This list of our progress is growing longer each week. To make it a little easier for you to navigate, I’m breaking it down into categories from here on out—with some delightful bonus material at the end.
Let’s start with our ever-growing weekly feature, Republicans Against the Law, which, perhaps not coincidentally, overlaps with the latest updates on Robert Mueller’s investigation:
A federal judge rejected Donald’s request to review materials confiscated from lawyer Michael Cohen’s office before releasing them (because, crazy as it may seem, most judges won’t give potentially incriminating evidence to the control of a person of interest in an investigation). Michael Cohen’s mysterious third client was identified, and it’s SEAN HANNITY, y’all. The FOX personality who is Donald’s staunchest defender just so happens to share his lawyer, who has been under federal investigation for months. And has defended that same lawyer on FOX at least six times without ever revealing his direct connection to the man. And is so close to Donald that White House staff refer to him as the shadow chief of staff. FOX is, of course, standing by their man, but advertisers are starting to flee the sinking ship of his show.
In a not-unexpected Twitter tantrum after James Comey’s interview, Donald attacked the former FBI director and said he should be jailed for crimes that Donald failed to specify or support. Comey retaliated that this is not some “tin-pot dictatorship” (however much Donald likes to play make-believe that it is).
Donald, who stated on a national TV interview shortly after firing Comey that it was because of the Russia investigation, tweeted this week that he didn’t fire Comey for anything related to the Russia investigation “where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems).” It would all be hilarious if it weren’t, you know, our real-life president.
Yet Mitch McConnell has vowed to keep bipartisan legislation protecting Mueller’s investigation from the Senate floor for a vote. Notwithstanding, the Senate Judiciary Committee will move forward on the issue, hopefully forcing McConnell to uphold his oath of office and actually defend his country and Constitution.
Pittsburgh is one of the cities bracing for mass protests if Mueller is fired, with full-scale riot preparations. Find out where and when our local protest will be in the event of Mueller’s—or Rosenstein’s—firing here, and sign up for immediate updates.
Meanwhile the New York attorney general is seeking the power to bypass presidential pardons, so that criminal charges can be brought against those who break the law, even if they are tied to the president. That should add some spice to Mueller’s debriefings.
Amid all this, beleaguered Donald attorney (and likely future stool pigeon) Robert Cohen withdrew his libel lawsuit regarding the Russia dossier, likely because it would have forced Cohen to release information relating to his activities during the 2016 campaign.
More Republicans Against the Law:
- The Democratic Party is suing Donald’s campaign, the Russian government, and Wikileaks for alleged 2016 election interference and conspiracy.
- Jared Kushner’s family real estate business has been subpoenaed by the federal government for information learned from revelations last month that the company routinely filed false documents about its rental buildings in NYC.
- You may recall Republican Missouri governor Eric Greitans for calls for him to resign subsequent to sexual abuse allegations just last week. Greitans is back for an encore performance—this time for felony! Greitans illegally used a charity donor list for purposes of campaign fund-raising, without the organization’s knowledge. And then one day later, a second felony charge! For computer data tampering.
- One of FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s appointees has been arrested for multimillion-dollar fraud and forgery, and will likely face up to 20 years in jail.
- Kansas’s Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, has been found in contempt of court for continuing to enforce a voter ID law that the U.S. district judge who blocked it and is still weighing instructed him to stop enforcing.
- Alex Jones being sued by Sandy Hook parents for defamation for saying the shooting was a hoax and calling the parents “crisis actors.” In fact, the shlock jock is facing four separate lawsuits for propagating—wait for it—“fake news.”
- The ex-Playboy model who sued the National Enquirer, after her story about her affair with Donald was bought and stifled by the Donald-affiliated tabloid, has settled her lawsuit and nullified her contract—freeing her to tell her story. (I see another category coming up soon…perhaps “Republicans Between the Sheets”? “Sex, Adultery, and Harassment”? I’m open to reader suggestions…)
In another overlap from this category, we have “Draining the Swamp” (note ironic quotes):
- Scott Pruitt’s $43K soundproof phone booth violated federal laws, according to the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog. An unrepentant Pruitt responded by upgrading his office car rental to a bulletproof SUV at a cost to taxpayers of more than $10K per month. Meanwhile the lobbyist whose wife rented Pruitt his luxury rental for a bargain-basement $50 (see? Scott CAN be thrifty when it’s an oil-industry lobbyist currying favor…) has quit his firm after revelations that he lied about having had lobbying contacts with the EPA. So far 170 lawmakers have signed a resolution calling for Pruitt’s resignation and stating that they have no confidence in him. Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, has stated he will open an investigation into his crony’s spending since taking office.
- Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke took a taxpayer-funded $12K charter flight to visit a Nevada hockey team, a trip deemed “unnecessary” by his department’s inspector general. This is the same Zinke who featured “birthers” on his former radio show, and called into question President Obama’s college records. Same one who slashed national parkland everywhere in the U.S. except his home state of Missouri, and refers to himself as a “geologist” despite never having held a position in that field.
- Donald’s trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, is in the spotlight for spending $1 million on new furniture…for which he blames President Obama.
- In the true spirit of Donald, his nominee to take over NASA, a former navy pilot with almost no management experience in a large organization (and who is a climate-change skeptic and not LGBTQ friendly), formerly ran a small nonprofit he led to large losses—losses that involved the use of the nonprofit’s resources to benefit a company he coowned and was heavily invested in.
- No stranger to profligacy himself (he was known to use state police helicopters to fly over his son’s baseball games), NJ Republican governor and Trump acolyte Chris Christie has commissioned an official portrait of himself at a cost to taxpayers of $85K—more than the portraits of the last three governors combined.
And in its own subcategory of The Law Against Republicans, here are this week’s ways the judiciary continues its proper function of holding this runaway administration in check:
- The Supreme Court ruled—with Neil Gorsuch surprisingly siding with the more liberal judges—that a law subjecting immigrants to deportation due to crimes of violence was unconstitutionally vague and “can invite the exercise of arbitrary power … by leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.”
- A U.S. appeals court ruled Ohio’s attempt to block Planned Parenthood funds unconstitutional, and has blocked the state from doing so.
- A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that blocks Donald’s threats to withhold federal funding to “sanctuary cities” if they refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.
- A judge ruled that Donald’s attempt to remove federal dollars from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program was unlawful. (So Donald decided to shift the program’s focus to abstinence. Sigh.)
- Thousands of students across the country walked out of school Friday to continue their protest for more sensible gun-law reform.
- The American Federation of Teachers, a credit union 1.7 members strong, severed ties with Wells Fargo in protest over its affiliation with the NRA.
- More than 130 activists (many students, among them Parkland survivors), policy experts, and celebrities have formed the No Rifle Initiative (#NoRA), advocating for sensible gun reform and to counter the influence of the NRA.
- As many school shooting survivors turn 18, they and other gun-reform advocates are turning their efforts to voter registration to help change stagnant gun laws in the U.S.
- The Parkland survivors—led by David Hogg—offer this brilliant and effective approach for dealing with trolls, haters, and the bellicose and ignorant.
In other political news:
- Donald directly contradicted his UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, who stated that he would impose higher sanctions on Russia for their role in Syria’s chemical weapons attack. Haley immediately bitch-slapped back, calling the White House out for suggesting she was “confused.” Meanwhile, a new poll reveals a large majority of Americans favor tougher sanctions against Russia.
- Mike Pompeo won’t be endorsed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the first time since 1925 that a secretary of state nominee has failed to garner that endorsement.
- Republican Pennsylvania House Rep Charlie Dent, who had previously announced he wouldn’t seek reelection in the fall, has decided to resign abruptly.
- Donald asked for an extension to file his taxes…
- While Donald, the White House, and the GOP, continue to flail and lose ground, in Texas, polls (for what they’re worth) show that Beto is closing the gap with Cruz. And Democrats are outraising Republicans in House races across the country.
- In a win for equality and progress, after IL senator Tammy Duckworth became the first sitting senator to give birth, the Senate changed its rules to allow children up to age 1 onto the floor during votes.
- China’s social-media giant, Sina Weibo, reversed a ban on homosexual content after overwhelming public backlash.
- After the unfounded arrest of two black men in one of their PA stores, compounded by a store manager denying the bathroom code to a black man before he bought anything, but offering it to a white man under the exact same circumstances, Starbucks has announced it will close 8,000 of its stores May 29 for racial bias education.
- Remember James Marion Sims, the “father of gynecology” whose statue stood in Central Park to honor the contributions he made to women’s health—by experimenting, usually without anesthesia, on enslaved women? New York took that sucker down.
Your feel-good story for the week:
An American featherweight boxer showed up to fight Mexican boxer Francisco Vargas wearing shorts that said “America First” and an image of a brick wall—and subsequently got his ass handed to him in the ring.
As a bonus for reading this far, please enjoy these recordings of Donald pretending to be “John Barron” and lying to a Forbes magazine reporter about his wealth. Please also enjoy this painful video of Kellyanne Conway actually doing something worse than she does her current job.