Trump, Week 9: Friday, 17 March – Thursday, 23 March 2017 (Days 57-63)

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 17 March 2017, Day 57:

 

Trump Offers No Apology for Claim on British Spying, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Steven Erlanger, Friday, 17 March 2017: “President Trump provoked a rare public dispute with America’s closest ally on Friday after his White House aired an explosive and unsubstantiated claim that Britain’s spy agency had secretly eavesdropped on him at the behest of President Barack Obama during last year’s campaign. Livid British officials adamantly denied the allegation and secured promises from senior White House officials never to repeat it. But a defiant Mr. Trump refused to back down, making clear that the White House had nothing to retract or apologize for because his spokesman had simply repeated an assertion made by a Fox News commentator. Fox itself later disavowed the report. The rupture with London was Mr. Trump’s latest quarrel with an ally or foreign power since taking office. Mexico’s president angrily canceled a White House visit in January over Mr. Trump’s proposed border wall. A telephone call with Australia’s prime minister ended abruptly amid a dispute over refugees. Sweden bristled over Mr. Trump’s criticism of its refugee policy. And China refused for weeks to engage with Mr. Trump because of his postelection call with Taiwan’s president…. The angry response from Britain stemmed from Mr. Trump’s persistence in accusing Mr. Obama of tapping his phones last year despite the lack of evidence and across-the-board denials. At a briefing on Thursday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, read from a sheaf of news clippings that he suggested bolstered the president’s claim. Among them was an assertion by Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, that Mr. Obama had used Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, the agency known as the GCHQ, to spy on Mr. Trump. In response to Mr. Spicer, the agency quickly denied it as ‘nonsense’ and ‘utterly ridiculous,’ while British officials contacted American counterparts to complain.” See also, Fox’s Andrew Napolitano Stirred the Pot for Trump’s British Tempest, Michael M. Grynbaum, Friday, 17 March 2017: “Andrew Napolitano was a Superior Court judge in New Jersey until, frustrated by the constraints of his salary, he left the bench for more lucrative pastures: talk radio, a syndicated small-claims court TV series (‘Power of Attorney’) and, eventually, Fox News, where he rose to become the network’s senior legal analyst. It was in that basic-cable capacity this week that Mr. Napolitano managed to set off a cascading scandal, which by Friday had sparked a trans-Atlantic tiff between Britain and the United States while plunging President Trump’s close relationship with Fox News into new, murkier territory…. The saga began on Tuesday on ‘Fox & Friends,’ the chummy morning show, where Mr. Napolitano made a bizarre and unsupported accusation: Citing three unnamed sources, he said that Britain’s top spy agency had wiretapped Mr. Trump on behalf of President Barack Obama during last year’s campaign. Cable news blather, especially at that hour, usually vanishes at the commercial break. But on Thursday, Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, repeated the claim from the White House podium, infuriating British officials. On Friday, Fox News was forced to disavow Mr. Napolitano’s remarks. ‘Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,’ the anchor Shepard Smith said on-air. ‘Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop.’… Mr. Trump refused to back down from the claims on Friday, and even praised Mr. Napolitano, telling reporters, ‘All we did was quote a very talented legal mind.'”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program, The New York Times, David Sanger, Friday, 17 March 2017: “Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson ruled out on Friday opening any negotiation with North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programs and said for the first time that the Trump administration might be forced to take pre-emptive action ‘if they elevate the threat of their weapons program’ to an unacceptable level. Mr. Tillerson’s comments in Seoul, a day before he travels to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders, explicitly rejected any return to the bargaining table in an effort to buy time by halting North Korea’s accelerating testing program. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said on New Year’s Day that North Korea was in the ‘final stage‘ of preparation for the first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States. The secretary of state’s comments were the Trump administration’s first public hint at the options being considered, and they made clear that none involved a negotiated settlement or waiting for the North Korean government to collapse. ‘The policy of strategic patience has ended,’ Mr. Tillerson said, a reference to the term used by the Obama administration to describe a policy of waiting out the North Koreans, while gradually ratcheting up sanctions and covert action. Negotiations ‘can only be achieved by denuclearizing, giving up their weapons of mass destruction,’ he said — a step to which the North committed in 1992, and again in subsequent accords, but has always violated. ‘Only then will we be prepared to engage them in talks.'”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Meets Trump, the Defender Versus the Disrupter, The New York Times, Mark Landler, Friday, 17 March 2017: “Near the end of his meticulously formal, utterly impersonal news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Trump finally sought a sliver of common ground with his guest: They both, he said, had been wiretapped by former President Barack Obama. Ms. Merkel did a barely perceptible double take, busying herself by shuffling her notes. She smiled thinly and said nothing, as if she had resolved not to get drawn into Mr. Trump’s political dramas. It was like that throughout Mr. Trump’s first meeting with Ms. Merkel on Friday, an awkward encounter that was the most closely watched of his young presidency and took on an outsize symbolism: the great disrupter confronts the last defender of the liberal world order. Worlds apart in style and policy, Mr. Trump and Ms. Merkel made a show of working together, as they stood side by side in the East Room of the White House. But they could not disguise the gulf that separates them on trade, immigration and a host of other thorny issues.” See also, In awkward exchange, Trump seems to ignore Chancellor Angela Merkel’s handshake request, Politico, Madeline Conway, Friday, 17 March 2017: “Donald Trump, who made headlines for shaking hands with Japan’s prime minister in front of reporters for a full 19 seconds, seemed to ignore German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she suggested that they exchange the same courtesy during her White House visit Friday. In an exchange caught on video, photographers gathered around Trump and Merkel in the Oval Office early Friday afternoon and suggested that the two leaders shake hands for the camera. Merkel, a U.S. ally regarded highly by former President Barack Obama, turned toward Trump and asked, ‘Do you want to have a handshake?’ Trump, who seemed to be grimacing as he sat alongside Merkel, did not respond. He continued looking forward as the cameras rolled. It is unclear whether or not Trump heard the chancellor, but clips of the exchange immediately made the rounds on Twitter. Reporters dubbed it ‘awkward.'”

To continue reading Week 9:

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Trump, Week 8: Friday, 10 March – Thursday, 16 March 2017 (Days 51-56)

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 10 March 2017, Day 50:

 

Trump Abruptly Orders 46 Obama-Era Prosecutors at the Department of Justice to Resign, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 10 March 2017: “The Trump administration moved on Friday to sweep away most of the remaining vestiges of Obama administration prosecutors at the Justice Department, ordering 46 holdover United States attorneys to tender their resignations immediately — including Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan. The firings were a surprise — especially for Mr. Bharara, who has a reputation for prosecuting public corruption cases and for investigating insider trading. In November, Mr. Bharara met with then President-elect Donald J. Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan and told reporters afterward that both Mr. Trump and Jeff Sessions, who is now the attorney general, had asked him about staying on, which the prosecutor said he expected to do. But on Friday, Mr. Bharara was among federal prosecutors who received a call from Dana Boente, the acting deputy attorney general, instructing him to resign, according to a person familiar with the matter. As of Friday evening, though some of the prosecutors had publicly announced their resignations, Mr. Bharara had not. A spokesman for Mr. Bharara declined to comment…. The abrupt order came after two weeks of increasing calls from Mr. Trump’s allies outside the government to oust appointees from President Barack Obama’s administration….  [T]he calls from the acting deputy attorney general arose a day after Sean Hannity, the Fox News commentator who is a strong supporter of President Trump, said on his evening show that Mr. Trump needed to ‘purge’ Obama holdovers from the federal government. Mr. Hannity portrayed them as ‘saboteurs’ from the ‘deep state’ who were leaking secrets to hurt Mr. Trump. It also came the same week that government watchdogs wrote to Mr. Bharara and urged him to investigate whether Mr. Trump had violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars federal officials from taking payments from foreign governments…. It is not unusual for a new president to replace United States attorneys appointed by a predecessor, especially when there has been a change in which party controls the White House. Still, other presidents have done it gradually in order to minimize disruption, giving those asked to resign more time to make the transition while keeping some inherited prosecutors in place, as it had appeared Mr. Trump would do with Mr. Bharara.”

ACLU files ethics complaint against Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his testimony to a Senate committee that he had no communications with the Russian governmentThe Washington Post, Kristine Phillips, Friday, 10 March 2017: “The American Civil Liberties Union has filed an ethics complaint against Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his testimony to a Senate committee that he had no communications with the Russian government. The complaint, filed with the Alabama State Bar’s disciplinary commission, comes less than two weeks after The Washington Post revealed that Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States twice last year and did not disclose those communications when asked during his confirmation hearing in January. The March 1 report by The Post’s Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller intensified calls for a congressional investigation into Russia’s alleged involvement in the presidential election. Chris Anders, deputy director of the ACLU’s legislative office in Washington, claims that Sessions had violated Alabama’s rules of professional conduct preventing lawyers from engaging in ‘conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,’ according to the complaint, which cites The Post’s story…. The complaint, filed Thursday, says the report of the meetings with the Russian ambassador ‘does not square’ with Sessions’s sworn testimony in the Senate.”

Trump Supporters Have the Most to Lose in the Republican Health Care Plan, The New York Times, Nate Cohn, Friday, 10 March 2017: “The people who stand to lose the most in tax credits under the House Republican health plan tended to support Donald J. Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, according to a new Upshot analysis. Over all, voters who would be eligible for a tax credit that would be at least $1,000 smaller than the subsidy they’re eligible for under Obamacare supported Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton by a seven-point margin. The voters hit the hardest — eligible for at least $5,000 less in tax credits under the Republican plan — supported Mr. Trump by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent. These estimates are based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (C.C.E.S.), a large survey of tens of thousands of Americans. Kaiser estimated whether individuals would gain or lose under the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, based on their income, age and insurance market.”

To continue reading Week 8:

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Trump, Week 7: Friday, 3 March – Thursday, 9 March 2017 (Days 43 – 49)

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

 

Friday, 3 March 2017, Day 43:

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson skips State Department’s annual announcement on human rights, alarming advocatesThe Washington Post, Carol Morello, Friday, 3 March 2017: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who during his confirmation hearings repeatedly vowed to promote human rights as a core American value, alarmed human rights advocates when he did not appear in person to present the State Department’s annual human rights report, released Friday. In a break with long-standing tradition only rarely breached, Tillerson’s remarks were limited to a short written introduction to the lengthy report. Nor did any senior State Department official make on-camera comments that are typically watched around the world, including by officials in authoritarian countries where abuses are singled out in the report.”

Moscow blames anti-Russian hysteria for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s plight, The Washington Post, David Filipov, Friday, 3 March 2017: “From Russia’s point of view, the turmoil swirling around the Trump administration and its contacts with Russian officials is a ‘witch hunt”’fueled by ‘fake news’ instigated by leading Democrats looking to distract attention from their election defeat and carried out by their lap dogs in the U.S. media. In other words, Moscow’s reaction pretty much mirrors that of President Trump after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election. Sessions made the move after The Washington Post revealed that he twice met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year, while still serving as a senator, but did not disclose that during his Senate confirmation hearing in January. Sessions was an early backer of Trump’s bid for the presidency and served as an adviser and surrogate for his campaign.”

Keystone Pipeline Won’t Have to Use U.S. Steel Despite Trump PledgeThe Wall Street Journal, Kris Maher, Ted Mann and Christopher M. Matthews, Friday, 3 March 2017; updated on Saturday, 4 March 2017: “A Trump administration official said an executive order approving two pipeline projects and mandating the use of American-made steel won’t apply to the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite prior statements by President Donald Trump that it would. Days after taking office in January, Mr. Trump signed an executive order to speed approval of two pipeline projects that had been blocked by the Obama administration, the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline. On several occasions since then, President Trump has said that the order would require the use of steel made in the U.S. As recently as last week, Mr. Trump said that Keystone and the Dakota Access Pipeline must use U.S. steel ‘or we’re not building one.’ On Friday, however, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the presidential order applies to new pipelines or those that are being repaired.”

To continue reading Week 7:

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Trump, Week 6: Friday, 24 February – Thursday, 2 March 2017 (Days 36 – 42)

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 24 February 2017, Day 36:

 

Trump tweeted about the FBI and leaks at 7:31 am: “The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time. They can’t even……” And again at 7:36 am: …”find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW”

Trump Denounces F.B.I. Over Leaks, Demanding InvestigationThe New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Friday, 24 February 2017: “President Trump on Friday assailed the F.B.I. as a dangerously porous agency, charging that leaks of classified information from within its ranks were putting the country at risk — and calling for an immediate hunt for the leakers. Mr. Trump’s complaints were his latest attacks on his own government’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which he has characterized as misguided, irresponsible and politically motivated. The criticisms appeared to be a response to a news report Thursday night indicating that a White House official had asked the F.B.I. to rebut an article detailing contacts between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian intelligence officials…. An F.B.I. official confirmed on Thursday night [23 February] that the White House had asked last week for the bureau’s help disputing the story, and that senior F.B.I. officials had rejected the request, citing the continuing investigation into Russian efforts to affect the election…. Mr. Trump’s remarks add to an already unusual moment in history for the F.B.I. The bureau, along with other American intelligence agencies, has concluded that Russia unleashed a hacking campaign to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, in part to help Mr. Trump. F.B.I. agents are also investigating some of Mr. Trump’s former campaign advisers and associates. Mr. Trump has been disparaging the intelligence community for months, particularly in response to its conclusion that Russia sought to influence the election on his behalf. In December, he suggested that United States intelligence agencies could not be trusted because they erroneously concluded that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In January, he denounced leaks emanating from the intelligence community and argued that they were politically motivated. “Are we living in Nazi Germany?” he said.

Fact Check: Trump Blasts ‘Fake News’ and Repeats Inaccurate Claims at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference)The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Friday, 24 February 2017: “President Trump’s speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference followed a familiar pattern: Blast the news media as ‘dishonest,’ repeat a string of falsehoods and wrap up by promising to change the status quo. ‘I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘It’s fake, phony, fake. They have a professional obligation as members of the press to report honestly. But as you saw throughout the entire campaign, and even now, the fake news doesn’t tell the truth.'” This article assesses some of the claims Trump made at CPAC. See also, Remarks by President Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)whitehouse.gov, Friday, 24 February 2017: “I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake, phony, fake. A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people, because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none. … There are some great reporters around. They are talented. They’re honest as the day is long. They’re great. But there are some terrible, dishonest people, and they do a tremendous disservice to our country and to our people. A tremendous disservice. They are very dishonest people, and they shouldn’t use sources. They should put the name of the person. You will see stories dry up like you’ve never seen before.”

To continue reading Week 6:

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Trump, Week 5: Friday, 17 February – Thursday, 23 February 2017 (Days 29 – 35)

 

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 17 February 2017, Day 29:

 

Scott Pruitt, longtime adversary of the Environmental Protection Agency, confirmed to lead the agencyThe Washington Post, Brady Dennis, Friday, 17 February 2017: “Scott Pruitt woke up Friday morning as Oklahoma’s attorney general, a post he had used for six years to repeatedly sue the Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts to regulate mercury, smog and other forms of pollution. By day’s end, he had been sworn in as the agency’s new leader, setting off a struggle over what the EPA will become in the Trump era. Pruitt begins what is likely to be a controversial tenure with a clear set of goals. He has been outspoken in his view, widely shared by Republicans, that the EPA zealously overstepped its legal authority under President Barack Obama, saddling the fossil-fuel industry with unnecessary and onerous regulations. But rolling back the environmental actions of the previous administration won’t happen quickly or easily. Even if President Trump issues executive orders aimed at undoing Obama initiatives to combat climate change, oversee waterways and wetlands and slash pollution from power plants — as he is expected to do as early as next week — existing regulations won’t disappear overnight.”

Trump Calls the News Media the ‘Enemy of the American People,’ The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Friday, 17 February 2017: “President Trump, in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s press organizations, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the nation’s news media ‘is the enemy of the American people.’ Even by the standards of a president who routinely castigates journalists — and who on Thursday devoted much of a 77-minute news conference to criticizing his press coverage — Mr. Trump’s tweet was a striking escalation in his attacks. At 4:32 p.m., shortly after arriving at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., Mr. Trump took to Twitter to write:

Photo

The message was swiftly deleted, but 16 minutes later Mr. Trump posted a revised version. Restricted to 140 characters, he removed the word “sick,” and added two other television networks — ABC and CBS — to his list of offending organizations. [At 4:48 pm Trump tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing ) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”] The president has referred to the media as the ‘opposition party’ to his administration, and he has blamed news organizations for stymieing his agenda. But the language that Mr. Trump deployed on Friday is more typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments or subversive organizations. It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to minimize dissent.”

FBI Director James Comey met with lawmakers from the Senate Intelligence Committee amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties, The Hill, Katie Bo Williams, Friday, 17 February 2017: “FBI Director James B. Comey met with lawmakers from the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Friday, amid an uproar over alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. Committee members and Comey spent nearly three hours Friday afternoon in a secure room in the Senate basement used for classified briefings, known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). Lawmakers tersely refused to comment upon exiting the meeting, declining even to confirm that Comey met with them.”

To continue reading Week 5:

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Trump, Week 4: Friday, 10 February – Thursday, 16 February 2017 (Days 22 – 28)

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 10 February 2017, Day 22:

 

Tom Price Is Sworn In as Health Secretary Amid Senate DisunityThe New York Times, Robert Pear and Alan Rappeport, Friday, 10 February 2017: “Mr. Price was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence just hours after the Senate, by a party-line vote of 52 to 47, confirmed his nomination in the early hours of Friday morning…. Senate Democrats and the chamber’s two independents said they feared the worst, based on Mr. Price’s 12-year record as a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Georgia. They said that Mr. Price had led efforts to repeal the health care law and slow the growth of Medicare and Medicaid by shifting some costs to beneficiaries and trimming payments to some health care providers. ‘This is a sad evening,’ said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. ‘People will look back and say that the Republicans’ war on seniors began at 2 a.m. Friday morning when the Senate unfortunately confirmed Representative Price.’ The depth of concern about Mr. Price was illustrated by the comments of Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, who caucuses with Democrats but is not given to hyperbole. ‘To put somebody in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services that is inimical to Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — this guy is a wrecking ball,’ Mr. King said. ‘He is not a secretary. He is going into this agency to destroy it. He wants to undercut and diminish and, in some cases, literally destroy some of the major underpinnings of providing health care to people in this country.’

51% of Trump voters think the “Bowling Green massacre” justifies Trump’s Muslim banMic, Anna Swartz, Friday, 10 February 2017: “A new poll suggests that more than half of Trump voters believe the Bowling Green massacre is a prime example of why President Donald Trump’s travel ban is so necessary. Apparently they don’t realize the “Bowling Green massacre” is a complete fabrication. The new national poll, released on Friday by the North Carolina-based organization Public Policy Polling, surveyed 712 registered voters. When asked if they either disagreed or agreed with the statement, ‘The Bowling Green massacre shows why we need Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration,’ a full 51% of Trump voters said they agreed that the supposed massacre was a justification for Trump’s ban, while just 23% said they disagreed (for comparison, 90% of Hillary Clinton voters said they disagreed with the statement).  …[T]he ‘Bowling Green massacre’ is a lie, a made-up terrorist attack that seems to have come straight from the mind of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, who mentioned it in a Feb. 2 interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.”

Pence was told Flynn didn’t discuss sanctions with Russian ambassador, aides sayPolitico, Matthew Nussbaum, Friday, 10 February 2017: “Reports that national security adviser Michael Flynn may have discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador before President Donald Trump’s inauguration has revived concerns about Flynn’s relationships with Moscow — and threatens to entangle a member of the administration who has so far mostly dodged controversy: Vice President Mike Pence. Pence said in a Jan. 15 appearance on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ that Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were ‘strictly coincidental’ and had nothing to do with the Obama administration’s decision to punish Russia for meddling in the November election. ‘They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,’ Pence told CBS. An administration official told POLITICO that Pence’s remarks came after a conversation with Flynn and were guided by that conversation — leaving open the possibility that Flynn misled the Vice President just as he repeatedly denied the allegations to the Washington Post before acknowledging the topic may have been discussed.”

To continue reading Week 4:

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Trump, Week 3: Friday, 3 February – Thursday, 9 February 2017 (Days 16 – 21)

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 3 February 2017, Day 15:

 

Trump tweeted about Iran at 6:28 am on Friday, 3 February 2017: “Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!”

Trump tweeted about protests against him and his administration at 6:48 am on Friday, 3 February 2017:  “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Trump tweeted about the attack at the Louvre in Paris at 7:51 am on Friday, 3 February 2017: “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.”

To continue reading Week 3:

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Trump, Week 2: Friday, 27January – Thursday, 2 February 2017 (Days 8 – 14)

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

 

Friday, 27 January 2017, Day 8

 

Statement by the President on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, whitehouse.gov, Friday, 27 January 2017: “It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror. Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent. In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.” See Trump’s statement marking Holocaust remembrance leaves out mention of JewsThe Washington Post, Abby Phillip, Friday, 27 January 2017: “A statement from President Trump marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism, a departure from recent bipartisan precedent set by previous presidents. The statement calls for remembrance of ‘victims, survivors, heroes,’ but nowhere does it ­mention the millions of Jewish people killed during the ­Holocaust, nor does it mention the ideology of anti-Semitism that led to the killings.” See also, Reince Priebus Defends Holocaust Statement that Failed to Mention JewsThe New York Times, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Sunday, 29 January 2017: “Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, defended the language in a Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press,’ telling the host, Chuck Todd, ‘I don’t regret the words.’ Mr. Priebus continued, ‘I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust including obviously, all of the Jewish people affected and the miserable genocide that occurred — it’s something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad.’ He added: ‘If we could wipe it off of the history books, we would. But we can’t.’… The White House statement…drew strong criticism from Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton’s running mate. ‘This is what Holocaust denial is,’ Mr. Kaine said on ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘Many Holocaust deniers acknowledge: ‘Oh yeah, people were killed, but it was a lot of innocent people. Jews weren’t targets.’” See also, Spicer: Trump ‘went out of his way to recognize the Holocaust,’ The Hill, Rebecca Savransky, Monday, 30 January 2017: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday defended President Trump amid backlash over a statement the White House released on Holocaust Remembrance Day that didn’t reference Jews or anti-Semitism. ‘The president went out of his way to recognize the Holocaust and the suffering that went through it and the people that were affected by it and the loss of life, Spicer told reporters Monday [30 January 2017]. ‘And to make sure that America never forgets what so many people went through, whether they were Jews or gypsies, gays, disability.'” See also, White House nixed Holocaust statement naming JewsPoliticoJosh Dawsey, Isaac Arnsdorf, Nahal Toosi and Michael Crowley, Thursday, 2 February 2017: “The State Department drafted its own statement last month marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day that explicitly included a mention of Jewish victims, according to people familiar with the matter, but President Donald Trump’s White House blocked its release.”

Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, whitehouse.gov, 4:42 pm, Friday, 27 January 2017.  Trump’s executive order banning refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries was announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. See Trump Bars Refugees and Citizens of 7 Muslim CountriesThe New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Helene Cooper, Friday, 27 January 2017: “President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries. In an executive order that he said was part of an extreme vetting plan to keep out ‘radical Islamic terrorists,’ Mr. Trump also established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations: He ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims…. Earlier in the day [Friday, 27 January 2017], Mr. Trump explained to an interviewer for the Christian Broadcasting Network that Christians in Syria were ‘horribly treated’ and alleged that under previous administrations, ‘if you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible. I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them,’ the president said. In fact, the United States accepts tens of thousands of Christian refugees. According to the Pew Research Center, almost as many Christian refugees (37,521) were admitted as Muslim refugees (38,901) in the 2016 fiscal year. The executive order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days and directs officials to determine additional screening ‘to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.’ The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen…. Announcing his ‘extreme vetting’ plan, the president invoked the specter of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Most of the 19 hijackers on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa., were from Saudi Arabia. The rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on Mr. Trump’s visa ban list…. See also, President Trump’s Immigration Order, Annotated, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Saturday, 28 January 2017: “The order prioritizes Christian refugees:

Upon the resumption of USRAP [U.S. Refugee Admissions Program] admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.

As a general matter, this will give priority to Christian refugees over Muslim ones. Though framed in a neutral way, this part of the order may raise questions of religion-based discrimination. Mr. Trump has said that he means to favor Christian refugees. That violates the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion, according to David Cole, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘One of the critical questions with respect to the validity of executive action challenged under the Establishment Clause is its intent and effect,’ he wrote in a blog post. ‘If intended to disfavor a particular religion, it violates the Establishment Clause.'”

Brody File Exclusive: President Trump Says Persecuted Christians Will Be Given Priority As Refugees, Christian Broadcasting Network, David Brody, Friday, 27 January 2017:

BRODY: Persecuted Christians, we’ve talked about this, the refugees overseas. The refugee program, or the refugee changes you’re looking to make. As it relates to persecuted Christians, do you see them as kind of a priority here?

TRUMP: Yes. 

BRODY: You do?

TRUMP: They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.

To continue reading Week 2:

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Trump, Week 1: Friday, 20 January – Thursday, 26 January 2017 (Days 1 – 7)

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 20 January 2017, Day 1:

 

Donald Trump Is Sworn In as President, Capping His Swift AscentThe New York TimesPeter Baker and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 20 January 2017: “Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new era that he vowed would shatter the established order and reverse a national decline that he called ‘this American carnage.’ ‘From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.’”

With Trump in Charge, Climate Change References purged From Website, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 20 January 2017: “Within moments of the inauguration of President Trump, the official White House website on Friday deleted nearly all mentions of climate change. The one exception: Mr. Trump’s vow to eliminate the Obama administration’s climate change policies, which previously had a prominent and detailed web page on whitehouse.gov. The purge was not unexpected. It came as part of the full digital turnover of whitehouse.gov, including taking down and archiving all the Obama administration’s personal and policy pages. That also included a page devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. Since Mr. Trump’s election, about 50 scientists at universities around the country have volunteered their time — and computer servers — to save and store government data stored on the websites of the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, NOAA, and the United States Geological Survey. Those websites keep records of key climate data such as atmospheric temperature trends, greenhouse gas emissions levels, and sea level rise. The scientist gatherings have been organized by 314 Action — a nonprofit group named for the first three numbers of the mathematical concept Pi — which aims to make science more accessible to the public.”

Senate Confirms James Mattis at Defense and John Kelly for Homeland Security, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan and Jennifer Steinhauer, Friday, 20 January 2017: “Just hours after President Trump was sworn into office, the Senate on Friday confirmed two nominees for critical national security positions, approving James N. Mattis as defense secretary and John F. Kelly as homeland security secretary. Republicans had hoped to approve far more than two nominees on Mr. Trump’s first day in office, but that process has been delayed in part because several of the nominees have been slow in filing ethics disclosures, prompting protests by Senate Democrats…. Both Mr. Mattis and Mr. Kelly are retired Marine Corps generals. Federal law requires a seven-year waiting period between active duty and serving as the secretary of defense; Congress passed legislation last week granting a waiver to Mr. Mattis, and Mr. Trump signed it on Friday. The Senate voted 98 to 1 to confirm Mr. Mattis. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, voted no ‘because she believes civilian control of the military is fundamental,’ said a spokesman for the senator, Marc Brumer.”

To continue reading Week 1:

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