We Resist: Day 99

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Here are some things in the news today:

I covered a few bits of big news earlier here.

Lots of stuff on the Russia investigations, especially around Michael Flynn, today...

By way of reminder, Flynn, Trump's erstwhile National Security Advisor resigned (or was fired, depending on who you talk to) after it was made public that he'd discussed sanctions on calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition.

It was later revealed that Flynn had also done "consulting work" for Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, who has ties to Putin. Flynn accepted nearly $600,000 in payment while he was serving as a top adviser to Trump's campaign. In fact, Flynn was still making his payments to his contractors on that consulting work "a month after Trump named him as national security adviser."

Further, it was discovered that, in 2015, Flynn was paid $45,000 by a Kremlin-backed news outlet to give a speech in Moscow, but he failed to disclose that payment a month later when he filed the paperwork to renew his security clearance, despite the fact that explicitly advised not to accept payment from a foreign government without permission and that he would need to report any income from foreign governments.

So, that's a brief summary of Flynn's chicanery. The current focus is on the $45k from the Moscow speech.

Following Sean Spicer's press briefing yesterday, during which he incredibly laid the blame for Michael Flynn on the Obama administration, because the Obama-era Justice Department originally issued his security clearance (never mind that the Obama administration subsequently fired him, which is a big red flag), Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he will recuse himself from any investigation of Flynn.

Meanwhile, Rep. Elijah Cummings, who has long led the charge on calling for investigations into Russian interference in the election, publicly said (and rightly so) that the White House is running interference for Flynn, and further made plain that they damn well knew about his behavior:
The White House has so far declined requests from both congressional Republicans and Democrats to provide the House Oversight Committee with internal documents related to Mr. Flynn.

White House officials argued that they did not have all the documents, and that those they did have were too sensitive and were irrelevant to congressional investigators.

"I honestly don't understand why the White House is covering up for Michael Flynn," Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House panel, said at a news conference on Thursday.

Mr. Cummings released both the Pentagon inspector general's letter to the committee and the October 2014 letter from the Pentagon instructing Mr. Flynn to seek approval before taking any payments from a foreign government.
The White House knew, or should have known. Their excuses are bullshit. Their excuses on Flynn have always been bullshit.

And their obfuscation and obstruction on Flynn, looks an awful lot like their obfuscation and obstruction, with help from Congressional Republicans, on every other part of the investigations into interference from and collusion with Russia.

At Politico, Donna Brazile writes, "The Russia Investigations Are a Joke."
What if they gave a probe, and nobody probed?

During the 2016 elections, America was subjected to the most serious cyberattack in our nation's history: a methodical assault by a hostile foreign power on the legitimacy of our elections, our government, our institutions, and even the very concept of Western democracy.

And the attacks have continued since Election Day—both in this country and against our European allies, who are currently conducting their own elections under the constant threat of Russian meddling.

It seems like nobody is doing anything about it. Worse—they're pretending that they are. There are currently multiple investigations into the Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible involvement by the Trump campaign. But all of them are compromised to one degree or another by incompetence, listlessness, and deliberate foot-dragging. Congress is completely failing to live up to its responsibilities for oversight and to function as a separate and co-equal branch of government. Partisan politics has poisoned inquiries on both the House and Senate side.
Brazile is spot-on: It's even worse that there is a pretense of investigation when behind it is no meaningful investigation whatsoever. We must get to bottom of this. But we probably never will, because the Republicans are fucking cowards without an ounce of genuine patriotism.

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[Content Note: Anti-choice garbage; homophobia] Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Trump to Appoint Anti-Abortion Leader Charmaine Yoest to Post at HHS.
Donald Trump on Friday announced that he will appoint Charmaine Yoest, the former president of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life, as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

In her position, which does not require confirmation in the Senate, Yoest would help shape the department's communications strategy.

Yoest is currently a fellow at American Values, a conservative group that opposes abortion and supports "traditional marriage." She got her start in politics during the Reagan administration. From there she moved to the ultra-conservative Family Research Council and later served on Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.

While she served as president of Americans United for Life, one of the most well-known anti-abortion groups in the country, Yoest was a prominent leader for the anti-abortion movement. As the New York Times noted in a 2012 profile of Yoest, AUL was responsible for one-third of state legislatures' anti-abortion bills between 2011 and 2012.
Terrific. Let me say once more: This is why some of us continue to insist on "playing identity politics." Because the fucking president insistently obliges us to.

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Meanwhile, Trump is still preoccupied with winning the election, because he doesn't know how to run the country and thus hasn't had a win since.


screen cap of tweet from Fox & Friends about Elizabeth Warren criticizing President Obama, which Trump has RTed

Great job, everyone! This is a perfect outcome.

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[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Alec Macfarlane and Taehoon Lee at CNN Money: Trump Says South Korea Should Pay for $1B Missile Defense System. "Trump wants South Korea to foot the bill for a $1 billion U.S. missile defense system and is threatening to kill the free trade deal between the two countries. His comments aren't sitting well with officials in South Korea, a key American ally in Asia. One foreign policy expert called the remarks 'shameless.' 'I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they pay,' Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday. 'That's a billion dollar system.' He was talking about the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is being deployed in South Korea in an effort to reduce the threat from North Korean missiles. The THAAD deployment has already caused tensions inside South Korea and hurt the country's relations with China. Trump's comments are likely to further complicate the situation."

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Sofia Resnick at Rewire: Following Increased Anti-Choice Protests, Bomb Threat Reported at Virginia Building Housing Abortion Clinic. "Two signs, reading 'Bomb Bomb Bomb' and 'Bomb Bomb,' were left near the door of an office building in Falls Church, Virginia, on Thursday afternoon, according to the owner of the abortion clinic housed in that building.The sheets of paper, which local police are investigating as a bomb threat, triggered the building's second evacuation of the day. In the morning, in response to reports of smoke and the sound of explosions from employees in the building, local firefighters had discovered what a spokesperson for the Falls Church Police told Rewire were exploded firecrackers."

[CN: Guns; video may autoplay at link] Kevin Liptak at CNN: Trump Seeks Conservative Revival at NRA. "On the eve of his 100th day in office, [Donald] Trump hopes a speech to the National Rifle Association can help renew his standing among a conservative base wary after watching the President reverse course on a series of campaign promises. His address Friday amounts to a return for Trump to the type of staunchly conservative setting that he used as a candidate to appeal to Republican voters. It's the first time a sitting US president has spoken at an annual meeting of the NRA since Ronald Reagan addressed the group in 1983."

Kenneth P. Vogel and Josh Dawsey at Politico: Lewandowski's Firm Appears to Offer Trump Meetings. "A firm co-founded by Donald Trump's original campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appears to have been pitching clients around the world by offering not only policy and political advice, but also face time with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and senior members of their administration, according to documents and interviews. A document provided to an Eastern European politician by an international consulting firm that Lewandowski co-founded this year promises to arrange 'meetings with well-established figures,' including Trump, Pence, 'key members of the U.S. Administration,' and outside Trump allies."

Tarini Parti at BuzzFeed: The Convicted Con Artist of the Winter White House. "An admitted fraudster who owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to his victims has had access to [Donald] Trump through his wife, who is the guest reception manager of Mar-a-Lago, the Winter White House. ...The tale of the Rinkus couple—one a repeat felon and the other a Trump employee who interacts regularly with top government officials—raises the curtain on the way Trump's sprawling business holdings can sweep minor figures into his political orbit. For a man with a serious criminal record, Ari Rinkus has been in remarkably close proximity to the president. He has parlayed that access—and the perception of access—to his own advantage, sources said, while pursuing potentially lucrative government contracts on behalf of a foreign company."

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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