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.

How Your Voice Are Making a Difference: 17 states are suing the Trump administration

Fallout continues after Sinclair Broadcasting’s “must-read” propaganda distributed to its news anchors became public. (If you haven’t seen this disturbing mashup of dozens of anchors reading the exact same text like animatronic puppets, it’s must-watch.) Sinclair failed to offer a convincing defense for its brainwashing attempts, and now former employees are speaking outSinclair 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 72 percent. UHF versus VHF loophole shows how Sinclair can own so many stations despite federal law. It’s urgent that we contact our lawmakers and demand that they close this loophole—and 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.

Democrat won election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time since 1995, shrinking that state’s conservative majority to one. And a Democrat leads in TN to replace Bob Corker’s congressional seat. A record number of women are running for House seats—more than 300, most of them Democrats.

In Texas, Senate candidate and Ted Cruz challenger Beto O’Rourke has outraised Cruz in three of the last reporting periods—most jaw-droppingly in this last period, when O’Rourke’s grassroots campaign raised a staggering $6.7 million from more than 141K donors, with the average donation a little over $40 (unlike Cruz’s heavy special-interest funding). O’Rourke is traveling through Texas holding dozens of city halls for constituents…again, totally unlike Cruz, who has been hiding from his and refusing to make appearances for any but his GOP donors.

Despite the mentally deranged dotard’s war on immigrants and opposition to DACA (the “Dreamers” program allowing children brought into the country with their parents to work toward citizenship), his administration has approved 55K new applications for the program this year alone.

Now 17 states are suing the Trump administration over the citizenship question they are proposing adding to the 2020 census.

In Russia-investigation news, Robert Mueller is investigating whether former Donald campaign adviser Roger Stone met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign, suggesting a connection between Donald’s campaign and the Wikileaks hacks into Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails supported by Russian intelligence. And CNN broke the story of yet another Donald adviser who pushed government agencies during the campaign to review materials from the dark web that he thought were Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

Mueller has evidence that Betsy DeVos’s brother may have lied to Congress about ties between the Trump campaign and a Putin associate.

The first sentencing was handed down in Robert Mueller’s investigation—a Dutch lawyer (and suspected Russian spy) who lied to the FBI about his affiliations with Russian military intelligence and contacts with Donald’s campaign has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $20K fine. I like to think of this as the amuse bouche of the many-course meal to come. In related news, and a direct refute of Paul Manafort’s lawsuit claiming Mueller exceeded his authority in prosecuting Manafort for his work with the Ukraine government and possible Russia ties, records reveal that Donny’s own DoJ’s office did indeed specifically offer Mueller that authority.

Inside the White House, embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt is in hot water yet again—this time for using an obscure emergency hiring provision in his EPA department to bring on board a slew of former lobbyists, aides, and friends. He also made extravagant requests of his department—like a $100K-per-month private jet service and a bulletproof desk…no, really—and when senior staff criticized how he was planning to spend taxpayer money, he had them reassigned. Then he bypassed the White House’s refusal to give two of his personal aides (ages 30 and 26) raises and did it anyway, in the amounts of $56K and $28K, respectively. Your tax dollars at work! But wait…there’s more! While renting a room in the luxury town house of a lobbyist for an energy company for a paltry $50/night (a rate that also included a room for his grown daughter, a fact the EPA’s lead ethics investigator now says wasn’t disclosed when he looked into whether the rental violated federal gift rules), Pruitt approved a pipeline-expansion plan for that same company. Wait, hang in there…there’s still a bit more corruption: This same lobbyist was also a campaign donor for Pruitt’s run for attorney general in Oklahoma. If you’re having trouble keeping track of all this (and why wouldn’t you?), here’s a handy cheat sheet on all the reasons Scott Pruitt is coming under fireSixty-four House Democrats have asked Donald to fire Pruitt, and in the mass exodus of staff from the White House, rumor has it that John Kelly is gunning for Pruitt next. Perhaps Pruitt modeled his spendthrift ways on now-departed secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who spent $12 million on consultants to “redesign” the state department. (I do not think “drain the swamp” means what the GOP thinks it means…)

Speaking of departing staffers (and if you’re having trouble keeping track of that too, here’s an excellent compendium of who all has been flushed down the toilet of this administration), national security head H. R. McMaster blew back a parting shot at this administration on his way out the door, denouncing Russia’s actions and the very stable genius’s lack of meaningful sanctions imposed on that country for its meddling in our 2016 election—“we have failed to impose sufficient costs.” McMaster’s words carried extra sting coming immediately on the heels of Donny announcing at a news conference, “No one has been tougher on Russia than I have.”

One of Donald’s DoD appointees resigned after CNN dug up his “birther” posts on Facebook, where he also called President Obama “the Antichrist.” It’s a shame similar criteria don’t force all of those who furthered the conspiracy to resign, specifically the birther-in-chief.

Two of the settlement agreements with women who accused Bill O’Reilly of harassment have been made public and detail O’Reilly’s herculean attempts to silence the women and keep his actions under the carpet.

Donald laid down further sanctions on Russian companies, politicians, and business leaders.

Conspiracy theory site Infowars and shlock jock Alex Jones are being sued (again)—this time for recklessly misidentifying a man as the Parkland school shooter and labeling him a “commie” who supported ISIS.

Meanwhile a Chicago suburb has unanimously voted to ban assault weapons within its borders. To no one’s shock, the NRA is threatening to sue. But in Massachusetts, a federal judge upheld that state’s ban on assault weapons. The tide of public opinion is turning despite Congress, the White House, and the NRA’s attempts to hold it back.

Don John’s support among women is tanking—from 41 to 35 percent—even while his support from men rose 3 percent in what the Harvard poll codirector called “the Stormy effect.”

Madeleine Allbright sounds the alarm about fascism creeping closer. Want to see an example of how democracy can creep toward fascism? Look to Hungary. Tens of millions of Americans have participated in protests and rallies in the last two years—1 in 5 people in the U.S. Much of that is thanks to you, warriors—stay in the game!

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Leading the charge for gun reform

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, the younger generation continues to lead the charge for gun reform. In Wisconsin, a group of high school students marched 50 miles to Paul Ryan’s hometown to call him out on his repeated blocking of sensible gun legislation.

The New England Patriots loaded some of the Parkland students their team jet to get to the March for Our Lives in Washington. And it turns out even Tiffany and Melania Trump are supporters of the movement.

Support for sensible gun reform among Americans has never been stronger—nearly 7 in 10 in a recent poll favor stronger gun-control laws, up from 61 percent in October of 2016, and 55 percent from October of 2013, when AP first polled about this question. New Jersey passed state laws to crack down on gun salesbills to reduce magazine capacity, to ban armor-piercing bullets, to make it tougher to obtain a permit to carry a handgun, to expand background checks, and to keep firearms out of the hands of people with mental health issues and those considered a threat in the state. A Pennsylvania school board voted to reject funding from the NRA for its rifle team, calling it “blood money” and “dirty money.” Local businesses stepped up to fund the team instead. Remington, one of the U.S. largest gun manufacturers, and makers of the gun used in the Sandy Hook shooting, has filed for bankruptcy.

Yet conservatives are continuing to attack the Parkland survivors and student activists speaking out for sensible gun reform, no doubt out of fear for the impact these kids are having. After a Maine GOP House candidate referred to Emma Gonzalez as a “skinhead lesbian,” and Iowa GOP Rep Steve King attacked her in an offensive tweet, and NRATV’s tasteless taunts that no one would know the kids’ names if not for the shooting, the right continues to sink even lower regarding the Parkland shooting survivors and victims. A picture depicting the Parkland student activist leader Gonzalez tearing in half the Constitution went viral among conservatives—except that the tampered-with photo was a fake, a Photoshopped image of her actually tearing up a gun-range target sheet. New conservative memes are labeling the student activists Nazis. An entirely tone-deaf Rick Santorum made this stunningly ignorant statement: “How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that.” And FOX personality Laura Ingraham mocked Parkland survivor David Hogg for not getting accepted into colleges, issuing an apology only after major advertisers started bailing from her show, among them TripAdviser, Nestle, and Wayfair (and bravo to those corporations).

There are signs of progress in other areas, too: All 22 female senators have called for the Senate to address sexual harassment. (In related news, we need more female lawmakers.)

Donald finally caved to pressure to act against Russia and expelled 60 Russian diplomats, closing the Russian consulate in Seattle.

In a rebuke to recent revelation of “words to avoid” spelled out in a guide to the Centers for Disease Control, including “evidence-based” and “science-based,” the new leader of the CDC, in an emotional speech, repeatedly emphasized the importance of science and data.

Donald continues to drive Republicans from Congress and his party in droves—the latest “victim” is Pennsylvania House Rep Ryan Costello, who cited the environment created by Trump in his announcement. (Or maybe Costello and the GOP fear that now that illegally gerrymandered districts have been struck down in that state, Republicans can no longer steal wins.)

Meanwhile the very stable genius’s chaotic White House continues to hemorrhage staff: Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is the latest casualty—via tweet, of course—and Donald has nominated his personal physician as his replacement, y’all. His physician!

FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe started a Go Fund Me campaign to help fund his lawsuit against Donald for firing him 26 hours before his retirement (when full benefits would have kicked in) hoping to raise $250K. At last count he’d raised $527K.

More “Republicans Against the Law” (looks like this may become a regular feature):

Former employees of Cambridge Analytica say that the firm sent foreign representatives to advise U.S. GOP campaigns—contrary to U.S. laws limiting foreign involvement in elections. A government watchdog group has filed complaints with the FEC and DoJ.

In related news, another government watchdog group has filed 30 complaints with various federal agencies, including the White House, about multiple ethics violations by this administration.

Twelve states are suing Donald over a citizenship question added to the 2020 census. If you’re wondering why asking the question—which hasn’t been on a census in 70 years—is a big deal, it’s because this info is used to draw political boundaries and allocate federal grants. The question is likely to discourage many people from responding—though the census was created to count the number of “free persons” living in the country, not citizens.

A federal court has ruled that DC and Maryland can move forward with an emoluments suit accusing Donald of receiving improper/illegal payments through his DC hotel. Another federal judge, once again citing Donald’s own words to show “racial slurs” from the president, has ruled that a lawsuit seeking to continue the DACA immigration program (“Dreamers”) may continue. Yet another federal judge temporarily ruled that U.S. immigration cannot prevent detained teens from seeking an abortion.

In other ethically murky activities, EPA head Scott Pruitt lived for most of his first year in Washington in a condo owned by the wife of a prominent natural-gas lobbyist—a topic Pruitt himself subsequently lobbied for in Morocco in December 2017. He was charged a pittance for the rental, all while billing taxpayers for a security detail on a personal trip that included frolicking at Disneyland, the Rose Bowl, and his hometown.

The Washington Post uncovered that the Presidential Personnel Office, allegedly responsible for vetting presidential appointees, is operating with a skeleton staff of mostly inexperienced 20-somethings, some with spotty legal backgrounds: like a college dropout with arrests for drunken driving and bad checks and a Marine Corps reservist with arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer and underage drinking.

Six House Democrats are asking the FBI to investigate whether Jared Kushner leaked classified info to a Saudi crown prince.

And then there was one: Donald is down from a team of legal counsel to one, Jay Sekulow, and despite Donald’s tweets otherwise, no one seems overly eager to jump onto his sinking ship.

But he’ll need plenty of legal help, it looks like—Mueller’s latest filings draw a direct line between Donald’s campaign and Russian intelligence during the period of the campaign. Rick Gates, eagerly cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, was revealed to have had direct contact with Russian intelligence during Donald’s campaign, despite the campaigns denials. Mueller’s investigation is also looking more closely into AG Jeff Sessions’s campaign contact with former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

And now for some fun. Ted Cruz keeps getting embarrassingly photobombedMike Pence’s hometown will host its very first Gay Pride parade. James Comey will sit down with Anderson Cooper for a town hall next month, which should be interesting.

How Your Voice Are Making a Difference: March for Our Lives

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world showed up at more than 800 March for Our Lives rallies organized by students outraged by Congress’s lack of action on instigating sensible gun reform—including more than 20,000 in Austin, and a similar number in Parkland, FL, where a school shooting killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Donald, in Florida to golf yet again, had his motorcade route altered so as not to trouble himself seeing all the demonstrations. And farther down on the low road, an NRATV host taunted the Parkland kids, saying “No one would know your names” if it hadn’t been for the shooting.

But the world is listening—and responding—even if Congress isn’t. Kroger chain Fred Meyer has said it will phase out its sales of firearms, just two weeks after deciding not to sell firearms and ammunition to those under age 21. A recently filed Oregon initiative would makemanufacturing, importing, possessing, purchasing or selling an assault weapon or large capacity magazine a crime, and require registration with police of all existing assault weapons. YouTube continues to ban various firearms videosCitigroup has announced new restrictions on firearms purchases for customers who offer Citi-backed credit cards or conduct any other credit/banking functions through the company: the new policies prohibit the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check or who are younger than 21. It also bars the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

In policy news, education secretary Betsy DeVos attempted to gut funding for her department by $3.6 billion—instead, Congress voted for a $3.9 billion increase in education funding—none of which is earmarked for DeVos’s pet school choice programs that disadvantage economically disadvantaged families. From the Washington Post: “She wanted to eliminate money for after-school programs for needy youth and ax a grant program that helps low-income students go to college in favor of spending more than $1 billion to promote charter schools, magnet schools and private school vouchers…. Her budget would have eliminated grant programs that supported student mental-health services — a move that received scrutiny in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.”

A panel of federal judges in Pennsylvania rejected the GOP’s attempt to block new redistricting from taking place after a ruling that existing districts were unfairly gerrymandered, dismissing Republican lawmakers’ lawsuit claiming that the state supreme court overstepped its authority in making that ruling.

In Wisconsin, Republican governor Scott Walker was ordered by a judge he himself appointed to hold special elections in two districts where he has been refusing to do so. Walker and the Wisconsin GOP are attempting to flout the court order and change the law the ruling was based on.

Some Republicans are finally fleeing their party: Charles Djou, former Republican Congressman from Hawaii, announced he is leaving the GOP because he can no longer stay in a party led by Donald Trump. Retired army lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters, a frequent analyst on FOX News, has publicly severed ties with the network, stating that he is “ashamed” of his association with FOX for its propaganda and perpetuation of conspiracy theories, denial of facts, and attacks on the Constitution and our democratic institutions. Amid all this, a record number of Democrats are running for legislative seats in November’s primaries.

Republicans are facing all kinds of legal trouble, much of it directed at the sexual predator in chief. A judge has ruled the Summer Zervos’s defamation lawsuit against Donald may proceed—potentially opening Donald to discovery. In October of 2016, Zervos was one of 11 women accusing Donald of sexual harassment during the shooting of The Apprentice whom Donald called “liars.” Another woman claiming an affair with Donald, a former Playboy playmate, is also suing to end her NDA preventing her from speaking out about an affair with Donald. AndStormy Daniels, whose interview with 60 Minutes aired Sunday night, continues to press her suit to be released from the NDA Donald procured with hush money about their extramarital affair while Melania was recovering from childbirth.

Washington, DC, and Maryland have filed a lawsuit against Donald for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which disallows presidents from receiving gifts and payments from foreign governments without congressional approval. Because Donald refuses to divest himself of his business interests, he is receiving direct payments from foreign governments through his hotels and other businesses.

House Rep. Devin Nunes is under investigation by the Federal Election Commission for possible campaign finance violations.

The New York business commission is investigating more than a dozen Kushner Co. properties for filing false paperwork regarding rent-controlled buildings in an attempt to illegally begin construction work.

The attorney for one of the women who accused Alabama senatorial candidate (and accused child sexual predator) Roy Moore of sexual impropriety reported that a Moore supporter offered him $10K and political favors to drop the woman as a client and publicly state that he didn’t believe her.

Evidence is mounting that Steve Bannon, while working as Donald’s top campaign adviser, oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s illegal gathering of Facebook data that helped Donald win the election, along with similar Russian efforts. Robert Mueller is already all over that.

Speaking of the Russia investigation, new emails show that despite Donald and co.’s denials of George Papdopoulos’s involvement with Donald’s campaign, campaign officials urged him to open a channel of communication to create a U.S. “partnership with Russia,” and Papdopoulos’s direct contacts included Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn. Let us remember that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

In the never-ending White House revolving door, McMaster is out. Donald’s lead legal counsel John Dowd is out.  John McCain submitted a series of pointed questions to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel about her history of involvement in torture as part of the agency’s interrogation program. McCain, often the only remnant of a moral conscience in the GOP, said, ““We now know that these techniques not only failed to deliver actionable intelligence, but actually produced false and misleading information. Most importantly, the use of torture compromised our values, stained our national honor, and threatened our historical reputation.”

Meanwhile John Bolton—Donald’s freshly minted new national security adviser, was head of a super PAC that paid more than a million dollars to Cambridge Analytica to target voters to further his national security agenda.

Scott Pruitt doesn’t seem to be changing his profligate ways—in the past seven months he’s racked up $68K in premium airfare and hotel stays on the taypayer dime. That figure does not include expenses for the aides and security who travel with him.

Donald congratulated Putin on “winning” the recent Russia election, despite specific warnings in his briefing notes in his favorite all-caps , “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.” Someone in the White House leaked the info, and John Kelly is mad, y’all.

How your voices are making a difference: Laura is free!

The big news for the week:

Laura Monterrosa was released from the Hutto immigrant detention center in Taylor. And Democrat Conor Lamb won a close victory in a special election for a vacated House seat in PA—in a district Donald carried by 20 points. (See how that compares to Austin districts.)

Massive student walkouts—more than a million students at thousands of schools across the country—on March 14, one month after the Parkland shooting, honored the students killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school. Join the student-organized March for Our Lives March 24—find the Austin branch info here—to add your voice to theirs in protesting government inaction on legislating gun safety laws and speaking out against asinine “solutions” like arming teachers. (In related news, a teachertrained in gun safety as a reserve police officer accidentally fired his weapon inside a school classroom.)

More chaos in the White House: In the Department of State, Rex Tillerson’s out—to his own shock (he found out via Twitter). Mike Pompeo is in—despite having warned America against Donald during the 2016 election as someone who would be an “authoritarian president.” Rumors swirl that head of national security McMaster and chief of staff John Kelly may be next, as Donald continues purging anyone who doesn’t entirely agree with him all of the time.

The ICE spokesperson quit, citing falsehoods he was told and instructed to perpetuate by attorney general Jeff Sessions and the acting director of ICE, one of which included that hundreds of “criminal aliens” evaded ICE during a Northern California raid in February thanks to warnings by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

At least half a dozen of Donald’s current or former cabinet members are under federal investigation for various ethics violations and misuses of office.

Heat rises on Russia—British prime minister Teresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats after the poisoning of two Russian former spies living in Britain (Russia immediately retaliated with similar measures). Germany and France almost immediately joined in, condemning Russia for as the likely culprit on the poisonings, as did Donald’s own Sec of State (at the time…and perhaps part of the reason for his firing), Rex Tillerson, and Nikki Haley, his U.S. ambassador to the U.N., the latter calling it an “atrocious crime.” Donald finally enforced (weak) sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election.

In his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, Mueller has subpoenaed records pertaining to Donald’s businesses. Former Donald campaign adviser Paul Manafort, facing a more than 300-year prison term if convicted of charges including tax evasion and bank fraud, has asked that the court dismiss some of the foreign lobbying charges against him because Mueller overstepped his authority. Despite fervent denials by Donald and his former close adviser Roger Stone, evidence has surfaced indicating Stone did indeed know Wikileaks’ Julian Assange during the 2016 campaign and had contact with him, including advance knowledge of the DNC hack.

Donald appears to be panicking as Mueller clearly closes in, judging by his firing of Andrew McCabe (one day before he would be eligible to collect his full retirement for 21 years of federal service—though several Democratic lawmakers have offered to hire McCabe for a single day so that he can collect the pension he’s earned), who corroborates Comey’s accounts of Donald’s meetings with him. In Donny’s latest tweetstorm tantrums he attacked McCabe and Comey, and demanded that the DOJ end the Russia investigation immediately.

The puppets among the GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee obediently ended their investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion, to no one’s surprise citing no evidence that Russia interfered to help Donald win the election (and including no findings or input from the Democrat members of the committee). Individual GOP legislators, including the leader of the House committee, almost immediately started walking back that conclusion.

The Republican senate majority leader in Iowa resigned last week after being caught on tape macking on a lobbyist at a bar, entirely extramaritally. Again brought to you by the “family-values” party.

The Penn law professor who told her students that black students don’t perform as well as whites will no longer be teaching core curriculum classes in her field.

As we approach crisis point, things are moving fast and Donald is getting desperate. Expect to see a lot more flashy distractions, Twitter tantrums, firings, and attacks…. But despite his attempts to weaken our democratic norms and operate as an autocrat, and even despite the many GOP lawmakers abetting him, our democracy is strong and has weathered attacks on it before. Stay in the game and keep speaking up and speaking out and we will win.