Take Action: Rebuke Trump for the Debacle in Helsinki

Take Action

Tell your reps that Trump must be rebuked for his comments in Helsinki

But first, here’s Lyin’ Cornyn:

“Nobody disputes the fact that they were unsuccessful in changing a single vote or affecting the outcome.”
—Sen. John Cornyn, speaking on the Senate floor after Trump’s abysmal, traitorous performance in Helsinki.

It’s a lie. And a common lie among Republicans unwilling to accept an uncomfortable truth: that Russian information warfare might very well have swung the election to Trump.

Because it seems like a year ago, read the Washington Post’s chronology of the Helsinki debacle to refresh your memory. Then, call your reps!

Talking Points
(with a hat tip to Celeste Pewter)

  • Censure the President for his remarks.
  • We need new, bipartisan sanctions—stronger than the previous ones, and actually enforced.
  • Get a transcript of what was said privately between Trump and Putin.
  • Support legislation to protect the Mueller investigation.
  • The translator and the U.S. national security team that accompanied Trump to Helsinki must testify on Capitol Hill.
  • Condemn any suggestion of, or hesitation over, Russia interrogating members of our intelligence community.
  • A second meeting with Putin—at the White House, no less—sends exactly the wrong message. It’s galling.

Bonus script for Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos:

secretary@sos.texas.gov
(512) 463-5555

“Given the additional indictments concerning attempts to hack into our election system, and with November midterms coming up, I would like to know how Secretary Pablos is protecting the integrity of elections in Texas.”

Tell John Cornyn and Ted Cruz that Brett Kavanaugh’s White House records must be released

During Elena Kagan’s nomination process, 11,000 of her emails and 160,000 documents from her tenure in the Clinton White House were released to the public. So why would Brett Kavanaugh—who served in the George W. Bush White House—be treated any differently? That is the question for Senators Cornyn and Cruz, both of whom serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Call and ask them. We have a right to know.

Read more on why we must stop Kavanaugh from becoming Trump’s next Supreme Court Justice >>

Our government continues to separate families at the border and putting toddlers on trial—demand a stop to it!

The Russia news overshadowed the ongoing border crisis last week. It’s important to remain focused on the cruelty that the Trump administration continues to inflict on blameless children and their frequently desperate parents. July 26th is the court-ordered deadline to reunite most families. The Texas Tribune has expanded its coverage at the border. Get caught up—and then call your reps.

“The Trump administration has summoned at least 70 infants to immigration court for their own deportation proceedings since Oct. 1, according to Justice Department data provided to Kaiser Health News.”

—Texas Tribune, “Immigrant infants too young to talk called into court to defend themselves”

“On the brink of being released from detention and reunited with children separated from them sometimes months ago, migrant parents are held at a South Texas facility in a sort of limbo — not free to leave, but without access to phones or commissary accounts that regular detainees get.”

—Texas Tribune, “Incommunicado in South Texas: Migrant parents await reunification in seclusion

Also read:

TribTalk: “Americans — and American values — support immigration and compromise” by our friend Tiffany Yates Martin >>

ACLU: “Inside the Family Separation Legal Drama” >>

Indivisible Austin: Tired of calling your reps? Write a letter to the editor! >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Will Hurd penned a startlingly frank op-ed
  • A federal judge temporarily halted deportations of families
  • The big angry Trump baby is coming to America

Read more >>

Featured Event

#BeATexasVoter Phone Bank with Indivisible founders and co-executive directors Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin

Ezra Levin and Leah GreenbergSunday, Jul. 29, 1-3 PM, Austin History Center Come join Indivisible Austin and our special guests, Indivisible founders and co-executive directors Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin, at our #BeATexasVoter kickoff phone bank! We’ll be just about 100 days out from the November midterms, and we’re celebrating by calling prospective voters to make sure they know why this election is so important, and to get them engaged NOW so they’re ready to go to the polls as soon as early voting starts. There will be snacks and swag for all phone bankers!

YOU WILL NEED TO BRING:

  • a laptop or tablet
  • your cellphone
  • earbuds

If you’ve never participated in a phone bank, it’s easy! We’ll teach you!

(IATX event info; Facebook event)

Also:

  • Thursday, Jul. 26, 11 AM-12:30 PM, NeWorlDeli – IATX Women’s Coffee Meetup (Facebook event)

Congress Critter

From Republican strategist John Weaver:

Moment of Zen

It’s record-breakingly hot in Austin this week. Elsewhere, Buttercup the bulldog enjoyed a kiddie pool of ice:

Funding the Fight

You made it! You’re all the way at the bottom of the email, but if you look back at the top you’ll see something very important: Help Lead Indivisible Austin’s GOTV Work.

We have to knock on doors, call, text, mail, organize and build community throughout Central Texas to do our part to bring some accountability and decency to DC and to our own capitol here in Austin.

You know how important this is. Be a part of the solution by supporting our efforts NOW so we can bring change in November.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Another One Bites the Dust

This was one of those son-of-a-bitch weeks that’s harder to stomach than some. But there was still plenty of progress still being made.

The GOP quietly introduced another abortion-ban bill, which quietly failed to advance in the Senate.

A Manhattan federal judge decried ICE for “cruel” tactics in jailing immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir and ordered him freed.

The Republican Governors Association cut all ties with former RNC chairman and accused harasser Steve Wynn and returned money he had donated to the organization, and the University of Iowa, which had named one of its institutes after him in exchange for his $25 million commitment to the school, is retracting the honor.

Donald’s release of cherry-picked facts from the memo House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes carefully and selectively edited regarding the Russian investigation and the FBI’s surveillance of people in the Trump campaign has resulted in a firestorm of controversy, but it’s not just the FBI and Democratic lawmakers speaking out against the irresponsible, propagandized, potentially national-security-threatening memo.

Republican John McCain says, “The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

And former CIA head John Brennan (under both Bush and Obama) accused Nunes (who, let’s remember, tried to secretly share confidential House Intelligence Committee info with the White House last year before he even briefed his bipartisan committee colleagues) and the GOP of “reckless partisan behavior” pointedly adding that “Absence of moral and ethical leadership in [White House] is fueling this government crisis.”

And a former FBI special agent and counterterrorism investigator spoke out in a NYTimes op-ed about why he’s leaving the bureau in the interest of being free to protect it and our institutions, sharply calling out “political operatives” trying to shake the public’s trust in the FBI in order to undermine the findings of the Russia investigation—“operatives” he doesn’t call out by name, but by using direct quotes from Donald’s tweets, makes his subject entirely clear.

Lawyers for Donald’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s codefendant in Mueller’s fraud and money-laundering prosecution, Rick Gates, have asked the federal judge in the case to let them leave the case—the third shift in legal representation since Gates was indicted. The attorney’s declined to offer a reason, citing a gag order. Meanwhile, TIME magazine discovered that in 2013, Donald’s former campaign adviser Carter Page bragged of his Kremlin contacts in a letter to a publisher—not only adding fuel to Mueller’s investigation of him, but lending credence to the FBI’s decision to surveil him that Nunes’s memo glosses over as probable cause.

Meanwhile, here’s the Washington Post’s great visual breakdown of who we know has spoken with Mueller’s investigation.

Another one bites the dust—Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee (and he who relentlessly dragged out the Benghazi investigation, racking up millions of dollars in cost to taxpayers despite repeatedly finding no evidence of wrongdoing), has announced he won’t seek reelection, calling himself “a lousy politician” (we can’t help but agree). GOP lawmakers are being picked off like carnival ducks—do they know something we don’t know (like that a new conservative party is forming?) or are they simply leaving the field in disgrace?

Donald may yet face few consequences for calling Haiti and other minority nations “shitholes,” but one official has—the lottery board chairman who referred to a town in Illinois as “a shithole of the universe” has stepped in the face of heavy public criticism.

The White House has withdrawn Kathleen Harnett White, Donald’s nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, after loud public and congressional outcry against the climate-change denier—including a letter signed by more than 300 scientists across the country.

Need a palate cleanse for the week? Stream the inaugural episode of David Letterman’s new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, featuring Barack Obama and John Lewis. Here’s a clip—but don’t miss the whole one-hour show. It will remind you why we’re fighting and how far we’ve come—and how hard those before us have fought, and how much there is to be gained.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: The Tide is Turning

The head of the parent company of Henry Holt—the publisher that recently released Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury with eyebrow-raisingly candid comments from White House intimates about Donald’s fitness (or lack thereof)—defended itself against Donald’s cease-and-desist lawsuit, citing it as a breach of the Constitution: “a clear effort by the President of the United States to intimidate a publisher into halting publication of an important book on the workings of the government… This is an underlying principle of our democracy. We cannot stand silent,” the CEO wrote in his memo. “We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court. We need to respond strongly for Michael Wolff and his book, but also for all authors and all their books, now and in the future. And as citizens we must demand that President Trump understand and abide by the First Amendment of our Constitution.”

Meanwhile, amid the dust-up over the book and those who’ve disparaged Donald in it, Steve Bannon, prime among the disparagers, has stepped down from Breitbart, his mouthpiece of hate and propaganda.

Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence committee, overruled Republican committee head Chuck Grassley’s efforts to suppress the testimony to the committee by the former British spy who helped assemble the infamous Trump dossier for Fusion DPS. On Tuesday she released transcripts of all ten hours of testimony by Christopher Steele, which indicates the FBI believed the information Steele had given them, and that the bureau had had an informant from within the Trump camp.

On Tuesday a panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s voting districts as unconstitutionally gerrymandered—the first time a federal court has blocked a congressional map because of a gerrymander.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case over whether Texas’ congressional and state House maps discriminate against voters of color.

A San Francisco federal judge ruled—again based on Donald’s tweets and his own words right from his shithole–that the federal government must reinstate the DACA program for young immigrants to find a path to citizenship that he announced the end of in the fall, as legal challenges to the ban move forward. The federal government has accordingly announced it will continue to enroll “dreamers” in the DACA program, per the ruling.

Donald’s announcement that oil drilling would be allowed in all U.S. waters immediately met with opposition from Florida’s Republican governor, and the White House quickly excluded the state’s waters from the order. It’s likely a move to appease voters in his key state in advance of the 2018 elections, and is having bipartisan repercussions from voters and other governors across the country.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected measures proposed by Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy (at least as far as he knows) that would favor the coal and nuclear industries over natural gas and renewables in competitive electricity markets. Of the five-member agency, four were appointed by Donald, three of them Republicans.

A Senate bill introduced to reverse the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality laws has received 40 senate sponsors and will proceed to the floor for a vote, which could overturn the repeal—a repeal opposed by the vast majority of Americans.

God bless the notorious RBG—Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed law interns for the next two terms, signaling that she intends to serve at least until 2020.

New, wide-net, demographically detailed survey results by Survey Monkey reveal that Donald is not doing so well, even among his base. The tide is turning, slowly but inexorably, reminding us once again that America is great because America is good…and goodness will prevail as long as good people refuse to be silent.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Inexorable Progress

Judging by his customary angry-baby tantrum whenever it looks like the spotlight is about to shine on his misdoings, Donald must be getting pretty nervous about what Steve Bannon might have revealed to author Michael Wolff, whose incendiary new book claims to shed behind-the-scenes light—unflattering light at best—on Donald’s campaign, administration, and person. After an “I know you are but what am I” tweetstorm calling into question Bannon’s sanity (as if no one were questioning it already), Donny desperately tried to block the book’s release, his lawyers sending a cease-and-desist to Bannon and the president of Henry Holt, the publisher. The author, however, responded that he has tapes of Bannon and Donald’s former deputy chief of staff to corroborate, and thanked Donald for making his book an advance bestseller on Amazon; the publisher as a result decided to release the book this past Friday, four days early. This sent Donny into an even greater tizzy, tweeting that he’s “like, really smart” and “a very stable genius” as he bemoaned the fact that libel laws were too lenient, and White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said with a straight face that the fact that people can even besmirch the president was “disgusting,” and—in a coup de grâce of irony—that Donald “believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact, when it certainly and clearly is not.” Meanwhile Breitbart considers whether to fire Bannon, and the Mercer billionaires that back the outlet have severed ties with him, as a panicked White House has banned cell phones from the West Wing. Welcome to the circus.

New revelations indicate that Donald instructed his lawyer Don McGahn, to convince Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe, despite the Russian contacts Session lied about, which prompted his resignation. This would constitute obstruction of justice, and Mueller is said to be investigating it as a key element of his probe.

Donald abruptly shut down his sham voting fraud commission, formed after his false claims that it was voter fraud that resulted in his losing the popular vote by 3 million. The commission had been beset by problems since its inception, from its illegal requests of states to provide voter information to lawsuits to its exclusion of Democrats in its functions—and hasn’t produced a scrap of evidence to support its assertions of widespread voter fraud.

Mike Pence and his family were greeted by their neighbors on their Colorado ski vacation with Make America Gay Again banners.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts announced an initiative to protect court employees from sexual harassment after group of nearly 700 former and current law clerks sent Roberts a letter requesting action.

Alabama senator Doug Jones was sworn into the Senate, closing the GOP majority to 51-49…a narrow margin that may shift entirely away from Republicans in 2018.

Washington State’s attorney general has filed suit against Motel 6 for routinely handing over to federal immigration agents info about registered guests without any reasonable suspicion, probable cause or search warrants, including circling names that sounded Latino.

One of the women who accused Roy Moore of statutory sexual contact with her when she was 14 has sued the failed senate candidate for defamation after he attacked her character in the wake of her allegations against him.

Donald’s false or misleading claims while in office are approaching the 2,000 mark, a grim milestone that defines his presidency at a rate of nearly six lies a day. In case America is missing the Orwellian overtones of his reign thus far, Donald gave a video statement at a White House press conference at which he sat 150 feet away. Like the Wizard of Oz.

Fusion GPS published this op-ed in the New York Times defending their investigation that yielded the infamous dossier on Donald (you know the one…complete with golden showers). In it the company discusses the 21 hours of testimony they gave to three congressional committees that the GOP-led committees stifled, and they share some of their testimony the congressional committees have refused to release about the dossier that was funded by Republicans as well as the Clinton campaign.

2017 sucked on many levels, but don’t overlook the big-picture global progress inexorably being made, despite Donald and the minions. And record numbers of women are running or seriously considering running for governor across the country—79, leaving the previous record of 34 (in 1994) in the dust, and dozens of women are running for office in Texas.

How your voices are making a difference: Roll Tide!

Our feature story: The Crimson Tide turned blue this week as Alabama decided to send demagogue, scofflaw, and accused child molester Roy Moore packing (and the horse he rode to the polls on), handing the win to Democrat Doug Jones, a man who made his mark defending a little girl against the KKK in 1963. While we might hope that the spread between decency and depravity had been greater than 1.5 points—even in Alabama—it’s a positive sign: the victory narrows the GOP majority in the Senate to just 2, and sends the first Democrat to Congress from Alabama since 1992.

Austin City Council took a step toward police reform by rejecting the police union contract that Campaign Zero called one of the worst in the nation.

The FCC voted to roll back net neutrality rules, despite that it places control over end users’ internet access and costs in the hands of corporations, despite that the large majority of Americans—including three-quarters of Republicans—support net neutrality rules, and despite that 18 attorneys general asked the FCC to delay the vote until allegations of widespread commenting fraud could be investigated. But the ACLU, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and other groups have already announced they will sue to oppose the rollback and defend a free and open internet.

Two of Donald’s more controversial federal judge nominees—and that’s saying something—will not be confirmed, says Chuck Grassley, head of the committee responsible for confirming them. Jeff Mateer—who called a transgender first grader part of “Satan’s plan”—and Brett Talley have made public comments that were racially and gender discriminatory, and Talley—who has practiced law for just three years and never tried a case—was nominated in a party-line vote despite being rated as “not qualified” by the American Bar Association. Donny, who hates it when he is doing so much losing, pulled his nominees—and may wind up pulling another, who couldn’t answer even the most basic legal questions in his nomination hearing.

federal judge smacked down Donald’s attempt to ban transgender people from military service, and beginning January 1 all people have equal rights to serve our country.

Meanwhile, while the GOP attacks Mueller and his investigation and tries to make it a partisan battle, in his testimony Wednesday, Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein, asked directly whether he had reason to fire Robert Mueller, stated simply and categorically, “No.”

And Donald Jr. spent nine hours (yep, nine) in cloistered testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee answering questions about Russia.

Donald’s campaign adviser (and conspiracy theorist) Roger Stone is working on a book called The Fall of Trump, predicting that Mueller and the many (17 at last count) sexual-harassment allegations against Donald will bring him down.

Donald’s own UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, weighed in against Donald to state that the women accusing him of sexual harassment should be heard. That didn’t sit well with the pussy-grabber-in-chief, who continues to deny the accusations brought by 13 women against him so far…despite his own admission to sexually predatory behavior on the Access Hollywood tapes.

Meanwhile, in the wake of senators Conyers and Franken leaving office over sexual harassment allegations, three senators have asked Donald to step down as result of all of his. Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas—accused sexual predator and harasser—has announced he will not seek reelectionin 2018.

And—dare we hope it?—Paul Ryan is allegedly making rustlings about retiring from office as well.

Five Native American tribes are suing the federal government to prevent the stripping of 85 percent the formerly protected Bears Ears monument in Utah.

Donny’s approval ratings continue to tank, now down to 32 percent. Here’s a fact the hyperbole-loving Donald might appreciate: these are the lowest ratings for Donny ever. Tremendously low. Sad!

His popularity might be summed up by the normally neutral USA Today, who joined the chorus of voices declaring Donald is unfit for office, but went even further in an editorial, saying he is “uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed…. A president who’d all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in Obama’s presidential library or to shine George W. Bush’s shoes.”

And with that, happy holidays to you all, and may Robert Mueller bring us something we all really, really want this year.

What to do if Mueller is fired

Since the Cornyn Stakeout in May 2017, and the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor in the Russia investigation, we have shied away from Russia-related calls to action. Our movement is built on empowering  individuals to make a difference, and it’s hard to see where we can make a difference on this front.

Now, with the alarming uptick in chants of “fire Mueller” on Fox News and other media, and the complicity of our MoCs, we’re encouraging people to prepare for Mueller’s firing. Use this tool from MoveOn to find out what’s happening in your area. This is the plan in Austin, which will be updated in the event of Mueller’s firing

We’ll be sure to post updates here, on social media, to our email list, etc.

In case you missed it, our John Cornyn seems pretty comfortable with the prospect of Mueller getting fired.

Firing Mueller is a third rail that cannot be touched. Call your Senators and House representatives. Tell them that you support the Mueller investigation, wherever the facts lead, and that it must be protected by Congress. Senators on both sides of the aisle have introduced bills to protect Mueller, but so far, the GOP doesn’t think it’s necessary.

And by the way, this is what John Cornyn had to say about Bob Mueller last May:

“Robert Mueller is perhaps the single-most qualified individual to lead such an investigation, in my view, and he’s certainly independent. As a former F.B.I. Director, the longest-serving F.B.I. Director since J. Edgar Hoover, he, by any measure, has the experience and the credibility and the credentials to conduct a nonpartisan investigation and come to a conclusion based on the facts alone.”

We’ll update this post as new information comes in.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: There is more good in the world than evil

This was a rough week, and it made me want to add a feature to this list to remind all of us of who we are as human beings, and that there is more good in the world than evil. This incredibly inspiring story is about a police officer who answered a robbery call and found a pregnant heroin addict. When he told her, “You’re going to kill your baby,” the woman began to sob, and the officer said he learned how badly she wanted her child to go to a good family—so he adopted the baby when she was born a month later, as well as helping the birth mother with rehabilitation. This story is about a homeless man who used his own $20 to help a woman who had broken down by the side of the road…and as a gesture of gratitude she started a GoFundMe campaign and has raised $300,000 for him to date. There are so many good and decent people out there. That’s why we keep fighting.

Now on to the battlefront. On the Russia front, Robert Mueller—or, as some like to call him, Our Lord and Savior—has subpoenaed Donald’s Deutsche Bank banking records. Deutsche Bank, you may recall, has been petitioned by Democrats for months to release information about the $300 million in loans it made to Donald to determine whether any of the loans were tied to Russia.

Michael Flynn’s charges of lying to the FBI in testimony about his contacts with Russia have thrown into question testimony by Donald’s former deputy national security adviser (K.T. McFarland, but why would you remember that with the ever-revolving door of White House staff?) that she was unaware of such contact, after emails revealed she most certainly was aware of at least one phone call between Flynn and then-Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Beleaguered (and indicted) former Donald campaign chairman Paul Manafort cowrote an op-ed with an associate who has been assessed to have ties to Russian intelligence, a potentially incriminating move (and one that may inadvertently demonstrate the level of Manafort’s his own intelligence). Mueller has issued 15 search warrants related to Manafort’s financial dealings, and has obtained over 116,000 pages of financial records.

Donald’s defense for his incriminating tweet suggesting that he knew Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI—before he asked Comey to let his investigation of Flynn go—seems to be that a president can’t obstruct justice, a perspective refuted—on the record—in the past by sixteen GOP senators, as well as Donald’s own attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

In Don Jr.’s seven-hour testimony to House Intelligence Committee, and following his father’s school of questionable legal justifications, he cited attorney-client privilege as his excuse for refusing to answer questions about a phone call he had with Donny Sr. about how to handle his gaffe with the meeting with the Russian lawyer where he eagerly sought dirt on Hillary Clinton: because their lawyers were present for the call…despite that at the time there was no legal matter at issue that would actually invoke attorney-client privilege.

Rep. Devin Nunes spoke with Blackwater founder Erik Prince about the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the FBI’s unmasking of identities in U.S. intelligence reports—problematic given that Nunes had been forced to recuse himself from that committee’s investigation after briefing Donald and the press on classified intelligence without telling the rest of his committee, and because Prince was a witness in that investigation.

Billy Bush and seven other witnesses refute Donald’s alleged claim that his pussy-grabbing comments were not his voice.

Senator Jeff Flake—a Republican—donated $100 to Democrat Doug Jones’s Senate campaign in Alabama against twice-removed former judge (and current accused child molester) Roy Moore.

The Supreme Court is preparing to hear one of the several partisan gerrymandering cases brought by states recently, this one by Maryland.

Finally, take heart—according to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans (59%) believe it likely that Donald and his minions had improper campaign contacts with Russia, and most are at least somewhat confident in the fairness of Robert Mueller and his investigation. And there are still people in the GOP who haven’t abdicated their values for the party agenda (well, actually I guess in this case who used to be in the GOP…). In the war between good and evil, love trumps hate every time–we just have to stay in the battle.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Rolled Like a Burrito

I’m not going to bury the lede—Michael Flynn rolled like a burrito, my friends, and has promised “full cooperation” with Mueller’s investigation. The former national security adviser was the highest of high-level advisers to Donald and the minions, and in exchange for one paltry count of lying to the FBI (despite the reams of incriminating info Mueller has on him), it sounds like he’ll be singing like the proverbial canary. Know what song I keep hearing…? “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” Bet things aren’t quite so merry in the White House, where Melania’s horror-movie holiday decorations now seem pretty spot-on. For more from a legal expert on why this is Very Big News, please enjoy this delightful read.

Meanwhile Donny Jr. has agreed to talk to the House Intelligence Committee. I wonder whether he has the sense of self-preservation to point fingers at Daddy or if he’ll throw himself on the grenade in accordance with Donald’s demands for loyalty at any cost.

A right-wing group that targets media and left-leaning organizations attempted to “sting” the Washington Post by hiring a woman to pretend to be an accuser of child molester, disgraced judge, and Congressional wannabe Roy Moore—but the effort backfired when the Post, following its stringent fact-checking policies, declined to run the story, and in checking on the woman and her story discovered (and published) evidence of her duplicity and the sting operation conducted by Project Veritasa right-wing extremist organization that uses deceptive tactics and secretly recorded conversations in an effort to discredit its targets (and one that Donald himself donated $10K to).

As Donald reportedly denies his own voice on the Access Hollywood tapes, which the pussy-grabber-in-chief initially owned up to, the New York Times ran a well-sourced article revealing how many Republicans Donald has pressured to end the Russia investigations. Never minds separation of powers or ethics or, you know, the law.

Donald’s recurring and renewed attacks against the free press are escalating, and journalists are fighting back. He held out his propaganda station, FOX, for praise against CNN, saying, “FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!” CNN whipped back within minutes: “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S. to the world. That’s yours.” Donald then called for a boycott of CNN when the media organization decided not to attend the White House holiday party for news media.

Two media organizations are suing the White House for information on the federal government’s surveillance practices against journalists, and for which the White House has denied records requests.

One of the first things authoritarians do in consolidating power is attack the free press, and Donald’s constant war against the media and the First Amendment is one of the more alarming attacks on our democracy. You can help by supporting the outlets doing top-notch journalism and keeping this regime accountable and transparent despite their attempts otherwise: Subscribe to the Washington Post and NY Times; donate to NPR and the Guardian; and support the many other excellent media sources that deal in truth and facts and relentlessly bring both to light.

The Inspector general of the Treasury Department has launched an investigation to determine whether Steven “Moochin’” Mnuchin suppressed a Treasury analysis of the Republican tax bill—or even initiated one at all.

Donny John was also recently exposed for hiring undocumented laborers—without adequate workplace safety precautions—for $4/hour (less than half the union wage—for those who were paid at all) to raze the Bonwit Teller building in Manhattan where his gaudy gold Trump Tower now stands. Donald settled the class-action lawsuit in 1998 (despite his false claims that he never settles), and the terms were recently unsealed by a district court judge.

Twenty-three Donald-affiliated business have received subpoenas from Maryland and DC attorneys general instructing them to preserve records as part of a lawsuit against Don John for violating the Constitution—again, this time the emoluments clause intended to prevent presidents from personally profiting from their office, as Donald is.

Texas Rep Joe “Dick Pic” Barton announced he is retiring from the House after it was revealed that the hard-line conservative sent lewd photos to a woman he was having an extramarital affair with. In not-unrelated news, members of both parties are pressuring Congress to end the culture of secrecy around sexual harassment claims—and especially to unmask lawmakers who have used taxpayer dollars to settle harassment claims.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Flippin’ Flynn

This week brought an intriguing development in the latest Russia report: Michael Flynn abruptly cut off all direct contact with Donald and his team—a pretty good sign that he may be working to cut a deal with Robert Mueller…in other words, to roll on what he may know about Donald and the campaign’s Russia ties. Pass the popcorn, please.

After announcing an end to the Obama-era ban on importing elephant “trophies” from nations without adequate protections for the endangered animals, Donald flip-flopped at loud, immediate bipartisan outcry, and has decided to uphold the ban (for now).

More Republican senators are waffling on the GOP tax scam, endangering its chances of passing in the Senate.

Donald’s tanking approval ratings are even spreading to FOX—FOX News host Neil Cavuto aimed a scathing reprimand at Donald over his tweets that he should have left the UCLA basketball players in jail: “Forget about either comment not being presidential. At what point does the president see such remarks don’t even border on being human?… Last time I checked, you are the president of the United States,” he said. “Why don’t you act like it?”

Ex-RNC chair Michael Steele called Donny’s backing of sexual predator Roy Moore “sickening” and “beyond stupid” and said he was doing “irreparable harm” to our country.

(Kim Jong Un, as always, takes things a linguistically memorable step further, calling Donald an “old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject.”)

Unlikely superhero Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics, filed a complaint with his former agency regarding Kellyanne Conway’s comments advocating for Roy Moore while in her official capacity—a potential violation of the Hatch Act, a law that forbids federal employees from using their positions for political purposes. Shaub resigned halfway into Donald’s first year, after heroic battles with the new administration, which refused to observe rules and norms the office was designed to enforce, and has been eloquently outspoken since about the many ongoing violations of ethics of Donald and his minions.

Amid claims against one of Roy Moore’s accusers that his campaign refuses to substantiateMoore’s communications director has resigned.

Richard Spencer-organized event was abruptly called to a halt smack in the middle of it when the farmers who managed the venue in Maryland where it was being held learned white nationalist Spencer was behind it and kicked the entire gathering out. Management refunded the group’s money, but stood by its refusal to host the group as “strongly in opposition to our values…including welcoming people of all backgrounds, race, ethnicities, cultures, and religions.”

A second federal judge has ruled Donald’s ban on transgender people serving in the military is unconstitutional—and goes one step farther, ruling that the White House cannot deny funding for certain medical treatments—including gender reassignment surgery.

Another federal judge issued an injunction to permanently block the federal government from withholding funds from “sanctuary cities,” citing the White House policy as a violation of the Fifth and Tenth Amendments, and of the separation of powers doctrine.

Right now, federal judges are helping keep Donald’s unconstitutional attempts in check—but what should scare all of us is how he and Jeff Sessions are feverishly appointing judges to the bench—aided by the GOP’s blockading of legitimate appointments during Obama’s administration, and by their steamrolling the rule that prevents nominees from office if a certain number of senators from the nominee’s home state object (the “blue slip” rule). If conservatives get their way,Donald will add twice as many lifetime members to the federal judiciary in the next 12 months (650) as Barack Obama named in eight years (325). This is a major battle that’s not in the spotlight—and as long as it isn’t the GOP can keep railroading onto the bench extreme-conservative, unqualified, young judges who could change the face of our judiciary for the next 50 years (appointed by an attorney general who was himself judged too racist to serve as a federal judge). Fight, warriors—this will have repercussions for years to come, and generations after us.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Speaking Up for the Truth

In the wake of the House tax plan passing, nobody seems very happy about the Senate GOP tax plan—including a lot of the GOP. This week brought stirrings of discontent among Republican lawmakers as the GOP tax scam—aka tax shelter for the wealthy (including a provision offering tax breaks for private jets…seriously)—draws closer to the floor. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is balking because it disproportionately benefits corporations at the expense of other businesses; Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain—generally the sole GOP senators courageous enough to stand against the party and protect their constituents—are once again also on the fence, particularly if the tax plan sneaks in the repeal of the individual mandate for insurance, which would effectively erase any tax gains for middle and lower-income Americans through higher health care premiums.

Local officials around the country from both major parties decried proposals that they say threaten housing and infrastructure projects by eliminating ways to pay for themThree former defense secretaries have rejected the bill for inadequate provisions for defense spending and creating a threat to national security. In fact, only a quarter of the country approves of the planThe tax plan also sneaks in the definition of “personhood” beginning at conception, an insidious undermining of Roe v Wade that may be a harbinger of more attacks to come. The GOP can lose only two votes and still get their tax package passed. CALL OR FAX OR TEXT YOUR SENATORS and demand they vote no—especially unless these sneaky inclusions are removed.

More than 400 millionaires and billionaires signed a letter to the White House asking Donald not to cut their taxesnot to pass any tax bill that “further exacerbates inequality” and adds to the national debt. “Repealing the estate tax alone would lose an estimated $269 billion over 10 years — more than we would spend on the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency combined,” the letter said.

The House joined the Senate in adopting mandatory anti-sexual-harassment training.

Speaking of sexual misconduct, Senate Republicans have finally united against Roy Moore (including, shockingly, calls for him to step down from former endorsers Cornyn and Cruz). The GOP apparently can support Moore’s flouting of the law and record of racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim statements and actions, but at least multiple allegations of pedophilia are a bridge too far for them (except in Alabama—no, really). The Republican National Committee pulled out of funding his race for Congress, after the Republican Senatorial Committee did the same thing last week, leaving the Alabama Republican Party as Moore’s only remaining GOP fundraising partner. Although the Alabama GOP refuses to withdraw support from Moore despite an additional three women coming forward alleging inappropriate sexual advances (making it nine in total, if you have a score card), on the plus side in pollsMoore is trailing his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. (And yes, nine accusations of sexual misconduct, some against minors, and still he trails by only 8 points.)

A federal judge ruled that Donny’s White House can’t withhold federal law-enforcement grants from sanctuary cities.

In Russian news—Jared Kushner forwarded emails he previously failed to disclose about a “Russian backdoor overture” to campaign officials. He’s been asked to turn over all relevant documents. Meanwhile, Mueller has subpoenaed more than a dozen of Donald’s campaign officials for Russia-related documents. And the British publicist who arranged the infamous Trump Tower meeting for Kushner and Don Jr. has agreed to come to the States to talk to Mueller’s investigation.

Despite rustlings spurred by an antsy White House desperately trying to deflect attention from itself as Mueller’s investigation closes in, Jeff Sessions announced there is not enough basis to appoint special counsel to investigate Hillary. Again.

Six Democrats have introduced articles of impeachment against the “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

In the first 11 days of open enrollment, nearly 1.5 million people have signed up for Obamacare—beating last year’s totals for this time by 500K.

bipartisan group of senators introduced gun-control legislation that would instigate penalties for state and federal agencies that fail to report records relevant in background checks and incentivize states to improve reporting.

Ohio Republican House rep Wes Goodman—a religious conservative vocal proponent of “natural marriage” between a man and a woman, and who is “straight-married” himself—resigned this week after being caught in a consensual instance of “inappropriate behavior” in his office…with another man.

This happened.

Remind yourself of our many victories, warriors, and stay vocal, active, and engaged. We are literally the defenders of our nation and governance against the current administration’s self-stated efforts to dismantle it. We have to keep speaking up for the truth—democracy literally depends upon it.