We Resist: Day 798

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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: Release the Report and Primarily Speaking.

I've got a doctor's appointment, so today's thread will be shorter than usual. Here are a few things I've read today to which I want to direct your attention:

Kate Riga at TPM: Pelosi: 'Arrogant' of Barr to Expect That Dems Would Blindly Accept His Summary. "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) did not mince words Wednesday while reacting to Attorney General William Barr's summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. '[W]e just haven't even seen the Mueller Report, and we don't expect to accept just the attorney general's interpretation of it,' Pelosi said on SiriusXM show Make It Plain. 'A little bit arrogant of him to think that that would be the case.' 'We have to get the report,' she added. 'They — to their peril — will keep that report.'"

Emily Jane Fox at Vanity Fair: "She Was Not Involved": Emails Show Ivanka's Lawyer Asked for Changes to Michael Cohen's Congressional Testimony. "Sekulow issued a statement protesting Cohen's assertions: 'Today's testimony by Michael Cohen that attorneys for the president edited or changed his statement to Congress to alter the duration of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations is completely false.' But Cohen had communications detailing these alleged edits, some of which lawmakers requested in a closed-door hearing with the House Intelligence Committee the following week. One document, which I have reviewed, was an e-mail exchange between Cohen and his then attorney, Stephen Ryan, outlining changes that Ryan said Lowell had asked them to make in order to distance Ivanka from the Moscow deal. Attached to the e-mail were drafts he said were Lowell's suggested edits."

Andrew Roth at the Guardian: Russia Acknowledges Presence of Troops in Venezuela. "Russia has troops on the ground in Venezuela, officials from both countries have confirmed publicly for the first time, saying the deployment was provided for military consultations and was not linked to the 'possibility of military operations.' 'Military experts are there; they are tasked with the practical implementation of provisions of military-technical cooperation agreements,' a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said in a televised briefing. ...Asked to clarify the nature of the cooperation, Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said 'military contracts, military equipment, military hardware.' He said that Russia had contracts to deliver 'special equipment' to Venezuela. He did not give further detail during a telephone briefing with journalists. Maria Zakharova, Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman, said: 'Russia is not changing the balance of forces in the region and is not threatening anyone.'"

Erin Banco at the Daily Beast: Trump Admin Gives Okay to Sell Nuclear Tech to Saudis. "The U.S. Department of Energy has approved six authorizations for U.S. companies seeking to conduct nuclear related work in Saudi Arabia, according to two sources with knowledge of those approvals. ...It's been unclear to what extent the U.S. government, and U.S. companies, have communicated with Riyadh about nuclear energy, especially in the wake of the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and amid claims by Democrats on the Hill that individuals in the national security community attempted to discuss a nuclear deal with Riyadh without going through the proper regulatory approval process. The DOE authorizations, previously unreported, indicate that U.S. companies are indeed moving ahead in their plans to engage with Saudi Arabia on nuclear technology and nuclear energy development."

Shane Harris at the Washington Post: Palantir Wins Competition to Build Army Intelligence System. "The Army has chosen Palantir Technologies [which was co-founded by Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor and sometimes adviser to Donald Trump] to deploy a complex battlefield intelligence system for soldiers, according to Army documents, a significant boost for a company that has attracted a devoted following in national security circles but had struggled to win a major defense contract. Industry experts said it marked the first time that the government had tapped a Silicon Valley software company, as opposed to a traditional military contractor, to lead a defense program of record, which has a dedicated line of funding from Congress. The contract is potentially worth more than $800 million."

Lachlan Markay at the Daily Beast: Trump Ally Jerry Falwell's Liberty University Landed Pentagon Contract Months After Trump's Election. "Just months after [Donald] Trump took office, the federal government signed a contract to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jet fuel from a university run by one of the president's top political supporters. The Pentagon's energy-procurement arm inked the contract, valued at nearly $900,000, with a company called Freedom Aviation on May 9, 2017, and has purchased more than $400,000 in turbine fuel from the company since then. Freedom Aviation is wholly owned by Liberty University, a conservative school in Lynchburg, Virginia, led by high-profile Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr."

And in good news... Andy Towle and Towleroad: Puerto Rico Governor Signs Executive Order Banning Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors. "Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello has issued an executive order banning gay conversion therapy for minors. Said Rossello in a statement: 'As a father, as a scientist, and as the Governor for everyone in Puerto Rico, I firmly believe that the idea that there are people in our society who need treatment because of their gender identity or whom they love is not only absurd, it is harmful to so many children and young adults who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. ...Conversion therapy in no way benefits anybody; it only causes unimaginable pain and suffering.'"

Head to comments to let us know what you've been reading to which we need to be paying attention!

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