Gag Order

Robby Mook goes on $$ tour with Corey Lewandowski; the Scientists' March; and more.


  • Quadrupling down on his unfounded claim that massive voter fraud cost him the election, President Trump tweeted this morning that he is demanding a “major investigation” and “depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures.”

  • Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders said Trump’s continued claiming that “illegals” cost him the vote was a “delusional statement,” adding, “What I fear about that statement, and what is something we should all worry about … [is that] he is sending a message to every Republican governor in this country to go forward with voter suppression.”

  • If you don’t think President Trump’s delusional statements about the size of his crowds or the number of people who voted “illegally” in the 2016 election are a big deal, consider this: what will we do when he makes up numbers of jobs, or what other countries’ leaders said to him in a meeting, or claims about intelligence reports that he may say justifies military action?

  • This is not a good sign: In response to a handful of property destruction incidents on Inauguration Day, the Washington D.C. police have charged some 230 people (including at least six reporters) with felony rioting, which can carry a punishment of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, Alan Pyke reports for Think Progress. “Arrest reports show the department is using the exact same language to describe its reasons for arresting all 200-plus caught in the round-up, without offering specific allegations of individual property destruction,” he writes. Legal observers say the police didn’t use many tactics customary to past protests, such as giving three warnings to protestors or orders of dispersal.

  • Jack Keller, a producer for the web documentary series Story of America, was charged and detained for 36 hours despite telling officers he was covering the demonstrations as a journalist, he tells Jon Swaine of The Guardian. His editor, Annabel Park, commented, “It is a maddening and frustrating situation. These are people who were there observing and documenting.”

  • Contrary to initial reports, Trump has dramatically expanded the “Global Gag Rule,” Mark Leon Goldberg reports for UNDispatch. Previously, under the Bush administration, NGOs that receive about $575 million a year in U.S. government assistance for family planning and reproductive health were prohibited from counseling women about abortion or supporting efforts to liberalize their country’s abortion laws. Now, all NGOs, covering more than $9 billion in annual funding—including those that “distribute bed nets for malaria, provide childhood vaccines, support early childhood nutrition and brain development, run HIV programs, fight ebola or Zika, and much more, must now certify their compliance with the Global Gag Rule or risk losing US funds,” he writes.

  • The Dutch government is planning to launch an international fund to fill any gap created by Trump’s new rule. “Banning abortions does not result in fewer abortions,” its trade minister Lilianne Ploumen said. “It leads to more irresponsible practices in back rooms and more maternal deaths.”

  • There’s a lot of uncertainty about what exactly President Trump’s orders on immigration, expected later today, will contain, as Jerry Markon, Robert Costa, and Abigail Hauslohner report for The Washington Post today. Beyond an order to “build the wall,” it’s still unclear how far he will go in stopping immigration from Muslim-majority countries and how he may try to impose penalties on sanctuary cities here in the United States.

  • If you want to understand from a longtime intelligence community insider just how badly President Trump trampled on the norms of nonpartisan service and sacrifice inside the CIA, read Yael Eisenstat’s tough op-ed in The New York Times.

  • Since you can’t call the White House phone line any more, check out CallTrump.how for some alternative ways to leave a message.

  • The White House website no longer includes an option for translation into Spanish or another that gave access to disabled users (both of which existed previously) Noeh Bierman reports for the Los Angeles Times.

  • The Sunlight Foundation is keeping a running tally of government agencies that are being directed by the new administration to limit their communications with the public. They’re up to seven, and they’re calling on the administration “to disclose the memoranda that have led to these changes to the public, explain their rationale, and reverse the measures.” (h/t Lisa Gansky)

  • Someone is doing a very good job speaking for the now-gagged National Park Service social media team at @AltUSNatParkService.

  • Yes, the Nazis cracked down on science too. “The function of National Socialistic science is to promote national security and serve national culture,” Hans Frank, the Nazi judiciary commissioner, told the country’s intellectual elite in a major address.

  • Scientists are planning a “Scientists’ March” on Washington. Nearly 50,000 people have joined their Facebook page already.

  • Joshua Krafchin, one of the co-founders of SwingLeft.org, explains on Medium some of the thinking that went into his decision to get more politically engaged. His bottom line: “I’m done with taking Democracy for granted and am willing to earn it.”

  • Civic Hall friend and advisor Bryan Sivak, former CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services, writes on Medium that the most important job in the federal government isn’t the president, it’s the director of the Office of Personnel Management.

  • In other news, Microsoft won a big victory in its battle to keep the U.S. from compelling it to turn over user data sitting on servers in Ireland, Russell Brandom reports for The Verge.

  • Le Monde is about to release a suite of products aimed at cracking down on fake-news purveyors, including a database of 600 websites deemed unreliable, Jessica Davies reports for Digiday.

  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is further backing off his pledge to accept extradition to the United States if Chelsea Manning was granted clemency, Elle Hunt reports for The Guardian.

  • Following the time-honored tradition of political consultants cashing in, former Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook is teaming up with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to go on the paid speaking circuit together, Buzzfeed’s Ruby Cramer reports. There’s a LOT of money to be made here—David Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, made about a half million dollars in one year post-election, according to a financial disclosure statement he filed when he rejoined the White House.

  • Meanwhile, in case you were wondering, there’s still no sign that any of the state-of-the-art tech tools built by the Clinton campaign will be open-sourced or otherwise made available for others to use. And Clinton data director Elan Kriegel is still missing in inaction.

  • This is civic tech: Cecilia Munoz, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under Obama, is going to New America to run its new New America National Network. Funded by Reid Hoffman and the Ford Foundation, the network aims to be a hub for civic technologists seeking to contribute to government service.

  • Your moment of zen: #ICantKeepQuiet. (Already viewed more than 11 million times on Facebook; background here.)