October

Oct. 21

 ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Trump Records Shed New Light on Chinese Business Pursuits, Mike McIntire, Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig, Oct. 21, 2020 (print ed.). As he raises questions about Joe Biden and China, President Trump’s taxes reveal details about his own activities there, including a previously unknown bank account.

President Trump and his allies have tried to paint the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., as soft on China, in part by pointing to his son’s business dealings there.

Senate Republicans produced a report asserting, among other things, that Mr. Biden’s son Hunter “opened a bank account” with a Chinese businessman, part of what it said were his numerous connections to “foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe.”

But Mr. Trump’s own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state. He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company.

And it turns out that China is one of only three foreign nations — the others are Britain and Ireland — where Mr. Trump maintains a bank account, according to an analysis of the president’s tax records, which were obtained by The New York Times. The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr. Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The identities of the financial institutions are not clear.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Exposed: secret bank account exposes money trail from China to Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, Oct. 20, 2020. Once Donald Trump’s tax returns surfaced, Palmer Report predicted that they would end up being a roadmap to uncovering his sordid financial dealings, and that plenty more dominoes would start falling. Sure enough, a new revelation helps reveal why Trump has been trying so hard lately to falsely paint his rival Joe Biden as being a Chinese financial puppet: Trump is in fact a Chinese financial puppet.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: How the ‘Spygate’ Attacks Fizzled, Kevin Roose, Oct. 21, 2020 (print ed.). The baseless espionage narrative, which fueled right-wing conspiracy theories for years, has quietly faded from view.

For years, it was the subject of countless Fox News segments, talk radio rants, and viral right-wing tweets and Facebook posts. It spawned Congressional hearings, Justice Department investigations, and investigations of those investigations. President Trump called it “the biggest political crime in the history of our country,” and suggested that its perpetrators deserved 50-year prison sentences.

Now, weeks before the election, “Spygate” — a labyrinthine conspiracy theory involving unproven allegations about a clandestine Democratic plot to spy on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign — appears to be losing steam.

The theory still commands plenty of attention inside the right-wing media sphere. But Mr. Trump’s quest to turn Spygate into a major mainstream issue in this year’s campaign may be coming up short. Data from NewsWhip, a firm that tracks social media performance, shows that stories about Spygate and two related keywords — “Obamagate” and “unmask/unmasked/unmasking”— received 1.5 million interactions on Facebook and from influential Twitter accounts last month, down from about 20 million interactions in May.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Government and Tech Firms Push Back on Russia (and Trump), David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, Oct. 21, 2020 (print ed.). Their aggressive campaign is intended to send a clear message that whatever Russia is up to in the last weeks before Election Day, it is no hoax.

Over the past two weeks, United States Cyber Command and a group of companies led by Microsoft have engaged in an aggressive campaign against a suspected Russian network that they feared could hold election systems hostage come November.

Then, on Monday, the Justice Department indicted members of the same elite Russian military unit that hacked the 2016 election for hacking the French elections, cutting power to Ukraine and sabotaging the opening ceremony at the 2018 Olympics. And in Silicon Valley, tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google have been sending out statements every few days advertising how many foreign influence operations they have blocked, all while banning forms of disinformation in ways they never imagined even a year ago.

It is all intended to send a clear message that whatever Russia is up to in the last weeks before Election Day, it is no hoax. The goal, both federal officials and corporate executives say, is to disrupt Russia’s well-honed information-warfare systems, whether they are poised to hack election systems, amplify America’s political fissures or get inside the minds of voters.

But behind the scenes is a careful dance by members of the Trump administration to counter the president’s own disinformation campaign, one that says the outcome on Nov. 3 will be “rigged” unless he wins.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Campaign Coffers Shrink to $63 Million in Race’s Final Weeks, Shane Goldmacher, Oct. 21, 2020 (print ed.). Facing cash troubles, President Trump flew to California last Sunday for a fund-raiser with just over two weeks until Election Day. Here’s the latest.

President Trump’s re-election campaign committee ended September with only $63.1 million in the bank even after canceling some television buys late last month, leaving him badly outmatched financially against Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the final stretch of the campaign.

New filings with the Federal Election Commission showed the extent of Mr. Trump’s cash troubles, which caused the president to fly to California last Sunday for a fund-raiser with just over two weeks until Election Day. The president ended September with just over half as much money as he had at the beginning of the month.

While Mr. Trump’s campaign and its shared committees with the Republican National Committee have raised $1.5 billion since the start of 2019, the disclosures late Tuesday showed that his main re-election committee had only a small slice remaining. That account must pay for many of the race’s most important costs, including television ads.

All told, Mr. Trump’s campaign and its shared committees with the R.N.C. had $251.4 million entering October, compared to Mr. Biden’s campaign and its joint committees with the Democratic National Committee, which had $432 million in the bank.

“The Trump campaign has all the resources we need going into the homestretch of this election,” said Samantha Zager, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump.

She added, “As Hillary Clinton proved when she outspent us 2-to-1 in 2016, no amount of money can buy the presidency.”

ny times logojoe biden oNew York Times, Voters Prefer Biden Over Trump on Almost All Major Issues, Poll Shows, Oct. 21, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden holds a nine-point lead over President Trump, a New York Times/Siena College poll shows, amid concern about the coronavirus.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Republicans, it’s time to choose between autocracy and a republic, Stuart Stevens, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and Reed Galen, Oct. 21, 2020 (print ed.). Republicans Reed Galen, Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson are co-founders of the Lincoln Project. Stuart Stevens is a senior adviser to the Lincoln Project.

This is for the many men and women in Washington with whom we have worked over the past 30-plus years. Some of you hold elected office. Some are officials in the Trump administration. Many of you are members of the consultant and lobbyist class.

In two weeks, the most consequential election of our generation will come, and your time for choosing will arrive. As Republicans, will you stand with President Trump, or will you stand with, and stand up for, America? Will you protect democracy or protect a single person and his family?

We’re not merely talking about your vote.

We’re talking about what comes next.

Never before in U.S. history has an incumbent president refused in advance to accept the outcome of an election. In the days ahead, your party may call upon you to support efforts by a White House that refuses to transfer power after a loss at the polls. The weapons won’t be tanks but thousands of lawyers backed by an attorney general who works for the president, not the people.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s attack on the debate commission is an attack on the election itself, John C. Danforth, Oct. 21, 2020 (print ed.). John C. Danforth, a Republican, represented Missouri in the U.S. Senate for three terms and has served on the Commission on Presidential Debates since 1994.

Like all members of the Commission on Presidential Debates, I have maintained a strict vow of silence regarding my personal feelings about the current presidential campaign. Now, however, that President Trump and some of his ardent supporters have attacked the commission’s integrity, I feel compelled to respond.

The president’s apparent strategy is to challenge the validity of the election should he lose. We saw this strategy initially in his claims that mail-in ballots are the tools for massive election fraud. Now we see it as well in his assertion that the debates have been rigged by the commission to favor former vice president Joe Biden.

Oct. 20

 

djt virus news conference nyt photo Custom

Donald Trump last spring regularly gathered health officials for photo ops like that shown above at the White House but the team is now reportedly fractured in dissension over what approaches to use against the pandemic.

washington post logoWashington Post, Den of dissent: Discord besets White House task force as coronavirus surges, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Robert Costa, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). The U.S. response is increasingly plagued by distrust, infighting and lethargy, as experts predict cases could surge this winter and deaths could reach 400,000 by year’s end. Discord on the coronavirus task force has worsened since the arrival in late summer of Atlas, whom colleagues said they regard as ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest.

scott atlas resized As summer faded into autumn and the novel coronavirus continued to ravage the nation unabated, Scott Atlas, right,a neuroradiologist whose commentary on Fox News led President Trump to recruit him to the White House, consolidated his power over the government’s pandemic response.

Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing. He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas. And he advocated allowing infections to spread naturally among most of the population while protecting the most vulnerable and those in nursing homes until the United States reaches herd immunity, which experts say would cause excess deaths, according to three current and former senior administration officials.

Atlas also cultivated Trump’s affection with his public assertions that the pandemic is nearly over, despite death and infection counts showing otherwise, and his willingness to tell the public that a vaccine could be developed before the Nov. 3 election, despite clear indications of a slower timetable.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump calls Fauci a ‘disaster’ and shrugs off the virus as infections soar, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Noah Weiland, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). With two weeks remaining in his re-election campaign, President Trump made the coronavirus his message and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci his foil, dismissing scientific advisers as “these idiots.”

The broadside, during a conference call with campaign staff just two weeks before Election Day, was hardly the closing message Trump advisers were looking for. It threatened to focus the electorate squarely on the president’s coronavirus response and pitted him against Dr. Fauci, who as the nation’s top infectious disease expert is a career government scientist the public likes and trusts far more than Mr. Trump.

In increasingly vocal terms, Dr. Fauci has been separating himself from the White House and warning Americans to “hunker down” and brace for a difficult winter — a message at odds with Mr. Trump’s repeated, if false, assurances that the nation is “rounding the corner” on a pandemic that has claimed about 220,000 American lives.

“People are tired of Covid,” Mr. Trump complained on the call, which several reporters were invited into. “I have the biggest rallies I’ve ever had. And we have Covid. People are saying: ‘Whatever. Just leave us alone.’ They’re tired of it.”

He added, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.”

Later Monday, at a campaign rally in Prescott, Ariz., Mr. Trump invoked Dr. Fauci as a way of ridiculing the coronavirus plan of his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Biden wants to lock it down. He wants to listen to Dr. Fauci,” the president said, referring to coronavirus-related restrictions on the economy. (Dr. Fauci, addressing a group of pathologists last week, said no one wants to “shut down the country again.”)

The Biden campaign, which has been emphasizing a promise to listen to science over politics, responded with relish: “Mr. President, you’re right about one thing: The American people are tired. They’re tired of your lies about this virus.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: How early voting deters GOP voter suppression, Jennifer Rubin, right, Oct. 20, 2020. We should stop calling Nov. 3 “Election Day” and jennifer rubin new headshotinstead to refer to it as “the End of Voting Day.” As of Tuesday, more than 33 million votes had already been cast either by mail or in person. In all of 2016, 57.2 million people voted early.

Pollsters and analysts are still debating whether the early vote is cannibalizing Election Day turnout or whether we are looking at a historic increase in voter participation, but we do know that early voting both by mail and in person is skewing heavily Democratic. NBC News reports: “Nearly half of those votes — almost 14.2 million ballots — have come from Democrat-affiliated voters. Republican-affiliated voters have returned almost 10.1 million ballots. And while not every Democrat will vote for former Vice President Joe Biden and not every Republican will vote for President Donald Trump, Democrats currently have a 14-point edge in returned ballots.” Even if those votes take away from Democrats’ turnout on Nov. 3, this is still a huge worry for Republicans.

The large number of early mail-in votes suggests that the warnings from Democrats about returning ballots early to avoid postal delays have resonated. By contrast, the rate of return from Republicans is lagging. The New York Times reports: “Ballot return data from heavily Democratic cities like Pittsburgh; Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Tampa, Fla., and the long lines of cars waiting at a Houston arena to drop off ballots, are signs that many voters have followed through on their intentions to cast ballots well ahead of Nov. 3. There is still time for Republicans to catch up in many places, and they are expected to vote in strong numbers in person on Election Day. . . . But in states that have begun accepting absentee ballots, Democrats have built what appears to be a sizable advantage, after years when Republicans were usually more likely to vote by mail.”

The advantage of “banking” votes early cannot be underestimated. The potential burden of long lines (often the result of Republicans’ refusal to provide an adequate number of polling places) could fall disproportionately on Republican voters, some of whom may give up rather than wait in line for hours. In addition, Republican poll “observers” will have fewer ballots from Democrats on Election Day to challenge (e.g., on signature discrepancies). In addition, elderly voters who thought they would vote on Nov. 3 may eventually decide not to show up given the surge of the coronavirus in states such as Wisconsin. And lastly, any efforts to intimidate and harass voters on Nov. 3 will find fewer Democratic voters. (Federal law and state law in all 50 states prohibit voter intimidation, but such behavior can be often difficult to identify and prevent.)

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Prosecutors Charge Russian Intelligence Officers in Cyberattacks, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicole Perlroth, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). The Justice Department announced on Monday indictments of six Russian military intelligence officers in connection with worldwide cyberattacks, including hacked elections in France and the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Justice Department on Monday announced indictments of six Russian military intelligence officers in connection with major hacks worldwide, including of the Winter Olympics and elections in France as well as an attack in 2017 aimed at destabilizing Ukraine that spread rapidly and was blamed for billions of dollars in damage.

Prosecutors said the suspects were from the same Russian unit that conducted one of the Kremlin’s major operations to interfere in the 2016 American election: the theft of Democratic emails. They attacked the 2017 French presidential elections; targeted British authorities investigating the poisoning of a Russian former intelligence operative and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea; and hacked the Ukrainian Parliament, finance ministry and electrical grid, according to court documents.

The case was another effort by Trump administration officials to punish Russia for its meddling in other countries’ affairs, even as President Trump has adopted a more accommodating stance toward Moscow. The charges did not address 2020 election interference; American intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia is trying to influence the vote in November.

“No country has weaponized its cybercapabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite,” said John C. Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security.

In a dig at President Vladimir V. Putin’s claims that he is restoring Russia to greatness, Mr. Demers added, “No nation will recapture greatness while behaving in this way.”

Prosecutors said the suspects worked for Unit 74455 of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, commonly referred to as the G.R.U. Known among cybersecurity analysts as Sandworm, the unit worked hand in hand with another G.R.U. unit, known as Fancy Bear, to leak Democrats’ stolen emails during the 2016 election, embarrassing Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the final stretch.

One of the suspects charged in the newly unsealed indictments, Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, was indicted two years ago on charges announced by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, over his suspected role in the 2016 election meddling.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Is the Trump Campaign Colluding With Russia Again? Michelle Goldberg, right, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). Giuliani’s dirty tricks are the michelle goldberg thumbscandal, not Hunter Biden’s hard drive.

The Treasury Department last month imposed sanctions on four people linked to Russia for attempting to influence the presidential election, including a Ukrainian parliamentarian named Andriy Derkach, who has worked with Donald Trump’s consigliere Rudy Giuliani to smear Joe Biden. According to the Treasury, Derkach has been “an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian intelligence services.”

The Treasury said Derkach had worked covertly to cultivate “false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 presidential election” — an obvious reference to Biden. Derkach had released “edited audiotapes and other unsupported information” and managed to push his “unsubstantiated narratives” into Western media.

According to The Washington Post, U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Giuliani, then searching in Ukraine for dirt about Biden and his son Hunter, was the target of a Russian influence operation. “The Russians have been cultivating Rudy Giuliani as an asset for over a year,” Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told me. “Any information proffered by Rudy Giuliani is likely compromised.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump, who withdrew from the last debate, seeks changes to the one scheduled for Thursday, Michael M. Grynbaum, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump’s withdrawal from the second presidential debate led to the event’s cancellation. Now, three days ahead of the final debate, Mr. Trump’s campaign is demanding changes to the format and accusing the organizers of bias toward Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In a letter on Monday marked by exaggeration and partisan invective, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to refocus Thursday’s debate on the subject of foreign policy, rather than the six subjects announced last week by the moderator, Kristen Welker of NBC. They are “fighting Covid-19,” “American families,” “race in America,” climate change, national security and leadership.

Mr. Stepien — who mockingly referred to the nonpartisan commission as the “Biden Debate Commission” in a tweet — said it had “promised” that the debate would be about foreign policy and accused the group of “pro-Biden antics” that “have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco.”

It is true that in some campaign years, the third presidential debate has focused on foreign policy. But the debate organizers did not announce such a plan in 2020, saying that the third debate would mirror the format of the first, with six subjects selected by the moderator.

djt biden smiles resizedThe president’s campaign is keen to attack Mr. Biden on Thursday over foreign business deals arranged by one of his sons, Hunter Biden, and Mr. Stepien’s letter suggested that the lack of a foreign policy focus would “insulate Biden from his own history.” The debate format was announced weeks before a recent spate of stories in The New York Post that have made unverified claims about Hunter Biden.

Members of the debate commission were deliberating on Monday about potential rule changes to Thursday’s event, in light of the chaos that ensued last month at the first debate, in Cleveland, when Mr. Trump frequently interrupted Mr. Biden and the moderator.

The debate commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Biden spokesman, T. J. Ducklo, said that Mr. Stepien had sent the letter “because Donald Trump is afraid to face more questions about his disastrous Covid response.”

“The campaigns and the commission agreed months ago that the debate moderator would choose the topics,” Mr. Ducklo said in a statement.

In his letter, Mr. Stepien also repeated several of Mr. Trump’s longstanding criticisms of the debate commission, including its decision not to add, at the last minute, an additional debate to the 2020 schedule, and the baseless claim that “the president’s microphone was oscillated” during his first debate in 2016.

Notably, Mr. Stepien’s letter did not repeat Mr. Trump’s recent baseless accusations that Ms. Welker, the moderator and a respected White House correspondent, was biased toward Democrats. Mr. Trump’s aides, including a top adviser, Jason Miller, have previously spoken warmly about Ms. Welker, calling her “a very good choice” to oversee Thursday’s debate.

American System Network, Opinion: Brennan, Clapper, Hayden, Panetta and Other Intelligence Veterans Condemn New York Post’s Alleged Hunter Biden Email Revelations webster tarpley 2007as Having “All the Classic Earmarks of a Russian Disinformation Operation,” Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 20, 2020.

Reports Surface of Months of Preparation for Current Phony Laptop Op; Key Role of Giuliani Points to Dirty Pro-Trump Faction of FBI; Where  Are Supposedly Incriminating Tapes?

Would-Be Dictator Is Losing It as Election Defeat Approaches: He Bluntly Orders Barr to Start Witch Hunt against Bidens; Still No Word about What Crime, If Any, Might Be Charged; Meadows Tells Federal Judge That Trump Tweets Have No Legal Standing, Meaning They Are Just Random Demagogy.

Fate of US May Depend on Very Bad Weather for November 3: As Democrats Bank Large Proportions of Mail in Votes and Early Votes, Trump GOP Becomes More Dependent on Votes Cast on Traditional Election Day: Rainstorms and Blizzards at That Time Could Be Decisive Factors for Turnout.

NYT-Siena Poll Gives Biden 9 Point Lead; Finds Americans Favor a New $2 Trillion Pandemic Relief and Stimulus Package, 72-21; But Moscow Mitch Chooses This Moment to Order Trump Not to Compromise with Pelosi! 

Palmer Report, Opinion: This is turning into pandemonium, Bill Palmer, Oct. 20, 2020. There is less reason than ever to believe that Donald Trump will win the election. He’s running out of time. He’s running out of last ditch schemes. He’s also running out of marbles. But Trump’s deteriorating behavior means there’s more reason than ever that we must vote Trump out of office.

djt hands up mouth open CustomIn the past twenty-four hours alone, Donald Trump has publicly confessed to a campaign quid pro quo with Exxon, which Exxon now insists never happened. He’s called a reporter a “criminal” for refusing to report on his latest phony conspiracy theory. He’s condemned the Attorney General for not arresting his adversaries. He’s called Dr. Fauci an “idiot” and mocked him for how he throws a baseball. And that’s just the short list.

This man is blatantly unraveling in front of our eyes. We can talk about whether it’s the stress, or if he’s on drugs, or what. But the bottom line is that his behavior is shifting further away from rational by the hour. If he took off his clothes and went naked crowd surfing at his next rally, you’d only be half surprised.

Now that the Supreme Court and the debate commission have both just ruled against Donald Trump on major election-related matters, you have to wonder if this bad news will only further accelerate his spiraling. This is turning into pandemonium – and all we can do is drive voter turnout in historic numbers to make sure the madness ends soon.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The case against Trump, in 600 ALL-CAPS WORDS AND 35 EXCLAMATION POINTS! Dana Milbank, right, Oct. 20, 2020. When dana milbank CustomPresident Trump was in the hospital battling covid-19 two weeks ago, he devoted one morning to making the case for his reelection in a series of 15 all-caps tweets.

Now, less than two weeks from Election Day, Americans are voting in almost every state. At least 33 million have already cast their ballots. What better time to borrow Trump’s literary device and deploy it against him? Here goes:

LETTING 220,000 AMERICANS DIE FROM COVID-19 — WORST IN WORLD. VOTE!

LOSING 3.9 MILLION JOBS IN FOUR YEARS — WORST IN RECORDED HISTORY. VOTE!

 

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Ghislaine Maxwell, background right, is photographed also with Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew. Giuffre claims Maxwell told her to have sex with the prince, an allegation both Andrew and Maxwell have denied. Giuffre was a teen at the time. Courtesy of Virginia Giuffre

Miami Herald, Ghislaine Maxwell loses fight to keep her Jeffrey Epstein testimony sealed, Kevin G. Hall and Ben Wieder, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). A federal appeals court dealt Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged madam to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, twin blows late Monday by declining to consolidate her appeals in numerous overlapping cases and striking down her effort to thwart release of a controversial deposition she gave in a now-settled civil lawsuit.

The three-judge Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held more than two hours of oral arguments last week, and issued a succinct Monday afternoon order holding that a lower court judge did not err in order the release of a 418-page deposition from April 2016 that could shed new light on the Epstein empire.

perversion of justice miami herald logo“We have reviewed all of the arguments raised by Defendant-Appellant Maxwell on appeal and find them to be without merit,” the judges wrote, also turning away a request for consolidation with Maxwell’s criminal case in the Southern District of New York. “We DENY the motion to consolidate this appeal with the pending appeal in United States v. Maxwell.”

The ruling affirmed a decision over the summer by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to release hundreds of documents from a 2015 civil suit involving Maxwell and Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

ny times logoNew York Times, Justice Dept. Says Trump’s Denial of Rape Accusation Was an Official Act, Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). The government lawyers were defending the decision to intervene in a defamation lawsuit filed against President Trump by E. Jean Carroll, below left.

e jean carrollThe Justice Department said on Monday that President Trump should not be sued personally for having denied a rape allegation because he made the statement while acting in his official capacity as president.

Lawyers for the government made the argument as they defended Attorney General William P. Barr’s decision to intervene in a defamation lawsuit filed in a New York court against President Trump by E. Jean Carroll, the writer.

Ms. Carroll has said that Mr. Trump raped her in a department store two decades ago and then falsely denied the attack, branding her a liar and harming her reputation.

But Justice Department lawyers say that even though the allegation concerns an incident that occurred decades before Mr. Trump became president, his denial was still an official act because he “addressed matters relating to his fitness for office as part of an official White House response to press inquiries.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Federal judge strikes down Trump plan to slash food stamps for 700,000 unemployed Americans, Spencer S. Hsu, Oct. 20, 2020 (print ed.). A federal judge on Sunday formally struck down a Trump administration attempt to end food stamp benefits for nearly 700,000 unemployed people, blocking as “arbitrary and capricious” the first of three such planned measures to restrict the federal food safety net.

beryl howellIn a scathing 67-page opinion, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of D.C., right, condemned the Agriculture Department for failing to justify or even address the impact of the sweeping change on states, saying its shortcomings had been placed in stark relief amid the coronavirus pandemic, during which unemployment has quadrupled and rosters of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have grown by more than 17 percent, with more than 6 million new enrollees.

The rule “at issue in this litigation radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving States scrambling and exponentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans,” Howell wrote, adding that the Agriculture Department “has been icily silent about how many [adults] would have been denied SNAP benefits had the changes sought . . . been in effect while the pandemic rapidly spread across the country.” The judge concluded that the department’s “utter failure to address the issue renders the agency action arbitrary and capricious.”

Oct. 19

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s attack on Fauci makes no sense, Aaron Blake, Oct. 19, 2020. With two weeks to go in the 2020 election, President Trump has apparently decided to turn scientists into his electoral bogeymen. At a rally Sunday, he attacked Joe Biden by saying he “will listen to the scientists” on things like locking down the country, saying such a thing would’ve led to a “massive depression.” Then Trump on Monday took his sharpest aim to date at Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infection-disease specialist.

After Fauci’s “60 Minutes” interview, Trump called him a “disaster” and said that if Fauci were in charge, we would have seen as many as 800,000 deaths already — far more than the 219,000 we currently have.

Trump’s claim has absolutely no basis in reality, though.

On a phone call with supporters, which some journalists were able to listen to, Trump said that if he had listened to Fauci, 500,000 people would have died.

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, all these people that have gotten it wrong,” Trump said. “Fauci is a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years. He called every one of them wrong.”

djt maga hatTrump at another point upped the numbers, reportedly saying, “Fauci — if we listened to him, we’d have 700,000 [or] 800,000 deaths.”

Such counterfactuals are prone to abuse. How can you disprove something like that? There’s no way of knowing what would have happened if Trump followed the private advice of someone whose private advice we’re not completely privy to.

But this one’s pretty easy to debunk.

The first thing we can say is that the level of death Trump described was at least theoretically possible — but mostly in a scenario that went against what we know about Fauci’s advice.

The famous Imperial College model from the spring suggested as many as 2.2 million deaths in the United States. Trump has since used that to suggest that he prevented 2 million deaths. The model, though, dealt with a scenario in which there was precisely zero mitigation. In other words, Trump is taking credit for avoiding a complete worst-case scenario.

Oct. 17

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Twilight of Trump: Don Was Warned by US Intelligence and NSC Director That Scandal Materials Against Hunter Biden Dished Up by webster tarpley 2007Bannon and Giuliani Were Likely Russian Intelligence Fabrications, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 17, 2020. First Time as Tragedy, Second Time as Farce: Crude Attempt by Trump Gang to Repeat the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal of 2016 Is Failing to Gain Traction, NY Post Exposé Going over Like Lead Balloon; Scant Interest for Umpteenth Warmed-Over Ukrainian Scandal as October Surprise.

Another 900,000 First-Time Jobless Claims; Widespread Immiseration Looms for Holiday Season, as Moscow Mitch’s Sabotage of Pandemic Relief Bills Continues; Joni Ernst of Iowa Still Does Not Know the Price of Corn and Soy Beans!

Nightmare Winter of 2020-2021 Now Clearly Visible; Center of Contagion Shifts to Europe; France Hits 32,000 New Cases in One Day; Virus Making Comeback in Italy; Field Hospital Goes Up in Prague, Czech Republic; US Experiences Biggest Flare-Up Since August; Trump Still Catatonic.

Absolute Majority for New Zealand’s Labour Party PM Ardern Running on Platform of Compassion and Successful Measures against Pandemic Is Bad Omen for Trump, Who Utterly Lacks These Capabilities Much in Demand among Voters Everywhere.

Nausea: Low Ratings for Trump’s Town Hall on NBC-CNBC-MSNBC Compared to Biden’s ABC Appearance Point To Widespread Boredom and Disgust For Don’s Macabre and Mendacious Road Show among Beleaguered Voters Who Need Effective Help, Not His Whining and Self-Pity; With His Treatment Cocktail Costing about $140,000, Don’s Promise to Deliver It for Free to Those in Need Is the Hollowest Demagogy Yet; Trump Talks of Fleeing Abroad, but Most Americans Cannot Not Afford the Trip; Biden on Trump: He Has Gone Around the Bend, Is Living in a Dream World.

Oct. 16

Down With Tyranny! Opinion: Greasing the Bench, Skip Kaltenheuser, Oct. 16, 2020. John Grisham, meister of legal thrillers, must look at the Dark Money flying about Supreme Court nominees and think, “You stinking thieves, give me my book plots back!”

In a logical world, in a sane U.S/ Senate resistant to corruption, Senators would give the bum's rush to nominees to the Supreme Court who are being promoted with millions, tens of millions, in dark money.

Dark money, funding not readily traced to the actual donors, slithering through a labyrinth of shell corporations, donor trusts and 501(c)(4) organizations. And slithering around Senators voting on judicial nominee confirmations, not just for the Supreme Court but all Federal judges, whispering rewards and threats when they’re up for re-election. Dark Money groups like the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, flowing into groups like the Federalist Society, which Trump brags picks his judges, and the closely connected Judicial Crisis Network.

sheldon whitehouseDuring Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings for the Supremes, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), right, asked Gorsuch who his angels were who provided seven million dollars to first deny Obama nominee Merrick Garland and then later drop ten million promoting Gorsuch to the bench.

Gorsuch’s reply was that if Whitehouse wanted to know who they were, he should ask them. As if Gorsuch had no idea. And no idea of exactly what his hooded benefactors want from courts.

In backing Brett Kavanaugh, one dark donation alone provided seventeen million.

Many millions are now swirling to promote Amy Coney Barrett. Not to play down the importance of issues like reproductive rights, or the emphasis on preserving even the most meager opportunities for medical coverage, but it’s not hot-button issues that attract the incognito Big Money to such legal eagles of the Ayn Rand brotherhood.

It’s their pro-corporate, anti-regulatory, anti-labor and anti-consumer histories. It’s their willingness to pay close attention to the Amicus briefs from the Big Money’s minions. It’s about suppressing the vote, rigging democracy with gerrymandering, etc.... It’s about insulating industries like fossil fuels, and their Wall Street investors, from accountability for the myriad pollution they knowingly cause. It’s about protecting the interests of those at the top.

And when the banks start making wholesale property grabs again, it’ll be about ushering them along as they ride roughshod over people, as the floodgates open for those tumbling into a fractured, pro-creditor bankruptcy system, peppered with self-serving “trustees”. Wait and see.

As Tom Neuburger recently detailed, Barrett has rung one alarm bell after another that she will be a grim reaper of the rights and protections of workers when they conflict with the Big Money, and injured consumers have little to rejoice about. In her brief time on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Barrett quickly joined the ilk of judges who are black-robed crowbars for prying wide the wealth gap via a legal assembly line of pro-corporate decisions.

David Sirota recently revealed an important case coming before the Supreme Court involving state and municipal government lawsuits against Shell Oil, for which Barrett’s father was a lawyer for decades. Oil companies want the Court to require climate cases be heard in the more corporate-friendly federal courts. Asked about climate change during her hearings, Barrett’s reply was that she does not have “firm views”, “...I’m not really in a position to offer any kind of informed opinion on what I think causes global warming.” How convenient. Isn’t that special? Cue the Church Lady.

During Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Senator Whitehouse schooled the Senate with

.be" target="_blank" rel="noopener">this riveting presentation. Some of it drew from this 29-page treatise he published in the Harvard Law School Journal on Legislation. Both are worth the time.

Whitehouse revealed 80 cases at the Supreme Court involving an identifiable Republican donor. Astoundingly, damningly, all were decided in the right-wing’s favor in 5-4 decisions. Many whittle down the concept of civil juries. Because why would fat cats suffer standing before a jury not of their board members?

Eighty five-four partisan decisions. People with track records of defying odds like that wouldn’t be allowed through the door of a casino. What the hell are they doing on the Supreme Court?

Oct. 14

American System Network, Opinion: Judge Barrett Discredits Herself with Fantastic Claim She Did Not Know about Trump’s Pledge to Destroy webster tarpley 2007Obamacare/Affordable Care Act, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 14, 2020. She Also Failed to Mention Her Signature on Strident Anti-Roe Petition in Original Questionnaire She Submitted to the Senate;

Many of Her Answers Suggest She Will Function as Handmaid for Trump’s Expected Coup d’État; Moscow Mitch Might Attempt to Pass a Placebo Covid Relief Bill with Minimal Benefits to Relieve Political Pressure on His Beleaguered Members as Collapse of the GOP Senate Majority Looms.

Oct. 13

American System Network, Opinion: In Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Whitehouse and Dem Members Slam “Slap Dash” Hearings Called in Obedience to webster tarpley 2007GOP Megadonors Despite Pandemic, Webster G. Tarpley, right, Oct. 13, 2020. Extremist Ideologue Amy Barrett: “Judicial Torpedo” to Destroy the Affordable Care Act; Her Protestations of Impartiality Reek of Hypocrisy; Dems Seek to Flip One Seat on Committee or Two Seats for Floor Vote to Stop Barrett Nomination.

sheldon whitehouseSen. Whitehouse, left, Exposes Sinister Machinery Which Has Produced Trump’s Judicial Nominees; The Federalist Society Has Been Decisive in Picking Judges, with Judicial Crisis Network Campaigning to Get Them Confirmed, with the Creation of Desired Case Opportunities and Orchestration of Phalanxes of Friend of the Court Briefs Telling Judges How to Vote in Key Cases; Goals of This Apparatus Include Allowing Unlimited Anonymous Dark Money in Campaigns; Marginalizing the Jury in Civil Cases; Weakening Regulation and Regulatory Agencies; and Relentlessly Eroding Voting Rights; Supremes Give Trump Permission to Halt Census at Once; Sotomayor Dissents, Citing Irreparable Harm Involved.

The Defeat of Trump and the Extinction of the Republican Party Loom Closer: Carville Argues That Democrats May Capture Georgia Legislature, Creating a Blue State on the Eve of Re-Apportionment; Cornyn in Trouble in Texas; Alaska Seen as Longshot Possibility for Dems; Veteran Operative Forecasts Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio Results Will Be Known by 10:30 PM Eastern on Election Day, Eliminating Trump from Contention with No Chance to Game the Courts!

Oct. 12

American System Network, Opinion: Barrett’s Fanatical Hostility to Affordable Care Act/Obamacare Is Threat to Lives and Health of 20 Million Who Are Insured webster tarpley 2007through Exchanges, Webster G. Tarpley, Oct. 12, 2020. 17 Million Insured under Medicaid Expansion, and 129 Million Who Need Protection for Pre-Existing Conditions, GOP Senators Attempt Diversions by Railing at Non-Existent Anti-Catholic Campaign.

Biden Leads Trump by 12 Points in ABC-WaPo Poll; Trump Behind by 8 in Michigan; Biden Ahead by 10 in Wisconsin; Trump’s Itinerary Shows His Weak Points of Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Iowa; Biden on the Offensive, Campaigns among Workers in Ohio; Former Trump Voter: “He Lies Like a Rug”

Barrett’s Doctrines of Originalism and Textualism Are Varieties of Bankrupt Legal Positivism and the Rejection of Natural Law as Summarized in Preamble; Her Preference for Formalism and Contempt for Outcomes, Results and Justice Are an Open Door for Dismantling Health Care and Roe, after Rubber-Stamping Trump’s November Coup!

Oct. 13

Strategic Culture Foundation, Opinion: From Scientist-Politicians to an Anti-Science Demagogue: America’s Tragic Descent Into Madness, Wayne Madsen, Oct. strategic culture logo12, 2020. Several of the founders of the United States were gifted scientists and scholars of the Age of Enlightenment. Benjamin Franklin was not only a statesman, but he was known as one of the leading scientists of the world in his own right. Early American presidents like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and George Washington were all committed to scientific pursuit.

In April 1961, President John F. Kennedy, in a speech to the National Academy of Sciences, a body founded by President Abraham Lincoln, said, “In the earliest days of the founding of our country there was among some of our Founding Fathers a most happy relationship, a most happy understanding of the ties which bind science and government together.” President Theodore Roosevelt was such a committed environmentalist and conservationist, he founded the U.S. National Park System, which Trump and his mining, drilling, hunting, timber, and fracking business cronies are busy destroying.

The United States saw every presidential administration advance the United States in terms of science and technology until the Trump administration. Trump championed pseudo-science in combatting the Covid-19 epidemic-turned-pandemic. Ignoring his chief government epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, and public health officials, Trump, projecting himself as nothing more than a fast-talking carnival barker, suggested dangerous and ridiculous cures for the Covid virus, including poisonous disinfectants being injected into the human body and reliance on untested medicines and vaccines.

His relationships with educated world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who possesses a PhD in quantum chemistry from the German Academy of Sciences, suffered. Trump was more comfortable with similarly-minded buffoons like Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who declared that Covid-19 was no worse than a common cold – just as Trump stated that Covid-19 was a hoax. Both Bolsonaro and Trump contracted the coronavirus. Trump’s political followers, including Republican U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, and Governors tried to outdo one another in demonstrating their ignorance of basic science.

djt smiling fileTrump’s disdain for science and its deadly consequences has resulted in his re-election campaign being savaged by prestigious scientific journals, which have never weighed in on political endorsements.

“Scientific American,” which had never endorsed a single presidential candidate in its 175-year history, wrote, “The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.” The respected journal “Nature” also uniquely editorialized against a second Trump term in office, warning that his “assault on science” during his term has had a devastating effect in the United States and around the world.

Through the written words of these sage scientific and medical journals, one can almost hear the voices of past American presidents, scientists, professors, and doctors. Trump has forever stained the disciplines of medicine, science, and technology with his clownish performance as a U.S. president.

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1100 Pennsylvania, Doral confab featured Proud Boys leader, Zach Everson, Oct 13, 2020. Just two weeks after President Donald J. Trump told the group to “stand by,” Proud Boys chair Enrique Tarrio was a featured speaker at a far-right conference hosted at Trump Doral. Off the stage, photos posted on social media show Tarrio mingling with GOP House candidates, a confidant of the president, and other attendees.

The president still owns his businesses and can profit when people pay to hear the leader of a hate group. Tarrio’s appearance on the conference’s agenda was reported first by the People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.

This weekend, of course, was far from the first time Proud Boys have turned up at Trump properties, as 1100 Pennsylvania previously reported. Tarrio, shown above at right in a file photo with Trump friend, advisor and pardoned felon Roger Stone, was speaking in his role as Latinos for Trump’s Florida state director.

The American Priority Festival and Conference took place at the president’s Miami-resort Oct. 8–11. Last year’s confab, also at Doral, made headlines by showing a fake video of Trump shooting up his critics and members of the media (as reported by Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman for The New York Times) and attendees chanting for “war!” (as Alice Wilder reported for ProPublica and WNYC’s Trump, Inc.)

Featured speakers at Doral this year also included South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–FL), and Corey Lewandowski. The Daily Beast described the conference as “a confab of anti-vaxxers and leading QAnon champions.” So it’s not too surprising that while the head of the Proud Boys appeared in a lot of photos on social media (many shared by the grassroots pro-Trump group Tarrio’s involved with), masks and social distancing were not prevalent.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s greatest fear is coming true, Robert Harrington, Oct. 13, 2020. A discharge against medical advice (DAMA) is a term used in healthcare institutions when a patient leaves a hospital against the advice of their attending doctor. When the self-discharging person is a danger to themselves or others, sometimes remedies are available in law preventing them from doing so, up to and including involuntary committal.

When the self-discharging person is the president of the United States, there are no legal remedies — apart from the exercise of the 25th Amendment. Up until now it was generally hoped and reasonably expected that an American President would behave responsibly under such circumstances. As is so often the case with this outlaw president, not only do the rules not apply to Donald Trump, but neither does the reasonable expectation that he will sacrifice his bill palmer report logo headerown needs in favor of the health and safety of the people he has sworn to serve.

Monday night Trump hosted another super spreader event in Florida. The only nod to safety was that it was held outdoors. Other than that, few masks were in evidence, and people were crammed together even closer than usual.

“I feel so powerful,” Trump crowed to his cheering supporters, less than two weeks after announcing he was infected with coronavirus. “I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women – everybody.” Trump was clearly unwell, apart from the bizarre message that he wanted to kiss everyone, his voice was also unmistakably hoarse. He’s obviously still sick with coronavirus and possibly high on steroids, and it is a near certainty that he is still contagious and that he gave the disease to members of his audience. Many of them will spread it to others and many will die as a direct result. Donald Trump has once again committed murder.

Many in the audience were seniors, and, as such, are the most vulnerable to contracting the disease and dying from it. Clearly, Monday night’s rally was another way of Trump deliberately downplaying the disease, just as he privately told Bob Woodward on tape that he often did.

By contrast, Joe Biden held a much different campaign event Monday. Biden addressed a spare and socially distanced crowd in Cincinnati. Excoriating Trump’s negligent response to the pandemic, the Democratic nominee asked his audience rhetorically, “How many empty chairs are there around the dinner table because of his negligence?”

The real tragedy is some of the people who will die will be innocent people who didn’t even attend Trump’s latest Nuremberg-style rally, but will be incidentally infected by someone who was there. Deadly pathogens are not like conventional weapons. They kill indiscriminately.

As I write this, 220,011 Americans are dead from coronavirus. There are now 8,037,789 cases of the disease and that number is climbing at the rate of a million a week. Clearly the president of the United States, who is an unregenerate monster, couldn’t care less.

In his book Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, Michael Cohen writes that the one thing Donald Trump fears more than anything else is going to prison. Let’s all help Trump realize his greatest fear, vote him out of office and make him as vulnerable to prison as he makes his audiences vulnerable to death and disease.

djt michael cohen disloyal

 

Oct. 7

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washington post logoWashington Post, Virus dominates campaign as Trump struggles to regain ground, Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan, Oct. 7, 2020 (print ed.). The president and Democrat Joe Biden on Tuesday promoted their very different approaches to battling the coronavirus — and handling the presidency. 

Republican Voters Against Trump via Yahoo News, Retired Gen. Hayden, former CIA director under Bush, backs Biden over Trump in powerful new ad, Dylan Stableford, Oct. 7, 2020. Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who served as director of the CIA and the National Security Agency under President George W. Bush, Michael Hayden CIA official portraitendorsed Joe Biden in a powerful new video ad released Tuesday night by Republican Voters Against Trump, a group of conservatives who believe the GOP incumbent is dangerously unfit for office.

“If there’s another term for President Trump, I don’t know what happens to America,” Hayden says in the 90-second spot.

The 75-year-old, shown in a file photo from his CIA leadership post, suffers from aphasia as a result of a stroke in 2018, making it difficult for him to speak.

“Truth is really important, but especially in intelligence,” Hayden says. “President Trump doesn’t care about facts. President Trump doesn’t care about the truth. He doesn’t listen to his experts.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Facebook removes Trump post calling the coronavirus ‘less lethal’ than the flu, Rachel Lerman, Oct. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Twitter left the same post on its site but hid it under a public interest notice and limited how it could be shared.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump’s Return Leaves White House in Disarray as Cases Jolt West Wing, Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, Oct. 7, 2020 (print ed.).  Staff in the residence wore full protective gear, and the West Wing was mostly empty, cleared of aides who were sick or working from home.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s erratic tweets on economic relief — over several hours — leave his strategy unclear, Jeff Stein and Erica Werner, Oct. 7, 2020.  First, he says he won’t pursue a package until after election. Then he demands Congress immediately pass bills. The president appeared to abruptly change his mind about federal stimulus efforts hours after calling off negotiations with congressional Democrats — all through postings on his Twitter account. 

 

ny times logoNew York Times, Whistle-Blowing Scientist Quits Government With Final Broadside, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Oct. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Dr. Rick Bright, who said he was demoted for calling out a politicized coronavirus response, remains concerned about White House interference.

Rick BrightRick Bright, right, senior vaccine scientist who said he was demoted this spring for complaining about “cronyism” and political interference in science, resigned his final government post on Tuesday, saying he had been sidelined and left with nothing to do.

In a new addendum to the whistle-blower complaint he filed in May, Dr. Bright’s lawyers say officials at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked after his demotion, rejected his idea for a national coronavirus testing strategy “because of political considerations.” He also accused them of ignoring his request to join the $10 billion effort to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed.

“I long to serve the American people by using my skills to fight this pandemic,” Dr. Bright wrote on Sept. 25 to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the institutes, noting that he had 25 years of experience in vaccine development. “The taxpayers who pay my salary deserve no less.”

Dr. Bright’s resignation from the Department of Health and Human Services comes six months after he was ousted as the chief of the department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and reassigned to a narrower job at the health institutes, which also fall under the health department. At the N.I.H, he was supposed to take the lead on developing novel point-of-care coronavirus tests. His lawyers said he did that, creating a team that awarded eight contracts to build up coronavirus testing and exhausted its budget.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump May Have Covid, but Many of His Supporters Still Scoff at Masks, Trip Gabriel, Oct. 7, 2020 (print ed.). They echo misinformation that the president has spread for much of the year, as he has sought to minimize the threat of the virus.

djt rncEntering Ted’s Bar and Grill on Monday (in Annville, PA), Tim Girvin briefly slid on a “Trump 2020” face mask, before whisking it off to join friends at a table for lunch. He said those few seconds were the only time he wore a mask all day.

“I have my own business and I don’t have anybody wear a mask in my business,” said Mr. Girvin, a used-car dealer. “I don’t buy into it. When you look at the facts, with how many people die of influenza every year. Obesity kills more people than the Wuhan virus does.”

On the day that President Trump defiantly left the hospital where he was being treated for a coronavirus infection and returned to a White House that appears to be one of Washington’s most contagious hot spots, backers of the president in rural Pennsylvania showed no signs of questioning their own defiance of experts’ advice on how to limit the virus’s spread.

In the Lebanon Valley east of Harrisburg, where support for Mr. Trump remains particularly strong, the president’s failure to protect his family and inner circle from the virus was not seen as a reflection on his inability to protect Americans, as the death toll passed 210,000.

On the contrary, Trump loyalists echoed misinformation that the president has spread for much of the year, as he has sought to minimize the threat of the virus to aid his re-election.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: Elect Joe Biden, America, Editorial Board, Oct. 7, 2020. The former vice president is the leader our nation needs now.

ny times logoNew York Times, The Day in Polls: The Worst Day of Polling for Trump This Cycle, Nate Cohn, Oct. 7, 2020. We’re beginning to see where the race stands joe biden oafter the president’s diagnosis. Here’s our polling analysis, posted daily now through Election Day.

Now, Mr. Trump’s best recent poll in Pennsylvania — the last Monmouth poll — has become his worst. Together, Mr. Biden has led in six straight high-quality polls of Pennsylvania by at least seven percentage points. This is about as clear a picture as we get in state polling. It gives him a clear advantage in states worth more than 270 electoral votes, and therefore in the race for the presidency.

538.com, Snake Chart U.S. Election Prediction: As previously, Biden is favored to win the election, Nate Silver, Oct. 7, 2020. States that are forecasted to vote for one candidate by a big margin are at the ends of the path, while tighter races are in the middle. Bigger segments mean more Electoral College votes. Trace the path from either end to see which state could put one candidate over the top.

ny times logotom friedman twitterNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Not Superman. He’s Superspreader, Thomas L. Friedman, right, Oct. 7, 2020. Have his supporters seen the light?

The most important question today is not what President Trump has learned from his bout with Covid-19. Trump is one of those leaders who never learns and never forgets, as the saying goes. The most important question is what have we as citizens learned — and, in particular, what have Trump’s supporters learned?

Because the debate over Trump himself is over. The verdict is in: He cast himself as Superman, but he turns out to have been Superspreader — not only of a virus but of a whole way of looking at the world in a pandemic that was dangerously wrong for himself and our nation. To re-elect him would be an act of collective madness.

washington post logoWashington Post, In Central Florida, Latino evangelicals could give Trump a boost, Jose A. Del Real, Oct. 7, 2020. Tito Vazquez Jr. likes to say that perfect political candidates are like perfect churches: They do not exist. Sometimes, he said, you just have to find one that meets most of your needs and make peace with the gaps. So in November, he will cast a ballot to reelect President Trump.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosMany of his fellow evangelical worshipers at a large Latino church in Central Florida will probably vote for Trump, too.

Vazquez is one of millions of evangelical Christian Latinos in the United States whose political calculations could carry outsize influence in the 2020 election, especially in Florida. Although he may defy expectations for voters of Puerto Rican descent, who like a majority of Latinos nationally lean Democratic, Vazquez said Republicans have simply made a stronger case to him.

 amy barrett ceremony

A White House Rose Garden nomination ceremony and reception last weekend, for Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, shown at far right with Donald Trump, is now regarded as a "superspreader event" that helped foster novel coronavirus illnesses on many attendees, largely maskless, and staff.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump may have had coronavirus for a lot longer than he claims, Bill Palmer, Oct. 7, 2020. On Tuesday evening the New York Times broke the news that, despite his frequent public claims to the contrary, Donald Trump wasn’t actually being tested for coronavirus on a daily basis. This means that when he tested positive on Thursday, he could have already had it for any number of days. It raises new questions about the timeline.

bill palmer report logo headerFor instance, consider this. We know that the current outbreak traces back at least to the Rose Garden super spreader event the Saturday before the debate. If this is when Trump was infected, then he may have been showing symptoms by the time the debate took place three days later. That’s why his behavior during the debate is so notable in hindsight.

One thing that stood out to me during the debate was that Trump didn’t put on his usual sniffing, jittery routine, like he usually does. This suggested that he didn’t follow his customary pre-debate pattern of abusing Adderall or cocaine or whichever upper it is that he likes to put up his nose. But despite the lack of nose candy, Trump ended up being far more aggressive during the debate than usual. Manically aggressive.

In fact the manically raging, incoherently behaving, explosively out of control Donald Trump that we saw on that debate stage feels a lot like the Donald Trump we’re currently seeing on Twitter. It’s enough to make you at least ask if perhaps Trump was sick with coronavirus by the debate, and didn’t take his Adderall because he was either afraid it would kill him, or because doctors were already treating him with dexamethasone.

This is all pretty far-out. But by now we know this is going to end up having a far-out explanation one way or the other. Donald Trump’s remaining henchmen are going way too far out of their way to try to avoid answering the question of when his last negative test took place. That’s because whatever the answer is, it reveals something ugly and scandalous that Trump doesn’t want revealed. It’ll come out eventually.

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Palmer Report, Opinion: DUMPSTER FIRE, Bill Palmer, Oct. 7, 2020. Donald Trump, who’s currently spreading coronavirus particles on as many people as possible, is now referring to other people as “scum.” Something that Donald Trump’s doctors should keep in mind: Michael Jackson’s doctor went to prison for martha mcsally ohelping him abuse the drugs that killed him.

bill palmer report logo headerIt was nice of Republican Senator Martha McSally, right, to decide during last night’s debate that if she was going to lose, she wanted to lose with dignity. Just kidding, she imploded like a distempered two year old.

Imagine being a Republican Senator and betting your career on the hope that Donald Trump wasn’t going to completely implode between the day he was acquitted and the day of the election. Did any of them really think they were going to win that bet?

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Palmer Report, Opinion: Carly Fiorina and Fox News just dropped a house on Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, Oct. 7, 2020. Carly Fiorina, above, a Republican who ran for president in 2016, went on Fox News this morning and endorsed Joe Biden. Here’s what stands out as remarkable. Fox had to know Fiorina was going to do this (she’d been publicly siding with Biden for awhile), yet they booked her anyway.

bill palmer report logo headerIt’s becoming clear that for all its nonsensical and dishonest pro-Trump rhetoric, Fox News is now trying to prepare its audience for a post-Trump future. Of course Carly Fiorina’s endorsement of Joe Biden comes after 2016 Republican presidential candidate John Kasich did the same last month.

Oct. 4

amy barrett ceremony

A White House Rose Garden nomination ceremony and reception last weekend, for Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, shown at far right with Donald Trump, is now regarded as a "superspreader event" that helped foster novel coronavirus illnesses on many attendees, largely maskless, and staff.

ny times logoNew York Times, Path to Full Recovery Not Clear, Chief of Staff Says, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump, at the Walter Reed military hospital, is “improving,” his doctor said. But his chief of staff said his symptoms were “very concerning.”

The president’s medical team refused to provide critical details and left open the impression that he was known to be sick a day earlier than previously reported, forcing them to backtrack later; Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was with President Trump this week, checked himself into a hospital after testing positive.

washington post logoWashington Post, Conflicting statements create uncertainty on status of Trump’s health, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). Medical team suggests president tested positive earlier than initially disclosed.

President Trump’s physician later issued a “clarification” through the White House on the timeline, but declined to answer specific questions about the president’s health, including how high his fever rose in recent days, when he last tested negative and whether he was administered supplemental oxygen. 

538.com, Snake Chart U.S. Election Prediction: As previously, Biden is favored to win the election, Nate Silver, Oct. 4, 2020. States that are forecasted to vote for one candidate by a big margin are at the ends of the path, while tighter races are in the middle. Bigger segments mean more Electoral College votes. Trace the path from either end to see which state could put one candidate over the top.

washington post logoWashington Post, An army of doctors. Access to an experimental drug. A special patient gets special care, Lenny Bernstein and Laurie McGinley, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). From his team of providers to his helicopter flight to the hospital to the experimental drug that fewer than 10 others have received outside a clinical trial, President Trump has access to care available to few of the other 7.3 million people in the United States infected so far by the coronavirus.

washington post logoWashington Post, How the everyday chaos of reporting on the Trump White House played out for the world to see Saturday, Sarah Ellison, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). A gusher of conflicting information from doctors and White House officials led to a flurry of confusing media reports.

The dispatches began routinely enough for an out-of-the-ordinary day, with Pool Report #2 from Cheryl Bolen, the Bloomberg White House reporter on pool duty Saturday.

Reporters raced to clarify the disparity in messages. “I do not know where this quote came from, and why this anonymous person has the authority to contradict the president’s doctors,” tweeted Olivia Nuzzi, New York magazine’s White House reporter, who was at the briefing.

mark meadows SmallBut other reporters who were not bound by the original off-the-record agreement were able to identify him: It was Mark Meadows (White House Chief of Staff), as the Associated Press soon reported. Nuzzi tweeted a video showing Meadows briefing reporters after the news conferences.

“It was maddening to see the White House doctor come out and refuse to answer basic questions and be clearly spinning,” said Jonathan Karl, the chief Washington correspondent for ABC News, who watched the news conference from home. “And then to see the background quote come out that effectively was diametrically opposed to what the doctor had just said on camera — this is the frustration of covering this White House. You can really take almost nothing that is on the record at face value.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Trump’s Oxygen Levels Dropped and He Took Steroid Treatment, Doctors Say, Staff Reports, Oct. 4, 2020. President Trump has been given the steroid dexamethasone, his physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, said; The drug has been shown to help patients who are severely ill with Covid-19, but it is typically not used in mild or moderate cases; Nonetheless, the doctors said Mr. Trump was doing better and they projected he could be discharged soon.'

The president released a video saying that he was “starting to feel good,” but conflicting statements by his doctors and aides created confusion. Mike Pence tested negative again on Sunday and will keep campaigning, despite C.D.C. guidelines.

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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett and her family. (Andrea Hanks/The White House)

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump claims that he had no choice but to risk his own health. Americans disagree, Philip Bump, Oct. 4, 2020. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani called his old friends at the New York Post to pass along a message from his most prominent legal client, President Trump.

“I am the president of the United States. I can’t lock myself in a room,” Trump told the world through his lawyer Saturday. “I had to confront [the virus] so the American people stopped being afraid of it so we could deal with it responsibly.”

In a video message published on his personal Twitter account a few hours later, Trump offered a similar sentiment.

“I had no choice,” he said, “because I just didn’t want to stay in the White House. I was given that alternative. Stay in the White House. Lock yourself in. Don’t ever leave. Don’t even go to the Oval Office. Just stay upstairs and enjoy it. Don’t see people. Don’t talk to people. And just be done with it.”

“And I can’t do that,” he continued. “I had to be out front. And this is America. This is the United States. This is the greatest country in the world. This is the most powerful country in the world. I can’t be locked up in a room upstairs and totally safe and just say, ‘Hey, whatever happens happens.’ I can’t do that. We have to confront problems. As a leader, you have to confront problems. There’s never been a great leader that would have done that.”

The choice Trump presents here is as bizarre as his conclusion. It is not the case that one must either remain in a windowless room or necessarily contract the novel coronavirus — as he has. One can use social distancing and mask-wearing — as he hasn’t — in an effort to drastically limit the risk posed by the virus.

More than 7 in 10 Americans hold a similar position. Asked by pollsters from Ipsos working with ABC News, the vast majority said both that Trump hadn’t taken the risk of contracting the virus seriously enough and that he hadn’t taken the appropriate personal protections necessary to avoid becoming sick.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump’s Treatments Are Aimed at Preventing Severe Illness, Gina Kolata and Apoorva Mandavilli, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). Outside experts pointed to the therapies as signs that the president’s condition could be serious. His age, weight and gender put him at high risk.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Donald Trump’s poll numbers since catching coronavirus are ugly for him, James Sullivan, Oct. 4, 2020. A new poll coming on the heels of the last debate shows good news for Joe Biden. Reuters/Ipsos shows him with a ten-point lead over Donald Trump. Even better, it shows him with 51% support among likely voters and only 4% of voters undecided. It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions over one poll, nor should we, but this is mostly consistent with polling that we’ve seen so far. What’s significant about this poll is that it asked respondents about Trump’s COVID diagnosis.

bill palmer report logo headerAlthough I’ve spoken to a few people afraid that his diagnosis might somehow make him a martyr and win support, it hasn’t exactly done that so far. 65% of respondents say that Donald Trump could’ve prevented catching COVID by taking basic precautionary measures – something that half of the Republican respondents to the poll agreed on. We have yet to see if this data will continue to be a trend, but it’s not exactly much better for the Trump campaign that the GOP is in disarray and not quite sure who to blame for their recent string of COVID cases.

It should be a major headline story if the president of the United States is ill with a life-threatening disease, but Trump may be the first president whose illness turns into yet another major scandal for him, as he’s put nearly all of his campaign staff and White House staffers at risk for a deadly disease that he’s done nothing but lie about. He’s dangerously and historically unqualified for office and this is why we need to vote him out by November 3.

 

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Donald Trump, left, and Joe Biden at first presidential debae on Sept. 30, 2020 (Associated Press Photo by Patrick Semansky).

Donald Trump, left, and Joe Biden at first presidential debae on Tuesday (Associated Press Photo by Patrick Semansky).

ny times logoNew York Times, Poll Finds Voters in Two Crucial States Repelled by Trump’s Debate Behavior, Nate Cohn, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). Biden is ahead by seven points in Pennsylvania and five points in Florida, according to a Times/Siena survey. By overwhelming margins, voters in Pennsylvania and Florida were repelled by President Trump’s conduct in the first general election debate, according to New York Times/Siena College surveys, as Joseph R. Biden Jr. maintained a lead in the two largest battleground states.

Over all, Mr. Biden led by seven percentage points, 49 percent to 42 percent, among likely voters in Pennsylvania. He led by a similar margin, 47-42, among likely voters in Florida.

The surveys began Wednesday, before the early Friday announcement that President Trump had contracted the coronavirus. There was modest evidence of a shift in favor of Mr. Biden in interviews on Friday, including in Arizona where a Times/Siena survey is in progress, after controlling for the demographic and political characteristics of the respondents.

The debates long loomed as one of the president’s best opportunities to reshape the race in his favor. He has trailed in Pennsylvania and Florida from the outset of the campaign, and he does not have many credible paths to the presidency without winning at least one of the two — and probably both.

Instead, a mere 22 percent of likely voters across the two pivotal states said Mr. Trump won the debate Tuesday. It leaves the president at a significant and even daunting disadvantage with a month until Election Day. Voters disapproved of the president’s conduct in the debate by a margin of 65 percent to 25 percent. More than half of voters said they strongly disapproved of his conduct.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: A pandemic, a crushed economy, racial protests and now a president with coronavirus, Dan Balz, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). The cascading events of 2020 have been unrelenting, at times unbelievable, at times almost unbearable. No one could have written the script of a year that has killed so many Americans, disrupted so many lives and, with the election now just a month away, left the country so politically divided and emotionally drained.

That was as of Thursday morning. Then came the report early Friday that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. And then came the live images early Friday evening of the president, suffering from the symptoms of covid-19, being ferried by helicopter from the White House lawn to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The day’s events brought a new element of uncertainty and concern to a nation already on edge.

Events — some of them once-in-decades or once-in-a-century occurrences — now play out all in unison. There is no respite. If one ebbs another flows. People talk about an October surprise in presidential campaign years. The year has been a series of October surprises, some titanic in scope, others smaller but disruptive in their own way.

white house positive for covid resized 10 3 20 msnbc

ny times logoNew York Times, Where the Trump Campaign Goes From Here With a Month Left, Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, Oct. 4, 2020 (print ed.). A campaign whose fund-raising, events and messaging have all been driven by President Trump says it will stay the course.

The Trump campaign is not changing its advertising or messaging, even with the candidate in the hospital. The political operation is not bereft of leaders; the campaign manager is still helping run things from afar after testing positive for the virus. Advisers are not showing any evidence of worry, despite public polls showing President Trump still behind in key states he won in 2016.

On the first weekend of the new Trump political reality, the overarching signals were about continuity and resolve, even though the landscape was one of change: rallies canceled in Wisconsin, fund-raising reworked without the incumbent candidate and campaign operations adjusting on the fly.

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence held a call with the Trump-Pence re-election staff nationwide, trying to rally the troops and lay out the plans for the coming weeks.

Despite the almost unthinkable circumstances for a campaign whose fund-raising, events and political pitches have all been driven by the president himself, Mr. Pence tried to signal that the campaign was trying to proceed as if little has changed.

djt signing blank sheet andrew feinberg twitter

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump caught signing blank piece of paper in bizarre hospital stunt, Bill Palmer, Oct. 4, 2020. Donald Trump has now been in the hospital with a coronavirus for a day and a half, and he’s on at least his second experimental drug treatment, even as his underlings paint wildly conflicting pictures about how bad his health is.

Trump’s handlers set up a photo shoot to try to paint him as still doing the job of President, but it backfired to say the least.

bill palmer report logo headerTrump’s handlers thought it would be a good idea to sit him at a table in his hospital room and have him pretend to sign some documents, to give the impression that he’s hard at work. But as documented by some eagle-eyed folks on Twitter (Photo via longtime DC reporter Andrew Feinberg), they very clearly had Trump sign his name on a blank piece of paper – giving away that the entire photo shoot was a poorly staged fake.

This isn’t particularly surprising. The notion that Donald Trump would be doing any presidential work while he’s sick in the hospital with coronavirus, when he never does any presidential work even on a normal day at the White House, is absurd. Yet Trump’s babysitters are clearly worried about the growing perception that he’s too far gone to remain in office – and they’re going to panicked sloppy lengths accordingly.

Also, how far gone is Donald Trump that he’s not even questioning why they’re having him sign blank pieces of paper? Whether it’s the coronavirus, or the experimental treatments, or merely his ongoing cognitive collapse over the past year, this guy isn’t even close to having the cognitive abilities to remain in office.

 

Oct. 3

Top Headlines

white house positive for covid resized 10 3 20 msnbc

ny times logoNew York Times, Path to Full Recovery Not Clear, Chief of Staff Says, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Oct. 3, 2020 (Updated 7:46 p.m. ET). President Trump, at the Walter Reed military hospital, is “improving,” his doctor said. But his chief of staff said his symptoms were “very concerning.”

The president’s medical team refused to provide critical details and left open the impression that he was known to be sick a day earlier than previously reported, forcing them to backtrack later; Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was with President Trump this week, checked himself into a hospital after testing positive. Here’s the latest.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Prominent Republicans and Trump staffers looking for “exit ramp” as Donald Trump’s condition worsens, Bill Palmer, Oct. 3, 2020. Donald Trump’s condition is bad enough that his White House handlers are trying to spin it in five different ways. And the circumstances of Trump’s attempted coverup of his coronavirus diagnosis are ugly enough that his handlers are bending over backward to try to keep us from finding out when he first tested positive.

bill palmer report logo headerThis is the very definition of a sinking ship. Now it turns out a number of people in Donald Trump’s orbit are looking for a way out.

Stuart Stevens from the Lincoln Project tweeted this: “I expected this post-Nov 3rd but in last 24 hours hearing from some prominent R’s supporting Trump – and one top Trump staffer – asking how best to find the exit ramp. My answer is simple: never too early or too late to do the right thing. How it’s done won’t mater after it’s done.”

Palmer Report has always predicted that if it ever came down to it, Republican office holders and White House underlings would all selfishly choose themselves over Donald Trump. The only question was when or if they would reach the point where they concluded that they had to jump ship in order to survive.

Reported: 24 positive #COVID19 tests in 2 days White House personnel or event guests:

Donald Trump
Melania Trump
Bill Stepien, Trump Campaign Manager
Hope Hicks
Kellyanne Conway
Sen Mike Lee
Sen Thom Tillis
Sen Ron Johnson
Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Committee Chair
John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame president
3 White House news reporters
11 staffers at Cleveland debate

washington post logoWashington Post, Some Republicans say party will pay price for ‘stupid’ approach to pandemic, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey, Oct. 3, 2020. A number of prominent GOP figures are wondering how to wage a strong campaign when coronavirus infections of the president and others raise questions about the competence of Republican leaders.

President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis shook Republicans like an earthquake. Then came the troubling aftershocks.

And it has left them wondering how to wage a strong closing campaign when the judgment, actions and competence of its leaders were so squarely at issue just as voting is getting underway across the country.

gop upside down resized logo“There was a panic before this started, but now we’re sort of the stupid party,” said Edward J. Rollins, co-chairman of the pro-Trump super PAC Great America. “Candidates are being forced to defend themselves every day on whether they agree with this or that, in terms of what the president did on the virus.”

“The president and the people around him flouted the rules,” said Republican strategist Michael Steel, who was an aide to former House Speaker John Boehner. “We wish him and his family a speedy recovery, but he has been reckless, and voters dealing with the health and economic effects on them and their families won’t look on that kindly.”

Stuart Stevens, a veteran Republican adviser who works with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, said “there is fatalism” among GOP officials and donors. “They wonder, ‘What can you do? How can you spin this?’ ”

Stevens said, “If I were running a Senate race, I’d run out and say the White House should have taken this more seriously.”

Many Republican officeholders, however, remained publicly muted on Saturday about any unease over their political future as they hoped for Trump’s return and that voters would not deliver a harsh verdict in November.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s infection is part of an ominous national trend as cases increase in 33 states, hospitalizations rise, Brady Dennis and Joel Achenbach, Oct. 3, 2020 (print ed.). Infectious-disease experts had hoped transmission could be driven to low levels before cold weather arrived. That hasn’t happened.

Coronavirus cases have risen in 33 states and Puerto Rico since late August, and at least a dozen states have reported rising hospitalizations in recent days, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post.

american flag upside down distressThe coronavirus map shows flare-ups coast to coast and from the Canadian to the Mexican border. Brooklyn is once again dealing with a spike in cases, and the state of New York on Friday reported its highest one-day case count since May 28.

New Jersey and Delaware have experienced rising numbers, as has Texas, which just recently endured a midsummer surge. Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election, has been hammered. It had logged record highs in case counts for 20 straight days as of Thursday, and recorded more than 17,000 new confirmed infections in a single week.

Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has killed at least 208,000 people in the United States and is continuing to spread easily through many regions of the country. Infectious-disease experts had hoped transmission could be driven to low levels before cold weather arrived. That hasn’t happened, and Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Friday became part of ominous daily case counts that alarm the nation’s top doctors.

“I’m concerned we are going into the fall and ultimately the winter season, when the weather changes, [and] we are stuck at this baseline of 40,000 new infections every day,” Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview before news broke about the president’s infection.

ny times logoNew York Times, What if Trump Can’t Serve? Many Steps Are Clear, but Some Are Not, Nicholas Fandos and Nick Corasaniti, Oct. 3, 2020 (print ed.). The Constitution says the vice president is next in line if the president dies or can no longer serve, but things get murkier from there.

The Constitution makes clear that the vice president is first in line to succeed the president should he or she die in office, and can step in to temporarily take on the duties of the presidency should the commander in chief become incapacitated. Vice President Mike Pence, 61, tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday.

Other situations become far more complicated and are wrapped in a cloud of legal disagreement over what to do if a president cannot exercise his duties but refuses to give them up, or wins election but cannot serve, or in a case in which the president and the vice president are incapacitated.

ny times logoWhite House via New York Times, Trump Releases Video From Hospital, Oct. 3, 2020 (4:02 mins.). The video was meant to reassure the nation after a barrage of conflicting messages. Here’s the latest. Experts pointed to the president’s treatments as a sign that his condition may not be as good as his doctors said. 

 ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump’s Health News Meets a Landscape Primed for Mistrust, Sarah Lyall and Reid J. Epstein, Oct. 3, 2020 (print ed.). A president who rose to fame — in business, on TV and in politics — on an archipelago of exaggerations finds himself facing a public skeptical of his account of his own health.

A president who rose to fame — in business, on TV and in politics — on exaggerations finds himself facing a public skeptical of his account.

Palmer Report, Opinion: It is what it is, Robert Harrington, right, Oct. 3, 2020. It’s wrong, morally and tactically, for us to gloat just now because Donald Trump has robert harrington twittertested positive for coronavirus. It’s wrong morally because that’s not who we are, that’s who they are, and we are better than them. It’s wrong tactically because this is not how we want Donald Trump to lose.

We want him to lose by being repudiated at the ballot box. We want his incompetence and bigotry and criminality repudiated not by default from disease and potential death, but by the overwhelming fiat of the people.

bill palmer report logo headerEven so, we have a right to be angry. If you’re pissed off, it’s justified. First, I was angry at how Trump announced it. In his disclosing tweet he wrote, “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19.” First of all, he didn’t test positive for COVID-19, he tested positive for coronavirus. Saying you test positive for COVID is like saying you tested positive for AIDS instead of HIV. It’s a complete miscomprehension of the vernacular of the disease, and it discloses a total lack of competence and basic understanding on his part. How dare he do so little work on something so deadly to his people and intrinsic to his job.

After presiding over 213,524 American deaths (as I write this) and a global pandemic that’s over nine months old, the “stable genius” in charge should have known at least that much. The fact that he still doesn’t know the parlance of the pandemic discloses his complete contempt for the health of everyone in the country and his historic indifference to the problem.

There are a lot of arrogant people out there who are justly embarrassed right now. High on the list are many people at Fox News who carried water for this moron.

Trump lived in the most protected bubble in the world, surrounded by doctors who ensured that everyone who came into contact with him got tested, and still he got it. Trump perpetuated the stupid myth that wearing a mask meant you were weak or unamerican. He heaped contempt on reporters who wore masks, pretending he couldn’t hear them because their slightly muffled speech wasn’t discernible — when clearly it was. He downplayed the seriousness of the disease and continued to understate how serious and devastating it is.

chris wallaceNow he has it and finally, FINALLY, Fox News is starting to acknowledge it. As Chris Wallace, right, put it, “If I could say one thing to all the people out there watching, forget the politics, this is a public safety health issue, the president of the United States is in the most secure bubble in the world, in the sense that everybody who comes in contact with him has to take a test and he still got it. So wear the damn mask and follow the science.”

If Trump dies of COVID-19 I will not gloat, I will feel cheated. He should live to see his hateful ideas lying in ruin. He should live with the leisure to contemplate behind prison bars the misery his stupidity visited on a country he betrayed. If Trump dies I will only have this to say about it: “It is what it is.”

 

 

eric trump djt

Palmer Report, Opinion: Eric Trump is about to blow it big, Bill Palmer, Oct. 3, 2020. The courts definitively ruled that Eric Trump, above right, had to testify by October 7th to the New York Attorney General in the state’s investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial fraud. With no realistic appeals left, and no apparent interest in being jailed for contempt of court, Eric is apparently planning to go ahead and testify on Monday, according to NBC News.

bill palmer report logo headerThere’s a reason the New York AG is starting with Eric Trump: he’s at the bottom of the Trump Organization hierarchy, and these kinds of investigations always go from the bottom up. Eric will try to get through his testimony without saying anything incriminating about his father or his siblings. The AG’s goal will be to get Eric to screw up and reveal something incriminating – or failing that, to catch Eric committing perjury and then using it to pressure him into giving up the goods to save himself.

While the New York Attorney General’s investigation is a civil case, it’s clearly intended to help unearth evidence for use in the Manhattan District Attorney’s ongoing grand jury indictment process against Donald Trump. In other words, if Eric Trump says something stupid during his testimony on Monday – which he surely will, because he’s Eric Trump – he’ll be helping to send his father to prison

 

Earlier Reports Saturday On Trump

ny times logoNew York Times, Covid-19 Live Updates: Trump’s Symptoms Are Said to Be ‘Very Concerning,’ Maggie Haberman, Peter Baker, Maria Cramer, Oct. 3, 2020. No ‘Clear Path’ to Full Recovery, Said Person Familiar With His Health; Chris Christie, who helped Trump prepare for the debate, has the virus.

President Trump’s vital signs on Saturday were concerning as doctors mounted an aggressive effort to treat him and he was not out of danger, a person close to the situation said, even as the coronavirus infected an ever widening swath of the president’s aides and allies.

djt rncWhile doctors maintained during a televised briefing that Mr. Trump, shown in a file photo, was “doing very well” after a night at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, they refused to provide critical details and left open the impression that the president was known to be sick a day earlier than previously reported.

Shortly after the upbeat briefing by the doctors, a person familiar with the president’s health gave a more sober assessment to reporters at Walter Reed on the condition of anonymity. “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” this person said. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Two people close to the White House said in separate interviews with The New York Times that the president had trouble breathing on Friday and that his oxygen level dropped, prompting his doctors to give him supplemental oxygen while at the White House and decide to transfer him to Walter Reed where he could be monitored with better equipment and treated more rapidly in case of trouble.

Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, told reporters outside Walter Reed that the president was not currently on supplemental oxygen on Saturday but repeatedly declined to say definitively whether he had ever been on oxygen. “None at this moment and yesterday with the team, while we were all here, he was not on oxygen,” he said, seeming to suggest that there was a period on Friday when he was.

Dr. Conley likewise seemed to suggest that the president was first diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday rather than Thursday night when Mr. Trump disclosed that he had tested positive on Twitter. While describing what he said was the president’s progress, he said Mr. Trump was “just 72 hours into the diagnosis now,” which would mean midday on Wednesday.

The president, hospitalized at the Walter Reed military hospital, is “improving,” Dr. Sean Conley said in an optimistic assessment. But he declined to provide many specifics, including about whether Mr. Trump had ever received supplemental oxygen.

chris christie press 200Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who for several days this week helped the president prepare for the debate, said he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mr. Christie (shown in a file photo from his years as New Jersey's governor) said Saturday that he would be receiving medical attention the same day.

“I just received word that I am positive for COVID-19,” Mr. Christie said on Twitter. “I want to thank all of my friends and colleagues who have reached out to ask how I was feeling in the last day or two.”

Mr. Christie was one of several advisers who huddled with President Trump and others for debate preparation from Sunday to Tuesday. Mr. Christie also attended a White House event on Sept. 26 for Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden.

The debate preparation team included Hope Hicks, one of Mr. Trump’s his closest advisers, Stephen Miller, the president’s speechwriter and top domestic policy adviser, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and the former mayor of New York.

None of them wore masks, Mr. Christie said.

Mr. Christie’s statement came one day after Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina and Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, announced that they had tested positive. Both attended the event for Judge Barrett. A video posted on Twitter shows Mr. Lee hugging people at the event.

ny times logoNew York Times, Covid-19 Live Updates: Trump Is Hospitalized as More Aides Test Positive, Staff reports, Oct. 3, 2020. President Is Said to Have Low-Grade Fever, Congestion and Cough.

President Trump was taken to Walter Reed medical center on Friday evening less than 24 hours after announcing he had the coronavirus; He is on remdesivir, an experimental drug. His campaign manager Bill Stepien and his former aide Kellyanne Conway also had the virus. The president is at the Walter Reed military hospital for what is expected to be a stay of a few days. His campaign manager is among the latest senior aides also found to be infected. ron johnson oSenator Ron Johnson, right,  tests positive as Wisconsin is frazzled by a growth in cases.

President Trump was hospitalized on Friday evening less than 24 hours after announcing that he had the coronavirus. Aides said Mr. Trump was experiencing coughing, congestion and fever, symptoms that worsened through the day.

Mr. Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being given an experimental antibody treatment as the White House rushed to cope with a commander in chief infected by a virus that has killed more than 208,000 people in the United States. Officials said he would remain in the hospital for several days and canceled his upcoming campaign events.

Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, planned to update the public about Mr. Trump’s condition at 11 a.m., a White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said Saturday morning.

The White House shrouded Mr. Trump’s condition in secrecy, saying little more than that he had “mild symptoms,” and officials characterized the hospital stay as a precautionary measure. But the normally voluble president remained almost entirely out of public view, skipped a telephone call with governors at the last minute and uncharacteristically stayed off Twitter nearly all day while people close to the situation said his fever and other symptoms worsened as the hours wore on.

“I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support,” Mr. Trump, wearing a suit and tie but appearing unusually pale and lethargic, said in an 18-second video that was recorded just before he boarded the Marine One helicopter and then posted on Twitter in his first public comment of the day. “I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out.”

There was rising frustration on the part of some White House aides late in the day that so little information was being released about the president’s health, in part because they worried that it would stoke fears beyond the known facts. Some staff members described a rush for tests for themselves, with some told they could not get them.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Donald Trump placed on Remdesivir at Walter Reed, Bill Palmer, Oct. 3, 2020. The Trump White House has released far too little information about Donald Trump’s health since he was transported to Walter Reed Medical center, meaning we’ve been forced to rely on leaks about Trump’s fever and difficulty breathing tonight.

bill palmer report logo headerBut now the White House has made a formal statement just before midnight, and it’s a mixed bag. The White House Doctor says that Trump is not requiring oxygen, but that he has been placed on the experimental drug Remdesivir.

This is notable because this is not a drug you start taking just for kicks. It suggests that either Trump has a bad case of coronavirus, or that his underlying health is so poor, doctors are worried about what even a moderate case of coronavirus will do to him. This is after Trump was given an experimental drug from Regeneron while he was still at the White House; apparently it didn’t do the trick.

It’s also notable that Trump is taking Remdesivir – the coronavirus drug that most scientists have said has promise – and that he’s not taking hydroxychloroquine, the dangerous and unproven drug that he spent months hyping at press conferences. It appears Trump doesn’t want a taste of his own medicine.

 

Oct. 2

New York Public Radio and ProPublica via HuffPost and Yahoo News, Investigation: Kushner Biz Won $850 Million In U.S.-Backed Loans At Special Terms: Report, Mary Papenfuss, Oct. 2, 2020. The Kushner family real estate company, partly owned by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, was granted $850 million in government-backed loans with “unusually good terms,” New York Public Radio and ProPublica reported.

The loans backed by the government-sponsored Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. — known as Freddie Mac — granted last year to Kushner Companies made it possible for the business to purchase thousands of apartments in Maryland and Virginia in its largest deal in a decade, according to the joint investigation by WNYC and ProPublica.

Jared Kushner gave up running the company after father-in-law President Donald Trump gave him a job as White House adviser. But he remains a key stakeholder in the company, and has made millions of dollars from the business, including from operations linked to the Freddie Mac-backed deals, according to his financial disclosure filings.

Sixteen of the loans were first reported last year by Bloomberg, but the details of the Kushner Companies’ favorable terms were not revealed until now.

A total of 18 loans the company obtained with Freddie Mac last year allowed more borrowing and lower monthly payments than was typical for similar loans, the investigation found.

The arrangement allows the company to pay only interest for 10 years, postponing payments on the principal for a decade, according to the articles. That increases the risk to investors who buy bonds that include the Kushner mortgages, and to Freddie Mac and taxpayers in the event of a default. Only 6% of the 3,600 loans backed by the agency last year were interest-only for a decade or more, the WNYC and ProPublica investigation found.

In addition, Freddie Mac’s estimates of the Kushner properties’ profitability —the foundation of the rationale for the loans — appeared to be overly optimistic. All of the first 16 properties purchased with the aid of Freddie Mac backing delivered smaller profits in 2019 than Freddie Mac expected, despite a then-strong economy now battered by COVID-19.

Freddie Mac insisted in a statement that it does “not consider the political affiliations of borrowers or their family members,” and that the deal terms “fit squarely within our publicly available credit and underwriting standards.”

Neither Kushner nor Kushner Companies has commented.

After the government-backed loans were first revealed last year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) wrote to Freddie Mac’s CEO expressing concerns about the transaction “because of Kushner Companies’ history of seeking to engage in deals that raise conflicts of interest issues” with Jared Kushner. Nothing apparently changed.

 

September

Sept. 27

djt cpac 2017 gage skidmore

Sept. 27

Breaking News

New York Times, Exclusive: TRUMP’S TAXES SHOW CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE, Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, Sept. 27, 2020. Records irs logoObtained by The Times After Years of Secrecy.

  • The Times has obtained tax-return data for President Trump extending over more than two decades. It tells a story fundamentally different from the one he’s sold to the public.
  • Mr. Trump’s finances are under stress, beset by hundreds of millions in debt coming due and an I.R.S. audit that could cost him over $100 million.
  • He paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and nothing at all in 10 of the prior 15 years — largely because he lost so much money.

 

 

Top Stories

djt cpac 2017 gage skidmore

ny times logoNew York Times, Exclusive: TRUMP’S TAXES SHOW CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE, Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, Sept. 27, 2020. The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.

The Times has obtained tax-return data for President Trump extending over more than two decades. It tells a story fundamentally different from the one he’s sold to the public.

Mr. Trump’s finances are under stress, beset by hundreds of millions in debt coming due and an I.R.S. audit that could cost him over $100 million.

He paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and nothing at all in 10 of the prior 15 years — largely because he lost so much money.

The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.

Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.

He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

As the president wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.

The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.

The New York Times has obtained tax-return data extending over more than two decades for Mr. Trump and the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office. It does not include his personal returns for 2018 or 2019. This article offers an overview of The Times’s findings; additional articles will be published in the coming weeks.

The returns are some of the most sought-after, and speculated-about, records in recent memory. In Mr. Trump’s nearly four years in office — and across his endlessly hyped decades in the public eye — journalists, prosecutors, opposition politicians and conspiracists have, with limited success, sought to excavate the enigmas of his finances. By their very nature, the filings will leave many questions unanswered, many questioners unfulfilled. They comprise information that Mr. Trump has disclosed to the I.R.S., not the findings of an independent financial examination. They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his true wealth. Nor do they reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.

More On Trump Tax Revelations

ny times logoNew York Times, Charting An Empire: A Timeline Of Trump’s Finances, Russ Buettner, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Keith Collins, Mike McIntire and Susanne Craig, Sept. 27, 2020.
Tax records provide a detailed history of President Trump’s business career, revealing huge losses, looming financial threats and a large, contested refund from the I.R.S.

ny times logoNew York Times,18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records, David Leonhardt, Sept. 27, 2020. The New York Times has obtained tax-return data for President Trump and his irs logocompanies that covers more than two decades. Mr. Trump has long refused to release this information, making him the first president in decades to hide basic details about his finances. His refusal has made his tax returns among the most sought-after documents in recent memory.

Among the key findings of The Times’s investigation: Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years that The Times examined. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750.

ny times logoNew York Times, An Editor’s Note on the Trump Tax Investigation, Dean Baquet (New York Times executive editor, below right), Sept. 27, 2020. Today we are publishing the results of an examination of decades of personal and corporate tax records for President Trump and his businesses in the United States and abroad. The records stretch from his days as a high-profile dean baquet 2018 wpNew York real estate investor through the beginning of his time in the White House.

A team of New York Times reporters has pored over this information to assemble the most comprehensive picture of the president’s finances and business dealings to date, and we will continue our reporting and publish additional articles about our findings in the weeks ahead. We are not making the records themselves public because we do not want to jeopardize our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public.

We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances. Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions.

Mr. Trump, one of the wealthiest presidents in the nation’s history, has broken with that practice. As a candidate and as president, Mr. Trump has said he wanted to make his tax returns public, but he has never done so. In fact, he has fought relentlessly to hide them from public view and has falsely asserted that he could not release them because he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. More recently, Mr. Trump and the Justice Department have fought subpoenas from congressional and New York State investigators seeking his taxes and other financial records.

bill palmer report logo headerPalmer Report, Donald Trump has complete meltdown on live national television after his tax returns surface, Bill Palmer, Sept. 27, 2020. This evening the New York Times published a lengthy exposé based on having obtained twenty years of his tax returns. For instance, Trump paid just $750 in 2016 and 2017, and prior to taking office he paid nothing at all in most years. Either Trump is the world’s worst businessman and he’s drowning in debt, or he lied on his tax returns.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Facing possible defeat, Trump threatens the integrity of the election, Dan Balz, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). His relentless campaign against mail-in ballots seeds the ground for chaos or worse when votes are still being counted in the days after Nov. 3. Each week has brought evidence of the damage President Trump has done during his nearly four years in office. According to his own words, he is not finished. This past week brought a renewed warning of a harm he could yet inflict on the integrity of elections.

The president did more than simply refuse to pledge that he would facilitate a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to former vice president Joe Biden, though that in itself was a step no previous president has taken. In doing so, he escalated his ongoing attack on mail-in ballots, seeding the ground to contest the election as rigged or fraudulent if he is not the winner and to propel the country into chaos.

Perhaps what Trump said merely reflected the mind-set of a president who knows he is running behind in his bid for a second term, one more rhetorical flailing to somehow throw the opposition off balance and to distract from the real reasons for Biden’s lead in the polls. But this close to the election, anything Trump does to question the validity of the count should be regarded as serious and treated as such.

Republicans who normally stand by idle when the president says or does something outrageous pushed back against his words — though, notably, nearly all were careful neither to rebuke nor condemn the president personally. They simply pointed to a long history of peaceful transfers from one presidency to the next and stood up for the Constitution, which is the minimum expected of elected officials who have sworn an oath to defend that document.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden maintains lead over Trump as support from women fuels ex-vice president’s advantage, Post-ABC poll finds, Dan Balz and Emily Guskin, Sept. 27, 2020. After two political conventions, the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus, economic dislocation, more racial upheaval and a coming battle over a Supreme Court vacancy, the race for the White House remains stable, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a steady advantage over President Trump, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

joe biden 2020 button CustomBiden and vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) lead Trump and Vice President Pence by 53 percent to 43 percent among registered voters, statistically unchanged from the 12-point margin in a poll taken in August just before Democrats and Republicans held their conventions. Biden and Harris also have a 10-point advantage among likely voters, 54 percent to 44 percent.

Biden’s lead narrows to six points among likely voters (49 percent to 43 percent) and among registered voters (47 percent to 41 percent) when Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins are included as response options in the survey.

National polling reflects only the potential popular vote for president and is not a direct indicator of the state-by-state competition for electoral votes that determines the winner. Further complicating any comparison, the Libertarian candidate will be on all state ballots but the Green candidate will not.

ny times logoNew York Times, President Trump stoked more doubt on mail-in ballots and raised the prospect of Congress deciding a disputed election, Michael D. Shear and Michael Crowley, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump sought again on Saturday night to cast doubt on the integrity of the presidential election, telling supporters that the only way Democrats can win in Pennsylvania is to “cheat on the ballots” and raising the prospect that a disputed election could be decided by Congress.

djt pence yard sign logoPressing his baseless case that the election in November will be a “disaster,” Mr. Trump said at a rally just outside a hangar at the Harrisburg airport that he would have “an advantage” if Congress were to decide.

The comments, delivered in drizzling rain, were part of the president’s continuing effort to discredit the United States’ election process as he trails former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic rival.

“I don’t want to end up in the Supreme Court, and I don’t want to go back to Congress, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress. Does everyone understand that?” Mr. Trump told supporters. “I think it’s 26 to 22 or something.”

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Voters Believe Winner of Election Should Fill Court Vacancy, Poll Shows, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Sept. 27, 2020. A clear majority of voters believes the next president should fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll; Joe Biden retained a lead over President Trump, 49 to 41 percent.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosMore striking, the voters Mr. Trump and endangered Senate Republicans must reclaim to close the gap in the polls are even more opposed to a hasty pick: 62 percent of women, 63 percent of independents and 60 percent of college-educated white voters said they wanted the winner of the campaign to fill the seat.

washington post logoamy coney barrett headshot notre dame photoWashington Post, Amy Coney Barrett, a disciple of Justice Scalia, is poised to push the Supreme Court further right, Michael Kranish, Robert Barnes, Shawn Boburg and Ann E. Marimow, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). If Barrett is confirmed, her vote on cases involving health care, abortion, immigration, gun control and many other issues could prove decisive.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats debate whether to engage — or withdraw — in Supreme Court fight, Seung Min Kim and Paul Kane, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). The Senate minority is grappling with how much legitimacy to give to the GOP drive to rapidly confirm Trump’s expected nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, before the November election.

As Democratic senators begin mapping out how they will wield their limited procedural weapons in the fight over President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, they are grappling with a central question: How much legitimacy do they give his candidate?

With little power to actually derail Trump’s pick, Democrats are coming under considerable pressure from their activist base to use every tactic at their disposal to not just throw sand in the gears of the confirmation fight, but to portray the consideration of expected nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a farce that shouldn’t even occur.

In a sense, they are playing the role of the GOP in 2016, when most Republicans outright ignored Merrick Garland — declining to meet with Barack Obama’s final Supreme Court pick as Democrats staged events, showed off the paperwork filed by Garland and even held a semi-mock confirmation hearing in an effort to move his nomination process along.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Facing possible defeat, Trump threatens the integrity of the election, Dan Balz, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). His relentless campaign against mail-in ballots seeds the ground for chaos or worse when votes are still being counted in the days after Nov. 3. Each week has brought evidence of the damage President Trump has done during his nearly four years in office. According to his own words, he is not finished. This past week brought a renewed warning of a harm he could yet inflict on the integrity of elections.

The president did more than simply refuse to pledge that he would facilitate a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to former vice president Joe Biden, though that in itself was a step no previous president has taken. In doing so, he escalated his ongoing attack on mail-in ballots, seeding the ground to contest the election as rigged or fraudulent if he is not the winner and to propel the country into chaos.

Perhaps what Trump said merely reflected the mind-set of a president who knows he is running behind in his bid for a second term, one more rhetorical flailing to somehow throw the opposition off balance and to distract from the real reasons for Biden’s lead in the polls. But this close to the election, anything Trump does to question the validity of the count should be regarded as serious and treated as such.

Republicans who normally stand by idle when the president says or does something outrageous pushed back against his words — though, notably, nearly all were careful neither to rebuke nor condemn the president personally. They simply pointed to a long history of peaceful transfers from one presidency to the next and stood up for the Constitution, which is the minimum expected of elected officials who have sworn an oath to defend that document.

ny times logoNew York Times, President Trump stoked more doubt on mail-in ballots and raised the prospect of Congress deciding a disputed election, Michael D. Shear and Michael Crowley, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump sought again on Saturday night to cast doubt on the integrity of the presidential election, telling supporters that the only way Democrats can win in Pennsylvania is to “cheat on the ballots” and raising the prospect that a disputed election could be decided by Congress.

djt pence yard sign logoPressing his baseless case that the election in November will be a “disaster,” Mr. Trump said at a rally just outside a hangar at the Harrisburg airport that he would have “an advantage” if Congress were to decide.

The comments, delivered in drizzling rain, were part of the president’s continuing effort to discredit the United States’ election process as he trails former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic rival.

“I don’t want to end up in the Supreme Court, and I don’t want to go back to Congress, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress. Does everyone understand that?” Mr. Trump told supporters. “I think it’s 26 to 22 or something.”

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Voters Believe Winner of Election Should Fill Court Vacancy, Poll Shows, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Sept. 27, 2020. A clear majority of voters believes the next president should fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll; Joe Biden retained a lead over President Trump, 49 to 41 percent.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosMore striking, the voters Mr. Trump and endangered Senate Republicans must reclaim to close the gap in the polls are even more opposed to a hasty pick: 62 percent of women, 63 percent of independents and 60 percent of college-educated white voters said they wanted the winner of the campaign to fill the seat.

washington post logoamy coney barrett headshot notre dame photoWashington Post, Amy Coney Barrett, a disciple of Justice Scalia, is poised to push the Supreme Court further right, Michael Kranish, Robert Barnes, Shawn Boburg and Ann E. Marimow, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). If Barrett is confirmed, her vote on cases involving health care, abortion, immigration, gun control and many other issues could prove decisive.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: This is not a drill. The Reichstag is burning, Dana Milbank, right, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). For five years, my colleagues and I have taken pains dana milbank Customto avoid Nazi comparisons. It is usually hyperbolic, and counterproductive, to label the right “fascists” in the way those on the right reflexively label the left “socialists.” But this is no longer a matter of name-calling.

With his repeated refusals this week to accept the peaceful transfer of power — the bedrock principle that has sustained American democracy for 228 years — President Trump has put the United States, in some ways, where Germany was in 1933, when Adolf Hitler used the suspicious burning of the German parliament to turn a democracy into a totalitarian state.

Overwrought, you say? Then ask Yale historian Timothy Snyder, a top authority on Nazism and Stalinism. “The Reichstag has been on a slow burn since June,” he told me. “The language Trump uses to talk about Black Lives Matter and the protests is very similar to the language Hitler used — that there’s some vague left-wing conspiracy based in the cities that is destroying the country.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s pick for high court could be seated before election day, Anne Gearan, Seung Min Kim and Josh Dawsey, Sept. 27, 2020 (print ed.). Judge Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be confirmed swiftly by the Republican-majority Senate to fill the vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Sept. 26

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Selects Amy Coney Barrett to Fill Ginsburg’s Seat on the Supreme Court, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Updated Sept. 26, 2020. President Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the favorite candidate of conservatives, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and will try amy coney barrett headshot notre dame phototo force Senate confirmation before Election Day in a move that would significantly alter the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court for years.

Mr. Trump plans to announce on Saturday that she is his choice, according to six people close to the process who asked not to be identified disclosing the decision in advance. As they often do, aides cautioned that Mr. Trump sometimes upends his own plans.

But he is not known to have interviewed any other candidates and came away from two days of meetings with Judge Barrett this week impressed with a jurist he was told would be a female Antonin Scalia, referring to the justice she once clerked for. On Friday night, Judge Barrett was photographed getting out of her car outside her home in South Bend, Ind.

The president’s political advisers hope the selection will energize his conservative political base in the thick of an election campaign in which he has for months been trailing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic challenger. But it could also rouse liberal voters afraid that her confirmation could spell the end of Roe v. Wade, the decision legalizing abortion, as well as other rulings popular with the political left and center.

The nomination will kick off an extraordinary scramble by Senate Republicans to confirm her for the court in the 38 days before the election on Nov. 3, a scenario unlike any in American history. While other justices have been approved in presidential election years, none has been voted on after July. Four years ago, Senate Republicans refused to even consider President Barack Obama’s nomination to replace Justice Scalia with Judge Merrick B. Garland, announced 237 days before Election Day, on the grounds that it should be left to whoever was chosen as the next president.

Sept. 25

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s attacks on election prompt fears of a constitutional crisis, Philip Rucker, Amy Gardner and Annie Linskey, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.). The president’s continuing threats have prompted election and law enforcement authorities nationwide to prepare for an unprecedented clash.

President Trump reiterated Thursday that he may not honor the results should he lose reelection, reaffirming his extraordinary refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power and prompting election and law enforcement authorities nationwide to prepare for an unprecedented constitutional crisis.

Trump escalated his months-long campaign to undermine the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election with comments Wednesday that, taken together and at face value, pose his most substantial threat yet to the nation’s history of free and fair elections.

In recent days, the president cast doubt on the integrity of vote totals. He said he might not accept the results if they show him losing to Democratic nominee Joe Biden. He said it was imperative to quickly fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because the nation’s high court could determine the winner of the election.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP senators reject Trump’s assertion about transfer of power — with no direct criticism of the president, Paul Kane and Rachael Bade, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.). Republicans, with almost no direct criticism of Trump’s statements, uniformly asserted that if Joe Biden wins the election, they will support a peaceful transition to the Democrat’s inauguration in January.

washington post logoWashington Post, After years of promising his own health-care plan, Trump settles for rebranding rather than repealing Obamacare, Toluse Olorunnipa, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump capped his fruitless four-year journey to abolish and replace the Affordable Care Act by signing an executive order Thursday that aims to enshrine the law’s most popular feature while pivoting away from a broader effort to overhaul the nation’s health insurance system.

The order declares it is the policy of the United States for people with preexisting health conditions to be protected, avoiding the thorny details of how to ensure such protections without either leaving the ACA, or Obamacare, in place or crafting new comprehensive legislation.

Trump announced the move during a trip to North Carolina, outlining his “vision” for revamping parts of the nation’s health care. During the speech, which came shortly before a campaign swing to Florida, Trump barely veiled the political nature of his intent.

Washington Post, Virus’s unseen hot zone: The American farm, Laura Reiley and Beth Reinhard, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.). As American growers harvested summer crops, the migration of seasonal farmworkers who were infected with the virus represented a growing health and humanitarian crisis.

ny times logoNew York Times, At Pentagon, Fears Grow That Trump Will Pull Military Into Election Unrest, Jennifer Steinhauer and Helene Cooper, Sept. 25, 2020.  Defense Department officials said top generals could resign if President Trump ordered the active-duty military to quell election protests.

President Trump gave officials no solace on Wednesday and Thursday when he again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power no matter who wins the election, and on Thursday, he doubled down by saying he was not sure the election could be “honest.” His hedging, along with his expressed desire in June to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to send active-duty troops onto American streets to quell protests over the killing of George Floyd, has incited deep anxiety among senior military and Defense Department leaders, who insist they will do all they can to keep the armed forces out of the elections.

“I believe deeply in the principle of an apolitical U.S. military,” General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in written answers to questions from House lawmakers released last month. “In the event of a dispute over some aspect of the elections, by law, U.S. courts and the U.S. Congress are required to resolve any disputes, not the U.S. military. I foresee no role for the U.S. armed forces in this process.”

But that has not stopped an intensifying debate in the military about its role should a disputed election lead to civil unrest.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump and McConnell are speeding the GOP to permanent minority status, Joe Scarborough, right, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.). The joe scarborough headshotRepublican Party is sealing its fate.

While President Trump refuses to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power, his vassals in the Senate are moving quickly to guarantee that Trump’s latest Supreme Court justice will be on the court in time to swing the results of any election challenge. GOP leaders, of course, have the constitutional right to jam through a vote, but any victory they secure in the coming confirmation fight will be Pyrrhic.

Washington insiders have long considered Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to be a shameless and cynical operator. But the Kentucky Republican’s actions over the past four years have so radicalized the Supreme Court selection process that Democrats will surely respond to McConnell’s extreme partisanship once back in power.

During Trump’s presidency, “the world’s greatest deliberative body” has been reduced to a crude vote-counting chamber; this new legislative reality means Democrats would need only 50 senators and one president to pack the Supreme Court in 2021. Expect that to happen, since McConnell’s callous response to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death will speed the GOP toward a permanent minority status.

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: Trump Wants You to Think You Can’t Get Rid of Him, Michelle Goldberg, right, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.). His strongman threats are scary. But don’t forget that he’s weak.

ny times logoNew York Times, How to Debate Someone Who Lies, Richard A. Friedman, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.).  Truth sandwiches, ridicule and other tactics for Joe Biden when he faces President Trump.

Donald TrumpWhen Joe Biden debates President Trump on Tuesday, he will have to figure out how to parry with an opponent who habitually lies and doesn’t play by the rules.

As a psychiatrist, I’d like to offer Mr. Biden some advice: Don’t waste your time fact-checking the president. If you attempt to counter every falsehood or distortion that Mr. Trump serves up, you will cede control of the debate. And, by trying to correct him, you will paradoxically strengthen the misinformation rather than undermine it. (Research shows that trying to correct a falsehood with truth can backfire by reinforcing the original lie. )

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Opinion: To what lengths will Trump go to serve his needs? Include murder, Wayne Madsen Sept. 25, 2020. Taking into consideration what Donald Trump's business associates and members of his family have said about him -- that Trump is vain, basically illiterate, coarse, misogynistic, racist, and power hungry -- that leaves one thing unsaid.

Based on Trump's record in the casino business in Atlantic City, a willingness to conspire to commit murder should be added to Trump's list of transgressions.

washington post logoWashington Post, President Trump’s niece sues him and other relatives, alleging they cheated her out of millions in inheritance, Shayna Jacobs, Sept. 25, 2020 (print ed.). Mary L. Trump, a niece of the president who authored a scathing bestseller documenting deep family dysfunction, has Mary L. Trump, below right, a vocal critic of her uncle, recently published a book alleging Trump family dysfunction.sued President Trump and two of his siblings alleging they defrauded her out of tens of millions decades ago by manipulating the value of properties and lying to her about the worth of her inheritance.

mary trumpThe lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York Supreme Court, accuses Mary Trump’s uncles, Donald and Robert, and aunt Maryanne Trump Barry, of pretending they would guard her assets — valuable pieces of the Trump family real estate empire — which she inherited after her father died, only to bully and take advantage of her during estate settlement negotiations. It alleges fraud, conspiracy and violations of fiduciary duties.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. At a briefing Thursday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany deflected a reporter’s question about the allegations, commenting instead on a secret recording the president’s estranged niece made of Maryanne Trump Barry in which the retired federal judge was heard insulting the president.

“The only fraud committee there,” McEnany said, “was Mary Trump recording one of her relatives, and she’s really discredited herself.”

Robert Trump died last month. The lawsuit names his estate, which was valued at $50 million, according to court records. An attorney handling Robert Trump’s estate and the estate’s proposed executor did not respond to requests for comment.

Sept. 24

washington post logoWashington Post, Nearly 500 former senior military, civilian leaders sign letter backing Biden, Karen DeYoung, Sept. 24, 2020 (print ed.). Nearly 500 retired senior military officers, as well as former Cabinet secretaries, service chiefs and other officials, have signed an open letter in support of former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, saying that he has “the character, principles, wisdom and leadership necessary to address a world on fire.”

The letter, published Thursday morning by National Security Leaders for Biden, is the latest in a series of calls for President Trump’s defeat in the November election.

“We are former public servants who have devoted our careers, and in many cases risked our lives, for the United States,” it says. “We are generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors and senior civilian national security leaders. We are Republicans and Democrats, and Independents. We love our country.

“Unfortunately, we also fear for it.”

The letter has been signed by 489 people.

Not all of those Republicans who previously have broken ranks with Trump have called for Biden’s election, although the numbers are growing. Last month, more than 60 former national security officials who served in Republican administrations, including Trump’s, signed a statement calling him “unfit to serve as President.” Noting that some of them held different policy positions from Biden, they nonetheless called for his election, saying it was “imperative that we stop Trump’s assault on our nation’s values and institutions and reinstate the moral foundations of our democracy.”

bernie sanders des moines gage skidmore flickr aug 10 2019 Custom

CBS News logoCBS News, Bernie Sanders says Trump is ready "to undermine American democracy in order to stay in power," Grace Segers, Sept. 24, 2020.
Senator Bernie Sanders argued in an impassioned speech Thursday that President Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power is a threat to American democracy.

"What I am going to talk about is something that, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be discussing," Sanders (shown in a Gage Skidmore file photo) said. "And that is the need to make certain that the president of the United States, if he loses this election, will abide by the will of the voters and leave office peacefully."

djt impeachment graphic"This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy – and democracy must win," Sanders said in an address at George Washington University. He referred to Mr. Trump as a "pathological liar" with "strong authoritarian tendencies," and accused him of being "prepared to undermine American democracy in order to stay in power."

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Trump declined to commit to a peaceful transition of power if Biden wins the election in November. Sanders also quoted Mr. Trump's remarks at the Republican National Convention last month, in which he declared that "the only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election."

"I think it is terribly important that we actually listen to, and take seriously, what Donald Trump is saying," Sanders said. "There is nothing in our Constitution or in our laws that give Donald Trump the privilege of deciding whether or not he will step aside if he loses. In the United States, the president does not determine who can or cannot vote and what ballots will be counted."

He went on to criticize Mr. Trump for continuing "to be obsessed with the belief that there is massive voter fraud in this country," even though instances of voter fraud are extremely rare. The president has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud, even as he urges supporters to vote by mail in critical swing states like Florida.

"Trump's strategy to delegitimize this election and to stay in office if he loses is not complicated. Finding himself behind in many polls, he is attempting massive voter suppression," Sanders said. "He and his Republican colleagues are doing everything they can to make it harder and harder for people to vote. In addition, he is sowing the seeds of chaos, confusion and conspiracy theories by casting doubt on the integrity of this election and, if he loses, justifying why he should remain in office."

Sanders noted that this election will see an influx of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic, and brought up a scenario under which Mr. Trump could claim victory on election night before all the mail-in ballots are counted.

He also worries that states controlled by Republican legislatures will ignore election results "because of false accusations of voter fraud," and predicted that if this happened, "the legislature itself will use its power to appoint electors pledged to vote for Trump, overriding the will of the people."

"And, in the midst of all of this, with the death of Justice Ginsburg, Trump is attempting to push through a Supreme Court Justice who may very well cast a vote in a case that will determine the outcome of this election," Sanders continued. There are enough Republican senators who have said they would vote to confirm Mr. Trump's nominee to the court before the election, despite Democrats' argument that the vacancy has opened so close to November 3 that it should be the winner of the election who selects the next justice.

Business Insider, Press freedom advocates are slamming Trump for glorifying violence against reporters, Sarah Al-Arshani, Sept. 24, 2020. Press freedom organizations say they're shocked, but not surprised, by Trump's remarks; They also warned that this sort of rhetoric is dangerous for reporters and the American people.

Press organizations have urged reporters to keep holding President Donald Trump accountable after he applauded physical aggression toward journalists covering his campaign.

"They grabbed a guy — 'I'm a reporter! I'm a reporter!' — 'Get out of here!' They threw him aside like a bag of popcorn. But honestly, when you watch the crap we've all had to take ... it's actually a beautiful sight," Trump said Tuesday, in reference to an MSNBC reporter who was hit by a rubber bullet while covering protests in Minnesota in May.

John Donnelly, the chair of the press freedom team at the National Press Club, told Business Insider "a statement that glorifies violence against reporters is anathema to the American constitution."

Donnelly said that Trump's latest comments follow a long list of broadsides against journalists, which ultimately pose a threat to democracy itself.

"What he is doing is akin to what a Duterte or an Erdogan or a Putin might do," Donnelly added, referring to the president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Not what you would expect from a president of the United States and not what we have seen from the president of the United States up to this point. So it is extremely concerning for reporters, but it is par for the course for this president," Donnelly said.

In its own statement, the Society of Professional Journalists said it was "appalled" by Trump's latest remarks applauding violence against the news media.
"Promoting physical contact against journalists who are just trying to do their jobs during a pandemic is sickening and frankly, un-American. The president of the United States should be above calling a journalist 'a little bag of popcorn' and calling a journalist's forceful removal 'a beautiful sight,'" the statement read.

Elisa Lees Muñoz, the executive director for the International Women's Media Foundation told Business Insider she was shocked but not surprised by Trump's comments.

She said Trump's remarks continue to put reporters at risk on the ground, and online.

According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, at least 201 journalists have been attacked so far this year. There have also been more than 800 reports of aggression against reporters during Black Lives Matter protests.

"We know that journalists are being physically harmed on the ground, but to have it be mocked, and praised was beyond the pale, even for this president and this administration," Muñoz said.

She added that some of Trump's rhetoric has even been adopted by leaders abroad who have used it as justification to attack reporters there, especially women.

"It's happened in the Philippines. It's happened in Mexico, and in Brazil," Muñoz said.

Donnelly said Trump's repeated use of the phrase "fake news" is meant to attack news organizations and the credibility of their reporting, he says what it amounts to is an attempt to deflect criticism and accountability.

"First of all, there is such a thing as actual fake news. It is misinformation often created by America's adversaries and spewed online," Donnelly said. "But when the president says fake news, he means news that doesn't serve his agenda or hurts him politically."

Donnelly urged the press to continue calling out Trump when necessary and to keep telling the truth.

"There's a temptation to say, 'Oh, there's Trump being Trump again,' and to just move on, but we have to call out every single time he does this as unacceptable because it is beyond the pale. He is attacking a pillar of our country."

Sept. 23

Top Headlines

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

 

Top Stories

The Atlantic, The Election That Could Break America, Barton Gellman, Sept. 23, 2020. There is a cohort of close observers of our presidential elections, scholars atlantic logoatlantic logo horizontaland lawyers and political strategists, who find themselves in the uneasy position of intelligence analysts in the months before 9/11. As November 3 approaches, their screens are blinking red, alight with warnings that the political system does not know how to absorb. They see the obvious signs that we all see, but they also know subtle things that most of us do not. Something dangerous has hove into view, and the nation is lurching into its path.

If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him? (Excerpt continued below).

ny times logoNew York Times, With Court Prize in Sight, Republicans Unite Behind Trump Once Again, Nicholas Fandos, Sept. 23, 2020 (print ed.). The swift rally behind President Trump’s push to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat before the election reflected his lock on the party. But it also shows the political bargain that has been driving many Republicans: a quest to tilt the Supreme Court decisively.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, left, said on Tuesday that he would back President Trump’s push to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice mitt romney wRuth Bader Ginsburg, cementing all but monolithic Republican support six weeks before the presidential election for confirming a new justice who would tilt the court decisively to the right.

Mr. Romney’s decision capped off an extraordinarily swift and enthusiastic rally by Republicans around Mr. Trump’s position that underscored his iron grip on the party four years into his presidency. But it also reflected the political bargain that has been driving Republicans for much of the past four years.

rnc logoRepublican senators have loyally stood behind the president at every turn, even as he trampled party principles, shattered institutional norms and made crass statements — all in the service of empowering their own party to install a generation of conservative judges in the nation’s federal courts.

Now, with the biggest prize of all in reach — a third seat further tipping the Supreme Court to the right — they are rushing to collect on their bet, even if it is the last thing they do before they lose their Senate majority, Mr. Trump loses the presidency, or both.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

atlantic logoThe Atlantic, The Election That Could Break America, Barton Gellman, Sept. 23, 2020 (Continued from above). If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him?

Dear Reader:

Sometimes, a story comes along that just can’t wait. That’s why we’ve decided to move up the online publication date for The Atlantic’s next cover story, by our staff writer Barton Gellman.

There is a pervasive and justifiable fear that Donald Trump will reject the election results if he loses to Joe Biden. But as Gellman documents in his authoritative and chilling story, the situation is far more dire than anyone, Biden included, might imagine. Gellman is a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, and one of the world’s finest investigative reporters. Given what he has learned, I wanted our readers to have access to his story, which will appear on the cover of our November issue, as soon as possible.

The Atlantic’s work would not be possible without the support of our subscribers. To help our journalists continue to report on today’s most urgent issues, please consider becoming This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Introduction by Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor in Chief, The Atlantic:

Excerpt:

Something has to give, and many things will, when the time comes for casting, canvassing, and certifying the ballots. Anything is possible, including a landslide that leaves no doubt on Election Night. But even if one side takes a commanding early lead, tabulation and litigation of the “overtime count”—millions of mail-in and provisional ballots—could keep the outcome unsettled for days or weeks.

If we are lucky, this fraught and dysfunctional election cycle will reach a conventional stopping point in time to meet crucial deadlines in December and January. The contest will be decided with sufficient authority that the losing candidate will be forced to yield. Collectively we will have made our choice—a messy one, no doubt, but clear enough to arm the president-elect with a mandate to govern.

djt rncAs a nation, we have never failed to clear that bar. But in this election year of plague and recession and catastrophized politics, the mechanisms of decision are at meaningful risk of breaking down. Close students of election law and procedure are warning that conditions are ripe for a constitutional crisis that would leave the nation without an authoritative result. We have no fail-safe against that calamity. Thus the blinking red lights.

“We could well see a protracted postelection struggle in the courts and the streets if the results are close,” says Richard L. Hasen, a professor at the UC Irvine School of Law and the author of a recent book called Election Meltdown. “The kind of election meltdown we could see would be much worse than 2000’s Bush v. Gore case.”

atlantic logo horizontalA lot of people, including Joe Biden, the Democratic Party nominee, have mis­conceived the nature of the threat. They frame it as a concern, unthinkable for presidents past, that Trump might refuse to vacate the Oval Office if he loses. They generally conclude, as Biden has, that in that event the proper authorities “will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”

The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un­certainty to hold on to power.

Trump’s state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for postelection maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states. Ambiguities in the Constitution and logic bombs in the Electoral Count Act make it possible to extend the dispute all the way to Inauguration Day, which would bring the nation to a precipice.

The Twentieth Amendment is crystal clear that the president’s term in office “shall end” at noon on January 20, but two men could show up to be sworn in. One of them would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand.

ny times logoNew York Times, The Day in Polls Analysis: Joe Biden Is Highly Competitive in Red States, Nate Cohn, Sept. 23, 2020 (print ed.). We often focus on the djt biden smiles resizedbattleground states that decided the last election and seem likeliest to decide the next one. Today, we got polls from two states that Donald J. Trump won handily in 2016, and they’re an important reminder of the wide range of possibilities in this election.

An even race in Iowa and Georgia. We haven’t had much high-quality polling in either Iowa or Georgia recently, but we got one for each state Tuesday.

wayne madesen report logoWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump takes another shot at seniors: Medicare and Medigap costs increasing in 2021, Wayne Madsen, left, Sept. 23, 2020.
wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallNot content with referring to the 200,000 Americans who have perished from Covid-19 as "virtual nobodies," Donald Trump has a particularly damaging surprise in store for senior citizens. Trump's category of "nobodies," who he classed as "elderly people with heart problems and other problems," are going to see costly rises in Medicare and Medigap costs in 2021.

Once considered an essential component of Trump's base, senior citizens are flocking away in droves from Trump, particularly in key states with large numbers of retirees, including Florida, Arizona, and Texas.

After hinting to Social Security recipients that they may see little to no cost-of-living allowance (COLA) benefits increase next month, the Trump administration is raising Medicare Part B premiums, which are deducted from recipients' Social Security monthly payments.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump, Biden in tight races in Florida, Arizona, polls find, Scott Clement, Dan Balz and Emily Guskin, Sept. 23, 2020. President Trump won the two Sun Belt states in 2016, and they are crucial to his hopes for reelection in November. The Trump team knocks on doors. Biden’s supporters dial phones. Voters in North Carolina see two very different campaigns, each ri%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage#polls-show-biden-highly-competitive-in-red-states But a landslide and a close race are both imaginable. Here’s our analysis of recent polling, posted daily now through Election Day.

ny times logoNew York Times, Republicans have tried to use the Green Party to their advantage, Maggie Haberman, Danny Hakim and Nick Corasaniti, Sept. 23, 2020 (print ed.). The G.O.P. has sought to help Green Party candidates in previous election cycles to siphon votes from Democrats. This year is no different — but it hasn’t always worked.

Four years ago, the Green Party candidate played a significant role in several crucial battleground states, drawing a vote total in three of them — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — that exceeded the margin between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton.

This year, the Republican Party has been trying to use the Green Party to its advantage again, if not always successfully.

howie hawkins 2010In Wisconsin, a G.O.P. elections commissioner and lawyers with ties to Republicans tried to aid attempts by Howie Hawkins, right, the current Green Party presidential candidate, to get on the ballot there, which were ultimately unsuccessful. In Montana, state regulators found that the Republican Party violated campaign finance laws as part of an effort to boost the Greens in five down-ballot races, including for senator and governor.

And in Western Pennsylvania, petitioners from Florida and California were brought in to gather signatures for Mr. Hawkins by an outside firm whose actions Mr. Hawkins and the party said they could not account for. Mr. Hawkins also did not make the ballot there.

Palmer Report, Opinion: What is even happening? Bill Palmer, Sept. 23, 2020. Last night Cindy McCain, right, the very Republican widow of the very Republican cindy mccain 2018Senator John McCain, left, emphatically endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden for President. This is a big deal, considering Arizona is in play, and how much influence the McCains have there.

john mccain 2009 wThe fact that this endorsement didn’t come as a surprise to anyone is a reminder of just how unprecedented and surreal 2020 has become.

Even as the McCain family stamp of approval was being placed on Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent, Trump spent last night ranting incoherently about protesters attacking people by throwing tuna fish at them. Not just any tuna fish, mind you. Trump was emphatic that these protesters are throwing Bumble Bee tuna fish. Last week Trump had them throwing soup.

Yet 2020 is the kind of year where the President of the United States routinely has mentally incompetent meltdowns about imaginary people throwing food at each other, and no one is surprised.

bill palmer report logo headerIn an election cycle that’s seen a deadly pandemic, a criminal coverup of the deadly pandemic, widespread civil unrest, economic collapse, widespread wildfires, and a sitting President who’s actively conspiring against the United States because he’s an asset of the Russian government, perhaps we’re no longer capable of being surprised. But at the least, it’s fair to ask what’s even happening, because it all just keeps getting stranger. 

 

Sept. 21

Top Headlines

 

Top Stories

washington post logoWashington Post, Election live updates: Trump says he will name a Supreme Court nominee Friday or Saturday, John Wagner, Sept. 21, 2020. Trump says it’s a ‘good thing’ if he can win by spending less than Biden; Analysis: An extra Trump Supreme Court justice may help cement his environmental rollbacks; Biden returning to Wisconsin on Monday; Trump heading to Ohio for pair of campaign events.

djt hands up mouth open CustomPresident Trump said Monday that he would probably nominate a replacement for the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday, which he said would leave “plenty of time” for a Senate confirmation vote before Election Day.

With the drama over the court playing out in Washington, both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are heading to battleground states on Monday.

The campaigning — Trump in Ohio and Biden in Wisconsin — comes after Biden gained a significant cash lead last month as a result of a record-breaking fundraising boost. He enters September with a staggering $466 million, compared to Trump’s $325 million.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden warns that a quick replacement of Ginsburg would ‘plunge us deeper into the abyss,’ Sean Sullivan, Matt Viser and Annie Linskey, Sept. 21, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden on Sunday sought to derail a push by President Trump to swiftly install a new Supreme Court justice, making an unusually personal appeal to Senate Republicans to “cool the flames” and sidestepping calls from many in his own party for dramatic retaliatory measures such as expanding the size of the Supreme Court if Trump presses ahead.

joe biden 2020 button CustomSeeking to present himself as a president who would defuse the political and cultural battles engulfing the nomination process, Biden said that if he wins the November election he should be the one to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have vowed to quickly replace.

Speaking in Philadelphia, Biden issued an extraordinary appeal to his former Senate colleagues, pleading with moderate Republicans to oppose Trump and McConnell and saying the vacancy presents those senators with a moral test.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial (in series "Our Democracy in Peril'"): Under a lawless Trump, our system of checks and balances is being destroyed, Editorial Board, Sept. 21, 2020 (print ed.) (Part seven of a series of editorials on the damage President Trump has caused — and the danger he would pose in a second term.).

President Trump promised in 2016 that he would protect the Constitution’s “Article I, Article II, Article XII.” (There is no Article XII.) Instead, he has shown how fragile the constitutional order can be when a president does not respect the rule of law. He has not grown into the office; instead, he has learned how to more effectively abuse its powers. The damage of a second term might be irreparable.

djt old looking resized headshotA president’s core responsibility is to use the awesome power of his office fairly and with neutrality. Mr. Trump has shown that he has a different understanding: The law is a weapon with which to reward loyalists, punish enemies and frighten everyone else to fall in line.

His distortion of the criminal justice system began within months of his inauguration. When FBI Director James B. Comey tried to explain the proper relationship between the president and the FBI, Mr. Trump demanded loyalty and asked the FBI director to go easy on his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Mr. Comey declined to promise the former or do the latter, and the president fired him.

The tumult that Mr. Comey’s dismissal elicited might have taught a lesson to a more sensible person: There is substance and expectation behind the presidential oath’s pledge to faithfully execute the laws. Mr. Trump did not learn that lesson. His pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, properly recused himself from the federal investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 U.S. presidential election — and any coordination with the Trump campaign — leading to the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. So Mr. Trump viciously attacked Mr. Sessions, and then fired him, too.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Investigation: HSBC moved vast sums of dirty money after paying record laundering fine, Spencer spencer woodman resizedWoodman, right, Sept. 21, 2020. FinCEN Files probe reveals Europe’s biggest bank aided massive Ponzi scheme while on probation over ties to drug kingpins.

In March 2014, three men kidnapped Reynaldo Pacheco and bludgeoned his head with rocks, leaving the 44-year-old father of a young daughter dead in a creek bed in California’s Napa County. Local authorities determined that his murder was a consequence of an investment fraud that targeted low-income Latino and Asian immigrants around the world.

Like other victims of the World Capital Market scheme, or WCM, Pacheco energetically promoted the deal to relatives and acquaintances. When the Ponzi scheme collapsed, an unlucky investor decided to have him killed.

icij logoFour days before Pacheco was beaten to death, compliance officers at the global banking giant HSBC raised a warning about millions of dollars flowing into a big-dollar account in Hong Kong controlled by the scammers. It was at least the third in a series of so-called suspicious activity reports that the bank’s internal watchdogs had lodged about WCM over several months.

Yet HSBC continued to handle the Ponzi network’s massive flow of dirty money into — and out of — its accounts at the bank.

HSBC was profiting from an international criminal scheme even while on probation for having served murderous drug cartels and other criminals. HSBC had hsbc logoadmitted to U.S. prosecutors in 2012 that it had helped dirty money flow through its branches around the world, including at least $881 million controlled by the notorious Sinaloa cartel and other Mexican drug gangs.

A 16-month investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed News and 108 other media partners has found that HSBC continued to provide banking services to alleged criminals, Ponzi schemers, shell companies tied to looted government funds and financial go-betweens for drug traffickers. Report continued below.

andrew weissmann resized cnn

ny times logoNew York Times, Mueller Team Could Have Done More in Trump-Russia Inquiry, Insider Says, Charlie Savage, Sept. 21, 2020. A new book by one of the special counsel’s top deputies, Andrew Weissmann (shown above), is the first inside account of the investigation.

The team led by Robert S. Mueller III, right, the special counsel, failed to do everything it could to determine what happened in the 2016 election, shying away robert mueller full face filefrom steps like subpoenaing President Trump and scrutinizing his finances out of fear that he would fire them, one of Mr. Mueller’s top lieutenants argued in a new book that serves as the first insider account of the inquiry.

“Had we used all available tools to uncover the truth, undeterred by the onslaught of the president’s unique powers to undermine our efforts?” wrote the former prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, adding, “I know the hard answer to that simple question: We could have done andrew weissman covermore.”

Mr. Weissmann sharply criticized the president as “lawless” but also accused Mr. Mueller’s deputy, Aaron M. Zebley, of being overly cautious, according to an account in The Atlantic of the book, Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation. Random House, which will publish the book next week, also provided an early copy to The New York Times on the condition that it not publish information from FBI logoits own access until after an embargo that lifts at 7 p.m. on Monday.

Previously a longtime lawyer at the F.B.I. for Mr. Mueller, who was the bureau’s director for 12 years, Mr. Weissmann ran one of three major units for the special counsel’s office: Team M, which prosecuted Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort for numerous financial crimes.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Could Be Investigated for Tax Fraud, D.A. Says for First Time, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, Sept. 21, 2020. The assertion by the Manhattan district attorney is the most detailed disclosure about its effort to obtain eight years of President Trump’s tax returns.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has been locked in a yearlong legal battle with President Trump over obtaining his tax returns, suggested for the first time in a court filing on Monday that it had grounds to investigate him and his businesses for tax fraud.

The filing by the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., offered rare insight into the office’s investigation of the president and his business cyrus vance jrdealings, which began more than two years ago.

Mr. Vance, a Democrat, has never revealed the scope of his office’s criminal inquiry, citing grand jury secrecy. The investigation has been stalled by the fight over a subpoena that the office issued in August 2019 for eight years of the president’s tax returns.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump have said the subpoena should be blocked, calling it “wildly overbroad” and politically motivated. Mr. Vance responded to that argument in a carefully worded new filing that did not directly accuse Mr. Trump or any of his businesses or associates of wrongdoing and took pains to avoid disclosing details about the inquiry.

 

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Denial and Defiance: Trump and His Base Downplay the Virus, Adam Nagourney and Jeremy W. Peters, Sept. 21, 2020. With resistance to face masks and scorn for science, President Trump and a sizable number of his supporters are pushing an alternate reality before the election.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 21, 2020, 13:00 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals covad),

World Cases: 31,280,720, Deaths: 965,672
U.S. Cases:     7,005,759, Deaths: 204,126

U.S. Supreme Court

supreme court headshots 2019

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: Biden blows up the notion RBG’s seat helps the right, Jennifer Rubin, right, Sept. 21, 2020. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gave his most compelling speech of the campaign Sunday, blowing away the notion that the Republicans’ effort to jam through a confirmation to fill the seat held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in any fashion a plus for the right.

Rather, in a soberly delivered speech, Biden demonstrated why this newest wrinkle in the race serves as a boost to Democrats’ chances in winning the Senate majority and the White House — and ultimately reversing any damage two-faced Republicans would do in the meantime.

Biden accomplished several essential tasks.

First, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats earlier Sunday, he formulated that the open seat boils down to preserving the Affordable Care Act. “In the middle of the worst global health crisis in living memory, Donald Trump is before the Supreme Court trying to strip health-care coverage away from tens of millions of families. This took away the peace of mind of more than 100 million Americans with preexisting conditions,” Biden said. “If he succeeds, insurers could once again discriminate or drop coverage completely for people living with preexisting conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer and so many other problems.”

Second, he put the fight in simple terms of fairness. Republicans think they can make up rules and rewrite them for their benefit without regard to — indeed, despite — majority opinion. Bullying your way through fights with nonsensical blather to disguise your motives is antithetical to democracy. Biden stressed over and over again that voting is already underway, which means Trump is disenfranchising voters who want a say in the next justice.

washington post logoWashington Post, Republicans prepare to move quickly on Supreme Court opening, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim, Sept. 21, 2020 (print ed.). GOP leaders said they were pressing ahead to seize a monumental chance to solidify the court’s rightward ideological shift by replacing Ginsburg us senate logowith a conservative jurist. Democratic leaders accused the Republicans of political opportunism and hypocrisy.

Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said over the weekend that whoever is elected president in November should nominate Ginsburg’s replacement. But it would take four Republican senators joining with all 47 Democrats and independents who caucus with Democrats to block consideration of a Trump nominee.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump brags to Woodward that he has ‘broken every record’ on appointing judges, Ashley Parker, Sept. 21, 2020 (print ed.). When bob woodward headshotPresident Trump sat down in the Oval Office with author Bob Woodward, right, for the first of 18 eventual interviews, the president brought up judicial appointments four times and even had a list of judicial appointment orders displayed, prop-like, on the Resolute Desk — “kind of like he was cherishing it,” Woodward recounted.

bob woodward rageNow, as Trump prepares to announce a nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday night at age 87, those interviews reveal a president animated about remaking the courts and working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to appoint conservative judges. Some of the conversations were chronicled in Woodward’s new book, “Rage,” while audio recordings of others were obtained by The Washington Post.

In a mid-December interview with Woodward, Trump boasted that he and McConnell “have broken every record” on judges, saying the issue is the majority leader’s top priority.

 

Sept. 17

  djt doesnt listen

washington post logoWashington Post, Whistleblower: Federal officials stockpiled munitions, sought ‘heat ray’ device before clearing park near White House, Marissa J. Lang, Sept. 17, 2020 (print ed.). Hours before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in early June, federal officials began to stockpile ammunition and seek devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel like their skin is on fire, according to an Army National Guard major who was there.

D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.

In sworn testimony, shared this week with The Washington Post, DeMarco provided his account as part of an ongoing investigation into law enforcement and military officers’ use of force against D.C. protesters.

DeMarco, who provided his account as a whistleblower, was the senior-most D.C. National Guard officer on the ground that day and served as a liaison between the National Guard and U.S. Park Police.

Just before noon on June 1, the Defense Department’s top military police officer in the Washington region sent an email to officers in the D.C. National Guard. It asked whether the unit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, also known as an LRAD, or a microwave-like weapon called the Active Denial System, which was designed by the military to make people feel like their skin is burning when in range of its invisible rays.

The technology, also called a “heat ray,” was developed to disperse large crowds in the early 2000s but was shelved amid concerns about its effectiveness, safety and the ethics of using it on human beings.

Pentagon officials were reluctant to use the device in Iraq. In late 2018, the New York Times reported, the Trump administration had weighed using the device on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border — an idea shot down by Kirstjen Nielsen, then the Homeland Security secretary, citing humanitarian concerns.

He told lawmakers he felt compelled to come forward as a witness because he found the events at Lafayette Square “deeply disturbing.” His attorney, David Laufman, said DeMarco hopes lawmakers will continue to investigate the federal response.

He told lawmakers he felt compelled to come forward as a witness because he found the events at Lafayette Square “deeply disturbing.” His attorney, David Laufman, said DeMarco hopes lawmakers will continue to investigate the federal response.

washington post logoWashington Post, CDC director says coronavirus vaccines won’t be widely available till the middle of 2021, Amy Goldstein, Sept. 17, 2020 (print ed.). It will take months after approval for a vaccine to help control the pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield Robert Redfieldpredicted at Wednesday’s Senate hearing on the government’s response to the pandemic.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, right, predicted Wednesday that most of the American public will not have access to a vaccine against the novel coronavirus until late spring or summer of next year — contrary to President Trump’s assertions that the pandemic is nearly over.

us senate logoAt a Senate hearing on the government’s response to the pandemic, CDC director Robert Redfield adhered to President Trump’s oft-stated contention that a safe and effective vaccine will become available in November or December — perhaps just before the presidential election seven weeks away.

But Redfield said the vaccine will be provided first to people most vulnerable to covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, and supplies will increase over time, so Americans who are lower priority for the protection will be offered the shot more gradually. For it to be “fully available to the American public, so we begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life,” he said, “I think we are probably looking at late second cdc logo Customquarter, third quarter 2021.”

Though any individual vaccinated should benefit, he said, the progressive widening of its availability means there will be a time lag between when a vaccine is approved and when it could have a measurable effect in controlling the pandemic. That might be six to nine months after the day it is approved by federal drug regulators, Redfield predicted.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Scorns His Own Scientists Over Virus Data, Peter Baker, Sept. 17, 2020 (print ed.). A public scolding of the C.D.C. chief was only the latest but perhaps the starkest instance when the president has rejected not just the policy advice of his public health officials but the facts and information that they provided.

“I think he made a mistake when he said that,” President Trump told reporters on Wednesday during a news conference at the White House about Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s just incorrect information.”

President Donald Trump officialPresident Trump on Wednesday rejected the professional scientific conclusions of his own government about the prospects for a widely available coronavirus vaccine and the effectiveness of masks in curbing the spread of the virus as the death toll in the United States from the disease neared 200,000.

In a remarkable display even for him, Mr. Trump publicly slapped down Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the president promised that a vaccine could be available in weeks and go “immediately” to the general public while diminishing the usefulness of masks despite evidence to the contrary.

The president’s comments put him at odds with the C.D.C., the world’s premier public health agency, over the course of a pandemic that he keeps insisting is “rounding the corner” to an end. Mr. Trump lashed out just hours after Dr. Redfield told a Senate committee that a vaccine would not be widely available until the middle of next year and that masks were so vital in fighting the disease caused by the coronavirus, Covid-19, that they may even more important than a vaccine.

The Guardian, Donald Trump accused of sexual assault by former model Amy Dorris, Lucy Osborne, Sept. 17, 2020. Amy Dorris alleges Trump forced his tongue down her throat and groped her at 1997 US Open.

A former model has come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the US Open tennis tournament more djt handwave filethan two decades ago, in an alleged incident that left her feeling “sick” and “violated.”

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Amy Dorris alleged that Trump accosted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the tournament in New York on 5 September 1997. Dorris, who was 24 at the time, accuses Trump of forcing his tongue down her throat, assaulting her all over her body and holding her in a grip she was unable to escape from.

“He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And then that’s when his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything. I was in his grip, and I couldn’t get out of it,” she said, adding: “I don’t know what you call that when you’re sticking your tongue just down someone’s throat. But I pushed it out with my teeth. I was pushing it. And I think I might have hurt his tongue.”

Via his lawyers, Trump denied in the strongest possible terms having ever harassed, abused or behaved improperly toward Dorris. Dorris, who lives in Florida, provided the Guardian with evidence to support her account of her encounters with Trump, including her ticket to the US Open and six photos showing her with the real estate magnate over several days in New York. Trump was 51 at the time and married to his second wife, Marla Maples.

Sept. 12

Palmer Report, Opinion: Things are about to get a lot harder for Donald Trump, James Sullivan, Sept. 12, 2020. Although Republicans are obsessed with accusing the media of having a liberal bias and have ramped up those attacks considerably in just the last few weeks, the reality is of course much more complex. All too often, journalists and copy editors feel a need to appear fair and balanced, even in the cases when no such balance exists.

bill palmer report logo headerOne egregious example of this is when Associated Press reported on the government shutdown last year and implied that Democrats shared some of the blame for refusing to fund Donald Trump’s border wall. Yet another was during the 2016 election, when pundits tried to make Hillary’s emails seem like an actual scandal, to not appear overly biased against Donald Trump, largely ignoring the fact that nearly everyone in Trump’s campaign used a private server.

joe biden kamala harris campaign shotNow that Donald Trump is having a hard time going after Joe Biden without the dishonest attacks blowing up disastrously in his face, he’s decided to ramp up his attacks on Kamala Harris. Trump is once again doubling down on what will play to the ears of his racist base, which isn’t much of a surprise.

The problem is, his attacks are more of the same – moving from the baseless birther nonsense to calling her angry and nasty. It was so vapid and on the nose, that even AP called it for what it was: “[T]he racism and sexism underlying Trump’s critique of the first Black woman and person of Asian descent on a major party ticket are part of an aggressive strategy to appeal to white suburban voters.”

This isn’t to say that the AP is above writing outrageous headlines and won’t do it again, but suggests that it’s going to be harder for Trump to get free publicity through the media than it was in 2016 – and the racial tensions he’s ignited have left little room for doubt about what his strategy is. America has a chance to redeem itself by voting Donald Trump and Republicans out of office by as big a margin as possible by November 3.

Sept. 11

Top Headlines

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

U.S. Law, Crime, Courts

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american flag upside down distress

 ny times logoNew York Times, Live reports: Dozens Reported Missing in Oregon; Fires Near Portland Suburbs, Staff reports, Sept. 11, 2020. West Coast Wildfire Crisis Grows to a Staggering Scale.Officials in Oregon are preparing for a “mass fatality incident,” as fires have consumed more than a million acres in the state.

In her news conference, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon noted that well over 1 million acres of land — over 1,500 square miles — has been burned in the state and that the state’s air quality ranks the worst in the world. “Almost anywhere in the state you can feel this right now,” she said.

Oregon’s fires are unlike anything the state has ever seen, the governor said. And fires are growing in California and Washington. Oregon’s governor said there were concerns for dozens of people reported missing in a state where more than a million acres have burned. California and Washington State are also battling fires.

But tragedy has already befallen some, with towns like Talent and Phoenix all but obliterated.

djt meltdown chyron cnn april 13 2020 Custom

 Donald Trump, shown during an angry meltdown at an April 13, 2020 news conference at the White House.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump says he misled on virus to instill calm. But he governs with scare tactics, Philip Rucker, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.).  Throughout his five years on the national political stage, Trump has used fear to acquire and keep power. Scare tactics are the hammer and screwdriver of his tool kit.

washington post logodavid ignatiusWashington Post, Opinion: Bob Woodward gave Trump every chance to prove himself, David Ignatius, right, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.).It’s a testimony to Donald Trump’s measureless ego that he thought he could charm Bob Woodward (and his tape recorder) into producing a positive book about his presidency. But you know that’s not how it’s going to turn out.

bob woodward rage“If I have a fair book, it’s going to be a great book,” Trump enthuses.

Woodward, below right, gives Trump every chance to make his case during the 18 on-the-record interviews he conducted for Rage, his latest mega-blockbuster. He gives Trump credit bob woodward twitterfor matters large and small. He coaxes, teases, almost pleads with Trump to say the right thing. In the end, Trump is damned by his own words.

Trump confirms the worst charges made by his critics, on tape: “I always wanted to play it down,” he says of the coronavirus pandemic that has now cost nearly 200,000 lives. Talking about the military, the president says he would never call them stupid, and then calls them “stupid,” and says “we’re suckers” for funding allies’ defense.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP worries as Trump campaign pulls back from TV ads to save cash, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). Republican officials have been inundated with calls from activists and donors complaining about constant ads for Joe Biden in their local markets, with very few paid responses for President Trump, according to people familiar with the conversations.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Coronavirus Response Was Beyond Incompetent, Paul Krugman, right, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). He wasn’t oblivious to the paul krugmandanger. He just didn’t care.

Until this week I thought that Donald Trump’s disastrous mishandling of Covid-19 was basically negligence, even if that negligence was willful — that is, that he failed to understand the gravity of the threat because he didn’t want to hear about it and refused to take actions that could have saved thousands of American lives because actually doing effective policy isn’t his kind of thing.

But I was wrong. According to Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, Trump wasn’t oblivious; he knew by early February that Covid-19 was both deadly and airborne. And this isn’t a case of conflicting recollections: Woodward has Trump on tape. Yet Trump continued to hold large indoor rallies, disparage precautionary measures and pressure states to reopen business despite the risk of infection.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Commentary: Covid death count deniers are also Holocaust deniers, Wayne Madsen, left, Sept. 11, 2020. The far-right rarely deviates wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallfrom their usual playbooks. Donald Trump recently re-tweeted two Twitter postings that claimed only a "minuscule" number of Americans have died from Covid-19, not the nearly 200,000 who have actually succumbed to the highly-contagious pathogen.

The source for Trump's medical genocide denial is "Gateway Pundit," a White House-credentialed website that traffics in bogus click-bait items masquerading as legitimate news stories.

washington post logoWashington Post, High numbers of Los Angeles patients complained about coughs as early as December, study says, Ben Guarino, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). The number of patients complaining of coughs and respiratory illnesses surged at a sprawling Los Angeles medical system from late December through February, raising questions about whether the novel coronavirus was spreading earlier than thought, according to a study of electronic medical records.

The authors of the report, published Thursday in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, suggested that coronavirus infections may have caused this rise weeks before U.S. officials began warning the public about an outbreak. But the researchers cautioned that the results cannot prove that the pathogen reached California so soon, and other disease trackers expressed skepticism that the findings signaled an early arrival.

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections 

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump is destroying the Republican Party. Why won’t any of his peers speak up? Joe Scarborough (MSNBC "Morning Joe" Co-host and former Republican congressman representing Florida's Panhandle), right, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). joe scarborough headshotGiven the party’s brash support of all things “patriotic,” the past week’s developments have been disorienting even for the age of Trump.

Trump’s Republican Party has been damaged yet again by their leader’s offensive statements. It has also lost any claim it ever had at being the U.S. military’s bulwark against left-wing attacks. A recent Military Times poll suggests that most active duty troops agree, with a plurality supporting Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s presidential bid.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Trump Pushes for University Reopenings, Staff reports, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). “We want to see Big Ten football,” President Trump said at the White House, ahead of a visit to Michigan for a campaign rally. Joe Biden and his surrogates seized on the news that President Trump knew the coronavirus was deadly and intentionally suggested otherwise. The latest virus relief bill failed in the Senate. Here’s the latest.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Hey Donald Trump, tick tock! Bill Palmer, Sept. 11, 2020. Despite having only been in politics for a relatively short period of time, Donald Trump is already by far the most scandal-plagued politician in American history (he did tell us we’d get tired of winning). Now he’s facing some of his ugliest scandals yet, such as his military scandal and his coronavirus scandal.

bill palmer report logo headerThis has led a lot of observers to ask if these new scandals are going to have any negative impact on Donald Trump’s poll numbers, considering how scandal-prone this guy has been all along. If his Russia scandal, porn star scandal, kids in cages scandal, sexual assault scandals, etc, etc, didn’t cause his numbers to shift, will any scandal? But I believe that’s the wrong question to be asking.

If Trump were ahead, it would be one thing. But the polling averages have consistently shown all along that Trump is roughly eight points behind Joe Biden in the national polls, and that Trump is behind by varying margins in every swing state. All caveats about the polls apply. But there’s no doubt that Trump is on track to lose this election, and he only has about fifty days left.

U.S. Law, Crime, Courts

ny times logoNew York Times, Top Aide in Review of Russia Inquiry Resigns From Justice Dept., Charlie Savage, Katie Benner, Adam Goldman and Neil Vigdor, Sept. 11, 2020. The resignation came amid increasing expectations that the department may disclose partial results from the review before it is completed but ahead of the presidential election.

A top aide to the criminal prosecutor whom Attorney General William P. Barr assigned to scrutinize the Trump-Russia investigation has resigned unexpectedly from the Justice Department, a spokesman said Friday.

It was not immediately clear why the official, Nora R. Dannehy — a trusted assistant to John H. Durham, the prosecutor leading the investigation and the U.S. attorney in Connecticut — stepped down.

But The Hartford Courant, which first reported her departure, cited unidentified colleagues in Mr. Durham’s office as saying that she had expressed concerns in recent weeks about pressure from Mr. Barr to deliver results ahead of the presidential election in November.

Ms. Dannehy did not respond to a voice mail message seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr, Kerri Kupec, referred questions to Mr. Durham’s office in Connecticut. His spokesman, Thomas Carson, said: “We can confirm that Nora Dannehy has left the Department of Justice. No further comment from us.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Bill Barr’s Durham stunt unravels as key prosecutor resigns, Bill Palmer, Sept. 11, 2020. For months, Donald Trump’s fans have been john durham o portrait 2 croppedhanging their fading election hopes on the notion that U.S Attorney John Durha, right, is going to take action against the people who investigated Trump’s crimes, and that this turn of events is somehow magically going to hand the election to Trump. This was never likely to go anywhere, and it’s now unraveling.

bill palmer report logo headerIt turns out Donald Trump and Bill Barr have been putting so much inappropriate pressure on Durham’s team, Durham’s top aide Nora Dannehy has resigned in protest, according to the Hartford Courant newspaper. Some folks will insist that this means Trump and Barr are now winning, because someone resigned. But the entire point of Barr’s scheme was to try to get Durham’s team to put their names on false accusations against Trump’s adversaries, not to push Durham’s team out the door.

This has to be taken as a sign that Bill Barr’s Durham stunt is unraveling. We still don’t know for certain what John Durham will do in the end. But since there’s no “there” there, we don’t expect Durham to announce anything beneficial to Donald Trump before the election. We do expect that Barr will flat-out lie and claim that Durham did find something when he didn’t. But we don’t expect that to have any impact, because no one outside Trump’s existing base will believe it or care.

washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutor resigns from U.S. attorney’s investigation into origins of Trump-Russia probe, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 11, 2020. Nora Dannehy’s departure is likely to raise questions among Democrats about whether Attorney General William P. Barr is pushing the case in a way to benefit President Trump

washington post logoWashington Post, Court blocks Trump’s order to exclude undocumented immigrants from census count, Tara Bahrampour, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). A three-judge panel out of New York ruled that the Census requires a count of every person residing in the United States and the president’s memorandum would violate a statute governing apportionment.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Now that he’s been nailed, Rudy Giuliani WANTS us to believe he’s senile, Bill Palmer, Sept. 11, 2020. For a few years now, it’s been clear that Rudy Giuliani is suffering from some sort of cognitive decline. His television interviews and public appearances have been increasingly erratic and clueless. Even the criminal schemes he’s gotten involved in, such as the Ukraine plot to frame Joe Biden, have been completely incoherent to the point of almost being pitiable.

FBI logoNow Rudy Giuliani has finally been nailed, so to speak. He’s been caught conspiring against the United States with a Russian agent named Andriy Derkach, whose criminal antics are so severe that even Donald Trump’s federal government is now sanctioning him. This suggests that as soon as Trump is gone from office, the DOJ will indict Rudy for his participation in Derkach’s crimes. Rudy was already likely facing charges for his Ukraine conspiracy against Biden, but this should seal it.

So now Rudy Giuliani is trying to lay the groundwork for his defense at his eventual criminal trial, by essentially making the case that he’s too senile to have known that he was conspiring with a Kremlin agent. Rudy said this: “I have no reason to believe he is a Russian agent. There is nothing I saw that said he was a Russian agent. There is nothing he gave me that seemed to come from Russia at all. How the hell would I know?”

That’s right, Rudy is going for the “How the hell would I know?” defense. He’s arguing that, sure, he conspired with a Russian agent against the United States – but that he didn’t know the person he was conspiring with was a Russian agent. Fine. Save it for the jury, Rudy.

Palmer Report, Donald Trump caught stealing money from 9/11 fund, Ron Leshnower, Sept. 11, 2020. Although 19 years have passed since the horrific attacks of 9/11, people across the United States pause to remember the day with a deep sense of sorrow and solemnity. The President of the United States should treat 9/11 as sacred and strive to honor the sacrifices of the first responders and their families. Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s shameful desecration of 9/11 began on that tragic day and shows no signs of letting up.

bill palmer report logo headerLast night, on the eve of 9/11, the New York Daily News reported that the Trump administration has “secretly siphoned” funds aimed at helping FDNY firefighters and medics who suffer from 9/11-related illnesses. A review of documents reveals that Trump’s Treasury Department “mysteriously” decided to keep some of the money — already authorized by Congress under the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program — for years without even a single communication about it.

This unexplained withholding of money is not only an affront to first responders, but it threatens the continued employment of physicians, nurses, and support staff and has required New York City to cover the shortfall, even as the coronavirus pandemic has stressed the economy. Not surprisingly, no one in the Trump administration has responded to requests for comments, and there is no sign that this will get resolved soon.

This is not the first time Trump has offended our sensibilities when it comes to 9/11. Within mere hours of the attacks, Trump boasted (inaccurately, no less) that he now owned the tallest building in Lower Manhattan. Trump later falsely claimed he watched “thousands and thousands” of Muslims on New Jersey rooftops cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center. Trump then lied by saying he “was down there also” with the first responders in the wake of 9/11, and he lied again by claiming he sent “a couple of hundred people” from his company to help with the recovery effort.

In the ensuing months, Trump pledged $10,000 to the Twin Towers Fund, yet investigations show he donated nothing. Trump later applied for and received substantial federal money for small business recovery, made available thanks to the efforts of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, New York’s two senators at the time — even though, as Trump later admitted, his one property in the area was “fortunately” not affected. Last year, Trump secretly invited the Taliban, who protected Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, to Camp David for peace talks just days before the anniversary 9/11. And the list goes on.

World News Igor Fruman, top left, and Lev Parnas, two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney at bottom of a Wall Street Journal graphic above by Laura Kammermann, appear to be deeply involved in the Ukraine scandal.

Trump Counsel Rudolph Giuliani, center, with businessman Lev Parnas (top right) before the arrest of Parnas and his colleague Igor Fruman (top left) while boarding a flight to Vienna from Dulles International Airport.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. sanctions Ukrainian lawmaker tied to Giuliani as ‘active Russian agent,’ Paul Sonne, Josh Dawsey and Karoun Demirjian, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday placed sanctions on a member of Ukraine’s parliament for running an “influence campaign” against former vice president Joe Biden, dubbing the lawmaker “an active Russian agent for over a decade” who has maintained “close connections with Russian intelligence services.”

andrii derkachThe sanctions against Andriy Derkach — who in an attempt to tarnish the Democratic nominee for president released pilfered and edited phone conversations that Biden had years ago with Ukraine’s leadership — come less than two months before the 2020 presidential election and mark the most aggressive public action the U.S. government has taken to date to stanch foreign interference ahead of the vote.

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani has met at least three times with Derkach since late last year and publicized the Ukrainian lawmaker’s claims on his podcast and elsewhere, elevating what the Treasury Department has now characterized as a foreign interference campaign by an active Russian agent aimed at influencing the 2020 election.

 

Sept. 10

Top Headlines

Virus Scandal Updates, Responses

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

U.S. Law, Courts, Rights

World News

 

Top Stories

washington post logoWashington Post,Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly,’ Woodward book says, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Sept. 10, 2020 (print ed.). In Bob Woodward's new book Rage, President Trump said he deliberately played down the threat of pandemic and said he feels no responsibility to better understand the anger and pain of Black Americans.

bob woodward ragePresident Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

djt hands up mouth open Custom“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

djt i dont take responsibility at all“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

ny times logoNew York Times, D.H.S. Downplayed Russia and White Supremacists, Whistle-Blower Says, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Nicholas Fandos, Sept. 10, 2020 (print ed.). The former head of the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence branch accused senior leaders of warping the agency around President Trump’s rhetoric. The leaders told analysts to downplay the threats of violent white supremacy and of Russian election interference, his whistle-blower complaint said.

us dhs big eagle logo4Top officials with the Department of Homeland Security directed agency analysts to downplay the threat of violent white supremacy and of Russian election interference, according to a whistle-blower complaint filed by a top intelligence official with the department.

Brian Murphy, the former head of the intelligence branch of the Homeland Security Department, said in a whistle-blower complaint filed on Tuesday that he was directed by Chad F. Wolf, below left, the acting secretary of the department, to stop producing assessments on Russian interference.

chad wolf The department’s second highest ranked official, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, also ordered him to modify intelligence assessments to make the threat of white supremacy “appear less severe” and include information on violent “left-wing” groups, according to the complaint, which was released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee.

In so doing, the two top officials at the department — both appointees of President Trump — appeared to shape the agency’s views around Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and interests.

Mr. Murphy, who was removed from his post in August after his office compiled intelligence reports on protesters and journalists in Portland, Ore., asserted in the complaint that he was retaliated against for raising concerns to superiors and cooperating with the department’s inspector general. He asked the inspector general to investigate.

 

djt profile balding big head palmer

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump caught bragging that he helped cover up murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Bill Palmer, Sept. 10, 2020. This morning Palmer Report predicted with certainty that there would be more bombshells about Donald Trump coming from Bob Woodward this week. After all, Woodward’s book is still five days away from launch, meaning he was going to give more advance details to the press. Sure enough, that’s happening already this afternoon.

bill palmer report logo headerIt turns out Donald Trump bragged to Woodward that he helped cover up the murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Mohammed Bin Salman Al-Saudpressuring Congress into dropping the investigation into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, below right.

Trump went so far as to say “I saved his ass” in reference to Bin Salman, which is likely true, considering what dire straits Bin Salman was in at the time.

This is a confession to a murder coverup, since Trump’s actions helped a murderer avoid being brought to justice. This comes on top of Trump’s coronavirus admissions, which are tantamount to a taped confession to negligent homicide.

ny times logoNew York Times, Out-of-Control Blazes Add to Vast Destruction, Staff reports, Sept. 10, 2020. Wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington State have killed seven people, with growing fears that more have died in destroyed towns.

“This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon said. Follow updates here.

Wildfires were spreading with explosive force up and down the West Coast on Thursday, having devoured whole neighborhoods, forced mass evacuations and left the authorities facing harrowing decisions on where to send fire and rescue teams as disasters hemmed them in.

While firefighters struggled to contain the blazes, rescue workers made early forays into towns that had been blackened and hollowed out by fires. By Thursday, they had discovered at least seven bodies. Officials said hundreds of homes had been consumed by flames and aerial images of towns like Talent and Medford, Ore., showed streets lined with homes that were charred if not outright destroyed.

The authorities, facing fires that have burned a record 2.5 million acres in California and hundreds of thousands more in Oregon and Washington State, pleaded for federal help and the public’s cooperation in stark terms. Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon on Wednesday requested a federal emergency declaration, asked residents not to call 911 about smoke — the system was inundated with calls — and warned of what emergency crews expected to find in the debris.

Virus Scandal Updates, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: There’s a big hole in Trump’s frantic spin about the Woodward revelations, Greg Sargent, Sept. 10, 2020. Faced with the damning revelation that President Trump admitted he downplayed the coronavirus despite fully grasping the urgency of the threat, he and his propagandists have settled on their counter-spin: Trump was acting as a kind of modern-day FDR, sagely calming the country to prevent an outbreak of self-destructive mass “panic.”

President Donald Trump officialBut there’s a serious problem with this account. The facts already on the public record demonstrate that whatever desire Trump had to avert any panic was largely about doing what he perceived was in his own personal and political interests, not those of the nation or the American people.

Trump and his defenders have fixated on the word “panic” in this quote, which Trump gave to Bob Woodward on March 19:

"Well I think Bob, really to be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic."

That came after Trump admitted on Feb. 7 to Woodward that he understood the coronavirus was airborne, making it particularly contagious, and even that “it’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” Trump conceded he knew how bad the threat was and then admitted to downplaying it.

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 10, 2020 15:46 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2below),

  • World Cases: 28,110,995, Deaths: 909,550
  • U.S. Cases: 6,558,815, Deaths: 195,574

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Unemployment Claims Show Little Relief From Virus’s Toll, Nelson D. Schwartz and Gillian Friedman, Sept. 10, 2020. The tally of U.S. workers filing new state unemployment claims stayed above 800,000 last week as the job market remained treacherous.

More than four months after Americans began emerging from the coronavirus-caused lockdown across most states, the job market remains treacherous, according to new data from the Labor Department.

More than 857,000 workers filed new claims for state unemployment insurance last week, before seasonal adjustments, a slight increase from the previous week. Although the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.4 percent, the level of layoffs reflects the challenges for many workers in the fitful recovery.

In addition, about 839,000 new claims were filed under a federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides assistance to freelancers, part-time workers and others who do not ordinarily qualify for state benefits. That figure, which is not seasonally adjusted, represented a rise from 748,000 the previous week.

All told, nearly 30 million people were receiving unemployment benefits in some form in the week that ended Aug. 22.

A wild card in the outlook is congressional standoff over another coronavirus relief package. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill in May, which Republicans rejected as fiscally irresponsible. Senate Republicans are pushing a proposal worth up to $700 billion, which Democrats say doesn’t go nearly far enough. About half the money would come from unused funding in the stimulus law enacted in March.

djt virus trump did it Custom

An anti-Trump message disseminated via the Internet.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial Board, Mr. Trump Knew It Was Deadly and Airborne, Sept. 10, 2020 (print ed.). On Feb. 7, during a taped interview with Bob Woodward, President Trump acknowledged that the coronavirus could be transmitted through the air, that it was very dangerous and that it would be difficult to contain. “This is deadly stuff,” he told the investigative journalist.

“You just breathe the air, and that’s how it’s passed,” the president warned.

american flag upside down distressDespite his apparent understanding of the severity of the disease and its method of transmission, over the next month, in five cities around the country, Mr. Trump held large indoor rallies, which were attended by thousands of his supporters.

Mr. Trump spent weeks insisting in public that the coronavirus was no worse than a seasonal flu. It would “disappear” when the seasons changed, he promised in late February. “We’re doing a great job,” he said in early March.

Why lie to the American people? Why — as the administration accuses the Chinese government of doing — lie to the world about the severity of what was declared a pandemic only days later?

“I wanted to always play it down,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Mr. Trump and a great many of his supporters and political allies did play down the severity of the coronavirus and did criticize the public health measures deployed to prevent its spread. As a result, the coronavirus spread faster and sickened or killed more people in the United States than in any of its peer nations. If the United States had the same coronavirus fatality rate as Canada, more than 100,000 Americans could still be alive today.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Trump guilty of negligent genocide, Wayne Madsen, left, Sept. 10, 2020. Civil rights attorneys and human rights advocates bob woodward ragewayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallbelieve that by playing down the coronavirus pandemic, the worst to hit the United States since the 1918 influenza, Donald Trump has committed an act of negligent genocide.

Trump's inaction in aggressively dealing with Covid-19 — gleaned from Top Secret national intelligence briefings last January — was revealed to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward by Trump during a series of taped telephone interviews for Woodward's new book on the Trump White House titled, Rage.

On February 7, Trump revealed in a taped phone call with Woodward that he was well-aware of the deadly and contagious nature of the coronavirus, but deliberately played down the dangers posed by the contagion in order to forestall a panic.

washington post logoWashington Post, Patients may have seen ‘significant’ delays in medicine deliveries by USPS, Senate report finds, Tony Romm, Sept. 10, 2020 (print ed.). Several large pharmacies told Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Robert P. Casey that delivery times have ticked up, leading to a flood of customer complaints.

us mail logoPatients who rely on the U.S. Postal Service for their prescription drugs may have experienced “significant” delays in their deliveries, according to a Senate report released Wednesday, which accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of jeopardizing the “health of millions of Americans.”

Several major U.S. pharmacies told the two Democratic senators leading the investigation — Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.) — that average delivery times have ticked up since the spring, leading to a flood of angry calls from customers and costly requests to resend their medications.

Warren and Casey did not identify the pharmacies, but their report comes nearly three weeks after they asked Walgreens, CVS, and other pharmacies and benefit managers to detail the effects of DeJoy’s changes to the Postal Service. This summer, DeJoy implemented policies to reduce overtime and mail trips, which postal carriers say have led to backlogs nationwide.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump campaign kicks reporter out of Michigan rally over tweet, Bill Palmer, Sept. 10, 2020. Donald Trump and his campaign are failing on every level, to put it mildly. They’re out of money, to the point that they can’t even properly run TV ads in swing states.

bill palmer report logo headerThey have no strategy, no message, no clue, and a braindead candidate who keeps finding new ways to sabotage himself. Now Trump is trying to hold rallies in a pandemic, which are going poorly, and the Trump campaign is panicking about it.

New York Times correspondent (stringer) Kathy Gray, who was covering the Trump rally, tweeted a photo and added this caption: “Crammed in crowd in the rain for trump rally in michigan. Not many masks.” Then twenty minutes later, she tweeted this: “I’ve just been kicked out of the trump rally … First for me: Trump campaign tracked me down from pics i tweeted and escorted me out.”

That’s right, the Trump campaign was so worried about the photos that Gray was tweeting of the unsafe rally conditions, it hunted her down and kicked her out of the rally. Yes, this is an evil instance of censorship. Yes, it’s abusive and overreaching. But it’s also unmistakably a sign that the Trump campaign is so deep into panic mode, they’re making stupid moves like this instead of trying to figure out a way to win the election.

U.S. Wildfire Disasters

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: Out-of-Control Blazes Add to Vast Destruction, Staff reports, Sept. 10, 2020. Wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington State have killed seven people, with growing fears that more have died in destroyed towns.

“This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon said. Follow updates here.

Wildfires were spreading with explosive force up and down the West Coast on Thursday, having devoured whole neighborhoods, forced mass evacuations and left the authorities facing harrowing decisions on where to send fire and rescue teams as disasters hemmed them in.

While firefighters struggled to contain the blazes, rescue workers made early forays into towns that had been blackened and hollowed out by fires. By Thursday, they had discovered at least seven bodies. Officials said hundreds of homes had been consumed by flames and aerial images of towns like Talent and Medford, Ore., showed streets lined with homes that were charred if not outright destroyed.

The authorities, facing fires that have burned a record 2.5 million acres in California and hundreds of thousands more in Oregon and Washington State, pleaded for federal help and the public’s cooperation in stark terms. Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon on Wednesday requested a federal emergency declaration, asked residents not to call 911 about smoke — the system was inundated with calls — and warned of what emergency crews expected to find in the debris.live

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections 

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Trump Pushes for University Reopenings, Staff reports, Sept. 10, 2020. “We want to see Big Ten football,” President Trump said at the White House, ahead of a visit to Michigan for a campaign rally. Joe Biden and his surrogates seized on the news that President Trump knew the coronavirus was deadly and intentionally suggested otherwise. The latest virus relief bill failed in the Senate. Here’s the latest.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Biden knows how to use Trump’s botched response to covid-19 to his advantage, Jennifer Rubin, right, Sept. 10, 2020. With the jennifer rubin new headshotrevelation that Trump deliberately misled the public on the pandemic with deadly consequences, you can expect Biden and running mate Kamala D. Harris to hammer away at Trump’s foolish deception. In trying to keep the stock market from taking a nosedive, Trump lied to the American people, which, in turn, caused more deaths and necessitated an extended period of lockdowns. Had he only told the truth and acted, thousands of Americans would likely still be alive and we would be further along in recovering from the current recession.

The Biden-Harris team understood weeks ago that the focus of their campaign had to be on President Trump’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic. At the Democratic National Convention, the issue was front and center. “Just judge this president on the facts. Five million Americans infected with covid-19,” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, quoting the statistics from August that have only gotten worse.

joe biden 2020 button CustomSince then, Biden has increasingly made the point that the economic collapse stems from Trump’s failure to address the pandemic early on. After denouncing Trump at a Michigan campaign appearance on Wednesday for downplaying the virus, as Trump confessed in recorded conversations with the Post’s Bob Woodward that were released earlier that day, Biden argued: “His failures not only cost lives — it sent our economy into tailspin that cost millions more in American livelihoods.” He declared, “It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace.”

But Biden did not stop there. He told his audience, “This is a recession created by Donald Trump’s negligence — and he is unfit for this job.” From there, Biden segued into an attack on Trump for breaking his promise to not lose a single manufacturing plant. Biden also outlined his own plans for a tax credit available for restoring closed plants and an airtight buy-U.S. federal procurement commitment.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: Senate Will Vote to Advance Scaled-Back Stimulus Bill, Staff reports, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). Lawmakers returned to Washington today for the battle over virus relief — and to face a potential government shutdown.

The Republican plan would reinstate lapsed federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week — half their previous level — and allocate funds for schools, virus testing and the Postal Service. Democrats are likely to block it.

U.S. Law, Courts, Rights

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: A Court Just Slammed the Guantánamo Gate Shut, Linda Greenhouse, Sept. 10, 2020. Does the public care about the 40 remaining inmates with no obvious end to their imprisonment?

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Fire destroys Europe’s largest migrant camp, which had been under coronavirus lockdown, Chico Harlan and Elinda Labropoulou, Sept. 10, 2020 (print ed.). The squalid camp, on the Greek island of Lesbos, had 12,500 asylum seekers, who now have no obvious place to go.

The Independent, Assange extradition hearing paused over fears lawyer exposed to coronavirus, Lizzie Dearden, Sept. 10, 2020. Wikileaks founder is battling being sent to US on 18 charges over leaked cables. Julian Assange’s extradition hearing has been paused over fears that a lawyer may have been exposed to coronavirus. The Wikileaks founder is battling against attempts to send him to the US for trial for allegedly conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law over the release of confidential cables in 2010 and 2011.

julian assange facts wikileaks CustomJudge Vanessa Baraitser adjourned the case until Monday after being told one of the lawyers involved had been exposed to the virus.

Mr Assange has been held on remand at HMP Belmarsh for a year after serving a 50-week jail sentence for breaching bail conditions by fleeing to London’s Ecuadorian embassy in 2012. His current extradition hearing, which was previously delayed by the coronavirus outbreak, is expected to last for around a month.

Wednesday’s hearing was told that the Australian’s political opinions put him in the ”crosshairs“ of the Donald Trump administration. Professor Paul Rogers told the Old Bailey that Wikileaks’ revelations were ”significant“ in showing how the US coalition's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were going wrong despite public claims of their success.

The emeritus professor of peace studies at Bradford University said leaked documents published by Wikileaks exposed details of an extra 15,000 civilians killed in Iraq. Asked by Mr Fitzgerald QC if he believed the charges against Mr Assange are motivated by ”criminal justice concerns“ or political considerations, Prof Rogers said: ”I have to say it appears to be the latter. This does appear to be a political trial.“

 

Sept. 9

bob woodward rageTop Headlines

Virus Updates, Responses

Probes Of Trump, Family

More On Postal Service Scandals

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

U.S. Crime, Race, Protests

World News

U.S. Wildfire Disasters

 

Top Stories

washington post logoWashington Post,Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly,’ Woodward book says, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Sept. 9, 2020. In Bob Woodward's new book Rage, President Trump said he deliberately played down the threat of pandemic and said he feels no responsibility to better understand the anger and pain of Black Americans.

bob woodward ragePresident Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

djt hands up mouth open Custom“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

djt i dont take responsibility at all“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

cnn logoCNN, Analysis: Here's *exactly* why Donald Trump talked to Bob Woodward so much, Chris Cillizza, Sept. 9, 2020. The news is stunning: President Donald Trump told longtime reporter Bob Woodward that he "wanted to always play [the threat posed by the coronavirus] down" and "still like[d] playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic" even as the virus that has now sickened more than 6.3 million Americans and killed almost 190,000 was beginning to rage across the United States.

bob woodward headshotWhat's only slightly less stunning is this: Trump said that to Woodward, right, in one of the 18(!) interviews he granted the reporter between December 5, 2019 and July 21, 2020. And this: Woodward recorded the audio of all of those interviews with Trump's permission!

Why, why, why would the President grant Woodward so much access? And why would the famously denial-prone Trump allow Woodward to tape the conversations so that there can be no doubt about a) their authenticity or b) what he actually said?

Good question! And one that can only be answered by understanding Trump's psyche and the unique role that Woodward plays in American politics. Continued below.

djt william barr doj photo march 2019

Donald Trump, the impeached president and accused rapist, welcomed Attorney General William Barr, a former CIA officer and longtime Republican political fixer covering up scandal, to office last year. As revealed by the Justice Integrity Project last year in Senators Fail To Grill Barr On His CIA Past, Iran-Contra Cover-up and in Trump Found His Roy Cohn In Deep State Fixer Bill Barr , no one in the U.S. Senate brought out during Barr's confirmation hearing anything about his first career as a CIA officer or his work during the Reagan-Bush Administrations to cover up official law-breaking in the Iran-Contra Scandal, including help arrange pardons for those federally indicted. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Justice Dept. Intervenes to Help Trump in E. Jean Carroll Lawsuit, Alan Feuer, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). Government lawyers sought to take over President Trump’s defense in a defamation suit from Ms. Carroll, who said he raped her in the 1990s.

e jean carrollE. Jean Carroll, a writer shown at left and below right in a file photo from earlier in her career, sued President Trump last November, claiming that he lied by publicly denying he had ever met her. The Justice Department moved on Tuesday to replace President Trump’s private legal team with government lawyers to defend him against a defamation lawsuit by the author E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.

djt handwave fileIn a highly unusual legal move, lawyers for the Justice Department said in court papers that Mr. Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Ms. Carroll and thus could be defended by government lawyers — in effect underwritten by taxpayer money.

Though the law gives employees of the federal government immunity from most defamation lawsuits, legal experts said it has rarely, if ever, been used before to protect a president, especially for actions taken before he entered office.

e jean carroll twitter“The question is,” said Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, “is it really within the scope of the law for government lawyers to defend someone accused of lying about a rape when he wasn’t even president yet?” Related story below.

The motion also effectively protects Mr. Trump from any embarrassing disclosures in the middle of his campaign for re-election. A state judge issued a ruling last month that potentially opened the door to Mr. Trump being deposed in the case before the election in November, and Ms. Carroll’s lawyers have also requested that he provide a DNA sample to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress that Ms. Carroll said she was wearing at the time of the encounter.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyer said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that the Justice Department’s move to intervene in the case was a “shocking” attempt to bring the resources of the United States government to bear on a private legal matter.

Virus Updates, Responses

djt virus trump did it Custom

Palmer Report, Opinion: Lordy, there are tapes of Donald Trump confessing that he lied about the coronavirus threat, Bill Palmer, Sept. 9, 2020. All along there djt smiling filehas been no question that Donald Trump negligently mishandled the coronavirus threat in the United States from day one. He kept making false statements about how many Americans had been infected. He repeatedly called it a “hoax.”

The only question has been whether Trump was merely being ignorantly negligent, or if he was doing it on purpose. Now he’s been caught flat out admitting it was the latter.

bill palmer report logo headerDonald Trump agreed to a series of interviews with Bob Woodward (of Woodward and Bernstein fame) for a new book. On February 7th, Trump flat out confessed that the coronavirus was “deadly stuff” – even while he was publicly calling it a hoax. On March 19th, Trump then admitted to Woodward that he had “wanted to always play it down.” Notably, Woodward recorded all of these conversations, meaning there are tapes – which Woodward will certainly release.

These taped confessions serve to erase any benefit of the doubt that voters in the middle might have been giving Donald Trump when it came to the coronavirus. In his own voice, he’s been caught admitting that he knew it was deadly all along, and that he lied to the American people about it. This isn’t just politically devastating for Trump; it’s a confession to negligent homicide.

washington post logoWashington Post, Vaccine CEOs issue safety pledge amid Trump’s quest for pre-election approval, Christopher Rowland, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). The joint statement by nine chief executives represents an extraordinary effort to bolster public faith in a vaccine.

The statement included a vow that the companies would “only submit for approval or emergency use authorization after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study that is designed and conducted to meet requirements of expert regulatory authorities such as FDA.”

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 9, 2020 13:41 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than total covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2below),

  • World Cases: 27,786,454, Deaths: 902,786
  • U.S. Cases: 6,515,538, Deaths: 194,075

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Most Americans won’t be allowed to get a vaccine immediately, Paige Winfield Cunningham, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). The most likely scenario to play out is that the Food and Drug Administration would grant initial approval to vaccinate just front-line health workers, those older dc statehood logo Customthan 65 and those with underlying medical conditions, two industry vaccine experts tell me.

It would come in the form of an emergency use authorization — a shortcut for the government to approve medicines and treatments in dire circumstances – as large clinical trials continue.

ny times logoNew York Times, College Quarantine Breakdowns Leave Some at Risk, Natasha Singer, Sept. 9, 2020. Across the United States, colleges that have reopened for in-person instruction are struggling to contain the rapid-fire spread of coronavirus among tens of thousands of students by imposing tough social-distancing rules and piloting an array of new technologies, like virus tracking apps.

But perhaps their most complex problem has been what to do with students who test positive for the virus or come into contact with someone who has. To this end, many campuses are subjecting students to one of the oldest infection control measures known to civilization: quarantine.

Many public and private colleges have set aside special dormitories, or are renting off-campus apartments or hotel rooms to provide isolation beds for infected students and separate quarantine units for the possibly sick.

The general strategy has been supported by public health officials like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, who say it is better to separate students until they are no longer contagious rather than send them home where they might infect their family and friends.

Probes Of Trump, Familydonald trump ny daily pussy

New allegations echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. moves to take over defamation case against Trump, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). Justice Dept. moves to take over defamation case against Trump, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 8, 2020. The Justice Department sought to move the matter to federal court and signaled it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than President Trump himself — the defendant in the case brought by E. Jean Carroll, right, who has accused Trump of raping her.

e jean carroll headshotJustice Department log circularThe Justice Department on Tuesday intervened in the defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says President Trump raped her years ago, moving the matter to federal court and signaling it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than Trump himself — the defendant in the case.

In filings in federal court in Manhattan, the Justice Department asserted that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office as President of the United States” when he denied during interviews in 2019 that he had raped journalist E. Jean Carroll more than two decades ago in a New York City department store. Carroll sued Trump over that denial in November.

The maneuver removes the case — at least for now — from state court in New York, where a judge last month had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay and put e jean carroll cover new york magazineCarroll’s team back on course to seek a DNA sample and an under-oath interview from the president. It also means that Justice Department lawyers will be essentially aiding Trump’s defense, and taxpayers could be on the hook for any potential damages, if the U.S. government is allowed to stand in for Trump. Winning damages against the government, though, would be more unlikely than in donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaa suit against Trump, as the notion of “sovereign immunity” gives the government and its employees broad protection from lawsuits.

In a statement, Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, blasted the department’s filing. She noted that because a New York state court had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay, he was “soon going to be required to produce documents, provide a DNA sample, and sit for a deposition.”

“Realizing that there was no valid basis to appeal that decision in the New York courts, on the very day that he would have been required to appeal, Trump instead enlisted the U.S. Department of Justice to replace his private lawyers and argue that when he lied about sexually assaulting our client, explaining that she ‘wasn’t his type,’ he was acting in his official capacity as President of the United States,” Kaplan said.

Carroll said in a statement that the Justice Department’s actions “demonstrate that Trump will do everything possible, including using the full powers of the federal government, to block discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming election to try to prevent a jury from ever deciding which one of us is lying.”

“But Trump underestimates me, and he also has underestimated the American people,” Carroll said.

cnn logoCNN, Analysis: Here's *exactly* why Donald Trump talked to Bob Woodward so much, Chris Cillizza, Sept. 9, 2020. Continued from above.

Let's start with Trump.

For all the attacks he lobs at the media, there is NO president who has more closely followed how he is covered and treated by the press than Trump. And it's not even close. He is a voracious consumer of cable news as well as print newspapers. Cable TV has long been the lens through which he views the world and, since being elected president, the way that he analyzes -- in real time -- how he thinks he is doing.

That obsession with perception has naturally lead Trump into forever hunting out ways to cement his legacy in office. Whether that's the almost farcical attempt to buy Greenland or his fascination with the possibility of his face being added to Mount Rushmore, Trump has shown a unbending focus on creating and preserving his legacy. (Trump thinks like a real estate developer; he goes big!)

Now to Woodward.

bob woodward headshotWoodward, right, made his name, obviously, as one of the two reporters who broke the criminal enterprise overseen by President Richard Nixon and known as "Watergate." In his later years, Woodward has turned almost exclusively to writing books -- and books that chronicle the life and times of presidents in office. He wrote four books about George W. Bush's eight years in the White House and two about Barack Obama. And in 2018, Woodward released "Fear" -- his first book about the Trump White House.

In short: Woodward is writing the history of each president as it happens. He is the most recognizable and famous political journalist in the country. When Bob Woodward says he wants to write about you -- even if you are a billionaire businessman or the president of the United States -- you are flattered. And you see opportunity, because if you can convince Woodward that the coverage of you is unfair and biased and that you are really doing a great job, well, then, maybe history starts remembering you the way you want it to.

Every president who has cooperated with Woodward to some extent or another has been driven by the appeal of dealing with someone with the sort of influence they believe can shape how they are not just perceived in the moment but remembered. The appeal of telling the "real" story to a journalist of Woodward's stature, bringing him in behind the curtain, is irresistible.

And never more so than with Trump, who is not only obsessed with how he is covered and what his legacy will be but also has a superhuman belief in his ability to talk his way in or out of almost anything. Trump views himself as a master manipulator, someone who is so good at reading other people that he knows how to get what he wants even as they think they are getting what they want.

Which is why Trump was so frustrated with his lack of involvement in "Fear," he called Woodward after the manuscript had already been finished to offer to participate.

As CNN's Kaitlan Collins tweeted Wednesday: "Trump talked to Woodward 18 times for this book, a decision many are now questioning. One reason Trump was so irritated aides didn't tell him about Woodward's attempts to interview him for his last book was because he thought he could have made himself look better in it."

Trump missed out on the last one and he damn sure wasn't going to miss out on this one! Even if it meant granting unbelievably free access -- 18 interviews!!! -- to a journalist who had written a hugely critical book less than two years ago about his White House. (The lead of The New York Times review of Fear is incredible: "Nothing in Bob Woodward's sober and grainy new book, 'Fear: Trump in the White House,' is especially surprising. This is a White House that has leaked from Day 1. We knew things were bad. Woodward is here, like a state trooper knocking on the door at 3 a.m., to update the sorry details.")

Trump has two Achilles heels in politics and life. The first is that he cares so desperately about how people think of him and remember him that he is willing to do almost anything to impact his legacy. The second is that he believes far too much in his own ability to persuade. Woodward (and the book he has produced) cuts at both of the heels.

More On Postal Service Scandals

washington post logoWashington Post, House Oversight Committee will investigate DeJoy's campaign fundraising, Amy Gardner, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). House Democrats are launching an investigation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and called for his immediate suspension following accusations that he reimbursed carolyn maloney oemployees for campaign contributions they made to his preferred GOP politicians, an arrangement that would be unlawful.

postal service old logoRep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.),left, said in a statement late Monday that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which she chairs, would begin an investigation, saying that DeJoy may have lied to her committee under oath.

Maloney also urged the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service to immediately suspend DeJoy, whom “they never should have hired in the first place,” she said.

Salon, Senate Dems probe political donations surrounding nomination of Louis DeJoy’s wife to be ambassador, Roger Sollenberger, Sept. 9, 2020. Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are investigating the events surrounding the nomination us mail logoof Aldona Wos, the wife of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada following a report on high-dollar donations made by Salon.

us senate logoDeJoy, a top Trump donor and the former head fundraiser for the Republican National Convention, made a series of major donations to the Trump campaign and Senate Republicans leading up to his wife's nomination, federal election records show.

In the weeks surrounding the nomination, DeJoy gave Trump Victory $360,600. He also gave a $35,000 maximum donation to the Senate GOP's election committee the day after Trump announced his intention to nominate Wos.

The Senate oversees the confirmation of all U.S. ambassadors. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., the current chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), sits on the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, which is currently holding confirmation proceedings for Wos.

ny times logo

New York Times, Democrats Fear Partisan Slant at Postal Service as Trump Allies Dominate Board, Luke Broadwater, Hailey Fuchs and Kenneth P. Vogel, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). At least one of the board’s governors expressed concerns about possible voter fraud. Other governors have done little to hide their loyalty to President Trump.

The five Republicans on the seven-member board have taken a hands-on role in trying to defend the agency against accusations that it is trying to help the president win a second term by sabotaging voting by mail.

A powerful but little-known group of Republican donors installed by President Trump to oversee the United States Postal Service has helped raise more than $3 million to support him and hundreds of millions more for his party over the past decade, prompting concerns about partisan bias at the agency before the November election.

rnc logoThe largest amount of fund-raising has been by groups with connections to Robert M. Duncan, who continues to sit on the boards of two super PACs pushing for Republicans to win in 2020, one of which has spent more than $1 million supporting the president’s re-election. But he is only one of five Republican members Mr. Trump has named to the board — most of whom have given generously to the party — who have taken a hands-on role in trying to defend the embattled agency against accusations that it is trying to help the president win a second term by sabotaging voting by mail.

At least one of the governors expressed concerns in an interview like those voiced by the president about possible voter fraud, citing an anonymously sourced news report circulated by the Trump campaign and the president’s son Eric Trump about how mail-in ballots can be manipulated.

“If any doubt is ever raised — like in the New York Post article, or by any other reputable publication — we want to get to the bottom of that,” said John M. Barger, one of the Republican board members named by Mr. Trump and a participant in a newly formed election mail task force.

Other governors have done little to hide their loyalty to the president, even as the board meets behind closed doors to plot a strategy for handling what is expected to be a record crush of mail-in ballots this fall.

djt maga hatHours after Mr. Duncan assured lawmakers at a Capitol Hill hearing last month that he was committed to doing his job without partisan bias and according to “the public interest,” he appeared on video at the Republican National Convention, holding up four fingers and smiling as fellow Kentuckians chanted, “Four more years!”

For Democrats who are increasingly concerned that Mr. Trump is bent on kneecapping the mail system to bolster his own re-election chances, the juxtaposition was an alarming reminder that the president has stacked the Postal Service board with allies who support him, and who can amplify and act on the concerns he has tried to sow about mail-in voting.

A Postal Service spokesman did not provide specific responses to multiple questions concerning the board of governors, except to say that Mr. Duncan’s appearance at the Republican National Convention did not involve government resources and therefore did not violate federal law against partisan activities by federal workers. Mr. Duncan did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: Senate Will Vote to Advance Scaled-Back Stimulus Bill, Staff reports, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). Lawmakers returned to Washington today for the battle over virus relief — and to face a potential government shutdown.

The Republican plan would reinstate lapsed federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week — half their previous level — and allocate funds for schools, virus testing and the Postal Service. Democrats are likely to block it.

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: Biden’s Michigan Speech Can Be Historical Turning Point as Most Pro-Labor Talk by a Presidential Candidate in Recent Memory, webster tarpley twitterWebster G. Tarpley, right, Sept. 9, 2020. He slamsTrump’s failure to deliver on election promises to working people, inflicting instead 4.7 million jobs losses, recession since late 2019, and 500,000 fewer jobs created yearly than under Obama; rate of offshoring of federal contracts has doubled, with merchandise trade deficit at all-time high.

Biden demands 10% tax penalty for sending us jobs overseas, and no more tax deductions for expenses of moving a runaway shop; made in america tax credit of 10% for domestic production, including revival and retooling of existing plants; approach recalls jfk’s highly successful investment tax credit.

Warren, Michigan, where Biden spoke, is county seat of macomb county, and has long been the classic test bed of the Reagan Democrats, the stratum of blue collar white workers whose alienation from Democrats has wrought untold damage on us; Warren hit hard by recent closure of GM transmission plant on Trump’s watch; today’s speech is step away from identity group formula, and towards a new Democratic majority advancing mass traction economic demands.

U.S. Crime, Race, Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, New York gynecologist indicted on federal charges of sexually assaulting patients, Meryl Kornfield, Sept. 9, 2020. The gynecologist accused of sexual assault by the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was indicted on federal charges for the sexual abuse of six women over nearly two decades, according to federal prosecutors.

Former Manhattan doctor Robert A. Hadden is charged with six counts of enticing women to engage in illegal sex acts, Audrey Strauss, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced Wednesday at a joint news conference with FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr.

Hadden, 62, was arrested by federal authorities at 6 a.m. in New Jersey, Strauss said.

Prosecutors allege that Hadden sexually assaulted dozens of women who were his patients at his OB/GYN practice from 1993 to 2012 “under the guise of purported medical examinations,” Strauss said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Rochester police chief, other high-ranking officials retire amid inquiry into man’s death in custody, Shayna Jacobs and Tim Craig, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). The police chief and other high-ranking officials in Rochester’s 850-officer department have resigned amid controversy over the death of Daniel Prude while in police custody in March, the city’s mayor said.

World News

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washington post logoWashington Post, Boris Johnson’s threat to override Brexit deal would be unlawful, E.U. says, Karla Adam, William Booth and Michael Birnbaum, Sept. 9, 2020. boris johnson tieThe proposed legislation could just be a negotiating tactic, but it could also sour Britain’s relationship with its European allies.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Wednesday threatened to override elements of the Brexit withdrawal deal painfully negotiated with the European Union, a move that E.U. leaders charged — and a British minister, right, acknowledged — could breach international law.

Consortium News via OpEdNews, Day Two of Assange Hearing In London: U.S. Tries to Narrow its Espionage Charge to Only Naming Informants, Consortium News, Sept. 9,  2020. The prosecution tried to narrow the Espionage Act charges down to only classified documents that mentioned the names of informants, a gambit shot down by the defense when it quoted directly from the indictment proving otherwise.

Before the defense got the chance, Julian Assange shouted from his glass cage at the back of the court that it was "nonsense" to suggest he wasn't being prosecuted for all the classified material he published. That brought a firm warning from Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser that he would be removed from the court if he did it again.

United Kingdom flagThe informants theme is one we can expect the government to continue harping on for the duration of this hearing, as they have very little else go on. James Lewis QC for the prosecution quoted from a book that alleges Assange said informants deserved to die, an assertion that has been denied by a German editor present. He is to testify next week.

The other line of attack from the prosecution is that Assange "conspired" with Chelsea Manning to "hack" government a computer to obtain classified documents. In the afternoon, the continuation of Prof. Mark Feldstein continued from Monday.

Under direct examination Feldstein made a spirited defense of Assange's activities as being routine for journalists. The government, he said, "paints journalistic activities in a nefarious light." He said it is "standard to ask sources for evidence and documents to back up what they say and working with them to find documents, making suggestions to what they should look for. It's all routine."

Feldstein also told defense attorney Mark Summers that no publisher had ever been prosecuted before for publishing, but that former presidents had tried. He told the story of Richard Nixon who wanted to prosecute columnist Jack Anderson but was told by his attorney he could not because it would violate the First Amendment.

So Nixon then hatched plans with a former CIA agent to send a false story on White House letterhead hoping he'd publish it then be exposed, but Anderson checked it out and didn't use it, unlike many of today's journalists who run with government hand-outs.

washington post logoUnited Kingdom flagWashington Post, British family whose son was killed in crash files U.S. lawsuit against wife of American official, William Booth and Karla Adam, Sept. 9, 2020. The wrongful death lawsuit against Anne Sacoolas in the case of Harry Dunn escalates a source of friction between British and U.S. officials. Sacoolas left Britain shortly after the August 2019 collision, and the U.S. government has asserted that she had diplomatic immunity.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. to Reduce Troop Levels in Iraq to 3,000, in a long-expected move, Eric Schmitt, Sept. 9, 2020. It’s about what they were during the early campaign against ISIS in 2015. The long-planned cuts maintain a U.S. counterterrorism force in Iraq but help fulfill President Trump’s goal to reduce overseas deployments.

U.S. force levels in the country peaked at more than 150,000 service members at the height of the Iraq war.

U.S. Wildfire Disasters

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: Evacuations in California and Oregon as historic fires engulf West, Staff reports, Sept. 9, 2020. Suffocating smoke from wildfires elevates air pollution to hazardous levels; Widespread evacuations and emergency orders grip Oregon amid ‘once-in-a-generation’ wildfires. 

ny times logoNew York Times, You Couldn’t See Anything’: Harrowing Rescues as California Fires Rage, Thomas Fuller and Sarah Mervosh, Updated Sept. 9, 2020.  Two military veterans who led a helicopter rescue this weekend said it was the most challenging flying of their careers.

In a scene that played out multiple times over the weekend and into Tuesday afternoon, the California National Guard airlifted hundreds of civilians, their exits trapped by a dense ring of fire.

ny times logoNew York Times, The effects of climate change, including wildfires, threaten U.S. financial markets, a federal report found, Coral Davenport and Jeanna Smialek, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). A report commissioned by President Trump’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued dire warnings about climate change’s impact on financial markets.

“A world wracked by frequent and devastating shocks from climate change cannot sustain the fundamental conditions supporting our financial system,” concluded the report, “Managing Climate Risk in the Financial System,” which was requested last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and set for release on Wednesday morning.

Those observations are not entirely new, but they carry new weight coming with the imprimatur of the regulator of complex financial instruments like futures, swaps and other derivatives that help fix the price of commodities like corn, oil and wheat. It is the first wide-ranging federal government study focused on the specific impacts of climate change on Wall Street.

Perhaps most notable is that it is being published at all. The Trump administration has suppressed, altered or watered down government science around climate change as it pushes an aggressive agenda of environmental deregulation that it hopes will spur economic growth.

 

Sept. 8

Top Headlines

Virus Updates, Responses

Probes Of Trump, Family

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

Police, Race Protests, Reactions

Media News

U.S. Prisons, Law, Crime

World News

 U.S. Wildfires

Top Stories

Wired, Peter Strzok Has a Warning About Russia — and Trump, Garrett M. Graff, right, Sept. 8, 2020. In an interview with Wired and in his new book, the former FBI garrett graff twitteragent details the threats the U.S. faces as the 2020 election looms.

In his new book out today, former FBI agent Peter Strzok eschewed the traditional complimentary blurbs from famous friends for a different tack. The back cover of Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump relies instead on some very famous criticism: Trump calling Strzok a “fraud.”

peter strzok portrait cbsThat approach seems fitting, since the reason Strzok, left, wrote a book at all is that he was caught up in a unique 21st-century scandal, a surreal intersection of texts, tweets, Donald Trump, and Russia. Strzok became the most famous FBI agent in the world after his private, candid political comments and fears about Donald Trump were spread — cynically and wrongly — by Rod Rosenstein’s Justice Department as part of the inspector general’s review of the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Investigators also uncovered and publicized Strzok’s affair with fellow FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

“Fraud” is hardly even the worst thing Trump has called the former agent; Strzok’s partial list of presidential insults on page 303 fills nearly half the page: “incompetent,” “corrupt," “horrible,” “hate-filled” “totally biased,” “low,” “terrible,” “disgusting,” “stupid” “bad person,” “sick sick” person,” “con artist,” “evil person,” and much more.

Most of all, though, Trump accused Strzok of “treason,” of being the central figure in a Deep State plot to block and negate his presidential victory, of leading a “coup.” The irony isn’t lost on Strzok, who in 2016 found himself both leading the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and simultaneously racing to uncover the truth about the Russian links to the Trump campaign.

peter strzok compromised coverIndeed, part of what makes Strzok such an odd villain for the Trump age is that — apart from some inopportune intimate text messages — all evidence seems to show that Strzok approached the Trump investigation with integrity and independence. Through a fall where he and other senior FBI leaders possessed perhaps the most damaging secret ever on a presidential candidate, none of them uttered the slightest public hint.

“Everything the FBI did that fall hurt Hillary and helped Trump. All this talk about a coup — there are things right now that I and others know from 2016 that would still damage his candidacy today,” Strzok told me in a phone interview this week. “We’re all walking around and no one’s said a word. If this is a coup it’s incompetent.”

That practiced silence — the code of intelligence professionals — showcases the other irony of his new book and publicity tour: Until the moment his text messages became stunningly public, Strzok as a counterintelligence agent had tried hard to stay out of the public eye.

He relates the story of how 19 years ago, as a relatively junior agent in Boston on September 11, 2001, he and his partner located the car in the Logan Airport parking garage left behind by the hijackers, and then how, as news crews descended on the scene, he had to step behind a concrete pillar to hide his face. Even then, his day job was tracking Russian spies, surveilling and watching two of what would later be exposed as “the Illegals,” the deep-cover Russian intelligence officers living ordinary lives in the United States that would inspire the hit FX TV show, The Americans.

ny times logoNew York Times, How Trump’s Billion-Dollar Campaign Lost Its Cash Advantage, Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, Sept. 8, 2020 (print ed.). Five months ago, President djt pence yard sign logoTrump’s campaign had a financial edge over Joe Biden’s. But now, some are forecasting the unthinkable: a cash crunch. Continued below.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Donald Trump

 Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Donald Trump

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump employs violence as political fuel for reelection fight, Michael Scherer, Sept. 8, 2020. President Trump has reverted to using graphic depictions of violence as a centerpiece of his campaign strategy, using his Twitter account, stump speech and even the White House podium as platforms for amplifying domestic conflict.

djt pence yard sign logoPresident Trump has reverted to using graphic depictions of violence as a centerpiece of his reelection campaign strategy, using his Twitter account, stump speech and even the White House podium as platforms for amplifying domestic conflict.

His 2016 focus on Islamic radical terrorism and undocumented-immigrant crime, which he credited with helping him win the Republican nomination, has been replaced by warnings of new threats, as he elevates gruesome images of Black-on-White crime, street fights involving his supporters and police misconduct riots nationwide.

The pattern continued over the holiday weekend, when he tweeted video of a melee in Texas between protesters and security officers during an event for a Trump-affiliated group and two celebratory videos of a protester in Portland, Ore., with his feet on fire. One of the videos was scored to the Kenny Loggins song “Footloose” and the second featured mocking play-by-play commentary by a mixed-martial-arts announcer.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Michael Cohen reveals how Donald Trump rigged the 2016 Republican primary race, Bill Palmer, Sept. 8, 2020. Over the years it’s become clear how Donald Trump rigged the 2016 general election: he conspired with Russia and WikiLeaks to spread false stories about Hillary Clinton. The question has always been how Trump managed to win the Republican nomination to begin with. Various Republican candidates were gaining on him at various points, but then they each conveniently fell off.

Now Michael Cohen is revealing that Donald Trump rigged the Republican primary race as well. Each time a Republican candidate began surging in the polls, Trump and Cohen conspired with the National Enquirer to run false stories about that candidate. This included the false story that Marco Rubio had a david pecker croppeddrug problem, and false stories about Ted Cruz’s family.

These fake and coordinated stories can be seen as an illegal campaign contribution on the part of the National Enquirer. Of course the National Enquirer’s boss David Pecker, right, is already on the legal hook for various Trump-related scandals – a reminder that everyone in Trump’s orbit goes down eventually. Just ask Michael Cohen.

Virus Updates, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: Drugmaker Halts Vaccine Trial to Investigate Participant’s Illness, Staff reports, Sept. 8, 2020. AstraZeneca paused global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of a serious adverse reaction in one person, the pharmaceutical company said. Some JPMorgan Chase employees and customers misused federal virus aid money, according to an internal memo. Here’s the latest.

washington post logoWashington Post, India surpasses Brazil to take second spot in total coronavirus cases, behind only the U.S., Joanna Slater and Niha Masih, Sept. 8, india flag map2020 (print ed.). The outbreak in the country of more than 1.3 billion people shows no sign of peaking. India overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world as infections continue to accelerate in this country of more than 1.3 billion people.

India added 90,802 cases — a fresh global record in the pandemic — in the last 24 hours, pushing its total past 4.2 million. Only the United States, with 6.2 million cases, has recorded more. Brazil had 4.1 million cases as of Sunday evening.

More than 71,000 people in India have died from covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, making it the worst-affected nation in Asia.

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 8, 2020 14:32 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than total covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2below),

  • World Cases: 27,555,214, Deaths: 897,906
  • U.S. Cases: 6,488,716, Deaths: 193,596

Probes Of Trump, Family

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: Donald, Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and Ivana Trump bear all the markings of a Warsaw Pact wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallintelligence sleeper family, Wayne Madsen, left,Sept. 8, 2020. "The Americans," a highly acclaimed FX television series, was a fictionalized account of a married couple and their two children living in Falls Church, Virginia during the Cold War years of the 1980s.

But the suburban Washington family, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings and their two children, Paige and Henry, were no ordinary family. The four were Soviet KGB sleeper agents, whose mission was to penetrate the highest circles of the U.S. government.

wayne madesen report logoEspionage tradecraft during and after the Cold War included the placement of such "sleepers" in targeted nations. There is a growing realization that the Trump family may be a real life version of the fictional Jennings family on TV.

WMR's recently-published analysis of declassified Eastern European intelligence files — The Axis Reconstituted: An Analysis of Neo-Fascism — provide details that, as early as 1976, Donald Trump was targeted by the KGB and Czechoslovak State Security (Státní bezpečnost-StB) as a sleeper agent. StB and KGB files show that both intelligence agencies had placed a great deal of stock in Trump and his StB informant wife, Ivana Zelníčková, cozying up to various U.S. presidential candidates.

In his new book, Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump, Peter Strzok, former Assistant Director of the FBI for Counterintelligence, states that it was his belief when running the bureau's operation CROSSFIRE HURRICANE -- the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign, that Trump is an espionage threat to the United States.

WMR's own analysis of declassified StB; KGB; and East German Ministry of State Security (Stasi) and East German foreign intelligence, Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA)(Main Reconnaissance Administration) files agrees with Strzok's contention.

djt michael cohen disloyal

Palmer Report, Opinion: Michael Cohen just destroyed Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, right, Sept. 8, 2020. Donald Trump is facing a list of crises a mile long. His 2020 bill palmercampaign is by all accounts flat broke, and he’s talking about putting $100 million of his own cash into the campaign – but we all know the debt-laden Trump doesn’t have $100 million cash. And of course if Trump loses the election he goes to prison.

So where is Trump’s focus right now? It’s certainly not on winning. Instead he’s focused on trying to spin up a conspiracy theory involving his former fixer Michael Cohen and, bizarrely, CNN host Chris Cuomo. Trump has even decided that Cohen is now Cuomo’s lawyer.

Trump posted this tweet today, complete with an ethnic slur against Italians: “Fredo’s got a convicted lier for a lawyer, who may be going bill palmer report logo headerback to jail for an even longer time – additional lies to Congress. Many more tapes of him with Fredo and other media scum reporters. Reveals how deranged & sick they all are!”

That’s right, Donald Trump just vowed to put Michael Cohen back in prison. This tweet alone represents felony obstruction of justice on Trump’s part. But to give you an idea of how little Cohen is worried right now, he replied to Trump’s tweet and simply pointed out that Trump spelled “liar” incorrectly. We’re giving the win to Michael Cohen, on the day of his book launch no less.

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

ny times logoNew York Times, How Trump’s Billion-Dollar Campaign Lost Its Cash Advantage, Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, Sept. 8, 2020 (print ed.) (Continued from above).

Money was supposed to have been one of the great advantages of incumbency for President Trump, much as it was for President Barack Obama in 2012 and George W. Bush in 2004. After getting outspent in 2016, Mr. Trump filed for re-election on the day of his inauguration — earlier than any other modern president — betting that the head start would deliver him a decisive financial advantage this year.

djt pence yard sign logoIt seemed to have worked. His rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., was relatively broke when he emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee this spring, and Mr. Trump and the Republican National Committee had a nearly $200 million cash advantage.

Five months later, Mr. Trump’s financial supremacy has evaporated. Of the $1.1 billon his campaign and the party raised from the beginning of 2019 through July, more than $800 million has already been spent. Now some people inside the campaign are forecasting what was once unthinkable: a cash crunch with less than 60 days until the election, according to Republican officials briefed on the matter.

Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager, liked to call Mr. Trump’s re-election war machine an “unstoppable juggernaut.” But interviews with more than a dozen current and former campaign aides and Trump allies, and a review of thousands of items in federal campaign filings, show that the president’s campaign and the R.N.C. developed some profligate habits as they burned through hundreds of millions of dollars. Since Bill Stepien replaced Mr. Parscale in July, the campaign has imposed a series of belt-tightening measures that have reshaped initiatives, including hiring practices, travel and the advertising budget.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s campaign is imploding in real time – and it’s a sight to see, Bill Palmer, Sept. 8, 2020. It was clear something was very donald trump money palmer report Customwrong two months ago when Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign pulled the plug on all TV ad spending, in the wake of Brad Parscale’s demotion. It was too late in the election cycle to be shutting down TV ads entirely, even if they were ill-conceived and underperforming. When the Trump campaign shut down its TV ads again this weekend, this time in the key swing state of Arizona, it meant something was very wrong. Now we know what.

bill palmer report logo headerDonald Trump’s campaign is broke. It was easy to see coming; it’s literally the only reason a campaign would stop running TV ads in the places where it desperately needs to be running TV ads. Moreover, Trump’s campaign is imploding, as everyone argues about where the money went. According to a startling New York Times expose, the Trump campaign is blaming Parscale for blowing through all the money in reckless and corrupt fashion. He’s insisting the campaign signed off on every dollar he blew – and he seems to be trying to throw RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel under the bus. It gets uglier.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosThe Trump 2020 campaign has also allegedly funneled a quarter billion dollars into a consulting firm, so the money could be handed out to people like Eric Trump’s wife and Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend. Campaign money is also being used to pay Donald Trump’s legal bills, and to buy the silence of people in Trump’s orbit. In other words, as we’ve all long suspected, the Trump clan has been stuffing the Trump campaign’s money into their own pockets.

What’s remarkable is that the Trump 2020 campaign is so greedily out of control, the people running it have gobbled up all the money for themselves, leaving insufficient funds left for the campaign to operate on. We all intuitively knew that Trump and his people were stealing from their own campaign. But it turns out they’ve stolen so much, they’ve crippled the campaign – and that may have cost Trump whatever chance he had at reelection. That’s ironic, considering Trump has to win in order to remain out of prison.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: It's not 2016 for third-party candidates, David Weigel, Sept. 8, 2020. Left-wing dreams of a “dirty break” from the Democrats have been put on pause. Plans for a centrist third party imploded, as they had in 2008 and 2012, even before former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz pulled the plug on an independent bid after a combination of backlash and disinterest. And the Libertarian Party, which won its biggest-ever vote total four years ago, nominated party activist Jo Jorgensen for president after Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan abandoned his short, attention-grabbing campaign.

In the last election, the nomination of unpopular Democratic and Republican nominees created openings for third parties and made it easier for Trump to win. In 14 states, neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton cracked 50 percent of the vote. In Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as Democrats painfully remind themselves, the vote for third-party candidates was much bigger than Trump's win margin.

Six percent of voters didn't vote for either major-party candidate, the biggest rejection of the system in 20 years. More than 1.2 million Americans wrote in a candidate instead of picking the options on their ballots, more than quadruple the number who did so in 2012 — when 284,920 write-ins had set a record. Thousands more just left the top of the ballot blank.

Pollsters aren't seeing the ingredients for that this year. Trump, who has consolidated Republican voters and conservative former Democrats, is viewed more favorably than he was in 2016. Biden is viewed far more favorably than the last Democratic nominee, with no single scandal or flaw defining him as the FBI's probe of her email server defined Clinton.

Police, Race Protests, Reactions

washington post logoWashington Post, Utah police shoot 13-year-old autistic boy after his mother called 911 for help, Tim Elfrink, Sept. 8, 2020. "Why didn’t you just tackle him?” said his mother, Golda Barton. “He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”

When Golda Barton dialed 911 on Friday, she hoped emergency responders could help hospitalize her 13-year-old son, who has Asperger syndrome and was having a mental crisis.

Instead, a Salt Lake City police officer repeatedly shot Linden Cameron after he ran away, leaving the boy in serious condition with injuries to his intestines, bladder, shoulder and ankles. Barton says he was unarmed, and police said they didn’t find a weapon at the scene.

washington post logoWashington Post, Wis. suburbs a testing ground for Trump’s appeals to White grievance, Robert Klemko and Robert Costa, Sept. 8, 2020 (print ed.). Polling in the politically important state shows declining support for protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. And interviews with voters revealed that President Trump’s efforts to present himself as the “law-and-order” candidate are hardening at least a portion of his support base.

Media News

washington post logoWashington Post, Saudi Arabia issues final rulings in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, sentencing 8 defendants to prison, Kareem Fahim, Sept. 8, 2020 (print ed.). The verdicts came after a trial that was closed to the public and that failed to meet international standards, human rights groups said. The court late last year cleared two top aides to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman whom prosecutors had linked to the killing.

U.S. Prisons, Law, Crime

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: ‘Or I Will Stab You Right Now’: A Family’s Prison Extortion Nightmare, Serge F. Kovaleski and Dan Barry, Sept. 8, 2020. The terrifying calls and texts to the Rust family began soon after Ryan Rust became an inmate in the Alabama correctional system. Before long, his relatives were arming themselves for protection.

“I bought an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and 1,000 rounds of ammo because things had become so serious,” Jeff Rust, his father, said. “These inmates have reach that goes way beyond the prison.”

That life-rattling reach is facilitated by the inmates’ relatively easy access to an item they supposedly forfeited once they entered the Alabama prison system: cellphones.

While serving time, Ryan Rust was beaten, stabbed and threatened with hot oil if his relatives didn’t pay up.

Extortion by prison pay phones has long been a problem. But illegal cellphones have facilitated the delivery of threats, vexing corrections officials across the country. Smuggling of the devices is common, often by prison workers eager for money, and jamming cellphone signals is not allowed because it would also disrupt 911 calls and other public safety communications.

The state’s longtime failure to stem their proliferation has allowed inmates to use the devices to threaten and extort families of vulnerable prisoners. The typical threat — pay or your loved one gets hurt or even killed — is delivered by call or text.

One such vulnerable prisoner was Ryan Rust, who was physically imposing, adorned with tattoos and saddled with a prescription-drug addiction. He served time in the Alabama prison system from late 2015 to late 2016 for property theft, and was back in prison by January 2018 after being convicted of rape.

“He lost privileges and was forced to go to other inmates who stockpile cigarettes and coffee, and they would charge him inflated prices,” his father recalled. “They would do the same for toothpaste, socks and deodorant. And the guards are in on it all.”

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Aleksei Navalny Out of a Coma and Responsive, German Doctors Say, Melissa Eddy, Sept. 8, 2020 (print ed.). Doctors said the Russian opposition leader’s condition had improved, but they could not rule out lasting effects of what they called a “severe poisoning.”

alexey navalny 2017The Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, right, is no longer in a medically induced coma and is responsive, doctors treating him at Charité hospital in Berlin said on Monday. But they did not rule out lasting damage from what they called his “severe poisoning” with a military-grade nerve agent.

Mr. Navalny was flown on Aug. 22 to Germany for treatment of a suspected poisoning that specialists from the German Army later determined came from the Novichok family of substances developed by the Soviet Union and used at least once before on an opponent of the Kremlin.

Ties between Berlin and Moscow, already strained over Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and suspected involvement in the slaying of a Chechen rebel commander in a Berlin park last year, have been further eroded by the poisoning of Mr. Navalny.

washington post logoWashington Post, Belarus opposition leader seized on Minsk street, local media says, Robyn Dixon, Sept. 8, 2020 (print ed.). Maria Kolesnikova, the only remaining top opposition figure in Minsk, was shoved into a van by men in plainclothes, a witness said.

U.S. Wildfire Disasters

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: Wildfires and Extreme Weather Batter Several Western States, Staff reports, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). Fire are raging along the Pacific Coast while snow falls in Colorado. Extreme weather is battering the Western United States, with fires raging along the Pacific Coast and snow falling in Colorado.

 Officials said that 80 percent of homes and structures in Malden, Wash., a town of 200, had been destroyed by fire.

Sept. 7

Top Headlines

Virus Updates, Responses

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Media News

Assange Extradition Hearing

Law, Crime, Courts

 U.S. Race Protests, Politics

Law, Prisons

U.S. Disasters, Environment

World News

Paris Hilton's #MeToo Allegation

 

Top Stories

ny times logoNew York Times, In Final Stretch, Biden Defends Lead Against Trump’s Onslaught, Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). The president is attempting to overtake his Democratic challenger with a strategy of racial polarization in heavily white Midwestern states, even as Democrats make djt biden smiles resizedinroads in the Republican-leaning South and West.

A presidential campaign long muffled by the coronavirus pandemic will burst into a newly intense and public phase after Labor Day, as Joseph R. Biden Jr. moves aggressively to defend his polling lead against a ferocious onslaught by President Trump aimed chiefly at white voters in the Midwest.

Private polls conducted for both parties during and after their August conventions found the race largely stable but tightening slightly in some states, with Mr. Trump recovering some support from conservative-leaning rural voters who had drifted away over the summer amid the worsening pandemic. Yet Mr. Biden continues to enjoy advantages with nearly every other group, especially in populous areas where the virus remains at the forefront for voters, according to people briefed on the data.

No president has entered Labor Day weekend — the traditional kickoff of the fall campaign — as such a clear underdog since George Bush in 1992. Mr. Trump has not led in public polls in such must-win states as Florida since Mr. Biden claimed the nomination in April, and there has been little fluctuation in the race. Still, the president’s surprise win in 2016 weighs heavily in the thinking of nervous Democrats and hopeful Republicans alike.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump has a long history of disparaging military service, Michael Kranish, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Long before the president’s views of the military would emerge as a flash point in his 2020 reelection campaign, Trump had an extensive track record of incendiary and disparaging remarks about veterans and military service.

President Donald Trump officialAs Donald Trump laid the groundwork in 1999 to run for president as the Reform Party candidate, he made a little-remembered attack on the person he saw as a rival in a possible general election campaign: Republican John McCain.

Many considered McCain a war hero for surviving five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and a television interviewer asked why Trump felt he was more qualified to be commander in chief.

“Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Trump said in the CBS interview.

A few years earlier, Trump had bragged on a morning radio show about avoiding the Vietnam draft, remarking that one of the show’s hosts who had gotten out of service by declaring he had a bad knee had done a “good job.”

Long before Trump’s views of the military would emerge as a flash point in his 2020 reelection campaign — before he would shock the political world with the more widely seen 2015 attack on McCain, in which he said the senator was “not a war hero” and declared, “I like people who weren’t captured” — Trump had a long track record of incendiary and disparaging remarks about veterans and military service.

YouTube, Commentary: World War II Navy combat vet, weighing in at 135-pounds, challenges Trump, (1:44 min. video). "Not a loser. Not a sucker." This 95-year-old WWII veteran has some CHOICE words for the cowardly Draft Dodger in Chief.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump and allies ratchet up disinformation efforts in late stage of campaign, Ashley Parker, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). The president and his supporters are trafficking in obfuscation and disinformation at a rapid clip, through the use of selectively edited videos, deceptive retweets and false statements.

djt pence yard sign logoFor President Trump and his allies, it was a week spent spreading doctored and misleading videos.

On Aug. 30, the president retweeted footage of a Black man violently pushing a White woman on a subway platform under the caption, “Black Lives Matter/Antifa” — but the man was not affiliated with either group, and the video was shot in October. White House social media director Dan Scavino shared a manipulated video that falsely showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden seeming to fall asleep during a television interview, complete with a fake TV headline.

And Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-ranking House Republican, released a video splicing together quotes from activist Ady Barkan — who has Lou Gehrig’s disease and uses computer voice assistance — to falsely make it sound as if he had persuaded Biden to defund police departments.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: USPS chief’s rise in GOP was fueled by donations from his company’s workers, former employees say, Aaron C. Davis, Amy Gardner and Jon Swaine, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). A spokesman for the postmaster general said Louis DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign Louis Dejoy Customfundraising laws and regulations.”

Louis DeJoy’s prolific campaign fundraising, which helped position him as a top Republican power broker in North Carolina and ultimately as head of the U.S. Postal Service, was bolstered for more than a decade by a practice that left many employees feeling pressured to make political contributions to GOP candidates — money DeJoy later reimbursed through bonuses, former employees say.

Five people who worked for DeJoy’s former business, New Breed Logistics, say they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by the chief executive himself to write checks and attend fundraisers at his 15,000-square-foot gated mansion beside a Greensboro, N.C., country club. There, events for Republicans running for the White House and Congress routinely fetched $100,000 or more apiece.

Two other employees familiar with New Breed’s financial and payroll systems said DeJoy would instruct that bonus payments to staffers be boosted to help defray the cost of their contributions, an arrangement that would be unlawful.

us mail logo“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”

Another former employee with knowledge of the process described a similar series of events, saying DeJoy orchestrated additional compensation for employees who had made political contributions, instructing managers to award bonuses to specific individuals.

“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said the former employee, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution from DeJoy.

In response to a series of detailed questions from The Washington Post, Monty Hagler, a spokesman for DeJoy, said the former New Breed chief executive was not aware that any employees had felt pressured to make donations.

After repeatedly being asked, Hagler did not directly address the assertions that DeJoy reimbursed workers for making contributions, pointing to a statement in which he said DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations.”

Although it can be permissible to encourage employees to make donations, reimbursing them for those contributions is a violation of North Carolina and federal election laws. Known as a straw-donor scheme, the practice allows donors to evade individual contribution limits and obscures the true source of money used to influence elections.

Such federal violations carry a five-year statute of limitations. There is no statute of limitations in North Carolina for felonies, including campaign finance violations.

The former employees who spoke to The Post all described donations they gave between 2003 and 2014, the year New Breed was acquired by a Connecticut-based company called XPO Logistics. DeJoy remained at XPO briefly in a leadership role, then retired at the end of 2015. By a year after the sale, several New Breed employees who had stayed on with XPO were giving significantly smaller political contributions and many stopped making them altogether, campaign finance records show.

Virus Updates, Responses

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 7, 2020 11:32 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than total covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2below),

  • World Cases: 27,313,578, Deaths: 893,465
  • U.S. Cases: 6,460,421, Deaths: 193,253

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

djt virus trump did it Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Different voters, one Biden message: It’s Trump’s fault, Matt Viser and Annie Linskey, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.).  On the pandemic, the joe biden 2020 button Customeconomy and racial justice, the former vice president is hoping shared disdain of the president unifies potential supporters.

Biden has been under intense pressure from allies to hasten his campaign pace — but from there the advice has diverged, with some favoring a strategy meant to attract some White working-class voters and others Black voters who are mobilizing and calling for racial justice.

Amid the frenzy of recommendations, Biden has settled on a through line meant to appeal to everyone: Trump is the reason for all of America’s most pressing ills, no matter which one matters most to a specific audience.

washington post logoSteven Mnuchin Washington Post, Steven Mnuchin (right) says agreement with Pelosi in place to avoid shutdown, Erica Werner, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Without action by Congress, agency funding would expire at midnight Sept. 30 and the government would begin to shut down. Short-term agreement would extend government spending at current levels past Sept. 30 shutdown deadline.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: President Trump’s most important broken promise, E.J. Dionne Jr., Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Labor Day is an excellent moment to contemplate President Trump’s most important broken promise — other than the one he violates almost daily to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

I refer to his inaugural address, in which he declared: “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

Those men and women, and the pledge itself, have been lost in a Trumpian memory hole.

Recall how Trump apologists insisted after the 2016 election that racial animus did not explain Trump’s victory. What mattered, they said, was that “coastal elites” (their synonym for “liberals”) had ignored the interests of hard-working people in “the heartland” battered by economic change.

So how is the heartland doing? How much has Trump done for the working people whose votes he needed to carry states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio?

Precious little. Even before the economic downturn induced by the pandemic, the areas that were crucial to Trump’s electoral college victory lagged behind the rest of the country.

A Wall Street Journal study published last September found that in 77 “blue-collar and manufacturing-reliant counties across the Midwest and Northeast” that swing heavily to Trump, employment “grew by 0.5% in 2017 and 0.6% in 2018, lower than the 1% job growth in the prior two years, before Mr. Trump took office.” The counties also trailed the national growth rate of 1.5 percent in 2017 and 1.3 percent in 2018.

  •  Washington Post, Opinion: Jessica Krug offers a twisted example of White privilege, Karen Attiah, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.).
  • Washington Post, Opinion: Curtis Flowers will finally be freed. Prosecutorial misconduct remains a problem, Vangela M. Wade, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.).

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party vs. Workers, Steven Greenhouse, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Support for unions is rising. The G.O.P. might want to be part of that. Mr. Trump and many Republican lawmakers would be in a much stronger position politically if they had truly done more to help workers and align themselves with unions.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosdjt maga hatMost Republican voters support a higher minimum wage — referendums in red states like Missouri and Nebraska approved a higher minimum — but Republican lawmakers generally oppose such a move. With the success of the #RedforEd teacher strikes and a new Gallup poll showing strong public approval of unions, it would be smart for Republicans to show some real support for labor — if only for their own future electoral success.

Steven Greenhouse was a New York Times reporter for 31 years, including 19 years as its labor and workplace reporter. He is the author of “Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor.”

kevin zeese margaret flowers podium

Kevin Zeese, J.D., right, and his partner in recent years Margaret Flowers, M.D., whose focus included advocacy for better public health care (File photo by the Justice Integrity Project)

Let's Try Democracy via OpEdNews, Tribute: Kevin Zeese (1955-2020): Irreplaceable, David Swanson, right, Sept. 7, 2020. Kevin Zeese was a major constant david swanson head Smallreliable presence in the movement for peace and justice. He used writing, editing, online and all other forms of communication. He organized events, protests, occupations. He risked arrest. He ran for office. He was an attorney and used the courts and shared his expertise.

He thought independently. He acted collaboratively. He maintained good relations with those he disagreed with -- even those he disagreed with over that most disagreeable of topics in a collapsing oligarchy: elections.

Kevin and his partner in recent years Margaret Flowers (shown together above in a file photo by the Justice Integrity Project) combined art, civil resistance, music, journalism, radio, and coalition building to cross issue areas and energize. Losing Kevin is a horrible blow, but nobody can say he didn't put his time to good use. Nobody can say that if thousands followed his lead we wouldn't have a world transformed. Nobody can say that he didn't make a major difference, exposing injustice and changing public policy and culture for the better.

When I type in "Zeese" on davidswanson.org I find this radio show. Take a listen.

Then I find an old announcement of a shadow cabinet with myself as Secretary of Peace and Kevin as Attorney General.

I find plans for event and joint statements -- pages and pages and pages of them. I find that Kevin was part of protecting an embassy against a coup, occupying Washington, D.C., legalizing drugs, opposing NATO, meeting with the U.S. Institute of Peace to ask them to support peace, rallying in support of numerous whistleblowers, speaking out powerfully for countless causes. Kevin was an environmentalist, an anti-racist, a socialist, a war abolitionist, a poverty abolitionist. He supported World BEYOND War from the get-go and served on our advisory board, not only in name, but actually strategizing and advising, wisely and creatively.

Kevin took on the plutocrats, the lobbyists, the Chamber of Commerce, the weapons dealers, the politicians, and the pundits, -- fairly and fearlessly. Going back through my own website I see how many times I interviewed him and he interviewed me, and I recall how many other people he influenced. But looking up "Zeese" on worldbeyondwar.org, is overwhelming.

Ballot Access News, Kevin Zeese Dies of a Sudden, Unexpected Apparent Heart Attack, Richard Winger, Sept. 6, 2020. Kevin Zeese, a mainstay of the Green Party and the Howie Hawkins campaign, died unexpectedly on the evening of Saturday, September 5, at home, of an apparent heart attack.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Kamala Harris has been training her whole life for this, Jennifer Rubin, Sept. 7, 2020. The Democratic Party and the country at large should be relieved that Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) was and remains an ambitious woman.

This ambitious woman wanted to go to the crown jewel in the historically Black colleges and universities system. This ambitious woman decided to become a prosecutor and ran for and won the race for San Francisco district attorney.

Without all that ambition, she would not have been selected as the Democratic nominee for vice president at a crucial time in our history. She has quite simply been training her entire life for this role and this moment.

Media News

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Here’s what the media must do to fend off an election-night disaster, Margaret Sullivan, right, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). There are margaret sullivan 2015 photolessons to take from the Iowa caucuses, the midterms and the 2000 election. Is the media paying attention?

This time, with the stakes of the election so high, news organizations need to get it right. They need to do two things, primarily, and do them extraordinarily well.

First, in every way possible, they must prepare the public for uncertainty, and start doing this now. Granted, the audience doesn’t really show up in force until election night itself, but news reports, pundit panels and special programming can help plow the ground for public understanding of the unpredictability — or even chaos — to come.

Second, on election night and in the days (weeks? months?) to follow, news organizations will need to do the near-impossible: reject their ingrained instincts to find a clear narrative — including the answer to the question “who won?” — and stay with the uncertainty, if that’s indeed what’s happening.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Journalists Aren’t the Enemy of the People. But We’re Not Your Friends, Either, Ben Smith, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.).  Our columnist writes that President Trump will try to put the media on the ballot, and reporters face the temptation to posture for those eager to oust him.

Julian Assange at Ecuador's Embassy (Photo Collage by The Indicter Magazine)

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, center, an Australian, obtained political asylum for years at Ecuador's Embassy in London (Photo Collage by The Indicter Magazine).

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. extradition trial for founder of WikiLeaks starts in London, William Booth, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Federal prosecutors want to try Julian Assange, an Australian anti-secrecy activist, for allegedly violating the Espionage Act.

United Kingdom flagThe long-delayed evidentiary hearing in the extradition case of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returned to the courtroom here Monday.

U.S. prosecutors say the Australian publisher and activist violated the Espionage Act by conspiring to obtain and disclose hundreds of thousands of pages of secret government documents, including classified diplomatic cables and sensitive reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

julian assange facts wikileaks CustomProsecutors have also charged Assange with conspiracy to commit “computer intrusions” by helping army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning try to hack a password to get access to even more files. In a superceding indictment unsealed in June, prosecutors say he also solicited hackers to break into Icelandic government computers to steal information. They want Assange transported to Northern Virginia to face federal charges.Washington Post,

Assange is fighting the extradition. His lawyers argue that the crimes of which he’s accused are “purely political offenses” and say British treaty law should protect him from forced transfer.

The WikiLeaks publisher appeared in court Monday at the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court in London, where Assange’s lawyers will call witnesses to testify in person or via remote video link. Assange wore a suit and tie and watched the proceedings from behind a glass wall. He answered “no” when asked by the judge if he would consent to being extradited to the United States.

The judge and lawyers were in the courtroom, but as a precaution against the coronavirus, most observers and journalists will be limited to watching via tightly controlled virtual links. The hearings will not be broadcast to the public. They are expected to last three weeks.

U.S. Law, Crime, Prisons

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump just threw Louis DeJoy under the bus, Bill Palmer, Sept. 7, 2020. Donald Trump’s panicky Labor Day press conference today was a dud, and a reminder that Trump is now stepping to the plate with nothing up his sleeve. But Trump did reveal one thing today, in response to a reporter question: he has absolutely no intention of protecting his Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

This is notable because Donald Trump’s desperation ploy to somehow rig the election via the Post Office is dependent on Louis DeJoy remaining in place, and remaining loyal. Yet Trump is refusing to publicly defend DeJoy, which he knows will only place even more downward pressure on DeJoy’s downfall.

Has Trump decided that it’s not worth trying to save the fatally scandal-ridden DeJoy? Has Trump concluded that, thanks to all the massive public pushback, the Post Office scheme wasn’t going to work out for him anyway?

Or is Trump just throwing another troubled henchman under the bus out of habit? In any case, today was Trump’s moment to defend Louis DeJoy, and instead he gave him the “coffee boy” treatment. If DeJoy has any sense at all, he’ll seek a resignation plea deal in North Carolina while he still has leverage.

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge blocks Trump administration’s ‘winding down’ of census operations, Tara Bahrampour, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Plaintiffs say an accurate count is impossible under the government’s accelerated plan.

A federal court judge ordered the Trump administration to stop winding down census operations until a court hearing later this month over whether the 2020 count should keep going through October.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California granted a temporary restraining order requested Thursday by plaintiffs who have sued the government over its surprise decision last month to end the count a month earlier than it had planned.

A filing in the case by the government last week revealed that the Census Bureau had already begun ratcheting down the count, prompting the civil rights groups and local jurisdictions that filed the suit to ask for the order.

The order is set to last until a Sept. 17 court hearing over the plaintiffs’ request for counting to continue until Oct. 31, the date the Census Bureau set months ago in response to coronavirus-related delays.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Weapon for Extortion Long Ignored in Alabama Prisons: Cellphones, Serge F. Kovaleski and Dan Barry, Photographs by Annie Flanagan, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Families say they have been threatened by call and text into sending thousands of dollars to protect loved ones on the inside. Some suffered anyway.

The pervasiveness of cellphones in American prisons has exasperated corrections officials for years, even as they sometimes expose troubling conditions. The devices — dropped by drones, thrown over walls, smuggled inside basketballs — have been linked to murder plots, escape attempts and assorted other crimes. Last year, authorities in South Carolina exposed a ring of inmates using cellphones to dupe members of the military through dating apps, and charged an inmate with orchestrating a woman’s murder by cellphone.

U.S. Race Protests, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Retropolis: The female labor pioneer who battled grape growers and sexism, Marisa Iati, Sept. 7, 2020. In the frigid winter of 1965, labor organizer Dolores Huerta stood outside New York City grocery stores and tried to persuade customers not to buy grapes.

California grape farmworkers were striking for better pay and working conditions, and representatives from what later became the United Farm Workers union fanned out across the United States to encourage people to boycott growers who resisted their laborers’ demands.

While Cesar Chavez’s leadership of the UFW made him a folk hero of the U.S. labor movement, Huerta’s impact on workers’ rights has not received as much acclaim. But her leadership, lobbying and negotiations with grape growers were crucial to earning contracts for impoverished workers at a time when few women held top roles in organized labor, said Stacey Sowards, author of “Sí, Ella Puede!: The Rhetorical Legacy of Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers.”

Huerta, who co-founded the UFW with Chavez, led the New York chapter of the boycott, managing the group house where members lived and recruiting unions at other parts of the supply chain to stop grapes from reaching storefronts. She was known for working long hours to organize pickets and meet with grocery store representatives, even while raising young children, Sowards said.

“Cesar Chavez was more shy and soft-spoken,” Sowards said. “And she was pretty successful in getting out there and talking to folks.”

Huerta began her career as a teacher in California. But she came to feel that she could not do enough for her students, many of whom came from poor farm-worker families.

“I couldn’t tolerate seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes,” she once said. “I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children.”

U.S. Disasters, Environment

washington post logoWashington Post, California faces record-setting, ‘kiln-like’ heat as fires rage across the state, Andrew Freedman, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Officials said 63 people trapped at a campground by the fire were rescued by military helicopters. Two of them were severely injured.

Sunday will be one of the hottest days in recent memory across much of California, the day after scorching temperatures set scores of records and intensified destructive wildfires erupting in the state.

Heat and red flag warnings are in effect statewide into the coming week as the heat will continue to fuel the fires already burning and could cause any new blazes to rapidly grow out of control.

The most serious wildfire situation has developed with the Creek Fire in the Sierra National Forest, about 290 miles north of Los Angeles, which was first detected Friday night and rapidly grew to 36,000 acres on Saturday.

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Joe Biden’s China Journey, Edward Wong, Michael Crowley and Ana Swanson, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). As a United States senator, he spoke of transforming China through trade. As a presidential candidate two decades later, he denounces it as a “dictatorship.”

ny times logovenezuela flag waving customNew York Times, Venezuela’s Opposition Splits Over Taking Part in Coming Elections, Mariana Martínez and Anatoly Kurmanaev, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Sanctions and boycotts have failed to bring down president Nicolás Maduro. Now some opposition leaders are ready to shift strategy and take him on at the ballot box, despite concerns about the vote’s fairness.

washington post logoWashington Post, Philippines’ Duterte pardons U.S. Marine convicted of murder, Regine Cabato, Sept. 7, 2020. Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton had served six years of his 10-year sentence for killing Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman, in 2014.

Hilton's #MeToo Allegation

paris hilton 2009Today.com, Paris Hilton says she was abused at boarding school as a teen in new documentary, Erin Clements, Sept. 7, 2020. In a revealing new documentary (that premiers Sept. 14 on her YouTube channel), Paris Hilton opens up about a trauma she’s never publicly discussed.

“I feel like the whole world thinks they know me because I’ve been playing this character for so long,” Hilton, right, says in the film, This Is Paris, which then cuts to a clip of her 2000s reality show The Simple Life.

“That’s not me,” Hilton, now 39, continues. “No one really knows who I am. Something happened in my childhood that I’ve never talked about with anyone. I still have nightmares about it. I wish I could bring a camera into my dreams and show you what it’s like. It’s terrifying. And I relive that every night.”

In 1996, Hilton’s family moved from Los Angeles to New York. Hilton says she struggled with bullying at her new school and her parents’ expectations for her and younger sister Nicky Hilton to attend etiquette classes and follow their strict rules. She rebelled by sneaking out to nightclubs, where she felt “accepted.”

It was then, she says, that parents Kathy and Rick Hilton sent her to a series of “emotional growth schools.”

Hilton says her parents were still in New York and she didn’t notify them of what was happening for fear of being punished. She alleges that the school’s staff told her, “We’re just going to tell your parents you’re a liar and they’re not going to believe you.”

According to Hilton, the effects of her treatment at the school have included insomnia, recurring nightmares and difficulty forming healthy relationships.

 

Sept. 6

Top Headlines

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Postal Service Scandal?

Trump Watch

Virus Updates, Responses

U.S. Race, Religion, Protests

World News

 

Top Stories

djt michael cohen disloyal

Palmer Report, Opinion: There’s an avalanche falling on Donald Trump’s head – and it’s about to get worse, Bill Palmer, Sept. 6, 2020. When someone in Donald Trump’s orbit began leaking details earlier this week about his Walter Reed visit, we wondered aloud if it was the start of a trend leading up to election day. When someone else in Trump’s orbit then leaked his deranged remarks about U.S. military troops, it definitely started to look like a trend. Now it’s snowballing.

bill palmer report logo headerIn the wake of Stroke-gate and Military-gate (sorry, these scandals need better names, but they’re all happening too quickly), Michael Cohen is now revealing Donald Trump’s bizarre creepy obsession with President Obama, even as Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is exposing stephanie winston wolkoff coverwhat a monster Melania Trump is.

It’s notable that all of these bombshells, from Cohen and Wolkoff to whoever leaked the Walter Reed and military stories, appear to be coming from inside Donald Trump’s orbit. These are people who were right there at Trump’s side, and now that America is facing a decision about whether to keep Trump in power for four more years or send him to prison, these former allies are trying to steer voters toward the latter.

There is no longer any question that this is a trend. There’s more coming. There has to be. This is turning into an avalanche of scandal for Donald Trump, at the worst possible time for him – which of course is the point. These scandals will force Trump to play defense every day between now and election day while trying to fend it all off.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Ex-F.B.I. Agent in Russia Inquiry Says Trump Is a Security Threat, Adam Goldman, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). A former senior F.B.I. agent peter strzok compromised coverat the center of the investigations into Hillary Clinton’s email server and the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia defends the handling of the inquiries and declares President Trump a national security threat in a new memoir, while admitting that the bureau made mistakes that upended the 2016 presidential election.

peter strzok portrait cbsThe former agent, Peter Strzok, left, who was removed from the special counsel’s team and later fired over disparaging texts he sent about Mr. Trump, has mostly kept silent as the president and his supporters have vilified him.

But Mr. Strzok’s new book, Compromised, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times ahead of its publication on Tuesday, provides a detailed account of navigating the two politically toxic investigations and a forceful apologia of the bureau’s acts. Mr. Strzok also reveals details about the F.B.I.’s internal debate over investigating the president himself, writing that the question arose early in the Trump presidency and suggesting that agents were eyeing others around Mr. FBI logoTrump. Mr. Strzok was himself at first opposed to investigating the president.

But in a scathing appraisal, Mr. Strzok concludes that Mr. Trump is hopelessly corrupt and a national security threat. The investigations that Mr. Strzok oversaw showed the president’s “willingness to accept political assistance from an opponent like Russia — and, it follows, his willingness to subvert everything America stands for.”

washington post logoWashington Post, According to Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, Trump disparaged Latinos and Blacks as “too stupid” to vote for him, and admired the way Vladimir Putin runs Russia, Ashley Parker and Rosalind S. Helderman, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump’s longtime lawyer and personal fixer, Michael Cohen, alleges in a new book that Trump made “overt and covert attempts to get Russia to interfere in the 2016 election” and that the Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore portrait)future commander in chief was also well aware of Cohen’s hush-money payoff to adult-film star Stormy Daniels during that campaign.

In the book, Disloyal: A Memoir, which was obtained by the Washington Post ahead of its Tuesday publication date, Cohen lays out an alarming portrait of the constellation of characters orbiting around Trump, likening the arrangement to the mafia and calling himself “one of Trump’s bad guys.” He describes the president, meanwhile, as “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.”

The memoir also describes episodes of Trump’s alleged racism and his “hatred and contempt” of his predecessor, Barack Obama, the nation’s only African American president.

Cohen acknowledges his own challenges as a credible narrator throughout the 432-page book, which is subtitled “The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump.” He describes himself as Trump’s “designated thug” and discusses his felony convictions for lying to Congress and violating campaign laws in service to Trump. Cohen, who now advocates Trump’s defeat in November, is still serving a three-year federal prison sentence for those crimes and for personal financial offenses.

djt economist cover aug 19 2017On Russia, Cohen writes that the cause behind Trump’s admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is simpler than many of his critics assume. Above all, he writes, Trump loves money — and he wrongly identified Putin as “the richest man in the world by a multiple.”

Trump loved Putin, Cohen wrote, because the Russian leader had the ability “to take over an entire nation and run it like it was his personal company — like the Trump Organization, in fact.”

Cohen also reveals new alleged details about the convoluted effort behind a National Enquirer report smearing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). Cohen says that Trump signed off on the baseless report to damage Cruz, one of his rivals in the 2016 Republican primary.

“It’s not real, right?” Trump allegedly asked after being shown a photograph, which the magazine would claim depicted Cruz’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before Oswald killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963. [JIP Editor's note: Oswald allegedly killed Kennedy, an allegation by the Warren Commission that has been disputed by researchers for decades.]

“Looks real to me!” Cohen responded, according to the book, prompting Trump to laugh as he demanded that the story be run on the tabloid’s front page.

“To say it would be a low blow would be an insult to low blows; can you think of another politician, ever, who would stoop this low?” Cohen writes.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany attacked Cohen’s credibility in a statement Saturday: “Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies.”

djt michael cohen

Michael Cohen’s secret agenda as Trump’s fixer

According to Cohen, Trump’s sycophantic praise of the Russian leader during the 2016 campaign began as a way to suck up and ensure access to the oligarch’s money after he lost the election. But he claims Trump came to understand that Putin’s hatred of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, dating to her support for the 2011 protest movement in Russia, could also help Trump amass more power in the United States.

What appeared to be collusion was really a confluence of shared interests in harming Hillary Clinton in any way possible, up to and including interfering in the American election — a subject that caused Trump precisely zero unease,” Cohen writes.

Cohen’s book, however, does not reveal much in the way of new details surrounding the investigations by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and others into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A senior White House official dismissed Cohen’s commentary on Russia as baseless, arguing that numerous investigations found “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Cohen asserts that another reason that Trump consistently praised Putin was to fulfill his long-held desire to slap his name on a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow.

Cohen says the Trump Tower plans called for a 120-story building in Red Square, including 30 floors devoted to a five-star hotel with an Ivanka Trump-branded spa and Trump restaurants, and 230 high-end condominiums for Russian oligarchs and leaders.

The plan, Cohen adds, was to give the penthouse apartment to the Russian president for free, in part “as a way to suck up to Putin.”

“The whole idea of patriotism and treason became irrelevant in his mind,” Cohen writes. “Trump was using the campaign to make money for himself: of course he was.”

Trump would later publicly insist that he had no business dealings with Russia. But Cohen writes extensively of his own efforts beginning in the fall of 2015 — several months after Trump had declared his candidacy — to make the Moscow project a reality.

The project fell to Cohen, he writes, because Trump’s children all disliked Felix Sater, the colorful Russian American developer who served as the Trump Organization’s liaison with Russians interested in the project.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump fixates on promise of a vaccine — real or not — as key to reelection bid, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). The campaign gambit is aimed at improving his standing with an electorate that overwhelmingly disapproves of his management of the pandemic. A spokesman for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Biden is eager for a swift coronavirus vaccine, but not at the expense of safety.

ny times logoNew York Times, More Than Ever, Trump Casts Himself as the Defender of White America, Peter Baker, Sept. 6, 2020. Presenting himself as a warrior against identity politics, the president has made appeals to the grievances of white supporters a centerpiece of his campaign.

After a summer when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets protesting racial injustice against Black Americans, President Trump has made it clear over the last few days that, in his view, the country’s real race problem is bias against white Americans.

Just days after returning from Kenosha, Wis., where he staunchly backed law enforcement and did not mention the name of Jacob Blake, the Black man shot seven times in the back by the police, Mr. Trump issued an order on Friday to purge the federal government of racial sensitivity training that his White House called “divisive, anti-American propaganda.”

The president then spent much of the weekend tweeting about his action, presenting himself as a warrior against identity politics. “This is a sickness that cannot be allowed to continue,” he wrote of such programs. “Please report any sightings so we can quickly extinguish!” He reposted a tweet from a conservative outlet hailing his order: “Sorry liberals! How to be Anti-White 101 is permanently cancelled!”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Trump Postmaster General Louis DeJoy caught in series of campaign finance felonies, Bill Palmer, Sept. 6, 2020. If you’ve been louis dejoy barswondering why Donald Trump’s handpicked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been so willing to commit Post Office crimes on Trump’s behalf, it turns out DeJoy is already quite the longtime financial criminal. In fact these newly unearthed campaign finance felonies committed by DeJoy all but ensure he’ll be criminally charged if Trump loses the election.

bill palmer report logo headerIt turns out DeJoy, right in a graphic, has spent a decade pressuring his employees to donate to the Republican Party, and then reimbursing them through company bonuses, according to a startling but not surprising new expose from the Washington Post. To be clear, this is a felony – a series of felonies in fact – and it’s the kind of cut and dry case that you generally go to prison for once caught in the act.

Of course Donald Trump’s Department of Justice is unlikely to bring criminal charges against Louis DeJoy. But it does mean that if Trump loses, DeJoy is looking at a long prison sentence. That is unless Trump pardons him on his way out the door, which is not a given, considering how low DeJoy will be on Trump’s priority list when it comes to trying to get himself and his family off the hook.

Louis DeJoy should have known that his dirty secrets would get dug up if he put himself in the national spotlight by taking the Postmaster General job. Now he’s facing prison. At this point, with his decade long crime spree exposed, DeJoy would do well to start cooperating with Congress now in the hope of a more lenient sentence. Trump’s henchman always go down eventually. DeJoy doesn’t seem built to last very long at all.

Trump Watch

washington post logodavid ignatiusWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s bad marriage with the military has finally exploded, David Ignatius, right, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). Reconciling Donald Trump’s self-promoting Art of the Deal with the military’s reserved code of loyalty and service was always a stretch. In Trump’s early months in the White House, though, the two cultures seemed to coexist without much damage.

But the fabric began to fray by mid-2017. Trump increasingly treated the military as props in the reality-TV show of his presidency. He wanted them for parades and victory celebrations, not the anguish of combat. He seemed to take his strategic guidance from Fox News more than his commanders. The generals and admirals kept their mouths shut, but the resentment was building.

The bad marriage exploded this week, when former senior staff members told Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic of their shock at Trump’s crude comments about combat and loss — and his reported characterization of fallen warriors as “suckers” and “losers.”

The quotes were anonymous, but it has been an open secret in Washington that many prominent retired four-stars have regarded Trump with growing horror as he assaulted the traditions of discipline and professionalism that are bedrocks of military life.

 donald trump money palmer report Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: How Trump Draws on Campaign Funds to Pay Legal Bills, Eric Lipton, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). As he has done with other aspects of the presidency, Donald J. Trump has redefined the practice in ways that have unsettled both Democrats and Republicans. The spending on behalf of Mr. Trump covers not only legal work that would be routine for any president, but also cases in which he has a personal stake.

President Trump was proudly litigious before his victory in 2016 and has remained so in the White House. But one big factor has changed: He has drawn on campaign donations as a piggy bank for his legal expenses to a degree far greater than any of his predecessors.

In New York, Mr. Trump dispatched a team of lawyers to seek damages of more than $1 million from a former campaign worker after she claimed she had been the target of sexual discrimination and harassment by another aide. The lawyers have been paid $1.5 million by the Trump campaign for work on the case and others related to the president.

In Washington, Mr. Trump and his campaign affiliates hired lawyers to assist members of his staff and family — including a onetime bodyguard, his oldest son and his son-in-law — as they were pulled into investigations related to Russia and Ukraine. The Republican National Committee has paid at least $2.5 million in legal bills to the firms that did this and other legal work.

rnc logoIn California, Mr. Trump sued to block a law that would have forced him to release his taxes if he wanted to run for re-election. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have paid the law firm handling this case, among others, $1.8 million.

Mr. Trump’s tendency to turn to the courts — and the legal issues that have stemmed from norm-breaking characteristics of his presidency — helps explain how he and his affiliated political entities have spent at least $58.4 million in donations on legal and compliance work since 2015, according to a tally by The New York Times and the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.

By comparison, President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee spent $10.7 million on legal and compliance expenses during the equivalent period starting in 2007. President George W. Bush also spent much less, even taking into account his legal spending on the recount fight that went to the Supreme Court, records show.

The spending on behalf of Mr. Trump covers not only legal work that would be relatively routine for any president or candidate and some of the costs related to the Russia inquiry and his impeachment, but also cases in which he has a personal stake, including attempts to enforce nondisclosure agreements and protect his business interests.

vladimir putin resize donald trump

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI pondered whether Trump was ‘a Manchurian candidate elected,’ former agent alleges in new book, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). Former FBI agent Peter Strzok alleges in a new book that investigators came to believe it was “conceivable, if unlikely” that Russia was secretly controlling President Trump after he took office — a full-fledged “Manchurian candidate” installed as America’s commander in chief.

FBI logoIn the book, Compromised, Strzok describes how the FBI had to consider “whether the man about to be inaugurated was willing to place his or Russia’s interests above those of American citizens,” and if and how agents could investigate that.

peter strzok compromised coverStrzok opened the FBI’s 2016 investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had coordinated with the Kremlin to help his election and later was involved in investigating Trump personally. He was ultimately removed from the case over private text messages disparaging of the president.

“We certainly had evidence that this was the case: that Trump, while gleefully wreaking havoc on America’s political institutions and norms, was pulling his punches when it came to our historic adversary, Russia,” Strzok writes. “Given what we knew or had cause to suspect about Trump’s compromising behavior in the weeks, months, and years leading up to the election, moreover, it also seemed conceivable, if unlikely, that Moscow had indeed pulled off the most stunning intelligence achievement in human history: secretly controlling the president of the United States — a Manchurian candidate elected.”

‘You stepped in it here’: How anti-Trump texts ruined the career of the FBI’s go-to agent

peter strzok croppedStrzok, right, seems to believe now that is not the case — though he told the Atlantic that Trump’s conduct is deeply problematic.

“I don’t think that Trump, when he meets with Putin, receives a task list for the next quarter,” Strzok said, referencing the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “But I do think the president is compromised, that he is unable to put the interests of our nation first, that he acts Robert Mueller (FBI Official Photo)from hidden motives, because there is leverage over him, held specifically by the Russians but potentially others as well.”

Strzok’s book is the latest by former FBI officials — including former director James B. Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe — to disclose new insights into the bureau’s investigation of Trump, while lambasting the president for his conduct.

The FBI’s investigation was taken over by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, left, who could not substantiate a criminal conspiracy with Russia. Mueller did, however, conclude that the Trump campaign was willing to accept Russian assistance to help win the election, and that Russia was willing to give it; his report outlined ways Trump might have obstructed the special counsel’s inquiry.

  • Washington Post, Book Review: He investigated Clinton and Trump. Then the Justice Department turned on him.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fox News colleagues defend reporter after Trump Twitter attack over confirmation of Atlantic reporting, Jeremy Barr, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). National security reporter Jennifer Griffin found sources to validate key aspects of the story about the president's alleged disparagement of fallen U.S. troops.

fox news logo SmallJennifer Griffin caused an unexpected media firestorm Friday when she did something fairly routine for a reporter: A competitor had broken a story on her beat, so she set out to see whether she could match it.

In this case, it was the Atlantic’s blockbuster report that President Trump had made disparaging remarks about veterans. Griffin, a national security correspondent for Fox News, found sources to validate key aspects of the story, sharing her reporting on Twitter and on anchor Bret Baier’s news show.

Other beat reporters had confirmed aspects of the Atlantic story, too. But the fact that Griffin works for Fox, whose opinion hosts and corporate owners are seen as reliable supporters and defenders of the president, turned her revelations into a watershed development. It led to Trump’s call for her firing late Friday on Twitter — and an impassioned pushback from Fox News colleagues defending her journalistic honor.

Virus Updates, Responses

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 5, 2020 14:59 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than total below)

  • World Cases: 26,884,692, Deaths: 880,403
  • U.S. Cases: 6,397,447, Deaths: 192,248

ny times logoNew York Times, Parents Got More Time Off. Then the Backlash Started, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Sheera Frenkel, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). Pandemic policies at tech companies have created a rift between parents offered more benefits and resentful workers who don’t have children.

facebook logoWhen the coronavirus closed schools and child care centers and turned American parenthood into a multitasking nightmare, many tech companies rushed to help their employees. They used their comfortable profit margins to extend workers new benefits, including extra time off for parents to help them care for their children.

It wasn’t long before employees without children started to ask: What about us?

At a recent companywide meeting, Facebook employees repeatedly argued that work policies created in response to Covid-19 “have primarily benefited parents.” At Twitter, a fight erupted on an internal message board after a worker who didn’t have children at home accused another employee, who was taking a leave to care for a child, of not pulling his weight.

google logo customWhen Salesforce announced that it was offering parents six weeks of paid time off, most employees applauded. But one Salesforce manager, who is not permitted to talk publicly about internal matters and therefore asked not to be identified, said two childless employees, reflecting a sentiment voiced at several companies, complained that the policy seemed to put parents’ needs ahead of theirs.

As companies wrestle with how best to support staff during the pandemic, some employees without children say that they feel underappreciated, and that they are being asked to shoulder a heavier workload. And parents are frustrated that their childless co-workers don’t understand how hard it is to balance work and child care, especially when day care centers are closed and they are trying to help their children learn at home.

Pandemic policies at tech companies have created a rift between parents offered more benefits and resentful workers who don’t have children.

The divide is more pronounced at some technology companies, where workers tend to be younger and have come to expect generous perks and benefits in exchange for letting their jobs take over their lives. Tech companies were among the first to ask employees to work from home at the start of the pandemic, and to offer generous leave and additional time off once it became apparent that children would remain home from school as well.

The tension between parents and nonparents has been most vividly displayed at Facebook.

In March, Facebook offered up to 10 weeks of paid time off for employees if they had to care for a child whose school or day care facility had closed or for an older relative whose nursing home was not open. Google and Microsoft extended similar paid leave to employees dealing with children at home or a sick relative.

U.S. Race, Religion, Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Jacob Blake, whose shooting led to protests in Kenosha, shares message from hospital bed, Jessica Wolfrom, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). 'Please, I’m telling you, change y’all lives out there, Blake says.

Jacob Blake, right, the Black man who was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis., in late August, spoke from a hospital bed, describing his physical pain and appealing to others to “change y’all lives” in an emotional video released by his lawyer Saturday night.

jacob blake hospital bedIt was Blake’s second public appearance since being shot seven times in the back in late August by Rusten Sheskey, a Kenosha police officer. The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.

“Every 24 hours, it’s pain,” Blake said. “It hurts to breathe. It hurts to sleep. It hurts to move from side to side. It hurts to eat.”

Blake first appeared on Friday for court, dressed in a blue button-up shirt and yellow tie. He is accused of one felony — third-degree sexual assault — and misdemeanor criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

But Saturday night’s video showed Blake as a patient, not a defendant. Wearing a loosefitting hospital gown, Blake talked about the fragility of life and implored others to focus on what they could accomplish collectively.

“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs — something that you need to move around and move forward in life — can be taken from you like this,” said Blake, snapping his fingers. “Please, I’m telling you, change y’all lives out there. We can stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people because there’s so much time that’s been wasted.”

The Aug. 23 shooting touched off waves of protests that put Wisconsin at the epicenter of the national debate over policing and racial justice. In the days following the incident, dozens of fires were set and some Kenosha businesses destroyed.

San Diego Union-Tribune, Navy cancels Catholic Masses at area bases while other religious services continue, Andrew Dyer, Sept.6, 2020 (print ed.). Catholic Masses at San Diego-area Navy bases have ended because the Navy, in what it says is a cost-cutting move, has declined to renew its contracts with Catholic priests, and there are not enough Catholic chaplains on active duty to fill the void.

Protestant services on bases, which are led by active duty chaplains, will continue, said Brian O’Rourke, a Navy Region Southwest spokesman.

The changes to the Navy’s religious ministries are part of a national realignment announced on Aug. 20. It is unclear how many priests this will affect.“The Navy’s religious ministries priority is reaching and ministering to our largest demographic — active duty Sailors and Marines in the 18-25 year-old range,” O’Rourke wrote in an email. “To meet that mission, the Navy has had to make the difficult decision to discontinue most contracted ministry services.”

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Coronavirus Crisis Shatters India’s Big Dreams, Jeffrey Gettleman, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). The country’s ambitions have been set back by a sharp economic plunge, soaring infections and a widening sense of malaise.

india flag mapNot so long ago, India’s future looked entirely different. It boasted a sizzling economy that was lifting millions out of poverty, building modern megacities and amassing serious geopolitical firepower. It aimed to give its people a middle-class lifestyle, update its woefully vintage military and become a regional political and economic superpower that could someday rival China, Asia’s biggest success story.

The Indian economy has shrunk faster than any other major nation’s. As many as 200 million people could slip back into poverty, according to some estimates. Many of its normally vibrant streets are empty, with people too frightened of the outbreak to venture far.

Israel Flagwashington post logoWashington Post, Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with secular Israeli officials over coronavirus measures, Steve Hendrix, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). Efforts to contain the spiraling outbreak are largely focused on religious areas, where it’s centered.

 

Sept. 5

Top Headlines

Virus Updates, Responses

Trump Watch

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

U.S. Race, Brutality News

india flag mapInside DC

 

Top Stories

djt biden smiles resized

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump, Biden clash over military support after president’s alleged disparagement of fallen troops, David Nakamura, Josh Dawsey and Rachael Bade, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.). The issue has escalated quickly as Joe Biden and his surrogates have sought to undermine a key pillar of President Trump’s reelection message — his projection of toughness and patriotism.

The question of support for the nation’s military moved to the center of the campaign Friday as Democrat Joe Biden and President Trump clashed over allegations in a magazine article this week that the president had called dead American service members “suckers” and “losers.”

Biden lambasted the president’s purported remarks as “disgusting” and “un-American” and accused him of having demonstrated “no loyalty to any cause but himself.” He demanded that Trump apologize to the families of fallen troops. Trump denied the report and called it a “hoax.”

“Who the heck does he think he is?” said Biden, whose late son Beau served in Iraq with the Delaware National Guard. “How would you feel if you had a kid in Afghanistan right now? How would you feel if you lost a son or daughter, husband, wife? How would you feel, for real? But you know in your heart, you know in your gut: It’s deplorable.”

The White House mobilized rapidly in hopes of preventing the debate from becoming “a major election issue,” one senior official said. More than 10 current and former senior aides — including national security adviser Robert O’Brien and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law — vehemently denied the Atlantic’s account of the president’s trip to France in 2018.

The magazine, citing four anonymous sources, reported late Thursday that Trump had called off a trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, resting site of American and other troops who died in World War I, because he did not want rain to mess up his hair and he believed it was not important to honor the fallen service members.

djt headshot resized looking old

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s alleged comments about ‘losers’ buried in military cemeteries leave military leaders off balance, Dan Lamothe and Missy Ryan, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.). Senior and former military leaders appeared to struggle Friday with how to respond to a report that President Trump disparaged U.S. service members killed in combat as “losers,” as the president attacked the allegations as “fake news.”

The article elicited an array of reactions amid Trump’s history with the military, which includes mocking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being captured in Vietnam, belittling the parents of an Army officer killed in Iraq, and dismissing brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops in an Iranian ballistic missile strike as atlantic logo“headaches.”

The report in the Atlantic, published late Thursday, focused in part on a presidential visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day in 2017 and a jeffrey goldberg Smallcanceled visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside Paris in 2018.

In the first example, according to the magazine, Trump allegedly said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” while standing with retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly at the grave of Kelly’s son, Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan. At the time, Kelly was homeland security secretary.

See: The Atlantic, Investigation: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers:’ Trump, Jeffrey Goldberg, above right.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Experts warn U.S. death toll could hit 410,000 by year’s end, Joel Achenbach and William Wan, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.). A new model forecasts global covid-19 death toll could reach 30,000 daily by late December.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic could triple by year’s end, with an additional 1.9 million deaths, while a fall wave of infections could drive fatalities in the United States to 410,000, according to a new forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

This new estimate reinforces warnings by many experts that cooler, less humid weather and increased time spent indoors, could lead to a surge in viral transmission this fall and winter — something typically seen with other respiratory viruses.

The institute’s forecasts were influential earlier in the pandemic in guiding policies developed by the White House coronavirus task force, but they have been criticized by some experts for making projections further into the future than can be done reliably.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Angrily Denies Report He Called Fallen Soldiers ‘Losers,’ Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.). The report, in The Atlantic (Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers:’ Trump), could be problematic for President Trump because he is counting on strong support among the military in the election.

djt old looking resized headshotPresident Trump confronted a crisis on Friday that could undercut badly needed support in the military community for his re-election djt pence yard sign logocampaign as he sought to dispute a report that he privately referred to American soldiers killed in combat as “losers” and “suckers.”

Mr. Trump, who has long portrayed himself as a champion of the armed forces and boasted of rebuilding a military depleted after years of overseas wars, came under intense fire from Democrats and other opponents who said the magazine report demonstrated his actual contempt for those who serve their country in uniform.

The campaign of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, blasted out a series of statements and organized a conference call for reporters with Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who represented Virginia at the Democratic National Convention last month, and Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat severely wounded while serving as a helicopter pilot in Iraq, who slammed Mr. Trump during the convention as the “coward in chief.”

Virus Updates, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Pharma Companies Plan Joint Pledge on Vaccine Safety, Katie Thomas, Noah Weiland and Sharon LaFraniere, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.). The statement is meant to reassure the public that the companies will not seek a premature approval of vaccines under pressure from the administration.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2A group of drug companies competing with one another to be among the first to develop coronavirus vaccines are planning to pledge early next week that they will not release any vaccines that do not follow rigorous efficacy and safety standards, according to representatives of three of the companies.

The statement, which has not yet been finalized, is meant to reassure the public that the companies will not seek a premature approval of vaccines under political pressure from the Trump administration. President Trump has pushed for a vaccine to be available by October — just before the presidential election — and a growing number of scientists, regulators and public health experts have expressed concern over what they see as a pattern of political arm-twisting by the Trump administration in its efforts to combat the virus.

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 5, 2020 14:59 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than total below)

  • World Cases: 26,884,692, Deaths: 880,403
  • U.S. Cases: 6,397,447, Deaths: 192,248

ny times logoNew York Times, Vaping Links to Covid Risk Are Becoming Clear, Katherine J. Wu, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.).  Researchers are looking at how the use of e-cigarettes raises the chances of catching the virus and suffering its worst effects.

Since the start of the pandemic, experts have warned that the coronavirus — a respiratory pathogen — most likely capitalizes on the scarred lungs of smokers and vapers. Doctors and researchers are now starting to pinpoint the ways in which smoking and vaping seem to enhance the virus’s ability to spread from person to person, infiltrate the lungs and spark some of Covid-19’s worst symptoms.

“I have no doubt in saying that smoking and vaping could put people at increased risk of poor outcomes from Covid-19,” said Dr. Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, a pediatric pulmonologist at Columbia University. “It is quite clear that smoking and vaping are bad for the lungs, and the predominant symptoms of Covid are respiratory. Those two things are going to be bad in combination.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: University Ousts 11 Students for Partying, but Keeps Their Tuition, Staff reports, Sept. 6, 2020 (print ed.). The U.N. warns of looming famines connected to the pandemic; Over 100 cases are linked to an indoor wedding in Maine, including three non-participants who later died; Officials in West Virginia announced more than 250 new daily cases, raising the state’s seven-day total to its highest level ever.

In one of the harshest punishments imposed to date against students for violations of coronavirus safety protocols, Northeastern University dismissed 11 first-year students this week and declined to refund their $36,500 tuition after they were discovered crowded into a room at a Boston hotel serving as a temporary dormitory. About 800 students are staying in two-person rooms at the hotel, the Westin, which is less than a mile from Northeastern’s Boston campus.

Two university staff members making rounds on Wednesday evening discovered the gathering, which violated university rules against any “guests, visitors or additional occupants,” the university said in a news release.In addition, the students were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing, in defiance of university requirements, a university spokeswoman, Renata Nyul, said.

The move by Northeastern University was one of the harshest punishments to date imposed for violating coronavirus safety protocols. Northeastern’s move comes as colleges across the country are struggling to figure out how to stop campus partying, which has already set off outbreaks at a number of schools and shut down some classes. The New York Times has counted at least 51,000 cases in universities and colleges around the country since the start of the pandemic, and many major college towns have become national hot spots.

Most colleges appear to be trying to sway students with warnings and pleas, and relying on peer pressure to moderate behavior, but some are taking a more punitive approach. Purdue University suspended 36 students after a cooperative house was caught partying less than 24 hours after the university president outlawed off-campus parties. At the University of Connecticut, several students were evicted from campus housing over a mask-free dorm bash.

ny times logoNew York Times, Tracking Coronavirus Cases at U.S. Colleges and Universities, Staff reports, Updated Sept. 3, 2020. As colleges start the academic year amid a pandemic, coronavirus cases are turning up by the thousands.

A New York Times survey of more than 1,500 American colleges and universities — including every four-year public institution, every private college that competes in N.C.A.A. sports and others that identified cases — has revealed at least 26,000 cases and at least 64 deaths since the pandemic began.

More than 100 colleges have reported at least 100 cases over the course of the pandemic, including dozens that have seen spikes in recent weeks as dorms have reopened and classes have started. Many of the metro areas with the most cases per capita in recent days — including Auburn, Ala.; Ames, Iowa; and Statesboro, Ga. — have hundreds of cases at universities.

A cluster of 44 cases in the Virginia Commonwealth athletic department forced the university to find additional isolation space. As cases mounted on campus, Iowa State scrapped plans to allow 25,000 fans to attend their first home football game. And California State University, Chico, sent students home to take online classes after dozens of cases emerged, including at least one in almost every dorm.

Large new outbreaks emerged on campuses as students returned for the fall semester.

Sept. 11

Top Headlines

Virus Scandal Updates, Responses

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

U.S. Law, Crime, Courts

More On U.S. Wildfire Disasters

 U.S. 9/11 Memorials, Researchers

World News

 

Top Stories

american flag upside down distress

 ny times logoNew York Times, Live reports: Dozens Reported Missing in Oregon; Fires Near Portland Suburbs, Staff reports, Sept. 11, 2020. West Coast Wildfire Crisis Grows to a Staggering Scale.Officials in Oregon are preparing for a “mass fatality incident,” as fires have consumed more than a million acres in the state.

In her news conference, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon noted that well over 1 million acres of land — over 1,500 square miles — has been burned in the state and that the state’s air quality ranks the worst in the world. “Almost anywhere in the state you can feel this right now,” she said.

Oregon’s fires are unlike anything the state has ever seen, the governor said. And fires are growing in California and Washington. Oregon’s governor said there were concerns for dozens of people reported missing in a state where more than a million acres have burned. California and Washington State are also battling fires.

But tragedy has already befallen some, with towns like Talent and Phoenix all but obliterated.

djt meltdown chyron cnn april 13 2020 Custom

 Donald Trump, shown during an angry meltdown at an April 13, 2020 news conference at the White House.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump says he misled on virus to instill calm. But he governs with scare tactics, Philip Rucker, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.).  Throughout his five years on the national political stage, Trump has used fear to acquire and keep power. Scare tactics are the hammer and screwdriver of his tool kit.

washington post logodavid ignatiusWashington Post, Opinion: Bob Woodward gave Trump every chance to prove himself, David Ignatius, right, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.).It’s a testimony to Donald Trump’s measureless ego that he thought he could charm Bob Woodward (and his tape recorder) into producing a positive book about his presidency. But you know that’s not how it’s going to turn out.

bob woodward rage“If I have a fair book, it’s going to be a great book,” Trump enthuses. Woodward gives Trump every chance to make his case during the 18 on-the-record interviews he conducted for “Rage,” his latest mega-blockbuster. He gives Trump credit for matters large and small. He coaxes, teases, almost pleads with Trump to say the right thing. In the end, Trump is damned by his own words.

Trump confirms the worst charges made by his critics, on tape: “I always wanted to play it down,” he says of the coronavirus pandemic that has now cost nearly 200,000 lives. Talking about the military, the president says he would never call them stupid, and then calls them “stupid,” and says “we’re suckers” for funding allies’ defense.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP worries as Trump campaign pulls back from TV ads to save cash, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). Republican officials have been inundated with calls from activists and donors complaining about constant ads for Joe Biden in their local markets, with very few paid responses for President Trump, according to people familiar with the conversations.

michael flynn arms folded

washington post logoWashington Post, Court-appointed adviser in Michael Flynn case says Justice Dept. yielded to corrupt ‘pressure campaign’ led by Trump, Spencer S. Hsu, Sept. 11, 2020. A retired federal judge accused the Justice Department on Friday of yielding to a pressure campaign led by President Trump in its bid to dismiss the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to federal investigators.

john gleeson CustomIn a 30-page court filing in Washington, former New York federal judge John Gleeson, right, called Attorney General William P. Barr’s request to drop Flynn’s case a “corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system.”

“In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious,” said Gleeson, who was appointed by the court to argue against the government’s request to dismiss the case.

Gleeson’s filing set the stage for a potentially dramatic courtroom confrontation Sept. 29 with the Justice Department and Flynn’s defense over the fate of the highest-ranking Trump adviser to plead guilty in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation. Friday’s filings echo earlier arguments from Gleeson, who called the Justice Department’s attempt to undo Flynn’s conviction a politically motivated and “a gross abuse of prosecutorial power.”

emmet sullivan 2012U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, left, of the District of Columbia set the hearing date after a federal appeals court upheld his authority to review and rule on the government’s dismissal request on Aug. 31. The hearing before Sullivan was selected from three dates proposed by the parties and is scheduled the same day as the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Flynn, 61, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty in December 2017 to lying in an FBI interview on Jan. 24 that year to conceal conversations during the presidential transition with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States. The conversations related to securing potential relief from U.S. sanctions once Trump took office.

Personal Finance / Joblessness

washington post logoWashington Post, ICE transferred detainees so it could also deploy agents to D.C. protests, Antonio Olivo and Nick Miroff, Sept. 11, 2020. After the transfer, dozens of the new arrivals tested positive for the novel coronavirus, fueling an outbreak at the Farmville, Va., immigration jail that infected more than 300 inmates, one of whom died.

us dhs big eagle logo4U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency moved the detainees on “ICE Air” charter flights to avoid overcrowding at detention facilities in Arizona and Florida, a precaution they said was taken because of the pandemic.

chad wolfBut a Department of Homeland Security official with direct knowledge of the operation, and a former ICE official who learned about it from other personnel, said the primary reason for the June 2 transfers was to skirt rules that bar ICE employees from traveling on the charter flights unless detainees are also aboard.

Acting Homeland Secretary Chad Wolf, a former lobbyist whose appointment has been disputed as illegal by critics because he has served more than 10 months in an acting capacity , is shown at left.

The transfers took place over the objections of ICE officials in the Washington field office, according to testimony at a Farmville town council meeting in August, and at a time when immigration jails elsewhere in the country had plenty of beds available because of a dramatic decrease in border crossings and in-country arrests.

Hartford Courant, Nora Dannehy, Connecticut prosecutor who was top aide to John Durham’s Trump-Russia investigation, resigns amid concern about pressure from Attorney General William Barr, Edmund H. Mahony, Sept. 11, 2020. Federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, a top aide to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham in his Russia investigation, has quietly resigned -- at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done, colleagues said.

nora dannehy doj photoDannehy, right, a highly regarded prosecutor who has worked with or for Durham for decades, informed colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Haven of her resignation from the Department of Justice by email Thursday evening. The short email was a brief farewell message and said nothing about political pressure, her work for Durham or what the Durham team has produced, according to people who received it.

Durham, who has never even acknowledged that Dannehy was in Washington working for him, had no immediate comment on the resignation. (Related news below in U.S. Law, Crime Courts section.).

U.S. Wildfire Disasters

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: 500,000 People Under Evacuation Orders in Oregon, Staff reports, Sept. 11, 2020. The mayor of Portland declared a state of emergency as fires burned toward the city. California and Washington State are battling growing fires, too.

The wildfire crisis on the West Coast grew to a staggering scale on Friday, as huge fires merged and bore down on towns and suburbs, state leaders pleaded for firefighting help from neighbors, and hundreds of thousands of people were told to evacuate, including about one of every 10 Oregon residents.

Oregon, Washington State and California are enduring a wildfire season of historic proportions, with the firefighting effort compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and misinformation online. At least 15 people have died in the fires, with more expected as teams search through burned homes.

The fires have consumed more than three million acres in California, almost a million acres in Oregon and destroyed entire towns in Washington. The blazes have torn through idyllic mountain towns, reduced subdivisions to beams and embers, and spewed foul smoke-filled air across a region that is home to millions of people.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Climate Reckoning in Fire-Stricken California, Thomas Fuller and Christopher Flavelle, Updated Sept. 11, 2020. The state is confronting climate change as residents face the worst year for fires on record. The crisis in the nation’s most populous state is more than just an accumulation of individual catastrophes. It is also an example of something climate experts have long worried about, but which few expected to see so soon: a cascade effect, in which a series of disasters overlap, triggering or amplifying each other.

“You’re toppling dominoes in ways that Americans haven’t imagined,” said Roy Wright, who directed resilience programs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency until 2018 and grew up in Vacaville, Calif., near one of this year’s largest fires. “It’s apocalyptic.”

The same could be said for the entire West Coast this week, to Washington and Oregon, where towns were decimated by infernos as firefighters were stretched to their limits.

Virus Scandal Updates, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, The Other Way Covid-19 Will Kill: Hunger, Peter S. Goodman, Abdi Latif Dahir and Karan Deep Singh, Sept. 11, 2020. Worldwide, the population facing life-threatening levels of food insecurity is expected to double, to more than a quarter of a billion people.

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: Sept. 11, 2020 12:30 GMT, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2below),

  • World Cases: 28,369,504, Deaths: 914,512
  • U.S. Cases: 6,588,825, Deaths: 196,345

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Coronavirus Response Was Beyond Incompetent, Paul Krugman, right, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). He wasn’t oblivious to the paul krugmandanger. He just didn’t care.

Until this week I thought that Donald Trump’s disastrous mishandling of Covid-19 was basically negligence, even if that negligence was willful — that is, that he failed to understand the gravity of the threat because he didn’t want to hear about it and refused to take actions that could have saved thousands of American lives because actually doing effective policy isn’t his kind of thing.

But I was wrong. According to Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, Trump wasn’t oblivious; he knew by early February that Covid-19 was both deadly and airborne. And this isn’t a case of conflicting recollections: Woodward has Trump on tape. Yet Trump continued to hold large indoor rallies, disparage precautionary measures and pressure states to reopen business despite the risk of infection.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: As Colleges Restart, Even the Very Prepared Face Outbreaks, Staff reports, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). There have been more than 88,000 coronavirus cases on U.S. campuses. F.D.A. regulators alluded to potential interference. Here’s the latest.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, more than 40,000 students take tests twice a week for the coronavirus. They cannot enter campus buildings unless an app vouches that their test has come back negative. Everyone has to wear masks.

This is one of the most comprehensive plans by a major college to keep the virus under control. University scientists developed a quick, inexpensive saliva test. Other researchers put together a detailed computer model that suggested these measures would work, and that in-person instruction could go forward this fall.

But the predictive model included an oversight: It assumed that students would do what they were told to.

What the scientists had not taken into account was that some students would continue partying after they received a positive test result. “It was willful noncompliance by a small group of people,” one of the scientists said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Please regulate us, beg companies that Trump keeps trying to deregulate, Catherine Rampell, right, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). Six in catherine rampell10 Americans worry political pressure from the administration will lead the FDA to rush vaccine approval before confirming it’s safe and effective, the Kaiser Family Foundation has found. And only about 4 in 10 would get the vaccine, even if it were free, if the FDA approved it before the election.

Fearful that these suspicions might reduce the market for a drug that tremendous resources have gone into developing, Big Pharma took an unusual step Tuesday.

The chief executives of nine drug companies publicly pledged to “make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals the top priority in development of the first COVID-19 vaccines.” Moreover, they vowed not to seek FDA approval before vaccine safety and efficacy had been established in Phase 3 trials — the industry standard — implying that they would do this even if the Trump administration allowed (or encouraged) them to cut corners.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Lifeline to the Jobless Has Problems With Fraud, and With Math, Ben Casselman, Patricia Cohen, Conor Dougherty and Nelson D. Schwartz, Sept. 11, 2020. An emergency federal program faces growing issues with spurious claims, and the flood of applicants may have led to overcounting the unemployed.

California is at the center of increasing concerns about extensive fraud in a federal program to push unemployment benefits to freelancers, part-timers and others lacking a safety net in the coronavirus pandemic.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump’s Payroll Tax ‘Cut’ Fizzles, Jim Tankersley, Sept. 11, 2020. Big companies say the president’s directive to delay collection of the tax that funds Social Security is more trouble than it is worth.

With congressional negotiations stalled over a new round of pandemic aid, President Trump has floated the idea of once acting alone to stimulate the economy before the November election.

But Mr. Trump’s initial attempts to unilaterally bolster the economy show the limitations of the president’s ability to deliver financial help without Congress.

More than a month after Mr. Trump signed an executive memorandum to defer the collection of the payroll taxes that workers pay to help fund Social Security, few companies or people are taking part. Trade groups and tax experts say they know of no large corporations that plan to stop withholding employees’ payroll taxes this fall. As a result, economic policy experts now say they expect the deferral to have little to no effect on economic growth this year.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Commentary: Covid death count deniers are also Holocaust deniers, Wayne Madsen, left, Sept. 11, 2020. The far-right rarely deviates wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallfrom their usual playbooks. Donald Trump recently re-tweeted two Twitter postings that claimed only a "minuscule" number of Americans have died from Covid-19, not the nearly 200,000 who have actually succumbed to the highly-contagious pathogen.

The source for Trump's medical genocide denial is "Gateway Pundit," a White House-credentialed website that traffics in bogus click-bait items masquerading as legitimate news stories.

washington post logoWashington Post, High numbers of Los Angeles patients complained about coughs as early as December, study says, Ben Guarino, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). The number of patients complaining of coughs and respiratory illnesses surged at a sprawling Los Angeles medical system from late December through February, raising questions about whether the novel coronavirus was spreading earlier than thought, according to a study of electronic medical records.

The authors of the report, published Thursday in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, suggested that coronavirus infections may have caused this rise weeks before U.S. officials began warning the public about an outbreak. But the researchers cautioned that the results cannot prove that the pathogen reached California so soon, and other disease trackers expressed skepticism that the findings signaled an early arrival.

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections 

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump is destroying the Republican Party. Why won’t any of his peers speak up? Joe Scarborough (MSNBC "Morning Joe" Co-host and former Republican congressman representing Florida's Panhandle), right, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). joe scarborough headshotGiven the party’s brash support of all things “patriotic,” the past week’s developments have been disorienting even for the age of Trump.

Trump’s Republican Party has been damaged yet again by their leader’s offensive statements. It has also lost any claim it ever had at being the U.S. military’s bulwark against left-wing attacks. A recent Military Times poll suggests that most active duty troops agree, with a plurality supporting Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s presidential bid.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Trump Pushes for University Reopenings, Staff reports, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). “We want to see Big Ten football,” President Trump said at the White House, ahead of a visit to Michigan for a campaign rally. Joe Biden and his surrogates seized on the news that President Trump knew the coronavirus was deadly and intentionally suggested otherwise. The latest virus relief bill failed in the Senate. Here’s the latest.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Hey Donald Trump, tick tock! Bill Palmer, Sept. 11, 2020. Despite having only been in politics for a relatively short period of time, Donald Trump is already by far the most scandal-plagued politician in American history (he did tell us we’d get tired of winning). Now he’s facing some of his ugliest scandals yet, such as his military scandal and his coronavirus scandal.

bill palmer report logo headerThis has led a lot of observers to ask if these new scandals are going to have any negative impact on Donald Trump’s poll numbers, considering how scandal-prone this guy has been all along. If his Russia scandal, porn star scandal, kids in cages scandal, sexual assault scandals, etc, etc, didn’t cause his numbers to shift, will any scandal? But I believe that’s the wrong question to be asking.

If Trump were ahead, it would be one thing. But the polling averages have consistently shown all along that Trump is roughly eight points behind Joe Biden in the national polls, and that Trump is behind by varying margins in every swing state. All caveats about the polls apply. But there’s no doubt that Trump is on track to lose this election, and he only has about fifty days left.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ruling blocks thousands of felons in Fla. who still owe fines from registering to vote, Lori Rozsa, Sept. 11, 2020.  The decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has possible implications for the presidential election, as the deadline to register to vote in this swing state is Oct. 5.

A federal appeals court on Friday blocked hundreds of thousands of felons in Florida who still owe fines and fees from registering to vote, putting a halt to what was potentially the nation’s largest re-enfranchisement of voters in more than 50 years.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta agreed with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that the payment of fines and fees by ex-felons is part of their “terms of sentence” and must be satisfied before they can register.

The decision comes less than a month before the presidential swing state’s Oct. 5 deadline to register to vote for November’s general election.

“This is a deeply disappointing decision,” said Paul Smith, vice president at the Campaign Legal Center. Smith’s group and others sued DeSantis after he signed a law that put the payment conditions on a widely supported state constitutional amendment. In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed an amendment that allowed felons to register to vote, overturning decades of practice in which felons had to petition the governor to have their rights restored.

“Nobody should ever be denied their constitutional rights because they can’t afford to pay fines and fees,” Smith said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates:Democratic rival of professed QAnon conspiracy theory believer drops out of House race, John Wagner and Amy B Wang, Sept. 11, 2020. The Democratic opponent of Republican candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, a professed QAnon conspiracy theory believer, said Friday he was dropping out of the race for the U.S. House seat in Georgia.

Kevin Van Ausdal cited “family and personal reasons” in announcing that he could not continue his candidacy in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Greene is favored to win the open seat in the strongly GOP district.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Van Ausdal said the next steps in his life would be taking him away from Georgia, “so I will be disqualified from serving in Congress.”It was unclear whether Democrats would select a replacement.

Greene backs the baseless theory that President Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. The FBI has labeled the group a domestic terrorism threat.

Some Republicans have distanced themselves from Greene after videos surfaced of her making racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic comments. Last week, she posted an image of herself holding a rifle with photos of three liberal congresswomen of color, all Democrats, and the vow to “go on the offense” against members of the “Squad.”

The image was removed from Facebook a day later. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said he would seat Greene if she is elected to Congress. Trump has called her a “future Republican star,” and she was a guest at the White House when he accepted his party’s nomination in August.

The main question we should be asking is, can Trump do anything to make his poll numbers go up? The secondary question is, will these new scandals make it that much harder for Trump to find a way to get his poll numbers to go up? After all, it’s harder to go on the offensive when you’re stuck playing defense. Tick tock Donald Trump, you’re running out of time.

U.S. Law, Crime, Courts

nora dannehy doj photoHartford Courant, Nora Dannehy, Connecticut prosecutor who was top aide to John Durham’s Trump-Russia investigation, resigns amid concern about pressure from Attorney General William Barr, Edmund H. Mahony, Sept. 11, 2020. Continued from above. Federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, right, a top aide to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham in his Russia investigation, has quietly resigned -- at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done, colleagues said.

Durham recruited Dannehy to join his team after he was appointed by Attorney General William Barr more than a year and a half ago to examine the the FBI’s legal justification for a disputed counterintelligence investigation that looked for ties between President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian efforts to meddle in the election.

Dannehy is a career prosecutor who worked closely with Durham before leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office about a decade ago for a corporate position in the defense industry. Durham persuaded her to return to the justice department and, within weeks, join his team in Washington in the spring of 2019.

Colleagues said Dannehy is not a supporter of President Donald J. Trump and has been concerned in recent weeks by what she believed was pressure from Barr - who appointed Durham - to produce results before the election. They said she has been considering resignation for weeks, conflicted by loyalty to Durham and concern about politics.

john durhamDurham, left, is notoriously circumspect and neither he nor members of his team have revealed anything about the direction of their work. But Durham associates, none of whom have specific knowledge of the investigation, have said recently that it is their belief he is under pressure to produce something - perhaps some sort of report - before the presidential election in November.

The thinking of the associates, all Durham allies, is that the Russia investigation group will be disbanded and its work lost if Trump loses.

Dannehy was told to expect an assignment of from six months to a year when she agreed to join Durham’s team in Washington, colleagues said. The work has taken far longer than expected, in part because of complications caused by the corona virus pandemic. In the meantime, team members - some of whom are current or former federal investigators or prosecutors with homes in Connecticut - have been working long hours in Washington under pressure to produce results, associates said.

As a assistant U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, Dannehy was known for building complex corruption cases against high-profile politicians. Among others, she convicted former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland and former state Treasurer Paul Silvester. In 2008, she was assigned to Washington to investigate whether prosecutors in the President George W. Bush justice department had been fired for political reasons.

The Durham investigation produced its first public result in August with the arrest or former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who is accused of doctoring email from the CIA about a former Trump campaign adviser who was a target of secret FBI surveillance, according to documents filed in Washington’s federal court.

The altered memo concerned former low level Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, who years earlier had agreed to act as a source for the CIA and provide information to the agency about Russians he met in the course of business. The CIA wrote in the memo to the FBI that Page was a source. Clinesmith altered the memo to say that he was not, a change that arguably allowed the FBI to extend a wiretap order that it had for Page.

Trump and his supporters have pointed to the Clinesmith arrest and conviction as evidence for the President’s contention that political opponents - including top figures in the FBI and intelligence services - have been trying to hamstring his presidency or force him from office with contrived claims that he or members of his campaign colluded with Russia to win the election.

william barr new oBarr, left, has dropped hints in public that Durham’s investigation will produce something more significant - before the election - than the arrest of Clinesmith, who was charged with making a false statement.

Critics of the administration have accused it of trying to manipulate the Durham investigation to shore up the President’s poll numbers.

Ed Mahony has covered Connecticut for more than three decades, mostly for the Hartford Courant. Over the last decade, he has covered some of the country’s biggest political and mob trials. He is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk award, which he has won twice.

Related stories below:

ny times logoNew York Times, Top Aide in Review of Russia Inquiry Resigns From Justice Dept., Charlie Savage, Katie Benner, Adam Goldman and Neil Vigdor, Sept. 11, 2020. The resignation came amid increasing expectations that the department may disclose partial results from the review before it is completed but ahead of the presidential election.

A top aide to the criminal prosecutor whom Attorney General William P. Barr assigned to scrutinize the Trump-Russia investigation has resigned unexpectedly from the Justice Department, a spokesman said Friday.

It was not immediately clear why the official, Nora R. Dannehy — a trusted assistant to John H. Durham, the prosecutor leading the investigation and the U.S. attorney in Connecticut — stepped down.

But The Hartford Courant, which first reported her departure, cited unidentified colleagues in Mr. Durham’s office as saying that she had expressed concerns in recent weeks about pressure from Mr. Barr to deliver results ahead of the presidential election in November.

Ms. Dannehy did not respond to a voice mail message seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr, Kerri Kupec, referred questions to Mr. Durham’s office in Connecticut. His spokesman, Thomas Carson, said: “We can confirm that Nora Dannehy has left the Department of Justice. No further comment from us.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Bill Barr’s Durham stunt unravels as key prosecutor resigns, Bill Palmer, Sept. 11, 2020. For months, Donald Trump’s fans have been john durham o portrait 2 croppedhanging their fading election hopes on the notion that U.S Attorney John Durha, right, is going to take action against the people who investigated Trump’s crimes, and that this turn of events is somehow magically going to hand the election to Trump. This was never likely to go anywhere, and it’s now unraveling.

bill palmer report logo headerIt turns out Donald Trump and Bill Barr have been putting so much inappropriate pressure on Durham’s team, Durham’s top aide Nora Dannehy has resigned in protest, according to the Hartford Courant newspaper. Some folks will insist that this means Trump and Barr are now winning, because someone resigned. But the entire point of Barr’s scheme was to try to get Durham’s team to put their names on false accusations against Trump’s adversaries, not to push Durham’s team out the door.

This has to be taken as a sign that Bill Barr’s Durham stunt is unraveling. We still don’t know for certain what John Durham will do in the end. But since there’s no “there” there, we don’t expect Durham to announce anything beneficial to Donald Trump before the election. We do expect that Barr will flat-out lie and claim that Durham did find something when he didn’t. But we don’t expect that to have any impact, because no one outside Trump’s existing base will believe it or care.

washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutor resigns from U.S. attorney’s investigation into origins of Trump-Russia probe, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 11, 2020. Nora Dannehy’s departure is likely to raise questions among Democrats about whether Attorney General William P. Barr is pushing the case in a way to benefit President Trump

George Floyd, left, and Derek Chauvin

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-officers charged in George Floyd killing blame each other, Holly Bailey, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). The four former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's killing appear to be turning on each other, with each offering significantly different versions of the infamous arrest that acknowledge Floyd should not have been allowed to die that day but also deflect the blame to others.

The four men have said in court documents that they all thought someone else was in charge of the scene on May 25 — with rookie officers arguing they were deferring to a veteran, and the veteran saying he was simply assisting in an arrest that was in progress.

derek chauvin mug CustomAll have said in court documents that the relationship between the veteran officer — Derek Chauvin, left, — and the others is at the heart of the issue, as each officer perceived their role, and who was in charge, quite differently. Chauvin was the officer shown with his knee on Floyd’s neck as he struggled to breathe in videos of the ill-fated arrest.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump goes all in on mixing ‘protesters’ and ‘criminals,’ Philip Bump, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). Two videos shared by the president and his campaign lean heavily on an increasingly common conflation, blending Joe Biden’s stated support for peaceful protests with scenes of turmoil, violence and vandalism.

A pair of videos shared by the campaign and the president on Thursday offer a preview of coming attractions: rampant violence and danger under a djt pence yard sign logoprospective Joe Biden presidency. And each leans heavily on an increasingly common conflation, blending the former vice president’s stated support for peaceful protests with scenes of turmoil, violence and vandalism.

Even simply considered on their own merits, each of the ads is a bit odd.

One shared by the president’s social media team concludes by juxtaposing an image of Biden kneeling in front of a group of Black men with a call to “stop Joe Biden and his rioters.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Court blocks Trump’s order to exclude undocumented immigrants from census count, Tara Bahrampour, Sept. 11, 2020 (print ed.). A three-judge panel out of New York ruled that the Census requires a count of every person residing in the United States and the president’s memorandum would violate a statute governing apportionment.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Now that he’s been nailed, Rudy Giuliani WANTS us to believe he’s senile, Bill Palmer, Sept. 11, 2020. For a few years now, it’s been clear that Rudy Giuliani is suffering from some sort of cognitive decline. His television interviews and public appearances have been increasingly erratic and clueless. Even the criminal schemes he’s gotten involved in, such as the Ukraine plot to frame Joe Biden, have been completely incoherent to the point of almost being pitiable.

Now Rudy Giuliani has finally been nailed, so to speak. He’s been caught conspiring against the United States with a Russian agent named Andriy Derkach, whose criminal antics are so severe that even Donald Trump’s federal government is now sanctioning him. This suggests that as soon as Trump is gone from office, the DOJ will indict Rudy for his participation in Derkach’s crimes. Rudy was already likely facing charges for his Ukraine conspiracy against Biden, but this should seal it.

So now Rudy Giuliani is trying to lay the groundwork for his defense at his eventual criminal trial, by essentially making the case that he’s too senile to have known that he was conspiring with a Kremlin agent. Rudy said this: “I have no reason to believe he is a Russian agent. There is nothing I saw that said he was a Russian agent. There is nothing he gave me that seemed to come from Russia at all. How the hell would I know?”

That’s right, Rudy is going for the “How the hell would I know?” defense. He’s arguing that, sure, he conspired with a Russian agent against the United States – but that he didn’t know the person he was conspiring with was a Russian agent. Fine. Save it for the jury, Rudy.

U.S. 9/11 Memorials, Researchers

ny times logoNew York Times, New York City Marks 9/11 at a Time of Harrowing Loss, Michael Gold, Sept. 11, 2020. As New Yorkers memorialize a past tragedy, they face another profound and deadly crisis that is not yet over.

The families came together again on Friday to honor their loved ones at the site where their lives were stolen. The names of the victims resounded across the plaza, and the bells tolled in New York City as they have in years past, sounding a peal of collective mourning for those killed on one of the darkest days in American history.

Yet the somber, solemn rituals held at the Sept. 11 memorial to mark a tragedy that brought New York and the nation to its knees were unmistakably altered at a time of another crisis — one also marked by devastating loss.

Some of America’s most notable politicians were in attendance, including Vice President Mike Pence and Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic candidate for president. All of them wore masks in addition to their customary memorial ribbons and lapel pins. They exchanged elbow bumps, then distanced themselves six feet apart as they stood for the national anthem.

There was no stage in front of them on Friday, and no speeches given to the mourners gathered at the site known as ground zero — two hallmarks of past memorials that were removed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Palmer Report, Donald Trump caught stealing money from 9/11 fund, Ron Leshnower, Sept. 11, 2020. Although 19 years have passed since the horrific attacks of 9/11, people across the United States pause to remember the day with a deep sense of sorrow and solemnity. The President of the United States should treat 9/11 as sacred and strive to honor the sacrifices of the first responders and their families. Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s shameful desecration of 9/11 began on that tragic day and shows no signs of letting up.

bill palmer report logo headerLast night, on the eve of 9/11, the New York Daily News reported that the Trump administration has “secretly siphoned” funds aimed at helping FDNY firefighters and medics who suffer from 9/11-related illnesses. A review of documents reveals that Trump’s Treasury Department “mysteriously” decided to keep some of the money — already authorized by Congress under the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program — for years without even a single communication about it.

This unexplained withholding of money is not only an affront to first responders, but it threatens the continued employment of physicians, nurses, and support staff and has required New York City to cover the shortfall, even as the coronavirus pandemic has stressed the economy. Not surprisingly, no one in the Trump administration has responded to requests for comments, and there is no sign that this will get resolved soon.

This is not the first time Trump has offended our sensibilities when it comes to 9/11. Within mere hours of the attacks, Trump boasted (inaccurately, no less) that he now owned the tallest building in Lower Manhattan. Trump later falsely claimed he watched “thousands and thousands” of Muslims on New Jersey rooftops cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center. Trump then lied by saying he “was down there also” with the first responders in the wake of 9/11, and he lied again by claiming he sent “a couple of hundred people” from his company to help with the recovery effort.

In the ensuing months, Trump pledged $10,000 to the Twin Towers Fund, yet investigations show he donated nothing. Trump later applied for and received substantial federal money for small business recovery, made available thanks to the efforts of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, New York’s two senators at the time — even though, as Trump later admitted, his one property in the area was “fortunately” not affected. Last year, Trump secretly invited the Taliban, who protected Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, to Camp David for peace talks just days before the anniversary 9/11. And the list goes on.

Sept. 9

washington post logoWashington Post,Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly,’ Woodward book says, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Sept. 9, 2020. In Bob Woodward's new book Rage, President Trump said he deliberately played down the threat of pandemic and said he feels no responsibility to better understand the anger and pain of Black Americans.

bob woodward ragePresident Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

djt hands up mouth open Custom“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

djt i dont take responsibility at all“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

CNN, Analysis: Here's *exactly* why Donald Trump talked to Bob Woodward so much, Chris Cillizza, Sept. 9, 2020. The news is stunning: President Donald Trump told longtime reporter Bob Woodward that he "wanted to always play [the threat posed by the coronavirus] down" and "still like[d] playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic" even as the virus that has now sickened more than 6.3 million Americans and killed almost 190,000 was beginning to rage across the United States.

bob woodward headshotWhat's only slightly less stunning is this: Trump said that to Woodward, right, in one of the 18(!) interviews he granted the reporter between December 5, 2019 and July 21, 2020. And this: Woodward recorded the audio of all of those interviews with Trump's permission!

Why, why, why would the President grant Woodward so much access? And why would the famously denial-prone Trump allow Woodward to tape the conversations so that there can be no doubt about a) their authenticity or b) what he actually said?

Good question! And one that can only be answered by understanding Trump's psyche and the unique role that Woodward plays in American politics. Continued below.

More On Postal Service Scandals 

washington post logoWashington Post, Patients may have seen ‘significant’ delays in medicine deliveries by USPS, Senate report finds, Tony Romm, Sept. 9, 2020. Several large pharmacies told Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Robert P. Casey that delivery times have ticked up, leading to a flood of customer complaints.

Patients who rely on the U.S. Postal Service for their prescription drugs may have experienced “significant” delays in their deliveries, according to a Senate report released Wednesday, which accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of jeopardizing the “health of millions of Americans.”

Several major U.S. pharmacies told the two Democratic senators leading the investigation — Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.) — that average delivery times have ticked up since the spring, leading to a flood of angry calls from customers and costly requests to resend their medications.

Warren and Casey did not identify the pharmacies, but their report comes nearly three weeks after they asked Walgreens, CVS, and other pharmacies and benefit managers to detail the effects of DeJoy’s changes to the Postal Service. This summer, DeJoy implemented policies to reduce overtime and mail trips, which postal carriers say have led to backlogs nationwide.

washington post logoWashington Post, House Oversight Committee will investigate DeJoy's campaign fundraising, Amy Gardner, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). House Democrats are launching an investigation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and called for his immediate suspension following accusations that he reimbursed employees for campaign contributions they made to his preferred GOP politicians, an arrangement that would be unlawful.

postal service old logoRep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement late Monday that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which she chairs, would begin an investigation, saying that DeJoy may have lied to her committee under oath.

Maloney also urged the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service to immediately suspend DeJoy, whom “they never should have hired in the first place,” she said.

Salon, Senate Dems probe political donations surrounding nomination of Louis DeJoy’s wife to be ambassador, Roger Sollenberger, Sept. 9, 2020. Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are investigating the events surrounding the nomination us mail logoof Aldona Wos, the wife of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada following a report on high-dollar donations made by Salon.

us senate logoDeJoy, a top Trump donor and the former head fundraiser for the Republican National Convention, made a series of major donations to the Trump campaign and Senate Republicans leading up to his wife's nomination, federal election records show.

In the weeks surrounding the nomination, DeJoy gave Trump Victory $360,600. He also gave a $35,000 maximum donation to the Senate GOP's election committee the day after Trump announced his intention to nominate Wos.

The Senate oversees the confirmation of all U.S. ambassadors. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., the current chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), sits on the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, which is currently holding confirmation proceedings for Wos.

ny times logo

New York Times, Democrats Fear Partisan Slant at Postal Service as Trump Allies Dominate Board, Luke Broadwater, Hailey Fuchs and Kenneth P. Vogel, Sept. 9, 2020 (print ed.). At least one of the board’s governors expressed concerns about possible voter fraud. Other governors have done little to hide their loyalty to President Trump.

The five Republicans on the seven-member board have taken a hands-on role in trying to defend the agency against accusations that it is trying to help the president win a second term by sabotaging voting by mail.

A powerful but little-known group of Republican donors installed by President Trump to oversee the United States Postal Service has helped raise more than $3 million to support him and hundreds of millions more for his party over the past decade, prompting concerns about partisan bias at the agency before the November election.

rnc logoThe largest amount of fund-raising has been by groups with connections to Robert M. Duncan, who continues to sit on the boards of two super PACs pushing for Republicans to win in 2020, one of which has spent more than $1 million supporting the president’s re-election. But he is only one of five Republican members Mr. Trump has named to the board — most of whom have given generously to the party — who have taken a hands-on role in trying to defend the embattled agency against accusations that it is trying to help the president win a second term by sabotaging voting by mail.

At least one of the governors expressed concerns in an interview like those voiced by the president about possible voter fraud, citing an anonymously sourced news report circulated by the Trump campaign and the president’s son Eric Trump about how mail-in ballots can be manipulated.

“If any doubt is ever raised — like in the New York Post article, or by any other reputable publication — we want to get to the bottom of that,” said John M. Barger, one of the Republican board members named by Mr. Trump and a participant in a newly formed election mail task force.

Other governors have done little to hide their loyalty to the president, even as the board meets behind closed doors to plot a strategy for handling what is expected to be a record crush of mail-in ballots this fall.

djt maga hatHours after Mr. Duncan assured lawmakers at a Capitol Hill hearing last month that he was committed to doing his job without partisan bias and according to “the public interest,” he appeared on video at the Republican National Convention, holding up four fingers and smiling as fellow Kentuckians chanted, “Four more years!”

For Democrats who are increasingly concerned that Mr. Trump is bent on kneecapping the mail system to bolster his own re-election chances, the juxtaposition was an alarming reminder that the president has stacked the Postal Service board with allies who support him, and who can amplify and act on the concerns he has tried to sow about mail-in voting.

A Postal Service spokesman did not provide specific responses to multiple questions concerning the board of governors, except to say that Mr. Duncan’s appearance at the Republican National Convention did not involve government resources and therefore did not violate federal law against partisan activities by federal workers. Mr. Duncan did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

CNN, Analysis: Here's *exactly* why Donald Trump talked to Bob Woodward so much, Chris Cillizza, Sept. 9, 2020. Continued from above.

Let's start with Trump.

bob woodward rageFor all the attacks he lobs at the media, there is NO president who has more closely followed how he is covered and treated by the press than Trump. And it's not even close. He is a voracious consumer of cable news as well as print newspapers. Cable TV has long been the lens through which he views the world and, since being elected president, the way that he analyzes -- in real time -- how he thinks he is doing.

That obsession with perception has naturally lead Trump into forever hunting out ways to cement his legacy in office. Whether that's the almost farcical attempt to buy Greenland or his fascination with the possibility of his face being added to Mount Rushmore, Trump has shown a unbending focus on creating and preserving his legacy. (Trump thinks like a real estate developer; he goes big!)

Now to Woodward.

bob woodward headshotWoodward, right, made his name, obviously, as one of the two reporters who broke the criminal enterprise overseen by President Richard Nixon and known as "Watergate." In his later years, Woodward has turned almost exclusively to writing books -- and books that chronicle the life and times of presidents in office. He wrote four books about George W. Bush's eight years in the White House and two about Barack Obama. And in 2018, Woodward released "Fear" -- his first book about the Trump White House.

In short: Woodward is writing the history of each president as it happens. He is the most recognizable and famous political journalist in the country. When Bob Woodward says he wants to write about you -- even if you are a billionaire businessman or the president of the United States -- you are flattered. And you see opportunity, because if you can convince Woodward that the coverage of you is unfair and biased and that you are really doing a great job, well, then, maybe history starts remembering you the way you want it to.

Every president who has cooperated with Woodward to some extent or another has been driven by the appeal of dealing with someone with the sort of influence they believe can shape how they are not just perceived in the moment but remembered. The appeal of telling the "real" story to a journalist of Woodward's stature, bringing him in behind the curtain, is irresistible.

And never more so than with Trump, who is not only obsessed with how he is covered and what his legacy will be but also has a superhuman belief in his ability to talk his way in or out of almost anything. Trump views himself as a master manipulator, someone who is so good at reading other people that he knows how to get what he wants even as they think they are getting what they want.

Which is why Trump was so frustrated with his lack of involvement in "Fear," he called Woodward after the manuscript had already been finished to offer to participate.

As CNN's Kaitlan Collins tweeted Wednesday: "Trump talked to Woodward 18 times for this book, a decision many are now questioning. One reason Trump was so irritated aides didn't tell him about Woodward's attempts to interview him for his last book was because he thought he could have made himself look better in it."

Trump missed out on the last one and he damn sure wasn't going to miss out on this one! Even if it meant granting unbelievably free access -- 18 interviews!!! -- to a journalist who had written a hugely critical book less than two years ago about his White House. (The lead of The New York Times review of Fear is incredible: "Nothing in Bob Woodward's sober and grainy new book, 'Fear: Trump in the White House,' is especially surprising. This is a White House that has leaked from Day 1. We knew things were bad. Woodward is here, like a state trooper knocking on the door at 3 a.m., to update the sorry details.")

Trump has two Achilles heels in politics and life. The first is that he cares so desperately about how people think of him and remember him that he is willing to do almost anything to impact his legacy. The second is that he believes far too much in his own ability to persuade. Woodward (and the book he has produced) cuts at both of the heels.

Sept. 8

 

djt william barr doj photo march 2019

Donald Trump, the impeached president and accused rapist, welcomed Attorney General William Barr, a former CIA officer and longtime Republican political fixer covering up scandal, to office last year. As revealed by the Justice Integrity Project last year in Senators Fail To Grill Barr On His CIA Past, Iran-Contra Cover-up and in Trump Found His Roy Cohn In Deep State Fixer Bill Barr , no one in the U.S. Senate brought out during Barr's confirmation hearing anything about his first career as a CIA officer or his work during the Reagan-Bush Administrations to cover up official law-breaking in the Iran-Contra Scandal, including help arrange pardons for those federally indicted. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Justice Dept. Intervenes to Help Trump in E. Jean Carroll Lawsuit, Alan Feuer, Sept. 8, 2020. Government lawyers sought to take over President Trump’s defense in a defamation suit from Ms. Carroll, who said he raped her in the 1990s.

e jean carrollE. Jean Carroll, a writer shown at left and below left in a file photo from earlier in her career, sued President Trump last November, claiming that he lied by publicly denying he had ever met her. The Justice Department moved on Tuesday to replace President Trump’s private legal team with government lawyers to defend him against a defamation lawsuit by the author E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s.

In a highly unusual legal move, lawyers for the Justice Department said in court papers that Mr. Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Ms. Carroll and thus could be defended by government lawyers — in effect underwritten by taxpayer money.

e jean carroll twitterThough the law gives employees of the federal government immunity from most defamation lawsuits, legal experts said it has rarely, if ever, been used before to protect a president, especially for actions taken before he entered office.

“The question is,” said Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, “is it really within the scope of the law for government lawyers to defend someone accused of lying about a rape when he wasn’t even president yet?” Related story below.

Justice Department log circularThe motion also effectively protects Mr. Trump from any embarrassing disclosures in the middle of his campaign for re-election. A state judge issued a ruling last month that potentially opened the door to Mr. Trump being deposed in the case before the election in November, and Ms. Carroll’s lawyers have also requested that he provide a DNA sample to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress that Ms. Carroll said she was wearing at the time of the encounter.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyer said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that the Justice Department’s move to intervene in the case was a “shocking” attempt to bring the resources of the United States government to bear on a private legal matter.

  donald trump ny daily pussy

New allegations echo Trump's words in "Hollywood Access" videotape, reported upon above, that arose during the 2016 presidential campaign. Then and Now: The front page of a 2016 New York Daily News edition contrasts with President Trump's claimed innocence.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. moves to take over defamation case against Trump, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 8, 2020. Justice Dept. moves to take over defamation case against Trump, Matt Zapotosky, Sept. 8, 2020. The Justice Department sought to move the matter to federal court and signaled it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than President Trump himself — the defendant in the case brought by E. Jean Carroll, right, who has accused Trump of raping her.

e jean carroll headshotThe Justice Department on Tuesday intervened in the defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says President Trump raped her years ago, moving the matter to federal court and signaling it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than Trump himself — the defendant in the case.

In filings in federal court in Manhattan, the Justice Department asserted that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office as President of the United States” when he denied during interviews in 2019 that he had raped journalist E. Jean Carroll more than two decades ago in a New York City department store. Carroll sued Trump over that denial in November.

The maneuver removes the case — at least for now — from state court in New York, where a judge last month had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay and put e jean carroll cover new york magazineCarroll’s team back on course to seek a DNA sample and an under-oath interview from the president. It also means that Justice Department lawyers will be essentially aiding Trump’s defense, and taxpayers could be on the hook for any potential damages, if the U.S. government is allowed to stand in for Trump. Winning damages against the government, though, would be more unlikely than in donald trump monster abananapeeledcom dcmaa suit against Trump, as the notion of “sovereign immunity” gives the government and its employees broad protection from lawsuits.

In a statement, Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s lawyer, blasted the department’s filing. She noted that because a New York state court had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay, he was “soon going to be required to produce documents, provide a DNA sample, and sit for a deposition.”

“Realizing that there was no valid basis to appeal that decision in the New York courts, on the very day that he would have been required to appeal, Trump instead enlisted the U.S. Department of Justice to replace his private lawyers and argue that when he lied about sexually assaulting our client, explaining that she ‘wasn’t his type,’ he was acting in his official capacity as President of the United States,” Kaplan said.

Carroll said in a statement that the Justice Department’s actions “demonstrate that Trump will do everything possible, including using the full powers of the federal government, to block discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming election to try to prevent a jury from ever deciding which one of us is lying.”

“But Trump underestimates me, and he also has underestimated the American people,” Carroll said.

Sept. 7

ny times logoNew York Times, In Final Stretch, Biden Defends Lead Against Trump’s Onslaught, Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). The president is attempting to overtake his Democratic challenger with a strategy of racial polarization in heavily white Midwestern states, even as Democrats make djt biden smiles resizedinroads in the Republican-leaning South and West.

A presidential campaign long muffled by the coronavirus pandemic will burst into a newly intense and public phase after Labor Day, as Joseph R. Biden Jr. moves aggressively to defend his polling lead against a ferocious onslaught by President Trump aimed chiefly at white voters in the Midwest.

Private polls conducted for both parties during and after their August conventions found the race largely stable but tightening slightly in some states, with Mr. Trump recovering some support from conservative-leaning rural voters who had drifted away over the summer amid the worsening pandemic. Yet Mr. Biden continues to enjoy advantages with nearly every other group, especially in populous areas where the virus remains at the forefront for voters, according to people briefed on the data.

No president has entered Labor Day weekend — the traditional kickoff of the fall campaign — as such a clear underdog since George Bush in 1992. Mr. Trump has not led in public polls in such must-win states as Florida since Mr. Biden claimed the nomination in April, and there has been little fluctuation in the race. Still, the president’s surprise win in 2016 weighs heavily in the thinking of nervous Democrats and hopeful Republicans alike.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump has a long history of disparaging military service, Michael Kranish, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). Long before the president’s views of the military would emerge as a flash point in his 2020 reelection campaign, Trump had an extensive track record of incendiary and disparaging remarks about veterans and military service.

As Donald Trump laid the groundwork in 1999 to run for president as the Reform Party candidate, he made a little-remembered attack on the person he saw as a rival in a possible general election campaign: Republican John McCain.

Many considered McCain a war hero for surviving five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and a television interviewer asked why Trump felt he was more qualified to be commander in chief.

“Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Trump said in the CBS interview.

A few years earlier, Trump had bragged on a morning radio show about avoiding the Vietnam draft, remarking that one of the show’s hosts who had gotten out of service by declaring he had a bad knee had done a “good job.”

Long before Trump’s views of the military would emerge as a flash point in his 2020 reelection campaign — before he would shock the political world with the more widely seen 2015 attack on McCain, in which he said the senator was “not a war hero” and declared, “I like people who weren’t captured” — Trump had a long track record of incendiary and disparaging remarks about veterans and military service.

YouTube, Commentary: World War II Navy combat vet, weighing in at 135-pounds, challenges Trump, (1:44 min. video). "Not a loser. Not a sucker." This 95-year-old WWII veteran has some CHOICE words for the cowardly Draft Dodger in Chief.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump and allies ratchet up disinformation efforts in late stage of campaign, Ashley Parker, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). The president and his supporters are trafficking in obfuscation and disinformation at a rapid clip, through the use of selectively edited videos, deceptive retweets and false statements.

djt pence yard sign logoFor President Trump and his allies, it was a week spent spreading doctored and misleading videos.

On Aug. 30, the president retweeted footage of a Black man violently pushing a White woman on a subway platform under the caption, “Black Lives Matter/Antifa” — but the man was not affiliated with either group, and the video was shot in October. White House social media director Dan Scavino shared a manipulated video that falsely showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden seeming to fall asleep during a television interview, complete with a fake TV headline.

And Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-ranking House Republican, released a video splicing together quotes from activist Ady Barkan — who has Lou Gehrig’s disease and uses computer voice assistance — to falsely make it sound as if he had persuaded Biden to defund police departments.

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: USPS chief’s rise in GOP was fueled by donations from his company’s workers, former employees say, Aaron C. Davis, Amy Gardner and Jon Swaine, Sept. 7, 2020 (print ed.). A spokesman for the postmaster general said Louis DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign Louis Dejoy Customfundraising laws and regulations.”

Louis DeJoy’s prolific campaign fundraising, which helped position him as a top Republican power broker in North Carolina and ultimately as head of the U.S. Postal Service, was bolstered for more than a decade by a practice that left many employees feeling pressured to make political contributions to GOP candidates — money DeJoy later reimbursed through bonuses, former employees say.

Five people who worked for DeJoy’s former business, New Breed Logistics, say they were urged by DeJoy’s aides or by the chief executive himself to write checks and attend fundraisers at his 15,000-square-foot gated mansion beside a Greensboro, N.C., country club. There, events for Republicans running for the White House and Congress routinely fetched $100,000 or more apiece.

Two other employees familiar with New Breed’s financial and payroll systems said DeJoy would instruct that bonus payments to staffers be boosted to help defray the cost of their contributions, an arrangement that would be unlawful.

us mail logo“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired. “When we got our bonuses, let’s just say they were bigger, they exceeded expectations — and that covered the tax and everything else.”

Another former employee with knowledge of the process described a similar series of events, saying DeJoy orchestrated additional compensation for employees who had made political contributions, instructing managers to award bonuses to specific individuals.

“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said the former employee, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution from DeJoy.

In response to a series of detailed questions from The Washington Post, Monty Hagler, a spokesman for DeJoy, said the former New Breed chief executive was not aware that any employees had felt pressured to make donations.

After repeatedly being asked, Hagler did not directly address the assertions that DeJoy reimbursed workers for making contributions, pointing to a statement in which he said DeJoy “believes that he has always followed campaign fundraising laws and regulations.”

Although it can be permissible to encourage employees to make donations, reimbursing them for those contributions is a violation of North Carolina and federal election laws. Known as a straw-donor scheme, the practice allows donors to evade individual contribution limits and obscures the true source of money used to influence elections.

Such federal violations carry a five-year statute of limitations. There is no statute of limitations in North Carolina for felonies, including campaign finance violations.

The former employees who spoke to The Post all described donations they gave between 2003 and 2014, the year New Breed was acquired by a Connecticut-based company called XPO Logistics. DeJoy remained at XPO briefly in a leadership role, then retired at the end of 2015. By a year after the sale, several New Breed employees who had stayed on with XPO were giving significantly smaller political contributions and many stopped making them altogether, campaign finance records show.

Sept. 5

djt headshot resized looking old

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s alleged comments about ‘losers’ buried in military cemeteries leave military leaders off balance, Dan Lamothe and Missy Ryan, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.). Senior and former military leaders appeared to struggle Friday with how to respond to a report that President Trump disparaged U.S. service members killed in combat as “losers,” as the president attacked the allegations as “fake news.”

The article elicited an array of reactions amid Trump’s history with the military, which includes mocking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being captured in Vietnam, belittling the parents of an Army officer killed in Iraq, and dismissing brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops in an Iranian ballistic missile strike as atlantic logo“headaches.”

The report in the Atlantic, published late Thursday, focused in part on a presidential visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day in 2017 and a jeffrey goldberg Smallcanceled visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside Paris in 2018.

In the first example, according to the magazine, Trump allegedly said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” while standing with retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly at the grave of Kelly’s son, Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan. At the time, Kelly was homeland security secretary.

See: The Atlantic, Investigation: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers:’ Trump, Jeffrey Goldberg, above right.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Angrily Denies Report He Called Fallen Soldiers ‘Losers,’ Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Sept. 5, 2020 (print ed.). The report, in The Atlantic (Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers:’ Trump), could be problematic for President Trump because he is counting on strong support among the military in the election.

President Trump confronted a crisis on Friday that could undercut badly needed support in the military community for his re-election campaign as he sought to dispute a report that he privately referred to American soldiers killed in combat as “losers” and “suckers.”

djt pence yard sign logoMr. Trump, who has long portrayed himself as a champion of the armed forces and boasted of rebuilding a military depleted after years of overseas wars, came under intense fire from Democrats and other opponents who said the magazine report demonstrated his actual contempt for those who serve their country in uniform.

The campaign of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, blasted out a series of statements and organized a conference call for reporters with Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who represented Virginia at the Democratic National Convention last month, and Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat severely wounded while serving as a helicopter pilot in Iraq, who slammed Mr. Trump during the convention as the “coward in chief.”

Sept. 4

pentagon dc skyline dod photo

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden blasts Trump over report of comments on soldiers, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Sept. 4, 2020. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Friday over a report in the Atlantic that the president called U.S. soldiers wounded or killed in war “losers” and “suckers.” Biden called the report “disgusting” and said it was additional evidence that Trump is unfit for office. Trump denied the report, calling it “fake.”

joe biden 2020 button CustomWith less than two months remaining until Election Day, Trump touted a new jobs report as evidence of a rebounding economy. But in a speech in Delaware, Biden argued that Trump is being callous to the fate of lower-income workers who are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“This report is false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard,” White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said of the Atlantic’s reporting. “He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn: delivering on his promise to give our troops a much needed pay raise, increasing military spending, signing critical veterans reforms, and supporting military spouses. This has no basis in democratic donkey logofact.”

Trump then spoke to reporters late Thursday after arriving back in Washington from a campaign trip to Pennsylvania. He angrily denied the article’s claims, calling it a “disgrace” and the sources “lowlifes.”

“I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” he said. “There is nobody that respects them more. So, I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Veterans scorn Trump following bombshell report that president and aides have denied, Teo Armus, Sept. 4, 2020. In 2016, Army veteran David Weissman was an “unapologetic, red-hat wearing” Donald Trump supporter. The Palm Bay, Fla., resident would regularly join social media mobs attacking liberals, he later wrote, seeking to defend a candidate who he said rightfully prioritized the armed forces.

Four years later, Weissman — who served two tours in Afghanistan — has now sparked a Twitter campaign of former service members against President Trump, over reports that he derided fallen U.S. soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.”

“I recommend all veterans to use their Military pics as a profile pic,” Weissman wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening, “to let Trump know how many people he has offended.”

Weissman’s online call to arms underscored the outpouring of anger that erupted from military veterans and their families overnight against Trump, following a bombshell article in the Atlantic that Trump and several top aides have vehemently denied.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Fox News confirms Donald Trump made deranged remarks about the troops, Bill Palmer, Sept. 4, 2020. After the Atlantic reported fox news logo SmallDonald Trump’s remarks about U.S. troops being “losers” and “suckers,” the Associated Press and Washington Post each independently confirmed the remarks. But Trump still decided that it’s fake news, because he doesn’t like any of those news outlets. Now his problem has gotten bigger.

bill palmer report logo headerJennifer Griffin from Fox News is confirming on Twitter that the Atlantic story is true. Fox is confirming that Trump said that “Anyone who went [to Vietnam] was a sucker” and that having wounded veterans in military parades is “not a good look.”

In the normal world, no one cares what a rag like Fox News says. But in the world of disinformed people who were steered toward Trump by Fox News to begin with, it’s a big deal that even Fox is now confirming Trump really did say these horrible things about the troops

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump said U.S. soldiers injured and killed in war were ‘losers,’ magazine reports, Colby Itkowitz, Alex Horton and Carol D. Leonnig, Sept. 4, 2020. President Trump called U.S. soldiers injured or killed in war “losers,” questioned the country’s reverence for them and expressed confusion over why anyone would choose to serve, according to a new report that the White House has called “patently false.”

djt smiling fileThe report, published late Thursday by the Atlantic, cites four unnamed people with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s comments. It says Trump disparaged the military service of the late former president George H.W. Bush, objected to wounded veterans being involved in a military parade, and canceled a visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 because he didn’t care about honoring those killed in war.

The White House released a sharply worded statement defending Trump — who has insulted POWs, traded barbs with grieving families of the dead and said before he was president that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was his own “personal Vietnam” — against accusations that he doesn’t respect the military.

washington post logoNew York Times, Trump Says He Will Reverse Plan to Close Military Newspaper, Helene Cooper, Sept. 4, 2020. The reversal on the Stars and Stripes newspaper came as President Trump was in full defensive mode over reports he’d disparaged military personnel.

President Trump said late Friday that he planned to reverse Pentagon budget cuts that would have permanently closed Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper that has both informed and spoken for American troops over the decades.

USTR seal Custom 2Under Defense Department spending plans, the paper would cease print and online publication by the last day of September, a move seen as expanding the Trump administration’s war on news media to include those paid by the government to cover the military.

Yet, while the demise of Stars and Stripes had been in budget cuts first proposed by Mr. Trump’s Pentagon in February, the president announced the paper would continue to publish.

“The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter several hours after major news organizations began publishing stories about the pending closure of the newspaper. “It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!”

Begun during the Civil War, Stripes has more recently frustrated presidents and defense secretaries during the “forever wars” that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by elevating the voices of those in uniform who contradicted commanders and political leaders.

American FlagBut while the newspaper found enough backers in Congress and among retired military officers to keep it alive during previous administrations, that support has been unable to reverse Defense Department plans to zero-out the Stars and Stripes budget during a Trump presidency marked by continuing battles with journalists.

A bipartisan group of 11 Democratic and four Republican senators called on the Defense Department to maintain funding for the publication, which has about 1.3 million readers online and in print. In a letter on Wednesday to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, the senators said the Pentagon, with its budget of more than $700 billion, could surely find the $15.5 million in federal funding needed to keep Stars and Stripes going.

The challenge facing Stars and Stripes — maintaining editorial independence from the government while depending on government funding — is playing out in other parts of the Trump administration.

Similar efforts to weaken federally funded news outlets are underway at the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees international broadcast outlets like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.

In February, Mr. Esper, who was appointed by Mr. Trump last year, proposed ending the Defense Department’s funding to Stars and Stripes.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump and the Attack of the Invisible Anarchists, Paul Krugman, right, Sept. 4, 2020 (print ed.). Lurid fantasies about urban paul krugmanhellscapes are all he has left. With only two months left in the presidential campaign, Trump has evidently decided that he can neither run on his own record nor effectively attack Joe Biden. Instead, he’s running against anarchists who, he insists, secretly rule the Democratic Party and are laying waste to America’s cities.

There’s not much to be said about Trump’s claims that people “in the dark shadows” control Biden and that mysterious people dressed in black are menacing Republicans, except that not long ago it would have been inconceivable for any major-party politician to engage in this kind of conspiracy theorizing.

Sept. 3

pentagon dc skyline dod photo

jeffrey goldberg SmallThe Atlantic, Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers:’ Trump, Jeffrey Goldberg, right, Sept. 3, 2020. The president has repeatedly atlantic logodisparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic.

When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day.

Donald Trump (Defense Department photo by Dominique Pineiro)In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. American FlagAmerica and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.

Trump’s understanding of concepts such as patriotism, service, and sacrifice have interested me since he expressed contempt for the war record of the late Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015 while running for the Republican nomination for president. “I like people who weren’t captured.”

There was no precedent in American politics for the expression of this sort of contempt, but the performatively patriotic Trump did no damage to his candidacy by attacking McCain in this manner. Nor did he set his campaign back by attacking the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

washington post logoPresident Donald Trump officialWashington Post, Trump suggests voters cast ballots twice, which if done intentionally is illegal, Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner, Sept. 3, 2020. The president encouraged people to vote twice — once by mail and once in person — to test the protections intended to guard against double voting. Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states, including North Carolina, it is a felony.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump tries to clarify suggestion that voters cast ballots twice, which if done intentionally is illegal, Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner, Sept. 3, 2020. President Trump on Thursday sought to clarify remarks in which he suggested voting twice, saying in tweets that he was instead urging those who vote by mail to follow up at their polling place to make sure their mail-in ballots have been counted.

Donald TrumpDuring a trip to North Carolina on Wednesday, Trump suggested that those who vote by mail “then go and vote” in person as well. Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states, including North Carolina, it is a felony.

“Based on the massive number of Unsolicited & Solicited Ballots that will be sent to potential Voters for the upcoming 2020 Election, & in order for you to MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS & IS COUNTED, SIGN & MAIL IN your Ballot as EARLY as possible,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “On Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).”

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s awful advice on voting twice, Aaron Blake, Sept. 3, 2020. The pushback from Trump’s allies is familiar: He was joking. And that’s plausible! It’s entirely possible Trump was speaking somewhat in jest to make a point about the supposed lack of security in mail-in voting, which he has routinely attacked in hyperbolic ways.

republican elephant logoThe risk, of course, is that even one person doesn’t take it as a joke and actually heeds his advice, at which point they would open themselves up to prosecution.

But let’s set that important question aside for a moment. Even if Trump was just trying to make a point, does it make sense? In many ways, it doesn't.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: It’s not just Trump. All Republicans must go, Jennifer Rubin, right, Sept. 3, 2020. The argument for keeping House and Senate jennifer rubin new headshotRepublicans rests on the premise they somehow lack the disqualifying characteristics (e.g., congenital lying, racism, constitutional illiteracy, conspiracy-mongering) that addle President Trump. Think again.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) used to be considered a middle-of-the-road Republican — before she exonerated Trump for plainly impeachable conduct. Now, she sounds just like him. Iowa Starting Line reports that Ernst now seems to embrace "a thoroughly-discredited QAnon conspiracy theory about U.S. deaths from covid-19 being a mere fraction of what has been reported.” Without any factual support — and with massive data to the contrary — the senator insists it’s all a plot:

republican elephant logo“They’re thinking there may be 10,000 or less deaths that were actually singularly covid-19,” Ernst said, seemingly referring to the debunked conspiracy theory that only around 6% of covid-19 deaths were due to the virus. “I’m just really curious. It would be interesting to know that.”

Going even further, however, Ernst also suggested that doctors were intentionally falsifying coronavirus cases in order to receive more money for caring for the patient. “These health care providers and others are reimbursed at a higher rate if covid is tied to it, so what do you think they’re doing?” she questioned the crowd.

What may have started as a debunked conspiracy theory — that doctors are conniving to over-count patients — is now seriously propounded by a U.S. senator (as FactCheck.org reported: "multiple experts told us that such theories of hospitals deliberately miscoding patients as covid-19 are not supported by any evidence”). If anything, the number of official coronavirus cases, as Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has explained, is a fraction of the actual cases.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The U.S. military builds a bulwark against Trump, Dana Milbank, Sept. 3, 2020. This week Military Times came out with a poll dana milbank Customof active-duty military finding that 50 percent of them have an unfavorable view of the president (42 percent strongly disapprove) and only 38 percent have a favorable view. They support Joe Biden over President Trump by four percentage points — an extraordinary edge for a Democrat. In a 2016 poll using the same methodology, Trump led Hillary Clinton by nearly 2 to 1. Sixty percent of veterans voted for Trump in the election.

But the military’s rejection of Trump goes much deeper. In another section of the poll just published, those serving on active duty in the military:

  • Support renaming military bases — their military bases — now named for Confederate generals.
  • Believe, overwhelmingly, in the banning of the Confederate flag and similar symbols from military bases.
  • Do not see immigration, civil disobedience and the protest movement as major dangers to U.S. security, as Trump does. They rank those threats well below cyberterrorism, the Islamic State, al-Qaeda — and white nationalism.

ny times logoNew York Times, Allies and Former U.S. Officials Fear Trump Could Seek NATO Exit, Michael Crowley, Sept. 3, 2020. President Trump is said to have spoken privately for years about withdrawing from the alliance, a move that critics say would be a major victory for Russia. For nearly four years, President Trump has publicly railed against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, angrily demanding that its members pay more for Europe’s collective defense. In private, Mr. Trump has gone further — speaking repeatedly about withdrawing altogether from the 71-year-old military alliance, according to those familiar with the conversations.

In a second term, he may get his chance.

Recent accounts by former senior national security officials in the Trump administration have contributed to growing unease on Capitol Hill and across Europe, as they lend credence to a scenario in which Mr. Trump, emboldened by re-election, and potentially surrounded by an inexperienced, second-term national security team, could finally move to undermine — or even end — America’s NATO membership.

These former officials warn that such a move would be one of the biggest global strategic shifts in generations and a major victory for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Sept.  2

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Biden blames Trump for inability of schools to fully reopen, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner, Sept. 2, 2020. Harris: ‘Our children’s safety is the last thing on Donald Trump’s mind.’ Half of likely voters feel ‘less safe’ with Trump as president.

joe biden kamala harris campaign shotDemocratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday that schools would be opening safely — instead of faced with a “national emergency” — if President Trump had done his job handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s remarks in Wilmington, Del., came shortly before Trump staged an event in the battleground state of North Carolina to commemorate World War II and tout his support for the military.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris echoed her running mate’s criticisms to a virtual gathering of Minnesota leaders. “Donald Trump is offering no real plan to help schools reopen safely, and he’s refusing to do the work of getting the virus under control. His administration is attempting to bully schools into reopening without the support they need,” Harris said. “It’s clear that our children’s safety is the last thing on Donald Trump’s mind.”

Harris spoke briefly to a group that included Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and other Minnesota state leaders, and she focused her remarks on the anxiety surrounding school reopenings and what a Biden-Harris administration would do differently if elected. She explained Biden’s plan to declare school reopenings a national emergency to “provide relief and resources as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.”

Sept. 1

washington post logoWashington Post, Court temporarily blocks enforcement of subpoena for Trump’s tax records, Shayna Jacobs, Sept. 1, 2020. A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked the release of President Trump's tax returns and other financial records to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office — a temporary win for the president in his protracted battle to keep the local prosecutor's office from obtaining the trove of documents in conjunction with an ongoing criminal probe.

irs logoThe ruling came as one judge on the three-member panel pressed the district attorney's team about the scope of its grand jury probe, saying the request seems "really very broad" as the president's lawyers have argued.

Judge John Walker Jr., one of three justices hearing arguments at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals over whether to prevent the subpoena from being enforced while further litigation in the case continues, asked a lawyer for the district attorney’s office how one would determine whether its request for Trump’s records is, in fact, “very broad and might engage in some fishing.”

“It seems to me it’s really very broad when you’re asking for activities in New York, Dubai and so forth,” the judge said.

cyrus vance jrCarey Dunne, general counsel for Cyrus Vance Jr., right, said the district attorney’s grand jury investigation of Trump’s business activities is secret and should remain so, but suggested it was common for Vance’s team to make such wide-reaching requests.

“There’s nothing unusual about an office like ours asking for information about out-of-state or foreign transactions,” Dunne told the panel, noting that many major banks and financial institutions are located in New York. “The company at the center has headquarters in Manhattan; that’s why we have jurisdiction,” he added, apparently referring to the Trump Organization.

Trump's appeal will be resolved relatively quickly, with arguments set for Sept. 25, according to Tuesday's order. The stay is active pending the outcome of that hearing and written briefs that will be filed in advance.

Vance’s office is investigating hush-money payments made ahead of the 2016 election to two women who alleged having affairs with Trump several years ago, claims the president has denied. The district attorney’s team, buoyed by the Supreme Court’s July ruling rejecting Trump’s initial argument for seeking to shield his financial records, has suggested it is also looking at potential bank and insurance fraud related to Trump’s company.

Trump first sought to have Vance’s subpoena tossed on the grounds that, as president, he had immunity from such investigations — an argument the Supreme Court shot down in a major decision earlier this summer. The high court’s ruling, however, invited Trump to challenge the formal request for records on other grounds.

His legal team’s new position is that Vance’s request amounts to politically motivated harassment and reaches too far, rendering it legally invalid. In arguments Tuesday morning, the president’s lawyer William Consovoy said “irreparable harm” for Trump would result should the subpoena be enforced before the case is fully litigated and the appeals process is exhausted.

The case landed before the appeals court in August, after another judge once again ruled in favor of Vance. U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero said that the law presumes subpoenas are issued for a valid purpose, unless proved otherwise. “Justice,” Marrero wrote, “requires an end to this controversy.”

 

August

Aug. 30

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say, Michael S. Schmidt, Aug. 30, 2020. The former deputy attorney general maneuvered to keep investigators from completing an inquiry into whether the president’s personal and financial links to Russia posed a national security threat. President Trump has long called investigations into his 2016 campaign’s ties with Russia a “hoax.”

robert mueller full face fileThe Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia.

The special counsel who finished the investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, right, secured three dozen indictments and convictions of some top Trump advisers, and he produced a report that outlined Russia’s wide-ranging operations to help get Mr. Trump elected and the president’s efforts to impede the inquiry.

Justice Department log circularBut law enforcement officials never fully investigated Mr. Trump’s own relationship with Russia, even though some career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators thought his ties posed such a national security threat that they took the extraordinary step of opening an inquiry into them. Within days, the former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein, below at right, curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere.

Rod Rosenstein Deputyty Atttorney GeneralA bipartisan report by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released this month came the closest to an examination of the president’s links to Russia.

Senators depicted extensive ties between Trump associates and Russia, identified a close associate of a former Trump campaign chairman as a Russian intelligence officer and outlined how allegations about Mr. Trump’s encounters with women during trips to Moscow could be used to compromise him. But the senators acknowledged they lacked access to the full picture, particularly any insight into Mr. Trump’s finances.

Now, as Mr. Trump seeks re-election, major questions about his approach to Russia remain unanswered. He has repeatedly shown an openness to Russia, an adversary that attacked American democracy in 2016, and refused to criticize or challenge the Kremlin’s increasing aggressions toward the West. The president has also rejected the intelligence community’s finding that Russia interfered in 2016 to bolster his candidacy and the spy agencies’ assessment that Russia is trying to sabotage this year’s election again on his behalf.

Mr. Rosenstein concluded the F.B.I. lacked sufficient reason to conduct an investigation into the president’s links to a foreign adversary. Mr. Rosenstein determined that the investigators were acting too hastily in response to the firing days earlier of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, and he suspected that the acting bureau director who approved the opening of the inquiry, Andrew G. McCabe, had conflicts of interest.

djt impeachment graphicMr. Rosenstein never told Mr. McCabe about his decision, leaving the F.B.I. with the impression that the special counsel would take on the investigation into the president as part of his broader duties. Mr. McCabe said in an interview that had he known Mr. Mueller would not continue the inquiry, he would have had the F.B.I. perform it.

“We opened this case in May 2017 because we had information that indicated a national security threat might exist, specifically a counterintelligence threat involving the president and Russia,” Mr. McCabe said. “I expected that issue and issues related to it would be fully examined by the special counsel team. If a decision was made not to investigate those issues, I am surprised and disappointed. I was not aware of that.”

The disclosure about the counterintelligence investigation is based on interviews with former Justice Department and F.B.I. officials.

Axios, 1 big thing: Trump offered FBI director job to Kelly, asked for loyalty, Jonathan Swan, Aug 30, 2020. The day after President Trump fired FBI boss James Comey, the president phoned John Kelly, who was then secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and offered him Comey's job, the New York Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael Schmidt reports in his forthcoming book, Donald Trump v. The United States.

Driving the news: "But the president added something else — if he became FBI director, Trump told him, Kelly needed to be loyal to him, and only him."

• "Kelly immediately realized the problem with Trump's request for loyalty, and he pushed back on the president's demand," Schmidt writes.
• "Kelly said that he would be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, but he refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump."

Why it matters: This previously unreported conversation sheds additional light on the president's mindset when he fired Comey. Special counsel Robert Mueller never learned of this information because the president's lawyers limited the scope of his team's two-hour interview with Kelly.

Aug. 28

djt key convention speakers 2020

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump unleashes broadsides against Biden, criticizes ‘Democrat-run’ cities; Trump flouts norms, speaks from White House to accept Republican nomination; Final-night speakers tout president as defender of law and order, attack Biden as too liberal to lead America , Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). President to flout political norms with acceptance speech from the White House,

washington post logodjt pence yard sign logoWashington Post, Analysis: The White House makes it clear that it sees chaos in the streets as politically useful, Philip Bump, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). In an out-of-character move, President Trump is happy to present himself as powerless to stop violence because he thinks it reinforces weakness on the part of his opponents.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden says Trump is fomenting animosity, cheering on violence, Matt Viser, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden on Thursday blamed President Trump for the racial unrest that has roiled the country and in recent days has gripped Kenosha, Wis., saying the president is fomenting animosity and cheering on a spasm of violent protests to benefit himself politically.

The comments, some of Biden’s most extensive since his Democratic convention speech, came at a delicate moment, as Trump and his allies are seeking to identify the Democrats with urban chaos and as some polls suggest a drop in support for Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the first Black woman on a major-party ticket, also delivered her most detailed remarks on the Kenosha protests, saying that “we must always defend peaceful protest and peaceful protesters” but also that “we should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Republicans Insist Only Trump Can Stop This Chaos, Matt Flegenheimer and Katie Glueck, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). The convention seems engineered to prove President Donald Trump officialthat the president is in control of the good and not responsible for the bad, worthy of praise for the nation’s successes and exoneration for its struggles.

But their case was complicated by a nettlesome fact: He is in charge now.

rnc 2020 logoThe America that many speakers described on Wednesday at the Republican National Convention did not sound like a desirable place: fractious, violent, functionally lawless in some pockets.

But their case that only President Trump could shield Americans from this fate was complicated by a nettlesome fact. He is in charge, at present — at the controls of government through the purportedly real-time conditions these supporters outlined. And they would all like to keep him there.

“America,” Vice President Mike Pence told a Republican convention crowd sternly from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, “needs four more years of President Donald Trump.”

The third night of the Republican convention steered into a bit of messaging jujitsu that has become a dominant theme of the week: Mr. Trump’s ability to turn back Trump-era ills that have, in this telling, been largely out of his hands to date.

paul krugmanny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: April Was Trump’s Cruelest Month, Paul Krugman, right, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). Covid-19 won when he tweeted LIBERATE MINNESOTA.

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence peddled an extraordinary fantasy about Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. Pence’s tale of heroic, decisive leadership was so completely at odds with reality that pretty much the only words he spoke that weren’t lies were “a,” “and,” and “the.”

And most media organizations did, indeed, point out the falsehoods.

Yet what seems to me to be missing from much of the commentary on the Republican carnival of disinformation is an acknowledgment that Trump’s worst hour came not during Covid-19’s initial surge but weeks later, when he did all he could to push America into a reckless — and maskless — reopening.

And he’s doing it again. Speaker after speaker at the Republican National Convention referred to Covid-19, if at all, in the past tense. Their not-so-subtle message was that the pandemic is over. But it isn’t, and the Trump administration is still failing to protect the American people.

If I had to pick a single day when America lost the fight against the coronavirus, it would be April 17. That was the day when Trump proclaimed his support for mobs — some of whose members were carrying guns — that were threatening Democratic state governments and demanding an end to social distancing. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” he tweeted, followed by “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd amendment.” (That last bit reads an awful lot like an incitement to armed insurrection.)

In so doing, Trump, in his eagerness to see good economic numbers, chose to disregard warnings from health experts that returning to business as usual would lead to a new surge in infections. And while the Democratic governors he targeted mostly ignored his taunts, many Republican governors, especially in the Sunbelt, rushed to remove restrictions on restaurants, bars, even gyms.

The result was a vast national catastrophe.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s failure to reframe how Americans see his handling of the coronavirus, Amber Phillips, Aug. 28, 2020. Republicans try to change President Trump’s image for skeptical voters.

By now you know that President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is dragging down his reelection chances. So it’s politically curious, then, that the president didn’t even try to use this convention to reframe for the American people how he has handled it.

Trump’s and other speakers’ talking points about the novel coronavirus during the convention were the same exaggerated/false ones that the president has been using since March: The president saved lives by freezing travel from China; he worked to get personal protective equipment to hospitals; no one could have seen this coming; China should have stopped it.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Heads Into General Election He Casts as a Crusade for Law and Order, Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). As the president accepted the nomination for a second term, he baselessly accused Democrats of giving “free rein” to violent anarchists and criminals, while allies provided explicit rebuttals to his vulnerabilities on racism, sexism and the coronavirus.

ny times logopeter baker twitterNew York Times, Analysis: Instead of Evolving as President, Trump Has Bent the Job to His Will, Peter Baker, right, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.).  In a 40-minute phone call this week, Mr. Trump struggled to describe how he has changed in office. “I think I’ve just become more guarded than I was four years ago,” he said.

For a man on the edge of history, President Trump sounded calm and relaxed. If he believes that he is on the verge of losing, he betrayed no sign of it. Instead, he trotted out one of his favorite polls, boasted about his popularity with Republican voters and talked about his convention’s television ratings.

His presidency, he declared in an interview this week, has produced “an incredible result.” The stock markets are “pretty amazing,” the Republican National Convention has been “very successful,” and he has “done a very good job” of handling the coronavirus pandemic even though more than 180,000 Americans are dead. At the same time, he said, he has endured “terrible things” by his “maniac” opponents.

After nearly four years in office, Mr. Trump heads into the fall campaign with a striking blend of braggadocio and grievance, a man of extremes who claims one moment to have accomplished more than virtually any other president even as he complains moments later that he has also suffered more than any of them. He inhabits a world of his own making, sometimes untethered from the reality recognized by others. He has imposed his will on Washington and the world like no one else.

While previous presidents evolved in office as they learned the mechanisms of power and adjusted their goals by the time they claimed renomination, Mr. Trump remains the same polarizing, dominating force of nature who got up four years ago and asserted that “I alone can fix it.” He has not tempered with age nor bent to convention nor been chastened by impeachment. He says he still considers himself “an outsider” even while occupying the highest office in the land.

wayne madsen screen shotWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Fourth night of RNC was a criminal event, Wayne Madsen, right, Aug. 28, 2020. By holding the Republican event on the grounds of the White House, Donald Trump and the Republicans not only violated norms of past presidents but also the Hatch Act of 1939, which forbids the involvement of government property and personnel for partisan political activity.

After the inauguration of President Biden, his Attorney General must move immediately to indict Trump, Meadows, and other administration officials for gross violations of the Hatch Act.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Why dozens of John McCain aides, including me, are endorsing Joe Biden, Mark Salter (staff aide and speechwriter for the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), right, Aug. 28, 2020 (print ed.). This week, I joined more than 100 aides of the late Sen. John McCain, including former chiefs of staff, senior legislative and campaign workers and some of the senator’s longest-serving staff to endorse John’s friend and john mccain 2009 wcolleague, former vice president Joe Biden, for president.

We did not do so lightly, but we have no reservations about our decision. We are convinced that Biden’s election is in the national interest.

Many of us have been Republicans all our adult lives. Some of us no longer identify as such, but most of us still do. We might have concerns about the recent direction of the Republican Party, and we have varying opinions about how to restore the primacy of the values that attracted us to the party in the first place. But we still believe in those values, and we want them restored to the party of Lincoln and McCain. We do not believe that will happen while Donald Trump is president. And whatever differences of opinion we have, we are united by one urgent purpose: to prevent his reelection.

washington post logoWashington Post, Secretly recorded audio of Trump’s sister prompts call for probe into Penn admission, Michael Kranish, Aug. 28, 2020.  Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge, says in tapes that the president got into the University of Pennsylvania “because he had somebody take the exams.”

A professor at the University of Pennsylvania has renewed a request to investigate how President Trump was admitted to the school in 1966, citing what he called “new evidence” on secretly recorded tapes in which Trump’s sister says a friend took his entrance exam.

The professor, Eric W. Orts, is one of six faculty members who asked Penn’s provost earlier this summer to launch an investigation into how Trump transferred into the school. He noted that the president’s niece, Mary Trump, wrote in her book published in July that the president paid someone to take his SATs.

In their initial letter, the six professors wrote that “failing to investigate an allegation of fraud at such a level broadcasts to prospective students and the world at large that the playing field is not equal, that our degrees can be bought, and that subsequent fame, wealth, and political status will excuse past misconduct.” The school’s rejection of the July request was reported by the Daily Pennsylvanian, a student-run publication.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: Trump has advanced authoritarianism and undermined the free world, Editorial Board, Aug. 28, 2020. Though damaged, U.S. democracy and the global cause of freedom so far have survived Mr. Trump’s term in office, in large part because they have the determined support of millions of citizens. Yet there should be no question that in a second Trump term, they would suffer grievous and perhaps irreversible harm. If the 21st century is to be a time in which human societies are grounded in individual freedoms, rather than dominated by an all-powerful state, Mr. Trump must be defeated.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump presented the mother of all fabrications on the White House lawn, Dana Milbank, right, Aug. 28, 2020. Four years ago, when the United States was in the eighth year of an economic expansion and enjoying a time of relative peace and prosperity, Donald Trump saw only carnage.

dana milbank Custom“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” he told the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, describing a nation full of “death, destruction . . . and “weakness.”

Now, America actually is in crisis: a world’s worst 177,000 dead from the pandemic, nearly 6 million infected, 6 million net jobs lost during Trump’s presidency, nearly $7 trillion added to the debt, and racial violence in the streets.

And Trump, accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for a second term on Thursday night, offered a most counterintuitive assessment: Everything is awesome!

washington post logoWashington Post, A brazen defiance of facts and ethical guidelines: Experts say this year’s Republican convention stood out, Toluse Olorunnipa, Aug. 28, 2020. While President Trump has long trafficked in mistruths and innuendo, the broad cast of characters who took up his tactics during prime-time speeches underscores how his brand of politicking has taken root in the GOP.

washington post logoWashington Post, Critic’s Notebook: Trump’s convention speech was selling a fantasy version of himself, Robin Givhan, Aug. 28, 2020.  The speech and its setting provided a view into the mind of a vainglorious man who believes that he is the Constitution and his is the righteous party of God.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: GOP pitch to reelect Trump mostly ignores coal miners, Dino Grandoni, Aug. 28, 2020. Saving the struggling industry is barely a passing mention compared to the pro-coal message of 2016.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Nearly every claim Trump made about Biden’s positions was false, Philip Bump, Aug. 28, 2020. President Trump isn’t running against Joe Biden, not really. The former vice president may occupy the Democratic Party line on the presidential ballot, but it isn’t Biden that Trump’s rhetoric describes.

djt maga hatTrump is instead running against a straw man whom he describes as a Trojan horse for socialists and communists. Trump is running against someone who holds positions that aren’t held by Biden himself — and if Trump convinces enough Americans that Biden and that straw man are one and the same, he might just win more votes.

In his speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination, Trump outlined a series of positions that he claimed are held by Biden but that, overwhelmingly, are not. It is, of course, not a new political tactic to stretch reality to cast your opponent in a negative light, but it is unusual to simply fabricate an opponent out of whole cloth.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fact Checker Analysis: Trump’s speech was a tidal wave of false claims, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, Aug. 28, 2020. President Trump ended the djt rncRepublican National Convention on Thursday with a tidal wave of tall tales, false claims and revisionist history. Here are 25 claims by the president that caught our attention, along with seven claims by speakers earlier in the evening. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios for a roundup of claims made in convention events.

“America has tested more [for the novel coronavirus] than every country in Europe put together, and more than every nation in the Western Hemisphere combined. We have conducted 40 million more tests than the next closest nation.”

— Donald Trump

Trump is talking about raw numbers, which is misleading. (And if you believe China, Beijing actually exceeds the number of tests, 90 million to 79 million for the United States.)

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s failure to reframe how Americans see his handling of the coronavirus, Amber Phillips, Aug. 28, 2020. Republicans try to change President Trump’s image for skeptical voters.

By now you know that President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is dragging down his reelection chances. So it’s politically curious, then, that the president didn’t even try to use this convention to reframe for the American people how he has handled it.

Trump’s and other speakers’ talking points about the novel coronavirus during the convention were the same exaggerated/false ones that the president has been using since March: The president saved lives by freezing travel from China; he worked to get personal protective equipment to hospitals; no one could have seen this coming; China should have stopped it.

Aug. 22

Trump Siblings: Robert, Elizabeth, Freddy, Donald, Maryanne, left to right, via Trump Campaign

Trump Siblings Family Portrait: Robert, Elizabeth, Freddy, Donald, Maryanne, left to right, via Trump Campaign

mary trump

washington post logoWashington Post, Exclusive: In secretly recorded audio, Trump’s sister says he has ‘no principles’ and ‘you can’t trust him,’ Michael Kranish, Aug. 22, 2020. “I’m talking too freely,” Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge and President Trump’s older sister, said during 15 hours recorded in 2018 and 2019 by her niece, Mary L. Trump, right. Barry’s remarks are the most critical comments known to have been made about the president by one of his siblings.

Maryanne Trump Barry, below left in a 1992 photo, was serving as a federal judge when she heard her brother, President Trump, suggest on Fox News, “maybe I'll have to put her at the border” amid a wave of refugees entering the United States. At the time, children were being separated from their parents and put in cramped quarters while court hearings dragged on.

maryanne trump barry“All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said in a conversation secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.”

Barry, 83, was aghast at how her 74-year-old brother operated as president. “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” she said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”

Lamenting “what they’re doing with kids at the border,” she guessed her brother “hasn’t read my immigration opinions” in court cases. In one case, she berated a judge for failing to treat an asylum applicant respectfully.

“What has he read?” Mary Trump asked her aunt.

“No. He doesn’t read,” Barry responded.

In the weeks since Mary Trump’s tell-all book about her uncle has been released, she’s been questioned about the source of some of the information, such as her allegation that Trump paid a friend to take his SATs to enable him to transfer into the University of Pennsylvania. Nowhere in the book does she say that she recorded conversations with her aunt.

In response to a question from The Washington Post about how she knew the president paid someone to take the SATs, Mary Trump revealed that she had surreptitiously taped 15 hours of face-to-face conversations with Barry in 2018 and 2019. She provided The Post with previously unreleased transcripts and audio excerpts, which include exchanges that are not in her book.

ny times logoNew York Times, House Votes to Block Postal Changes and Allocate Funds for Mail, Nicholas Fandos and Emily Cochrane, Aug. 22, 2020. The Democratic bill would send $25 billion to the Postal Service and reverse changes that have slowed service until after November’s election.

The House interrupted its summer recess on Saturday for a rare weekend session to approve legislation blocking cost-cutting and operational changes at the Postal Service that Democrats, civil rights advocates and some Republicans fear could jeopardize mail-in ballots this fall.

us mail logoThe measure, put forward by Democratic leaders, would also require the Postal Service to prioritize the delivery of all election-related mail and grant the beleaguered agency a rare $25 billion infusion to cover revenue lost because of the coronavirus pandemic and ensure it has the resources to address what is expected to be the largest vote-by-mail operation in the nation’s history.

Democrats were joined by 26 Republicans in voting yes, passing the legislation 257 to 150, with more than 20 Republicans not voting. But the bill, as written, appeared unlikely to move through the Republican-controlled Senate. President Trump opposed the measure in last-minute tweets, calling it a “money wasting HOAX” by Democrats.

Democrats framed Saturday’s action as an emergency intervention into the affairs of an independent agency to protect vital mail and package services that have seen significant delays this summer as the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, moved swiftly to cut costs to close a yawning budget gap. They said it was also necessary to instill confidence in American voters that the agency would safeguard their ballots despite near daily attacks by Mr. Trump on mail-in voting.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the lead author of the bill, said, as she released Postal Service statistics documenting the slowdown in delivery since early July. “It makes absolutely no sense to impose these kinds of dangerous cuts in the middle of a pandemic and just months before the elections in November.”

Most Republicans in the House opposed it after Mr. DeJoy, facing intense backlash and with the vote looming, announced this week that he would temporarily halt the removal of blue mailboxes and sorting machines, as well as changes to post office hours and to mail delivery operations until after Nov. 3 out of an abundance of caution.

In testimony before the Senate on Friday, Mr. DeJoy reiterated that pledge and said ensuring successful mail-in voting would be the agency’s “No. 1 priority.” He called Democrats’ assertion that he was working with Mr. Trump to hinder the program “outrageous” and testified that he planned to continue the agency’s practice of prioritizing election mail.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Looks like the House Oversight Committee just nailed Louis DeJoy, Bill Palmer, Aug. 22, 2020. When Trump Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told several blatant lies during his Senate testimony this past week, Palmer Report pointed out that he’d just created a huge opening for House Democrats. In fact we predicted that before the weekend was over, the House would inform DeJoy that it has him nailed for perjury, in the hope that the specter of a criminal referral would scare him into coming clean during his House testimony on Monday.

bill palmer report logo headerAs if on cue, the House Oversight Committee has announced this afternoon that it has internal Post Office documents in its possession which confirm that DeJoy was recently briefed on significant across-the-board slowdowns in mail delivery. This evidence proves DeJoy was lying when he told the Senate that mail delivery hadn’t slowed down.

The primary goal here isn’t to send DeJoy to prison for perjury, though that would be a nice bonus. The goal is to make DeJoy realize that he’s going to get hit with a criminal referral for perjury, which will send him to prison if Trump loses the election, so that DeJoy will become scared enough to come clean during his testimony and cave on everything.

We recently saw the House use this tactic with great success against Donald Trump henchman Gordon Sondland. He got caught lying during his initial testimony, but then after the House informed him that it had him nailed, Sondland testified a second time and came clean about everything. Louis DeJoy, like Sondland, is a political neophyte who is in way over his head. We’ll see what happens on Monday.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: At convention, Democrats focus their pitch on women, people of color, young voters, Michael Scherer, Jenna Johnson and Josh Dawsey, Aug. 22, 2020 (print ed.). Democrats have concluded that maximizing the turnout among urban and suburban voters is a more realistic goal than winning over White working-class voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016.

joe biden kamala harris campaign shotNearly four years after President Trump’s election shattered Democratic confidence, Joe Biden staged a nominating convention this week that attempted to exorcise the party’s remaining doubts about itself, making a big bet that the nativism, anti-elitism and anger that fueled Trump’s rise have foundered on the shoals of a historic pandemic and economic crisis.

The newly confident and unapologetic party that Biden showcased over four nights gave no ground to the electoral strategy Trump will highlight starting Monday, when Republicans offer their convention counterpunch. Instead, Biden’s team leaned into the sizable polling lead he enjoys among college-educated voters, women, people of color and the DNC 2020 convention logoyoung, aiming to boost turnout in the fall by aiming the party’s pitch in their direction.

Gone was the caution of 2018, when Democrats went out of their way to stick to unifying issues such as health-care concerns and avoid a frontal assault on Trump. Missing this week was the hand-wringing that followed the 2016 campaign, when many Democratic consultants and others argued that nominee Hillary Clinton had focused too much on identity politics and failed to reach out to working-class White voters in Rust Belt states.

Biden’s party, after four years of apprehension, was not playing defense.

washington post logoWashington Post, In raising the idea of law enforcement at polls, Trump invokes tactics of voter intimidation, Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky, Aug. 22, 2020 (print ed.). Civil rights advocates said even the threat of encountering law enforcement officials at the polls could be frightening to some voters, particularly in communities of color where residents distrust the police.

washington post logojoe biden kamala harris logo 2020Washington Post, As GOP convention nears, Democrats plan counterprogramming, Matt Viser and Toluse Olorunnipa, Aug. 22, 2020 (print ed.).  Both parties are using nearly apocalyptic terms to describe the stakes of the election, which is a little over two months away.

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Covid in the Classroom? Some Schools Are Keeping It Quiet, Dan Levin, Aug. 22, 2020. Some states and school districts provide detailed data on school outbreaks. Others choose to keep such information under wraps.

On the first day of school in Camden County, Ga., local Facebook groups were already buzzing with rumors that a teacher had tested positive for the coronavirus. The next day, a warning went out to school administrators: Keep teachers quiet.

But even as fears of an outbreak have grown, the district has refused to publicly confirm a single case, either to the local community or The New York Times.

As schools in parts of the country have reopened classrooms amid a still-raging pandemic, some districts have been open about coronavirus cases in their buildings. They send weekly — and in some cases, daily — reports to families and updating online dashboards with the latest positive test results and quarantine counts.

But other districts have been silent, sometimes citing privacy concerns to withhold information, to the dismay of some anxious parents, concerned educators and public health experts trying to combat the pandemic.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s moves to skirt Congress on stimulus yield only limited relief, Jeff Stein and Tony Romm, Aug. 22, 2020 (print ed.). Two weeks after President Trump approved executive actions while talks with lawmakers bogged down, only one state has said it is paying new jobless benefits, few evictions have been stalled, and leading employers have made clear workers will not benefit from the payroll tax deferral.

republican elephant logoJust two weeks after President Trump approved executive actions aimed at bypassing stalled stimulus negotiations with Congress, only one state has said it is paying new jobless benefits, few evictions have been paused, and leading employers have made clear that workers will not benefit from the president’s new payroll tax deferral.

After talks with congressional Democrats faltered, the president on Aug. 8 signed four executive actions aimed at staving off further economic turmoil. They included a $300-per-week benefit for jobless Americans, after the previous enhanced benefits expired in late July. Trump also directed a deferral of payroll taxes, as well as a halt to evictions and a suspension of student loan payments.

But Trump’s directives have so far produced limited economic relief for Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, despite promises by top White House aides that help would come within weeks. By Friday, only Arizona had started sending the extra $300 to its residents.

Business leaders say they are unlikely to implement Trump’s payroll tax order

Thirteen states have been approved to give the enhanced payments, and some, including Montana and Kentucky, will kick in a $100 match, meaning out-of-work residents there could get up to $400 in enhanced benefits. Many other states either have said they’re applying or have not said whether they will move forward and offer the payments. South Dakota has turned down the jobless benefits.

Aug. 20

 

bo dnc democracy warning aug 19 2020

Barack Obama, speaking in Philadelphia in a video played at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 19, delivered a highly unusual warning from an ex-president that his succesor, Donald Trump, represents an unprecedented threat to democracy if re-elected.

ny times logoNew York Times, Obama’s D.N.C. Speech: ‘Don’t Let Them Take Away Your Democracy,’ Stephanie Saul, Aug. 20, 2020 (print ed.). The very future of our Democracy is at stake, former President Barack Obama said at the Democratic National Convention, imploring voters to oust President Trump.

Former President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned speech on Wednesday to the Democratic National Convention in support of his party’s presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., praising him as a man of experience, character, empathy and resilience, and urging the nation to come together to oust President Trump, saying democracy’s very existence is in jeopardy.

DNC 2020 convention logoCalling the consequences of Mr. Trump’s failures severe — “170,000 Americans dead, millions of jobs gone, our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before” — Mr. Obama issued a call to action, imploring Americans to get behind Mr. Biden and his vice-presidential running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California.

“What we do these next 76 days will echo through generations to come,” Mr. Obama said, urging all Americans to vote.

“Tonight, I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of dark times and build it back better,” he said on the convention’s third night, also calling upon Americans to “embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure because that’s what’s at stake now: our democracy.”

Mr. Obama, adopting a tone of urgency and speaking directly to his fellow Americans, delivered his speech from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia in what the party said was an effort to illustrate the high stakes voters face in this election.

Repeating a theme from a speech delivered by his wife, Michelle Obama, the former first lady, on Monday night, Mr. Obama said that Mr. Trump was simply incapable of being president, issuing a stunning rebuke of his successor.

“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously,” Mr. Obama said. “That he might come to feel the weight of the office. And discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. But he never did.”

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” he said.

Mr. Obama offered an unflinching criticism of the president, arguing emphatically that Mr. Trump had abused his presidential power. “No one, including the president, is above the law,” Mr. Obama said. “And no public official, including the president, should use the office to enrich themselves or their supporters.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Stephen Bannon, three others charged with defrauding donors to online fundraising campaign for border wall, Matt Zapotosky, Aug. 20, 2020. Federal prosecutors in New York on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, and three other men they alleged defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors using an online crowdfunding campaign that was advertised as raising money to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

steve bannon heritage foundationIn a news release, prosecutors said Bannon, right, and another organizer of the campaign, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, claimed that they would not take any compensation as part of the campaign, called “We Build The Wall,” but that was a lie. Bannon, prosecutors alleged, received more than $1 million through a non-profit he controlled, and Kolfage received more than $350,000.

Prosecutors alleged they and two others routed payments from the campaign through the non-profit and another shell company and disguised them with fake invoices to help keep their personal pay secret. All four were arrested Thursday and are expected to make court appearances later in the day. They are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

Bannon served on Trump’s presidential campaign, and then as the White House chief’s strategist, until he was ousted in the summer of 2017.

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge rejects Trump’s latest bid to shield his tax records from Manhattan district attorney, Shayna Jacobs, Aug. 20, 2020. President Trump’s latest attempt to block the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax records was rejected by a federal judge Thursday.

victor marreroU.S. District Judge Victor Marrero, right, threw out the latest lawsuit brought by Trump’s lawyers which had argued that a subpoena to Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, was “overbroad” in its request for documents and that it amounted to “harassment.” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. argued repeatedly that the subpoena, issued by a grand jury, was legally valid and tied to a legitimate criminal investigation.

Trump could appeal the decision and further attempt to delay execution of the subpoena from Vance’s office, which has been investigating hush-money payments to two women who alleged having affairs with Trump years ago. The president denies the women’s claims.

ny times logoNew York Times, Top Republican National Security Officials Say They Will Vote for Biden, David Sanger, Aug. 20, 2020. More than 70 senior officials called President Trump “unfit to lead” and outlined their support for his opponent.

Among the signatories are former officials from the Reagan administration; others who served both George Bush and George W. Bush; and a few, like John Negroponte, the former director of national intelligence, and General Michael Hayden, who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency and whose service extended over both Democratic and Republican administrations.

The organizers are seeking additional names: "If you are a national security offical who worked for a Republican administration and are supporting Vice President Biden in November, we urge you to join us. Please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.."

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: The Trump Campaign Accepted Russian Help to Win in 2016. Case Closed, Editorial Board, Aug. 20, 2020 (print ed.). From the start, the Trump-Russia story has been both eye-glazingly complex and extraordinarily simple.

Who is Oleg Deripaska? What’s the G.R.U. again? Who owed what to whom? The sheer number of crisscrossing characters and interlocking pieces of evidence — the phone calls, the emails, the texts, the clandestine international meet-ups — has bamboozled even those who spend their days teasing it all apart. It’s no wonder average Americans tuned out long ago.

A bipartisan report released Tuesday by the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee cuts through the chaff. The simplicity of the scheme has always been staring us in the face: Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign sought and maintained close contacts with Russian government officials who were helping him get elected. The Trump campaign accepted their offers of help. The campaign secretly provided Russian officials with key polling data. The campaign coordinated the timing of the release of stolen information to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The Senate committee’s report isn’t telling this story for the first time, of course. (Was it only a year ago that Robert Mueller testified before Congress about his own damning, comprehensive investigation?) But it is the first to do so with the assent of Senate Republicans, who have mostly ignored the gravity of the Trump camp’s actions or actively worked to cast doubt about the demonstrable facts in the case.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live updates: Trump Unleashes Scorched-Earth Attack on Biden Before Convention Night 4, Staff reports, Aug. 20, 2020.  President Trump, in Pennsylvania, predicted “mayhem” if Joe Biden wins. Mr. Biden will make the biggest speech of his career tonight.

We have heard from the heroes of the Democratic Party’s past. We have heard from several leaders who may represent its future, including Senator Kamala Harris, the vice-presidential nominee. On the final night of the convention, the spotlight will finally turn to the man who is the party’s present, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Even with the awkward limitations of a virtual convention, the programming of the last three nights has built steadily and more or less smoothly toward the unveiling of Mr. Biden as a president-in-waiting. It now falls to Mr. Biden to fill the political silhouette his party has gradually sketched — one that frames him as a steady hand for difficult times, capable of bringing concrete relief to people suffering through a crisis.

ny times logoNew York Times, Here’s more on the group at the center of Steve Bannon’s indictment, which used private funds to build a border wall, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Stephanie Saul, Aug. 20, 2020. The criminal charges were the latest twist for We Build the Wall, which had drawn praise from top Homeland Security officials while causing controversy over its construction methods.

As President Trump fumed in late 2018 over the progress his government was making on a border wall, an Air Force veteran’s pro-wall GoFundMe page would transform into a separate project, funded by private donations and guided by former Trump advisers, including Stephen K. Bannon.

Frustrated over the delays in Mr. Trump’s signature campaign promise, Brian Kolfage’s group, We Build the Wall, raised more than $20 million in weeks, largely on the promise of sidestepping the legal and political obstacles to building a border wall by using private funding.

But on Thursday, about a month after Mr. Trump publicly criticized the private construction effort, federal prosecutors in New York unveiled an indictment accusing the fund-raising campaign of ties to a scheme that “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors.”

Federal authorities in the Southern District of New York say Mr. Bannon, one of the architects of Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign who later joined the group’s board, plotted with three other men: Mr. Kolfage, 38, from Miramar Beach, Fla.; Andrew Badolato, 56, a financier from Sarasota, Fla.; and Timothy Shea, 49, of Castle Rock, Colo. Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who is listed as We Build the Wall’s general counsel on the group’s website, was not named in the indictment.

Mr. Kolfage, who on television frequently advocated building a border wall but criticized the federal government’s methods, repeatedly said he had promised his donors that he would not take any of the group’s funds for his own benefit. Prosecutors said that was false: Mr. Kolfage secretly took more than $350,000 in donations for his own personal use while Mr. Bannon, through an unnamed nonprofit organization, received more than $1 million from the group.

While the portions of the wall constructed by the federal government are well within the American side of the border on federally owned land or potentially splitting the farmlands of private landowners, portions of the privately run wall were built along the river bank of the Rio Grande. The potential environmental damage prompted legal challenges from environmental groups and the International Boundary and Water Commission, which manages the water relationship between Mexico and the United States.

Yet We Build the Wall drew praise from some administration officials, despite the group’s intent to privatize a function of government — border security — widely viewed as a federal responsibility. During a news conference in November in El Paso, Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and his top border officials welcomed the construction of the private project in New Mexico and Texas and said the barriers had proved to be effective. The briefing was highlighted on the Twitter page of Mr. Kolfage, who once ran a right-wing website that was eventually removed by Facebook.

But after reports in July showed signs of erosion along the privately funded barriers, Mr. Trump denounced the project on Twitter as something “only done to make me look bad.”

ny times logoNew York Times, The Republican Embrace of QAnon Goes Far Beyond Trump, Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman, Aug. 20, 2020. As President Trump all but endorses the conspiracy theory, it is shifting from the fringes of the internet to become an offline political movement.

Late last month, as the Texas Republican Party was shifting into campaign mode, it unveiled a new slogan, lifting a rallying cry straight from a once-unthinkable source: the internet-driven conspiracy theory known as QAnon.

The new catchphrase, “We Are the Storm,” is an unsubtle cue to a group that the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat. It is instantly recognizable among QAnon adherents, signaling what they claim is a coming conflagration between President Trump and what they allege, falsely, is a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile Democrats who seek to dominate America and the world.

Aug. 19

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump Phone Calls Add to Lingering Questions About Russian Interference, Julian E. Barnes, Aug. 19, 2020. A Senate committee went further than the Mueller report on key points about Russia’s election sabotage operations and the Trump campaign.

Aug. 18

paul manafort face nation

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s 2016 campaign chair was a ‘grave counterintelligence threat,’ Senate panel finds, Karoun Demirjian, Aug. 18, 2020.
President Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman posed a “grave counterintelligence threat” due to his interaction with people close to the Kremlin, according to a bipartisan Senate report released Tuesday that also found extensive contacts between key campaign advisers and officials affiliated with Moscow’s government and intelligence services.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report states that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (shown above during the campaign) worked with a Russian intelligence officer “on narratives that sought to undermine evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election,” including the idea that Ukrainian election interference was of greater concern.

The report states that a Russian attorney who met with Manafort, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law Jared Kushner at Trump Tower in 2016 had “significant connections” to the Kremlin. The information she offered to them was also “part of a broader influence operation targeting the United States that was coordinated, at least in part with elements of the Russian government,” the report states.

washington post logoWashington Post, On 1st night highlighting broad support for Biden, Michelle Obama casts Trump as incapable, Jenna Johnson, Michael Scherer, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Chelsea Janes, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Felicia Sonmez and John Wagner, Aug. 18, 2020 (print ed.). Speakers from michelle obama resized dnc 8 17 2020Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to Ohio’s former Republican governor John Kasich praised Joe Biden and pleaded with voters to set aside ideological differences to defeat President Trump.

Democrats kicked off their virtual nominating convention Monday with a focused denunciation of President Trump, showcasing dozens of testimonials that culminated in lancing criticism from former first lady Michelle Obama, right, who cast Trump as incapable of meeting America’s needs and said Joe Biden would usher in racial justice and ease the coronavirus pandemic.

dnc square logoIn the centerpiece speech of the night, a searing indictment of her husband Barack Obama’s successor, Obama declared that Trump has mishandled the pandemic and failed to respond to outcries over the deaths of Black Americans. She warned that the nation would suffer more if he is elected to a second term.

“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us,” she said, before quoting a line Trump used about covid-19 deaths in a recent interview: “It is what it is.”

She spoke passionately about protests over police brutality this year — and Trump’s response of declaring those in the streets to be anarchists.

“Here at home as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office,” Obama said, wearing a necklace that read “Vote.”

Aug. 17

Palmer Report, Opinion: Ben Carson and the MyPillow guy have cooked up a phony new coronavirus cure – and Donald Trump is buying it, Bill Palmer, ben carsonAug. 16-17, 2020. Ben Carson, right, has a history of hawking phony miracle cures for cancer. MyPillow founder Mike Lindell has a history of hawking a plain old pillow that he claims is some kind of miracle pillow. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that they’ve teamed up to hawk a phony coronavirus miracle cure, which they’re now pitching to Donald Trump.

In an article that feels straight out of the Onion, but is instead coming from very real news outlet Axios (1 big thing: Trump eyes new unproven virus "cure" by Jonathan Swan), it turns out Ben Carson and the MyPillow bill palmer report logo headerguy really are pushing an oleander dietary supplement as a cure for coronavirus, despite no evidence whatsoever that it can do any such thing. It turns out they’ve basically got Trump on board with it.

But some folks in the Trump regime are so alarmed by it, they’re leaking the story to the media in the hope of stopping the whole thing before it can get off the ground.

Two things stand out here. First, this means that Mike Lindell isn’t just a guy who sells crappy overpriced pillows on cable news and stands way too close to Donald Trump.

Instead, Lindell is the kind of dangerous con artist who’s using his relationship with Donald Trump to try to con Americans into buying into a fake cure for a deadly pandemic, which means Lindell is extremely dangerous.

Second, Donald Trump clearly had so little interest in Ben Carson’s past as a medical doctor, he put him in charge of HUD instead making him Surgeon General. But now Carson is having no problem getting Trump to buy into his medical quackery. It’s the latest sign that Trump’s mind has deteriorated to the point that everyone around him – even the half-braindead Carson – is able to steer Trump in whatever direction they want.

Aug. 16

ny times logoNew York Times, Fact Check: Trump Ads Attack Biden Through Deceptive Editing and Hyperbole, Linda Qiu, Aug. 16, 2020 (print ed.). We reviewed all of the Trump campaign’s television ads since June. Two-thirds contained clearly misleading claims or videos.

President Trump’s re-election campaign has spent tens of millions of dollars on television ads attacking his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr. While their content varies greatly, be it the coronavirus, police funding, taxes or charter schools, the tactics used remain constant: selectively edited remarks and exaggerations.

djt biden smiles resizedThe New York Times reviewed 22 ads from the Trump campaign that have aired since June and that have been tracked by Advertising Analytics. We found that 14 of those ads contained clearly misleading claims or videos. Here’s a review.
Exaggerations About Criminal Justice Issues

Throughout much of June and July, the ads have focused on activists’ calls to defund the police with hyperbolic warnings about the ramifications.

One, titled “Break-In,” begins with a voice describing “Seattle’s pledge to defund its police department by 50 percent, even including a proposal to remove 911 dispatchers from police control” as an older woman notices someone breaking into her house and dials 911.

washington post logo Washington Post, Senate panel told Justice Dept. of suspicions over Trump family members’ Russia testimony, Karoun Demirjian, Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky, Aug. 16, 2020 (print ed.). A referral from the Senate Intelligence Committee raised questions about the sworn testimony of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince and others.

The Republican and Democratic chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee notified federal prosecutors last year of their suspicion that several individuals, including President Trump’s family members and confidants, might have presented misleading testimony in the panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, people familiar with the matter said.

The list of individuals included the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose accounts of their pre-election meeting with a Russian lawyer were contradicted by the president’s former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates in interviews that were part of the criminal investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, these people said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss what remains a highly politicized and sensitive matter.

But the intelligence committee, one person said, reserved its harshest allegations for the president’s former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, former campaign co-chair Sam Clovis and private security contractor Erik Prince, saying it had reason to believe all three had lied to congressional investigators — a potential felony.

The committee’s concerns were detailed in a formal letter sent to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., in June 2019, people familiar with the matter said. Existence of the letter was first reported by the Los Angeles Times late Friday night.

Aug. 15

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s assault on the U.S. Postal Service gives Democrats a new campaign message, Rachael Bade, Erica Werner and Seung Min Kim, Aug. 15, 2020 (print ed.). Democrats say that President Trump’s assault on the U.S. Postal Service has handed them a new political message in the 2020 election, with a chance to make inroads with constituencies who have long favored Republicans.

postal service old logoHigh-profile Democrats from former president Barack Obama to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sounded the alarm Friday about the president’s moves to denigrate government-run mail services, decrying it as an assault on democracy and the needs of citizens who rely on its daily deliveries.

Those most affected by reports of slowdowns in delivery services include veterans, senior citizens and rural residents who have long voted Republican, arming Democratic challengers and incumbents with a salient campaign issue. Democrats are already blanketing the airwaves, latching on to the opportunity to highlight support for an institution that has a 91 percent approval rating, according to an April survey by the Pew Research Center.

washington post logomargaret sullivan 2015 photoWashington Post, Opinion: The media must keep up red-alert coverage of Trump’s attacks on Postal Service, Margaret Sullivan, right, Aug. 15, 2020. It’s a hard story to cover effectively, but journalists have to find a way because democracy depends on it this fall, a media columnist writes.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s words on mail voting could complicate GOP efforts to curtail it, Jacqueline Alemany, Aug. 15, 2020 (print ed.). The president's admission on why he's holding up Postal Service funding could also come to haunt Republicans if they seek to challenge results not in Trump's favor.

 

July

July 30

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative commentary: Formerly sealed documents in Maxwell-Epstein case ordered released, Wayne Madsen, left, July 30, 2020. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ordered released sealed documents from a 2016 defamation lawsuit brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, the now-indicted former assistant to international underage female sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Although the civil case was settled in 2017 it generated a number of documents, including emails, as well as depositions by Giuffre and other abuse victims. Maxwell sought to block the release of the sealed documents on the grounds that they would embarrass her. Judge Preska ruled, "the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell's mostly non-testimony ... is far outweighed by the presumption of public access."

jean luc brunelThe sealed documents reportedly provide additional details concerning the activities of Epstein; Maxwell; and Jean-Luc Brunel, right, the French owner of two Epstein-financed modeling agencies, Karin Models and MC2 Model Management.

Brunel is the subject of an international criminal investigation involving the FBI and French National Police. Brunel has not been seen in public since the suspicious Manhattan jail cell death of Epstein in August 2019. Brunel was named in Giuffre's lawsuit against Maxwell. Giuffre said Epstein had bragged to her in claiming that he had slept with over 1,000 of "Brunel's girls."

In 1989, Brunel and his brother, Arnaud Brunel, founded the Next Management Company modeling agency, a subsidiary of the Next Management Corporation, which was founded the previous year as a New York corporation.

Steven Mnuchin The individual listed as the New York Department of State process or agent for the Next Management Corporation is none other than Steven Mnuchin, left, Donald Trump's Secretary of Treasury. Mnuchin, in typical Trump administration fashion, has denied knowing that he was the agent for the Brunel brothers' company or even having ever met either of the Brunels.

However, WMR conducted a search of the New York Department of State (DOS) corporation filings and discovered Mnuchin listed as the DOS Process for not only Next Management Corporation but its follow-on identity, Next Time Corporation. Mnuchin cannot honestly claim he had no knowledge of a business relationship with the Brunels that spanned at least a decade.

July 24

djt michael cohen

ny times logoNew York Times, Judge Orders Cohen to Be Released, Citing Retaliation Over Tell-All Book, Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). A judge agreed that federal officials had returned Michael Cohen to prison because he wanted to publish a book about President Trump. A federal judge on Thursday ordered that Michael D. Cohen be released into home confinement and said he should be allowed to finish writing a book that has been billed as a “graphic” tell-all memoir about Mr. Cohen’s former boss, President Trump.

alvin hellerstein SmallThe judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein, right, of Federal District Court, found that prisons officials had acted against Mr. Cohen because of his desire to write the book when they returned him to prison this month after he had been released on a medical furlough.

“I make the finding that the purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory,” the judge said. “And it’s retaliation because of his desire to exercise his first amendment rights to publish a book and to discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and with others.”

Mr. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, sued U.S. officials on Monday night, claiming federal officials sent him back into custody to prevent him from completing the book. In court papers, he said the book would paint Mr. Trump as a racist and will offer revealing details about “the president’s behavior behind closed doors.”

mary trump cover

Palmer Report, Opinion: Mary Trump just beat Donald Trump again, Bill Palmer, July 24, 2020. Donald Trump did his best to try to keep his niece Mary Trump from releasing her tell-all book – but bill palmer report logo headeras is so often the case with Donald Trump, his best wasn’t very good. He failed in court, and her book ended up being released ahead of schedule. Mary Trump’s book debuted at #1 overall on the Amazon sales charts. Now it turns out Mary’s book sales were even stronger than we thought – and it hit Donald Trump where it hurts:

Here's something pretty cool: In one week, Mary Trump's book Too Much and Never Enough sold more hardcover copies than The Art of the Deal has in the 33 years since it was published.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) July 23, 2020 (primary author and co-author with Donald Trump of The Art of the Deal)

July 21

Top Headlines

Race, Brutality Protests

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Trump Watch

 

Top Stories

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

 ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Case Numbers Are Far Higher Than Reported in Parts of U.S., C.D.C. Says, Staff Reports, July 21, 2020. The European Union agreed to a $857 billion stimulus package to fight the pandemic recession that includes steps to help less wealthy countries. The deal sent a strong signal of solidarity even as it exposed deep new fault lines in a bloc reshaped by Britain’s exit. Here’s the latest.

cdc logo CustomThe number of people infected with the coronavirus in different parts of the United States is anywhere from two to 13 times higher than the reported rates for those regions, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings suggest that large numbers of people who did not have symptoms or did not seek medical care may have kept the virus circulating in their communities. The study is the largest of its kind to date, although a subset of the data was released last month.

“These data continue to show that the number of people who have been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 far exceeds the number of reported cases,” Dr. Fiona Havers, the C.D.C. researcher who led the study, said in an email. “Many of these people likely had no symptoms or mild illness and may have had no idea that they were infected.”

The researchers analyzed samples from people who had routine clinical tests, or were inpatients at hospitals, in 10 cities and states for evidence of prior coronavirus infection. The team released early data for six of the sites in June, and for all 10 locations Tuesday in the journal JAMA. They also released data from later times for eight sites to the C.D.C.’s website on Tuesday.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Trump, Paul Krugman, right, July 21, 2020 (print ed.).“Slow the testing down,” he said, and it’s happening. We’re paul krugmannow at the stage of the Covid-19 pandemic where Donald Trump and his allies are trying to suppress information about the coronavirus’s spread — because, of course, they are. True to form, however, they’re far behind the curve. From a political point of view (which is all they care about), their disinformation efforts are too little, too late.

Where we are: In just a few days millions of Americans are going to see a drastic fall in their incomes, as enhanced unemployment benefits expire. This calls for urgent action; but avoiding economic calamity was always going to be hard, because Republicans in general have balked at providing the aid workers idled by the pandemic need.

But now it turns out that there’s another obstacle to action: An intra-G.O.P. dispute over funding for testing and tracing of infected individuals. Even Senate Republicans support increased testing, which is desperately needed given our current situation: Surging cases have created a testing backlog, and test results are taking so long to come back that they’re effectively useless.

But Trump officials are opposed to any new money for testing. They’re barely even trying to offer excuses for their opposition, since Trump himself explained the strategy a month ago at his Tulsa rally: When you expand testing, he declared, “you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”

Virus Updates, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates, U.S. marks another record-setting day as Trump complains about coronavirus case counting, Staff reports, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). Surgeon general argues against federal mask mandate, citing controversy over federal troops in Portland; reliminary trial shows new treatment prevents 79 percent of covid-19 patients from needing ICUs; Senate GOP coronavirus bill leaves out many priorities for Democrats and Republicans, but talks have just begun.

american flag upside down distressSunday marked the 41st straight day that the seven-day average for new daily coronavirus infections in the United States trended upward. Six months after the novel coronavirus reached America, more than 3.7 million cases have been detected, and at least 137,000 people have died. Globally, the global death toll has surpassed 600,000, fueled in part by recent surges in states such as Texas, Florida and California.

President Trump — who aides say no longer attends coronavirus task force meetings because he does not have time — showed himself to be particularly misinformed about the basics of the virus that has been ravaging the nation. He told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that “young people that would heal in a day” made up many of the new cases.

“They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test,” Trump said.

Race, Brutality Protests

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun, Michelle Goldberg, right, July 20, 2020. Protesters are being snatched michelle goldberg thumbfrom the streets without warrants. Can we call it fascism yet?

The month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Yale historian Timothy Snyder published the best-selling book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century.” It was part of a small flood of titles meant to help Americans find their bearings as the new president laid siege to liberal democracy.

One of Snyder’s lessons was, “Be wary of paramilitaries.” He wrote, “When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come.” In 2017, the idea of unidentified agents in camouflage snatching leftists off the streets without warrants might have seemed like a febrile Resistance fantasy. Now it’s happening.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. prepares to deploy federal agents to Chicago as Trump threatens action in other cities, Nick Miroff and Mark Berman, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). The president defended the use of federal agents in Portland, Ore., where they have engaged in nightly clashes with racial justice protesters.

Homeland Security officials said Monday they are making preparations to deploy federal agents to Chicago, while President Trump threatened to send U.S. law enforcement personnel to other Democratic-led cities experiencing spates of crime.

Trump made the pronouncement as he defended his administration’s use of force in Portland, Ore., where agents have clashed nightly with protesters and made arrests from unmarked cars. Calling the unrest there “worse than Afghanistan,” Trump’s rhetoric escalated tensions with Democratic mayors and governors who have criticized the presence of federal agents on U.S. streets, telling reporters at the White House that he would send forces into jurisdictions with or without the cooperation of their elected leaders.

“We’re looking at Chicago, too. We’re looking at New York,” he said. “All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left.”

djt michael cohen

washington post logoWashington Post, Michael Cohen’s book to allege Trump made racist comments about Obama and Nelson Mandela, lawsuit says, Shayna Jacobs, July 21, 2020. The book manuscript being drafted by President Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, above left, alleges that Trump has made racist comments about his predecessor Barack Obama and the late South African leader Nelson nelson mandela 2008 wMandela (shown at right in 2008), according to court filings made public Monday night that contend Cohen was sent back to prison this month as retaliation.

The filings from Cohen’s attorneys seek his immediate release from federal custody following his rearrest July 9, less than two months after he was allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence on home confinement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

His lawsuit alleges that Cohen’s First Amendment rights were violated when he was detained at the federal courthouse in Manhattan during a meeting with probation officers, who had asked him to sign a gag order prohibiting him from speaking to the media or publishing a book while serving the rest of his sentence.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Another Trump failure: His campaign against voting by mail, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 21, 2020. President Trump is out of sync with supermajorities of Americans on jennifer rubin new headshota range of issues, from reopening schools to police reform to the Confederate flag. He operates in the right-wing media bubble, absorbing the utterly untrue pablum of talk radio and Fox News’s evening lineup (Disclaimer: I am an MSNBC contributor). It should therefore surprise no one that he is wildly out of step when it comes to voting by mail.

Pew Research released a poll Monday showing nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans favor early voting or absentee voting for “any voter without requiring a documented reason, while a third say early and absentee voting should only be allowed with a reason.” Even 44 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners — despite a steady diet of Democratic-Republican Campaign logosanti-absentee voting messages from their party’s leaders — remain in favor of no-excuse voting early or by absentee, along with 83 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaners.

Likewise, 60 percent of voters say “changing election rules to make it easier to register and vote would not make elections any less secure, while 37% say that elections would be less secure if it were easier to register and vote. These views are little changed from 2018.” Nearly 60 percent of Republicans, however, have convinced themselves that making it easier to register and vote (without saying what the changes would be!) would make elections less secure.

World News

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Fred Trump Sr. -- Nazi and war profiteer, Wayne Madsen, below left, July 21, 2020. According to informed sources familiar with Fred Trump Sr.'s construction and apartment rental and construction businesses during World War II, the father of Donald Trump was not merely a pro-Nazi and likely an agent for the German Gestapo and Abwehr military intelligence, but also a notorious war profiteer.

 

mary trump rverto Peter Serling Daily Beast 

Mary Trump (Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photo by Peter Serling).

Daily Beast,  Mary Trump: What Really Shocked Me About My Family and the KKK, The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson, July 21, 2020. The president’s niece joins The daily beast logoNew Abnormal to give us a peek behind the Trump family veil. From KKK rallies to Donald Trump’s sleeping habits, Mary Trump holds nothing back.

Mary Trump had a giant barrel of tea to spill about her family on today’s episode of The New Abnormal by The Daily Beast.

She claims her uncle Donald Trump “was protected at every turn from his incompetence, from his total inability to handle money.” And the Republican Party picked up where the media and the investment banks left off.

Remember her grandfather Fred, the family patriarch who got arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally?

Mary was surprised by that news, but “not because my grandfather wasn’t anti-Semitic.”

Nope, Mary was shocked her grandfather took time away from making money to join a KKK event. But of course, he was “perfectly happy being racist and anti-Semitic in his own house and his place of work.”

Mary Trump held nothing back as she spoke with Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-Fast. She even commented on Trump’s sleeping habits, alleging that the late-night tweeter-in-chief doesn’t sleep because “because Daddy wouldn't approve.”

“So that’s maybe why he drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day and is up until three in the morning tweeting,” she said.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Fred Trump Sr. -- Nazi and war profiteer, Wayne Madsen, below left, July 21, 2020. According to informed sources familiar with Fred Trump Sr.'s construction and apartment rental and construction businesses during World War II, the father of Donald Trump was not merely a pro-Nazi and likely an agent for the German Gestapo and Abwehr military intelligence, but also a notorious war profiteer.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention pipe dream crashes and burns, Bill Palmer, July 21, 2020. Donald Trump cares so much about his own narcissism, and rnc logoso little about the lives of his own supporters, he’s still trying to figure out how to hold an in-person Republican National Convention during a worsening pandemic. Trump has already moved it from North Carolina to Florida – even though Florida is now the coronavirus epicenter of the world – simply because the state’s corrupt Governor Ron DeSantis will let him do whatever he wants.

bill palmer report logo headerBut even if DeSantis is willing to let Donald Trump murder people for political reasons, the local Sheriff isn’t. Mike Williams, the Sheriff for Duval County, where the convention would be taking place, is telling Politico that he and his officers “can’t pull it off” from a law enforcement or security standpoint. He says they’re not even close to having a plan for pulling it off.

This isn’t some partisan move; Sheriff Williams was elected as a Republican. He’s simply taking the side of reality, whereas Donald Trump is operating in a haze of delusional fantasy.

Considering how ugly things will get if Trump does hold an in-person Republican National Convention, he’s probably better off if it does get canceled. With the Sheriff throwing up his hands, the odds of it getting canceled just went up significantly. Of course Trump could try moving it to yet another city – but time is running short to even attempt such a move.

July 20

Top Stories

Law, Crime, Courts

 

Top Stories

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 washington post logoWashington Post, The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the virus, Joel Achenbach, William Wan, Karin Brulliard and Chelsea Janes, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). How the world’s richest country got into this dismal situation is a complicated tale that exposes the flaws and fissures in a nation long proud of its ability to meet cataclysmic challenges.

american flag upside down distressSix months after the coronavirus appeared in America, the nation has failed spectacularly to contain it. The country’s ineffective response has shocked observers around the planet.

Many countries have rigorously driven infection rates nearly to zero. In the United States, coronavirus transmission is out of control. The national response is fragmented, shot through with political rancor and culture-war divisiveness. Testing shortcomings that revealed themselves in March have become acute in July, with week-long waits for results leaving the country blind to real-time virus spread and rendering contact tracing nearly irrelevant.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump defends bungled handling of pandemic with falsehoods and dubious claims, Philip Rucker and Felicia Sonmez, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). The president was visibly rattled and at times hostile during a Fox News interview.

djt i dont take responsibility at allPresident Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that the rising number of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus “is what it is,” defended his fumbled management of the pandemic with a barrage of dubious and false claims, and revealed his lack of understanding about the fundamental science of how the virus spreads and infects people.

fox-news-logo Small.pngMaking one of his biggest media appearances in months — an hour-long, sit-down interview with “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace — Trump was visibly rattled and at times hostile as he struggled to answer for his administration’s failure to contain the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 137,000 lives in the United States.

On a range of other topics, including the racial justice movement and the Confederate flag, the president positioned himself firmly outside the political mainstream. And Trump suggested he might not accept the results of November’s general election should he lose because he predicted without evidence that “mail-in voting is going to rig the election.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Threatens to Send Federal Law Enforcement Forces to More Cities, Peter Baker, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Monica Davey, July 20, 2020. As military-clad agents patrol Portland and head to Chicago, President Trump suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Detroit and other cities.

As military-clad agents patrol Portland and head to Chicago, President Trump suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Detroit and other cities. Governors and other officials compared his actions to authoritarianism and vowed to pursue legislation or lawsuits to stop him.

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Trump's dirty secrets closet slowly opening, Wayne Madsen, July 20, 2020. The more one peers into Donald Trump's closet of past and present relationships, the more one discovers that Trump's association with the late pedophile and investor Jeffery Epstein and his consort, Ghislaine Maxwell, went beyond the mere social and involved shady business operations.

July 15

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump to continue legal battle over tax returns after Supreme Court defeat, Shayna Jacobs, July 15, 2020. President Trump intends to pursue his legal fight against the Manhattan district attorney over access to his tax records, according to a court filing.

Trump recently lost his bid to have the grand jury subpoena tossed on the grounds that as sitting president he has absolute immunity from state court proceedings. The Supreme Court decision last week favored efforts by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office was investigating Trump and his business over hush money payments made to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign, including to pornography actress Stormy Daniels.

Vance’s office, which is facing a looming statute of limitations should he decide to pursue a felony case, suggested it would not allow the new matters to drag on. It said in Wednesday’s filing that it could enforce the subpoena immediately but would give the president until July 27 to file his new claims before doing so.

washington post logoWashington Post, Two crimes benefited Trump’s campaign in 2016. The president has worked to block scrutiny of those schemes, Rosalind S. Helderman, July 15, 2020. A porn star was paid to keep silent about her alleged dalliance years earlier with a presidential candidate, which a judge has agreed was an illegal violation of campaign finance laws. The private emails of Democrats were stolen and published, which prosecutors have said was an illegal intervention into the U.S. political system by foreign operatives.

The two crimes were undertaken to help Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. They led to the indictment or conviction of 13 men, including Trump’s personal attorney.

But for nearly four years, Trump has bullied, browbeaten and litigated his way out of efforts to pin down whether he had involvement in or knowledge of the illicit actions that were undertaken to help his presidential campaign.

Legal experts said his commutation last week of the sentence of confidant Roger Stone, who had been convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to interact with WikiLeaks while it was publishing the hacked Democratic emails, was part of a pattern in which Trump flexed the powers of his office and his platform to evade scrutiny of his actions.

It is a pattern that vexed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who devoted substantial space in his report on election interference to Trump’s tactics but ultimately declined to come to a conclusion as to whether they constituted crimes, an ongoing source of frustration to Democratic lawmakers and some legal experts. And it has emerged as an issue for Trump’s reelection as critics accuse him of corrupting the government and the justice system to serve his personal needs.

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 washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: In op-ed, ex-CDC directors slam Trump for politicizing science, Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan, David Satcher and Richard Besser, July 14, 2020. Four former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention co-wrote an op-ed published by The Washington Post. The administration is undermining public health.cdc logo Custom

As America begins the formidable task of getting our kids back to school and all of us back to work safely amid a pandemic that is only getting worse, public health experts face two opponents: covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of this date, the CDC guidelines, which were designed to protect children, teachers, school staffers and their families — no matter the state and no matter the politics — have not been altered. It is extraordinary for guidelines to be undermined after their release. Through last week, and into Monday, the administration continued to cast public doubt on the agency’s recommendations and role in informing and guiding the nation’s pandemic response.

The four of us led the CDC over a period of more than 15 years, spanning Republican and Democratic administrations alike. We cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of scientific evidence.

mary trump

Dr. Mary Trump, clinical psychologist, niece of Donald J. Trump, and author of a best-selling book about her family released on July 14 after the family failed to stop it via a court fight that resulted in a New York state court ruling July 13 enabling her to publish the book and speak publicly about it (Photo by Peter Serling via Simon & Schuster).

NBC News, Mary Trump's book reveals Trumpworld's web of lies — and the enablers who protect it, Nina Burleigh (author of The Trump Women: Part of the Deal), July 14, 2020. Trump’s niece becomes the first family member to openly break ranks, but only the latest critic to face threats for doing so. There's no doubt Mary Trump's uncle knows what she knows about him.

Lawsuits, nondisclosure agreements and emotional or financial blackmail kept the lid on the secrets of Trumpland for years. But the political career of President Donald Trump, a self-described billionaire, has brought an increase in attention. Now as more and more insiders bust out their own books, Trump and his attorneys are playing an increasingly wild and desperate game of whack-a-mole to keep dissidents, including some very close to home, silent.

mary trump coverIn Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Most Dangerous Man, officially released on Tuesday, Trump's niece, Mary Trump, becomes the first family member to openly break ranks but only the latest of many critics to face threats for doing so.

Mary Trump's book is the literary equivalent of an ambulance siren.

The book is the literary equivalent of an ambulance siren. Mary Trump (Peter Serling / Simon and Schuster;, a clinical psychologist, describes her uncle as a man whose personality was damaged early by his sociopathic father, Fred, and his fragile, absent mother, Mary Anne, and whose retinue of enablers have allowed him to fail up while shielding his profound impairments from the public eye.
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The book's shocking bits have already been picked over and reported: She was a secret source for family financial documents behind The New York Times' investigation that revealed that a "potential tax fraud" enriched the Trump siblings; Trump paid someone to take his SAT test; Trump ogled and praised her breasts.

But the disturbing thesis of the book has gotten less attention so far because it is too complex for a bullet point or a tweet. Mary Trump argues that her uncle has been "institutionalized" his entire life, from his father's rigid house to military school to the Trump Organization and now the White House. In Washington, he is, for the first time in his life, subject to close scrutiny but still surrounded by enablers who have everything to lose if he is exposed as a fake and a fraud.

"The walls of his very expensive and well-guarded padded cell are starting to disintegrate," she writes. "The people with access to him are weaker than Donald is, more craven, but just as desperate."

These desperate people will use whatever means are at their disposal — courts, lawyers, intimidation, loss of employment and even, apparently, prison — to bolster Trump's increasingly fragile facade. She writes that the president's own siblings find him odious and ridiculous by turn and that they knew he was unfit for office but still kept quiet — and even tried to silence her in court.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Did Mueller Ever Stand a Chance Against Trump and Roger Stone? Nick Akerman, July 14, 2020 (print ed.). I was a Watergate prosecutor. I know why he didn’t. The robert mueller full face filecommutation last week of Roger Stone’s sentence is the latest of multiple, brazen efforts to make the fulfillment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation all but impossible.

The efforts by President Trump have amounted to a cover-up — and they were often made possible by his ability to control the Justice Department and by the lack of independence of the Mueller investigation. It demands a renewed look at how we empower independent counsels — regrettably, history has shown us that, under extraordinary circumstances, they are needed to conduct proper oversight of abuse by the executive branch.

We were lucky to get the Mueller report, but Mr. Mueller, right, was acting under restraints. Unfortunately history tells us that we Newwill need special counsels in the years ahead, under extraordinary circumstances, and like we did with Watergate, that office should have true independence to protect our country and Constitution.

Nick Akerman, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney, was an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Commentary: Under-counting the number of dead and mass graves and cremations: The whiff of Nazi Germany, Wayne Madsen, July 14, 2020. Impeached president Donald Trump has already been caught lying about the number of coronavirus infections in the United States, so it stands to reason that he would also lie about the actual death count.

America's top government infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned in May that the nation's death count from Covid-19 was likely being under-counted due to people dying at home who did not receive medical treatment or who were untested or failed to obtain test results before dying of the virus or a co-morbidity heightened by the virus.

Trump pulled a death count caper in the wake of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, claiming the 3,000 death toll on the island was a "made-up figure" dreamed up by “the Democrats.” According to former Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, Trump wanted to "sell" off Puerto Rico after the hurricane devastated the island.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The one constant in Trump’s presidency: Tomorrow will be worse, Dana Milbank, right, July 14, 2020 (print ed.). Whenever you are asked to dana milbank Customname the lowest moment of the Trump presidency, one answer is almost always correct: Tomorrow.

As the nation ricochets between chaos and calamity, the one reliable constant is the near certainty that things will get worse.

On Friday night, President Trump commuted the sentence of longtime adviser Roger Stone, convicted by a jury of multiple felonies for lying to federal investigators to protect Trump in the Russia probe. Trump’s clemency came the same day Stone made the corrupt bargain explicit by saying he resisted “enormous pressure to turn on” Trump.

On Saturday, Trump’s White House launched a public broadside attempting to discredit its own chief infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, because Fauci sounded renewed alarms about the coronavirus, which has killed at least 132,000 in the United States and is accelerating out of control. Then, on Sunday, as Florida reported a breathtaking 15,300 new cases of the virus in a single day, and other states reported overwhelmed hospitals and climbing death tolls, Trump tweeted a defense of his decision to play golf during his 276th visit to one of his golf clubs during his presidency.

On Monday, Trump retweeted a TV clip in which one of his allies, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), accused the left of “cultural genocide,” an echo of white nationalists’ claims of “white genocide,” and saying “the organizers of Black Lives Matter, who pledge allegiance to the destruction of America, have a lot more in common with the Confederate generals that they hate than they would like to admit.” This followed Trump’s “white power” retweet and another instance of his campaign allegedly appropriating Nazi symbols.

 

washington post logoWashington Post, Brad Parscale hits a rough patch as Trump’s campaign manager, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey,July 14, 2020 (print ed.). Parscale, above, is brash and self-promoting as Trump’s campaign manager. But he’s increasingly out of favor with his boss, and others in the campaign are gaining influence.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Ivanka Trump just made a total mess for herself, Bill Palmer, July 14, 2020. By the time Tuesday night rolled around, Ivanka Trump had already thoroughly embarrassed ivanka trump goya pose resized july 14 2020herself by rolling out a “Find Something New” campaign which encouraged unemployed Americans to simply find a new career by magic wand or something. The Trumps never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, so Ivanka found a way to humiliate herself even further.

Ivanka Trump posted this tweet – and yes, it’s real:

Ivanka Trump
@IvankaTrump


If it’s Goya, it has to be good.
Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno.

That’s right, Ivanka Trump is now doing straight up product placement, like something out of The Price Is Right, to try to reward a brand that’s facing widespread boycotts because its CEO came out in support of a sinking Donald Trump. The thing is, Ivanka just stepped in it. This idiotic photo of her will be thrown back in her face for as long as she’s in the public eye.

nsa headquarters strategic culture foundation

Headquarters of the National Security Agency in Maryland.

The Corbett Report via YouTube,

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.be" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> #PropagandaWatch: Conspiracy Theorists Are Wrong!!! . . . Even When They're Right! James Corbett, right, james corbettJuly 14, 2020 (13:34 min. video). The host reviews Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State, a new book by Pulitzer-winning Washington Post national security reporter Barton Gellman.

Corbett found remarkable the book's description of the FIRSTFRUITS scoop in 2005 by independent journalist Wayne Madsen' about an operation at the National Security Agency (NSA), where Madsen had worked for a year many years previous on detail from his work as a Navy intelligence officer.

In 2005, Madsen, below left, reported based on sources that an operation codenamed FIRSTFRUITS was targeting journalists and their sources, an undertaking at odds with the historic and supposed ban at NSA on spying on Americans.

Madsen's revelations were ignored by other journalists but were confirmed nearly a decade later in mainstream media accounts, including those based on the 2013 revelations of former NSA and CIA analyst Edward Snowden. Gellman was awarded a Pulitzer along with two others, Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian and independent filmmaker Laura Poitras, based on their reporting of Snowden's revelations.

Corbett writes that Gellman unwittingly reveals in his account his own deep biases in favor of establishment theories and sources.

"Then came the day," Corbett quotes Gellman as writing, "I found my name in the Snowden archives" as well as verifacation that the NSA had a database called FIRSTFRUITS focused on journalists, as Madsen had reported, and located in the NSA's Denial and Deception unit within the agency's Signals Intelligence Unit.

July 10

 

 

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washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court says N.Y. prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, Robert Barnes, July 10, 2020 (print ed.). The Supreme Court ruled that a Manhattan prosecutor is entitled to see President Trump’s private and business financial records, ending an intense legal battle waged by the president to keep them secret.

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Trump’s assertion that he enjoys absolute immunity while in office, allowing a New York prosecutor to pursue a subpoena of the president’s private and business financial records.

In a separate case, the court sent a fight over congressional subpoenas for the material back to lower courts because of “significant separation of powers concerns.”

“In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence,’” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the New York case, citing an ancient maxim. “Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States.”

In both cases, the justices ruled 7 to 2, with Trump nominees Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh joining the majorities. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.

While the court said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. had the authority to subpoena the records from Trump’s private accounting firm, it also sent the case back to a district court for more work.

The information is part of a grand jury investigation, so the joint decisions dash the hopes of Trump opponents that the information will be available to the public before the election.

Read the Supreme Court’s opinion: Trump v. Vance

Vance is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsified business records to conceal hush payments to two women, including pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed they had sex with Trump before he took office. Trump has denied those claims.

washington post logoWashington Post, Much of eastern Oklahoma remains Indian land, Supreme Court rules, Ann E. Marimow and Robert Barnes, July 10, 2020 (print ed.). The 5-to-4 ruling has implications for 1.8 million residents, including in much of Tulsa.

The Supreme Court said Thursday that a large part of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation, a decision with implications for nearly 2 million residents.

The land at issue contains much of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city. The question for the court was whether Congress officially eliminated the Creek Nation reservation when Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

In a 5-to-4 decision, the court said that Congress “has not said otherwise” and that the land promised to the Creek Nation is still a reservation.

“If Congress wishes to withdraw its promises, it must say so. Unlawful acts, performed long enough and with sufficient vigor, are never enough to amend the law,” wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who was joined by the court’s liberal justices.
“To hold otherwise would be to elevate the most brazen and longstanding injustices over the law, both rewarding wrong and failing those in the right.”

The case was brought by Jimcy McGirt, who was convicted in state court of molesting a child. Because the crime occurred on the land in question, McGirt said that state courts have no jurisdiction and that the federal government would have to prosecute.

Oklahoma and the federal government contended that laws passed between 1890 and 1907 gave the state jurisdiction over the land. The state said that there are thousands of similar cases and that a ruling in favor of McGirt would not only throw the criminal justice system in turmoil but also disrupt taxing powers and other municipal jurisdictions.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: The long political fight over Trump’s tax returns is likely over. Trump may have won, Philip Bump, July 10, 2020 (print ed.). In a pair of decisions released on Thursday, the Supreme Court handed President Trump apparent losses on the question of whether he might protect his personal financial records from scrutiny.

In Trump v. Vance, the court ruled that the Manhattan district attorney had the authority to subpoena those records as part of a criminal investigation. In Trump v. Mazars, it declined to reject out-of-hand an effort by House Democrats to obtain similar records, instead pushing a decision back to lower courts.

It was a broad rejection of Trump’s assertions of the breadth of his power as chief executive, and the president made clear his displeasure in a string of furious tweets shortly after the decisions were released. Beyond the big-picture argument about constitutional authority — an argument Trump almost certainly embraces only as it pertains to checks on himself — the Vance ruling in particular poses a threat to the president. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has already pledged to push forward with a probe, which might result in criminal charges against Trump or the Trump Organization.

But as a political fight, it looks like the battle for Trump’s tax returns is over. And there’s good reason to think that Trump won.

It’s worth remembering that Trump repeatedly assured the public that he would release his tax returns if elected. Those assurances predated his actual 2016 candidacy by years. When he explored a possible 2012 run, for example, he assured CNN’s John King that he would “be doing my tax returns at the appropriate time.” Later in that same cycle, he tried to use his tax returns as leverage, offering to release them if President Barack Obama released his college transcripts.

As his formal announcement neared in early 2015, he insisted he'd release his taxes.

July 7

Top Headlines

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

 

Top Stories

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New York Times, Fact Check: Trump Falsely Claims ‘99 Percent’ of Virus Cases Are ‘Totally Harmless,’ Roni Caryn Rabin and Chris Cameron, The president dismissed the severity of the Democratic-Republican Campaign logospandemic, downplaying the effect of the disease even as infections surge across the Sunbelt and rebound in California.

His remarks about a virus that has already claimed nearly 130,000 lives were perplexing. The coronavirus is surging across the Sunbelt states and has rebounded in California. At least 2.8 million Americans are known to be infected, and public health officials have said the real number of infections may be 10 times higher.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Defends Confederate Flag and Falsely Accuses Bubba Wallace of Hoax, Maggie Haberman, July 7, 2020 (print ed.). In a culture-war appeal to his conservative base, President Trump criticized NASCAR and falsely accused a Black driver of engaging in a hoax involving a noose.

bubbal wallacePresident Trump mounted an explicit defense of the Confederate flag on Monday, suggesting that NASCAR had made a mistake in banning it from its auto racing events, while falsely accusing a top Black driver, Bubba Wallace, right, of perpetrating a hoax involving a noose found in his garage.

Mr. Trump’s reference to the Confederate flag, and its role in a sport whose mostly white fans Mr. Trump remains popular with, was the latest remark by the president focused on culture wars as he tries to rally his culturally conservative base behind his struggling re-election effort.

The president has increasingly used racist language and references in his appeals to supporters as he portrays himself as a protector of the history of the American South. He has called the phrase “Black Lives Matter” a “symbol of hate,” and he has repeatedly tried to depict pockets of violence during protests against entrenched racism as representative of the protest movement as a whole.

He delivered official speeches over the weekend that also emphasized defending American heritage, though he avoided explicit references to totems of the Confederacy.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

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washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: What if Trump loses but insists he won? Max Boot, July 6, 2020. On his present trajectory, President Trump is heading for a whopping defeat in November. The Economist says there’s nearly a 99 percent chance that Joe Biden will win more popular votes and around a 90 percent chance that he will win more electoral college votes. But what if Trump won’t concede defeat? That is a nightmare scenario for our democracy that could make the 2000 showdown over Florida’s hanging chads seem like a grade-school dispute by comparison.

Trump is already laying the foundation to dispute the election outcome with his incessant claims that “Mail-In Ballots will lead to MASSIVE electoral fraud and a RIGGED 2020 Election.” Election officials label such concerns as “preposterous” and “false.” But they will serve as an excuse for the Republican Party to purge voter-registration rolls, limit mail-in ballots, close polling stations in minority areas and challenge in-person voting by minorities. Whatever it takes to win.

It’s doubtful that anything Trump does will produce a popular-vote victory; he lost by nearly 3 million votes in 2016 and will probably lose by a greater margin this year. But it won’t matter if, by election night, he is within spitting distance of an electoral college victory.
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I recently took part in a “war game” to see what would happen under those circumstances. The session was organized by the Transition Integrity Project, a nonpartisan group founded by Rosa Brooks of Georgetown Law School and Nils Gilman of the Berggruen Institute. The scenario we were given predicted a narrow Biden victory in the electoral college: 278 to 260. Various participants played the role of the Trump campaign, the Biden campaign, Republican and Democratic elected officials, the news media, and other key players to see what would happen next.

I was on Team Trump. followed by a sharp exclamation. There was a brief silence. Then, deafening bangs — roughly 10 — rang out in quick succession.

 

Inside DC

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Vowed to ‘Drain the Swamp,’ but Lobbyists Are Helping Run His Campaign, Kenneth P. Vogel, Michael LaForgia and Hailey Fuchs, July 7, 2020 (print ed.). Lobbyists like David Urban, whose connections start at the very top, are thriving as they help the president’s re-election effort while aiding corporate clients.

The chief executive of the arms maker Raytheon, under pressure to overcome a congressional hold on major sales in the fall of 2018, wanted to sit down with one of the few people who david urbancould solve the problem — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

But the State Department would not schedule the meeting. So Raytheon turned for help to David Urban, right, perhaps the best-connected lobbyist in President Trump’s Washington.

The story behind Mr. Pompeo’s meeting with Raytheon, which has not been previously reported, is emblematic of the outsize influence wielded in Washington by Mr. Urban and a small group of other lobbyists and operatives who backed Mr. Trump when most of the K Street establishment was keeping its distance. Those relationships became lucrative after Mr. Trump won a surprise victory on Election Day and rewarded early loyalists with key posts, continued access or both.

Media / Political News

washington post logoWashington Post, Tell-all book by President Trump’s niece to be published two weeks earlier on July 14, Michael Kranish, July 7, 2020 (print ed.). A highly anticipated book by Mary L. Trump, the niece of President Trump, will be published two weeks earlier than planned after a court last week allowed Simon & Schuster to continue distributing copies. The book will be published on July 14 mary trump coverbecause of intense interest in it, the publisher announced Monday.

While the publisher last week was released from a temporary restraining order, Mary Trump is still under the order and is contesting it. In the meantime, her publisher released the book jacket and a news release that promised a sweeping indictment of the president’s psychological makeup.

“From this explosive book,” the news release said, “we learn how Donald acquired twisted behaviors and values” such as that “cheating is a way of life,” “taking responsibility for your failures is discouraged” and “qualities like empathy, kindness and expertise are punished.” It did not provide specifics, leaving that for the book’s publication.

The back cover of the book, also released Monday, said that “Donald is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning or evolving.” It says that Donald Trump feared his father’s rejection and “suffered deprivations that would scar him for life.”

 

July 6

Top Headlines

 

Top Storiesdjt i dont take responsibility at all

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Elected officials blame rush to reopen as coronavirus cases hit record for 27th day, Staff reports, July 6, 2020. Companies are hiring their own epidemiologists to deal with covid-19; Austin mayor says he’d consider ‘last resort’ stay-at-home order if needed; White House chief of staff says ‘vast majority of people’ safe from coronavirus.

djt hands up mouth open CustomWith the number of novel coronavirus cases soaring in the United States, many elected officials are beginning to acknowledge that rushing to reopen was a mistake. Alarming indicators continued to mount over the Fourth of July weekend, with the rolling seven-day average for daily new cases hitting a record high for the 27th day in a row on Sunday.

“We’re right back where we were at the peak of the epidemic during the New York outbreak,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday, during an interview with “Face the Nation” on CBS.

Nearly 2.9 million coronavirus cases have been reported nationwide. At least 127,000 people have died of the virus in the United States.

Here are some significant developments:

  • As the United States reported 43,347 new cases Sunday, Arizona and Nevada reported their highest numbers of coronavirus-related hospitalizations to date. Seven-day case averages in 12 states hit new highs, with the most significant increases reported in West Virginia, Tennessee and Montana.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump turned July Fourth into a partisan event. The damage could be long-lasting, Dan Balz, July 6, 2020 (print ed.). The president is losing the war against the novel coronavirus, and his reelection campaign is struggling. In response, he has decided to start a different war.

djt economist cover aug 19 2017President Trump, with two speeches in two days, has turned the Fourth of July from a joyful and unifying patriotic celebration of America’s founding values into a partisan political event. The damage could outlast his presidency.

From near the base of Mount Rushmore on Friday night and from the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday night, Trump tried to write himself into the history of America as an implacable wartime president. His enemy, however, is not the Nazis of the 20th century or terrorists of the 21st century. Instead, it appears to be those in America who disagree with him — a caricatured blue America.

Trump knows his reelection campaign is in trouble. He sees the fight against this enemy of his creation as his pathway to victory in November. His political weapon of choice is exaggerated and at times racist rhetoric designed to pit Americans against Americans. Never in our lifetimes has the Independence Day holiday been used for such divisive and personal ends. 

djt maga hat speech uncredited Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: A vicious culture war is all Trump has left, E.J. Dionne Jr., right, July 6, 2020 (print ed.). Trump’s vile speeches at Mount Rushmore on Friday and at the White House ej dionne w open neckon the Fourth of July signal that he sees one and only one possible path to victory: He will tear an already riven nation to pieces.

He will use the classic methods of racist politicians to tie a resurgent movement for racial equality to “a wave of violent crime” and efforts to “destroy” our “very civilization.” It is all, he says, part of a “left-wing cultural revolution . . . designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”

The man who has been selling right-wing nationalism dares to say his opponents advocate “a new far-left fascism.” The politician who has defended Confederate monuments scrambles for cover behind Abraham Lincoln and quotations from Martin Luther King Jr.

Palmer Report, Donald Trump has completely psychotic meltdown about NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, Bill Palmer, right, July 6, 2020. This morning Palmer Report pointed out that Donald Trump is bill palmerno longer running for President; he’s running for mayor of Crazy Town. Whether through spiteful intention of psychological failing, Trump’s behavior is becoming more psychotic by the day – to the point that it’s as if he’s now trying to cost himself votes. Now Trump is demonstrating exactly what we were talking about.

Trump posted this tweet today:

Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!

To be clear, Trump is flat out lying about what happened. It was NASCAR officials who found the noose in Bubba Wallace’s stall and alerted law enforcement. It turned out the noose had bill palmer report logo headerbeen hanging there as a garage door pull-down for at least a year and hadn’t been hung specifically to target Wallace, but photos released of the scene make clear that it bubbal wallacewas definitely a noose.

Of course facts and truth have never mattered to Donald Trump. But here’s what is different. Even as openly racist as Trump was in 2016, he tried to do it in a way that allowed moderately racist voters to convince themselves that Trump wasn’t actually a racist, so they could still feel comfortable voting for him. Now, however, there’s no strategy to Trump’s racism. His tweet about Bubba Wallace, right, will cost him the votes of some white moderate conservatives – but he’s either too far gone to understand this, or too far gone to care.

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Strategic Empathy’: How Biden’s Informal Diplomacy Shaped Foreign Relations, Michael Crowley, Updated July 6, 2020. To voters unsettled by President Trump’s disruptive approach to the world, Mr. Biden is selling not only his policy prescriptions but also his long track record of befriending, cajoling and sometimes confronting foreign leaders — what he might call the power of his informal diplomatic style.

“I’ve dealt with every one of the major world leaders that are out there right now, and they know me. I know them,” he told supporters in December.

joe biden headshotBrett McGurk, a former senior State Department official for the campaign against the Islamic State, said Mr. Biden had been an effective diplomat by practicing “strategic empathy.”

Mr. Biden is a foreign-policy pragmatist, not an ideologue; his views have long tracked the Democratic mainstream. For a decade before the Iraq War, he was known as a hawk, but more recently he has become a chastened skeptic of foreign intervention. In lieu of grand strategy, he offers what more than 20 current and former American officials described in interviews as a remarkably personal diplomacy derived from his decades in the glad-handing, deal-making hothouse of the Senate. It is an approach grounded in a belief that understanding another leader — “what they want and what they need,” in the words of James Rubin, a former Biden aide who later served as the State Department spokesman — is as important as understanding his or her nation.

Race, Police Brutality Protestsdjt rushmore anna moneymaker nyt

President Trump at Mount Rushmore for a Fourth of July celebration on Friday evening (Photo by Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump got his crowd and his fireworks, and peddled his fiction, Robin Givhan, July 6, 2020 (print ed.). The president reveled in the dramatic majesty of Mount Rushmore — and ignored the complicated American story.

The setting for President Trump’s early Fourth of July celebration was magnificent, as the Black Hills of South Dakota tend to be. The scene was also full of painful history, willful ignorance and deliberate fearmongering.

Friday night, in an amphitheater in the shadow of Mount Rushmore, a military band played smooth jazz on snare drums and trumpets as the country sank under the rising number of covid-19 infections. Thousands of unmasked guests, awaiting the arrival of the president, sat shoulder to shoulder in black folding chairs tethered together in a kind of coronavirus djt maga hatchain of denial.

The VIPs would, of course, be seated separately onstage — not six feet apart, but not amid the storm of exhalations, coughs, vociferous cheers and sneezes.

And just to add to the upside-down, inside-out madness of the mass gathering, Ivanka Trump, presidential adviser and daughter, tweeted a reminder to be safe over the holiday weekend by social distancing and wearing a mask. Her nearest and dearest did not listen to plea.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump will accept a ‘steady’ few hundred deaths a day as the cost of reelection, Philip Bump, July 6, 2020. His ability to convince America that it should do the same depends on a deeply flawed argument. President Trump presents his approach to the coronavirus pandemic as being rooted in optimism. He’s said so explicitly, arguing that it’s his role to offer hope to the public. This motivation is reflected in nearly everything he says about the virus: that there will soon be a vaccine, that it will go away, that there are or will be drugs which can ameliorate its worst effects.

This isn't really optimism, though. It's safer to describe it as a disinterest in addressing negative consequences over the long term. Trump fights no battle that lasts much beyond the following day's sunrise. One effect is to hype short-term victories which will obviously soon be shown to be hollow, like Trump's repeated predictions about how low the death toll from the pandemic would be.

So we get the administration's new approach to the pandemic, one which resembles the final moments of a climactic battle scene in an action movie. The protagonist, after fending off enemy after enemy, sees the finish line in sight. So he puts his shoulder down and makes a mad rush for perceived safety. In this case, the finish line is Election Day. In this case, the enemy is Americans who've died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

President Trump presents his approach to the coronavirus pandemic as being rooted in optimism. He’s said so explicitly, arguing that it’s his role to offer hope to the public. This motivation is reflected in nearly everything he says about the virus: that there will soon be a vaccine, that it will go away, that there are or will be drugs which can ameliorate its worst effects.

This isn't really optimism, though. It's safer to describe it as a disinterest in addressing negative consequences over the long term. Trump fights no battle that lasts much beyond the following day's sunrise. One effect is to hype short-term victories which will obviously soon be shown to be hollow, like Trump's repeated predictions about how low the death toll from the pandemic would be.

So we get the administration's new approach to the pandemic, one which resembles the final moments of a climactic battle scene in an action movie. The protagonist, after fending off enemy after enemy, sees the finish line in sight. So he puts his shoulder down and makes a mad rush for perceived safety. In this case, the finish line is Election Day. In this case, the enemy is Americans who've died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

ny times logoNew York Times, As the Virus Surged, Florida Partied. Tracking the Revelers Is Tough, Patricia Mazzei, July 6, 2020. Tracing the contacts of every positive case has become unrealistic in Florida, especially among elusive partygoers reluctant to answer questions.

 Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s cold indifference, Robert Harrington, July 6, 2020. I like to listen to experts. I also like to listen to people with experience.

So when a coronavirus patient and their doctors say, “Trust me, you don’t want to get this bug,” I believe them the first time I hear it. When patient after patient after patient reaches for hyperbole to describe how dreadful COVID-19 is, how uncomfortable, how devastating, how it’s their worst nightmare, worse by far than any sickness they have ever had, I wouldn’t dream of contradicting them.

bill palmer report logo headerYet, according to Donald Trump, 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.” This contradicts everything the experts say, and everything that people who have had the disease say. Trump says it because he wants it to be true, and he’s coldly indifferent to any suffering or death it may cause. All he cares about is perception. If enough fools believe him then they will return to work and he can get the economy back to where it was — just in time for the election. He doesn’t care if they’re risking their lives for him. As far as Trump cares, they can go ahead and die.

By the way, Trump endures no cognitive dissonance by saying that most coronavirus is harmless, even though he also said earlier that coronavirus is a “terrible plague from China” and warned Beijing “must be held accountable” for its spread around the world. Such contradictions don’t phase Trump in the least. He wants it both ways. He wants everyone to be fooled into thinking it’s no big deal and he wants to blame China for it.

He says what he needs to say moment to moment to give him (in his view) his best chance for re-election.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Are you ready to go back?’ After covid-19, a poultry worker fears a return to work, Michael E. Miller, July 6, 2020. Many of his co-workers at Perdue Farms in Georgetown, Del., had also fallen ill. One friend died. Then, at an appointment in late May, his doctor told him, “According to those recommendations, the government thinks you’re ready to return to work tomorrow.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Rush to reopen led to new cases that threaten to overwhelm hospitals, officials say, Robert Barnes and Derek Hawkins, July 6, 2020 (print ed.). Local officials issued dire warnings about the spread of infections, blaming outbreaks on early reopenings and saying the virus was rapidly outpacing containment efforts.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Leading Iraqi researcher assassinated outside his house in Baghdad, Mustafa Salim and Louisa Loveluck, July 6, 2020. Hisham al-Hashimi was among the world’s leading experts on the Islamic State group and an adviser to the Iraqi government.

Environment / Energy / Climate

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge orders shutdown of Dakota Access pipeline, citing environmental risks, Juliet Eilperin, Steven Mufson and Brady Dennis, July 6, 2020. A federal judge said officials failed to make a complete analysis of the pipeline's environmental impacts. The decision marks the second setback for President Trump's infrastructure push in two days. Decisions affecting Atlantic Coast, Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines dismay oil and gas industry, mark victory for tribal and environmental activists.

A series of recent legal defeats and business decisions have stymied three multi-billion dollar pipeline projects around the country, setting back President Trump’s three and-a-half year effort to expand oil and gas development in the United States.

The reversals demonstrate both the enduring power of environmental laws that the Trump administration has been trying to weaken as well as the tenacity of environmental, tribal and community activists who have battled the projects on forested land and in federal courtrooms.

In a surprise decision Monday, a federal judge ruled the Dakota Access pipeline — which Trump approved within a month of taking office — must be shut down by Aug. 5, saying federal officials failed to do a complete analysis of its environmental impacts. The day before, two energy companies behind the controversial, 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline abandoned their six-year bid to build it, saying the $8 billion project has become too expensive and faces an uncertain regulatory environment. And an April decision by a federal judge in Montana dealt a blow to the Keystone XL pipeline and raised questions about whether the Army Corps of Engineers will have to conduct more extensive environmental reviews for other projects.

Media / Political News

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washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: McEnany butchers her defense of Trump’s Bubba Wallace tweet, Aaron Blake, July 6, 2020. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was pressed Monday on President Trump’s tweet that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace should have “apologized” for his handling of an incident in which a noose-like rope appeared in his garage at a race.

In the process, though, McEnany misstated several key facts about the situation and offered an implausible argument for Trump’s motivation to tweet it.

washington post logoWashington Post, Facebook, Google, Twitter halt review of Hong Kong requests for data, Rachel Lerman, July 6, 2020. The social media giants said they would pause reviewing such requests from Hong Kong until they had reviewed the new national security law imposed by the Chinese government.

Inside DC

washington post logoWashington Post, Redskins’ minority owners look to sell stakes in team amid ongoing turmoil, Liz Clarke, Mark Maske and Les Carpenter, July 6, 2020 (print ed.). Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Frederick W. Smith are “not happy being a partner” of Daniel nfl logoSnyder, one person familiar with the deliberations said.

Rothman is chairman and CEO of Black Diamond Capital, a private investment company. Schar is chairman of NVR Inc., the nation’s fifth-largest home builder. Smith is chairman, president and CEO of FedEx, which in 1999 signed a 27-year, $205 million naming-rights deal for what is now known as FedEx Field.

 

July 5

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump turned July Fourth into a partisan event. The damage could be long-lasting, Dan Balz, July 5, 2020. The president is losing the war against the novel coronavirus, and his reelection campaign is struggling. In response, he has decided to start a different war.

djt economist cover aug 19 2017President Trump, with two speeches in two days, has turned the Fourth of July from a joyful and unifying patriotic celebration of America’s founding values into a partisan political event. The damage could outlast his presidency.

From near the base of Mount Rushmore on Friday night and from the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday night, Trump tried to write himself into the djt maga hathistory of America as an implacable wartime president. His enemy, however, is not the Nazis of the 20th century or terrorists of the 21st century. Instead, it appears to be those in America who disagree with him — a caricatured blue America.

Trump knows his reelection campaign is in trouble. He sees the fight against this enemy of his creation as his pathway to victory in November. His political weapon of choice is exaggerated and at times racist rhetoric designed to pit Americans against Americans. Never in our lifetimes has the Independence Day holiday been used for such divisive and personal ends.antagonize people with whom they disagree or achieve some other goal.

Social media companies have in recent weeks shut down a handful of fake accounts created by white supremacist groups posing as antifa operatives in a bid to undermine peaceful protests.

In response to messages from The Post, the person managing the Left Behind USA account identified himself as 39-year-old Alan Jeffs, a lifelong Democrat-turned-anarchist from Pittsburgh who now lives in Des Moines.

The Post examined real estate, court and voter records, as well as other public documents, but could find no such person.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, July 5, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump has left little doubt through his utterances the past few weeks that he sees himself not only as the Republican standard-bearer but as a leader of a modern grievance movement animated by civic strife and marked by calls for “white power.”

President Trump’s unyielding push to preserve Confederate symbols and the legacy of white domination, crystallized by his harsh denunciation of the racial justice movement Friday night at Mount Rushmore, has unnerved Republicans who have long enabled him but now fear losing power and forever associating their party with his racial animus.

donald trump twitterAlthough amplifying racism and stoking culture wars have been mainstays of Trump’s public identity for decades, they have been particularly pronounced this summer as the president has reacted to the national reckoning over systemic discrimination by seeking to weaponize the anger and resentment of some white Americans for his own political gain.

Trump has left little doubt through his utterances the past few weeks that he sees himself not only as the Republican standard-bearer but as leader of a modern grievance movement animated by civic strife and marked by calls for “white power,” the phrase chanted by one of his supporters in a video the president shared last weekend on Twitter. He later deleted the video but did not disavow its message.

On Friday night at Mount Rushmore, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the party’s leadership, and other top Republicans were seen applauding as Trump spoke.

Trump’s repeated championing of monuments, memorials and military bases honoring Confederate leaders has run up against the tide of modernity and a weary electorate that polls show overwhelmingly support the Black Lives Matter movement — a slogan that Trump said would be “a symbol of hate” if painted on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Hollywood PoliTrivia Commentary: How Trump pissed off the "Chairman of the Board," Wayne Madsen, left, July 5, 2020. Donald Trump's bid to become one of the "regulars" within the Hollywood celebrity circuit failed miserably.  Perhaps, no one was more irritated at Trump than "Old Blue Eyes," the "Chairman of the Board" and influential celebrity kingmaker, Frank Sinatra.

In his truly bizarre speech on July 3 at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Trump announced that he was signing an Executive Order establishing a "National Garden of American Heroes," featuring statues of famous Americans, including Elvis Presley and the man who despised Trump, Sinatra.

 

July 4 

djt rushmore anna moneymaker nyt

President Trump at Mount Rushmore for a Fourth of July celebration on Friday evening (Photo by Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times).

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message, Annie Karni, July 4, 2020 (print ed.). Down in the polls and failing to control a raging pandemic, the president cast himself as waging battle against a “new far-left fascism” that imperils American values and seeks to erase history.

Standing in a packed amphitheater in front of Mount Rushmore for an Independence Day celebration, President Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech on Friday that cast his struggling effort to win a second term as a battle against a “new far-left fascism” seeking to wipe out the nation’s values and history.

With the coronavirus pandemic raging and his campaign faltering in the polls, his appearance amounted to a fiery reboot of his re-election effort, using the holiday and an official presidential address to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism.

republican elephant logo“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children,” Mr. Trump said, addressing a packed crowd of sign-waving supporters, few of whom wore masks. “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”

Mr. Trump barely mentioned the frightening resurgence of the pandemic, even as the country surpassed 53,000 new cases and health officials across the nation urged Americans to scale back their Fourth of July plans.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ahead of July 4th, Trump exploits racial, social divisions, David Nakamura, Ashley Parker, Colby Itkowitz and Maria Sacchetti, July 4, 2020 (print ed.). In a dark speech at the foot of Mount Rushmore's monument, President Trump focused on what he described as a “left-wing cultural revolution” that aims to rewrite U.S. history and erase its heritage. (Excerpt continued below.)

washington post logoWashington Post, America on its 244th birthday: Dark skies, canceled parades, but also new hope, Marc Fisher, July 4, 2020. Frightened and isolated by the novel coronavirus, many Americans see protests over racial inequality as a step toward national renewal.

american flag upside down distressAs statues tumble and a frightening virus spreads through the land, far fewer splashes of color will burst onto the night skies across America on the Fourth of July. Instead of parades and picnics, the nation’s 244th birthday will be a muted celebration by people who are frustrated and strained, yet intriguingly, persistently hopeful about the future.

A triple whammy of deadly disease, wholesale economic paralysis and a searing reckoning with racial inequality has largely canceled the nation’s birthday bash. But despite depression-level unemployment and pervasive sadness, polling and interviews across the country reveal an enduring — even renewed — reservoir of optimism, a sense that despite the coronavirus and perhaps as a result of protests in big cities and small towns alike, the United States can still right itself.

djt virus trump did it Custom

Palmer Report, Opinion: Get ready for a brutal spike in coronavirus deaths, Robert Harrington, July 4, 2020. It’s a common fallacy to say all statistics lie. Statistics don’t lie, people who know how to deliberately misconstrue statistics sometimes do. It’s understandable human nature to say, for instance, “all politicians are corrupt.” They are not, and to suggest they are is to risk falling for the common error that one politician is as bad as another.

It doesn’t apply any more than the notion that one neighbor is as bad as another, or one boss, or one employee, or one gardener is as bad as another. It’s this lazy and dangerous and irresponsible kind of mental shortcut that gave us Donald Trump in the first place. One has to be careful if one is to be accurate.

bill palmer report logo headerEven so, when we look at the statistics governing coronavirus, enigmas emerge that defy the intuitive. So it’s a reasonable question to ask, if the number of coronavirus cases are increasing, positivity rate is increasing, hospitalizations are increasing, why is the death rate staying flat or even decreasing? While that’s a very good thing on its face and cause for cautious relief, it ought to make you nervous. Such paradoxes don’t seem sustainable.

And indeed they are not. Naturally, many armchair hypotheses have been advanced on the internet to answer the question, and some of them seem very strong at first glance. That we’re getting better at treatment, or more young people are getting it and they have a well-known capacity to survive it, are two possible explanations. Even Donald Trump’s notion that “we’re testing more people” has some merit, in that the revelation that there are far more cases out there than we thought might suggest that the COVID-19 mortality rate is significantly lower than we originally thought.Tempting as it may be to accept these as explanations, while some even have merit in accounting for a small percentage of statistical noise, they are all wrong.

The numerous outbreaks in the United States are happening rapidly and all over but at widely varying stages because of widely varying starting points. The coronavirus deaths are therefore not flattening nor decreasing; they are gathering like a huge wave that is going to hit America with a colossal number of COVID deaths in the next six to eight weeks. Meanwhile Donald Trump is sending out his spokespeople to lie about coronavirus and gaslight the American people.

The latest Trump shill is Peter Navarro, explaining that coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab and that “hundreds of thousands of infected people” were then sent to America and Italy and other places to spread the infection. It’s bad enough that another great tragedy is coming, but that the man who is supposed to be protecting the American people from harm is instead placing them in harm’s way with cowardly, virulent lies.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ahead of July 4th, Trump exploits racial, social divisions, David Nakamura, Ashley Parker, Colby Itkowitz and Maria Sacchetti, July 4, 2020 (print ed.). (Excerpt continued from above.)

At the foot of Mount Rushmore’s granite monument to his presidential forebears, President Trump on Friday delivered a dark speech ahead of Independence Day in which he sought to exploit the nation’s racial and social divisions and rally supporters around a law-and-order message that has become a cornerstone of his reelection campaign.

Trump focused most of his address before a crowd of several thousand in South Dakota on what he described as a grave threat to the nation from liberals and angry mobs — a “left-wing cultural revolution” that aims to rewrite U.S. history and erase its heritage amid the racial justice protests that have roiled cities for weeks.

djt rushmore anna moneymaker nytPraising presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, the men carved into the cliffs behind him, Trump declared that their legacies are under assault from protesters who have defaced and torn down statues. As he has done with increasing fervor in recent weeks, the 45th president denounced not just rioters and vandals but also much of the social movement that propelled the mass demonstrations in response to the killings of black men at the hands of police.

The president, who recently signed an executive order aimed at punishing those who destroy monuments on federal property, referred to “violent mayhem” in the streets, even though many of the mass demonstrations have been largely peaceful.

He warned that “angry mobs” were unleashing “a wave of violent crime” and using “cancel culture” as a weapon to intimidate and dominate political opponents — in what he compared to “totalitarianism.”

And Trump asserted that “children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe the men and women who built it were not heroes but villains.”

His address was capped by a fireworks display above the federal monument in what White House officials have touted as a weekend of celebrations around Independence Day that will continue with the president presiding over another fireworks event in Washington on Saturday.

Though the Mount Rushmore trip was billed as an official White House event, the president made an overt appeal to his partisan supporters in attacking liberals. His appeal came as he has faced tumbling public approval over his handling of the mass protests and the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

 

djt 2020 hat Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump got his crowd and his fireworks, and peddled his fiction, Robin Givhan, July 4, 2020 (print ed.). The president reveled in the dramatic majesty of Mount Rushmore — and ignored the complicated American story.

The setting for President Trump’s early Fourth of July celebration was magnificent, as the Black Hills of South Dakota tend to be. The scene was also full of painful history, willful ignorance and deliberate fearmongering.

Friday night, in an amphitheater in the shadow of Mount Rushmore, a military band played smooth jazz on snare drums and trumpets as the country sank under the rising number of covid-19 infections. Thousands of unmasked guests, awaiting the arrival of the president, sat shoulder to shoulder in black folding chairs tethered together in a kind of coronavirus chain of denial.

The VIPs would, of course, be seated separately onstage — not six feet apart, but not amid the storm of exhalations, coughs, vociferous cheers and sneezes.

And just to add to the upside-down, inside-out madness of the mass gathering, Ivanka Trump, presidential adviser and daughter, tweeted a reminder to be safe over the holiday weekend by social distancing and wearing a mask. Her nearest and dearest did not listen to plea.

 

June

June 27

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TheHill.com, Mueller investigation witness George Nader sentenced to a decade in prison in child sex case, Tal Axelrod, June 27, 2020. George Nader, a central witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and a former informal foreign policy adviser to the White House, was sentenced to 10 years in prison over his conviction on child sex charges.

Judge Leonie Brinkema handed down the decade-long sentence Friday after Nader pleaded guilty in January to two charges relating to sexual exploitation of children.

Nader, former high-profile adviser to top U.S. and Middle Eastern officials, had admitted to possessing child pornography that showed sexual abuse of minors and bringing an underage boy to the U.S. for sex. The crimes were committed prior to the 2016 race, during which he worked with President Trump’s transition team and was seen at high-level meetings.

The Justice Department had agreed as part of its plea deal with Nader to only seek the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

jared kushner head shotNader was known to have interacted with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, left, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and former national security adviser Michael Flynn and played a role in arranging Trump’s maiden foreign trip to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

The meetings with Trump’s campaign caught the eye of Mueller’s team, who stopped him for questioning in 2018 and discovered several explicitly sexual videos of minors on his phone. He was ultimately arrested in 2019.

Nader has long faced accusations of pedophilia. Charges were first dropped against him in 1984, but he later pleaded guilty in 1991 to transporting child pornography, according to CNN. He was later convicted in 2003 in the Czech Republic for sex with several underage boys.

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Washington Post, Opinion: The recklessness of Tucker Carlson, Karen McDougal, Erik Wemple, June 26, 2020. On his highly rated prime-time program, Fox News host Tucker Carlson commonly faults others for not properly loving America — for not sufficiently adoring its freedoms, opportunities and promise. He even goes as far as to say that Democrats “hate” the place.

Among the reasons Carlson should indeed appreciate this country: His brand of tendentious broadcasting enjoys generous protection under the First Amendment. A case now making its way through federal courts, though, may test that proposition.

fox news logo Smalltucker carlson djtIn a complaint filed in December, former Playboy model Karen McDougal (shown above with Trump) sued Fox News over a “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment in which the host accused her of “extortion” in her dealings with Donald Trump.

“Two women approach Donald Trump and threaten to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money,” argued Carlson in a December 2018 segment. “Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion. Yet for whatever reason, Trump caves to it, and he directs Michael Cohen to pay the ransom. Now, more than two years later, Trump is a felon for doing this. It doesn’t seem to make any sense.”

One of the reasons that the sequence outlined by Carlson doesn’t make any sense is that it’s false. Those “two women” are Stephanie Clifford (a.k.a. Stormy Daniels) and McDougal, both of whom received hush money for keeping quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.

In McDougal’s case, she didn’t “approach Donald Trump”; through an attorney, she approached American Media Inc., whose holdings included the National Enquirer; AMI paid karen mcdougal playboy McDougal $150,000 for the rights to the story as well as columns on fitness. Then the company essentially buried the story. Trump and his then-attorney, Michael Cohen, were coordinating the whole “catch and kill” operation with AMI executive David Pecker.

In her lawsuit, McDougal (shown iat right on a Playboy cover) alleged that Carlson’s representations were “intentionally false and made with reckless disregard for the truth.” Those words are deliberate: Under First Amendment law, there’s a high bar for defaming a public figure such as McDougal. The “actual malice” standard requires proof that the offending, false statement was made knowingly or with “reckless disregard" for the truth.

Lawyers for Fox News argue that the suit fails on at least two levels. For one, they point to the heavy requirements to prove “reckless disregard” under First Amendment law. That very issue lies at the center of a defamation case filed by former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin against the New York Times in 2017, over an editorial alleging that her political action committee had somehow incited the murderous rampage of Jared Lee Loughner in 2011. It wasn’t true. To prove, however, that the editorial page acted with reckless disregard, Palin would have to show "more than a departure from reasonably prudent conduct,” according to an opinion from Justice John Paul Stevens in the 1989 Supreme Court case Harte-Hanks Communications v. Connaughton. "There must be sufficient evidence to permit the conclusion that the defendant in fact entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his publication.”

Serious doubts? Tucker Carlson doesn’t do serious doubts.

In last week’s oral argument, federal Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil (a longtime Federalist Society member nominated by Trump) pushed attorney Eric Bernstein, representing McDougal, to cite facts proving that Carlson had acted with actual malice. “I believe that the facts supporting that he was reckless is that he — first of all, Fox has reported on this story before and no one has ever said any of the things that he was saying that night, which is that my client approached and threatened [Trump],” said Bernstein, who later said Carlson had concocted the tale out of “thin air.”

Yet the judge continued to press: “Don’t you need to allege facts to support it? It’s not enough to just recite the standard under the case law,” said Vyskocil.

June 25

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Daily Beast, Judge Tosses Trump Family Attempt to Block Mary Trump’s Tell-All, Lachlan Cartwright and Asawin Suebsaeng, June 25, 2020. A Queens County Surrogate Court Judge cited “several improprieties” in Robert Trump’s attempt to block niece Mary’s tell-all. A New York judge has tossed an application by President Donald Trump’s brother to try and halt the publication of his niece’s book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.

Queens County Surrogate Court Judge Peter Kelly cited “several improprieties” in Robert Trump’s filing that rendered it “fatally defective”—including that it was based on the official disposition of patriarch Fred Trump Sr.’s estate, which wrapped up in 2001 and is thus for legal purposes “nonexistent.” That settlement included a confidentiality clause that niece donald trump twitterMary Trump signed, and which the elder Trumps have argued prevents her from publishing the sort of titillating family secrets her memoir is set to contain.

But Kelly asserted that his court could not provide the declaratory judgment blocking the book that Robert sought, and recommended the Trump brother try his luck in the New York State Supreme Court, which oversees civil and criminal matters. The Surrogate Court strictly handles the wills and assets of the deceased.

Daily Beast, Trump Brother Was in ICU Just Before Suing Over Tell-All, Lachlan Cartwright and Asawin Suebsaeng, June 25, 2020. Robert Trump, Donald’s younger brother, spent at least 10 days in a neuro intensive care unit just before launching legal action to stop the publication of his niece’s book.

Robert, 72, had been at Mount Sinai hospital’s neurosciences intensive care unit (NSICU) in New York since at least June 11th, being treated for a serious condition. He was discharged on Sunday and, despite his stay in the hospital, he wasted no time in filing and signing complicated legal documents aided by his celebrity attorney Charles Harder and releasing a statement.

On its website Mount Sinai boasts that its 16-bed NSICU specializes in “state of the art, compassionate care of patients who suffer from subarachnoid hemorrhage, acute ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, subdural hematomas, coma, tumors of the brain and spine, severe or prolonged seizures, neuro-infections, [and] spinal cord injury among others.”

Robert did not respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday and his attorney, Harder, declined to comment.

Mary Trump’s high-powered legal team, which includes the renowned First Amendment attorney Theodore Boutrous of the law firm Gibson Dunn, are expected to file their response in the coming days.

June 24

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. Prosecution, Court Politics

 Trump Watch

World News

 Police Brutality, Race Protests

More On U.S. 2020 Politics

Media News

U.S. Jobs, Economy

 

Top Stories

June 24

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washington post logoWashington Post, Appeals court orders judge to dismiss criminal case against Flynn, Ann E. Marimow, June 24, 2020. The decision blocks U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan from holding a hearing to scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its long-running prosecution of Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.michael flynn arms folded

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan cannot scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its long-running prosecution of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and must dismiss the case, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the court (portrayed above in a building shared with the district court) said it is not within the judge’s power to prolong the prosecution or examine the government’s motives for its reversal in the politically charged case. Flynn, below left, twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador before the Justice Department moved in May to dismiss the charges.

“This is not the unusual case where a more searching inquiry is justified,” wrote Judge Neomi Rao, a recent nominee of the president, who was joined by Judge Karen LeCraft emmet sullivan 2012Henderson (also a Republican nominee).

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit means Sullivan cannot hold a hearing set for July 16 to formally hear the government’s john gleeson Customrequest to dismiss Flynn’s case.

Sullivan, also a Repubican nominee and shown at left, refused to immediately sign off on the Justice Department’s plans, and instead appointed a former federal judge to argue against the government’s position and help him decide how to proceed.

John Gleeson, right, the former New York judge and mob prosecutor, characterized the government’s move as a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power” and “highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: N.Y. N.J. and Conn. order quarantine for travelers from Florida, other states hit hard by coronavirus, Teo Armus, Katie Shepherd, Jennifer Hassan, Rick Noack, Lateshia Beachum, Hannah Knowles, Miriam Berger, Hamza Shaban and Kim Bellware, June 24, 2020. The governors of the tri-state area jointly announced the travel advisory, which requires a 14-day quarantine for visitors from states whose infection rates meet certain thresholds indicating “significant community spread,” according to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D). Nine states currently meeting that threshold, Cuomo said: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.

New coronavirus cases continued to rise in many parts of the United States, as seven states — Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — reported record-high numbers of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. Thirty-three states and U.S. territories reported a higher rolling average than last week.

Even as case numbers climb, reports circulated that the federal government is poised to stop providing federal aid to testing sites in some hard-hit states, including Texas, prompting a top federal official to respond that testing was on the rise.

Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and at least 119,000 deaths, while the global number of cases has soared past 9 million.

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Longtime Trump friend and Republican operative Roger Stone, seeking to avoid prison after conviction on seven felonies, is shown above left.

ny times logoNew York Times, Justice Dept. Officials Outline Claims of Politicization Under Barr, Nicholas Fandos, Katie Benner and Charlie Savage, June 24, 2020. Two career officials accused the attorney general and other political appointees of interfering in law enforcement to advance his interests and the president’s. Political appointees intervened in law enforcement to advance the interests of President Trump and Attorney General William Barr, the officials testified.

aaron zelinkskyTwo Justice Department officials recounted to Congress in stinging detail on Wednesday how political appointees had intervened in criminal and antitrust cases to advance the personal interests of President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr.

Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, right, a prosecutor who worked on the Russia investigation, told the House Judiciary Committee that senior law enforcement officials had john eliasstepped in to overrule career prosecutors and seek a more lenient prison sentence for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. “because of politics.”

“In the United States of America, we do not prosecute people based on politics, and we don’t cut them a break based on politics,” said Mr. Zelinsky, who testified by video because of the coronavirus pandemic. “But that wasn’t what happened here. Roger Stone was treated differently because of politics.”

John W. Elias, a senior career official in the antitrust division, charged (in testimony here) that his supervisors improperly used their powers to investigate the marijuana industry and a deal between California and four major automakers at the behest of Mr. Barr. He likened their efforts to burdensome harassment meant to punish companies for decisions the attorney general and the president opposed.

ny times logojoe biden 2020 button CustomNew York Times, Biden Takes Dominant Lead as Voters Reject Trump on Virus and Race, Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Matt Steven, June 24, 2020. Joe Biden is ahead of President Trump by 14 points, with a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters, a New York Times/Siena College poll found. Some traditionally Republican-leaning groups have shifted away from Mr. Trump, who now appears to be the underdog in his fight for a second term.

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate Democrats block GOP policing bill, stalling efforts to change practices, Seung Min Kim, June 24, 2020. Democrats said the bill fell far short of addressing racism in policing and responding to the national outcry for change.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a Republican-drafted bill aimed at overhauling the nation’s policing practices amid a national outcry for a systematic transformation of law enforcement — spelling a potential death knell to efforts at revisions at the federal level in an election year.

On a 55-to-45 vote, the legislation written primarily by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) failed to advance in the Senate, where it needed 60 votes to proceed. Most Democratic senators said the bill fell far short of what was needed to meaningfully change policing tactics and was beyond the point of salvageable.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump Pushes Anew to Divide Americans by Race, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump is leaning hard into his decades-long habit of falsely portraying some black Americans as dangerous or lawless. And he is doing it during one of the most tumultuous periods in decades.

President Trump, trying to appeal to his predominantly white base, has repeatedly pushed inflammatory language, material and policies.

President Trump has repeatedly pushed inflammatory language, material and policies in recent days that seek to divide Americans by race as he tries to appeal to his predominantly white base of voters four months before Election Day rather than try to broaden his support.

Trailing in national polls and surveys of crucial battleground states, and stricken by a disappointing return to the campaign trail, Mr. Trump has leaned hard into his decades-long habit of falsely portraying some black Americans as dangerous or lawless. And he has chosen to do so at one of the most tumultuous periods in decades as Americans protest recent episodes of police brutality against black people that have highlighted the nation’s long history of racial injustice.

ny times logoNew York Times, E.U. May Exclude U.S. as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers seen by The New York Times.

european union logo rectangleThat prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.

European nations are currently haggling over two potential lists of acceptable visitors based on how countries are faring with the coronavirus pandemic. Both include China, as well as developing nations like Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam.

Travelers from the United States and the rest of the world have been excluded from visiting the European Union — with few exceptions mostly for repatriations or “essential travel” —- since mid-March. But a final decision on reopening the borders is expected early next week, before the bloc reopens on July 1.

U.S. Prosecution, Court Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: Prosecutor testifies on alleged politicization inside Barr’s Justice Department, Felicia Sonmez, Karoun Demirjian, Matt Zapotosky and Colby Itkowitz, June 24, 2020. The House Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony Wednesday from a federal prosecutor and another witness who have accused Attorney General William P. Barr and his top deputies of acting “based on political considerations” and a desire to appease President Trump.

Aaron Zelinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland formerly detailed to the Russia investigation by special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III, told the panel that prosecutors involved in the criminal trial of Trump’s friend Roger Stone experienced “heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice” to give Stone “a break” by requesting a lighter sentence.

Zelinsky was joined by John Elias, an official in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, who said that Barr ordered staff to investigate marijuana company mergers simply because of his “personal dislike” of the nature of their underlying business.

Also appearing are former U.S. attorney general Michael B. Mukasey and former deputy attorney general Donald Ayer, who has publicly called on Barr to step down.

In his testimony, Ayer said Barr “poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law,” while Mukasey dismissed allegations that the Justice Department has become politicized under Barr.

Meanwhile, Barr has accepted an invitation from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), to appear for a “general oversight hearing” on July 28, Barr’s spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said in a tweet Wednesday. According to a Judiciary Committee spokesman, the Justice Department contacted the panel on Tuesday regarding a date for Barr’s testimony to avoid a subpoena for the attorney general.

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate confirms 200th judicial nominee from Trump, a legacy that will last well beyond November, John Wagner, June 24, 2020. A divided Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Trump’s 200th judicial nominee, a milestone that reflects the breakneck speed at which he and fellow Republicans have moved to create a legacy that will endure regardless of the outcome of this year’s elections.

On a largely party-line vote of 52 to 48, the Republican-led chamber approved the nomination of Cory Wilson of Mississippi to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, elevating yet another conservative judge to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

With Wilson’s confirmation, Republicans also reached a benchmark vigorously pursued by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): For the first time in more than four decades, there are no longer any vacancies on the nation’s appellate courts, the judicial level where most of the major rulings are handed down.

Yahoo News, House hearing on William Barr quickly descends into chaos, Dylan Stableford, June 24, 2020. A House Judiciary Committee hearing quickly descended into chaos Wednesday moments after the first witness, former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer, called current Attorney General William Barr “the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law.”

william barr new oWhen Ayer exceeded the five minutes allotted for his opening statement, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, began loudly tapping his desk as Ayer was attempting to conclude his remarks.

Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler called for “regular order” to allow Ayer to finish his statement.

“We’re way beyond regular order,” Gohmert snapped.

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., urged Nadler to call for the sergeant at arms to “stop the disruption of this meeting.”

“I can’t hear this witness,” Johnson said. “This is a very important witness.”

“Well, he’s way beyond his time,” Gohmert said. “And if there’s no rules about when you can talk, there’s no rules about when you can noise.”

The Republican congressman resumed tapping his desk as Democrats asked Nadler to have Gohmert removed from the panel.

Nadler did not, and Ayer concluded his remarks over the sound of Gohmert’s tapping.

Tuesday’s hearing was convened to examine Barr’s actions as attorney general, including his handling of the Mueller report as well as his role in forcing out Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who had been conducting separate investigations that could yield unfavorable results for the President Trump.

June 23

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump, without evidence, accuses Obama of ‘treason,’ Felicia Sonmez, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the president did not offer any evidence or details to back up his accusation against his predecessor. The president has frequently accused others of “treason,” but Monday marked the first time that he has leveled that claim against the man who preceded him in the Oval Office.

“On Obama and the spying situation, this idea that they were spying on your campaign — you’ve been asked before about what crime would have been potentially been committed,” Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody said.

“Treason,” Trump responded. He added: “It’s treason. Look, when I came out a long time ago, I said they’ve been spying on our campaign. ... It turns out I was right. Let’s see what happens to them now.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump fixated on defending his physical and mental health, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). After months attacking Democratic opponent Joe Biden’s acuity and strength, the president finds himself being mocked by critics for incidents including “the ramp and the water” at West Point.

June 21

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Photo via Twitter of President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa on June 20, showing empty blue seats in upper decks. Tulsa's fire marshall announced attendance at 6,200 for the 19,000 seat area, far below Trump estimates of up to a million attendees and also substantially below estimates of many cable pundits Saturday night who estimated the area was two-thirds or half-filled.

ny times logoNew York Times, TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally, Taylor Lorenz, Kellen Browning and Sheera Frenkel, June 21, 2020. Did a successful prank inflate attendance expectations for the president’s rally? 

TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After the Trump campaign’s official account @TeamTrump posted a tweet asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.

The trend quickly spread on TikTok, where videos with millions of views instructed viewers to do the same, as CNN reported on Tuesday. “Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go,” one woman joked, along with a fake cough, in a TikTok posted on June 15.

Thousands of other users posted similar tweets and videos to TikTok that racked up millions of views. Representatives for TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” said the YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 26, who participated in the social media campaign. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”

Many users deleted their posts after 24 to 48 hours in order to conceal their plan and keep it from spreading into the mainstream internet. “The majority of people who made them deleted them after the first day because we didn’t want the Trump campaign to catch wind,” Mr. Daniel said. “These kids are smart and they thought of everything.”

Twitter users on Saturday night were quick to declare the social media campaign’s victory. “Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted in response to Mr. Parscale, who had tweeted that “radical protestors” had “interfered” with attendance.

June 20

Top Headlines

Courts, Crime, Injustice

Top Stories

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump administration in standoff with Manhattan U.S. attorney, Devlin Barrett, June 20, 2020. geoffrey berman sdnyThe Trump administration announced late Friday that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, right, who has overseen a number of investigations involving the president and his political campaign, will be leaving that job, though Berman fired back that he had not resigned and intends to stay in the job to ensure the cases continue unimpeded.

The surreal Friday night standoff marks the latest battle over the Trump administration’s management of the Justice Department. Democrats have decried what they charge has been the politicization of the department under President Trump and his attorney general, William P. Barr.

william barr at dojBarr, left, announced the personnel change in a statement, saying the president plans to nominate the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, for the job.

Berman’s office has been conducting a criminal investigation of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in a campaign finance case that has already led to charges against two of Giuliani’s associates.

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 ny times logoNew York Times, Trump’s Rallies Are Back, as Is His ‘What Do You Have to Lose?’ Candidacy, Matt Flegenheimer, June 20, 2020. President Trump will speak to a crowd tonight. To summarize his worldview, some ex-associates say, look to the waiver: “guests voluntarily assume all risks.”

Supporting President Trump — or even taking him at his word — has always been an exercise in risk tolerance.

djt maga hat“What do you have to lose?” he asked black voters in 2016, suggesting their lives were so bleak that he was worth the gamble.

“What do you have to lose?” he asked coronavirus patients this spring, suggesting their options were so few that an unproven treatment, hydroxychloroquine, probably couldn’t hurt.

And now, as the nation grapples with the dual menaces of racism and a relentless virus, the once-rhetorical questions of Trump-branded risk management have given way to fine-print legal disclaimers about what might happen if people listen to him.

djt maga hat speech uncredited CustomOn Saturday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to rally at a packed indoor arena in Tulsa, Okla. Many health authorities say it is a terrible idea. And what attendees have to lose, the campaign claims, is any right to hold the host responsible.

“By clicking register below,” reads a message on the Trump 2020 website, directed at those planning to be there, “you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”

As an encapsulation of the Trumpian worldview, some former associates say, there is perhaps no beating “guests voluntarily assume all risks.”

But then, an air of danger has been embedded in Mr. Trump’s appeal from the start, the risk its own kind of reward for many supporters in his first whirring slot machine of a presidential campaign.brad parscale fox

daily beast logoDaily Beast, The Tulsa Rally is the First Big Beta Test of the Trump 2020 App, Which Knows Where You Are and Who You Know, Anne Nelson, Published June 20, 2020. When the virus forced Trump to suspend his rallies, he lost access to the “juggernaut” that’s supposed to keep Trumpists hooked, and help the campaign find more of them.

This month Trump decided to resume his mass rallies starting in Tulsa, less than a mile from the site of the infamous 1919 race massacre there—and originally scheduled it for Juneteenth. The venue is an enclosed arena, although the spike in COVID cases there raised questions about his motivations. We know he misses the energy of his crowds, and that Oklahoma is one of the reddest states in the union. But there’s another strategic reason for propelling the rallies forward.

Trump needs them to propel the “juggernaut” 2020 Trump mobile app that campaign manager Brad Parscale, shown above, has boasted about, that uses a service called geofencing to send messages to smartphone users in a given location, then track their locations and access their address books.

The plan is to harness the enthusiasm of the rally to get thousands of attendees to download the app, which requires them to enter their phone numbers and zip codes, and urges them to provide their email and home addresses as well.

Parscale explained to CNN that once this information is provided, the campaign can combine it with the voter file from the Republican National Committee. This enhances the campaign’s ability to microtarget voters—that is, engage them on multiple communications platforms with tailored messages based on their specific concerns.

Courts, Crime, Injustice

Igor Fruman, top left, and Lev Parnas, two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney at bottom of a Wall Street Journal graphic above by Laura Kammermann, appear to be deeply involved in the Ukraine scandal.

Trump Counsel Rudolph Giuliani, center is portrayed with businessmen Igor Fruman, top left, and Lev Parnas, who were arrested last year while boarding a flight to Vienna from Dulles International Airport.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Barr Tries to Fire U.S. Attorney in Trump-Related Cases, but He Won’t Go, Benjamin Weiser, William K. Rashbaum, Nicole Hong, Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner, June 20, 2020 (print ed.). The United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, had been leading the inquiry into Rudolph Giuliani. The clash sets up a crisis in the Justice Department.

Mr. Trump’s purge of officials has intensified in the months since the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in the impeachment trial. He has fired or forced out inspectors general with independent oversight over executive branch agencies and other key figures from the trial.

 Justice Department log circularSeveral dismissals have come late on Friday nights, a time that many White Houses have used to disclose news that they would prefer receive little attention.

Mr. Berman’s office has taken an aggressive approach in a number of cases that have vexed the Trump administration, from the prosecution and guilty plea obtained from Mr. Cohen to a broader investigation, growing out of that inquiry, which focused on Mr. Trump’s private company and others close to him.

Over the last year, Mr. Berman’s office brought indictments against two close associates of the president’s current lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, and began an investigation into Mr. Giuliani himself, focusing on whether his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on the president’s political rivals violated laws on lobbying for foreign entities.

Read New York Times profile of Geoffrey Berman from 2017: "A Canny Mind With Humor." 

Mr. Berman’s office also conducted an investigation into Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, subpoenaing financial and other records as part of a broad inquiry into possible illegal contributions from foreigners.

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan is perhaps the most famous federal prosecutor’s post in the country. The office, through Democratic and Republican administrations, has long prized a tradition of independence from the Justice Department and Washington. It has even been nicknamed the “Sovereign District of New York.”

Mr. Berman worked there in the 1990s as a prosecutor, but he took over the office under unusual circumstances.

A Republican who contributed to the president’s campaign and worked at the same law firm as Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Berman was never formally nominated for the position by Mr. Trump or confirmed by the Senate, as is normal protocol for United States attorneys.

Mr. Barr also announced that on his recommendation, Mr. Trump had appointed Craig Carpenito, the current U.S. attorney for New Jersey, to serve as acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan while the Senate considers Mr. Clayton’s nomination. Mr. Barr said Mr. Carpenito’s appointment would be effective July 3.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The real reason Donald Trump just ousted U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman from the SDNY, Bill Palmer, June 19, 2020. When you count up all the people who have been fired, the people who have resigned amid scandal, and the people who have resigned in protest, the Donald Trump administration has been hemorrhaging even more key personnel than usual lately. Tonight a key player is resigning: Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY. So what’s this about?

bill palmer report logo headerFirst, let’s be clear: this doesn’t look like a legitimate resignation. It came too abruptly. The Trump regime has already picked out a replacement too quickly. And because Berman’s tenure likely would have ended in January anyway, there has to be a specific reason he’s not simply finishing his term.

There are only two reasons for Trump to oust Berman from the SDNY and replace him with someone more friendly to Trump. The first is that Trump wants to have the SDNY bring a phony criminal case against one of his adversaries. The second is that Trump is trying to stop an existing criminal case against one of his friends from proceeding.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the SDNY, which has federal jurisdiction in Manhattan, was responsible for the arrests of Lev and Igor, and is expected to arrest Rudy Giuliani eventually. In addition, if the Feds were to bring criminal charges against the Trump Organization, or members of Donald Trump’s family, it would likely happen through the SDNY. John Bolton’s new book also reveals that Trump meddled in an SDNY case against a Turkish firm as a political favor. In any case, something corrupt is likely playing out here.

Because confusion always arises whenever the SDNY is mentioned, it’s worth keeping mind that the SDNY is part of the federal government, and has nothing at all to do with any state-level charges that would come from the State of New York.

washington post logorobert mueller full face fileWashington Post, Mueller’s team wondered whether Trump lied to them, newly disclosed parts of report show, Devlin Barrett, June 20, 2020 (print ed.). Robert S. Mueller III’s staff noted how President Trump’s answer on a key point differed from the testimony of his former campaign aides.

June 19

Top Headlines

Racial Injustice Protests

U.S. Virus Victims, Responses

Bolton Book Reactions

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

 

Top Stories

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ny times logoNew York Times, White House analysis: Seizing the Presidency to Suit His Own Needs, Peter Baker, right, June 19, 2020 (updated). In a new book, John R. Bolton portrays Donald Trump peter baker twitteras a president who sees his office as an instrument to advance his own personal and political interests over those of the nation.

One day in the summer of 2018, John R. Bolton commiserated with John F. Kelly over the burdens of working for President Trump. Mr. Kelly, then the White House chief of staff, had just had another argument with the president in trying to stop him from using the power of his office to punish a political foe. It did not go well.

“Has there ever been a presidency like this?” Mr. Kelly asked plaintively.

john bolton room where cover Custom“I assured him there had not,” Mr. Bolton recalls in his new book.

That is self-evidently true and yet it bears repeating every once in a while. After more than three years of the Trump presidency, it has become easy to forget at times just how out of the ordinary it really is. The normalization of Mr. Trump’s norm-busting, line-crossing, envelope-pushing administration has meant that what was once shocking now seems like just another day.

Which is why Mr. Bolton’s damning book stands out even among the proliferation of volumes about this president. In 494 pages, the former national security adviser becomes the first person with daily access to Mr. Trump’s Oval Office to catalog the various ways that he has seized the presidency to suit his own needs, much to the consternation of not just liberal critics but a lifelong, left-bashing, conservative stalwart like Mr. Bolton.

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Palmer Report, Opinion: John Bolton’s book reveals extent of Ivanka Trump scandal, Robert Harrington, June 19, 2020. Of the Bolton disclosures being reported in the press, an intriguing one is that Trump defended Mohammed bin Salman, right, the suspected mastermind behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in a deliberate effort to distract attention away from his daughter Ivanka’s email scandal.

Mohammed Bin Salman Al-SaudIt turns out a contemporaneous story about Ivanka using her personal email account for government business before she was actually working for the government was circulating at the time. As you may recall, during the 2016 presidential campaign, it emerged that Hillary Clinton used her personal email account to conduct State Department business from home. This caused a great deal of counterfeit horror and screeching, histrionic pearl-clutching among Republican criminals at the bill palmer report logo headertime.

Many pretended to believe she should go to prison for it, which caused Trump’s drooling, low-information, low-IQ base to actually believe it. It’s little wonder that Trump, who was among the idiots calling for Hillary’s imprisonment for an offense so minor he would have laughed at it privately, was the biggest proponent of the movement to “lock her up” for it.

So when his daughter committed a similar (admittedly) minor offense, one that realistically should merit nothing stronger than a rebuke from the State Department, Trump naturally wanted to create a diversion.

Perhaps he was unaware that such hypocrisies don’t get noticed any longer, or that the real crime was the conflict of interest represented by the 18 trademarks Ivanka received from China while Donald Trump was conducting trade negotiations with that country. Appearance is what matters. But even Ivanka’s trademark conflict of interest came to nothing, because the Trumps get away with everything — in case you haven’t noticed.

Racial Injustice Protests

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washington post logoWashington Post, A top State Dept. official resigns over Trump’s response to racial tensions, Seung Min Kim, June 19, 2020. The resignation letter submitted by the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs served as an indictment of President Trump’s stewardship from one of the administration’s highest-ranking African Americans and an aide who was viewed as loyal and effective in her job.

A senior State Department official who has served in the Trump administration since its first day is resigning over President Trump’s recent handling of racial tensions across the country — saying that the president’s actions “cut sharply against my core values and convictions.”

Mary Elizabeth Taylor, right, mary elizabeth taylor o Customassistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, submitted her resignation Thursday. Taylor’s five-paragraph resignation letter, obtained by The Washington Post, serves as an indictment of Trump’s stewardship at a time of national unrest from one of the administration’s highest-ranking African Americans and an aide who was viewed as loyal and effective in serving his presidency.

“Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character. The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions,” Taylor wrote in her resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.”

Taylor, 30, was unanimously confirmed to her position in October 2018 and is the youngest assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in history and the first black woman to serve in that post.

She has been a pivotal behind-the-scenes figure in the administration. Tapped for her legislative expertise and strong relationship with senators because of her work for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Taylor served as the White House’s deputy director for nominations before joining the State Department.

In her White House role, she helped shepherd more than 400 presidential appointments through the Senate, including those of Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and Pompeo.

ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: Tulsa and the Many Sins of Racism, Paul Krugman, right, June 19, 2020 (print ed.).The ugly story didn’t end with the abolition of slavery. When Trump campaign officials scheduled a rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 19, they sent what looked like a signal of approval to white supremacists. For June 19 is Juneteenth, a day celebrated by African-Americans to mark the end of slavery. And Tulsa was the site of the 1921 race massacre, one of the deadliest incidents in the long, violent offensive to deny blacks the fruits of their hard-won freedom.

It’s now being claimed that the Trump campaign didn’t understand the date’s significance, but I don’t believe that for a minute.

But let’s talk about Tulsa and how it fits into the broader story of racism in America.

Joe Biden has declared that slavery is America’s “original sin.” He’s right, of course. It’s important, however, to understand that the sinning didn’t stop when slavery was abolished. If America had treated former slaves and their descendants as true citizens, with full protection under the law, we would have expected the legacy of slavery to gradually fade away.

Bolton Book Reactions

ny times logoNew York Times, As Trump Targets China Crackdown, Bolton Revelations Muddle the Message, Steven Lee Myers, June 19, 2020. (print ed.). A new law aimed at punishing Chinese officials involved in mass internments of Uighurs and other minorities came as John Bolton accused President Trump of supporting Beijing’s crackdown. China lashed out at the United States on Thursday after President Trump signed into law a bill that would allow him to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the mass incarceration of more than one million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minorities in the western region of Xinjiang.

USTR seal Custom 2The rebuke came after China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, held an unusual meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hawaii that underscored the depth of discord between the two countries. The Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China on a variety of fronts, especially its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

China’s incarceration of members of minority groups in Xinjiang has become another increasingly contentious, if complicated, issue between the two countries. New accusations by John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, have muddied the issue even further.

On Wednesday, the same day Mr. Trump signed the legislation, Mr. Bolton accused the president of once supporting Beijing’s crackdown in Xinjiang. In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, published in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bolton said Mr. Trump had questioned why the United States would impose sanctions on the Chinese officials involved.

In a private meeting with Mr. Xi at the Group of 20 meeting in Japan last year, Mr. Bolton wrote, the president even accepted the rationale of Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, for the creation of a vast system of camps and surveillance in Xinjiang.

“According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do,” Mr. Bolton wrote. 

John Bolton hands up CSIS

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: John Bolton Is the Model of a Trump Sellout, John Gans, June 19, 2020 (print ed.). He is a creature of the administration, not a critic of it. At a moment when everyone is looking for heroes, Mr. Bolton’s lonely, self-interested crusade against Mr. Trump says volumes about where Washington finds itself.

I spent the last few years researching and writing a book about the National Security Council, and I have had a lot of time to think about what makes John Bolton tick. Like many others, I wondered whether he’d testify in the impeachment hearing into Mr. Trump’s misconduct with Ukraine; whether his book would ever come out; why he was seen randomly walking around Doha, Qatar; and what each of his cryptic tweets (and retweets) meant.

Dr. John Gans, the director of communications and research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House, is the author of “White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War.” John Bolton is shown in a file photo speaking at a Washington, DC. think tank.

June 18

Top Headlines

Bolton Book Reactions

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Top Stories

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washington post logoWashington Post, Trump asked China’s Xi to help him win reelection, according to Bolton book, Josh Dawsey, June 18, 2020 (print ed.). The memoir by former national security adviser John Bolton portrays an “erratic” and “stunningly uninformed” commander in chief.

President Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping (shown above in a file photo) to help him win the 2020 U.S. election, telling Xi during a summit dinner last year that increased agricultural purchases by Beijing from American farmers would aid his electoral prospects, according to a damning new account of life inside the Trump administration by former john bolton room where cover Customnational security adviser John Bolton.

During a one-on-one meeting at the June 2019 Group of 20 summit in Japan, Xi complained to Trump about China critics in the United States. But Bolton writes in a book scheduled to be released next week that “Trump immediately assumed Xi meant the Democrats. Trump said approvingly that there was great hostility among the Democrats.

“He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton writes. “He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”

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washington post logoWashington Post, Trump ‘unfit for office,’ lacks ‘competence,’ Bolton says in TV interview, John Wagner, June 18, 2020. Former national security adviser John Bolton says in a television interview that President Trump is “unfit for office” and lacks the “competence to carry out the job.”

Bolton made the comments to ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz (shown with Bolton above) as the former administration insider sought to promote a new book that Trump claimed in a tweet early Thursday is “made up of lies & fake stories.” Excerpts of the interview aired Thursday.

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ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Can’t Immediately End DACA, Supreme Court Rules, Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, June 18, 2020. Blow to Trump, Who Vowed to End Program to Shield Young Immigrants. The program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protects people brought to the United States as children by shielding them from deportation and letting them work. 

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end a program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.

The court’s ruling was a blow to one of President Trump’s central campaign promises — that as president he would “immediately terminate” an executive order by former President ICE logoBarack Obama that Mr. Trump had called an illegal executive amnesty for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four more liberal members in upholding the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” the chief justice wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”

washington post logoWashington Post, 1.5 million workers filed for unemployment insurance last week, Eli Rosenberg, June 18, 2020. The rate of joblessness of this recession remains one of the worst in decades. Another 1.5 million workers filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on the economy.

us labor department logoThe numbers remained at historic levels: the previous record before the coronavirus was 695,000 in 1982. Since the coronavirus began earlier this year, there have been 13 straight weeks where more than a million people have filed for unemployment for the first time.

The numbers come as the country’s reopening is in nearly full swing in many states across the country. Yet the reopenings are complicated by continuing coronavirus outbreaks across the country; more than 20 states are currently seeing their number of cases rise, week by week.

The unemployment rate remains the highest its been since the Great Depression. The official rate for May was 13.3 percent, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that it would have been closer to 16.3 if not for an error its workers are making in the data collection process.Washington Post, Perspective: The debate over Confederate symbols isn’t about preserving or erasing history. It’s about our values, Theresa Vargas, June 18, 2020. Do we care more about statues standing than people falling?

ny times logoNew York Times, Live U.S. Updates: States Face Rising Cases as Trump Says Virus Is ‘Fading Away,’ Staff reports, June 18, 2020. Oklahoma, where President Trump is planning a djt 2020 hat Customrally on Saturday, reported a record number of new coronavirus cases. Lacking guidance from the federal government, Arizona and Texas reversed course over masks. Here’s the latest.

      • U.S. states struggle with a shifting pandemic as federal guidance falls silent.
      • Stocks on Wall Street fall as the weekly tally of U.S. jobless claims again exceeds a million.
      • Antibodies may last only two months, especially in people who didn’t show symptoms, a new study finds.
      • Beijing’s outbreak prompts a backlash against salmon.
      • Reversing course, Arizona and Texas allow some local governments to require masks.
      • ‘We can’t stay inside forever’: Here’s how New Yorkers are stretching the rules. 

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Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Exclusive investigation and commentary: Last laugh -- Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States, Wayne Madsen, left, June 18, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small2020. Thanks to some well-placed sources in the Philadelphia German-American community, WMR has been successful in discovering important details concerning the pre-World War II and wartime activities of Fred Trump, Sr.

The biography of Donald Trump's father is almost non-existent in the years between the elder Trump's arrest at a Ku Klux Klan march on Memorial Day in 1927 and his landing contracts with the U.S. Navy to build barracks and other Navy housing at key U.S. and Canadian troop embarkation ports in Chester, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; the Brooklyn Army Base at 58th Street; Staten Island, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; and Newport News, Hampton Roads, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Bolton Book Reactions

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Department seeks emergency order to block publication of Bolton’s book, Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, Devlin Barrett and Spencer S. Hsu, June 18, 2020 (print ed.). The Justice Department on Wednesday sought an emergency order from a judge to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming White House memoir, escalating a legal battle against the former Trump aide even after many of his book’s most explosive details had spilled out into public view.

john bolton room where cover CustomThe move came after the administration filed a civil suit against Bolton on Tuesday, targeting the proceeds of the book and asking a court to order him to delay its scheduled June 23 release. Less than 24 hours later, the Wall Street Journal released an excerpt of the memoir, and lengthy accounts were published by other news organizations.

Justice Department log circularWednesday’s move sought to formally enjoin Bolton from allowing his book to be published, a legal strategy experts said was unlikely to succeed, particularly given that the book has already been printed and shipped to warehouses and copies distributed to the media for review.

In a statement, Bolton’s publisher called the court filing “a frivolous, politically motivated exercise in futility. Hundreds of thousands of copies of John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened have already been distributed around the country and the world. The injunction as requested by the government would accomplish nothing.’’

Still, the legal show of force could satisfy President Trump, who urged aides Wednesday to seek to block the publication of the book, despite warnings that the prospects of victory in such a suit would not be strong, according to people familiar with his remarks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Five Takeaways From John Bolton’s Memoir, Peter Baker, June 18, 2020. The Room Where It Happened describes Mr. Bolton’s 17 turbulent months at President Trump’s side through crises and foreign policy challenges.

Mr. Bolton, who did not testify during House proceedings and whose offer to testify in the Senate trial was blocked by Republicans, confirms many crucial elements of the Ukraine scheme that got Mr. Trump impeached in December. He also asserts that the president was willing to intervene in criminal investigations to curry favor with foreign dictators. And he says that Mr. Trump pleaded with China’s president to help him win re-election by buying American crops grown in key farm states.

Here are some of the highlights:

1) An offer of firsthand evidence on the Ukraine matter. The book offers firsthand evidence that Mr. Trump linked his suspension of $391 million in security aid for Ukraine to his demands that Ukraine publicly announce investigations into supposed wrongdoing by Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — the heart of the impeachment case against the president.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The Lincoln Project just seized the moment and destroyed Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, June 18, 2020. On Wednesday, the widely-hated John Bolton revealed that Donald Trump privately begged the Chinese government to help him alter the outcome of the 2020 election. While no one wants to hear from Bolton right now, his new book is bill palmer report logo headernonetheless helping to confirm the evidence we’ve seen all along that China owns Trump from top to bottom.

Now the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group that keeps finding ways to get under Donald Trump’s skin, has seized the moment. Hours after the latest Trump-China bombshell surfaced, the group released this new ad (if the video below won’t load on your device, go here instead).

MeidasTouch, Political Video: “Quid Pro Trump,” Staff report and video (Principals: Ben Meiselas, Brett Meiselas and Jordan Meiselas), June 18, 2020. The new MeidasTouch video “Quid Pro Trump,” hashtag #QuidProTrump (and available for free via YouTube here, was inspired by news concerning former United States national security advisor John Bolton’s new book.

In the book, Bolton described how Donald Trump personally asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help him win the 2020 US presidential election.

China FlagOn almost every issue from trade to national security, Trump has talked a big game when it comes to China but ultimately he has caved to the demands and will of China at each turn. We now learn from John Bolton, who has served at the highest levels of previous Republican administrations, that Trump was yet again seeking quid pro quos for himself at the expense of the country, this time from China.

While the video focuses on the recent breaking news relating to China, the hashtag #QuidProTrump is intended to emphasize that at all turns Trump has placed his own interests above the interests of this country. Trump does not negotiated or represent the United States. He represents Donald Trump and the failing enterprise know as Trump Inc. From Russia, to Ukraine, to China, Trump has turned our country into a pinata for foreign countries to whack around and take what it wishes so that Trump can seek out things for his own personal gain. Donald Trump is Quid Pro Trump! #QuidProTrump.

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Palmer Report, Opinion: We’re way beyond impeachment now, Bill Palmer, June 18, 2020. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen Donald Trump’s approval rating plunge, thus proving that at least some Trump supporters are indeed capable of giving up on him once they’ve finally had enough of his antics. This suggests that if John Bolton had testified during the impeachment process, it could have driven Trump’s approval rating down, and prompted Republican Senators to selfishly decide to oust Trump in the hope of keeping their own political prospects alive.

bill palmer report logo headerBut that was a lifetime ago. We’re now just four and a half months away from election day. Even if John Bolton’s belated revelations do end up driving Donald Trump’s approval rating all the way into the kind of gutter that might have prompted Senate Republicans to oust him last year, it’s all but impossible to imagine them ousting him at this late date. Even if impeachment were fast tracked, the Republicans would be ousting a sitting Republican President sometime after their own party’s convention.

john bolton china allegation graphic CustomSo this raises the question of what these Republicans in the Senate and House will do if Donald Trump’s numbers keep dropping, and putting the Republicans’ election prospects in danger. Will we see Mitch McConnell privately use the threat of ouster to try to pressure Trump into announcing that he’s not running again? Will a demoralized Trump be willing to give up on the presidency and take his chances with a jury? Will we see some Republicans in moderate states and districts try to opportunistically turn against Trump as part of their reelection efforts? Is there a chance that would work?

The concern for now is that a lot of these House and Senate Republicans are so married to Donald Trump, with so little time to try to figure out how to divorce themselves before the election, they’re just going to decide they’re stuck with him. And in that case, how far will they go to try to prop up Trump’s failing candidacy? In any case, at this point, impeachment isn’t the remedy for Trump’s crimes. Prison is. If Trump loses the election, there’s little doubt left that he’ll end up behind bars. That merely makes the stakes even higher.

June 16

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  ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Administration Sues to Try to Delay Publication of Bolton’s Book, Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner, June 16, 2020. The Trump administration sued theformer national security adviser John R. Bolton, above, on Tuesday to try to delay the publication of his highly anticipated memoir about his time in the White House, saying it contained classified information that would compromise national security if it became public.

The book, The Room Where It Happened, is set for release on June 23. Administration officials have repeatedly warned Mr. Bolton against publishing the book.

Mr. Bolton “had negotiated a book deal allegedly worth about $2 million and had drafted a 500-plus-page manuscript rife with classified information, which he proposed to release to the world,” the Justice Department said in a lawsuit against Mr. Bolton filed in federal court in Washington.

Mr. Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, has said that his client acted in good faith and that the Trump administration is abusing a standard review process to prevent Mr. Bolton from revealing information that is merely embarrassing to President Trump, but not a threat to national security.

On Monday, Mr. Trump accused Mr. Bolton of violating policies related to classified information by moving ahead with the book.

But the book has already been printed and bound and has shipped to warehouses, which could make it more difficult for the administration to stop Mr. Bolton’s account from becoming public.

Mr. Bolton submitted the manuscript to the administration for review in January. At the time, the impeachment inquiry was underway into whether Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine constituted an abuse of power.

Democrats asked Mr. Bolton to testify voluntarily in the House impeachment inquiry, but he declined, and they never sought a subpoena, fearing a protracted court fight. Mr. Bolton offered to testify in the impeachment trial in the Senate, where Republicans control the majority. They declined to call him.

June 14

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President Trump outside the parish rectory of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was damaged during a night of unrest near the White House (Photo Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times). “He did not pray,” said Mariann E. Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington. “He did not mention George Floyd, he did not mention the agony of people who have been subjected to this kind of horrific expression of racism and white supremacy for hundreds of years.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Lafayette Square clash, still reverberating, becomes an iconic episode in Trump’s presidency, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker, June 14, 2020 (print ed.). With his triumphal stride to historical St. John’s Episcopal Church, made after federal authorities forcibly removed peaceful protesters, he had hoped to dispel the narrative of him hiding in the secured White House bunker. The results have been politically calamitous.

President Trump, besieged by a long season of crisis, wanted to create an iconic moment.

Less than one hour after federal authorities forcibly removed peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, the president emerged with military leaders from the fortified White House — the air still thick with the acrid smell of tear gas — to pose for pictures holding a Bible in front of a historical church.

The moment was indeed iconic. But it spawned yet another crisis for the president.

The succession of images from Lafayette Square on June 1 has reverberated for nearly two weeks — a harrowing cable news split-screen that now has enduring consequences for Trump and outsize symbolism for a nation broken after yet another black man died in the custody of police.

washington post logoWashington Post, Scant evidence of antifa shows how sweeping the protests for racial justice have become, Isaac Stanley-Becker, June 14, 2020 (print ed.). The group of anti-fascist protesters the Trump administration has labeled a menace has mostly been nonexistent, experts and law enforcement officials say, amid largely peaceful protests.

In