We Resist: Day 414

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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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Earlier today by me: Trump Agrees to Meet Kim Jong Un; 2020: Maybe I'll Just Move to Neptune; and Today in Toxic Masculinity.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: GOP Gearing up to Gerrymander Again. "Nearly a decade ago, Republicans launched REDMAP, an audacious bid to win key statehouses and governorships in order to give themselves control over the redistricting process that followed the 2010 Census, so they could gerrymander district lines in their favor. The project succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, giving them a major edge in successive election cycles. Now, they're looking to do it again. The GOP has launched its first ever national group focused exclusively on how congressional and state legislative maps are drawn, with an eye on the next round of redistricting, which will follow the 2020 Census. And they have help from deep-pocketed, state-based super PACs devoted to holding onto their gains." Absolutely chilling.

Julian Borger at the Guardian: Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Believe They Are Winning — and the Risks of That Are Epic. "Both leaders view the provisional agreement to meet as a personal triumph born of resolve. If each reckons he has the other over a barrel, they will be little room for compromise if and when they meet. ...Having invested so much personal capital in the meetings, there is a significant danger of a backlash from either or both men if they do not get their way under the glare of international attention. ...There are serious questions over whether the Trump administration is equipped for complex talks. ...Trump for now is flying solo, convinced of his expertise in the art of the deal. But his deal-making in the real estate business drove him to bankruptcy several times. The implications of an equivalent failure in nuclear summitry, and how he might react, are sobering."

[Content Note: Nativism] John D. Feeley at the Washington Post: Why I Could No Longer Serve This President.
Shortly after the Charlottesville riots last August, I made the private decision to step down as [Donald] Trump's personal representative and ambassador to the government of Panama. The president's failure to condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who provoked the violence made me realize that my values were not his values. I never meant for my decision to resign to be a public political statement. Sadly, it became one.

The details of how that happened are less important than the demoralizing take-away: When career public servants take an oath to communicate dissent only in protected channels, Trump administration officials do not protect that promise of privacy.

Leaking is not new in Washington. But leaking a sitting ambassador's personal resignation letter to the president, as mine was, is something else. This was a painful indication that the current administration has little respect for those who have served the nation apolitically for decades.

Now that I am no longer oath-bound to support the president and his policies, several points warrant clarification. I did not resign over any policy decisions regarding my remit in Panama, or — as was incorrectly alleged in the media — due to the president's denigrating comments about countries that participate in the visa diversity lottery.

I resigned because the traditional core values of the United States, as manifested in the president's National Security Strategy and his foreign policies, have been warped and betrayed. I could no longer represent him personally and remain faithful to my beliefs about what makes America truly great.

[CN: Nativism] Luke Barnes at ThinkProgress: Anti-Refugee White House Aide Given Key Refugee Job at State Department. "A White House aide with strong anti-immigration views has been selected for a top State Department post overseeing refugee admissions. Andrew Veprek was appointed as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migrations, according to Politico. The bureau aims to provide 'aid and sustainable solutions for refugees, victims of conflict, and stateless people…through repatriation, local integration, and resettlement in the United States.' But current and former administration officials say Veprek has parroted the hardline views of senior policy adviser Stephen Miller." Terrific. And by "terrific," I mean gross as fuck.

AP/Guardian: Sam Nunberg, Ex-Trump Campaign Aide Who Resisted Subpoena, Appears in Court. "A former Trump campaign aide arrived on Friday at the federal courthouse in Washington for a scheduled grand jury appearance days after he defiantly insisted in a series of news interviews that he intended to defy a subpoena in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Sam Nunberg...on Monday had balked at complying with a subpoena that sought his appearance before a grand jury as well as correspondence with multiple other campaign officials. ...'I thought it was a teachable moment,' he said of his 24 hours in the limelight." What a stunt. JFC.

[CN: Sexual assault] Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Woman Listed on Stormy Daniels NDA Is a Trump Accuser. "A woman listed on the non-disclosure agreement that porn actress Stephanie Clifford claims [Donald] Trump failed to sign is porn actress Jessica Drake, who accused Trump of sexual misconduct in October 2016, according to reports from the New York Daily News and CNN. The agreement attached to the lawsuit filed by Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, listed four individuals that Clifford had spoken to about the information the NDA barred her from publicizing. One of those individuals listed is Angel Ryan. Drake's lawyer, Gloria Allred, confirmed to the Daily News and CNN that Drake is Angel Ryan — Jessica Drake is Ryan's stage name. In October 2016, after the release of the 'Access Hollywood' tape, Drake came forward and alleged that Trump forcibly kissed her in 2006 during a charity golf event."

Naturally, Trump's base will continue to not care about any allegations that he had an affair, committed sexual assault, and/or paid for women's silence. Also, they may not even be hearing about it in the first place: [CN: Video may autoplay at link] Oliver Darcy at CNN: Pro-Trump Media Sweeps Stormy Daniels Story Under Rug. Of course.

Even despite the fact that there are multiple corruption angles to the story, and there is yet another revelation on that account today.

Sarah Fitzpatrick and Tracy Connor at NBC News: Michael Cohen Used Trump Company Email in Stormy Daniels Arrangements.
Donald Trump's personal attorney used his Trump Organization email while arranging to transfer money into an account at a Manhattan bank before he wired $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence.

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, also regularly used the same email account during 2016 negotiations with the actress — whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford — before she signed a nondisclosure agreement, a source familiar with the discussions told NBC News.

And Clifford's attorney at the time addressed correspondence to Cohen in his capacity at the Trump Organization and as "Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump," the source said.

Cohen has tried to put distance between the president and the payout, which has been the subject of campaign finance complaints.

In a statement last month, Cohen said he used his "personal funds to facilitate a payment" to Clifford, who says she had an intimate relationship with Trump a decade ago.

"Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly," Cohen said in that statement.

But an email uncovered in the last 24 hours and provided to NBC News by Clifford's current attorney, Michael Avenatti, shows First Republic Bank and Cohen communicated about the money using his Trump company email address, not his personal gmail account.

"I think this document seriously calls into question the prior representation of Mr. Cohen and the White House relating to the source of the monies paid to Ms. Clifford in an effort to silence her," said Avenatti, who is representing Clifford in a lawsuit against Trump.

"We smell smoke."
It's pretty tough to create distance between Donald Trump and a payoff when Trump's personal attorney used his Trump organization email to discuss the payoff.

Goddammit this administration is a fucking shitshow.

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RJ Reinhart at Gallup: AI Seen as Greater Job Threat Than Immigration, Offshoring. "More than half of Americans (58%) say technology poses a greater threat to jobs in the U.S. over the next decade, while 42% see immigration and offshoring as the greater threat. Republicans, who see immigration and offshoring as roughly an equal threat as technology, are the only subgroup of Americans not to see technology as a greater threat." I hope any Democrat fixing to run for president in 2020 is ready to say the word "automation" loudly and often along the campaign trail.

Lisa Rein at the Washington Post: 'It's Killing the Agency': Ugly Power Struggle Paralyzes Trump's Plan to Fix Veterans' Care. "VA employs 360,000 people and accounts for $186 billion annually. Its sprawling health-care and benefits system, which Trump blasted on the campaign trail as a wasteful, inefficient failure, churns away. But the dysfunction, observers say, has jeopardized legislation to extend the Choice program and a separate initiative to overhaul VA's aging electronic health-records system. The legislation remains deadlocked in Congress. And if Shulkin were to leave, his allies said, the health-records project would face indefinite delay. 'Things have come to a grinding halt,' one senior manager said. 'It's killing the agency. Nobody trusts each other.'"

[CN: White supremacy] Jackson Landers at Rewire: A Leaked Message Board Shows What White Supremacists Think of the Police. "A recently leaked trove of internal communications provides a window into the thinking of members of the modern 'alt-right' white supremacist movement. ...During one online conversation about what encounters with police in Charlottesville might be like, some white supremacist planners expressed dissenting views, but the consensus seemed to be that they could expect some level of support from law enforcements. One user...said the Virginia State Police 'will be focused on antifa [anti-fascists] not us… especially if we kiss some ass with a few blue lives matter chants… Be nice to cops and they will be nice to you.' 'Random Reminder: Cops of all races are our natural allies; we should keep it that way,' wrote another user." If this horrifies police, as it should, they really need to reflect hard on why it is that white supremacists view the police as being on their side. And then proceed swiftly to make meaningful changes.

Well, I hope that GOP Senator is as wrong about this as he is about everything else.

Also: I'm extremely annoyed that Tapper (and virtually every reporter/news outlet) is reporting this without any contextualizing framing. Namely, that Sen. Dean Heller is peddling this trash to energize GOP voters, and that it effectively pressures Kennedy to quit, irrespective of the intent and irrespective of whether Kennedy ultimately refuses to succumb to that pressure. Heller should be ashamed and should not be allowed to get away with this shit.

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

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