Week 122: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

March 16, 2019

This week in what was perhaps his most authoritarian act to date, Trump issued his first veto after the House and Senate voted to block his emergency declaration. The veto followed Trump’s declaration of a national emergency after Congress refused to fund his wall, which was unprecedented. Taken together, Trump irreverently thumbed his nose at the separations of power.

Trump also continued his record pace of appointments to the judicial branch, this week with the aid of newly installed ally Sen. Lindsey Graham as Judiciary Committee Chair. Graham discarded a century old norm of allowing in-state senators to submit a “blue slip” to oppose nominations, allowing Trump to appoint two judges to the 9th Circuit Court.

In New Zealand, 49 people were murdered while worshipping at two mosques in Christchurch in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” In his manifesto, the killer parroted several Trump terms, and wrote he saw Trump as a symbol “of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Trump tried to distance himself and the uprise of white nationalism from blame for the massacre.

This week Paul Manafort got his second sentence, and as Trump continued to hint at a pardon, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance filed separate charges, out of the purview of a Trump pardon. New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into Trump’s financing for projects, and subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, raising Trump’s ire. Several Congressional investigations also progressed this week, as the country awaits the findings of the Mueller probe.

  1. WSJ reported increasingly savvy world leaders are bypassing standard protocols and government processes of American diplomacy and instead going directly to Trump, who encourages such approaches.
  2. Authoritarian leaders including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin cut out the middle layer of aides and agencies to communicate directly with Trump.
  3. Senior officials have been left in the dark about the conversations, leading to confusion and in some cases needing to backtrack on Trump’s remarks. Trump has said he is his only spokesperson.
  4. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump lied to RNC donors at Mar-a-Lago Friday, telling them he said “Tim Cook Apple” really fast, and the “Cook” part of the sentence was soft, but all you heard from the “fake news.”
  5. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words,” adding, “the Fake News was disparagingly all over this, & it became yet another bad Trump story!”
  6. Trump also referenced Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments, telling RNC donors “the Democrats hate Jewish people,” and that he could not understand how any Jew could vote Democrat these days.
  7. On Monday, Trump proposed an annual budget to Congress including $8.6 billion in funding for his wall, with $5 billion for the Department of Homeland Security and $3.6 billion for the Defense Department’s military construction budget.
  8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said they were prepared to block Trump’s demand, writing in a joint statement: “The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.”
  9. Trump’s budget proposed freeing up funds for his wall and the military by cutting spending on Medicaid and Medicare, AIDS and other health programs, and a 15% cut in the Agriculture Department’s budget.
  10. The budget also called for drastic cuts in food stamps programs, and federal agency cuts of 31% in the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, and a 24% cut from the State Department.
  11. Trump’s budget projected the federal deficit will hit $22.8 trillion by 2025, more than 50% higher than the $14.7 trillion when he took office, after promising on the campaign trail that he would eliminate the debt.
  12. The budget included $20 million for Jack Nicklaus’ small children’s health project. Nicklaus golfed with Trump as least twice since November, and met with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and then-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
  13. Golf Magazine reported Trump is taking credit on his locker at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida, with a plaque saying he won the 2018 club championship, although he did not play in it.
  14. On Monday, Politico reported Facebook removed several ads placed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, after she called for the break-up of Facebook and other tech giants. Facebook later backtracked after the reporting.
  15. On Wednesday, Facebook suffered its most severe outage since 2008, with related Instagram, WhatsApp, and its messaging app also experiencing glitches. The cause of the outage was not made public.
  16. On Wednesday, NYT reported federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York are conducting a criminal investigation of data deals Facebook struck with the world’s largest technology companies.
  17. A grand jury in New York subpoenaed records from at least two makers of smartphones and other devices that entered into agreements to gain access to personal information on hundreds of millions of Facebook users.
  18. On Monday, CNBC reported new court filings revealed a mysterious $125,000 payment to Paul Manafort’s attorney in June 2017 originally came through a donation to a Trump PAC called Rebuilding America Now.
  19. Manafort installed Laurance Gay to run the PAC. Rebuilding America Now passed funds to Multi Media Services Corporation, whose silent owner is is Tony Fabrizio, chief pollster for Trump’s 2016 campaign, to make the payment.
  20. On Monday, Roger Stone’s attorneys said in a submission to the court that it did not occur to him until after the February 21 hearing that the new introduction for a paperback edition his book would violate the gag order.
  21. The submission claimed, “There was/is no intention to hide anything,” saying the introduction “presented a question we tried, obviously clumsily, to address,” adding “having been scolded” we only want to defend Stone.
  22. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders held the first press briefing in 42 days, the longest period without a briefing since Trump took office, appearing as Trump released his budget.
  23. According to data by the American Presidency Project, the length of time between briefings under Sanders is longer than any of the 13 previous press secretaries.
  24. When asked if Trump will pardon Manafort, Sanders said Trump will “make his decision when he’s ready.”
  25. On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff tweeted: “Congress is investigating reports that Trump and his legal team privately dangled pardons to obstruct investigations, including ours.”
  26. Schiff also tweeted: “Yesterday, the White House refused to rule out a pardon for Paul Manafort,” adding, “That Trump does so in the open is no less corrupt.”
  27. On Wednesday, Michael Cohen’s attorney clarified his testimony in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, saying “at no time did Mr. Cohen personally ask President Trump for a pardon” nor did Trump offer.
  28. On Wednesday, CNN reported two emails provided to Congress by Cohen dated April 21, 2018, show Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani assured Cohen he could “sleep well tonight” because he had “friends in high places.”
  29. The emails were from Robert Costello, a lawyer who was part of the joint defense agreement, allegedly sent after speaking to Giuliani. Costello said that Cohen asked him to raise the issue of a pardon with Giuliani.
  30. Giuliani told CNN the emails were not about a pardon, rather, “That was about Michael Cohen thinking that the President was mad at him,” adding, “I called (Costello) to reassure him that the President was not mad.”
  31. On Wednesday, NYT reported federal prosecutors have requested emails and documents from Costello as part of an investigation into “possible violations of federal criminal law.”
  32. Costello wrote to Cohen, “I am sure you saw the news that Rudy is joining the Trump legal team,” saying Costello’s relationship with Rudy “could be very very useful for you.” Cohen wrote back to Costello, “Great news.”
  33. Costello had agreed to reach out to Trump’s team on behalf of Cohen, and had about a dozen conversations with Giuliani, who was Trump’s lead lawyer at the time, creating a “back channel of communication.”
  34. During one conversation, Costello asked if Trump would put a pardon “on the table” for Cohen. Giuliani responded that Trump was unwilling to discuss pardons at that time.
  35. An email sent on June 13 from Costello to Cohen suggested Giuliani was about to speak to Trump, and said if Cohen had a message to convey “you should tell me and my friend will bring it up for discussion this evening.”
  36. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro questioned Rep. Omar’s support for the Constitution, saying she “wears a hijab,” adding. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Shariah law?”
  37. On Sunday, Fox News said in a statement, “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Representative Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
  38. On Sunday, an audio recording uncovered by Media Matters of Fox News host Tucker Carlson on “Bubba the Love Sponge Show” revealed he made numerous misogynistic statements, including saying that women are “extremely primitive.”
  39. On Monday, Media Matters released more audio from interviews between 2006 and 2011 of Carlson using racist and homophobic language to describe Iraqi people, African Americans, gay people, and immigrants.
  40. On Monday, after refusing to apologize Sunday, Carlson said on his show “the great American outrage machine is a remarkable thing,” in front of title cards that read “THE MOB” and “CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT.”
  41. On Tuesday, several advertisers had stopped running ads on the shows hosted by Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson.
  42. CNN reported 2,287 people in ICE custody were quarantined due to outbreaks of mumps and other diseases. There has been a spike of contagious diseases in the last year, including 236 cases of the mumps.
  43. On Monday, former Maine Gov. Paul LePage said the Democratic Party’s “money comes from” Jewish donors “for the most part,” in his reasoning for why Jews will donate less after Rep. Omar’s comments.
  44. On Tuesday, “Fox & Friends” ran a segment on “Jexodus,” a combination of the words “Jewish” and “exodus,” with picture of Rep. Omar, with the co-host claiming “now some Jewish millennials are leaving the party.”
  45. Shortly after, Trump tweeted the Jexodus spokesperson, tweeting “Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party. We saw a lot of anti Israel policies start under the Obama Administration, and it got worsts & worse.”
  46. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime will shut down all the international offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Duties will be transferred to domestic offices and the State Department.
  47. The Trump regime claimed it is maximizing resources. The closures will slow processing family visa applications, foreign adoptions, and citizenship petitions from members of the military stationed abroad.
  48. The move is viewed by experts as part of the regime’s efforts to discourage foreigners from coming to the U.S., adding that closing the offices will also lower U.S. engagement around the world.
  49. On Tuesday, House Democrats proposed the Dream and Promise Act which would allow more than 2 million immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship, including “Dreamers” and those with temporary work permits.
  50. On Tuesday, three Democratic lawmakers re-introduced the Journalist Protection Act, citing Trump’s “antagonistic rhetoric” encourages people to think that “violence against journalists is more acceptable.”
  51. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Ohio voted to uphold an anti-abortion funding law, which blocks public money for Planned Parenthood.
  52. On Wednesday, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee tried unsuccessfully to gut protections for Native American women from non-Native men on tribal lands from the Violence Against Women Act.
  53. On Wednesday, the Pentagon instituted Trump’s new transgender policy, requiring transgender persons currently in the military to adhere to the dress and grooming standards of their biological sex.
  54. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence and his sister hosted Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is openly gay, and his partner. Pence and his wife Karen, who was not present, are both openly anti-LGBTQ.
  55. On Thursday, NYT reported a poster hanging on the walls of New York City subway station in Brooklyn about the life and work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was defaced with a swastika and the words, “DIE JEW BITCH!
  56. On Friday, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported on an Office of Refugee Resettlement 28-page spreadsheet which shows that acting head Scott Lloyd tracked the pregnancies of unaccompanied minors.
  57. Lloyd tracked information about these girls, including teenagers and pre-teens, who reported being raped and pregnant, and used it to block them from being able to get access to abortions they requested.
  58. On Tuesday, as several countries grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 after two deadly crashes, Trump tweeted: “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.”
  59. Trump also tweeted, “Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better,” adding, “I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot.”
  60. On Tuesday, WSJ reported the top job at the Federal Aviation Administration has been vacant for 14 months, as enforcement fines as dropped by 88% and long delays on the tarmacs have increased.
  61. Thirty-five Congressional mandates have also gone unanswered. Consumer advocates say the Transportation Department has been invisible, with no meaningful enforcement happening.
  62. Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao, in a push to reduce regulation, has also stopped a number of rules in progress during the Obama-administration from going into effect.
  63. On Tuesday, Dallas Morning News reported before the two crashes, at least five pilots filed complaints about suspected safety flaws in the Boeing 737 Max 8 in a federal database where pilots can voluntarily report.
  64. An FAA spokesperson said complaints were filed directly to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which serves as a neutral third party, adding, “thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues.”
  65. On Tuesday, the FAA, at risk of losing its status as the world’s aviation safety leader, doubled down on its decision not to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8, after China, the European Union, India, and other countries did so.
  66. NYT reported Trump spoke Dennis Muilenburg, the chief executive of Boeing, early Tuesday. A statement to the Times by Boeing said Muilenburg “reiterated our position that the Max is a safe aircraft.”
  67. Shortly after the 2016 election, Trump had attacked Boeing publicly over the cost of Air Force One planes. Weeks later, Boeing lowered the cost and donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.
  68. On Wednesday, after 42 other countries had banned flights of the Boeing Max 8, Trump announced he would reverse an earlier FAA decision to keep the jets flying and ground flights, hours after Canada did the same.
  69. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump privately disparaged the Boeing 737, saying “it sucks,” and that he had not chosen the model for Air Force One, or for the airline he once ran that went bankrupt.
  70. Trump cited information exchange with Canada: “We were coordinating with Canada.” Throughout the process, Trump reportedly played the role of aviation expert, despite having no formal training in the area.
  71. Experts noted federal regulators typically take the lead on safety issues. Trump announcing the grounding was not normal. Secretary Chao or the acting FAA administrator should have made the announcement.
  72. A federal judge ruled Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos illegally delayed an Obama-era rule requiring states to address racial disparities in special education programs.
  73. The rule was drafted under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act to identify districts with “significant disproportionality” of minority students. The judge found DeVos’s delay to be “arbitrary and capricious.”
  74. On Wednesday, in a vote along party lines, the Senate confirmed Neomi Rao to replace Brett Kavanaugh on a key appeals court. Rao had come under scrutiny over her views and writings on date rape and abortion.
  75. In one essay as undergraduate at Yale, Rao had suggested women could avoid rape by remaining sober. She later apologized. Trump has now filled 20% of the nation’s appellate court judgeships.
  76. On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham moved forward with Trump nominees to fill two vacant seats in California on the 9th Circuit Court, despite oppositions by CA senators.
  77. A more-than-100-year-old Senate tradition allowed senators from the state to fill out a form called a “blue slip” to indicate opposition to a nominee and block them. For the first time under Graham, these are being ignored.
  78. Trump continues to push through judicial nominees at a record pace. With an additional confirmation of Paul Matey to the 3rd Circuit Court on Tuesday, Trump has now appointed 35 jurists to the appeals bench.
  79. On Friday, the Trump regime announced it will lift protections for the greater sage grouse on nearly 9 million acres, opening the land to leasing opportunities for the oil, gas, and mining industries.
  80. Additionally, Joe Balash, an Interior Department assistant secretary, confirmed to the Post that he told fossil fuel industry leaders the Atlantic coast will be included in the regime’s plan to expand leasing.
  81. Balash also said the regime planned to expand federal leasing to nearly the entire outer continental shelf. Offshore leases in the Atlantic have not been granted for decades, and drilling has not been allowed for a half-century.
  82. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the regime will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by U.S. forces.
  83. The ICC has a pending request to look into possible war crimes in Afghanistan. Pompeo said the restrictions may also be used to deter efforts “to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis” without their consent.
  84. On Monday, the Miami Herald reported a federal court of appeals in New York took steps to unseal evidence of an international sex trafficking operation run by Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
  85. The documents related to a 2015 case filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed she was recruited by Maxwell while working at Mar-a-Lago when she was 16 years-old and that she and others were sexually abused.
  86. On Monday, in an interview with WAPO Magazine, Speaker Pelosi said, “I’m not for impeachment” adding, “Impeachment is so divisive…unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.”
  87. Pelosi also added, “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.” Her comments drew broad attention, and were closely scrutinized for their meaning and intent.
  88. On Monday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said he is interested in speaking to Sheri Dillon and Stefan Passantino, attorneys responsible for Trump’s ethics and financial disclosures.
  89. Cummings said in his request both “appeared to provide false information” to federal prosecutors relating to payments to Cohen by Trump. So far the two are not cooperating.
  90. On Tuesday, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee released the transcript from the committee’s interview of Lisa Page, the second transcript released following that of Bruce Ohr.
  91. Page explained her talk with Peter Strzok of an “insurance policy” referenced the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump’s team colluding with Russia taking on a greater significance if he won.
  92. Page also pushed back that the FBI did not charge Hillary Clinton, saying the move would be too “constitutionally vague,” unprecedented, and “that they did not feel that they could sustain a charge.”
  93. On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul tweeted, “FBI Mistress, Lisa Page confirmed….there was an anti-Trump Insurance Policy,” adding, “it’s the fake Russian investigation…yet they continued with WITCH HUNT!
  94. On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office opened an investigation into financing of four major Trump Organization projects and Trump’s failed effort to buy the N.F.L.’s Buffalo Bills in 2014.
  95. The office subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of the deals, at a time when other banks would not lend. The new inquiry was prompted by Cohen’s testimony.
  96. The inquiry is civil, not criminal, and its scope is unclear. The four deals being investigated are Trump Hotel DC; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.
  97. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “New York State and its Governor, Andrew Cuomo, are now proud members of the group of PRESIDENTIAL HARASSERS,” adding, “The Witch Hunt continues!”
  98. On Wednesday, NY AG James announced she had reached an agreement with New York lawmakers to amend the state’s double jeopardy laws, adding “We anticipate that the bill will be passed in the coming week.”
  99. On Wednesday, in a series of morning tweets, Trump quoted a GOP tweet attacking NY AG James, adding “All part of the Witch Hunt Hoax. Started by little Eric Schneiderman & Cuomo. So many leaving New York!”
  100. Trump also retweeted an analysis by his supporters Diamond and Silk, saying “AG Letitia James of New York is abusing her power by targeting” him, adding it is “against the Law and a violation of the Hatch Act.”
  101. Trump also tweeted, “I greatly appreciate Nancy Pelosi’s statement against impeachment,” saying, “I never did anything wrong,” and claiming he is the leader with “the most successful first two years in history.”
  102. Trump also retweeted comments by Geraldo Rivera, saying Pelosi’s comments “are refreshing & conciliatory,” adding once Mueller exonerates Trump of allegations that “he’s a Russian spy, let’s move on.”
  103. Trump also parroted words by former late night host Jay Leno on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting “comedy is totally one-sided,” adding “the one-sided hatred on these shows is incredible and for me, unwatchable.”
  104. Trump then tweeted, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and then “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  105. Trump also accused “the Fake News” of editing photos of First Lady Melania Trump to stoke “conspiracy theories “that it’s actually not her by my side in Alabama and other places.”
  106. Trump also seized on the release of the Page transcripts, tweeting “the just revealed FBI Agent Lisa Page transcripts make the Obama Justice Department look exactly like it was, a broken and corrupt machine.”
  107. Later Wednesday, Trump quoted Fox News, tweeting “Double Standard,” Page “admits being told to go easy on Clinton,” and a second tweet saying, “Page testified Russian Collusion was still unproven.”
  108. Trump also tweeted he agrees with a tweet by Sen. Rand Paul, in which Paul uses Trump-like terms including, “FBI Mistress, Lisa Page,” “the fake Russian investigation!,” and “WITCH HUNT!”
  109. On Thursday, NY AG James told a judge in filing that Trump should “pay a $5.6 million penalty on top of $2.8 million in restitution for spending money” for using the Trump Foundation for business and political purposes.
  110. James said “Trump caused the foundation to enter repeatedly into self-dealing transactions and to coordinate unlawfully with his presidential campaign.” James is seeking a ruling without a trial.
  111. On Wednesday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler told reporters that in a closed-door meeting with former acting AG Matthew Whitaker, contrary to his public testimony, did not deny Trump had called him to discuss the Cohen investigation.
  112. Nadler said Whitaker had been “directly involved” in conversations about whether to fire unspecified U.S. attorneys, and in discussions about the “scope of the Southern District [of New York] attorney and his recusal.”
  113. Conversations about curtailing New York prosecutors’ investigations into Cohen could propel investigations by Congress and Mueller’s team into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice.
  114. On Thursday, the House voted 420–0 to pass a resolution calling for Mueller’s report to be made available to the public and Congress. The resolution is non-binding.
  115. Shortly after, when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a vote on the measure, Trump ally Sen. Graham effectively blocked the Senate from taking it up.
  116. Graham said he would only move forward if the resolution also included the appointment of a new special counsel to investigate how the DOJ conducted its investigation, pointing to the surveillance of Carter Page.
  117. On Wednesday, ahead of the Senate vote, in a series of tweets, Trump said “Prominent legal scholars agree” that his national emergency is “both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress.”
  118. Trump also tweeted, “If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!!” adding, “Don’t vote with Pelosi!”
  119. Trump also tweeted, “A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!”
  120. On Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, the Senate voted 59–41 to block Trump’s national emergency declaration, with 12 Republicans crossing over to join Democrats. Trump has vowed to veto the measure.
  121. Moments later, Trump tweeted “VETO!
  122. On Wednesday, in Washington D.C., Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to 43 months, bringing his total time in prison to seven and a half years, including his sentence in Virginia in Week 121.
  123. After two hours of discussion in which Manafort finally apologized, Jackson described how he deceived the American public, and how secret lobbying on behalf of foreign governments in the U.S. hurts democracy.
  124. Jackson also said Manafort “backed away from the facts,” and that “Court is one of those places where facts still matter,” adding, “if the people don’t have the facts, democracy doesn’t work.”
  125. Jackson made several strong statements before sentencing Manafort about the “no collusion” bunk, saying “the ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non sequitur,” and “not accurate, because the investigation is still ongoing.”
  126. After the hearing, Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing falsely claimed the judge “conceded that there was absolutely no evidence of any Russian collusion” and “two courts have ruled ‘no evidence of any collusion.’”
  127. Downing had falsely claimed the same after the Virginia case, seeming to communicate with Trump. Shortly after, Trump told reporters of Manafort, “I feel badly for him,” adding it’s a “very sad situation.”
  128. Trump also told reporters, “On a human basis, it’s a sad thing,” and when asked about a possible pardon said, “I have not even given it a thought as of this moment,” and “It’s not something now that’s on my mind.”
  129. On Wednesday, a short time after Manafort’s sentencing, Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance charged Manafort with 16 crimes, including mortgage fraud and more than a dozen other state felonies.
  130. Vance said Wednesday the charges were filed to ensure Manafort will face prison time even if Trump pardons him for federal crimes. Manafort’s attorneys will challenge the indictment on double-jeopardy grounds.
  131. On Thursday, at a brief scheduling hearing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson set a trial date for Roger Stone of November 5, but did not address the issue of his latest possible gag order violation.
  132. Departing court, Stone’s attorney Robert Buschel told ABC News, “When I’m walking out of court with my client, it’s a good day,” referring to the possibility Stone could have been incarcerated for violating the gag order.
  133. On Thursday, in documents released related to Russian businessman, Aleksej Gubarev’s lawsuit against BuzzFeed, forensic evidence revealed his company was involved with the hack of John Podesta’s emails.
  134. The report found evidence which “suggests that Russian cyber espionage groups used XBT infrastructure to support malicious spear phishing campaigns against the Democratic Party leadership” and resulted in the theft of emails.
  135. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Russian President Vladimir Putin supports new laws passed in the upper house of parliament which punish online media for spreading “fake news,” and jailing critics for disrespect.
  136. On Thursday, Rep. Cummings requested documents and an interview with former Fox News reporter Diana Falzone about Trump’s “debts and payments to silence women” prior to the 2016 presidential election.
  137. In his letter, Rep. Cummings also requested information about any “action taken against” Falzone in “connection with attempts to report on such stories.” Falzone’s attorney said she will comply.
  138. On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified before the House Oversight Committee on whether he lied to Congress when he testified last year about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  139. Ross’s testimony came after a second federal judge found he violated federal law and the Constitution. Ross maintained the basis for his decision was the official DOJ memo released in March 2018.
  140. Democrats grilled Ross, and clashed with Republicans during the hearing. Chair Cummings requested Ross provide documents and written answers to unanswered questions, else possibly face a subpoena.
  141. On Friday, CNN reported that Trump’s lawyers are refusing to make former chief of staff John Kelly available for questioning on granting of security clearances. Rep.Cummings called it “stonewalling.”
  142. On Thursday, a New York appellate court voted 3–2, ruling Summer Zervos’ lawsuit against Trump can proceed, rejecting Trump’s argument that he cannot be sued in state court while in office.
  143. The decision will likely mean Trump will have to sit for a sworn deposition, currently scheduled for June. Zervos was one of 19 women who publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct during the 2016 campaign.
  144. On Tuesday, a joint status report filed by Mueller’s team and Michael Flynn’s attorneys indicated Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel is “complete,” adding “Flynn remains “in a position to cooperate” if needed.
  145. On Thursday, NPR reported prosecutor Andrew Weissman is stepping down. The spokesperson for the special counsel said Weissman “will be concluding his detail to the special counsel’s office in the near future.”
  146. Weissman, who Steve Bannon called “the LeBron James of money laundering investigations,” had led the prosecution of Manafort, and is in talks with New York University Law School about a job.
  147. Weissman’s imminent departure, along with the recent resignation of the senior-most FBI agent working on Mueller’s team, Special Agent in Charge David Archey, signaled to some that the probe could be close to complete.
  148. On Friday, in a court filing, Mueller’s team said former Trump campaign official Rick Gates “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations,” and asked to delay his sentencing.
  149. The joint report from Mueller and Gates’ attorneys asked for a 60 day delay before providing the next update on Gates’ status, countering the narrative that the Mueller probe was about to wrap up.
  150. On Thursday, in an interview released by Breitbart, Trump said, “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher.”
  151. Trump warned, “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough,” adding, “it would be very bad, very bad.”
  152. On Friday, at least 49 people were murdered while worshipping at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Part of the massacre was broadcast live on Facebook in a 17-minute long video.
  153. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” The killer also sent a manifesto to Ardern, media, and lawmakers minutes before the attack.
  154. The killer said in his manifesto he wanted to “incite violence, retaliation and further divide” and used Trump terms like “invaders,” attacking “mass immigration,” and said he hoped to “directly reduce immigration rates.”
  155. Similar to the Pittsburgh synagogue killing, the killer said in his manifesto that he drew inspiration from the rise of white nationalism in America, calling Trump a symbol “of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
  156. The killer also identified conservative commentator Candace Owens as his biggest influence in the manifesto, writing “her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness.”
  157. Some democrats pointed to Trump’s long record of derogatory remarks about Muslims, his Muslim ban, and comments about Charlottesville in 2017, saying that both sides included “some very fine people.”
  158. On Friday, Trump tweeted: “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre,” adding, “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
  159. Trump then continued in a series of tweets, quoting a Fox News segment: “The ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party,” adding, “Republicans are waiting with open arms.”
  160. Trump then again quoted Fox News, tweeting: “New evidence that the Obama era team of the FBI, DOJ & CIA were working together” to spy on and “take out” Trump, adding, “Peter Strzok’s testimony is devastating.”
  161. Trump also tweeted, “there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed,” adding, “the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary).”
  162. Trump also cited, “now disgraced Andrew McCabe,” and said that the special counsel “should never have been appointed” and that “there should be no Mueller Report.”
  163. Trump then concluded, tweeting “….THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”
  164. On Friday, in a letter to the attorney general, Sen. Graham requested a complete record of documents, conversations, and other communications relating to the discussions about removing Trump from office.
  165. Graham said conversations involving former FBI director Andrew McCabe and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and others about the 25th Amendment amount to “a coup” and promised to investigate.
  166. On Friday, Trump told reporters he does not believe white nationalism is a rising threat, saying, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”
  167. When asked by reporters if she agreed with Trump’s comment that he doesn’t see white nationalism as a rising global threat, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “No.”
  168. On Friday, Trump issued his first veto after Congress voted to block his emergency declaration. Trump called the resolution to block his declaration “dangerous,” “reckless” and a “vote against reality.”
  169. After having previously acknowledged he could have waited for his declaration, Trump provided a flurry of statistics to support the contention that this was an emergency, though many were vague.
  170. Trump claimed that there is an “invasion” into the U.S. by migrants, adding so many of them had been apprehended that there was “nowhere left to hold all of the people that we’re capturing.”
  171. Trump was flanked by Pence, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Attorney General William Barr, who said the emergency order was “clearly authorized under the law” and “solidly grounded in law.”
  172. Secretary Nielsen said, “The fact that this is an emergency is undeniable. We have not seen this type of flow. As you know, it’s predominantly families and children…there’s a very unique and dangerous humanitarian crisis.”
  173. Pence said, “I don’t know that I have never been more proud to stand next to your desk than I am today,” adding “We have a crisis on our southern border.”
  174. Trump was also flanked by so-called Angel Moms, telling one before he signed the veto, “They will not have died in vain. Did I tell you that a long time ago? Three years ago, when we first met.”
  175. GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander noted the unprecedented nature of Trump asking for funding from Congress, Congress denying it, and then Trump using the “National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway.”
  176. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi said the House will vote to override Trump’s veto “to protect our Constitution and our democracy” on March 26, accusing Trump of a “lawless power grab.”
  177. On Friday, WAPO reported according to a court docket entry, Cesar Sayoc, the man accused of mailing bombs to Trump’s critics in Week 102, is likely to plead guilty to federal charges next week.
  178. On Friday, the WAPO Editorial Board condemned Trump’s response to the shooting, saying he should have spoken out about the killer and his nativist rhetoric, and noting his own rhetoric overlapped with the killer on Friday.
  179. The Post also noted that just hours later, Trump cited an “invasion” of immigrants to justify his national emergency declaration to build a wall.
  180. On Tuesday, Talking Points Memo reported Li “Cindy” Yang, who co-founded GY US Investments LLC with her husband, was also using proximity to Trump and his regime to peddle investor visas.
  181. GY US Investments offered “immigration investment projects,” a reference to the EB-5 visa program under which foreign citizens can get a two-year U.S. green card in exchange for making certain investments.
  182. On Friday, WAPO reported although Yang has not been accused of any wrongdoing, her ability to provide access raises concerns about access to Trump and his regime for members and guests of his clubs.
  183. Articles have identified Yang as deputy director of the Florida branch of the Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, whose chapters are overseen by a wing of the Chinese Communist Party.
  184. An expert noted China’s Communist Party seeks to “co-opt and control” diaspora communities to spread pro-China views. Sources say there is relatively light screening of guests at Mar-a-Lago.
  185. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he told House Republicans to vote to release the Mueller report, saying “ Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter. Play along with the game!”

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

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

The Weekly List website is live! Find resources, videos, and information.

Trump holds an executive veto, his first, in the Oval Office of the White House March 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump vetoed the congressional resolution that blocks his national emergency declaration on the southern border.