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Tim Wirth shares theory on how Trump can stay in White House after election loss
Graig Graziosi

President Donald Trump is scheming to retain power in the event of an electoral loss in November, according to a former Senator from Colorado. Tim Wirth published an op-ed in Newsweek where he lays out his theory, apparently inspired in-part by HBO's adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Plot Against America. The former Democratic senator begins with an allegation that Mr Trump will attempt to retain power through voter suppression. Mr Wirth alleges there is a strategy to suppress voter turnout by purging voters - especially inner-city voters - from registration rolls and to suppress mail-in voting. He also believes physical polling locations will be limited, especially in urban areas, in an effort to create long lines on Election Day and discourage voting. Mr Wirth's allegations that there has been an effort in Republican-led states to remove people from the voter-roll is accurate. According to data compiled by Mother Jones, between 2016 and 2018, more than 17 million names have been removed from the voter rolls. While names are removed from voter rolls every year due to deaths or citizens leaving the state, the number of voters removed from the rolls since 2016 has significantly increased. Between 2016 and 2018, states on average removed 7.6 per cent of their voters from the rolls. However, the purge in some states went much further.

Tom Porter

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was denied permission by the White House to brief the public about the coronavirus crisis, a source at the agency told Yahoo News. As the coronavirus swept through the US, it was the White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence, and fronted with increasing frequency by President Donald Trump, that took the lead in briefing the public about the crisis. Earlier in the year the CDC had given frequent briefings on the pandemic. But then it fell abruptly silent, with no public briefings held between March 9 and June 12. A CDC spokesperson, speaking anonymously to Yahoo, confirmed that the agency "slowly but surely took a backseat" to the coronavirus task force. "We continued to ask for approval" from the White House to hold briefings, the CDC spokesperson told Yahoo News. "We were not given approval. Finally, we just stopped asking." In a briefing on February 25, Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, had issued a stark warning about the likely impact of the disease. "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen," she said. The message contrasted sharply with Trump's attempts at the time to downplay the likely impact of the disease.

By Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said Thursday that he had personally weathered President Donald Trump's anger at receiving intelligence briefings pertaining to Russia. "I think I have enough scars from bringing up things about Russia that he probably didn't want to hear, that I can say I agree with" accounts from other former officials that Trump did not want to hear negative information linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday. Bolton's comments follow denials from the White House that Trump was "personally briefed" on reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US troops in Afghanistan. But the intelligence was included in one of Trump's daily briefings on intelligence matters sometime in the spring, according to a US official with direct knowledge of the latest information. And a source familiar with the situation told CNN the White House was provided with such intelligence in early 2019. CNN also reported Wednesday that Trump's resistance to intelligence warnings about Russia led his national security team, including those who delivered the President's Daily Brief, to brief him verbally less often on Russia-related threats to the US, according to multiple former Trump administration officials who briefed Trump, were present for briefings and who prepared documents for his intelligence briefings. Bolton asserted Thursday that "everybody understood the nature of Russia's activities -- with the possible exception of the President."

By Jim Sciutto, Chief National Security Correspondent

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's resistance to intelligence warnings about Russia led his national security team, including those who delivered the President's Daily Brief to brief him verbally less often on Russia-related threats to the US, multiple former Trump administration officials who briefed Trump, were present for briefings and who prepared documents for his intelligence briefings tell CNN. As the White House denies Trump was briefed about Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, which CNN has confirmed was included in the written PDB this spring, the question of what the President knew and when has moved to center stage. And it brings Trump's aversion to hearing negative analysis about Russia into renewed focus. Multiple former administration officials I spoke to for my upcoming book, "The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World," which will be published August 11 by Harper Collins, paint a picture of a President often unwilling to hear bad news about Russia. According to one former senior intelligence official, the President's briefers had one simple rule with Trump: never lead with Russia.

The president was already impatient to end a troop deployment in Afghanistan he has called “ridiculous.” Now a new issue is causing him fresh political damage.
By Michael Crowley

For a president with few tangible foreign policy accomplishments under his belt, Afghanistan had come to look something like a bright spot. His nuclear talks with North Korea have proved fruitless; his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has produced no concessions from Tehran; Palestinians declared his Middle East peace plan dead on arrival; and a trade deal with China looks more unlikely every day. But while President Trump has not achieved his goal of a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has drawn down thousands of U.S. troops and struck a deal with the Taliban intended to pave the way for a complete exit and an end to the 19-year conflict. Now the uproar over U.S. intelligence showing that Russia paid bounties for the killings of American troops in Afghanistan is renewing focus on a conflict that had drifted to the political back burner, and turning what had been a qualified success story for the president into at least a short-term political disaster.

Republicans investigating the 2012 attack in Libya got a rare look at Obama's intelligence briefings.

Lawmakers demanding to know whether President Donald Trump and his inner circle ignored intelligence about Russian bounties on U.S. troops have a clear precedent for getting answers: Benghazi. The special Republican-led House committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on a U.S. mission in the conflict-torn Libyan city conducted an extensive — and possibly unprecedented — dive into President Barack Obama’s daily intelligence briefings. The panel obtained testimony from the CIA officers who analyzed the intel and even the briefer who regularly delivered Obama his daily reports. In the panel’s final report, it described its review of Obama’s daily briefings as “one of the few, if only, times in history outside scrutiny has ever been applied to the PDB process.” Now, as lawmakers of both parties demand a similar level of detail from Trump, the GOP Benghazi report presents a road map of sorts. It’s also a potent talking point for Congress if the White House blocks oversight efforts.

Jeanine Santucci -  USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's 15-year-old daughter Claudia was not expecting the wave of support she got after TikTok videos opposing her mom's boss went viral in the last day. But now Claudia says she hopes to use her platform to educate others on social justice issues. Kellyanne Conway's husband, conservative lawyer George Conway, is known as an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, despite her high position within the administration. Now her teen daughter has amassed a large following on social media where she posts anti-Trump and pro-Black Lives Matter videos. "I know a lot of my friends are so informed and I think they wouldn't be if it weren't for social media, which is why I think using one's platform for good and for the education of others is so, so important, especially in our day," Claudia told USA TODAY on Tuesday. Claudia, one of the Conways' four children, said she holds the opposite political views of her mother and most of her family members. She and her mother sometimes get into political arguments, but have a "best friend" relationship, she said.

The president had a poor track record with Native Americans even before he decided to celebrate July Fourth at a landmark built on land stolen from an Indigenous tribe.

President Donald Trump is struggling to plan his grand spectacles without highlighting his fraught relationship with people of color. He wanted to go to Tulsa, Okla., to relaunch his campaign mega-rallies — and ran into controversy over his decision to speak on Juneteenth at the site of one of the worst incidents of white violence against Black people in American history. Now Trump is planning to visit Mount Rushmore on Friday to kick off Independence Day weekend with a glitzy fireworks display and a military flyover — and has run into strife and contention over his decision to celebrate at a national landmark built on land stolen from Native Americans at the same time the country is reassessing the offensiveness of such monuments. In the days before his visit, some Native American leaders called for destruction of the massive sculpture — built in the Black Hills on land taken from the Lakota tribe to honor several presidents they say were hostile to Indigenous people. And protesters are expected to greet Trump on his trip and express Native Americans’ broader grievances. Tribal leaders have criticized the president for what they describe as harmful policies, delayed and watered-down measures to help their community and his offensive language.

By Ellie Kaufman and Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) The Commerce Department Inspector General's office claims department officials are "actively preventing" them from releasing a report regarding National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials' issuance of statements that contradicted with a local National Weather Service statement about Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. A scientific misconduct investigation earlier this month found that NOAA officials violated their ethical standards and scientific integrity policy when they issued these conflicting statements during Hurricane Dorian. In the memo to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Inspector General Peggy Gustafson said the Department is relying on "amorphous claims of privilege" that are preventing the IG's office from releasing their report. She said her office "cannot be expected to blindly divine the position of the Department and interagency stakeholders without specific privilege claims to specific portions of the report." The report is the latest example of alleged interference by the Trump administration into an inspector general's investigation. Gustafson says the department was cooperating with their investigation until she sent a final report for a "privilege review" before issuing the report to the public. Then, department officials claimed that because of the IG's "drafting approach, 'there was no meaningful way to redact the privileged materials'" they had previously identified in other drafts.

By Chauncey Devega, Salon

For four years Donald Trump has willfully and repeatedly violated the presidential oath of office and its promise to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,” and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”It now appears that Trump was aware — perhaps for as much as a year — that Russian agents had placed bounties on the heads of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan. That’s only the most recent example of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office.Former national security adviser John Bolton’s new book “The Room Where It Happened,” in conjunction with new investigative reporting from CNN shows Trump to be reckless, out of control, negligent, delusional, corrupt, incompetent and thoroughly unfit to lead the United States both domestically and internationally. Carl Bernstein’s reporting for CNN paints a particularly damning portrait: As many of the nation’s and the world’s leading mental health professionals have warned, Trump appears mentally unwell in the extreme. His evident mental pathologies, likely including malignant narcissism, an addiction to violence, a God complex and near-psychotic levels of delusional thinking, have only served to exacerbate his many defects of character and values. In total, Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States. If he is not removed from office by the 2020 election, he will continue to pose an extreme threat to the health and safety of the American people and the world.

By Sarah K. Burris - Commentary

President Donald Trump’s campaign is promoting a new shirt that features an eagle clutching a shield with the American flag and ribbon displaying his campaign. The Nazi Reichsadler is an eagle clutching a shield with a swastika. While eagles have been used since the Roman Empire to signify power, the only eagles clutching a shield in their feet appear on Nazi memorabilia and Trump’s campaign shirt. It’s a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by those on Twitter, Wednesday. Specifically, the Republican-run Lincoln Project posted the images together, saying, “Come on.”

By Sarah K. Burris

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) revealed in her weekly press briefing that the Russian sanctions bill had sanctions that specifically targeted Russian intelligence, known as the GRU. But those sanctions were stripped out of the bill. “We passed in a bipartisan way, sanctions on Russia. The administration told us to take out the sanctions against the GRU, the intelligence as well as the defense sectors of Russia. Those should definitely be — those were there in a bipartisan way. The administration wanted them out. I don’t know why,” Pelosi said, throwing her arms in the air. She went on to say that the investigation into the Russian bounty on Americans shouldn’t distract from the fact that Russia is trying to interfere with U.S. elections, or that “all roads through this president lead to Putin.” It was reported by the New York Times this week that the money sent to the Taliban for the heads of American soldiers went from GRU accounts to the Afghani militants.

By Jim Sciutto, Chief National Security Correspondent

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump's resistance to intelligence warnings about Russia led his national security team, including those who delivered the President's Daily Brief to brief him verbally less often on Russia-related threats to the US, multiple former Trump administration officials who briefed Trump, were present for briefings and who prepared documents for his intelligence briefings tell CNN. As the White House denies Trump was briefed about Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan, which CNN has confirmed was included in the written PDB this spring, the question of what the President knew and when has moved to center stage. And it brings Trump's aversion to hearing negative analysis about Russia into renewed focus. Multiple former administration officials I spoke to for my upcoming book, "The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World," which will be published August 11 by Harper Collins, paint a picture of a President often unwilling to hear bad news about Russia. According to one former senior intelligence official, the President's briefers had one simple rule with Trump: never lead with Russia. Early in his term, Trump's briefers discovered that when his oral briefing included intelligence related to Russia's malign activities against the United States, including evidence of its interference in US politics, Trump would often blow up at them, demanding to know why they kept focusing on Russia and often questioning the intelligence itself, multiple former administration officials said. "The President has created an environment that dissuades, if not prohibits, the mentioning of any intelligence that isn't favorable to Russia," a former senior member of Trump's national security staff told me. *** Why does Trump continue to protect Putin and Russia at the expense of America and American lives? In addition, why does he get mad when he is told what Russia is up to?

The White House reportedly had been told that Russia put bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year earlier than previously known—and even Republicans are demanding more information.
By Charlotte Klein

The White House has apparently known of possible Russian bounties on Americans in Afghanistan since early 2019, pushing the timeline back a full year earlier than when the administration was initially thought to have learned of the intelligence. The shocking findings that a Russian military intelligence agency offered rewards to Taliban-linked militants for attacks on U.S. and coalition forces is something that President Donald Trump was previously reported to have known and done nothing about since late March, despite claiming on Sunday that no one told him about such information. But the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Trump was briefed at least twice on the matter in 2019, in his written daily intelligence briefings as well as by then-national security adviser John Bolton, who reportedly told colleagues in March 2019 that he had briefed the president on the intelligence assessment. Bolton declined to comment on this when asked by the outlet on Monday, but did suggest that Trump has a tendency to feign ignorance when trying to skirt accountability. “He can disown everything if nobody told him about it,” Bolton said on Sunday’s Meet the Press. *** Why does Trump continue to protect Putin and Russia at the expense of America and American lives? In addition, why does he get mad when he is told what Russia is up to?

Jonathan Swan, author of Sneak Peek

President Trump has told people in recent days that he regrets following some of son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's political advice — including supporting criminal justice reform — and will stick closer to his own instincts, three people with direct knowledge of the president's thinking tell Axios. Behind the scenes: One person who spoke with the president interpreted his thinking this way: "No more of Jared's woke s***." Another said Trump has indicated that following Kushner's advice has harmed him politically. Why it matters: This could be the final straw for federal police reform legislation this year, and it could usher in even more incendiary campaign tactics between now and November. Details: The sources said the president has resolved to stick to his instincts and jettison any policies that go against them, including ambitious police reform.

Analysis: What Trump sees as good for him is not necessarily in the best interests of Republican lawmakers.
By Jonathan Allen

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump gave the Republicans in Congress a tough choice Tuesday night: vote to honor leaders of the Confederacy, or vote against him. "I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth...Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!” Trump wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night, referring to the Democratic senator from Massachusetts. It was at least the second time Trump has addressed the idea of renaming Army bases named in honor of Confederate officers. In early June, amid widespread protests against police brutality and racial discrimination, the president said he would "not even consider" it. But it is the first time he has said specifically that he would veto the defense bill over the matter. Recent polls show that many more Americans want to keep the names than scrap them — the vast majority of Republicans don't want a change — and Trump has been running his re-election campaign almost exclusively as an exercise in firing up his political base. *** Trump is willing to protect confederate traitors but not American patriots.

While the NAFTA replacement deal won't change anything overnight — it may change the price of American cars over time.
By Paul A. Eisenstein

It’s been a challenging year for the auto industry, with plunging sales, factory shutdowns and the cancellation of the auto shows that help drive sales. Now, add the July 1 start of the USMCA, the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. More formally known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, it’s a signature deal for President Donald Trump's administration. The new trade agreement was hailed as a way to level the playing field and encourage the shift of manufacturing back to the U.S. But whether it will do that is far from certain. If anything, there’s widespread concern the agreement will add billions in costs to the auto industry alone — costs automakers would have to decide whether to absorb or pass on, said Mark Wakefield, head of the automotive practice at consultancy AlixPartners. “A rise in prices obviously will have an impact on sales,” Wakefield said, but the alternative — swallowing higher costs — could exacerbate what he calls the “profit desert” the industry is sliding towards. New car prices were already on the rise before USMCA went into effect, reaching a record of around $35,000 mid-spring, according to data from J.D. Power, which tracks real-time dealer transactions. A variety of factors have contributed to the surge, including Chinese import tariffs, as well as the cost of new environmental and safety regulations. How much more USMCA might add to the cost of a vehicle is far from certain, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates the industry will pay an extra $3 billion in tariffs alone over the next 10 years before potentially higher manufacturing costs.

Desperate to distract from the coronavirus catastrophe, Trump and his media allies are going full-on rabid racism
Amanda Marcotte

Racism is all he's got. Everything else Donald Trump was going to run on this summer and fall has evaporated. The "booming" economy? (Which he inherited from Barack Obama in the first place.) The U.S. has the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression and the situation is about to get exponentially worse as unemployment benefits expire. And no, "reopening" is not a solution, since the data makes clear that consumers have little interest in shopping or eating out during a pandemic. And then there was Trump's plan to hold big rallies to make himself look like he's got momentum, while Joe Biden campaigns in responsible ways that don't spread the coronavirus Not only was that plan sociopathic, it's also not working. Trump's big comeback rally in Tulsa was a hilarious failure, with only a third of the arena filled. Now Trump has canceled a rally in Alabama, citing coronavirus fears. It's just as likely that the campaign was scared of more empty seats — even some of his most ardent followers would rather root for him at home rather than risk getting sick.

Trump's efforts to paint Biden as too old and out of it to do a job as difficult as being president? Well, in the face of reports that Trump did nothing to push back against Russia paying Afghan fighters to kill American soldiers, the only "defense" of Trump is that he's either too lazy or too illiterate to pay attention to his intelligence briefings. For a 74-year-old man trying to argue he's sharper than his slightly older opponent, having his press secretary argue that Trump does too know how to read is arguably not a great look. As for the coronavirus itself, Trump is so hostile to any efforts to meaningfully fight the disease that people have started to wonder, only half-facetiously, whether he's campaigning on a pro-coronavirus agenda.

Opinion by Greg Sargent

With President Trump, it’s often difficult to locate the point where his utter lack of self awareness blends into sheer shamelessness. This poses an urgent problem with the spin he is now offering amid revelations that U.S. intelligence indicated Russia may have paid bounties to Taliban-linked militias for the killing of U.S. troops. Trump is now defending himself not just by claiming he wasn’t briefed on that intelligence, or just by contesting the significance of that intelligence. Instead, he’s declaring that the entire story simply doesn’t exist — that is, he’s suggesting no intelligence ever actually indicated anything like this. Yet this defense is itself deeply self-incriminating. It only underscores what critics are saying — that at minimum, Trump should be taking this intelligence seriously and trying to get to the bottom of what it actually does indicate, even if the worst interpretation proves wrong.

Mitch Prothero

Taliban commanders have confirmed that Russia has offered financial and material support to its members in exchange for attacking US forces in Afghanistan. The practice was first reported on Friday by The New York Times, which cited US intelligence officials. President Donald Trump has since strongly denied that he was told of this intelligence and attacked its credibility, characterizing the existence of Russian bounty payments as fake. But three separate Taliban sources told Insider they were aware of Russian bounty payments being made — though they said only the less-disciplined elements on the fringes of the group would take up such an offer. When reached through formal channels, officials with the Taliban — formally called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — declined to comment.

But the three sources all confirmed the practice takes place and that Russian intelligence officials are known to pay. Iran and Pakistan also fund these activities, the sources said. Two of the sources are actively involved with the Taliban, and one is now a refugee in Greece who entered the country in 2016. All said they personally had not undertaken Russian bounty operations and disparaged the practice in general.

A well-known way to get money
The refugee spoke on condition of anonymity to Insider for fear of retaliation, though his identity is known to Insider. He used to be a commander with the Taliban in the Logar province of Afghanistan. He said: "The Taliban is like my fist — the center of the fist is hard and disciplined; everyone gets salaries and weapons from the Quetta Shura and they obey orders." The Quetta Shura is the leadership council of the Taliban that is thought to be based in Pakistan.

By Daniel Dale

Washington (CNN)Facing a barrage of questions over President Donald Trump's handling of intelligence about alleged Russian bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded Tuesday by arguing that Trump has long worked to keep troops out of harm's way. Among the things McEnany said was that Trump is "on record for decades and decades and decades opposing -- opposing foreign wars."
She continued, "You have this President who, when Washington was unanimous in saying, 'We're going into Iraq,' this President said, 'No, that's not the right decision.'"

Facts First: Trump never publicly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq before it occurred. Rather, he expressed tentative support for the invasion in late 2002 and waffled in early 2003. He only became an explicit opponent of the war more than a year after it began. And while McEnany did not precisely define "Washington," there was not unanimity among Washington politicians about going into Iraq: 156 members of the House and Senate voted against the 2002 resolution to authorize President George W. Bush to use military force against Iraq.

By Kevin Liptak and Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) On Monday, President Donald Trump went after attempts to strip the names of racists from buildings. On Tuesday, it was a federal housing rule meant to combat racial segregation. By Wednesday, Trump was calling the words "black lives matter" a "symbol of hate" -- a description he's refused to use for Confederate emblems -- that would spoil the "luxury avenue" he once called home. Navigating a precarious political moment, Trump continues seizing upon widening cultural divisions in a way he believes will appeal to voters concerned about safety and order -- despite polls showing wide disapproval of how he's handling race relations. As he distributes wanted posters of suspected vandals on his Twitter feed and warns those who splashed red paint on statues of George Washington to turn themselves in, Trump is also stoking racial tensions using language and tropes that harken to the days of segregationist politics and fears of ruined neighborhoods. The effort has been waged mostly on Trump's Twitter page, which over the weekend featured a video of a supporter in Florida chanting "White power." Trump later removed it, though he left up a video of two White homeowners in St. Louis protecting their stone mansion with firearms as a Black Lives Matter march went past. * The confederate monuments and statues Trump wants to protect are the symbols of hate and traitors.

Madeline Charbonneau

President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter on Wednesday morning after New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that a Black Lives Matter mural would be painted on the street in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. The president called the mural a “symbol of hate” and said it would “denigrating this luxury Avenue” and “further antagonize” New York City police officers. Trump said the money spent on the mural should be spent “fighting crime instead.” Similar murals have been painted on streets around the country. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser started the trend in June with a huge, yellow mural painted along 16th Street leading to the White House in a two-block section renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza. * The confederate monuments and statues Trump wants to protect are the symbols of hate and traitors.

By Mark Moore

President Trump on Wednesday said the reports about the Russians offering Taliban fighters a bounty to kill American troops has not been corroborated and claimed they are part of a “hoax” to make him and other Republicans look bad. “‘No corroborating evidence to back reports.’ Department of Defense. Do people still not understand that this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party,” the president posted on Twitter. “I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level.” The New York Times and other media outlets reported that Trump was briefed about the bounties earlier this year but failed to take any action against Russia.

The measure was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee with bipartisan support.
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to veto a national defense bill the Senate is currently considering if an amendment from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to rename military bases honoring the Confederacy is not removed. "I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth 'Pocahontas' Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!" Trump tweeted. The amendment was adopted by the GOP-led Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month with support from both Democrats and Republicans. The provision that was wrapped into the massive defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would rename all bases and other military assets after the Confederacy. It would, within three years, remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy and anyone who served it from based and other property of the military, Warren's office says. *** Trump will protect confederate traitors but will not patriots and real heroes.

David Lawder, Dave Graham, David Ljunggren

WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY/OTTAWA (Reuters) - The revamped trade pact between the United States, Canada and Mexico taking effect on Wednesday was meant to create a kind of fortress North America, boosting the region’s competitiveness - but cracks are already starting to show in the foundation. As the deal kicks in, the Trump administration is threatening Canada with new aluminum tariffs, and a prominent Mexican labor activist has been jailed, underscoring concerns about crucial labor reforms in the replacement for the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The risk of disputes among the three trading partners is growing, analysts say. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement includes tighter North American content rules for autos, new protections for intellectual property, prohibitions against currency manipulation and new rules on digital commerce that did not exist when NAFTA launched in 1994, an agreement U.S. President Donald Trump has lambasted as the “worst trade deal ever made.”

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) Most Presidents would try to stop the United States from barreling toward disaster. But Donald Trump has nothing to say and no answers to mitigate a calamity unfolding on his watch that he seems resolved to ignore. On the day when the government's top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci said he would not be surprised to see the US record 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, Trump refused to break his deafening silence. And the day after his White House described record-breaking new infections that are sweeping the nation as "embers that need to be put out," Trump's campaign claimed credit for the "phenomenal" success of his botched pandemic leadership. Trump is now pretty much the sole figure in authority in either party -- including his major Republican allies -- who refuse to wear or endorse face masks that are proven to slow the spread of coronavirus but that he has stigmatized as a liberal plot to harm him politically.

Beijing — China said Tuesday it will retaliate after the U.S. announced it was ending the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong in response to Beijing imposing a controversial national security law on the semi-autonomous city. China's rubber-stamp parliament formally passed the sweeping law for Hong Kong on Tuesday, which critics and many western governments fear will smother the global financial hub's freedoms and hollow out its autonomy.

"U.S. attempts to obstruct China advancing the Hong Kong national security legislation through so-called sanctions will never prevail," said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. "In response to the U.S.'s wrongful actions, China will take necessary countermeasures." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the U.S. was ending the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong because Washington "can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China."

By Charles Davis

President Donald Trump seems desperate to win the approval of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, anonymous US officials told CNN, with one source describing calls between the leaders as "two guys in a steam bath." Sources within the Trump administration said the president was "inordinately solicitous of Putin's admiration and seemingly seeking his approval," according to CNN's Carl Bernstein. Two US officials said Trump had "naively elevated" Russia "to almost parity with the United States." "He's playing with something he doesn't understand," one official said, "and he's giving them power that they would use [aggressively]."

By Andrew Solender - Forbes Staff Business

A report from CNN’s Carl Bernstein based on anonymous sources alleges that President Trump is regularly unprepared and out of his depth in phone calls with world leaders, in which he frequently bullies U.S. allies and gets outplayed by enemies, with people familiar with the calls describing them as national security threats that would cause senior Republicans to lose confidence in the president. Senior U.S. officials, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, reportedly felt that Trump “posed a danger to the national security of the United States” in his phone calls with world leaders and concluded that he was often “delusional.”

“The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time,” Bernstein writes. “Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.” Trump would reportedly bash his predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, who consistently “outplay” Trump, with one source “comparing the Russian leader to a chess grandmaster and Trump to an occasional player of checkers.”

Calls with allies fared no better, particularly with female heads of state like former British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump frequently labelled “stupid” and accused of being in the pocket of the Russians in calls so egregious the German government took “special measures” to keep them secret, Bernstein writes.

'I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility,' late actor said in 1971 interview
By John T Bennett - Washington Bureau Chief

Donald Trump is accusing some Democratic officials of "incredible stupidity" for calling for actor John Wayne's name to be removed from an airport in California even after an interview resurfaced of "The Duke" embracing white supremacy. John Wayne Airport in southern California serves Orange County and Los Angeles. Mr Trump in January 2016, as a presidential candidate, held a special event at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, Iowa. He spoke at a lectern with a wax statue of the late actor behind him. After being introduced by Wayne's daughter, the GOP candidate called himself a "longtime fan" of the star of many hit Western films. "We love John Wayne," Mr Trump said that day. "We love John Wayne and we love his family equally, right? Equally." But amid ongoing protests and other social changes following the death of George Floyd, a black man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Mr Trump's full embrace of Wayne could give him yet another political headache. That's because of a 1971 interview the actor conducted with Playboy magazine. "With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks," Mr Wayne said. "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people." "I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves. Now, I'm not condoning slavery. It's just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can't play football with the rest of us," he added. "I will say this, though: I think any black who can compete with a white today can get a better break than a white man. I wish they'd tell me where in the world they have it better than right here in America."

By Mike Calia

President Donald Trump and the White House knew earlier than was previously reported about alleged Russian bounties offered to Afghan militants to kill American service members, according to new reports Monday night. Trump received a written briefing in February about intelligence regarding the alleged bounties, The New York Times reported Monday night, citing two officials with knowledge of the matter. The Associated Press, citing officials with direct knowledge of the matter, also reported that the White House was aware of the matter much earlier, in early 2019. Then-national security advisor John Bolton told colleagues that he briefed Trump on the matter in March 2019, the AP added. Bolton has published a tell-all memoir about his time in the White House. The narrative is full of withering condemnations of the president and unflattering anecdotes about him. Trump has slammed the book as full of lies, while the administration unsuccessfully sought to block the book’s publication. Trump and the White House have denied that the president had been briefed on the intelligence assessment regarding the Russian bounties. The White House had also said that the intelligence underpinning the claim was unverified.

The ball’s ‘nostalgic’ design is less controversial than its price tag, which echoes a code used by neo-Nazis everywhere
By Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s umbrella company, The Trump Organisation, is being hectored and denounced on social media for selling a “nostalgic” baseball for $88 – an unusual price tag that uses a number often referenced on the far right to signal sympathy with Adolf Hitler. The awkward attention to the ball’s price tag comes just after the president retweeted a video in which an elderly white man in Florida riding a golf cart shouts “white power” at anti-racism protesters. Mr Trump originally captioned his retweet “Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” but has since deleted it. In white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles, the number 88 serves as a code for the letters “HH” – an abbreviation of “heil Hitler”. The number 18 sometimes stands in for Hitler’s initials, while the number 14 refers to a widely known 14-word shibboleth: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”. The numbers are sometimes combined into 1488.

The influential pro-Trump community broke the rules on harassment and targeting, said Reddit, which also banned other groups.
By Mike Isaac

SAN FRANCISCO — Reddit, one of the largest social networking and message board websites, on Monday banned its biggest community devoted to President Trump as part of an overhaul of its hate speech policies. The community or “subreddit,” called “The_Donald,” is home to more than 790,000 users who post memes, viral videos and supportive messages about Mr. Trump. Reddit executives said the group, which has been highly influential in cultivating and stoking Mr. Trump’s online base, had consistently broken its rules by allowing people to target and harass others with hate speech. “Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” Steve Huffman, the company’s chief executive, said in a call with reporters. “‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that.”

Donald Trump, and his press secretary have sent mixed messages about the intelligence on the alleged Russian bounty for the killing of American soldiers.
By Tom McCarthy in New York

The White House briefed Republican lawmakers on Monday on an intelligence assessment that Russian operatives had offered a bounty for attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, a day after Donald Trump said his intelligence advisers “did not find this info credible”. In an unusual step, Democratic lawmakers were not included in the initial briefing, which was conducted by the national security adviser, the director of national intelligence and the White House chief of staff. White House officials were communicating with Democrats in the House of Representatives to try to arrange a briefing, Politico reported. Trump has publicly attacked the strength of the intelligence about the alleged bounty program. An initial report on the program last week by the New York Times, which has since been widely corroborated, raised the question of why the United States had not taken action in response to the suspected targeting of US soldiers. Trump claimed on Sunday that he had never been briefed on the intelligence assessment. Later that day he said that intelligence officials told him the threat was not “credible”. But Trump was contradicted in the White House briefing room on Monday by the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who said that views about the veracity of the intelligence were mixed within the intelligence community.

The US killed General Soleimani and others in a January drone attack near Baghdad International Airport.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining US President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad. Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday that Trump, along with more than 30 others Iran accuses of involvement in the January 3 attack that killed General Qassem Soleimani, face "murder and terrorism charges", the semi-official ISNA news agency reported. Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends. Interpol, based in Lyon, France, said in a statement that its constitution forbade it to undertake "any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character". "Therefore, if or when any such requests were to be sent to the General Secretariat," it added, "... Interpol would not consider requests of this nature."

Clip shows man and woman pointing weapons at people staging protest against US city’s mayor
By Martin Pengelly in New York and agencies

Donald Trump courted controversy on Monday – and perhaps sought to deflect attention from reports about Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan – by retweeting news footage of a white couple in St Louis, Missouri, who pointed guns at protesters marching for police reform. The president’s action came a day after he retweeted footage of protesters clashing in Florida in which a Trump supporter could be heard to say: “White power! White power!” That retweet was deleted from the president’s account after a few hours, a White House spokesman saying Trump had not heard the inflammatory words before sending the footage on to his supporters. The protesters in St Louis were marching to the mayor’s home to demand her resignation.

By Kevin Breuninger

Congressional Democratic leaders demanded Monday that the Trump administration brief all members of the House and Senate on reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA chief Gina Haspel. President Donald Trump has denied being briefed on the U.S. intelligence findings, reported first by The New York Times and later confirmed by other outlets, that a Russian military intelligence unit covertly offered Afghan militants rewards for killing coalition forces. But one American official told the Times that the intelligence assessment had percolated to the highest levels of the White House, and another told the paper that it had been added to Trump’s daily brief. “Congress and the country need answers now,” Pelosi said in the letter. “I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately. Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.”

By Salvador Rizzo

“Now that the very expensive, unpopular and unfair Individual Mandate provision has been terminated by us, many States & the U.S. are asking the Supreme Court that Obamacare itself be terminated so that it can be replaced with a FAR BETTER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE..... Obamacare is a joke! Deductible is far too high and the overall cost is ridiculous. My Administration has gone out of its way to manage OC much better than previous, but it is still no good. I will ALWAYS PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS,ALWAYS!!!” — President Trump, in a pair of tweets, June 27, 2020

Just as the number of weekly coronavirus cases reached a new high in the United States, the Trump administration filed a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act. About 20 million people covered through the act could lose their health insurance if Trump succeeds, among many other consequences bearing directly on the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic. Key provisions of the health-care law prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people who are already sick, or who have “preexisting conditions.” Trump has claimed nearly 100 times since he took office that he will “always protect people with preexisting conditions,” but the legal brief filed by the Justice Department last week belies the president’s claim. It says point blank that the entire Affordable Care Act — including its coverage guarantee for people with preexisting conditions — “must fall.”

The Facts
Republicans for a decade have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. The Supreme Court has upheld the law twice in the face of legal challenges from conservative groups. A new challenge brought by a group of Republican state attorneys general is now pending before the court. The Justice Department filed a brief June 25 in support of the GOP argument that “the entire ACA ... must fall.” Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could consider a person’s health status when determining premiums, sometimes making coverage unaffordable or even unavailable if a person was already sick with a problem that required expensive treatment.

By Nina Totenberg

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the president can fire at will the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent agency Congress created in 2010 to protect consumers from abuses in the banking and financial services industry, abuses that led to the 2008 financial meltdown. But the court left intact the rest of the statute that created the agency. In order to ensure the CFPB's independence, the law creating the agency called for it to be headed by a single director, confirmed by the Senate, who would serve a five-year term and who could only be fired for malfeasance, inefficiency or neglect of duty. That independent structure was challenged by the Trump administration, and a firm that was being investigated by the CFPB for misleading financial practices. Both claimed that the limits on the president's power to fire the agency head were unconstitutional, and today the Supreme Court agreed. The decision was a victory for President Trump and for forces in the business community that have long sought to trim the sails of independent regulatory agencies, from the CFPB to multimember-led agencies, among them the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Communications Commission and many more. But the court did not go as far as the challengers had wanted, limiting the decision to the single-director structure of the CFPB.

The recovery of large amounts of American cash at a Taliban outpost in Afghanistan helped tip off U.S. officials. It is believed that at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties.
By Eric Schmitt, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos

WASHINGTON — United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said. The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said. Armed with this information, military and intelligence officials have been reviewing American and other coalition combat casualties over the past 18 months to determine whether any were victims of the plot. Four Americans were killed in combat in early 2020, but the Taliban have not attacked American positions since a February agreement to end the long-running war in Afghanistan.

A company that offered its "services" for the border wall got "quick approval" to mine outside of normal protocol
By Igor Derysh

Multiple government watchdog groups have called for an investigation after a Mexican company received rapid approval on a multi-million-dollar mining contract in Colorado shortly after it expressed support for President Donald Trump's border wall. Days after Trump's election in 2016, Enrique Escalante, the chief executive of Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC), told Reuters that the company was "ready to lend its services" to build the border wall that the president promised during his campaign. "For the business we're in, Trump is a candidate that does favor the industry quite a bit," he told the outlet. The announcement drew headlines around the world as outlets seized on the idea of a Mexican firm helping to build the wall. The company has seen business boom since Trump's inauguration with some help from the administration. About a year after the announcement, the company's subsidiary, GCC Energy, received "quick approval" to expand operations in the King II coal mine near Hesperus, Colo., The Durango Herald reported. The company has operated the mine since 2007 and had asked the Bureau of Land Management for a 950-acre expansion. But the request did not go through the normal process. The expansion was granted by the Interior Department in Washington rather than the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state office in Denver. Normally, a mining company which operates on BLM land in Colorado has to go through the Denver office and can then appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals, which is part of the Interior Department. But the GCC expansion was instead approved by Katharine MacGregor, then the department's deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, which meant the decision could not be appealed.

"And yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed," Pelosi told ABC's "This Week."
By Allan Smith

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that President Donald Trump "wants to ignore any allegation against Russia" as he and his administration deny ever being briefed about intelligence that Russians have offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters who kill Americans. Speaking with ABC's "This Week," Pelosi said, "This is as bad as it gets." "And yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed," Pelosi said. "Whether he is or not, his administration knows and our allies — some of our allies who work with us in Afghanistan had been briefed and accept this report." "Just as I have said to the president: With him all roads lead to Putin," she added. "I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, financially, or whatever it is, but he wants to ignore, he wants to bring them back to the G8 despite the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, despite what they yielded to him in Syria, despite his intervention into our election which is well documented by our intelligence community, and despite now possibly this allegation, which we should have been briefed on." The U.S gathered intelligence on the Russian bounty offers, three people briefed on the matter told NBC News. The New York Times was first to report on the intelligence, and other outlets have confirmed too.

By Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb

Five months after the novel coronavirus was first detected in the United States, a record surge in new cases is the clearest sign yet of the country’s historic failure to control the virus — exposing a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils. President Trump — who has repeatedly downplayed the virus, sidelined experts and misled Americans about its dangers and potential cures — now finds his presidency wracked by an inability to shepherd the country through its worst public health calamity in a century. The dysfunction that has long characterized Trump’s White House has been particularly ill-suited for a viral outbreak that requires precision, focus and steady leadership, according to public health experts, administration officials and lawmakers from both parties. As case numbers began rising again, Trump has held rallies defying public health guidelines, mused about slowing down testing for the virus, criticized people wearing masks and embraced the racially offensive “kung flu” nickname for a disease that has killed at least 123,000 Americans. - The American version of coronavirus Trump Flu has killed more Americans than anywhere else in the world.

By Kylie Atwood and Ryan Browne, CNN

Washington (CNN) The Trump administration is close to finalizing a decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall, according to two administration officials. The move would reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500 and would be the lowest number since the very earliest days of the war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001. It would pave the way for a US exit which President Donald Trump remains determined to achieve. Yet the discussions are taking place against the backdrop of an uptick in violence from the Taliban against the Afghan government, despite the insurgent group signing an historic agreement with the US in February and as the Trump administration has appeared to hold back on its criticism of the Taliban. While the decision is not final, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper discussed the plan with NATO allies last week and the topic was revisited in his meetings with NATO officials in Brussels Friday.

By James Walker

The European Union plans to bar most U.S. travelers from entering the region amid fears over failures to control the spread of COVID-19. E.U. officials told The New York Times and CNN on Friday that senior diplomats had negotiated a list of countries deemed safe for travel with the bloc when it reopens on July 1. While the U.S. did not make the list, along with Russia and several other countries, China was reportedly deemed to be a safe country from which to welcome travelers. The E.U. travel list could still be changed before the start of next month, as it has yet to receive formal backing from member state leaders. But an unnamed E.U. diplomat told CNN yesterday that it was highly "unlikely" that U.S. travelers would get approval to travel into the bloc, largely due to the country's current coronavirus infection rate per 100,000 people.

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that President Donald Trump denying in a tweet he was briefed on intelligence that Russians had tried to bribe Taliban fighters to kill US troops shows Trump's "fundamental focus" is not on the United States' national security. "The fact that the President feels compelled to tweet about the news story here shows that what his fundamental focus is, is not the security of our forces, but whether he looks like he wasn't paying attention. So he's saying well nobody told me therefore you can't blame me," Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." The former official added that he believed Trump's motivation for denying a briefing is "because it looks bad if Russians are paying to kill Americans and we're not doing anything about it." "So what is the presidential reaction? It's to say it's not my responsibility, nobody told me about it," Bolton said.

Members of Congress seek answers on reports about Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday blasted the president for being beholden to the Russian government, following a startling New York Times report that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “Just as I have said to the president: With him, all roads lead to Putin,” Pelosi said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially.” The California Democrat, who is part of the so-called Gang of Eight that gets intelligence briefings, said she was not aware of the situation and has asked for a report to Congress. “This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score,” Pelosi said. According to the Times report, published Friday, the bounties were offered amid peace talks to end the long-running war in Afghanistan. The report cites U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence, who also said President Donald Trump was made aware and the White House’s National Security Council discussed a response, but didn’t take action. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for answers. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he expects the administration to take these allegations seriously. Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez said the Senate should vote on new sanctions against Russia.

Situation Room

Russian intelligence officers for the military intelligence GRU recently offered money to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as rewards if they killed US or UK troops there, a European intelligence official told CNN. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that the President and Vice President Mike Pence were not briefed "on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence." CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd discusses the latest developments with Wolf Blitzer. Source: CNN

By Sarah Westwood and Devan Cole, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump on Sunday denied receiving a briefing about intelligence that Russians had tried to bribe Taliban fighters to kill US troops, as The New York Times first reported and CNN has confirmed. Trump tweeted that "there have not been many attacks" on US troops by Taliban fighters as his evidence that the reported intelligence may be "phony." Trump's tweet went a step further than a Saturday statement from the White House. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Saturday did not deny the validity of the report, but instead said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were not briefed "on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence." CNN previously reported that Russian intelligence officers for the military intelligence GRU recently offered money to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as rewards if they killed US or UK troops there, according to that source. US intelligence concluded months ago that Russian military intelligence offered the bounties, amid peace talks, the Times said in its report. Trump was briefed on the intelligence findings and the White House's National Security Council held a meeting about it in late March, according to the Times, citing officials briefed on the matter. The European intelligence official was unclear in comments to CNN as to the precise Russian motivation for the attempted bribes, but said the incentives had, in their assessment, led to coalition casualties. The official did not specify as to the date of the casualties, their number or nationality, or whether these were fatalities or injuries. - Do you believe Trump who has lied to the American people over 18,000 times in 1,170 days. Remember they said the same thing about the coronavirus that Trump did not know.

Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president says if elected president he will confront Russia's Putin.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has attacked President Donald Trump over a report that he said, if true, contains a "truly shocking revelation" about the commander in chief and his failure to protect US troops in Afghanistan and stand up to Russia. The New York Times reported on Friday that US intelligence officials concluded months ago that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered rewards to Taliban-linked armed fighters for killing American troops in Afghanistan. The report said the Russians offered rewards for successful attacks last year, at a time when the US and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war. The report was confirmed by The Washington Post.

By Michael Collins - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The White House denied Saturday that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed on an intelligence finding that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. “The United States receives thousands of intelligence reports a day, and they are subject to strict scrutiny,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. While the White House does not routinely comment on intelligence or internal deliberations, “the CIA Director, National Security Advisor, and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence,” McEnany said. The New York Times, which first reported the intelligence finding on Friday, said Trump had been briefed on the issue and that the White House’s National Security Council discussed the matter at an interagency meeting in late March. McEnany said her statement “does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter.” - The Trump white has lied before and will lie again. Do you really believe McEnany that Trump was not told that the Russian are paying bounties for the deaths of American soldiers?

By Kelly Mena, CNN

Washington, DC (CNN) President Donald Trump's campaign directed the removal of thousands of "Do Not Sit Here, Please!" stickers from seats in the Bank of Oklahoma Center in the hours before the President's much anticipated Tulsa rally, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. As part of the BOK Center's safety plan for the June 20 rally, arena management had purchased 12,000 do-not-sit stickers with the intention of keeping people apart by leaving open seats between attendees, according to the Post. Then on the day of the rally, when event staff had already placed the stickers on nearly every other seat in the 19,000-seat arena, the Trump campaign told event management to stop and then began removing the stickers, according to a person familiar with the event who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, didn't address the sticker removal incident but instead touted the health precautions that were taken for the event in a statement to CNN.

By David Smith in Washington

The president has had a difficult period and is trailing his rival by double digits. But he has time to fight back – and fight dirty. It was the death of a salesman. With tie undone and crumpled “Make America great again” cap in hand, Donald Trump cut a forlorn figure shambling across the White House south lawn on his return from his failed comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some observers likened him to Willy Loman, the tragic protagonist of Arthur Miller’s benchmark drama. The US president, critics say, has spent years selling a bill of goods to the American people. Now they are no longer buying. The thinly attended rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend was the physical manifestation of what poll after poll is showing: Trump is trailing his Democratic rival Joe Biden by double digits and seemingly on course for a historic defeat in November’s presidential election.

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Sarah Westwood, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump on Sunday morning widely shared a video he said is from the Villages, a retirement community in Florida, in which a man driving a golf cart with Trump campaign posters is seen chanting "white power." The President retweeted the video that showed the community's Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters arguing with one another. The President thanked the "great people" shown in the video. "Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!" he wrote in the tweet. Roughly three hours later, the tweet no longer appeared in Trump's timeline. "President Trump is a big fan of the Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

By Rem Rieder

In a June 24 tweet, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that his predecessor had “destroyed” Maine’s lobster and fishing industry. It is true that, in an effort to protect a rich but delicate marine area, then-President Barack Obama in 2016 created a nearly 5,000-square-mile marine monument off the New England coast to be off-limits to fishing and lobstering. But he grandfathered in lobster and crab harvesting for seven years — so there has been absolutely no impact as of yet on the lobster industry. And statistics show that the rest of the fishing industry has hardly been destroyed. On June 5, Trump signed a proclamation opening up the monument, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument about 130 miles east-southeast off of Cape Cod, to commercial fishing. Trump said Obama had no reason to stop fishing in the area, and he was acting to “reverse that injustice.” A few weeks later, Trump took to Twitter to make his false claim about the lobster industry:

Opinion by Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent

In the annals of stupid political moves, what the Trump administration and Republicans are doing right now — urging the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which would take health coverage away from 23 million people and scrap protections for preexisting conditions, in the midst of a pandemic — must rank extraordinarily high. But this is more than a story about one case or even just this presidential campaign. It will set the stage for the next phase in our long national health care debate, a phase that will begin if Joe Biden becomes president and Democrats control Congress come January. But this time, Republicans will not only have profoundly wounded their credibility, they will also have inadvertently helped Biden make the case for the reform he’ll propose. The new brief that the Trump administration filed with the court on Thursday night left zero doubt that Trump wants the entire ACA to be torn out, root and branch — including its protections for preexisting conditions.

Fierce response from top Democrats after US intelligence finding was reportedly briefed to Trump in March, but the White House has yet to act
Guardian staff

Outrage has greeted media reports that say American intelligence officials believe a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing foreign soldiers in Afghanistan, including targeting Americans. The story first appeared in the New York Times, citing its sources as unnamed officials briefed on the matter, and followed up by the Washington Post. The reports said that the US had come to the conclusion about the operation several months ago and offered rewards for successful attacks last year. The Times wrote: “The intelligence finding was briefed to Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March.” White House officials apparently drew up several possible options to retaliate against the Kremlin, ranging from a diplomatic reprimand right through to fresh sanctions. However, the White House has so far not taken any action. It is not clear if bounties were ever paid out for successfully killing American soldiers. As the news broke it triggered a fierce response from top Democrats, especially those who have long pointed to what they say is Trump’s overly close relationship to Russia’s autocratic leader, Vladimir Putin. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, said: “Trump was cozying up to Putin and inviting him to the G7 all while his administration reportedly knew Russia was trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the Trump administration's latest attempt to end Obamacare in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
By Sean Neumann

Nancy Pelosi did not mince her words about the Trump administration's latest attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty," the House Speaker said in a statement late Thursday night. The Trump administration filed a late-night request to the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking to end the healthcare plan introduced under President Barack Obama's administration. Known as "Obamacare," the Democrat-backed healthcare plan has been a contentious political issue in the U.S. since before it was signed into law in 2010. Trump, 74, made the removal of Obamacare one of his top political priorities since he set out to become president during the 2016 election. Trump promised again last month to end the ACA, calling it "lousy health care," according to the Washington Post. Thursday's request was the third time the Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to end the Affordable Care Act, the Associated Press reports. The two previous attempts failed, and the AP notes that Thursday's request comes the same day the federal government reported that nearly half a million people in the U.S. received health insurance under Obamacare after losing their benefits because of the economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

By Kate Gibson

When Amber Lynn Gilles expressed her indignation over a Starbucks worker's suggestion that she follow the company and county's public health mandate by wearing a face mask, she likely had no idea how profitable it would prove — for the barista she blasted. Gilles is the latest social media participant to be dubbed a "Karen," a name now used to reference white women acting entitled in public. The San Diego resident on Monday posted a photo of Starbucks employee Lenin Gutierrez on Facebook, saying the young barista "refused to serve me cause I'm not wearing a mask. Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption."  The self-described activist and yoga instructor did not respond to a request for comment, but made clear in multiple posts that she rejects medical data and science showing masks curb the spread of the coronavirus.

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

(CNN) The US government must release migrant children held in the country's three family detention centers by mid-July due to the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge ruled Friday. The ruling is part of an ongoing effort to release immigrants held in detention who are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus given the confined settings at facilities and the potential for spread. In her order, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the US District Court for the Central District of California called for the swift removal of migrant children who are at one of the three family detention centers, which are run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and located in Texas and Pennsylvania. The children must be released with their parents or to "available suitable sponsors or other available COVID-free non-congregate settings" with the consent of their parents or guardians, Judge Gee said. As of June 8, there were 124 children in ICE custody, according to the ruling. The ruling, which calls for children to be let go by July 17, applies to children who have resided at the three facilities for more than 20 days. The efforts, Gee wrote, must be made with "deliberate speed."

By Dominic Rushe and Amanda Holpuch

Millions of Americans who have survived Covid-19 or face future infections could lose their insurance or be barred from getting coverage should the Trump administration successfully repeal Obamacare. The Trump administration asked the supreme court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act – a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance reform law popularly known as Obamacare. Under the ACA, insurance companies cannot deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Its abolition would mean millions of Americans who have had or have cancer, multiple sclerosis or other diseases would struggle to find insurance. Anyone applying for insurance who subsequently contracts Covid-19 could also find their insurance invalidated or be denied coverage in the future. If they were allowed to keep their insurance, they could still be charged higher premiums or have future treatment for coronavirus turned down. “Abolishing the ACA would cause tremendous damage and cause chaos throughout the country,” said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Anyone buying health insurance who subsequently contracted the coronavirus would face loss of coverage, she said. “If you bought the insurance and then caught the virus, you would be out of luck,” she said. The abolition of pre-existing condition coverage is especially difficult for those who have has Covid-19, because so little is known about the long-term health impact of the disease. There is evidence that the respiratory illness causes permanent damage in some patients. Those who have had the disease and recovered would have to disclose their status to apply for insurance, and could be turned down for coverage.

By Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump appears ready to move on from a still-raging coronavirus pandemic -- skipping the first White House task force briefing in months and moving the event out of the White House itself. But the measures meant to protect him from catching the virus have scaled up dramatically. As he seeks to insert rival Joe Biden's health into the presidential campaign, Trump has voiced escalating concern about how it would appear if he contracted coronavirus and has insisted on steps to protect himself, even as he refuses to wear a mask in public and agitates for large campaign rallies where the virus could spread. When he travels to locations where the virus is surging, every venue the President enters is inspected for potential areas of contagion by advance security and medical teams, according to people familiar with the arrangements. Bathrooms designated for the President's use are scrubbed and sanitized before he arrives. Staff maintain a close accounting of who will come into contact with the President to ensure they receive tests. While the White House phases out steps such as temperature checks and required mask-wearing in the West Wing -- changes meant to signal the country is moving on -- those around the President still undergo regular testing. And even as Trump attempts to put the pandemic behind him by encouraging reopening and downplaying the new surge, there are signs of the still-raging pandemic even within his orbit. This week, the virus again struck members of the President's staff, this time a collection of campaign aides and US Secret Service personnel who had been working on Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa.

Trump breaks with military brass, fights for traitors who killed American soldiers so they could continue slavery
By Igor Derysh

President Donald Trump broke with top Pentagon officials on Wednesday, vowing that the administration would oppose any effort to rename military bases bearing the names of Confederate generals who fought against the United States. Trump "shocked" military leaders with a tweet after Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy expressed openness to renaming 10 bases, Politico reported. "It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc," Trump tweeted, citing bases named after generals badly defeated in battles during their war against the U.S. "These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom," the president wrote of bases named after generals who lost the Civil War, which began after they attempted to secede from the U.S. so they in an attempt to continue enslaving Black people. "Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!" he said of the actual U.S. military who won the Civil War despite the Confederate Army killing more than 360,000 American soldiers.

By Chas Danner

A Russian spy unit secretly offered bounties last year to Taliban-linked militants for the killing of U.S. coalition forces in Afghanistan, including American troops, the New York Times reported Friday. President Trump was briefed on the intelligence and the U.S. developed a range of possible responses to the significant Russian escalation, including diplomatic efforts and new sanctions, but the White House has not authorized any of them, according to U.S. intelligence officials who spoke with the Times. (The officials didn’t offer any explanation as to why.) The intelligence officials believe that militants did collect some of the bounty money after completing successful operations against coalition forces, but it’s not yet clear if any of the deaths of the 20 American servicemembers who were killed in combat in Afghanistan last year are linked to the Russian operation. The Washington Post added in its own subsequent report that “it was not immediately clear whether the militants approached by Russia as part of the initiative had succeeded in killing Americans or allied forces.” The National Security Council discussed the intelligence during an interagency meeting at the White House in March, but the Trump administration did not brief U.S. allies about it until this week. Neither the Times nor Post reported anything about what President Trump’s views are on the matter, but he has notoriously dismissed the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community regarding Russia in the past. According to the Post, the alleged Russian operation “has generated an intense debate within the Trump administration about how best to respond to a troubling new tactic” in light of Trump’s ongoing stance toward the country. - It has been several months since the Trump administration was notified that the Russians were paying bounty for dead Americans Trump has not responded to protect our American soldiers. However, he has attempted to get Russia back in the G7 after he found out about the bounties on our American soldiers.

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

(CNN) The Trump administration doesn't have the authority to divert Pentagon funds to construct additional barriers on the US-Mexico border, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, days after President Donald Trump's visit to a section of the wall in Arizona. In a 2-1 ruling, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the transfer of $2.5 billion circumvented Congress, which holds the authority to appropriate money. The legal fight over Defense Department funds stems from Trump's national emergency declaration on the US-Mexico border last year. Trump extended the declaration this past February, even as border arrests began to decline. "The Executive Branch lacked independent constitutional authority to authorize the transfer of funds," wrote Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas for the majority. "The panel noted that the Appropriations Clause of the U.S. Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress. The panel held that the transfer of funds violated the Appropriations Clause, and, therefore, was unlawful." While Friday's ruling is a win for the environmental groups and states challenging the use of military funds, a Supreme Court stay, issued last year that allows the funds to be used, remains in effect for the time being. The American Civil Liberties Union applauded Friday's ruling. "President Trump's xenophobic wall is already leveling protected lands, desecrating cultural sites, and destroying wildlife," said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project. "There's no undoing the damage that's been done, but we will be back before the Supreme Court to finally put a stop to this destructive wall."

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

Washington (CNN) Members of the Texas congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle are asking the Trump administration to reconsider its decision to halt direct funding to several coronavirus testing sites in the Lone Star State, where there has been a surge of Covid-19 cases. The transition away from these federally funded sites began in April, but the latest debate over federal funding comes after President Donald Trump on Saturday lamented the rise in coronavirus cases in the US, blaming increased testing. At a campaign rally over the weekend, he said coronavirus testing was "a double-edged sword." "I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please,' " the President added. Administration officials have said that slowing down testing has not been requested and his comments were made "in jest," but Trump maintains that he wasn't kidding. The federally funded testing program was intended to jump-start initial capabilities in critical areas across the US, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But given Food and Drug Administration approval for individuals to self-administer nasal swab tests at sites, the demand for personal protective equipment and trained health care providers will be reduced, a FEMA spokesperson said in a statement in April, when the administration began its transition away from the program.

By Adam K. Raymond

Sean Hannity would never intentionally ask President Trump a difficult question. But he would ask Trump an easy question that Trump found difficult to answer. It happened Thursday during a Wisconsin town hall when the Fox News host teed Trump up to rattle off a list of all the marginalized people he plans to harm in a potential second term. Instead, Trump garbled out an unintelligible answer that a very charitable interpreter would explain as: “I have experience now, so I would know better than to do things like hire John Bolton, who sucks.” Charitable or not, no one would be able to find a second-term priority in this answer:


The attorney general insists, meanwhile, that it’s nothing but a “media narrative” to suggest he’s acting in the president’s personal interests.
By Blake Montgomery

The same day that Attorney General William Barr insisted there is “no pattern” of him working to advance the personal interests of President Donald Trump, several sources cited by The New York Times said one of his first moves after being sworn into office in early 2019 was trying to find ways to undermine the conviction of longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen. Barr had reportedly repeatedly questioned prosecutors over the charges against Cohen, who pleaded guilty in August 2018 to financial crimes that included hush-money payments to women who alleged they had affairs with Trump. He went so far as to instruct Justice Department officials to draft a legal memo casting doubt on the legitimacy of Cohen’s conviction, according to sources cited by the Times, but they refused to do so. Meanwhile, in an NPR interview published Thursday, Barr scoffed at the notion he has been promoting Trump’s agenda at the expense of the rule of law, calling it a “media narrative” and saying there is “no such pattern.” He went on the defensive in the interview multiple times. Barr has made several controversial interventions into cases involving President Donald Trump’s associates. In early May, he chose to drop the Justice Department’s case against Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a decision that elicited blistering criticism, as Flynn had already pleaded guilty. Though Michael Flynn was the president’s National Security Adviser, Barr denied any political pressure to drop the charges against him: “I don't know whether I would refer to him as a friend of any administration,” he said.  And though Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI, Barr still cast the charges against the retired general as ludicrous: “There was a lot of hinky stuff in the Flynn case. Everyone knew that. Everyone was wondering why was this case ever brought?”

By Mark Katkov

In a filing with the U.S. Supreme Court, the Trump administration has reaffirmed its position that the Affordable Care Act in its entirety is illegal because Congress eliminated the individual tax penalty for failing to purchase medical insurance. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court, said in a brief that the other provisions of Obamacare are impossible to separate from the individual mandate and that "it necessarily follows that the rest of the ACA must also fall." Shortly after the brief appeared on the court's docket late Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: "President Trump and the Republicans' campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty." In a speech on the lawsuit Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden said he was proud of the ACA and denounced the administration's position. "It's cruel, it's heartless, and it's callous," he said.

By Kara Scannell, Evan Perez and Jeremy Herb, CNN

Washington (CNN) Over Memorial Day weekend, Attorney General William Barr removed a low-profile US attorney in Texas following the public airing of a dispute over an investigation into Walmart -- a move that didn't draw the same attention as the firing of the high-profile US attorney in Manhattan, but is now raising new questions about political interference inside the Justice Department. Joseph Brown, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Texas and a Trump appointee, was pushed out after ProPublica published a nearly 7,000-word story headlined "Walmart was almost charged criminally over opioids. Trump appointees killed the indictment," which described an internal battle over a Texas prosecutor's efforts to bring criminal charges against Walmart, according to people familiar with the matter. Walmart has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Brown quietly resigned, but now the forced exit from last month is getting renewed attention as the latest move that has stoked concerns about the politicization of the Justice Department under Barr. The House Judiciary Committee is investigating the matter, sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN, and has lined up a witness who filed a whistleblower complaint with the Justice Department inspector general to testify about the handling of the Walmart investigation.

The president's comments come as demonstrators topple statues of Confederate generals and colonial figures in cities nationwide.

President Donald Trump on Thursday promised “retribution” against protesters nationwide who tore down statues and referred to Wisconsin demonstrators as “terrorists.” “Every night, we’re going to get tougher and tougher,” Trump said at a Fox News town hall in Wisconsin on Thursday night, in response to an audience question about his plan to tamp down protests there. “And at some point, there’s going to be retribution because there has to be. These people are vandals, but they’re agitators, but they're really — they’re terrorists, in a sense.”

By Susan Cohen and Jennifer Hunt for CNN Business Perspectives

President Trump's latest executive order, which introduces restrictions on several temporary work visas and extends restrictions on the entry of new green card holders, will only serve to prevent some of the brightest immigrant workers from entering the United States and from helping our economy to grow. The order prohibits foreign workers from using H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 visas to enter the United States until at least the end of the year. Companies use L-1 visas to transfer employees from an overseas office, while the H-1B visa is granted to foreign workers in specialty occupations. H-2B visas are for unskilled seasonal workers, including landscapers, forestry workers and summer resort workers, while J-1s are for exchange visitors who come for short stays, typically for summer work, brief internships or to be au pairs. The president claims putting further constraints on these visas will protect American workers in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. We know otherwise. A 2017 panel of experts at the National Academy of Science found that immigration increases economic growth while having no negative impact on native employment and little or no impact on average native wages. The only significant budgetary pressure immigrants added was the cost of public schooling for their children. Yet, according to the Migration Policy Institute, Trump's order will exclude 325,000 new immigrants, on top of the 52,000 excluded in May and June, from entering the country.

By Robert Farley

President Donald Trump has ramped up his rhetoric about voting fraud to include foreign interference — specifically making the unfounded claim that “MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES,” resulting in a “RIGGED” election. Voting experts say there are numerous logistical hurdles, such as reproducing ballots in multiple jurisdictions, and security safeguards, such as bar codes and signature checks, that would prevent a foreign government from slipping large numbers of fraudulent ballots past election officials. Those safeguards make such a plan highly unlikely to result in fraudulent votes being cast, experts say, and certainly not enough to sway a presidential election. Numerous voting experts told us they were not aware of any cases of counterfeit ballots being used in past elections. But if foreign actors were to attempt something like that this year, some experts believe the goal might not be to fool election officials, but rather to create chaos and confusion among American voters, many of whom might be voting by mail for the first time and might be tricked into voting with a counterfeit ballot that is never counted. In his ongoing and often misleading campaign against the expansion of mail-in voting in the upcoming presidential election, Trump has repeatedly warned about fraudulent ballots. More recently, Trump has warned of foreign interference.

Wildlife Services kills thousands of animals at ranchers and farmers’ behest. But it operates with little oversight – and critics describe it as out of control
By Jimmy Tobias in Pocatello, Idaho

The call came over Tony Manu’s police radio one March day in 2017: some sort of pipe had exploded in the hills outside Pocatello, Idaho and the son of a well-known local doctor was hurt, or worse. Manu, a long-time detective with the county sheriff’s office, was shocked. A pipe bomb in Pocatello? “We were like, ‘Holy shit,’” says Manu. He hit the gas and screeched up winding mountain roads outside of town. “I thought maybe [the victim] was missing a leg or something. That is what it sounded like.” At the home of Dr Mansfield and his family, he found a frightening scene. On the driveway, just outside the sprawling timbered house, the family’s dog, Kasey, was dead. Inside the home, Canyon Mansfield, 14 years old, the youngest of three children, was sobbing. His head was pounding and his eyes were burning – he needed to go to the emergency room.

Manu soon pieced together the story. While playing in the woods behind the family home, Canyon and his dog had stumbled upon a strange device that sprayed them in the face with a dose of of sodium cyanide. The boy managed to quickly clean the poison out of his eyes, but the dog collapsed and started convulsing. As Kasey lay dying on the hillside, Dr Mansfield had wanted to give Kasey CPR, but Canyon told him that if he did, he’d ingest the deadly stuff himself. It didn’t take detective Manu and his team of investigators long to uncover how it got there. The so-called cyanide bomb was not the work of some rogue actor or terrorist cell. It had been installed by a federal employee on official business.

By Heather Smith

The resurgent coronavirus produced a record number of new cases in the U.S., topping the peak seen in April during the initial outbreak, after many Americans let down their guard on social distancing. State health departments reported more than 37,000 new cases on Thursday, led by Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, surpassing the 36,188 level from April 24. Total cases in the U.S. exceeded 2,418,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19’s revival is spooking investors and forcing public officials in the South and West to walk back some of their bold steps to lift restrictions. In Nevada, state officials ordered face coverings in public, and the governors of Texas and Florida said they wouldn’t move forward with further reopenings as cases continued to spike there. President Donald Trump has deferred to the states on when to drop social-distancing restrictions and how to test and rein in the virus. He’s had little contact with federal public health officials. Some governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis, have similarly deferred to local officials to decide whether to require face coverings and business closures. - Trump claims it is going away it is not Trump is lying to you.


Former White House national security adviser John Bolton told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he does not have confidence in President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said his former boss was "turning a blind eye" at the onset of the outbreak because he did not want to hear "bad news" about his "friend," Chinese President Xi Jinping. Source: CNN

By Ariane de Vogue, Tami Luhby and Sarah Mucha, CNN

(CNN) In the midst of a global pandemic with the presidential election just months away, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care law that enabled millions of Americans to get insurance coverage and that remains in effect despite the pending legal challenge. In a late-night filing, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said that once the law's individual coverage mandate and two key provisions are invalidated, "the remainder of the ACA should not be allowed to remain in effect." The justices will hear arguments in the case sometime next term, although it is unclear if they will occur before the November election. The dispute ensures another major shift in the political landscape during the election season on an issue that has dominated American politics for the last decade. It will be the third time the court has heard a significant challenge to the law. The case pits a coalition of Democratic attorneys general led by California and the House of Representatives, which are defending the law, against the Trump administration and a group of red state attorneys general led by Texas. At issue is whether the law's individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional because Congress reduced the penalty for remaining uninsured to zero and, if so, whether that would bring down the entire law. A federal appeals court in December ruled that the mandate was unconstitutional but punted the decision on which, if any, of the law's provisions could be retained back to the district court -- which had previously found the entire law to be invalidated. The administration has generally sided with the Republican attorneys general but recently argued that the entire law should fall but that the ruling should only apply to the 18 states that brought the challenge

By Mark Katkov

In a filing with the Supreme Court, the Trump administration has reaffirmed its position that the Affordable Care Act in its entirety is illegal because Congress eliminated the individual tax penalty for failing to purchase medical insurance. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court, said in a brief that the other provisions of Obamacare are impossible to separate from the individual mandate and that "it necessarily follows that the rest of the ACA must also fall."

Shortly after the brief appeared on the court's docket late Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: "President Trump and the Republicans' campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty." The case before the high court began with a lawsuit brought by 20 states, led by Texas, calling for the elimination of the ACA. It has been consolidated for argument with another case brought by 17 states, led by California, seeking to preserve the law. The court is likely to hear the case in the fall.

By Steven Nelson

More than 1 million dead people received coronavirus stimulus checks this year, according to a report from a government watchdog agency. The payments to nearly 1.1 million people totaled $1.4 billion, the Government Accountability Office revealed Thursday. Treasury Department officials said that the late March CARES Act mandated that they distribute the money as “rapidly as possible,” the report says. The revelation follows anecdotal reports of dead people getting stimulus checks — and comes as Congress begins to consider a new coronavirus package that may include more direct payments. The CARES Act sought to blunt the economic devastation of the pandemic by sending checks of up to $1,200 to taxpayers, with an extra $500 per dependent child. The bill also gave a federal boost of $600 per week to unemployment insurance.

By Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels

“The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists. The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings.” — President Trump, in remarks at a SpaceX launch, May 30

“I don't see any indication that there were any white supremest groups mixing in. This is an ANTIFA Organization. It seems that the first time we saw it in a major way was Occupy Wall Street. It's the same mindset.” @kilmeade @foxandfriends TRUE!” — Trump, in a tweet, June 1

“Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists. Violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa and others.” — Trump, in remarks at the White House Rose Garden, June 1

“We have antifa, we have anarchists, we have terrorists, we have looters. We have a lot of bad people in those groups. I mean, you watch and you see.” — Trump, in an interview, June 3

The Facts
Antifa is a moniker, not a single group with a clear organizational structure or leader. It is a decentralized network of activists who don’t coordinate. Their common ground is opposing anything that they think is racist or fascist. In recent years, antifa activists appeared whenever there was a large gathering of white nationalists. And white nationalists, as counterintuitive as it might seem, have been known to attend Black Lives Matter rallies. That is what could then draw attention from antifa forces, according to Seth G. Jones, director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Roughly 80 federal charges, including murder and throwing molotov cocktails at police vehicles, reveal no evidence of an antifa plot. Four people who identify with the far-right extremist “boogaloo” movement are among those facing the most serious federal charges. Asked whether anyone who identifies as antifa had been charged, Department of Justice spokesman Matt Lloyd said via email, “We do not collect statistics based on potential inspiration but on unlawful acts according to statute.”

By Dan Mangan, Tucker Higgins

A New York judge on Thursday rejected on jurisdictional grounds a legal effort by President Donald Trump’s brother to halt the publication next month of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, Mary Trump — but the brother’s lawyer said the case will be refiled in another court. The ruling in Queens County Surrogate’s Court by Judge Peter Kelly came just two days Trump’s brother, Robert Trump, said in a court filing that Mary Trump would be violating a non-disclosure agreement if the book is published. The president himself recently said that his niece, who is the daughter of his late older brother Fred Trump Jr., is subject to the nondisclosure agreement, and is “not allowed to write a book.” The NDA was signed by the clinical psychologist Mary and her brother with the president, Robert and the elder Trumps’ sister, retired federal appeals court judge Maryanne Trump Barry, as part of a settlement of a court battle over the will of the president’s late father, Fred Trump. Sr. Mary’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is scheduled to be published on July 28.

By Glenn Kessler

“We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration. The cupboards were bare, as I say often.”

— President Trump, remarks at the White House, April 30, 2020

“You know, if you remember where we started, we had no ventilators.”

— Trump, remarks at the White House, May 15

“He took a ventilator job where the country basically had no ventilators.”

— Trump, remarks at the White House, May 18

“We had none, essentially. We had very few, and they were obsolete. They were broken.”

The Facts
Our colleagues at FactCheck.org published on June 22 details from two statements it received from the Department of Health and Human Services — that there were 16,660 ventilators in the SNS available for distribution at the start of the pandemic and that the federal government had distributed 10,640 of them as of June 17. (Another 2,425 ventilators were in maintenance as of March, HHS says, though the New York Times reported in April that 2,109 were unavailable because the government had let a maintenance contract lapse.)


Robert Trump, Donald’s younger brother, spent at least 10 days in a neuro intensive care unit just before launching legal action to stop the publication of his niece’s book.
By Lachlan Cartwright, Asawin Suebsaeng

Robert Trump, Donald’s younger brother, spent at least 10 days in an intensive care unit before being released this week and launching legal action to try and stop the publication of his niece’s explosive tell-all book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. Robert, 72, had been at Mount Sinai hospital’s neurosciences intensive care unit (NSICU) in New York since at least June 11th, being treated for a serious condition. He was discharged on Sunday and, despite his stay in the hospital, he wasted no time in filing and signing complicated legal documents aided by his celebrity attorney Charles Harder and releasing a statement. “Her attempt to sensationalize and mischaracterize our family relationship after all of these years for her own financial gain is both a travesty and injustice to the memory of my late brother, Fred, and our beloved parents. I and the rest of my entire family are so proud of my wonderful brother, the president, and feel that Mary’s actions are truly a disgrace,” Robert said in his statement to The New York Times roughly 48 hours after he was discharged from hospital.

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) It's a "public health train wreck in slow motion," in the words of one health expert, and the best President Donald Trump cares to offer the thousands more Americans projected to shortly die of Covid-19 is the unsubstantiated prospect of a "beautiful surprise." The US just hit its third highest ever peak of new coronavirus cases, multiple states are registering their own daily records and three are now taking the extraordinary step of imposing quarantines for citizens from pandemic hotspots. The world's most powerful nation lacks a coherent national strategy to meet another cresting viral crisis, the capacity or even the willingness to take steps that might stop it. It is also led by a man who is suggesting by his actions and attitudes that he doesn't care that much about the unfolding tragedy. Trump, who has previously predicted a "miracle" would occur or the virus would just disappear in the warmer weather, again declared falsely Wednesday that the danger had passed -- even with the nation racing towards another deadly summit of infection. In his latest misleading effort to create a picture of normality, Trump welcomed Polish President Andrzej Duda to the Oval Office. "This is the first after Covid, after the start of the plague as I call it," Trump told his visitor, who was happy to play along after being given a huge political gift of a visit a few days before a national election and approvingly noted "the end of the coronavirus."

Funding for 13 testing sites, including seven in Texas, will end this month – a move officials warn could cause further spread
By Adam Gabbatt

Officials in states across the US have reacted with alarm to the Trump administration’s plan to end federal support for some Covid-19 testing sites, warning it could cause further spread of a disease that is already surging back and calling the move “irresponsible”. The White House confirmed on Wednesday it will no longer fund 13 testing sites, including seven in Texas, despite that state reporting record highs in the number of coronavirus cases. Funding and support for the sites will end this month, even as Covid-19 cases surge across the US. The sites are in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Hospital admissions hit record highs in seven US states on Tuesday, including in Texas, which reported an all-time daily high of 5,489 new cases on Tuesday. Four US congresspeople from Texas urged the government to reconsider defunding the testing sites in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema). The move would be “harmful and irresponsible”, they wrote in the letter. “We need the support of Fema now more than ever as our communities and the state of Texas see unprecedented growth in cases of the coronavirus disease,” added the members of Congress, including Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat whose district covers much of east Houston. “At this time, we must expand the number of people tested per day to prevent further spread of the virus. “We must continue to protect our vulnerable communities and the capacity of our healthcare system.”

By Kristine Phillips - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Still reeling from a highly public clash that led to the firing of one of its most prominent prosecutors, the Justice Department again finds itself under a glaring spotlight as two of its employees told Congress Wednesday that the agency's leadership abused its power at the behest of President Donald Trump. Aaron Zelinsky, one of the attorneys who prosecuted Roger Stone, said that the Justice Department gave the GOP operative "unprecedentedly favorable treatment" and pressured prosecutors to "cut Stone a break" by recommending a lenient sentence because he is an ally of the president, according to his prepared statement. He and the other prosecutors were told to go along, Zelinsky said, or they could be fired. John Elias, an attorney in the department's Antitrust Division, said that the agency's political appointees pursued unwarranted investigations over the objections of career employees. One investigation, Elias said, was launched after a Trump tweet.

By Saranac Hale Spencer

Social media accounts supportive of President Donald Trump have been sharing a photo of a large outdoor crowd with the false claim that it shows the scene outside of Trump’s Tulsa rally. It actually shows the Rolling Thunder event near Washington, D.C. in 2019. Although President Donald Trump had expected to fill the 19,000-seat arena for his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — with overflow crowds next door — there were whole sections of empty seats at the June 20 event. The Tulsa Fire Department reported that about 6,200 tickets were scanned for the event. The Trump campaign has disputed that number, saying that the attendance figure was actually closer to 12,000. What’s not in dispute, though, is that the campaign cancelled speeches that were planned for an outdoor overflow crowd when that crowd didn’t materialize. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at Trump fan accounts on social media, which have been posting a picture of an outdoor crowd near Washington, D.C. in 2019 with the bogus claim that it shows the overflow crowd in Tulsa. Many of the pictures were shared with a caption attached that claimed: “A small crowd has gathered for the Trump Rally in Tulsa 😂“ The Berks County Republican Committee’s Facebook page posted the picture the day after Trump’s rally with this claim: “SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE AS THE LEFT IS TRYING TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE TRUMP SUPPORTERS DIDN’T SHOW UP FOR TRUMP!”

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

The Trump administration on Monday announced it will suspend certain visas that allow foreigners to move to the U.S. temporarily to work, saying the broad restrictions will ease the economic impact of the coronavirus and improve the prospects of Americans looking for employment during the pandemic. Several guest-worker programs will be halted starting Wednesday under a proclamation signed by President Trump that will add another layer of sweeping restrictions to an immigration system the administration has worked to overhaul both during and before the pandemic. The order, which is slated to last until the end of the year, will suspend H-1B visas for those in specialized fields like the technology sector and most H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers. The other programs that will be restricted are: cultural exchange J-1 visas for au pairs and other short-term workers; visas for spouses of H-1B and H-2B holders; and L visas for companies to relocate employees to the U.S.

By Elizabeth Culliford

(Reuters) - Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) said on Tuesday it had placed a warning notice on a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump for violating its policy against abusive behavior. “There will never be an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” the president’s tweet read. In a tweet, the company said it had hidden Trump’s tweet behind its “public interest” notice because there was a threat of harm against an identifiable group.

CBS Evening News

A federal prosecutor who helped put President Trump's ally Roger Stone behind bars plans to tell a congressional committee on Wednesday that he faced pressure from "the highest levels" of the Justice Department to go easy on Stone. Nancy Cordes has the details.

By D'Angelo Gore

Contrary to President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that he inherited a Strategic National Stockpile with “empty” or “bare” cupboards, the federal government had more ventilators in stock than it ended up distributing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FactCheck.org has learned. The SNS had 16,660 ventilators “immediately available for use” when the federal government began deploying the breathing machines to states to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients in March, according to a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson. None of those ventilators was bought by the Trump administration, the spokesperson told us. In a separate email to us on June 17, another HHS spokesperson said the federal government has distributed 10,640 ventilators during the pandemic. Both HHS representatives said we could attribute their responses to an “HHS spokesperson.” That affirms what we previously wrote in early May: that there were “likely thousands” of ventilators in the federal stockpile of emergency medicines and equipment that Trump inherited from his predecessor. We could not provide the exact numbers – until now. In defending his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has frequently made the false claim that, when he took office, the SNS was “bare,” or “empty,” and lacked ventilators, which help individuals breathe when they can’t do so on their own. He has also taken credit for preventing deaths by refilling the stockpile. On April 30, Trump falsely claimed, “We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration.”

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) Law professors and faculty from George Washington University Law School, Attorney General William Barr's alma mater, said in a letter Tuesday he has "failed to fulfill his oath of office to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States.'" The rebuke comes after continued fallout over the departure of Geoffrey Berman, the federal prosecutor ousted over the weekend by the Trump administration, and is the latest in a chorus of criticism over Barr's actions as attorney general. Barr received his Juris Doctor degree from the law school in 1977 and while serving as attorney general under then-President George H.W. Bush he received an honorary degree from the university in 1992. In a bi-partisan statement signed by 65 faculty and professors from the law school, the group wrote that Barr's actions as attorney general "have undermined the rule of law, breached constitutional norms, and damaged the integrity and traditional independence of his office and of the Department of Justice." Signatories to the letter include president and CEO of the National Bar Association Alfreda Robinson and interim dean of the school Christopher Alan Bracey. "[Barr] obfuscated and misled the American public about the results of the Mueller investigation. He wrongfully interfered in the day-to-day activities of career prosecutors, and continues to do so, bending the criminal justice system to benefit the President's friends and target those perceived to be his enemies," the letter read.

By Savannah Behrmann - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Health and Human Services Department watchdog, seeking an investigation into President Donald Trump's claim he asked "his people" slow down testing for the coronavirus. During his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, Trump reiterated that increased coronavirus testing leads to a higher number of cases identified in the United States, calling testing a "double-edged sword." "Here's the bad part: When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases," Trump said. "So I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please.'" His declaration was met with widespread criticism, while White House staff and Trump campaign staff dismissed the remarks as humor. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that was "tongue in cheek."

By Carrie Johnson

A current Justice Department prosecutor is planning to tell lawmakers on Wednesday that in his many years in the government, "I have never seen political influence play any role in prosecutorial decision making ... with one exception: United States v Roger Stone," according to a copy of his prepared testimony. Aaron Zelinsky, who has worked at Justice since 2014, is scheduled to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday as one of two "whistleblowers" set to describe politicization at the Justice Department, said Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D–NY. In his written statement, Zelinsky said he heard that Stone received different treatment "because of his relationship to the president." Zelinsky said the person in charge of the U.S. Attorney's office at the time was "receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break." And, he said: "I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was 'afraid of the president.'" Zelinsky described "significant pressure ... to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in [Stone's] trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction." Eventually, higher-ups in the office overrode the original recommendation about how stiffly to punish Stone and filed a new memo "at odds with the record and contrary to Department of Justice policy." Zelinsky ultimately withdrew from the case, along with three others, after the department refused to heed their objections that "such political favoritism was wrong and contrary to legal ethics and department policy." A judge eventually sentenced Stone to serve 40 months in prison. He's due to report there next week. Attorney General Bill Barr said at the time of Stone's sentencing that he'd acted on his own to get involved with the submission of a second memo asking the judge in the case to impose a lighter sentence than contemplated in the first one.

By Deirdre Shesgreen - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – During a briefing on Chinese propaganda and press censorship, the State Department's chief spokeswoman muted the line of a reporter who tried to ask a question about John Bolton's explosive new book and attacked a second reporter who followed up. Morgan Ortagus quickly cut off a Reuters' reporter who started to ask if any U.S. allies had reached out to the State Department's East Asian and Pacific Affairs chief, David Stilwell, in the wake of Bolton's book. In the book, Bolton writes that President Donald Trump offered various concessions to Xi Jinping in exchange for China's help winning his 2020 re-election. "That's not what this call is about," Ortagus said. "AT&T, we can mute that line." The State Department held the call to brief reporters on a decision Monday to designate four Chinese news organizations as state-controlled foreign missions – essentially labeling them propaganda outlets. The four outlets – China Central Television, China News Service, People’s Daily and Global Times – will be required to report their employee rosters and real estate holdings to the State Department. "We really believe in freedom of the press and freedom of speech," Stilwell said in explaining the decision to label the four outlets as arms of the Chinese Communist Party.

By Jacob Jarvis

President Donald Trump warned protesters they face 10 years in prison after targeting a statue of Andrew Jackson, while the threat could extend to those who have damaged other memorials amid recent demonstrations. Ropes were tied around the bronze monument which sits in Lafayette Square depicting Jackson, 7th president of the United States, atop a rearing horse. Police descended on the scene in front of the White House, foiling demonstrators' attempts to pull it down, after the words "killer" and "scum" were sprayed on its base. Footage showed clashes between protesters and police clad in riot gear as they cleared the area. Trump said several people were arrested following the incident, warning those involved in such acts face up to a decade in prison. "Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John's Church across the street," he tweeted. "10 years in prison under the Veteran's Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!"

By Morgan Chalfant

President Trump said Tuesday that he doesn’t “kid” when asked whether he was joking when he said at a campaign rally that he asked aides to slow down coronavirus testing. “I don’t kid,” Trump said when asked whether the remarks were made in jest, undermining statements from his own White House that the comments were a joke. Trump also told CBN News in an interview a day prior that he did not ask staff to slow down testing but did not deny doing so in the exchange with reporters on Tuesday. “Let me make it clear. We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world and we have the most of them,” Trump said, adding that more tests allows the United States to detect more cases. “By having more cases it sounds bad, but actually what it is is finding more people.” The president said he believed testing was a “double-edged sword,” echoing his comments at Saturday’s rally in Tulsa, Okla., that sparked controversy. Trump described testing as having both advantages and disadvantages. “Testing is a double-edged sword. In one way, it tells you you have cases, in another way you find out where cases are and you do a good job,” the president told reporters. - Trump is trying to keep the number of cases lower than the actual number of cases; he does not want the American people to know the true number of people infected. Less testing does not make us safer. Less testing will not reduce the number of people infected nor will it help to find out who is infected and how many are infected.

By Adam Payne

Evidence of Vladimir Putin's "likely hold" over Donald Trump was covered up by the UK government in order to protect its relationship with the president, a former British spy has claimed. Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele told a UK parliamentary investigation that former Prime Minister Theresa May had turned a blind eye to evidence of Putin's relationship with Trump, according to a Guardian report. The committee reponsible for the investigation had been due to publish its report last year. However, the UK's current prime minister Boris Johnson refused to publish the report prior to December's general election, and it is still yet to be published. Steele has reportedly accused the May government, in which Johnson served as foreign secretary for two years, of throwing "a blanket" over the allegations regarding President Trump's relationship with Putin. The former spy said he had presented a dossier on Trump's relationship to Russia to UK security officials in 2016, the year when he defeated Hilary Clinton to be elected US President. However, Steele said, "on reaching top political decision-makers, a blanket appeared to be thrown over it." He said: "No inquiries were made or actions taken thereafter on the substance of the intelligence in the dossier by HMG [the UK government.]"

By Evan Perez and Chandelis Duster, CNN

Washington (CNN) Geoffrey Berman, the federal prosecutor ousted over the weekend by the Trump administration, recently refused to sign a letter from the Justice Department that criticized New York City's coronavirus restrictions that affect religious institutions, a person briefed on the matter said. Attorney General William Barr wasn't aware of the dispute, and it had nothing to do with the ouster of Berman, the person said. The letter was sent Friday from the Justice Department. As CNN has reported, tensions between Berman and Barr, and other officials at Justice headquarters in Washington, had built over the years and they had planned last year to remove him before backing off when the investigation into Rudy Giuliani's associates became public. Berman's refusal to sign the letter was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. His departure came a day after he refused Barr's request that he resign. In a curt letter to Berman on Saturday, Barr told him President Donald Trump had agreed to remove him and conceded that Berman's deputy would succeed him.

By Paul Waldman Opinion writer

That Attorney General William P. Barr has corrupted the Justice Department so that it is singularly devoted to the president’s personal political interest is barely in question anymore. But with the election less than five months away and Barr undoubtedly planning further interventions to secure President Trump’s victory, he may have less power to save Trump than it appears — or maybe none at all. That’s not only because Barr has discredited himself by acting more like an employee of Trump’s reelection campaign than the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. It’s also because his efforts are focused on creating perceptions that will help Trump, at a moment when — if you can believe it — reality actually does matter. Indeed, the big surprise of the moment may be that reality is now all that matters. Barr did an interview with Fox News this weekend, in which he echoed some of the president’s preposterous claims (mail voting is fraudulent!) and previewed coming revelations from the farcical investigation he ordered to discredit the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. While it may seem like an inconsequential sideshow to much more important issues, the very fact that we think about it as relatively unimportant is revealing.

By Max Boot Columnist

After the “Saturday Night Massacre” in 1973, Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who had just been fired by President Richard M. Nixon, wondered “whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men." That question is now more urgent and unresolved than ever as President Trump mounts a destabilizing, dangerous assault on the checks and balances of our constitutional system. A series of judicial decisions in the past week reminds us that the rule of law still exists in the United States — that we do not, as yet, live in Turkey, Hungary or Russia, former democracies ruled by three of Trump’s favorite autocrats. The Supreme Court ruled against the administration by protecting gay and transgender employees from workplace discrimination and by protecting “dreamers" — young people brought to the United States without documentation — from deportation for the time being. A few days later, a federal judge in Washington ruled against Trump’s attempts to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s scathing memoir.

By Daniel Dale

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump has responded to former national security adviser John Bolton's sharply critical book about Trump -- which Bolton describes as "a book about how not to be president" -- with his own criticism of Bolton's character and career. Bolton departed the Trump administration in September 2019; Trump says he was fired, Bolton says he resigned. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, "President Bush fired him also. Bolton is incompetent!"

Facts First: President George W. Bush did not fire Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton left the Bush administration in 2006 at the expiry of his recess appointment, knowing that he could not get confirmed by the Senate in 2007. After Bolton announced his pending departure, Bush said he was "not happy" Bolton was leaving and that Bolton "deserved to be confirmed" because "he did a fabulous job for the country." Bush told Bolton in front of reporters: "We're going to miss you in this administration. You've been a stalwart defender of freedom and peace. You've been strong in your advocacy for human rights and human dignity. You've done everything that can be expected for an ambassador."

CBS News

Democrats are calling for an investigation into the sudden firing of New York federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman. His office is pursuing cases connected to President Trump. CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge reports on the latest, and CBSN legal contributor Keir Dougall, a former Assistant U.S.Attorney for New York's Eastern District, joined CBSN to discuss.

By Barbara Sprunt

The White House is scaling back temperature checks for those entering the complex as tents stationed along the north entrance to the building for conducting screenings were removed Monday morning. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said the move follows Washington, D.C.'s entry into phase two of reopening. "In addition to social distancing, hand sanitizer, regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, and voluntary facial coverings, every staff member and guest in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature checked, asked symptom histories, and tested for COVID-19," Deere's statement said.

Staffers and visitors who come in close contact with the president and vice president are still having their temperature checked and being questioned about coronavirus symptoms.
By Shannon Pettypiece and Monica Alba

WASHINGTON — The White House has stopped conducting mandatory temperature checks for all staffers and visitors entering the grounds, removing another layer of safeguards put in place after two officials became ill with the coronavirus last month. While those who come in close contact with the president and vice president are still having their temperature checked and being questioned about symptoms, the steps are no longer being taken for others who enter the White House campus, said spokesman Judd Deere. Tents that had been manned for the past month by staffers with thermometers were being taken down on Monday. “In conjunction with Washington, D.C., entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks,” Deere said in a statement. “In addition to social distancing, hand sanitizer, regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, and voluntary facial coverings, every staff member and guest in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature checked, asked symptom histories, and tested for COVID-19.”

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