, Virginia while the memorial service continued.
  158. Sen. McCain’s daughter Meghan said in tribute, “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly.”
  159. Meghan McCain also notably said, “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.”
  160. NYT reported after leaving the White House Saturday morning, Trump was expected to travel to Camp David, where aides say he will try to contain his anger at the attention being lavished on Sen. McCain.
  161. At the funeral Friday, Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian activist who survived two poisoning attempts for his opposition to the government of Putin, was a pallbearer. He told the NYT McCain had asked him in April.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, September 1, 2018

People stand in silence during a wreath laying ceremony to honor the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall September 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sen. McCain was buried at his final resting place at the U.S. Naval Academy on Sunday.