Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
For the first time in quite a while, this week Trump had no control over the narrative. What was supposed to be his Infrastructure Week, was quickly supplanted by the Rob Porter scandal, which carried over from Week 65 and escalated, highlighting the Trump White House dysfunction. Another mass shooting shook the country and left Trump and his regime flat-footed ahead of bombshell indictments unsealed by Mueller against Russians on Friday.
The indictments highlight what heads of US intelligence unanimously agreed to in Senate hearings, and what H.R. McMaster called “incontrovertible”?—?that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s continued denial of Russian meddling leaves him in an isolated and untenable position, as the country awaits his response to Russia.
Of note, this week there was push-back from inspector generals, watchdog groups, and the judicial branch against the regime’s kleptocracy and corruption?—?some of the first signs of accountability.
- NBC News reported Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand resigned due to her frustration that key positions in her jurisdiction were unfilled, and her concern that Rod Rosenstein’s job was in danger and she would assume oversight of the Russia probe.
- On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway, Mick Mulvaney, and Marc Short appeared on Sunday shows to defend the White House’s handling of the Rob Porter abuse allegations. Mulvaney’s timeline on “Face the Nation” was different than John Kelly’s version.
- When asked if Hope Hicks was in danger dating Porter, Conway said “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.” Porter’s first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, responded in an op-ed about domestic abuse.
- On Tuesday, Politico reported in the hours after Daily Mail broke the story about Porter’s abuse, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hastily arranged an off-the-record meeting between Porter and four reporters to tell his side of the story.
- On Sunday, WAPO reported under Trump ICE arrests have surged by 40%. The biggest jump has been arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions: 37,734 arrests in fiscal 2017, more than doubling 2016’s arrests.
- Street-level ICE officers and field directors have greater latitude to determine whom they arrest and under what conditions. Trump officials call it taking “the shackles off,” and happily report morale is up at ICE.
- Houston Chronicle reported Carlos Gudiel Andres, husband and father of five, was arrested early morning while packing his tools for work, the latest case of ICE targeting predominantly Hispanic apartment complexes.
- Community members held a rally in CT for Zhe Long Huang and Xiang Jin Li, known as “Kris and Tony,” who face deportation to China. The couple, who own a local nail salon, fear being separated from their two sons.
- In Kansas, ICE handcuffed a chemistry professor, Syed A. Jamal, who has been in the US for 30 years, as he was leaving to drive his daughter to school. Jamal, who coached kids in science and sports, awaits deportation.
- In Phoenix, ICE was set to deport Jesus Armando Berrones-Balderas, a father of five who has lived in the US since he was one and has a son battling cancer. After media coverage, ICE granted him a one-year stay.
- Toronto Star reported US Border Patrol is boarding buses and trains within 100 miles of Canada and asking passengers if they are citizens. A 1953 law gives the patrol the right to do this within 100 miles of our borders.