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"Seeking liberty and truth above suppression and mendacity!"
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.


Donald J. Trump White House Page 21

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
(CNN) - It was another Fifth Avenue day for President Donald Trump.
His boast back in 2016 that he could shoot someone on the New York boulevard and not lose a voter turned out to be an uncanny assessment of his bulletproof political persona.
And so it was Monday that he skated through yet another sequence of stunning controversies and outrageous plot twists that would have been defining scandals for any other administration. Had President Barack Obama thought of inviting Taliban terrorists to Camp David at the time of the 9/11 anniversary, the Republican Party would have been in meltdown. Had President George W. Bush caused the CIA to extract a highly placed Russia asset because of careless handling of classified intelligence, Washington would be in uproar. And if a Cabinet secretary had threatened to fire top officials if they refused to lie to protect a president -- say, Hillary Clinton, had she won in 2016 -- impeachment would be in the air. "You know what's the most shocking (part) of it -- that it isn't shocking anymore," Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN's Erin Burnett. "I am almost numb. It is one thing after another, after another." Yet another logic-busting day in Washington is unlikely to make a dent in a presidency shored up by unshakable GOP support. There were only the mildest Republican statements of concern -- and relief -- over the cancellation of Trump's big Afghan photo op at Camp David. Impossible to keep up. So thick and fast did the controversies come that it was hard to focus on any one drama -- a factor Trump has repeatedly used to his advantage in a constantly riotous presidency. Media fact checks and accounts of the President's serial dishonesty and shattered governing conventions merely play into his demagogic conceits that Washington elites are not just unfair to him -- but also don't understand his appeal in the "real" heartland America. In a typically virtuoso performance on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump evaded, spun and dodged his way out of trouble before jetting off to an incendiary rally in North Carolina, in which he blasted the "America-hating left" and claimed Democrats are "not big believers in religion." The President's perpetual cycle of chaos shields him from scrutiny for too long on any one political storm. And he knows that his base voters have taken his advice to believe only the version of reality that he creates for them. It also makes it difficult for the Democratic-led House -- engaged in multiple strands of investigation targeting the White House -- to mount an effective oversight operation. As the new week dawned, Washington was still digesting the stunning news -- broken by Trump on Twitter of course -- that he'd planned and then canceled talks at Camp David with the Taliban and the Afghan government, which is wary of his bid to get US troops out of the country as soon as possible.

Here’s how we know.
By Joshua P. Darr, Nathan P. Kalmoe, Kathleen Searles, Mingxiao Sui, Raymond J. Pingree, Brian K. Watson, Kirill Bryanov and Martina Santia
President Trump’s time in office has been a roller coaster of startling tweets, controversies and scandals. The news media has reported on numerous difficulties, including possible violations of the emoluments clause, self-dealing, sexual assault allegations, improperly awarded security clearances, indictments and resignations. Nevertheless, he has had an unusually stable approval rating. Through all this, Trump can seem like Teflon: impervious to scandal. Democrats already dislike him, Republican partisans remain loyal, and Americans’ minds are hard to change. This dynamic can trouble those who believe public opinion should respond to new information. If scandalous news no longer affects voters’ opinions of politicians, politicians will be less likely to care if they are involved in a scandal. And if intense, negative, and substantial news coverage about a politician cannot change opinions, that may limit the news media’s ability to serve as a critical watchdog against government misdeeds. Presidential scandals at a time when news consumption is changing dramatically. The presidency invests immense power in one celebrity at the center of a national drama, making presidential scandal an attractive subject for coverage — even for news outlets sympathetic to the president. However, news consumption is changing. Currently, Americans distrust the media along partisan lines. Many selectively read sources with which they already agree. An incredible number of sources offer information (and misinformation) about national politics; half of Americans get their news from Facebook or other social media sites; and local news outlets are disappearing precipitously. A polarized and nationalized politics is the result: Americans are hearing more and more about the president and Congress and liking them less and less.

Trump has spent the past week showing us that he’s still fundamentally unfit for office.
By Zack Beauchamp
We’ve almost become numb to scandals involving President Donald Trump’s administration. But in the past week, news has broken about a truly astonishing number of them, even by Trump standards. They include: The president inviting the Taliban to attend secret peace talks at Camp David days before the 9/11 anniversary and then canceling the trip in a tweet throwing the Afghanistan peace process into (even worse) chaos. Trump and his staff allegedly attempting to force Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his family by threatening to cut off US military aid to Kiev. Air Force planes repeatedly landing at a non-military airport in Scotland suspiciously close to a floundering Trump golf resort. The president drawing on a map of Hurricane Dorian predictions to make it look like the storm threatened Alabama, as he incorrectly said. The situation deepened on Friday when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a statement backing Trump against the opinions of its own experts, a discrepancy its chief scientist has vowed to investigate. Trump reportedly costing the US one of its top spies in the Russian government, pulled in 2017 out of fear that the president’s mishandling of classified information would compromise the spy’s identity. Each of these incidents is individually troubling; together, they’re a pretty damning indictment of the Trump presidency. They reveal a kind of meta-scandal: that the president’s character and his approach to his job is itself scandalous. Time and again, the president has proven to be exactly the kind of anti-democratic, institutional menace many observers feared.

Ross threatened to fire officials if they didn’t back an incorrect tweet sent by President Trump.
By Sean Collins
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly threatened to fire some of the nation’s weather officials if they refused to lie to the public about the projected path of Hurricane Dorian. Ross wanted top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency under his purview, to claim scientists at the agency’s Birmingham, Alabama, National Weather Service branch were mistaken when they corrected a tweet President Donald Trump sent ahead of Dorian’s arrival that said the storm would “most likely” affect Alabama. When Trump sent the tweet, projections had not shown Dorian affecting Alabama for some time, and to ensure Alabamians did not panic, the National Weather Service Birmingham tweeted, “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian.” As Dorian devastated the Bahamas and raked North America’s eastern seaboard, the president pushed back against this correction in a series of angry tweets that largely targeted journalists who reported on his error. The situation escalated further when Trump presented a weather map during a hurricane update that had been altered with a marker to show Dorian threatening Alabama. Although that episode, dubbed Sharpiegate, did include some casual lawbreaking (issuing a false or altered official weather forecast is illegal and can be punished by a fine or three months in prison), it was largely used to drive broadcasts on cable news and as a front for memes, including some shared by the president himself. Though a somewhat outrageous example of President Trump’s inability to admit fault, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that big of a deal, as Vox’s Emily Stewart explained.



“They are playing games with the needs of desperate people,” said a migrant stuck in Mexico, waiting for her U.S. immigration court date. “It’s soul crushing.”
By Reuters
On the day she was set to see a U.S. immigration judge in San Diego last month, Katia took every precaution. After waiting two months in Mexico to press her case for U.S. asylum, the 20-year-old student from Nicaragua arrived at the border near Tijuana three hours before the critical hearing was scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. But border agents didn’t even escort her into the U.S. port of entry until after 9 a.m., she said, and then she was left stranded there with a group of more than a dozen other migrants who also missed their hearings. “We kept asking what was going on, but they wouldn’t tell us anything,” said Katia, who asked to be identified by her first name only for fear of jeopardizing her immigration case. Bashir Ghazialam, a lawyer paid for by Katia’s aunt in the United States, convinced the judge to reschedule her case because of the transportation snafu. Later, staff at the lawyer’s office learned that at least two families in the group were ordered deported for not showing up to court. Since it started in January, the rollout of one of the most dramatic changes to U.S. immigration policy under the Trump administration has been marked by unpredictability and created chaos in immigration courts, according to dozens of interviews with judges and attorneys, former federal officials and migrants. The program - known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP) - has forced tens of thousands of people to wait in Mexico for U.S. court dates, swamping the dockets and leading to delays and confusion as judges and staff struggle to handle the influx of cases. In June, a U.S. immigration official told a group of congressional staffers that the program had “broken the courts,” according to two participants and contemporaneous notes taken by one of them. The official said that the court in El Paso at that point was close to running out of space for paper files, according to the attendees, who requested anonymity because the meeting was confidential. Theresa Cardinal Brown, a former Department of Homeland Security official under presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, said the problems are “symptomatic of a system that’s not coordinating well.” “It’s a volume problem, it’s a planning problem, it’s a systems problem and it’s an operational problem on the ground,” said Brown, now a director at the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank. “They’re figuring everything out on the fly.”  

The president’s trade wars are creating a scenario similar to 2016.
By Shawn Donnan
The moment usually comes during Greg Petras’s commute through the rolling hills and cornfields of southern Wisconsin. Somewhere between his home near Madison and the factory he runs on the edge of the small town of Brodhead, the news will turn to the trade wars and Donald Trump will again claim that China is bearing the cost of his tariffs. That’s when Petras loses it. “It’s just an outright lie, and he knows it,” says Petras, president of Kuhn North America, which employs some 600 people at its farm-equipment factory in Wisconsin. For Kuhn, Trump’s trade war has produced a toxic mix of rising costs and falling revenues. “You’re slamming your fist on the steering wheel and saying ‘Why would you tell people this?’” About 250 Kuhn employees spent the Labor Day holiday caught in a two-week furlough, and they’re facing another in early October. A shrinking order book means Kuhn is cutting costs and slashing production as Petras and his managers peer out at a U.S. economy that looks far bleaker from the swing-state heartland than it does in either the White House or on Wall Street. The company’s circus-themed summer picnic survived but weekend shifts are gone. A plant that just four years ago was humming along to a record $400 million in sales together with a sister plant in Kansas is running at 50% capacity. The five-year-old, $11 million paint shop that coats the company’s manure spreaders and livestock feeders in a distinctive “Kuhn Red” is at 39% capacity. Plans for a new $4 million research and development building are on hold. “We’ll do it someday,” Petras says. “We just need things to be going in a better direction.”

'It was a Fake Poll by two very bad and dangerous media outlets. Sad!'
By Chris Riotta
Donald Trump slammed ABC and Washington Post as “two very bad and dangerous media outlets” after they released a joint-poll showing the president’s approval rating in decline and growing fears of an economic recession. “ABC/Washington Post Poll was the worst and most inaccurate poll of any taken prior to the 2016 Election,” the president wrote in a tweet on Tuesday morning. “When my lawyers protested, they took a 12 point down and brought it to almost even by Election Day.” “It was a Fake Poll by two very bad and dangerous media outlets,” he added. “Sad!” The latest poll released by the two media outlets showed a six-point drop from the president’s record-high approval rating of 44 per cent — the highest he has achieved since taking office in 2016. The numbers have been historically low for a modern president, albeit remarkably consistent, usually holding somewhere steady in the high 30s or low 40s. Mr Trump's approval rating has fallen somewhat amid a trade war the president has ignited with China and a summer of controversies involving world leaders and US officials staying at his private properties and exclusive resorts. The president also sparked swift backlash on Capitol Hill when he suggested hosting next year's G7 summit at his golf club in Florida.

CBS This Morning - President Trump says the U.S. should be "very careful" about who is allowed into the country from the Bahamas. It comes as the Bahamian government struggles to house thousands of displaced people who arrived in the capital, an island about the size of Cincinnati. It was spared the worst of the destruction.

By Brian Naylor
The Department of Homeland Security has released additional guidance on visa requirements for Bahamians trying to travel to the U.S. after Hurricane Dorian. The details follow a day of U.S. officials sending mixed signals about how Bahamians, especially those traveling by boat, will be allowed into the U.S. "Bahamians arriving to the United States by vessel must be in possession of a valid passport AND valid travel visa," the department said. Visa waivers could be granted for some travelers who fly to the U.S. and get pre-clearance. "Travelers who would otherwise qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and who travel by air from a CBP Preclearance facility in Freeport or Nassau may not need a U.S. visitor's visa." Freeport Airport was devastated by the hurricane. Monday afternoon, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said his agency has processed "thousands of folks" from two cruise ships as well as aircraft. Speaking at the White House, Morgan admitted there has been some confusion surrounding the process by which Bahamian refugees are being allowed into the country, including passengers on a ferry boat who said they were turned away Sunday because they lacked travel visas.

"I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House," Trump tweeted.
By Adam Edelman
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he asked Bolton to resign after he "disagreed with many of his suggestions." “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Trump said on Twitter. Bolton had clashed with other top administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

By Stella Soon
China will win the trade war with the U.S., and eventually wean itself off its reliance on American technology, a strategist told CNBC on Monday.“China will never trust the United States again, and it will achieve its technology independence within seven years,” David Roche, Independent Strategy’s president and global strategist, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” China has traditionally been reliant on U.S. suppliers for key tech components such as chips and software, as well as modems and jet engines, but recent developments in the two countries’ protracted trade war have strained those ties and affected businesses from both sides. In May, Chinese tech giant Huawei was placed on a U.S. blacklist, restricting the firm from purchasing American-made chips and software unless they got permission to do so. Some American mobile networks also use Huawei gear, while other U.S. companies have said their revenue will be affected by the blacklist. Alphabet’s Google also halted all business activity with Huawei, a move that means future Huawei phones will no longer come installed with Google’s Android operating system.

by Alana Goodman & Steven Nelson
One of the people President Trump honored for his heroism during a mass shooting in an El Paso Walmart last month was arrested by the Secret Service during his visit to the White House on Monday due to an outstanding criminal warrant, law enforcement officials told the Washington Examiner. Police say his tale of heroics does not match video evidence. Chris Grant, 50, was shot in the ribs and a kidney during the Aug. 3 rampage that claimed 22 lives. He was not present for a White House ceremony Monday, but his mother Minnie Grant, 82, accepted a signed certificate on his behalf. Grant said in a series of interviews that he sought to spare fellow shoppers by picking up bottles and throwing them at the gunman, with at least one hitting or nearly striking him. A Gofundme account raised $16,917 on his behalf. Grant was photographed when he arrived at Washington's Reagan-National Airport and outside the White House with his family. "Nobody bothered to check with us," said El Paso police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo. "They would have been informed, as I am telling you now, that our detectives reviewed hours of video and his actions did not match his account." Carrillo said Grant was visible in footage from the store, but he did not say what he was doing during the massacre. "His statements were inconsistent with what was revealed on video," Carrillo said. He was arrested by the Secret Service for being a "fugitive from justice," according to a spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Police Department. Grant has a criminal record for theft and evading arrest, according to Texas court documents reviewed by the Washington Examiner. He was sentenced to eight months in prison for car theft in March, after pleading guilty to stealing a silver 2009 Mazda 6. In 2016, he pleaded guilty and was also sentenced to 18 days in jail for stealing TVs from a Sears in Richardson, Texas. He pleaded guilty to evading arrest in Collins County in 2016. A Secret Service spokesperson said: “On Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, a White House visitor with an arrest warrant was temporarily detained by U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers. It was subsequently determined that while the arrest warrant was still active, the agency that issued the warrant would not extradite, at which time the individual was released from Secret Service custody.”

By Daniel Dale, Holmes Lybrand and Tara Subramaniam, CNN
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump held a campaign rally on Monday in a North Carolina congressional district that is having a special election on Tuesday because of credible allegations of Republican election fraud. Trump did not mention those allegations. Instead, he repeated his baseless allegation of voter fraud in Democratic-dominated California. "A lot of illegal voting going on out there, by the way, a lot of illegal voting," Trump said during his 85-minute speech in Fayetteville. As we've pointed out before, there is zero evidence for this claim. Trump made at least 21 other false claims at the rally, most of them statements that have been debunked on multiple previous occasions. As we continue to pore over the text, here's the preliminary list.

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business
Brave government employees are standing up to Trump's unbelievable claims about Hurricane Dorian and insisting on truth. Trump repeatedly said that Alabama was at risk, when the state wasn't, and then he insisted he was right when he was wrong. Federal agencies felt pressure to support his lies. And that's what makes this episode so troubling and so long-lasting. When folks talk about a war on truth, this is exactly what they're talking about. But here's the good news: Staffers at the agencies are not staying silent. Four new developments: In an email to staff, NOAA's acting chief scientist Craig McLean credited the National Weather Service's Birmingham office with correcting "any public misunderstanding in an expert and timely way," in other words, disputing the president's misinformation. Per WaPo, McLean said he is "pursuing the potential violations of our NOAA Administrative Order on Scientific Integrity." Also on Monday, NWS director Louis Uccellini spoke at a conference and praised the Birmingham office and said "they did what any office would do." When he asked the local staffers to stand up and be recognized, there was a long standing ovation, per attendees. Later in the day, the NYT, citing three anonymous sources, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross "threatened to fire top employees" at NOAA over the Birmingham brouhaha. Ross denied the report. But the NYT said, very specifically, that Ross "phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency's perceived contradiction of the president." Later that day, NOAA came out with a B.S. statement that tried to support Trump despite all the available evidence at hand. The statement "is now being examined by the Commerce Department's Office of Inspector General," the NYT reported.

By Vanessa Romo
NOAA's top scientist said Monday that he's investigating why the agency's leadership endorsed President Trump's false tweet that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian, after Birmingham-based meteorologists from the National Weather Service publicly pushed back on it. In an email, Craig McLean, acting chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called the move by the agency to back the president inappropriate, suggesting it was politically motivated. "I am pursuing the potential violations of our NOAA Administrative Order on Scientific Integrity," McLean wrote. "My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political." He also said that the unsigned agency press release that came out Friday backing the president compromises NOAA's ability "to convey life-saving information necessary to avoid substantial and specific danger to public health and safety." NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, issued a statement taking the NWS to task, saying, "The Birmingham National Weather Service's Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time." On Monday, The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that the NOAA rebuttal defending Trump was the result of threats from Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to fire top agency employees unless they sided with the president. The controversy has been building since Trump tried to substantiate his initial assertion using an an altered version of a NOAA map of the deadly storm's trajectory that included Alabama. The "cone of uncertainty" for the storm appeared to have been crudely altered with a black marker to indicate that the state was within the potential track. On Monday, The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that the NOAA rebuttal defending Trump was the result of threats from Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to fire top agency employees unless they sided with the president. The newspaper said Ross, "phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency's perceived contradiction of the president." The department denies the events described in the story took place. "The New York Times story is false," a spokesman said in an emailed statement to NPR. "Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian."

By Sonam Sheth
US officials were so alarmed by President Donald Trump's decision to reveal classified intelligence to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting in 2017 that they extracted a top-secret source from Russia shortly after, CNN reported on Monday. Intelligence officials typically extract sources when they believe the person's life is in immediate danger. The information Trump shared with the Russians wasn't directly connected to the source, but CNN reported that its disclosure prompted officials to "renew earlier discussions" about the potential risk that the source would be exposed. The president has repeatedly been accused of mishandling classified information that could compromise the US's intelligence-gathering methods and put lives at risk. The US was forced to extract a top-secret source from Russia after President Donald Trump revealed classified information to two Russian officials in 2017, CNN reported on Monday. A person directly involved with the discussions told the outlet the US was concerned that Trump and his administration routinely mishandled classified intelligence and that their actions could expose the covert source as a spy within the Russian government. Trump stunned the national-security apparatus and intelligence community when it surfaced that in an Oval Office meeting in May 2017 he shared the information with Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the US. Trump's disclosure was not specifically about the Russian spy. But his disregard of strict intelligence-sharing rules to protect highly placed sources "prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk" that the source in Russya would be exposed, CNN reported. At the Oval Office meeting, which took place one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the president is said to have boasted to the Russians that firing "nut job" Comey had taken "great pressure" off him. Comey had been spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Trump then went on to share with Lavrov and Kislyak intelligence connected to the Islamic State in Syria. The information came from Israel, which had not given the US permission to share it with the Russians because it could have compromised an Israeli source in the region.

Latest launches head towards waters off east coast of North Korea, the eighth since July. North Korea launched at least two unidentified projectiles towards the sea on Tuesday, South Korea's military said, hours after the North offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States. The North's projectile launches and demand for new proposals were apparently aimed at pressuring the US to make concessions when the North Korea-US talks resume. North Korea is widely believed to want the US to provide it with security guarantees and extensive relief from US-led sanctions in return for limited denuclearisation steps. The North Korean projectiles were fired from South Pyongan Province, which surrounds the capital city of Pyongyang, in the direction of the waters off the North’s east coast, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defence Ministry. The military said South Korea will monitor possible additional launches by North Korea but gave no further details on what projectiles North Korea had fired. Al Jazeera's Rob McBride in Seoul said the authorities had still to confirm the nature of the projectiles, which flew for about 330 kilometres before ditching into the sea. Tuesday's launches were the eighth since late July and the first since August 24. The previous seven launches have revealed short-range missile and rocket artillery systems that experts say would potentially expand the country’s ability to attack targets throughout South Korea, including US military bases there.

NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters) - A federal judge in California on Monday dealt a setback to a new Trump administration rule that sought to block almost all asylum applications at the border, ruling that an injunction against the rule should apply nationwide. The rule, unveiled on July 15, requires most immigrants who want asylum in the United States to first seek asylum in a third country they had traveled through on their way to the United States. It forms part of U.S. President Donald Trump's anti-immigration policy, a centerpiece of his 2016 election campaign and a major issue as he seeks re-election in November 2020. San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had previously issued a nationwide injunction blocking the rule, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed it to only border states within its jurisdiction - California and Arizona - and sent the question back to Tigar. On Monday, Tigar ruled it should apply across the entire border, pending a trial on the underlying legality of the Trump administration rule.

By Greg Sargent
As you likely know, on Friday evening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put out an unsigned statement that — by shocking coincidence — just happened to support President Trump’s claim that he had good grounds for falsely asserting that Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama. In so doing, the NOAA statement flatly disavowed information that had been released by the Birmingham, Ala., office of the National Weather Service, which sought to set the record straight on Trump’s assertion by saying the storm would not in fact affect Alabama. Now The Post reports that the NOAA’s chief scientist is looking into how the agency came to side with Trump: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist said in an email to colleagues Sunday that he is investigating whether the agency’s response to President Trump’s Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of NOAA policies and ethics. In an email to NOAA staff that was obtained by The Washington Post, NOAA’s Craig McLean called the agency’s response “political” and a “danger to public health and safety.” In his email to employees Sunday, McLean criticized his agency’s public statement, saying it prioritized politics over NOAA’s mission. “The NWS Forecaster(s) corrected any public misunderstanding in an expert and timely way, as they should,” McLean wrote. “There followed, last Friday, an unsigned news release from 'NOAA’ that inappropriately and incorrectly contradicted the NWS forecaster. My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political.” He also wrote that “the content of this news release is very concerning as it compromises the ability of NOAA to convey life-saving information necessary to avoid substantial and specific danger to public health and safety." “If the public cannot trust our information, or we debase our forecaster’s warnings and products, that specific danger arises,” McLean wrote.

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump seemed to contradict his acting Customs and Border Protection head Monday over what would happen to Bahamian refugees landing in the US without proper documentation.
Trump told reporters outside the White House that anyone seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Dorian "needs totally proper documentation."
In particular, Trump expressed concern over "people going to the Bahamas who weren't supposed to be there." "I don't want to allow people that weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States including some very bad people," he added, referring specifically to gang members and drug dealers who fled to the islands. It was not immediately clear what Trump was referring to. At least 45 people are dead, hundreds are missing and some 70,000 are homeless in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which wreaked havoc over the islands for two days. Earlier Monday, Trump's acting Customs and Border Protection head Mark Morgan said that the US is still vetting and processing Bahamians attempting to come into the US who lack documentation. "If your life is in jeopardy and you're in the Bahamas and you want to get to the United States, you're going to be allowed to come to the United States, whether you have travel documents or not," he told reporters during a press briefing at the White House. On Sunday night, about 130 individuals seeking to evacuate the Bahamas were kicked off a ferry heading to the Florida. The ferry operator, who had promised to take them to the US, blamed red tape with US immigration authorities, announced only those with valid US visas would be able to continue on.Morgan said Monday that the US is expediting the processing for Bahamians to enter the US as they seek refuge. "But keep in mind, there are still people that are inadmissible to this country," Morgan said. Those individuals, he said, would be processed as they normally would under other conditions, which could include relocation to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement custody. Morgan also blamed the ferry incident on confusion.

At the National Weather Association’s annual meeting, members including its president, signed two posters supporting the hurricane center and Birmingham office.

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump seemed to contradict his acting Customs and Border Protection head Monday over what would happen to Bahamian refugees landing in the US without proper documentation.
Trump told reporters outside the White House that anyone seeking refuge in the wake of Hurricane Dorian "needs totally proper documentation."
In particular, Trump expressed concern over "people going to the Bahamas who weren't supposed to be there." "I don't want to allow people that weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States including some very bad people," he added, referring specifically to gang members and drug dealers who fled to the islands. It was not immediately clear what Trump was referring to. At least 45 people are dead, hundreds are missing and some 70,000 are homeless in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which wreaked havoc over the islands for two days. Earlier Monday, Trump's acting Customs and Border Protection head Mark Morgan said that the US is still vetting and processing Bahamians attempting to come into the US who lack documentation. "If your life is in jeopardy and you're in the Bahamas and you want to get to the United States, you're going to be allowed to come to the United States, whether you have travel documents or not," he told reporters during a press briefing at the White House. On Sunday night, about 130 individuals seeking to evacuate the Bahamas were kicked off a ferry heading to the Florida. The ferry operator, who had promised to take them to the US, blamed red tape with US immigration authorities, announced only those with valid US visas would be able to continue on.Morgan said Monday that the US is expediting the processing for Bahamians to enter the US as they seek refuge. "But keep in mind, there are still people that are inadmissible to this country," Morgan said. Those individuals, he said, would be processed as they normally would under other conditions, which could include relocation to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement custody. Morgan also blamed the ferry incident on confusion.

By Chandelis Duster
Washington (CNN)Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees if the agency didn't disavow a tweet from a regional office that contradicted President Donald Trump's false claim that Hurricane Dorian was likely to hit Alabama, according to a report by The New York Times. According to three people cited in the Times report on Monday, Ross called acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs and told him to fix the National Weather Service's contradiction of Trump's claim. When Jacobs opposed the demand, Ross told him NOAA's political staff would be fired, the Times reported. The report also says Ross' threat to fire the employees is what caused NOAA on Friday to disavow a tweet from the NWS' Birmingham, Alabama, office that had contradicted Trump's claim. A Commerce Department spokesperson denied the story. "The New York Times story is false," the spokesperson said. "Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian." NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen referred questions on the report to the Commerce Department. Ross' alleged actions are the latest development in an ongoing saga surrounding the President's false assertion about Hurricane Dorian affecting the state. It also comes a day after a NOAA official said he will investigate if the agency violated its own ethics when it backed Trump's tweets about the hurricane over its experts. Trump's tweet that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama caused confusion last week. The controversy grew deeper after Trump showed off an apparently altered map of a forecast from NOAA that showed a black line drawn in marker over the state to imply Dorian's track would have taken it deep into the Gulf state. The Washington Post reported Sunday that the NWS sent a memo to staffers last week directing them to focus on Hurricane Dorian and not "national level social media posts," an apparent reference to Trump's claims. The Times report caused one Democrat on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee -- Rep. Don Beyer, of Virginia -- to call for Ross' resignation. "His direct attacks on the scientists and federal employees, whom he threatened to fire for doing their jobs by accurately reporting the weather, are an embarrassing new low for a member of this Cabinet which has been historically venal and incompetent," Beyer said in a statement. Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" that Ross should resign if the story is accurate. "If that story is true, I don't know that it is, if it is true, the commerce secretary needs to resign now," Himes said on Monday. "That would be the most blatant use of an official position in the service of the ego and the political fortunes of the President that we have ever seen."

By Justine Coleman
The White House is strongly disputing a report from CNN that the United States removed a spy from Russia in 2017 partly due to concerns that President Trump mishandled intelligence. CNN is reporting that one of the highest-level American spies in Russia was extracted during a secret 2017 mission after concerns that Trump would reveal the spy. The cable news network cited a person directly involved in the conversation about the removal. The decision to plan an extraction came after Trump's May 2017 meeting with Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The president shared highly classified intelligence given by Israel in that meeting about ISIS in Syria, according to CNN. This information sparked a fear that the spy would be discovered, and then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned senior Trump officials about the extent of information being released about the source. CNN did not identify the spy or release any revealing details. The White House and CIA both released statements to CNN taking issue with the report. "CNN's narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false," CIA Director for Public Affairs Brittany Barmell said in a statement to CNN. "Misguided speculation that the President's handling of our nation's most sensitive intelligence — which he has access to each and every day — drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate."

By Sonam Sheth - Business Insider
President Donald Trump's aides and confidants are growing more and more worried about his mental state after days of wild outbursts, erratic behavior, and bizarre fixations. "No one knows what to expect from him anymore," one former White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations about the president, told Insider. They added: "His mood changes from one minute to the next based on some headline or tweet, and the next thing you know his entire schedule gets tossed out the window because he's losing his s---." Sources told Insider the president's advisers are particularly worried about his stubborn refusal to acknowledge that a tweet he sent over the weekend claiming that Alabama was going to be hit by Hurricane Dorian was false. They believe that his frustration is compounded by stress about the 2020 election and the economy's recent downturn. "People are used to the president saying things that aren't true, but this Alabama stuff is another story," the former official said. "This was the president sending out patently false information about a national-emergency situation as it was unfolding." Trump's latest outbursts on the matter came Friday as he railed against the media for fact-checking him on the claim.

Trump’s “94% Approval Rating in the Republican Party” fabrication, explained.
By Aaron Rupar
President Donald Trump keeps pushing an easily debunked lie about his approval rating among Republicans, even going so far as to promote poll numbers that seemingly do not exist. The latest instance came on Monday morning, when Trump, in an apparent effort to make people believe he’s more popular than he really is, tweeted, “94% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, a record. Thank you!” That tweet marked at least the fourth time in the past two months that Trump has made some variant of the same false claim on Twitter. (Trump has said it offline as well.) But there are two significant respects in which Trump’s claim is false: One, his approval rating isn’t that high, and two, even if it was, it wouldn’t be a record.
Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is not as high as he claims First off, Trump’s approval rating among Republicans isn’t the 94 percent he claims — it’s actually about 10 points lower. The Washington Post provided an overview of the relevant polling last month, after Trump posted a tweet on August 23 touting the fake Republican approval number he loves to cite: A Monmouth University poll released Thursday found 84 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s job performance, while an AP-NORC poll found that 79 percent do. His highest recent approval mark among fellow Republicans was 88 percent in a Fox News poll of registered voters earlier this month. Trump’s claim of 94 percent approval among Republicans is also higher than in a Zogby Analytics poll released earlier this month that Trump has touted. That firm, whose surveys do not rely on a random sample of U.S. voters and whose pre-election polls have often been inaccurate, put Trump’s approval rating among Republicans at 86 percent. In short, it’s unclear where Trump is getting his “94%” number from. But whatever its origins, it is not coming from a reputable source.

By Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
(CNN)The pine-shaded cabins at Camp David have hosted secret peace summits between Middle Eastern leaders and high-stakes gatherings of major heads of state. For President Donald Trump, the mountainside retreat offered visions of another diplomatic coup: clandestine talks between US, Afghan and Taliban officials that could end America's longest war. Even opposition from within his own national security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, could not deter Trump from pressing forward with his plan to host Taliban leaders at the rural presidential getaway. Trump eventually scrapped the event after a Taliban car bomb killed a US soldier and 11 others last week. But that decision came after heated debate within the administration over the venue for the summit -- an outgrowth of larger, more substantial disagreements over the wisdom of negotiating with the Taliban at all. The talks have pitted Trump's hawkish national security adviser John Bolton against the nation's chief diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose agency has led negotiations with the Taliban over the past 10 months. Coloring the debate is Trump's long-stated desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan after almost two decades of war. The President has insisted he fulfill his promise to bring more US soldiers home, but like his predecessors is finding few easy solutions to ending the war. It was the Friday before Labor Day when Trump convened a meeting in the Situation Room with his closest national security advisers to discuss the status of peace talks with the Taliban. He was supposed to leave the next day for a trip to Poland, but had scrapped it the night before to stay back and monitor an approaching hurricane.

By Chris Mills Rodrigo
The acting chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is investigating whether the agency's response to President Trump’s claims about Hurricane Dorian constituted a violation of policies and ethics, The Washington Post reported Monday. In a Sunday email obtained by the newspaper and later verified by The Hill, Craig McLean called NOAA's response “political” and a “danger to public health and safety.” Trump faced widespread backlash last week after stating that Alabama would potentially feel the effects of Dorian and then refusing to back down from that claim. At the time, the National Weather Service’s (NWS) forecast guidance showed only a very small risk to the state from tropical storm–force winds. The NWS’s Birmingham, Ala., division corrected the president on Sept. 1 without naming him. Then last Friday, NOAA officials released an unsigned statement affirming Trump's claims and admonishing the Birmingham division for speaking “in absolute terms.” That statement received widespread condemnation from scientists. The American Meteorological Society (AMS), for example, quickly issued a statement of support for the NWS. “AMS believes the criticism of the Birmingham forecast office is unwarranted; rather they should have been commended for their quick action based on science in clearly communicating the lack of threat to the citizens of Alabama," the group of scientists wrote. In his email Sunday, McLean criticized NOAA's statement as well. “The NWS Forecaster(s) corrected any public misunderstanding in an expert and timely way, as they should,” he wrote, according to the Post. “There followed, last Friday, an unsigned press release from 'NOAA' that inappropriately and incorrectly contradicted the NWS forecaster. My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political.” “The content of this press release is very concerning as it compromises the ability of NOAA to convey life-saving information necessary to avoid substantial and specific danger to public health and safety," he continued. McLean told his staff, “I am pursuing the potential violations of our NOAA Administrative Order on Scientific Integrity."

David Pakman Show
--Donald Trump visibly struggles to speak in recent video from the long weekend, raising more questions about his cognitive state. more...

The president has done more than any politician in living memory to fan the flames of ethnic and racial antipathy and nurture a culture of bigotry.
By Peter Wehner Contributing editor at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC
We don’t know, and we may never know, how much President Donald Trump’s rhetoric influenced the white supremacist in El Paso who allegedly killed 22 people. What we do know is that Trump has done more than any politician in living memory to fan the flames of ethnic and racial antipathy and nurture a culture of bigotry. A generation from now, when historians look back at the defining features of the Trump era, among the most prominent will be his dehumanizing rhetoric—the cruelty and virulence, the pulsating hate, the incitements to violence, and the effort to portray his targets as alien invaders, unworthy of dignity and respect, even subhuman. It began at the dawn of his 2016 presidential campaign, when he described the undocumented workers coming across the border from Mexico as mostly rapists and drug dealers. It continued during the campaign, when Trump unleashed an attack on Gonzalo Curiel, a district-court judge presiding over a fraud lawsuit against Trump University, calling Curiel a “hater” who was being unfair to him because the judge is “Hispanic,” because he is “Mexican.” (Curiel was born in Indiana.) The Republican speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, referred to this as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Trump claimed that Democrats want unauthorized immigrants, “no matter how bad they may be, to pour in and infest our Country.” And Trump’s closing argument leading up to the 2018 midterm election was that Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States constituted “an invasion of our country.” Trump’s rhetoric of dehumanization set the stage for his policy of separating children from their families at the southern border. And it created the conditions that, earlier this year, as Vox’s Aaron Rupar wrote, “turned the idea of shooting migrants and asylum seekers who try to cross the southern border into a punchline.” At this point only the truly devoted and the truly deceived can deny what is playing out. Donald Trump is doing as president what George Wallace did as governor of Alabama—using words to incite feelings of revulsion and detestation toward “the other,” men and women who are the “wrong” race or the “wrong” ethnicity. For Wallace, the primary targets were black people; for Trump, the primary targets have been both Hispanic and black. (“The two greatest motivators at [Dad’s] rallies were fear and hate,” Wallace’s daughter Peggy Wallace Kennedy recently said. “There was no policy solution, just white middle-class anger.” And she hears echoes of that in Trump’s rhetoric."I saw daddy a lot in 2016,” she said, adding that “they both were able to adopt the notion that fear and hate are the two greatest motivators of voters that feel alienated from government.”)

Accepting the reality about the president’s disordered personality is important—even essential.
By Peter Wehner Contributing editor at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC
During the 2016 campaign, I received a phone call from an influential political journalist and author, who was soliciting my thoughts on Donald Trump. Trump’s rise in the Republican Party was still something of a shock, and he wanted to know the things I felt he should keep in mind as he went about the task of covering Trump. At the top of my list: Talk to psychologists and psychiatrists about the state of Trump’s mental health, since I considered that to be the most important thing when it came to understanding him. It was Trump’s Rosetta stone. I wasn’t shy about making the same case publicly. During a July 14, 2016, appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, for example, I responded to a pro-Trump caller who was upset that I opposed Trump despite my having been a Republican for my entire adult life and having served in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and the George W. Bush White House. “I don’t oppose Mr. Trump because I think he’s going to lose to Hillary Clinton,” I told Ben from Purcellville, Virginia. “I think he will, but as I said, he may well win. My opposition to him is based on something completely different, which is, first, I think he is temperamentally unfit to be president. I think he’s erratic, I think he’s unprincipled, I think he’s unstable, and I think that he has a personality disorder; I think he’s obsessive. And at the end of the day, having served in the White House for seven years in three administrations and worked for three presidents, one closely, and read a lot of history, I think the main requirement for president of the United States … is temperament, and disposition … whether you have wisdom and judgment and prudence.”

The president appears committed to destroying the very idea of facts.
By Peter Wehner Contributing editor at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC
Like many writers I know, I’ve had a passion for words for almost as long as I can remember. I’ve admired those who use words well, who have shaped my imagination and given voice to things I wanted to express but didn’t feel like I adequately could. That is why they have to be protected against assault and degradation. At an early age I recognized their power to convey deep emotions and longings, knowledge and understanding, hopes and fears. “Words can be polluted even more dramatically and drastically than rivers and land and sea,” one of my favorite writers, Malcolm Muggeridge, once wrote. “Their misuse is our undoing.” Eventually, we all come to understand that words are the means by which we teach and inspire, defend truth, and seek justice. (Those of us of the Christian faith don’t consider it an accident that the first sentence in the Gospel of John is, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”) So words have extraordinary power—in our daily lives most of all, but in politics as well. Democracy requires that we honor the culture of words. The very idea of democracy is based on the hope that fellow citizens can reason together and find a system for adjudicating differences and solving problems—all of which assumes there is a shared commitment to the integrity of our public words. If you believe words can ennoble, you must also believe they can debase. If they can elevate the human spirit, they can also pull it down. And when words are weaponized by our political leaders and used to paint all opponents as inherently evil, stupid, or weak, then democracy’s foundations are put in peril. Which brings us to the dismal, demoralizing Donald Trump era.

By David Brennan - Newsweek
The Taliban have hit back at President Donald Trump's dramatic cancellation of an imminent Afghanistan peace agreement, suggesting his erratic diplomacy is damaging his credibility. According to BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet, a Taliban spokesperson said Sunday that the president's weekend tweets had come as a surprise to the group. Trump announced on Twitter on Saturday that he was shelving the peace deal following the killing of a U.S. soldier in Kabul last week. "Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "They were coming to the United States tonight." However, following Thursday's bombing, the president said he "immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations," asking, "What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?" Ads by scrollerads.com Doucet cited Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, who reportedly said on Sunday that an agreement was reached between U.S. and Taliban negotiators in Qatar several days ago. He described Trump's Twitter tirade as "astonishing" and suggested the messages had "certainly damaged his credibility." The White House is keen to find a way out of America's longest ever war, which is nearing 18 years of age. Trump vowed to end U.S. involvement in unwinnable foreign wars during his presidential campaign, but has been hamstrung by the geopolitical realities of U.S. deployments in the Middle East and South Asia. The deal reportedly agreed between U.S. and Taliban representatives is only the first step in bringing some semblance of peace to Afghanistan, where successive conflicts have been raging since 1978.

By Doug Criss, CNN
(CNN) - The Twitterverse lit up Monday morning over model Chrissy Teigen's response to an attack from President Donald Trump, an exchange that was heated even by the standards of his routine social media fights. The spat began when the President, apparently venting about a town hall on criminal justice reform that aired on MSNBC Sunday night, tweeted that he and other Republicans should be getting more credit for signing the First Step Act into law. The legislation, signed back in December, includes measures that allows thousands of federal inmates to leave prison earlier than they otherwise would have, eases some mandatory minimum sentences and gives judges more leeway in sentencing, among other things. It had support from lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle and received personal attention from Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. "I SIGNED IT INTO LAW, no one else did, & Republicans deserve much credit. But now that it is passed, people that had virtually nothing to do with it are taking the praise," the President tweeted late Sunday night. Then Trump went after singer and activist John Legend (who appeared in the MSNBC town hall) and his wife Teigen. "Guys like boring musician @johnlegend, and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is - but I didn't see them around when we needed help getting it passed," the President wrote. Teigen fired right back with a colorful insult of her own. "(L)ol what a p**** a** b****. tagged everyone but me. an honor, mister president," she tweeted. By Monday morning, Chrissy Teigen, #TeamChrissy and #filthymouthedwife were all trending on Twitter. Legend criticized the President, too -- without the profanity -- by tweeting, "Imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody -- ANYBODY -- will praise you." Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's former communications director who has now disavowed the President, on Monday called the spat between Trump and the celebrity couple "despicable."

BBC - The US Air Force has ordered a review of its guidance on overnight accommodation for flight crews. The move follows revelations that some have been staying at one of President Donald Trump's Scottish golf resorts. There has been an increase in the number of US military flights stopping at Prestwick Airport, Scotland, near the resort, since he took office. A US Congressional committee is investigating Mr Trump for a potential conflict of interest. Air Force chiefs have "directed Air Mobility Command [AMC, which oversees all Air Force transport around the world] to review all guidance pertaining to selection of airports and lodging accommodations during international travel", according to a statement given to the Politico website, The US Air Force said its crews had obeyed all the rules, but said "lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable". It also explained the increased use of Prestwick airport in the last four years because of a number of key factors, including longer operating hours and standardisation of routing locations. "Between 2015 and 2019, AMC Total Force aircraft stopped at Prestwick a total of 936 times (*659 overnight stays), including 95 (*40) in 2015, 145 (*75) in 2016, 180 (*116) in 2017, 257 (*208) in 2018 and 259 (*220) through August 2019," the statement added. The Air Force has not said how many of its staff have stayed at the president's resort. Democrats and critics argue such stays might enrich the president at taxpayers' expense as crews who land at the airport then go on to stay at the nearby Trump Turnberry resort. The House Oversight and Reform Committee says expenditure at Prestwick airport has "increased substantially" since Mr Trump came into office. The debt-ridden airport 34 miles (55km) from Glasgow has been fighting off closure. It is said to be integral to the Trump business, which is also loss-making.

BBC - A US Congressional committee is investigating President Donald Trump in connection with a potential conflict of interest over military spending at a Scottish airport near his golf resort. The House Oversight and Reform Committee says expenditure at Prestwick airport has "increased substantially" since Mr Trump came into office. The debt-ridden airport has been fighting off closure. It is said to be integral to the Trump business, which is also loss-making. The committee's accusations are detailed in a letter to the Pentagon - which is dated to June but was only revealed on the Politico website on Friday. The letter requests access to all communications between the US Department of Defense and Trump Turnberry, as well as any related financial records. According to various reports in the US media, the department has not yet complied with the demands. It has also not commented directly, and neither has the Trump Organisation. What does the letter say? The letter - signed by the Democratic committee chairman Elijah Cummings - was addressed to then-acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan. Citing Defence Logistics Agency (DLA) records, it said the US military had made 629 fuel purchase orders at the airport, totalling $11m (£9m), since October 2017. It also alleges that certain military personnel have been offered "cut-price rooms" and free rounds of golf at the Trump Turnberry resort. It continued: "Given the president's continued financial stake in his Scotland golf courses, these reports raise questions about the president's potential receipt of US or foreign government emoluments in violation of the US Constitution and raise other serious conflict of interest concerns."

By Ewan Palmer
John Legend has jokingly suggested that Melania Trump is too "occupied" with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pay any attention to her husband following Donald Trump's late night tirade against him and his wife Chrissy Teigen. The multiple Grammy-winning singer was responding to Trump's criticism of Legend and his "filthy mouthed wife" after he appeared on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt to discuss criminal justice reform in the U.S. The president appeared irate about not getting credit for passing the First Step Act into law in December 2018. The First Step Act reduces mandatory minimum sentences in certain cases, as well as helping inmates reintegrate themselves into society following their release. More than 3,000 inmates were freed from prison due to good behavior after the act was signed, a move which was highly praised following years of scrutiny about the country's justice system. "When all of the people pushing so hard for Criminal Justice Reform were unable to come even close to getting it done, they came to me as a group and asked for my help. I got it done with a group of Senators & others who would never have gone for it," Trump wrote in a series of tweets on September 8.

By Avi Selk
MOBILE, Ala. — The city stands. The grocery stores are fully stocked, the Home Depot has no lack of generators, tarps and plywood, and it’s business as usual at the Waffle Houses. Boaters on the Mobile River have been urged to caution — only because a group of manatees were spotted frolicking nearby. The highway south runs past unsunk boats and unbroken masts all the way to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico, where resort-town general stores report no panicked runs on supplies — not now and not a week ago, when Trump first claimed Alabama would likely be slammed by Hurricane Dorian. “We had some little card things out — says how to be prepared. That’s about all we had,” a cashier at the Ship & Store on Dauphin Island said on a cloudless Saturday afternoon. “Do you need your receipt?” But it’s always calmest in the center of a storm, sometimes even political ones. The rest of the United States is basically the eyewall: an ever-widening vortex of outrage and bureaucratic retaliations whirling around Trump’s false weather reports. His first, in a Sept. 1 tweet, warned that Alabama was one of the states that “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by the hurricane — which by then was swerving away from the state. The tweet caused Alabamians to call the National Weather Service en masse, which caused the agency’s Birmingham office to rebut Trump and late-night comedians to write jokes. This in turn caused the White House to double down — disseminating outdated or doctored weather forecasts in an attempt to prove Trump correct, culminating Friday when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly chastised its own forecasters for telling Alabamians they were safe.

By Deirdre Shesgreen and Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has used diplomatic pressure, legal action, economic sanctions – and even cold, hard cash – to try to get its hands on a hulking Iranian oil tanker that has been spinning its way around Africa and the Middle East for months. The extraordinary effort to seize the vessel has come to naught – so far. Even a curious State Department offer to make the ship’s captain a multi-millionaire fell flat. But the cat-and-mouse game between Iran and the Trump administration over the vessel – called the Adrian Darya 1 and laden with 2.1 million barrels of oil – is emblematic of an increasingly confrontational relationship. And like the fate of the supertanker and its crew, the outcome of the U.S.-Iran tensions remains unclear. The Trump administration’s efforts to capture the Adrian Darya is a small part of its “maximum pressure” campaign – aimed at reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero, strangling its economy, and forcing its leaders into negotiations with President Donald Trump. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers, saying it did not do enough to curb the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile program and support for terrorism. Experts say Iran’s ability to keep the Darya out of the U.S. government’s long reach illustrates the shortfalls of the U.S. strategy. And it comes as Iran leaders once again rejected negotiations with Washington, saying Trump must lift U.S. sanctions first. On Saturday, Iran further reduced its compliance with the nuclear deal, saying it has begun injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges and that the country will no longer abide by the deal's limits on its nuclear research and development. “The Iranians are not capitulating,” said Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank in Washington. “They’re not saying ... ‘Please, Mr. Trump, can we have a meeting with you?’”

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Washington (CNN) - A Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee on Sunday assailed President Donald Trump's now-canceled plan to host Taliban leaders at Camp David for secret peace talks around the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, stating, "I do not ever want to see these terrorists" on US soil. "As we head into the anniversary of 9/11, I do not ever want to see these terrorists step foot on United States soil. Period," Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida told CNN's Fredricka Whitfield on "Newsroom." Waltz's comments come one day after Trump tweeted that he invited Taliban leaders to Camp David for secret peace talks this weekend but canceled the meeting after the Taliban took credit for an attack in Kabul that killed a dozen people, including an American soldier. Trump has long sought to withdraw the US from its longest war, but his revelation on Saturday night that he was considering holding talks with the Taliban at Camp David -- a storied retreat where presidents have famously secured peace accords -- was striking, especially coming so close to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Waltz said Sunday that among his top concerns over Trump's invitation was the Taliban "declaring this a victory." "The Taliban have shown zero desire for peace. There's no ceasefire that they've agreed to. In fact, they've ramped up their attacks. We talked about the American soldier that just came home this morning in a coffin," he said. "So I just have a lot of concerns. I'm urging the President to walk away from this deal as it stands," he added. Along with Waltz, Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger also publicly criticized the talks, with Kinzinger tweeting that Taliban leaders should "NEVER" be "allowed in our great country." When pressed by CNN's Jake Tapper earlier Sunday over criticism of the invitation to host Taliban leaders just days from the 9/11 anniversary, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo only offered that the US has "made real progress" toward peace talks. "It's not just about commitments. We have to see them be able to deliver it. We have to have proof that it's delivered. When we get to that point, when American national security interests can be protected I am confident President Trump will continue the process of trying to get what he has talked about since his campaign -- a reduction of our risk level and the cost to the American people both in terms of life and treasure there in Afghanistan."

By Daniel Politi
In between a series of tweets about a canceled secret meeting with Taliban leaders and another about “Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey,” President Donald Trump sent out a tweet that baffled much of the internet. The commander in chief continued his obsession with the forecasts for Hurricane Dorian by sharing a bizarre cat video late Saturday night. The video makes it seem like it is Trump who is holding a laser pointer and distracting a cat labeled CNN in front of a Hurricane Dorian forecast map. Oh and Yakety Sax is playing in the background. The video appears to have originally been shared by an account that frequently shares Trump memes. Trump didn’t include a caption to the video, but the original caption read, “Live look at CNN.” Trump’s bizarre tweet came almost a week after he made the now infamous claim that Alabama could see a significant impact from Hurricane Dorian. That led the National Weather Service’s Birmingham office to contradict the president that subsequently descended into what has become known as Sharpiegate. Earlier, Trump criticized the New York Times for a story on the issue, saying he would love to stop talking about it but the media won’t let him. “I would like very much to stop referring to this ridiculous story, but the LameStream Media just won’t let it alone,” Trump wrote. “They always have to have the last word, even though they know they are defrauding & deceiving the public.”

Day 960: After a week of Sharpiegate, Trump faces bad polls and a sagging economy
11th Hour
With Congress due back and new poll numbers going south along with the economic outlook, Trump faces real issues after Sharpiegate.

Analysis By Clarissa Ward, CNN
(CNN) - There were plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the long-awaited US-Taliban peace deal that seemed to be on the cusp of announcement before this weekend. Critics of the agreement said that it offered too many concessions to the Taliban, while extracting few concessions. There were no pre-conditions -- womens' rights were not guaranteed, a ceasefire was not imposed, and the Afghan government had not been given a seat at the negotiating table.Yet, after nine rounds of talks and a year of hard work, the deal was still seen by some as the US's best chance at extracting itself from its longest running war. Nearly 18 years after the invasion of Afghanistan, and days before the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, the Taliban controls more territory than it has at any time in the war, despite more than 2,400 US servicemen killed and the trillions of US dollars spent. CNN traveled to Taliban territory in February this year and spent 36 hours on the ground with the militant group and during our trip, we found few indicators that the Taliban has changed its fundamentalist, isolationist ideology in any meaningful way. The shadow governor of one province told us that he used a smart phone and had a Facebook account but still believes that the Islamic Emirate should stone adulterers to death and cut off the hand of thieves. Still in some areas, the group appeared to have adapted a more pragmatic and conciliatory approach. In one village under Taliban control, we visited a clinic which was managed by the Taliban, but where the Afghan government provided the medicines and paid the salaries. Instances of cooperation between the warring parties have become more common, particularly in contested areas.


U.S. and Chinese negotiators are preparing for talks in October, but neither side has given any sign of offering concessions that might break a deadlock.
By Associated Press
BEIJING — China's trade with the United States is falling sharply as the two sides prepare for more negotiations with no sign of progress toward ending a worsening tariff war that threatens global economic growth. Imports of U.S. goods fell 22 percent in August from a year earlier to $10.3 billion following Chinese tariff hikes and orders to companies to cancel orders, customs data showed Sunday. Exports to the United States, China's biggest market, sank 16 percent to $44.4 billion under pressure from punitive tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump in a fight over Beijing's trade surplus and technology ambitions. Beijing is balking at U.S. pressure to roll back plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other industries. The United States, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say those plans violate China's market-opening commitments and are based on stealing or pressuring companies to hand over technology. U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes on billions of dollars of each other's imports have disrupted trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment and battered traders on both sides. Chinese exporters also face pressure from weakening global consumer demand at a time when Beijing is telling them to find other markets to replace the U.S. China's politically sensitive trade surplus with the U.S. narrowed to $31.3 billion in August from $27 billion a year earlier. U.S. and Chinese negotiators are preparing for talks in October, later than initially planned, but neither side has given any sign of offering concessions that might break a deadlock over how to enforce a deal. Beijing says Trump's punitive tariffs must be lifted once an agreement takes effect. Washington says some must stay to ensure Beijing carries out any promises it makes. The decision to go ahead with talks despite the latest tit-for-tat tariff hikes on Sept. 1 encouraged global financial markets. In their latest escalation, Washington imposed 15 percent tariffs on $112 billion of Chinese imports and plans to hit another $160 billion on Dec. 15. That would extend penalties to almost everything the United States buys from China.

Dems eye payback against Trump’s immigration tactics
A fight with Trump over his border wall, however, could fracture the Democratic caucus.
By SARAH FERRIS and HEATHER CAYGLE
Democrats say they’re no longer willing to throw cash to President Donald Trump for his border demands. But they still can’t escape making a deal with Trump — a scenario that could divide the caucus over exactly how far to take their fight against the president. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are preparing to rebuff Trump’s requests for additional wall money this month as payback for Trump’s summer of hard-line immigration moves — a position that’s in contrast to the billions of dollars that Democrats have handed over for border fencing and security since the start of Trump’s term, according to half a dozen lawmakers and aides. The end result of the border wall fight, however, could be another deal with Trump that triggers a fierce backlash within the Democratic Caucus, as Pelosi and her leadership team remain wary of aggressive tactics that would catapult the government into yet another shutdown. And the border battle is just one of many divisive issues Pelosi and her deputies will confront this month, including action on guns after a spate of mass shootings and fallout from the impeachment push that gained significant traction within the caucus over the break. “The reality is, this fall is a critical period,” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) said of the caucus’s lengthy to-do list, which could also include stalled legislation on health care and trade. “Spending an extended period of time with my constituents, it’s pretty obvious they just want us to get this stuff done.”

Summer of Trump: Racism, a trade war, buying Greenland, bed bugs, and more
11th Hour
Trump's wild summer included within just a few months racist attacks, a trade war, buying Greenland, Sharpiegate, bed bugs, and that's just the beginning. We discuss that with Rick Wilson.

Everyone has forgotten about why Donald Trump can't win a trade war with China
By Linette Lopez
The markets have been a whipsaw, the US economy has slowed down, and one report suggests that US companies may have shed 10,488 jobs because of the trade war between the US and China — a trade war that has worsened over the last few weeks. So the two sides have laid down their arms and agreed to a ceasefire in hopes of "creating the conditions" that will make it possible for discussions to resume in October. Unfortunately those talks, should they ever occur, will achieve little aside from temporarily calming financial markets. Donald Trump's trade war is a trade war that cannot be won. The reality is that from the start the objectives of Donald Trump's trade war have been at odds with one another, making it impossible for his administration to construct a deal that one might consider a win for US markets. What's more, throughout this process, Trump's conflicting demands and brutish tactics have put Chinese President Xi Jinping in a position where he and his administration cannot concede. So we had better hope this ceasefire lasts beyond Trump's next tweet storm, because it's about as good as things are going to get. Why Trump can't win Before we get into any of this, let's remember that China has three demands that the US must meet in order to end the trade war. 1) That the US respect China's national sovereignty. 2) That the US remove all tariffs it has imposed since the beginning of the trade war. 3) That the US cease demanding that China buy an unrealistic amount of goods from the US. Remember number 3, because it's the one that's really messing things up here. And of course it's the one Donald Trump is obsessed with.

Trump says he canceled secret Camp David meeting with Taliban leaders
By Caroline Kelly and Kylie Atwood, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump said Saturday that Taliban leaders were to travel to the US for secret peace talks this weekend but that the meeting has been canceled and he's called off peace talks with the militant group entirely. Trump tweeted that he scrapped the meeting after the Taliban took credit for an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed a dozen people, including an American soldier. Inviting Taliban leaders onto American soil is an unprecedented move and a significant development in America's longest running war just days from the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It comes after Trump said as recently as late last month that he is planning to withdraw thousands of US forces from Afghanistan but will keep 8,600 troops in the country at least for the time being. It's not clear if Trump's Saturday night announcement will impact that plan. "Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday," Trump tweeted Saturday night. Trump claimed that before traveling to the US on Saturday evening, "Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to......an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people." "I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations," Trump added. more... - Is Trump lying as he did when he said China called, but China did not know about it or the wall that Trump said Mexico would pay for.

Now the layover is part of a broader House inquiry into military spending at and around the Trump property.
By NATASHA BERTRAND and BRYAN BENDER
In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland. Since April, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew on the C-17 military transport plane made the unusual stay — both en route to the Middle East and on the way back — at the luxury waterside resort, according to several people familiar with the incident. But they have yet to receive any answers from the Pentagon. The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland. According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members. Taken together, the incidents raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018. “The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” said a senior Democratic aide on the oversight panel. “The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.” The Pentagon, Air Force and White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On previous trips to the Middle East, the C-17 had landed at U.S. air bases such as Ramstein Air Base in Germany or Naval Station Rota in Spain to refuel, according to one person familiar with the trips. Occasionally the plane stopped in the Azores and once in Sigonella, Italy, both of which have U.S. military sites, the person added. But on this particular trip, the plane landed in Glasgow — a pitstop the five-man crew had never experienced in their dozens of trips to the Middle East. The location lacked a U.S. base and was dozens of miles away from the crew’s overnight lodging at the Turnberry resort. Had the crew needed to make a stop in the U.K., Lakenheath Air Base is situated nearby in England. The layover might have been cheaper, too: the military gets billed at a higher rate for fuel at commercial airports. One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel — markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to — that he texted someone close to him and told him about the stay, sending a photo and noting that the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort. The revelation that an Air Force mission may have helped line the president’s pockets comes days after Vice President Mike Pence was pressed about his decision to stay at Trump’s property in Doonbeg, Ireland, despite its location hundreds of miles away from his meetings in Dublin. The Oversight Committee is also investigating Pence’s stay at the resort. - Trump is using our tax dollars to prop up his businesses.

An investigation into the spending comes as Trump faces questions over his officials patronizing his properties.
By Riley Beggin
The House Oversight Committee is investigating military spending at an airport near a Trump property in Ayer, Scotland, as well as visits to that property by service members, in the latest of a growing number of inquiries into government expenditures that seem to financially benefit President Donald Trump and his businesses. The military has spent $11 million on fuel alone at the Prestwick Airport near Trump’s Turnberry resort since fall of 2017, Politico reported. And reporting by the Guardian found the airport has provided discounted rooms and complimentary rounds of golf at the Trump resort for some US military members. The expenditures are unusual given buying fuel from Prestwick Airport costs the government (and, ultimately, taxpayers) more than refueling at military bases, such as the nearby Lakenheath Air Base in England. And the stays at Trump resorts are equally as unusual and costly, as Politico’s Natasha Bertrand and Bryan Bender note in their account of the experiences of five Air National Guard troops who stayed the Turnberry resort this year while on a mission to Kuwait: One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel — markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to — that he texted someone close to him and told him about the stay, sending a photo and noting that the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort. The spending captured the attention of the House Oversight Committee, and in June, it sent the Pentagon a letter demanding an explanation. The Department of Defense, however, has refused to turn over any documents to investigators. Trump has been under scrutiny since the beginning of his presidency for refusing to divest his interests in his businesses. And as recently as last week, when it was reported Trump suggested Vice President Mike Pence stay at one of his hotels during a visit to Ireland, the president has been accused of using his office to enrich himself. - Trump is using our tax dollars to prop up his businesses.

By Andrew Freedman, Colby Itkowitz and Jason Samenow
Nearly a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly backed President Trump over its own scientists, a top NOAA official warned its staff against contradicting the president. In an agencywide directive sent Sept. 1 to National Weather Service personnel, hours after Trump asserted, with no evidence, that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” staff was told to “only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon.” They were also told not to “provide any opinion,” according to a copy of the email obtained by The Washington Post. A NOAA meteorologist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said the note, understood internally to be referring to Trump, came after the National Weather Service office in Birmingham contradicted Trump by tweeting Alabama would “NOT see any impacts from the hurricane.” The Birmingham office sent the tweet after receiving a flurry of phone calls from concerned residents following Trump’s message. The agency sent a similar message warning scientists and meteorologists not to speak out on Sept. 4, after Trump showed a hurricane map from Aug. 29 modified with a hand-drawn, half-circle in black Sharpie around Alabama. “This is the first time I’ve felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast,” the meteorologist said. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. One of the things we train on is to dispel inaccurate rumors and ultimately that is what was occurring — ultimately what the Alabama office did is provide a forecast with their tweet, that is what they get paid to do.” - Trump has corrupted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support his lies.

CNN
Lawmakers are furious after the Trump administration announced that the money to pay for President Donald Trump's border wall is going to come from diverting billions from military construction projects. CNN's Alexander Marquardt has the details.

By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, criticized for an unorthodox impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, is poised to vote next week on a resolution to formalize the investigation, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday. The panel has rebranded what was originally an oversight probe of Trump’s presidency as an “impeachment” investigation, with the aim of deciding by the end of the year on whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House. As early as Wednesday, committee members could vote on a measure that would better define the investigation, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The committee’s current impeachment approach has been criticized by Republicans for avoiding a precedent set during impeachment inquiries against former President Richard Nixon and former President Bill Clinton. In those cases, inquiries were formally authorized by the full House. This time, Democrats have steered clear of a House vote that could prove risky for Democratic freshmen from swing districts where impeachment is unpopular with voters.

Tehran, Iran — Iran has begun using arrays of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal, a spokesman said Saturday, warning that Europe has little time left to offer new terms to save the accord. The comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran signal a further cut into the one year experts estimate Tehran would need to have a enough material for building a nuclear weapon if it chose to pursue one. Iran maintains its program is peaceful. Iran already has breached the stockpile and enrichment level limits set by the deal, while stressing it could quickly revert back to the terms of the accord if Europe finds a way for it to sell its crude oil abroad despite crushing U.S. sanctions. However, questions likely will grow in Europe over Iran's intentions as satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday showed an once-detained oil tanker Tehran reportedly promised wouldn't go to Syria was off its coast. - Trump killed the Iran nuclear deal that means Iran is not bound by the deal so Iran is not violating the nuclear deal that Trump killed.

Trump should’ve known what withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal would bring.
By Alex Ward
This week alone, Iran vowed to restart research and development on its nuclear program and signaled that it may start to enrich uranium faster. All this came just days after Tehran failed to launch a space rocket in direct defiance of the US and others worried about its missile program. There’s no question that Iran is acting more aggressively these days. But here’s the thing: nobody should be surprised by this. This is exactly what experts warned would happen if the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. The 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the US, European powers, and China put tight restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear efforts in exchange for sanctions relief. The Obama administration’s goal was to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon diplomatically, instead of by force, and effectively bribed Iran with financial incentives to do so. But President Donald Trump withdrew America from the deal in May 2018, reimposed burdensome financial penalties on Iran, and pushed European countries to cease their business with the country. Iran therefore had a choice to make: continue to abide by the deal and try to get the international community to compel the US to lower the pressure, or slowly ramp up its nuclear and missile activities to re-exert its own pressure on America. Iran chose the latter, more aggressive posture — a move the Trump administration should’ve expected. The New York Times Magazine reported this week that the CIA had predicted this exact outcome:

By Tom Boggioni
In yet another scorching column for the Daily Beast, GOP consultant Rick Wilson used Donald Trump’s obsession with maintaining he was correct about Hurricane Dorian hitting Alabama as evidence that he gone completely off the rails and into his reality. According to Wilson, “That bellowing you hear from the Oval Office may sound like the rantings of a kooky slowcoach accidental president of limited cognitive abilities. You could ascribe it to his obsessions and twitching, reflexive rages over even the slightest correction or disagreement as an act. We could blame it all on whatever slurry of toupee worms, mental illness, creeping dementia, tertiary syphilis, scurvy, and windmill cancer occupies his wee noggin, but it’s so much more, and it’s so much worse.” Noting what has become known as “Sharpiegate,” after the president was busted for altering an official weather map to make his point about Alabama, Wilson said it is evidence of the president’s decline. “Trump has entered the eccentric dictator phase of his presidency, so strap in,” he warned. “From Stalin to Mao to Mugabe to Pol Pot to Saddam to Trump’s sleepover bestie Kim Jong Un, Donald’s defining emotion is not contempt, but envy. These men enjoyed the life of power, wealth, control and freedom from accountability that fills Trump’s political spank bank.” Wilson also noted Trump’s often-expressed desire to stay in office in perpetuity, writing, “Trump’s joking references to a third term are growing in number and intensity, and some part of his rat-nest consciousness is thinking, “I bet I could get away with it.” The 2020 efforts to kill off the Republican primary to clear the field for Trump are a preview. I mean, why bother with elections when there’s so much winning going on? ” Then he brought the hammer down.

By Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s decision to back President Trump instead of its own scientists on the question of whether Alabama was at significant risk from Hurricane Dorian has led to widespread outrage in the broader weather community. Weather forecasters inside and outside the government and former leaders of NOAA and the National Weather Service have spoken out against the NOAA action. Late Friday afternoon, NOAA released a statement siding with Trump’s Sept. 1 assertion that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by Hurricane Dorian, even after its own National Weather Service office in Birmingham had accurately tweeted: "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.” The unsigned NOAA release, attributed to an agency “spokesperson,” specifically rebuked the Birmingham office, stating it “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available.” Many critics say NOAA’s decision to back Trump is putting politics before facts and undermining forecasters’ ability to carry out their mission to protect life and property, while eroding public trust. They also worry about how the statement will affect Weather Service forecasters’ morale. Three former NOAA heads have expressed this concern. Kathryn Sullivan, a former NASA astronaut who ran the agency under President Barack Obama, said that throughout NOAA’s history, the agency — including its political appointees — has committed "to not let any political factors sway the scientific credibility and clarity of Weather Service forecasts and warnings.” She stated: “The anonymous and disingenuous statement NOAA tweeted out is a major breach of scientific integrity that damages the NWS and stains the agency’s leadership.” Jane Lubchenco, who preceded Sullivan as NOAA administrator under Obama, told Capital Weather Gang via email: “This looks like classic politically motivated obfuscation to justify inaccurate statements made by the boss. It is truly sad to see political appointees undermining the superb, life-saving work of NOAA’s talented and dedicated career servants.” - Trump has corrupted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support his lies.

By Frank Rich
Some Washington reporters have begun to observe that, in the face of lagging economic indicators, North Korean progress on missile tests, GOP retirements in Congress, and other setbacks, Donald Trump’s ever-more-erratic outbursts over the past month are a sign that he feels his presidency is in danger in the run-up to 2020. Are they right? America’s First Baby is certainly acting like someone put him in the corner. To call Trump erratic right now is a compliment. He makes Roseanne Barr look like Theresa May. Just when you think he is going to let go of Sharpiegate after five days and concede that there was never (as he said) a “95 percent chance probability” that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama “very hard,” he’s at it again, summoning a Fox News reporter to the Oval Office to try to enforce his fantastical meteorology. His tweet storm is threatening to outlast the actual storm. What’s next? Will he send Al Roker to Guantanamo? Will he lavish emergency aid on Alabama, perhaps to bolster the campaign of whichever Republican is anointed to take down Democratic Senator Doug Jones in 2020? Or — to repurpose a Jonah storyline from Veep — will he show up an hour late for a public event and insist that everyone else has it wrong because daylight saving time has already ended? Trump could become the first president ever to be publicly corrected by both the National Weather Service and the timekeepers at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Of course Sharpiegate is only one offering in the past week or so’s 24/7 repertory of White House Looney Tunes. Not even another mass killing in Texas could distract our president from a public feud with his long-ago fellow NBC primetime star Debra Messing, of Will & Grace. There’s also the bagatelle of his tweeting out a classified surveillance photo of an Iranian missile site, yet another in an endless series of moves to undermine American intelligence agencies. But there may be more of a method to the madness of Trump’s “congratulations” to Poland on the 80th anniversary of the German invasion. Far from being one of his typical displays of utter historical and geopolitical ignorance, this tweet may have been a heartfelt expression of his genuine conviction that there are “very fine people on both sides” when Nazis launch a blitzkrieg.

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business
(CNN) - The editor of the Washington Post says President Trump's latest insults against two Post reporters are "unwarranted and dangerous."
Trump tweeted on Saturday morning that reporters Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker "shouldn't even be allowed on the grounds of the White House."
The comment suggested that Trump is still thinking about booting reporters from the White House, even though the administration has lost twice in court after stripping press passes from others. Trump frequently blasts the Post and its owner, Jeff Bezos, which is a testament to the newspaper's exclusive reporting and agenda-setting power. His most recent complaints were prompted by a story titled "Trump's lost summer: Aides claim victory, but others see incompetence and intolerance." Rucker and Parker's article came out on Sunday evening and said some "Trump advisers and allies" felt like the president's summer was defined by "self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities." The article included multiple on-the-record sources and a bevy of examples. The White House press office has pushed back forcefully, with a web video and an op-ed that tried to tout Trump's recent accomplishments and events. Trump pushed back personally on Saturday morning, calling Rucker and Parker "nasty lightweight reporters" who publish "DISGUSTING & FAKE" reporting. In reality, the reporters are widely respected inside and outside the Post. Rivals from other papers spoke up in their defense on Saturday. Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent at The New York Times, said they're "two of the absolute best. Smart, insightful and fearless. Read everything they write." The Post's executive editor Marty Baron responded to Trump by saying the paper is "immensely proud to have these two superb journalists on staff. Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker have consistently demonstrated their integrity in covering the White House. We stand fully behind them and their important work." Baron added, "The president's statement fits into a pattern of seeking to denigrate and intimidate the press. It's unwarranted and dangerous, and it represents a threat to a free press in this country."

By Jesse Byrnes and Tal Axelrod
President Trump lashed out at a pair of Washington Post reporters early Saturday, ratcheting up the White House's feud with the journalists over their coverage of the Trump administration. Trump went after The Post's Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker in a tweet, calling them "two nasty lightweight reporters" and suggesting that they be barred from the White House grounds. The president wrote that the reporters "shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House because their reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE." The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for further information. Trump's tweets came a day after two top White House officials penned an op-ed in The Washington Examiner criticizing The Post for a Sept. 1 article describing "what some Trump advisers and allies characterize as a lost summer defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities." Stephanie Grisham and Hogan Gidley, the White House press secretary and deputy press secretary, respectively, wrote that The Post refused to cite the majority of Trump’s accomplishments from a list of 26 that was provided. The White House officials accused Rucker and Parker of having “pushed their own personal political narrative that President Trump had a ‘lost summer’ of squandered opportunities and few accomplishments.” They specifically cited Trump's historic meeting with Kim Jong Un in North Korea as well as his push for a trade deal with Japan as examples that the reporters did not include.

By Paul Sonne
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he is urging European allies to pick up the tab for military construction projects in their countries defunded by the Pentagon to pay for President Trump’s border wall. The comments come after the Defense Department announced 127 construction projects that it plans to defund to free up $3.6 billion for 175 miles of fencing and barriers on the southern border with Mexico. Among the defunded initiatives is some $770 million worth of construction projects in Europe that are designed to help U.S. allies better defend themselves in the event of an attack by Russia. Esper, who made the comments while on a trip to Europe, emphasized that the Trump administration has been seeking greater “burden sharing” with allies across the board. Trump regularly criticizes NATO allies who he says have failed to contribute enough funds to their defense and rely instead on the U.S. military. - It is not just taxpayers, now Trump wants our allies to help cover the cost of Trumps wall, that Mexico was supposed to pay for.

MSNBC
Rachel Maddow looks at the four columns of the U.S. response to Russia's annexation of Crimea, sanctions, removal from the G8, military aid to Ukraine, and support to NATO, and notes that the Trump administration has worked to remove all four, most recently by seeking to take money from the European Deterrence Initiative to pay for Trump's border wall.

Democrats widen impeachment probe beyond Mueller findings
CNN
Faced with a time crunch ahead of the 2020 election season, the House Judiciary Committee is broadening its investigation beyond special counsel Robert Mueller's findings as lawmakers confront lingering hurdles over impeaching President Donald Trump. CNN's Manu Raju reports.

McConnell vows to protect Kentucky middle school from Trump's grab for wall funding
By Caroline Kelly and Jim Acosta, CNN
(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would defend funding for a new middle school in his home state of Kentucky after it was selected as one of the military projects the Trump administration will delay in order to fund border wall construction. Secretary of Defense Matt Esper announced on Tuesday the list of projects impacted by the funding move, which would shift a little less than $1.8 billion from projects in 23 states and three US territories. The middle school was slated to receive $62.6 million in February 2020. "Senator McConnell recently talked to Secretary Esper regarding the issue and is committed to protecting funding for the Ft. Campbell Middle School project," a spokesman for McConnell said in a statement. The school is to be located on Fort Campbell, which covers 105,000 acres partly in Tennessee and partly in Kentucky. The base is home to the Army's fifth largest military population, including members of the 101st Airborne Division, known as the "Screaming Eagles." The Kentucky Republican voted to support Trump's national security declaration in March, which allowed the President to use military funding for border wall projects. The spokesman for McConnell blamed the delayed military construction projects -- a funding decision made by Trump to secure his long-sought-after funding for a border wall -- on Democrats. "Regrettably, Democrat opposition to secure our borders has now led to the potential delay of certain Military Construction projects," the spokesman added in a statement. "We would not be in this situation if Democrats were serious about protecting our homeland and worked with us to provide the funding needed to secure our borders during our appropriations process."

By Richard Gonzales
The parent agency of the National Weather Service said late Friday that President Trump was correct when he claimed earlier this week that Hurricane Dorian had threatened the state of Alabama. The surprise announcement in an unsigned statement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) essentially endorsed Trump's Sunday tweet saying that Alabama will "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated." After the president's tweet, the National Weather Service, in Birmingham, Ala., responded with its own tweet, saying "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east." The NOAA statement takes the National Weather Service to task, declaring "The Birmingham National Weather Service's Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time." The surprise statement on Friday has left meteorologists around the country baffled and upset. "Some administrator, or someone at the top of NOAA, threw the National Weather Service under the bus," Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, told NPR. "The part that really smells fishy is that this is five days after that tweet by Trump," he added. "If the National Weather Service did issue a misleading or incorrect tweet, that would need to be amended or fixed in an hour or two." "I am very disappointed to see this statement come out from NOAA," Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado told The Associated Press. He said the controversy over the president's tweets and the NOAA statement undermines public confidence in meteorologists. - Trump has corrupted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support his lies.

By Jessica McDonald
Just as CNN was beginning its climate town hall event, President Donald Trump tweeted a list of “8 facts” boasting of the nation’s air quality and carbon emissions reductions. Several of his “facts,” however, are inaccurate or misleading. Contrary to the president’s claims, the United States — not China — is responsible for having released more carbon pollution than any other nation. Trump also erred when he said that no Americans live in regions with air pollution above the World Health Organization’s guideline level. The president’s counterprogramming arrived minutes after the first Democratic presidential candidate took the stage to talk about climate change. CNN dedicated seven hours to the event, which gave 10 of the top-polling candidates 40 minutes each to explain how they would approach the issue as president. In his Twitter thread, Trump began with carbon emissions before moving on to some of his favorite topics, including energy production and clean air and water.

By Michael Hiltzik
Republicans in Congress have never been good at hiding their intentions to gut Social Security. In recent years, GOP luminaries from Senate Majority Leader Mich McConnell of Kentucky down through Sen. Marcio Rubio of Florida and former House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have talked about the need to slash “entitlements” because, you know, the cost of programs such as Social Security and Medicare is driving the federal deficit, leaving so little room for tax-cut handouts to the wealthy. Now Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has added her voice to the discussion, with an added fillip. During a town hall appearance in her home state over the weekend, Ernst said members of Congress should hold discussions about Social Security “behind closed doors.” Secrecy is essential, she said, “so we’re not being scrutinized by this group or the other, and just have an open and honest conversation about what are some of the ideas that we have for maintaining Social Security in the future.” A video clip of Ernst’s appearance was unearthed and published by Democratic operatives. (The clip can be seen below.) It’s proper to note that Ernst doesn’t explicitly call for benefit cuts or privatizing Social Security. She talks fairly blandly about how “we as Congress will have to address the situation” and “to make sure that we’ve shored up that system” and about having “an open and honest conversation about what are some of the ideas that we have for maintaining Social Security in the future.”

Within the bureau, there’s an asymmetry that even those who seek to play by the rules cannot ignore.
By Adam Serwer - The Atlantic
Former FBI Director James Comey influenced the course of the 2016 election, investigated presidential candidates from each party, and was fired by one of them for leading an inquiry into foreign interference with American democracy. So perhaps he found the chiding he received from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz anticlimactic. The IG’s report did not conclude that Comey broke any laws but that his “retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos” documenting his interactions with President Donald Trump and Trump’s efforts to influence the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election “violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.” The Trump administration promptly and baselessly accused Comey of being a criminal. Comey, who shares Trump’s appetite for dramatic public gestures that place him at the center of public attention, demanded an apology. Comey has never apologized for his role in placing Trump in office, but—like the president—he possesses a streak of self-righteousness that precludes reflection. Nevertheless, the sanction Comey received was absurd: The IG concluded that Comey, fired by a president who was publicly seeking to cripple an investigation into a foreign hacking-and-disinformation campaign that helped put him in office, should have kept silent. That standard would not only incentivize presidential corruption, but establish that government officials who witness such corruption should not warn the public and instead adhere to a Mafialike omertà.

By Chris Isidore, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business) - The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into four major automakers who have rejected the Trump administration's relaxed air pollution and mileage regulations. The four automakers — Ford (F), Honda (HMC), Volkswagen and BMW — agreed in July to meet the tougher standards set by the California Air Resources Board rather than the Trump administration's rules, which would roll back standards put in place under former President Barack Obama. Although the California rules would require automakers to build more costly cars, they gave the companies an advantage: The automakers would have to meet only one national standard, rather than one weaker standard for most of the country and one tougher standard for California and 13 other states that follow its rules. Those 14 states account for about 40% of the US population.
The automakers also face even tougher emission rules from overseas auto regulators, some of which would require all cars to be electrified in the future. Those rules, and predictions that customers will move toward electric vehicles, has prompted all automakers to invest in expensive research and development, including efforts to build electric cars. But the deal between the automakers and California clearly angered President Donald Trump, who lashed out at the automakers in a number of tweets last month following their deal. n a series of other tweets, he suggested Ford founder Henry Ford would be "rolling" in his grave due to the "weakness" of auto executives agreeing to California's standards.

By Chris Arnold
At its heart, the new Trump administration plan for the home loan market aims to change the rules for the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The two companies are the bedrock foundation for home mortgages in the U.S. The government created them decades ago to provide a federally backed guarantee on loans to ensure that money would always be available for responsible, qualified homebuyers to get mortgages. They later became largely private companies but have been under government control since the financial crisis. Now the Trump administration says it wants to make Fannie and Freddie private companies again, make changes to the backstop they provide to the mortgage market, and introduce more competition from other private companies as well. Mike Calhoun, president of the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending, worries that such changes would drive up costs for borrowers and that the administration could impose new rules on homebuyers that would be too strict, such as requiring bigger down payments to qualify for a government-backed mortgage. "For working class Americans who want to buy a house this could make it much more difficult to get a mortgage and make the mortgage much more expensive," Calhoun says. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin argues that the plan will "protect taxpayers and help Americans who want to buy a home." He said in a statement that "an effective and efficient Federal housing finance system will also meaningfully contribute to the continued economic growth under this Administration."

By Yun Li
Without the temporary hiring of Census workers, the disappointing August jobs report would have been even worse. The federal government hired 25,000 temporary workers in preparation for the 2020 Census in August, giving the overall jobs gain a big bump. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 130,000 last month, which fell short of Wall Street estimates for 150,000. Employment in federal government rose by 28,000 in total in August, the Labor Department said Friday. Private-sector employment was up by only 96,000, the lowest pace since February. The weakness largely came from the retail sector, which saw a net decline in workers of 11,100 in August alone. Trade, transportation and utilities also lost 11,000 jobs, and mining and logging lost 5,000 positions.

By Jake Tapper
(CNN) - Fox News senior White House correspondent John Roberts had just finished his 3 p.m. live shot on Thursday when President Donald Trump beckoned him into the Oval Office. The President had one argument to make, according to an internal Fox email Roberts sent about the meeting provided to CNN. "He stressed to me that forecasts for Dorian last week had Alabama in the warning cone," Roberts wrote. "He insisted that it is unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm." Roberts' analysis of the meeting was that the President was "just looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong for saying that at some point, Alabama was at risk -- even if the situation had changed by the time he issued the tweet" on Sunday morning, in which he said the state "will most likely be hit." The President also provided Roberts with graphics to make his points. Roberts referred CNN to Fox News' public relations department when asked for comment, which did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. The White House also did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. Trump has defended his tweet multiple times throughout the day on Twitter, repeatedly slamming the media for covering his statements and his use of an apparently altered chart showing the storm's path extending into Alabama. "Just as I said, Alabama was originally projected to be hit. The Fake News denies it!" Trump tweeted on Thursday, along with graphics from the National Weather Service from last week -- days before his tweet -- showing Alabama had a small chance of experiencing some effects from Dorian. By the time Trump tweeted, those forecasts had changed.

The moves, which critics called undemocratic, are the latest illustration of the president's total takeover of the GOP apparatus.
By ALEX ISENSTADT
Four states are poised to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, a move that would cut off oxygen to Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers. Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans. The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus. They underscore the extent to which his allies are determined to snuff out any potential nuisance en route to his renomination — or even to deny Republican critics a platform to embarrass him. Trump advisers are quick to point out that parties of an incumbent president seeking reelection have a long history of canceling primaries and note it will save state parties money. But the president’s primary opponents, who have struggled to gain traction, are crying foul, calling it part of a broader effort to rig the contest in Trump’s favor. “Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states,” said former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who recently launched his primary campaign against the president. “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.” “Primary elections are important, competition within parties is good, and we intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do,” Walsh added. “We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.” Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld said in a statement, “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.” RNC officials said they played no role in the decisions. The cancellations stem in part from months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Trump campaign. Aides have worked to ensure total control of the party machinery, installing staunch loyalists at state parties while eliminating potential detractors. The aim, Trump officials have long said, is to smooth the path to the president’s renomination and ensure he doesn’t face the kind of internal opposition that hampered former President George H.W. Bush in his failed 1992 reelection campaign.

By David Jackson and John Fritze, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – In the fifth day of a flap over the path of Hurricane Dorian, the White House released a statement from a homeland security adviser who said he briefed President Donald Trump about the possibility of heavy winds in Alabama from the storm hours before the president warned the state about rough weather. The statement from Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Peter Brown followed a daylong series of tweets from Trump amid a spiraling controversy over the president’s knowledge about the path of the storm. Trump has defended a tweet from Sunday in which he warned Alabama despite predictions that, by then, had the storm turning north. "The president's comments were based on that morning's Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama," Brown wrote. Throughout the day Trump insisted that "certain models" of forecasting once showed that the storm at one point could have hit Alabama, though the trajectory predicted by the National Hurricane Center had changed well before the president began talking about the threat to the state on Sunday.

Priorities include recapitalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and ending their conservatorship. The Trump administration’s vision for housing finance reform is now much clearer. The Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in coordination, each released plans Thursday detailing how the two agencies believe the housing finance system should be reformed. The much-anticipated plans fulfilled President Trump’s request, made back in March through a presidential memorandum, directing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to create a blueprint for housing finance reform. The Treasury Department’s plan includes a series of 49 recommendations focused primarily on ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while still guaranteeing support for single- and multifamily lending and affordable housing initiatives.

“Some things in Trumplandia are inexplicable,” an exasperated Shep said Thursday.
Justin Baragona
With President Donald Trump continuing to double down on his bizarre false claim that Alabama was at one point in the path of Hurricane Dorian, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith took the president to task on Thursday afternoon for his days-long obsession of insisting he’s right over obviously inaccurate information. “Some things in Trumplandia are inexplicable,” Smith noted during Thursday’s broadcast of Shepard Smith Reporting. “The president said that Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian. It wasn’t. Maybe he made a mistake. Maybe he was confused. We don’t know. But he was wrong.” Noting that the president has since spent days using “fake visual aids” to prove he was right all along, Smith then pointed out that the whole kerfuffle began on Sunday morning when the president erroneously said on Twitter (and in comments later that day) that Alabama was in danger of getting hit by the storm. “That was wrong,” Smith stated, explaining that Trump’s goof was serious enough to warrant a correction by the National Weather Service at the time. The Fox News anchor, who is known for his methodical fact-checks of the president, went on to highlight Trump’s refusal to admit his mistake which climaxed with him flashing a doctored hurricane map during a White House briefing on Wednesday. “Why would the president of the United States do this?” Smith wondered aloud. “He decries fake news that isn’t and disseminates fake news that is. Think China pays the tariffs. The wall is going up. Historic inauguration crowds. The Russia probe was a witch hunt. You need an ID to buy cereal. Noise from windmills causes cancer. It’s endless!”

Even West Point and schools for kids are impacted.
By Alex Ward
A National Guard readiness center in Puerto Rico. A hazardous material storage building on a US military base in Germany. A training facility for special operations forces working to deter Russia in Europe. Upgrades at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York. Those are just some of the 127 affected military construction projects that will be defunded and delayed so President Donald Trump can build roughly 175 miles of wall on the southern border. In total, construction efforts in nearly half of all 50 states — as well as 19 countries, three US territories, and some classified locations — will have their funding diverted to pay for the barrier. The Trump administration announced last February it would find $3.6 billion from previously approved military construction projects to fund the wall effort. But it wasn’t until Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s letter outlining the funding diversions was released to the public on Wednesday evening that the full scope of the financial diversion became clear. In Esper’s telling, the move will help the military better provide support to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to patrol the border. “These projects will deter illegal entry, increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border, and channel migrants to ports of entry,” he wrote in a letter to Pentagon colleagues dated September 3. “In short, these barriers will allow [the Pentagon] to provide support to DHS more efficiently and effectively. In this respect, the contemplated construction projects are force multipliers.”

3.6 million Americans will lose food stamps under a regulatory maneuver nobody in Congress likes. 1.9 million of them live in Trump country.
By Alan Pyke
President Donald Trump’s latest attack on working families will hit especially hard in the states that voted for him: More than half of the people who are set to lose access to food stamps under regulations proposed this summer live in states that went for Trump in 2016. One in every twelve people who receives food stamps nationwide will lose them under the policy — some 3.6 million people, according to new analysis by Mathematica, the private policy analysis firm the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has relied upon for the past 40 years. “I was surprised by the extent of the impact in some of the southern states, such as Texas,” Mathematica senior research programmer Sarah Lauffer said. The impact was always going to be severe in states that apply the current rules in the most generous fashion, but southern states have generally not extended their eligibility lines quite as far. Despite that, Lauffer said, her team found “34% of elderly Texans receiving benefits will lose them through this rule.” Almost 400,000 people in Texas currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would lose them. Another 328,000 in Florida, 200,000 in New York, 97,000 in Georgia, and 176,000 in Washington state face cuts, to name just a few standouts. Almost one in five Wisconsin households currently getting help with their groceries will lose the benefit, as well as 16% of such households in Oregon, Nevada, Iowa, and Delaware. Two of every 13 SNAP households in Minnesota and Texas will have to find food money elsewhere. The administration plans to slash benefits by ending a popular, bipartisan policy known as broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE). That policy protects low-wage workers from a quirk of poverty-assistance law known as the “benefits cliff,” whereby earning or saving slightly too much money can trigger a low-income family’s eviction from public assistance programs. Ending the expanded eligibility system for SNAP will also boot roughly half a million kids out of free school meal programs nationwide. The administration has insisted those kids could all hop right back in by filling out application forms currently mooted by the BBCE system, but experts have warned it doesn’t necessarily work that way.

By Ewan Palmer
President Donald Trump has been widely mocked after he displayed a map showing Hurricane Dorian's projected path in the Oval Office which appeared to have been altered with a marker pen to falsely show it was expected to hit Alabama. Thousands of people have tweeted using the #Sharpiegate hashtag (alluding to the famous marker pen brand) following the bizarre moment in the White House in which Trump attempted to pass off a doctored National Hurricane Center map showing Dorian's projection as genuine in order to back up his previous claims that Alabama could be affected by the powerful storm. The map, dated from August 29, has what appears to be a black marker pen line added on to show Dorian could hit south-east Alabama by Tuesday morning (September 3). When a reporter in the Oval office asked whether a Sharpie was used to add the black loop into the corner of Alabama, Trump replied, "I don't know, I don't know." The original NHC map, without the black line, is still available to view online. Social media users ridiculed Trump over #Sharpiegate, with many saying it is another example where the president has openly made false claims, exaggerated or attempted to mislead the public. "This is probably the stupidest story since his crowd size on inauguration day....And I am here for every minute of it because this thin skinned petty man can't let it go and keeps making a bigger and bigger fool of himself," wrote Travis Bone, executive producer of The Stephanie Miller Show.

By Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – In a statement released Wednesday following controversy over Vice President Mike Pence's stay at a Trump property in Doonbeg, Ireland, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office called President Donald Trump's properties a "cesspool of corruption" and accused Trump of "prioritizing his profits over the interests of the American people." Pelosi's office singled out Pence for criticism, arguing "Pence is just the latest Republican elected official to enable President Trump’s violations of the Constitution," in reference to Pence's stay at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg during the vice president's trip there over the weekend. Pelosi's office also presented a list of alleged corruption at Trump Organization properties, which are held in a trust managed by Trump's sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization trustee Allen Weisselberg. It is unknown what degree of involvement Trump still has with the organization. According to Pelosi's office, Trump's properties violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, allow influence-peddling in government, charge American taxpayers for Trump's golf and Mar-a-Lago visits, exploit undocumented workers, and pose a potential national security risk.

By Ken Meyer
A new report says that John Kelly intends to write a tell-all about his time as White House chief of staff, and it might come out faster than expected if President Donald Trump ever decides to attack him.
CNN reports that in one of Kelly’s last meetings with Trump before leaving the administration, the president asked him if he intends to write a book someday. Sources say that Kelly told Trump he did plan on writing a memoir, but would wait until Trump was no long president before he publishes. There was a catch, however: “The former general’s guarantee came in terms more reminiscent of a military ceasefire than an employee separation agreement: Kelly told Trump he would hold his fire as long as Trump didn’t attack him first.” Trump has attacked former aides who’ve criticized him after leaving his administration, and its possible that Trump would not approve of Kelly’s book if it talks about the negative turn their relationship took before they parted ways. Trump has yet to comment on the most recent statements from former Defense Secretary James Mattis, but he did recently attack Omarosa Manigault again while presenting a legal threat to Madeleine Westerhout if she keeps talking to reporters.

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