We Resist: Day 406

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) 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: Hope Hicks to Resign; Trump's List of Allies Grows Thin and "The attempt at curbing Russia has failed."

[Content Note: Guns] Michael Daly at the Daily Beast: Armed 'Teacher of the Year' Opens Fire in School. "[A] star social studies teacher at Dalton High School, 90 miles from Atlanta...was arrested for barricading himself in his classroom and firing a shot with a handgun for reasons yet to be determined. ...A considerable number of the Dalton students who were thrown into an understandable panic by the gunshot on Wednesday were quick to offer their opinion of the notion that Trump shares with the NRA. One who goes by the Twitter handle Chondi tweeted: '@NRA my favorite teacher at Dalton high school just blockaded his door and proceeded to shoot. We had to run out the back of the school in the rain. Students were being trampled and screaming. I dare you to tell me arming teachers will make us safe.' Again, high school teens were making considerably more sense than our president in the wake of a shooting."

Katy Tur and Carol E. Lee at NBC News: Mueller Asking If Trump Knew About Hacked Democratic Emails Before Release.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.

Mueller's investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails. They have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia.

The line of questioning suggests the special counsel, who is tasked with examining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, is looking into possible coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump associates in disseminating the emails, which U.S. intelligence officials say were stolen by Russia.

...In one line of questioning, investigators have focused on Trump's public comments in July 2016 asking Russia to find emails that were deleted by his then-opponent Hillary Clinton from a private server she maintained while secretary of state. The comments came at a news conference on July 27, 2016, just days after WikiLeaks began publishing the Democratic National Committee emails. "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said.
Exhibit A in: The collusion was right out in the open!

In presumably unrelated news...

[CN: Disablist language] Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen at Axios: The Wild Wars Within the Trump White House. "After a [wild] 24 hours, sources close to [Donald] Trump say he is in a bad place — mad as hell about the internal chaos and the sense that things are unraveling. The big picture: Hope Hicks leaving is obviously a huge blow to him. Every time he reads about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his head explodes. The staff is just trying to ride out the storm. Everywhere you look inside this White House, top officials are fighting, fomenting, feuding, or fleeing, insiders say in conversations with us. ...We have never seen top officials this concerned, defeated." This is very concerning, because an isolated Trump is a(n even more) dangerous Trump.

Margaret Hartmann at NY Mag: Amid White House Unrest, Trump Mulls Launching a Trade War. (Not the first we've heard of this.)
It doesn't seem things are ever calm in Donald Trump's White House, but the last few days have been particularly turbulent; adviser-in-law Jared Kushner had his security clearance downgraded, communications director Hope Hicks announced her impending resignation, and various leaks revealed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is getting deeper into Trump family business. Now, amid all this chaos, Trump may announce he's starting a trade war.

Late on Wednesday night, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration summoned steel and aluminum executives on short notice to a midday meeting on Thursday. Sources say Trump may use the meeting to announce new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that could roil global markets — or he may not.

Trump has yet to impose most of the protectionist policies he called for during the campaign, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently laid the groundwork with a report recommending that Trump impose very large tariffs and possibly other trade-restriction sanctions in the name of protecting national security. While it seemed possible that Trump might announce the tariffs before March 13 to help the Republican congressional candidate in a Pennsylvania special election, the decision had reportedly been held up by infighting between Ross and officials concerned about the global consequences, including Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.
So Trump's plan to launch a trade war to distract from internal chaos is causing even more internal chaos. JFC this administration.

Aaaaaaand as I was writing, he launched it:

American consumers are going to end up paying a hefty price for Trump's trade war. This isn't going to work out the way he thinks it is.

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Family Company Got Loans After Kushner Met with Businesses at White House. "Two major loans to the Kushner Companies for real estate projects came after Jared Kushner, a senior adviser in the Trump administration, met with officials from those financial institutions at the White House... [Kushner] met with Joshua Harris, one of the founders of Apollo Global Management, several times at the White House early last year... In November, Apollo lent the Kushner Companies $184 million to refinance a mortgage on a building in Chicago, per the New York Times. ...Kushner met with Michael Corbat, chief executive at Citigroup, in the spring of 2017 at the White House... After that meeting, Citigroup lent Kushner Companies $325 million to finance buildings in Brooklyn, the Times reported."

Walter Schaub at the LA Times: In Any Other Presidency, Our 'Insufficiently Accurate' Secretary of Veterans Affairs Would Be Gone. "This fact pattern comes from a report issued Feb. 14 by an inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Let's consider the evidence and see if we think VA Secretary David Shulkin was being straight about the friendship between his wife and the woman who gave the gifts. (Spoiler Alert: He wasn't.) ...The inspector general's report delicately concludes that the information Shulkin provided to the VA's ethics office was 'insufficient to accurately describe his or his wife's relationship' with the supplier of the Wimbledon tickets as a 'personal friendship.' The evidence is more than enough to warrant Shulkin's termination. Or it would be, if the Trump administration cared about government ethics."

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Brian Fung at the Washington Post: Equifax's Massive 2017 Data Breach Keeps Getting Worse. "Equifax said Thursday that 2.4 million more consumers than previously reported were affected by the massive data breach the company suffered last year, adding to an already stunning toll. This means that as many as 147.9 million consumers have been affected in some way by the breach, which amounts to about half the country. ...Last month, a probe by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said the company failed to keep its computer systems adequately up to date and was not forthcoming enough about its description of the damage. 'I spent five months investigating the Equifax breach and found the company failed to disclose the full extent of the hack,' Warren said in a statement Thursday. 'Enough is enough. We have to start holding the credit reporting industry accountable.'"

[CN: Guns; domestic violence] Auditi Guha at Rewire: A Dangerous Loophole in Maryland Law Leaves Domestic Abusers with Guns. "Maryland Democratic legislators and gun safety advocates are pushing Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to support legislation that would prevent domestic abusers from owning firearms, an effort that has fallen short in recent years. Domestic abusers with guns make a deadly combination that disproportionately endanger women and children. Two bills up for hearings in the Maryland State Legislature aim to close a loophole in state law that stops people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns, but has no mechanism to make sure they give up their firearms."

[CN: Nativism] Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: Judge Clears Legal Roadblock for Administration to Build Border Wall. "The Trump administration was handed a judicial victory when a federal judge ruled in its favor in a lawsuit, allowing plans to move forward to build a wall on the United States-Mexico border. In a 101-page opinion issued Tuesday (February 27), U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel wrote that the government had the authority to waive environmental laws and build the border wall, according to an article in The Washington Post. The decision was in response to a lawsuit brought by environmental advocacy groups and the state of California who argued that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was using an old immigration law to justify bypassing proper procedures to ensure that the wall met environmental standards."

(Yes, this is the same Judge Curiel who oversaw the class-action civil fraud lawsuit brought against Trump University and whom Donald Trump accused of not being able to do his job properly because of his Mexican heritage, even though Curiel was born in Indiana. At the time, Trump also said: "Because of the wall and because of everything that's going on with Mexico...this is a judge who I believe has treated me very, very unfairly." Now Curiel has issued a ruling that allows Trump to build that wall, and it's not a good ruling, in my estimation. If Curiel succumbed to pressure levied by Trump previously, that really does make him unfit to do his job, unfortunately.)

Mary Jordan at the Washington Post: Questions Linger About How Melania Trump, a Slovenian Model, Scored 'the Einstein Visa'. "In 2000, Melania Knauss, a Slovenian model dating Donald Trump, began petitioning the government for the right to permanently reside in the United States under a program reserved for people with 'extraordinary ability.' Knauss's credentials included runway shows in Europe, a Camel cigarette billboard ad in Times Square, and — in her biggest job at the time — a spot in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, which featured her on the beach in a string bikini, hugging a six-foot inflatable whale. In March 2001, she was granted a green card in the elite EB-1 program, which was designed for renowned academic researchers, multinational business executives, or those in other fields, such as Olympic athletes and Oscar-winning actors, who demonstrated 'sustained national and international acclaim.'"

[CN: Child death; police harassment; misogynoir] Lea Skene at the Baton Rouge Advocate: Mother of Baby Killed in Baton Rouge Crash Involving Off-Duty Cop Arrested for Failing to Secure Child Seat. "Just weeks after a Baton Rouge police officer was arrested on negligent homicide and accused of causing a crash that injured several people and killed a baby, the child's mother was also arrested on the same charge because police said she failed to properly secure the baby's car seat." Off-duty police officer Christopher Manuel was driving 94mph when he crashed his Corvette into the car in which 20-year-old Brittany Stephens and her baby were riding. Her baby was killed in the crash. And now, because "the straps [on the carseat] were not adjusted correctly for the child's height," Stephens is being held equally as responsible as the cop who plowed into them. Stephens, as I bet I don't even have to tell you, is Black.

[CN: Sexual harassment] Jessica M. Goldstein at ThinkProgress: Pulling the Red Carpet out from under Ryan Seacrest. "While Ryan Seacrest was under investigation for sexual misconduct — years of harassment and abuse, according to his accuser, though the public didn't know the details yet — he hosted E!'s Golden Globes red carpet pre-show. Three weeks later, while the investigation was still underway, he hosted the network's red carpet pre-show at the Grammy Awards. And three days from now, Seacrest will slip back into his suit and tie for E! as he hosts the pre-show at the biggest red carpet of the year: the Academy Awards. Months before the Grammys and the Golden Globes, a former stylist had filed an HR complaint. ...Seacrest was not suspended at any point: Not by E! or its parent company, NBCUniversal; not by ABC, where he co-hosts Live with Kelly and Ryan with Kelly Ripa and will be on hand for the American Idol reboot, premiering March 11; not by KIIS-FM or its owner iHeartRadio, which airs his syndicated morning show On Air with Ryan Seacrest and which selected Seacrest's charity, the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, as the beneficiary for the 2017 Jingle Ball."

[CN: Sexual assault; harassment; threats] Olivia Messer at the Daily Beast: Professor Repeatedly Raped Medical Resident, Threatened to 'Destroy' Her, Lawsuit Claims. "A prominent University of Rochester professor drugged and raped one of his medical residents, threatened to 'destroy her life,' and asked her boyfriend to murder his ex-wife, claims a harrowing complaint filed in New York state Supreme Court. Johan Blickman, a professor in pediatrics and the vice chair of the school's Department of Imaging Sciences, stands accused of forcing the woman into repeated sexual encounters and of taking photos of her while she was naked. ...The woman is asking for $30 million in damages from the university, its hospital, and Blickman — all named as defendants in the suit."

[CN: Sexual harassment and assault] Angela Couloumbis, Brad Bumsted, and Paula Knudsen at the Philly Inquirer: Rep. Nick Miccarelli Accused of Abusive Behavior and Sexual Misconduct. "Two women have accused State Rep. Nick Miccarelli of sexually or physically assaulting them in separate incidents over the last six years, the Inquirer and Daily News and the Caucus have learned. ...The women allege that the Delaware County Republican threatened, stalked, intimidated, or sexually assaulted them. One is a state official and the other is a political consultant. The accusers, who dated Miccarelli at different times between 2012 and 2014, are requesting that he resign, according to sources familiar with the investigation."

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

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