How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Let us be serious and worthy of our people:

6/18 “Let us be serious and worthy of our people”

After the G7 summit in which Donald acted like the big man-baby he is, threw a tantrum, and then whined on Twitter because Justin Trudeau stood up to him, French president Emmanuel Macron finally abandoned all pretense of trying to humor the commander of cheese, stating publicly that “international cooperation cannot depend on fits of anger or little words. Let us be serious and worthy of our people.” Thank god there are adults in the room—too bad they all seem to be in other countries.

One of the few FOX News anchors who actually reports the news, Shep Smith, gave a scathingly honest breakdown of Donald’s concessions to the brutal North Korean dictator the mentally deranged dotard says he “trusts” and who is “very talented”: Donald gave up plenty to a murderous authoritarian and got nothing in return. “The United States made concessions in exchange for no hard promises….Kim Jong Un got it all…for actually doing nothing.”

Russia

Robert Mueller filed for 150 blank subpoenas in Paul Manafort’s VA case—meaning 75 potential witnesses.

Attorney Michael Cohen, facing serious charges by the investigation and abandoned by his former client Don John, has indicated to friends and family that he will cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. Sing it loud and proud, Robert. Perhaps influencing his sudden spirit of cooperation, investigators have so far pieced together 16 documents from Cohen’s shredder, seized by Mueller’s team last month, and obtained thousands of encrypted text messages.

Attorney (and husband of Kellyanne) George Conway wrote a long article in a prominent law publication refuting Donald’s assertions that the appointment of Robert Mueller was unconstitutional, and heartily defending Mueller’s investigation: “Additionally, Conway wrote, the scope of Mueller’s investigation is far narrower compared to the wide-ranging duties of U.S. attorneys. And although Calabresi argued that Manafort’s indictment is far beyond that scope, Conway said an appeals court already has rejected that argument. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last month that Mueller’s prosecution of Manafort on charges of money laundering, tax and bank fraud, and conspiracy was ‘an appropriate exercise of the Special Counsel’s authority’— and said that Mueller ‘would have been remiss’ if he ignored ‘such an obvious link’ between the Trump campaign and Russia. ‘So not only does Mueller have a boss, and not only is the boss keeping tabs on Mueller, but, according to this judicial decision, Mueller is also faithfully following his boss’s orders,’ Conway wrote. ’That disposes of Calabresi’s Appointment Clause contentions.’”

Republicans Against the Law

Paul Manafort is in jail for witness tampering. No more house arrest. No bail. BOOM. (That’s the sound of the hammer coming down, Donald and minions.)

New York has filed suit against Donald, Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka for illegal misuse of his (allegedly) nonprofit charity organization, including using its funds to pay off his businesses’ creditors, decorate one of his golf clubs and stage a multimillion-dollar giveaway at his 2016 campaign events. The suit might involve the IRS, whose investigation could lead to federal criminal charges against Donny for tax fraud.

For the third time, Donald has tried—and failed—to have Summer Zervos’s defamation case against him dismissed. The suit will now move forward with discovery—which may require Donald to testify under oath about his treatment of women.

Former FBI Deputy Director Christopher McCabe—whom Don John fired hours before McCabe would have received his full earned retirement benefits—is suing the FBI, the Justice Department and its inspector general for refusing to turn over documents related to McCabe’s termination.

Meanwhile Michael Cohen made a bid to muzzle Stephanie Clifford’s (Stormy Daniels) lawyer, Michael Avenatti, but a federal judge refused to grant a gag order.

Multiple Texas organizations supporting and lobbying for abortion rights filed suit against the state for laws that restrict access to abortion and disadvantage low-income people, people of color, and other marginalized communities, stating that the laws allow providers to distribute inaccurate information, shame women seeking abortions, and create bureaucratic barriers to the procedure.

Republicans Reconsidering

In direct defiance of Don John’s deal with Chinese telecom company ZTE after the company broke American sanctions on countries like North Korea and Iran, the Senate blocked Donny’s agreement, which would have kept the company in the U.S. market. Republican senator Tom Cotton says the move will likely put the telecom giant, which is said to be a mechanism for espionage by, in part, selling phones in the U.S. that can be tracked and enabled to steal intellectual property, out of business.

Republican senator Joni Ernst, a key member of the Senate Armed Services committee, openly questioned Donald’s concession to brutal dictator Kim Jong Un to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea.

Republican senator Bob Corker is uncorked now that he’s announced he won’t seek reelection. On the heels of Mitch McConnell blocking his Corker’s proposed legislation that would have blocked Donny’s ability to levy tariffs, Corker called the GOP under the very stable genius “cultish” and “fearful.”

“Draining the Swamp”

Are you surprised that we will lead this section, yet again, with Scott Pruitt’s shenanigans? This time he was revealed to havesolicited a top aide as well as wealthy donors to secure a job for his wife. As a reminder it seems Pruitt desperately needs, federal ethics rules prohibit public officials from using their posts for private gain or receiving free services or other gifts from their subordinates.

Of course Pruitt’s office is handling all this with Donald’s White House’s usual grace, calling one reporter from the Atlantic “a piece of trash” for asking questions, and using physical aggression against others.

Donald’s White House continues to hemorrhage staffers—latest departures, both announced and rumored, include Capitol Hill liaison Marc Short, deputy press secretary Raj Shah, and the liar-in-chief’s right-hand liar, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Having trouble keeping up with staff attrition? Here’s a comprehensive list from WTF Just Happened Today.

The 24-year-old campaign intern and former “drug czar” in Donald’s administration (head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy) was relieved of duty at the drug policy office as a result of Washington Post’s article exposing his six quick promotions despite a total lack of experience, and then subsequently fired. Now he’s speaking out.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

In a unanimous vote, the Austin City Council voted to pass a Freedom City policy, a measure that helps avoid racial profiling in arrests, requires full vetting and reporting on arrests requested of APD by ICE, and ensures that officers who ask detainees about their immigration status also inform them of their right not to answer, and fill out a report explaining the encounter.

Students who survived the school shooting in Parkland at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high have organized a bus tour called Road to Change, focused on getting young people to vote and keeping them politically engaged.

Target and Walmart are proudly flying rainbow flags all over their stores and online.

This week there’s another new section I’m simply calling:

WTAF

propaganda video about North Korea that paints Kim Jong Un as the beloved leader of a grateful people, rather than the brutal dictator he is who imprisons, tortures, and kills his own people, was actually produced and released BY THE WHITE HOUSE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A cohost on the commander of cheese’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, Freudianly referred to Donald as a dictator on air, and then frantically tried to brush it under the rug as a slip of the tongue (instead of a slip of the truth). Neither Anthony “not trying to suck my own c*&k” Scaramucci, who was being interviewed by cohost Abby Huntsman when she let the subconscious truth bomb fly, nor, presumably, the wannabe dictator in the White House seemed to take offense nor even notice the comment.

There are actually staffers in the White House who painstakingly tape together official documents that Donald methodically shreds in his little man-baby tantrums, because they are legally required to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act. Let’s be clear—this happens because staffers felt it was easier to laboriously tape together documents sometimes shredded into confetti rather than demand the president of the United States obey the law, let alone act like an adult.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

ICE conducted a workplace raid at a small town in Tennessee, a state where Donald won 61 percent of the vote, and detained 97 immigrants—but the town spoke out and fought back.

Less than two weeks after a pilot whale died off Thailand with 80 plastic bags in its stomach, three major corporations—SeaWorld, IKEA, and Royal Caribbean Cruises—are banning plastic straws and bags in an effort to curb rampant plastics pollution in oceans. They join other companies, as well as cities like Seattle, which will ban plastic straws and utensils in restaurants as of July 1, and California, which is working to ban plastic bags; and all of the UK: Teresa May has announced a countrywide ban on plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs.

How your voices are making a difference: “Commander of Cheese”

6/11 “Commander of Cheese”

Let’s jump right in with…

Republicans Against the Law

A federal judge ruled that a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the White House for its policy separating children from parents at the border will be allowed to proceed. “The government conduct at issue shocks the conscience and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity,” Judge Dana M. Sabraw wrote.

federal judge ruled against Donald in a sanctuary city case in Philadelphia, ruling that the administration could not withhold federal funding from the city over its sanctuary policies and stating that the attempt “violates statutory and constitutional law.”

judge ruled that Donald can be deposed in the lawsuit brought against him by Summer Zervos for defamation, after her accusations against him of sexual misconduct.

A judge has ordered Scott Pruitt’s EPA to provide evidence for his assertion that humans are not the main cause of climate change, after Pruitt published the antiscientific dictum and resisted providing any science to back up the claim.

A federal judge rejected efforts by Trump, the Trump Organization and Michael Cohen to file their objections to findings from the seized documents and records of Donny’s personal attorney’s business dealings entirely under seal, and has instructed that any objections be filed publicly.

Stormy Daniels has filed another lawsuit, this one against Donald’s presently-marinating-in-hot-water personal attorney Michael Cohen as well as her own former attorney, for allegedly colluding together and with Donald to intimidate her and try to silence her story of her relationship with Donald shortly after Melania gave birth to Barron.

Colin Kaepernick’s lawyers plan to subpoena Donald and Mike Pence to compel their testimony about the administration’s direct political involvement with and pressuring of the NFL during Kaepernick’s free agency and the league’s handling of player protests.

The Pentagon opened an investigation into Ronny Jackson, Donald’s former physician who once said Don John could live to 200 if he ate his vegetables. (No, really.)

In light of all the recent conservatives finally speaking out against Donny, let’s try a new section this week we’ll call…

Republicans Reconsidering

Paul Ryan, on his way out of politics, seems to have finally located some vestigial spine and joined other lawmakers—including Republicans—in stating that he’s seen no evidence indicating that the FBI placed a “spy”into Donny’s campaign.

Retired army lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters, who announced in March that he would no longer appear on FOX as a military expert in March because he was disgusted with the network’s extreme bias and slant, gave his first interview since his departure, saying on CNN that FOX had become “a destructive propaganda machine” and is doing “a great, grave disservice to our country.” “It’s bewildering to me,” he said. “I mean, I wanted to just cry out and say: ‘How can you do this? How can you lie to our country?’” Another former FOX news anchor now at CNN joined in, corroborating FOX’s “blurring of the lines between propaganda and journalism.”

The political network run by the Koch brothers is launching a multimillion-dollar, multiyear campaign to oppose his new tariffs. (Unrelated, probably, David Koch stepped down from the company for health reasons.)

Donald asked Republican senator Bob Corker not to file a bill that would check Donny’s authority in trade, such as his recent imposition of tariffs. Corker did it anyway.

Kellyanne Conway’s husband has taken to Twitter again with more public smackdowns on his wife’s boss, Donald—this time refuting Don John’s tweets that the Mueller investigation is unconstitutional.

Ted Cruz was struck dumb for 18 interminable seconds in an interview when asked whether Donald had the right to pardon himself, as the colluder-in-chief asserted he did.  Other members of the GOP weighed in more readily, many saying that Donald would likely be impeached if he were to pardon himself for crimes. Which brings us right to…

Russia

Robert Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of witness tampering. In case you’re keeping a tally in the “witch hunt” so far that’s 20 witches indicted, 75 charges filed so far against witches, and at least 5 witches pleading guilty.

As a result a federal judge has scheduled a hearing to revoke Manafort’s bail. Also as a result, Mueller has requested the personal cell phones of witnesses in the case to inspect their encrypted messaging programs, which Manafort used in his efforts to influence the witnesses.

Meanwhile, Mueller filed new charges against both Manafort and an associate of Manafort’s, Konstantin Kilimnik, for obstructing justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with what investigators are calling a secret lobbying scheme on behalf of Ukraine.

Despite nearly a year’s worth of denials from Donald’s aides that he was behind a misleading statement released in Donny Jr.’s name about the Trump Tower meeting little Junior held with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, a confidential memo to the special counsel revealed that the liar-in-chief did, in fact, dictate the statement.

“Draining the Swamp”

The Scott Pruitt abuse-of-office saga continues with revelations that he used taxpayer-funded staff to help him search for housing, buy a used Trump mattress, and help his wife look into opening a Chick-Fil-A franchise. Two days later it was revealed that he also used members of taxpayer-funded $3.5 million/year security detail to pick up his dry cleaning and take him to buy moisturizing lotionFederal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain. One of his top aides—who received a hefty salary increase despite the White House refusing Pruitt’s request for raises—has resigned, allegedly telling other staffers she is tired of being “thrown under the bus” by Pruitt. Democrats have formally asked the Justice Department to investigate Pruitt for criminal conduct.

Remember White House aide Kelly Sadler, who made an appalling comment about John McCain, stating that his opposition to CIA director Gina Haspel’s nomination didn’t matter because the war-hero POW senator was dying? She’s out.

Donald is reportedly tabling the attempt to appoint a number three official in the DoJ—the person who would assume control of the Russia investigation should Donald fire Robert Mueller—because no one apparently wants the position.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Voters recalled Judge Aaron Perksy from the bench Wednesday, the judge who sentenced convicted rapist Brock Turner to a lenient six months in jail—the first judge removed from his position in California in 86 years.

Miss America is eliminating the swimsuit competition (because it’s 2018, FFS).

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Donald uninvited the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House after only “a tiny handful” of the players agreed to meet with him. FOX News, reporting the story in pure propaganda style, ran a picture showing players kneeling—which was later exposed by Eagles team members as actually being a photo of several of them in a circle praying. FOX later apologized for the misleading photo. Meanwhile at the White House, in Don John’s patched-together “Celebration of America” he held without the Super Bowl champions (which drew backlash from the world of pro sports), one attendee took a knee.

After NBA finalists the Warriors and the Cavaliers both stated that they did not want to be invited to the White House, Donald scrambled to announce he was not inviting them to the White House.

Rudy Giuliani’s latest mouth eruptions have been publicly smacked down, this time from the unlikeliest of sources: Melania Trump’s office. Melania’s spokesperson refuted Giuliani’s assertion that the scarce first lady told Donald’s bloviating newest lawyer that she believed her husband regarding the Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) affair: “I don’t believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani,” her spokeswoman told the New York Times.

Finally, if you haven’t yet discovered Randy Rainbow’s incisive, hilarious musical parodies of the world of Don John, please allow me to introduce you with this genius video from a statement that actually, magically happened, when Kellyanne Conway referred to Donny as the commander of cheese.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 Again'”

6/4 “‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 Again.’”

The steel industry and steel workers union, the auto industry, U.S. allies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and even Republicans decried the trade war Donald started with the EU, Mexico, and Canada, the effects of which will likely hit red states the hardest. As Republican senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said, “‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 Again.’”

Even Mitch McConnell spoke out against Donald’s actions—which I think is the seventh sign. But seriously, pay attention to how many headlines very recently show members of the GOP speaking out against Donald—this could be the beginning of a turning tide (finally).

And John Brennan, former head of the CIA under both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama, says he will continue speaking out against the current president “until integrity, decency, wisdom—and maybe even some humility—return to the White House.”

Russia

Donald continues his attacks against Mueller and the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in our 2016 election with the intent to help Donald get elected—but without the concerted GOP abetting he’s been enjoying previously. On FOX News, when one of his pet commentators, Andrew Napolitano, stated that Don John’s claims that the FBI embedded a spy in his campaign “appear to be baseless.”“There is no evidence for that whatsoever,” Napolitano said. The fact that the FBI source spoke with “people on the periphery of the campaign,” he said, “is standard operating procedure in intelligence gathering and in criminal investigations.”

Little by little, the GOP seems to finally have found some modicum of spine to begin to stand up to Donald’s abuses of office. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a frequent Trump toady and member of the House Intelligence Committee who attended a classified Justice Department briefing last week on the FBI’s use of the confidential source, defended the investigation and its use of an informant: “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do.” He later rebuked Donny for repeatedly using the word “spy.” And Shepard Smith, one of the few consistent voices of fact and reason at FOX, dismissed Donald’s attacks and accusations that Mueller will be “meddling” in the midterms as “conspiracy theories” and “unfounded, not based in fact or reason, with no evidence to support them.”

Even Donald’s own lawyer, the mouth-hemorrhaging Rudy Giuliani, admitted that Donny’s attacks were a PR campaign meant only “for public opinion” and to try to fend off impeachment.

Meanwhile, better go pop your popcorn: Mueller’s investigation is just about to receive more than a million files from Donny’s attorney Michael Cohen’s phones.

“Draining the Swamp”

Eric Greitans, the Missouri governor under ethics investigation for sexual misconduct and campaign finance violations who tried to “witch-hunt” out the allegations, Trump-style, resigned Tuesday.

Two more GOP lawmakers have announced they will not seek reelection—bringing the total so far since Donny’s tenure to more than 40, if you’re wondering. Rep. Thomas Garrett of VA says he is an alcoholic and is quitting for personal reasons, and Rep Ryan Costello of PA says he’s leaving because “all I do is answer questions about Donald Trump.”

Scott Pruitt spent more than three thousand taxpayer dollars on 12 custom pens and some stationery.

Republicans Against the Law

Donald’s been busy rolling back protections for federal employees, but they’re fighting back: The largest federal employee union is suing Donald’s administration over his latest executive order limiting the time employees can spend on union activity. The suit says the order violates employees’ constitutional right to freedom of association (First Amendment).

Two Texas Hispanic groups are suing Donald’s administration to block the citizenship question being proposed for the 2020 census.

An army sergeant is suing the Defense Department over “outdated” rules about HIV that stifle the careers of military personnel with the disease.

Gun Reform

large majority of both gun owners and non gun owners (4 out of 5) favor stronger regulations on gun purchases and ownership, according to a new survey by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

Horrified parents and activists protested a video game manufacturer over the planned release of a first-person shooter game that featured a shooter with an AK-47 at a school. The company scrapped the game and ended their relationship with the developer.

Health Care

The Republican-led Virginia legislature voted to expand Medicaid in that state under the Affordable Care Act, expanding health-care coverage to around 400,000 low-income residents.

Instant Karma

This is a new section heading I hope to be needing more often.

After Roseanne Barr’s latest offensive comment—this one an appalling racist remark about a former Obama senior adviser, following aTuesday-morning rant of conspiracy theories and fact-free attacks on others, including Chelsea Clinton—ABC almost immediately canceled the show Roseanne despite its success in viewership and having previously decided to renew it for a second season. ABC Entertainment’s president said “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” The decision came fast on the heels of public furor against the show’s star for her offensive remarks, and after writer/producer/actor Wanda Sykes, one of the show’s producers, summarily quit with the tweet, “I will not be returning to @RoseanneonABC.” Roseanne later blamed Sykes, her fellow cast members, and Ambien for her downfall; Ambien released an official statement that racism was not a known side effect of the drug. Barr’s own longtime producing partner publicly supported ABC’s actions and stated that he hopes Roseanne “seeks the help she so clearly needs.”

A Florida police officer posted a Facebook comment that implied he hoped Parkland survivor David Hogg and other activists would be run over by a car in the parking lot of a Publix where Hogg had organized a “die-in” to protest the company’s NRA donations. The Coconut Creek police department is referring the officer for unspecified disciplinary action.

Rudy Giuliani got booed by the crowd while attending a ball game at Yankee Stadium.

Your Feel-good Story of the Week

A retired English teacher wrote to the current administration after the Parkland shooting, asking the White House to do something about gun reform. She received a letter from Donald riddled with errors—so she corrected and returned it.

In an atmosphere of school shootings, budget cuts in education, and Betsy DeVos, teachers are running for office in unprecedented numbers.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “Our presidency has been debased”

5/28: “Our presidency has been debased.”

That quote comes from a Republican senator, Jeff Flake—one of the handful of lawmakers freed of the need to pander to the base with announcement of his retirement, who is speaking out openly against Don John and his abuses of office. At an address to Harvard Law School, Flake called Donny “a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division. And only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works.”

It may herald a wave of GOP lawmakers finding some kind of backbone; in fact the New York Times reports on a coalition of high-profile and well-funded Republicans joining Democrats in trying to curb Donald’s attempts to chip away at our democracy.

And a bipartisan group of senators—including, amazingly, John Cornyn—are speaking out against Donald’s efforts to lessen sanctions and penalties on Chinese telecom company ZTE and other Chinese companies that are “serial and pre-meditated violators of U.S. law.” Marco Rubio has gone so far as to suggest Congress will block any attempts by ZTE to operate in the U.S.

In a hilarious example of his incompetence, as Donald erratically spewed invective and flattery at North Korea and Kim Jong Un, he found time to accuse the New York Times of making up a source on his vacillation in the planned June 12summit with the brutal North Korean dictator—a source the White House itself sent to brief dozens of reporters from other media outlets as well.

Just before Don John canceled the dangled carrot of a mythical meeting with brutal dictator Kim Jong Un North Korea issued one of its linguistically pungent statements regarding VP Mike Pence, calling him a “political dummy” and saying:“As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice president.” Trust me, North Korea, as people directly involved in U.S. affairs, neither can we.

Russia

Former Don John senior campaign adviser A. J. Delgado couldn’t restrain her disbelief at Donald’s desperate attacks against the FBI. After he tweeted that he would ask his DoJ to open an investigation into whether President Obama and the FBI “embedded” a “spy” into his campaign (an informant was dispatched, consistent with FBI protocol in an active investigation, which was already under way at that time because of evidence indicating possible involvement by the Trump campaign with Russia’s efforts to tamper with our election) and Rod Rosenstein palliated the colluder in chief and agreed to the baseless demand, the former Trump campaign senior adviser tweeted, “Are we really going w this?? That Obama put a spy inside the Trump campaign, to frame Trump? Srsly? Not sure if it’s IQ, ethics, or simple common sense but I cant.”

Even frequent Trump toady Lindsay Graham spoke out against Don John’s “spygate” conspiracy attacks against the Mueller investigation, and Mitch McConnell says he supports the investigation as well.

Meanwhile Robert Mueller is investigating former Donald adviser Roger Stone’s finances, and the Taxi King will testify: One of Michael Cohen’s business partners, a Russian immigrant business owner, has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as a potential witness, and the FBI has obtained wiretap recordings with a Kremlin-linked banker who later met with Don Jr during the 2016 campaign.

Gun reform:

Even before the Santa Fe shooting, more than half of Texans polled favored stronger commonsense gun laws.

Questioned on why his company was making a political stand in terminating the discount program formerly offered to the NRA, United Airlines CEO stood strongly by the company’s decision, stating that it wasn’t political but ”personal with regard to my family at United.” One of the 17 people killed at the Parkland school shooting was the teenage daughter of a United captain.

After activists led by Parkland survivor David Hogg organized a planned “die-in” at Publix at news that the corporation donated $670K to a pro-NRA Republican candidate, the grocery store giant announced it would immediately stop all political donations.

 “Draining the Swamp”

Mick Mulvaney, White House budget director, is in an all-fired hurry to replace Paul Ryan as speaker of the House. Other lawmakers are showing rustlings of discontent with Ryan’s leadership, and a willingness to consider his departure. Don’t let the door hit you in the nonexistent spine on your way out, Paul.

Scott Pruitt’s EPA keeps trying to push through regulatory rollbacks without adequate study, vetting, or scientific support. Among the more than half dozen EPA regulation rollbacks proposed by Pruitt and hitting legal and procedural snags is how coal-burning power plants must store potentially toxic waste. An environmental watchdog group threw a wrench in the works when they pointed out the EPA’s lack of established scientific research used to support the measure. Pruitt’s EPA was relying on a four-page document by a utility industry trade association, which acknowledged that its conclusions were not “part of or a summary of a larger study.”

The Law Against Republicans:

Have you had the honor of being blocked by the bloviator in chief on his Twitter account? A federal judge has ruled that such action on a presidential account is unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment.

federal judge ruled in favor of a transgender student who fought for the right to use the boys’ bathroom at his school.

Eight families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting are suing conspiracy theorist and shock jock Alex Jones in three separate lawsuits for his propagation of false claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.

New Jersey has become the first Atlantic state to put a legal barrier up against Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s (and the White House’s, in conjunction with the oil and gas industry) attempts to encourage offshore oil drilling. A new bill passed in NJ prohibits oil exploration in state waters, and bars pipeline construction from federal waters.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Ireland voted in a landslide to overturn among the most restrictive abortion laws in the world.

Stacey Abrams won the a gubernatorial primary to become the first black woman candidate for governor in either major party has won the primary in the United States—in Georgia, of all places.

Cracker Barrel and several other restaurants kicked Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams’s offensive deportation bus off its properties.

A prominent Southern Baptist church leader who made sexist, demeaning comments about women has been removed from his position.

A group of prominent Christian leaders drafted a manifesto that doesn’t mention, but directly implicates, Donny’s abuses of office as antithetical to true Christian belief. “Christians should stand against “the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life.” It goes on to explicitly condemn white nationalism, misogyny and the abuse of women, attacks on immigrants and refugees, and cutting aid to the poor while offering tax breaks to the rich, and calls the “America First” doctrine “theological heresy.”

The Senate is finally moving closer to getting legislation on the floor to revamp laws on how sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct is handled in Congress.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

The Obamas signed a multiyear deal with Netflix to produce high-road programming—scripted and unscripted—to highlight issues President Obama pursued while in office, and spread messages and examples of good in the world.

sinkhole has opened up on the White House lawn—exactly one year to the day that a sinkhole opened up on the Mar-A-Lago grounds. Coincidence, or the Lord of Darkness calling his minions home?

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: 5/22: “We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him.”

No, that’s not “Things Americans say about Donald Trump” (or at least not just that). That’s from a statement Kim Jong Un issued referencing security adviser John Bolton, while making noises about backing out of Donald’s much-vaunted meeting with the mentally deranged dotard in chief. I know this is hard to believe, but the very stable genius seems to have been braggadocios before having any reason to. Talks with North Korea are seeming less likely after Kim Jong Un announced his country would never stop their nuclear program in exchange for economic dealings with the U.S. Does this mean Don John won’t get his self-touted Nobel Peace prize?

Elsewhere in the world, things are getting so bad even Rex Tillerson is full of warnings about Donald and the demise of democracy…but there’s lots and lots and lots of progress to report this week. (So much is going against Donald’s administration, in fact, that apparently even Sarah Huckabee Sanders couldn’t figure out how to spin it—the White House canceled three briefings on successive days last week.)

GOP Smackdowns

The Senate voted to overturn the FCC’s attempt to repeal net neutrality rules 52-47. Though the measure likely won’t pass the House nor make it through the White House, it’s a sign that some GOP senators (or at least John Kennedy, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins) understand that they have a duty to protect America and her people, and perhaps others may locate enough of a spine to stand against Donald and his cronies’ efforts to dismantle her democracy.

In further evidence, the Senate also backed the intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered with the 2016 elections to benefit Donald.

And 20 Republicans in the House have signed a petition to force a vote on DACA to give Dreamers legal residency status and offer a path to citizenship, despite Paul Ryan’s increasingly frantic and petulant efforts to stifle the rebellion. Just five more GOP signatures, together with all the Dems in the House, will force a debate on the issue.

Plus a nearly $1 billion GOP farm bill Ryan championed failed embarrassingly in the GOP-controlled House.

Dems flipped a House seat in Pennsylvania on Tuesday—bringing the total number of flipped seats since Donald’s attempted coup of our government to 41. Many of these seats involved women—more on that below.

Donald’s ethics disclosure released Wednesday listed money reimbursed last year to Michael Cohen, who paid off Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) for her silence. Donald’s recent statements (along with those of diarrhea-mouthed Rudy Giuliani) that he did indeed pay Cohen back for paying Clifford were an attempt to clear him of campaign finance violations—and they indicate that this repayment was for that purpose. Which interestingly opens up a new ethical and legal can of worms, as he didn’t disclose it earlier, and lied about it before.

Russia

The Office of Government Ethics filed a letter with Rosenstein, deputy AG for the DoJ and in charge of Mueller’s Russia investigation, alerting Rosenstein to the payoff as a debt that may be relevant to “any inquiry” the DoJ is pursuing. It's Mueller TimeWonder which one they mean? Former White House ethics czar and unlikely superhero Walter Shaub says the letter is “tantamount to a criminal referral.” (BTW, if you aren’t following Shaub’s Twitter account, you should be.)

Grassley released thousands of pages of the Trump Tower emails.

Mueller has subpoenaed the social media expert for one of Donald’s chief advisers in the 2016 campaign, Roger Stone.

Cohen solicited the government of Qatar for $1 million for access to Donald’s incoming administration in late 2016—in other words pitching the sale of influence on our government to a foreign power.

Three months before the 2016 election, Donald Jr. and several other Donald aides met with a Middle Eastern emissary offering them help in winning the election for Donald. Don’t worry…Mueller’s on it.

A federal judge denied Paul Manafort’s bid to have Mueller’s indictment of him dismissed—for the second time—calling Manafort “an obvious person of interest.”

Manafort seems to having his own karmic smackdown, as his former son-in-law has decided the time has come to plead guilty and cooperate with Robert Mueller. Know what time I mean? I think you do…

The Law Against Republicans

A district judge in Seattle had to actually forbid the federal government from continuing to state that a Mexican man ICE is trying to deport has gang ties—because they have presented zero evidence of it. While he was at it the judge forbade ICE to revoke the man’s work authorization or DACA enrollment. Thank god for the judicial branch—it’s the only grown-ass adult in the room at the moment.

Oh, wait, the UN is also an adult—the General Assembly voted 128 to 9 to declare Donald’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital null and void, a sharp (and humiliating) rebuke to the man-baby in chief.

Good old California, along with 18 other states, filed papers in support of a lawsuit filed by multiple Planned Parenthood branches to prevent the federal government from blocking funding for family planning services.

The Justice Department as well as the FBI are investigating Cambridge Analytica. The whistle-blower who first alerted about the company’s privacy law violations has testified that CA dictated that only Republican causes and companies were to be accepted.

An executive at Novartis, the drug company that paid Donny’s embattled lawyer Michael Cohen $1.2 million for possible access to and sway with Donald, has resigned. He seems be taking a page from Donald and to erroneously believe this will put a stop to any further investigation.

An appeals court judge denied Donald’s attempts to halt Summer Zervos defamation lawsuit.

Three top Dem senators requested a multiagency inspector general investigation (a rare request) into why this administration has not enacted congressionally mandated Russia sanctions.

 “Draining the Swamp”

The White House eliminated the top cyber policy post, saying they wanted to “streamline authority.” Hmmm…why could Donald want to get rid of experts in cybersecurity and shorten the chain of command of those responsible for stopping it?

Betsy DeVos’s education department is dismantling a unit responsible for investigating fraud at for-profit colleges (like Trump University, and also schools where some of DeVos’s top hires in the department formerly worked).

EPA head Scott Pruitt—among many other ethical and potentially legal violations—sought to block publication of a nationwide water contamination crisis regarding a class of toxic chemicals that has contaminated water supplies near sites across several states, citing concerns about “a public relations nightmare.”

former Trump campaign aid is helping a Russian firm owned by a Russian billionaire with close ties to Putin avoid U.S. sanctions.

Donald named the entirely unqualified and inexperienced brother-in-law of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, who is also transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, as head of a Labor Department agency responsible for paying back dissolved pensions. Please reread that sentence and remind yourself this is happening in the U.S., not a nepotistic banana republic.

Republicans Violating Ethics

China—which was just given a bye on sanctions for a major cell phone company and a tariff exemption by Donald—is offering a $500 million loan to a state-owned Indonesian amusement park that will feature three Trump-branded properties.

Gina Haspel, Donald’s embattled CIA nominee who was directly involved in torture of POWs, recanted and finally stated torture to be wrong. Just in time for the vote on her confirmation (which went through).

In about as clear an indication yet of the banana republic regime Donald would like to be leading, he directly tried to coerce the postmaster general into doubling shipping rates for Amazon—the company headed by his archnemesis, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. The postmaster, Megan Brennan, pushed back and attempted to educate the president of the United States about the law and democracy, informing him that those rates are bound by contracts and changes would have to be reviewed by a regulatory commission.

Gun Control

The city council of Boulder, Colorado, voted—unanimously—to ban semiautomatic rifles.

On the same day a school shooter in Santa Fe, TX, killed 10 people, high school students advocating for gun-reform laws were arrested outside Paul Ryan’s office.

Former Austin police chief Art Acevedo posted a no-holds-barred status on his Facebook page after the Santa Fe school shooting, stating, among other direct rebukes of politicians’ inaction in the face of NRA money, “This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and inaction, it’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing).”

Civil and social rights advances

Women won the living crap out of some primary elections. In Pennsylvania, a state with exactly zero female representatives in Congress, twenty women ran on the democratic ticket in the primaries in PA, and seven will be on the ballot in November. Women won 16 of the 19 House Democratic primaries, eight black women won primaries, and in four states (Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia), women won 63 percent of the primary nominations.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement reversed an earlier decision to offer continuing education credits for a course taught by an ex-FBI agent based on a conspiracy theory that Muslim groups want to overthrow the U.S. government and implement Islamic law, in which he calls Islam “barbaric and evil” and dark-skinned airport security workers “jihadists” and “terrorists.” The commission revoked the credits it had given members for the course.

At a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in California, a barista refused to serve a man making racist comments to a Muslim patron—and her bosses backed her up. (Starbucks: Take note. The coffee giant had yet another racist incident this past week when a barista wrote “Beaner” on a cup instead of the patron’s name, Pedro.)

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg—whose very public racist rant against employees speaking Spanish in a restaurant went viral—is experiencing the great karmic bitch-slap of life: hiding from the press, dealing with a rash of bad reviews on his firm’s Yelp page, and probably looking at the end of his career. He’s also the target of a complaint filed with the state court disciplinary system for misconduct for the rant. In true I <3 NY style, New Yorkers held a fiesta outside his apartment building, and an online campaign raised money to hire a mariachi band to follow him around and play for him.

Nobody in the private sector seems to want to hire anyone who worked for Donald.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”

Week of 5/15: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”

Some weeks the “Russia” and “Republicans Against the Law” sections are hard to distinguish…so for this week they’re combined:

Michael Cohen may be guilty not only of bank fraud, but of accepting payments from Russian oligarchs to replenish the account from which he made payments such as those to silence Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels). Cohen used a shell company to make the payments that received deposits from Russian oligarchs, as well as several companies (like AT&T) with business before the White House. Here’s the official brief from Avenatti and Associates, Clifford’s legal representative, and here’s the numbers breakdown. Nonpartisan ethics watchdog group Public Citizen has stated it wants to launch an investigation into whether Cohen should have registered as a lobbyist for his role brokering influence with Donny-boy.

Speaking of the coming storm, several sources close to Donald revealed that he knew about the payments to silence Clifford at the time he vociferously denied it.

Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation despite increasingly shrill panicked Twitter attacks from Donald and his mouthpiece, FOX News. One ex-Trump aide who was interviewed offered a window into the scope of the investigation: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”

Mueller rejected requests from the White House (which no doubt fears Donald’s vomiting up incriminating truths in a face-to-face interview) for Donald to answer questions regarding the Russia investigation in writing.

Ben Carson is being sued for suspending a fair-housing rule meant to discourage housing discrimination.

Donald hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to create a “dirty ops” campaign against Obama appointees championing President Obama’s Iran nuclear disarmament deal.

Senator Robert Menendez is publicly questioning Donald about a letter written from the Trump Organization to Panama’s president during the legal battle of the Trump-branded hotel in that country to divorce itself from the Trump name and organization for mismanagement. As the Post put it: “That was an extraordinary request: a company owned by the U.S. president asking directly for help from the government of an American ally.”

A Scottish newspaper reported that the Donny-led U.S. government paid thousands of taxpayer dollars to the Trump hotel in Scotland for VIP stays.

Civil and social rights advances:

Women won 16 of the 19 Democratic House primaries last Tuesday, including eight black women; 63 percent of primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia (the four states that held primary elections last week); and secured half the major party nominations for the House in West Virginia. One of the primary winners included Rachel Crooks for a state legislature seat in Ohio, a woman who accused Donald of forcibly kissing her against her will.

Connecticut joined 10 other states and the District of Columbia in passing a bill to give its presidential electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.

A group of moderate Republicans are joining with Democrats in the House to force a vote on DACA and protect Dreamers.

Ohio overwhelmingly voted for a bipartisan ballot measure to make redistricting law fairer and combat partisan gerrymandering, andsimilar ballot measures could be coming in Missouri, Michigan, Colorado and Utah.

A federal judge has given Texas until Thursday to show how it will comply with the National Voter Registration Act by allowing divers to register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, per a decades-old federal law.

“Draining the Swamp”

Senior White House staff is pressuring Donald to fire Scott Pruitt, under scrutiny for multiple ethical, legal, and financial violations of his office.

Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly nearly resigned after a 30-minute tantrum from the man-baby-in-chief about her failings to secure the border.

One of the State Department’s top advisers on nuclear proliferation resigned in the wake of Donald’s withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal.

Congress, the public, and Meghan McCain are calling for the termination of one of Donald’s communications aides after she allegedly commented in a briefing that McCain’s strongly stated objections to Don-John’s nominated CIA director Gina Haspel (“Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying,” McCain says) that it didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.” As the White House berated its staff for the leaks but not the comment, nor issued any apologies, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called it “a pretty disgusting thing to say.” The initial report of the aide’s comment came the same day an air force lieutenant mocked McCain—a POW and a military hero—during a TV appearance on Fox Business, saying, “The fact is…it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'” Keep it classy, Trumpies.

The Unintended Irony Files:

On the same day that Melania Trump announced her somewhat grammatically mystifyingly named “Be Best” initiative to focus on children’s health and well-being, her husband announced plans to cut the Children’s Health Insurance Program by a whopping $7 billion.

The same week Donald rescinded $252 million set aside to cope with Ebola, and his top biodefense expert left the National Security Counsel, an Ebola outbreak sprang up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Feel-good Stories of the Week:

A secretary for a law firm quietly amassed millions over her 67-year tenure there by observing her bosses’ investment strategies—thenleft the bulk of her fortune ($8.2 million) to go toward scholarships for needy students. California passed a regulation requiring all new homes built after 2020 to have solar powerNo one wants to host the 2020 GOP convention. If you take in no other news this week,watch Auntie Maxine Waters magnificently hand Republicans their asses over attempts to roll back antidiscrimination laws in the auto industry.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.”

Week of 5/8/18: “That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.”

Russia

Donald’s allies among the far-right GOP in the House have escalated attacks on Donald’s own DoJ, drafting articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein, a Trump-appointed Republican who is guilty of doing his job and observing the letter of the law, rather than being a Donald flunky. Rosenstein is having none of that nonsense, decrying the document “nobody has the courage to put their name on” and asserting that “theDepartment of Justice is not going to be extorted” and that he will obey the rule of law despite their threats. BOOM, bitches—Rosenstein in ya face.

Donald, despite claims that “many lawyers and top law firms” want to represent him, is losing yet another member of his legal team, as Ty Cobb announced his retirement at the end of the month. At this rate Don John may wind up representing himself. He may be called upon to do so sooner than later—as he continues to resist being interviewed by investigation lead Robert Mueller, Mueller is bringing up the possibility of a presidential subpoena before a grand jury. Interestingly the only lawyer on Donald’s team who had the security clearances to discuss these negotiations with Mueller, John Dowd, has left.

This leads us right to…

Republicans against the Law

Donald’s new lawyer, the wild-eyed, mouth-foaming Rudy Giuliani, stated on FOX that contrary to Donald’s earlier statements that he didn’t know about the Stormy Daniels payout that his lawyer Michael Cohen made with his own money, he in fact did, and repaid Cohen. That might mean no campaign finance violations if it didn’t come out of campaign money, but it could violate campaign finance lending laws if it wasn’t documented—and more than that, former OGE ethics lawyer and unlikely superhero for right and justiceWalter Shaub says it means Donald has admitted to filing a false financial disclosure. Other legal analysts believe it may offer new leads and evidence in the Russia investigation. And Neil Cavuto, a news host on FOX, of all miraculous places, laid into the president about his trail of lies and contradictions: “I guess you’ve been too busy draining the swamp to stop and smell the stink you’re creating. That’s your doing. That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.”

Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) is suing Donald for defamation for his comments about her after the artist’s rendering of the man she claims threatened her on Donald’s behalf. Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant who also claims sexual harassment by the pussy grabber in chief, is also suing for defamation.

Eighteen states are suing Donny’s administration over its plans to relax Obama-era greenhouse-gas emissions standards, and California is suing the EPA directly.

Along with the ACLU and another reproductive health organization, Planned Parenthood is suing the administration over proposed changes to the Title X program that will have a negative impact on low-income families, such as touting the “rhythm method” over comprehensive reproductive health services.

Marco Rubio stated in an interview with the Economist that despite the promises of the GOP with their new tax plan, there’s “no evidence whatsoever that the money’s [from corporate tax cuts] been massively poured back into the American worker.”

Michael Cohen—Donny’s lawyer whose records were seized last month—has been hit with $200K more in state warrants for unpaid taxes on his businesses, bringing his grand total to nearly $300K (so far). Interesting things happen when Robert Mueller finds criminal charges against those he’s investigating who might have information relating to Donald when those people are looking to save their own skins…

Investigation into Ronny Jackson—Donald’s personal physician who last week withdrew from his nomination to head the VA upon multiple allegations of ethics violations—may be bolstered by revelations that there were top-level concerns aired about Jackson’s actions last year…By VP Mike Pence’s physician, in part based on Jackson’s treatment of Pence’s wife, Karen. Who then abruptly resigned Friday.

Republican Missouri governor Eric Greitans, facing multiple charges of felony, is refusing to step down from office, so a group of MO lawmakers is convening to consider impeachment proceedings.

“Draining the Swamp”

Ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a request for investigation into Mick Mulvaney, against acting head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, with the Senate Budget Committee and the inspector general for the Federal Reserve for allegedly misleading a Senate panel committee last year about his real estate dealings in his confirmation hearing.

Thomas Homan, Donald’s appointee to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has stepped down six months after being appointed.

In the wake of Scott Pruitt’s abuses of his position and taxpayer dollars as head of the EPA, his closest officials are resigningone of whom is a top aide fined $125,000 by the FDIC a year ago (around the time Pruitt hired him) and banned from the banking industry for life. Pruitt’s offenses continue to come to light—most recently with revelations that he apparently picked places he wanted to travel and asked his friends and political allies to invent reasons to charge these trips to taxpayers, and that he spent $100K—twice what was initially reported—on a trip to Morocco arranged by a lobbyist who subsequently received a $40,000/month contract from the Moroccan government. Oh, and he secretly bought a house with a lobbyist.

Taking a page from Donald, Paul Ryan basically fired the House chaplain, who often leads prayers for the poor and less fortunate, which apparently cannot be tolerated in the House—along with Father Patrick Conroy’s Catholicism, apparently, which seems to offend the Protestant and evangelical Pharisees in the House. But after Ryan asked for and received the chaplain’s resignation, the chaplain realized Ryan didn’t have cause to fire him, and rescinded the resignation.

Gina Haspel, Donald’s pick to head the CIA, controversial for her role in the torture of interrogated detainees,sought to rescind her nomination Friday, but was talked out of it by the White House.

Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for the White House under George W. Bush—and outspoken critic of Don John—has announced he is leaving the Republican party to run for Al Franken’s Senate seat in Minnesota as a Democrat.

Gun reform:

Parkland students—and even some NRA members—are citing hypocrisy after the NRA announced that all firearms would be prohibited when Mike Pence spoke at the gun-lobbying organization’s annual meeting. Apparently guns are too dangerous for Pence at the annual meeting of gun owners, but just fine for schools.

Meanwhile this idiot running for governor in Georgia (oh, hometown, you are embarrassing me so much lately) ran an ad in which he held a loaded gun on a teenager—to the outraged response of even gun owners for “breaking the first two rules of gun safety: treat every gun as if it’s loaded and don’t point a gun at anything or anyone you don’t intend to kill.”

Social and civil-rights advances:

Australian Cardinal George Pell will face trial over sexual abuse allegations against children, making him one of the most senior Catholic prelates to be brought to trial.

In north Texas, 57 members of a white supremacist gang were charged with drug trafficking and a kidnapping conspiracy, while a white nationalist has been convicted of malicious wounding for beating a black man at last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA and may face up to 10 years in prison. The two black men arrested in Starbucks for doing nothing (except being black) have settled with Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each, and the city will also donate $200K for a program to help young entrepreneurs.

Despite Don John’s puffed-up bluster about immigration, the U.S. is allowing groups of the Central American caravan of asylum seekers to cross the border.

Cambridge Analytica is shutting down and declaring bankruptcy after its breaches of privacy in gathering info from Facebook users resulted in public outrage and the loss of clients. The company will continue to face potential investigations and sanctions from regulatory agencies around the world.

Arizona teachers achieved a 20 percent pay raise and more than $130 million additional dollars invested in schools by the state after their weeklong class walkout, and North Carolina looks to be following suit any second.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week:

Enjoy this brilliant takedown of attacks on Michelle Wolf’s White House Correspondence Dinner monologue, using quotes from Donald’s own sphinctery mouth. Speaking of being repelled by Don John, residents of his Trump Place building on the Upper West Side went to court to battle for the right to remove Donny’s name from their building—and won. Feeling bleak and hopeless about the state of the world? Take comfort: It’s been worse—a lot worse, plenty of times, and author and historian Jon Meacham thinks it’s going to get better, too.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “Characteristic Mouth-Hemorrhaging”

Republicans against the Law

Donald called directly into his beloved Fox and Friends show, and with characteristic mouth-hemorrhaging, flat-out admitted that Michael Cohen represented him in the Stormy Daniels NDA. The one that he allegedly knew nothing about because Cohen was just looking out for his interests on his own, as a friend, and that would directly connect Donald to any criminal campaign finance violations.

Sean Hannity’s much-vaunted real estate ventures, revealed along with his association with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, have been found to be connected to a property dealer who in 2016 pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and conspiracy for fraudulently buying foreclosed homes.

The Law Against Republicans:

A federal court ruled that Donald’s administration must continue the DACA immigration program (Dreamers) and reopen it to new applicants.

A federal appeals court has blocked Donald from delaying fines for “gas guzzlers”—cars that violate fuel efficiency standards.

Russia:

The Senate Judiciary committee voted 14-7 to advance bipartisan legislation protecting Robert Mueller’s investigation to the Senate floor for a vote. Mitch McConnell is still traitorously dead-set on keeping it from the Senate, and as majority leader will likely prevail, but the measure—which passed with Republican as well as Democratic votes (though not John Cornyn’s, and not Ted Cruz’s!)—is a strong signal to the White House that tampering with the investigation or firing Justice Department officials overseeing Mueller, or Mueller himself, would raise a clamor.

Donald’s alibi to Mueller for why he couldn’t have met with the prostitutes alleged by the Steele dossier has been shredded—though he insisted he never spent that night in Russia, flight records show he did. In true Trumpy fashion, Donald then insisted he never said he didn’t spend the night there, despite Comey’s notes immediately after two meetings with Donald stating that he did.

A federal judge dismissed Paul Manafort’s bid to block Robert Mueller from bringing further charges against him in the future.

The Blue Wave

Democrats flipped a state assembly seat in New York that has been held by a Republican for more than three decades—by an 18-point margin.

In an Arizona special congressional election, the GOP held on to the seat—but by a slim margin of only 5 points in a district carried by Donaldand the last two Republican presidential nominees by 21 points.

Democrats successfully blocked the Arizona legislature from changing the rules of special elections to avoid a vote to fill John McCain’s seatshould he leave office.

“Draining the Swamp”

The hearing of Don John’s entirely unqualified personal physician (who recently said Donald might “live to 200” if he ate his fruits and veggies) who was nominated to lead the department of Veterans Affairs (despite zero management experience) has been postponed upon as yet unsubstantiated allegations of past scandals regarding improper dispensing of medication, creating a hostile work environment, and excessive drinking on the job. Later in the week allegations expanded to include harassment of female staff and wrecking a government vehicle, yet still Sarah Huckabee Sanders bleats that he was an “impeccable” nominee for heading the VA.

Scott Pruitt appeared before two separate congressional hearings investigating Pruitt’s many ethics violations in office. An unrepentant Pruitt is trying to deconstruct his agency and facts in any way he can on his way down, though, finding any way he can to undermine scientific research into areas of his agency’s purview, like the effects of pollution and pesticide exposure, and incorrectly declaring wood combustion “carbon neutral.” The EPA’s inspector general is opening up new investigations into Pruitt upon further complaints and revelations about Pruitt’s abuses of office.

White House budget director and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney flat-out stated he’s pay-for-play—that he met only with those lobbyists who donated to his campaign—and on FOX News only Sheperd Smith would report it.

Pennsylvania House rep Patrick Meehan, who had announced his pending retirement facing an ethics investigation for allegedly harassing a female staffer, announced he is stepping down immediately.

Social and civil-rights advances:

The mayor of Hoboken has made all public bathrooms in his city gender-neutral.

After a relatively short deliberation in his retrial for drugging and sexually violating a woman, Bill Cosby was convicted of all three counts of aggravated indecent assault, a charge that will carry years of jail time. (More than 60 women have lodged complaints of sexual misconduct allegations against Cosby.)

The golf course that kicked five black women off the links for playing too slowly and refused to refund their membership—though their rate of play was well within club policy and matched other players’—is facing investigation and the loss of local business.

Your feel-good stories of the week:

John Oliver is buying ad time on Sean Hannity’s show to try to educate Donald—who seems to take his policy decisions directly from his fellow Michael Cohen crony—about issues like the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The pope has had enough of your nonsense, evangelicals, hypocrites, and Pharisees, and stated that it was actually better to be an atheist than a bad Christian.

After Donald’s supercreepy series of public displays of affection with French president Emmanuel Macron during his trip to the U.S. (I guess because Melania won’t do it?), Macron pretty much ripped on everything Trumpian during a speech to Congress. He called out climate change deniers and the current administration’s lack of action on climate change in front of all of Congress—and was rewarded with standing ovations. He also called out as a parting shot “the fascination for new strong powers, the abandonment of freedom, and the illusion of nationalism” in a direct refutation of Donald’s governing “style.” As Madeleine Allbright tweeted, it’s been too long since we’ve heard a president speak in Washington of international cooperation and defending democracy.

Donny’s approval rating is back down to 39 percent.

How Your Voices Are Making A Difference: Checking a Runaway Administration

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:

In another overlap from this category, we have “Draining the Swamp” (note ironic quotes):

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:

Gun reform:

In other political news:

Social/civil rights:

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.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “Everything is happening all at once”

You know that part in the movie where it seems like everything is happening all at once and the world is in chaos—right before the heroes roar up, defeat the villains, and save the world?

This is what it feels like to live that. Buckle up—there’s a lot of progress to cover this week.

As you may have heard, the FBI raided Michael Cohen’s office, home, and Manhattan hotel room, confiscating, among other intriguing things, records relating to the Stormy Daniels payout the pussy grabber in chief allegedly knew nothing about, as well as records relating to the Access Hollywood tape. And recordings, y’all. (Is this sounding familiar?) Cohen is reported to be under investigation also for bank fraud and campaign finance violations and has been under federal investigation for months. And he is desperately trying to suppress the evidence seized. Despite Donald’s squawking about a witch-hunt and FOX fanning viewers into a frenzy against Bob Mueller, the search was approved by Donald’s own appointee, deputy AG Rod RosensteinHere are all the due-process legal hoops the Mueller investigation had to jump through to get the warrant.

Mueller has also interviewed the former acting attorney general, who turned over notes that seem to indicate Mueller is investigating whether Donald obstructed justice in firing Comey.

Predictably, Donald is losing his tiny mind over all of it (as well as the release of James Comey’s already best-selling memoir, which is sending Sarah Huckabee Sanders nearly apoplectic), and making not so veiled threats of firing Rosenstein and thus Mueller, with ousted conspiracy theorist and anarchistSteve Bannon zombie-ing back into the spotlight to help architect ways to do it. In light of that the Senate finally agreed to a vote on bipartisan legislation to protect Mueller next week. And on the day he attacked James Comey as a “LEAKER & LIAR” on Twitter, Don John pardoned convicted leaker and liar Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff convicted of felonious obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI, whom George W. Bush declined to pardon—a seeming desperate hail-Mary play to reassure witnesses against him in the Mueller investigation that the colluder in chief has their backs.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support Robert Mueller being left unfettered to complete his investigation, according to this poll. If he is fired (or Rod Rosenstein is), or Donald pardons any of his associates under investigation, we all need to show up for “Nobody Is Above the Law” rallies, nationwide protests already organizing around the country. Here’s the Austin page. Indivisible national has also put out a playbook for what we’ll do next here. California Rep. Ted Lieu and a former FBI agent and lawyer have stated that the investigation will continue by career agents whose job is to protect their country no matter whom Donald fires.

There’s collateral fallout from the Cohen seizures so far as well—RNC deputy finance chair Elliott Broidy was found to have hired Cohen to orchestrate a $1.6 million payout to a former Playboy Playmate he’d extramaritally impregnated. A few hours later he resigned from the RNC.

In other news from the “family-values party,” Missouri governor Eric Greitens is under fresh fire to resign in the wake of further allegations of sexual abuse from his extramarital lover. And closer to home, the Statesman has revealed that in 2016, agriculture commissioner Sid Miller appointed a doctor to the Rural Health Task Force who has had his license revoked or suspended in three states—once in conjunction with his marriage to his own 15-year-old stepdaughter.

Paul Manafort can’t catch a break, despite apparently feeling he should be above the law. After a federal judge dismissed his request to throw out some of Mueller’s charges against him (after deputy AG Rod Rosenstein revealed he authorized Mueller to conduct the investigation into Manafort), now another judge has denied Manafort’s request to lower his $10 million bail terms. And Manafort has asked a judge to suppress key evidence found in one of his firm’s storage lockers.

Three GOP senators have added their voices to the chorus of Democrats objecting to EPA head Scott Pruitt’s abuses of his office, as the latest reports show that Pruitt spent nearly $3 million unprecedented taxpayer dollars for round-the-clock security. And the EPA’s inspector general is conducting at least five probes into Pruitt’s actions, including the hefty raises he authorized against policy for two aides, and then denied knowing about—only to have email trails show that he personally signed off on the raises he had asked for. Ed Henry of FOX News—FOX News!!—conducted a hard-hitting, damning interview with Pruitt that FOX is desperately ignoring on its other shows. An EPA staffer fired after revealing some of Pruitt’s misuses of office has written a letter detailing more violations by the EPA head. Meanwhile, the Senate just confirmed a former coal lobbyist as Pruitt’s second in command—the man who will take over the EPA if Pruitt is fired or leaves amid all this scandal.

And now Rick Perry’s Department of…something-or-other (he has trouble remembering) is also under the spotlight, after a whistleblower has alleged corruption based on Perry’s relationships with members of the coal industry whose interests his policies have been furthering.

As the White House continues to secrete staff like an infected wound being drained, Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert, a John Kelly favorite, resigned—two days after National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton also resigned, and two days before the deputy national security adviser resigned.

And federal judges have indicated that they may remove Mick Mulvaney as acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a conflict with his role as White House Office of Management and Budget. Good to see you draining that swamp, Donny-boy.

Donald himself may be in hot water for misusing his authority to benefit his business, when he asked the Panamanian president to intervene as he fought for control of a (former) Trump property in that country (former because the owners fought to remove Donald from the hotel and literally chiseled his name off the signs). On top of all that, his merchandising businesses he refused to divest himself of are tanking.

The GOP is hemorrhaging from every end, with lawmakers continuing to step down—most impactfully, House speaker Paul Ryan announced he will not seek reelection (after fervid denials of rumors of same just days earlier), as did Florida House Rep Dennis Ross just hours later.

Close to home, while it shouldn’t be about money (and I wish it weren’t), the truth is that it certainly helps win elections—and Beto O’Rourke has raised more than twice what Ted Cruz has raised this past year. Keep in mind Beto’s funds are grassroots donations that average $40 each, not Cruz’s payouts from superPACs and special interests. And Republican state rep Sarah Davis is countering attorney general Ken Paxton’s false claims on which he’s basing requests to regain control of federal funds for women’s health.

In triumphs for LGBTQ civil rights, Alaska voted down another discriminatory “bathroom bill,” and Trinidad decriminalized homosexuality.

In the sort-of-for-what-it’s-worth department, Facebook finally kicked white nationalist and hatemonger Richard Spencer off its site after asserting that it didn’t allow hate groups to operate on the site (at least, not since Zuckerberg’s testimony, anyway).

From the batshit-crazy-180 files, Donald, who once referred to the Trans Pacific Partnership as “the rape of our country” and said on his first day in office that the U.S. would quit the deal, has now instructed his economic team to rejoin the TPP.

John McCain sharply called out Don John for emboldening Syrian leader and human right violator Bashar al-Assad after he tweeted his intention to remove troops from Syria, just before Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.

In light of a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high—the Parkland school where 17 students were shot—leaving a LOADED GLOCK IN A BATHROOM(where it was found and fired by a drunk homeless man), here is a list of excellent rebuttals for those who argue for the unfettered right to own weapons.Vermont’s NRA A-rated governor flipped his pro-gun stance to sign into law much tougher gun laws, after police in his state thwarted a would-be shooter who intended to charge into a school and kill as many people as possible.

Sinclair’s news anchors are mortified after the revelations of propaganda scripts distributed from the highest levels of the broadcast company that they forced news anchors to read word for word.

A Sinclair exec met with Donald last year to pitch a new product to the White House— a system that would enable authorities to broadcast direct to any American’s phone (and if that sounds to you terrifyingly like Samuel L. Jackson’s mind-control phone device from Kingsman: Secret Service, you’re not alone)—and told him, “We’re here to deliver your message.”

Sinclair is seeking regulatory approval for a $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media, whose portfolio includes 42 stations. Regulatory limit is 39 percent; this would jump their market reach to a dangerous and unlawful 72 percent using a UHF/VHF loophole to try to take over American media. Contact the FCC and ask that they block Sinclair’s buy of Tribune media—and protect the regulations that prevent this kind of propaganda media from being disseminated over such a huge market share. Twelve senators—all Democrats and Bernie Sanders—asked for a review of Sinclair’s propaganda news dissemination and for a pause on approval of the merger with Tribune. FCC chairman Ajit Pai—he who bulled through the change in net neutrality rules—refused. But you can register your opposition on the site here. (They make it a little complicated—make sure you are filing under Docket 17-179, and click “+ New Filing” on the left under “Filters” where you see the docket number.)

Speaking of the FCC and Ajit Pai, the architect of retracting net neutrality laws that protected American consumers on the Internet, Oregon joined Washington this week as the second state to pass its own net neutrality laws despite the FCC’s and Congress’s abdication of responsibility. Twenty-two other state attorneys general are also suing to protect net neutrality rules.

Meanwhile, a Sinclair-station TV host is the latest to make appalling attacks on the Parkland shooting survivors, tweeting violent, obscene suggestions about student David Hogg that quickly resulted in a boycott from major advertisers and the cancellation of his show. Or maybe he resigned. Who can say? Not Sinclair.

The CBO says the GOP tax plan will skyrocket the deficit to $1 trillion by 2020.

Count on Donald and his minions trying desperately to survive as the walls close in, and doing everything they can to do it, including distractions, smear campaigns, desperate lies, evidence suppression, war (Syria/Russia), and yes, possibly throwing our country into a constitutional crisis. We’re in the final act now (as this marvelous article makes clear)—and the heroes are coming (and we are them). Be ready to show up and speak out loud and unremitting if Donald undermines the Russia investigation.

As the pressure mounts and tension increases for all of us, take care of yourself and those around you. (This image Donald tweeted and then quickly deleted that reveals John Kelly’s despairing face-palm might help cheer you.) And take heart: The progress we have made in this annus (and a half)horribilis is breathtaking.