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By Amy Sherman

FBI director warned about white supremacist violence. At an NBC town hall in Miami, a woman asked former Vice President Joe Biden what he would do to stop white supremacist groups as president. "No. 1, the president's own FBI chief has said the greatest domestic threat to terrorism are white supremacists," Biden said. "And when you have a president saying to one particular group of white supremacists that, in fact, stand down but stand by, that is like a clarion call to get ready."

Biden was referring to President Donald Trump’s debate comments for the far-right Proud Boys group to "stand back and stand by." The next day Trump said he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were and that "they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work." We found that Biden is correct. FBI director Christopher Wray singled outwhite supremacists during a Sept. 17 House Homeland Security committee hearing. more...

By Carl Campanile and David Meyer

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remained hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday for the fourth straight day. The one-time presidential candidate has been at Morristown Medical Center since Saturday afternoon. Insiders told The Post that Christie is holding up, and has been taking phone calls. “He’s in good spirits and getting good care,” said a source familiar with his condition.

Christie, 58, has asthma, a respiratory condition that makes him more vulnerable to coronavirus complications, and is playing it safe, the source said. “The governor is doing fine. He’s just being cautious,” another insider said. “He’s been talking and texting with people all day. It’s Chris Christie!” The two-term former governor told the Star-Ledger on Monday he had received well wishes from Jordanian King Abdullah II. more...

On Tuesday, Stephen Miller became the latest to confirm he has Covid-19 and will quarantine
Oliver Milman in New York

Covid-19 has created a dramatic situation in the Trump administration best summed up as “all the president’s men and women”. At least 27 people across Donald Trump’s White House, election campaign and military leaders have now tested positive for coronavirus. On Tuesday, Stephen Miller, the controversial policy adviser to the US president, became the latest to confirm that he has Covid-19 and will enter quarantine. Miller has become the latest in a lengthy list of people connected to the White House to contract the virus in recent days.

This group is headed by Trump himself, who left the Walter Reed hospital on Monday after receiving state-of-the-art medical treatment for the virus. Trump, who has routinely downplayed the virus and disparaged the wearing of masks, posed for cameras without a mask after returning to the White House and tweeted: “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Public health experts have criticized Trump’s comments, noting that people with the virus can still spread it to others for around 10 days after becoming infected. More than 210,000 people in the US have died from the coronavirus pandemic, by far the worst death toll in the world. more...

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Washington (CNN)Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden on Wednesday warned that reelecting President Donald Trump would be "very bad for America" while endorsing Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president. "I've watched it very closely and now I'm afraid. I don't think the President does things well at all. I'm very sad about that. I think he can't do another term. It would be very, very bad for America," Hayden, who served the three previous administrations, told CNN's Jim Sciutto on Wednesday. "In intelligence, things are hard. Sometimes we're right and sometimes we're wrong. But we're doing things to do something about it. But Trump doesn't do that. For example, talking to the Russians, he doesn't do the things Presidents should actually do." The retired four-star US Air Force general, who is a CNN national security analyst, argued that a second term of Trump would be detrimental to the US intelligence community and damage America's alliances around the world. "If it's a second term, I think we will be alone. We will not have any friends at all," he warned. more...

The president's lawyers will now likely ask the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved.
By Pete Williams and Tom Winter

A federal appeals court declined Wednesday to block a subpoena from a New York grand jury for several years' worth of President Donald Trump's tax records, a further legal setback in his efforts to keep his returns out of the hands of state prosecutors. A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied an effort by Trump's lawyers to have the subpoena tossed out on the grounds that it was too broad or was politically motivated and issued in bad faith.

"The President's allegations of bad faith fail to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued out of malice or an intent to harass," the court said. The president's lawyers will now likely ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block enforcement of the subpoena while they file an appeal. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has agreed not to enforce it for now, giving Trump's legal team a chance to ask the justices for an order temporarily blocking it while the court decides if it will take up the appeal. more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's behavior has become increasingly erratic since he left hospital after he suddenly blew up congressional talks on a Covid-19 economic rescue package and falsely claimed that the coronavirus was no worse than the flu, as chaos rocks a super-spreader White House. With uncertainty still clouding official bulletins of the President's condition, there is bewilderment in Washington at some of his irresponsible and politically questionable moves since he was discharged on Monday. But a defiant Trump continues to portray himself as a hero leader who conquered Covid-19 and is chasing his own political goals while ignoring the human and economic toll of the virus, which has now sent the top Pentagon generals into quarantine.

The President has gone on a lengthy Twitter spree on Wednesday morning, with his first tweet was at 8:18 a.m. He has tweeted or retweeted more than 50 times -- mostly wild or false claims about Democrats. By reinforcing his denial of a national emergency that has killed more than 210,000 Americans, Trump is adopting a high-risk strategy that potentially offends bereaved relatives of those who died from the disease and almost everyone else who has seen their lives, schooling and family life shattered. By squelching economic rescue talks, he leaves himself open to charges of indifference to the plight of millions of Americans thrown out of work during the pandemic and who relied on now expired federal unemployment benefits. more...

By Rick Noack

Among world leaders, President Trump is increasingly isolated on the issue of face masks. After he cast doubt for months on masks’ efficacy in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, his resistance to White House precautions even after contracting the virus seemed to forestall the possibility of an about-face.

While many world leaders have supported the use of face masks and have chosen to wear them during public appearances — despite, in some cases, earlier reluctance of their own — Trump has delivered mixed, sometimes contradictory guidance, and has often appeared without a mask, donning one in public for the first time in July.

When Trump returned to the White House Monday night, after three days as a coronavirus patient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he peeled off his mask to salute Marine One and walked into the building maskless, a move that baffled doctors and raised concerns for the safety of White House employees. more...

Adam Payne

White House staff are "fearful" for their lives after President Trump left hospital despite still having the coronavirus, according to former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye. Growing numbers of White House staff and advisers to the president have already tested positive for the virus in the past week. However, Troye, an ex-member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force told Times radio in the UK on Tuesday that other White House staff she had spoken to were increasingly "scared" that they would catch the virus after Trump returned to White House not wearing a mask despite still having the illness.

Troye told Times Radio: "You know, for my White House colleagues, I know they're scared. "I've had conversations with some people that are still there. Their bodies may react differently to COVID. "COVID is a very unpredictable virus and people, you know, react to it in a very different way. I know that they're fearful and they're scared. And they've got to be, to a certain extent, embarrassed at what they're watching, because this is the President and the administration that they're currently supporting and working in."

Troye told host John Pienaar that some White House staff privately agreed with her strong, public criticism of how Trump has handled the pandemic, and that staff working for the president have told her it's "impossible to keep the President on message." more...

Elena Moore, NPR

President Trump and close to a dozen key members of his circle, including senior White House and campaign staff and Republican senators, have announced positive coronavirus test results in the days before and after Trump tested positive. These announcements came after a busy two weeks for Trump, who took part in the first presidential debate Sept. 29 and officially introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee on the prior weekend. The president also held multiple events in states around the country, including New Jersey, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Many of those who tested positive were present with Trump at these events over the past two weeks. White House aide Hope Hicks was the first senior official to announce her positive test results in this latest wave, with news of her diagnosis breaking Thursday evening. Hours later, Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump had had tested positive as well. more...

Twitter placed a misinformation label on the same message but did not remove it.
Ryan Mac

Facebook took down a post from President Donald Trump on Tuesday that compared the coronavirus to the flu and argued that the United States should learn to live with both illnesses. “Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” the president wrote on his Facebook page. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

Facebook’s COVID-19 misinformation policies, introduced in March, state that the company will remove misinformation about the coronavirus when it could contribute to imminent physical harm. “We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said in a statement. She noted that Facebook took action because the president equated the coronavirus to the flu. more...

By Keith Allen and Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Tuesday that the second presidential debate should not be held if President Donald Trump is still infected with coronavirus, but that he would base his participation in the debate upon recommendations from medical experts. "Well, I think if he still has Covid, we shouldn't have a debate," Biden told reporters in Maryland. "I think we're gonna have to follow very strict guidelines. Too many people have been infected and it's a very serious problem." He continued: "And so I'll be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic, and what the docs say is the right thing to do -- if and when he shows up for debate."

The former vice president also said he looks forward to the debate, which is set to take place next Thursday in Miami. "I'm looking forward to being able to debate him. But I just hope all the protocols are followed, what's necessary at the time," he said. Trump, who left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday after receiving treatment for the virus, is among more than a dozen people close to the administration or his reelection campaign who have contracted the virus in recent days. The President tested positive last Thursday, but it's unclear when he may have contracted the virus as officials -- including his physician Dr. Sean Conley -- have repeatedly refused to disclose when he last tested negative. more...

Alana Wise

White House adviser Stephen Miller has tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House press office told NPR, days after President Trump and several others at the White House have also tested positive for the virus. In a statement shared by the press office, Miller, who made his name as the architect of some of Trump's most controversial and severe immigration policies, said: "Over the last 5 days I have been working remotely and self-isolating, testing negative every day through yesterday. Today, I tested positive for COVID-19 and am in quarantine." more...

The president left Walter Reed hospital on Monday evening, hours after he urged Americans not to fear the virus that has killed over 200,000 in the U.S.
Sam Stein Politics Editor, Scott Bixby National Reporter

Three days after a high fever and oxygen crisis put him in the hospital, coronavirus-infected Donald Trump returned to the White House and pulled off his mask for a photo-opportunity that was immediately turned into a video meant to show he had beaten COVID-19. But even Trump’s own doctor concedes that he “may not entirely be out of the woods yet,” and the president appeared to be winded after climbing the steps to the White House to pose between two American flags. Several staffers stood nearby as he tucked his mask into his suit pocket and saluted Marine One, which had landed on the lawn minutes earlier. At one point, he walked into the building—still not wearing a mask—and then returned to the balcony for a re-shoot.

The display of optics over safety came hours after Trump—who has been given two experimental treatments and a heavy-duty steroid—tweeted a message that struck many as callous considering that almost 210,000 Americans have been killed by the virus. “Feeling really good!” Trump tweeted on Monday afternoon. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” It also followed another public exercise in evasion and obfuscation by Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, who refused to answer questions about the president’s lung health, citing patient privacy laws even as he released other medical data that presented a rosier picture. “Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, his team and I agree that all our evaluations—and most importantly his clinical status—support the president’s safe return home,” said Conley, telling reporters that the president would be “surrounded by world-class medical care 24/7.” more...

The president spent his time in Walter Reed quizzing advisers about how his disease was “playing” in the press. He was also scheming.
Asawin Suebsaeng, Sam Stein, Lachlan Markay

Having left Walter Reed hospital after a three-day stint recovering from the coronavirus, President Donald Trump began, what aides and confidants say is, a new phase of the presidential campaign: an effort to turn his illness into an electoral asset. The president’s stint in the Military Medical Center may have raised serious questions about his political future and his physical status, with doctors giving him a trio of therapeutics and his physician acknowledging that he is not yet out of the woods. But during his time away from the White House, Trump spent his weekend frantically working the phones, compulsively watching TV, and flagrantly disregarding the advice of his own public health officials.

“How is it playing?” the president quizzed several advisers and senior aides since Friday, polling them on their thoughts on how his diagnosis was being covered in the press. He also was scheming. And at the top of his mind, according to three people with knowledge of his private comments, was how to reverse the damage that his campaign may be enduring by him being off the trail. Trump assured confidants that he would be back soon, though he wasn’t sure if he could commit to doing so in the coming week. And he previewed what is set to become the latest of many 2020 messaging reboots in the past few months. The president repeatedly claimed that once he recovers from the coronavirus—for which first lady Melania Trump, his campaign manager, debate sparing partner, press secretary, and other aides also tested positive—he’ll be able to present himself as a conqueror of it, both personally and politically. more...

By Siobhán O'Grady

In President Trump’s personal orbit, the coronavirus case count continues to creep upward. More than a dozen White House officials have recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including some who are among the at least nine guests and two journalists who tested positive after they attended Amy Coney Barrett’s Sept. 26 Supreme Court nomination event in the Rose Garden. Trump announced his positive test early Friday, and was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later that day. He returned Monday to the White House, where he removed his mask, despite doctors saying he was still contagious.

Meanwhile, Taiwan — the self-ruled island home to 23 million people — reported just eight new cases in the past week. More than a dozen countries have reported fewer than 10 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days, including several that have not reported any cases at all. Not all such case numbers are reliable. Some countries are facing serious testing shortages. Others stand accused of avoiding public disclosure of their case numbers. But Taiwan has been widely praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. more...

"The notion of just learning to live with it is not an acceptable policy or strategy, in my opinion," one expert told NBC News.
By Erika Edwards

Physicians responded with alarm to President Donald Trump's assertion on Twitter that Covid-19 is similar to the flu and that the United States is learning to live with it. The social media site later flagged the tweet with a warning. "Comparing flu to Covid-19 is not only poor optics," Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, said. "It's just morally reprehensible."

Tuesday morning, Trump — who remains under a doctor's care for Covid-19 — tweeted: "Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!"

Within hours, Twitter flagged the tweet with a warning, saying it "violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19." Facebook removed a similar post from the president. The tweet appears to suggest the flu is deadlier than the coronavirus. The numbers clearly show the opposite: Last flu season, there were an estimated 38 million cases of the flu, including 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far this year for Covid-19, there have been 7.5 million cases and 211,000 deaths. more...

By Kara Scannell, CNN

New York (CNN) Eric Trump, who runs day-to-day operations of the family real estate empire, sat for a deposition on Monday as part of the New York Attorney General's investigation into whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of its assets, a person familiar with the matter tells CNN. The deposition follows a court battle over whether he would sit for testimony and provides a key step in the New York civil investigation into the Trump Organization. Trump, who according to court records was scheduled to sit for the deposition on Monday, sat for the hearing virtually, the person said, adding that it ended around 5 p.m.

Trump, the middle son of President Donald Trump and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, has taken over day-to-day operations of the real estate business since his father became president. His deposition schedule was disclosed in a court filing made on Friday. New York lawyers have said they want to interview Eric Trump as part of their investigation into whether the Trump Organization and Donald Trump "improperly inflated the value of Mr. Trump's assets on financial statements in order to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits." One specific area that investigators are looking into is a conservation easement Trump took for Seven Springs. New York investigators said in court filings that Donald Trump "apparently" took a $21 million income tax deduction on the lost development value to the property. more...

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) President Donald Trump is no longer winning on his signature issue: the economy. In a CNN poll released Tuesday, Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were tied among registered voters at 49% apiece on the question of who would handle the economy better. Among likely voters, Biden gets 50%, compared with 48% for Trump, a statistical dead heat. It's not an anomaly either. The two candidates were essentially tied on the issue in the last CNN poll taken August 28 - September 1.

The findings represent a sharp drop in support for Trump in what had previously been his greatest strength. In May, 54% of registered voters said Trump would handle the economy better, compared with 42% for Biden.

The fact that Trump's lead over Biden on the economy has vanished underscores the fragile state of the recovery from the coronavirus recession. "People are still worried about evictions, foreclosures and small businesses going under," said Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments. "For an awful lot of people, there is still anxiety that the economy has not come all the way back and may not for some time." more...

President Donald Trump says he has instructed aides to stop negotiating on another round of COVID-19 relief until after the election

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump abandoned COVID-19 relief talks on Tuesday, saying they won't resume until after the election. The move came as the chairman of the Federal Reserve said that further fiscal intervention is needed to prevent the economy from spiraling downward. Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith" and said he's asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business," Trump tweeted.

Trump's move came immediately after he spoke with the top GOP leaders in Congress, who had been warily watching talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi. Many Senate Republicans had signaled they would not be willing to go along with any stimulus legislation that topped $1 trillion, and GOP aides had been privately dismissive of the prospects for a deal. Last week, the White House said it was backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and dangled the possibility of a COVID-19 relief bill of $1.6 trillion. But that offer was rejected by Pelosi.

Pelosi had spoken with Mnuchin earlier Tuesday. After Trump's tweets spiking the negotiations, Pelosi said Trump was “unwilling to crush the virus" and “refuses to give real help to poor children, the unemployed, and America's hard working families." Trump broke off talks after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned earlier Tuesday that the economic recovery remains fragile seven months into coronavirus pandemic without further economic stimulus. more...

“That’s a political statement to scare people, wearing that mask. You do not need that mask when you are standing at a podium,” Giuliani declared on Monday night.
Justin Baragona

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is currently awaiting coronavirus test results, coughed through a Fox News interview on Monday night in which he attacked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for consistently wearing a mask, claiming it was a “political statement” meant to “scare” people. Moments after President Donald Trump returned to the White House despite still battling COVID-19—a homecoming that included a photo-op moment featuring the gasping president removing his face mask—Giuliani appeared on Fox News’ The Story With Martha MacCallum to discuss Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and how the virus is raging through Trumpworld.

After the former New York City mayor gushed over the president’s “remarkable turnaround,” even though the White House doctor acknowledged the president is “not out of the woods” yet, anchor Martha MacCallum asked Giuliani if he has recently received another coronavirus test. Giuliani traveled with the president to last week’s presidential debate and took part in Trump’s debate preparation. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who also was in the debate prep room, noted that “no one was wearing masks” during the session. Christie and several others in the room have since tested positive for COVID-19. “I did. I actually got one about two hours ago,” the ex-mayor, whose first test result was negative, said. “I haven’t gotten the results yet. I went to NYU. I got one of those all the way in the back of the nose tests.” more...

Michelle Obama has delivered a blistering appraisal of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign on behalf of Joe Biden.
Jamie Ross

Michelle Obama has delivered a devastating condemnation of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, saying plainly: “What the president is doing is, once again, patently false, it’s morally wrong, and, yes, it is racist. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work.”

The former first lady delivered the remarkably blunt attack via Joe Biden’s YouTube page. In a video titled “Michelle Obama’s Closing Argument,” she took Trump’s campaign apart for its reliance on attacking minorities, stoking fear, and spreading lies to exploit voters’ concerns about the perilous state of the economy and the raging COVD-19 pandemic.

“The president and his allies are trying to tap into that frustration, and distract from his breathtaking failures, by giving folks someone to blame other than them,” Obama told viewers. “They’re stoking fears about Black and brown Americans, lying about how minorities will destroy the suburbs, and whipping up violence and intimidation.” more...

By Sara Murray and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) A likely contagious President Donald Trump returned to the White House Monday evening, whipped off his mask and filmed a video, heavy on bluster and short on facts, that proclaimed: "The vaccines are coming momentarily." Trump, who tested positive for coronavirus last week and is now receiving medical care at the White House, has remained laser-focused on vaccine development even as he has been dismissive of mask-wearing and social distancing -- protections health experts say are critical to stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

Even before his diagnosis, the President had taken to calling drug companies to check on their vaccine trials, asking how much longer they'll take and ginning up the pressure around his desire for a vaccine before Election Day. He's also signaling he might speed up the federal approval process, conspicuously stalling Food and Drug Administration recommendations that would delay a vaccine authorization. In his conversations with major drug-makers working on coronavirus vaccines, Trump has been explicit in telling the companies' CEOs that he'd like to see a vaccine move quicker than some of his health advisers say is reasonable, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

He has asked whether they believe they can speed up their timelines and has suggested he is concerned that the FDA's regulatory process could slow down progress. Trump's repeated calls -- especially to Pfizer, whose progress the President sounds most hopeful about recently -- are likely to continue through a presidential election that may turn on how voters perceive his handling of the public health crisis. more...

By Brad Reed

Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway this week was shown on video cursing out her 15-year-old daughter, Claudia Conway, after she blamed the former Trump official for getting their family infected with COVID-19. In a video that Claudia Conway posted on her TikTok account, Kellyanne can be seen berating her daughter over her past TikTok videos in which she denounced President Donald Trump for being reckless about the disease. “You’ve caused so much disruption,” Conway tells her daughter. “You’ve lied about your own f*cking mother, about COVID!” “No, mom, it’s how I interpreted it,” she said. more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) A strongly medicated President Donald Trump bolted from his VIP hospital bubble Monday, staging a bizarre White House comeback that included an irresponsible mask removal and a reckless pronouncement there is nothing to fear from Covid-19, which has already killed 210,000 Americans. His actions show him, if anything, entrenched deeper in denial over the virus than ever before and more committed to trashing scientific protocols that could slow the pandemic.

"We're going back. We're going back to work. We're gonna be out front. As your leader I had to do that. I knew there's danger to it but I had to do it," Trump says in a strange campaign video whipped up by aides within an hour of his return to the White House, in which the President framed himself as a warrior who took on the virus and won. "I stood out front. I led. Nobody that's a leader would not do what I did. I know there's a risk, there's a danger," Trump said, despite his doctors earlier saying he is still not fully "out of the woods" in his fight with the virus. more...

By Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen, CNN

(CNN) The top US general, Gen. Mark Milley, and several members of the Pentagon's senior leadership are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus, several US defense officials tell CNN. The Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Adm. Charles Ray, tested positive on Monday. "On Monday, the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Charles Ray, tested positive for COVID-19. He was tested the same day, after feeling mild symptoms over the weekend," the Coast Guard said in a statement Tuesday.

"The Coast Guard is following established policies for COVID, per CDC guidelines, to include quarantine and contact tracing. According to CDC guidelines, any Coast Guard personnel that were in close contact will also quarantine. In accordance with established Coast Guard COVID policies, Admiral Ray will be quarantining from home," the statement said. Ray recently attended several meetings at the Pentagon in secure areas with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Multiple defense officials tell CNN that senior Pentagon leadership who had been in proximity to Ray have been tested and are awaiting results. more...


President Trump has avoided discussing coronavirus as much as possible, instead downplaying the crisis and even mocking people for wearing masks. Last week, though, the White House announced that both President Trump and the first lady tested positive for Covid-19. This diagnosis makes Trump's strategy of changing the subject virtually impossible. more...

Suzy Byrne Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Many celebrities have criticized Donald Trump’s “don’t be afraid of COVID” tweet as he left the hospital on Monday, but one cuts especially deep — and it’s from Amanda Kloots, wife of the late Nick Cordero. The professional dancer and fitness pro, left a single mother after the Broadway actor died from COVID-19 in July, tries to stay positive and not get political. However, she couldn’t stay silent after seeing Trump tell Americans not to be afraid of COVID or “let it dominate your life.” The 74-year-old politician, who is obese, also claimed he miraculously feels “better than I did 20 years ago” after receiving an experimental coronavirus treatment. more...

Marina Hyde

The president tells us he beat coronavirus like a man: the kind who takes all the best drugs and leaves everyone else exposed. A rare moment of unity in the US election, as Donald Trump marked his return to the White House by gasping along with his detractors. On Monday night, the president puffed up the front staircase of his residence, his face coated in several more gallons of paint than the front elevation of the building. “Don’t let it dominate your lives,” he panted of the virus, a bad case of which tends to dominate your death.

Yet there he was, this hideous kink in the arc of history, giving the most dangerous balcony performance since Michael Jackson had his baby crowdsurf off one. The American people are all Blanket now. As for the optics, “deranged balcony address” is certainly a look – but not one that tends to end well. How might this version turn out? Unfortunately, it’s not a question Trump’s attention span equips him to answer. His reference points for the form are the occasional three minutes of historical documentaries he’s forced to watch while searching his stomach-folds for the TV remote. It feels like he switches over to Fox News before discovering how a whole series of 20th-century balcony stories ended.

Still: don’t call him Wussolini. He beat this illness – which he still very much has – like a man. One of the really manly ones, who takes all the best drugs and leaves everyone else exposed and misled and unprotected. Even so, early reactions to the gasping spectacle suggest the move could only have backfired more if Trump had ascended the front steps via a hastily installed stairlift carrying a pack of adult diapers. Once he’d wheezed through the unpleasantries, all that remained was to remove his mask and set about infecting any remaining staff yet to be exposed to his droplets. Think of Trump as the 83rd Airborne, parachuting his deadly particles deep into butlers’ respiratory systems. He won’t give you a Purple Heart, but he might give you purple lungs. more...

Francine Prose

We’d like to believe that suffering instructs and ennobles. But, once again, Donald Trump seems to be ineducable. Ever since we learned that there are ways to limit the spread of Covid-19, we have understood that mask-wearing was intended not only to safeguard our own wellbeing but to ensure the safety of others. Social distancing was not simply a means of personal protection but a civic responsibility that might protect the most vulnerable – and, as it has turned out, the otherwise healthy young people who, tragically, have succumbed to the virus.

Even if we don’t believe in science, even if we don’t believe in the virus, even if we don’t believe in the efficacy of wearing masks, we might, it seems to me, have adopted some version of Pascal’s famous wager. Though the existence of God cannot be definitively proven, posited the 17th-century philosopher, it would be wise to assume and behave as if God does exist: an attitude with no downside (except the fear of sin) and a host of likely benefits (heaven). Regardless of our stance on the course and prevention of the pandemic, why not take the gamble: wear a mask, keep our distance – and protect the lives of other people? But this response presupposes that we care about the lives of other people. more...

*** Trump was projecting what he was going to do when he said the election would be rigged he is the one rigging the election. ***

Igor Derysh, Salon

President Trump's campaign is waging a behind-the-scenes effort to threaten low-profile county officials into ignoring election rules and sowing doubt in the mail voting process. Trump's campaign launched an "unusually aggressive" push on the local level, sending 100 county election officials in North Carolina "threatening letters" and "misinformation" to urge them to disregard a new rule that makes it easier for voters to fix mistakes on their mail ballots, according to the Associated Press. The warnings came after the state Board of Elections settled a lawsuit after ballots cast by Black voters in the state were disproportionately rejected.

The campaign also sent letters to more than 1,800 municipal clerks in states like Wisconsin and Georgia that raised questions about the security of mail voting, according to CNN. The campaign also threatened to sue officials in Pennsylvania for blocking "poll watchers" from observing election offices where people register to vote and apply for mail ballots, according to the AP.

Trump's team has repeatedly filed lawsuits in response to states easing access to mail ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic but such litigation has so far been unsuccessful. Trump has suggested that he aims to fight the expansions all the way to the Supreme Court as he hopes to add Amy Coney Barrett, his third conservative justice in four years, to the high court before November. Less visible has been the campaign's quiet efforts to undermine voting rules on the local level, where his team has bombarded officials with letters that have raised alarm among election experts. more...

*** Trump and Republicans need to stop lying to the American people and stop claiming the virus is like the flu. The flu kills up to 70,000 in a bad year; the virus has killed 210,000, three times as many people as a bad year of the flu in six months. No matter how Trump and Republicans spin it the virus is not like the flu. ***

By Donie O'Sullivan, CNN

(CNN) Facebook on Tuesday removed a post from President Trump in which he falsely claimed that Covid-19 is less deadly than the seasonal flu. Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed the company removed the post for breaking its rules on Covid-19 misinformation. President Trump has, by his own admission, played down the threat of Covid-19. Now, while battling his own bout of the disease, he has continued to dishonestly downplay the severity of the virus. His post on Tuesday falsely equated Covid-19 to the seasonal flu. The President also posted the same message on Twitter. That post is still live, but Twitter has appended a message to the Tweet stating it violated the company's rule on spreading misleading information related to Covid-19.

In August, Facebook and Twitter removed a post by Trump for containing false claims about Covid-19. The post contained a video of President during a Fox News interview in which he falsely claimed that children are "almost immune" to the virus. Tuesday afternoon, Trump tweeted, "REPEAL SECTION 230!!!" He said no more than that, leaving precisely what he was referring to out of the tweet, but it was likely a response to the actions taken by Facebook and Twitter. Section 230 is shorthand for the part of US law that gives tech companies immunity for almost all of their decisions regarding content moderation. more...

Tom Porter

Footage of President Donald Trump returning to the White House on Monday after a three-day hospitalization with COVID-19 appeared to show him having difficulty breathing. Trump on Monday evening left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center despite being still infected with the coronavirus. Arriving at the White House in front of news cameras he climbed a set of stairs, removed his mask on the balcony, saluted the departing helicopter, and stepped into the building.

The sequence appeared designed to show that Trump has recovered and is back in business after the diagnosis that left him hospitalized for three days. But some medical experts pointed out that Trump appears far from well, commenting on his apparent struggle to breathe. Dr Ilan Schwartz, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, Canada, and expert in lung diseases, said Trump's breathing appeared abnormal. more...

Scott Neuman

President Trump, who spent the weekend in the hospital being treated for COVID-19, made a theatrical return to the White House Monday evening, disembarking Marine One and walking the staircase to the South Portico entrance, where he turned to face the cameras, removed his mask and gave his signature two thumbs up. Shortly before, a masked Trump had emerged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was receiving treatment, pumping his fist and giving a thumbs up as he ignored questions from reporters.

In a video recorded at the White House which he tweeted later, the president seemed somewhat more circumspect about a virus that he has often downplayed, along with measures to halt its spread, such as wearing masks. Trump thanked the staff of Walter Reed and said that during his three-night stay he had "learned so much about coronavirus." "One thing that's for certain – don't let it dominate you. Don't be afraid of it. You're going to beat it," he said. "We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines. All developed recently. And you're going to beat it." more...

By Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins and Jeff Zeleny, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump may be eagerly seeking a return to normal after three nights in the hospital. But the White House he arrived home to Monday with dramatic and reckless flourish has changed drastically since he was airlifted off the South Lawn at the end of last week. Instead of a bustling hive of pre-election activity, the West Wing has become a breeding ground for viral contagion. At least 11 of the President's aides or allies have either contracted the virus or -- in the case of his daughter Ivanka -- are working from home. Entire suites of offices sit vacant as Trump's aides work to isolate him in the residence and out of the West Wing.

A new aura of mistrust was settling in as several aides raised questions about whether they had been recklessly put in harm's way over the past week. Accusations of mismanagement -- directed mainly at White House chief of staff Mark Meadows -- have flown amid one of the gravest presidential crises in a generation. An absence of robust contact tracing efforts caused ripples of concern as testing and mask-wearing norms were being second-guessed. None of that anxiety was allayed when Trump arrived back to the White House Monday. His first act after striding up the South Portico steps was to rip off his mask and stuff it into his pocket -- even though he remains infected with coronavirus and could potentially infect those nearby. He was then seen going back out onto the balcony and re-entering so a camera crew could shoot his entrance. more...

Erin Burnett Out Front

Kristin Urquiza's father died of coronavirus after following President Donald Trump's guidance on the disease. See her reaction as Trump returns to the White House after spending 72 hours at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and stages a reckless departure from the hospital. Source: CNN video...

*** Biden was smart enough not to catch it by wearing a mask and social distancing. Trump and his people caught the virus because they were too dumb to wear masks and practice social distancing. We prefer the people that are smart enough to wear masks and practice social distancing, not the people too dumb to wear masks and practice social distancing in the middle of a pandemic. ***

By Katherine Fung

Erin Perrine, director of press communications for the Trump campaign, said Democratic nominee Joe Biden doesn't have "those firsthand experiences" fighting COVID-19 that President Donald Trump has. In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Perrine said that Trump "has experience as Commander-in-Chief. He has experience as a businessman. He has experience now fighting the coronavirus as an individual. Those firsthand experiences, Joe Biden, he doesn't have those."

"Those firsthand experiences are what are going to get President Trump four more years," she added. Trump tested positive for the virus Thursday and was hospitalized Friday at the Walter Reed Medical Center, where he remained as of Monday afternoon. A senior adviser to the campaign also echoed Perrine's comments that the president's personal encounter with coronavirus will make him better equipped than Biden to handle the nation's response to the outbreak. "He is going to be able to relate to those individuals who have been inflicted by coronavirus, who's lost a family member to coronavirus," Mercedes Schlapp told Fox News on Monday. more...

"The drugs the President got are not given to ordinary Americans," one doctor tells Salon
Matthew Rozsa

After being diagnosed with COVID-19 last week before heading to the hospital, President Donald Trump received cutting-edge coronavirus treatments and the best health care that the United States has to offer. Today, Trump reportedly left the hospital in good spirits, telling the public "don't be afraid of COVID," in spite of the 210,000 American deaths from COVID-19 registered so far.

Yet the treatments and the medical care lavished on Trump and which led him to a quick recovery were unique, experts say. Indeed, the president had access to special medical resources, drugs and attention that the average COVID-19 hospital patient is unlikely to get, and which likely sped his recovery and greatly raised his chance of recovery.

The president's regimen at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. included the steroid dexamethasone to address his lowered oxygen levels, according to The New York Times. Medical experts agree that the use of dexamethasone suggests the president's lungs were compromised, as that drug is intended to stop one's immune system from killing the patient with an immune overreaction. Notably, the drug is only recommended for patients with severe illnesses, because it is quite risky. If given to a patient who does not need it, dexamethasone actually increases their chances of dying.

"Dexamethasone is only approved for patients with very severe disease mechanically ventilated in the hospital, so the President does not fit the criteria for dexamethasone by the statements coming from his doctors, and this drug can cause harm in more mild disease," Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the University of California–San Francisco, told Salon by email. more...

By Kashmira Gander

President Donald Trump has been prescribed dexamethasone for COVID-19, a steroid that has a range of potential side effects including mental problems such as aggression, agitation, and anxiety. At a press conference on Sunday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump is being treated for COVID-19, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said the president was prescribed dexamethasone after the president's blood oxygen levels dropped twice. Dexamethasone is a steroid that suppresses the immune system to prevent the release of substances that can trigger inflammation. The drug was found to benefit critically ill patients in trials in the U.K., raising questions about the severity of the president's condition.

The cheap, common medicine is used to treat inflammatory conditions including ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, and breathing disorders. Some of the more common side effects can affect a patient's mental state, such as aggression, agitation, anxiety, irritability, depression, changes to mood, and nervousness. Trouble thinking, speaking or walking can also occur. Other common side effects include blurred vision, producing less urine, dizziness, an irregular heartbeat or pulse, headaches, and noisy breathing. Patients may also experience numbness or tingling in the limbs, swollen fingers, hands, feet or lower legs, pounding in the ears, difficulty breathing at rest, and weight gain. more...

Some of the more common side effects can affect a patient's mental state, such as aggression, agitation, anxiety, irritability, depression, changes to mood, and nervousness. Trouble thinking, speaking or walking can also occur. Other common side effects include blurred vision, producing less urine, dizziness, an irregular heartbeat or pulse, headaches, and noisy breathing. Patients may also experience numbness or tingling in the limbs, swollen fingers, hands, feet or lower legs, pounding in the ears, difficulty breathing at rest, and weight gain. There are a range of less common side effects, too, like stomach cramps, back ache, and bloody or tarry stools. Dexamethasone has also been linked to rare reports of grandiose delusions, psychosis, delirium, and hallucinations. more...

By Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman

WASHINGTON — President Trump sought to dispel any perception of weakness on Sunday with a surprise and seemingly risky outing from his hospital bed to greet supporters even as his doctors once again rewrote the official narrative of his illness by acknowledging two alarming episodes they had previously not disclosed.

The doctors said that Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen level dropped twice in the two days after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, requiring medical intervention, and that he had been put on steroids, suggesting his condition might be more serious than initially described. But they insisted that his situation had improved enough since then that he could be released from the hospital as early as Monday.

The acknowledgment of the episodes raised new questions about the credibility of the information provided about the commander in chief of a superpower as he is hospitalized with a disease that has killed more than 209,000 people in the United States. With the president determined not to concede weakness and facing an election in just 30 days, officials acknowledged providing rosy assessments to satisfy their prickly patient. The president made a surprise outing from his hospital bed in an effort to show his improvement, but the murky and shifting narrative of his illness was rewritten again with grim new details. more...

Trump returns to White House after leaving hospital, sheds mask for photo opportunity
Earlier Monday, Trump told supporters, "Don't be afraid of Covid," the virus that has killed more than 211,000 people in the U.S.
By Allan Smith and Dareh Gregorian

President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Monday evening after being treated for Covid-19 for three days at Walter Reed Medical Center— and immediately took off his mask to pose for pictures. The highly choreographed moment on the Truman Balcony came hours after Trump suggested online that the disease is not that serious a threat.

Trump walked out of the hospital's main entrance shortly after 6:30 p.m. in a mask and a suit and tie and pumped his fist for the cameras before being driven to Marine One for the short trip back to the White House. He declined to answer questions from reporters.

At the White House, he went up the exterior stairs and posed in front of an array of flags on the balcony, where he immediately took off his mask. Trump kept the mask off even as he was greeted by mask-wearing White House staffers. He appeared to be shooting some sort of video. Health experts say coronavirus patients should wear masks to avoid infecting others, and the president is still believed to be contagious. more...

*** You have to wonder if the reason the White House is not doing contact tracing Rose Garden event is because Trump was the infector and chief. ***

By Brooke Seipel

The White House is not contact tracing guests and staff who attended a Rose Garden event for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite many viewing it as a possible spreader of the coronavirus, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The celebration, which took place 10 days ago, is viewed by some as the potential epicenter or "superspreader" of the White House's coronavirus outbreak because it has been followed by at least 11 attendees testing positive for COVID-19, including President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, adviser Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, at least three Republican senators and other White House staff. An unnamed White House official told the Times on Monday that officials were not contact tracing those connected to the event.

Contact tracing includes public health workers trying to stop COVID-19 transmission by reaching out to people who have tested positive for the disease and asking them to both self-isolate and provide a list of people they had contact with 48 hours before becoming sick, who will, in turn, also get a call. In this way, health officials are able to stop the potential spread of the virus before it can be passed on to someone else. more...

Adrianna Rodriguez USA TODAY

Epidemiologists continue to scrutinize a White House event after more than a dozen people, including President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, announced they tested positive for COVID-19. Several of them attended a ceremony held outside in the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 where Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, in front of more than 180 people.

The suspected "superspreader" event highlights the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing, even when outside. But some health officials, including leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, say they don’t always wear a mask outside. So, when is it appropriate to take it off? more...

Jamie Ross

By all accounts, President Donald Trump is having an absolutely miserable time in the hospital. According to one report from CNN, Trump demanded to return to the White House on Sunday, with unnamed sources telling the network that the president is worried that the sight of him being hospitalized “makes him look weak” in front of the nation just weeks out from Election Day. more...

Michael Farris leads Alliance Defending Freedom, designated an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center
Emily Holden in Washington

The head of a conservative Christian non-profit organization that has been designated an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) attended the White House event announcing Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the supreme court. The exclusive Rose Garden gathering on 26 September is under scrutiny as multiple people who were there, including the president, have contracted Covid-19.

Michael Farris, who is CEO and general counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), is seen in videos speaking closely with the Republican senator Mike Lee, who has since tested positive for the coronavirus along with a number of other attendees. Farris also spoke with the Louisiana Republican congressman Mike Johnson, the head of the conservative Republican study committee who, before his election to Congress, was senior attorney and spokesman for ADF. more...


WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans blame the U.S. government instead of foreign nations for the coronavirus crisis in the United States, a rebuke to the Trump administration’s contention that China or other countries are most at fault, a new poll shows.

The poll by The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research was conducted before President Donald Trump tested positive for the virus Friday and was hospitalized. Trump has downplayed the severity and impact of the pandemic in recent months.

Although many see plenty of blame to go around and there’s a wide bipartisan divide over who is responsible, 56% of Americans say the U.S. government has substantial responsibility for the situation. That compares with 47% who place that much blame on the governments of other countries and only 39% who say the same about the World Health Organization. more...

Brooke Singman

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany revealed she tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday morning and will start the "quarantine process," becoming the latest person in President Trump's orbit to get the virus. “After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,” McEnany said in a statement. “No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit.”

Other White House staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at this point include McEnany, senior adviser Hope Hicks and director of Oval Office operations Nick Luna. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also tested positive for COVID-19. Former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway has also tested positive and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who participated in debate prep with the president, did too and was admitted to the hospital over the weekend. more...

By Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig and Hannah Knowles

Current and former Secret Service agents and medical professionals were aghast Sunday night at President Trump’s Sunday evening trip outside the hospital where he is being treated for the coronavirus, saying the president endangered those inside his SUV for a publicity stunt. As the backlash grew, multiple aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations also called Trump’s outing to wave at supportive crowds an unnecessary risk — but said the move was not surprising. Trump had said he was bored in the hospital, advisers said. He wanted to show strength after his chief of staff offered a grimmer assessment of his health than doctors, according to campaign and White House officials.

A growing number of Secret Service agents have been concerned about the president’s seeming indifference to the health risks they face when traveling with him in public, and a few reacted with outrage to the trip, asking how Trump’s desire to be seen outside his hospital suite justified the jeopardy to agents protecting him. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis has already brought new scrutiny to his lax approach to social distancing, as public health officials scramble to trace those he may have exposed at large in-person events. “He’s not even pretending to care now,” one agent said after the president’s jaunt outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “Where are the adults?” said a former Secret Service member. They spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution. more...

Christo Aivalis

Donald Trump didn’t disclose a positive result from a rapid test for Covid-19 on Thursday while awaiting the findings from a more thorough coronavirus screening, according to people familiar with the matter. As the virus spread among the people closest to him, Mr. Trump also asked one adviser not to disclose results of their own positive test. “Don’t tell anyone,” Mr. Trump said, according to a person familiar with the conversation. video...

The president left Walter Reed’s presidential suite in a motorcade to wave to supporters, potentially exposing several Secret Service agents to the coronavirus.
Patricia Kelly Yeo

After teasing a “little surprise visit” via video on Twitter, President Trump left the hospital on Sunday afternoon to wave to supporters from the back seat of an SUV. “It’s been a very interesting journey. I learned a lot about COVID,” Trump, who is still suffering from the coronavirus, said in the video. “I learned it by really going to school, this is the real school, this isn’t the ‘let’s read the book’ school, and I get it, and I understand it,” he added.

Then, contradicting his own words and the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the president left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s presidential suite to wave to supporters from a car—a decision that forced at least two Secret Service agents to don personal protective equipment as they shared the same air and enclosed space of the vehicle.

The CDC website explicitly states that if a person is sick with COVID-19, they should stay at home except to get medical care. The CDC’s language is more forceful in its guidelines for health-care workers. “In general, transport and movement of a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside of their room should be limited to medically essential purposes,” its FAQ page reads. more...

Nesrine Malik - the guardian

The president will not show humility, or respect for the 200,000 US dead. But the fatigue on his face is a testament to his limits. If the past few days in US politics were a dramatisation, one would think the plot was too unbelievable. A cast of characters meets to dishonour the last wish of a supreme court judge not to nominate her successor until after the presidential election. Mere days after her passing, they gather in the White House Rose Garden. They chat intimately, leaning into each other’s space to whisper. Others embrace and kiss in fond greeting. It all had the feel not of a political event but a ceremony of pure triumphalism.

Members of Donald Trump’s inner circle glided through the party to honour his supreme court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, with the ease and good cheer of a clique free of the restraints of public accountability or moral qualms. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was dead. They were going to force through their nominee. And the pandemic that ravaged the country beyond the pleasant vibes of the Rose Garden was not their concern.

But the plot had a twist. Since that day, President Trump and at least seven others at the event have tested positive for coronavirus. Trump and one other, Chris Christie, are in hospital. Other White House staff close to Donald Trump continue to report positive tests. The pandemic, for so long minimised and trivialised by Trump, had finally reached the most powerful man in the world.

We are not accustomed to Trump receiving any censure for his actions. His presidency so far has been a study in indifference – on the part of the Republican party and his wider supporters across the nation – towards any of his actions, no matter how immoral, dishonest, incompetent or even illegal. But there was something almost biblical about the hubris of that Rose Garden event – the pharaoh who believed he was a god flaunted his impunity, and was punished by pestilence. more...

Jerry Adler Senior Editor,Yahoo News

In an optimistic briefing on President Trump’s condition Sunday morning, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley admitted to reporters he had tried to conceal the fact that the president had received oxygen at the White House on Friday. Conley, joined by other members of the president’s medical team at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, said Trump was continuing to improve and could be discharged back to the White House as early as Monday. But he disclosed that dexamethasone had been added to the president’s drug regimen, suggesting continuing concerns about an inflammatory response to the coronavirus that could damage the lungs or other organs.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that is used to prevent or treat the “cytokine storm” of immune response that causes some of the worst complications of COVID-19, particularly in older patients. Trump is also continuing to receive remdesivir, an antiviral that combats coronavirus infection. Another doctor on the team, Sean Dooley, told reporters that Trump “has remained without fever since Friday morning. His vital signs are stable, he remains on room air, he’s ambulating himself, walking around the White House medical unit [at Walter Reed] without limitation or disability.” “I want to reiterate how pleased we are with the President’s recovery,” Conley added. more...

CBS News

White House doctors say the president had a high fever on Friday and his oxygen levels dropped twice during his treatment for COVID-19. CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook joins CBSN's Lana Zak with the latest. more...

Joshua Bote USA TODAY

President Donald Trump's condition has continued to improve since being taken to the hospital Friday due to symptoms from a COVID-19 infection, White House physician Sean Conley told reporters on Sunday. Conley had previously said he was using a "multi-prong" approach to treat Trump. He said Sunday that included the steroid dexamethasone in response to Trump's blood oxygen level dropping twice.

An affordable, widely available steroid, dexamethasone has shown promise in improving survival outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Although the British government has authorized its use among some patients, it remains unclear how beneficial the treatment may be for less severe COVID-19 cases. Further, it has not been peer-reviewed or replicated in other studies. “This is a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert. What we know about the potentially lifesaving treatment:

What is dexamethasone?
Usually prescribed as an oral or intravenous steroid, dexamethasone is a general purpose anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling drug used for a variety of conditions, said Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu, an infectious disease doctor and associate professor of medicine at Yale, in June. more...

The New York Times’s major new story reveals that Trump had political, legal, and financial reasons to hold back the returns.
By Andrew Prokop

One of the biggest secrets in American politics — what’s in the tax returns that President Donald Trump has refused to release for so long — has at last been revealed, by the New York Times. Times journalists Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire obtained “tax-return data extending over more than two decades” related to the president, and have revealed their findings in a bombshell new report. (They are not posting the documents themselves, to avoid jeopardizing their sources.)

For years, the political world has speculated on what Trump was trying to hide by holding back his returns, and by falsely claiming that he can’t release them until the IRS finishes an extended audit. Was it that he paid no income taxes at all in some years? Was it that he was far less successful a businessman than he let on? Was he claiming legally dubious deductions? The answer, it turns out, is all of the above.

The Times story makes clear the supposedly wealthy president often paid no income taxes while his businesses regularly lost vast sums of money, and he himself was on the hook for increasing sums in loans. All of that is politically damaging enough to Trump’s image, and likely a sufficient reason to work hard to keep the tax returns secret. But there’s likely another reason behind Trump’s reticence — because reporters would scour his returns for legally dubious claims, and put the pieces together to how he was trying to snooker the IRS. more...


BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s blood oxygen level dropped suddenly twice in recent days, but he “has continued to improve” since then, the White House physician said Sunday, adding a new layer of confusion to the president’s fight with COVID-19 even while suggesting he could be discharged from the hospital as early as Monday.

Trump’s doctors, speaking on the steps of the military hospital where he was being treated for a third consecutive day, again refused to answer key questions about his condition, including the timing of the president’s second dip in oxygen, which they neglected to mention in multiple statements the day before, or whether lung scans showed any damage.

Pressed about the conflicting information he and the White House released the previous day, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley acknowledged that he had tried to present a rosy description of of the president’s condition. “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team, that the president, that his course of illness has had. Didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction,” Conley said. “And in doing so, came off like we’re trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. The fact of the matter is that he’s doing really well.” more...

By Gina Kolata and Apoorva Mandavilli The New York Times |

President Donald Trump will stay at Walter Reed military hospital for an indefinite number of days, his doctor said on Saturday, undergoing a five-day antiviral drug regimen for COVID-19 that indicated his condition might be more serious than had been publicly disclosed. On Thursday, he received another therapy that is still in early phases of testing. At a news conference on Saturday outside the medical center, Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, painted a rosy picture of the president’s condition, saying he was doing well, fever-free and not in need of supplemental oxygen.

But immediately afterward, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, contradicted that assessment and said Trump’s vital signs in the last 48 hours “were very concerning” and that the next two days would be critical. Medical experts who have been following the sketchy, conflicting details released by the White House and Walter Reed about the president’s condition were divided about the experimental treatments Trump, 74, has already received. more...

Ginger Rough Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS – Vice President Mike Pence was among dozens of politicians and high-profile dignitaries at a White House Rose Garden event when President Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the nation's high court. At least eight people who attended the event that Saturday, including the president, have tested positive for the coronavirus. Few in attendance were wearing face coverings. The Rose Garden event, combined with newly released pictures from the White House, paint a portrait of a busy chief executive and his No. 2 conducting business without taking basic precautions to limit the spread of the virus. more...

Maeve Reston, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's physician, Navy Cmdr Dr. Sean Conley, held a second medical briefing that again raised more questions than answers about the President's condition. In another jarring news conference on Sunday, Trump's doctors said that even though the President has had at least two concerning drops in oxygen levels, they are hoping he could be discharged as early as tomorrow from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Conley and other doctors involved in the President's care offered some more information about the President's condition -- but there were still significant gaps that made it hard to decipher the full picture. Conley failed to answer basic questions about the President's condition and admitted that he had omitted those alarming drops in the President's oxygen levels during a news conference Saturday because he wanted to "reflect the upbeat attitude" that the team and the President had about his condition and didn't want "to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction." more...

By Jim Acosta, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump is furious with chief of staff Mark Meadows after the top West Wing official contradicted the White House physician's assessment Saturday of the President's health, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN on Sunday. Meadows is now widely known inside the White House to be the unnamed source who spoke to reporters following the medical briefing Saturday and offered a more dire assessment than Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley had given shortly before. That reporting was initially given to a pool of reporters attributed to an official familiar with the President's condition. Later, the Associated Press and the New York Times identified that official as Meadows.

"The President's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery," Meadows said to reporters. Trump is outraged at Meadows over the botched message, according to a senior Trump adviser. Officials in the Trump White House have carefully calibrated their statements about the President's health over the past few days. Meadows' statement on Saturday capped a 24-hour period of mixed messages from the administration that raised major questions about the President's health.
CNN previously reported that the President was unhappy with Meadows. A separate White House official confirmed Trump is unhappy with Meadows, as the chief of staff is now viewed by Trump advisers as having damaged the credibility of the current medical briefings on the President's bout with the coronavirus. more...

*** What is wrong with the Trump republicans are they just stupid or do they believe you are? ***

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) A senior adviser to President Donald Trump's reelection campaign claimed that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden uses face masks as a "prop," two days after the President was hospitalized after contracting the coronavirus. Senior campaign adviser Jason Miller, when pressed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos about the rallies Trump has held in recent weeks where supporters are largely maskless and standing within six feet of one another in clear violations of federal health guidelines, said Sunday that Trump's team takes health guidelines meant to curb the spread of the deadly disease "very seriously."

"It's why we give everyone coming to rallies or events, we give them a mask. We check their temperature. You know, I would say that with regard to Joe Biden, I think too often he's used the mask as a prop," Miller said. "(Wearing a) mask is very important, but even if he's -- he could be 20, 30 feet away from the nearest person and still have the mask on." Trump, who has frequently mocked Biden's consistent use of a face mask, was hospitalized Friday afternoon, hours after he announced he had tested positive for Covid-19. Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden's campaign, stressed to CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday morning that the former vice president's campaign has adhered to guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year. more...

By Reuters Staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows revealed that President Donald Trump’s condition on Friday was far worse than officials had made public, saying doctors recommended the president go to the hospital after seeing he had a fever and his blood oxygen level dropped rapidly. Meadows made the comments in an interview with Fox News broadcast Saturday night that capped two days of conflicting and opaque assessments of the 74-year-old president’s health.

“I can tell you this the biggest thing we see is with no fever now, and with him doing really well with his oxygen saturation levels,” Meadows told Fox host Jeanine Pirro. “Yesterday morning we were really concerned by that. He had a fever, and his oxygen level had dropped rapidly. Yet in typical style, this president was up and walking around.” more...

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Amy Woodyatt, Fernando Alfonso III, Melissa Mahtani and Meg Wagner, CNN

A source close to the White House said President Trump has received supplemental oxygen since his illness began. Trump “definitely has had oxygen,” the source said. The source said it was Friday when that happened. more...

Kristen Welker and Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC News

The number of people from President Donald Trump's orbit who have tested positive for the coronavirus is growing, with at least seven confirmed cases tied to an event in the Rose Garden last weekend. On Sept. 26, Trump officially announced federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next Supreme Court justice at an outdoor ceremony attended by more than 150 people, many of whom did not wear masks or practice social distancing.

In addition to the president and the first lady, at least five other people who were at the ceremony have been confirmed to have Covid-19: former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins and a White House journalist.

Conway is the latest to confirm that she was infected. "Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19," she said in a statement Friday night. "My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I'm feeling fine. I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians. As always, my heart is with everyone affected by this global pandemic." more...

Jacob Pramuk

President Donald Trump pressured Congress to pass a coronavirus stimulus plan Saturday as his administration and congressional Democrats struggle to forge a relief deal. In a tweet sent as the president receives treatment for Covid-19 at Walter Reed Medical Center, the president wrote, “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS.” “WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!” he continued.

Trump’s tweet plunges him more fully into the tug-of-war over pandemic aid than he has been throughout weeks of talks between his advisors and Democratic leaders. Republicans and Democrats have failed to inject new money into the U.S. economy and health-care system for months as the GOP worries about runaway spending and Democrats push for a sweeping relief package.

An unexpectedly weak September jobs report, along with tens of thousands of newly announced layoffs and furloughs this week, have added to concerns the boost from previous rounds of stimulus is fading. more...

By Eric Bradner and Ryan Nobles, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's campaign has been thrown into chaos, adjusting its tactics, messaging and work environment following Trump and a number of top aides and political allies' positive tests for coronavirus. Trump is in the hospital. His campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and the Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, contracted the virus. All of the campaign's planned rallies and fundraisers featuring the President and his family are on hold. And Trump's ability to debate Democratic rival Joe Biden again is uncertain.

Trailing Biden with one month left in the 2020 race, Trump is now stuck in a position he's spent months trying to avoid: Faced with an election that is all about the coronavirus pandemic, with no way to change the topic. With ballots already available in 35 states and voting beginning in the swing states of Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire and Ohio within the next week, millions of votes could be cast with Trump sick with a virus he has downplayed for months. The next time Trump and Biden are scheduled to meet in person for a debate is October 15, for a town hall-style event in Miami. But it's unclear now whether Trump will be physically able to participate.

The Commission on Presidential Debates is already preparing to make a change that is effectively a rebuke of Trump, whose guests declined a Cleveland Clinic doctor's request that they wear masks at the first debate on Tuesday. A source familiar with the matter said the commission will announce that everyone in the debate halls, except the candidates and moderator, must remained masked until conclusion -- and those not wearing masks will be escorted out. more...

*** Donald J. Trump is Woodrow Wilson redux. ***

Doug Stanglin USA TODAY

Even a U.S. president couldn't avoid a pandemic that swept the world and infected millions. The year: 1919. The president: Woodrow Wilson. The disease dubbed "The Spanish flu" emerged in 1918 during the last months of World War I. Initially, the Wilson administration tried to play down the disease even as it spread worldwide. Presidential historian Tevi Troy, citing the administration's response to the pandemic, calls Wilson the worst U.S. president in terms of handling a disaster.

“The federal response to the influenza outbreak in 1918 can best be described as neglectful. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died without President Wilson saying anything or mobilizing nonmilitary components of the U.S. government to help the civilian population,” Troy writes in "Shall We Wake the President: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office."

He also blames Wilson for contributing to the pandemic by continuing the mobilization of troops “even as World War I was winding to a close.” In April 1919, however, Wilson himself contracted the illness shortly after arriving in Paris for the Big Four peace talks. Sarah Fling, a fellow writing for the White House Historical Association, notes that a number of members of the Wilson entourage had caught the flu during a transatlantic voyage in February 1919, including his daughter, Margaret, several members of the Secret Service, Wilson's stenographer, and his chief usher. more...

By Derek Hawkins, Colby Itkowitz and Seung Min Kim

At a Saturday morning press conference, President Trump’s medical team suggested that the President knew he tested positive for coronavirus earlier than has been previously reported. Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, said that we’re “72 hours into the diagnosis,” meaning the President could have test positive as early as Wednesday.

At a press conference, Trump’s medical team at Walter Reed said the president is fever-free and that they are “extremely happy” with the progress the president has made. But the team refused to answer key questions about when the president was first diagnosed, first symptomatic and whether he had received supplemental oxygen.

Adding to the confusion, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the president’s health, said after the briefing that the doctor misspoke about the timing of the president’s diagnosis and treatment. The White House has not commented on the record about the doctor’s remarks and whether they contradict the timeline previously communicated to the public by Trump and the White House. more...

By David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig and David Nakamura

President Trump contracted the novel coronavirus after months in which he and people around him — his aides, his children, even his golf-club members — avoided taking basic steps to prevent the virus’s spread, like wearing masks and avoiding large indoor crowds. Mask-wearing had become rare among Trump’s staff and the Secret Service agents and military service crew aboard Air Force One — even after national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien tested positive in July.

On the campaign trail, Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric have spoken to packed audiences in indoor venues. And the Trump campaign violated state regulations limiting the size of gatherings in Nevada, earning a public rebuke from the governor after the president addressed thousands at an indoor event there last month. They all took their cues from Trump himself, who has rarely worn masks, sometimes mocked those who did and disputed the advice from his own government’s experts. more...

By Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett graduated in 1994 with honors from Rhodes College in Memphis. But more than 1,500 alumni of the small liberal arts school have made it known they are not proud of their ties to the conservative lawyer and judge.

Barrett graduated magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in English. She was a member of the Honor Council and named the Student Hall of Fame. After her next stop at Notre Dame’s law school, Barrett built a career of “professional distinction and achievement,” said Rhodes President Marjorie Hass, in a statement issued after President Trump nominated Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The statement was dated Sept. 22. Soon after, Rhodes alumni Rob Marus and Katherine Morgan Breslin wrote a letter criticizing Barrett’s stances on abortion law, the LBGTQ community and the Affordable Care Act. Signed by 1,513 alumni and posted online, the letter says the alumni are “firmly and passionately opposed to her nomination,” declaring Barrett fails to represent their views and values. more...

By Anneken Tappe, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)Heading into the November election, the US jobs recovery is running out of steam. The economy added 661,000 jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. The unemployment rate stood at 7.9%. This is the highest the unemployment rate has been ahead of a presidential election since the government started tracking the monthly rate in 1948. In 2012, when the country re-elected President Barack Obama, the pre-election unemployment rate was initially also reported at 7.9%, before getting revised down to 7.8%.

The October jobs report will be published on the Friday following the election. The pandemic has ravaged America's previously strong job market and more than 22 million jobs vanished in the spring lockdown. If President Donald Trump loses the election, he could become the first President on record — going back to President Harry Truman — to leave the White House with fewer jobs than when he started. more...

The president has the coronavirus. Let’s learn from that.
By Frank Bruni

It’s a measure of the cynicism that has infected American politics — and, yes, me — that among my initial reactions to the news that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus was: Are we sure? Can we trust that? A man who so frequently and flamboyantly plays the victim, and who has been prophylactically compiling ways to explain away or dispute a projected loss to Joe Biden, is now being forced off the campaign trail, which will be a monster of an excuse. I couldn’t help thinking that, and I soon realized that I was in robust company. On Twitter, on television and everywhere else I turned, doubters noted that Trump had once already suggested that the election be postponed: Was this a fresh tactic along those lines?

He had just turned in a repellent performance in the first presidential debate: Was he wriggling out of the second and third debates? At another time, under a different president, these questions would be callous. At this time, under this president, they were sadly and perfectly understandable. I couldn’t help thinking, too, about karma, and I immediately felt petty for that. I don’t wish illness upon Trump. I hope he has a prompt and full recovery. But it’s important to note that he has spent much of the past eight months, during which more than 200,000 Americans died of causes related to the coronavirus, downplaying the pandemic, flinging out false reassurances and refusing to abide by the very public health guidelines that officials in his own government were fervently promoting. more...

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump is being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for Covid-19 and has begun receiving an anti-viral drug, his doctor announced Friday night. In a memo shared by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, White House physician Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley wrote Trump is doing "very well." "This evening I'm happy to report that the President is doing very well. He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy," Conley wrote, referring to a drug that has been shown to shorten coronavirus patients' hospital stays. "He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably."

The news comes after a chaotic day marked by Trump's announcement early Friday morning that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19, followed by the sudden news Friday afternoon that he was being taken to Walter Reed at Conley's recommendation. Emerging from the White House residence at 6:16 p.m. ET for his first public appearance since announcing 16 hours earlier he had tested positive for coronavirus, Trump walked under his own power to his waiting helicopter and displayed no major outward signs of illness. Wearing a navy blue suit, a blue silk necktie and a dark face mask, Trump waved to the media and gave a thumbs up, but did not stop to talk. Chief of staff Mark Meadows, also wearing a mask, followed him aboard. more...

By Reuters Staff
(Reuters) - Get well messages for U.S. President Donald Trump poured in from foreign capitals on Friday after he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus, but some had little sympathy for a leader whose response to the pandemic has been widely criticised. Trump, who might be voted out of office on Nov. 3, denies accusations that he downplayed the severity of the outbreak as the world’s most powerful nation also became the worst hit, accounting for around 20% of a global death toll that crossed a million this week.

Most diplomatic responses to news that Trump, 74, and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19 observed the niceties, while governments everywhere assessed how it might impact the outcome of next month’s U.S. election. “COVID-19 is a battle we all continue to fight. Everyday. No matter where we live,” European Council President Charles Michel said in a tweet, wishing America’s First Couple a speedy recovery. But disappointed by Washington’s leadership during the global health crisis, some messages were laced with stinging barbs. more...

By Jessica Schneider, Kristen Holmes and Jim Acosta, CNN

Washington (CNN) Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the President's nominee for the US Supreme Court, was diagnosed with coronavirus late this summer but has recovered, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Barrett, and her husband, Jesse, were diagnosed. Jesse Barrett was asymptomatic but Barrett felt "a little under the weather but recovered," one of the sources said.

After the news early Friday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump contracted coronavirus, Barrett tested negative for coronavirus on Friday, according to White House spokesman Judd Deere. Barrett, who is tested daily, was last with the President on Saturday when Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden he would be nominating her to the Supreme Court, Deere said. All week, Barrett has been meeting in-person with multiple US senators on Capitol Hill. Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican who serves on the Judiciary committee, announced Friday he tested positive for Covid-19, just days after meeting in-person with Barrett on Tuesday. more...

Kevin Breuninger

The White House said Friday that President Donald Trump is “fatigued but in good spirits” and shared information about his treatment following his coronavirus diagnosis. Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a memo shared by White House officials that the president “as a precautionary measure” has “received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail.” “He completed the infusion without incident,” Conley wrote.

Shortly after the memo was released, the White House said President Donald Trump was being taken to Walter Reed Medical Center “out of an abundance of caution.” Regeneron’s experimental drug cocktail has yet to be approved for wider use. Results shared by the pharma giant just this week showed that some non-hospitalized Covid-19 patients who took the two-antibody treatment saw reduced viral levels and improved symptoms. Regeneron confirmed in a statement to CNBC that it provided the dose to the president in response to a “compassionate use” request from Trump’s doctors. That term refers to a way patients can access experimental drugs outside of clinical trials. more...

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump will be taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and remain there for several days, according to the White House. In a statement, the White House said Trump "remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day." "Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days," the White House said. "President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady."

Trump has had a fever since Friday morning, a person familiar with the matter said, though the fever remains consistent with the White House's description of "mild symptoms." Earlier in the afternoon, Trump's physician wrote in a memo he "remains fatigued but in good spirits." "He's being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we'll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to next best steps," Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley wrote. more...

I wish the Trumps a speedy recovery. No decent person should wish for anything else. But that doesn’t excuse his personal irresponsibility.
Matt Lewis

The news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump contracted COVID-19 serves as a reminder: This is why having an irresponsible man-child as president is a bad thing, irrespective of everything else. It’s not that the president tested positive; that could be any president. But just two-and-a-half days ago, at the presidential debate, this president, who went months without ever wearing a mask, said he wears them only “when I think I need it.” He then mocked Joe Biden, saying, “Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen.”

We now know it’s at least possible that Trump (although they kept a safe distance and did not shake hands) could potentially have infected his opponent. Who knows how many other people he came in close contact with before discovering he was infected. What about Amy Coney Barrett, who was with Trump on Saturday? The senators who then met with Barrett? more...

“So we’ve been interfering and interfering, but all of that was for naught?”
Julia Davis

The shocking announcement that the President of the United States Donald J. Trump has contracted the coronavirus was promptly followed by well-wishes from the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday sent President Trump a telegram, wishing a speedy recovery to the U.S. president and the first lady. According to a Kremlin readout of the telegram, Putin wrote: “I am sure that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus.”

Overshadowed by the news of Trump’s positive test for COVID-19 was the fact that U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien met with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Geneva. According to Russian state media outlet Vesti, O’Brien allegedly went along with Putin’s much-ridiculed proposal that the United States and Russia enter into a pact of mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. If such an agreement was in fact entertained, Moscow will undoubtedly interpret it to encompass Russia’s relations with its neighboring countries, including but not limited to the post-Soviet space, as well as the potential relief from the U.S. sanctions for Russia’s election interference, and the Kremlin being allowed to escape any consequences for the attempted poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

Meanwhile, with respect to Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, initial  reactions in the Russian state media encompassed a full spectrum of  emotions—ranging from sympathy to schadenfreude. Discussing Trump’s  COVID-19 diagnosis, Evgeny Popov, the host of Russian state media news  talk show 60 Minutes, said: “Our candidate got sick.” His co-host Olga Skabeeva reminded  the viewers that Trump is in a high-risk group, due to being elderly  and overweight. Referring to former Vice President Joe Biden, Popov  added: “The other one may get sick too.” more...

A president who once seemed impervious to October surprises is suddenly confronting one big enough to alter the election outcome.

Donald Trump had done everything possible to shift the focus of the presidential campaign away from his handling of the coronavirus. His own infection now ensures that he can’t – pulling Trump off the road 32 days before the election, throwing debates into question and fixing the public attention’s more squarely than ever on a pandemic dragging down his prospects for a second term. A president who once seemed impervious to October surprises is suddenly confronting one big enough to alter the outcome of the election.

“The campaign as we knew it is over,” said Andrew Feldman, a Democratic strategist in Washington. “This is the worst nightmare for the Trump campaign.” Practically speaking, Trump’s announcement early Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus will immediately remove him from in-person campaigning, though for how long is unclear. Sean Conley, Trump's physician, said in a memo that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive, “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,” and the White House removed a planned campaign rally on Friday night in Florida from Trump’s daily schedule. more...

Heard on Fresh Air
Dave Davies

In the first presidential debate, President Trump was asked if he would refrain from declaring victory until the election has been independently certified. He refused to make that commitment. Atlantic writer Barton Gellman was not surprised. "That's a man who won't leave," Gellman says. "There are many aspects of his past behavior and, frankly, his pathology that lead me to think this is an immutable decision on his part." Gellman writes about the 2020 presidential election — and how he thinks it could trigger a constitutional crisis — in his latest article for The Atlantic. He notes that typically elections are ended when one candidate concedes to the other. It's a system, he says, that "presumes good behavior and presumes that a rational and well-meaning candidate will accept reality when it comes."

But Gellman does not trust a scenario that relies upon good faith from the president: "Trump is making as absolutely plain as he can that he will fight the mail vote, that he will try to get the vote count stopped, and that he will not accept any result that is not a victory for him." At a rally over the weekend, Trump mocked the media for raising alarms about his earlier answer to a question about a peaceful transfer of power after the election. "Then they say, 'He doesn't want to turn over government' — of course I do. But it's got to be a fair election," he said, before repeating unfounded claims about widespread voter fraud. more...

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

London (CNN) US President Donald Trump is not the only leader on the world stage to have contracted coronavirus. His positive test, announced in the early hours of Friday, puts him in the company of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Of those, Johnson fell the most gravely ill after he tested positive for the virus at the end of March. He spent a week in hospital, with three nights in intensive care and, on being discharged admitted "things could have gone either way" for him. Even after leaving the hospital, he had to spend time recuperating at his official country residence, Chequers.

Johnson's illness, at the height of Britain's first wave of infections, complicated the government's response, not least because the virus spread through the government's ranks in Westminster. Trump and his wife Melania, who has also tested positive for the virus, may be asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms, as was the case with Britain's health minister Matt Hancock. At 74 years old and overweight, Trump -- who has spent months playing down the severity of the pandemic as US deaths have surpassed 207,000 -- falls into the highest risk category for serious complications from the disease. But the first lady, age 50, is likely to be at a lower risk of serious illness. more...

By Ewan Palmer

A video showing the violent rhetoric frequently used by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes has reemerged after Donald Trump told the far-right group to "stand by" during the presidential date. McInnes launched the Proud Boys in 2016 but left the group in 2018 after fighting broke out between the group and antifa in New York following a speech he made at the Metropolitan Republican Club.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, McInnes told a crowd of his supporters that violence is a "really effective way to solve problems." The clip, an edited version of one that first appeared on social media a few years ago, lists other examples of McInnes actively promoting or encouraging violence on his podcast and other public appearances. In one segment, McInnes boasts about how the group's members "will kill you. That's the Proud Boys in a nutshell." He also directly states that he is calling for violence and adds that "violence solves everything."

"We need more violence from the Trump people, Trump supporters. Choke a m**********r, choke a b***h, choke a t****y, get your fingers around a windpipe," McInnes can be heard saying over a clip of the unrest which took place in New York in 2018. McInnes also tells listeners on his show to get a gun and "get ready to blow someone's f*****g head off." It is unclear in what context McInnes is making the remark. more...

A month out from Election Day, Trump is appealing to the voting groups that shored up his base in 2016 while Biden chips away at them.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacists. On Wednesday, he appeared to blame suburban, low-income people of color for “ruining this American dream.” The two comments represent a feature, not a bug, of his presidency and campaign. And he’s ramped it up in the final month of the election. A day after he told the far-right Proud Boys, to “stand by," igniting outrage from Democrats and concern from Republicans, the president seemed to equate having a low income to being a minority. He also claimed — falsely — that Joe Biden wants to turn Minnesota into a refugee state.

Speaking to a mostly white crowd in Duluth, Minn., on Wednesday, Trump gave a shout-out to the suburbs, particularly “women in the suburbs.” He boasted he was the person to end an Obama-era fair housing rule, which he said brought “low-income housing” to suburbia. “By the way, just so we can get this straight, 30 percent of the people in the suburbs are low-income people. Thirty percent of the people in the suburbs are minorities. And so we’re ruining this American dream for everybody,” Trump said. "They zone you out, they build low-income housing next to your house," Trump continued. "And then I hear I'm not doing well in the suburbs. I'm not doing well in the suburbs — are you people crazy?" more...

The president has been cavalier throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Now, a month before the election, this changes everything
David Smith in Washington

It is likely to go down as the biggest “October surprise” in the history of US presidential elections. Yet anyone who was paying attention could have seen it coming. Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus after claiming “it will disappear”, telling the journalist Bob Woodward he was downplaying it deliberately, failing to develop a national testing strategy, refusing to wear a face mask for months, floating the idea of injecting patients with bleach, insisting to one of his many crowded campaign rallies that “it affects virtually nobody” and, at Tuesday’s debate, mocking his rival Joe Biden: “He could be speaking 200 feet away and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

It suggested a sense of invincibility even as more than 200,000 Americans died. But now the chickens have come home to roost, just as they did for the similarly cavalier British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro. Covid-19, described as the “invisible enemy” by Trump, has penetrated the Oval Office. Thirty-two days before an election often described as the most important in living memory, this changes everything. Trump has been doing what he loves most, holding campaign rallies, on a hectic schedule in recent weeks, trying to recreate the perceived magic of 2016. Any more rallies, or flights on Air Force One for that matter, are now unthinkable under quarantine. If Trump loses the election, perhaps he will never hold a rally again. A huge question mark also lingers over the second presidential debate scheduled for 15 October. Perhaps Trump, if he is well enough, could take part virtually. Perhaps, after what happened on Tuesday, no debate would be a mercy for everyone. more...

John Fritze USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning development that came hours after he confirmed one of his longest-serving aides with whom he had recently traveled also received a positive test result. The revelation had implications for the president's health, the administration's response to the pandemic and also the Nov. 3 election, during which Trump has leaned on states to reopen and has claimed that the nation is "turning the corner" on the virus.

"Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19," Trump tweeted early Friday morning. "We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" Former White House doctor Ronny Jackson told Fox News early Friday morning that Trump was asymptomatic and predicted the president would "weather this storm." "I will bet you that he does not develop symptoms, that he moves on and this does not become a big deal," Jackson said.

The president has often claimed the U.S. has the pandemic "under control," but his own positive test result – assuming it is accurate – is certain to raise questions about the reopening of schools and businesses when the virus could not be contained within the White House, arguably the most secure facility in the world. more...

By Christina Carrega and Evan Perez, CNN

(CNN) A federal judge ruled on Thursday that Attorney General William Barr had violated the law in how he chose the members of a law enforcement group commissioned by President Donald Trump to investigate and make recommendations on the state of the criminal justice system. US District Judge John Bates has ordered the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice to "not hold further meetings, sessions, or hearings, or conduct any official business" or "submit, accept, publish, employ, or rely upon any report or recommendations" until it has met the standards of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, according to the order.

The commission's goal is to study a broad range of issues regarding law enforcement and the criminal justice system in more than a dozen working groups that had themes including "Respect for Law Enforcement," "Victim Services" and "Juvenile Justice and Youth Crime." After studying the groups' designated issues, the commission is expected to make recommendations to Barr on actions that address crime, increase respect for the law and assist victims. Barr would then turn over the recommendations for Trump's consideration. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in April against Barr, the Justice Department and the commission, charging that they were violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act by holding closed-door meetings and omitting people in urban communities that will be affected by their recommendations. more...

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump condemned "all White supremacists" Thursday evening after pointedly refusing to do so at Tuesday's presidential debate and in the days since. "I condemn the KKK, I condemn all White supremacists, I condemn the Proud Boys. I don't know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing, but I condemn that," Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity, before he again appeared to equate violence by far-left groups with White supremacists, who his own FBI director says are the largest top domestic terror concern.

The White House initially showed no signs of backing down from Trump's refusal to condemn White supremacists during Tuesday's debate, despite pleas from some Republican allies to clarify his comments. Earlier Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not give a declarative statement denouncing White supremacists, instead pointing to the President's past comments and insisting that he had not misspoken during the debate or after. more...

Trump's lies, failures and denials during a public health crisis meet the legal standard for second-degree murder

Two hundred and six thousand, six hundred and sixty-five people. That's 206,665 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents. As of this writing, that is the number of American lives lost in six months as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (The number will be larger by the time you read this.) A pandemic first described by the current United States president as a "Democrat hoax" and "like a flu" has now claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans — unnecessarily. We now know, thanks to the extensive interviews of Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, that Donald Trump knew of the danger and lethality of COVID-19 as early as February of this year. Time and time again, the president has publicly downplayed the scope and severity of this pandemic, while acknowledging the harsh reality in private.

Scores of mental health professionals have described President Trump as "unfit for office" in large part because of his personality pathology that plays out in his presidential decision-making and behavior. As seen this week with the New York Times exposé on the president's taxes, Trump repeatedly acts as if he is above the law. But his cruelty has been front and center in several contexts, ranging from separating children at the border and putting them in cages to the daily deaths of Americans to the coronavirus. The mounting deaths due to COVID-19 are the scariest example of this president's core sadism. What was initially attributed to Trump's incompetence, inexperience, lack of intellectual curiosity and overall ignorance and naiveté can now be more clearly identified as something far more sinister: mass murder. more...

Hicks traveled with the president to and from Tuesday's first debate.
By John Santucci and Katherine Faulders

Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump's closest advisers, has tested positive for the coronavirus, ABC News has confirmed. Hicks, who serves as counselor to the president and is among a tight group of advisers to the president, tested positive this week after traveling with the president on Tuesday to and from the first presidential debate on Air Force One. The president tweeted late Thursday he would go into quarantine, though it's unclear how that will affect his upcoming schedule. The White House declined to comment late Thursday.

"The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results," he wrote. "In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!" Hicks was also on Marine One, the president's helicopter, when it left the White House to fly to Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday. She was seen walking to the helicopter with fellow top presidential advisers, such as Stephen Miller, Dan Scavino and Jared Kushner. None of them were wearing masks.

"The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously," White House spokesperson Judd Deere told ABC News Thursday night. "White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling." Sources told ABC News that Hicks is experiencing symptoms and that she tested positive on Wednesday. more...

By Kaitlan Collins, Betsy Klein, Jim Acosta and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday night that top aide Hope Hicks has tested positive for coronavirus and said he and first lady Melania Trump will begin "their quarantine process" while waiting for their own test results. The President's public schedule for Friday, released just after his appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" earlier in the evening, showed he was set to attend a fundraiser at his Washington hotel and travel to Sanford, Florida, for a campaign rally. "Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!" Trump tweeted Thursday night.

Hicks has traveled with the President multiple times recently, including to the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, and was seen boarding Marine One, along with several other of the President's closest aides -- Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino and Nicholas Luna -- none of whom wore masks, on Wednesday as Trump was heading to a campaign rally in Minnesota. "She did test positive, I just heard about this. She tested positive. She's a hard worker. Lot of masks, she wears masks a lot but she tested positive. Then I just went out with a test. I'll see -- you know, because we spent a lot of time -- and the first lady just went out with a test also. So whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don't know," Trump said during a call-in appearance on Fox News' "Hannity." He added, "I just went for a test and we'll see what happens, I mean, who knows. ... I spent a lot of time with Hope and so does the first lady, and she's tremendous." more...

By Kristen Holmes, Jeremy Herb and Pamela Brown, CNN

(CNN) State and local officials across the country are scrambling to respond to the potential for voter intimidation and violence on Election Day in the wake of President Donald Trump's calls during Tuesday's debate for his supporters to "go into the polls." Trump's comments have energized far-right groups and sparked new warnings from state election officials about the potential for voter intimidation and conflict that could create chaos on Election Day. It's one more factor threatening to disrupt an election that Trump has been claiming for months -- without evidence -- will be fraudulent if he is not declared the winner.

"I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it," Trump said when asked if he would tell his supporters to stay calm and not engage in civil unrest around the election. State officials are hitting back at the President over his remarks and engaging with local law enforcement and others who have authority to maintain order at voting locations to ensure they are prepared. more...

By Kaelan Deese

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Tump's nominee to the Supreme Court, participated in a "mock" ruling exercise on the Affordable Care Act before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. Her position on the moot court over the Affordable Care Act, also called ObamaCare, mostly went against the Trump administration's stance, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Some Democratic critics have argued Barrett's conservative background and Catholic faith could compromise her decisions on the court bench. However, her mock ruling over the issue indicates contrary to those concerns. The mock trial over the Obamacare appeal lawsuit backed by Trump and Texas Republicans was conducted one week before the death of Ginsburg, whom Barrett has been nominated to replace. more...


A federal judge ordered the Trump administration's blue-ribbon law enforcement commission on Thursday to cease its work and barred it from releasing a report until a series of legal requirements are met. The ruling from Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Bates brings a halt to the work of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice less than a month before its deadline to deliver a final report.

President Trump signed an executive order creating the commission last year to study the challenges confronting law enforcement and communities. Attorney General William Barr was tasked with putting the commission together and getting it off the ground. From almost the beginning, civil rights groups expressed concern about the commission, saying its composition and focus was pro-law enforcement and demonstrated a disdain for police reform efforts. One of the commission's working groups, critics noted, was titled "Respect for Law Enforcement." more...

By Rebecca Beitsch and Maggie Miller

Election officials and voting rights experts are sounding the alarm over potential election chaos and voter intimidation in November after President Trump urged his supporters to monitor the polls on Election Day. During Tuesday night’s presidential debate, Trump issued a call to his base to go to polling stations and make sure ballots aren’t “manipulated.” “I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it,” Trump said in response to a question about whether he would hold off on declaring victory until after the results are certified and ask his supporters to remain calm.

“I hope it’s going to be a fair election, and if it’s a fair election, I am 100 percent on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that,” Trump added. His comments on the national stage follow similar remarks by his campaign. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, said in a video last week that he needs “every able-bodied man, woman to join [the] army for Trump’s election security operation.” “We need you to help us watch them,” he added. But if the president’s supporters comply with his request, they risk violating a host of state laws along with federal statutes rooted in a 19th century law designed to counter voter suppression tactics used by the KKK. more...

An Atlantic investigation reveals who they are and what they might do on Election Day.
Story by Mike Giglio

Stewart Rhodes was living his vision of the future. On television, American cities were burning, while on the internet, rumors warned that antifa bands were coming to terrorize the suburbs. Rhodes was driving around South Texas, getting ready for them. He answered his phone. “Let’s not fuck around,” he said. “We’ve descended into civil war.”

It was a Friday evening in June. Rhodes, 55, is a stocky man with a gray buzz cut, a wardrobe of tactical-casual attire, and a black eye patch. With him in his pickup were a pistol and a dusty black hat with the gold logo of the Oath Keepers, a militant group that has drawn in thousands of people from the military and law-enforcement communities.

Rhodes had been talking about civil war since he founded the Oath Keepers, in 2009. But now more people were listening. And whereas Rhodes had once cast himself as a revolutionary in waiting, he now saw his role as defending the president. He had put out a call for his followers to protect the country against what he was calling an “insurrection.” The unrest, he told me, was the latest attempt to undermine Donald Trump. more...

By Alex Rogers, Ted Barrett and Manu Raju, CNN

(CNN) Vulnerable Republican senators split over a bill to protect those with pre-existing conditions from a Trump administration lawsuit before the Supreme Court next month, underscoring the political potency of the issue as the country begins voting. The Senate failed to advance the legislation on Thursday, as all Democrats and six Republican senators voted in favor of it, including five in competitive races: Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine, Martha McSally of Arizona and Dan Sullivan of Alaska. But other Republicans up for reelection, including North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, Georgia Sen. David Perdue and Montana Sen. Steve Daines, voted against it. The vote was 51 to 43.

"If President Trump and [the] Republican lawsuit is successful, every single American stands to lose vital health care protections or access to care," warned Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer before the vote he forced in a rarely used legislative maneuver. Protecting the Affordable Care Act is at the center of the Democratic Party's argument for winning back the White House, retaking control of the Senate and blocking the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be on the Supreme Court. Democrats believe she could join with other conservative justices to strike down the ACA after the Trump administration's Department of Justice presents its argument in court a week after Election Day. more...

Barrett signed newspaper ad in 2006 sponsored by St Joseph County Right to Life, an extreme anti-choice group
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington

Amy Coney Barrett, the Trump administration’s supreme court nominee, publicly supported an organization in 2006 that has said life begins at fertilization. It has also said that the discarding of unused or frozen embryos created in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process ought to be criminalized, a view that is considered to be extreme even within the anti-abortion movement.

The revelation is likely to lead to new questions about how Barrett’s personal views on abortion may not only shape reproductive rights in the US for decades to come if she is confirmed by the Senate, but how her appointment could affect legal rights for women undergoing fertility treatment, as well as their doctors. more...

Amy Coney Barrett in Washington on Thursday. St Joseph County Right to Life is considered an extreme anti-choice group by pro-choice activists in South Bend.
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington

Amy Coney Barrett, the supreme court nominee, signed off on an advertisement in 2006 that called for the overturning of Roe v Wade, and called the landmark abortion rights decision “barbaric” and a “raw exercise of judicial power”. The two-page ad, published by the St Joseph County Right to Life group, an extreme anti-choice organization in South Bend, Indiana, is the most striking evidence to have emerged to date of Barrett’s personal opposition to Roe v Wade. The Guardian first reported the existence of the advertisement, which Barrett has not disclosed in documents submitted to the Senate ahead of her confirmation hearing.

The first page of the ad, which is signed by Barrett and her husband, Jesse, states that life begins at “fertilization”. The ad, which the organization publishes every year to mark the anniversary of Roe v Wade, was signed by Barrett while she was working as a law professor at Notre Dame. On the second page of the two-page spread, the group condemns Roe and claims that “the majority of those abortions were performed for social reasons”. It also claims that an “increasing majority” of Americans are opposed to abortion as a “method of birth control”. “It’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v Wade and restore law that protects the lives of unborn children,” it states. more...

H.R. McMaster’s warning represents perhaps his harshest public criticism of the president since he was ousted from the White House in 2018.

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Thursday that President Donald Trump is “aiding and abetting” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to sow doubt about the American electoral system. The stern warning from McMaster, who Trump handpicked to lead the White House National Security Council in 2017, came in an interview on MSNBC, after he was asked whether he agreed that the president posed the greatest threat to U.S. election integrity.

“I agree that he is aiding and abetting Putin’s efforts by not being direct about this, right? By not just calling out Putin for what he’s doing,” McMaster said. “You know, Putin gets away with, I mean, literally murder or attempted murder … because people don’t call him out on it,” he added. “And so they are able to continue with this kind of fire hose of falsehood, to sow these conspiracy theories. And we just can’t be our own worst enemies.”

McMaster was referring to the president’s complaints about mail-in balloting and claims of widespread voter fraud in the closing months of the general election campaign. Trump has repeatedly said Democrats are sending millions of “unsolicited” ballots to Americans and that the outcome of the election may not be known for months, if it is ever determined.

But only nine states are automatically mailing all voters ballots this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, and five of those states regularly mail every voter a ballot. Experts acknowledge there are some slightly higher fraud risks associated with mail-in voting compared with in-person voting, but only when proper security measures are not in place. more...

President Trump’s unwillingness to say he would abide by the result and his disinformation campaign about election fraud went beyond anything President Vladimir V. Putin could have imagined.
By David E. Sanger

President Trump’s angry insistence in the last minutes of Tuesday’s debate that there was no way the presidential election could be conducted without fraud amounted to an extraordinary declaration by a sitting American president that he would try to throw any outcome into the courts, Congress or the streets if he was not re-elected. His comments came after four years of debate about the possibility of foreign interference in the 2020 election and how to counter such disruptions. But they were a stark reminder that the most direct threat to the electoral process now comes from the president of the United States himself.

Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to say he would abide by the result, and his disinformation campaign about the integrity of the American electoral system, went beyond anything President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia could have imagined. All Mr. Putin has to do now is amplify the president’s message, which he has already begun to do. Everything Mr. Trump said in his face-off with Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, he had already delivered in recent weeks, in tweets and at rallies with his faithful. But he had never before put it all together in front of such a large audience as he did on Tuesday night. more...

Study is first comprehensive examination of Covid misinformation in traditional and online media
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Noah Weiland

Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: Donald Trump. That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analysed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr Trump made up nearly 38 per cent of the overall “misinformation conversation”, making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic” — falsehoods involving the pandemic.

The study, to be released Thursday, is the first comprehensive examination of coronavirus misinformation in traditional and online media. “The biggest surprise was that the president of the United States was the single largest driver of misinformation around Covid,” said Sarah Evanega, the director of the Cornell Alliance for Science and the study’s lead author. “That’s concerning in that there are real-world dire health implications.”

The study identified 11 topics of misinformation, including various conspiracy theories, like one that emerged in January suggesting the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to coincide with Mr Trump’s impeachment trial, and another that purported to trace the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, to people who ate bat soup. But by far the most prevalent topic of misinformation topic was “miracle cures”, including Mr Trump’s promotion of anti-malarial drugs and disinfectants as potential treatments for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That accounted for more misinformation than the other 10 topics combined, the researchers reported. more...

“In my 30 years of doing this work, I've never seen something this egregious,” one food bank director said.

The Agriculture Department last week began mandating that millions of boxes of surplus food for needy families include a letter from President Donald Trump claiming credit for the program. The USDA’s $4 billion Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 100 million boxes to those in need since May, with the aim of redirecting meat, dairy and produce that might normally go to restaurants and other food-service businesses. But organizations handing out the aid complain the program is now being used to bolster Trump’s image a month before a high-stakes election — and some even have refused to distribute them. “In my 30 years of doing this work, I've never seen something this egregious,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks. "These are federally purchased boxes.” more...

In prepping DHS officials for questions about Rittenhouse, the document suggests they say he took a gun to Kenosha "to help defend small business owners."
By Julia Ainsley NBC News

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials were directed to make public comments sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with fatally shooting two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, according to internal Department of Homeland Security talking points obtained by NBC News.

In preparing Homeland Security officials for questions about Rittenhouse from the media, the document suggests that they note that he "took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners." Another set of talking points distributed to Homeland Security officials said the media were incorrectly labeling the group Patriot Prayer as racists after clashes erupted between the group and protesters in Portland, Oregon. It is unclear whether any of the talking points originated at the White House or within Homeland Security's own press office. more...

"Any decent prosecutor" could make a "pretty viable" case, Nick Akerman, who investigated Nixon's tax returns, says
Roger Sollenberger

A former federal prosecutor during the Watergate investigation, which uncovered criminal activity that led to former President Richard Nixon's resignation, said the bombshell New York Times report on President Donald Trump's taxes suggests that he could ultimately face time behind bars along with his daughter, senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. "No question about it," Nick Akerman told CNN's Erin Burnett in a Monday interview. "And his daughter could go to jail, too. Tax evasion is a five-year felony. It's a pretty serious crime, and the more money that's stolen, the longer you go to jail."

Akerman, who investigated Nixon's taxes during the Watergate probe, said The Times report revealed that he was a "rookie amateur" compared to Trump. "What Nixon did was essentially backdate one deed for a gift of papers to the U.S. government. He basically created a phony deed," said Akerman, whose investigation prompted the political precedent of every major-party presidential candidate publicizing his or her tax returns — until Trump. The Times report, he said, laid out "a whole series of activities that could qualify as tax fraud — not tax avoidance." While the headline read, "Trump Tax Avoidance," Akerman said there is "a key difference" when it comes to fraud — a more serious crime.

Tax avoidance means trying to get the most deductions legally permissible under the tax code.  "Tax fraud is lying about what your income was," Akerman said. "Lying about what your deductions are." Akerman said the report suggested multiple instances of fraud —  the "most glaring" example being an allegation involving consultant  fees that Trump appears to have paid to Ivanka, but which he later wrote  off as a tax deduction. more...

Over three days, the New York Times dropped a tax bombshell, Florida cops cuffed Brad Parscale, and the president just couldn’t help himself onstage. “Trump didn’t win over any voters,” said a prominent Republican, “and he pissed off a lot of people.”
By Gabriel Sherman

Donald Trump’s campaign is still assessing the political damage from Tuesday night’s chaotic first presidential debate. The president’s refusal to condemn white supremacists, of course, is the immediate crisis. “He blew that for sure,” a campaign adviser told me. “It’s nuts,” a former West Wing official said wearily, sounding like a storm survivor with PTSD. “Total lunacy,” said another former White House staffer, who remains close to the campaign. “Trump didn’t win over any voters, and he pissed off a lot of people,” added a prominent Republican.

Trump advisers agree on what he needs to do differently at the next debate. “He has to just relax and let Joe Biden speak,” said the ex-official, who remains close to the White House. But Republicans are resigned to the fact that Trump is unlikely––or unwilling––to course-correct. “Trump thinks he won. He didn’t,” said another Republican with ties to the campaign. “But does anyone have the balls to tell him that? No. They’d be fired.”

Trump doesn’t accept the consensus that the debate was a disaster because, sources said, he was unabashedly himself. “The thing about the debate is people got to see why no one that has any integrity can work for Trump. This is what Trump is like in the Oval Office every day. It’s why [John] Kelly left. It’s why [Jim] Mattis quit,” said the prominent Republican. “Trump doesn’t let anyone else speak. He really doesn’t care what you have to say. He demeans people. He talks over them. And everyone around him thinks it’s getting worse.” more...

By Erik Wasson and Justin Sink

President Donald Trump signed stopgap spending legislation early Thursday to avert a government shutdown weeks before the presidential election, the White House said. The spending authority of the U.S. had lapsed at midnight. The White House announced that he had signed the bill shortly after he returned from a campaign trip to Minnesota. The bill will keep the government operating through Dec. 11 at current spending levels. The Senate on Wednesday approved the bill, which easily passed the House last week.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans, along with White House officials, last week removed the final stumbling block, by agreeing to provide aid to farmers and more food assistance for low-income families. The bill provides as much as $30 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corp., which the administration has used to send virus relief payments to farmers. Democrats got almost $8 billion for a pandemic program to feed children who normally receive school lunches. more...

By Reuters Staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale has stepped down from a senior role at the campaign after his arrest at his home in Florida, a campaign official said on Wednesday. Parscale was detained by police at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, out of concern he might hurt himself after they received a report from his wife, Candice. more...

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