- Russian contacts during campaign: at least 16 Trump associates interacted with Russian nationals during the campaign and transition records show.
- Chief of Staff: John Kelly is out, to be done ~Jan 2.
- The Bromance of Jared Kushner & Prince Mohammed bin
WTFJH 11DEC - 5 min read, Day 691: This wall thing.
- would be "proud the shut down the government": over border wall spending, Trump said.
- Water protections: put in place during the George H.W. Bush administration, are going to be weakened, in changes to the federal clean water rules that the Trump administration plans to unveil soon.
WTFJH 12DEC - 11 min read, Day 692: Hello, darkness, my old friend.
- Micheal Cohen: sentenced to 3 years for tax evasion, violating campaign finances laws, lying to bank and to Congress.
- National Enquirer's: parent company admitted it paid Karen McDougal $150K in an attempt to influence the 2016 election as part of a non=prosecution cooperation agreement.
- Immigration: The Trump administration has decided that Vietnamese migrants who arrived before the establishement of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Vietnam are all eligible for deportation .The White House reinterpreted a 2008 agreement that specifically bars the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the U.S. before July 12, 1995. Not only are we talking about people who been here at least 23 years (and IIUC could not get regular citizenship due to how this lack of diplomatic ties snared their possibility of applying for citizenship) most of them IIRC were trying to escape the new rulers in Vietnam when the U.S. pulled out of there at the end of the Vietnam war in 1775... the migration was highest in 1978-1978, with waves in the 80s. The vast majority have spent more of their life in American than in Vietnam (the earliest ones would have to be over 80 to have spent more time in Vietnam, the latest ones would have to be older than 46), and have little or no ties any longer to that country.
WTFJH 13DEC - 7 min read, Day 693: The diplomacy project.
- Russian spy Maria Butina: has struck a plea deal and plead guilty to conspiring to act as a foreign agent of the Kremlin and influence U.S. politics from 2015 to Jul 2018 (her arrest).
WTFJH 14DEC - 7 min read, Day 694: "Of course".
- Trump's Inaugeral Committee: is under investigation for where its surplus funds went to, and where its donations came from, and if some of this activity was illegal and/or unethical, especially the foreign donations and the overcharing by Trump's business venues and services (negotiated by Ivanka).
- Goal Post Shuffle: Guiliani says that the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal (i.e. campaign finance violation) were "not a big crime".
- Family Separation: less than 24 hours after entering DHS's federal custody a 7 year old migrant dies, apparently of dehydration caused medical problems. Reportedly she didn't receive medical attention for 90 minutes after her father reported that she was sick.
WTFJH 17DEC - 5 min read, Day 697: A form of compromise.
- Russian disinformation and influence campaign: during the 2016 election was much further reaching than originally thought.
- ACA declared unconstitution: by a federal Judge in Texas, citing the new GOP tax law (passed in last 2017 and largely benefits the rich) and stripped out the individual mandate penalty. The Judge, IIUC, said that since the individual mandate is no longer penalized, and that was the enforcement mechanism that allow SCOTUS to call it a tax, that it is no longer a tax, and the SCOTUS opinion hinged on that to justify upholding the ACA, that it is unconstitional due to this new tax law. This same Judge had ruled the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) unconstitutional a few weeks or months ago.
- Acting Chief of Staff: has been named after a humilialting public search and multiple turndowns for arguable the 2nd most powerful position in America. Trump has named Mick Mulvaney, forcing him to "wear multiple hats" as he has other roles, such as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
WTFJH 18DEC - 7 min read, Day 698: A shocking pattern of illegality.
- The Trump Foundaton: Trump's faux charitable foundation has been ordered to shut down by the state of NY and give away its remaining $1.7 million in assets to actual charities, and this will be monitored by NY prosecutors.
- Micheal Flynn: had his day in court today meant for his sentencing. Judge Emmet Sullivan was clearly unhappy with Flynn, his defense lawyers, and perhaps even the Prosecutor's (thinking Flynn got too sweet-hearty of a deal?), and after communication his extreme displeasure ("you arguable sold your country out") and suggesting more cooperation from Miceahl was not uncalled for to mitigate his crimes, the Judge offered the defence a 3 month continuance when at that point Micheal Flynn's sentencing will occur. The defence accepted.
- Brett Kavanaugh: The ethics complaint filed against him, largely (but not wholly IIRC) for his unJudge-like behavior during his confirmation hearing, were dismissed. IIRC The complaints were originally filed against the position he held while under confirmation, then his peers referred it to SCOTUS Chief Justice to reassigned elsewhere because of perceived-conflict, he assigned it to another court. That court has dismissed it due to procedural reasons, since Brett Kavanaugh has moved up to SCOTUS, and the complaint process is for a federal law that does not apply to SCOTUS Justices.
- The Trump/GOP mind-meld is complete: Trump's 2020 relection campaign will merge with the Republican National Committee into a single entity under the banner of "Trump Victory". This will make it harder for a primary challenge. If there are any non-Trumper Republicans left this is your cue to leave the party...
WTFJHY - 5 min read, Day 699: Everybody out.
- Letter of Intent: dated on 28OCT2015, Trump signed a letter showing intention to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He started his Presidential campaign in the summer of 2015.
- Military Policy by Impluse: Trump ordered a "full" and "rapid" withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria within 30 days. This betrays the Kurdish allies in the region. And Putin, Turkey, Syria, Iran, probably couldn't be happier.
- Lifting Russian Sanctions: In April 2018 Trump administration imposed sanctions on 3 Russian Corporations owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Now, 8 months later, they lift them.
- Bipartisanship: Senate passed a criminal justice reform bill. Probably easier to do when so many are crooks....
- Most Dangerous Country for Journalists: U.S. added to this list for the first time. At least 63 professional journalist were killed while doing their jobs in 2018, a 15% increase over last year.
WTFJHT - 6 min read, Day 700: Fatally misconceived.
- No Recusal: Acting Attorney General Matt Whittaker declined to recuse himself from the Russia investigation despite a Justice Dept ethics official advising him to step-aside out of an "abundance of caution". While the ethics offical said the necessity of a recusal was called "a close call", there was no legal conflict of interest that would absolutely require Matt Whittaker to recuse himself.
(Though in my near entry level job even the appearance of a potential conflict of interest would require me to recuse myself in similar situations....)
- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: the last of three "adults in the room", has resigned his post. In his read-between-the-lines-scathing-resignation letter it would appear to be over Trump's decision to withdraw all Troops in Syria within 30 days.