Aftermath of the Trump Administration, November 2022:



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


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Tuesday, 1 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv and Moscow to halt grain ships Wednesday, The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Erin Cunningham, Leo Sands, Adam Taylor, Alex Horton, and Praveena Somasundaram, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “Amid tense talks Tuesday over the future of safe passage for grain ships departing Ukraine, after Russia backed out of a U.N.-brokered deal that has been a lifeline for agricultural exports to countries facing shortages, Moscow and Kyiv are set to halt all grain ship departures Wednesday as they hash out a path forward. Russia suspended its participation in the deal over the weekend after a drone attack in Crimea that Russia blamed on Ukraine. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack. Ships continued to depart Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Tuesday, the United Nations said. Water and electricity supplies to Kyiv were restored Tuesday, the capital’s mayor announced, after Russia unleashed a fresh wave of infrastructure attacks across Ukraine on Monday that it described as retaliation for the weekend’s drone attacks. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Monday that those attacks were ‘not all we could have done.’

  • At least 17 vessels have transited the Black Sea corridor since Russia suspended its participation in the agreement, according to the United States, including three ships carrying corn, wheat and sunflower meal that departed Ukrainian ports Tuesday. The U.N. says it’s continuing discussions with Russia, Ukraine and Turkey to resume the deal in full, with departures to pause Wednesday. U.N. and Turkish inspectors inspected 36 outbound ships Tuesday, according to a U.N. statement.
  • Iran has already provided drones to Russia and could offer other weapons, such as surface-to-surface missiles, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday. The Washington Post reported last month that Iran planned on such an expansion. Air defense systems are a top priority for Ukraine to combat these threats, though many will not be available for some time. A system known as the Vampire, which can fire munitions from the back of a pickup truck, will be contracted out and available in mid-2023, Ryder said. Two other advanced systems will arrive soon, he added, but it will be a years-long process to build and deliver another six, the Pentagon has indicated.
  • U.S. monitors have conducted in-person inspections for only about 10 percent of the 22,000 U.S.-provided weapons sent to Ukraine that require special oversight. U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide details that had not been made public previously, told The Post they are racing to deploy new means of tracking weapons seen as having a heightened risk of diversion, including Stinger surface-to-air missiles and Javelin antitank missiles, amid what they call Ukraine’s ‘super hot conflict.’
  • BP, one of the world’s largest energy producers, reported massive profits on Tuesday, a day after President Biden lambasted oil companies whose profits have been buoyed by the war in Ukraine. BP reported third-quarter profits of $8.2 billion — more than double its equivalent profit from a year earlier. Biden said companies could face higher taxes if they don’t pass on profits to consumers by lowering gas prices. Republicans criticized Biden’s idea as a political stunt.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Broadens Push to Relocate Civilians as Battle for Kherson Looms. The Ukrainian military said occupation officials were forcing people from their homes in Kherson, ahead of a possible battle for control of the key region. The New York Times, Tuesday, 1 November 2022:

  • Ukraine says civilians are being evicted in Kherson as Russia tries to shore up its defenses.

  • The United Nations says that no grain ships will leave Ukrainian ports on Wednesday.

  • Advanced defensive weapons systems could be delivered to Ukraine in the coming days, U.S. officials say.

  • The water supply has been fully restored in Kyiv, officials said.

  • Cheap drones and Western weapons help Ukraine turn the tide in the south.

  • Europe braces for winter by moving away from its main energy provider: Russia.

  • Saudi Aramco reports a big profit as the war keeps oil prices high.

Chief Justice John Roberts Extends Freeze on House’s Attempt to Obtain Trump’s Tax Returns. The move further delays an oversight request by the House Ways and Means Committee from 2019 as the midterm election looms. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. issued an order on Tuesday to temporarily bar the Treasury Department from giving former President Donald J. Trump’s tax returns to a House committee, the latest move in a long-running dispute over whether Congress can gain access to them. Lawyers for Mr. Trump had asked the Supreme Court on Monday to freeze matters while they prepared a formal appeal of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which held that the House Ways and Means Committee had a right to see his returns. Chief Justice Roberts oversees appeals that come out of the District of Columbia Circuit Court. In a terse order, he gave lawyers for the House Ways and Means Committee, which has been seeking the returns since 2019, a deadline of Nov. 10 to file a response to Mr. Trump’s latest move. The setting of a deadline is an indication that the full Supreme Court will rule on the matter. The Democrats who run the committee are running out of time to obtain Mr. Trump’s tax returns. If Republicans retake control of the House in the midterm elections next week, as polls indicate is likely, they are almost certain to drop the request when the new Congress is seated in January.” See also, Chief Justice Roberts temporarily delays release of Trump tax records. Lawmakers have said they need Trump’s tax returns from his time in office to help evaluate the effectiveness of annual presidential audits. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday temporarily halted the release of former president Donald Trump’s tax records to a congressional committee and called for more briefing in the case. Without the Supreme Court’s intervention, the Treasury Department could have handed over the documents to the House Ways and Means Committee as early as Thursday. Roberts’s action seems intended to give the full court more time to consider the issue. But time is not on the side of the Democrats who run the committee. If the party loses control in next week’s midterm elections, as polling suggests, demand for the records surely will expire in January, when the new Congress is sworn in and control of the committee would change hands.” See also, Chief Justice John Roberts puts temporary hold on release of Trump’s tax returns to Congress, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue and Tierney Sneed, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “Chief Justice John Roberts agreed to temporarily put on hold a lower court order requiring the release of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service to a Democratic-led House committee. The tax returns had been set to be turned over to the House Ways and Means Committee later this week. Roberts asked for a response by November 10. The ‘administrative stay’ is temporary in nature and does not always reflect the final disposition of the dispute. It is a move often made when a deadline approaches to preserve the status quo and give the justices more time to act.”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, November 2022:

Supreme Court Rules That Lindsey Graham Must Testify in Georgia Inquiry. The court’s order said the questioning allowed by lower courts was limited and subject to appropriate safeguards. The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Richard Fausset, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a Georgia grand jury subpoena seeking testimony from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, about his activities in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. The court’s order was one paragraph and did not note any dissents. It said that Mr. Graham had been afforded substantial protections by lower courts, which had ruled that he did not have to testify on subjects related to his official duties. ‘The lower courts assumed that the informal investigative fact finding that Senator Graham assertedly engaged in constitutes legislative activity protected by the speech or debate clause’ of the Constitution, the order said, ‘and they held that Senator Graham may not be questioned about such activities.’ But the Supreme Court’s order refused to block rulings by lower courts that permitted questioning on other topics, and it noted that Mr. Graham remained free to object to questions that implicated his legislative activities.” See also, Supreme Court clears way for Senator Graham to testify in Georgia election investigation. A district attorney in Georgia wants Graham to testify before a grand jury about calls he made to state election officials as Trump contested the 2020 results. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Tom Hamburger, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request from Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) to spare him from testifying before a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the election defeat of former president Donald Trump. There were no noted dissents to the court’s short order. Graham had claimed that his actions — he called Georgia election officials as Trump contested his 2020 loss to Joe Biden — were legitimate legislative activity protected by the Constitution’s ‘speech or debate clause’ and that he should not be required to answer questions from a grand jury. But Tuesday’s unsigned order said lower courts already had protected him from questioning that related to his official duties.” See also, Supreme Court rejects Lindsey Graham’s request to block Georgia grand jury subpoena, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Sara Murray, and Tierney Sneed, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “The Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to block a subpoena for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham to testify in front of an Atlanta special grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. There were no public dissents from the order. The South Carolina senator had filed an emergency request asking the justices to halt the testimony – currently scheduled for November 17 – while legal challenges play out. Graham will now have to appear for testimony, although he will have room to object to certain questions as they come up, meaning the scope of his testimony or responses could be limited.”

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Says Mail-In Ballots Without Dates Should Not Be Counted. Republicans had sued to stop election officials from counting noncompliant ballots, which could again become a crucial point of contention in the battleground state. The New York Times, Neil Vigdor, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered election officials in the battleground state to refrain from counting mail-in ballots that lack a written date on their outer envelope, siding with Republicans in a matter that could have national implications on Nov. 8. The Republican National Committee and several other party-aligned groups filed a lawsuit in October to stop undated ballots from being counted, citing a state law that requires voters to write the date on the return envelope when sending them in. In a two-page ruling issued a week before Election Day, the court said that noncompliant ballots should be set aside. It was the latest wrinkle in a protracted legal fight over undated ballots in Pennsylvania, where voters are set to decide pivotal contests for governor and the U.S. Senate. But the six justices were split about whether their rejection violated the voting protections of the federal Civil Rights Act. Three Democrats on the elected court said that it did violate federal law, while a fourth Democrat, Kevin M. Dougherty, joined the court’s two Republicans in saying that it did not. (The court typically has seven members, but Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, died in September.) The court’s ruling directly conflicted with guidance issued in September by Leigh M. Chapman, a Democrat who is the acting secretary of the commonwealth and said ballots without a date on them should be counted as long as they are returned on time.”

With Falsehoods and Ridicule About Pelosi Attack, Republicans Mimic Trump. The former president has shown Republicans that there is no penalty–and possibly a reward–from voters for spreading false claims and insulting political opponents. The New York Times, Annie Karni, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “Speaking on a conservative radio talk show on Tuesday, former President Donald J. Trump amplified a conspiracy theory about the grisly attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, that falsely suggested that Mr. Pelosi may not have been the victim of a genuine attack. ‘Weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks,’ Mr. Trump said on the Chris Stigall show, winking at a lie that has flourished in right-wing media and is increasingly being given credence by Republicans. ‘The glass, it seems, was broken from the inside to the out — so it wasn’t a break-in, it was a break out.’ There is no evidence to suggest that. Mr. Pelosi, 82, was attacked on Friday with a hammer by a suspect who federal prosecutors say invaded the Pelosis’ San Francisco home, bent on kidnapping the speaker and shattering her kneecaps. But Mr. Trump, a longtime trafficker in conspiracy theories who propelled his political rise with the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, has never let such facts get in his way. The reaction to the assault on Mr. Pelosi among Republicans — who have circulated conspiracy theories about it, dismissed it as an act of random violence and made the Pelosis the punchline of a dark joke — underscores how thoroughly the G.O.P. has internalized his example. It suggested that Republicans have come to conclude that, like Mr. Trump, they will pay no political price for attacks on their opponents, however meanspirited, inflammatory or false. If anything, some Republicans seem to believe they will be rewarded by their right-wing base for such coarseness — or even suffer political consequences if they do not join in and show that they are in on the joke.”

Judge Curbs Actions of Election-Monitoring Group in Arizona. The group may not take photos or videos of voters, openly carry firearms near ballot boxes, or post information about voters online, a federal judge ruled. The New York Times, Ken Bensinger, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “A federal judge in Arizona has sharply curtailed the activities of an election-monitoring group in the vicinity of ballot boxes, including taking photos or videos of voters, openly carrying firearms, posting information about voters online, or spreading falsehoods about election laws. The group, Clean Elections USA, has the stated goal of preventing voter fraud by staking out ballot boxes to ensure that people don’t behave as ‘mules’ by illegally casting multiple ballots. In recent weeks, self-described ‘mule watchers’ — some armed — have gathered around outdoor ballot boxes in Maricopa County to take pictures of voters and, in some cases, post those images online. Last week, the League of Women Voters sued the group, saying that its actions amounted to ‘time-tested methods of voter intimidation,’ and seeking an injunction to halt its activities. Early on Tuesday before a hearing on the matter, Clean Elections USA said it had agreed to cease some activities, including refraining from openly carrying guns or wearing visible body armor within 250 feet of ballot boxes, as well as following or interacting with voters within 75 feet of the boxes. But the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Michael T. Liburdi, who was appointed by former President Donald J. Trump, goes well beyond that agreement, prohibiting the group “and other persons in active concert or participation with” it from taking photos or videos of voters or disseminating information about voters online, and also from ‘making false statements’ about Arizona’s statutes regarding early voting in interviews or on social media. Lawyers for Clean Elections USA had resisted those limits, claiming they impinged on the group’s First Amendment rights and, in the case of comments made by its founder, Melody Jennings, would amount to unconstitutional prior restraint.” See also, Judge limits ballot drop box monitoring in Arizona after intimidation claims. The federal court ruling sharply curtails the activities of groups that have been watching drop boxes for evidence of fraud. The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, published on Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “A federal judge has ordered that a group monitoring Arizona ballot drop boxes for signs of fraud stay at least 75 feet away from ballot boxes and publicly correct false statements its members have made about Arizona election laws. The far-reaching order from U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi dramatically restricts what Clean Elections USA or its allies can do or say near ballot boxes. The ruling prevents drop-box watchers from taking photos or videos of voters and using the material to spread baseless allegations of electoral fraud. Clean Elections USA has been among the groups echoing the unsubstantiated fraud claims of former president Donald Trump concerning the 2020 presidential election. The order, which imposes temporary restraints, also requires the group to post statements online about the rules regarding drop boxes and prohibits it from making future false statements about Arizona election law.” See also, Federal judge issues restraining order against group monitoring Arizona ballot boxes. The order prohibits members of Clean Elections USA from carrying weapons or wearing body armor within 250 feet of drop boxes. NBC News, Zoë Richards, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “A federal judge in Phoenix issued a restraining order Tuesday night against a group that has been photographing and recording voters casting ballots at drop boxes in Arizona. The order, issued by U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi, prohibits Clean Elections USA from ‘openly’ carrying weapons or ‘visibly wear body armor’ within 250 feet of drop boxes. Liburdi’s order also bars the group’s members from taking photos, recording, following or yelling at voters within 75 feet of drop box locations. Furthermore, he told the group’s founder, Melody Jennings, to post a message to her account on Truth Social, former President Donald Trump’s social media platform, that reads in part: ‘It is not always illegal to deposit multiple ballots in a ballot drop box. It is legal to deposit the ballot of a family member, household member, or person for whom you are the caregiver.'”

Cheney says House January 6 committee is ‘in discussions’ with Trump’s attorneys for him to testify under oath, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Annie Grayer, and Gabby Orr, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection is ‘in discussions’ with former President Donald Trump’s attorneys about testifying under oath in the probe, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the vice chairwoman of the panel, said Tuesday. Cheney’s comments came days after CNN reported that Trump’s team formally agreed to accept service of a subpoena issued to him by the House panel seeking documents and testimony from the former president. Publicly, the response by Trump’s team has been limited to a rambling letter sent to committee members that attacked their work and declining to say whether Trump would agree to a sworn deposition. Still, Trump faces a Friday deadline to respond to the committee’s subpoena for documents, and a November 14 deadline for testimony. Cheney said during an event about the threat of political violence in Cleveland, Ohio, that the former President ‘has an obligation to comply,’ but the panel has not yet made determinations about the format of his potential testimony. ‘It’ll be done under oath. It’ll be done, potentially, over multiple days,’ Cheney said, ​describing the committee’s preferences for Trump’s testimony. This is not a situation where the committee finds itself at the ‘mercy of Donald Trump,’ she added.” See also, Liz Cheney says January 6 House committee is ‘in discussions’ with Trump’s legal team about testifying, ABC News, Alexandra Hutzler, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “Rep. Liz Cheney said the House Jan. 6 committee is in talks with former President Donald Trump‘s lawyers about his potential testimony. ‘The committee is in discussions with President Trump’s attorneys and he has an obligation to comply,’ Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, said Tuesday during a discussion with PBS journalist Judy Woodruff at Cleveland State University. ‘We treat this and take this very seriously,’ Cheney added. ‘This is not a situation where the committee is going to put itself at the mercy of Donald Trump in terms of his efforts to create a circus.'”

Twitter Limits Content-Enforcement Work as US Election Looms, Bloomberg, Kurt Wagner, Edward Ludlow, Jackie Davalos, and Davey Alba, Tuesday, 1 November 2022: “Twitter Inc., the social network being overhauled by new owner Elon Musk, has frozen some employee access to internal tools used for content moderation and other policy enforcement, curbing the staff’s ability to clamp down on misinformation ahead of a major US election. Most people who work in Twitter’s Trust and Safety organization are currently unable to alter or penalize accounts that break rules around misleading information, offensive posts and hate speech, except for the most high-impact violations that would involve real-world harm, according to people familiar with the matter. Those posts were prioritized for manual enforcement, they said.”


Wednesday, 2 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Power outages hit Kyiv and other cities; Russia returns to grain deal, The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, and Sammy Westfall, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “Rolling emergency power outages meant to relieve strain on infrastructure damaged in Russian attacks cast Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities into darkness Wednesday. President Volodymyr Zelensky has pledged to do everything in his power to give Ukrainians electricity and heating this winter, following a barrage of attacks on his country’s energy infrastructure that Western officials and analysts say is a deliberate Russian tactic to sap Ukrainians’ will to fight — and survive — as temperatures plummet. Winter in Ukraine brings rain and snow, with temperatures dipping below freezing. Russia and Turkey announced Wednesday that Moscow is rejoining the Black Sea grain initiative, the U.N.-brokered deal to ensure safe passage of cargo ships to and from Black Sea ports. The Kremlin had said over the weekend that Russia would back out of the deal.

  • Ukraine began imposing blackouts across several regions including Kyiv on Wednesday, amid energy restrictions meant to reduce the load on the grid following the destruction of energy infrastructure in Russian attacks. Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba told Ukrainian media that if Russia were to continue attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, a total power outage could occur in Kyiv and the surrounding region.
  • The North Korean government is covertly funneling artillery shells to aid Russia in its war in Ukraine using countries in the Middle East and North Africa to mask the weapons’ movement, the White House said Wednesday, although it was not yet clear whether those shipments were received, The Washington Post reports. The shipments include ‘thousands’ of shells, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, told reporters.
  • Kyiv, the capital, is set to install more than 1,000 heating stations across the city this winter amid the threat of more Russian strikes, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. The heating points, powered by generators, will provide necessities including heat, water and electricity to residents in the capital, Klitschko said, noting that the city would be prepared should future Russian attacks sever those supplies.
  • The resumption of Russia’s participation in the grain initiative comes after Moscow backed out following an attack on its Black Sea fleet that it blames on Ukraine. Russia said over the weekend that it had halted its participation in the deal for an ‘indefinite term’ as it could not ‘guarantee the safety of civilian ships.’ Kyiv has not taken responsibility for the attack.
  • ‘Confrontation between the West and the Russian Federation is intensifying,’ Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told military officials from Russia and Belarus in Moscow Wednesday. Shoigu also repeated the unsupported claim that Ukraine is planning to detonate a ‘dirty bomb,’ which Western officials say is untrue.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.S. Accuses North Korea of Sending Russia Munitions. A White House official says North Korea has covertly sent a ‘significant number’ of artillery shells to Russia. The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 November 2022:

  • North Korea secretly shipped munitions to Russia through the Middle East and North Africa, the U.S. says.

  • Russia rejoins the grain deal, days after pausing its involvement.

  • Russian military bloggers criticize the Kremlin for rejoining the Ukraine grain deal.

  • Russia’s meddling in Trump-era politics was more directly connected to the current war than previously understood.

  • Poland erects a razor-wire fence along its border with Russia’s Kaliningrad.

  • Gazprom slashes gas deliveries to Moldova, threatening its electricity supply.

  • Russia summons Britain’s ambassador over a drone attack on Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet.

Biden Warns That ‘Big Lie’ Republicans Imperil U.S. Democracy. In a prime-time address, President Biden condemned election violence and voter intimidation just days before Tuesday’s midterm elections. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “President Biden issued an impassioned condemnation of his predecessor and other Republicans on Wednesday night for encouraging political violence, voter intimidation and ‘the Big Lie,’ framing next week’s elections as a pivotal test of American democracy. While candidates and voters have focused on economic and other issues, Mr. Biden sought to use a nationally televised evening speech to put the future of the nation’s system of elections front and center for the final days of debate before midterm elections on Tuesday that will determine control of Congress and numerous state offices. ‘As I stand here today, there are candidates running for every level of office in America — for governor, Congress, attorney general, secretary of state — who won’t commit, they will not commit to accepting the results of the elections that they’re running in,’ Mr. Biden said at Union Station, just blocks from where a mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to disrupt the transfer of power. ‘This is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s unlawful. And it’s un-American.’ The president seemed particularly unnerved by the violent attack Friday on Paul Pelosi by a hammer-wielding assailant who the police say was seeking to kidnap his wife, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, using words reminiscent of those called out by rioters on Jan. 6. Mr. Biden traced the attack to former President Donald J. Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen.” See also, Full Transcript of President Biden’s Speech on Democracy. The president warned of escalating threats of political violence after the assault of the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mr. Biden asked Americans to vote in the midterms for representatives who would accept the results. The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 November 2022. See also, Biden warns that Republicans could set the nation on ‘path to chaos’ as democratic system faces strain. The president delivered his warning in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol and just days after Paul Pelosi, husband of the Speaker of the House, was attacked. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “Signs of strain in the nation’s democratic system mounted Wednesday with less than a week left before the midterm elections, as President Biden warned that candidates who refuse to accept Tuesday’s results could set the nation on a ‘path to chaos.’ Biden’s grim assessment in a speech Wednesday evening came as the FBI and other agencies have forecast that threats of violence from domestic extremists are likely to be on the rise after the election. In Arizona, voters have complained of intimidation by self-appointed drop-box monitors — some of them armed — prompting a federal judge to set strict new limits. And the GOP has stepped up litigation in multiple states in an effort to toss out some ballots and to expand access for partisan poll watchers. Speaking at Washington’s Union Station — steps from the U.S. Capitol, which was attacked by a pro-Trump mob in the wake of the nation’s last major election — Biden warned of an ongoing assault on American democracy. The president spoke as a growing number of major Republican candidates have said they may follow in former president Donald Trump’s footsteps and refuse to concede should they lose.”

Trump lawyers saw Supreme Court Justice Thomas as ‘only chance’ to stop 2020 election certification. ‘We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt,’ Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro wrote in an email exchange. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Josh Gerstein, and Nicholas Wu, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “Donald Trump’s attorneys saw a direct appeal to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as their best hope of derailing Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election, according to emails newly disclosed to congressional investigators. ‘We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt,’ Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro wrote in a Dec. 31, 2020, email to Trump’s legal team. Chesebro contended that Thomas would be ‘our only chance to get a favorable judicial opinion by Jan. 6, which might hold up the Georgia count in Congress.’ ‘I think I agree with this,’ attorney John Eastman replied later that morning, suggesting that a favorable move by Thomas or other justices would “kick the Georgia legislature into gear’ to help overturn the election results.” See also, Emails show Trump lawyers saw Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as key to stop Biden electoral count. Thomas is the justice who oversees emergency petitions from the circuit court that includes Georgia. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Spencer S. Hsu, and Matthew Brown, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “Eight emails, ordered released by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter of California, include correspondence between Trump lawyers Kenneth Chesebro, John Eastman and others discussing various legal strategies to convince Republican members of Congress to object to the official certification of electoral votes in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. In an email from Chesebro to Eastman and several others sent on Dec. 31, 2020, Chesebro argued that Thomas would ‘end up being key’ to asking the high court to overturn then-President-elect Joe Biden’s win in contested states, and that they should ‘frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt.’ ‘Realistically, our only chance to get a favorable judicial opinion by Jan. 6, which might hold up the Georgia count in Congress, is from Thomas — do you agree, Prof. Eastman?’ Thomas is the justice who oversees emergency petitions from the circuit court that includes Georgia. Eastman did not immediately respond to request for comment.” See also, Trump Lawyer John Eastman Expressed Worry Over False Claims of Election Fraud. Eastman also suggested in a newly disclosed batch of emails that getting the case in front of Justice Clarence Thomas would be the most likely route to delaying certification of the 2020 results in Georgia. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “A conservative lawyer who was an architect of a plan to keep former President Donald J. Trump in office warned in late December 2020 that if Mr. Trump falsely swore to the courts that he had specific evidence of voter fraud in Georgia, both the president and his lawyers could face prosecution. ‘I have no doubt that an aggressive DA or US Atty someplace will go after both the president and his lawyers once all the dust settles on this,’ the lawyer, John Eastman, wrote on Dec. 31, 2020, to fellow members of the Trump legal team. The warning came at a time when some members of Mr. Trump’s legal team were pushing for him to sign a verification document swearing under oath that information in a Georgia lawsuit he filed challenging the results of the 2020 election was true, even though his lawyers were aware the specific allegations were false. But Mr. Trump ultimately did sign a new verification, which a federal judge in California has said could be evidence of a crime. He did so only after his lawyers added a caveat to the suit, telling the court that the voter fraud figures they used were to be relied upon ‘only to the extent’ that ‘such information has been provided’ to Mr. Trump’s legal team. The suit also stated that such data was subject to ‘amendment’ or ‘adjustment.’ Mr. Eastman’s warning about the risks of potential prosecution was contained among eight emails a federal judge in California recently ordered released to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Mr. Eastman included a link to a cache of the documents in an appeal of that decision. (The emails contained in the filing dropped lowercase i’s and l’s, which The New York Times has included for readability.) The emails in question depict internal discussions among the Trump legal team as the lawyers planned out a strategy for how to proceed with their attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In them, the lawyers focused on adopting a strategy to get their arguments in front of Justice Clarence Thomas. They were aware that, because of how the Supreme Court divides up which justices initially take up emergency appeals from lower courts in various parts of the country, any emergency appeal from Georgia would have been handled by Justice Thomas. The justice who receives the appeal can issue a short-term stay of the matter until the full court has a chance to consider it. ‘We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt,’ another lawyer working on Mr. Trump’s behalf, Kenneth Chesebro, wrote in a Dec. 31 email to Mr. Eastman. Mr. Chesebro wrote that persuading Justice Thomas might be ‘our only chance to get a favorable judicial opinion by Jan. 6, which might hold up the Georgia count in Congress.’ ‘I think I agree with this,’ Mr. Eastman replied. The latest batch of emails was reported earlier by Politico.”

Justice Department offers Immunity to Trump Aide Kash Patel for Testimony About Trump’s Handling of Highly Sensitive Presidential Records. Patel had previously declined to answer questions from prosecutors in front of a federal grand jury, citing his Fifth Amendment rights. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “The Justice Department offered on Wednesday to allow Kash Patel, a close adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, to testify to a federal grand jury under a grant of immunity about Mr. Trump’s handling of highly sensitive presidential records, two people familiar with the matter said. The offer of immunity came about a month after Mr. Patel invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in front of the grand jury and refused to answer questions from prosecutors investigating whether Mr. Trump improperly took national security documents with him when he left the White House and subsequently obstructed attempts by the government to retrieve them. During Mr. Patel’s initial grand jury appearance, one of the people familiar with the matter said, Judge Beryl A. Howell of Federal District Court in Washington acknowledged Mr. Patel’s Fifth Amendment claims and said the only way he could be forced to testify was if the government offered him immunity. The decision by the Justice Department to grant immunity in the case, the person said, effectively cleared the way for the grand jury to hear Mr. Patel’s testimony.” See also, Kash Patel, top Trump adviser, granted immunity for testifying in Mar-a-Lago government documents case. Patel will receive limited protection from prosecution for his testimony on how and if the documents were ‘declassified.’ The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “Federal prosecutors examining Donald Trump’s unauthorized retention of highly sensitive government documents at his Mar-a-Lago property will obtain testimony from top adviser Kash Patel after granting him limited immunity from prosecution, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The immunity – a powerful tool that forces witnesses to testify on the promise that they will not be prosecuted for their statements or information derived from their statements – takes effect on 2 November and signals the importance of his testimony to the criminal investigation. The justice department’s interest with Patel centers on his claims that the documents found at Mar-a-Lago were declassified, how the documents came to end up at the property, and how Trump’s aides and lawyers responded to requests for their return, the sources said. The status of the documents is important because if prosecutors can prove that those seized by the FBI in August were not declassified, it could strengthen a potential obstruction case contending that Trump used the claims as an excuse for why he did not return records that had been subpoenaed. Trump and advisers like Patel have claimed repeatedly since the Mar-a-Lago search that the seized documents were declassified, though no such evidence has emerged and Trump’s lawyers have not repeated the assertions in court filings, where they could face penalties for lying.”

The Untold Story of ‘Russiagate’ and the Road to War in Ukraine. Russia’s meddling in Trump-era politics was more directly connected to the current war than previously understood. The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg, Wednesday, 2 November 2022: “On the night of July 28, 2016, as Hillary Clinton was accepting the Democratic presidential nomination in Philadelphia, Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, received an urgent email from Moscow. The sender was a friend and business associate named Konstantin Kilimnik. A Russian citizen born in Soviet Ukraine, Kilimnik ran the Kyiv office of Manafort’s international consulting firm, known for bringing cutting-edge American campaign techniques to clients seeking to have their way with fragile democracies around the world. Kilimnik didn’t say much, only that he needed to talk, in person, as soon as possible. Exactly what he wanted to talk about was apparently too sensitive even for the tradecraft the men so fastidiously deployed — encrypted apps, the drafts folder of a shared email account and, when necessary, dedicated ‘bat phones.’ But he had made coded reference — ‘caviar’ — to an important former client, the deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who had fled to Russia in 2014 after presiding over the massacre of scores of pro-democracy protesters. Manafort responded within minutes, and the plan was set for five days later. Kilimnik cleared customs at Kennedy Airport at 7:43 p.m., only 77 minutes before the scheduled rendezvous at the Grand Havana Room, a Trump-world hangout atop 666 Fifth Avenue, the Manhattan office tower owned by the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Shortly after the appointed hour, Kilimnik walked onto a perfectly put-up stage set for a caricature drama of furtive figures hatching covert schemes with questionable intent — a dark-lit cigar bar with mahogany-paneled walls and floor-to-ceiling windows columned in thick velvet drapes, its leather club chairs typically filled by large men with open collars sipping Scotch and drawing on parejos and figurados. Men, that is, like Paul Manafort, with his dyed-black pompadour and penchant for pinstripes. There, with the skyline shimmering though the cigar-smoke haze, Kilimnik shared a secret plan whose significance would only become clear six years later, as Vladimir V. Putin’s invading Russian Army pushed into Ukraine. Known loosely as the Mariupol plan, after the strategically vital port city, it called for the creation of an autonomous republic in Ukraine’s east, giving Putin effective control of the country’s industrial heartland, where Kremlin-armed, -funded and -directed ‘separatists’ were waging a two-year-old shadow war that had left nearly 10,000 dead. The new republic’s leader would be none other than Yanukovych. The trade-off: ‘peace’ for a broken and subservient Ukraine. The scheme cut against decades of American policy promoting a free and united Ukraine, and a President Clinton would no doubt maintain, or perhaps even harden, that stance. But Trump was already suggesting that he would upend the diplomatic status quo; if elected, Kilimnik believed, Trump could help make the Mariupol plan a reality. First, though, he would have to win, an unlikely proposition at best. Which brought the men to the second prong of their agenda that evening — internal campaign polling data tracing a path through battleground states to victory. Manafort’s sharing of that information — the “eyes only” code guiding Trump’s strategy — would have been unremarkable if not for one important piece of Kilimnik’s biography: He was not simply a colleague; he was, U.S. officials would later assert, a Russian agent…. Putin’s assault on Ukraine and his attack on American democracy have until now been treated largely as two distinct story lines. Across the intervening years, Russia’s election meddling has been viewed essentially as a closed chapter in America’s political history — a perilous moment in which a foreign leader sought to set the United States against itself by exploiting and exacerbating its political divides. Yet those two narratives came together that summer night at the Grand Havana Room. And the lesson of that meeting is that Putin’s American adventure might be best understood as advance payment for a geopolitical grail closer to home: a vassal Ukrainian state. Thrumming beneath the whole election saga was another story — about Ukraine’s efforts to establish a modern democracy and, as a result, its position as a hot zone of the new Cold War between Russia and the West, autocracy and democracy. To a remarkable degree, the long struggle for Ukraine was a bass note to the upheavals and scandals of the Trump years, from the earliest days of the 2016 campaign and then the presidential transition, through Trump’s first impeachment and into the final days of the 2020 election. Even now, some influential voices in American politics, mostly but not entirely on the right, are suggesting that Ukraine make concessions of sovereignty similar to those contained in Kilimnik’s plan, which the nation’s leaders categorically reject.”


Thursday, 3 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: G-7 meets for talks on Russian oil; U.N. says there is no indication of undeclared nuclear activities in Ukraine, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Jennifer Hassan, Rachel Pannett, Alex Horton, Liz Sly, and Sammy Westfall, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “Ministers from the Group of Seven nations, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are meeting for two days starting Thursday to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The talks come about a year after the G-7 promised to impose ‘massive consequences’ on Russia if it invaded its neighbor. Also Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it found no indications of undeclared nuclear activities or materials at three locations that Russia said Ukraine had used to prepare a ‘dirty bomb.’ The agency inspected the sites at Kyiv’s request, and its personnel ‘were given unfettered access to the locations,’ IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement.

  • Russian troops appear poised for a complete withdrawal from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, Western officials said Thursday, in what would mark another significant setback for the Russian force in Ukraine. The preparations for what would amount to an ‘orderly, well-planned and deliberate’ retreat have reached an advanced stage, the officials said, heightening speculation that the Russians could imminently pull back from the left, or eastern bank of the Dnieper River, which serves as a natural defensive barrier for the bulk of the Russian force deployed further east.
  • ‘Ukraine can take the remaining territory on the west side of the Dnieper River in Kherson,’ Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a news conference Thursday. ‘I certainly believe they have the capability to do that. Most importantly, the Ukrainians believe they have the capability to do that.’ Ukrainian officials in recent days have signaled that an assault on Kherson city could be imminent.
  • U.S. Embassy officials in Russia have visited imprisoned basketball star Brittney Griner, the White House said Thursday. ‘We are told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One. She reiterated that the United States had made a ‘significant offer’ to the Kremlin to secure the release of both Griner and Paul Whalen, another U.S. citizen detained in Russia. ‘The U.S. government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward,’ she said.
  • Ukraine began scheduled power outages across several regions, including Kyiv, this week, after a barrage of Russian strikes damaged the country’s energy infrastructure. At the G-7 ministers meeting Thursday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the group is coordinating its ‘winter support’ for Ukraine, which will include ‘concrete help’ in the form of power generators, heaters, blankets, beds, water filters and vehicles.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.N. Inspectors Find No Evidence for Russian ‘Dirty Bomb’ Claim. The International Atomic Energy Agency examined three sites where Russia claimed Ukraine was building a radiation dispersal bomb but turned up no indications of illicit activity. The New York Times, Thursday, 3 November 2022:

  • The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog finds no evidence for Russia’s claim that Ukraine is readying a ‘dirty bomb.’

  • Poland’s ability to handle refugees from Ukraine is under strain, but more keep arriving.

  • U.S. officials met with Brittney Griner, who is ‘doing as well as can be expected,’ the White House says.

  • Russia’s flag appears to be gone from Kherson’s administrative building. A fight for the city may still loom.

  • Ukraine’s war has forced more than 14 million people to flee their homes, the U.N. says.

  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant returns to relying on generators after shelling.

  • Anatoly Karpov, the Russian lawmaker and former chess champion, is injured in an apparent fall.

Obama says democracy ‘may not survive’ in Arizona if Republicans win. The warning Wednesday in Phoenix illustrates alarm about voters putting a slate of election deniers in charge of the state’s elections. The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “Former president Barack Obama used a rally here Wednesday night to deliver perhaps his bluntest warning yet about the stakes of next week’s midterm elections for America’s system of self-government. If the Republican candidates here are successful, Obama argued, ‘Democracy as we know it may not survive in Arizona. That’s not an exaggeration,’ he added. ‘That is a fact.’ Because victory for the GOP ticket, the former president proclaimed to a crowd of more than 1,000 in a high school gymnasium in southern Phoenix, would mean ‘election deniers serving as your governor, as your senator, as your secretary of state, as your attorney general.'”

Department of Justice is mulling potential special counsel if Trump runs in 2024, CNN Politics, Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz, and Jeremy Herb, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “As Donald Trump inches closer to launching another presidential run after the midterm election, Justice Department officials have discussed whether a Trump candidacy would create the need for a special counsel to oversee two sprawling federal investigations related to the former president, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. The Justice Department is also staffing up its investigations with experienced prosecutors so it’s ready for any decisions after the midterms, including the potential unprecedented move of indicting a former president. Top aides to Trump have been eyeing the third week of November as an ideal launch point for his campaign, with two sources telling CNN on Friday morning that the team has specifically discussed November 14. In the weeks leading up to the election, the Justice Department has observed the traditional quiet period of not making any overt moves that may have political consequences. But behind the scenes, investigators have remained busy, using aggressive grand jury subpoenas and secret court battles to compel testimony from witnesses in both the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his alleged mishandling of national security documents kept at his Palm Beach home. Now federal investigators are planning for a burst of post-election activity in Trump-related investigations. That includes the prospect of indictments of Trump’s associates – moves that could be made more complicated if Trump declares a run for the presidency.” See also, Justice Department Weighs Special Counsel for Trump Inquiries if He Runs. The department is hoping to make decisions on whether to charge the former president in the documents and January 6 inquiries before the 2024 campaign heats up. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “The Justice Department hopes to reach a decision on whether to bring charges against former President Donald J. Trump before the 2024 campaign heats up, and is considering appointing a special counsel to oversee investigations of him if he runs again, according to people familiar with the situation. The department is investigating Mr. Trump’s role in the efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and his retention of sensitive government documents at his residence and resort in Florida. It has made no decision in either case, but the inquiry into the former president’s handling of the documents is more straightforward, with prosecutors having publicly cited potential crimes that could be charged. Senior department officials and veteran prosecutors with the department’s national security division, in conjunction with the U.S. attorney’s office in South Florida, have spent recent weeks quietly navigating the thicket of thorny issues needed to file charges in the documents investigation, weighing evidence, analyzing legal precedents and mulling practical considerations such as the venue of a possible trial.”

Trump loyalist Kash Patel is questioned before Mar-a-Lago grand jury. Appearance on Thursday focused on claims that Donald Trump broadly declassified documents before leaving the White House. The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “Kash Patel, a loyal aide to Donald Trump and former White House deputy, faced questions before a grand jury Thursday as part of a criminal investigation into the former president’s possession of classified records more than 18 months after he left office, according to a person familiar with the matter. National security prosecutors asked Patel about his public claims this spring that Trump had declassified a large number of government documents before leaving office in 2021. Patel was also questioned about how and why the departing president took secret and top-secret records to Mar-a-Lago, his part-time residence and private club in Florida, according to the person with knowledge of the session, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about a grand jury probe. Patel, a former federal prosecutor, is considered a key witness by the Justice Department in large measure because of what evidence he may provide in defense of Trump’s retention of the records, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss it. Some of the records contained top-secret information about Iran’s missile system and intelligence related to China, The Washington Post has previously reported. Investigators did not expect Patel to offer evidence implicating Trump in possible crimes, these people said. But they added that the government badly wanted his firsthand account, under oath, of any declassification decisions made by Trump.”

Trump Files a Lawsuit Against New York Attorney General Letitia James. The suit, filed in Florida, seeks to stop Letitia James’s lawsuit in New York and includes Mr. Trump’s signature rhetoric. His legal advisers are split on the wisdom of filing it. The New York TimesJonah E. Bromwich, Maggie Haberman, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “A tirade of a lawsuit that Donald J. Trump filed on Wednesday against one of his chief antagonists, the New York attorney general, was hotly opposed by several of his longstanding legal advisers, who attempted an intervention hours before it was submitted to a court. Those opposed to the suit told the Florida attorneys who drafted it that it was frivolous and would fail, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The loudest objection came from the general counsel of Mr. Trump’s real estate business, who warned that the Floridians might be committing malpractice. Nonetheless, the suit was filed. It accuses Attorney General Letitia James of trespassing on Mr. Trump’s right to privacy in Florida, where he lives, and seeks to halt her own civil case in New York against the former president and his company. On Wednesday evening, Mr. Trump used his social network, Truth Social, to announce his suit and to criticize Ms. James in charged language, saying that ‘while James does nothing to protect New York against these violent crimes and criminals, she attacks great and upstanding businesses.'”

Judge rules in favor of assigning monitor to oversee Trump Organization, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “The Trump Organization’s asset transfers and other operations will be supervised by an independent monitor, a Manhattan judge ruled Thursday, while the judge presides over an upcoming trial in a $250 million lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general that could cripple the company’s operations. New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled in favor of a request by Attorney General Letitia James to impose supervisory conditions on former president Donald Trump’s international real estate, golf and hospitality firm, which is based in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Under Engoron’s ruling, the company and the Trump family are barred from transferring or selling assets without giving two weeks’ notice to the court. The company must also pay for the monitor, whom Engoron will approve, and that person will oversee attempts to transfer assets and will screen any future reports of Trump’s net worth to financial and insurance institutions.”

The United States Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both. The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Thursday, 3 November 2022: “This editorial is the first in a series, “The Danger Within,” urging readers to understand the danger of extremist violence and possible solutions. Read more about the series in a note from Kathleen Kingsbury, the Times Opinion editor. Over the past five years, incidents of political violence in the United States by right-wing extremists have soared. Few experts who track this type of violence believe things will get better anytime soon without concerted action. Domestic extremism is actually likely to worsen. The attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of the speaker of the House of Representatives, was only the latest episode, and federal officials warn that the threat of violence could continue to escalate after the midterm elections. The embrace of conspiratorial and violent ideology and rhetoric by many Republican politicians during and after the Trump presidency, anti-government anger related to the pandemic, disinformation, cultural polarization, the ubiquity of guns and radicalized internet culture have all led to the current moment, and none of those trends are in retreat. Donald Trump was the first American president to rouse an armed mob that stormed the Capitol and threatened lawmakers. Taken together, these factors form a social scaffolding that allows for the kind of endemic political violence that can undo a democracy. Ours would not be the first. Yet the nation is not powerless to stop a slide toward deadly chaos. If institutions and individuals do more to make it unacceptable in American public life, organized violence in the service of political objectives can still be pushed to the fringes. When a faction of one of the country’s two main political parties embraces extremism, that makes thwarting it both more difficult and more necessary. A well-functioning democracy demands it.”


Friday, 4 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: G-7 to offer infrastructure help to Ukraine; Putin tells Kherson residents to flee, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Adela Suliman, Maham Javaid, Liz Sly, Francesca Ebel, and Adam Taylor, Friday, 4 November 2022: “Top diplomats from the world’s major industrialized democracies agreed to a ‘coordination mechanism to help Ukraine repair, restore and defend its critical energy and water infrastructure,’ after Russian strikes damaged water and power facilities in recent weeks, according to a statement released on Friday. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven said that attacks on civilian infrastructure constitute ‘war crimes and we reiterate our determination to ensure full accountability for these and crimes against humanity.’  Ukraine says Russian attacks have caused extensive damage to its infrastructure. The mayor of Kyiv said 450,000 residents remained without power in the capital on Friday morning, while President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that about 4.5 million people across the country were without power. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke to the G-7 foreign ministers on Thursday about the crisis — but that video link was briefly disrupted by a blackout. Meanwhile, Russian troops appear poised for a complete withdrawal from the strategic southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, Western officials said. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday urged Kherson residents to evacuate, and a Russian-installed official there said Moscow would ‘likely’ pull its troops back — even as some Ukrainian officials warned that Russian troops could be setting up a trap by signaling a retreat — and announced later Friday that a 24-hour-curfew would be imposed in Kherson city.

  • Russia’s military command has withdrawn to the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, ‘leaving demoralized and leaderless men to face the Ukrainian assaults,’ Western officials told reporters on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. Western intelligence assessments are reasonably confident that the Russians do intend to withdraw, the official said, adding, ‘I think that in their judgment they’ve decided Kherson city isn’t worth fighting for and that natural defensive barrier of the river is extremely valuable to them.’
  • White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Friday to reaffirm the United States’ ‘unwavering’ support for Ukraine. The top U.S. official ruled out pressuring Kyiv to embark on negotiations with Moscow at a meeting with reporters after meeting with Zelensky and his top aides. ‘The fundamental question is less a process question about negotiations. It is a more substantive question about what a just peace looks like and how it can be achieved,’ Sullivan said.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukrainian troops ‘certainly’ had the capability to retake Kherson. ‘We have seen them engage in a very methodical but effective effort to take back their sovereign territory,’ he told reporters. ‘I think you’ll see them continue to press.’
  • China’s Xi Jinping urged nations to ‘oppose the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons,’ as he met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Beijing on Friday. The comments were the most direct yet from Xi and were seen as a message to his ally Putin. Scholz urged China to use its ‘influence’ over Russia and said Xi and he had ‘agreed that threatening nuclear attacks is irresponsible and dangerous.’ Xi also called the current international situation ‘complex and volatile,’ and he urged all parties ‘to exercise rationality and restraint’ and to facilitate peace talks.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Pentagon Unveils New U.S. Command and More Ukraine Aid. The creation of the command signals that the American government plans to provide backing for what could be years of war. The New York Times, Friday, 4 November 2022:

  • The Defense Department says it will support Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes.’

  • Moscow is pouring new conscripts to the front line to try to halt Ukrainian advances.

  • Putin says 318,000 new soldiers have joined Russia’s forces in his mobilization push.

  • G7 diplomats end their meeting in Germany with a plan to coordinate on rebuilding Ukraine’s infrastructure.

  • A top Biden aide assures Kyiv that the outcome of the U.S. midterm election won’t impede military aid.

  • Amid a forest of Ukrainian flags, soldiers honor a fallen comrade with vodka.

  • With 4.5 million Ukrainians cut off from power, officials reiterate calls for energy conservation.

January 6 House Committee Gives Trump More Time to Comply With Subpoena. The House committee investigating the Capitol attack said it was in discussions with the former president over his compliance ahead of an interview scheduled for this month. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Friday, 4 November 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said Friday it was in discussions with former President Donald J. Trump and his lawyers about his compliance with the panel’s subpoena, giving him additional time to respond. Mr. Trump had a Friday morning deadline to comply with the subpoena’s demand for documents and communication records, but the committee did not indicate that he had provided any. The former president’s committee interview is scheduled for Nov. 14. ‘We have received correspondence from the former president and his counsel in connection with the select committee’s subpoena,’ Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, said in a joint statement. ‘We have informed the former president’s counsel that he must begin producing records no later than next week, and he remains under subpoena for deposition testimony.'” See also, House January 6 committee gives Trump more time to turn over subpoenaed documents, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel, Annie Grayer, Zachary Cohen, and Sara Murray, Friday, 4 November 2022: “The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, released a statement Friday giving former President Donald Trump more time to turn over documents it subpoenaed but offering little explanation as to why the extension was granted. ‘We have informed the former President’s counsel that he must begin producing records no later than next week and he remains under subpoena for deposition testimony starting on November 14th,’ the committee said in the statement. The panel subpoenaed Trump last month seeking a wide array of documents by 10 a.m. Friday and for Trump to sit for an interview under oath beginning on November 14 and ‘continuing on subsequent days as necessary.’ The committee also said it ‘received correspondence from the former President and his counsel in connection with the Select Committee’s subpoena’ but did not provide additional information.”

Oath Keepers Leader Stewart Rhodes Testifies at January 6 Sedition Trial. Rhodes, the founder of the far-right militia group, took the stand in his own defense in Federal District Court in Washington. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Zach Montague, Friday, 4 November 2022: “Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia, took the witness stand at his seditious conspiracy trial on Friday, telling the jury that after the 2020 election he was afraid that leftist protesters might physically drag President Donald J. Trump out of the White House and that he hoped Mr. Trump would mobilize his far-right group to come to his aid. In his first day of testimony in Federal District Court in Washington, Mr. Rhodes sought to defend himself against sedition charges by painting an apocalyptic, albeit imaginary, scene of the White House being overrun by antifa activists and Mr. Trump being hauled from the building if he failed to concede that he had lost the election. Speaking in rapid-fire fashion, Mr. Rhodes also claimed that he and his group had brought weapons to the Washington area for a pro-Trump rally in the run-up to the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, anticipating that Mr. Trump might employ a two centuries-old law called the Insurrection Act to summon them and other military personnel. ‘If a president jumped up and invoked the Insurrection Act and said, “I’m calling on any veterans in the area to come defend the White House,” Mr. Rhodes told the jury, we’d be ready to do so. Mr. Rhodes did not have time before court ended on Friday to address what he and the Oath Keepers did on Jan. 6. He was expected to continue his testimony next week. But the hour or so he spent on the stand suggested that he intended to use a two-part defense strategy: He would most likely claim that the far-right group was seeking to defend Mr. Trump and his supporters against their leftist adversaries on Jan. 6 and that the Oath Keepers had brought weapons to the outskirts of Washington to simply be prepared if the president called them up as a militia.”

House January 6 committee interviewed Secret Service agents in Trump’s motorcade on the day of attack, CNN Politics, Annie Grayer and Zachary Cohen, Friday, 4 November 2022: “The House January 6 select committee is getting a window into former President Donald Trump’s motorcade on the day of the US Capitol attack, interviewing on Friday the Secret Service agent who was in the lead car on January 6 and scheduling testimony from the driver of Trump’s presidential vehicle as soon as next week, multiple sources tell CNN. Friday’s interview, which has not been previously reported, is the fourth with Secret Service agents and officials in five days as the panel continues to expand its focus on the agency. The rapid clip of interviews underscores the committee’s interest in learning what occurred after Trump left his rally at the Ellipse on January 6, 2021, and departed to the White House. Several witnesses previously told the committee that Trump angrily demanded to go to the Capitol but that his Secret Service detail declined to take him.”

Twitter layoffs gut election information teams days before midterm elections. With half of the company gone, political campaigns are gripped with anxiety over how to address election misinformation and potential threats. The Washington Post, Drew Harwell, Cat Zakrzewski, and Isaac Stanley-Becker, Friday, 4 November 2022: “Devastating cuts to Twitter’s workforce on Friday, four days before the midterm elections, are fueling anxieties among political campaigns and election offices that have counted on the social network’s staff to help them combat violent threats and viral lies. The mass layoffs Friday gutted teams devoted to combating election misinformation, adding context to misleading tweets and communicating with journalists, public officials and campaign staff. The layoffs included a number of people who were scheduled to be on call this weekend and early next week to monitor for signs of foreign disinformation, spam and other problematic content around the election, one former employee told The Washington Post. As of Friday morning, employee access to internal tools used for content moderation continued to be restricted, limiting staff’s ability to respond to misinformation. Twitter had become one of America’s most influential platforms for spreading accurate voting information, and the days before elections have often been critical moments where company and campaign officials kept up a near-constant dialogue about potential risks. But a representative from one of the national party committees said they are seeing hours-long delays in responses from their contacts at Twitter, raising fears of the toll workplace chaos and sudden terminations is taking on the platform’s ability to quickly react to developments. The representative spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.”


Saturday, 5 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Iran says it gave Russia drones before the war; Zelensky calls it a ‘confession,’ The Washington Post, Michael E. Miller, Praveena Somasundaram, Victoria Bisset, and Andrea Salcedo, Saturday, 5 November 2022: “Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian acknowledged Saturday that the nation supplied Russia with a ‘limited number of drones’ months before the invasion of Ukraine. Tehran had previously denied that it had provided Moscow with drones used in Ukraine, despite Washington’s and Kyiv’s assertions that they have evidence otherwise. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that ‘we know for sure that Iranians taught Russian’ forces how to use the drones. World leaders fortified their support for Ukraine on Friday, ahead of the punishing winter months, with the United States announcing a $400 million aid package that includes additional air defenses against Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.

  • Iran acknowledged that it had sent drones to Russia but said they were provided before the war began. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters Saturday that Iran had ‘provided a limited number of drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war’ and had not received any confirmation that they had been used in Ukraine. Iran has repeatedly denied supplying Moscow with drones to use in Ukraine, even as Ukraine accused Russia of using Iranian-made drones, and U.S. officials said the United States had examined the wreckage of Iranian-made drones shot down in Ukraine.
  • Zelensky said that Amirabdollahian’s comments were a ‘confession,’ and that ‘the world will make even more efforts to investigate’ the Kremlin and Iran. He did not provide details on any such investigation, but Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday that his forces shot down 11 Iranian-made Shahed drones on Friday.
  • Power restrictions were in place for residents in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine on Saturday, the country’s energy facilitator Ukrenergo said in a statement, as work to repair key energy infrastructure hit by Russian attacks continues. Ukrenergo said it implemented more emergency energy restrictions for seven regions because Saturday’s energy consumption was up 6.2 percent from last Saturday.
  • The Group of Seven announced the establishment of a ‘coordination mechanism’ to help Ukraine ‘repair, restore and defend its critical energy and water infrastructure.’ It did not set a timeline for implementation but said it was important to act immediately, given the onset of winter.
  • The Pentagon announced additional support for Ukraine on Friday with a $400 million aid package that includes additional air defenses against Russian attacks on critical infrastructure. It also promised Kyiv the refurbishment of 45 T-72 tanks for Ukraine — the first time Washington has answered pleas from Ukraine to provide for such weapons to be sent to the front lines — as well as drones, air-defense missiles and riverine boats.
  • White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Friday to reaffirm the United States’ ‘unwavering’ support for Ukraine. At a news conference after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his top aides, he ruled out pressuring Kyiv to embark on negotiations with Moscow. ‘The fundamental question is less a process question about negotiations. It is a more substantive question about what a just peace looks like and how it can be achieved,’ Sullivan said.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine Plans Blackouts as It Braces for Extended Loss of Power. With an electricity grid heavily damaged by Russian missiles, emergency workers in Kyiv are considering a total blackout that would require the evacuation of three million residents. The New York Times, Saturday, 5 November 2022:

  • External power is restored again to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, easing risk of an accident.

  • A judge who sentenced volunteer fighters to death in occupied Ukraine is shot in an apparent assassination attempt.

  • The Wagner mercenary group opens a center in St. Petersburg, signaling broader mainstream acceptance.

  • Ukraine says Russia is blowing up civilian ships in Kherson to stop the Ukrainian military from using them.

  • Iran’s foreign minister acknowledges that drones were sent to Russia, but says it happened before the war.

  • Moscow is pouring new conscripts to the front line to try to halt Ukrainian advances.

How Republicans Fed a Misinformation Loop About the Pelosi Attack, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Malika Khurana, and Stuart A. Thompson, Saturday, 5 November 2022: “Within hours of the brutal attack last month on Paul Pelosi, the husband of the speaker of the House, activists and media outlets on the right began circulating groundless claims — nearly all of them sinister, and many homophobic — casting doubt on what had happened. Some Republican officials quickly joined in, rushing to suggest that the bludgeoning of an octogenarian by a suspect obsessed with right-wing conspiracy theories was something else altogether, dismissing it as an inside job, a lover’s quarrel or worse. The misinformation came from all levels of Republican politics. A U.S. senator circulated the view that ‘none of us will ever know’ what really happened at the Pelosis’ San Francisco home. A senior Republican congressman referred to the attacker as a ‘nudist hippie male prostitute,’ baselessly asserting that the suspect had a personal relationship with Mr. Pelosi. Former President Donald J. Trump questioned whether the attack might have been staged. The world’s richest man helped amplify the stories. But none of it was true.”


Sunday, 6 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky says grid damage leaves 4.5 M in Kyiv area without power, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Brittany Shammas, and Ben Brasch, Sunday, 6 November 2022: “About 4.5 million energy customers in the Kyiv region are experiencing stabilization blackouts because of Russian attacks on infrastructure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday. Vitali Klitschko, mayor of the city that bears the region’s name, discouraged panic and urged caution after one of his officials reported plans to evacuate should Kyiv fully lose electricity. Zelensky also called for Iran to be punished on the international stage after that nation’s foreign minister confirmed that Tehran had supplied Moscow with drones before its full-scale Ukrainian invasion this year.

  • The damage to Ukraine’s power grid is dire and becoming even more of a concern as winter approaches. Kyiv authorities sought to reassure residents after the New York Times reported that the city was planning for the possibility of evacuating its 3 million residents if a Russian strike were to cause a full blackout. ‘Everything is under control in the capital, and there’s no reason to talk about an emergency,’ Roman Tkachuk, who heads the security department of Kyiv’s municipal government, said Sunday on Telegram after the Times published his interview. Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said on Telegram that people could help the country’s efforts to stabilize the grid by reducing the amount of power they use. The region should expect managed blackouts, the state-owned energy operator Ukrenergo posted on Facebook.
  • Iran’s foreign minister said his country supplied Russia with a ‘limited number of drones’ months before the invasion. But Hossein Amirabdollahian said Iran had not received any confirmation that they had been used in Ukraine. Iran has repeatedly denied supplying Moscow with drones to use in Ukraine.
  • Ukraine has long accused Russia of using Iranian-made drones, and U.S. officials said the United States had examined the wreckage of Iranian-made drones shot down in Ukraine. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, called for strikes targeting Iranian facilities manufacturing drones and ballistic missiles in response to Tehran’s support of Russia, the RBC-Ukraine news agency reported.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russian Forces, Seeking Rare Progress, Push on Eastern City of Bakhmut. Ukrainian officials said Russia had launched attacks from several directions on Bakhmut, though analysts said taking it would yield little strategic value. The New York Times, Sunday, 6 November 2022:

  • Russian forces intensify their fight for the eastern city of Bakhmut, amid setbacks elsewhere.

  • A Ukrainian brigade in Bakhmut tries to hold out against Russia’s offensive.

  • Power is out in Kherson as a battle for the key southern city looms.

  • Russian state media confirms that a top general is no longer in his post.

  • Republican gains in Congress would pressure Biden on Ukraine.

  • Russia’s Parliament is poised to pass laws intensifying an L.G.B.T.Q. crackdown.

Ronald Lauder: New York’s Billionaire Political Disrupter. The cosmetics heir has pumped at least $11 million into efforts to elect Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican, as governor of New York. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Dana Rubinstein, Sunday, 6 November 2022: “Ronald S. Lauder, a 78-year-old cosmetics heir, philanthropist and art collector who is among the richest men in New York, has become the most prolific state political donor in memory this fall, fueling a Republican’s surging candidacy for governor in one of the country’s most liberal states. Mr. Lauder has long been a gale-force disrupter, throwing millions of dollars behind conservative causes and candidates, including creating term limits in New York City and even his own failed mayoral campaign. Now at the twilight of his public life, he is marshaling his multibillion-dollar fortune behind an extraordinary intervention into this week’s midterm elections. As a lead donor to two super PACs, he has spent more than $11 million to date trying to put Representative Lee Zeldin, a Trump-aligned Republican, in the governor’s mansion. Millions of dollars more, some of it not previously reported, have gone to successful legal and public relations campaigns to stop Democrats from gerrymandering the state’s congressional districts. The Republican surge in contests across left-leaning New York can be traced to myriad factors, from rising crime to lackluster Democratic enthusiasm and the usual midterm backlash. But there is little doubt that Mr. Lauder has single-handedly tilted the playing field for his party. Since he began spending on a barrage of attack ads, Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Democratic incumbent, has watched polling and fund-raising advantages that once looked insurmountable dwindle. And Democrats fighting to hold the House of Representatives have seen their blue firewall crumble.”

Russia Reactivates Its Trolls and Bots Ahead of Tuesday’s Midterms. Researchers have identified a series of Russian information operations to influence American elections and, perhaps, erode support for Ukraine. The New York Times, Steven Lee Myers, Sunday, 6 November 2022: “The user on Gab who identifies as Nora Berka resurfaced in August after a yearlong silence on the social media platform, reposting a handful of messages with sharply conservative political themes before writing a stream of original vitriol. The posts mostly denigrated President Biden and other prominent Democrats, sometimes obscenely. They also lamented the use of taxpayer dollars to support Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces, depicting Ukraine’s president as a caricature straight out of Russian propaganda. The fusion of political concerns was no coincidence. The account was previously linked to the same secretive Russian agency that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and again in 2020, the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, according to the cybersecurity group Recorded Future. It is part of what the group and other researchers have identified as a new, though more narrowly targeted, Russian effort ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.”


Monday, 7 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Leaders at COP27 say war has compounded climate crisis; millions without power in Kyiv, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit, Miriam Berger, and Praveena Somasundaram, Monday, 7 November 2022: “World leaders and top officials in Egypt for COP27, the annual U.N. climate conference, made the shadow cast by the war in Ukraine on the world’s energy systems — underscoring the crisis wrought by dependence on fossil fuels — a theme in their remarks. ‘Climate and energy security go hand in hand,’ British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at the conference, in an initial appearance on the world stage as leader of his country. Millions of Ukrainians remained without power Monday as the state-owned Ukrenergo energy operator warned that blackouts introduced to relieve the strain on Ukraine’s energy grid, caused by repeated Russian attacks, would continue through the end of the day. In the occupied Kherson region, Ukrainian forces claimed responsibility for an attack on a Russian base as they continued to target logistics there. But Ukraine’s capital was quiet, much to the relief of residents who had braced for renewed Russian strikes like the barrages that had hit Kyiv nearly every Monday since early October.

  • Blackouts are planned for the Kyiv region and at least six other parts of Ukraine between 6 a.m. local time and the end of the day, Ukrenergo said. In addition to managed blackouts, the operator warned of possible emergency power shutdowns in some areas as city officials said the energy deficit could be 32 percent greater than planned on Monday. Work is ongoing to repair damage to the grid, which has been struck by a barrage of Russian missiles and drones in recent weeks.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia is preparing for further strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. He said in his nightly address on Sunday that Russia needs Iranian-made missiles to continue its mass infrastructure attacks on Ukraine, adding: ‘We are preparing to respond.’ Tehran has repeatedly denied sending Moscow any weapons for use in Ukraine, though its foreign minister acknowledged for the first time last week that it sent Russia ‘a small number’ of drones. He said they were shipped ‘months’ before the invasion.
  • Ukraine said it struck a Russian base in the occupied Kherson region where 200 soldiers were located. Ukraine’s Operational Command South said early Monday that the strike in Kakhovka, northeast of the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, caused significant losses. Russian-backed authorities there said they were working to restore power in the city of Kherson, after they claimed earlier that a Ukrainian attack cut off electricity and water supplies in the city.
  • Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin and head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which is fighting in Ukraine, boasted on Monday that he was interfering in the U.S. midterm elections and planned to continue doing so, The Washington Post reports.
  • ‘At a time of turbulence in the global energy markets, the wealthy nations of the world should not confuse the short term with the long term and should not be fooled by the absolute need to backfill the shortage of fossil energy caused by the cruel and evil war launched by Russia in Ukraine as an excuse for locking in long-term commitments to even more dependence and addiction on fossil fuels,’ former vice president Al Gore said in remarks at COP27.
  • The ‘entire world is suffering because of the war between Russia and Ukraine,’ Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi said at the summit. ‘And so I would like to appeal to you, please allow me to say this in all respect: This war must stop.’
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address that the war should not turn the world aside from its climate commitments.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine Says Russia Is Trying to Make Life Unbearable in Kherson. The Ukrainian Military says it still has no evidence that Russian forces will abandon the southern city, where a battle for control has been looming. The New York Times, Monday, 7 November 2022:

  • Russian forces are making conditions ‘unacceptable’ for those still left in Kherson.

  • Why is control of Kherson important to Russia and Ukraine?

  • Russia denies huge losses in one battle as it tries to stem discontent over the war.

  • A polarizing influencer and sometime Kremlin critic has returned to Russia, state media says.

  • Zelensky says Russia is planning more mass strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

  • India hopes to play peacemaker, if Russia and Ukraine talk.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Iran admits sending Russia drones as electricity knocked out, NPR, Monday, 7 November 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: Anticipation is mounting for a possible battle for Kherson, a Russian-occupied city in southern Ukraine. Kremlin-installed officials have been evacuating civilians in preparation for a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive. And Ukraine will be watching America’s midterm election results this week, especially after some Republicans warned that the party could limit funding for Ukraine if it wins control of the House of Representatives, as forecast. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due to meet with his Indian counterpart, S. Jaishankar, on Tuesday. Also Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Erdogan insists Sweden must meet certain conditions before it can join NATO. The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday is scheduled to discuss an International Atomic Energy Agency report, in which Ukraine is expected to be on the agenda. What happened last week: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of ‘energy terrorism,’ as attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure left more than 4 million Ukrainians without electricity. Russia rejoined a U.N.-brokered deal to safely export grain and other agricultural goods from Ukraine, on Nov. 2. Moscow had suspended its part in the deal a few days prior after saying Ukraine had launched a drone attack on its Black Sea ships. The Pentagon announced $400 million in additional security aid to Ukraine, on Nov. 4, to include 45 refurbished T-72 tanks, 1,100 Phoenix Ghost drones and other vehicles, technology and training. Iran acknowledged for the first time providing some drones to Russia months before the war in Ukraine but denied continuing to supply them, on Nov. 5. Zelenskyy countered that Iran was ‘lying’ because Ukrainian forces ‘shoot down at least 10 Iranian drones every day.’

COP27 Climate Summit: Here’s What Happened on Monday at the COP27 Climate Summit. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s energy crisis cast an ominous shadow over the talks. The New York Times, Monday, 7 November 2022:

  • World leaders gathered at COP27 amid compounding crises of war, warming and economic turmoil.

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s energy crisis are casting a long shadow over the talks.

  • The most vulnerable countries are seeking ‘loss and damage’ compensation. Here’s what that means.

  • Switzerland is trying a novel, and disputed, way to meet its emissions goals.

  • Egypt’s most prominent political prisoner escalates a hunger strike as the summit begins.

  • Coke is a sponsor of the climate summit. Some activists aren’t happy.

  • Who’s attending COP27, and who isn’t.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres calls for global climate pact, warning that we are on a ‘highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator’ The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu, Sarah Kaplan, Siobhán O’Grady, and Michael Birnbaum, Monday, 7 November 2022: “U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called for the creation of a ‘climate solidarity pact’ between wealthier and developing countries to meet key climate goals in opening remarks at this year’s U.N. climate change conference in Egypt, known as COP27. As global temperatures continue to rise, Guterres said the planet is ‘on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.’ He issued the dire warning as world leaders gathered Monday in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh at the front end of two weeks of talks. Leaders from several countries responsible for a significant chunk of global emissions are skipping the climate conference. China, the world’s biggest emitter, isn’t sending its top officials. The heads of other emissions-heavy countries such as Japan, India, Australia and Canada are also not attending.

  • President Biden is expected to attend the conference on Friday, giving a boost to a gathering at risk of delivering little concrete action.
  • Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called attention to countries that want to address climate change but lack resources to do so, saying in Monday remarks: ‘The Global South remains at the mercy of the Global North on these issues.’
  • Macky Sall, Senegal’s president and the chair of the African Union, made a plea for action and said, ‘We have come, as Africans, to Sharm el-Sheikh, in order to save our planet…We are determined to make history, rather than simply be victims, passive onlookers of history.’
  • What exactly is COP27? Here’s what you need to know.

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin admits interfering in U.S. elections, Reuters, Monday, 7 November 2022: “Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday he had interfered in U.S. elections and would continue doing so in future, the first such admission from a figure implicated by Washington in efforts to influence American politics. In comments posted by the press service of his Concord catering firm on Russia’s Facebook equivalent VKontakte, Prigozhin said: ‘We have interfered (in U.S. elections), we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.'”

Justice Department is dispatching Election Day monitors to 64 jurisdictions. Some of the places, including Clark County, Nevada, were home to major disputes over voting and unsubstantiated claims of fraud in 2020. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Emma Brown, and Beth Reinhard, Monday, 7 November 2022: “The Justice Department announced that it will dispatch workers to 64 jurisdictions in 24 states on Election Day to ensure that they are in compliance with federal voting law, an increase from the 44 jurisdictions to which it sent monitors for the 2020 presidential election. The Justice Department noted in a statement that it has dispatched people from its Civil Rights Division and other units to monitor the voting process since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But this year’s midterm elections arrive as Republicans have waged a sustained campaign against alleged voter fraud over the past two years, despite scant evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, and as threats against politicians, their families and election workers have spiked around the country. Election officials in battleground states are anticipating delayed results and protracted fights once the polls close Tuesday night. The list of jurisdictions where the Justice Department will dispatch monitors provides a window into where federal law enforcement officials suspect there could be disputes or tensions around the voting process.”

Trump spooks Republicans with talk of presidential launch on eve of vote. After top Republicans spent Monday trying to talk Trump out of declaring his candidacy before the midterms, he made no announcement. The Washington Post, Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 7 November 2022: “Former president Donald Trump set off a scramble Monday in the Republican Party after he threatened to upend the midterm elections by announcing his 2024 presidential bid on the eve of voting. Trump told people close to him Monday that he might announce his candidacy at a rally scheduled for Monday night in Ohio, according to three people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe confidential conversations. The remarks prompted a chain of phone calls from party leaders who have tried for months to keep Trump from announcing until after the midterms. Some of his advisers began communicating to others Monday that efforts needed to be made to talk him out of announcing, two of these people said, while other advisers were egging him on to jump in. In the end, Trump didn’t announce on Monday night, but he went a step closer, promising ‘a very big announcement’ on Nov. 15 at his Mar-a-Lago estate. The crowd erupted in cheers, and Trump added, ‘We want nothing to detract from the importance of tomorrow.'”

U.S. Supreme Court dismisses Michigan redistricting challenge to Congress map, The Detroit News, Melissa Nann Burke, Monday, 7 November 2022: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the appeal of Michigan Republicans who had challenged the state’s new congressional map as drawn by the redistricting commission last year. The Republicans had argued that the congressional map unjustifiably deviated from constitutional requirements for apportionment by failing to have more equal population among the 13 districts, pointing to a roughly 1,200-person difference between the largest and smallest districts by population. They had sought to enjoin the state from using the congressional map in any election in Michigan; however, a three-judge district court in April denied their request for a preliminary injunction, finding the plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim and calling the state’s justification for the ‘small’ population deviation ‘undisputedly legitimate.’ The justices on their Monday order list dismissed the appeal as ‘moot,’ without further explanation, meaning the case no longer presented an open legal question. The new congressional boundaries will be used in Tuesday’s general election.”

Trump calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ‘an animal.’ The former president, speaking at an election eve rally, used the word days after the House speaker’s husband was attacked with a hammer. Politico, Olivia Olander, Monday, 7 November 2022: “Former President Donald Trump on Monday called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ‘an animal,’ days after her husband was attacked with a hammer by a man charged with seeking to kidnap the speaker. ‘I think she’s an animal, too, to tell you the truth,’ Trump said at a rally near Dayton, Ohio, on behalf of Republican candidates on the eve of the midterm elections, before referring to Pelosi and the House impeaching him twice. Trump made the comment about Pelosi immediately after mentioning an MS-13 gang member convicted of murder, to whom he referred the same way: ‘This was an animal.’ The speaker’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked on Oct. 28 in San Francisco by a person charged with seeking to kidnap her and harm other Democrats. The attack has raised concerns, especially among Democrats, about political violence and Republican rhetoric.”


Tuesday, 8 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.S. confirms it has maintained communications with Moscow; Zelensky calls for peace in address to climate summit, The Washington Post, Andrew Jeong, Ellen Francis, Robyn Dixon, Adam Taylor, and Ben Brasch, Tuesday, 8 November 2022: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in remarks late Monday that world leaders should ‘force Russia into genuine peace negotiations’ and that Kyiv had ‘repeatedly proposed’ talks. Zelensky accused Russia of obstructing those efforts and criticized it for objecting to Ukraine’s ‘completely understandable’ demands, including the restoration of territory and security guarantees. His remarks followed reporting from The Washington Post that the Biden administration has privately encouraged Kyiv to signal an openness to negotiating an end to the war. Washington and Moscow have maintained communication channels at senior levels, the White House said. ‘The military assistance we give is so that when Ukraine does get to the negotiating table, it is in the strongest possible position. That military support, our economic support, our humanitarian support, our political support will continue,’ Karen Donfried, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday, following a visit to Ukraine.

  • Conversations with Moscow ‘focused only on risk reduction,’ according to the White House. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that the Biden administration had to ‘protect the timing and content’ to ensure the channels are not cut off. ‘We reserve the right to speak directly at senior levels about issues of concern to the United States,’ she said. ‘That has happened over the course of the past few months.’
  • Ukraine will negotiate once Russian troops leave its territory, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Tuesday, answering questions about The Post’s reporting. Podolyak told Radio Svoboda that Ukraine’s stance has not changed and that Russia has offered only ultimatums. A Russian Foreign Ministry official, meanwhile, told reporters that the Kremlin did not have ‘preconditions’ for negotiations, blaming Kyiv instead.
  • ‘There can be no effective climate policy without the peace,’ Zelensky said in an address on Tuesday to the U.N. climate conference in Egypt. He said the war had served to stall collective efforts to address climate change. Russia’s invasion has worsened the world’s energy and food crises, undermining efforts to halt ‘the destruction of the climate,’ he said in remarks on Monday.
  • The head of Russia’s central bank warned Tuesday that the effect of Western sanctions on the economy should not be underestimated. Russia’s economy would have to go through a major restructuring to adjust, Elvira Nabiullina said. ‘Sanctions are very powerful. … It will be impossible to isolate oneself from their influence,’ she told a parliamentary committee. She said Russian banks have thus far withstood the shock of sanctions.
  • Actor Sean Penn, who was spotted in Ukraine in March working on a documentary about the war, met with Zelensky in Kyiv on Tuesday, according to a post on the Ukrainian president’s Telegram account. Penn presented one of his Oscars to Zelensky and received Ukraine’s order of merit.
  • Meetings will resume ‘in the near future’ between U.S. and Russian officials responsible for ensuring compliance with the treaty that governs the two nations’ deployment of nuclear weapons, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday, after tensions over Ukraine halted such talks for more than a year. The meetings are intended to facilitate the inspection of nuclear sites in the two countries. Moscow said in August that it was suspending its cooperation, citing travel restrictions imposed by the United States and other Western nations in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine Warns Russia Is Seeking Iranian Missiles as Battle in Skies Escalates. Ukrainian officials are celebrating the arrival of advanced Western air-defense systems but claim Russia is on the hunt for more powerful weapons. The New York Times, Tuesday, 8 November 2022:

  • Russia and Ukraine push for weapons to fight an escalating aerial war.

  • Ukraine wants Russia to return territory and pay damages.

  • Zelensky warns the U.N. climate gathering that Russia’s war is undercutting any possible collective action.

  • Civilians struggle to escape as a bigger battle looms in southern Ukraine.

  • Ukraine’s prime minister says there is currently no need to evacuate Kyiv or non-frontline cities.

  • India urges Moscow to end the war, but says it will not stop buying Russian oil.

Midterm Election Live Updates: No Signs of ‘Red Wave’ as Race for Congress Remains Tight. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, beat Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, flipping a Senate seat. J.D. Vance won his Senate race for Republicans in Ohio. But control of the House and Senate still hangs in the balance. The New York Times, Peter Baker and Jonathan Weisman, published on Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Democrats appeared to defy historical odds in critical midterm elections as an anticipated ‘red wave’ did not materialize, but as Americans woke up on Wednesday, Republicans were still poised to win one if not both houses of Congress, with potentially transformative consequences for the Biden presidency. Both sides were anxiously watching Senate races in Nevada and Arizona, as well as a tight contest in Georgia that could be headed for a December runoff to determine control of the upper chamber, much like two years ago. Republicans were still short of reclaiming the House but needed to pick up fewer of the remaining tossup races than Democrats to capture the majority.” See also, Congress hangs in balance as Democrats defy expectations, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, Azi Paybarah, and Amy B Wang, published on Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Control of both chambers of Congress remained undecided Wednesday morning after Democrats showed surprising strength in key battleground races Tuesday. Too many races have yet to be called to project which party will control the House or Senate. In the Senate, races remained uncalled in Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Democrat John Fetterman won the Senate race in Pennsylvania, defeating Republican Mehmet Oz, who conceded on Wednesday. That was a pickup for Democrats. Republicans prevailed in Ohio and North Carolina, fending off efforts to flip those seats. Democrats retained seats representing New Hampshire, Colorado and Washington state.

  • Tuesday was a strong night for incumbent governors. Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer (D) was projected to win a second term. Democrats Kathy Hochul (N.Y.), Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.) and Janet Mills (Maine) also came out on top. Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis (Fla.), Greg Abbott (Tex.) and Brian Kemp (Ga.) were also projected to win reelection. Democrats also retained the governorship in Pennsylvania, with Josh Shapiro projected to defeat Republican Doug Mastriano.
  • Voters across the country delivered a series of decisive victories for abortion rights. The biggest surprise came in Republican-leaning Kentucky, where an antiabortion amendment was defeated.
  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) conceded his race to Republican challenger Mike Lawler, handing Republicans a major symbolic victory in their quest to take control of the House. Maloney heads the campaign arm for House Democrats.

Abortion rights advocates score major midterm victories across the country. Even in heavily Republican states, voters demonstrated strong support for abortion access in the wake of June’s Supreme Court decision. The Washington Post, Caroline Kitchener, Kim Bellware, and Rachel Roubein, published on Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Voters across the country delivered a series of decisive victories for abortion rights on Tuesday in the first nationwide election since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The biggest surprise came in Republican-leaning Kentucky, where an antiabortion amendment was defeated, clearing a potential path for abortion access to be restored in a state with one of the country’s most restrictive bans. In Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) was reelected in part by presenting herself as a champion of abortion rights, voters approved a ballot initiative that will enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution — preventing a 1931 abortion ban from taking effect. And in North Carolina, Republicans failed to win a veto-proof legislative supermajority, ensuring that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will continue to have the power to block abortion restrictions in a state that has become a critical access point for people seeking abortions across the Southeast.” See also, Where abortion was on the ballot, midterm voters largely signaled support, NPR, Sarah McCammon, published on Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Voters in several states where abortion was on the ballot were generally favorable to abortion rights. This summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning decades of abortion-rights precedent left the issue of abortion rights to the states. That raised the stakes for voters in several states – including Vermont, California, Michigan, Montana and Kentucky – with abortion-related questions on the ballot this year. Vermont became first state in the country to amend its constitution to protect ‘reproductive autonomy,’ after a large majority of voters cast ballots in favor of it, as widely expected. Abortion already was protected under a state law passed in 2019, but the amendment further shores up those rights by adding protections to the state constitution. As anticipated, California voters also approved a similar measure protecting the right to abortion. In one of the most-watched ballot measures on the issue, Michigan residents also voted to amend their state’s constitution to protect abortion rights. The initiative appeared on the ballot after surviving a Republican-led challenge on grounds including concerns about the amendment’s spacing and formatting. In a move that could aid efforts by abortion rights groups to overturn two abortion bans, Kentucky voters rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have explicitly stated it contains no right to an abortion. Such an amendment likely would have thwarted efforts to overturn Kentucky’s two abortions bans.”

Lt. Governor John Fetterman Wins Pennsylvania Senate Race as Democrats Notch Key Win. Fetterman, who said he was fighting for everyone ‘that ever got knocked down,’ defeated Mehmet Oz, the celebrity TV host, after a tumultuous campaign. The New York Times, Trip Gabriel, published on Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the unconventional, tattooed figure into whom Democrats poured their hopes of preserving their tenuous hold on the Senate, defeated Mehmet Oz to capture Pennsylvania’s Senate race on Tuesday, according to New York Times projections, flipping a seat that had been in Republican hands. It was a huge victory for Democrats on a night that many expected would deliver a rebuke to the party nationally, as Republicans framed the midterms as a referendum on President Biden over high inflation, immigration and crime. Mr. Fetterman, 53, suffered a near-fatal stroke in May, and returned to campaigning months later with hesitant, altered speech, while portraying himself as ‘fighting for everyone in Pennsylvania that ever got knocked down.’ He held off Dr. Oz, the former heart surgeon and celebrity TV host, who gave up a lucrative show, faced criticisms of carpetbagging and sought to woo politics-weary voters with a final promise of ‘balance’ — even after a campaign that mocked Mr. Fetterman’s health and fanned fears of rising crime.”

6 takeaways from the 2022 election, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Wednesday, 9 November 2022. See also, Tracking which 2020 election deniers are winning and losing in the midterms, The Washington Post, Adrian Blanco, Daniel Wolfe, and Amy Gardner, originally published on Monday, 7 November 2022. See also, Five Takeaways From a Red Wave That Didn’t Reach the Shore. Democrats showed up, Trump-backed candidates underperformed, and inflation wasn’t the whole story: Here are last night’s lessons. The New York Times, Blake Hounshell, published on Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Democrats tried to outrun history — and the lead weight of a wounded president who made his final political appearance of the campaign in deep-blue Maryland, in a county he won two years ago by an overwhelming margin. They had help from a surprising quarter: Republican voters. A base still in thrall to Donald J. Trump chose candidates in the primaries who threw out plenty of red meat, but on Election Day, many failed to translate their frustrations into victory. So far, the results appear well short of the ‘red tsunami’ of Republican dreams. Republicans may yet win back the House, but hardly in commanding fashion, while the Senate remained too close to call early Wednesday morning. Across the East Coast, in Virginia’s northern suburbs and mixed areas of Rhode Island and New Hampshire, embattled Democrats managed to hang on. They even knocked off a few Republicans here and there. In many tight races, abortion and Mr. Trump’s looming presence may have been the G.O.P.’s undoing. ‘The Democratic Party post-Trump is a much tougher, fighting party,’ said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, attributing to sheer grit the victories eked out by colleagues like Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. ‘These are battle-hardened veterans who know exactly why they’re in politics.’ Tuesday was by no means an unalloyed victory for either side, however. There were signs of Republican gains in working-class communities of color. And some battleground states, like North Carolina, moved further out of Democrats’ reach. Gov. Ron DeSantis, Republican of Florida, even flipped the Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade County on his way to a rout of Representative Charlie Crist. It will be days before the full results are clear, and possibly weeks.”

Here are the candidates who made history in Tuesday’s midterms, The Washington Post, Joanna Slater, Tuesday, 8 November 2022: “Some candidates didn’t just win on Tuesday, they also broke barriers. Those victories included the first female governors elected in Arkansas [Sarah Sandeers], Massachusetts [Maura Healey], and New York [Kathy Hochul]; the first Black person to be elected governor of Maryland [Wes Moore]; and the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress [Maxwell Frost]. In some ways, this election had already made history for the diversity of candidates. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people ran for office in all 50 states for the first time, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. The number of such candidates on the ballot also increased 18 percent from 2020, it said, many of them galvanized by a wave of measures in Republican-led states attacking the community. This cycle also set records for the number of women running for governor, said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. But the same was not true of the Senate and the House, where female candidates in the general election fell short of the highs reached in 2018 and 2020, respectively.”

After Decades of Resistance, Rich Countries Offer Direct Climate Aid. Several European leaders at COP27 announced funds to help poor nations recover from loss and damage caused by climate change. The United States was silent. The New York Times, David Gelles, Tuesday, 8 November 2022: “For 30 years, developing nations have been calling for industrialized countries to provide compensation for the costs of devastating storms and droughts caused by climate change. For just as long, rich nations that have generated the pollution that is dangerously heating the planet have resisted those calls. At the United Nations climate summit last year, only Scotland, the host country, committed $2.2 million for what’s known as ‘loss and damage.’ But this week, the dam may have begun to break. On Sunday, negotiators from developing countries succeeded in placing the matter on the formal agenda of this year’s climate summit, known as COP27, or the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties. ‘The addition of loss and damage on the agenda is a significant achievement, and one that we have been fighting for many years,’ Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, said on Tuesday. ‘We have a moral and just cause.’ By the end of the third day of the conference, several European countries had pledged cash for a new loss and damage fund.”

Wednesday, 9 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia announces retreat from city of Kherson, The Washington Post, Andrew Jeong, Ellen Francis, Natalia Abbakumova, Erin Cunningham, Miriam Berger, Sammy Westfall, Maham Javaid, and Dan Lamothe, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Russia’s defense minister said Wednesday that Russian troops were retreating east of the Dnieper River in what appeared to be a full withdrawal from the city of Kherson, the one regional capital Russia had captured since its February invasion. The move is a major setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had declared the annexation of the Kherson region. The announcement came at the end of another day of fresh Ukrainian advances that put Kyiv’s troops within striking distance of Kherson city. Ukrainian officials expressed skepticism about a full withdrawal. ‘Actions speak louder than words,’ presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter, adding that he expected some Russian forces to linger and that Ukraine would declare the city liberated based on its own intelligence, not televised Russian statements. Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said Wednesday that the Pentagon had observed ‘initial indicators’ that Russia is withdrawing.

  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the Kherson retreat in a televised exchange with Col. Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. Surovikin said the move would ‘save the lives of our military and combat capability.’ Control of the Kherson region, much of which Russia still occupies, connects Russian-held Ukrainian territory to the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.
  • The Pentagon has observed ‘initial indicators’ that Russia was following through after announcing a withdrawal from Kherson, said Milley at a gathering of the Economic Club of New York, Wednesday. He added that there were thousands of Russian forces along the river and that it would take days or even weeks to pull those forces south of the river.
  • The Russians waiting until after the U.S. election to make the judgement about the evacuation of Kherson shows that ‘the Russian military has some real problems,’ President Biden said at a White House press conference, Wednesday. While answering a question about possible peace negotiations, Biden said it remains to be seen whether Ukraine is prepared to compromise with Russia.
  • ‘We have seen the announcement, but we will of course wait and see what actually happens on the ground,’ NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, speaking to reporters outside 10 Downing Street in London after a conversation with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
  • Shortly before announcing the retreat, Russian authorities confirmed the death of the Russia-appointed deputy governor of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, who they said died in a car crash.
  • Some Russian hardliners cheered the decision to withdraw from Kherson. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Telegram that Surovikin, the commander, made a ‘difficult but right choice between senseless sacrifices for the sake of loud statements and saving the priceless lives of soldiers.’ Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, also told Russian outlet RIA Novosti that Surovikin ‘acted like a man who is not afraid of responsibility’ by withdrawing with minimal losses.
  • WNBA star Brittney Griner is being transferred to a Russian penal colony, her lawyers said Wednesday, after a Russian court rejected an appeal of her 9½-year prison sentence. She has been detained in Russia on drug charges since February. Her detention has exacerbated U.S.-Russia tensions, already at a peak over the war in Ukraine.
  • Biden hopes that Putin will be willing to negotiate a prisoner exchange regarding Brittney Griner, Biden said at a White House press conference, Wednesday. ‘My intention is to get her [Griner] home,’ he said. He added that Russia has responded to them, but didn’t add any details.
  • Griner’s lawyers say they have no information on her exact whereabouts or final destination since she left a detention center outside Moscow on Friday. Her attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said that she was ‘now on her way to a penal colony’ and that the U.S. Embassy should be notified upon her arrival. Here’s what to know about Russian penal colonies, which are known for brutal conditions.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was committed to bringing Griner home, along with ex-security consultant Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia. The White House also said the United States was seeking to resolve ‘the unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens’ there. Moscow has blamed Washington for the lack of progress on a possible prisoner swap, and U.S. officials have declined to say whether the two could be exchanged for imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
  • About 4 million people in Ukraine, including in the capital, Kyiv, were without electricity as of Tuesday evening because of ‘stabilization schedules’ after Russian attacks on energy facilities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. He accused Russia of trying to turn ‘winter into a weapon’ against his country and ‘the whole of Europe.’ But while the looming winter will be difficult, Ukraine is prepared, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Orders Withdrawal From Kherson City, in Potential Blow to War Effort. A retreat from the strategic city would be a major victory for Kyiv’s forces. But Ukraine’s military was not convinced the Russians intended to fully withdraw. The New York Times, Wednesday, 9 November 2022:

  • ‘Go ahead with the pullout of troops,’ Russia’s defense minister says.

  • Putin stays silent on the Kherson withdrawal order, as others parse his motive.

  • Some Russian war bloggers express anguish over the Kherson order, while others see its pragmatism.

  • Why is control of Kherson important to Russia and Ukraine?

  • Biden says Moscow’s announced retreat shows the Russian military has ‘real problems.’

  • Brittney Griner is being moved to a penal colony, but her lawyers don’t know where.

  • What exactly is a Russian penal colony?

Midterm Elections: Biden Says Red Wave ‘Didn’t Happen’ and That His Re-election Decision Will Come Next Year. Control of the House and the Senate remain up in the air as President Biden struck an optimistic tone at the White House. Georgia’s Senate race will head to a runoff, while races in Arizona and Nevada have yet to be called. The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman and Peter Baker, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “President Biden declared Wednesday that American voters sent ‘a clear and unmistakable message’ that they wanted to preserve democracy and abortion rights, but he acknowledged voter frustrations with stubbornly high inflation and governmental dysfunction. Speaking at the White House at an extended news conference, Mr. Biden took stock in an election that went surprisingly well for his party, proclaiming he had lost fewer seats in the House than any Democratic president in his first midterm since John F. Kennedy. And as Republican gains creeped up toward a narrow House majority, he extended an olive branch to the opposition party’s leaders, saying he would invite them to the White House to discuss how they can work together over the next two years. ‘It was a good day for democracy and I think a good day for America,’ Mr. Biden said of the election’s outcome. He said he plans to run for re-election in 2024 but added that he would make a final decision early next year. Democrats defied historical odds in critical midterm elections, as an anticipated ‘red wave’ did not materialize, but Republicans were nearing a narrow House majority on Wednesday that could have transformative and chaotic consequences for the Biden presidency and federal governance. Democratic candidates across the country were lifted by the issue of abortion rights, which proved decisive in many battlegrounds, especially in Michigan. Voters there and in California and Vermont chose to enshrine abortion protections in their state constitutions. In Kentucky, where abortion is banned, voters rejected an amendment that would have said there is no constitutional right to the procedure.” See also, Georgia Senate race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker is headed to December 6 runoff, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Eugene Scott, Azi Paybarah, Amy B Wang, and Mariana Alfaro, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “The closely watched Senate race in Georgia between Democratic incumbent Raphael G. Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker is headed to a Dec. 6 runoff, as neither candidate is projected to receive more than 50 percent of the vote. The race could determine which party controls the Senate next year. Control of both chambers of Congress remained undecided after Democrats showed surprising strength in key battleground races Tuesday. In the Senate, races still remained uncalled in Arizona and Nevada. ‘We lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic president’s first midterm election in the last 40 years, and we had the best midterm for governors since 1986,’ Biden told reporters at the White House, highlighting that the predicted Republican ‘giant red wave’ never materialized.”

Meet some of Tuesday’s history-making election winners, NPR, Rachel Treisman, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “While the results aren’t all in yet, some of the races that have been called already include some notable wins. It was a big night for several LGBTQ candidates. Maura Healey was elected the governor of Massachusetts, becoming the first woman to win that office and the nation’s first openly lesbian governor-elect. Democrat Becca Balint won her race for Vermont’s only seat in the House. Her win means she will be the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ person to represent the state in Congress. In New Hampshire, James Roesener became the first openly trans man to win election to a state legislature in U.S. history. Democrat Wes Moore made history as Maryland’s first Black governor, and only the third Black governor elected in U.S. history. Also in Maryland, Aruna Miller became the first Indian American elected lieutenant governor, and Rep. Anthony Brown is the first Black candidate elected as the state attorney general. Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma won the special election to succeed Sen. Jim Inhofe, who is retiring. Mullin, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, will become the first Native American senator from Oklahoma in nearly a century, and the only Native American to serve in the U.S. Senate since Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Colorado Republican, retired in 2005. And Rep. Summer Lee, a Democrat, became the first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania. Several states also elected female lawmakers and governors for the first time. Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the first female governor of Arkansas. Katie Britt became the first woman to win election to the Senate from Alabama and the first Republican woman to hold one of the state’s Senate seats. And New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who succeeded Andrew Cuomo when he resigned in 2021, was elected to a full term — becoming New York’s first elected female governor. Maxwell Frost won his race in Florida’s 10th District, becoming the first member of Generation Z to be elected to the House of Representatives. He is 25 years old, which is the minimum age to be a House member.”

Gubernatorial Races Were a Mixed Bag for Each Party. But Democrats did manage two meaningful flips, and the outcomes of some major races are still uncertain. FiveThirtyEight, Nathaniel Rakich, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “A midterm election with an unpopular Democratic president would seem like a ripe time for Republicans to pick up some governorships. But it looks like Democrats were actually the ones to gain ground in state capitals this year. As of 7:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Maryland and Massachusetts were the only two governorships that had changed parties — and both went from red to blue.These Democratic flips were expected, but are nonetheless significant. Author Wes Moore, the victor in Maryland, is only the third Black person ever elected governor of a U.S. state. And Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is set to become the nation’s first openly lesbian governor.”

Election Denial Didn’t Play as Well as Republicans Hoped. Democrats won races for top election posts in several political battlegrounds where their Republican rivals had cast doubt on the 2020 contest and signaled their desire to overhaul voting systems. The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Reid J. Epstein, and Jonathan Weisman, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “Voters in a series of critical battleground states rejected Republican candidates for governor, attorney general and secretary of state who have spread doubts about the 2020 election, blocking an effort to install allies of former President Donald J. Trump in positions with sweeping authority over voting. In PennsylvaniaMichigan and Wisconsin, Democrats prevailed on Tuesday against Republican opponents who, to varying degrees, had campaigned on overhauling elections in ways that would benefit their party and called into question their commitment to democratic outcomes. Voters did not abandon Republican election deniers nationwide. Several such candidates for Senate were victorious, including J.D. Vance in Ohio and Representative Ted Budd in North Carolina, and dozens more won races for less prominent offices. Democrats also remain locked in contests against far-right rivals for governor and secretary of state in Arizona and Nevada that were too close to call on Wednesday. But in several places where power over elections was directly on the ballot — particularly races for secretary of state — Trump-aligned Republicans did not do well. Setting aside Arizona and Nevada, where two leading proponents of 2020 election lies are still in tight races, Democratic candidates for secretary of state beat far-right opponents in Michigan, New Mexico and Minnesota, and were defeated by such a candidate only in deep-red Indiana.”

See Which 2020 Election Deniers and Skeptics Won and Lost in the Midterm Elections, The New York Times, Karen Yourish, Danielle Ivory, Weiyi Cai, and Ashley Wu, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “The election results for the hundreds of Republicans who questioned the 2020 election painted a mixed picture. A number of high-profile candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate in key states lost, including Lee Zeldin in New York, who, as a congressman, challenged Joe Biden’s victory, and Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania, who said this summer that it was still necessary to investigate the past election. Several secretary of state candidates in key contests who had spread doubts about the 2020 results also came up short. At the same time, more than 220 Republicans who questioned the past election, many of them incumbents in safer, more conservative seats, prevailed at the polls. The results have raised questions about whether election denialism and skepticism is undercutting Republican efforts to appeal to a broader array of voters. But it is clear that, especially in certain conservative areas of the country, hundreds of Republicans paid no price for casting doubt on the electoral process. The New York Times recently examined statements made by Republican candidates in all 50 states to track how skepticism of the 2020 election had permeated the Republican Party, despite the lack of evidence of any widespread voter fraud. The analysis identified more than 370 candidates who cast doubt in some way on the 2020 election, which Mr. Biden won, earning seven million more votes and 74 more electors than Donald J. Trump. Of those skeptics in the Times analysis, more than half have won their races, according to results so far, and most of them were elected to House seats.”

Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser. He has now flopped in 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022. The Wall Street Journal, The Editorial Board, Wednesday, 9 November 2022: “What will Democrats do when Donald Trump isn’t around to lose elections? We have to wonder because on Tuesday Democrats succeeded again in making the former President a central campaign issue, and Mr. Trump helped them do it. Trumpy Republican candidates failed at the ballot box in states that were clearly winnable. This can’t be what Mr. Trump was envisioning ahead of his “very big announcement” next week. Yet maybe the defeats are what the party needs to hear before 2024.”


Thursday, 10 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukrainian troops advance on Kherson with caution; U.S. to send more air defenses, The Washington Post, Erin Cunningham, Whitney Juckno, Victoria Bisset, Adela Suliman, Dan Lamothe, Adam Taylor, Samuel Oakford, and Maham Javaid, Thursday, 10 November 2022: “Ukrainian forces have clawed back dozens of Russian-occupied settlements along the ‘Kherson axis’ in southern Ukraine, army chief Valery Zaluzhny said Thursday, a day after Russia announced it would evacuate its troops from Kherson city, the regional capital. Zaluzhny said Ukraine, which is skeptical of Moscow’s plans to withdraw, could not confirm or deny the evacuation. But a video shared Thursday on social media from the village of Kyselivka, and verified by The Washington Post, showed Ukrainian forces within 10 miles of Kherson’s city limits. The United States on Thursday also pledged an additional $400 million in security assistance for Ukraine, including Avengers air defense systems that come equipped with Stinger missiles. ‘When I was in Kyiv last week, I had the chance to consult directly with President Zelensky and his team on the ground about what Ukraine needs to be in the strongest position possible on the battlefield,’ national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Thursday. ‘This increased air defense will be critical for Ukraine as Russia continues to use cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones to attack critical civilian infrastructure.’

  • Footage shared on social media Thursday and verified by The Post shows Ukrainian forces in newly recaptured towns in the Kherson region. Another video taken in Stanislav, west of the city of Kherson, showed the Ukrainian flag being raised as onlookers cheered.
  • Ukrainian officials signaled that their forces were treading carefully in Kherson despite Russia’s Wednesday announcement of a withdrawal from the area. An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russian troops may have turned Kherson into a ‘city of death’ by planting mines and booby traps as they left. Zaluzhny, the army chief, said the amount of land Ukrainian forces had recovered as of Thursday amounted to around 1,381 square kilometers.
  • British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Twitter that Ukraine was ‘right to be cautious’ about the Russian retreat from the city of Kherson, and announced a new aid package of surface-to-air missiles and cold-weather supplies.
  • NATO’s secretary general said it was ‘clear’ Russian forces were ‘coming under heavy pressure’ in Khersonadding that a full Russian withdrawal there would be ‘another victory for Ukraine.’ President Biden said the Russian retreat would allow Moscow and Kyiv to ‘recalibrate their positions over the winter period’ and ‘decide whether or not they’re going to compromise.’ But he added that the United States was not going to force Kyiv to negotiate.
  • More than 100,000 Russian troops — and probably about as many Ukrainian troops — are estimated to be dead or wounded since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Gen. Mark A. Milley. the Pentagon’s top general, said late Wednesday at an event by the Economic Club of New York, The Post reports.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Kherson Villagers Greet Ukraine Forces With Cheers and Tears as Russia Retreats. Ukraine’s military is moving cautiously as it reclaims areas in the south. The New York Times, Thursday, 10 November 2022:

  • ‘Waiting for you for so long’: Residents cheer Ukrainian soldiers arriving as Russians withdraw.

  • Even as their troops gain ground, Ukrainian officials fear a trap.

  • ‘You can see them on the streets.’ A Kherson couple says some Russian soldiers remain in the city.

  • The U.S. unveils another $400 million in military aid for Ukraine.

  • European analysts see the U.S. midterm results as reassuring for Ukraine and NATO.

  • Russia and Ukraine each have suffered over 100,000 casualties, the top U.S. general says.

  • The death of a high-ranking occupation official in Kherson coincides with Russia’s pullback order.

Midterm elections 2022: Senate control hinges on unresolved election contests in Nevada and Arizona, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Amy B Wang, Azi Paybarah, Eugene Scott, and Mariana Alfaro, Thursday, 10 November 2022: “Control of the Senate hinged Thursday on close races in Nevada and Arizona, where counting of ballots continues. In Nevada, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is trailing Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, but the outstanding vote favors her, Washington Post modeling shows. In Arizona, the model shows a toss-up, but Sen. Mark Kelly (D) remains a slight favorite over Republican Blake Masters. Winning both seats would give either party control of the Senate. If there’s a split, control will be determined by the Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia. Control of the House remains in limbo, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has started gathering support for his bid to be the next speaker. President Biden appeared Thursday at a political event in Washington, where he touted the strong night for Democrats, saying ‘This is the vote that showed some real enthusiasm for what we’re fighting for.'”

IRS asks Supreme Court not to block Congress from getting Trump’s tax records, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Thursday, 10 November 2022: “The IRS and the Treasury Department on Thursday urged the Supreme Court against blocking a lower court ruling requiring the agencies to turn over years of former President Donald Trump’s federal tax returns to Congress. The IRS and Treasury in a legal brief said that Trump’s emergency request for a delay ‘cannot satisfy the demanding standard for that extraordinary relief.’ Shortly after that filing, the House Ways and Means Committee, which is seeking Trump’s records, filed its own brief asking the Supreme Court to deny Trump both further delay, and his request that the court hear his appeal of lower court rulings against him in the case. ‘Further review from this Court is unwarranted, so there necessarily is no basis to issue emergency relief pending appeal,’ lawyers for the Democratic-controlled committee wrote. The filings came nine days after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary block on the committee getting the tax returns of Trump and related business entities from the IRS. Roberts’ action came after Trump sought the delay pending the high court ruling on whether he would be allowed to appeal a lower court order allowing the committee to get the tax records.”

A Federal Judge in Florida Imposed Sanctions Against a Group of Lawyers for Former President Donald Trump Who Handled a Sprawling Lawsuit That Accused Hillary Clinton and a Range of Mr. Trump’s Perceived Enemies of a Vast Conspiracy Against Him, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 10 November 2022: “The judge, Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida, had thrown out the case in September, and in a scathing 19-page ruling, he accused Mr. Trump’s lawyers of abusing the legal system by suing for political purposes in a case that he portrayed as full of misinformation. ‘Every claim was frivolous, most barred by settled, well-established existing law,’ he said. The ruling comes as the ethics and conduct of a range of lawyers working for Mr. Trump are under scrutiny, including their baseless challenges over the legitimacy of the 2020 election and false statements assuring the Justice Department that Mr. Trump had returned all classified documents in his possession.” See also, Judge fines Trump lawyers in Clinton case thrown out in September, The Washington Post, Azi Paybarah, published on Friday, 11 November 2022: “A federal judge on Thursday fined lawyers for former president Donald Trump more than $66,000 and admonished them for filing frivolous and baseless claims in Trump’s defamation case against Hillary Clinton and her allies, stemming from the 2016 presidential election. The fines levied by Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, a President Bill Clinton appointee in the Southern District of Florida, include a $50,000 sanction to the court and an additional $16,274.23 payment to one of the 29 defendants in the case, Charles Dolan, for expenses he incurred as a result of the suit, which the judge dismissed in September. The defamation suit accused 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her allies of harming Trump with an orchestrated plan to spread false information that his campaign colluded with Russia. Middlebrooks, in dismissing the suit in September, had written that there were ‘glaring structural deficiencies in the plaintiff’s argument.'”

Federal judge in Texas strikes down Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The Justice Department is appealing the decision, but the Education Department has halted relief applications. The Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Thursday, 10 November 2022: “A federal judge in Texas on Thursday struck down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, delivering a victory to a conservative advocacy group that sued to halt the plan. The Job Creators Network Foundation filed a lawsuit in October on behalf of a borrower who does not qualify for the full $20,000 in debt relief and one who is ineligible altogether. The suit alleges the administration violated federal procedures by denying borrowers the opportunity to provide public comment before unveiling the program. U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman, who was appointed by Donald Trump, declared the policy unlawful in the Thursday order. In a statement, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: ‘We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal. The President and this Administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents — backed by extreme Republican special interests — sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief.’ More than 26 million people have applied for loan relief. Jean-Pierre said the administration will hold onto their information ‘so it can quickly process their relief once we prevail in court.’ The Education Department, however, is no longer accepting applications in light of the ruling but encouraged borrowers to sign up for updates at” See also, Texas Judge Strikes Down Biden’s Student Debt Cancellation. The ruling adds to the legal obstacles the president faces in his plan to cancel up to $20,000 per borrower in federal student loan debt. The New York Times, Stacy Cowley, Thursday, 10 November 2022: “A federal judge in Texas on Thursday rejected President Biden’s executive action to cancel hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt, further clouding the situation for millions of borrowers who have applied to a program already on hold because of legal obstacles. The law Mr. Biden cited to justify his action — the Heroes Act of 2003, which allows the education secretary to waive regulations related to student loans during times of war or national emergency — does not provide “clear congressional authorization” for the president’s action, Judge Pittman wrote. The government will most likely appeal Judge Pittman’s decision, which runs contrary to the rulings of other district court judges around the country, who have rejected other plaintiffs’ challenges for lack of standing. Mr. Biden’s plan was already on hold after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted a temporary stay last month in response to an appeal filed by six Republican-led states, while the appeals court considers their request for an injunction blocking any debt cancellation.”

Noose found at Obama Presidential Center construction site in Chicago, The Washington Post, Kelly Kasulis Cho, Thursday, 10 November 2022: “The group building the Obama Presidential Center temporarily ceased construction Thursday after a noose was found on the site in Chicago. Lakeside Alliance, a partnership of at least five Black-owned construction firms, said in an email that it was informed of the noose earlier that morning and reported it to the police. The group has suspended operations to provide more anti-bias training to workers and is offering a $100,000 reward aimed at finding the ‘individual or individuals responsible for this shameful act,’ it said. ‘We have zero tolerance for any form of bias or hate on our worksite,’ the group said in an email. It added, ‘We are horrified that this would occur on our site.'”


Friday, 11 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky hails ‘historic day’ as Ukrainian troops take city of Kherson, The Washington Post, Erin Cunningham, Andrew Jeong, Victoria Bisset, Natalia Abbakumova, David L. Stern, Samuel Oakford, Adam Taylor, and Praveena Somasundaram, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Ukrainian troops entered the southern city of Kherson on Friday and began to retake control of the regional capital after months of fighting. ‘Today is a historic day,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address. ‘The people of Kherson were waiting. They never gave up on Ukraine.’ A crowd of chanting revelers, some draped in Ukrainian flags, gathered Friday in Kherson’s central square to celebrate, according to videos shared widely on social media, verified by The Washington Post. The celebrations continued into the night in the center of Kherson.

  • Although ‘the city is not yet completely cleansed of the enemy’s presence, the people of Kherson themselves are already removing Russian symbols and any traces of the occupiers’ stay in Kherson from the streets and buildings,’ Zelensky said, calling on any lingering Russian forces to surrender.
  • Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday that the last Russian soldiers had safely left. But it was not possible to verify Moscow’s claims of an orderly pullback with no fighters or weapons left behind, and there were some reports of Russian troops struggling to escape to the east bank of the Dnieper under heavy Ukrainian bombardment.
  • Ukrainian officials have accused departing Russian forces of destroying infrastructure and looting museums on their way out. Videos and photographs posted Nov. 11 and verified by The Post showed that sections of the strategic Antonovsky Bridge had collapsed. The bridge, which connects Kherson city with Russian-held territory in the south, had previously been targeted by rocket attacks. But satellite imagery captured by Planet Labs on Thursday afternoon showed that it was not missing major sections, indicating new structural damage had occurred in the last day.
  • World leaders expressed support for Ukraine’s efforts to recapture Kherson, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. In a tweet on Friday, Cleverly said the recapture of the city showed ‘the strength, resilience and courage of the Ukrainian people.’

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky Hails ‘Historic Day’ as Ukrainian Troops Enter Kherson. People in Kherson, who endured months of Russian occupation, greeted the arriving Ukrainian troops with cheers and flags. The New York Times, Friday, 11 November 2022:

  • Ukrainian forces sweep into Kherson as Russia says its retreat is complete.

  • Jubilation greets Ukrainian soldiers sweeping into Kherson.

  • An explosion on a crucial bridge severed Kherson City’s last major crossing.

  • Satellite images show damage to a major dam north of Kherson city.

  • In battered Mykolaiv, a Russian strike kills 7.

  • Russia’s news media, all state-controlled, offers only muted coverage of the retreat from Kherson.

  • Joy over the Russian pullout spreads in Ukrainian communities at home and abroad.

Trump sues to block subpoena from January 6 House committee, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Former president Donald Trump filed suit on Friday against the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol in a bid to block the panel’s subpoena for testimony and documents issued last month. The 41-page complaint filed in federal court in Florida argues that the subpoena is invalid because it lacks a ‘valid legislative purpose,’ is overly broad, and ‘infringes on executive privilege’ and Trump’s First Amendment rights. The suit also argues that the committee lacks the authority to issue subpoenas — an argument that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and several other judges have already rejected.” See also, Trump Sues to Block Subpoena From January 6 House Committee. The former president filed suit against the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, seeking to block the panel’s subpoena that required him to testify and hand over documents. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump filed suit on Friday against the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, seeking to block the panel’s subpoena that required him to testify and hand over documents related to the effort to overturn the 2020 election. The 41-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in Florida, comes just days before Mr. Trump was scheduled to appear before the panel for a deposition on Monday. The panel had been in discussions with Mr. Trump’s lawyers and had given them additional time to begin producing documents.” See also, Trump sues January 6 House committee seeking to block subpoena for his testimony and documents, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Sara Murray, and Gabby Orr, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Former President Donald Trump has sued the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, as a way to challenge its subpoena for documents and his testimony, according to filings in a federal court in Florida. Trump is challenging both the legitimacy of the committee – which multiple courts have upheld – and is claiming he should be immune from testimony about the time he was president. Trump’s lawyers say they’ve communicated with the House over the past week and a half as the subpoena deadlines neared, offering to consider answering written questions while expressing ‘concerns and objections’ about the bulk of the document requests.”

In filing, Trump lawyers again claim he had the right to declassify documents. But as they have before, lawyers for the former president stop short of saying he declassified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Donald Trump’s lawyers provided a more detailed explanation in a court filing Thursday evening as to why they say the former president had the authority to personally declassify sensitive government documents, though they again stopped short of saying Trump actually declassified materials that he kept after leaving the White House. The legal team’s explanation was included in a 67-page response to the Justice Department’s appeal of a lower court’s decision to appoint an outside arbiter to sift through the thousands of documents seized from Trump’s Florida residence on Aug. 8 to see if any should be shielded from criminal investigators because they are privileged. Trump’s lawyers acknowledged that there is a process to declassify documents, which they stated includes going to the person who originally classified the document — or to that person’s supervisor — to declassify them. The president, they said in the filing, would be considered the supervisor of whoever classified any of the documents, some of which deal with the most sensitive government secrets involving countries including Iran and China.”

Senator Mark Kelly wins in Arizona and pushes Democrats closer to keeping the Senate. The outcome sets Democrats one seat away from retaining their majority in the upper chamber. The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles and Isaac Stanley-Becker, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Sen. Mark Kelly (D) was projected Friday to win reelection in Arizona over Republican Blake Masters, boosting the chances for Democrats to retain control of the Senate for another two years. The victory gives Democrats a 49th seat in the Senate, just one below the 50 seats they need to control the upper chamber, where Vice President Harris is empowered to break ties. Republicans, who have also secured 49 seats, must now flip seats in both Nevada and Georgia to seize control of the chamber. While the Georgia race will not be settled until a December runoff, Democrats are cautiously optimistic they can clinch the majority sooner as more mail ballots are counted in the tight Nevada contest.” See also, Mark Kelly Wins Arizona Senate Race, Putting Democrats a Seat From Control. Mr. Kelly, who ran as a bipartisan legislator devoted to the needs of Arizona, defeated Blake Masters, a Republican newcomer whose ideological fervor failed to win over enough independent voters. The New York Times, Jazmine Ulloa, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona won a tough campaign for re-election on Friday, The Associated Press reported, defeating his Trump-backed Republican rival, Blake Masters, to put Democrats within one seat of retaining control of the Senate. Democrats hope to clinch the chamber when votes are fully counted in the Nevada contest between Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, and her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt, who held a tiny lead late Friday but was expected to fall behind. If Mr. Laxalt were to prevail, control of the Senate would hang in the balance until the runoff election on Dec. 6 in Georgia between Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat seeking a full term, and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, the former football star. Mr. Kelly, long seen as one of his party’s most vulnerable incumbents, rose to victory with the support of national Democrats and some top state Republicans who played up his willingness to reach across the aisle and who cast his candidacy as necessary to preserve American democracy. With 83 percent of the vote counted, he led Mr. Masters by 5.7 percentage points. Mr. Masters, a venture capitalist and political newcomer who embraced former President Donald J. Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, burst into Arizona politics with millions of dollars in support from the technology billionaire Peter Thiel, his former employer.”

FactChecking Trump’s Bizarre Claim of Stopping DeSantis’ 2018 Election ‘From Being Stolen,’ FactCheck, Eugene Kiely, Friday, 11 November 2022: “Former President Donald Trump claimed he ‘sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys’ to Broward County during the 2018 election to stop ‘ballot theft’ and help Ron DeSantis become Florida’s governor. But a spokesman for the county elections office said there was no ‘federal law enforcement presence’ for that election. ‘The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office has no documentation of any federal law enforcement presence during the 2018 elections,’ Ivan Castro, a spokesperson for the county supervisor of elections, told us in an email. ‘Also, to clarify, there is no evidence of corruption during the 2018 election cycle in Broward County.’ The former president made his claim in a rambling statement released Nov. 10 that criticized Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and the man he called ‘Governor Ron DeSanctimonious.’ It comes at a time when DeSantis, who handily won reelection on Nov. 8, has emerged as a threat to Trump’s plans to run for president in 2024. In the statement, the president made the baseless allegation that he stopped election fraud in Broward County, helping DeSantis defeat Andrew Gillum in the 2018 governor’s race and Rick Scott beat Sen. Bill Nelson in the state’s Senate race. ‘I was all in for Ron, and he beat Gillum, but after the Race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day, along with now-Senator Rick Scott, I sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys, and the ballot theft immediately ended, just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win,’ Trump wrote. ‘I stopped his Election from being stolen.'”


Saturday, 12 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Kherson elated about Ukrainian control, but city has ‘no electricity or water,’ The Washington Post, Michael E. Miller, Robyn Dixon, David L. Stern, Joyce Lau, Praveena Somasundaram, Victoria Bisset, and Andrea Salcedo, Saturday, 12 November 2022: “Scores of people filled the city center Saturday afternoon, celebrating the liberation of the regional capital less than 24 hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Kyiv’s forces had retaken much of the regional capital from Russian occupation. Babushkas and children waved to arriving soldiers as young men stood on cars, waving Ukraine’s yellow and blue flag. Explosions boomed in the distance, but most of the revelers didn’t seem to notice. They had their city back. But Ukrainian officials warned that the humanitarian situation in the city remained ‘threatening.’ One official, who had spoken to residents in the city, told The Washington Post that the Russians had left the city ‘on the brink of a humanitarian crisis,’ adding: ‘There is no water, no electricity, no heating.’ Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine on Saturday, and a strike in the southern Mykolaiv region killed seven people Friday — a stark reminder that even as Kherson comes under Ukrainian control, Russian forces on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River will still be able to hit Mykolaiv with drones or missiles.

  • A few dozen people danced in Kherson’s central square, some hugging one another and crying after almost nine months of Russian occupation finally seemed at an end. ‘We are so happy, despite all our struggles,’ said Olga Malakh, 56, as she stood in the central square with her husband, who was waving a large Ukrainian flag. ‘We have lived through so much, but we will rebuild.’ Serhii Khlan, an elected official from the nearby Kakhovka region, told The Post on Saturday that residents were elated at the arrival of Ukrainian forces.
  • Kherson had been without running water for four days, and without electricity for a week, residents said. Cellphones were useless. Instead, people resorted to shouting over the noise of raucous celebrations. ‘We’ve waited for so long for this to happen,’ Andriy Fyedorov, 23, said as he stood on top of a black SUV, waving the Ukrainian flag. Without the heavy Russian presence in their city, many Kherson residents freely spoke of arbitrary searches, arrest, torture and even disappearances under the Kremlin’s occupation.
  • The humanitarian situation in the city remained ‘threatening,’ a Kherson official, speaking to The Post from Vynnytsia, said Friday. ‘There is no electricity or water, and no communication connections,’ said Nataliya Chornenka, head of the Korabelny area in Kherson city. But she said residents were keen to return: ‘People are calling all the time, asking when they can go back. We are already packing and our children want to go home.’
  • Zelensky warned returning residents to avoid handling objects left behind by the Russians as bomb disposal teams have removed some 2,000 explosive devices in the Kherson region – ‘mines, trip wires and unexploded ammunition.’ A Ukrainian sapper was injured Saturday while demining a Kherson administrative building, Zelensky said during his nightly address Saturday.
  • Russian forces used explosives to destroy part of the road across the Kakhovka dam as they retreated Friday, but the dam itself remained intact, Khlan told The Washington Post. Satellite images provided to The Post by Maxar Technologies on Friday showed ‘significant new damage’ to the dam and bridges as the Russians retreated from Kherson.
  • A Russian airstrike killed at least seven people in Mykolaiv on Friday. A Post reporter’s visit to the site of the explosions showed that part of an apartment building had collapsed. Rescue workers continued to pick through the rubble, kicking up huge clouds of dust, as stunned survivors waited to be let back into their damaged apartments in the city about 40 miles northwest of Kherson.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: In Kherson City, a Mix of Joy and Fears Russia Will Retaliate. Ukrainians in Kherson were celebrating Russia’s retreat but also told visiting New York Times journalists they feared Moscow would strike back. The New York Times, Saturday, 12 November 2022:

  • ‘Let me hug you’: Ukrainian soldiers receive a hero’s welcome in Kherson.

  • Ukraine’s military searches for any Russian soldiers still in Kherson.

  • Kherson residents celebrate in the city’s main square.

  • The U.S. expresses optimism over Russia’s retreat from Kherson.

  • With the Russians gone, a Ukrainian who had resisted emerges from the shadows.

  • For the first time in months, there’s some peace in southern Ukraine.

  • Ukraine signals it will stay on the offensive, despite talk of a lull.

Democrats Hold the Senate, as Cortez Masto Ekes Out a Victory in Nevada. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Adam Laxalt, the state’s former attorney general. Democrats now will try to add to their control of the chamber in Georgia’s runoff election on December 6. The New York Times, Saturday, 12 November 2022: “Democrats sealed control of the Senate on Saturday as Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada narrowly defeated Adam Laxalt, a Republican former state attorney general, a decisive moment in an extraordinary midterm election in which Democrats defied historical patterns and predictions of major losses. Control of the House has still not been decided, several days after an Election Day that fell short of predictions that Republicans would sweep to power in Washington in a repudiation of President Biden’s leadership. Though Republicans still have an edge in capturing the House, their majority would certainly be small. But with Ms. Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada, Democrats have nailed down the 50 seats they need to retain control of the upper chamber, a major feat considering that voters typically punish the president’s party during the midterms. The Democratic victory will bolster Mr. Biden’s political capital as he moves toward a possible bid for a second term. Even if Republicans do take the House, he will be able to stock the judiciary with his nominees and will be insulated from politically freighted G.O.P. legislation. And Democrats will be free to mount their own investigations to counter the threatened onslaught from a Republican-controlled lower chamber.” See also, Democrats keep control of the Senate with win in Nevada, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles and Liz Goodwin, Saturday, 12 November 2022: “Democrats were projected to retain control of the Senate on Saturday, clinching a narrow majority as they showed strength in battleground races in a daunting midterm year that handed President Biden a major victory as he looks to his next two years in office. The final blow to Republican hopes of retaking the chamber came in Nevada, where on Saturday Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) was projected to win reelection, edging past Adam Laxalt (R), a former state attorney general. Cortez Masto’s projected win ensures Democrats a 50th seat, with a runoff election still to come in Georgia on Dec. 6 that could pad their slim majority. With 97 percent of the vote in, Cortez Masto led by half a percentage point. Control of the House was still up in the air on Saturday, as vote counting continued days after an election that started with Democrats expected to sustain heavy losses, since midterm elections have historically favored the party out of power. But Democrats have held their ground and even made some gains in many key contests, leaving many Republicans unnerved. In winning back control of the Senate, they dashed GOP hopes of a full takeover on Capitol Hill.” See also, Democrats retain control of the Senate after holding Nevada seat, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Saturday, 12 November 2022: “Despite some very tight races, Democrats have held on to their slim majority in the U.S. Senate. The chamber was decided Saturday evening after Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Republican nominee Adam Laxalt, a former state attorney general, according to a race call by The Associated Press. That gives Democrats 50 Senate seats, which is enough for the majority with Vice President Harris’ tiebreaking vote. The U.S. House remains up for grabs, with Republicans maintaining a narrow inside track to the majority.”

Voters Reject Election Deniers Running to Take Over Elections. With Jim Marchant’s defeat by Cisco Aguilar in Nevada’s secretary of state race, all but one of the ‘America First’ slate of candidates who espoused conspiracy theories about the 2020 election were defeated. The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Saturday, 12 November 2022: “Every election denier who sought to become the top election official in a critical battleground state lost at the polls this year, as voters roundly rejected extreme partisans who promised to restrict voting and overhaul the electoral process. The national repudiation of this coalition reached its apex on Saturday, when Cisco Aguilar, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state in Nevada, defeated Jim Marchant, according to The Associated Press. Mr. Marchant, the Republican nominee, had helped organize a national right-wing slate of candidates under the name ‘America First.’ With Mr. Marchant’s loss to Mr. Aguilar, all but one of those ‘America First’ candidates were defeated. Only Diego Morales, a Republican in deep-red Indiana, was successful, while candidates in Michigan, Arizona and New Mexico were defeated. Their losses halted a plan by some allies of former President Donald J. Trump and other influential donors to take over the election apparatus in critical states before the 2024 presidential election. The ‘America First’ candidates, and their explicitly partisan statements, had alarmed Democrats, independent election experts and even some Republicans, who feared that if they gained office, they could threaten the integrity of future elections. Mr. Marchant not only repeatedly claimed that Mr. Trump had won the 2020 election, but he pledged that if he were elected, Mr. Trump would again be president in 2024.” See also, Democrat Cisco Aguilar is projected to win Nevada’s secretary of state race, beating a Republican nominee, Jim Marchant, who sought oversight of Nevada’s elections while falsely insisting the 2020 presidential election was stolen. The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Saturday, 12 November 2022: “It was the latest defeat for Republican candidates who campaigned on former president Donald Trump’s false insistence the 2020 election was stolen and would have wielded power over the voting process in 2024. Marchant, who was supported by Trump, was in close competition to oversee voting in a 2024 battleground state, where the current secretary of state — a Republican — has defended the integrity of the voting process amid an onslaught of baseless claims…. Marchant was one of several election-denier candidates around the country nominated for secretary of state this year. In Michigan, GOP nominee Kristina Karamo — who promoted false claims about the 2020 election — lost by 14 points. In Arizona, Republican state lawmaker Mark Finchem — who wanted to decertify the 2020 vote and sought to ban voting machines — on Friday was projected to lose to Democrat Adrian Fontes. Many other candidates who took up Trump’s false election claims have prevailed. A majority of GOP nominees for House, Senate and key statewide offices this year — 291 total — have denied or questioned the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, The Washington Post found. As of Friday, most of them were projected to win.” See also, Democrat Cisco Aguilar defeats Republican election denier Jim Marchant to become Nevada’s secretary of state, NPR, Miles Parks, Saturday, 12 November 2022: “Democrat Cisco Aguilar has been elected Nevada secretary of state, according to a race call by The Associated Press, sending a blow to one of former President Donald Trump’s loyalists in the process. Aguilar, an attorney who spent a number of years on the state’s Athletic Commission, defeated Republican Jim Marchant, who has long baselessly maintained the 2020 election was stolen.”


Sunday, 14 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Kherson tries to rebuild infrastructure; White House pledges more aid, The Washington Post, Michael E. Miller, Bryan Pietsch, Leo Sands, Robyn Dixon, Marisa Iati, and Nick Parker, Sunday, 13 November 2022: “Ukrainian officials in Kherson, one of the first major cities to be captured in the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion, were working to restore the area’s infrastructure Sunday after Russian occupiers left the city ‘on the brink of a humanitarian crisis,’ according to an official who spoke to residents there. The regional capital with a prewar population of about 300,000 remained without electricity and water Sunday afternoon because of Russian sabotage, though cellular service was being restored in the area. The head of the nation’s postal service, Ukrposhta, said on television that the agency was working to reopen branches. Kherson city remained dangerous, though. Running water was unavailable, explosives were left behind, a curfew was in effect, and the regional administration warned that there was a high probability of shelling near the western bank of the Dnieper River. Meanwhile, the United States plans to send more aid to Ukraine, the White House’s national security adviser said Sunday.

  • National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the United States will send additional military aid to Ukraine soon, in an amount that will be ‘roughly the same magnitude’ as a $400 million aid package that was announced last week. ‘We are remaining steady in our supply of security assistance,’ Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One as they traveled with President Biden to the G-20 summit in Indonesia. ‘There will be no slackening in our support or deviation from the frequency and intensity of that support.’ The political composition of the 2023-2024 U.S. House is undetermined.
  • Celebrations continued in Kherson on Sunday with hundreds of people flocking to the central square, where they hugged soldiers, took selfies and left flowers in what was quickly becoming a de facto shrine to the newly liberated city. At the same time, soldiers, officials and volunteers were busy trying to repair badly damaged or sabotaged infrastructure, which officials said had left Kherson on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.
  • Some communication with the outside world had been restored in Kherson thanks to Starlink systems set up by the Ukrainian military and police in the central square. Dozens of residents lined up to gain access to the free internet service after days, if not weeks, of being cut off from their friends and family. Some cellular service was also restored in the center of the city on Sunday evening, Oleksandr Samoylenko, head of the regional council of Kherson, told The Washington Post.
  • Ukrainian crews had removed thousands of explosives, but many more posed a danger to Kherson, authorities said. One person died, Zelensky said Sunday evening, and four others were injured while clearing mines. Regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych posted a video Sunday in which he said Russians ‘have mined almost everything.’ He also called on people to avoid ‘crowded places.’ In another dispatch, he urged people to avoid the city center on Monday so crews could clear explosives.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a new amendment to strip some Russians of their citizenship if they criticize the military over its war on Ukraine or call for Russia to leave the territories it illegally claimed to annex. If rubber-stamped by Russia’s parliament, as is expected, the amendment would apply to Russians of foreign parentage who were granted citizenship. Those who question Russia’s borders or criticize the war would lose their Russian passports even if they have no other citizenship.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine Rushes Supplies to Kherson as Military Assesses Destruction. Officials are examining the damage to the city they reclaimed days ago, where water, power, and food are in short supply. President Zelensky said more than 400 potential war crimes were documented in the region. The New York Times, Sunday, 13 November 2022:

  • Kherson’s buildings largely stand. But much of its infrastructure is severed.

  • Reports of atrocities in Kherson follow similar accusations in other reclaimed areas of Ukraine.

  • Kherson residents say the Russification attempts ‘just didn’t work.’

  • Criticism of Russia’s military from the country’s war hawks hits a new high.

  • Zelensky calls the fighting in Donetsk ‘hell,’ a sobering view after the recapture of Kherson.

  • ‘Don’t cry, my sweetheart,’ a grandmother says in a first video call with her family.

Trump Wanted I.R.S. Investigations of Foes, Top Aide John Kelly Says. Kelly, who was White House chief of staff, said that as president, Donald Trump wanted investigations into perceived enemies like James Comey, the former F.B.I. director. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Sunday, 13 November 2022: “While in office, President Donald J. Trump repeatedly told John F. Kelly, his second White House chief of staff, that he wanted a number of his perceived political enemies to be investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Kelly, who was chief of staff from July 2017 through the end of 2018, said in response to questions from The New York Times that Mr. Trump’s demands were part of a broader pattern of him trying to use the Justice Department and his authority as president against people who had been critical of him, including seeking to revoke the security clearances of former top intelligence officials. Mr. Kelly said that among those Mr. Trump said ‘we ought to investigate’ and ‘get the I.R.S. on’ were the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. His account of Mr. Trump’s desires to use the I.R.S. against his foes comes after the revelation by The Times this summer that Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe had both been selected for a rare and highly intrusive audit by the tax agency in the years after Mr. Kelly left the White House. Mr. Trump has said he knows nothing about the audits. The I.R.S. has asked its inspector general to investigate, and officials have insisted the two men were selected randomly for the audits. Mr. Kelly said he made clear to Mr. Trump that there were serious legal and ethical issues with what he wanted. He said that despite the president’s expressed desires to have Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe investigated by the I.R.S., he believes that he led Mr. Trump during his tenure as chief of staff to forgo trying to have such investigations conducted.”

Court files show evidence Trump handled records marked classified after his presidency. Justice department filing claims former US president kept secret documents in drawer at Mar-a-Lago with other files from after his time in office. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Sunday, 13 November 2022: “Donald Trump retained documents bearing classification markings, along with communications from after his presidency, according to court filings describing the materials seized by the FBI as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into whether he mishandled national security information. The former US president kept in the desk drawer of his office at the Mar-a-Lago property one document marked ‘secret’ and one marked “confidential” alongside three communications from a book author, a religious leader and a pollster, dated after he departed the White House. The mixed records could amount to evidence that Trump wilfully retained documents marked classified when he was no longer president as the justice department investigates unauthorised possession of national security materials, concealment of government records, and obstruction. The classification status of the two documents is in dispute after Trump claimed that all documents at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified before he left office, though no such evidence has emerged and his lawyers have not repeated it in court.”


Monday, 14 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Triumphant Zelensky visits recaptured Kherson; CIA director meets with Russian counterpart, The Washington Post, Michael E. Miller, Anastacia Galouchka, Kamila Hrabchuk, Bryan Pietsch, Leo Sands, Shane Harris, Harry Misiko, Miriam Berger, Karoun Demirjian, and Praveena Somasundaram, Monday, 14 November 2022: “A triumphant President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday visited this southern city recaptured just days ago by his country’s troops, saying in a speech in front of several hundred gathered in the central square that the victory marked the ‘beginning of the end of the war.’ CIA Director William J. Burns met in Ankara on Monday with his Russian counterpart to warn Moscow against using nuclear weapons in its war on Ukraine, according to a White House spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation. The Pentagon assesses that ‘tens of thousands of Russian forces’ have evacuated to the eastern side of the Dnieper river in the retreat from the city of Kherson, in what a senior military official called a ‘very significant’ development in the war. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under terms set by the Pentagon, added that Russians are ‘shoring up their defensive lines’ on the eastern banks of the river in a bid to hold on to the territory on that side.

  • Zelensky, in his visit to Kherson, described the city’s liberation as a turning point, pledging to drive Russia out of Ukraine entirely. ‘I think they ran because our army threatened the enemy and they were in grave danger,’ he said of Russian occupiers in his speech to the city. ‘There were intense fights. And here is the result: We are here today in Kherson.’ He said Ukraine was ready for peace, but not if it meant handing over its territory to Russia.
  • Ukraine is working to restore essential infrastructure in Kherson such as communications, internet, television, electricity and running water, Zelensky said. ‘We will bring back transport and postal services,’ he said. ‘We will bring back ambulances and normal medicine.’ Kherson was the first major city to be captured during the Russian invasion and was subjected to harsh occupation. About 100,000 residents are there now, Zelensky said — compared with its prewar population of about 300,000.
  • Ukrainian crews have removed thousands of explosives, but many more pose a danger to Kherson, authorities said. One person died and four others were injured while clearing mines, Zelensky said. Yaroslav Yanushevych, the regional governor, posted a video Sunday in which he said Russians ‘have mined almost everything.’ He also called on people to avoid ‘crowded places.’
  • ‘Humanitarian needs in Kherson are already apparent, and we have a team on the way to gauge the magnitude of assistance required, especially urgent medical needs,’ Ariane Bauer, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s regional director for Eurasia, said in a statement on Monday, warning of unexploded ordnance that could make even basic services difficult to restore.
  • The White House emphasized that Burns, in his meeting in Akara, was not speaking with Russia about an end to the war. ‘He is not conducting negotiations of any kind. He is not discussing settlement of the war in Ukraine,’ the spokesperson said. ‘He is conveying a message on the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, and the risks of escalation to strategic stability.’ Burns would also ‘raise the cases of unjustly detained U.S. citizens,’ the spokesperson added.
  • The Pentagon on Monday announced that the Army had awarded over half a billion dollars’ worth of contracts to Lockheed Martin to produce Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, known as GMLRS, to replenish the U.S. arsenal. GMLRS, a surface-to-surface missile system with a range of approximately 50 miles, have been a centerpiece of the advanced military assistance that the United States has been giving to Ukraine.
  • The United States imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia Monday targeting military supply chains. ‘The United States will continue to crack down on Russia’s attempts to evade international sanctions to fund its war machine,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. In his nightly address on Monday, Zelensky said he was ‘grateful’ for the sanction, adding that there should be ‘punishment for complicity in terror.’
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is planning to send missions to power plants in Rivne, Chornobyl, Khmelnytskyi and South Ukraine, the organization announced in a statement on Monday. The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Director General Rafael Grossi said in the statement, has been ‘relatively quiet recently, with reduced shelling.’
  • The war in Ukraine has led to 33 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which will contribute significantly to climate change, Ukraine’s environmental protection minister said at the COP27 climate summit, the BBC reported. Ruslan Strilets said recovery and rebuilding in Ukraine could cause up to 49 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky Visits Kherson After Russia Retreat Turns River Into New Front Line. Days after Russia withdrew from Kherson, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine visited the city. Russian forces that retreated across the Dnipro River continued shelling areas they abandoned. The New York Times, Monday, 14 November 2022:

  • Ukraine and Russia trade fire across the Dnipro River as a new front line takes shape.

  • As Ukraine reclaims Kherson, residents describe beatings and theft by Russian soldiers.

  • Zelensky visits a recently recaptured city as Ukrainian forces work to restore services.

  • The Pentagon will pay Lockheed Martin more than $520 million to replace guided rockets sent to Ukraine.

  • The C.I.A. director meets with his Russian counterpart to warn against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

  • The U.S. imposes a new round of sanctions targeting Russia’s military supply chain and a wealthy gold magnate.

  • Russia’s Foreign Ministry denies a report that Lavrov was hospitalized in Bali.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia’s retreat from Kherson gives Ukraine renewed hope, NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 14 November 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: Since Russia’s retreat, Ukrainian forces have been working to restore utilities and provide basic needs for residents in the southern city of Kherson. On Monday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the city and hailed Russia’s withdrawal as ‘the beginning of the end of the war.’ But anticipation is building as both sides prepare their next moves along shifted front lines. The G-20 summit continues in Indonesia, where the Russia-Ukraine war and its global economic fallout loom large. On the sidelines Monday, President Biden discussed Ukraine among other issues with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Biden is due to meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday. The United Nations General Assembly is holding an emergency special session on Ukraine Monday. A U.S. House subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday titled ‘Russia’s Waning Global Influence.’ On Thursday, global summitry continues with a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Thailand. The U.N.-brokered deal to safely export grain and other farm goods out of the Black Sea is set to expire Saturday, barring an extension. What happened last week: Ukrainians watched the U.S. midterms with an eye on the future of aid, with President Zelenskyy urging for ‘unwavering unity’ and support for Ukraine. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield visited Kyiv, Nov. 8, to talk about world hunger and press for renewal of the grain deal, due to expire Nov. 19. That followed a Ukraine trip the week before by the top U.S. diplomat on European and Eurasian affairs, Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried. American basketball star Brittney Griner was moved to a Russian penal colony to begin serving out her nine-year sentence on drug smuggling charges Nov. 9. A spokesman for the Russian occupation in Ukraine’s Kherson region died in a car accident, the regional Kremlin-appointed administration said Nov. 9. Russian forces retreated from Kherson city — the only regional capital they had seized from Ukraine since launching their invasion in February. On Nov. 11, Ukrainian forces began moving into Kherson and were greeted by cheering residents. The war in Ukraine was a serious issue at the U.N. climate conference. Ukraine used the COP27 summit to talk about how the war has caused ‘ecocide,’ while experts pointed out the war is driving a new push for fossil fuels.”

Justice Department and Trump Lawyers Clash Over Status of Documents Seized at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Residence. A pair of unsealed briefs argue over the ex-president’s power to claim White House materials as his property and invoke executive privilege. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer, Monday, 14 November 2022: “The Justice Department has urged a special master to broadly reject assertions by former President Donald J. Trump that he owns a range of documents the F.B.I. seized from his Florida residence and that he can invoke executive privilege to bar criminal investigators from looking at some of them. But lawyers for Mr. Trump have put forward the opposite case, laying out a sweeping vision of his power to declare documents as his personal property and to keep files from his presidency secret from the Biden-era executive branch. The opposing views were on display in rival briefs partly unsealed on Monday. The two sides had recently submitted the briefs to Judge Raymond J. Dearie, the special master who is overseeing a process of resolving disputes about the status of some 13,000 documents and photographs seized in August.” See also, Trump’s lawyers call unclassified Mar-a-Lago documents ‘personal’ property, The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Monday, 14 November 2022: “In separate and clashing legal filings unsealed Monday, Donald Trump’s attorneys and the Justice Department once again sparred over whether the former president could lay claim to documents from his time in the White House — with Trump saying most of the materials were ‘personal’ and with the government saying, in essence, absolutely not. Trump’s team argued that most of the 13,000 non-classified documents the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Fla., belonged to the former president and that the federal government had no right to review the seized materials. His lawyers have said that Trump had the right to designate presidential documents as personal ones under the Presidential Records Act. The Justice Department, however, slammed that interpretation of the law as ‘meritless.’ Saying a president could simply designate presidential documents as personal ones would go against the very purpose of the federal act, the Justice Department wrote in its brief. Under the Presidential Records Act, the immediate staff of the president, the vice president and anyone who advises the president must preserve records and phone calls pertaining to official duties. Trump’s team argued that, as president, he did not need to document that he changed the designation of the seized materials from presidential to personal.” See also, Trump Tells Mar-a-Lago special master that he gets to decide which White House documents were his to keep, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Tierney Sneed, Monday, 14 November 2022: “Former President Donald Trump argued in a newly public court filing that a president gets to decide whether records from his White House are personal documents – and that he had decided that all the records he took to Mar-a-Lago were in fact his personal property. The argument is Trump’s latest legal bid to hold off parts of the criminal investigation into sensitive records kept at his Florida resort and home after he left the White House. The Justice Department responded by saying that Trump’s legal theory for when he can deem records from his White House as personal is wrong. ‘Plaintiff may not designate records qualifying as “Presidential Records” under the Presidential Record Act … as his “personal” records simply by saying so,’ the department said, adding that such a theory would ‘nullify’ the purpose of the law. The assertions came in dueling ‘global issues’ briefs that Trump and DOJ filed last week under seal to lay out their big picture arguments about how special master Raymond Dearie, a senior judge in Brooklyn, should approach his review of the materials the FBI seized from Trump’s Florida home in August.”

Supreme Court Allows Subpoena for Arizona Republican’s Phone Records. The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol sought the records of Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 14 November 2022: “The Supreme Court paved the way on Monday for the House committee investigating the Capitol attack to obtain phone records of Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party. As is its custom in ruling on emergency applications, the court’s brief order gave no reasons in denying Dr. Ward’s request that it block a subpoena. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. noted dissents, also without giving reasons. Experts in legal ethics have said that Justice Thomas should recuse himself from cases concerning the Jan. 6 attack in light of the efforts of his wife, Virginia Thomas, to overturn the 2020 election. Ms. Thomas’s activities included lobbying the speaker of the Arizona House to try to reverse Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the state. See also, Supreme Court allows January 6 House committee to subpoena Arizona Republican chair’s phone records, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Monday, 14 November 2022: “The Supreme Court on Monday refused to block a Jan. 6 Committee subpoena for the phone records of Kelli Ward, an ally of former President Donald Trump. The vote was 7-to-2, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito noting their dissent, without explanation. The court’s action means that specific parts of Ward’s phone records will be turned over to the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as president. Ward is the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party. She claimed that the limited request for her phone records, served on her service provider T-Mobile, was a violation of the First Amendment. The subpoena is of particular interest because during this same period, Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Thomas, emailed 29 lawmakers in Arizona, urging them to choose ‘a clean slate of electors’ instead of the state electors pledged to vote for Biden if he won the state, which he did. It is not known whether Ginni Thomas was in communication with Ward. Justice Thomas did not recuse himself from the case, nor has he recused himself from any matter involving the Jan. 6 committee, though his wife was questioned under oath by the panel.”

Documents Detail Foreign Government Spending at Trump Hotel. Six nations spent lavishly at the hotel during periods when they were seeking to influence the Trump administration, according to a breakdown released by the House Oversight Committee. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Eric Lipton, Monday, 14 November 2022: “Officials from six nations spent more than $750,000 at former President Donald J. Trump’s hotel in Washington when they were seeking to influence his administration, renting rooms for more than $10,000 per night, according to documents that his former accounting firm turned over to Congress. The governments of Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China spent more money than previously known at the Trump International Hotel at crucial times in 2017 and 2018 for those countries’ relations with the United States, according to the documents, which were obtained by the House Oversight Committee and released on Monday. The officials spent freely at the hotel, the records show. The Malaysian prime minister, for instance, hired a $1,500 personal trainer during his stay at the Trump hotel in 2017. The Saudi Ministry of Defense rented several suites, costing $10,500 each, with rooms reserved under the name ‘His Excellency.’ Qatari officials spent more than $300,000 there in the weeks leading up to a meeting with Mr. Trump in 2018. The documents build on the public record of how Mr. Trump’s hotel brought in millions during his presidency from foreign governments. The Oversight Committee has previously estimated that the hotel received more than $3.75 million from foreign governments from 2017 to 2020, raising concerns about possible violations of the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause. The new documents cover only a period of months, but they provide a revealing window into how foreign governments spent heavily at the hotel during key months when they were trying to influence Mr. Trump’s administration. The documents also show that Republican lobbyists working on behalf of these countries — some operating without registering as foreign agents, as required by law — spent tens of thousands more at the Trump hotel during the same periods.” See also, Foreign governments spent over $750,000 at Trump hotel, report shows, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Monday, 14 November 2022: “Officials from six nations spent more than $750,000 at former president Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington as they were trying to influence his administration, according to documents turned over to congressional investigators. The records obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform from Mazars USA, Trump’s former accounting firm, show that the governments of China, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates spent more money at Trump International Hotel — renting rooms for up to $10,000 a night — than previously known as they sought to influence the Trump administration’s foreign policy. ‘These documents sharply call into question the extent to which President Trump was guided by his personal financial interest while in office rather than the best interests of the American people,’ Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the committee, said in a statement Monday. ‘These documents, which the Committee continues to obtain from Mazars, will inform our legislative efforts to ensure that future presidents do not abuse their position of power for personal gain.'” See also, New records reveal foreign government spending at Trump’s Washington hotel, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Jeremy Herb, and Kara Scannell, Monday, 14 November 2022: “The governments of six foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, spent more than $700,000 at then-President Donald Trump’s Washington, DC, hotel over the first two years of his presidency, according to newly released accounting documents. The new documents offer concrete evidence of the rare practice of foreign governments spending money directly with businesses owned by a sitting president, which Democrats on the House Oversight Committee say raise new questions about possible efforts to influence Trump through his companies while he was in the White House. The hotel accounting records were obtained by the House Oversight Committee through Mazars, Trump’s former accounting firm, and provided to CNN. The committee, which has investigated Trump’s businesses and his lease of the DC property from the government, was provided the records following a years-long court battle that ended in a settlement in September. While it’s been known that foreign delegations stayed at the hotel during Trump’s time in office, the documents – which include spending by China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia and the UAE – offer the first detailed accounting records of those stays.”

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Biden’s Student Debt Cancellation Plan. The decision comes days after the government temporarily stopped accepting applications for the debt relief because of legal challenges. The New York Times, Stacy Cowley, Monday, 14 November 2022: “A federal appeals court on Monday issued an injunction halting President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan, further clouding the future of the president’s promise to eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in debt for tens of millions of people. In a six-page order, three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously blocked the government from canceling debts while the court considers a lawsuit brought by six Republican-led states, which claim that the president’s executive action to wipe out up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower exceeded his authority. The case involves ‘substantial questions of law which remain to be resolved,’ the judges wrote, adding that its eventual outcome ‘will affect the finances of millions of Americans.’ Two of the three judges — Ralph R. Erickson and Leonard Steven Grasz— were appointed by former President Donald J. Trump. The third, Bobby Shepherd, was appointed by former President George W. Bush. The decision came about three weeks after the appeals court granted a temporary stay pausing President Biden’s plan while it reviewed the states’ lawsuit, which a district court judge had previously dismissed for lack of standing.” See also, Federal appeals court grants injunction against Biden’s student loan forgiveness, The Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Monday, 14 November 2022: “The future of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program remains in doubt after a federal appeals court issued an injunction preventing the government from discharging any debt while it considers a lawsuit to end the policy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit decided 3-0 on Monday to side with a coalition of six Republican-led states that requested the court table cancellation amid its ongoing litigation. The injunction will remain in effect until further notice from the court or the Supreme Court, according to the order. The ruling arrives days after a federal judge in a separate lawsuit in Texas declared Biden’s debt relief plan unlawful, effectively barring the Education Department from accepting more applications and discharging any debt. Justice Department attorneys have appealed that decision and the Biden administration has pledged to fight any legal challenge to one of the president’s signature economic policies. But the latest ruling from the 8th Circuit further complicates their efforts.”

Katie Hobbs, Who Defied Trump in Arizona, Tops Kari Lake for Governor. Ms. Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, narrowly defeated Ms. Lake, a former newscaster whose campaign was built on lies about the 2020 election. The New York Times, Jazmine Ulloa, Monday, 14 November 2022: “Katie Hobbs, who as Arizona’s secretary of state stood up to efforts by allies of former President Donald J. Trump to overturn the 2020 election, has clinched a victory in the state’s race for governor, according to The Associated Press. Ms. Hobbs, a Democrat, narrowly defeated Kari Lake, a right-wing former newscaster who was talked about as a future leader in a Trump-dominated Republican Party, in a bitter and closely watched race that became a final test of whether candidates molded in Mr. Trump’s image could win in battlegrounds. Ms. Lake, one of the most prominent purveyors of Mr. Trump’s lies about his 2020 election, followed several other election-denying candidates in defeat. In a statement on her win, Ms. Hobbs reached out to voters who did not support her. ‘I will work just as hard for you — because even in this moment of division, I believe there is so much more that connects us.’ After the race was called on Monday night, Ms. Lake did not concede defeat, instead suggesting, without citing evidence, that the vote was marred. ‘Arizonans know BS when they see it,’ she tweeted.” See also, Democrat Katie Hobbs defeats MAGA favorite Kari Lake in high-stakes race for governor in Arizona. Hobbs defeated a Republican many thought was the strongest of the pro-Trump election deniers running in swing states President Joe Biden carried in 2020. NBC News, Allan Smith, Monday, 14 November 2022: “Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has defeated Republican Kari Lake in Arizona’s race for governor, NBC News projected Monday. Hobbs’ victory is key for Democrats in a presidential battleground state and a rebuke to a prominent election denier — although the closeness of the contest left the result up in the air for nearly a week. ‘I am honored to have been selected to serve as the next Governor of Arizona,” Hobbs said in a statement Monday night. “I want to thank the voters for entrusting me with this immense responsibility. It is truly an honor of a lifetime, and I will do everything in my power to make you proud.’


Tuesday, 15 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Biden says the missile that killed two in Poland ‘unlikely’ to have come from Russia, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Joyce Lau, Leo Sands, Miriam Berger, David L. Stern, Paul Sonne, and Karen DeYoung, Monday, 15 November 2022: “President Biden said it’s ‘unlikely’ that a Russian-made missile that killed two people in a Polish village on Tuesday was fired from Russia, though he cautioned that the data was preliminary. The missile struck the Polish town of Przewodow, just over the border from Ukraine, the Polish Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it did not strike any targets in or near Poland. It said images shared by Polish media outlets showed no sign of a Russian weapon. Even if inadvertent, a missile landing in the territory of a NATO ally could be a pivotal moment in the conflict. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called an emergency meeting of the country’s national defense and security council Tuesday night in response to the incident. Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau summoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Andreev, though officials have ‘no clear evidence’ of who fired the missile.

  • A White House statement confirmed that President Biden had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday evening. Biden and other world leaders convened an emergency meeting in Indonesia, where they were attending the Group of 20 summit, to discuss the explosion that has rattled some of the discussions as leaders awoke to learn of the attack.
  • U.S. officials said they were investigating what had happened in Poland. ‘We don’t want to speculate,’ Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday afternoon. ‘When it comes to our security commitments and Article 5, we have been crystal clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory.’ NATO’s Article 5 states that ‘an armed attack against one or more of [the members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,’ and that force can be used in response.
  • The apparent strike came as Russia bombarded Ukraine with missiles — one of the most extensive such barrages of the conflict, striking targets across the country, including energy infrastructure and apartment blocks.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Explosion in Poland Kills Two Near Border With Ukraine. Poland indicates that a Russian-made missile was to blame for the explosion, while the Kremlin denies involvement. The New York Times, Tuesday, 15 November 2022:

  • G7 leaders held an emergency meeting to discuss the deadly blast in Poland.

  • Video shows an explosion near a silo in Poland.

  • Strikes targeted Kyiv, the capital, and other cities across the country.

  • A single fiery missile fragment brings terror and death to a Kyiv apartment building.

  • U.N. rights monitors report accounts of torture from both Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war.

  • President Biden asks Congress to approve $37.7 billion more in assistance for Ukraine.

  • India allows banks to start trading with Russia in rupees.

  • A reopened rail route to Mykolaiv restores some order amid war.

Trump, who as president fomented an insurrection, says he is running again. The twice-impeached former president has been eager to declare his candidacy, hoping to get ahead of likely rivals and potential criminal charges. The Washington Post, Isaac Arnsdorf and Michael Scherer, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president who refused to concede defeat and inspired a failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election culminating in a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, officially declared on Tuesday night that he is running to retake the White House in 2024. The announcement at his Florida Mar-a-Lago Club came in a moment of political vulnerability for Trump as voters resoundingly rejected his endorsed candidates in last week’s midterm elections. Since then, elected Republicans have been unusually forthright in blaming Trump for the party’s underperformance and potential rivals are already openly plotting challenging Trump for the nomination. Trump has been eager to reclaim the spotlight and pressure Republicans to line up behind him, inviting prominent party leaders to his launch event and keeping track of who attended. Advisers spent much of the year lobbying Trump to hold off announcing until after the midterms, arguing that he might motivate Democratic voters or get drowned out by election news. He finally agreed to promise a ‘very big announcement’ for Tuesday, and stuck with that plan despite further efforts to convince him to wait until after next month’s runoff for a Georgia Senate seat.” See also, Trump Announces 2024 Run, Repeating Lies and Exaggerating Record. In a rambling speech, former President Donald J. Trump said he would seek another term, ignoring Republicans’ concerns that he was to blame for the party’s weak midterm showing. The New York Times, Michael C. Bender and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “Donald J. Trump, whose historically divisive presidency shook the pillars of the country’s democratic institutions, on Tuesday night declared his intention to seek the White House again in 2024, ignoring the appeals of Republicans who warn that his continued influence on the party is largely to blame for its weaker-than-expected showing in the midterm elections. His unusually early announcement was motivated in part by a calculation that a formal candidacy may help shield him from multiple investigations into his attempts to cling to power after his 2020 defeat, which led to the deadly mob attack by his supporters on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The decision, which came as votes were still being counted in congressional contests that will determine the balance of power in the House, confronts a frazzled and polarized nation — its social fabric already stressed by forces that the Trump era unleashed and supercharged — with a reboot of the nonstop political reality show that the Biden presidency had promised to cancel. Mr. Trump’s haste to become a candidate again carries political risk and financial encumbrance, and some advisers had pushed for him to hold off. But he has been eager to announce a campaign since this summer, nearly did so at a rally last week on election eve and told some advisers that he was concerned another delay would signal weakness. The twice-impeached former president’s view, according to friends and advisers, is that a formal White House bid will bolster his claims that the multiple state and federal investigations he faces are all politically motivated. Indeed, he hopes that a candidacy could give pause to prosecutors who may be considering criminal charges, particularly in connection with the Justice Department’s investigation into highly sensitive documents that Mr. Trump held at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, according to the friends and advisers, who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.” See also, Donald Trump, who tried to overturn Biden’s legitimate election, launches 2024 bid, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep himself in power, announced he is running again for president in 2024. ‘I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,’ Trump, 76, said flanked by massive American flags, at his Mar-a-Lago club and home in Palm Beach, Fla. The announcement — and official filing — comes just a week after the 2022 midterm elections, which saw a lackluster performance from Trump-backed Republican candidates in key Senate races and competitive House elections. As a result, Democrats were able to retain control of the Senate.” See also, Trump, whose lies about the 2020 election inspired an insurrection, announces third White House bid. Trump has continued to falsely assert that he won the 2020 election but that he was denied office by rampant fraud. NBC News, Marc Caputo and Jonathan Allen, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “Donald Trump, the only president impeached twice, launched a campaign to reclaim the Oval Office on Tuesday, two years after voters ousted him and a week after they rejected his hand-picked candidates in several pivotal Senate races.” See also, The New York Post just brutally trolled Donald Trump, CNN Politics, Chris Cillizza, published on Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “If you’re looking for the most brutal treatment of Donald Trump’s presidential announcement, look no further. The New York Post has won the title. In a story headlined ‘Been there, Don that’ that ran on page 26 in print, the New York Post absolutely eviscerates the former president. The story was teased at the bottom of the front page with: ‘Florida man makes announcement.’ (Shout out to Yahoo News’ Dylan Stableford for flagging!) A sampling of the article: ‘With just 720 days to go before the next election, a Florida retiree made the surprise announcement that he was running for president.’ ‘Avid golfer Donald J. Trump kicked things off at Mar-a-Lago, his resort and classified-documents library.’ ‘Trump, famous for gold-plated lobbies and for firing people on reality television, will be 78 in 2024.’ ‘His cholesterol levels are unknown, but his favorite food is a charred steak with ketchup.’ And then, in the final line of the story: ‘Trump also served as the 45th president.’ It’s brutal. Every. Single. Word. It’s also not the first time that the New York Post, which is controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has gone after Trump of late. Last week, the Post’s cover image depicted Trump as Humpty Dumpty with the caption: ‘Don (who couldn’t build a wall) had a great fall – can all the GOP’s men put the party back together again?’ (Earlier in the week, the Post had put Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on its cover – calling him ‘DeFuture.’)” See also, New Trump campaign, same old falsehoods, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “Donald Trump is running for president again — and he’s singing from the same hymn book of falsehoods. With few exceptions, many of the factual claims made in his announcement speech could have been plucked from a campaign-rally speech in the waning days of the 2020 election campaign — or even from his announcement speech in 2015. Here’s a guide to 19 claims he made on Tuesday night, in the order in which he made them.” See also, In Announcing 2024 Bid for President, Trump Echoes Old Falsehoods. Donald Trump uttered the first inaccurate claim about two minutes in and a few minutes later, ticked off at least four hyperbolic claims about his own accomplishments. The New York Times, Linda Qiu, published on Wednesday, 16 November 2022.

Top Trump Organization Executive Allen Weisselberg Testifies Against Firm He Helped Build. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, admitted that he had received lucrative off-the-books perks from the company. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich and Ben Protess, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “After decades of loyal service to Donald J. Trump, Allen H. Weisselberg on Tuesday testified in the criminal tax-fraud trial of the former president’s family business, kicking the proceedings into high gear as he assumed an uncomfortable role: star witness for the prosecution. Mr. Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer, pleaded guilty this summer to the same crimes for which the company is now on trial in a Manhattan court. As part of his deal, which is expected to spare him a lengthy prison sentence, Mr. Weisselberg agreed to give evidence against the company, even as he remains on its payroll and has refused to implicate Mr. Trump. Mr. Weisselberg, who took the stand on the same day that Mr. Trump announced his third run for president, provided crucial facts to bolster the Manhattan district attorney’s case, which centers on lucrative off-the-books perks that the company paid to Mr. Weisselberg and other executives. The benefits — including apartment rentals, leased cars and extra cash at Christmastime — afforded them a comfortable life in an expensive city. In under two hours of testimony, Mr. Weisselberg admitted that he had received such perks, and that he knew he owed taxes on them that he had not paid. And when the lead prosecutor, Susan Hoffinger, asked him why he did not simply ask for a raise, he responded that a raise would have required the Trump Organization to pay more money to him and to the tax authorities. That roped the company into a scheme that its lawyers have tried to pin wholly on Mr. Weisselberg.”

Federal judge strikes down Trump-era border policy known as Title 42, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti and Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “A federal judge on Tuesday struck down a Donald Trump-era policy used by U.S. border officials to quickly expel migrants because of the covid pandemic, saying the ban had little proven benefit to public health even as it shunted migrants to dangerous places. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the District of Columbia vacated the order known as Title 42, effectively restoring asylum seekers’ access to the borders for the first time since the Trump administration issued it during the earliest days of the pandemic. The decision — which takes effect immediately — knocks down one of the last remaining barriers to asylum from the Trump administration, advocates for immigrants said. It also poses an immediate logistical challenge for the Biden administration after two consecutive years of record apprehensions on the U.S.-Mexico border, with the possibility that the numbers could grow.”

Georgia Judge Suspends State’s Abortion Ban. A county judge blocked Georgia’s ban on abortion early in pregnancy, meaning that abortions after six weeks are once again legal in the state. The New York Times, Ava Sasani, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “A Georgia county judge on Tuesday blocked the state’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, saying the law was unconstitutional when the state legislature approved it in 2019 — more than three years before the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to abortion. The county judge’s ruling will allow the immediate legal resumption in the state of abortions performed after the sixth week of pregnancy — a time when most women have not yet even realized they are pregnant. Judge Robert C.I. McBurney of the Fulton County Superior Court wrote in his order that the six-week ban was enacted when ‘everywhere in America, including Georgia, it was unequivocally unconstitutional for governments — federal, state, or local — to ban abortions before viability.’ Because the law was enacted before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the judge wrote, the ban must be evaluated using a 2019 lens. Judge McBurney wrote that the six-week ban ‘may someday become the law of Georgia,’ now that lawmakers are operating in a post-Roe legal environment, but the existing law was enacted in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court precedent.” See also, Judge overturns Georgia’s six-week abortion ban, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware and Rachel Roubein, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “A Fulton County judge has overturned Georgia’s six-week abortion ban, ruling that two key parts of the law ‘were plainly unconstitutional when drafted, voted upon, and enacted’ and writing that the law cannot be enforced. The 15-page ruling by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney stemmed from a lawsuit that argued the state’s ‘heartbeat bill’ violated pregnant people’s liberty and privacy rights under Georgia’s constitution. The plaintiffs also argued that the law violated the U.S. Constitution at the time it was enacted — in 2019, when Roe v. Wade was still the law of the land. ‘It’s just really important for Georgians to see these types of wins when the opposition is working so hard to push us back,’ said Monica Simpson, executive director of advocacy group SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, the lead plaintiff in the case. After Tuesday’s decision, abortion access in Georgia reverted to the pre-ban level of up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.”

Rupert Murdoch has reportedly told Trump he will not back fresh White House bid. Media mogul turns to ‘DeFuture’ Ron DeSantis after the ex-president’s poor showing in midterm elections. The Guardian, Mark Sweney, Tuesday, 15 November 2022: “Rupert Murdoch has reportedly warned Donald Trump his media empire will not back any attempt to return to the White House, as former supporters turn to the youthful Florida governor Ron DeSantis. After the Republican party’s disappointing performance in the US midterm elections, in particular the poor showing by candidates backed by Trump, Murdoch’s rightwing media empire appears to be seeking a clean break from the former president’s damaged reputation and perceived waning political power. Last week, Murdoch’s influential media empire, including right-leaning Fox News, his flagship paper the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, each rounded on Trump, calling him a loser and a flop responsible for dragging the Republicans into ‘one political fiasco after another.'”


Wednesday, 16 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Despite reports Ukrainian defense likely caused fatal explosion, NATO blames Russia, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala, Rachel Pannett, Andrew Jeong, Jennifer Hassan, Ellen Francis, Miriam Berger, Loveday Morris, Sammy Westfall, and Ben Brasch, Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “Poland and NATO moved to de-escalate tensions Wednesday, a day after a missile landed in Poland and killed two people. The incident sparked fears that the war in Ukraine could spill beyond the country’s borders. Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the blast — the first such strike in Poland amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine — was probably the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile gone astray, not the result of a deliberate Russian attack. Even still, Zelensky said: ‘I have no doubt that it was not our missile or our missile strike.’ Police cordoned off an area around the site and continued to restrict access Wednesday. The blast was ‘terrifying,’ Tomak Buguslaw, 35, a resident of the small border village, told The Washington Post.

  • The blast in Poland came as Russia bombarded Ukraine with about 90 missiles Tuesday, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was one of the most extensive such barrages since the Feb. 24 invasion, striking such targets as energy infrastructure and apartment blocks.
  • New information from U.S. intelligence community indicates that the explosion was from at least one or as many as two Ukrainian missiles that went off course, said a person familiar with the intelligence.
  • NATO and Duda blamed Russia for the incident regardless. Zelensky joined them, saying that ‘Russian aggression took the lives of two Polish citizens.’ Parts found at the site would not necessarily have provided immediate answers: Many of Ukraine’s air defense systems are of Russian origin.
  • The missile strike shows ‘the seriousness of Russian aggression and that its consequences go beyond Ukraine,’ Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in an email to The Post.
  • Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doubled down Wednesday on his assessment that the likelihood of Ukraine vanquishing Russia on the battlefield is ‘not high,’ as he tried to massage his recent suggestion that Ukraine ought to use this winter to negotiate an end to the conflict.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: NATO and Poland Say Deadly Blast Was Likely Unintentional. The secretary general of NATO said that a Ukrainian air defense missile most likely caused the explosion on the Polish-Ukrainian border on Tuesday. The New York Times, Wednesday, 16 November 2022:

  • Poland’s president and NATO say Ukrainian defense against a Russian barrage likely caused the deadly blast.

  • Zelensky insists the Poland blast ‘was not our missile’ but asks for evidence that led allies to say it was.

  • Top U.S. defense officials affirm Ukraine’s likely role in the Poland blast but hold Russia accountable.

  • Here’s what we know about the S-300 missile, which was involved in the Poland blast.

  • A tiny Polish border village is the focus of global attention.

  • Signs of torture emerge in Kherson.

  • More Ukrainians are left without utilities and internet as Russia steps up attacks.

  • As the G20 summit ends, divisions persist over sanctions on Russia.

Republicans Gain Control of the House of Representatives. With a victory in California, Republicans captured the 218 House seats required to take a narrow majority and frustrate President Biden’s agenda. In Los Angeles, Karen Bass became the first woman elected as mayor of the nation’s second-largest city. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Wednesday, 17 November 2022: “Republicans secured a slender majority in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, a delayed yet consequential finish to the 2022 midterm elections that will reorder the balance of power in Washington and is expected to effectively give the party a veto on President Biden’s agenda for the next two years. After more than a week of vote counting, the Republican Party formally captured the 218 House seats needed to claim the majority after just four years out of power. The outcomes in six close races that remain undecided will determine the final size of a slim Republican majority that will be far narrower than party leaders had expected, though Republicans still cheered the achievement.” See also, Republicans narrowly win the House of Representatives, ending full Democratic control of Congress, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Marianna Sotomayor, and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “Republicans on Wednesday were projected to win back control of the U.S. House with a narrow majority, dealing a blow to President Biden and his agenda — even as Democrats defied predictions of a rout to limit the GOP’s power. Republicans needed to flip at least five seats to retake the House and fulfilled that goal with little room to spare after a campaign in which they sought to harness dismay at inflation, crime and the direction of the country. Their gains fell well short of the red wave they once envisioned, as Democrats countered with campaigns centered on abortion rights and fighting GOP extremism. Democrats’ show of strength enabled them to hold onto the Senate and come up just short of a historic upset in the House, creating a split Congress that left Republicans in both chambers battling over who is to blame and who should lead the party forward. Still, a coming shift in power — which in January will end two years of unified Democratic control in Washington — is sure to complicate the second half of Biden’s term, as Republicans gain the ability to launch investigations and block legislation.”

Same-Sex Marriage Rights Bill Clears a Crucial Senate Hurdle. Democrats made the same-sex marriage bill one of their first major agenda items in the postelection session, moving quickly to enact it while their party still controls both chambers. The New York Times, Annie Karni, Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “The Senate on Wednesday took a crucial step toward passing landmark legislation to provide federal protections for same-sex marriages, as 12 Republicans joined Democrats to advance the Respect for Marriage Act, putting it on track to become law in the twilight of the Democratic-held Congress. The 62-to-37 vote, which came only days after the midterm elections in which Democrats retained control of the Senate but lost the House to Republicans, was a rare and notable last gasp of bipartisanship by a lame duck Congress as lawmakers looked toward an era of political gridlock. It also signaled a remarkable shift in American politics and culture, demonstrating how same-sex marriage, once a divisive issue, has been so widely accepted that a law to protect the rights of same-sex couples across the country could gain decisive, bipartisan majorities in both the Senate and the House. Last summer, 47 House Republicans joined Democrats to pass a version of the bill.” See also, Senate advances bill to protect same-sex marriage in federal law. Democrats have warned that marriage equality and other rights could be at risk after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “The Senate on Wednesday advanced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would enshrine marriage equality into federal law, clearing the way for the bill’s final passage. In a 62-37 vote, senators agreed to end debate on the bill and advance it. Twelve Republicans joined all 50 members of the Democratic caucus to vote in support of the bill, surpassing the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. In a statement, President Biden welcomed the vote and urged Congress to act quickly in sending the bill to his desk. ‘Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,’ Biden said. ‘Today’s bipartisan vote brings the United States one step closer to protecting that right in law.’  Democrats have warned since June that federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, as well as other rights, could be at risk after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years had guaranteed the right to an abortion in the United States.” See also, Same-sex marriage protections clear critical Senate hurdle. Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the bill after negotiators reached a bipartisan deal to include protections for religious liberty. Politico, Marianne Levine, Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “The Senate on Wednesday narrowly advanced legislation to protect same-sex marriage, sending it on to near-certain passage. In a 62-37 vote, 12 Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the bill, after negotiators reached a bipartisan deal to include protections for religious liberty. The vote on final passage could occur as soon as this week. ‘We can ease the fear that millions of same-sex and interracial couples have that their freedoms and their rights could be stripped away,’ said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who is lead sponsor along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). ‘We are guaranteeing same-sex and and interracial couples, regardless of where they live, that their marriage is legal.'”

A Rare Win in the Fight Against Dark Money. In Arizona, voters from both parties overwhelmingly demanded that big, anonymous political donors reveal their identities. The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “Last week’s midterm elections showed that the country remains deeply divided along partisan lines, but there was one exception that has been largely overlooked. Voters from both parties in all fifteen counties of the polarized state of Arizona came together and overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that will require large anonymous ‘dark money’ political donors to reveal their identities. Proposition 211, known as the Voters’ Right to Know Act, requires that any donor giving more than five thousand dollars to a nonprofit that uses the money on political advertising and spends more than fifty thousand dollars on a state campaign or ballot proposition must publicly disclose their name. In order to insure transparency, the new rule applies even if the contribution was routed through a front group attempting to screen the identity of the original donor. ‘Voters have a right to know who is behind “Americans for Peanut Butter,” or whatever else,’ Terry Goddard, Arizona’s former attorney general, who spearheaded the ballot measure, told me in a phone interview. ‘Everyone knows [shell organizations are] just a cover and they resent it. But without this, there’s no way to get the truth.’ The measure is designed to expose the funders of the dark-money front groups that have proliferated since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, in 2010. Since then, there has been an explosion of anonymized campaign spending by a tiny but extraordinarily wealthy group of donors, including in this year’s races.”

How news outlets handled Trump’s 2020 coup attempt in their reports on his 2024 run, MediaMatters, Matt Gertz, Wednesday, 16 November 2022: “There will be many opportunities during former President Donald Trump’s effort to return to that office to assess whether traditional mainstream outlets have learned how to cover the former president and his supporters. Today, let’s look at how those outlets treated Trump’s unlawful effort to subvert the 2020 election — which culminated in the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol — in their reports on his Tuesday night campaign announcement. Trump’s seditious plot to remain in power was carried out in broad daylight and explained in detail by the January 6 select committee. Trump’s willingness to countenance the overthrowing of American democracy — and his excuses and exhortations for political violence from his followers — set him apart in modern U.S. political history. But did journalists treat it that way?”


Thursday, 17 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Strikes reported across Ukraine; grain deal extended by four months, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Jennifer Hassan, Rachel Pannett, Adam Taylor, and Maham Javaid, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “Explosions were reported across Ukraine on Thursday, including in the capital, Kyiv, in Zaporizhzhia and Odessa in the south and in the central city of Dnipro. At least two cruise missiles were shot down over Kyiv, regional officials said, while a Washington Post reporter heard a missile fly over an apartment block in the capital. Russia has intensified waves of strikes this week, taking out infrastructure targets ahead of winter, following its retreat from the city of Kherson and other battlefield setbacks. The Black Sea grain initiative is set to be extended for 120 days, TurkeyUkraine and the United Nations announced. The agreement provides safe passage for cargo ships using Ukraine’s Black Sea ports amid Russia’s invasion — which heavily disrupted operations and threatened to cause a global food crisis. There was no immediate comment from Russian officials about the extension.

  • U.N. Secretary General António Guterres welcomed the extension of the Black Sea grain deal Thursday as other nations hailed the importance of the agreement. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the deal was ‘vital’ and that more than 11 million tons of grain and other food supplies have been delivered since July. Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that it had allowed the deal to automatically renew but added: ‘Any attempts to use the humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea for provocative military purposes will be firmly suppressed.’ The export of grain will reduce pressure on the global food market, prevent food prices from rising and save tens of millions of people from starvation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Thursday.
  • Brittney Griner, the U.S. basketball star imprisoned in Russia on drug charges in what the United States classifies as wrongful detention, has been transferred to a penal colony in Mordovia, southeast of Moscow. ‘Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment,’ her legal team said in a statement Thursday.
  • President Biden disputed Ukraine’s account of a missile that hit Poland, killing two, on Tuesday. Zelensky has called for Ukrainian specialists to join an international investigation into the incident, while stressing he has ‘no doubt’ that the missile did not come from his country. Biden disagreed, telling reporters on Thursday: ‘That’s not the evidence.’
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday denied that this week’s deadly missile explosion in Poland and subsequent disagreements over the missile’s origin revealed a lack of communication and coordination with Ukraine after contradictory statements between Zelensky and Western leaders, The Post reports.
  • The explosion in Poland was from at least one or as many as two Ukrainian SA-10 surface-to-air missiles that went off course, according to information seen by the U.S. intelligence community, a person familiar with the intelligence told The Post on Thursday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Polish and NATO leaders have said the blast was probably the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile gone astray, although they maintained that Russia was ultimately responsible because it fired a barrage of missiles at Ukraine. During a visit to the blast site Thursday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said investigations would continue for days.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: 3 Men Tied to Russia Found Guilty of Murder in Downing of Jet Over Ukraine in 2014. A Dutch court sentenced the three men to life in prison. The passenger jet was shot down in 2014 with a missile during a Moscow-backed separatist uprising, killing 298 people. The New York Times, Thursday, 17 November 2022:

  • The significance of the jet’s downing has increased with the war.

  • Brittney Griner is transferred to a penal colony outside Moscow, her lawyers say.

  • Zelensky expresses skepticism that a Ukrainian missile hit Poland, putting him at odds with the West.

  • Russian forces pummel Ukraine with missile strikes.

  • Deal allowing Ukraine to export grain is extended 120 days, easing food crisis.

  • Russian attacks on Ukraine’s power grid are endangering nuclear plants, a U.N. agency warns.

  • Navalny says he is now in permanent solitary confinement.

Nancy Pelosi Steps Aside, Signaling End to Historic Run as Top House Democrat. “For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. She has led her party in the House for two decades. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “Nancy Pelosi, the dominant political operator, legislative tactician and face of House Democrats for two decades, and the first woman to serve as speaker, announced on Thursday that she would leave the leadership ranks in January following narrow election losses that cost Democrats their majority, but would remain in Congress. Ms. Pelosi, the Californian who twice led Democrats to power in the House and has been a central figure in the major legislative accomplishments of the Obama and Biden administrations, disclosed her plans in a carefully choreographed midday speech on the House floor a day after Republicans clinched control of the chamber. ‘For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,’ Ms. Pelosi said as some of her colleagues wiped tears from their eyes. ‘And I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.’ Her decision represented a transformative moment for House Democrats, and it set off a rapid and long-anticipated shift in the top ranks of Democratic leadership — now dominated by a trio of octogenarians — toward a younger group that has been waiting in the wings.” See also, Nancy Pelosi is stepping down as top House Democrat after 2 decades in leadership, The Washington Post, Marianna Sotomayor and Paul Kane, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who broke Congress’s glass ceiling as the first woman to hold the post, announced Thursday she will not seek reelection as the House Democratic caucus’s top leader, ending one of the most consequential leadership tenures in American political history. ‘For me, the hour’s come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,’ Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon. She will continue to serve as a member of the House. Her decision to not seek reelection as the top Democrat in Congress’s lower chamber marks the culmination of a political career widely seen as setting the standard for wielding political power. Historians largely agree that Pelosi redefined the speakership, and she made history climbing the ranks of Democratic leadership, becoming the first woman to be second in line to the presidency — twice. In her more than three decades serving in the House, Pelosi earned a reputation for amassing power in the face of male colleagues who at times undermined her opinions, and she earned respect by delivering votes on her party’s top priorities, even if that meant twisting the arms of her colleagues to take a bill over the finish line. Pelosi’s ability to keep her caucus in line has led to bipartisan recognition that she alone may be capable of wrangling Democrats’ disparate factions. She led the House Democratic caucus through a bitter fight in 2010 to pass the Affordable Care Act, and most recently managed a razor-thin majority in passing several key pieces of President Biden’s legislative agenda. The White House said in a statement that Biden spoke with Pelosi on Thursday morning and ‘congratulated her on her historic tenure.'” See also, Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will step down as party leader after two decades at the top, NPR, Deirdre Walsh and Susan Davis, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who shattered the ‘marble ceiling’ to become the first woman to lead the U.S. House — announced Thursday she will step down from party leadership. ‘With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,’ Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor. ‘I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.’ Pelosi said she will continue to represent her San Francisco district in the House. In her remarks, Pelosi warned that democracy is ‘majestic, but it is fragile’ and said voters in 2022 sent a message to Congress that they would not support those who supported violence or insurrection. She also applauded the chamber for becoming more diverse over the course of her 35-year career. When she first entered Congress in 1987 there were 12 women in the Democratic caucus and now there are 90. ‘And we want more,’ she said, to applause. Her decision comes a day after Republicans officially won control of the chamber in the 2022 midterms, and three weeks after the violent assault on her husband, Paul, at their San Francisco home.”

Secret Service agent from Trump’s motorcade on January 6 interviewed by House committee, CNN Politics, Annie Grayer and Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, is interviewing Robert Engel, the lead agent in former President Donald Trump’s motorcade on the day of the US Capitol attack, two sources tell CNN. Former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson testified publicly at a hearing in June that then-deputy White House chief of staff Tony Ornato told her that Trump got so angry when he was told he could not go to the Capitol on January 6 after his speech that morning that he reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel with one hand and lunged at Engel with the other. ‘The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said “Sir; you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.” Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,’ Hutchinson testified.”

Mar-a-Lago Model Prosecution Memo, Just Security, Andrew Weissmann, Ryan Goodman, Joyce Vance, Norman L. Eisen, Fred Wertheimer, E. Danya Perry, Siven Watt, Joshua Stanton, Donald Simon, and Alexander K. Parachini, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “This model prosecution memorandum (or ‘pros memo’) assesses the potential charges against former President Donald Trump emanating from his handling of classified documents and other government records since leaving office on January 20, 2021. It includes crimes related to the removal and retention of national security information and obstruction of the investigation into his handling of these documents. The authors have decades of experience as federal prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as other legal expertise. Based upon this experience and the analysis that follows, we conclude that there is a strong basis to charge Trump. Before indicting a case, prosecutors prepare a pros memo that lays out admissible evidence, possible charges, and legal issues. This document provides a basis for prosecutors and their supervisors to assess whether the case meets the standard set forth in the Federal Principles of Prosecution, which permit prosecution only when there is sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a prosecution. Before a decision is made about this matter, prosecutors will prepare such a memo. But such a DOJ memo will be confidential, in part because it will contain information derived through the grand jury and attorney work product. Since that document will not be publicly available, we offer this analysis. Ours is likely more detailed than what DOJ may prepare internally. But, given the gravity of the issues here, our memo provides a sense of how prosecutors will assemble and evaluate the considerations that they must assess before making a prosecution decision.”

Trump Organization cleaned up its illegal practices when Trump became president of the US, ex-CFO Allen Weisselberg testifies. The company is accused of giving executives off-the-books perks including apartments, luxury cars, and private school tuition, a scheme Allen Weisselberg detailed on the stand. Politico, Erin Durkin, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “The Trump Organization engaged in an effort to clean up its act and stop fraudulent tax practices to avoid scrutiny when Donald Trump became president, the company’s former chief financial officer told a jury Thursday. Allen Weisselberg, a longtime top executive at the Trump Organization, took the stand for his second day of testimony at the company’s criminal tax fraud trial in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. ‘We were going through an entire clean up process to make sure that since Mr. Trump was now president, that everything was done properly,’  Weisselberg contended. The company is accused of giving Weisselberg and other executives off-the-books perks including apartments, luxury cars and private school tuition, a scheme Weisselberg detailed on the stand. He said that he and other executives knew their practices were illegal — and brought them to an end after Trump took office. The company had been paying Weisselberg and at least one other executive’s personal expenses, allowing them to avoid income taxes and the company to dodge payroll taxes. It was also paying executives bonuses on tax forms that claimed they were independent contractors, when they were actually employees, he said.” See also, Allen H. Weisselberg, Key Witness in Trump Organization Trial, Takes Stand Under Pressure and Details the Birth of Tax-Fraud Scheme. Weisselberg served the family firm for decades. A plea deal has him testifying in the company’s tax-fraud case, telling the truth or facing jail time. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, and Lola Fadulu, Thursday, 17 November 2022: “The criminal trial of Donald J. Trump’s family business took an emotional turn Thursday as one of the former president’s most loyal executives laid bare the machinery of a sprawling tax fraud, scoring points for both prosecution and defense during hours of illuminating testimony. The executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, several times bolstered Manhattan prosecutors’ contention that the scheme benefited not just himself, but the Trump Organization. He testified that the off-the-books luxuries he and other executives received saved the company money in taxes. Yet Mr. Weisselberg, 75, who started working for the Trumps decades ago, rose to become chief financial officer and is now the prosecution’s star witness, also distanced Mr. Trump and his family from the wrongdoing. He testified that they did not team up with him, nor authorize him to commit crimes. He agreed more than a dozen times that he had acted only for himself. Near tears, he testified that he had betrayed a company he had served for decades. And asked by a defense lawyer, Alan Futerfas, whether he was embarrassed, Mr. Weisselberg, his gravelly voice soft, replied, ‘More than you can imagine.’ The testimony, which unspooled over more than seven hours in a chilly downtown courtroom, injected a burst of human drama into what has otherwise been a dissection of financial minutiae. The jury, subdued during the trial’s early days, appeared captivated by what might become the proceeding’s most crucial moments.”


Friday, 18 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv braces for emergency blackouts; Ukraine says missile parts could have entered Poland amid chaos, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Andrew Jeong, Maham Javaid, Natalia Abbakumova, Liz Sly, Adam Taylor, and Praveena Somasundaram, Friday, 18 November 2022: “Ukraine appeared to soften its denials that the missile parts that killed two Polish farmers could have come from its air defenses. So many missiles were fired both by Russia and Ukraine in western Ukraine during the Russian attack on Ukrainian infrastructure last Tuesday that the parts which hit Poland could have been of either Russian or Ukrainian origin, Ukraine’s air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said Friday. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told reporters Friday that around half of Ukraine’s energy system is down as a result of Russian strikes, and that Kyiv, the capital, would see emergency blackouts over the weekend, according to local media reports. In Ukraine, as winter sets in and the season’s first snow fell in Kyiv, ‘more than 10 million Ukrainians are without electricity,’ President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a nightly address late Thursday.

  • Ignat said Friday that this week had seen an air battle so intense that as many as 50 missiles were flying through the air within a matter of minutes, including at least 20 fired by Russia and 30 fired by Ukrainian air defenses as Russia launched its biggest attack yet on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. ‘Anything could be the result of this air defense battle,’ he said, acknowledging that at least some of the missile parts could have been Ukrainian.
  • Swedish prosecutors said Friday that explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipelines in September were the result of ‘gross sabotage.’ Their investigation also discovered ‘traces of explosives on several of the foreign objects that were found’ at the site of the blasts. The findings support the suspicions of many European policymakers that the blasts — which hit the major underwater natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea that connect Russia with Germany — were deliberate. Prosecutors did not provide further details or assign blame but said the ‘complex’ investigation was continuing. A Kremlin spokesman agreed with the sabotage findings and said it was important to ‘find those behind the explosions.’
  • Russia is hoping for a ‘positive result’ for its imprisoned national Viktor Bout, in any exchange with the United States, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday, according to state media. ‘Viktor Bout is among those who are being discussed, and we certainly count on a positive result,’ he said. There is speculation that Bout, a notorious arms dealer imprisoned in the United States, could be part of a prisoner swap to secure the release by Russia of WNBA star Brittney Griner and security consultant Paul Whelan.
  • Between March and October, 226 people in Kherson were detained or disappeared — most by Russia’s Federal Security Service rather than the country’s local forces — in a campaign described as ‘intentional and targeted,’ a new report from Yale University researchers supported by the State Department says. The report, published Friday, says the patterns of detention and disappearance are consistent with preinvasion allegations that Russia intended to ‘capture or kill potential opposition figures and leading residents of occupied areas in Ukraine.’

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Hints at Deal to Free U.S. Basketball Star Brittney Griner in Prisoner Swap. A day after Griner was sent to a notoriously tough prison, Moscow raised the possibility of an exchange for a convicted arms dealer, but Washington said it was not a serious proposal. The New York Times, Friday, 18 November 2022:

  • As Russia raises possibility of a deal to free Griner, U.S. officials dismiss it as mere talk.

  • Residue of explosives at the Nord Stream site backs European claims of sabotage.

  • Nearly half of Ukraine’s energy grid has been disabled by Russian strikes, the prime minister says.

  • Ukrainian teen who fled war with a backpack and a bassoon will play at Carnegie Hall.

  • Fighting in eastern Ukraine slows as both sides seek to adapt for winter.

  • Ukraine starts to build a wall on its border with Belarus, a close Russian ally.

  • Zelensky expresses skepticism that a Ukrainian missile hit Poland, putting him at odds with the West.

Attorney General Merrick Garland Names Special Counsel for Trump Inquiries. Even before Mr. Garland’s announcement, there were signs that prosecutorial activity in both cases was accelerating after a brief slowdown in the run-up to the midterm elections. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Charlie Savage, Maggie Haberman, and Alan Feuer, Friday, 18 November 2022: “Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed a special counsel on Friday to take over two major criminal investigations involving former President Donald J. Trump, examining his role in events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and his decision to retain sensitive government documents at his home in Florida. In naming Jack Smith, the former head of the Justice Department’s public integrity section and a veteran war crimes prosecutor, Mr. Garland is seeking to insulate the department from claims that the investigations into Mr. Trump are motivated by politics. Mr. Garland said the political intentions of Mr. Trump and President Biden prompted him to take what he described as an extraordinary step. Mr. Trump announced on Tuesday that he would pursue a third bid for the presidency in 2024, and Mr. Biden has indicated that he is likely to run as well. ‘Such an appointment underscores the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters,’ said Mr. Garland, who retains final say over whether Mr. Trump is charged with a crime after Mr. Smith presents recommendations. Mr. Garland and Mr. Smith emphasized that the decision would not slow the pace of either investigation, particularly the documents inquiry, which is advancing faster than the Jan. 6 case. In a statement, Mr. Smith vowed that the investigations would move quickly ‘to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.'” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland names special counsel for Trump Mar-a-Lago and the sprawling January 6, 2020 election investigations. Jack Smith, currently a war crimes prosecutor at The Hague, is tapped to handle politically sensitive Trump cases. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein, Friday, 18 November 2022: “Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday named a special counsel to oversee the criminal probe of Donald Trump’s possible mishandling of classified documents at his Florida home and key aspects of the sprawling Jan. 6 case, acknowledging the political sensitivity of investigating a former president who is again seeking office. The appointment of Jack Smith, a longtime federal prosecutor who has in recent years been working at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, comes three days after Trump formally declared himself a candidate for president. Garland said ‘extraordinary circumstances’ — namely Trump’s candidacy and President Biden’s stated intention to run for reelection — necessitated the appointment of an independent prosecutor to oversee the investigations, which are focused on alleged high-level breaches of national security and could place Trump in legal peril unprecedented for a one-time commander in chief. ‘Based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,’ Garland said…. Both Garland and Smith pledged that the appointment will not slow down the investigations, suggesting that the career prosecutors already on those cases would continue to work them.” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland names Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee Trump criminal investigations, NPR, Carrie Johnson and Ryan Lucas, Friday, 18 November 2022: “Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed the Justice Department’s former public integrity chief Jack Smith on Friday to oversee the Justice Department’s criminal investigations involving former President Donald Trump. Smith will oversee the department’s investigations into the possible mishandling of classified documents and presidential records at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate, as well as key aspects of the department’s Jan. 6 investigation.” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland names Jack Smith special counsel in Trump criminal investigations, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Friday, 18 November 2022: “U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday named former federal prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel for two ongoing criminal investigations by the Department of Justice of former President Donald Trump. Smith’s appointment came three days after Trump, a Republican, announced plans to run for president in 2024. Trump’s move directly led to Garland’s decison to appoint a special counsel, who will recommend whether criminal charges should be lodged against the ex-president. The attorney general himself was appointed by Biden, a Democrat who defeated Trump in his 2020 re-election bid. Biden could face Trump again in the 2024 election, although the president has not yet made a final decision on becoming a candidate. The first investigation that Smith will begin immediately handling is looking into whether any person, including Trump, unlawfully interfered with the transfer of presidential power following the 2020 election, or the certification of the Electoral College vote in President Joe Biden’s favor on Jan. 6, 2021. That day, a mob of Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the certification of the Electoral College vote. The other DOJ probe that Smith will oversee is focused on whether Trump broke the law and obstructed justice in connection with his removal of hundreds of documents from the White House, which were shipped to his residence at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.”

Justice Department Asks Supreme Court to Let Student Debt Cancellation Proceed. The Biden administration is asking the court to overturn a nationwide injunction imposed by an appeals court. The New York Times, Stacey Cowley and Glenn Thrush, Friday, 18 November 2022: “The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to allow its student loan relief plan to go forward, arguing that delaying enactment of a proposal to cancel billions of dollars in debt would leave borrowers in limbo. The Justice Department asked the court to reverse a decision this week by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, which granted a request by six Republican-led states to halt the plan. Under President Biden’s plan, federal borrowers with less than $125,000 in annual income could receive up to $20,000 in relief. In its filing, the department called the Eighth Circuit’s ruling ‘erroneous’ and said it left borrowers unable to make financial decisions with ‘an accurate understanding of their future repayment obligations.’ Multiple lawsuits challenging the plan are progressing through courts across the nation, but the one filed by six Republican-led states, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina, is widely viewed as the most serious threat to the administration. The states have argued that Mr. Biden’s proposal exceeds his executive authority and would deprive them of future tax revenue.” See also, Biden administration asks Supreme court to reinstate student loan forgiveness program, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Friday, 18 November 2022: “The Biden administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to reinstate its student loan forgiveness program, saying its creation was well within the authority of the education secretary and that a lower court decision putting it on hold ‘leaves millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo.’ U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar criticized a 3-0 decision on Monday by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. It sided with a coalition of six Republican-led states that requested that the court table any debt cancellation amid ongoing litigation. The injunction is to remain in place until further action from that court or the Supreme Court. Prelogar said the states did not have the legal standing to challenge the administration’s actions, and that at any rate, federal law gives the education secretary broad authority to make changes in the student loan program during emergencies, such as the pandemic. The Trump and Biden administrations both invoked the law to suspend loan repayments.”


Saturday, 19 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Officials say Russia to get more Iranian-developed drones; first train from Kyiv arrives in Kherson, The Washington Post, Erin Cunningham, Katerina Ang, Adela Suliman, Andrea Salcedo, Joby Warrick, Souad Makhennet, and Ellen Nakashima, Saturday, 19 November 2022: “Iran will help the Kremlin build drones in Russia for use in Ukraine, Western officials told The Washington Post. The deal could allow production to begin within months and boost Russia with more highly destructive unmanned equipment that has been increasingly terrorizing Ukrainian cities. The officials agreed to discuss the matter on the condition that their identities and nationalities not be revealed, citing the need to protect sensitive and ongoing intelligence-collection efforts. Russia has deployed more than 400 Iranian-made attack drones against Ukraine since August, intelligence officials say, with many of the aircraft used in strikes against civilian infrastructure targets such as power plants. Meanwhile, the first train from Kyiv to Kherson since the war began arrived to cheers on Saturday in the recently liberated city. It carried 200 passengers from the capital, and Ukrainian officials hailed it as a ‘victory train,’ saying it symbolized the resumption of ‘normal life.’

  • The Iran-Russia agreement, if fully realized, would represent a further deepening of an alliance that already has provided crucial support for Moscow’s faltering military campaign in Ukraine, the officials said. By acquiring its own assembly line, Russia could dramatically increase its stockpile of relatively inexpensive but highly destructive weapons systems that, in recent weeks, have changed the character of the Ukraine war.
  • A funeral was held in Poland for one of the two men killed by a missile in the village of Przewodow, on the border with Ukraine. ‘Everybody is in deep sadness,’ one resident told Reuters. Poland, the United States and others have said Tuesday’s blast, which had sparked fears that NATO could be drawn into the conflict, probably was caused by an errant Ukrainian air defense missile. Kyiv has previously denied this but appeared to soften its stance Friday, when a spokesman for Ukraine’s air force said in an interview that the missile fragments landing in Poland could have been of Ukrainian origin.
  • Zelensky said Russia was ‘looking for a short truce, a respite to regain strength,’ but added that any brief truce would only ‘worsen the situation’ by enabling Russia to train and rearm its soldiers. ‘A truly real, long-lasting and honest peace can only be the result of the complete demolition of Russian aggression,’ he said Friday, according to Agence France-Presse. The White House said it was unaware of any such proposal and that it was an issue for the Ukrainian government. Russia has previously said it is open to peace talks ‘without preconditions’ but without stepping back from its insistence that the Ukrainian territories it illegally annexed are Russian land.
  • Detained American Paul Whelan was visited by U.S. Embassy staffers in Russia this week, his brother says. Whelan, a security consultant, has been imprisoned for nearly four years. ‘As the lack of an exchange drags on, I’m increasingly concerned about how this will affect his ability to continue,’ his brother David Whelan said in an email update. ‘It must be awfully hard to maintain hope in his position.’ On Friday, Russia said it was hoping for a ‘positive result’ for its imprisoned citizen Viktor Bout in any prisoner exchange with the United States, as speculation grows that arms dealer Bout could be part of a swap to secure the release of Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner.
  • Several regions of Ukraine are facing prolonged power outages this weekend, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday in his nightly address, as workers attempt to restore energy. The regions of Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odesa and Vinnytsia are among the most affected by power disruptions. Zelensky has accused the Kremlin of targeting energy infrastructure in an apparent attempt to compensate for its battlefield setbacks, including a retreat from the southern city of Kherson.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Warns of ‘Tyranny and Turmoil’ if Ukraine Loses the War. Austin said at a security forum in Canada that North America doesn’t ‘have the option of sitting this one out.’ The New York Times, Saturday, 19 November 2022:

  • Pentagon chief offers defiant defense of continued U.S. support for Ukraine.

  • Ukraine’s energy company races to repair infrastructure damaged in Russian strikes.

  • A rocket reminds a newly liberated town that it is still in danger.

  • Britain’s new prime minister promises aid as he makes his first visit to Ukraine.

  • Train service between Kyiv and Kherson is restored after nine months.

  • Ukraine’s de-miners have cleared about 300 square miles of land. They may have over 60,000 left to go.

  • As tennis honors Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, he reflects on shifting his focus from sports to the war.

Former Anti-Abortion Leader Alleges Another Supreme Court Breech in a 2014 Landmark Case Involving Contraception and Religious Rights. Years before the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, a landmark contraception ruling was disclosed, according to a minister who led a secretive effort to influence justices. The New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Jo Becker, Saturday, 19 November 2022: “As the Supreme Court investigates the extraordinary leak this spring of a draft opinion of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a former anti-abortion leader has come forward claiming that another breach occurred in a 2014 landmark case involving contraception and religious rights. In a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and in interviews with The New York Times, the Rev. Rob Schenck said he was told the outcome of the 2014 case weeks before it was announced. He used that information to prepare a public relations push, records show, and he said that at the last minute he tipped off the president of Hobby Lobby, the craft store chain owned by Christian evangelicals that was the winning party in the case. Both court decisions were triumphs for conservatives and the religious right. Both majority opinions were written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. But the leak of the draft opinion overturning the constitutional right to abortion was disclosed in the news media by Politico, setting off a national uproar. With Hobby Lobby, according to Mr. Schenck, the outcome was shared with only a handful of advocates. Mr. Schenck’s allegation creates an unusual, contentious situation: a minister who spent years at the center of the anti-abortion movement, now turned whistle-blower; a denial by a sitting justice; and an institution that shows little outward sign of getting to the bottom of the recent leak of the abortion ruling or of following up on Mr. Schenck’s allegation. The evidence for Mr. Schenck’s account of the breach has gaps. But in months of examining Mr. Schenck’s claims, The Times found a trail of contemporaneous emails and conversations that strongly suggested he knew the outcome and the author of the Hobby Lobby decision before it was made public. Mr. Schenck, who used to lead an evangelical nonprofit in Washington, said he learned about the Hobby Lobby opinion because he had worked for years to exploit the court’s permeability. He gained access through faith, through favors traded with gatekeepers and through wealthy donors to his organization, abortion opponents whom he called ‘stealth missionaries.’ The minister’s account comes at a time of rising concerns about the court’s legitimacy. A majority of Americans are losing confidence in the institution, polls show, and its approval ratings are at a historic low. Critics charge that the court has become increasingly politicized, especially as a new conservative supermajority holds sway.”

Trump Inquiries Remain Politically Charged, Despite Special Counsel. The appointment of an independent investigator is meant to address the perception of conflict of interest. But the system no longer seems adequate in this polarized political moment. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 19 November 2022: “In appointing a special counsel to investigate former President Donald J. Trump, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland was, in theory at least, trying to insulate the matter from politics as much as possible. That notion, of course, did not even last the day. Within hours, the newly named special counsel, Jack Smith, came under fire from the Trump team as just another partisan inquisitor. The reality is that a special counsel was never going to be accepted by Mr. Trump or his most fervent supporters as a credible, independent investigator, which the attorney general surely knew. Mr. Garland, who has spent more than three decades as a federal prosecutor and judge, was applying an old-fashioned method in a new-fashioned world, following what he felt was the clear mandate of the traditional rules even if they no longer seem adequate to the political moment. Indeed, the regulation establishing the special counsel never anticipated a president who operated so far out of the country’s norms, and perhaps laws, as Mr. Trump. No matter how nonpartisan Mr. Smith’s résumé and record may be, Mr. Trump will argue that he is being unfairly investigated by agents of President Biden, the man he plans to run against in 2024. By doing so, Mr. Trump aims to discredit any possible criminal charges against him for his role in instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol or his refusal to return government documents he took when he left office.”

Elon Musk Reinstates Trump’s Twitter Account, The New York Times, Ryan Mac and Kellen Browning, Saturday, 19 November 2022: “Elon Musk said on Twitter on Saturday that he would reinstate former President Donald J. Trump to the platform as part of a shake-up of the social media service, with Mr. Trump’s account quickly showing up again on the site. Mr. Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last month, had asked users on the platform starting late Friday afternoon about whether to allow Mr. Trump back onto the service. Twitter had barred Mr. Trump after the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, saying his posts had run the risk of inciting violence. More than 15 million votes were logged in answer to Mr. Musk’s question about whether to reinstate Mr. Trump, according to the results that Mr. Musk included in his tweet, with nearly 52 percent in favor of the former president returning to Twitter. Mr. Trump’s Twitter account went live shortly after, though the former president’s last tweet was from Jan. 8, 2021.” See also, Elon Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account, The Washington Post, Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell, and Isaac Arnsdorf, Saturday, 19 November 2022: “Elon Musk restored the Twitter account of former president Donald Trump on Saturday, a pivotal move that could help the platform’s once loudest, bluntest force regain online attention just as a new presidential election begins…. Trump’s account was repopulating with old tweets and followers Saturday night, though the former president had not tweeted immediately after being restored. He said earlier Saturday he remained focused on his Twitter clone, Truth Social, signaling he would not return to the site right away.” See also, Elon Musk allows Donald Trump back on Twitter, NPR, Shannon Bond, Saturday, 19 November 2022: “Former president Donald Trump’s Twitter account will be reinstated under the social media company’s owner, billionaire Elon Musk. Musk polled Twitter users on Friday and Saturday asking them whether Trump should be reinstated and a narrow majority voted for Trump. On Saturday evening, Musk tweeted, ‘The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.’ The Latin phrase means, ‘the voice of the people is the voice of god.’ Musk had previously said he would not make any ‘major content decisions or account reinstatements’ before convening a ‘content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.’ Twitter was the first platform to ban Trump after his supporters breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, saying his tweets broke its rules against glorifying violence. That move was quickly followed by similar ones from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitch and other internet companies. Now, Twitter has become the first to reinstate the former president’s account, giving him access once again to the powerful megaphone he used for years to attack political enemies, whip up fans and drive daily news cycles, as well as reach an audience of nearly 90 million followers and even more as his tweets were amplified across Twitter and into mainstream media outlets. Whether Trump will accept the invitation to return to Twitter is another matter. During a Saturday address to the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump poured cold water on the idea of returning to Twitter, saying ‘I don’t see any reason for it,’ according to Bloomberg News. After his exile from mainstream social media, Trump and some of his allies launched a rival social media site called Truth Social.”


Sunday, 20 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: ‘Powerful’ blasts around nuclear plant; Pentagon chief warns of ‘dangers of disorder,’ The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Miriam Berger, and Sammy Westfall, Sunday, 20 November 2022: “’Powerful explosions’ were reported around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and Sunday, ending a ‘period of relative calm’ there and raising new concerns of possible accidents, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. Russian state news agency Tass, citing a Rosenergoatom official, reported that Ukrainian forces were firing at the nuclear plant. Ukrainian energy agency Energoatom blamed Russian forces for the shelling. The Washington Post could not independently verify these claims. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin framed the Western position on Ukraine as one of ‘moral clarity’ in a fiery speech and painted a dark picture of what a world in which Russia triumphed would look like — stressing that nuclear proliferation could become a reality. Speaking Saturday at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, Austin said, ‘Putin’s war of choice shows the whole world the dangers of disorder.’ He called out North Korea and Iran, accusing the nations of supporting Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

  • IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said those responsible for the strikes in Zaporizhzhia are ‘playing with fire.’ Experts with the United Nations nuclear watchdog reported ‘what appeared to be renewed shelling’ near and at the nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, which is operated by Ukrainian workers but under the control of Russian forces. Site employees reported ‘damage to some buildings, systems and equipment’ to the IAEA — though, as of Sunday morning, nothing that was ‘critical for nuclear safety and security,’ the agency said in a statement.
  • Austin said Russia’s invasion ‘could drive a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation.’ In Canada on Saturday, the U.S. defense secretary warned that other world leaders with nuclear ambitions ‘are watching’ the war unfold in Ukraine and ‘could well conclude that getting nuclear weapons would give them a hunting license of their own.’
  • Several regions of Ukraine are facing prolonged power outages this weekend, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, adding that workers are attempting to restore energy. Ukraine’s energy minister said Sunday that energy supply in the country is ‘difficult’ but ‘under control’ and urged people not to panic. Zelensky has accused Russia of targeting energy infrastructure in an apparent attempt to compensate for its battlefield setbacks, including a retreat from the southern city of Kherson.
  • Zelensky said Sunday that the retreat of Russian forces from Kherson is a turning point for Ukraine, a day after the first train arrived in the city from Kyiv to jubilant crowds. The train’s arrival was part of a campaign by Ukrainian Railways to show the country and the world the railroad’s ability to quickly resume services cut off by nearly nine months of war. Russia ordered the retreat from Kherson city and its surroundings this month amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • Iran will help Moscow build drones on Russian soil for the war against Ukraine, The Washington Post has reported. Moscow has deployed more than 400 Iranian-made drones since August, according to three Western officials interviewed by Post reporters.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky Says Eastern Front Endures Barrage of Shelling. The Ukrainian president says shelling was ‘extremely high’ in the east, especially in the Donetsk region. Separately, Kyiv says it will begin a ‘voluntary evacuation’ of the recently recaptured southern city of Kherson. The New York Times, Sunday, 20 November 2022:

  • Zelensky says 400 shellings were recorded in one day.

  • Ukraine says it will help civilians leave Kherson.

  • Russia and Ukraine again trade blame for shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • At least 437 children have been killed in the war since February, Ukraine says.

  • A Ukrainian film critic is drafted into a real-life war.

  • How did Russia manage to launch its biggest aerial attack yet on Ukraine?

Trump Family’s Newest Partners: Middle Eastern Governments. The government of Oman is a partner in a real estate deal signed last week by the former president, intensifying questions about a potential conflict as he seeks the White House again. The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 20 November 2022: “When former President Donald J. Trump returned briefly last week to his office at Trump Tower in New York, he was joined by his son Eric Trump and the top executive of a Saudi Arabian real estate company to sign a deal that creates new conflict-of-interest questions for his just-launched presidential campaign. The deal is with a Saudi real estate company, which intends to build a Trump-branded hotel, villas and a golf course as part of a $4 billion real estate project in Oman. The agreement continues a practice that had been popular for the Trump family business until Mr. Trump was elected president — selling branding rights to an overseas project in exchange for a generous licensing fee. But what makes this project unusual — and is sure to intensify the questions over this newest transaction — is that by teaming up with the Saudi company, Mr. Trump is also becoming part of a project backed by the government of Oman itself. The deal leaves Mr. Trump, as a former president hoping to win the White House again, effectively with a foreign government partner that has complex relations with the United States, including its role in trying to end the war in Yemen and other important foreign policy agenda items for Washington.”

Allegation of Supreme Court Breach Prompts Calls for Inquiry and Ethics Code. A minister’s claim that a major contraception decision was prematurely disclosed through a secretive influence campaign underscores the court’s lack of transparency and accountability. The New York Times, Jodi Kantor, Sunday, 20 November 2022: “Lawmakers are demanding further investigation at the Supreme Court and renewing their calls for binding ethics rules for the justices, after allegations that a landmark 2014 contraception decision was prematurely disclosed through a secretive influence campaign by anti-abortion activists. ‘The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem,’ Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, wrote on Twitter. ‘At SCOTUS, the problems run deep.’ A New York Times report published on Saturday chronicled yearslong efforts by the Rev. Robert L. Schenck, an evangelical minister and former anti-abortion leader, and donors to his nonprofit to reach conservative justices and reinforce anti-abortion views. In 2014, he said, he obtained advance word of the outcome and the author of the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a major case about contraception and the religious rights of corporations. That decision — like the one leaked this spring, overturning the right to abortion — was written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Mr. Schenck said he learned the Hobby Lobby details from a donor who had dined with Justice Alito and his wife. Both the justice and the donor denied sharing the information. ‘We intend to get to the bottom of these serious allegations,’ Mr. Whitehouse and Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia, who respectively lead the Senate and House Judiciary courts subcommittees, wrote in a joint statement.”

U.N. Climate Talks End With a Deal to Pay Poor Nations for Damage. Nations reached a landmark deal to compensate developing nations for climate harm. But some leaders said the summit didn’t go far enough in addressing the root causes of global warming, The New York Times, Brad Plumer, Max Bearak, Lisa Friedman, and Jenny Gross, Sunday, 20 November 2022: “Diplomats from nearly 200 countries concluded two weeks of climate talks on Sunday by agreeing to establish a fund that would help poor, vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters made worse by the greenhouse gases from wealthy nations. The decision on payments for loss and damage caused by global warming represented a breakthrough on one of the most contentious issues at United Nations climate negotiations. For more than three decades, developing nations have pressed rich, industrialized countries to provide compensation for the costs of destructive storms, heat waves and droughts linked to rising temperatures. But the United States and other wealthy countries had long blocked the idea, for fear that they could face unlimited liability for the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change. The loss and damage agreement hammered out in this Red Sea resort town makes clear that payments are not to be seen as an admission of liability. The deal calls for a committee with representatives from 24 countries to work over the next year to figure out exactly what form the fund should take, which countries and financial institutions should contribute, and where the money should go. Many of the other details are still to be determined. Developing countries hailed the deal as a landmark victory.” See also, COP27 summit agrees to help climate victims. But it does nothing to stop fossil fuels. CNN, Ivana Kottasová, Ella Nilsen, and Rachel Ramirez, published on Monday, 21 November 2022: “The world has failed to reach an agreement to phase out fossil fuels after marathon UN climate talks were ‘stonewalled’ by a number of oil-producing nations. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries at the COP27 UN climate summit in Egypt took the historic step of agreeing to set up a ‘loss and damage’ fund meant to help vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters and agreed the globe needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by 2030. ” See also, COP27 leaves the world on dangerous warming path despite historic climate fund, The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan, Sunday, 20 November 2022: “The final decision of the U.N. Climate Change Conference on Sunday yielded a breakthrough in addressing the hazards already ravaging the planet but made little progress on emissions-cutting measures that could avert even worse disasters to come. It was a double-edged outcome to negotiations that at times seemed on the brink of failure, as many wealthy nations argued for deeper, faster climate action and poorer countries said they first needed help dealing with the consequences of warming fueled mostly by the industrialized world. Even as diplomats and activists at the summit, known as COP27, applauded the creation of a fund to support vulnerable countries after disasters, many worried that nations’ reluctance to adopt more ambitious climate plans had left the planet on a dangerous warming path.”

Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren, a member of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol says the January 6 committee will release ‘all the evidence’ within a month, CBS News, Melissa Quinn, Sunday, 20 November 2022: “Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, said Sunday that the panel will release ‘all the evidence’ it has collected over the course of its probe ‘within a month,’ before Republicans take control of the House. In an interview with ‘Face the Nation,’ Lofgren stressed that the House select committee is conducting its own investigation and not sharing information with the Justice Department. But, with the committee set to dissolve at the end of this Congress, the California Democrat said the panel will make public all evidence it assembled along with a report of its findings.”


Monday, 21 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: World Health Organization (WHO) says Ukraine’s harsh winter will be life-threatening for millions of people; International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finds damage at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Sammy Westfall, and Praveena Somasundaram, Monday, 21 November 2022: “Ukraine’s harsh winter will be life-threatening for millions of people as rolling blackouts and poor health infrastructure exacerbate the war’s humanitarian crisis, the World Health Organization said on Monday. The organization’s Europe director, Hans Kluge, issued the chilling warning from Kyiv, where he said Ukraine’s health system ‘is facing its darkest days in the war so far.’ ‘The devastating energy crisis, the deepening mental health emergency, constraints on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the Ukrainian health system and the Ukrainian people,’ Kluge said. Temperatures in Ukraine often drop below freezing in the winter — and for weeks, Russia has targeted the country’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones.

  • Key equipment at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, including its six reactors, remained intact Monday despite heavy shelling at the site over the weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday. A team of IAEA experts toured the plant to assess any potential damage from ‘one of the most serious such incidents at the facility in recent months,’ the agency’s director general, Rafael Grossi, said in a statement.
  • Ukraine is urging residents of newly liberated Kherson to evacuate to safer regions for the winter, citing security and infrastructure problems. In a Telegram post on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called on the most vulnerable residents in particular to consider evacuation and said the government would assist them and provide accommodation.
  • Heavy fighting continues in Ukraine’s east, with the ‘fiercest battles’ taking place in the Donetsk region, President Volodymyr Zelensky said. The nearly nine-month-old conflict is showing no signs of abating as winter approaches and both sides gear up to continue the fight well into next year. ‘Little by little we are moving forward with battles,’ Zelensky said. ‘We are holding the line, consistently and very calculatedly destroying the potential of the occupiers.’
  • The Kremlin said Monday that its goal is not regime change in Ukraine. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comment in a news briefing after a Russian lawmaker, Konstantin Kosachev, told a government-owned newspaper that the normalization of relations between Moscow and Kyiv could happen only ‘after a change of power in Ukraine.’

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine Remembers an Uprising That Foreshadowed War. Nine years after protests that challenged Moscow, President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukraine’s desire for freedom is undimmed. Voluntary evacuations begin in Kherson, as international officials forecast a brutal winter for Ukrainians. The New York Times, Monday, 21 November 2022:

  • Zelensky invokes the Maidan protests to brace Ukrainians for the challenge ahead.

  • Ukraine begins voluntary evacuations from Kherson.

  • From 2014: Ukrainians get a glimpse of the opulent lifestyle of their former president.

  • After a blast inside Polish territory, Germany offers help with air defense.

  • ‘I want to escape’: Russian shelling brings terror and death to Kherson, even after the retreat.

  • U.N. inspectors report new shelling damage at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex.

  • Zelensky says 400 shellings were recorded in one day.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Kherson revives as war rounds 9th month, NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 21 November 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, launched Feb. 24, will pass the nine-month mark this week. Areas of control in Ukraine mapped out by security analysts continue to shift. After Russia pulled out of Kherson this month, analysts say Russian forces may ramp up their operations elsewhere, in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Monday is the anniversary of the start of Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests in 2013, sparked by the government backing out of a deal with the European Union. Now Ukraine is on a path toward EU membership. On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and a host of other countries’ defense chiefs are due to participate in a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Siem Reap, Cambodia. On Thursday, Ukraine’s finance minister is scheduled to speak at the London School of Economics and outline the country’s path to recovery. And on Saturday, Ukrainians will mark Holodomor Memorial Day, the annual remembrance of the millions of victims of Ukraine’s 1930s famine, which is largely blamed on Soviet ruler Josef Stalin‘s policies. The day has added resonance this year as Russia’s invasion has caused mass casualties and a humanitarian crisis. What happened last week: Residents of Kherson celebrated the end of 8 1/2 months of Russian occupation, even as they recalled the horrors of that period. The first train from Kyiv arrived in the liberated city on Saturday. Waves of Russian missile strikes hit cities across Ukraine, causing power blackouts and knocking out other essential services including water and internet access. An investigation began into a missile that landed on Tuesday in Poland, killing two Polish men. Polish and NATO leaders said Wednesday that the strike appeared accidental and was likely an air defense missile from Ukraine, not a Russian attack. But NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and others said Russia bore ultimate responsibility. Russia and Ukraine extended the U.N.-brokered deal to safely export grain and other farm goods out of the Black Sea. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Kyiv and promised more military aid to Ukraine. Russia sent U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner to a penal colony to begin serving out her nine-year sentence on drug smuggling charges.”

Manhattan Prosecutors Move to Jump-Start Criminal Inquiry Into Trump. The district attorney’s office is investigating Donald Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star, an approach that previously failed to bear fruit. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Monday, 21 November 2022: “The Manhattan district attorney’s office has moved to jump-start its criminal investigation into Donald J. Trump, according to people with knowledge of the matter, seeking to breathe new life into an inquiry that once seemed to have reached a dead end. Under the new district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, the prosecutors have returned to the long-running investigation’s original focus: a hush-money payment to a porn star who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The district attorney’s office first examined the payment to the actress, Stormy Daniels, years ago before changing direction to scrutinize Mr. Trump’s broader business practices. But Mr. Bragg and some of his deputies have recently indicated to associates, supporters and at least one lawyer involved in the matter that they are newly optimistic about building a case against Mr. Trump, the people said.”


Tuesday, 22 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky urges power rationing; Ukraine’s security service raids Kyiv monastery, The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, Claire Parker, Sammy Westfall, and Praveena Somasundaram, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “The damage from Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities is so severe that President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging residents and businesses to restrict their electricity use, even as temperatures drop. Conditions in the country at the onset of winter are grim, with the head of a major power provider warning of blackouts until at least the end of March.

  • Zelensky called on Ukrainians to limit energy use during peak periods. In his nightly address Monday, he said ‘the situation is particularly difficult’ in the capital, Kyiv, as well as in the regions of Sumy in the northeast and Odesa on the Black Sea. After a major Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last week, the country has ‘practically no intact thermal and hydropower plants left,’ Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, chairman of national power grid operator Ukrenergo, said at a news conference Tuesday.
  • The European Commission proposed an automatically triggered limit to gas prices in the event of extreme price hikes. Called a ‘Market Correction Mechanism,’ the new instrument would protect Europeans from ‘episodes of excessively high gas prices’ that are not in line with global market prices. The mechanism would act only as a ‘last resort,’ said Kadri Simson, the E.U. energy commissioner. Energy ministers are set to meet Thursday to discuss the proposal, Euronews reported.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed the war with his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe. The Tuesday conversation ‘underscored how both the United States and China oppose the use of nuclear weapons or threats to use them,’ the Pentagon said. The two met on the sidelines of a meeting of regional defense ministers in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
  • Ukraine’s SBU security service raided a 1,000-year-old Orthodox Christian monastery in the capital on Tuesday as part of operations to counter what it described as ‘subversive activities by Russian special services.’ The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastery houses the Russian-linked part of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church, which follows the Moscow Patriarchate. A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, whose head, Patriarch Kirill, has supported Moscow’s war in Ukraine, called the search an ‘act of intimidation.’
  • In his nightly address on Tuesday, Zelensky announced a new initiative to create more than 4,000 centers across the country that will provide basic supplies and services in areas where Russian strikes damage electricity to a point where it cannot be restored ‘within hours.’ Called the ‘Points of Invincibility’ project, the centers will be free and available 24/7, Zelensky said.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine Battles for control of Key Black Sea Peninsula. Ukrainian forces are fighting to drive Russia out of the Kinburn Spit, a strategically important sliver of land at the mouth of the Dnipro River. The New York Times, Tuesday, 22 November 2022:

  • After retaking Kherson City, Ukraine’s forces battle Russia’s on a strategic peninsula.

  • Ukraine raids an Orthodox monastery in Kyiv to prevent ‘subversive’ activities.

  • The war has further divided Orthodox churches in Ukraine.

  • A drone attack strikes Sevastopol, a Kremlin-backed official says.

  • Ukraine prepares for prolonged blackouts with thousands of ‘Points of Invincibility.’

  • The journalist behind the report of a Russian missile in Poland no longer works at The A.P.

  • Shelling kills a social worker at an aid station, Ukraine says.

  • Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to slow global growth, a new report says.

In Blow to Trump, Supreme Court Permits House to Obtain His Tax Returns. Ending a long legal fight, the Supreme Court rejected the former president’s request that it block the I.R.S. from turning over the files. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “The Supreme Court cleared the way on Tuesday for a House committee to obtain former President Donald J. Trump’s tax returns, refusing his request to block their release after a yearslong fight. The court’s brief order, which was unsigned and did not note any dissents, was another decisive defeat for Mr. Trump delivered by a court that had moved to the right with his appointment of three justices. The decision means the Treasury Department is likely to soon turn over six years of his tax returns to the House, which has been seeking his financial records since 2019. Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts, who requested the files as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement that his panel would ‘now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.’ But Mr. Neal did not say whether the committee would publish the returns. An aide on the Ways and Means Committee, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter, said no decision would be made until lawmakers received the files. Lawyers for Mr. Trump, who announced last week that he would run for president again, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Trump has used the slow pace of litigation to run out the clock on various oversight and investigative efforts. His stonewalling and legal challenges have succeeded in keeping the House from obtaining his tax returns for nearly four years, but that strategy appears to have fallen just short. The House would almost certainly have dropped the request for Mr. Trump’s tax returns in January, when Republicans take control of the chamber.” See also, Supreme Court clears way for Trump tax returns to go to Congress. Former president Donald Trump denounces the high court after it again rules against his efforts to withhold personal information from public scrutiny. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for a congressional committee to examine Donald Trump’s tax returns, denying without comment the former president’s last-ditch effort to extend a legal battle that has consumed Congress and the courts for years. The justices’ brief order means that the Treasury Department may quickly hand over six years of tax records from Trump and some of his companies to the House Ways and Means Committee. There were no recorded dissents and, as is often the case in emergency applications, the court did not state a reason for denying Trump’s request to withhold the records. Lawmakers have said they need Trump’s tax returns from his time in office, plus the year before his term and the year after for comparison, to help evaluate the effectiveness of annual presidential audits. Trump has argued that Democratic lawmakers are on a fishing expedition designed to embarrass him politically.” See also, Supreme Court paves the way for release of Trump’s tax returns to a House panel, NPR, Nina Totenberg and Jess Zalph, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block a request by the House Ways and Means Committee for former President Trump’s tax returns. There were no noted dissents. The decision likely means that the returns will be released by the Treasury Department to the Committee immediately, ending a multi-year legal battle. ‘The House looks forward to promptly receiving and reviewing these documents,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stating that the release of the tax information is vital to ‘guarding the public interest, defending our national security and holding our public officials to account.’ Trump filed an emergency application at the Supreme Court on Oct. 31 to block the release of his tax information at least until the court considered whether it wanted to hear full argument on the issue. Trump similarly lost his case in the lower courts, most recently with a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals ruling unanimously that the Committee’s request for tax returns was constitutional. The House Ways and Means Committee argued that it needs the information contained in Trump’s tax returns to meaningfully evaluate the IRS’s presidential audit program. The Committee says it is considering implementing greater legislative oversight of financial activities conducted by presidents. In particular, it is investigating whether the current IRS audit program is able to adequately enforce the nation’s tax laws against a president, like Trump, who has complex business holdings.”

Court Appears Ready to End Special Master Review in Trump Files Inquiry. Two of the three judges had already expressed skepticism about a court’s intervention after the F.B.I. seized records from the ex-president’s home. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “A federal appeals court panel signaled on Tuesday that it is likely to end a review of a trove of government documents seized this summer from former President Donald J. Trump, a move that would greatly free up an investigation into his handling of the material. At a 40-minute hearing in Atlanta, the three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit seemed to embrace the Justice Department’s position that a federal judge had acted improperly two months ago when she ordered an independent arbiter to review the documents taken from Mr. Trump’s Florida compound, Mar-a- Lago. Through their questions, the panel expressed concern that Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who appointed the so-called special master, had acted without precedent by ordering a review of the seized material. The panel also suggested that Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, had overstepped by inserting herself into the case and trying to bar the government from using the records in its investigation into whether Mr. Trump had illegally kept national security records at Mar-a-Lago and obstructed the government’s repeated efforts to retrieve them. The hearing on Tuesday was the latest development in the protracted legal fight over Mr. Trump’s handling of nearly 13,000 government documents and photographs, including some that were marked as highly classified. It came days after the Justice Department appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to oversee both the documents investigation and a separate inquiry into Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.” See also, Appeals panel grills Trump lawyer over FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. In hearing appeal of special master appointment, judges seem skeptical that court-approved search was improper or unlawful. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “A panel of three appeals court judges expressed deep skepticism Tuesday that the federal government violated former president Donald Trump’s rights when it searched Mar-a-Lago in August, questioning whether a lower-court judge erred in appointing an outside expert to review documents seized from the Florida property. During oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the government said the neutral arbiter, known as a special master, should never have been appointed. Justice Department attorney Sopan Joshi told the judges Trump has failed to prove that he suffered the ‘irreparable harm’ from the FBI search that would legally necessitate a special master. Joshi called the appointment an “intrusion” on the executive branch.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham testifies before Georgia grand jury in election investigation, The Washington Post, Holly Bailey and Matthew Brown, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “After months of failed legal challenges, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) appeared Tuesday before a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating efforts by former president Donald Trump and his allies to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia, the latest high-profile witness in a probe that is believed to be nearing a conclusion. A sheriff said that Graham entered Fulton County Courthouse around 8 a.m. to appear before the grand jury, which is hearing testimony in private. Kevin D. Bishop, a spokesman for Graham, later said in a statement the senator testified for ‘just over two hours and answered all questions.'” See also, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham testifies before Georgia grand jury investigating 2020 election aftermath, CNN Politics, Sara Murray and Chris Youd, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday appeared before a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Prosecutors in Fulton County, who are investigating efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to subvert the results of the 2020 election in the Peach State, had long wanted to question Graham about calls he made to Georgia election officials after the presidential election, as well as his interactions with the Trump campaign, according to court documents.” See also, After Court Fight, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham Appears Before Atlanta Grand Jury. Lawyers for Mr. Graham had fought to keep him from having to testify in the investigation of election interference by former President Donald Trump and his allies. The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Tuesday, 22 November 2022: “A week after Donald J. Trump declared his third candidacy for president, there was a fresh reminder on Tuesday of his ongoing legal entanglements when one of his closest allies on Capitol Hill, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, was forced to testify before a Georgia special grand jury that is investigating election interference by Mr. Trump and his advisers. Mr. Graham’s lawyers had fought for months to keep him from having to testify, taking their effort all the way to the Supreme Court. But his legal team, which includes Donald McGahn, Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, ultimately failed, leaving Mr. Graham to potentially face questions about whether he coordinated with the Trump campaign or others as they sought to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results in Mr. Trump’s favor.”


Wednesday, 23 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia strikes Kyiv; U.N. Security Council holds meeting on Ukraine, The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, David L. Stern, Claire Parker, and Sammy Westfall, Wednesday, 23 November 2022: “A wave of Russian strikes on Wednesday caused several deaths and injuries in Kyiv and further damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The attacks, after weeks of Russian bombardment, knocked out power in several Ukrainian regions and a large swath of neighboring Moldova. A strike on a hospital in the Zaporizhzhia region killed an infant, Ukrainian authorities said. The United Nations Security Council met the same day to discuss strikes on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, following a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who appeared virtually at the meeting to condemn Moscow’s ‘formula of terror.’ The Ukrainian government is planning to set up shelters across the country to provide basic services as winter sets in, including electricity, internet, heat, water and first aid. The U.S. Defense Department announced a $400 million military aid package Wednesday, which includes 200 generators.

  • Kyiv’s regional governor urged residents to heed air raid sirens on Wednesday and stay in shelters, as officials reported strikes in the capital. Three people were killed in a strike, which hit a two-story building, according to the city’s military administration. Among those killed was a 17-year-old girl, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, and 11 people were injured. Wednesday’s strikes hit 16 targets across Ukraine and caused power outages in the cities of Kharkiv and Lviv, and in several other regions.
  • Speaking virtually to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Zelensky said, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, in your midst you have representatives of a state that does not offer anything to the world but terror, destabilization and disinformation.’ He said Russia used 70 rockets on Ukraine over the course of the day.
  • Having struggled on the battlefield, Putin is ‘weaponizing winter’ as a strategy to harm Ukrainians, said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the U.N. meeting. ‘He has decided that if he cannot seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country into submission,’ she said, saying Putin’s motive ‘could not be more clear and more coldblooded.’ If the Russian gets his way, she said, millions of Ukrainians will be without power, water and heat during the cold winter — forcing families to flee, filling up hospitals and killing vulnerable people.
  • The White House condemned Russia’s latest assault targeting Ukrainian civilians and the country’s energy grid. In a statement, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the United States had provided more than $250 million for ‘winterization efforts’ in Ukraine — funds intended for heating fuel, generators, warm blankets and shelter repairs. The strikes ‘do not appear aimed at any military purpose and instead further the goal of the Putin regime to increase the suffering and death of Ukrainian men, women and children.’ The Kremlin had underestimated Ukrainians’ resolve, Watson added, predicting efforts ‘to demoralize them will fail yet again.’
  • Neighboring Moldova experienced ‘massive blackouts’ Wednesday, including in the capital, Chisinau, after Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu wrote on Twitter. More than half of the country lost power, Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu wrote. The Moldovan government summoned Russia’s ambassador in reaction. ‘Russia has left Moldova in the dark,’ Moldovan President Maia Sandu wrote in a Facebook post. ‘We can’t trust a regime that leaves us in the dark and cold, that purposely kills people for the mere desire to keep other peoples poor and humble.’
  • Russian energy giant Gazprom said it would reduce natural gas supplies to Europe through a pipeline that runs through Ukraine. Gazprom accused Kyiv of withholding gas meant for Moldova; the Ukrainian gas transmission system operator denied the allegation. Gazprom said it would begin reducing gas supplies ‘if the transit imbalance through Ukraine for Moldovan consumers persists, on Nov. 28, from 10:00.’
  • The European Parliament voted Wednesday to label Russia ‘a state sponsor of terrorism,’ citing ‘the deliberate attacks and atrocities’ in Ukraine. Kyiv has urged the United States to do the same, although the White House has indicated it will refrain from such a move. In a tweet, Zelensky welcomed the decision. Here’s what the designation means.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine; G7 and Allies Fail to Agree on Price Cap for Russian Oil. International diplomats meeting in Brussels remained too far apart in talks to set a top price for Russian oil. The New York Times, Wednesday, 23 November 2022:

  • Ukraine’s allies want to curb the flow of oil revenue helping finance Russia’s invasion.

  • Russia unleashes a missile barrage, killing at least 10.

  • Pope Francis compares Russia’s war against Ukraine to a devastating Stalin-era famine.

  • Zelensky takes his case to the U.N., as the U.S. accuses Russia of trying to freeze Ukraine ‘into submission.’

  • In a Kyiv suburb, antiaircraft guns fire into the sky, then a Russian missile slams into a residential building.

  • A Russian missile strikes a maternity ward, killing a newborn, Ukraine says.

  • The U.S. bolsters Ukrainian air defenses and long-range artillery.

Justice Department Seeking to Question Pence in January 6 Investigation. Prosecutors want to speak with the former vice president as a witness to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to remain in power, and he is said to be considering how to respond. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Wednesday, 23 November 2022: “The Justice Department is seeking to question former Vice President Mike Pence as a witness in connection with its criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter. Mr. Pence, according to people familiar with his thinking, is open to considering the request, recognizing that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation is different from the inquiry by the House Jan. 6 committee, whose overtures he has flatly rejected. Complicating the situation is whether Mr. Trump would try to invoke executive privilege to stop him or limit his testimony, a step that he has taken with limited success so far with other former officials. Mr. Pence was present for some of the critical moments in which Mr. Trump and his allies schemed to keep him in office and block the congressional certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. An agreement for him to cooperate would be the latest remarkable twist in an investigation that is already fraught with legal and political consequences, involving a former president who is now a declared candidate to return to the White House — and whose potential rivals for the 2024 Republican nomination include Mr. Pence.”

Georgia Supreme Court Reinstates Abortion Ban After Six Weeks of Pregnancy. The order comes after a lower court ruled last week that the ban was unconstitutional. The New York Times, Ava Sasani, Wednesday, 23 November 2022: “The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated the state’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, temporarily restoring the law that had been blocked by a lower court last week. The State Supreme Court’s order, in response to a request for an emergency stay by the Georgia attorney general’s office, comes one week after Judge Robert C.I. McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court suspended the law. He said he had done so because the six-week ban was unconstitutional when the state legislature approved it in 2019 — more than three years before the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to abortion. The ban after six weeks of pregnancy — a time when most women have not yet realized they are pregnant — is not a final decision but will remain in effect while the State Supreme Court considers the attorney general’s appeal of Judge McBurney’s ruling.” See also, Georgia Supreme Court reinstates six-week abortion ban, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Wednesday, 23 November 2022: “The Georgia Supreme Court has reinstated the state’s ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, just one week after the law was overturned by a Fulton County judge. In response to an emergency petition by the state, the high court issued a one-page order Wednesday that puts last week’s lower court ruling on pause while it considers an appeal. In his Nov. 15 decision, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney determined that the so-called ‘heartbeat law’ was unconstitutional when enacted in 2019 because the prevailing law of Roe v. Wade prohibited abortion bans pre-viability. After his ruling, abortion access in Georgia reverted to the pre-ban level of up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. After Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, states were free to enact laws that banned abortion before fetal viability. In states such as Georgia, abortion bans were enacted at six weeks, which is the earliest that fetal cardiac electrical activity — distinct from the heartbeat of a fully-formed organ — can be detected. Though Wednesday’s order is not the final word on the state’s abortion law, issuing the order put the six-week ban back into immediate effect. The court denied a request by abortion providers to give 24 hours’ notice before reinstating the ban.”


Thursday, 24 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky urges U.N. to condemn ‘energy terror’ and Moscow and Kyiv exchange prisoners, The Washington Post, Kelly Kasulis Cho and Victoria Bisset, Thursday, 24 November 2022: “Ukrainian authorities on Thursday worked to restore key infrastructure following a wave of Russian strikes Wednesday. A Ukrainian presidential official said Thursday that power had been restored in all regions of the country, although efforts to reconnect households were still underway. Power outages and lack of access to heat remained widespread. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, said on Telegram early Thursday that 70 percent of the capital remained without electricity, although water has since been restored to the whole city. Ukraine and Russia each freed 50 prisoners Thursday in an exchange.

  • Russian and Ukrainian officials said Thursday that Moscow and Kyiv had exchanged 50 prisoners of war. The Ukrainian side of the swap included troops captured in Mariupol, some at the Azovstal steel plant where fighters made a last stand, along with some taken prisoner at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and at Snake Island, where the defiance of defenders became a symbolic moment for Ukraine early in the war, Andriy Yermak, head of the presidential office of Ukraine, said on Twitter. The SBU, Ukraine’s main internal security service, released a video of the exchange.
  • Zelensky compared Russia’s attacks on energy to ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in his speech late Wednesday. ‘When the temperature is below zero outside, and tens of millions of people are left without electricity, heat and water as a result of Russian missiles hitting energy facilities, this is an obvious crime against humanity,’ he told the Security Council.
  • Many parts of Ukraine reeled in the wake of the strikes. In the central Dnipropetrovsk region, around half of residents remain without power, the head of the local military administration said early Thursday. According to Valentyn Reznichenko, almost 3,000 miners had to be rescued after being trapped underground during the blackouts.
  • The European Union is working at ‘full speed’ to prepare a ninth round of sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen announced Thursday, as the bloc’s parliament approved $18.7 billion to help Ukraine ‘survive the war and start its reconstruction.’ Speaking at a news conference in Finland, she said she was ‘confident’ that the G-7 and other major partners would soon approve a global price cap on Russian oil, adding: ‘We will not rest until Ukraine has prevailed over Putin and his unlawful and barbaric war.'”

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: The Parent of a Tech Giant Aims to Cut Ties With Russia. The departure of the parent of the company known as ‘Russia’s Google’ would be a setback to President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to develop homegrown substitutes for Western technology. The New York Times, Thursday, 24 November 2022:

  • The parent of a tech giant known as ‘Russia’s Google’ wants to cut ties with the country.

  • Millions remain without power in Ukraine even as some services are restored.

  • ‘Every hour is getting harder’: Surgeons in Ukraine struggle to operate when the power goes out.

  • Ukraine’s allies want to curb the flow of oil revenue helping finance Russia’s invasion.

  • Ukraine’s energy grid, the target of repeated strikes, is like a network of roads, its energy utility head says.

  • Zelensky takes his case to the U.N., as the U.S. accuses Russia of trying to freeze Ukraine ‘into submission.’

  • A U.S.-made missile went astray in Ukraine in September and injured civilians.


Friday, 25 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Putin meets with soldiers’ mothers; NATO chief warns of bleak winter for Ukraine, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala, Andrew Jeong, Victoria Bisset, Natalia Abbakumova, and Claire Parker, Friday, 25 November 2022: “NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday pledged ongoing support for Ukraine, saying that backing Ukrainian forces now is a step toward a lasting peace. ‘Most wars end with negotiations. But what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield,’ he said at a news conference in Brussels. Stoltenberg also accused Russia of using ever more brutal tactics against Ukraine in the wake of recent battlefield losses. ‘This is a horrific start to the winter for Ukraine,’ he said. He pledged to push for additional support for Kyiv at next week’s meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania. On the eve of Russia’s Mother’s Day, President Vladimir Putin met with mothers of Russian soldiers at his official residence outside Moscow, the first time he has publicly met relatives of servicemen fighting in Ukraine. Putin said he ‘personally’ shared their suffering and that ‘nothing can replace the loss of a child, a son, especially for a mother.’ Earlier this month, the Pentagon’s top general said more than 100,000 Russian troops were believed to have been killed or injured since the Feb. 24 invasion. Tens of thousands of men have left the country to avoid being drafted.

  • Efforts to restore water and power supplies across Ukraine are continuing, but two-thirds of the capital, Kyiv, remained without heat and half of households still had no electricity by early Friday, according to the city’s mayor. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Friday that more than 6 million people were affected by blackouts in the country, primarily in the capital. Ukraine’s four working nuclear power plants have been reconnected to the national grid after losing off-site power earlier this week, International Atomic Energy Agency Director Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement Friday.
  • Strong winds, rain and freezing temperatures are hampering repair work on infrastructure hit in the recent strikes, Ukraine’s main power grid operator Ukrenergo said Friday on Facebook. The country’s finance minister told Reuters that the attacks on infrastructure, which Zelensky has described as ‘energy terror,’ are also raising Ukraine’s reconstruction bill. An assessment released in late summer, before the Kremlin intensified air attacks, pegged Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction costs at $349 billion.
  • Zelensky urged European nations Friday to remain united over the issue of imposing a price cap on Russian oil. ‘It’s not helping Ukraine to stand against Russia; this is helping Europe to stand against Russian aggression,’ he told a conference in Lithuania via a live video link, according to Reuters news agency. European Union member states have thus far failed to agree on a price cap level, with proposals in the range of $65 to $70 per barrel seen as too high by some and too low by others.
  • The Dutch parent company of Yandex, Russia’s foremost technology firm, often called ‘Russia’s Google,’ said it is exploring divesting most of the company and developing some services — including tech for self-driving cars, cloud computing and education technology — outside Russia. Yandex N.V., the parent company, cited ‘the current geopolitical environment’ in a statement Friday announcing the decision to review options to restructure the group. Yandex operates in 15 countries.
  • Pope Francis praised the ‘noble and martyred people’ of Ukraine in a letter addressed to Ukrainians nine months after the start of the war. The pope condemned ‘the absurd madness of war’ and compared Ukrainians’ suffering to that of Jesus on the cross. ‘The cross that tortured the Lord lives again in the tortures found on the bodies, in the mass graves uncovered in various cities, in those and so many other bloody images that have entered our souls, that make us cry out: why? How can men treat other men this way?’ the pontiff wrote, according to Vatican News.
  • Former German chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘didn’t come as a surprise’ but that she had been powerless to prevent the conflict. Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years before stepping down last year, told Der Spiegel news magazine in an interview published Friday that she had sought to establish talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in summer 2021. ‘But I no longer had the power to get my own way because everyone knew: She’ll be gone in autumn,’ Merkel said.
  • Two Iranian-born Swedish brothers charged with spying for Russia for a decade have gone on trial in Stockholm. Peyman Kia, 42, and Payam Kia, 35, are accused of having worked to pass information to Russia and its military intelligence service, the GRU, between September 2011 and September 2021, the Associated Press reports.
  • Britain will provide 24 ambulances to Ukraine as part of a new aid package to support the country during the coming winter. The measures, which were announced Friday as part of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s visit to Kyiv, are in addition to $60 million in defense support unveiled by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week. Also Friday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said France is sending 100 high-power generators to Ukraine. And Lithuania, Latvia and Romania will send transformers and generators, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Zelensky in a phone call Friday, according to a news release.
  • The presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania signed a joint declaration to shore up their security cooperation and support the enlargement of the European Union and NATO as the war in nearby Ukraine shows no signs of abating.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Kherson Evacuates Hospitals Amid Russian Bombardment. Russian Shelling has killed at least 10 civilians and wounded dozens more over the past 24 hours, a Ukrainian official says. The New York Times, Friday, 25 November 2022:

  • After losing Kherson, Russia bombards the city from afar.

  • Under a cross atop a shallow grave, he found his father.

  • Putin holds a highly choreographed meeting with mothers of Russian servicemen.

  • Ukraine’s allies struggle to agree on a plan to curb Russia’s oil revenue.

  • Merkel says she lacked the power to influence Putin ahead of his invasion of Ukraine.

  • As a dark winter descends on Ukraine, Europe tries to help keep the lights on.

Trump’s Latest Dinner Guest: Nick Fuentes, White Supremacist. The former president’s table for four at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday also included Kanye West, whose antisemitic statements have made him an entertainment-industry outcast. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer, Friday, 25 November 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday night had dinner with Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and racist who is one of the country’s most prominent young white supremacists, at Mr. Trump’s private club in Florida, advisers to Mr. Trump conceded on Friday. Also at the dinner was the performer Kanye West, who has also been denounced for making antisemitic statements. Mr. West traveled to meet with Mr. Trump at the club, Mar-a-Lago, and brought Mr. Fuentes along, the advisers said. The fourth attendee at the four-person dinner, Karen Giorno — a veteran political operative who worked on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign as his state director in Florida — also confirmed that Mr. Fuentes was there. Attempts to reach Mr. Fuentes through an intermediary on Friday were unsuccessful. In recent years, Mr. Fuentes, 24, has developed a high profile on the far right and forged ties with such Republican lawmakers as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, largely through his leadership of an annual white-supremacist event called the America First Political Action Conference. A Holocaust denier and unabashed racist, Mr. Fuentes openly uses hateful language on his podcast, in recent weeks calling for the military to be sent into Black neighborhoods and demanding that Jews leave the country…. During the dinner, according to a person briefed on what took place, Mr. Fuentes described himself as part of Mr. Trump’s base of supporters. Mr. Trump remarked that his advisers urge him to read speeches using a teleprompter and don’t like when he ad-libs remarks. Mr. Fuentes said Mr. Trump’s supporters preferred the ad-libs, at which Mr. Trump turned to the others, the person said, and declared that he liked Mr. Fuentes, adding: ‘He gets me.'” See also, Trump criticized for dining with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, The Washington Post, Eugene Scott and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 25 November 2022: “Former president Donald Trump dined with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and hip-hop artist Ye at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., earlier this week, drawing intense criticism for associating with two figures who have promoted antisemitism and hate. Advisers to Trump privately acknowledged that the decision to host the Tuesday dinner, just one week after Trump launched his reelection bid, was a significant concern. One adviser described it as ‘horrible’ and another as ‘totally awful.’ They and others in Trump’s orbit spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions. David M. Friedman, who served as his ambassador to Israel, publicly took Trump to task for consorting with the troublesome pair, tweeting that the former president was ‘better than this.’ The private dinner is the latest example of how the former president has courted individuals with extreme or racist views. Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, recently lost billions of dollars of net worth after businesses cut ties with him for repeatedly making antisemitic remarks. Fuentes, a political commentator on YouTube, has a history of touting white nationalist ideas.”


Saturday, 26 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: European leaders arrive in Kyiv for show of support during Ukraine’s commemoration of the famine of 1932-33, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Victoria Bisset, Praveena Somasundaram, Katerina Ang, and Justine McDaniel, Saturday, 26 November 2022: “As foreign leaders arrived to help Ukraine commemorate the country’s famine of 1932-1933, Ukraine announced that it would send shiploads of Ukrainian-grown produce to poor countries next year. The program, announced after a summit in Kyiv with the foreign leaders, will aim to help alleviate hunger in parts of Africa and Asia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a news conference. Ukrainian officials have drawn direct parallels between the Soviet-orchestrated famine of the 1930s and Russia’s tactics in today’s war. Meanwhile, millions of Ukrainians who had been without power in the past few days had electricity restored, but about 3 million remain disconnected from the power grid, Zelensky said Saturday in his daily address. About 12 million Ukrainians lost power Wednesday, with power restored for 6 million by Friday and another 3 million Saturday, according to Zelensky. The number of outages could increase as energy consumption spikes, he said, urging residents to conserve power.

  • The leaders of Belgium, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania were in Kyiv on Saturday, offering a show of support as Ukraine commemorated those who died in the 1932-1933 famine, known as Holodomor. The famine, which was caused by the edicts of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, killed 4 million people and has been recognized by the European Parliament as a ‘crime against humanity.’
  • The visiting European leaders attended a food security summit in Kyiv, appearing alongside Zelensky. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also addressed the summit on Saturday, accusing Russia of ‘using hunger as a weapon of war against Ukraine’ and drawing parallels with the Holodomor famine.
  • Ukraine announced that it would send produce to some of the world’s poorest countries. The ‘Grain from Ukraine’ program will send 60 ships of food in the first half of next year, Zelensky said at a news conference with the visiting leaders after their meeting. The countries receiving aid may include Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and others, he said on Telegram, with each ship providing food for about 90,000 people. The effort comes in addition to the Black Sea Grain Initiative through which shipments have gone to various countries. Other countries, including the United States, have agreed to help with the new program, sending Ukraine about $150 million, Zelensky said in his daily address.
  • Ukrainian officials drew on the 90th anniversary of Holodomor to rally their citizens against Russian troops. ‘The Holodomor of 1932-1933 was a genocide of the Ukrainian people,’ presidential official Andriy Yermak wrote on Twitter. ‘Now, 90 years later, Russia unleashed a full-scale war against us and wants to organize Holodomor 2.0. But this time not in Ukraine alone, but also in the world,’ he said, as the country’s defense ministry condemned Russia’s ‘theft and destruction’ of Ukrainian grain and its impact on global food supplies.

On the 90th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Famine, Parallels to Russia’s Strikes. The Holodomor commemoration came as President Vladimir Putin was accused of degrading Ukraine’s power grid to freeze the country into submission. The New York Times, Marc Santora and Cassandra Vinograd, Saturday, 26 November 2022: “When Joseph Stalin engineered a famine designed to break the will of Ukrainians opposed to the Kremlin’s farming policies, he turned the grain-rich breadbasket of Europe into a land of starvation, deprivation and death. Ninety years later, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has turned his missile arsenal on civilian infrastructure in an effort to shatter Ukrainian resolve and force Kyiv to bend to his will, leaving millions in darkness and cold, threatening access to clean water and compromising the nation’s health care system. But when Ukrainians across the country lit candles at 4 p.m. on Saturday to mark the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, which means ‘death by hunger’ in Ukrainian, President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed that Ukrainians would not allow history to repeat itself.”


Sunday, 27 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky says electricity is coming back online; Russians may be fleeing the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, The Washington Post, Nick Parker, Jennifer Hassan, and Marisa Iati, Sunday, 27 November 2022: “Ukraine was restoring electricity this weekend in a situation that was ‘under control,’ President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday evening. Russian forces had targeted infrastructure in a heavily damaging midweek attack that left most Ukrainians without power and led to public criticism between the president and the capital city’s mayor. Zelensky did not specify how many people were without power during his nightly address Sunday. Meanwhile, the leader of Ukraine’s nuclear regulator said he saw signs that Russian forces may be leaving the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that has stood as a tense focus of international observers worried that fighting could lead to a catastrophe.

  • Zelensky thanked ‘the thousands of people who worked round the clock all over our state to restore light, water, heat and communication.’ Electricity was not restored everywhere this weekend, he said, but crews were making significant progress in turning the lights and heat back on as wintry weather descended.
  • Russian forces may be preparing to exit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Energoatom president Petro Kotin told Ukrainian media Sunday. ‘I am under the impression that they are packing their bags and stealing everything they see,’ Kotin reportedly told a Ukrainian broadcaster. The International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. nuclear watchdog, did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment Sunday.
  • Russia is slowing Ukraine’s international grain shipments with frivolous inspections, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said Sunday. The inspections are allowed under a U.N.-brokered deal that was extended this month, Kubrakov said on Facebook, but they are halving Ukraine’s capability to ship 6 million tons per month.
  • U.S. legislation would require greater scrutiny of the $20 billion in military aid sent by President Biden to Ukraine, and it has bipartisan support, The Post reports. It comes as Republican skeptics call for audits and other accountability measures regarding U.S. assistance.
  • Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko pushed back on Zelensky’s criticism from Friday that the local government had not done enough to restore power there. Klitschko said that more than 430 heating centers had been installed in the city and that the president’s remarks had ‘a political color.’ ‘In Kyiv, we are doing everything we can for the life-support of the capital, for the comfort of its residents,’ Klitschko wrote on Telegram.


Monday, 28 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: G-7 to discuss assault on Ukraine’s power grid; Zelensky warns citizens to brace for more Russian airstrikes, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan, Maham Javaid, Sammy Westfall, Jennifer Hassan, and Rachel Pannett, Monday, 28 November 2022: “Russia’s assault on Ukraine’s power grid will be discussed at a meeting involving officials from the Group of Seven nations as foreign affairs ministers gather for a NATO meeting on Tuesday in Bucharest. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned his country to brace for more Russian airstrikes that have left civilian infrastructure in poor shape as winter approaches. U.S. officials have said that Russia is targeting transmission stations that power Ukraine.

  • Russia postponed nuclear treaty talks with the United States that were set to start Tuesday in Cairo, the State Department said Monday. The two parties were meant to discuss the resumption of inspections for the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which limits and regulates the world’s two largest nuclear powers. A State Department spokesperson told The Washington Post that Russia ‘unilaterally’ postponed the meeting and would propose new dates, while the United States is ready to reschedule for the earliest possible moment.
  • The United States will announce steps to help Ukraine withstand Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, U.S. officials said Monday. A senior State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told reporters that 25 to 30 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure had been damaged by Russian missiles and drone attacks. ‘Our desire is to ensure that the Ukrainians have the tools they need to respond as quickly as possible, so Putin cannot achieve through these humanitarian targets what he’s failed to achieve on the battlefield,’ the official said.
  • European diplomats said they would try to move forward with U.S.-backed plans to cap the price of Russian oil in a Monday meeting in Brussels after talks last week stalled over what the price cap level should be.
  • The electricity situation is ‘under control’ across most of Ukraine, with only scheduled stabilization blackouts in effect, Zelensky said, after energy workers rallied to repair the damage from airstrikes on infrastructure last week.
  • A large, high-level delegation of foreign ministers of Baltic and Nordic nations visited Kyiv on Monday to discuss support for Ukraine. The group discussed tightening sanctions, reconstructing energy infrastructure and supporting Ukraine financially. Zelensky said they also agreed on further cooperation in the defense sphere and reconstruction projects.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: 7 European Foreign Ministers Meet Zelensky in Kyiv. Mr. Zelensky requested more military aid for Ukraine to preserve what remains of its battered energy grid, including more air defense systems to protect against Russian missiles and Iranian-made drones. The New York Times, Monday, 28 November 2022:

  • Russian forces are fortifying lines of defense in southern Ukraine, a new report says.

  • The Kremlin tries to tamp down speculation that its forces will leave the Zaporizhzhia plant.

  • E.U. diplomats meet again on a plan to cap the price of Russian oil but can’t strike a deal.

  • Ukraine warns of a new wave of Russian strikes.

  • Belarus’s architect of Western outreach dies suddenly, state media reports.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Power back on for many in Ukraine, but more Russian strikes are expected, NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 28 November 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: Ukrainians are on edge after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned citizens of more Russian missile strikes to come, even as Ukraine races to restore heating and electricity after recent heavy attacks on infrastructure. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and foreign ministers of NATO allies are traveling to Romania this week for meetings. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is due to meet with Romania’s leaders Monday. Germany is also hosting high-level meetings this week as well. On Tuesday, Ukrainian officials and justice officials from several advanced nations will gather in Berlin to discuss international law violations committed in Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold talks with top multilateral, trade and labor institutions. And starting Wednesday, the capital hosts its annual Berlin Security Conference. French President Emmanuel Macron visits the U.S. Tuesday to Saturday. He meets with President Biden Thursday and will partake in the president’s first state dinner on Thursday, with a performance by musician Jon Batiste. On Wednesday are Senate confirmation hearings including for nominee Lynne Tracy to be U.S. ambassador to Russia. Russia postponed nuclear arms treaty talks with the U.S. that had been planned for Tuesday in Cairo. What happened last week: Ukrainian security service and police raided an Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv, on Nov. 22, saying it was part of an operation to ‘counter the destructive activities of Russian special services in Ukraine.’ A barrage of Russian strikes knocked out power and water supplies in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine, on Nov. 23. The U.S. provided Ukraine with an additional $400 million in weapons, air defense and other military equipment, on Nov. 23. The State Department said this brings the total of U.S. military aid for Ukraine to $19.7 billion since President Biden took office in 2021. Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine reached the nine-month mark on Nov. 24. United Nations agencies have counted nearly 8 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe, 6.5 million displaced inside Ukraine and thousands of civilians killed or injured. Civilians fled Russian attacks in Kherson, on Nov. 26, just weeks after Ukraine recaptured the city. Ukrainians marked Holodomor Memorial Day, on Nov. 26, commemorating victims of a devastating famine in the 1930s. In an address, President Zelenskyy paid tribute to Ukrainian ancestors who fell victim to that tragedy and other dark chapters of Soviet rule. Repairs to the power grid were almost complete after Russian strikes on key Ukrainian infrastructure left millions without electricity, heat and water.”

Donald Trump repeatedly refused to disavow the outspoken antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes after they spoke over dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort, rejecting the advice from advisers over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said, The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Monday, 28 November 2022: “The former US president was urged publicly and privately to denounce Fuentes in the aftermath of the dinner, which included the performer Ye, previously known as Kanye West, who has also recently been propagating antisemitic remarks. But Trump eschewed making outright disavowals of Fuentes, the people said, and none of the statements from the campaign or on his Truth Social account included criticism of Fuentes, despite efforts from advisers who reached Trump over the Thanksgiving holiday.”


Tuesday, 29 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.S. announces aid for Ukraine’s battered energy infrastructure, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan, Andrew Jeong, Leo Sands, Sammy Westfall, Emily Rauhala, and Alex Horton, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “The United States on Tuesday unveiled a plan to rehabilitate Ukraine’s energy grid, pledging $53 million to help Kyiv procure circuit breakers and other hardware after a sustained Russian air campaign battered the country’s infrastructure. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the plan during talks in Bucharest with counterparts from the Group of Seven industrialized nations. The pledge comes as Ukraine grapples with widespread blackouts and freezing temperatures. ‘This equipment will be rapidly delivered to Ukraine on an emergency basis to help Ukrainians persevere through the winter,’ the State Department said in a statement Tuesday.

  • Ukraine’s energy grid operator says it can provide only 70 percent of the electricity required. A senior State Department official told reporters that 25 to 30 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian missiles and drone attacks. ‘What Russia is trying to do is to systematically dismantle the national energy grid at a moment of peak vulnerability,’ said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity on Monday to preview the U.S. energy plan for Ukraine.
  • Russia this week postponed nuclear arms control talks with the United States because of the ‘extremely negative’ relationship between the two countries, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement on Telegram. She accused the United States of harboring a ‘pathological desire to harm’ Russia. The talks, under the New START treaty, were scheduled to begin Tuesday in Cairo.
  • NATO reiterated its longstanding commitment to one day admit Ukraine as it pledged to send more aid, the Associated Press reported. ‘NATO’s door is open,’ NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday, adding that ‘Russia does not have a veto’ on countries joining. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Telegram warned NATO against providing Ukrainian forces with Patriot missile defense systems.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.S. Seeks to Rally Aid for Ukraine’s Crippled Power Grid. As winter approaches, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced an emergency aid package of $53 million to shore up Ukraine’s energy infrastructure after an onslaught of Russian attacks. The New York Times, Tuesday, 29 November 2022:

  • U.S. officials hope the new aid for Ukraine’s energy grid will spur donations from other nations.

  • ‘NATO’s door is open’: The alliance’s top official affirms a pledge that Ukraine will join one day.

  • Ukraine’s first lady addresses British lawmakers, calling for ‘justice.’

  • The Wagner Group’s founder says a Zambian killed in Ukraine was recruited as a mercenary while in prison.

  • Poland says it will ask Ukrainian refugees to pay some housing and food costs next year.

  • NATO foreign ministers begin two days of meetings with a show of unity in support of Ukraine.

Oath Keepers Leader Stewart Rhodes Convicted of Sedition in Landmark January 6 Case. A jury in federal court in Washington convicted Rhodes, the leader of the far-right militia, and one of his subordinates for a plot to keep Donald Trump in power. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Zach Montague, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was convicted on Tuesday along with one of his subordinates of seditious conspiracy as a jury found them guilty of seeking to keep former President Donald J. Trump in power through an extensive plot that started after the 2020 election and culminated in the mob attack on the Capitol. The jury in Federal District Court in Washington found three other defendants in the case not guilty of sedition and acquitted Mr. Rhodes of two separate conspiracy charges. The split verdicts, coming after three days of deliberations, were a landmark — if not total — victory for the Justice Department, which poured enormous effort into prosecuting Mr. Rhodes and his four co-defendants. The sedition convictions marked the first time in nearly 20 trials related to the Capitol attack that a jury had decided that the violence that erupted on Jan. 6, 2021, was the product of an organized conspiracy. Seditious conspiracy is the most serious charge brought so far in any of the 900 criminal cases stemming from the vast investigation of the Capitol attack, an inquiry that could still result in scores, if not hundreds, of additional arrests. Mr. Rhodes, 57, was also found guilty of obstructing the certification of the election during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 and of destroying evidence in the case. On those three counts, he faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.” See also, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes guilty of January 6 seditious conspiracy, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Rachel Weiner, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and a top deputy of seditious conspiracy for leading a months-long plot to unleash political violence to prevent the inauguration of President Biden, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The panel of seven men and five women deliberated for three days before finding Rhodes and lead Florida Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs guilty of conspiring to oppose by force the lawful transition of presidential power. But three other associates were not convicted of the historically rare and politically freighted sedition count. All five were convicted of obstructing Congress as it met to confirm the results of the 2020 election. Both offenses are punishable by up to 20 years in prison…. ‘The jury’s verdict on seditious conspiracy confirms that January 6, 2021, was not just “legitimate political discourse” or a peaceful protest that got out of hand. This was a planned, organized, violent assault on the lawful authority of the U.S. government and the peaceful transfer of power,’ said Randall D. Eliason, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at George Washington University. ‘Now the only remaining question is how much higher did those plans go, and who else might be held criminally responsible,’ Eliason said.” See also, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes convicted of seditious conspiracy in January 6 trial, NPR, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers, has been found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other offenses in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. A federal jury in Washington, D.C., also convicted Rhodes of obstructing an official proceeding and tampering with documents. He was acquitted of two other conspiracy counts. Rhodes did not enter the Capitol during the riot, but instead stood outside like a ‘battlefield general’ surveying his troops, prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler said. All five defendants on trial in this case were charged with seditious conspiracy but only one in addition to Rhodes, Kelly Meggs, was found guilty. The three other defendants — Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell — were acquitted on that central charge. But all of the defendants were found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding as well as a mix of other charges.”

Trump doesn’t have ‘absolute immunity’ over efforts to overturn 2020 election, judge says. A federal judge said the former president’s efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 election were ‘purely political and therefore well beyond the contours of presidential immunity.’ NBC News, Summer Concepcion, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “A federal judge on Monday rejected former President Donald Trump’s argument that he has ‘absolute immunity’ in response to a lawsuit alleging he committed civil rights violations in his attempts to challenge the 2020 presidential election results. The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and others, accuses the former president and the Republican National Committee of efforts to disenfranchise voters through targeted harassment, intimidation and efforts to prevent the complete counting and certification of ballots after the 2020 election.  The ruling notes that Trump’s lawyers previously argued that he is ‘absolutely immune’ from damages for his actions within the “outer perimeter” of his official responsibilities as president. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington sided with the civil rights groups, writing that Trump’s conduct after the 2020 election was ‘purely political and therefore well beyond the contours of presidential immunity.'”

Trump’s Far-right Embrace. Why it’s important to know more about Nick Fuentes. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “Donald Trump claimed he did not know who Nick Fuentes was before sitting down to dinner with him and other guests at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last week. But Fuentes is certainly well known to the groups that track racist and antisemitic trends in American society. While the Justice Department has described Fuentes in court papers as a white supremacist, that barely begins to fully capture the range of inflammatory views he has expressed denigrating Black people, Jews, women, L.G.B.T.Q. Americans, Muslims and immigrants. At age 24, Fuentes has become a star on the far right for a font of extremist statements that would have disqualified him from meeting with any other modern president. He has used a racist slur for Black people; called homosexuality ‘disgusting’; asserted that the Republican Party was ‘run by Jews, atheists and homosexuals’; said it would be better if women could not vote; compared himself to Hitler and hoped for ‘a total Aryan victory’; declared that ‘the First Amendment was not written for Muslims’; and maintained that Jim Crow segregation ‘was better for them, it’s better for us, it’s better in general.’ Fuentes first came to prominence in 2017 when he attended the ultraright rally in Charlottesville, Va., after which Trump asserted that there were ‘very fine people on both sides’ even as he denounced neo-Nazis. Fuentes dropped out of Boston University after saying he had received threats stemming from his attendance at the rally and began hosting a livestream show, ‘America First,’ that same year, generating an audience of followers called Groypers, named for a cartoon frog.”

Mark Meadows ordered to testify in Trump investigation. South Carolina’s Supreme Court has ordered former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify to an Atlanta-area grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election in Georgia. Politico, Klye Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “South Carolina’s Supreme Court has unanimously ordered former White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify to an Atlanta-area grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election in Georgia. ‘We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit,’ South Carolina’s Supreme Court justices wrote in a brief opinion. The decision affirmed a lower court’s ruling requiring Meadows to testify to the Fulton County grand jury investigation led by District Attorney Fani Willis. Meadows was initially scheduled to appear for testimony on Nov. 30, and it’s unclear if that appearance is still on track.”

Top Trump adviser Stephen Miller testifies to January 6 federal grand jury, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Hannah Rabinowitz, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “Former Trump adviser Stephen Miller testified on Tuesday to a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, as part of the January 6, 2021, investigation, CNN has learned, making him the first known witness to testify since the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to oversee the criminal investigations around the former president. Miller was at the federal courthouse in downtown Washington for several hours throughout Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the investigation. January 6 lead prosecutor Thomas Windom was spotted at the same federal courthouse on Tuesday. Windom is expected to join the newly created Special Counsel’s Office led by longtime public corruption prosecutor Jack Smith and will continue leading the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s role in efforts to impede the transfer of power following the 2020 election. Federal investigators have for months sought information from Trump’s inner circle in the White House, attempting to gather insight into Trump’s state of mind before his supporters rioted on January 6. Miller, a former White House speechwriter and senior adviser to Trump, could provide a firsthand account of the former president’s preparations for his speech at the Ellipse in Washington on January 6, including how he wanted to inspire his supporters, many of whom went on to attack the Capitol and disrupt Congress.”

Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate After Bipartisan Breakthrough. The 61-to-36 vote sends the legislation back to the House, which is expected to approve it and send it to President Biden. The New York Times, Annie Karni, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “The Senate passed landmark legislation on Tuesday to mandate federal recognition for same-sex marriages, as a lame-duck Congress mustered a notable moment of bipartisanship before Democrats were to lose their unified control of Capitol Hill. The 61-to-36 vote put the bill on track to become law in the final weeks before Republicans assume the majority in the House of Representatives at the start of the new Congress in January. It marked one of the final major legislative achievements for Democrats before Republicans shift the focus in the House to conducting investigations of President Biden’s administration and family members. The bill must now win final approval by the House in a vote expected as soon as next week, which would clear it for Mr. Biden, who said he looked forward to signing it alongside the bipartisan coalition that helped shepherd it through the Senate. In a statement, the president said the vote reaffirmed ‘a fundamental truth: Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love.'” See also, Senate passes bill to protect same-sex marriages, NPR, Ximena Bustillo and Juma Sei, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “With bipartisan support and a 61-36 vote, the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies same-sex and interracial marriages. Lawmakers moved forward with the vote Tuesday after securing essential Republican support during a procedural vote a day earlier. It now heads back to the House where it is expected to be passed quickly and sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law. ‘By passing the bill, the Senate is sending a message that every senator needs to hear,’ said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., ahead of the vote. ‘No matter who you are, or who you love, you too deserve dignity and equal treatment under the law.’ The bill would require that all states recognize same-sex and interracial marriages performed in any other state. It would not require that states individually allow these marriages to be performed. The measure also would recognize these marriages for consideration of federal benefits such as Medicare and Social Security.” See also, Senate vote to protect same-sex marriage reflects long political shift. A bipartisan group of 61 senators, including 12 Republicans, voted for the measure. The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Liz Goodwin, and Anne Branigin, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “Twenty-six years ago, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly for the Defense of Marriage Act, a law broadly supported by the American public that defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman. Republicans had found a wedge issue they would use for more than a decade to divide Democrats between their liberal base and swing voters. Eight years later, then-President George W. Bush embraced ‘protection of marriage’ as a central focus of his successful 2004 reelection effort. ‘The voice of the people must be heard,’ he said upon proposing a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between opposite-sex couples. But the people’s voice, as it turned out, was always moving. A bipartisan group of 61 senators spoke loudly on Tuesday, signaling a near-total upending of once dominant political dynamics when they voted to effectively nullify the 1996 law. The Respect for Marriage Act, once repassed by the House and signed by President Biden, will help protect recognition of same-sex marriages, enforced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, against future legal challenges.” See also, Senate passes bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage in landmark vote, CNN Politics, Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett, Tuesday, 29 November 2022: “The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriage, called the Respect for Marriage Act, in a landmark bipartisan vote. The final vote was 61-36. The bill was supported by all members of the Democratic caucus and 12 Republicans, the same dozen GOP members who backed the bill for a procedural vote earlier this month. The House will now need to approve the legislation before sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The House is expected to pass the bill before the end of the year – possibly as soon as next week.”


Wednesday, 30 November 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: E.U. proposes war crimes tribunal; energy woes continue; White House ‘concerned’ about Paul Whelan, The Washington Post, Andrew Jeong, Leo Sands, Emily Rauhala, Miriam Berger, and Ben Brasch, Wednesday, 30 November 2022: “The European Union proposed establishing a specialized court to investigate and prosecute Russia for war crimes, following renewed calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue Moscow for the ‘crime of aggression’ against Ukraine. ‘Russia must pay for its horrific crimes,’ European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted Wednesday, proposing that the tribunal be backed by the United Nations and work with the International Criminal Court. NATO ministers met for a second day in Bucharest, Romania, after alliance officials condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for targeting vital infrastructure and pledged wide-ranging support for Ukraine, including fuel and generators. About 6 million energy customers in most regions of the country and in Kyiv are disconnected from electricity, Zelensky said in his nightly address. On the sidelines of the NATO talks, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a U.S. plan to help Ukraine rapidly procure transformers, circuit breakers and other hardware to repair the electrical grid ahead of winter, following weeks of missile and drone attacks. The Biden administration said Wednesday that it was concerned about the well-being of Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia whose release U.S. officials have been working to secure, probably as part of a prisoner swap. Whelan had missed a scheduled call home. ‘Our embassy in Moscow has been working to understand exactly Paul’s condition and why his family hasn’t heard from him,’ John Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, told reporters.

  • Von der Leyen’s proposal comes after months of Ukrainian calls for such a court. In his nightly address Tuesday, Zelensky said a special tribunal was needed ‘so that every Russian murderer receives the deserved punishment.’ The International Criminal Court has already launched its own investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but it does not have jurisdiction to prosecute other crimes, such as aggression.
  • A Ukrainian Embassy employee in Spain was injured by a letter bomb Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Twitter. Ukraine would increase security at all embassies, he said. Spanish police have opened an investigation and placed a security cordon around the building in northern Madrid, Agence France-Presse reported.
  • Ukraine will receive six air-defense missile systems as part of a new $1.2 billion contract between the U.S. military and Raytheon Missiles and Defense, the Army announced Wednesday. The Biden administration had already promised Ukraine it would send more National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS. The challenge for the Pentagon and Raytheon will be making the equipment as quickly as possible. The Army announced it would work with industry partners to shorten the 24-month production lead time.
  • ‘NATO’s door is open’ for Ukraine’s eventual membership, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday in Bucharest, adding that ‘Russia does not have a veto’ on countries joining. But there are few signs the alliance is focused on the issue while the war is ongoing.
  • Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO applications are ‘nearly complete,’ Stoltenberg said following a ministerial meeting in Bucharest attended by the two Nordic nations. ‘Their accession will make them safer, our alliance stronger and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure.’ Stoltenberg also said the alliance would continue providing military support to Ukraine, particularly through the supply of air defenses.
  • ‘It is somehow unfortunate that it was exactly here in this palace in 2008 when, in our view, a strategic mistake was made by delaying Ukraine’s membership to NATO,’ Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters as the meeting concluded. ‘We believe … that the discussion on Ukraine’s application should begin. And we believe that mistakes made in the past can be corrected.’
  • Blinken downplayed disagreements within NATO over Finland’s and Sweden’s membership, and those over a proposed plan to cap the price of Russian oil, at a news conference in Bucharest on Tuesday. ‘Sometimes it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees,’ he said. ‘The forest is dense, strong, substantive, and there is convergence among allies and partners on all of the critical issues,’ he said. Of Finland’s and Sweden’s membership, he said the ratification by 28 of 30 member nations had happened ‘in record speed,’ adding that the two Nordic nations were engaging with Turkey to address its concerns.
  • Germany’s parliament on Wednesday recognized the Holodomor famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 as a genocide perpetrated by the Soviet Union. ‘Truth always wins,’ Zelensky tweeted in response.
  • Canada has finished issuing 500 million Canadian dollars, or about $370 million, in bonds to support Ukraine, according to a news release from the Canadian Finance Ministry. Zelensky, in his nightly address, thanked Canada, adding that Canada is assuming the debt. ‘The funds will assist the Government of Ukraine so it can continue to provide essential services to Ukrainians this winter, such as pensions, the purchasing of fuel, and restoring energy infrastructure,’ according to the news release.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Top E.U. Official Calls for Tribunal for War Crimes in Ukraine. The president of the European Commission proposed forming a United Nations-backed court to investigate atrocities in Ukraine. Kyiv has been trying to persuade world leaders to prosecute Russian soldiers and top Moscow officials. The New York Times, Wednesday, 30 November 2022:

  • A top E.U. official proposes a special court to focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Germany’s Parliament recognizes the Holodomor as a genocide against Ukraine.

  • NATO offers to help Georgia, Moldova and Bosnia improve their defenses.

  • Concern grows about Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia.

  • Germany and Norway will propose a NATO-led hub to protect undersea pipelines.

  • Blinken says the U.S. and its allies must help Ukraine with its air defenses.

  • A letter bomb delivered to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid explodes.

  • President Zelensky of Ukraine rebukes Elon Musk’s peace proposal.

House Committee Obtains Access to Trump’s Tax Returns, Ending Long Fight. The Supreme court last week declined to block the Treasury Department from giving the data to the House in the waning weeks of Democratic control. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 30 November 2022: “A House committee has gained access to six years of former President Donald J. Trump’s tax returns after the Supreme Court last week paved the way for the release of records he had long sought to keep secret. ‘Treasury has complied with last week’s court decision,’ Lily Adams, a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, said on Wednesday. The move brought to an end a nearly four-year effort by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee to obtain the returns. Breaking with modern precedent for major presidential candidates and sitting presidents, Mr. Trump had refused to make them public.” See also, House Ways and Means Committee receives Donald Trump’s federal tax returns from the IRS, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Wednesday, 30 November 2022: “The House Ways and Means Committee now has six years of Donald Trump’s federal tax returns, ending a yearslong pursuit by Democrats to dig into one of the former president’s most closely guarded personal details. ‘Treasury has complied with last week’s court decision,’ a Treasury spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday. The spokesperson did not provide any additional information. Federal courts had decided the House could request six years of Trump’s returns, after the committee had requested them in 2019 and again in 2021, according to public court records. The handover had been on hold, until the Supreme Court declined last week to intervene. Several judges, including Republican appointees, have found the House had power to request the returns from the IRS.”

In a Show of Unity, House Democrats Elect Hakeem Jeffries Minority Leader. A new trio, including Representatives Katherine Clark of Massachusetts as No. 2 and Pete Aguilar of California as No. 3, will take the reins in January, replacing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team. The New York Times, Annie Karni and Emily Cochrane, Wednesday, 30 November 2022: “House Democrats on Wednesday elected a new generation of leaders to take the mantle from the three octogenarians who have led them for two decades, installing a trio of top leaders that, for the first time in congressional history, includes no white men. In a display of unity after midterm elections in which they lost the House but had a stronger than expected showing, Democrats skipped a vote and by acclamation elected Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York to be minority leader, making him the first Black person to claim the top spot. Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts was elected as whip, the lead vote counter for House Democrats, and Representative Pete Aguilar of California as the chairman of the party caucus, in charge of messaging. Mr. Jeffries, 52, Ms. Clark, 59, and Mr. Aguilar, 43, who for years have positioned themselves as an unofficial joint slate and patiently waited their turn, ran unopposed after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who has led the party for two decades, announced after the midterm elections that she would step aside, paving the way for fresher faces at the top of her party.” See also, House Democrats ushered in a new generation of leaders on Wednesday with Representative Hakeem Jeffries elected to be the first Black American to head a major political party in Congress at a pivotal time as long-serving Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside next year, Associated Press, Lisa Mascaro, Wednesday, 30 November 2022: “Showing rare party unity after their midterm election losses, the House Democrats moved seamlessly from one history-making leader to another, choosing the 52-year-old New Yorker, who vowed to ‘get things done’ in the new Congress, even after Republicans won control of the chamber. The closed-door vote was unanimous, by acclamation. ‘We stand on their collective broad shoulders,’ Jeffries said afterward of Pelosi and her team. ‘The best thing that we can do as a result of the seriousness and solemnity of the moment,’ he had said earlier, ‘is lean in hard and do the best damn job that we can for the people.'” See also, With Hakeem Jeffries’ rise, his House members see ‘Democrats in total array,’ CNN Politics, Edward-Isaac Dovere, Wednesday, 30 November 2022: “Hakeem Jeffries pulled off a quiet revolution on Wednesday, becoming the first leader of the House Democrats to be born after the end of World War II and the first Black leader in either chamber of Congress, in what will likely be the first of many major changes coming for his rapidly evolving party. The New York congressman succeeds Nancy Pelosi, the outgoing speaker who’s 30 years older than him and has been leading House Democrats since George W. Bush’s first term. Jeffries plans on spending just two years in the minority before trying to become speaker himself after the 2024 elections.”



Even though the Trump administration is no longer in office, I am continuing to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period in US history. I will try to focus on the differences between the Trump administration and the Biden administration and on the ongoing toxic residual effects of the Trump administration and Republicans. I usually post throughout the day and let the news settle for a day or so before posting.

I created Muckraker Farm in 2014 as a place to post muckraking (investigative) journalism going back to the 19th century. I hope to return to this original project soon. You can find these muckraking pieces under the Home Page link at the top of this site. Thanks for reading!