We Resist: Day 208

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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 Didn't Want to Explicitly Condemn White Supremacy and So What Happens Now? and It's Like I Don't Even Care About Unifying in Opposition to Donald Trump.

Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig, and Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post: Trump Campaign Emails Show Aide's Repeated Efforts to Set Up Russia Meetings.
Three days after Donald Trump named his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, the youngest of the new advisers sent an email to seven campaign officials with the subject line: "Meeting with Russian Leadership - Including Putin."

The adviser, George Papadopoulos, offered to set up "a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump," telling them his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity, according to internal campaign emails read to The Washington Post.

The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.

But Papadopoulos, a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience, persisted. Between March and September, the self-described energy consultant sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump, as he turned from primary candidate to party nominee, or for members of his team to meet with Russian officials. Among those to express concern about the effort was then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who rejected in May 2016 a proposal from Papadopoulos for Trump to do so.

The exchanges are among more than 20,000 pages of documents the Trump campaign turned over to congressional committees this month after review by White House and defense lawyers.

...To experts in Russian intelligence gathering, the Papadopoulos chain offers further evidence that Russians were looking for entry points and playing upon connections with lower-level aides to penetrate the 2016 campaign.
This reminds me of a previous piece by Hamburger and Helderman at the WaPo, about how the campaign was terribly lax in its vetting, bringing on "anyone with a pulse" who was willing to work for Trump. That left his campaign, in particular, wide open to "walkers," sent in by Russian intelligence.

And, given the increasing problems the administration is having hiring qualified and competent people to fill positions at the top of the federal government, there's no reason to believe that has changed. Which is very concerning indeed.

Lachlan Markay and Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Paul Manafort Sought $850 Million Deal with Putin Ally and Alleged Gangster. "Paul Manafort partnered on an $850 million New York real-estate deal with an ally of Vladimir Putin and a Ukrainian moneyman whom the Justice Department recently described as an 'organized-crime member.' That's according a 2008 memo written by Rick Gates, Manafort's business partner and fellow alumnus of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. In it, Gates enthused about finalizing with the financing necessary to acquire New York's louche Drake Hotel. Two former federal prosecutors told The Daily Beast that the hotel deal was likely to be an item of focus for special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin." Whoooooops!

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[Content Note for this section: White supremacy.]

Note that Trump's entire reason for even retweeting this person is to once again imply that Chicago is a violent shithole thanks to its violent Black population. And don't think Trump's rhetoric doesn't matter: Since moving to Pennsylvania, I have been asked multiple times by people who learned I lived in Chicagoland if Chicago is really the nightmare hellscape Trump says it is. Fucking asshole.

Jessica Schulberg at the Huffington Post: Controversial Trump Aide Katharine Gorka Helped End Funding for Group That Fights White Supremacy.
Weeks before a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to three deaths and 19 injuries, the Trump administration revoked a grant to Life After Hate, a group that works to de-radicalize neo-Nazis.

The Department of Homeland Security had awarded the group $400,000 as part of its Countering Violent Extremism program in January, just days before former President Barack Obama left office. It was the only group selected for a grant that focused exclusively on fighting white supremacy. But the grant money was not immediately disbursed.

Trump aides, including Katharine Gorka, a controversial national security analyst known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, were already working toward eliminating Life After Hate's grant and to direct all funding toward fighting what the president has described as "radical Islamic terrorism."
If you're wondering if there is any relation, yes, Katharine Gorka is married to actual White House Nazi Sebastian Gorka.

Yesha Callahan at the Root: Interview: How Corey Long Fought White Supremacy with Fire. "From the death of Heather Heyer to the brutal beating of Deandre Harris and the numerous others injured, it'll be a long time before the residents of Charlottesville are able to make any sense of what happened. But Corey Long, a lifelong resident, not only witnessed the town going from peaceful to chaotic, but was captured in one of the most iconic photos taken over the three-day period. The 23-year-old elder care worker says he went to the counterprotests to have his voice heard. He didn't want to see racism win and destroy the city he was raised in. 'I went out to voice my opinion. To have my freedom of speech. Just like the racist Nazis who took over my town,' Long said in an interview with The Root. ...Long said the only weapon he had was a can of spray paint that a white supremacist threw at him earlier, so he took a lighter to the spray paint and turned it into a flame thrower. And a photographer snapped the photo. But inside of every photograph there's an untold story."

Callahan's reporting on Charlottesville has been fantastic. If you missed her piece in which she spoke to Deandre Harris, linked in yesterday's We Resist thread, make sure to catch that one, too.

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Ronald A. Klain at the Washington Post: If Trump Goes Down, Pence Will Too. From your fingertips to Maude's ears, Mr. Klain!
In the 213 years since the 12th Amendment created our system of joint presidential-vice-presidential tickets, no vice president has been elected to the highest office after serving with a president who declined to seek, or was defeated in seeking, a second elected term. And as for coming to office via the president’s ouster, the only vice president to follow that path, Gerald Ford, lost when he campaigned to retain the office — and he had far less to do with President Richard M. Nixon’s scandals than Pence does with the mess around Trump.

This is the vice-presidential prisoner's dilemma: There is no distance he can achieve, no political support he can muster, no congressional chits he can collect, no donor base he can assemble that can survive the fallout from a failed presidency. A vice president is either implicated as being in the loop or looks foolish if he insists that he was out of it. There's too much video of any vice president praising, promoting and partnering with his boss to say, "President who?"

...Nothing Pence is doing now will break him out of a political imprisonment of his own creation.

In case you missed it, you can hear me on the Hellbent podcast talking about why it's so important to prevent Mike Pence from assuming the presidency.

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Julian Borger at the Guardian: North Korea Attack on Guam Could 'Quickly Escalate into War' Says James Mattis. "James Mattis, the US defence secretary, has warned that a North Korean missile attack aimed at US territory 'could escalate into war very quickly,' saying US forces would know 'within moments' if one was heading towards Guam, home to military bases and 160,000 people."

Game on. For fuck's sake.

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

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