We Resist: Day 446

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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 Goes on Scary Rant After Lawyer's Office Raided and Bossert Out, Reportedly at Bolton's Request and CA Sheriff Said It's Better to Kill Than Injure Suspects.

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

Courtney Kube at NBC News: Russia Has Figured Out How to Jam U.S. Drones in Syria, Officials Say. "The Russian military has been jamming some U.S. military drones operating in the skies over Syria, seriously affecting American military operations, according to four U.S. officials. The Russians began jamming some smaller U.S. drones several weeks ago, the officials said, after a series of suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians in rebel-held eastern Ghouta. The Russian military was concerned the U.S. military would retaliate for the attacks and began jamming the GPS systems of drones operating in the area, the officials explained."

Seems like that's something Trump should care about, given his constant bragging about the U.S. military and his oft-repeated contention that "getting along with Russia is good for America." Whooooooops.

Eileen Sullivan at the New York Times: Trump Cancels Trip to Latin America, Citing Crisis in Syria. "Trump will not attend the Summit of Americas this week as originally planned, the White House announced on Tuesday, citing the crisis in Syria. ...In a brief statement on Tuesday morning, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said the president will stay in the United States and oversee America's response to a suspected and deadly chemical attack in Syria 'and to monitor developments around the world.' ...In her statement on Tuesday, Ms. Sanders said Mr. Trump asked that Vice President Mike Pence attend the meeting of the leaders of countries in the Western Hemisphere in his place. Mr. Pence was honored to go, the vice president's office said in a separate statement."

Margaret Hartmann at NYMag: Trump Organization to Panama's President: Help Us, or Face 'Repercussions'. "One might think that with dozens of scandals swirling around [Donald] Trump, his business would be very careful not to do anything that could be construed as inappropriate. But hey, what's the point of working for the president if you can't use his position to sway business dealings in your favor? That appears to be the thinking behind a letter Trump Organization attorneys sent to Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela last month, warning that there could be 'repercussions' for Panama's reputation if he declined to intervene in a dispute involving the Trump International Hotel in Panama City — though that would involve violating the nation's separation of powers by having Varela meddle with the judicial branch."

Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, and Devlin Barrett at the Washington Post: Trump Attorney Cohen Is Being Investigated for Possible Bank Fraud, Campaign Finance Violations. "Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of [Donald] Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case. ...In a dramatic and broad seizure, federal prosecutors collected communications between Cohen and his clients — including those between the lawyer and Trump, according to both people. The raids — part of an investigation referred by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to federal prosecutors in New York — point to escalating legal jeopardy for a longtime Trump confidant who is deeply intertwined in the president's business and personal matters."

It's a scary time, between the creeping realization Trump must be having at this point that Putin is not his friend and his feeling that multiple investigators may be closing in on him. Trump is dangerous when he's cornered, when he wants to dramatically change the conversation, and when he feels the urgent need to prove his intelligence and mettle. We're at the intersection of all three. I know I'm the brokenest of broken records, but I just hope we get through this with as little damage as possible.

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Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Mueller Probing $150,000 Payment from Ukrainian to Trump Charity in 2015. "Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into a $150,000 payment from a Ukrainian steel mogul to [Donald] Trump's foundation in September 2015 in exchange for a talk Trump gave, the New York Times reported Monday, citing three people briefed on the matter. After the special counsel's office subpoenaed the Trump Organization earlier this year, the company turned over documents on the payment from Victor Pinchuk to Trump's foundation, according to the New York Times. The donation, given in exchange for a 20 minute appearance over video stream by Trump for a conference in Kiev, was solicited by Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen."

As I've said, Cohen had his thumbs in lots of Trump pies.

Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast: A Second Paul Manafort Associate Has Turned on Him.
According to court documents, one of Manafort's former employees led an FBI agent to a storage locker filled with paperwork on Manafort's businesses and finances. The person's name is redacted from the filings. But he's now at the center of a fight over evidence that could play a significant role in the government's case against Manafort.

...Manafort's attorneys revealed the information about the second former employee in an April 6, 2018, court filing. In the filing, Manafort's attorneys asked the federal judge overseeing the prosecution to block documents found in a storage unit in Alexandria, Virginia, from being used as evidence against him. They argue the employee did not have the authority to let the FBI agent look into the storage unit, and that, therefore, the FBI violated Manafort's Fourth Amendment rights.

...The employee, whose name is redacted throughout the affidavit, told the FBI agent that he "performs a variety of functions for Manafort and his companies as directed by Manafort," and was salaried.

That employee moved boxes of files from one storage unit to a second, larger storage unit in Alexandria. On May 26, 2017 — just nine days after Rod Rosenstein named Bob Mueller special counsel — the person whose name was redacted led the FBI agent to the storage facility. The facility's manager gave the FBI agent a copy of the lease for the storage unit.

"The lease identifies [REDACTED] as the occupant of Unit 3013, and also identifies Paul Manafort as a person with authorized access to Unit 3013," the application says. "Rick Gates is listed as an alternate point of contact for the lease."

The person whose name was redacted also gave the FBI agent "a key to the lock on Unit 3013 and described the contents of Unit 3013," according to the affidavit. That person also gave the FBI agent "written consent" to search the storage unit, and opened it for the FBI agent.

The FBI agent then looked into the storage unit and saw about 21 boxes of documents, as well as a filing cabinet. One box was marked as containing expenses, paid bills, invoices, and legal complaints. Another box said it contained "Ukraine Binders," as well information about ballot security, Georgia, research, and "Ukraine Campaign."
I wonder if there's anything in that Ukraine box that will finally drag Tad Devine into this investigation.

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Jon Swaine at the Guardian: Sinclair TV Chairman to Trump: 'We Are Here to Deliver Your Message'. "The chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group met Donald Trump at the White House during a visit to pitch a potentially lucrative new product to administration officials, the Guardian has learned. David D Smith, whose company has been criticised for making its anchors read a script echoing Trump's attacks on the media, said he briefed officials last year on a system that would enable authorities to broadcast direct to any American's phone. 'I just wanted them to be aware of the technology,' Smith said in an interview. He also recalled an earlier meeting with Trump during the 2016 election campaign, where he told the future president: 'We are here to deliver your message.'"

Not terribly surprising, as, during the campaign, Jared Kushner announced that the Trump campaign had struck a deal with Sinclair "to try and secure better media coverage," and, ever since, Sinclair has essentially provided Trump all the benefits of a state-run propaganda outlet with the illusion of independence from the government.

Kevin Poulsen at the Daily Beast: Zuckerberg Gaslights Congress Before the Hearings Even Start. "Facebook was warned five years ago that the 'reverse-lookup' feature in its search engine could be used to harvest names, profiles, and phone numbers for virtually all its users. But the company ignored the red flags until last week, after it happened. In prepared testimony to Congress released Monday, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that malefactors had used the reverse-lookup 'to link people's public Facebook information to a phone number,' he wrote. 'When we found out about the abuse, we shut this feature down.' He said that Facebook only discovered the incidents two weeks ago."

Tom Warren at the Verge: YouTube Hack Hits Popular Music Videos, Causes Biggest Video Ever to Disappear. "YouTube appears to have fallen victim to hackers today, as a number of high-profile music videos have been defaced. The most-viewed YouTube video of all time, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's 'Despacito,' disappeared from YouTube today after being defaced by hackers. The video's image was altered and replaced with a masked gang holding guns (from Netflix show Casa de Papel), and the description was changed by hackers calling themselves Prosox and Kuroi'sh."

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[Content Note: Violent misogyny]

[CN: Islamophobia; violent imagery] Hannah Allam and Talal Ansari at BuzzFeed: State and Local Republican Officials Have Been Bashing Muslims — We Counted. "A state lawmaker in Oklahoma refused to meet with Muslim constituents unless they replied to a questionnaire asking if they beat their wives. A Nebraska state senator suggested that any Muslim wanting to enter the United States be forced to eat pork first. And a Rhode Island legislator advocated herding Syrian refugees into a camp, writing in an email that Muslims seek 'to murder, rape, and decapitate anyone who is a non-Muslim.' Those are among dozens of examples of state and local Republican politicians and officials publicly attacking Islam in 49 states since 2015, typically with impunity, according to a BuzzFeed News analysis." Rage seethe boil.

On that note, and with Mike Pompeo's confirmation hearing for Secretary of State imminent:

[CN: Nativism; othering] AP/CBS News: Arizona Court Rules DACA Students Not Eligible for Lower In-State Tuition. "Arizona's three state universities and its largest community college district say they will raise tuition immediately for young immigrants with deferred deportation status under the DACA program in the wake of a court ruling. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that young immigrants in the program started by former President Barack Obama are not eligible for lower in-state college tuition. The unanimous ruling Monday will affect at least 2,000 students attending the state's largest community college district and hundreds more at other colleges and the state's three public universities." This is just rank othering. These students are state residents, but this decision effectively tells them they don't belong. Fuck this.

[CN: War on agency] Elham Khatami at ThinkProgress: Arizona House Passes Bill Requiring Patients to Explain Why They're Getting an Abortion. "Arizona House lawmakers passed an intrusive anti-abortion measure Monday that would require patients to submit a questionnaire to hospitals and clinics about why they are seeking an abortion — a policy that amounts to 'shaming' individuals for wanting the procedure, according to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. The bill, SB 1394, would require hospitals to ask women and gender minorities if they are victims of sex trafficking or domestic violence, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and if the patients are choosing the abortion or if they are being 'coerced' into obtaining one. It would also require patients to answer whether they are seeking an elective abortion or one out of concern for their health or the health of the fetus." Disgusting. I hate these people.

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

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