Aftermath of the Trump Administration, September 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. However, I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Thursday, 1 September 2022:

 

War in Ukraine: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission inspects nuclear plant after delays, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, John Hudson, Adam Taylor, Sammy Westfall, and James Bikales, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “An International Atomic Energy Agency team carried out an initial inspection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant Thursday, overcoming political hurdles and nearby mortar shelling to access the embattled plant. Five IAEA representatives will remain on-site through Saturday, the plant’s operator said. ‘I have just completed a first tour of the key areas that we wanted to see,’ Rafael Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, said on Twitter after leaving the facility Thursday evening. ‘We are establishing a continued presence from the IAEA here.’ The IAEA mission is intended to assess the safety and security of the Russian-occupied plant, as well as speak to staff, in a bid to prevent a nuclear disaster like the one that occurred in Chernobyl in 1986. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the area around the power station.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the IAEA experts’ visit and called for demilitarization of the area around the plant in his nightly address Thursday. He accused Russia of efforts to ‘deceive the mission’ by intimidating local residents and refusing to allow journalists to accompany the inspectors. ‘The main thing is to have the will to draw objective conclusions,’ Zelensky said.
  • The IAEA team pushed ahead with the visit despite what Grossi said was ‘increased military activity’ near the plant. The expert mission was briefly held up by Ukrainian forces on its way to the site. Russia has controlled the facility since March, and both Kyiv and Moscow publicly supported the visit by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
  • Lithuania offered to send its police forces to Zaporizhzhia as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force. Speaking at the U.N. Chiefs of Police Summit in New York Thursday, Arūnas Paulauskas, deputy commissioner of the Lithuanian police, said a U.N. police force could ensure the plant’s ‘physical security’ alongside a long-term IAEA monitoring mission. ‘Lithuania would be prepared to play an active part and deploy law enforcement officers to such a mission,’ he said.
  • Ukraine began its academic school year Thursday, welcoming students back in ceremonies that showed both resilience and the war’s heavy toll. The Washington Post spoke to and photographed students and parents across the country to get a sense of the mood at the start of this unprecedented school year. Some students were required to carry ’emergency backpacks’ or practice air raid drills as part of their school’s opening ceremony. Others could not attend school in person because their school building had been bombed.

Russia-Ukraine War: Five U.N. Inspectors Remain at Embattled Nuclear Plant in Ukraine. Part of the I.A.E.A. mission departed the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after roughly four hours, but others remain to continue assessing its safety. The New York Times, Thursday, 1 September 2022:

  • The inspectors braved shelling as they crossed the front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
  • With war raging near the plant, what can the U.N. inspectors accomplish?
  • The Zaporizhzhia plant deployed emergency backup measures after it was struck by shelling.
  • A Russian oil executive dies under murky circumstances.
  • A Ukrainian player refused to shake the hand of the Belarusian she lost to at the U.S. Open.
  • Improvements in U.N. security could help the nuclear agency as it navigates a combat zone in Ukraine.
  • Pencil, chalk and first-aid kits: Ukrainian children return to school in the midst of war.

Trump Documents Inquiry: Federal Judge Aileen M. Cannon Keeps Door Open to Special Master in Trump Documents Inquiry. Cannon also indicated that she would unseal a more detailed inventory of the materials seized in the search of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home. The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Alan Feuer, and Charlie Savage, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A federal judge signaled on Thursday that she remained open to granting former President Donald J. Trump’s request to appoint an independent arbiter to go through documents the F.B.I. seized from him last month, but stopped short of making a final decision. After a nearly two-hour hearing, the judge, Aileen M. Cannon of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, reserved judgment on the question of whether to appoint a so-called special master in the case, saying she would issue a written order ‘in due course.’ Notably, Judge Cannon did not direct the F.B.I. to stop working with the files, which the Justice Department has said have already undergone a preliminary review by law enforcement officials. Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2020, also indicated that she would unseal a more detailed list of the documents the F.B.I. took during its Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida. She had earlier ordered the Justice Department to provide the list to Mr. Trump’s legal team at its request. It was not clear when it would become public. During the hearing, Judge Cannon pressed the government to explain what harm could come from appointing a special master. Jay I. Bratt, the head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, told her that a special master could slow down an assessment of the risk and damage to national security being conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — as well as an assessment of whether the seized documents contain the sort of national security secrets whose unauthorized retention is a crime under the Espionage Act.” See also, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to issue a written ruling on Trump special-master request. Cannon indicates she may believe the former president retained some executive privileges when leaving the White House. The Washington Post, Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A federal judge seemed sympathetic to arguments presented by Donald Trump’s attorneys in a courtroom Thursday that the former president may retain some executive privileges after he left the White House. But U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon did not issue a ruling from the bench on whether she would grant the legal team’s request to appoint a special master to review material seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club, instead saying she would deliver a written decision in ‘due course.’ Cannon also said she would unseal a more detailed inventory list of the documents and other materials that FBI agents seized from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. Both the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers have agreed that the information can be made public, potentially shedding light on what Trump kept in his possession after returning 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago in January and responding to a May grand jury subpoena requesting additional presidential records. At a hearing Thursday afternoon, a newly hired Trump lawyer told Cannon that the appointment of a special master — essentially an independent outside expert — would bring down the ‘very high’ temperature around the FBI’s investigation into possible mishandling of classified documents. ‘We need to take a deep breath,’ said Chris Kise, a former Florida solicitor general who left his law firm this week and entered into a multimillion-dollar deal to join Trump’s legal team, according to people familiar with the arrangement who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it. Jay Bratt, a senior Justice Department counterintelligence official, told Cannon that Trump was not entitled to a special master, emphasizing that the issue in the case is the possible hiding of highly sensitive government secrets in a private residence. Trump ‘is no longer the president, and because he is no longer the president, he did not have the right to take those documents,’ Bratt said. Justice Department officials also told Cannon that their filter team had done a thorough review of the material, and it had set aside 64 sets of documents — made up of some 520 pages — that might be considered protected by attorney-client privilege.” See also, Federal judge Aileen Cannon orders release of detailed list of property seized in Trump FBI search, CBS News, Nicole Sganga, Robert Legare, Melissa Quinn, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release of a detailed list of the property seized during the FBI’s search at former President Donald Trump’s South Florida residence last month, while reserving judgment on whether to appoint an outside party to review the documents. Federal prosecutors initially submitted a property receipt to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday, though it was filed under seal. The Justice Department told the court in a separate filing it was prepared to release the receipt to the public given the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ of the case and provide it ‘immediately’ to Trump. Trump’s legal team said they did not oppose unsealing the detailed inventory. It remained sealed as of Thursday afternoon.”

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The Secret History of the Trump Administration’s Family-Separation Policy

Caitlin Dickerson, The Atlantic, The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Family-Separation Policy, Sunday, 7 August 2022: “During the year and a half in which the U.S. government separated thousands of children from their parents, the Trump administration’s explanations for what was happening were deeply confusing, and on many occasions—it was clear even then—patently untrue. I’m one of the many reporters who covered this story in real time. Despite the flurry of work that we produced to fill the void of information, we knew that the full truth about how our government had reached this point still eluded us. Trump-administration officials insisted for a whole year that family separations weren’t happening. Finally, in the spring of 2018, they announced the implementation of a separation policy with great fanfare—as if one had not already been under way for months. Then they declared that separating families was not the goal of the policy, but an unfortunate result of prosecuting parents who crossed the border illegally with their children. Yet a mountain of evidence shows that this is explicitly false: Separating children was not just a side effect, but the intent. Instead of working to reunify families after parents were prosecuted, officials worked to keep them apart for longer. Over the past year and a half, I have conducted more than 150 interviews and reviewed thousands of pages of internal government documents, some of which were turned over to me only after a multiyear lawsuit. These records show that as officials were developing the policy that would ultimately tear thousands of families apart, they minimized its implications so as to obscure what they were doing. Many of these officials now insist that there had been no way to foresee all that would go wrong. But this is not true. The policy’s worst outcomes were all anticipated, and repeated internal and external warnings were ignored. Indeed, the records show that almost no logistical planning took place before the policy was initiated. It’s been said of other Trump-era projects that the administration’s incompetence mitigated its malevolence; here, the opposite happened. A flagrant failure to prepare meant that courts, detention centers, and children’s shelters became dangerously overwhelmed; that parents and children were lost to each other, sometimes many states apart; that four years later, some families are still separated—and that even many of those who have been reunited have suffered irreparable harm. It is easy to pin culpability for family separations on the anti-immigration officials for which the Trump administration is known. But these separations were also endorsed and enabled by dozens of members of the government’s middle and upper management: Cabinet secretaries, commissioners, chiefs, and deputies who, for various reasons, didn’t voice concern even when they should have seen catastrophe looming; who trusted ‘the system’ to stop the worst from happening; who reasoned that it would not be strategic to speak up in an administration where being labeled a RINO or a ‘squish’—nicknames for those deemed insufficiently conservative—could end their career; who assumed that someone else, in some other department, must be on top of the problem; who were so many layers of abstraction away from the reality of screaming children being pulled out of their parent’s arms that they could hide from the human consequences of what they were doing.”


Aftermath of the Trump Administration, August 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. However, I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Monday, 1 August 2022:

 

War in Ukraine: First grain shipment leaves Ukraine as Zelensky urges security for future food exports, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Jennifer Hassan, Kareem Fahim, Kendra Nichols, Adam Taylor, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 1 August 2022: “A ship carrying grain left the Ukrainian city of Odessa for the first time since Russia’s invasion and blockade of the country’s ports. The shipment is the result of a U.N.-backed deal meant to ease the global hunger crisis. World leaders heralded it as a badly needed glimmer of hope in the race to combat soaring prices, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said international monitors must guarantee the safety of future food-hauling freighters. ‘We cannot have the illusions that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports,’ he said.

  • The cargo vessel is carrying more than 28,000 tons of corn. It is expected to arrive in Turkish territorial waters Tuesday, en route to Lebanon. A Russian missile strike on Odessa one day after the U.N.-brokered grain-export deal was signed in late July had raised fears that the arrangement would crumble.
  • The key Black Sea port of Mykolaiv was hit over the weekend by ‘one of the most brutal shellings’ since the war began, Zelensky said after dozens of Russian rockets destroyed homes, schools and infrastructure. Among those killed in the city was one of Ukraine’s richest business executives, who founded an agriculture company that helped facilitate the country’s grain exports.
  • The success of grain exports going forward will depend on the United Nations and Turkey, which helped broker the deal with Russia, ensuring safe passage of ships from ports such as Odessa and Mykolaiv, Zelensky said late Monday.
  • Ukraine on Monday confirmed the delivery of precision multiple-launch rocket systems from Germany, bolstering a growing arsenal that has been credited with destroying dozens of strategically important Russian targets. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht recently said that an initial delivery of German Gepard antiaircraft weapons has arrived in Ukraine and that Germany is sending more self-propelled howitzers than initially planned. Several German IRIS-T air defense systems are also slated for delivery in the autumn.
  • The White House on Monday announced an additional $550 million in security assistance for Ukraine. The latest package will include ammunition for howitzer and high-mobility rocket systems, or HIMARS, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at a news briefing. The United States has now provided about $8.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine during the Biden administration. The European Union also announced that $1 billion in aid will be delivered to Ukraine by Tuesday.
  • Brittney Griner is due back in a Russian court Tuesday, where she will make her first appearance since the United States publicly acknowledged it had proposed a prisoner exchange to free the WNBA star, along with security consultant Paul Whelan. Griner faces charges of cannabis possession, and U.S. officials say there has been no major progress on securing her release since they proposed the swap.

Russia-Ukraine War: With Its First Grain-Loaded Ship in Months En Route, Ukraine Readies More. A Ukrainian Official said 16 more ships were waiting to depart with grain, but experts warned that even if the deal with Russia that opened Ukraine’s ports holds, the global food crisis will persist. The New York Times, Monday, 1 August 2022:

  • A ship loaded with Ukrainian grain leaves the Port of Odesa for the first time since the war began.
  • ‘One miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’: The U.N. chief issues a grim warning, citing war.
  • Russia has turned Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a fortress.
  • Ukraine wages a ‘deep war’ to degrade Russian forces as Moscow continues its scorched-earth campaign.
  • Hunger is so widespread that Ukraine’s resumed grain exports will barely make a dent, experts say.
  • Here’s what we know about the deadly blast at a prisoner camp in eastern Ukraine.
  • A blast hit a warehouse belonging to a Bulgarian arms merchant previously targeted by Russia.

Russia-Ukraine War: A weekly recap and look ahead (August 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 1 August 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead. What to watch this week: Monday: As a ship loaded with Ukrainian grain left Odesa for the first time since the war began, there are hopes that it will be the first of many resuming the country’s exports. Tuesday: The trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner continues in Moscow. Wednesday: ASEAN-led meetings get underway in Cambodia, where Ukraine will be on the agenda. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be among top diplomats gathering in Phnom Penh. Friday: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to meet in Sochi, Russia. What happened last week: Monday, July 25: Russia’s Gazprom said it would reduce the amount of gas it sends through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of capacity. On the same day, Russia announced it would quit taking part in the International Space Station after 2024. Tuesday, July 26: European Union energy ministers agreed on an emergency deal to ration natural gas to help EU countries get through the coming winter. Wednesday, July 27: On the same day that Brittney Griner’s trial continued in Moscow, the U.S. proposed a prisoner swap in which Moscow would free Griner and Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Russia, in exchange for the U.S. release of imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Thursday, July 28: Russian missile strikes targeted Ukraine’s Kyiv and Chernihiv regions on the same day that Ukrainian authorities announced an operation to liberate the occupied region of Kherson in the south. Friday, July 29: Ukraine and Russia blamed one another for shelling that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in eastern Ukraine. Also, Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first time since the war began, urging Russia to accept the proposal aimed at bringing home Griner and Whelan. Blinken also pressed Russia on allowing Ukrainian grain exports. Saturday, July 30: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a mandatory evacuation of people in the eastern Donetsk region. Also, Gazprom cut off gas shipments to Latvia. Russia demands payment in rubles and has already stopped gas shipments to other EU countries after their refusal to do so. Sunday, July 31: Marking Russia’s Navy Day, President Vladimir Putin approved a new naval doctrine highlighting the U.S. and NATO as the biggest threats to Russia.

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, July 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 1 July 2022:

 

War in Ukraine: Ukraine says missile strikes in Odessa area leave more than 20 dead, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Julian Duplain, Karina Tsui, David L. Stern, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 1 July 2022: “In Ukraine’s Odessa region, Russian strikes killed at least 21 people and injured 38 at an apartment building and a recreation center, Ukrainian officials said Friday. While the Kremlin denied hitting civilians, Ukrainian officials said at least one child was killed and others wounded. Rescuers are still searching for victims under the rubble. Video posted to Telegram on Friday, and verified by The Washington Post, shows the aftermath of the strikes. ‘Everything was blown apart,’ a witness said in a Telegram video. War crimes prosecutors collected evidence at the scene. A Russian prosecutor on Friday accused WNBA star Brittney Griner of transporting a ‘significant amount’ of cannabis oil, according to Russian media reports on her trial, where she faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

  • Ukrainian officials say the new tranche of Western materiel is already making a difference on the battlefield.
  • The United States will provide $820 million in security assistance to Ukraine, the Pentagon said Friday, focusing on weapons and equipment urgently needed for the battle in the east.
  • Russia more than doubled the rate of its missile strikes in the last two weeks, according to a Ukrainian general.
  • Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov reportedly has been arrested in Russia, accused of possible evasion of service in the army, according to Fontanka, a news outlet based in St. Petersburg.

Russia-Ukraine War: Death Toll Rises to 21 in Missile Strikes Near Odesa. Ukrainians accused Russia of retaliation for driving Russian forces from Snake Island, a strategic blow, but the attack was of a piece with similar apparently random strikes on residential areas. The New York Times, Friday, 1 July 2022:

  • ‘This was an act of revenge.’ Rescuers comb rubble for victims in a seaside town where Russian missiles struck.

  • Brittney Griner, now a wartime bargaining chip, goes on trial in Russia.

  • Advanced rocket launchers sent by the U.S. are making a difference on the battlefield, officials say.

  • A Polish tennis player is using her stardom to support Ukraine.

  • At a boarding school in Ukraine, displaced children long for home.
  • Russia detains its own Olympic goalie, who had signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Mariupol’s drama company prepares to perform again.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (July 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 1 July 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian missiles hit residential areas near Odesakilling at least 21 people. Fierce fighting has continued in the area, in southern Ukraine, for weeks. The European Union flag was hoisted in the Ukrainian Parliament in a symbolic and highly emotional moment for the country’s lawmakers, who stood and applauded. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Ukraine on gaining candidate status last week, launching a potentially lengthy process for the country to join the bloc. Inflation in 19 countries that use the euro hit a new record high of 8.6% in June. The war in Ukraine has helped drive up energy and food prices, and the Eurostat statistics agency estimated energy prices are almost 42% higher than last year. The trial for WNBA star Brittney Griner began in Russiawith prosecutors unsealing details about her case. She’s detained on drug smuggling charges over alleged cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage. Her next hearing is slated for July 7. UNESCO declared borsch cooking an endangered Ukrainian heritage ‘in need of urgent safeguarding’ because of Russia’s invasion. Ukraine’s culture minister declared victory ‘in the war for borsch,’ as Russia also lays claim to the hearty beet soup.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, June 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Wednesday, 1 June 2022:

 

War in Ukraine: With the war in Ukraine nearing its 100th day, Russia and the United States traded barbs over Washington’s pledge to bolster Kyiv’s military defense with advanced rocket systems, while the key Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk appears to be on the brink of capture, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Marisa Iati, Annabelle Timsit, Adela Suliman, Bryan Pietsch, and Rachel Pannett, Wednesday, 1 June 2022: “After President Biden announced the shipment of more firepower to Ukraine, Moscow accused America of ‘pouring fuel on the fire.’ But Secretary of State Antony Blinken denied that U.S. officials were escalating the conflict, and he urged Russia to end the war. Meanwhile, the battle for the Donbas continued, and local officials said Russian forces were close to claiming full control of Severodonetsk, a city important to Moscow’s strategy in the east. If Russia can capture the city, it would give the Kremlin a badly needed symbolic and territorial victory.

  • The war has left at least 5.2 million children ‘in need of humanitarian assistance,’ the United Nations said Wednesday. Each day, the conflict kills at least two children and injures four more, according to U.N. figures.
  • Germany said it would send a modern air defense system and an artillery-tracking radar to Ukraine, two crucial pieces of equipment.
  • Russia’s Defense Ministry said its strategic missile forces were conducting exercises northeast of Moscow. They reportedly involve mobile launchers of the Yars, an intercontinental ballistic missile, and about 1,000 military service members.
  • The European Commission approved the disbursement of Poland’s share of the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund — a decision seen as an expression of goodwill toward a country harboring roughly 3 million Ukrainian refugees.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

What Happened on Day 98 of the War in Ukraine. Pitched street battles raged in Sievierodonetsk as Russian forces pushed into the city center. Germany promised Ukraine an advanced air-defense system, a day after the U.S. said it would send more powerful artillery. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Wednesday, 1 June 2022: “Though much of the world’s focus in the war has been on Russia’s disorganized and flawed campaign, Ukraine, too, is struggling. Ukraine’s army has suffered heavy losses, shown signs of disarray and, step by step, fallen back from some long-held areas in Donbas, the eastern region that is now the war’s epicenter. The momentum Ukraine generated after pushing Russian forces back from Kyiv, the capital, and Kharkiv, the second-largest city, has given way in the east to weeks of give-and-take over villages, heavy shelling — and a stream of Ukrainian dead and wounded from the battlefields. Ukraine’s troops now face a Russian force that has shifted strategy from the hasty, reckless advances of the early weeks of the war to a creeping, grinding march enabled by massive artillery bombardments.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (June 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 1 June 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian forces closed in on the last remaining areas under Ukrainian control in the eastern Luhansk region. The Luhansk regional governor said 80% of the city of Sievierodonetsk is under occupation, but Ukrainian forces have launched counterattacks and captured Russian troops. He said Ukraine still held onto the nearby city of Lysychansk, a militarily advantageous area on a hill. The U.S. is sending more advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine, but not to be shot into Russia. This will include longer-range weapons as part of a new military aid package estimated at $700 million. President Biden wrote the new weapons will enable Ukrainians to make more precision strikes, but stressed that ‘we are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.’ Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the weapons increased the risk of a direct conflict breaking out between Russia and the U.S. Germany also promised heavy weapons to Ukraine, including an air-defense system. Russia’s nuclear forces held drills northeast of Moscow, according to the Russian news agency Interfax, citing the country’s defense ministry. The drills in the Ivanovo region were said to involve 1,000 troops and more than 100 units of equipment, including Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, reported to have a range of over 6,800 miles. Ukraine made headway prosecuting Russians for war crimes. A court in the central Ukrainian city of Poltava handed guilty verdicts to two Russian soldiers — the second ruling in a war crimes trial in the country since Russia invaded, The Washington Post reports. The court sentenced the soldiers on Tuesday to 11 1/2 years for ‘violating the laws and customs of war’ when they shelled civilian sites in a town in the northeastern Kharkiv region. Ukraine’s chief prosecutor said 80 alleged war crimes cases were underway of around 15,000 incidents reported since the start of the February invasion. Ukraine’s soccer team won 3-1 against Scotland for a chance to qualify for this year’s World Cup. The game in Glasgow was the Ukrainian team’s first competitive match since Russia invaded their country on Feb. 24. Next the team will face Wales. Russia’s team has been banned, and the Ukrainian team got several extra months to prepare. Ukraine has not qualified to play in the World Cup since 2006.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, May 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Sunday, 1 May 2022:

 

Mariupol evacuation push resumes; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, The Washington Post, Adam Taylor, Bryan Pietsch, Jennifer Hassan, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Paulina Villegas, Lateshia Beachum, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 1 May 2022: “The long-awaited evacuation of civilians from a besieged steel plant in Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters have staged a desperate last stand, continued Sunday, the United Nations said. About 100 people were being transferred from the surrounded southeastern port city to Ukrainian-controlled territory, but officials said hundreds more — including dozens of children — are stuck there. On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a surprise trip to Kyiv with a congressional delegation, telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that ‘our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done.’ The meeting with Pelosi, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, was disclosed by Zelensky on Sunday. The evacuation of civilians from the steel plant in Mariupol has been a contentious issue as Russia seeks control of the city, a strategic prize for President Vladimir Putin. For weeks, civilians who sought shelter at the sprawling facility have remained underground with dwindling supplies of food and medicine. A small group of women and children was allowed to leave the plant on Saturday.

  • Fighting continues in the eastern city of Kharkiv, where local officials reported that shelling killed three, just hours after suggesting that Russian airstrikes and artillery attacks may be slowing after a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • Moscow’s recent actions in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson — where civilians are facing an Internet blackout and the implementation of a plan to use Russian currency — are an attempt to ‘exert strong political and economic influence in Kherson over the long term,’ according to a British intelligence update.
  • Europe is scrambling to respond to the energy crisis prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, after Putin cut off natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for refusing to pay in rubles.
  • The Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

What Happened on Day 67 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Sunday, 1 May 2022: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in Kyiv, making her the most senior American official to visit Kyiv. Her visit signals a deepening U.S. commitment to Ukraine as Russia has struggled to make much progress in its offensive in the separatist east and sent its highest ranking uniformed officer, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, to the front line there late last week, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said. The rare front-line visit of such a high-ranking military official comes as analysts say the Russian forces remain beset with logistical problems and disarray among its troops, despite concentrating its efforts in the east after its campaign to take the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, ended in an embarrassing withdrawal. General Gerasimov’s visit was an effort to change the eastern offensive’s direction, a Ukrainian official said, as Russian forces have been able to make only incremental gains there so far. Ms. Pelosi announced on Sunday that she had met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and had pledged ‘to help the Ukrainian people as they defend democracy for their nation and for the world.’ The visit on Saturday by Ms. Pelosi and a few fellow Democratic lawmakers was kept secret until they returned to Poland, where they held a news conference on Sunday morning and vowed to back Ukraine ‘until victory is won.’

Here are some other developments:

  • An evacuation of civilians from Mariupol was underway as women and children confined to bunkers beneath a sprawling steel plant started to make their way to safety, according to Ukrainian officials and the United Nations.

  • Ukrainian officials in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions reported fierce battles as Russian tank columns tried to push into areas that Moscow’s forces have pounded with artillery fire. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that it had struck 800 targets across Ukraine over the past day, including a hangar in the port city of Odesa that it said was storing weapons and ammunition delivered to Ukraine by the United States and Europe.

  • In territory controlled by Russia, including the southern region of Kherson, the occupying forces were trying to solidify control and taking steps to erase Ukrainian identity.

  • Russian attacks on fuel depots and other infrastructure in Ukraine have led to shortages of gasoline, with drivers lining up outside gas stations.

  • Russia’s foreign minister claimed that nearly a million people had been moved to Russia from Ukraine in voluntary ‘evacuations.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 1 May 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Congressional Democrats met Ukrainian leaders in the capital, they announced on Sunday. The Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials on Saturday for three hours to discuss American support for the war. Pelosi, the most senior American official to visit Ukraine since the war began in February, said the topics of discussion included ‘security, humanitarian assistance, economic assistance and eventually rebuilding when victory is won.’ About 100 civilians were evacuated from a Mariupol steel plant. Of the thousands of civilians still trapped in the besieged port city, about a thousand are believed to be sheltering in bunkers beneath the plant. Previous attempts to evacuate the civilians have been thwarted by repeated Russian shelling. Officials in Odesa imposed a curfew. Officials in the southern port city say the enforced curfew will extend from Sunday night through Tuesday morning after warning of possible sabotage in the city. In the past, pro-Russian activists have mobilized for protests and unrest in the city on May 2 each year. Russian ground forces are now fighting just a few hours away and Russian naval vessels are blockading Odesa’s port. Germany said it was making progress in cutting its use of Russian fossil fuels. European countries are under pressure to stop importing Russian gas, while Russia flexed its economic power by cutting off gas to Poland and Bulgaria.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, April 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 1 April 2022:

 

Thousands trapped in Mariupol after evacuation effort stalls, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Hannah Knowles, Adela Suliman, Ellen Francis, Kim Bellware, Miriam Berger, and Andrew Jeong, Friday, 1 April 2022: “A major evacuation effort stalled Friday after the Red Cross said it was unable to reach the port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian authorities said thousands escaped but have estimated as many as 100,000 people remained trapped in grim conditions. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it would try to reach Mariupol again this weekend after conditions Friday ‘made it impossible to proceed’ with a major humanitarian mission. The ICRC had readied a nine-person team to help evacuate civilians as the Kremlin declared a cease-fire in the city. Shelling destroyed much of Mariupol as a weeks-long Russian blockade severed the city from the outside world, raising alarms about dwindling resources.

  • Russia accused Ukraine on Friday of attacking a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod in what appeared to be Ukraine’s first airstrike on Russian soil since the invasion.
  • Oil prices fell Friday after member nations of the International Energy Agency authorized the release of emergency oil reserves, joining with the United States.
  • The U.S. Air Force canceled a scheduled test of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month to avoid the potential for escalated tensions with Russia, the service said.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

What Happened on Day 37 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. The New York Times, Friday, 1 April 2022: “The most ambitious effort yet to evacuate desperate civilians from Ukraine’s devastated port of Mariupol, besieged by Russian forces for weeks, was upended by disruptions Friday, with thousands of residents managing to flee but many more still stuck after the Red Cross judged the exodus too dangerous. The suspended Red Cross evacuation in Mariupol, a city that has come to symbolize the horrors of the war in Ukraine, was among several developments painting a mixed picture on Friday as one of the biggest armed conflicts to convulse Europe in decades rumbled into its sixth week. New signs emerged that Russian forces, stymied by their own botched planning and fierce Ukrainian resistance, were retreating from areas outside of Kyiv, the capital, and moving north. Ukrainians asserted that they had retaken control of more than two dozen suburban towns and hamlets. Ukrainian helicopter gunships struck an oil terminal inside Russia, Russian officials said — which, if confirmed, would be the first known Ukrainian airstrike in Russian territory since the Feb. 24 invasion. Such an attack would be both embarrassing and potentially provocative to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in his troubled military campaign to subjugate Ukraine. Ukrainian officials gave conflicting accounts on whether Ukraine was responsible.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 1 April 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian officials said that Ukrainian helicopters struck an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, about 20 miles from the border with Ukraine. Ukraine refused to confirm or deny the report. It is the first time Russia has reported a Ukrainian airstrike on Russian soil. Russian troops leaving Chernobyl likely suffered radiation exposure, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. The ministry said Russian forces have fully withdrawn from the area of the former nuclear power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency said it has not yet been able to confirm reports of Russian forces receiving high doses of radiation. A humanitarian relief team that was planning to evacuate civilians Friday from Mariupol was unable to reach the besieged Ukrainian city. They will try again Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. Officials from Russia and Ukraine met for another day of talks about a potential cease-fireas fighting continued in Ukraine. The Ukrainian president’s office said 86 of the country’s service members were freed in the Zaporizhzhia region as part of a prisoner swap with Russia, although the number of Russians released was not disclosed, The Associated Press reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stripped two generals of their military rankcalling them ‘traitors’ and ‘antiheroes.’ Both were intelligence officers in the Security Service of Ukraine. One was the former chief of the agency’s main department of internal security. The other was the former head of the agency’s office in the Kherson region — Kherson being one of the few big Ukrainian cities that has fallen to Russian forces.

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, March 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Tuesday, 1 March 2022:

 

Putin steps up assault on residential areas, and Biden closes U.S. airspace to Russian planes, The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, Timothy Bella, Dan Lamothe, Brittany Shammas, Reis Thebault, and Hannah Knowles, Monday, 1 March 2022: “With a massive convoy of Russian troops idling just 20 miles north of central Kyiv and shelling intensifying from the capital to cities across Ukraine, Moscow appeared to escalate its attacks on residential areas Tuesday, with videos and social media posts documenting the devastation and fierce fighting. The most visible assault came when a missile strike hit Kyiv’s main TV tower and a nearby Holocaust memorial, killing at least five people, officials said. Footage of the aftermath, obtained by The Washington Post, showed a gruesome scene of blown-out cars and buildings and several bodies on fire. Kyiv was bracing for an all-out assault amid fears that Russian troops would encircle the capital, as they’ve apparently done in the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, its mayor told The PostIn his State of the Union address, President Biden applauded the bravery of Ukrainians fighting the invasion and called for the United States and its allies to continue to support the resistance to Russian forces. But, Biden acknowledged, ‘the next few days, weeks and months will be hard’ for Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to continue escalating his offensive. Biden also announced that the United States would close its airspace to Russian airlines, ‘further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy,’ he said.

  • Nearly 680,000 Ukrainians have left the country since the start of the invasion, the United Nations reported, marking the largest exodus in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
  • Congressional Democrats and Republicans are rallying around a new push to provide billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.
  • European Union nations are probably not going to send fighter jets to Ukraine, despite a senior E.U. official’s vow that aircraft would be among the military aid the bloc promised, officials said. Zelensky repeated his plea with the E.U. to admit his country on an emergency basis.
  • The United States and other world powers decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves, a move intended to reduce gasoline prices that have climbed rapidly in recent weeks, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Apple said it is pausing product sales in Russia and has limited other services within the country.

What Happened on Day 6 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Explosions struck the capital, Kyiv, and an apparent rocket strike destroyed an administration building in Kharkiv, the second largest city, killing civilians.” See also, U.S. official says Russia’s 40-mile convoy has stalled on its way to Kyiv,  NPR, Bill Chappell, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Logistics problems are stalling a massive Russian convoy that’s pushing its way toward Kyiv, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The convoy, which has been measured as stretching for 40 miles, is apparently being hampered by fuel and food shortages. The news comes as Russia continues to concentrate attacks on the large Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv. As night fell on Ukraine on Tuesday, Russia’s large convoy was still about 18 miles north of Kyiv — representing little or no change from Monday, the official said. The official added that some elements within the military column are ‘literally out of gas’ and having difficulty feeding their troops. ‘The U.S. says about 80% of the estimated 190,000 Russian troops that rimmed Ukraine are now in the country,’ NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman reports. ‘About 400 missiles have been fired by the Russians since the invasion began last week.'” See also, Russia bombards a Kyiv TV tower and the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site, NPR, Rachel Treisman, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Apparent Russian strikes have hit the main television and radio tower in Kyiv, as well as a memorial to the site where Nazis killed thousands of Jews during World War II. Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed the attack in a tweet, in which it equated Russia with barbarism. The State Emergency Service said five people were killed and another five injured in the attack on the Kyiv TV tower, according to Interfax. Citing the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it also reported that the broadcaster’s control room was hit and TV channels will not work ‘for some time.’ The ministry said backup broadcasting of some channels will be switched on in the near future, and the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection is asking Kyiv residents to rely on regional TV channels until then.”

State of the Union Highlights: Biden Gets Tough on Russia and Promotes Plan for Economy. Mr Biden said Valdimir Putin would ‘pay a price’ for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Of his economic plans, he said, ‘I have another way to fight inflation: Lower your costs, not your wages.’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “President Biden used his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night to condemn President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, rally global support for the besieged country of Ukraine and convince Americans that his administration has made progress toward a Covid-free time of economic and social prosperity. The hourlong address, delivered to a mostly maskless audience of lawmakers and others in the House chamber, was in some ways two separate speeches: The first half focused on the war unfolding in Europe, followed by a second half aimed at reviving his stalled domestic policy agenda in Washington.” See also, Biden’s State of the Union applauds unity against Russia and seeks more unity at home. At a moment of global chaos, Biden cites Americans’ broad agreement on the Russia-Ukraine war to urge similar unity on domestic issues. The Washington Post, Annie Linskey and Tyler Pager, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “President Biden sought to rally the country against war, inflation and the pandemic during his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, using one of the biggest moments of his presidency to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pitching a diminished agenda he hopes can win bipartisan support. The speech unfolded against a brutal backdrop as fighting intensified in what has become the biggest European land war since World War II. In the opening moments of his address, Biden noted the rejection of Russia and embrace of Ukraine by Americans of all stripes as evidence of the country’s underlying commonality. ‘We fought for freedom, expanded liberty, defeated totalitarianism and terror. We built the strongest, freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known,’ Biden said toward the end of his address. ‘Now is the hour. Our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself,’ he said, adding ‘I know this nation will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy.’ The lawmakers in the chamber displayed unity as Biden spoke about Ukraine, as some waved small Ukrainian flags and Republicans joined Democrats in applauding his condemnations of Russia. But that unity evaporated the moment Biden turned to domestic policy.” See also, 5 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, published on Wednesday, 2 March 2002: “President Biden’s first formal State of the Union address focused on Ukraine, inflation, the coronavirus pandemic and a four-point ‘Unity Agenda.’ He urged world unity in standing up to Russia, listed ways he’s trying to address rising prices (even if they will likely have limited to no effect in the short term) and offered an optimistic outlook about the end of the pandemic. Biden made mention of some progressive policy items, such as the need for robust voting-rights legislation and stood up for transgender and abortion rights (while leaving out some other topics such as climate change). And he also touted some of the accomplishments of his first year, such as the COVID-19 relief bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. But the speech’s emphasis on many of Biden’s centrist policy positions, like not defunding the police, was a clear choice in an election year. It was reminiscent, in some ways, of Bill Clinton’s 1995 State of the Union address made after Republicans’ historic gains in the 1994 midterm elections.”

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The Long Crusade of Clarence and Ginni Thomas

Danny Hakim and Jo Becker, The New York Times, The Long Crusade of Clarence and Ginni Thomas. The Supreme Court justice and his wife battled for years for a more conservative America. New reporting shows how far she was willing to go after Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss. Tuesday, 22 February 2022:  “The call to action was titled ‘Election Results and Legal Battles: What Now?’ Shared in the days after the 2020 presidential election, it urged the members of an influential if secretive right-wing group to contact legislators in three of the swing states that tipped the balance for Joe Biden — Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. The aim was audacious: Keep President Donald J. Trump in power. The group, the Council for National Policy, brings together old-school Republican luminaries, Christian conservatives, Tea Party activists and MAGA operatives, with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council. Founded in 1981 as a counterweight to liberalism, the group was hailed by President Ronald Reagan as seeking the ‘return of righteousness, justice and truth’ to America. As Trump insisted, without evidence, that fraud had cheated him of victory, conservative groups rushed to rally behind him. The council stood out, however, not only because of its pedigree but also because one of its newest leaders was Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a longtime activist in right-wing circles. She had taken on a prominent role at the council during the Trump years and by 2019 had joined the nine-member board of C.N.P. Action, an arm of the council organized as a 501(c)4 under a provision of the tax code that allows for direct political advocacy. It was C.N.P. Action that circulated the November ‘action steps’ document, the existence of which has not been previously reported. It instructed members to pressure Republican lawmakers into challenging the election results and appointing alternate slates of electors: ‘Demand that they not abandon their Constitutional responsibilities during a time such as this.’ Such a plan, if carried out successfully, would have almost certainly landed before the Supreme Court — and Ginni Thomas’s husband. In fact, Trump was already calling for that to happen. In a Dec. 2 speech at the White House, the president falsely claimed that ‘millions of votes were cast illegally in swing states alone’ and said he hoped ‘the Supreme Court of the United States will see it’ and ‘will do what’s right for our country, because our country cannot live with this kind of an election.’ The Thomases have long posed a unique quandary in Washington. Because Supreme Court justices do not want to be perceived as partisan, they tend to avoid political events and entanglements, and their spouses often keep low profiles. But the Thomases have defied such norms. Since the founding of the nation, no spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice has been as overt a political activist as Ginni Thomas. In addition to her perch at the Council for National Policy, she founded a group called Groundswell with the support of Stephen K. Bannon, the hard-line nationalist and former Trump adviser. It holds a weekly meeting of influential conservatives, many of whom work directly on issues that have come before the court.”

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Aftermath of the Trump Administration, February 2022

 

My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Tuesday, 1 February 2022:

 

New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed the General Services Administration for information about how the agency selected former president Donald Trump’s business to lease the historic post office where he developed his D.C. hotel. The request sought information about whether Trump used false information to secure the hotel lease, according to people familiar with the inquiry. The Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell, Josh Dawsey, and Shayna Jacobs, Tuesday, 1 February 2022: “The inquiry, part of a civil investigation into Trump’s business, sought information about whether Trump inflated his net worth to secure the lease, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing legal inquiry. The documents James sought included a scorecard GSA used to rank Trump’s bid against those of other developers who proposed leasing and redeveloping the federally owned Old Post Office Pavilion downtown. That information could fit into James’s broader effort to show a pattern of Trump giving false information to business partners, banks and insurers to secure loans and other deals. James’s request appears to differ from previous inquiries into Trump’s hotel, which largely focused on whether he should have been allowed to retain the deal while in office. After Trump was elected, he ignored calls from Democrats to sell his stake in the lease to avoid conflicts of interest. Trump is now working to sell that lease, in a deal that could net his company $100 million in profits, and the negotiations have coincided with renewed scrutiny from lawmakers and prosecutors.”

Trump’s Words, and Deeds, Reveal Depths of His Drive to Retain Power. Donald Trump said he wanted Mike Pence to overturn the election, dangled pardons for January 6 rioters, and called for protests against prosecutors. Now, it turns out, he had discussed having national security agencies seize voting machines. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Tuesday, 1 February 2022: “A series of new remarks by Donald J. Trump about the aftermath of the 2020 election and new disclosures about his actions in trying to forestall its result — including discussing the use of the national security apparatus to seize voting machines — have stripped away any pretense that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, were anything but the culmination of the former president’s single-minded pursuit of retaining power. Mr. Trump said on Sunday that Mike Pence ‘could have overturned the election,’ acknowledging for the first time that the aim of the pressure campaign he focused on his vice president had simply been to change the election’s result, not just to buy time to root out supposed fraud, as he had long insisted. Those efforts ended at the Capitol with a violent riot of Trump supporters demanding that Mr. Pence block the Electoral College vote. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump also dangled, for the first time, that he could issue pardons to anyone facing charges for participating in the Jan. 6 attack if he is elected president again — the latest example of a yearslong flirtation with political violence. And, ignoring what happened the last time he encouraged a mass demonstration, Mr. Trump urged his supporters to gather ‘in the biggest protests we have ever had’ if prosecutors in New York and Atlanta moved further against him. The prosecutor examining Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in Georgia immediately asked the F.B.I. to conduct a ‘risk assessment’ of her building’s security. The events of Jan. 6 played out so publicly and so brutally — the instigating speech by Mr. Trump, the flag-waving march to the Capitol, the violent clashes with the police, the defiling of the seat of democracy — and have since been so extensively re-examined that at times it can seem as if there were little more to be discovered about what led up to that day. Then, The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Trump himself had directed his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to ask the Department of Homeland Security whether it could legally seize voting machines in three key swing states. Mr. Trump also raised, in an Oval Office meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr, the possibility of the Justice Department’s seizing the machines. Both ideas quickly fizzled. But historians say the episodes and Mr. Trump’s new comments acknowledging his determination to stay in power — and his effective embrace of the Jan. 6 rioters at the Capitol, who he said must be treated ‘fairly’ — have newly underscored the fragility of the nation’s democratic systems.”

 

Wednesday, 2 February 2022:

 

Just Over Two Weeks After Election Day 2020, Lawyers Working With the Trump Campaign Set Out a Rationale for Creating Alternate Slates of Electors as Part of an Effort to Buy Time to Overturn the Election Results. Memos show the roots of Trump’s focus on January 6 and alternate electors. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 2 February 2022: “Fifteen days after Election Day in 2020, James R. Troupis, a lawyer for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, received a memo setting out what became the rationale for an audacious strategy: to put in place alternate slates of electors in states where President Donald J. Trump was trying to overturn his loss. The memo, from another lawyer named Kenneth Chesebro, may not have been the first time that lawyers and allies of Mr. Trump had weighed the possibility of naming their own electors in the hopes that they might eventually succeed in flipping the outcome in battleground states through recounts and lawsuits baselessly asserting widespread fraud. But the Nov. 18 memo and another three weeks later are among the earliest known efforts to put on paper proposals for preparing alternate electors. They helped to shape a crucial strategy that Mr. Trump would embrace with profound consequences for himself and the nation. The memos show how just over two weeks after Election Day, Mr. Trump’s campaign was seeking to buy itself more time to undo the results. At the heart of the strategy was the idea that their real deadline was not Dec. 14, when official electors would be chosen to reflect the outcome in each state, but Jan. 6, when Congress would meet to certify the results. And in that focus on Jan. 6 lay the seeds of what became a pressure campaign on Vice President Mike Pence to accept the validity of a challenge to the outcome and to block Congress from finalizing Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory — a campaign that would also lead to a violent assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters and an extraordinary rupture in American politics.” See also, Read the November 18 Memo on Alternate Trump Electors, The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 February 2022: “This memo is among the earliest known efforts to put on paper proposals for preparing alternate slates of Trump electors in Biden-won states and helped to shape a crucial strategy President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers embraced in his efforts to overturn his election loss.”

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