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Trump also failed to say how the government plans to find the missing parents of 545 children it stole.
By Bess Levin

The third and final presidential debate gave Donald Trump and Joe Biden the opportunity to make their final pitch to the American people before the 2020 election. For the Democratic nominee, that meant driving home the point that he believes in science, that he’ll take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, that climate change is real, and that systemic racism must be dealt with. For Trump, it meant making it clear that in addition to being a science-denying, QAnon-promoting dimwit, he’s also an actual monster who thinks separating small children from their parents, in some cases permanently, is absolutely fine.

Asked by moderated Kristen Welker about the news that parents of 545 children separated at the border—60 of whom are under the age of five—cannot be located, Trump defended the policy and gave no explanation for how the government plans to find these people and reunite their families. “Children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they’re brought here and they used to use them to get into our country,” Trump said, which is objectively false, as they are brought here by their parents, which is why it’s called the family separation policy. “We now have as strong a border as we’ve ever had. We’re over 400 miles of brand new wall. You see the numbers and we let people in but they have to come in legally.” more...

by: Russell Falcon

NEW YORK (KXAN) — Questions about credibility surrounded the publication of a story alleging claims that a laptop belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter proved shady dealings with foreign countries. The claims made in the article, titled “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS,” allege that Joe and Hunter Biden profited from deals in the Ukraine while Joe Biden was vice president, according to the New York Times. The New York Times reports that the Post based its story around photos and documents claiming to be from the laptop of Hunter Biden. But two employees of the tabloid say the staff writer who wrote the story refused to put his name on it because he had doubts about the credibility of the claims.

Additionally, the Times says other Post staff members weren’t sure the paper did enough to verify claims — in addition to having doubts on the reliability of sources. Sources that were named in the article were Pres. Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Bannon, who was arrested in August on charges claiming he ripped off fundraising donors, reportedly flagged the laptop’s contents to the Post last month, the NYT reports. Giuliani, meanwhile, is said to have given “a copy” of the laptop contents to The NY Post on Oct. 11, according to the Times. Two writers with The Post report that after the “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS” article was written, editors pressed staff to put their names on it, but many refused out of fear over its possibly questionable content — in addition to possible legal ramifications. more...

Mississippians for Compassionate Care paid for a letter signed by several prominent Republicans and says the president backs them.
By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — President Donald Trump’s campaign is telling a Mississippi group to stop saying that Trump supports a ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. Mississippians for Compassionate Care is a group promoting Initiative 65. It paid for a letter signed by several prominent Republicans, and the outside of the envelope said: “Join President Trump and 3 out of 4 Mississippi Republicans who support medical marijuana.” The letter said: “President Trump Supports Medical Marijuana ... and allowing states to decide on that issue.”

Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of the Trump campaign, sent a “cease and desist” letter to the group Oct. 12, and opponents of Initiative 65 released Glassner’s letter Tuesday. “This unauthorized use of the President’s name in support of your group’s cause is unfair to Mississippi voters who may be led to vote ‘Yes’ on Initiative 65 on the false belief that President Trump supports the measure,” Glassner wrote. “Therefore, let us be clear about this: President Trump has never stated his support for passage of Initiative 65 or the legalization of medical marijuana in Mississippi.” Initiative 65 would allow patients to use medical marijuana to treat debilitating conditions, as certified by physicians. An alternative measure that is also on the Mississippi ballot, Initiative 65A, would allow patients with debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana. It says the state would create a program based on “sound medical principles.” more...

By Erica Orden

(CNN) The Justice Department is set to argue in federal court Wednesday that President Donald Trump acted in his official capacity when denying a rape claim made by a longtime magazine columnist, and therefore shouldn't be sued personally for defamation. In an effort to replace Trump as the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the former columnist, E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of raping her in a dressing room at a luxury Manhattan department store in the 1990s, the Justice Department is expected to tell a federal judge that Trump's response to Carroll's claims was an effort to preserve his ability to perform the duties of the presidency.

If the Justice Department is allowed to intervene, it would likely torpedo Carroll's lawsuit, since the federal government can't be sued for defamation. In a court filing earlier this week, lawyers for the department wrote with reference to Carroll's rape claim, which appeared in a 2019 book she wrote, that "even false allegations that the President committed such a crime could obviously impact the President's ability to effectively govern." In the wake of Carroll's accusations, Trump denied raping her, telling reporters, "She's not my type." He also alleged Carroll lied about the rape to boost her book sales. more...

Allegations of women who've accused Trump of non-consensual sexual contact share many details, from forced kisses to where it took place.
Jeanine Santucci, Jim Sergent, and George Petras, USA TODAY

Today, writer E. Jean Carroll goes to court in a unique case: she accused the sitting president of defamation. But when she came forward in 2019 to say Trump had raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, her story started with a familiar detail. "The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips," she wrote in June 2019.

Former model Amy Dorris, the latest to come forward just last month to allege that Trump had sexually assaulted her in 1997 at the US Open tennis tournament, said it began in a similar way. “He just grabbed me. And he just shoved his tongue down my throat,” Dorris told the Guardian. “His grip was hard, you know, you couldn’t pull away.”

Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis said Dorris' claim was "totally false" and an attempt to attack Trump before the election. Thirteen of the 19 women who have accused Trump of sexual assault or non-consensual physical contact said he kissed them without consent, often out of the blue, sometimes holding them firmly in place. more...

*** Did Trump pay more taxes to China than he paid to the U.S. ***

The president paid almost $200,000 in taxes in China, where he maintains a previously unreported bank account. Plus, America’s 100,000 extra pandemic deaths
Tim Walker

Good morning, The New York Times recently revealed that Donald Trump paid no personal income tax to the IRS in 10 of the 15 years before he won the presidency. But the newspaper has now revealed that from 2013 to 2015 he paid almost $200,000 in taxes to China, where he still maintains a bank account and spent years pursuing business deals – a potentially major conflict of interest for a president who has fought both of his election campaigns on a promise to stand up to Beijing. more...

*** Did Trump pay more taxes to China than he paid to the U.S. ***

By Aila Slisco

Around the same time President Donald Trump was reportedly paying little to no U.S. income taxes, he allegedly paid the Chinese government more than $188,000 in taxes over two years. Trump paid China $188,561 between 2013 and 2015 through a Chinese bank account controlled by his company Trump International Hotels Management L.L.C., according to a report published Tuesday by The New York Times. The Chinese bank account is said to be one of only three foreign accounts the president maintains, with the other two being located in the U.K. and Ireland.

Despite the account being used to pay a relatively large tax bill, the Trump International Hotels Management reportedly only declared a few thousand dollars in income. The IRS requires Americans to report income from foreign countries. It is not clear how much money flowed through the soon-to-be president's foreign accounts, according to the Times report.

The paper reported late last month that it had obtained 17 years of Trump's tax returns, which the president and his lawyers have continually attempted to block from becoming public. The documents are said to reveal that Trump paid no income taxes for 10 out of 15 years and only $750 in both 2016 and 2017, the year he was elected president and the year he took office. more...

About two-thirds of the 1,000 plus parents separated from their kids under a 2017 pilot program were deported before a federal judge ordered they be found.
By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff

WASHINGTON — Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant families who were separated by the Trump administration say they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children, and that approximately two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to a filing from the ACLU on Tuesday.

The Trump administration instituted a "zero tolerance" policy in 2018 that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border. The administration later confirmed that it had actually begun separating families in 2017 along some portions of the border under a pilot program. The ACLU and other pro-bono law firms were tasked with finding the members of families separated during that pilot program.

Unlike the 2,800 families separated under zero tolerance in 2018, most of whom remained in custody when zero tolerance was ended by executive order, many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered they be found. more...

Our View: In 2016, we broke tradition in urging you not to vote for Trump. Now we're making our first presidential endorsement. We hope it's our last.
The Editorial Board, USA TODAY

Four years ago, the Editorial Board — an ideologically and demographically diverse group of journalists that is separate from the news staff and operates by consensus — broke with tradition and took sides in the presidential race for the first time since USA TODAY was founded in 1982. We urged readers not to vote for Donald Trump, calling the Republican nominee unfit for office because he lacked the “temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.” We stopped short, however, of an outright endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. This year, the Editorial Board unanimously supports the election of Joe Biden, who offers a shaken nation a harbor of calm and competence.

Recent polls show that more than 90% of voters have decided between Biden and Trump, and nothing at this point will change their minds. This editorial is for those of you who are still uncertain about which candidate to vote for, or whether to vote at all. It’s also for those who settled on Trump but might be having last-minute doubts.

Maybe you backed Trump the last time around because you hoped he’d shake things up in Washington or bring back blue-collar jobs. Maybe you liked his populist, anti-elitist message. Maybe you couldn’t stomach the idea of supporting a Democrat as polarizing as Clinton. Maybe you cast a ballot for a minor party candidate, or just stayed home. Now, two weeks until Election Day, we suggest you consider a variation of the question Republican Ronald Reagan asked voters when he ran for president in 1980: Is America better off now than it was four years ago? more...

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's tax records show he has pursued expansive business projects in China for years and even maintains a Chinese bank account, The New York Times reported Tuesday, disclosures that deal a blow to the President's efforts to paint Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the presidential candidate who is soft on China. An analysis of Trump's tax records by the Times shows that the President holds a previously unreported bank account in China that was not included on his public financial disclosures because it is held under a corporate name. Trump also maintains bank accounts in Britain and Ireland.

The Chinese account, the newspaper said, is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management and it paid $188,561 in taxes in the country from 2013 to 2015. While the tax records don't show how much money has moved through Trump's foreign accounts, the Internal Revenue Service mandates that filers disclose the portions of their incomes coming from foreign countries. Trump International Hotels Management reported only a few thousand dollars from China.

Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten, who refused to name the Chinese bank that holds the account, told the Times in a statement that the Trump Organization "opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes" tied with its push to do business in the country. Garten specifically said the company had opened the account once an office was opened in China "to explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia." "No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive," he told the newspaper. "Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose." more...

The judge ruled that DeVos had undermined the deal by denying large swaths of the claims without sufficient explanation.
By MICHAEL STRATFORD

A federal judge scrapped a settlement Tuesday over the Trump administration’s slow processing of loan forgiveness for borrowers who have accused their colleges of fraud, ruling that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos undermined the deal. U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in a sharply worded decision that DeVos undercut the settlement by denying large swaths of the claims without sufficient explanation. The class-action settlement, which was reached earlier this year and received preliminary approval from the court, was meant to force the Education Department to move faster on final decisions for roughly 160,000 of the backlogged requests for loan forgiveness, known as “borrower defense” claims. Some of the claims have languished at the department for years.

Alsup said he is alarmed that DeVos has in recent months responded by swiftly rejecting tens of thousands of the applications through “perfunctory” denial notices. Of the applications in question in the class-action lawsuit, DeVos has denied 74,000 applications and granted 4,400 applications, which the judge noted was a denial rate of 94 percent.

Ruling justification: Alsup called the denial notices “potentially unlawful” and said he was considering blocking DeVos from issuing any further denial notices as the lawsuit proceeds. The judge, who President Bill Clinton appointed for the Northern District of California, also took the unusual step of authorizing the depositions of up to five Education Department officials to probe the Trump administration’s decision to deny the claims and its months-long delays in processing them. He wrote that DeVos “at this time” would not be required to personally sit for a deposition but said it is a possibility in the future. more...

By Benjamin Fearnow

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to even consider how President Donald Trump would facilitate a "crazy transition of power" should he lose on Election Day.

Fox News co-host Ainsley Earhardt told Sanders that many of her New Yorker friends are very worried "non-peaceful protesting" will occur after Election Day, prompting Sanders to dismiss even the possibility Joe Biden could win on November 3. Asked if Trump would work with Democrats on a "peaceful solution" should he lose, Sanders rejected the premise of the question and predicted the president will win "clearly and decisively." But later in the interview, Sanders did warn that if Biden should somehow manage to win, "liberal mob chaos" will take over the streets of U.S. cities.

Sanders cautioned Fox & Friends viewers Tuesday morning that a Trump loss—improbable as she believes that may be—would create a "crazy transition of power" that will shake the country. Trump has said multiple times he doesn't plan on simply congratulating his opponent if he loses the election. In 2016, Trump himself predicted, "I don't think you're ever going to see me again" should he lose to Hillary Clinton. more...

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com

A new poll in the wake of President Trump's refusal to denounce QAnon shows that half of his supporters believe a bizarre conspiracy claim that Trump is working to shut down a secret Democratic-run pedophilia ring. The results, contained in a Yahoo News / YouGov poll, comes after Trump clashed in a town hall forum when interviewer Savannah Guthrie invited him to condemn the group and its bizarre theory. It reveals the potential political pressure the president believes he is facing, with many of his supporters subscribing to a bizarre idea he refused to denounce.

A 55 per cent majority of voters have still not heard of the group, according to the poll. And among all registered voters, a vast majority do not subscribe to its bizarre view about a secret child sex ring, 51 to 25. But it is another matter when examining Trump supporters. Among them, a full 50 per cent believe the idea, according to the survey, with 17 per cent saying they don't believe it and a third 'not sure.'  By contrast, just 5 per cent of Joe Biden voters believe the claim. 'I know nothing about QAnon,' Trump said at the town hall when asked to condemn their conspiracies. more...

The case is just one of many lingering court battles the campaign has launched but not completed with two weeks left before Election Day.
By ANITA KUMAR

Donald Trump’s campaign wants Omarosa Manigault Newman to pay up for penning an incriminating tell-all book about the president in 2018. But it’s the Trump campaign that hasn’t paid its bills. The delinquent $52,000 payment — revealed in a previously unreported letter dated Oct. 14 and obtained by POLITICO — is just one example of how the Trump campaign is handling the flurry of legal actions it has taken to both protect the president and attack his enemies in the final weeks of the campaign. In some instances, the campaign is pressing ahead. In others, it has let the cases go dormant. The through line, however, is that the campaign has started a lot of fights in court, yet is not close to resolving them with just two weeks left until Election Day.

In the action against Manigault Newman, the campaign may simply let the case dissolve. In 2018, the Trump campaign filed an arbitration case against the former West Wing aide over her book, which rocked the White House with stories of Trump using lewd, sexist and racist language. At one point, Trump’s attorneys suggested Newman pay for a nearly $1 million ad campaign “to counteract the long-term adverse effects” of her remarks. Yet the campaign has thus far stiffed the arbitrator assigned to mediate the case, according to a letter sent to the parties in the case. If Trump’s attorneys don’t pay the outstanding bill by next week, the case could be tossed out. The dispute over Manigault Newman’s book is far from the only legal thread left dangling for the Trump campaign. more...

Trump’s sprawling political operation has raised well over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 — and set a lot of it on fire.
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s sprawling political operation has raised well over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 — and set a lot of it on fire. Trump bought a $10 million Super Bowl ad when he didn’t yet have a challenger. He tapped his political organization to cover exorbitant legal fees related to his impeachment. Aides made flashy displays of their newfound wealth — including a fleet of luxury vehicles purchased by Brad Parscale, his former campaign manager. Meanwhile, a web of limited liability companies hid more than $310 million in spending from disclosure, records show.

Now, just two weeks out from the election, some campaign aides privately acknowledge they are facing difficult spending decisions at a time when Democratic nominee Joe Biden has flooded the airwaves with advertising. That has put Trump in the position of needing to do more of his signature rallies as a substitute during the coronavirus pandemic while relying on an unproven theory that he can turn out supporters who are infrequent voters at historic levels. “They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads way too early,” said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican consultant who advised John McCain and Jeb Bush and is an outspoken Trump critic. “You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.” more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's election endgame argument, far from bristling with new solutions to a pandemic that has killed 220,000 Americans, on Monday devolved into a campaign of insults against Dr. Anthony Fauci -- for telling the truth about the disease. Trump ridiculed Fauci as a "disaster" and an "idiot" who has been around for "500 years" -- trashing one of the nation's best hopes of easing the pandemic along with his recommendations to quell an alarming Covid-19 surge. His personal warfare against Fauci on a frenzied day on the campaign trail, while indecent and questionable from a strategic political perspective, revealed how the US government effort to beat the pandemic has been suppressed in the service of Trump's reelection.

"Tony Fauci has been the most clear, consistent proponent of the measures the United States needs to protect itself from a deadly disease," William Haseltine, a renowned public health expert and former professor at Harvard Medical School, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Monday. "What Donald Trump is doing is attacking the fire department when the house in burning down. This is a very serious time." Trump's conduct is typical of an approach to the disease that has rejected science when it doesn't provide answers that are politically palpable and has threatened to cause the sickness and death of tens of thousands of more Americans. more...

Sinéad Baker

US spies and diplomats are accusing the Trump administration of refusing to properly investigate mysterious illnesses that have affected officials in Cuba, China, and Russia, and some are suggesting a cover-up, The New York Times reported on Monday. In 2016, US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba started hearing strange sounds and reporting symptoms like nerve damage and headaches. Doctors said they were caused by mild traumatic brain injuries.

In 2018, several US officials in Guangzhou, China, also said they heard mysterious sounds and had similar symptoms. They were diagnosed with brain injuries. The Times reported on Monday that some senior CIA officers who visited foreign stations, including in Moscow, experienced similar symptoms but that the agency is not convinced an attack took place. more...

VLADIMIR Putin's Russia is seen as the prime suspect after dozens of US diplomats in Moscow, China and elsewhere fell ill with symptoms consistent with the use of bombardment with microwave radiation.
By Ciaran McGrath

And evidence suggests some sort of sonic weapon could also be responsible for the illness, which has affected than dozens of US officials in several countries. State Department employee Mark Lenzi and his wife suffered lightheadedness, headaches and insomnia, while their children experienced bloody noses, while they were based in Guangzhou in 2018.

Initially he thought it could have been the high levels of pollution in the Chinese city - but he also found himself suffering memory loss, and associated the symptoms with a strange sound which came at night, the New York Times reported. The mysterious illness is strikingly similar to one which afflicted diplomats and spies at the American Embassy in Cuba in 2016 and 2017, which came to be referred to as Havana Syndrome. On that occasion, US President Donald Trump pulled out most staff and issued a travel warning, saying US diplomats had been the victims of "targeted attacks", although Cuba denied any involvement. more...

Giuliani’s dirty tricks are the scandal, not Hunter Biden’s hard drive.
By Michelle Goldberg

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.”

That, of course, did not stop The New York Post from publishing a series of breathless articles about Hunter Biden purportedly based on a hard drive that fell into Giuliani’s hands. Some of the stories — like one about Hunter’s anguished texts to his father from rehab — seem intended to wound Joe Biden by humiliating his child. Others were meant to resurrect the discredited accusation that Joe Biden pressed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor to help Burisma, an energy company that had Hunter Biden on its board.

So far, the Hunter Biden laptop affair is a farcical retread of the Russian hack-and-leak operation that helped torpedo Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations in 2016. Now, as then, the Trump campaign appears to be hoping that the media will dribble out stolen private messages over the final weeks of the campaign, creating an illusion of scandal where none exists. And now, as then, someone in Trump’s inner circle is working directly with someone who is, at least according to the U.S. government, a Russian agent. more...

More than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter casting doubt on the provenance of a New York Post story on the former vice president's son.
By NATASHA BERTRAND

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

The letter, signed on Monday, centers around a batch of documents released by the New York Post last week that purport to tie the Democratic nominee to his son Hunter’s business dealings. Under the banner headline “Biden Secret E-mails,” the Post reported it was given a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said he got it from a Mac shop owner in Delaware who also alerted the FBI.

While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work. “If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

Nick Shapiro, a former top aide under CIA director John Brennan, provided POLITICO with the letter on Monday. He noted that “the IC leaders who have signed this letter worked for the past four presidents, including Trump. The real power here however is the number of former, working-level IC officers who want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering." more...

Former top officials were aghast at the move by John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence.
By ANDREW DESIDERIO and DANIEL LIPPMAN

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Tuesday declassified a Russian intelligence assessment that was previously rejected by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee as having no factual basis, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The extraordinary disclosure, released to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) earlier Tuesday, rankled Democrats, who said the move effectively put Russian disinformation into the public sphere in order to boost President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about the government’s efforts to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“It’s very disturbing to me that, 35 days before an election, the director of national intelligence would release unverified Russian rumint,” or rumor intelligence, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) told reporters.

And several former senior intelligence officials described Ratcliffe’s move as incendiary and irresponsible, given the manner in which he was publicly releasing unverified information that originated from a foreign adversary.

The assessment claims that Hillary Clinton, then a Democratic candidate for president, personally approved an effort “to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians' hacking of the Democratic National Committee.” But in his letter to Graham, Ratcliffe noted that the U.S. intelligence community “does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.” more...


Ken Klippenstein, D.C. correspondent for The Nation, discussed the implications Monday in an interview with Hill.TV's "Rising" of the police killing of Michael Reinoehl, a self-described Antifa activist who had been suspected of shooting and killing a pro-Trump demonstrator in Portland, Ore. Klippenstein said there was unhappiness in law enforcement circles of the administration's applause for the killing of Reinoehl.

“The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it because whether or not that's what happened, the message sent to the public is that the marshals and local law enforcement in the FBI that served with them in this operation are just these kind of lawless roving gangs that are going to go out and do the president's bidding,” he told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball. more...

By Miriam Valverde

Public debt has gone up during Trump’s presidency. There is no point at which it declined. Debt as a percentage of the overall economy has also increased throughout Trump’s administration. As he pitched his economic agenda to a group of business leaders, President Donald Trump claimed that the United States was about to pay off federal debt, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit and derailed those plans.

David Rubenstein, president of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., asked Trump during an Oct. 14 virtual discussion whether another stimulus bill would increase the federal debt to an amount that would be "too large for us to pay off in a sensible way." Trump said that the debt was very much on his mind.

"Prior to the plague, we were starting to get that number down. We were getting that number, the interest rates were so low and we were seeing things on such a positive scale, we had no choice but to put money in," Trump said. "You had to put money in, you had to force money in because of the pandemic, but we were starting to focus on that very, very deeply. We were making it long-term, we were getting ready to pay off interest, we were getting ready to pay off debt, and a lot of good things were happening." more...

Democrats had requested the GAO probe earlier this month, citing reports of political appointees seeking to steer the science agencies' policies and communications.
By DAN DIAMOND

The government's independent watchdog will investigate whether Trump administration officials improperly interfered with the coronavirus response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, Senate Democrats announced on Monday. The Democrats demanded the probe just over a week ago, citing reports from POLITICO and other outlets that detailed how political appointees sought to steer the science agencies' policies and communications to match with President Donald Trump's efforts to minimize the pandemic.

The Government Accountability Office will "review whether the CDC and FDA’s scientific integrity and communications policies have been violated and whether those policies are being implemented as intended to assure scientific integrity," according to a GAO letter released by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday. A GAO official confirmed to POLITICO that an audit would begin as soon as possible. However, the agency cautioned in its letter to Warren that it would not be able to begin its probe for about three months.

Warren, as well as Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is the ranking member of the Senate's health committee, formally requested the GAO probe on Oct. 8. In their request, the senators cited POLITICO's report that administration officials sought to interfere with the CDC's flagship Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports in order to align with Trump's more optimistic message about the pandemic. Other incidents cited include pressure on CDC to loosen its guidelines on re-opening schools and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar overruling FDA officials on coronavirus testing rules. more...

Dan Alexander Forbes Staff
The president would likely have to engage in a series of high-stakes transactions that could produce unfathomable conflicts of interest.

Whether or not Donald Trump wins the election, lenders will expect his businesses to pay back an estimated $900 million in the next four years, an alarmingly accelerated timetable that involves more than twice as much debt as the president previously indicated. In order to emerge unscathed, Trump will likely have to engage in a series of high-stakes, big-money transactions—deals that could produce arguably the biggest conflicts of interest than an American president has ever had to face.

About half of the debt coming due from the start of 2021 to the end of 2024 is secured against assets that the president and his children own outright. He will have to pay back loans against his hotel in Washington, D.C., his golf resort in Miami and his tower in Chicago. He’ll also have to sort out the debt against Trump Tower and Trump Plaza in New York City.

The rest of the loans are held against 1290 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan and 555 California Street in San Francisco, office buildings in which the president has a 30% limited partnership interest. Those properties currently have a combined $1.5 billion in debt against them, and Trump’s indirect share of their liabilities adds up to an estimated $447 million. As a limited partner, however, he presumably has less control over those obligations, as well as some protection if the properties fail to pay back their loans. “You know what limited means—limited as to liability,” Trump explained in a 2015 interview with Forbes, adding, “Where that is good is in bad times. If the world collapses, I’m not responsible for putting up any money.” more...

In her ruling Sunday, Howell wrote that the department, which administers the food stamp program, had been "icily silent" about the number of people who would be affected.
By Tim Fitzsimons

A federal judge struck down a Trump administration rule that would have reduced food stamp benefits to nearly 700,000 people. In her Sunday ruling, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell wrote that implementing the change "radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving States scrambling and exponentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans."

In December, the Department of Agriculture formalized a proposal for work requirements for recipients of food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that would have disqualified an estimated 688,000 people from food benefits. Secretary Sonny Perdue said at the time that the changes were made "in order to restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population and be respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program."

*** Is this Trump's America first ***

By EurAsian Times Desk

The world is waking up to a new reality post the devastating pandemic that brought everything to a grinding halt. One of them is the rise of China as the undisputed new economic superpower. According to the IMF’s World Economic Output 2020 released recently, China has now overtaken the US to become the world’s largest economy. Yes, you read that right. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), using the more reliable and now widely accepted yardstick, called the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), has determined China’s economy at $24.2 trillion compared to America’s $20.8 trillion.

The PPP calculation method used by the IMF enables you to compare how much you can buy for your money in different countries. The economists have traditionally been using MER (market exchange rates) to calculate GDP, which doesn’t reflect the real figures. The MER method is being viewed with extreme suspicion because it underestimates the buying power of the currencies of many countries. As a result, the currencies of many nations are undervalued against the dollar. With PPP adjustment, IMF estimates China’s economic output outmanoeuvring the US’s by a huge margin. IMF is clear in its report, it says the PPP “eliminates differences in price levels between economies” and thus compares national economies in terms of how much each nation can buy with its own currency at the prices items sell for there.

After the IMF, the CIA also decided to switch from MER to PPP in its annual assessment of national economies. The CIA Factbook notes that “the official exchange rate measure of GDP is not an accurate measure of China’s output; GDP at the official exchange rate (MER GDP) substantially understates the actual level of China’s output vis-a-vis the rest of the world; in China’s situation, GDP at purchasing power parity provides the best measure for comparing output across countries.” more...


Cornyn is among the lawmakers campaigning for reelection who have signaled distance from the president.
By Li Zhou

Texas Sen. John Cornyn is among a growing number of Senate Republicans who’ve begun to highlight their disagreements with President Donald Trump amid surprisingly competitive reelection races. “When I have had differences of opinion, which I have, [I] do that privately,” Cornyn said in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board released on Sunday, claiming that he’s previously clashed with Trump on border security and budget deficits. Cornyn’s interview comes shortly after leaked audio captured Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) criticizing Trump in a conversation with constituents this week.

“I don’t think the way he’s led through Covid has been reasonable or responsible or right,” Sasse said in audio obtained by the Washington Examiner. “The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.” And both follow comments by Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) — who avoided saying whether she was “proud” of her support for Trump at an October debate, and longstanding statements from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — who has consistently declined to say who she’s voting for in November.

As a whole, these remarks speak to a broader trend of Republicans doing what many GOP lawmakers have long been unwilling to do: signal a break with Trump. These efforts to create distance between themselves and the president come as voters’ aversion to Trump appears to be threatening key Republican-held Senate seats. Cornyn, Sasse, McSally, and Collins are all running for reelection. Of the four, only Sasse’s seat is seen as safe, partially because Trump has pushed more moderate Republicans away from the party in several battleground states. more...

By Benjamin Fearnow

President Donald Trump attended an up to $100,000-per person Newport Beach, California, fundraiser hosted by tech entrepreneur Palmer Luckey on Sunday, just days after calling Joe Biden a "servant of wealthy donors."

Trump on Friday told rallygoers in Macon, Georgia, that he "could be the world's greatest fundraiser," but has instead chosen not to reach out to Wall Street executives and other members of the wealthy elite. But on Sunday evening, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey and his wife, Nicole, are hosting Trump and top Republican National Committee members for a private, closed-door fundraiser. Tickets for the event at Luckey's home—which is set to feature a live performance by The Beach Boys—range from $2,800 for individual admission to $150,000 per couple.

Trump accused Biden of being beholden to "wealthy donors" who "got rich bleeding America dry" during a Friday rally, just hours after it was reported casino magnate and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson dropped $75 million into the president's re-election effort, and just two days before Luckey's $150,000-per couple event. more...

There's an easier way to lessen the impact of retaliatory agriculture tariffs: repeal our own
Baylen Linnekin

With the presidential election now just over two weeks away, President Donald Trump has mounted a frantic effort to ensure America's farmers, a key Trump voting bloc, will support his flagging re-election campaign. In short, he's shoving piles of cash their way. The New York Times details the "gush of funds" Trump has promised U.S. farmers—with more on the way. Some say total farm subsidies could top $40 billion this year. The Times says the figure may be as high as $46 billion. Either figure would be a record.

Generally, it appears Trump may see this sort of "massive pre-election stimulus" as his best hope for reelection. Critics have seized on the manner in which the Trump administration is subsidizing farmers—mostly outside of the traditional (though also lousy) programs funded under the five-year Farm Bill. "[T]he bulk of USDA payments to farmers since 2017 have flowed through stop-gap programs created by the Trump administration, with payment limits far larger than those that apply to the traditional farm program," Successful Farming reported in August.

The combination of farm subsidies included in the current Farm Bill and subsidies doled out under Trump's executive order means, the Times reports, that two out of every five dollars American farmers receive this year will come directly from taxpayers. Critics, including many Democrats, argue the funds are being doled out as political favors. They appear to have a point. Last month, for example, during an election rally in Wisconsin, Trump announced additional payments to farmers totaling $13 billion.

Non-partisan observers have also labeled them political handouts. "The Government Accountability Office found last month that $14.5 billion of farm aid in 2019 had been handed out with politics in mind," The Week reports. The Times, citing the same GAO report, also highlighted by some Democrats, shows farm subsidies last year appeared to be directed to "big farms in the Midwest and southern states," mirroring at least some segments of Trump's farm base. more...

By Jeff Peterson, opinion contributor

When asked about climate change and the environment in the first presidential debate, President Trump stated, “I want crystal clean water and air.” As we mark the 48th anniversary of the 1972 Clean Water Act on Oct. 18, the president’s words ring hollow. For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. But problems persist: In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that 46 percent of rivers and streams were in poor condition, contaminated with pollutants. That was also true of 21 percent of lakes and 14 percent of coastal waters.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s unrelenting rollback of clean water protections is stalling progress toward fixing these problems and endangering a half-century’s worth of gains. Let’s start with the budget. One core element of our nation’s commitment to clean water is federal funding to states to construct sewage treatment plants. For FY 2021, the president proposed to cut this funding by 32 percent. This cut would come at a time when the need for clean water infrastructure is estimated to be $271 billion. Worse, this reduction is in the context of a potentially devastating overall cut to the EPA budget in FY 2021 of 27 percent.

Enforcement is essential to meeting the Clean Water Act’s goal of “fishable and swimmable” waterways. But a new study looked at 14 years of data and reported a 70 percent decrease in Clean Water Act prosecutions under Trump. Report authors concluded, “It is hard to overstate the significance” of this decrease, speculating that one explanation may be “uncertainty about the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act” resulting from Trump administration regulatory changes to narrow the scope of waters protected by the act. more...

Rudy Giuliani has traveled abroad looking for dirt on the Bidens, developing relationships with shadowy figures, including a Ukrainian lawmaker.
Author: Associated Press

A New York tabloid's puzzling account about how it acquired emails purportedly from Joe Biden's son has raised some red flags. One of the biggest involves the source of the emails: Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has traveled abroad looking for dirt on the Bidens, developing relationships with shadowy figures, including a Ukrainian lawmaker who U.S. officials have described as a Russian agent and part of a broader Russian effort to denigrate the Democratic presidential nominee. Yet Giuliani says foreign sources didn't provide the Hunter Biden emails. He says a laptop containing the emails and intimate photos was simply abandoned in a Delaware repair shop and the shop owner reached out to Giuliani's lawyer.

That hasn't stopped the FBI from investigating whether the emails are part of a foreign influence operation. The emails have surfaced as U.S. officials have been warning that Russia, which backed Trump's 2016 campaign through hacking of Democratic emails and a covert social media campaign, is interfering again this year. The latest episode with Giuliani underscores the risk he poses to a White House that spent years confronted by a federal investigation into whether Trump associates had coordinated with Russia.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that intelligence agencies had warned the White House last year that Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation. The newspaper, citing four former officials, said that assessment was based on information including intercepted communications showing Giuliani had been in contact with people tied to Russian intelligence.

The newspaper said national security adviser Robert O'Brien had warned Trump that information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia, but that Trump brushed off the warning. Far from distancing himself from Giuliani, Trump has made the purported Hunter Biden emails one of his main talking points in the final weeks of the campaign as he tries to disparage his Democratic rival. more...

By The Republican Editorials

Joe Biden isn’t a radical. He also doesn’t support the Green New Deal, he doesn’t back Medicare for All, and he most decidedly isn’t on board with all the latest fads favored by members of the far-left, virtue-signaling set. Biden, by any reasonable measure, is an old-school, old-style Democrat, a solidly center-left member of his party. This is a central feature in his campaign to defeat President Donald J. Trump.

The former vice president took an exceedingly circuitous route to the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination on this, his third go-round. (He had first sought to be the party’s standard-bearer way back in 1988, and again tossed his hat into the ring in 2008. Neither campaign went anywhere.) This time around, he finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses, fifth in the New Hampshire primary, second in the Nevada caucuses and, then, won the South Carolina primary going away. Thereafter, Biden never looked back.

And remained all the while solidly in the center, in the mainstream of today’s Democratic Party. Trump has tried desperately to portray Biden as some sort of a fanatical leftie. Such feats of portraiture never took hold because they are a truly inaccurate picture of Biden the pragmatist. Biden’s normalcy is one of his greatest assets. So, too, is his experience. He served as Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years and did so admirably throughout. Before that, he was a U.S. senator from Delaware, first elected in 1972. more...

Martin Pengelly

Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan who was the subject of a rightwing plot to kidnap and possibly kill her over coronavirus lockdown measures, has accused Donald Trump of “inspiring and incentivising domestic terrorism”. Whitmer spoke after Lara Trump, a campaign surrogate for her father-in-law, insisted the president was merely “having fun” when he attacked Whitmer and responded to chants of “Lock her up!” at a rally in Muskegon.

“Lock ’em all up,” the president said. On Sunday, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Whitmer was asked about the coronavirus situation in her state and Trump’s encouragement of the chants against her. “It’s incredibly disturbing,” she said, “that the president of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap me, put me on trial and execute me was uncovered, the president is at it again and inspiring and incentivising and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism. “It is wrong. It’s got to end. It is dangerous not just for me and my family, but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans. People of goodwill on both sides of the aisle need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down. more...

By Kelsey Piper Oct 9, 2020, 12:30pm EDT

Since news broke that President Donald Trump, several of his staffers, and three Republican senators have tested positive for the coronavirus, people have been poring over pictures and video of Trump at various events, marveling at the lack of precautions. But which Trump moment was the worst offender for coronavirus exposure? The massive Rose Garden ceremony announcing his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court? The debate at the Cleveland Clinic where his family members and aides refused to abide by mask-wearing guidelines? The limo ride outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to wave at his supporters outside the hospital?

There’s an app for that. The website microcovid.org has a free tool that estimates the Covid-19 risk of different situations accounting for a range of factors. A San Francisco team, with input from doctors and researchers, has incorporated epidemiological studies on transmission risks from dozens of papers into the tool. The site attempts to provide a simple way to understand how the different risk factors for Covid-19 interact. For each situation, you enter risk factors: How many people are nearby? How close are they? For how long? Are people wearing masks? From there, the website quantifies risk using a metric called “microCOVID.” Borrowed from the term “micromort,” coined by Stanford engineer Ronald Howard for discussing mortality risk, a microcovid is a one-in-a-million chance of getting the virus.  more...

These are the White House officials, lawmakers, and others who have recently had the coronavirus.
By Benjamin Rosenberg, Tim Ryan Williams, and Sean Collins Updated Oct 15, 2020, 10:16am EDT

More than 20 people in and around the White House have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks — including President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron Trump. The president announced on October 2 that he and Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, joining several other high-ranking US government officials who have contracted SARS-CoV-2. Trump was given an experimental antibody treatment and oxygen at the White House, before being moved to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for three days.

Melania Trump recuperated at home. Barron Trump, his mother announced on October 14, tested positive after his parents; the first lady said he was asymptomatic and has since tested negative. Some prominent officials in the Trump administration have recently tested positive as well, including presidential adviser Stephen Miller, as well as press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and at least four members of her staff. McEnany — like others in the White House cluster — failed to immediately quarantine after Trump’s diagnosis, and she appeared in front of reporters without a mask in the following days.

While the administration has refused to conduct contact tracing, many Covid-19 cases in the cluster are believed to have originated around the time of a White House event — which took place indoors and outdoors — on September 26 honoring the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the federal coronavirus task force has called the gathering a “superspreader event,” criticizing it for being a “situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks.” more...

A comprehensive timeline of Trump encouraging hate groups and political violence.
By Fabiola Cineas

At the first presidential debate of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump shocked many viewers when he was given an opportunity to condemn white supremacists but declined. The president then told the Proud Boys, an alt-right hate organization, to “stand back” and “stand by.” While Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists was the talk of the debate, his decision to skirt the subject is precisely in line with how he’s historically addressed violence on the part of hate groups and his supporters: He emboldens it. As far back as 2015, Trump has been connected to documented acts of violence, with perpetrators claiming that he was even their inspiration. In fact, almost five dozen people, according to reports from the Guardian and ABC News, have enacted violence in Trump’s name.

In 2016, a white man told officers “Donald Trump will fix them” while being arrested for threatening his Black neighbors with a knife. That same year, a Florida man threatened to burn down a house next to his because a Muslim family purchased it, citing Trump’s Muslim ban made it a reason for “concern.” Then there are the more widely known examples, like Cesar Sayoc, who mailed 16 inoperative pipe bombs to Democratic leaders and referred to Trump as a “surrogate father”; and the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 that left 23 dead, where the shooter’s manifesto parroted Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants. more...

The Constitution mandates that everyone be counted in the 2020 census. Trump has stood in the way.
By Nicole Narea

County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the chief executive of Harris County, Texas, worried about an undercount in the 2020 census long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The county, the largest in Texas, has about 4.7 million residents, about 1 million of whom Hidalgo says fall into categories that are considered hard to count: More than 60 percent are Latino or Black, almost half speak a language other than English at home, a quarter are immigrants, and many are renters. An estimated 61,500 residents weren’t counted in the 2010 census.

The census will impact their political power over the next decade, controlling how congressional districts are redrawn in 2021 and how many people will represent Texas in Congress. And it will determine what federal funding the county, which includes the city of Houston, will receive for critical public services, from health care to education. An undercount in the 2010 census cost the county $1,161 per person in a single year under just five federal programs, more than $71 million total, according to one estimate. An undercount doesn’t just affect politics and general funding: It impairs local communities’ ability to effectively respond to public health emergencies, like the current pandemic, by making it harder to track the spread of disease and who is suffering the most. more...

By Kara Scannell and Erica Orden, CNN

New York (CNN) If things don't go Donald Trump's way on Election Day, the President may face more serious matters than how to pack up the West Wing. Without some of the protections afforded him by the presidency, Trump will become vulnerable to multiple investigations looking into possible fraud in his financial business dealings as a private citizen -- both as an individual and through his company. He faces defamation lawsuits sparked by his denials of accusations made by women who have alleged he assaulted them, including E. Jean Carroll, the former magazine columnist who has accused him of rape. And then there are claims he corrupted the presidency for his personal profits.

As President, Trump has been able to block and delay several of these investigations and lawsuits -- including a yearlong fight over a subpoena for his tax returns -- in part because of his official position. Many of those matters have wound through the courts and will come to a head whether he is reelected or not. But with the polls showing that Democratic rival Joe Biden is leading in the race, the stakes become much higher for Trump if he loses the election. A raft of legal issues, including a criminal investigation by New York prosecutors, will come into focus in the weeks after Election Day. "In every regard, his leaving office makes it easier for prosecutors and plaintiffs in civil cases to pursue their cases against him," said Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor in the Manhattan US attorney's office. "For example, he is claiming a higher protection from subpoenas in the criminal cases and also in the congressional subpoena cases, [and that] is based largely on the fact that he is President."

Some have suggested a formal apparatus for investigating Trump after he leaves office. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, has floated the creation of a "Presidential Crimes Commission," made up of independent prosecutors who can examine "those who enabled a corrupt president," as he put it in an August tweet. "Example 1: Sabotaging the mail to win an election." The most serious legal threat facing Trump is the Manhattan district attorney's broad criminal investigation into the financial workings of the Trump Organization. Prosecutors have suggested in court filings that the investigation could examine whether the President and his company engaged in bank fraud, insurance fraud, criminal tax fraud and falsification of business records. more...

By Hannah Knowles

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Saturday slammed President Trump’s rally in her state where people chanted “lock her up,” denouncing it as promoting “exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans.”

The chants — a familiar refrain deployed against political foes at Trump’s campaign events — came a little more than a week after authorities revealed a foiled plot to kidnap Whitmer, allegedly motivated in part by the belief that Michigan’s government was violating the Constitution with its coronavirus restrictions. Trump has repeatedly condemned Whitmer’s pandemic response as overly strict with calls to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and he reprised his criticisms at his Saturday campaign event in the swing state.

“You have got to get your governor to open up your state, okay?” he said to huge cheers at the rally in Muskegon, Mich. “And get your schools open.” The crowd began to chant for Whitmer’s imprisonment, and Trump shook his head at one point but did not tamp them down. “Lock ’em all up,” he said, as the chants continued amid a sea of red hats. Tori Saylor, deputy digital director for Whitmer, immediately criticized Trump’s behavior as dangerous. “I see everything that is said about and to her online,” Saylor tweeted. “Every single time the President does this at a rally, the violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media. It has to stop. It just has to.” more...

By Editorial

Chances are you’ve already made up your mind about whom to vote for as we decide who’s going to be the next president of the United States. You probably are also aware there’s no way The Hartford Courant or most any other newspaper is going to endorse Republican Donald Trump for reelection. There are many reasons for that, and we’re not going to go into them in great detail here. If you are voting for Democrat Joe Biden, you know what they are. If you’re voting for Trump, you probably don’t care.

But there is one issue that demands a closer look as we approach Election Day, one that even those of you who are pretty sure you’re voting Republican might want to think about before voting for Trump: race. Or, more specifically, racism and the damaging effects it has on the fabric and future of our nation.

President Trump’s views on race and his willingness to exploit deep-rooted divisions are well documented. He jump-started his 2016 campaign by equating Mexicans with rapists and drug dealers. When racist violence erupted at a Charlottesville, Va., white-supremacist rally, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.” And most recently, when asked during a debate with Biden to denounce white nationalism, Trump said it was time for the militaristic hate group the Proud Boys to step back — but also to “stand by.”

That alone should frighten you, but right about now is when some of you are probably saying that you don’t subscribe to the kind of racist invective Trump uses to fire up his base. You believe in the free market and low taxes, or you’re against abortion, or you just don’t trust the Democrats. But on race? You believe that all men and women are created equal. I see the person, you say, not the color of their skin. more...

Todd Spangler Detroit Free Press

For the second time, President Donald Trump held a Michigan rally on Saturday in which he made vastly exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the state's auto industry, suggesting wrongly that many auto plants have been built during his term. "We're building all these plants. You had the best year last year you ever had," Trump said during a speech that lasted for more than 1 1/2 hours at a rally at the Muskegon County Airport in west Michigan.

Two new major assembly facilities have been announced since Trump took office in January 2017, a Jeep plant on Detroit's east side and, last month, Ford said it would build a $700 million plant at the Rouge complex to make the all-electric F-150 truck. But that ignores a 40-day strike that rocked General Motors last year and the idling of Warren transmission. As of February, the month before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the state had lost 2,400 auto jobs during Trump's term. Since then, the number has fallen precipitously with 18,400 fewer auto jobs in the state compared to January 2017. It was only one of a number of falsehoods made by the president. more...

Sonam Sheth

President Donald Trump smirked when supporters at his campaign rally on Friday revived a familiar chant. "Lock him up!" they shouted as the president laughed. "Lock him up!" The chants were referring to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, whom Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have long accused of being in bed with corrupt Ukrainian interests.

Specifically, they allege that Biden inappropriately leveraged his role as vice president to shut down a criminal investigation into the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings to protect Hunter, who was serving on Burisma's board at the time. As Business Insider has previously reported, there is no evidence that these claims hold merit, and they've been debunked by intelligence assessments, media reports, congressional investigations, and witness testimony.

Regardless, the Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theory was turbocharged this week, after The New York Post published a widely discredited story purporting to show "smoking-gun" emails between Hunter Biden and a senior Burisma executive about setting up a meeting with Joe Biden when he was vice president in 2015.

The story was written by a former producer for the Fox News show "Hannity," and Giuliani was one of its primary sources. Shortly after, it was reported that federal authorities are investigating if the emails were part of a foreign influence operation. At a rally in Iowa on Wednesday, Trump touted the "explosive documents published by a very fine newspaper, The New York Post," which he said showed "that Joe Biden has been blatantly lying about his involvement in his son's corrupt business dealings." more...

Donald Trump knows that taxes are for the poor.
By Nicholas Kristof

While reading that President Trump had claimed $70,000 in highly dubious tax deductions for hair styling for his television show, I kept thinking about a homeless African-American woman named Tanya McDowell who was imprisoned for misleading officials to get her young son into a better school district. McDowell was sentenced to five years in prison in 2012, in part for drug offenses and in part for “larceny” because she had claimed her babysitter’s address so her son could attend a better school in Connecticut.

In some sense both Trump and McDowell appear to have cheated on their taxes. McDowell sent her son to a school district without paying taxes there. And according to The Times’s extraordinary reporting, Trump may have illegitimately claimed a $72.9 million refund that the I.R.S. is now trying to recover. In addition, my ace Times colleague James B. Stewart reported that hair styling is not a deductible expense and that, in any case, Trump’s hair expenses for his “Apprentice” TV shows should have been reimbursed by NBC — in which case Trump may have committed criminal tax fraud. The bottom line: We imprisoned the homeless tax cheat for trying to get her son a decent education, and we elevated the self-entitled rich guy with an army of lawyers and accountants so that he could monetize the White House as well. (Sure enough, Trump properties then charged the Secret Service enormous sums for hotel rooms and other fees while agents were protecting Trump.) more...

by: The Associated Press, WFLA 8 On Your Side Staff

MACON, Ga. (AP/WFLA) — Backed into a corner and facing financial strains, President Donald Trump went after his opponent’s family and defended his own struggle to contain the pandemic as he fought to energize his sagging reelection bid in the nation’s Sun Belt. With Election Day looming, Democrat Joe Biden pushed to keep voters focused on health care in the Midwest.

Trump campaigned ‘Friday in Florida and Georgia, neighboring states he carried four years ago and must win again to extend his presidency. His decision to devote Friday evening’s prime-time slot to Georgia in particular highlighted the serious nature of his challenge: Far from his original plan to expand into Democratic-leaning states, he is laboring to stave off a defeat of major proportions.

No Republican presidential candidate has lost Georgia since George H.W. Bush in 1992. And earlier this week, Trump had to court voters in Iowa, a state he carried by almost 10 points four years ago. In Macon, he cited support from former University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker to win favor from his rally crowd. “How good was Herschel Walker?” Trump said as the Georgia crowd roared. “He’s on our side, and he’s an incredible guy.” more...

Anderson Cooper 360

A day after President Donald Trump refused to denounce a QAnon conspiracy theory, CNN's Gary Tuchman asked Trump supporters at a Macon, Georgia, rally about the viral cult. video...

Opinion by Samantha Vinograd

(CNN) President Donald Trump is a consistent creature in a lot of respects, especially when it comes to helping Russia and hurting the US. For years, Trump has engaged in behavior that makes Russian President Vladimir Putin's job of sowing discord, spreading disinformation and undermining our democracy a lot easier -- especially when Trump thinks it might benefit him. Trump has also signaled that he's open to receiving dirt on a political rival from a foreign country. What's more, no other President has a friends-and-family list so littered with people with connections to Russia.

Trump associates "presented attractive targets for foreign influence, creating notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities," according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report released in August. But Trump has refused to change his own behavior -- let alone tell his team to clean up their counterintelligence posture. That's why new reports that US intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was being targeted by Russian intelligence come as no surprise.

US intelligence officials-- according to four former officials, cited by the Washington Post as familiar with the matter-- were concerned that Giuliani, who was interacting with people linked to Russian intelligence, would act as a foot soldier in Moscow's information warfare against the US and feed misinformation back to Trump. Despite these direct warnings, however, Trump didn't tell Giuliani to cease and desist. Instead, Trump simply shrugged and kept him close. Every American should remember what this means: Trump has given Russia a free pass to attack our democracy.

Trump should know full well what Russia is up to. For four years, the President has been briefed on malign Russian activities. He has access to detailed, classified information, and the FBI alerted Trump to foreign intelligence threats back in 2016, when he was still a candidate. His own administration has publicly imposed sanctions against Russian entities and individuals for their election interference. The Special Counsel report also detailed ways Russia targeted Trump campaign officials as part of a wider influence campaign, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report did the same in even greater detail. more...

*** That would be great for America, good riddance to bad rubbish. The real reason Trump may leave is so he does not go to jail for all the shit he has pulled. Trump and his enablers need to go to jail lock them up, lock them all up. ***

President says he cannot face defeat by former vice president
Graeme Massie

Donald Trump has said he might leave the US if he loses the White House to Joe Biden on election day. Mr Trump was talking about the prospect of his Democratic rival winning the upcoming election during his latest Make America Great Again campaign rally in Macon, Georgia. The president told the crowd that Mr Biden was the “worst candidate in the history of presidential elections” and that he could not face the prospect of being defeated by the former vice president.

“Can you imagine if I lose, my whole life, what am I going to do? I am going to say I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics?” Mr Trum said. “I am not going to feel so good, maybe I will have to leave the country, I don’t know,” Mr Trump added, while drawing laughs from the crowd. Earlier Mr Trump had laughed as he called for Mr Biden and his family to be jailed. more...

“Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” Perdue (R-Ga.) said at a rally in Macon.
By MATTHEW CHOI

Republican Sen. David Perdue mocked Sen. Kamala Harris on Friday, derisively mispronouncing the Democratic vice presidential candidate's name during a campaign rally in Georgia. “Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” Perdue (R-Ga.) said at a rally in Macon, just before President Donald Trump was set to take the stage.

Mispronouncing Harris' first name has become a common attack within the Trump camp. The president routinely does so in a mocking way during his political rallies, even though he has correctly said it in less rowdy settings. Perdue and Harris (D-Calif.) have served together in the Senate since 2017. Harris, who is the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, is the first woman of color nominated to a major political party ticket.

Perdue is currently facing a competitive race against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, who tweeted a video of the senator mocking Harris on Friday. "Senator Perdue never would have done this to a male colleague. Or a white colleague," Ossoff wrote. "And everyone knows it." more...

Jon WardSenior Political Correspondent,Yahoo News

President Trump “attempts to hijack our faith for votes,” the writer Jerusha Duford — Billy Graham’s granddaughter — said Thursday in a Zoom call sponsored by one of a growing number of evangelical groups that have formed to encourage Christians to vote for Joe Biden. Trump’s “attempts to hijack our faith for votes, and evangelical leaders’ silence on his actions and behavior, has presented a picture of what our faith looks like that is so erroneous that it has done significant damage to the way people view Jesus,” said Duford on the call, which was sponsored by Not Our Faith PAC, a bipartisan group formed just this week with the explicit goal of trying to defeat Trump.

“I spent the better part of my life watching my grandfather look to be an example of Jesus, to how to conduct himself and how to treat people. Scripture talks about doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly, and these are tenets of our faith that I do not believe our president demonstrates in any way,” she said. Her grandfather, the most famous evangelist of the 20th century, was friends with presidents of both parties and avoided direct involvement in electoral politics. Her uncle Franklin Graham is one of Trump’s most prominent backers on the Christian right. more...

Walton suggests White House counsel’s office may have gone rogue
By JOSH GERSTEIN

A federal judge demanded on Friday that the White House counsel’s office confirm directly with President Donald Trump whether he stands by a series public statements he made declaring that he’d declassified all information related to the probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

After news outlets suing for access to government records from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation reported Trump’s statements to the court, a Justice Department official said he’d checked with the White House counsel’s office and officials there said the president’s statements were not intended to effect any further release of information.

But at a hearing Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said the secondhand word of an unnamed official in the White House counsel’s office wasn’t good enough to countermand what appeared to be a series of clear statements from Trump that he wanted all the information out.

“I think the American public has a right to rely upon what the president says about what his intent is,” said Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “It seems to me that when a president makes an unambiguous statement of what his intent is, I can’t rely upon White House counsel saying, 'Well, that was not his intent.' Maybe White House counsel talked to the president. Maybe they didn’t, but I can’t tell.”  more...

by Cedric 'BIG CED' Thornton

Ever since President Donald Trump was afflicted with the coronavirus and had to be hospitalized, the president was anxious to get back on the trails to hold rallies in support of his re-election bid. The first public rally since Trump was hospitalized that took place this past Saturday was held on the White House South Lawn. Although the president hasn’t been home a week from his bout with the coronavirus, the event didn’t require any social distancing, testing, or even face masks for attendees.

According to ABC News, some of the Black guests that attended Saturday’s White House event on the South Lawn had their travel and lodging paid for by controversial conservative pundit Candace Owens and her group BLEXIT (a campaign urging Black Americans to leave the Democratic Party), according to emails obtained by ABC News.

Those attendees were also scheduled to attend a separate BLEXIT event before the rally at the White House earlier in the day. They were invited to attend a “HUGE outdoor rally” by the group and also asked to fill out a form that informed them that BLEXIT will be paying for their travel costs. Guests were later informed they would be receiving an invitation from the White House to attend an event with Trump. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) President Donald Trump is the only modern American president to never release any of his tax returns -- either while running for office or during his time in office. He's offered a series of explanations for why that is, including that he is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and that his taxes are too complicated for anyone to understand. The questions surrounding Trump's tax returns have only grown more urgent in the wake of a series of New York Times articles based on copies of Trump's returns they were able to obtain, that suggest, among many other things, that Trump has paid little to no federal taxes in the last two decades and that he is personally responsible for more than $400 million in loans that come due over the next four years. Which brings me to Thursday's town hall with Trump -- in which moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the President about his loans and his tax returns. I'm posting the full exchange -- warning: it's very long -- between the two because, well, you have to see it to believe it. Here we go: more...

Selena Simmons-Duffin

The Trump administration announced a new partnership with two major national pharmacy chains to facilitate the distribution of a future coronavirus vaccine to nursing homes on Friday. "Today, I'm thrilled to announce that we have just finalized a partnership with CVS and Walgreens," President Trump told a group in Fort Myers, Fla., at an event centered on seniors. He said the plan was for the pharmacies to "deliver the vaccine directly to nursing homes at no cost to our seniors."

The Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Program is part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed effort. No coronavirus vaccines have yet been authorized by the government, though several vaccine candidates are in the final stages of clinical trials. "Early in the COVID-19 vaccination program, there may be a limited supply of vaccine and our planning efforts need to focus on those at highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19," Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters on a press call. more...

Dan Alexander Forbes Staff

No aspect of Donald Trump’s business has been the subject of more speculation than his debt load. Lots of people believe the president owes $400 million, especially after Trump seemed to agree with that figure on national television Thursday night. In reality, however, he owes more than $1 billion. The loans are spread out over more than a dozen different assets—hotels, buildings, mansions and golf courses. Most are listed on the financial disclosure report Trump files annually with the federal government. Two, which add up to an estimated $447 million, are not.

It is important to note, as Trump did Thursday night, that he also has significant assets. Forbes values them at $3.66 billion, enough to make his net worth an estimated $2.5 billion. He is not broke, despite what many critics claim. Some people also like to suggest that Deutsche Bank is the only institution willing to lend to Trump. That’s not true. The president’s creditors include at least six other institutions, two of which began or reworked deals while the president was in office.  

One reason for all the confusion: Trump’s loans are not fully transparent. It’s still unclear to whom he owes an estimated $162 million against his skyscraper in San Francisco, for example. The loan against 1290 Avenue of the Americas is also something of a mystery. And it’s difficult to pin down the amount the president owes on a loan tied to his Bedford, New York, mansion. When asked about all of this, the Trump Organization did not respond. Here’s what we know—and don’t know—about the president’s debt. more...

By Christina Zhao

A Florida woman who praised President Donald Trump for being "handsome" during Thursday night's NBC town hall event in Miami has revealed that she is voting for Democratic Nominee Joe Biden. Paulette Dean, a registered Republican who lives in Palm Beach County, prompted strong reactions on social media after she complimented Trump on his appearance. "Good evening Mr. President, I have to say you have a great smile," she said at the town hall. "You're so handsome when you smile." Speaking to the Miami New Times on her way home from the event, Dean revealed she plans to vote for Biden and insisted that she's not a fan of the president. more...

Health department’s legal concerns about the drug-card plan for seniors could delay plans to promote it beyond Election Day
By DAN DIAMOND

The health department’s top lawyer is warning in an internal memo that President Donald Trump's plan to give seniors $200 discount cards to buy prescription drugs could violate election law, according to three officials with knowledge of those legal concerns. The lawyer’s objection, coupled with his advice to seek approval from the Department of Justice, is a significant blow to Trump’s hope to promote the hastily devised plan before Election Day.

Robert Charrow, a political appointee who serves as the Health and Human Services department's general counsel, warned in the memo that the plan's timing and design could invite legal challenges, those officials said. For instance, Charrow cautioned health officials that moving forward with the proposed $7.9 billion plan — which would be paid for by dipping into one of Medicare's trust funds, and which senior Trump appointees had hoped to tout in letters sent to millions of seniors this week — would spark concerns about inappropriately using federal funds so close to the election.

Meanwhile, Charrow and his office late last week instructed administration officials to seek guidance from the DOJ's public integrity section, which deals with election crimes, before moving forward with the drug-discount plan. That has further stalled the plan as the health department waits for DOJ review, said two officials. more...

Joel Shannon USA TODAY

President Donald Trump abruptly changed course Friday on denying California federal aid for wildfires that have scorched the state, a decision that came hours after Governor Gavin Newsom vowed to appeal an initial denial. "Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response," Newsom said in a statement Friday.

The state had planned to appeal a denial from the administration and believed it had a strong case. Earlier in the day, Newsom responded on Twitter to a New York Times report on the administration's "rare refusal" with a promise to appeal. Friday's exchange is just the latest example of ongoing finger-pointing between California and the Trump administration over wildfires.

Newsom says the increasing intensity and frequency of the wildfires are evidence of global warming, but Trump has sought to blame forest management. This year's wildfires have burned more than 4 million acres — more than double the previous record. “If that’s not proof point, testament, to climate change, then I don’t know what is,” Newsom previously said. more...

The New York Times

President Trump praised the killing of Michael Reinoehl, suspected of fatally shooting a far-right protester, as “retribution.” Our investigation found that officers may have shot without warning or seeing a gun. video....

US Marshals task force did not identify themselves before killing Antifa activist Michael Reinoehl in Washington state last month, US media reports.

New witness accounts into the fatal police shooting of an anti-fascist activist in the US state of Washington last month have revealed that the officers involved did not identify themselves as they moved in to arrest the suspect, US media has reported. Michael Reinoehl, 48, was wanted on a charge of murder of right-wing activist Aaron Danielson when members of a US Marshals Service task force shot and killed him on September 3 in the Lacey suburb of Olympia after he left an apartment building and got in a car, according to police.

At the time, the Marshals Service claimed in a statement: “Initial reports indicate the suspect [Reinoehl] produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers.” According to a report in the New York Times on Tuesday, at least 21 witnesses told the newspaper they had not heard the police identify themselves or give any commands before opening fire. Five witnesses said the shooting began as soon as the task force vehicles arrived and that Reinoehl appeared unarmed. more...

By Eric Bradner and Sarah Mucha, CNN

(CNN) Joe Biden said President Donald Trump bears blame for the alleged domestic terrorist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, pointing in a speech Friday to Trump's calls on Twitter to "liberate Michigan" in the wake of the Democratic governor's coronavirus-related restrictions. Describing the alleged plot, Biden said, "It's the sort of behavior you might expect from ISIS and it should shock the conscience of every American. Every American."

He continued, "And the failure to condemn these folks is stunning from the outset," adding, "When the President tweeted, 'liberate Michigan,' 'liberate Michigan,' that's the call that was heard. That was the dog whistle." Biden's comments, as he campaigned in Michigan on Friday alongside Whitmer and Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, who is facing a competitive reelection, came the week after the FBI revealed it had uncovered an extremist group's plot to kidnap Whitmer at the state Capitol. The alleged scheme included plans to overthrow several state governments that the suspects "believe are violating the US Constitution," including the government of Michigan and Whitmer, according to a federal criminal complaint.

After the alleged plot was revealed, Trump continued to attack Whitmer and did not explicitly denounce the group behind the alleged plot.
Biden also condemned Trump for his response to White supremacists rallying in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 -- a moment the former vice president has long said led him to decide to run against Trump. "Hate never goes away; it hides," Biden said. "We need to be clear from the President on down in this country: There is no place for hate in America." more...

By Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen, Michael Warren, Evan Perez, Alex Marquardt and Mark Morales, CNN

(CNN) US authorities are investigating whether recently published emails that purport to detail the business dealings of Joe Biden's son in Ukraine and China are connected to an ongoing Russian disinformation effort targeting the former vice president's campaign, a US official and a congressional source briefed on the matter said. The conservative-leaning New York Post claimed in a series of articles this week that it obtained "smoking-gun" emails about Hunter Biden and his dealings in Ukraine. CNN has not determined the authenticity of the emails.

President Donald Trump and his allies have used this topic to smear the Bidens over the past year and seized on the recent articles to attack Biden in the final weeks of the presidential election. The specific new allegations touch on the same topics as the Kremlin's ongoing disinformation campaign against the Bidens, which the US intelligence community said this summer was intended to weaken Biden's candidacy against Trump. The FBI is leading the investigation, the official and congressional source said. NBC was first to report the inquiry.

The probe is part of a larger investigation into Russian disinformation that dates back to before the impeachment inquiry last fall. The alleged disinformation campaign is aimed at tying the former vice president to his son's dealings with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, according to US officials familiar with the matter. The New York Post says it obtained the emails through two Trump confidants: His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Giuliani has openly coordinated with a known Russian agent to promote disinformation about the Bidens. The Washington Post reported Thursday the White House, and Trump personally, were warned in 2019 that Giuliani "was being used to feed Russian misinformation" to the President. Separately, Bannon was recently charged by the Justice Department with orchestrating a million-dollar fraud scheme and accused of deceiving thousands of donors to his nonprofit. more...

By Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent

(CNN) Former White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, has told friends that President Donald Trump "is the most flawed person" he's ever known. "The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it's more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life," the retired Marine general has told friends, CNN has learned. The reporting comes from a new CNN special scheduled to air Sunday night, "The Insiders: A Warning from Former Trump Officials," in which former senior administration officials -- including former national security adviser John Bolton, former Health and Human Services scientist Rick Bright and former Department of Homeland Security general counsel John Mitnick -- explain why they think the President is unfit for office.

Kelly's sentiments about the President's transactional nature and dishonesty have been shared by other former members of the Trump administration who also appear in the special. Olivia Troye, a former top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, has said the President knew about the impact the coronavirus pandemic would have on the US by mid-February, but that "he didn't want to hear it, because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year." Miles Taylor, a former DHS chief of staff who now serves as a CNN contributor, has asserted Trump essentially calls individuals within the federal government who disagree with him "deep state." Elizabeth Neumann, another former DHS official, had criticized Trump for not condemning White supremacy after the first presidential debate in September. "The fact that he continues to not be able to just point-blank say, 'I condemn White supremacy.' It boggles the mind," she told CNN at the time. more...


By Mark Jurkowitz and Amy Mitchell

Attitudes about the coronavirus outbreak differ widely by party in the United States. But among Republicans, opinions also differ considerably by source of news, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who rely most on President Donald Trump and his coronavirus task force for news about COVID-19 – one of 10 news sources the Center asked about – stand out in several ways in their attitudes about the outbreak. For example, 89% of Republicans in this group say the U.S. has controlled the outbreak as much as it could have, compared with 59% of Republicans who don’t rely most on Trump and the task force.

Republicans who turn to Trump for coronavirus news are also more likely than other Republicans to say the pandemic has been overblown, that Trump is getting the facts about the outbreak right and that public health organizations are not getting the facts right, according to the survey, conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 7 as part of the Center’s American News Pathways project. The poll was fielded before Trump tested positive for the virus and was hospitalized. more...

By Noah Bierman, Chris Megerian

WASHINGTON — Nearly four decades ago, after erecting his eponymous skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, Donald Trump would sit behind his rosewood desk and muse about working in an even more powerful office. “These politicians don’t know anything,” he said. “Maybe I should run for president. Wouldn’t that be something?” Barbara Res, a longtime executive in Trump’s real estate company, brushed off the idea right up until he was elected president. Now that he’s in the final weeks of his reelection campaign, Res has written a new book titled “Tower of Lies” urging Americans not to give him a second term. The book recounts racist, anti-Semitic and sexist behavior, along with Trump’s ability to lie “so naturally” that “if you didn’t know the actual facts, he could slip something past you.”

“The seeds of who he is today were planted back when I worked with him,” Res wrote. “He was able to control others, through lies and exaggeration, with promises of money or jobs, through threats of lawsuits or exposure. He surrounded himself with yes-men, blamed others for his own failures, never took responsibility, and always stole credit. These tactics are still at work, just deployed at the highest levels of the U.S. government, with all the corruption and chaos that necessarily ensue.” more...

By Brian Niemietz New York Daily News

By the time he’s done, President Trump may have turned out more writers than any university. Longtime Trump associate Barbara A. Res is the latest author to pen a tell-all about her time with the president and it’s called “Tower of Lies.” According to the Los Angeles Times, which scored a copy of the tome that’s due out next week, the stories are new, but the central character if the same old lying, cheating, sexist, racist leading man featured in books by the president’s niece, former lawyer and numerous other associates.

“He was able to control others, through lies and exaggeration, with promises of money or jobs, through threats of lawsuits or exposure," writes Res, who spent 18 years working for Trump’s real estate company. "He surrounded himself with yes-men, blamed others for his own failures, never took responsibility, and always stole credit. These tactics are still at work, just deployed at the highest levels of the U.S. government, with all the corruption and chaos that necessarily ensue.” Res also writes that Trump instructed her not to have black people visible in his building’s lobbies or on work sites. According to Res, that’s not what Trump thought people coming in to buy expensive apartments wanted to see. more...

Hansi Lo Wang

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the Trump administration's request to speed up the appeal of a lower court ruling that is blocking the president's attempt to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers used to reallocate seats in Congress. The move sets up an expedited legal fight that includes a hearing before the high court on Nov. 30, a month before federal law says the latest state population counts for reapportioning the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the states are due to the president. The timing increases the potential for Trump to try to make the unprecedented change to who is included in the numbers while he is in the White House. more...

By Ariane de Vogue and Gregory Wallace, CNN

(CNN) The Supreme Court will take up President Donald Trump's effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted when congressional seats are reallocated among the 50 states next year based on 2020 census data. In a brief order Friday, the court set oral arguments for November 30. Trump's nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett may be on the bench by then, if her Senate vote goes as expected and she is confirmed this month. The court's order comes after the justices allowed the Trump administration, earlier in the week, to wind down the census count.

A three-judge federal panel issued an injunction last month blocking the Commerce Department from carrying out Trump's directive on the congressional count. "Throughout the Nation's history, the figures used to determine the apportionment of Congress," the court held, "have included every person residing in the United States at the time of the census, whether citizen or non-citizen and whether living here with legal status or without." Trump's July 21, 2020, memo violates the laws that govern the census and apportionment because it mandates that the commerce secretary provide the President with a set of numbers that excludes undocumented immigrants, the court ruled. "By doing so, the Presidential Memorandum violates Congress's mandate to use the results of the census -- and only the results of the census -- in connection with the apportionment process," the court held. more...

Jeff Cox

Efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic left the U.S. government submerged in red ink as its fiscal year came to a close. The final tally for the budget deficit in fiscal 2020 came to $3.13 trillion, more than triple last year’s shortfall of $984 billion and double the previous record of $1.4 trillion in 2009, courtesy of a stimulus package passed that year to battle the financial crisis. Most of the damage to this year’s budget came due to the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion spending package that included extra unemployment compensation to workers displaced during the pandemic and forgivable loans to business as an incentive to retain workers.

Receipts for the year came to $3.42 trillion against outlays of $6.55 trillion, the biggest of which came during June when the government spent $1.1 trillion, according to the Treasury Department. The fiscal year ended with government debt at just under $27 trillion, all but $6 trillion of which is held by the public. Tax collections came in at 1.61 trillion for the year, $203 billion less than estimated in the budget. Corporate tax collections missed the budget estimate by $51.8 billion while social insurance and retirement receipts were $2.1 billion below. more...

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump doubled down on his refusal to denounce QAnon conspiracy theorists, saying in a nationally televised town hall Thursday night that "they are very much against pedophilia" and he agrees with that sentiment. In a heated exchange, NBC News' Savannah Guthrie asked Trump if he could state that the prevailing conspiracy devised by QAnon was not true. "I know nothing about QAnon," Trump responded. "I just told you," Guthrie said. Trump fired back, saying, "What you tell me doesn't necessarily make it fact."

QAnon's main conspiracy theories -- none based in fact -- claim dozens of Satan-worshipping politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse. Followers also believe there is a "deep state" effort to annihilate Trump and that the President is secretly working to bust these pedophilic cabals. The President claimed that all he knows about the movement, which has had a prevalent presence at his campaign rallies, is that "they are very much against pedophilia" and that he agrees with that sentiment. Followers of the group -- which has been labeled a domestic terror threat by the FBI -- have also peddled baseless theories surrounding mass shootings and elections and have falsely claimed that 5G cellular networks are spreading the coronavirus. more...

By: FOX 13 News

WASHINGTON — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney wasn't finished with President Trump after Tuesday's scathing Tweet ripping him and other leaders about the current state of U.S. politics. On Friday, Romney took to Twitter again to attack Trump's refusal to denounce QAnon during last night's nationally-televised town town hall in Miami.

When questioned by NBC's Savannah Guthrie about QAnon, Trump said he knew nothing about it, but said "I do know they are very much against pedophilia." Guthrie followed up by saying, "You do know," but Trump insisted he did not. QAnon believes a group of political and Hollywood elites run a worldwide child sex-trafficking rink and that Trump will stop them. more...

The U.S. wasn't spying on Giuliani, but on people with whom he talked, including Andrii Derkach, identified by the Treasury Department as a Russian agent.
By Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee

WASHINGTON — The CIA and other spy agencies gathered intelligence on Rudy Giuliani's dealings with alleged Russian intelligence agents last year and passed that information on to the White House, a source familiar with the matter tells NBC News. The existence of the intelligence was first reported by the Washington Post and later confirmed by the New York Times, both of which reported that White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned President Donald Trump about it. NBC News has not confirmed that detail. The Post cited four former officials while the Times relied on four current and former officials.

John Ullyot, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said in a statement that "the characterization of the meeting as described in reports is not accurate," but he did not dispute that the president was informed that his lawyer was dealing with alleged Russian agents. Spokespersons for the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. American intelligence agencies were not spying on Giuliani, but on the people with whom he was talking, said the source, including Andrii Derkach, who has been identified by the Treasury Department as a Russian agent. That collection led them to learn about Giuliani's dealings with Derkach and other Russian operatives who wanted to feed him information attempting to discredit Democrat Joe Biden, the source said. more...

By Julian E. Barnes, Eric Schmitt and Maggie Haberman

WASHINGTON — The intelligence agencies warned the White House late last year that Russian intelligence officers were using President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani as a conduit for disinformation aimed at undermining Joe Biden’s presidential run, according to four current and former U.S. officials.

The agencies imparted the warning months before disclosing publicly in August that Moscow was trying to interfere in the election by taking aim at Biden’s campaign, officials said. Trump and Giuliani have promoted unsubstantiated claims about Biden that have aligned with Russian disinformation efforts, and Giuliani has met with a Ukrainian lawmaker who U.S. officials believe is a Russian agent.

Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, presented the warning about Giuliani to Trump in December. Two former officials gave conflicting accounts about its nature. One said the report was presented to Trump as unverified and vague, but another said the intelligence agencies had developed solid and credible information that Giuliani was being “worked over” by Russian operatives.

Trump shrugged it off, officials said, but the first former official cautioned that his reaction could have been colored in part by other information given to him not long before that appeared to back some of Giuliani’s claims about Ukraine. The specifics of that material were unclear. more...

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) The White House was warned in 2019 that President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani "was being used to feed Russian misinformation" to the President, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Citing conversations with four former officials familiar with the matter, the Post said that US intelligence agencies warned the White House that Giuliani "was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence" in which Trump was the intended recipient of the misinformation. The paper said the warnings were "based on multiple sources, including intercepted communications, that showed Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine, where he was gathering information that he thought would expose corrupt acts by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter." One of the former officials told the Post that the warnings caused national security adviser Robert O'Brien to privately warn Trump that "any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia." more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Two months ago, President Donald Trump went on with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt to talk about a MAJOR scandal involving, among others, former Vice President Joe Biden. "We're talking about unmasking, yes," Trump told Hewitt on August 11. "That was a big deal. Horrible deal where they unmasked him so many times. I think he's got to have the record for unmasking. Maybe I do, you know, because we're still looking how many times did they unmask me. Let's find that out, too, because look, they were spying on our campaign." What Trump was referencing -- since it's, uh, hard to figure out from his quote -- is the practice of senior administration officials requesting to know an individual's name in order to better understand an intelligence report. (As a matter of policy, all names of individuals are redacted in intelligence reports.) The process, which is known as "unmasking," is relatively rare but not entirely unheard of. In May, Republican Sens. Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) released the names of a number of Obama administration officials who might have sought to unmask Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn's identity in intelligence reports in the run-up to Trump taking office. (The names were on a document that had been recently declassified by Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.) more...

By Fredreka Schouten, CNN

(CNN) Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his physician wife, Miriam, poured a whopping $75 million into a super PAC launched in late August to aid President Donald Trump's reelection, new filings show. The couple's donations to Preserve America PAC, delivered in several installments in August and September, account for nearly $9 out of every $10 the political action committee raised through September 30, according to its first report with the Federal Election Commission. Other donors include Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, who contributed $5 million, and Wisconsin roofing magnate Diane Hendricks, who gave $1 million. In all, the group has raised nearly $83.8 million.

The PAC's heavy spending on Trump's behalf in key battleground states is aimed at providing last-minute help to the President as his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, raises enormous sums from an enthusiastic liberal donor base and leads Trump in the polls. This week, Biden announced that his campaign and its shared Democratic Party committees had collected $383 million in September, setting fundraising records for the second month in a row. The former vice president started October and the final, full month of campaigning with $432 million remaining in the bank, according to campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon. Trump's campaign, the Republican National Committee and their joint fundraising committees raised nearly $248 million in September, and Trump has $251 million in cash on hand. The President also lagged behind Biden's political operation in fundraising and cash reserves at the end of August. more...


By Justine Coleman

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Thursday that he “was wrong” not to wear a face mask at the White House after testing positive for COVID-19 and spending a week in the hospital. Christie told The New York Times that he thought he was in a “safe zone” when he attended the Sept. 26 event where President Trump officially nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Days later on Oct. 1, President Trump announced he and the first lady had tested positive for COVID-19.

The former governor announced his positive test on Oct. 3 and checked into the hospital after his doctor recommended he do so due to his asthma and weight. He spent days in the intensive care unit of Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey.  Christie said in his interview that people should take the coronavirus seriously by wearing masks and social distancing but said there should be a balance between shutting things down and reopening without necessary precautions.

The White House is looking into Barrett’s nomination event, which Anthony Fauci called a "superspreader event," as the cause of the spread of COVID-19 to more than a dozen people, according to the Times. more...

By Andrew J. CampaStaff Writer

The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state, including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties. The decision came late Wednesday or early Thursday when the administration denied a request from Gov. Gavin Newsom for a major presidential disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication and media relations for the governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Ferguson could not provide a reason for the federal government’s denial. more...

CNN

Washington (CNN) Republican Sen. Ben Sasse criticized President Donald Trump earlier this week during a phone call with constituents, saying a number of unflattering things about the President, including that he's "flirted with White supremacists" and "kisses dictators' butts," his office confirmed to CNN. "The way he kisses dictators' butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uyghurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn't lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers," Sasse said in response to a constituent's question about his relationship with Trump and his past criticisms of the President. video...

*** Didn’t Trump say Mexico would pay for the wall? They have not and will not. Now he says China will pay for the Trump Flu how stupid does Donald J. Trump think we are, and why would China pay for Trump’s failures and stupidity for not addressing the Trump Flu like other countries who have a better handle on it than us. ***

By Jacob Jarvis

President Donald Trump has suggested China will somehow cover the costs of the next coronavirus relief package in the United States. Amid a stalemate in talks, he has said he would go higher in terms of spending on a stimulus bill—and that China would foot the bill. "I would [go higher] because this was not caused by our workers and our people, this was caused by China and China will pay us back in one form or another," he said, in an interview with Fox Business. "We're gonna take it from China. I tell you now, it's coming out of China. They're the ones that caused this problem." Asked how this would work, in terms of getting money from the nation, he said: "There's a lot of ways and I'll figure everyone of them out. I already have them figured out." more...

Joseph Zeballos-Roig

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in Kentucky on Thursday he wouldn't put a coronavirus relief bill negotiated between the White House and Democrats up for a vote on the Senate floor, effectively torpedoing a deal. During a campaign appearance, McConnell was asked whether he believed a compromise was possible in the realm between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion, the price tags under consideration.

"I don't think so… That's where the administration's willing to go," he said. "My members think what we laid out, a half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go. So that's what I'm gonna put on the floor. " McConnell referred to the ongoing negotiations between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a stimulus package. "That's not what I'm gonna put on the floor," he said. more...

As the U.S. Supreme Court allows the census to end early, the president-elect of the American Statistical Association says he expects a drastic undercount.
By Kriston Capps

Every ten years, as the U.S. Census Bureau completes its constitutionally mandated count of the population of the U.S., it faces new obstacles. But the 2020 census has weathered some extraordinary blows, from challenges rolling out new technology to political machinations over the questionnaire itself.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the Census Bureau to extend the window for going door-to-door to count households that had not yet responded. Instead of wrapping up operations in July, the Census Bureau — with the support of the White House — set a deadline of Oct. 31. The agency also asked Congress to move the date for submitting the final count from December to April 2021.

Then the ground shifted. In July, the White House decided it wanted the data sooner, announcing that the final count was due in December after all, and that nonresponse follow-ups should wrap up early to give the agency time to finalize the data — five months earlier than the Census Bureau requested. “It was a bombshell. The White House determined that they wanted the count before the end of the year,” says Robert Santos, vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute and the president-elect of the American Statistical Association. more...

By Frances Mulraney For Dailymail.com

The former Navy SEAL who shot dead Osama bin Laden hit out at the QAnon conspiracy theory pushed by President Donald Trump that claims Biden had SEAL Team Six killed after the raid. Robert O'Neill, 44, appeared with Chris Cuomo on CNN on Wednesday night to voice his disgust that the 'highest-ranking person in the country' would be 'trampling on the graves of some of the best heroes' by claiming the team had not killed Bin Laden.   The online theory has suggested that O'Neill only killed a body double of bin Laden in the 2011 raid and that the Obama and Biden administration were implicated in the killing of the mission's team to cover it up. It also claims that bin Laden is still alive. more...

*** Once again, Trump is praising our enemies over an American. Trump is the anti-American president. ***

By Brendan Cole

President Donald Trump has acclaimed the smarts of the leaders of China, Russia and North Korea as he took a swipe at the sharpness of his Democratic rival, Joe Biden. During a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Trump followed his well-worn script in casting doubt on Biden's mental agility, telling his supporters that a decline with age was inevitable for everyone. "Joe is shot, OK, whether you like it or not. We can all be nice, it's going to be my turn some day. It's even going to be your turn some day, my friends," Trump said on Wednesday, "but you know when it is your turn, you can't be president."

"One thing I've learnt, President XI of China's one hundred percent. Putin of Russia, 100 percent," he said, pointing to his head as he praised the mental acuity of the strongman leaders. He continued: "Kim Jong Un—by the way what happened to that war we were supposed to be in? Kim Jong Un of North Korea—100 percent," he said, referring to the leader who last week shed tears during a military parade speech, lamenting how he had not created a better economy. more...


Thomas Franck

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the White House won’t let differences over funding targets for Covid-19 testing derail stimulus talks with top Democrats. Later, President Donald Trump said that he would raise his offer for a stimulus package above his current level of $1.8 trillion. House Democrats have passed a $2.2 trillion bill. “I would. Absolutely I would. I would say more. I would go higher. Go big or go home, I said it yesterday,” the president told Fox Business.

“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to give anything. She thinks it helps her with the election,” Trump continued. “And I don’t think so. I think it hurts her with the election because everyone knows she’s holding it up. We’re not holding it up. She’s holding it up.” The president also took a swipe at his Treasury secretary: “So far he hasn’t come home with the bacon.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the lead negotiator for Democrats, had identified testing as one of the main sticking points in talks. Mnuchin appeared to cede ground to the speaker in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“That issue is getting overblown,” Mnuchin said. “We’ve agreed to $178 billion overall for health. It’s an extraordinary amount of money. We’d agreed with the Democrats with $75 billion going to testing, contact tracing.” “What we have been focused on is the language around testing,” he added. “When I speak to Pelosi today, I’m going to tell her that we’re not going to let the testing issue stand in the way. We’ll fundamentally agree with their testing language subject to some minor issues. This issue is being overblown.” more...

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