We Resist: Day 284

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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: Mueller Files Charges Against Manafort and Gates and Some Key Resources on Mueller's Investigation.

So, Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos has confessed to lying to the FBI "about the timing and detail of his attempts to line up meetings between Russian government officials and the Trump campaign."

That's a pretty significant turn of events, possibly even more important than the indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, because: 1. It means Papadopoulos is cooperating with investigators; and 2. The charges against Manafort and Gates are not related to the Trump campaign at all, whereas Papadopoulos' charges are: "Papadopoulos' plea occurred on Oct. 5 and was unsealed Monday. In court papers, he admitted to lying about the nature of his interactions with 'foreign nationals' who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials."


There is a lot of speculation swirling through the political press today, but the only thing that matters is what we actually know.

And what we know is this: Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his longtime deputy Rick Gates have been indicted on multiple (12) counts having to do with their shady business dealings in Ukraine. None of the current charges regard their work with the Trump campaign (or Trump administration, with which Gates still has a relationship).

Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos has been charged with making false statements to the FBI, specifically regarding the presidential campaign. He is also cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

That is everything we know so far. There is every reason to be hopeful that more charges will be forthcoming, as there is a cooperating witness, but we're not yet at the point where we can be confident "the dominoes are starting to fall."

Maintain optimism but be patient. And keep your eyes on Trump. It's a perilous time we face with a threatened president who has zero compunction about harming people if he believes it serves his best interests.

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Susan B. Glasser at Politico: 'The Russians Have Succeeded Beyond Their Wildest Expectations.'
James Clapper, a crusty ex-cargo pilot who rose through the Air Force ranks and retired as director of national intelligence in January, only to emerge publicly as one of [Donald] Trump's foremost critics, wants you to know that no matter how much Trump rants about the "Russia hoax," the 2016 hacking was not only real and aimed at electing Trump but constituted a major victory for a dangerous foreign adversary. "The Russians," he said, have "succeeded beyond their wildest expectations."

Far from being the "witch hunt" Trump has repeatedly called it, the investigation of whether Trump's team colluded with Russia constitutes a "cloud not only over the president, but the office of the presidency, the administration, the government, and the country" until it is resolved, Clapper told me in an extensive new interview for The Global Politico, our weekly podcast on world affairs.

...Clapper has repeatedly sounded the alarm about the Russia investigation since Trump came to office denying the U.S. intelligence community finding that Clapper made public last year: that Russia had intervened explicitly on Trump's behalf. At times, he's even seemed to infuriate the president, who has publicly compared Clapper and other intelligence pros to Nazis, falsely claimed they illegally wiretapped him at Trump Tower, and taunted him and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates for having "choked like dogs" in Hill testimony.

In our interview, I asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin now believes he is winning in his campaign against the United States.

"Why wouldn't he?" Clapper responded. "I mean, the Russians succeeded, I believe, beyond their wildest expectations. Their first objective in the election was to sow discontent, discord, and disruption in our political life, and they have succeeded to a fare-thee-well. They have accelerated, amplified the polarization and the divisiveness in this country, and they've undermined our democratic system. They wanted to create doubt in the minds of the public about our government and about our system, and they succeeded to a fare-thee-well."

"They've been emboldened," he added, "and they will continue to do this."
A sobering reminder that Mueller's investigation is seeking accountability for what already happened, but the meddling continues unabated.

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[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Fatima Hussein at the Indy Star: Indiana Secretary of State Accused of Violating Federal Election Laws. "Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is once again being accused of violating federal elections laws. Common Cause Indiana in a federal lawsuit filed Friday calls for an injunction to be issued against Lawson, whom the political watchdog group accuses of unlawfully purging voters from state rolls. Specifically, Common Cause challenges the new 'Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck' system that allows election officials to immediately remove voters identified as having registered to vote in another state."

Note: Crosscheck, as the system is known, is the data collection program run by Kris Kobach's state of Kansas — and which is totally ineffective at preventing voter fraud, but very successful at disenfranchising voters. Koback is the vice-chair of Donald Trump's "election integrity commission," which is being chaired by VP Mike Pence, Connie Lawson's old boss in Indiana.

So everything is fine. (Everything is decidedly not fine.)

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Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Swamp Things: More Than 50% of President Trump’s Nominees Have Ties to the Industries They’re Supposed to Regulate. "The Daily Beast examined 341 nominations the president has made to Senate-confirmed administration positions. Of those, more than half (179) have some notable conflict of interest, according to a comprehensive review of public records. One hundred and five nominees worked in the industries that they were being tasked with regulating; 63 lobbied for, were lawyers for, or otherwise represented industry members that they were being tasked with regulating; and 11 received payments or campaign donations from members of the industry that they were being tasked with regulating."

Tim Alberta at Politico: John Boehner Unchained. The subhead of this piece is: "The former House speaker feels liberated — but he's also seething about what happened to his party." So, you know, right from go it's a piece designed to rehabilitate Boehner and distance him from all the work he did to ensure that his party would end up exactly here. I don't give a single infinitesimal fuck about Boehner's golf swing or his easy chair. What I care about is the institutional forgetting that Boehner was an obstructionist creep who stymied any chance of meaningful progress every chance he got.

Steven Mufson, Arelis R. Hernández, and Aaron C. Davis at the Washington Post: Puerto Rico Moves to Cancel Contract with Whitefish Energy to Repair Electric Grid. "Puerto Rico's electric company moved Sunday to cancel a $300 million contract with a small Montana firm for repairs to the territory's hurricane-ravaged electrical grid, saying controversy surrounding the agreement was distracting from the effort to restore power. The contract with Whitefish Energy — a firm that had just two employees the day the storm hit — had drawn blistering criticism from members of Congress for days. And on Friday the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has a large role in determining government reimbursements, said it had 'significant concerns' about how the contract was secured." As does the FBI, apparently.

Speaking of this administration being a bunch of dirtbag grifters...

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Cristina Alesci at CNNMoney: Maryland Investigating Kushner Companies over Apartments. "The Maryland attorney general is investigating one of the Kushner family's real estate businesses after media reports surfaced earlier this year about allegedly abusive debt collection practices and poor conditions at several of its properties. ...In May, The New York Times and ProPublica detailed 'poor upkeep' inside developments run by Westminster, including appliance failures, mold, and mouse infestations. The report also documented unsavory debt collection tactics. In addition, The Baltimore Sun reported that Kushner-affiliated businesses were 'the most aggressive in Maryland' in seeking civil arrests of tenants who owed the company money."

Matt McGrath at the BBC: Record Surge in Atmospheric CO2 Seen in 2016. "Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Last year's increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years. Researchers say a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather phenomenon drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years. Scientists say this risks making global temperature targets largely unattainable." Swell.

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

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