Trump Administration, Week 150, Friday, 29 November – Thursday, 5 December 2019 (Days 1,044-1,050)


Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. 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.

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Friday, 29 November 2019, Day 1,044:


Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Has Wide Support, Except Among Republican Men With College Degrees, The New York Times, Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley, Friday, 29 November 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to tax the assets of America’s wealthiest individuals continues to draw broad support from voters, across party, gender and educational lines. Only one slice of the electorate opposes it staunchly: Republican men with college degrees. Not surprisingly, that is also the profile of many who’d be hit by Ms. Warren’s so-called wealth tax, which has emerged as the breakout economic proposal in the Democratic presidential primary race. Nearly a year after Ms. Warren proposed it, the wealth tax has the support of six in 10 Americans, according to a new nationwide poll conducted by the online research firm SurveyMonkey for The New York Times. That support has dipped slightly since July, but Ms. Warren’s plan remains more popular than most proposed tax increases, and its appeal across coalitions is unusual among high-profile campaign proposals.”

Trump faces December 6 deadline to say whether he’ll send lawyer to impeachment hearings, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Friday, 29 November 2019: “President Trump has until Dec. 6 to decide whether to have his counsel participate in the House’s impeachment hearings, according to a letter sent Friday by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). ‘In particular, please provide the Committee with notice of whether your counsel intends to participate, specifying which of the privileges your counsel seeks to exercise, no later than 5:00 pm on December 6, 2019,’ Nadler wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Trump. ‘I look forward to your prompt response.’ Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly complained that the Democratic-led impeachment probe is being conducted unfairly, with several specifically saying that the president was not allowed to have his lawyers participate in the process.” See also, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Gave Trump Until Next Friday to Say If He Will Present Impeachment Defense, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 29 November 2019: “The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee asked President Trump on Friday whether he intends to mount a defense during the committee’s consideration of impeachment articles, setting a deadline of next Friday for Mr. Trump and his lawyers to decide if they will present evidence or call witnesses. In a letter to the president, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee chairman, said Mr. Trump has the right to review the evidence against him, ask questions of his accusers during public hearings that begin next week and present evidence and request witness testimony.”

Danielle Stella, a Republican challenger to Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), is barred by Twitter after suggesting congresswoman should be hanged, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, 29 November 2019: “Twitter has shut down the accounts of Danielle Stella, a Republican challenger to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in Omar’s bid for reelection, after Stella twice tweeted about hanging the congresswoman. The campaign account for Stella, a candidate in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, posted Tuesday that ‘If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged.’ The account later tweeted a link to a blog post about her comment and added an image of a stick-figure being hanged. Stella’s remark about Omar’s supposedly giving information to Iran is a reference to the baseless allegation that Qatari officials recruited the congresswoman to give intelligence to Qatar and Iran. No evidence has been offered to support that claim.” See also, Twitter Permanently Suspends Accounts of Danielle Stella, Ilhan Omar’s Potential Republican Challenger, The New York Times, Derrick Bryson Taylor, published on Saturday, 30 November 2019: “Twitter suspended the accounts of Danielle Stella, a Republican candidate hoping to challenge Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota next year, after she suggested the congresswoman should be tried for treason and hanged.”

Continue reading Week 150, Friday, 29 November – Thursday, 5 December 2019 (Days 1,044-1,050)

Saturday, 30 November 2019, Day 1,045:


House Intelligence Committee to meet Tuesday to approve release of impeachment inquiry report about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian, Saturday, 30 November 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff ­(D-Calif.) set a Tuesday meeting to approve the release of a report expected to detail the panel’s findings on President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. In keeping with committee rules, panel members are expected to be able to review the report starting at 6 p.m. Monday, 24 hours before the scheduled meeting. It comes after closed-door depositions with 17 government witnesses and televised public hearings with several of those officials. The report is expected to be forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration of articles of impeachment against Trump. The Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Wednesday hearing to consider the historical and constitutional standards for impeachment.” See also, On Monday members of the House Intelligence Committee will begin reviewing report on the panel’s investigation of Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his Democratic adversaries, Politico, Melanie Zanona, Kyle Cheney, and Heather Caygle, Saturday, 30 November 2019.

Trump’s photo op play: Facing impeachment, the president strives to look hard at work, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Saturday, 30 November 2019: As Democrats in Congress push to impeach him, President Trump has toured a manufacturing plant in Texas, boasted about economic gains and signed numerous bills. He served turkey to U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving and grieved with the families of fallen service members at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. And next week, Trump is scheduled to jet to London to meet with European allies and be received at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth II. Sure, Trump has been consumed by the impeachment proceedings, popping off daily, if not hourly, about what he dubs a ‘hoax.’ But he and his aides also have staged photo opportunities and public events designed to showcase the president on the job — a strategy one year out from the election to convince the American people that he is hard at work for them at the same time that Democrats are trying to remove him from office…. Trump is taking a page out of the Clinton playbook…. Clinton’s experience has been instructive to Trump, who recently met in the Oval Office with former Clinton strategist Mark Penn, who counseled the president to focus on governing and travel frequently.”

Trump’s Intervention in SEALs Case Tests Pentagon’s Tolerance, The New York Times, Dave Philipps, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and Helene Cooper, Saturday, 30 November 2019: “He was limp and dusty from an explosion, conscious but barely. A far cry from the fierce, masked Islamic State fighters who once seized vast swaths of Iraq and Syria, the captive was a scraggly teenager in a tank top with limbs so thin that his watch slid easily off his wrist. Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher and other Navy SEALs gave the young captive medical aid that day in Iraq in 2017, sedating him and cutting an airway in his throat to help him breathe. Then, without warning, according to colleagues, Chief Gallagher pulled a small hunting knife from a sheath and stabbed the sedated captive in the neck. The same Chief Gallagher who later posed for a photograph holding the dead captive up by the hair has now been celebrated on the campaign trail by President Trump, who upended the military code of justice to protect him from the punishment resulting from the episode. Prodded by Fox News, Mr. Trump has made Chief Gallagher a cause célèbre, trumpeting him as an argument for his re-election.”

A Census Whodunit: Why Was the Citizenship Question Added? The New York Times, Michael Wines, Saturday, 30 November 2019: “When a House committee sued senior Trump administration officials this past week over their refusal to turn over details of the administration’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, it might have seemed a post-mortem to an issue long settled. But five months after the Supreme Court blocked the question, a steady trickle of new disclosures in the case this past month has sharpened questions about whether Republican Party politics drove the effort to add the question to the head count — and whether the Trump administration tried to conceal that in court. The disclosures, in a House of Representatives inquiry and a New York lawsuit, bolster existing evidence that a Republican political strategist, Thomas B. Hofeller, played at least an indirect role in crafting a legal rationale for adding the question to the census. They also indicate that a senior Census Bureau official and friend of Mr. Hofeller, Christa Jones, helped draft an explanation of that rationale, apparently for publication had the question been approved. Those developments could help efforts by critics to definitively pin down how the citizenship question became a Trump administration priority and whether Justice Department officials should be sanctioned for withholding evidence relating to it.”

Trump administration proposals could cause millions to lose food stamps, NBC News, Phil McCausland, Saturday, 30 November 2019: “Three proposed rule changes by the Trump administration could cause millions of poor people to lose access to food stamps and decrease the size of the benefit for millions more. Over the past year, the Department of Agriculture proposed three changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps. The new rules create stricter work requirements for program eligibility, cap deductions for utility allowances and ‘reform’ the way 40 states automatically enroll families into SNAP when they receive other forms of federal aid. A study by the Urban Institute released this week examined the three rules in combination for the first time and found that 3.7 million fewer people would receive SNAP in an average month, 2.2 million households would see their average monthly benefits drop by $127, more than 3 million others would see an average drop of $37 per month, and 982,000 students would lose access to free or reduced lunches.”


Sunday, 1 December 2019, Day 1,046:


Trump’s Lawyers Won’t Participate in Impeachment Hearing on Wednesday, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Michael D. Shear, Sunday, 1 December 2019: “Lawyers for President Trump said on Sunday that they would not participate in the House Judiciary Committee’s first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday, airing a long list of complaints that they said prevented ‘any semblance of a fair process.’ Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the committee, had given the White House a Sunday deadline for the president or his lawyers to take up the opportunity to appear at the hearing, where a panel of legal experts will offer an assessment of whether Mr. Trump committed impeachable offenses…. [White House counsel Pat Cipollone] did not rule out participation in future hearings, though many of his complaints about the process would apply to those proceedings as well. Mr. Nadler had informed the administration on Friday that the president and his lawyers had a week to tell the committee whether they would call witnesses or present evidence as part of their defense against possible impeachment articles stemming from allegations that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to help him in his re-election campaign, and Mr. Cipollone said he would respond to that request separately.” See also, White House won’t take part in first House Judiciary impeachment hearing, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Sunday, 1 December 2019. See also, Trump’s counsel Pat Cipollone says Trump won’t participate in House Judiciary’s first impeachment panel, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 1 December 2019: “As the impeachment inquiry moves into a critical week, President Trump and his Republican allies are debating the degree to which the president should participate in a process they have spent more than two months attacking. On Sunday evening, White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone told the House Judiciary Committee in a five-page letter that Trump would not participate in its first impeachment hearing, scheduled for Wednesday.” 

Sidelined for Months, the House Judiciary Committee Will Reclaim Impeachment Drive It Once Led, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 1 December 2019: “After being unceremoniously sidelined for two months while the Intelligence Committee assembled a case that the president pressured Ukraine to help him in the 2020 election, the judiciary panel is poised to retake the national stage this week to swiftly draft and debate articles of impeachment and almost certainly vote to make Mr. Trump only the third president in history to be impeached.”

Lisa Page Speaks: ‘There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All,’ The Daily Beast, Molly Jong-Fast, Sunday, 1 December 2019: “For the nearly two years since her name first made the papers, [Lisa Page has] been publicly silent (she did have a closed-door interview with House members in July 2018). I asked her why she was willing to talk now. ‘Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,’ she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11. That was the moment Page decided she had to speak up. ‘I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,’ she says. ‘It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.'” See also, Lisa Page is a uniquely convenient target for Trump’s standard practice of belittling women, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, published on Monday, 2 December 2019. See also, Lisa Page, Ex-F.B.I. Lawyer Whose Texts Criticized Trump, Breaks Silence, The New York Times, Jacey Fortin, Monday, 2 December 2019.

How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion, The New York Times, Elizabeth Dias and Lisa Lerer, Sunday, 1 December 2019: “Miscalculations, and an unexpected victory by President Trump, have put abortion access at its most vulnerable point in decades, and the left on the defensive. Now it is trying to recover.”


Monday, 2 December 2019, Day 1,047:


Democrats Ready Impeachment Report as Republicans Argue Trump Did Nothing Wrong, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 2 December 2019: “House Democrats pressed forward on Monday with the next phase of their impeachment inquiry, putting the final touches on an Intelligence Committee report expected to form the basis of their case that President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals was an abuse of power that warrants his removal from office. Lawmakers from the panel reviewed the staff-written report for the first time on Monday evening, ahead of its public release and a scheduled Tuesday evening vote to transmit it to the Judiciary Committee. It will conclude that Mr. Trump, working with allies inside and outside his administration, used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to do his bidding in order to gain an advantage in the 2020 presidential race.” See also, House Republicans defend Trump’s actions on Ukraine in dismissing impeachment probe, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Monday, 2 December 2019: “House Republicans said Monday that President Trump acted out of “genuine” concern about corruption in Ukraine and wariness about foreign aid in their defense of the president’s actions and as a preemptive rebuttal to Democratic allegations that Trump abused his power — grounds for expected articles of impeachment.” See also, House Republicans’ Report Defends Trump in Impeachment Probe, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus, Monday, 2 December 2019: “House Republicans offered a harsh assessment of the impeachment inquiry, saying in a report that Democrats hadn’t proven that President Trump pressured Ukraine to initiate investigations in an effort to benefit his 2020 re-election bid, and that his hold on nearly $400 million in security assistance and a White House meeting was ‘entirely prudent.'” See also, House Republicans defend Trump’s actions in new report responding to impeachment inquiry, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, Monday, 2 December 2019. See also, Read the House Republicans’ Report on the Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Monday, 2 December 2019. See also, Catch Up on the Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Monday, 2 December 2019. See also, Trump Misquotes Ukrainian President in Latest Impeachment Defense, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Monday, 2 December 2019. See also, What Is the Impeachment Process? A Step-by-Step Guide. The New York Times, Weiyi Cai, Monday, 2 December 2019.

Here Are the Latest Secret Memos From Mueller’s Report, BuzzFeed News, Jason Leopold, Kate Nocera, Sarah Mimms, and Anthony Cormier, Monday, 2 December 2019: “The report from former special counsel Robert Mueller, detailing Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration’s efforts to obstruct the inquiry, was the most hotly anticipated prosecutorial document in a generation. But at 448 pages, it reflected only a tiny fraction of the primary-source documents that the government amassed over the course of its two-year investigation. Using the Freedom of Information Act, BuzzFeed News sued to gain access to those documents, which are key to understanding this important chapter in American history. On Monday, in response to a court order, the Justice Department has released the second installment: summaries of FBI interviews spanning hundreds of pages. These summaries, known as ‘302 reports,’ are some of the most important and highly sought-after documents from Mueller’s investigation. They contain numerous redactions, which BuzzFeed News will challenge in our ongoing lawsuit.” See also, Highlights from the Newly released FBI Mueller investigation notes, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Marshall Cohen, Kara Scannell, Evan Perez, Sara Murray, Jeremy Diamond, and David Shortell, Monday, 2 December 2019: “The Justice Department, responding to a lawsuit by CNN and BuzzFeed, released 295 pages of witness memoranda and notes from FBI interviews released from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, including contacts with Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.”

Attorney General William Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian, Monday, 2 December 2019: “Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report — that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the matter. The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horo­witz, is due to release his long-awaited findings in a week, but behind the scenes at the Justice Department, disagreement has surfaced about one of Horowitz’s central conclusions on the origins of the Russia investigation. The discord could be the prelude to a major fissure within federal law enforcement on the controversial question of investigating a presidential campaign.” See also, Attorney General William Barr Is Said to Doubt Inspector General’s Finding on Russia Inquiry, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Michael S. Schmidt, Monday, 2 December 2019: “Attorney General William P. Barr has told Justice Department officials that he is skeptical of a conclusion by the department’s inspector general that the F.B.I. had sufficient information to open the investigation into whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential race, according to two people familiar with the conversations. Should Mr. Barr rebut the inspector general’s assessment, due out next week in a highly anticipated report, Mr. Trump’s allies will most likely use that pushback to dismiss the work itself. The review is expected to contradict some of the unfounded theories about the 2016 election that the president and his allies have promoted.”

Democrats quietly debate expanding impeachment articles beyond Ukraine, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Monday, 2 December 2019: “House Democrats are debating whether to expand articles of impeachment to include charges beyond abuse of power in the Ukraine controversy, setting up a potential internal clash as the party races to impeach President Trump by Christmastime. Members of the House Judiciary Committee and other more liberal-minded lawmakers and congressional aides have been privately discussing the possibility of drafting articles that include obstruction of justice or other ‘high crimes’ they believe are clearly outlined in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report — or allegations that Trump has used his office to benefit his bottom line. The idea, however, is running into resistance from some moderate Democrats wary of impeachment blowback in their GOP-leaning districts, as well as Democratic leaders who sought to keep impeachment narrowly focused on allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely. The debate is expected to play out in leadership and caucus meetings this week….”

Trump Campaign Won’t Approve Bloomberg Reporters’ Press Credentials, The Wall Street Journal, Michael C. Bender, Monday, 2 December 2019: “President Trump’s re-election campaign said it no longer would approve credentials for Bloomberg News reporters after the company said it wouldn’t investigate Democratic presidential candidates while its owner, Mike Bloomberg, sought the party’s nomination. It isn’t known what effect the Trump campaign policy might have without a similar decision by the White House. Bloomberg News occupies one of a handful of permanent seats in the White House press corps travel pool, which means a Bloomberg News reporter is with Mr. Trump wherever he travels, including campaign events.”

Senate Confirms Dan Brouillette to Lead Energy Department, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Monday, 2 December 2019: “The Senate on Monday confirmed Dan Brouillette, a former lobbyist for Ford Motor Company, to be President Trump’s second secretary of energy, replacing Rick Perry, who has become embroiled in the impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump…. Since 2017 Mr. Brouillette has been Mr. Perry’s second-in-command at the Department of Energy. He has pressed the Trump administration’s policy of ‘energy dominance,’ which includes the rapid expansion oil and gas drilling and a bolstering of American fossil fuel exports.”

Fisher Sand and Gravel, a North Dakota company that Trump touted, gets $400 million border wall contract, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 2 December 2019: “A company that President Trump urged military officials to hire for border wall construction has been awarded a $400 million contract to build a span of new barrier across an Arizona wildlife refuge, according to a Defense Department announcement Monday. North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel won the contract to build in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Ariz., the Defense Department said, with a target completion date of Dec. 30, 2020. Trump has repeatedly pushed for Fisher to get a wall-building contract, urging officials with the Army Corps of Engineers to pick the firm — only to be told that Fisher’s bids did not meet standards. Trump’s entreaties on behalf of the company have concerned some officials who are unaccustomed to a president getting personally involved in the intricacies of government contracting. Trump has been enamored with Tommy Fisher, the company’s chief executive, who has made multiple appearances on Fox News to promote his firm and insists that it would do a better job than those the government had already chosen.”


Tuesday, 3 December 2019, 1,048:


Impeachment Report Says Trump Solicited Foreign Election Interference, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “House Democrats on Tuesday asserted that President Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election, releasing an impeachment report that found the president ‘placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States.’ The report by the House Intelligence Committee was a sweeping indictment of the president’s behavior, concluding that he sought to undermine American democracy and endangered national security, then worked to conceal his actions from Congress. Democrats left it to another committee to decide whether to recommend Mr. Trump’s impeachment, but their report presented what are all but certain to be the grounds on which the House votes to formally charge him. ‘The founding fathers prescribed a remedy for a chief executive who places his personal interests above those of the country: impeachment,’ it said.” See also, House Democrats release report charging that Trump abused his office as impeachment inquiry enters new phase, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, and Seung Min Kim, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “House Democrats accused President Trump on Tuesday of systematically abusing the powers of his office by pressuring Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations, as their inquiry shifts to a new phase that will almost certainly lead to a vote this month on whether to impeach the president. A blistering, 300-page report produced by the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee concluded that Trump had ‘compromised national security to advance his personal political interests’ and then engaged in an ‘unprecedented campaign’ to prevent Congress from uncovering the truth. ‘The President’s actions have damaged our national security, undermined the integrity of the next election, and violated his oath of office,’ House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), whose panels have overseen the inquiry, said in a statement. ‘They have also challenged the very core of our constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and rule of law.'” See also, House Intelligence Committee sends report on Trump and Ukraine to House Judiciary Committee, paving the way for possible articles of impeachment, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 3 December 2019. See also, Democrats conclude in impeachment report that Trump abused the power of the presidency, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “President Donald Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, House Democrats concluded in a highly anticipated report released Tuesday. The 300-page House Intelligence Committee report, which is expected to form the basis for articles of impeachment, also accuses Trump of engaging in an extensive effort to obstruct the House’s impeachment inquiry and deprive investigators of key witnesses and documents.” See also, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff: Trump’s Ukraine actions constitute bribery. ‘That’s exactly what has gone on here.’ The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said in an interview Tuesday that President Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Ukraine meet the constitutional definition of bribery — but that it’s the Judiciary Committee that must decide whether to recommend impeaching him on those grounds. ‘This is certainly, I think, what the founders had in mind when they used that word in the Constitution,’ Schiff (D-Calif.) said, defining ‘bribery’ as ‘the offer of or performance of official acts, in exchange for something of value; the betrayal of a public trust to get something of personal or political value.'” See also, 5 takeaways from the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report on Trump, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Tuesday, 3 December 2019. See also, We now have a fuller understanding of how the effort to pressure Ukraine unfolded, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, published on Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, The Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry report, annotated, CNN Politics, Zachary B. Wolf and Sean O’Key, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Democrats released a 300-page report outlining their months-long impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Donald Trump. Based on weeks of dramatic public hearings and additional documents requested from the White House, it’s an indictment of Trump’s pressure on Ukraine and, they say, his threat to the US system of government. We’ve annotated their executive summary and linked to the full report.” See also, The House Impeachment Report Highlights Trump’s Ongoing Abuse of Presidential Power, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Tuesday, 3 December 2019. See also, Trump dismisses House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report as a ‘joke,’ Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Wednesday, 4 December 2019.

Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze in July, Says Ex-Top Official in Kyiv, The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “As deputy foreign minister, it was Olena Zerkal’s job to read incoming diplomatic cables from embassies around the world. One from Washington caught her eye back in July, she recalled: It said the Trump administration had frozen military aid for Ukraine. ‘We had this information,’ Ms. Zerkal said in an interview. ‘It was definitely mentioned there were some issues.’ The timing of when Ukraine knew of the hold on the military aid is a critical question in the impeachment hearings in Congress. Democrats are trying to build a case that President Trump pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky by withholding the aid and a White House meeting — at the same time he was pressing for a public announcement that Ukraine would investigate his political rivals. Mr. Trump and his allies have also made the timing issue part of his defense. How could Ukrainian officials feel the pressure of the aid freeze, they ask, if they did not know about it when the White House was pushing them to investigate Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., one of Mr. Trump’s biggest challengers in the 2020 American presidential election?”

Report Reveals Call Records Between Giuliani, White House, and Devin Nunes, the Top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “Call records obtained by impeachment investigators revealed new details about Rudy Giuliani’s interactions with the White House, his associates and Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. The records of those calls were included in a draft report by the House Intelligence Committee released Tuesday, which said that President Trump abused his office for personal and political gain by pressuring Ukraine—with the help of the president’s personal attorney, Mr. Giuliani—to announce investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump in next year’s election. The phone records suggest Mr. Giuliani’s deep involvement in several key episodes that have become a focus of the impeachment probe. The frequent contacts between Mr. Nunes and two figures at the center of the inquiry—Mr. Giuliani and one of his indicted associates—are highly unusual and likely to renew calls from Democrats for Mr. Nunes to face an ethics inquiry.” See also, A Mysterious ‘-1’ and Other Call Records Show How Trump’s Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Pressured Ukraine, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere and Julian E. Barnes, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “In the two days before President Trump forced out the American ambassador to Ukraine in April, his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was on the phone with the White House more than a dozen times. Phone records cited in the impeachment report released Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee illustrate the sprawling reach of Mr. Giuliani’s campaign first to remove the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, then to force Ukraine’s new government to announce criminal investigations for Mr. Trump’s political gain.” See also, Democrats obtained phone records showing how Trump allies coordinated ‘false narratives,’ CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “Armed with never-before-seen phone records, Democrats on Tuesday accused President Donald Trump’s allies of coordinating with a conservative journalist to peddle ‘false narratives’ about Trump’s opponents as part of his multi-pronged pressure campaign on Ukraine. The House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report — which was made public Tuesday — says the committee’s top Repubican, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, was linked to that effort.” See also, The chain of phone calls that kept Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the center of Trump’s Ukraine pressure, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Tuesday, 3 December 2019. See also, Why Giuliani’s calls with ‘-1’ are likely calls with Trump, and why it matters, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, published on Wednesday, 4 December 2019.

Sources say Republican-led committee investigated possible Ukraine interference in 2016 election and found nothing worth pursuing, CNN Politics, Jake Tapper, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “The Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee looked into allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and found no evidence to support the claims, according to sources familiar with the matter. This squares with the overall conclusion of officials who have looked into the matter. Sources tell CNN that no US intelligence agency has ever produced a product accusing the Ukrainian government of interfering in the 2016 US election.” See also, Republican Senators, Defending Trump, Embrace Debunked Ukraine Theory, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Tuesday, 3 December 2019.

The Mueller Report Illustrated, The Washington Post, Tuesday, 3 December:
“Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III spent nearly two years investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether President Trump obstructed the inquiry. When his 448-page report was released in April, Mueller left one major question unanswered: whether the president broke the law. The special counsel determined that because Justice Department policy states that a president cannot be indicted, it would not be fair to take a position on whether Trump committed a crime. But his report laid out possible evidence of obstruction of justice, as well as a dramatic narrative of an anxious and angry president who tried to control a criminal investigation — even after he knew he was under scrutiny. This six-part series is drawn directly from episodes detailed in the Mueller report in which prosecutors found possible evidence of obstruction of justice, as well as congressional testimony and Washington Post reporting. Dialogue in text bubbles is taken verbatim from Mueller’s report, which cited text messages, contemporaneous notes and investigative interviews with first-hand witnesses who described conversations among key players. Words within quotation marks reflect exact dialogue included in the report, or comments made at public events or in media interviews. Links throughout each chapter refer to the specific pages of Mueller’s report that describe the scenes, as well as news stories. Illustrations of public events are based on news photographs taken at the time. The president’s tweets have been reproduced as they were written, although the number of “likes” and “retweets” may have changed over time.”

Trump Loses Appeal on Deutsche Bank Subpoenas, The New York Times, David Enrich, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “A federal appeals court said Tuesday that Deutsche Bank must turn over detailed documents about President Trump’s finances to two congressional committees, a ruling that will most likely be appealed to the Supreme Court. The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York was the latest victory for House Democrats investigating Mr. Trump and his businesses. And it put extensive information about Mr. Trump’s personal and business finances — which the president has spent years fighting to keep secret — one step closer to becoming public.” See also, Appeals court refuses to block House subpoena for Trump’s financial records, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Renae Merle, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “House Democrats can access President Trump’s private financial records from two banks, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, finding a ‘public interest’ in refusing to block congressional subpoenas. The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit comes in the ongoing legal battle Trump has waged to shield his private business records from disclosure — including in two cases that have already reached the Supreme Court.”

Trump Warns Trade Talks With China May Last Past 2020 Election, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Keith Bradsher, and Ana Swanson, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “President Trump signaled on Tuesday that he was in no rush to end a long trade war with China, suggesting that he could wait until after the 2020 presidential election to strike a deal and sending stock prices tumbling.”

In Tense Exchange, Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron Put Forth Dueling Visions for NATO, The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Annie Karni, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “President Trump sat down in a gilded chair beside President Emmanuel Macron of France on Tuesday, prepared for what has become a ritual of sorts on his home turf at the White House: He holds forth as another leader is left to smile stoically through his jokes, jabs and insults. But Mr. Macron changed the script. By the time their 45-minute appearance at the American ambassador’s residence in London was over, the French leader had managed a rare role reversal, putting Mr. Trump on the defensive about his vision for NATO and his handling of a military conflict involving Turkey, and swatting away the president’s joke about sending Islamic State fighters from Syria to France. ‘Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?’ Mr. Trump said, crouching forward and claiming that ‘many’ fighters had come from France. ‘I can give them to you.’ ‘Let’s be serious,’ Mr. Macron, who sat coiled on the edge of his seat with one hand clamped firmly on his knee, replied. ‘The very large numbers of fighters on the ground are the fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq.'” See also, As impeachment inquiry rages at home, Trump unsettles the world stage at NATO, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker, and Michael Brinbaum, Tuesday, 3 December 2019.

How International Consulting Firm McKinsey & Company Helped the Trump Administration Detain and Deport Immigrants, ProPublica, Ian MacDougall, Tuesday, 3 December 2019. This article is co-published with The New York Times: “Just days after he took office in 2017, President Donald Trump set out to make good on his campaign pledge to halt illegal immigration. In a pair of executive orders, he ordered ‘all legally available resources’ to be shifted to border detention facilities and called for hiring 10,000 new immigration officers. The logistical challenges were daunting, but as luck would have it, Immigration and Customs Enforcement already had a partner on its payroll: McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm brought on under the Obama administration to help engineer an ‘organizational transformation’ in the ICE division charged with deporting migrants who are in the United States unlawfully. ICE quickly redirected McKinsey toward helping the agency figure out how to execute the White House’s clampdown on illegal immigration. But the money-saving recommendations the consultants came up with made some career ICE staff uncomfortable. They proposed cuts in spending on food for migrants, as well as on medical care and supervision of detainees, according to interviews with people who worked on the project for both ICE and McKinsey and 1,500 pages of documents obtained from the agency after ProPublica filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Trump announces Camp David for G-7 summit next year, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 3 December 2019: “President Trump will host global leaders at Camp David next year after giving up on early plans to hold the annual summit at his private resort in Doral, Fla.”


Wednesday, 4 December 2019, Day 1,049:


Legal Scholars Call Trump’s Actions on Ukraine an Impeachable Abuse of Power, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “The House of Representatives on Wednesday opened a critical new phase of the impeachment proceedings against President Trump, featuring legal scholars vigorously debating whether his conduct and the available evidence rose to the constitutional threshold necessary for his removal from office. In a daylong hearing convened by the Judiciary Committee, three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats testified that evidence of Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain clearly met the definition of an impeachable abuse of power. They said his defiance of Congress’s investigative requests was further grounds for charging him. A fourth scholar invited by Republicans disagreed, warning that Democrats were barreling forward with a shoddy case for the president’s removal based on inadequate evidence, and risked damaging the integrity of a sacred process enshrined in the Constitution.” See also, Key Moments from the First Impeachment Hearing in the Judiciary Committee, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Key Excerpts From Legal Scholars’ Arguments on Impeachment, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Impeachment Hearing Highlights (Video), The New York Times, Sarah Kerr, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Here Are the Key Members to Watch on the House Judiciary Committee, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Who Is Noah Feldman? Scholar Specializes in Constitutional Law. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Trump and the Meaning of Impeachment: My Testimony Before Congress, The New York Review of Books, Noah Feldman, published online on Thursday, 5 December and in the print edition on Thursday, 19 December 2019. See also, Who Is Pamela Karlan? Legal Leader Committed to Progressive Causes. The New York Times, Lola Fadulu, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Who Is Michael J. Gerhardt? Professor Made Impeachment His Specialty. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Who Is Jonathan Turley? Republicans’ Lone Expert on Impeachment. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan and Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Trump Blocked Key Impeachment Witnesses. Should Congress Wait? The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Are House Democrats making a mistake by moving swiftly to impeach President Trump when some facts remain hidden about whether he abused his power in the Ukraine affair? That was the argument put forward on Wednesday by Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who was the only Republican-selected witness of four legal scholars who testified at the House Judiciary Committee’s opening impeachment hearing. Mr. Turley’s point crystallized the constitutional dilemma facing Congress as it pushes forward on impeachment rather than pausing to go after additional evidence the White House has withheld. A president willing to dig in and stonewall subpoenas for documents and testimony can use the courts to run out the clock, undermining the House’s ability to use its impeachment power in practice. Democrats have conceded that they would like to obtain more documents and hear more testimony from Mr. Trump’s key aides, but they have also argued that the evidence they have is sufficient to impeach him — and said it is absurd for the White House to contend their case has holes when it is thwarting their access to more information. When a president systematically blockades congressional subpoenas and instructs current and former aides not to provide documents and testimony, that is another basis to impeach, argued another witness, Michael J. Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor and author of ‘The Federal Impeachment Process: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis.'” See also, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler says scholars’ testimony is ‘clear and compelling evidence’ that Trump abused his power, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “After a more than eight-hour hearing Wednesday with four constitutional scholars, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said President Trump’s conduct with Ukraine rose to an impeachable offense. ‘I will honor my oath, and as I sit here today, having heard consistent, clear and compelling evidence that the president has abused his power, attempted to undermine the constitutional role of Congress, and corrupted our elections, I urge my colleagues to stand behind the oath you have taken,’ Nadler said at the conclusion of the hearing. ‘Our democracy depends on it.’ Three law professors who testified were summoned by the Democrats, while another was tapped by Republicans. The GOP-picked witness cautioned against moving too quickly with impeachment, while the other three argued that Trump’s behavior is impeachable. The inquiry has moved into a new phase after the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to approve a 300-page report that concluded Trump had ‘compromised national security to advance his personal political interests.'” See also, 5 takeaways from the Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Impeachment has moved to the Judiciary Committee. Here are the players. The Washington Post, Daniela Santamarina, Kate Rabinowitz, and Kevin Uhrmacher, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, 9 takeaways from the House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing, CNN Politics, Chris Cillizza, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “On Wednesday morning, the House Judiciary Committee convened its first hearing in the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump — bringing in four constitutional lawyers to debate what, exactly, constitutes ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ and whether the President had committed any of those acts.” See also, House Judiciary Committee impeachment inquiry: contentious hearing concludes after eight hours–as it happened, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh and Joan E. Greve, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, Democrats signal Mueller-related impeachment charges as legal scholars assail Trump at the House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday described President Donald Trump’s posture toward Ukraine as part of a pattern of abuse of power and obstruction of justice that began with Trump’s efforts to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller. Nadler’s comments at the Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing came as three constitutional lawyers called by Democrats testified that Trump’s actions toward Ukraine are the worst examples of misconduct in U.S. presidential history and such actions are the reason the framers included impeachment in the Constitution.”

‘Are you ready?’: Pelosi makes clear to Democrats that impeachment is coming, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff left little doubt with fellow Democrats Wednesday that they plan to move swiftly to impeach President Trump as soon as this month. According to multiple Democratic lawmakers who attended a closed-door Capitol meeting, Pelosi announced no firm decision or timeline in moving toward a vote on Trump’s impeachment. But, a day after Schiff delivered a 300-page report detailing charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against Trump, she made clear what lies ahead in the House.”

Trump’s Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Facing Scrutiny, Travels to Europe to Interview Ukrainians. He has been in Budapest and Kyiv this week to talk with former Ukrainian prosecutors for a documentary series intended to debunk the impeachment case. The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Benjamin Novak, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Even as Democrats intensified their scrutiny this week of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s role in the pressure campaign against the Ukrainian government that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Giuliani has been in Europe continuing his efforts to shift the focus to purported wrongdoing by President Trump’s political rivals. Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, met in Budapest on Tuesday with a former Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who has become a key figure in the impeachment inquiry. He then traveled to Kyiv on Wednesday seeking to meet with other former Ukrainian prosecutors whose claims have been embraced by Republicans, including Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk, according to people familiar with the effort.” See also, New York Times: Rudy Giuliani traveled to Hungary and Ukraine to meet with ex-prosecutors in effort to defend Trump, CNN Politics, Devan Cole, Wednesday, 4 December 2019.

U.S. Attorney John Durham, Attorney General William Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, tells Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz he can’t back right-wing theory that Russia case was U.S. intelligence setup, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “The prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William P. Barr to scrutinize how U.S. agencies investigated President Trump’s 2016 campaign said he could not offer evidence to the Justice Department’s inspector general to support the suspicions of some conservatives that the case was a setup by American intelligence, people familiar with the matter said. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office contacted U.S. Attorney John Durham, the prosecutor Barr personally tapped to lead a separate review of the 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, the people said. The inspector general also contacted several U.S. intelligence agencies.”

Attorney General William Barr Says Communities That Protest the Police Risk Losing Protection, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Attorney General William P. Barr warned that communities and critics of policing must display more deference or risk losing protection, a stark admonition that underscored the Trump administration’s support for law enforcement amid an ongoing national conversation about police brutality against minorities. ‘They have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,’ Mr. Barr said on Tuesday afternoon in comments at an awards ceremony for policing. ‘And if communities don’t give that support and respect, they may find themselves without the police protection they need.’ The speech immediately sparked criticisms that Mr. Barr was conflating protests of police misconduct with a disrespect for the police and that he was advocating lawlessness as a potential reprisal. ‘The idea that the attorney general of the United States, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, is recommending abandoning communities as retribution for pushing for police reform or criticizing policing practices, is profoundly dangerous and irresponsible,’ said Vanita Gupta, the president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.” See also, Attorney General William Barr says ‘communities’ that protest the police could lose ‘the police protection they need,’ The Washington Post, Tim Elfrink, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Speaking to a roomful of police officers and prosecutors on Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr drew a parallel between protests against soldiers during the Vietnam War and demonstrations against law enforcement today. But this time, he suggested, those who don’t show ‘respect’ to authority could lose access to police services.”

Climate Change Is Accelerating, Bring World ‘Dangerously Close’ to Irreversible Change, The New York Times, Henry Fountain, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Climate change and its effects are accelerating, with climate related disasters piling up, season after season. ‘Things are getting worse,’ said Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, which on Tuesday issued its annual state of the global climate report, concluding a decade of what it called exceptional global heat. ‘It’s more urgent than ever to proceed with mitigation.’ But reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change will require drastic measures, Dr. Taalas said. ‘The only solution is to get rid of fossil fuels in power production, industry and transportation,’ he said.”

Hundreds of Thousands Are Losing Access to Food Stamps, The New York Times, Lola Fadulu, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “The Trump administration, brushing aside tens of thousands of protest letters, gave final approval on Wednesday to a rule that will remove nearly 700,000 people from the federal food-stamp program by strictly enforcing federal work requirements. The rule, which was proposed by the Agriculture Department in February, would press states to carry out work requirements for able-bodied adults without children that governors have routinely been allowed to waive, especially for areas in economic distress. The economy has improved under the Trump administration, the department argued, and assistance to unemployed, able-bodied adults was no longer necessary in a strong job market. The change is expected to shave nearly $5.5 billion from food stamp spending over five years…. Representative Marcia L. Fudge, Democrat of Ohio and the chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee’s subcommittee on nutrition, said in a statement that instead of ‘considering hungry individuals and their unique struggles and needs, the department has chosen to paint them with the broadest brush, demonizing them as lazy and undeserving.'” See also, Nearly 700,000 will lose food stamps with US Department of Agriculture work requirement change, NBC News, Phil McCausland, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “The Trump administration Wednesday formalized work requirements for recipients of food stamps, a move that will cause hundreds of thousands of people to lose access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP…. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said this rule would do little to help anyone find work. All the rule change does is strip people from accessing the benefit, she said. ‘This Administration is out of touch with families who are struggling to make ends meet by working seasonal jobs or part time jobs with unreliable hours,’ Stabenow said. ‘Seasonal holiday workers, workers in Northern Michigan’s tourism industry, and workers with unreliable hours like waiters and waitresses are the kinds of workers hurt by this proposal.'”

Trump taps Robert Marbut, a consultant who has urged cities to stop feeding the homeless, to lead the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Politico, Katy O’Donnell, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “The Trump administration has tapped Robert Marbut, a consultant who has urged cities to stop feeding the homeless, to lead the agency that coordinates the government’s response to the crisis, drawing a rebuke from a top housing advocate. The administration last month pushed out Matthew Doherty, an Obama appointee, as executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.”

Trump Abruptly Exits NATO Gathering After Embarrassing Video Emerges, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Katie Rogers, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “President Trump arrived in London Monday evening planning to tout a foreign policy accomplishment his presidential campaign wants him to run on: successfully pressuring allies to pay more toward the costs of running NATO. Less than 48 hours later — after he was put on the defensive in front of the cameras and then was the subject of gossip at a private reception of world leaders, a moment caught in a viral video — Mr. Trump canceled a planned news conference before heading back to Washington earlier than planned.” See also, NATO summit ends with Trump calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ‘two-faced’ after video of world leaders apparently mocking Trump, The Washington Post, Michael Birnbaum, Philip Rucker, and Ashley Parker, Wednesday, 4 December 2019. See also, How a CBC producer caught Trudeau on a hot mic gossiping about Trump, CBC, Jeanne Armstrong and John McGill, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “You would think by now U.S. President Donald Trump would be used to people talking behind his back. But on Wednesday, in a press conference at the NATO summit in London, Trump scornfully called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ‘two-faced.’ The comments came after footage emerged of the prime minister chatting with other world leaders at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. In the clip, Trudeau appears to be discussing Trump’s behaviour and his “40-minute press conference.” The viral moment likely wouldn’t have surfaced at all without Chris Rands, the CBC’s parliamentary producer in Ottawa. He spotted the exchange while he was scrolling through video footage.” See also, World Leaders Were Caught on Video Apparently Mocking Trump at the NATO Summit, BuzzFeed News, Julia Reinstein, Wednesday, 4 November 2019: ” See also, Trump abruptly cancels NATO news conference after tense exchanges with world leaders, Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Wednesday, 4 December 2019.

Senate Republicans Confirm Sarah Pitlyk to a Lifetime Seat on a Federal Court Despite Her Opposition to Fertility Treatments and Despite Her Unanimous ‘Not Qualified’ Rating From the American Bar Association, HuffPost, Jennifer Bendery, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to confirm Sarah Pitlyk to a lifetime seat on a federal court, despite her extreme views on fertility treatments having ‘grave effects on society’ and her unanimous ‘not qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association. Every Republican present but one, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), voted to put Pitlyk, 42, onto the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Every Democrat present opposed her. The final tally was 49-44.” See also, Sarah Pitlyk, Trump nominee who is anti-IVF, abortion, and surrogacy and was deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association, is confirmed by Senate Republicans as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “The latest of President Trump’s confirmed federal judges has been assailed by fellow lawyers for her lack of trial experience and has been lambasted by reproductive rights advocates for her vigorous opposition to abortion, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization. And in a near-party-line vote Tuesday, the Senate approved the nomination of Sarah Pitlyk, making the conservative lawyer the newest federal judge for the U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined the Democrats to oppose Pitlyk. Every other Republican present voted for her…. Pitlyk is also the latest of Trump’s nominees to receive a ‘not qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association, which has long reviewed the competence of nominees for the federal bench. In a Sept. 24 letter to lawmakers, William Hubbard, chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, wrote that Pitlyk’s ‘experience to date has a very substantial gap, namely the absence of any trial or even real litigation experience. Ms. Pitlyk has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal,’ Hubbard wrote. ‘She has never examined a witness. Though Ms. Pitlyk has argued one case in a court of appeals, she has not taken a deposition. She has not argued any motion in a state or federal trial court. She has never picked a jury. She has never participated at any stage of a criminal matter.'”

How two housekeepers took on Trump–and revealed that his company employed undocumented immigrants, The Washington Post, Joshua Partlow and David A. Fahrenthold, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Over the past year, The Washington Post has spoken with 48 people who had worked illegally for the Trump Organization at 11 of its properties in Florida, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. These workers spent years — and in some cases nearly two decades — performing the manual labor that keeps Trump’s resorts clean and their visitors fed. This story is based on interviews with these workers, many of whom were fired or walked away from their jobs after media reports about their employment.” See also, 5 questions about Trump’s use of undocumented workers, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold and Joshua Partlow, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “President Trump has built much of his presidency — and his 2020 reelection campaign — around a simple message: Illegal immigration is a national crisis. ‘Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate,’ Trump said in his State of the Union address this year. ‘It is cruel.’ But, in private, Trump’s company relied on the same kind of undocumented workers he was denouncing, according to the accounts of 48 current and former Trump workers interviewed by The Washington Post this year. For years — including during Trump’s presidency — the Trump Organization employed undocumented workers as housekeepers, waitersgroundskeepers and stonemasons.”

Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at Bank Mergers, a Sign of Her Presidential Intentions, The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren plans to introduce a bill in coming weeks that would intensify the scrutiny of bank mergers, a signal less of legislative action to come than of her intentions for the finance industry if she is elected president. The bill, a companion of which will be introduced Wednesday in the House by Representative Jesús ‘Chuy’ García, Democrat of Illinois, will almost certainly go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. But its argument that the ‘review process for bank mergers is fundamentally broken’ indicates that Ms. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, still has the financial industry in her sights.”

US House passes Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act calling for tough sanctions on Beijing over mass detention centers run by the Chinese government in Xinjiang, CNN Politics, Ben Westcott and Haley Byrd, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “The US House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday demanding a tougher response from the Trump administration over reports of mass detention centers run by the Chinese government in Xinjiang. The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which still needs to gain approval from the US Senate, calls for concrete measures to be taken against Beijing over allegations that up to two million Muslim-majority Uyghurs have been detained in ‘re-education’ camps in the far western region. The Chinese government reacted with fury to the proposed legislation, which Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said ‘wantonly smeared China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts.'” See also, US House approves Uighur Act calling for sanctions on China’s senior officials for their crackdown on the Muslim minority in Xinjiang, The Guardian, Wednesday, 4 December 2019.

Kelly Loeffler Will Fill Georgia Senate Seat, Setting Up a Clash With Trump, The New York Times, Christine Hauser and Jacey Fortin, Wednesday, 4 December 2019: “Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Wednesday appointed Kelly Loeffler, a politically untested business executive, to fill a soon-to-be-vacated United States Senate seat in the state. The move put the governor at odds with President Trump, who had lobbied for a different candidate.”


Thursday, 5 December 2019, Day 1,051:


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says House Will Draft Impeachment Charges Against Trump, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the House of Representatives would begin drafting impeachment articles against President Trump, pushing ahead with a rapid timetable that could set the stage for a vote before Christmas to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors. Invoking the words of the Constitution and the nation’s founders, Ms. Pelosi said it had become clear over two months of investigation that Mr. Trump had violated his oath of office by pressing a foreign power for help in the 2020 election. Allowing Mr. Trump to continue in office without remedy, she said, would come at ‘the peril of our republic. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution,’ Ms. Pelosi said in a formal address delivered against a backdrop of American flags in the Capitol. ‘Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.'” See also, Read Nancy Pelosi’s Remarks on Articles of Impeachment, The New York Times, Thursday, 5 December 2019. See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces intent to impeach Trump as constitutional clash intensifies, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Karoun Demirjian, and Seung Min Kim, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that Democrats will begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump, setting up a constitutional clash that Trump now says he embraces and is eager to frame on his terms when it moves to an expected Senate trial next month.” See also, Pelosi asks committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President Trump’s wrongdoing strikes at the heart of the Constitution and asked House committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment, saying lawmakers have ‘no choice but to act.’ Her address, in which she invoked principles espoused by the nation’s founders, came shortly after Trump went on Twitter to urge House Democrats to impeach him quickly, if they plan to do it, and suggested that he would call an expansive list of witnesses during a trial in the Republican-led Senate.” See also, ‘No choice’: Pelosi proceeds with articles of impeachment, Politico, Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she has asked key chairmen to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, a historic step that signals the House is increasingly likely to vote to impeach Trump before the end of this year. ‘Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders, and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,’ Pelosi said, standing in front of a row of American flags.” See also, Pelosi: ‘No choice’ but to move forward with articles of impeachment, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, Thursday, 5 December 2019. See also, Pelosi Says Democrats Will Draw Up Articles of Impeachment Against Trump, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews, Thursday, 5 December 2019. See also, Democrats consider bribery and obstruction of justice charges for impeachment articles against Trump, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “House Democrats are considering articles of impeachment against President Trump that include obstruction and bribery but are unlikely to pursue a treason charge as they weigh how to illustrate that the president’s activities involving Ukraine were part of what they see as a pattern of misconduct, according to congressional aides. Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee and Intelligence Committee, which this week released a report of their findings from a two-month-long impeachment investigation, have said that they believe Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Ukraine meet the definition of bribery, one of the crimes the Constitution identifies specifically as an impeachable offense.” See also, Democrats’ latest steps suggest Mueller evidence likely part of articles of impeachment, CNN Politics, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “House Democrats are signaling they plan to include evidence gleaned from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as part of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The articles have not been finalized, as talks continue to take shape behind the scenes, with no final decisions having been made. Whether to include Mueller’s findings of obstruction of justice has been debated internally for weeks as some moderate Democrats only got behind an impeachment inquiry because it was narrowly focused on Ukraine.” Pelosi Denies ‘Hate’ for Trump, Who Accuses Her of Having a ‘Nervous Fit,’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out in anger on Thursday at a reporter who asked whether she hated President Trump, prompting Mr. Trump to accuse her of having ‘a nervous fit.’ The flash of anger from Ms. Pelosi — ‘Don’t mess with me,’ she told the reporter — came as she was leaving a news conference in which she had just finished discussing her decision to move forward with articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump.”

Impeach the president, The Boston Globe, Editorial, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “From the founding of this country, the power of the president was understood to have limits. Indeed, the Founders would never have written an impeachment clause into the Constitution if they did not foresee scenarios where their descendants might need to remove an elected president before the end of his term in order to protect the American people and the nation. The question before the country now is whether President Trump’s misconduct is severe enough that Congress should exercise that impeachment power, less than a year before the 2020 election. The results of the House Intelligence Committee inquiry, released to the public on Tuesday, make clear that the answer is an urgent yes. Not only has the president abused his power by trying to extort a foreign country to meddle in US politics, but he also has endangered the integrity of the election itself. He has also obstructed the congressional investigation into his conduct, a precedent that will lead to a permanent diminution of congressional power if allowed to stand. The evidence that Trump is a threat to the constitutional system is more than sufficient, and a slate of legal scholars who testified on Wednesday made clear that Trump’s actions are just the sort of presidential behavior the Founders had in mind when they devised the recourse of impeachment. The decision by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment is warranted.”

House Judiciary Committee slates next impeachment hearing for Monday, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee announced Thursday that it will convene its next hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Monday. The committee said in a statement that the hearing will ‘receive presentations from counsels to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and House Judiciary Committee.'”

Trump Again Asks Supreme Court to Bar Release of His Financial Records, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “President Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to hear a second case concerning a subpoena to his accounting firm for his financial records. The new petition, objecting to a subpoena from a House committee, follows a petition filed last month about a similar subpoena from Manhattan prosecutors. Both cases are moving fast, and the court could announce as soon as Dec. 13 whether the justices will hear them. If the court agrees to weigh in, it will probably issue a decision by June, in the midst of the final months of the presidential campaign. A Supreme Court ruling in either or both cases would almost certainly produce a major statement on presidential immunity from criminal and congressional investigations. In both cases, Mr. Trump sued to stop his accounting firm, Mazars USA, from complying with subpoenas for records. Federal appeals courts ruled against Mr. Trump in both cases.” See also, Trump asks Supreme Court to review decision granting Congress access to his financial records, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 5 December 2019. See also, Trump asks Supreme Court to block subpoena for financial documents, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Darren Samuelsohn, Thursday, 5 December 2019.

Inside the Cell Where a Sick 16-Year-Old Boy Died in Border Patrol Care, ProPublica, Robert Moore, Susan Schmidt, and Maryam Jameel, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant, was seriously ill when immigration agents put him in a small South Texas holding cell with another sick boy on the afternoon of May 19. A few hours earlier, a nurse practitioner at the Border Patrol’s dangerously overcrowded processing center in McAllen had diagnosed him with the flu and measured his fever at 103 degrees. She said that he should be checked again in two hours and taken to the emergency room if his condition worsened. None of that happened. Worried that Carlos might infect other migrants in the teeming McAllen facility, officials moved him to a cell for quarantine at a Border Patrol station in nearby Weslaco. By the next morning, he was dead.”

Trump Administration Sued Over Social Media Screening for Visa Applicants, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “A pair of documentary film organizations sued the Trump administration on Thursday over its requirement that foreigners disclose their social media accounts — including pseudonymous ones — when they apply for visas. The lawsuit, which raises novel issues about privacy and surveillance in the social-media era, challenged a rule the State Department put into effect this year. The requirement grew out of President Trump’s campaign promise of ‘extreme vetting’ and his early executive orders that barred travel into the United States from several Muslim-majority nations. In particular, the lawsuit argues, forcing people from authoritarian countries to disclose the pseudonyms they use to discuss politically sensitive matters could endanger them by creating a risk that the information gets back to their own governments. As a result, it said, they will be less likely either to express themselves on social media or to apply for visas.” See also, Filmmakers Sue to Shield U.S. Visitors From Social Media Vetting, The Intercept, Cora Currier and Ryan Devereaux, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “A filmmaker working on a documentary that’s critical of U.S. policies. A writer who operates a pseudonymous Twitter account to evade an authoritarian regime in their home country. An activist who uses Facebook to organize protests at the U.S.-Mexico border. These are the kinds of people who might not want U.S. immigration agents poring over their social media profiles before deciding whether they should be allowed into the country. Yet that’s exactly what the State Department now requires as part of the Trump administration’s ‘extreme vetting’ of millions of visa applicants. As of May, people who need a visa to enter the U.S. have to disclose any social media handles they’ve used over the past five years on 20 platforms, from Instagram and Twitter to YouTube and Weibo (the Chinese microblogging service). If they don’t, their visas could be denied.”

Hundreds of lawyers share their own abortion stories with U.S. Supreme Court ahead of landmark case, The Washington Post, Deanna Paul. Thursday, 5 December 2019: “As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a new landmark abortion case, hundreds of lawyers and legal professionals who have had the procedure filed an amicus brief Monday in support of overturning a restrictive Louisiana law. The 368 signers — now partners at top-10 law firms, counsel to Fortune 100 companies, public defenders, prosecutors, retired judges, award-winning professors and current law students — ‘speak for many more of the past, present, and future members of the legal profession who have, like one in four American women, terminated a pregnancy in their lifetimes,’ the filing stated.”

John F. Kerry endorses Joe Biden, as the former vice president seeks a boost for his candidacy, The Washington Post, Dan Balz, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “Former secretary of state John F. Kerry endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy on Thursday, saying his longtime friend and colleague has the character, experience and leadership skills to restore the nation’s standing abroad and confront urgent problems at home. ‘I’m not endorsing Joe because I’ve known him a long time. I’m endorsing him because I know him so well,’ Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, said in a telephone interview ahead of the formal announcement of his endorsement.”

Karen McDougal, Who Claims To Have Had an Affair With Trump, Sues Fox News, The New York Times, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Thursday, 5 December 2019: “A former Playboy model who has said she had an affair with Donald J. Trump before he was president sued Fox News on Thursday, saying that Tucker Carlson, one of the network’s hosts, had intentionally defamed her on his television show. The model, Karen McDougal, said Mr. Carlson had falsely accused her of extortion last year when he said that she ‘approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money.’ Ms. McDougal said in the lawsuit, which was filed in New York State court in Manhattan, that she never threatened Mr. Trump. She is seeking damages from Fox News for harming her reputation, but she does not name Mr. Carlson as a defendant. The network is responsible for his comments, she said, and his accusations were reckless and easy to verify as false.”