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Annotated transcripts of Trump's remarks

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

64 words. 4 weeks. 1 bracket. Only one word can win. Cast your vote in Trump’s Best Word Bracket at dailyshowbracket.com #TheDailyShow, #BestWordBracket

David Choi

President Donald Trump repeatedly stopped short of describing the late Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia as an impressive individual, and instead, boasted about his own credentials as it relates the African-American community, during an Axios interview that aired on Monday. Asked by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan about how history would remember Lewis, Trump replied: "I don't know. I really don't know."

"He chose not to come to my inauguration," Trump said. "He chose, I never met John Lewis, I don't believe." Lewis, the longtime lawmaker from Georgia and civil rights leader, died at 80 in July, seven months after he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Lewis's accomplishments for the civil rights movement, which include marches with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., were widely praised by both Republicans and Democrats. Following Swan's initial question, the reporter pressed Trump for a clearer answer: "Do you find him impressive?"

Trump replied that he could not "say one way or the other" if Lewis was impressive, adding that the Democrat did not come to his inauguration. "I find a lot of people impressive," Trump said. "I find many people not impressive, but no, he didn't come to my inauguration. "He didn't come to my State of the Union speeches, and that's ok," Trump added. "That's his right. And again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have. He should've come. I think he made a big mistake."

New York’s Cyrus Vance is seeking eight years of tax returns. Reports of ‘extensive and protracted criminal conduct’ cited
Associated Press

A New York prosecutor trying to access Donald Trump’s tax returns told a judge on Monday that he was justified in demanding them, citing public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization”. Trump’s lawyers last month said the grand jury subpoena for the tax returns was issued in bad faith and amounted to harassment of the president. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, is seeking eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records, but has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records, other than part of the investigation relates to payoffs to women to silence them about alleged affairs with Trump in the past.

In a court filing on Monday, though, attorneys for Vance said Trump’s arguments that the subpoena was too broad stemmed from “the false premise” that the investigation was limited to so-called “hush-money” payments. “This Court is already aware that this assertion is fatally undermined by undisputed information in the public record,” Vance’s lawyers wrote. They said that information confirms the validity of a subpoena seeking evidence related to potentially improper financial transactions by a variety of individuals and entities over a period of years.

By Kara Scannell and Erica Orden, CNN

(CNN) Manhattan prosecutors on Monday asked a federal judge to dismiss President Donald Trump's lawsuit challenging a subpoena for his financial records, emphasizing that their investigation extends beyond hush-money payments and pointing to public reports of "extensive and protracted criminal conduct" at the Trump Organization. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's lawyers have previously said the probe is expansive, and on Monday they pointed out that when the subpoena was issued, "there were public allegations of possible criminal activity at Plaintiff's New York County-based Trump Organization dating back over a decade." Last week, lawyers for Trump filed an amended complaint seeking to block the state grand jury subpoena to Trump's long-time accountant Mazars USA for eight years of personal and business records by arguing the subpoena was "wildly overbroad" and issued in bad faith. Trump's latest legal challenge comes after the US Supreme Court ruled last month that the President does not have broad immunity from a state grand jury subpoena.

In their court papers earlier Monday, lawyers for Vance wrote of Trump's amended complaint: "This 'new' filing contains nothing new whatsoever, and Plaintiff has utterly failed to make a 'stronger showing of bad faith than he previously made to this Court." The district attorney's office added that Trump's lawyers are relying on a false assumption that the investigation is limited to hush-money payments made to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign who alleged affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs. "Plaintiff's argument that the Mazars Subpoena is overbroad fails for the additional reason that it rests on the false premise that the grand jury's investigation is limited to so-called 'hush-money' payments made by Michael Cohen on behalf of Plaintiff in 2016," the district attorney's office said. CNN has previously reported that Vance is investigating other transactions that go beyond the hush-money payments.

Source: AP

In an extraordinary clip from Jonathan Swan's Axios interview with Donald Trump, the president rifled through a sheaf of graphs to claim that the US has lower numbers of coronavirus than other nations. The pair debated Trump's point that America has a lower number of deaths as a percentage of coronavirus cases, but when Swain pointed instead to the number of US Covid-19 deaths as a population percentage, Trump said: 'You can't do that'

By Ryan Browne, CNN

(CNN) A controversial Trump administration pick for a top Pentagon post has been placed into a senior role days after his nomination hearing was canceled amid bipartisan opposition to his nomination. Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata has formally withdrawn his nomination to be the Defense Department undersecretary of defense for policy and has been designated "the official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy reporting to the Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Anderson," a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement.

When the nomination hearing for Tata was canceled Thursday, President Donald Trump told aides the plan was to put him in a position he could have without a confirmation hearing, according to a source familiar with the discussions. The role he'll be in now is essentially the deputy of the role he had been nominated for. It was previously reported that Trump had a call with Senate Armed Services Chairman Jim Inhofe the evening prior and that the Oklahoma Republican bluntly told the President his nominee was in trouble. Tata was expected to face a tough nomination hearing on Thursday before the committee after CNN's KFile reported that he made numerous Islamophobic and offensive comments and promoted conspiracy theories.
"There are many Democrats and Republicans who didn't know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a very significant position at this time," Inhofe said last week.

A GOP aide to a lawmaker who previously expressed concern about Tata's nomination told CNN that the administration's move regarding Tata "was a matter of when, not if." Withdrawing his nomination was legally necessary so he could be placed in a role to perform the duties. Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said in a tweet Sunday the administration's move is "all a naked end-run around" the federal provision that bars Tata from being named to the same position he was nominated for -- unless he's spent 90 days as the first assistant to the position. "That clock is now running," Vladeck said. House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat, expressed opposition to the move in a statement Sunday.

Anthony Tata has been designated as the official 'performing the duties of' the deputy undersecretary of defense policy.

President Donald Trump has installed a nominee for a top Pentagon job in a senior Department of Defense post on a temporary basis after lawmakers abruptly canceled his confirmation hearing last week amid lingering questions about his fitness for the role. Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a novelist, former state government official and Fox News regular, withdrew Sunday from consideration to be undersecretary of defense for policy, a position that requires Senate confirmation, the Pentagon said in a statement emailed to POLITICO Sunday. Instead, he has been designated as the official "performing the duties of" the deputy undersecretary of defense policy. The position Tata will assume is one that James H. Anderson was confirmed for in June; Anderson has also been serving as acting undersecretary of defense policy and will remain in that post.

Since Trump announced his intent to nominate Tata earlier this year, the former Army general has been widely criticized for tweets calling former President Barack Obama a "terrorist leader" and referring to Islam as the "most oppressive violent religion I know of," among other controversial statements. Tata later said he regretted the now-deleted tweets. His nomination to be undersecretary of defense for policy, the department's number three official, was upended Thursday when the Senate Armed Services Committee canceled his confirmation hearing minutes before it was scheduled to begin.

The president’s long campaign against the Postal Service is intersecting with his assault on mail-in voting amid concerns that he has politicized oversight of the agency.
By Michael D. Shear, Hailey Fuchs and Kenneth P. Vogel

WASHINGTON — Welcome to the next election battleground: the post office. President Trump’s yearslong assault on the Postal Service and his increasingly dire warnings about the dangers of voting by mail are colliding as the presidential campaign enters its final months. The result has been to generate new concerns about how he could influence an election conducted during a pandemic in which greater-than-ever numbers of voters will submit their ballots by mail.

In tweet after all-caps tweet, Mr. Trump has warned that allowing people to vote by mail will result in a “CORRUPT ELECTION” that will “LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY” and become the “SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES.” He has predicted that children will steal ballots out of mailboxes. On Thursday, he dangled the idea of delaying the election instead.

Members of Congress and state officials in both parties rejected the president’s suggestion and his claim that mail-in ballots would result in widespread fraud. But they are warning that a huge wave of ballots could overwhelm mail carriers unless the Postal Service, in financial difficulty for years, receives emergency funding that Republicans are blocking during negotiations over another pandemic relief bill.

At the same time, the mail system is being undercut in ways set in motion by Mr. Trump. Fueled by animus for Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and surrounded by advisers who have long called for privatizing the post office, Mr. Trump and his appointees have begun taking cost-cutting steps that appear to have led to slower and less reliable delivery.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has begun an inquiry into multiple reports in the Brazilian media that the U.S. ambassador was framing negotiations over ethanol tariffs in partisan terms.
By Ernesto Londoño, Manuela Andreoni and Letícia Casado

RIO DE JANEIRO — Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Friday they were “extremely alarmed” by assertions that the American ambassador in Brazil had signaled to Brazilian officials they could help get President Trump re-elected by changing their trade policies. In a letter sent Friday afternoon, Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel demanded that the ambassador, Todd Chapman, produce “any and all documents referring or related to any discussions” he has held with Brazilian officials in recent weeks about their nation’s tariffs on ethanol, an important agricultural export for Iowa, a potential swing state in the American presidential election.

The committee’s letter was sent in response to reports in the Brazilian news media this week saying that Mr. Chapman, a career diplomat, made it clear to Brazilian officials they could bolster Mr. Trump’s electoral chances in Iowa if Brazil lifted its ethanol tariffs. Eliminating tariffs would give the Trump administration a welcome trade victory to present to struggling ethanol producers in Iowa, where the president is in a close race with his Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

By Brooke Seipel

Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee say they are "extremely alarmed" by reports out of Brazil that the U.S. ambassador in the country framed trade negotiations as being beneficial to reelecting President Trump, according to a report by The New York Times. News media in Brazil have reported that U.S. ambassador Todd Chapman told officials in the country it would give a boost to Trump's reelection chances if the two nations were able to reach a deal on lifting ethanol tariffs. Brazil currently has tariffs on the key export from Iowa, a swing-state that will be crucial in November as polls already show a tight race. The State Department has asserted in a statement to the Times that the allegation "Chapman has asked Brazilians to support a specific U.S. candidate are false," and that the US will keep working to reduce the tariffs.

A day before, Trump suggested the vote in the United States should be postponed.
By Ben Gittleson

The White House on Friday condemned Hong Kong for delaying its upcoming legislative elections for a year even as President Donald Trump a day earlier elicited significant backlash for suggesting the United States postpone its own November vote. Earlier Friday, Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam used emergency powers to push back the city's hotly contested legislative council elections, a day after a dozen pro-democracy activists had been barred from running. "We condemn the Hong Kong government's decision to postpone for one year its Legislative Council elections and to disqualify opposition candidates," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a news conference.

She went on, "This action undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong's prosperity and this is only the most recent in a growing list of broken promises by Beijing, which promised autonomy and freedoms to the Hong Kong people until 2047 in the Sino-British Joint Declaration."

Lam cited the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus for her decision to delay the vote, in which pro-democracy candidates were expected to gain a historic majority in the legislature. They had gained support amid anti-Beijing protests and the unpopularity of a restrictive national security law enacted by mainland China. The White House's censure of a foreign government delaying its election came just one day after Trump had suggested postponing this year's general election in the United States.

Miles Parks

President Trump's claims about why November's election could be marred and illegitimate shifted again Thursday, after he walked back his desire to potentially delay voting. Trump falsely claimed that the U.S. is sending out "hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots" and also repeated a conspiracy theory about foreign countries counterfeiting ballots. "We are sending out hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots," Trump said. "Where are they going? Who are they being sent to?" Trump seemed to be referencing California, which has decided to send a mail ballot to all of the state's more than 20 million registered voters ahead of the presidential election. A handful of states also send ballots to all registered voters, but no states send ballots out to people who are not registered to vote.

In May, Trump similarly falsely claimed that California was sending ballots to anyone, "no matter who they are or how they got there." Twitter added a fact-check warning to the tweet shortly after it was published. Trump also repeated a fear that he and Attorney General William Barr have raised, about foreign countries counterfeiting ballots. Neither Trump nor Barr have explained how such a plot could successfully pass the numerous safeguards election officials have in place, like barcodes and signature verification, instead they have said as Trump did Thursday, that the threat was "obvious."

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) The Department of Homeland Security has gathered intelligence reports on two US journalists who published leaked unclassified government documents while covering the unrest in Portland, Oregon, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Three Open Source Intelligence Reports that were sent to federal law enforcement agencies and obtained by the Post summarize tweets sent by two journalists -- New York Times reporter Mike Baker and Benjamin Wittes, the editor-in-chief of the blog Lawfare -- and note that both had published leaked DHS documents. Some of those documents, the newspaper reported, disclosed the techniques of intelligence analysts and laid bare issues of DHS confusion about the nature of the protests in Portland.

The department told the Post in a statement that the reports "were produced under pre-established classified intelligence reporting requirements that are developed through a rigorous process to include legal and Intelligence oversight guidelines." CNN has reached out to DHS for comment on the story. But a collection of current and former officials told the newspaper they were alarmed about the inclusion of reporters in a government system designed to disseminate information about suspected terrorists. John Sandweg, who previously served as acting general counsel for the department, told the Post, "This has no operational value whatsoever." "This will just damage the intelligence office's reputation," he said. That message was echoed by Steve Bunnell, who served as the department's general counsel for years under President Barack Obama.

By Nikki Schwab, Senior U.s. Political Reporter and Emily Goodin, Senior U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died from the coronavirus. The news was posted on his personal website and reported by Newsmax, a conservative media company he had recently joined. He had been in an Atlanta-area hospital for COVID-19 all month, two days after testing positive for the virus. Cain attended Trump's disastrous June 20th rally in Tulsa, where eight members of the advance team tested positive for the coronavirus and the campaign staff had to self-isolate afterward in case of infection.

'Herman Cain embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit,' tweeted White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany Thursday. 'Our hearts grieve for his loved ones, and they will remain in our prayers at this time. We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith.' Cain was 74.    

CBS News

Federal agents tear-gassed protesters again and made arrests as several hundred people demonstrated in downtown Portland late Wednesday and early Thursday, hours after state leaders announced federal agents would soon leave the city, CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV reports. It was the 62nd night in a row of protests there. Governor Kate Brown said early Wednesday that all Customs and Border Protection & ICE agents would depart Portland and be replaced by Oregon State Police beginning Thursday. But acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the agents would stay put "until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked." Federal agents issued their first warning of the night shortly before 11 p.m., cautioning people to leave the fence around the courthouse alone or face potential arrest. A few minutes later, they started deploying tear gas and crowd control munitions. Some people could be seen climbing over the fence and climbing back out at about 11:30 p.m. Federal agents fired another round of tear gas and stun grenades but a large crowd remained crushed against the fence, undeterred.

Rachel Treisman

A number of people arrested at demonstrations in Portland, Ore., say the terms of their release prevent them from attending protests going forward, a stipulation First Amendment experts have called cause for concern. ProPublica reported on Tuesday that at least a dozen protesters arrested in recent weeks are prohibited from attending demonstrations within city or state limits, or in general, while they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges. Protesters say this was one of several conditions — including abiding by a curfew, avoiding the area surrounding the federal courthouse and appearing for court dates — that they had to agree to in order to leave jail.

Bailey Dreibelbis, 23, is one such protester. He told NPR's Vanessa Romo that he was arrested on the evening of July 22 and released the following afternoon on certain conditions, including that he would not attend any more protests in Portland. Of the terms of his release, Dreibelbis said his public defender was "pretty clear that if I wanted to be out of there that day, that I would have to take them." "She kind of chuckled with me, because I didn't do anything illegal upon arrest," he added. "I did not assault an officer, I did not set anything on fire."

By Kevin Liptak and Betsy Klein, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump explicitly floated delaying November's presidential election on Thursday, lending extraordinary voice to persistent concerns that he would seek to circumvent voting in a contest where he currently trails his opponent by double digits. Trump has no authority to delay an election, and the Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date for voting. Yet Trump's message provides an opening -- long feared by Democrats -- that both he and his supporters might refuse to accept the results of the presidential results. But in his tweet on Thursday morning -- coming 96 days before the election and minutes after the federal government reported the worst economic contraction in recorded history -- Trump offered the suggestion because he claimed without evidence the contest will be flawed. "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA," he wrote. "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"

Opinion by Max Boot

So Jonathan Swan of Axios did what Chris Wallace of Fox News did not do in an otherwise admirable interview with President Trump: He asked about the reports of Russia placing bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The responses were as appalling as you might expect, with the “America First” president once again turning into a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Swan began by asking whether Trump had discussed the reported bounties during his phone call with Putin on July 23. “No, that was a call to discuss other things,” Trump said, explaining that they discussed “nuclear proliferation, which is a very big problem.” Nuclear proliferation is indeed important, although it’s doubtful that Putin has either the ability or the willingness to do much about it. But Putin does have it in his power to stop the headhunting of U.S. troops — if, in fact, it has occurred. But Trump did not ask him to do so or upbraid him for reportedly having carried out such operations in the past. To listen to Trump, the threat to the soldiers under his command wasn’t important enough to bring up.

Trump again cast doubt on the extensive reports, calling them “fake news.” In fact, according to news reporting, the CIA was convinced of the veracity of the claims — especially after Navy SEALs uncovered $500,000 in cash at a Taliban outpost — while the National Security Agency was more skeptical. But the intelligence was credible enough to be widely circulated. Trump flat-out lied when he claimed: “It never reached my desk.” It was reportedly included in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) in late February. Granted, Trump seldom reads the PDB (in spite of his laughable claim to Swan that “I read it a lot,” and “I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anyone you’ve interviewed in a long time”), but that’s no excuse.

By Betsy Klein, CNN

(CNN) White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was pressed Wednesday on why a coronavirus stimulus bill includes $1.75 billion for a new FBI building. "So, this was part of the President's priority of updating the FBI building, keeping it in DC, and it's been one of the things that's been mentioned that's in this bill and it's a part of one of the President's priorities and it's been a priority for several months," she said during an appearance on CBS News. Asked again what that provision was doing in the coronavirus bill, McEnany couldn't say, but said it is "not a dealbreaker."
President Donald Trump said later Wednesday that a new FBI building has been in the works "for many years," and he thought it was "crazy" that they would consider moving it to the suburbs of Virginia or Maryland.

Jamie Ross

President Donald Trump appeared to excuse Russia providing weapons to the Taliban, saying that the United States once did the same thing. In an interview with Axios on HBO, Trump dismissed intelligence that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops—and then went on to cast doubt on claims that Russia supplies arms to the insurgents. The former head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has said clearly and on the record that Russia does indeed smuggle weapons across the Tajik border to the Taliban. Asked about whether he believes that is the case, Trump said: “Well, we supplied weapons when they were fighting Russia too.

Jonathan Swan, Dave Lawler

President Trump has never confronted Vladimir Putin with intelligence indicating Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops, he told “Axios on HBO” in an interview on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Democrats have seized on the issue, and Trump's reluctance to discuss it, as evidence he’s unwilling to challenge Putin even when American lives are at stake. Trump spoke with Putin on Thursday, and subsequently deflected a question about whether he’d raised the alleged bounty scheme, saying on Monday: “We don't talk about what we discussed, but we had plenty of discussion.” In Tuesday’s interview, he was definitive: “I have never discussed it with him.” Pressed on why he didn’t raise the matter in Thursday’s call, he said: “That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly that’s an issue that many people said was fake news.” President Trump has never confronted Vladimir Putin with intelligence indicating Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops, he told “Axios on HBO” in an interview on Tuesday.

The president is pushing the coronavirus theories of a Houston doctor who also says sexual visitations by demons and alien DNA are at the root of Americans’ common health concerns.
Will Sommer

A Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus has become a star on the right-wing internet, garnering tens of millions of views on Facebook on Monday alone. Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a “must watch,” while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video. Before Trump and his supporters embrace Immanuel’s medical expertise, though, they should consider other medical claims Immanuel has made—including those about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams. Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens. Immanuel gave her viral speech on the steps of the Supreme Court at the “White Coat Summit,” a gathering of a handful of doctors who call themselves America’s Frontline Doctors and dispute the medical consensus on the novel coronavirus. The event was organized by the right-wing group Tea Party Patriots, which is backed by wealthy Republican donors.

In her speech, Immanuel alleges that she has successfully treated hundreds of patients with hydroxychloroquine, a controversial treatment Trump has promoted and says he has taken himself. Studies have failed to find proof that the drug has any benefit in treating COVID-19, and the Food and Drug Administration in June revoked its emergency authorization to use it to treat the deadly virus, saying it hadn’t demonstrated any effect on patients’ mortality prospects.

DREAMers are facing limbo yet again as Trump explores ending DACA for a second time.
By Nicole Narea

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is considering trying again to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and will not be accepting new applications from immigrants who hope to gain its protections, throwing the future of hundreds of thousands young immigrants who came to the US as children into doubt. The Supreme Court ruled on June 18 that President Donald Trump couldn’t end the program, which has allowed almost 700,000 unauthorized immigrants known as “DREAMers” to live and work in the US free from fear of deportation, without a more robust rationale. In the weeks since that decision, the administration had remained silent as to whether it would consequently start accepting new applications for the program, causing confusion among those who have been waiting for years for a chance to apply.

Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, clarified Tuesday that the administration is reviewing the policy further and may well move forward with ending the program. In the meantime, it will impose new restrictions on applicants — a move that immigrant advocates say is a blatant violation of the Supreme Court’s decision. That review will examine the legality of the DACA program, which former President Barack Obama created via executive order in 2012, and its impact on immigration trends, a senior administration official told reporters. “I have concluded that the DACA policy, at a minimum, presents serious policy concerns that may warrant its full rescission,” Wolf wrote in a policy memorandum issued Tuesday. “At the same time, I have concluded that fully rescinding the policy would be a significant administration decision that warrants additional careful consideration.”

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spurred on by President Donald Trump’s demand to pull troops out of Germany, the U.S. will bring about 6,400 forces home and shift about 5,400 to other countries in Europe, U.S. defense officials said Wednesday, detailing a Pentagon plan that will cost billions of dollars and take years to complete. The decision fulfills Trump’s announced desire to withdraw troops from Germany, at least in part due to its failure to spend enough on defense. U.S. officials said that some moves will begin in months, and would likely send air and ground forces to countries that already have an American troop presence. The plan leaves about 25,000 troops in Germany.

The announcement is closely tied to the plan to increase the U.S. troop presence in Poland, a shift long-desired by Warsaw and Polish President Andrzej Duda. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss plans not yet announced, said the moves will cost “billions” and require construction at bases in the U.S. to accommodate the additional forces. The officials said that in the future other troops would rotate in and out of Europe. Members of Trump’s own political party have criticized the troop move as a gift to Russia and a threat to U.S. national security. Twenty-two Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee fired back with a letter to Trump saying a reduced U.S. commitment to Europe’s defense would encourage Russian aggression and opportunism. It’s also unclear if the plan would survive if Trump is not reelected.

By Ryan Browne and Zachary Cohen, CNN

(CNN) The US is to withdraw nearly 12,000 troops from Germany in a move that has attracted bipartisan congressional opposition and roiled key allies who see the move as a blow to NATO. President Donald Trump's decision to pull thousands of troops will take years to execute and will potentially cost billions of dollars to bring about, according to US defense officials. The plan to pull US troops from the long-time NATO ally has been met with broad bipartisan opposition amid concerns that it will weaken the US military's position vis a vis Russia, however the Trump Administration has decided to proceed with the move.

Approximately 11,900 US troops, a mix of Army and Air Force units, will be removed from Germany to meet Trump's mandated cap of 25,000 US forces in Germany, according to a senior US defense official, a number higher than the figure of 9,500 that was used when the reduction was first announced. The formal announcement was made Wednesday during a briefing at the Pentagon by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
"The current EUCOM plan will reposition approximately 11,900 military personnel from Germany, from roughly 36,000 down to 24,000, in a manner that will strengthen NATO, enhance the deterrence of Russia, and meet the other principles I set forth," he told reporters, referring to US European Command which oversees US military forces on the continent.

The president’s halting attention to the civil rights icon’s death stands in contrast to the immediate praise he offered for TV personality Regis Philbin.

When John Lewis, the civil rights icon and longtime Democratic congressman from Georgia, died at the age of 80 a little over a week ago, President Donald Trump publicly ignored his passing for about 12 hours. As the news broke late on a Friday and remembrances poured in, the president was blasting out nearly four dozen tweets and retweets about various other topics, from his niece’s scathing new book to former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump’s muted reaction to the death of a historic figure — albeit one with whom he disagreed — is just the latest instance of how he struggles to respond as a typical president would in these situations, an issue that critics have pounced on in recent months as coronavirus deaths continue to pile up with only passing mentions from Trump.

It’s also an illustration of the strikingly different ways Trump has treated the passing of iconic figures, a contrast that was brought into stark relief by how he reacted to the death of a beloved TV personality on Saturday. “One of the greats in the history of television, Regis Philbin has passed on to even greater airwaves, at 88,” Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after news of the longtime entertainer’s death broke. “He was a fantastic person, and my friend.” Philbin, Trump noted, “holds the record for ‘most live television’, and he did it well. Regis, we love you … And to Joy, his wonderful wife who he loved so much, my warmest condolences!!!” Trump added that Philbin had always urged him to run for president. Trump did finally address Lewis’ death, issuing a 23-word tweet on the afternoon of July 18 that described his sadness at hearing the news and sent prayers to the lawmaker and his family. A few hours before that, the White House issued a proclamation from Trump ordering flags be flown at half-staff for the rest of the day.

Jacob Pramuk

Critics of President Donald Trump’s new budget are accusing him of breaking a key campaign promise ahead of his 2020 re-election bid. His fiscal 2020 proposal unveiled Monday calls for reductions in funding for Medicare and Medicaid relative to current law. Over a decade, the plan would shave an estimated $800 billion or more off Medicare, which covers older Americans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and various reports. It would also cut spending on Medicaid, the federal-state program that insures low-income Americans, by more than $200 billion while setting up block grants to states.

Congress ultimately decides what money to spend, and Trump’s proposal is not likely to get through Capitol Hill. Still, a budget represents a president’s priorities even if it may not ultimately impact Americans’ lives. For Trump — who during his 2016 presidential bid promised not to cut the popular Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs — the proposal opens another vulnerability as he tries to hold on to the White House. In 2015, he declared that he “was the first and only” possible GOP presidential candidate to “state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

By Marissa J. Lang

PORTLAND, Ore. — Protesters who say they were tear-gassed, shot at, pepper-sprayed and assaulted outside a federal courthouse while peacefully demonstrating and rendering aid to others sued the Trump administration Monday over its use of force during nightly demonstrations in downtown Portland. A group of five women and two organizations, including longtime Black Lives Matter protesters and the yellow-clad Wall of Moms group that assembles nightly to stand between protesters and federal law enforcement officers, filed a lawsuit alleging that several agencies — the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Protective Service — have violated their constitutional rights of free speech, assembly and due process and against unreasonable seizures.

The agencies named in the lawsuit have deployed agents to protect the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse from a nightly barrage of fireworks and projectiles, including water bottles, canned food and paint, during demonstrations against police violence, racial inequity and what many in Portland have come to view as a federal occupation. The lawsuit marks the latest court battle to rise from the smoke and gas of the nightly standoffs in Oregon’s largest city. The American Civil Liberties Union in the past week sued the Trump administration and the Portland police department over alleged attacks on street medics, volunteers who render medical aid to injured demonstrators. U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a restraining order that bars federal agents from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest or targeting journalists or legal observers at protests.

By Morgan Chalfant

President Trump does not plan to visit the Capitol to honor the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), he told reporters Monday. “I won’t be going, no,” Trump said before departing the White House for a trip to North Carolina when asked if he planned to visit the Capitol either Monday or Tuesday to pay his respects to Lewis. Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence are scheduled to visit the Capitol, where Lewis will lie in state in the rotunda, Monday evening after the vice president returns from a trip to Florida to discuss coronavirus vaccine research.

Lewis’s casket arrived at the Capitol just as Trump was leaving Washington, D.C., for North Carolina. The casket will be displayed outside at the top of the steps of the Capitol later Monday so that members of the public can pay their respects while maintaining distance because of the coronavirus pandemic. The outdoor public viewing will be continued during the day Tuesday.

In 1920, an honest federal official exposed outrageous raids on 'radicals.' One longs for an executive branch official with the guts to stand up to Trump.
Ellis Cose Opinion columnist

If President Donald Trump has his way,federal law enforcement agents like those in Portland, Oregon, could soon head to other cities with Democratic mayors: “I’m going to do something — that, I can tell you. Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these … we’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.” The horrible “these,” as described by Trump, are “rioters, arsonists and left-wing extremists” spouting “Marxism,” who seek “the destruction of the United States system of government."

If what we have seen in Portland is any indication of what lies ahead, the mayors are right to be nervous. Heavily armed camouflaged men, obscuring their identities, beating people and spiriting others away to who knows where are not what we normally associate with democracy in America.Rather than simply protecting federal property, their core responsibility, they are provoking some confrontations with protesters and abusing their legal authority. Already, in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order protecting journalists and legal observers.

By Megan Sheets For Dailymail.com

A viral video purportedly shows section of the border wall separating the US and Mexico collapsing under strong winds and heavy rains from Tropical Storm Hanna. The video posted to Twitter by journalist Yadith Valdez on Sunday shows construction workers standing by and watching as fierce gusts knock the steel structure to the ground. The clip became the target of widespread ridicule on social media as critics likened the section's collapse to the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump, who has already spent more than $11billion building the wall that is expected to cost an estimated $21.6billion to complete. Some users pointed out that just a few weeks ago Trump boasted that his wall is 'the most powerful and comprehensive border wall structure' in the world. But others users called the validity of the footage into question, noting that its unclear when and where it was recorded.

Huileng Tan

China would prefer to see U.S. President Donald Trump win a second term in office as it would allow Beijing to continue to pursue its international ambitions, said an analyst on Monday. “Bluntly, Beijing would prefer to see the Trump administration continue,” said Rodger Baker, senior vice president of strategic analysis at Stratfor, a consultancy. “The reason is that at least, thus far, the way the Trump administration has acted and the perception internationally of that administration — and what you see going on domestically inside the United States and the polarization inside the United States — gives Beijing an advantage,” said Baker.

He added that what Beijing would really fear is a concerted U.S. policy and a coordinated international policy that constrains China. U.S.-China relations have become increasingly strained in recent years as the two sides spar on a range of issues, culminating in the closure of two consulates in the last week. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a sweeping address at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, saying the U.S. will no longer tolerate Beijing’s playbook to usurp global order and calling on allies to “induce China to change.” Pompeo also called for the engagement and empowerment of the Chinese people, whom he described as “dynamic and freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party.”

By Tom Tapp

While promoting her book Too Much and Never Enough, Mary Trump has said some harsh things about her uncle, President Donald Trump. She has said the president had someone else take his SAT. She has said he used racial and anti-Semitic slurs. She has said he should resign. But what she told Stephen Colbert on Wednesday may, well, Trump them all.

Asked if her uncle displayed sociopathic traits Mary said, “Donald has so many pathologies and they’re so complex, there’s so much co-morbidity that it’s really difficult to tease out what’s exactly going on without testing. “Clearly, he’s comfortable doing heartless things,” she continued. “Clearly he doesn’t seem to be interested in empathy. So I think it’s safe to say he demonstrates sociopathic tendencies. I think it’s safe to say he’s not high-functioning at all.”

By Kevin Liptak and Eric Bradner, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump announced Thursday that Republicans have scrapped plans to hold convention activities in Jacksonville, Florida.
The move is a striking turnaround for Trump, who moved the convention to Jacksonville after North Carolina's governor raised public health concerns about having massive gatherings in Charlotte, as the GOP had long planned. Pared-back events in Charlotte will still be held, Trump said. Despite urges to ignore them, Trump was closely watching as several Republican lawmakers said they weren't going to Jacksonville or were considering not going, a person familiar said. Trump was wary of having sparse attendance at the convention. Just a month ago, the Trump campaign was playing up expectations for a massive crowd at the President's first rally since the pandemic began, but those crowds in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were much smaller than expected.
Campaign manager Bill Stepien and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel met with Trump recently, telling him it was still possible to go forward with the convention but that canceling was also still an option, according a GOP source with knowledge of the process. They presented the option to cancel as a chance for Trump to demonstrate leadership, and he was much more open to the idea than he had been in the past, the source said. Trump said on Thursday he informed his team that his focus was on protecting the American people, even though aides advised him they could make an in-person convention safe. "I looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right. It's just not right," Trump said at the White House. "To have a big convention, it's not the right time."

By David Shortell, CNN

(CNN) A judge in Portland, Oregon, barred federal law enforcement officers from arresting or using physical force against journalists and legal observers mixed in with the crowds at nightly protests near a complex of government buildings there if they're not suspected of committing crimes. Federal Judge Michael H. Simon issued the temporary restraining order Thursday evening ahead of another night of expected protests in the city's downtown. Videos taken by news crews there have captured harrowing moments -- like when the city's mayor was overcome by tear gas deployed to disperse a crowd on Wednesday -- and the American Civil Liberties Union had filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security and the US Marshals Service, which command the officers, detailing several examples of identified journalists allegedly being abused by the authorities. The order, which Simon opened with a series of quotes about the importance of the free press, also says journalists can ignore dispersal orders issued by authorities.

The order could present federal law enforcement with new challenges as it continues to carry out its mission of protecting federal property. For the past two months, rioters have regularly torn down fencing and attempted to break into the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse -- where Simon's chambers are located -- in a confrontation that has been seized on by President Donald Trump and spun into a political hot-button issue featured in his reelection messaging. More than 40 people have been arrested by the federal officers, and at least 26 charged federally, including one man accused of hitting an officer with a sledgehammer and others who allegedly pointed lasers at officers' eyes, leaving some with potentially permanent vision damage.

By David Shortell, CNN

(CNN) The Justice Department's independent watchdog agency said Thursday that it will investigate the use of force by federal law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, DC, where violent crackdowns on protesters have punctuated a summer that's been rocked by protests against police brutality. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement that his review of the law enforcement responses would include an examination of the instructions officers received and their compliance with policies regarding proper identification and the use of chemical agents. The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general is also probing the response of officers from his agency in Portland, including allegations that they improperly detained and transported some protesters, he said in a letter to Congress.

The Trump administration's treatment of the protests in both cities, which swelled after the killing in May of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, has drawn sharp criticism from the President's detractors, including accusations that they amounted to authoritarian suppression. The announcements from the inspectors general on Thursday represent some of the federal government's most serious attempts to account for the violence and follows a litany of requests for oversight from current and former public officials and key congressional Democrats.

Dan Mangan

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release from prison of President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen by Friday afternoon. Judge Alvin Hellerstein found that Cohen was taken into custody July 9 and returned to prison in retaliation for balking at a condition that he not publish a book — about Trump or anyone else  — while serving the remainder of his three-year criminal sentence on home confinement. “I’ve never seen such a clause, in 21 years in being a judge and sentencing people,” Hellerstein said at a Manhattan federal court hearing held after Cohen sued this week to win his re-release from prison.

“How can I take any other inference but that it was retaliatory? Hellerstein asked about the condition, which also would have barred Cohen from speaking to journalists or posting on social media. Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to multiple felonies, was furloughed from the federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., in late May due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Housing and Urban Development proposal instructs shelters to try to identify trans women by height, facial hair, and Adam’s apples.
By Katelyn Burns

A proposed Housing and Urban Development rule would allow federally funded homeless shelters to judge a person’s physical characteristics, such as height and facial hair, in determining whether they belong in a women’s or men’s shelter, according to a copy of the rule’s text obtained by Vox. Advocates say this ultimately targets both trans women and cisgender women with masculine features, which could force them into men’s shelters and put them at risk for harm.

The proposed rule, first announced by HUD in a press release issued on July 1, would essentially reverse the Obama-era rule that required homeless shelters to house trans people according to their gender identity. While the new rule would bar shelters from excluding people based on their transgender status, it would also allow shelters to ignore a person’s gender identity — and instead house them according to their assigned sex at birth or their legal sex. In other words, a trans woman can’t be turned away from a shelter for being trans, but she can be forced to go to a men’s shelter. Dylan Waguespack, a spokesperson for True Colors United, an advocacy group that focuses on supporting LGBTQ homeless youth, told Vox in early June that HUD Secretary Ben Carson is “talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

Frank Langfitt

U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV told embassy staff in 2018 that his friend, President Trump, asked him to help get the British Open golf tournament held at one of the Trump family's golf resorts in Scotland. U.S. Embassy staff have separately complained that Johnson made racist and sexist comments on the job. The State Department's inspector general has been looking at these claims as part of a routine review of the embassy, according to people familiar with the matter. The inquiry was first reported by the New York Times and CNN.

Lewis Lukens, the embassy's former second-in-command, confirmed in a text to NPR that Johnson told him about the president's request. "I advised him that doing so would violate federal ethics rules and be generally inappropriate," Lukens wrote. But Johnson apparently went ahead and raised the matter with David Mundell, then secretary of state for Scotland, according to a person familiar with the conversation. In a statement, the British government said Mundell met with Johnson in early 2018, "but Johnson made no request regarding the British Open or any other sporting event."

By Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood and Nicole Gaouette, CNN

Washington (CNN) The billionaire NFL owner who serves as President Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Kingdom was investigated by the State Department watchdog after allegations that he made racist and sexist comments to staff and sought to use his government position to benefit the President's personal business in the UK, multiple sources told CNN. Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson, the top envoy since August 2017 to one of the United States' most important allies, made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month, according to exclusive new information shared with CNN by three sources and a diplomat familiar with the complaints to the State Department inspector general.

His comments about women's looks have been "cringeworthy," a source with knowledge of the situation said, and two sources said it was a struggle to get him on board for an event for International Women's Day. "He's said some pretty sexist, racist," things, the diplomat with knowledge of the complaints made to the IG said of Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune and one of the owners of the New York Jets. Asked about the specific allegations reported by CNN, Johnson did not deny them. He called it an "honor of a lifetime" to serve as ambassador and "to lead the talented, diverse team of the U.S. Mission to the United Kingdom." Johnson called the team "the best in diplomacy" adding, "I greatly value the extraordinary work that each and every member of the team does to strengthen and deepen our vital alliance."

The state's lawsuit is part of a growing pushback against the Trump administration's use of federal agents against protesters.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Attorneys for Oregon argued Wednesday for a restraining order against federal agents deployed to quell protests in Portland, in a standoff that some legal experts have warned could lead to a constitutional crisis in an election year. A federal judge heard the state's and the U.S. government's arguments in a lawsuit filed by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who accuses federal agents of arresting protesters without probable cause, whisking them away in unmarked cars and using excessive force to quell the unrest. Federal authorities have disputed that. The lawsuit is part of a growing pushback against the Trump administration's use of federal agents in Portland and its plans to do the same in other cities that is deepening the country’s already considerable political divides. Democratic mayors of 15 cities — including Portland and cities where President Donald Trump has sent or threatened to send federal forces — condemned the use of the agents in a letter to the attorney general.

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