We Resist: Day 168

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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:

Earlier today by me: Trump Abroad: Hubris and Humiliation and Trump's "Election Commission" Is Garbage, and Always Remember It's Being Run by Mike Pence and Republicans Are Lying to Sell a Bill That Will Kill People.


Allegra Kirkland at TPM: Trump Ex-Business Associate to Assist Kazakh Money Laundering Probe.
A former business associate of [Donald] Trump who has extensive ties to organized crime is cooperating with a money laundering probe that stretches across three continents, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

The Russian-born Felix Sater is working with a team of lawyers and private investigators who are pursuing civil cases against the Khrapunovs, a Kazakh family that Sater allegedly helped use shell companies to launder millions of dollars into U.S. real estate, five people with knowledge of the probe told FT.

One of the venues for that dirty money, according to the report, was a failed Manhattan real estate venture of the president's, Trump SoHo:
It is unclear how much money has flowed from the alleged Kazakh laundering scheme to Mr Trump. Title deeds and banking records show that in April 2013 shell companies controlled by the Khrapunovs spent $3.1m buying three luxury apartments in Trump Soho from a holding company in which Mr Trump held a stake.
The FBI also was interested in whether the probe involved potential money-laundering in the United States, one anonymous source involved in the investigation told the FT.

...Trump's business ties to Sater, who once served 15 months in prison for stabbing a stockbroker in the face with a broken martini glass and went on to became a government informant after pleading guilty in a $40 million fraud scheme, have long raised eyebrows.
I've always thought if anyone was ever going to turn on Trump, it would be a race between Carter Page and Felix Sater.

Sater, as I've previously mentioned, was also in charge of a 2005 hotel project in Moscow that was part of a Trump licensing deal. Additionally, Sater was involved in crafting the back-channel plan to lift sanctions on Russia, which Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen personally delivered to Michael Flynn a week before he resigned as national security adviser.

For additional background on Sater, I recommend these two pieces by TPM's Josh Marshall: A Big Shoe Just Dropped and Learning Eye-Popping Details About Mr. Sater.

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Jessica Taylor at NPR: Majority of Americans Believe Trump Acted Either Illegally or Unethically with Russia. "A majority of Americans believe [Donald] Trump has done something either illegal or unethical when it comes to Russia, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The 54 percent of people who believe something untoward has gone on include a quarter who believe the president has done something illegal in regards to his dealings with Russia, and 29 percent of Americans who think he has done something unethical, but not illegal." Huh.

Remi Adekoya at the Guardian: Poland's Courting of Trump Is a Few Supporters Short of a Picnic.
Poland's rightwing government is pulling out all the stops for what it sees as its greatest foreign policy achievement to date: a visit to Warsaw today by US president Donald Trump. In what has to be acknowledged as wily diplomacy, the Law and Justice (PiS) government is appealing to the US president's achilles heel: His vanity, reportedly luring him with promises of adoring crowds, in contrast to the chillier receptions he can expect in western Europe.

The ruling party is bussing in its supporters from all over Poland, encouraging them to take part in a "great patriotic picnic" on the occasion of Trump's visit. The idea is to make the big man feel as good about himself as possible, which will hopefully benefit Poland in some way, such as a more categorical assertion that Nato would — under US leadership — protect Poland from any aggression from Moscow.
Good lord. [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] And, as Dan Merica and Antonia Mortensen report at CNN, it wasn't just the Polish government orchestrating this ridiculous fraud: "Paul Jones, the US ambassador to Poland, also appeared on Polish media to invite people to attend the speech." Fucking hell.

And if that weren't humiliation enough... Marcus Engert at BuzzFeed: Trump Apparently Couldn't Find a Hotel to Book for the G20 Summit. "White House officials apparently waited too long to book accommodations for [Donald] Trump, leaving him without a hotel in Hamburg, Germany, as world leaders converge for the G20 summit. Organizers announced the scheduled summit in February 2016, which requires 9,000 hotel rooms to accommodate world leaders, their sizable staffs, and security details. ...[E]very luxury hotel in Hamburg was reportedly booked by the time the Americans called, leaving Trump, who is associated with an empire of hotel properties, scrambling for a place to stay. ...With the summit approaching, the city of Hamburg is now apparently stepping in to help. Police officers guard the official Senate guest house of Hamburg, where [Donald] Trump will reportedly stay during the upcoming G20 summit."

So, it sounds like Hamburg will have to provide security to protect him there — same shit as Melania in NYC or Trump at Mar-a-Lago, basically. COOL.

Max Ehrenfreund at the Washington Post: Trump's Job Growth Nightmare: His First Year Could Be Slower Than Obama's Last. "Trump is touting data on the economy, telling his supporters that things are getting better for American workers. Not all professional forecasters share that enthusiasm, though, and many of them believe that this is about as good as it is going to get. According to the average forecast among analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, U.S. employers combined will add 165,000 workers to their payrolls a month this year, on net. That would be the slowest pace for hiring since 2010. Under President Barack Obama last year, the economy produced an average of 187,000 jobs a month." That's not really "Trump's Job Growth Nightmare" as much as it is "U.S. Workers' Job Growth Nightmare," though. Trump will just call the facts "fake news" and get on with his golf game.

Lolsob foreverrrrrrrr.

Molly Hensley-Clancy at BuzzFeed: 18 States Are Suing Betsy DeVos over For-Profit College Rules. "Eighteen states and Washington, DC, are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Education Department over DeVos's decision to roll back rules designed to help students who have been defrauded by their colleges. The group of Democratic state attorneys general alleges that the Education Department is breaking the law by withdrawing an Obama-era regulation, known as the 'borrower defense' rule, which lays out a process for students to have their federal loans forgiven if they were defrauded by their schools."

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: The Trump Administration Hands a Big Gift to Abusive Nursing Homes. "The Trump administration is poised to undo rules issued by the Obama administration last year to protect seniors from a common tactic used by businesses to shield themselves from consequences for illegal conduct. Under these rules, issued last September, Medicare and Medicaid would cut off payments to nursing homes that require new residents to sign forced arbitration agreements, a contract which strips individuals of their ability to sue in a real court and diverts the case to a privatized arbitration system. But last month, the Trump administration published a proposed rule which will reinstate nursing homes' ability to receive federal money even if they force seniors into arbitration agreements." Seethe.

Tara Palmeri at Politico: Trump's Aides Build Their Own Empires in the West Wing. "Donald Trump won office on promises to shake up how Washington works, and so far that's been most apparent in his own West Wing, where his top advisers have built up personal staffs to support their own agendas instead of using a traditional White House policy and messaging operation. ...The expansion of staff assigned to individual senior advisers has helped the people closest to Trump build up their own brands and policy portfolios — such as Kushner's focus on technology and Middle East peace — but also reinforces factionalism within the West Wing. The aides help bolster competing camps when they're squaring off to influence the president on everything from climate change to trade and health care. Current and past White House aides say such an arrangement also risks distracting from a unified Trump agenda."

Also bear this competitive chaos in mind each time you hear the refrain that Trump's principles only last as long as the last person to whom he spoke. He moves through his presidency like a goldfish, taking ideas from competing factions in his own administration, which results in ideological incoherence. The only thing they all share in common is a profound lack of ethics and a penchant for abuse.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: CREW Files Ethics Complaint Against Jared Kushner. "White House Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President Jared Kushner appears to have failed to make the required disclosure of his ownership interest in an online real estate investment company called Cadre, and likely must divest from Cadre to prevent having a conflict of interest, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). Kushner co-founded Cadre and continues to own a significant part of it. ...'Kushner's failure to disclose his ownership in Cadre is very troubling,' CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. 'It appears to be one of his larger investments, not something he could easily overlook, and it is impossible to ensure that senior government officials are behaving ethically if they fail to disclose key assets.'" This entire fucking family.

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

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