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Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.

Donald J. Trump White House Page 5
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) A defining trait of Donald Trump's presidency is his incessant destruction of reason, evidence and science in the service of his personal whims, conspiratorial mindset and political requirements. On a day when Democratic nominee Joe Biden branded him a "climate arsonist" and global warming burst to the center of the campaign, Trump again ditched research and data for his own wild hunches and odd theories about California's wildfires. And his counter-factual tendencies, which are responsible for widespread harm but are nevertheless embraced by supporters as germane to Trump's political brand, were at work on multiple fronts Monday with America under assault from concurrent crises.

As wildfires swept across the West, causing dozens of deaths, destroying property and polluting the air with smoke, Trump abruptly shut down an official who warned that climate change was fueling the flames -- by saying the weather would soon start "getting cooler." Even by his own standards, it was one of the President's most shocking comments on global warming -- which he has previously referred to as a "hoax." A hurricane barreling toward New Orleans, meanwhile, revived memories of Trump's reported Sharpie doctoring of a government weather map to back up his false claim that Hurricane Dorian was headed to Alabama. Reaction is also building to reports that the White House has put a global warming skeptic in a leadership role at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for much of the climate research produced by the government.

New reports emerged, meanwhile, of the President's spinners trying to cook the facts on the pandemic, about which he misled the nation and which will soon claim its 200,000th American partly as a result. Trump continued to flout epidemiological guidelines by cramming people into indoor events that risked spreading Covid-19, exacerbating disbelief and extreme frustration among medical experts. At a Latino outreach event, the President was the only person in a packed room who was socially distanced -- granting himself protection that his campaign stops are denying attendees. More...

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) The Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the possibility that former national security adviser John Bolton "unlawfully disclosed classified information" in a memoir he published earlier this year, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Citing conversations with three people familiar with the matter, the Times said DOJ "has convened a grand jury, which issued a subpoena for communications records from Simon & Schuster, the publisher" of Bolton's book, "The Room Where It Happened," which was released in June. The Trump administration had previously tried to block the book's release in court, arguing Bolton did not complete required pre-publication of the manuscript to make sure classified information was not contained in it. A federal judge rebuffed the administration's attempts, but left open the possibility that Bolton could face criminal charges or be forced to hand over profits related to the book. More...

Reliable Sources

Brian Stelter asks Mary Trump if the press has been too timid about scrutinizing the president's fitness for office. She says yes: Although "not across the board," the media in general "fall down when it comes to these extraordinarily important moments in which Donald and his behavior need to be explicitly defined based on things he says and does." Source: CNN More...

By Brian Fung, CNN Business

Washington (Cnn Business) President Donald Trump last month used his office to ignite an international business crisis that's plunged into doubt the future of one of the world's most popular social media platforms — a decision that's now led to the apparent benefit of a major political backer. As Oracle seeks US approval for a landmark partnership with the short-form video app TikTok, experts say questions will intensify over Trump's political relationship with Oracle chairman and co-founder Larry Ellison.

One of the richest men in the world, Ellison has built extensive bridges with Trump. He has vocally expressed support for the President and reportedly hosted a major fundraiser for him this year where donors who paid $100,000 were offered a chance to golf with Trump. Nor will the scrutiny be limited to Ellison; Oracle CEO Safra Catz shares close ties with Trump as well. She has donated more than $130,000 to Trump's reelection efforts this year, according to Federal Election Commission data. Catz served on Trump's presidential transition team in 2016 and was at one point considered for a position inside the administration. Both Catz and Ellison have served on Trump's industry working groups devoted to economic revival. More...

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump on Monday baselessly asserted that climate change is not playing a role in the catastrophic wildfires overtaking forests across the west, rebutting an official briefing him who pleaded for the President listen to the science. "I don't think science knows, actually," Trump said at a Monday briefing with officials in McClellan Park, California, with a laugh. He told Wade Crowfoot, secretary of California's Natural Resources Agency: "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch." Crowfoot had warned the President of the dangers of ignoring the science and putting "our head in the sand and thinking that it's all about vegetation management."

Climate experts tell CNN due to human-caused climate change, temperature extremes are climbing higher and the vegetation is drier, which affects fire behavior. Trump was also directly confronted by the state's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, who has been adamant about climate change's role in the wildfires, bluntly telling the President: "Climate change is real." "We obviously feel very strongly the hots are getting hotter," Newsom said. "The dries are getting drier. When we're having heat domes, the likes of which we've never seen in our history." More...

The proposed deal between Oracle and the Chinese-owned video app isn't the outright sale the president demanded. And it may not resolve U.S. security concerns.
Politico
By STEVEN OVERLY

President Donald Trump aimed for a clear-cut win over China when he demanded that TikTok's Beijing-based parent sell the popular video-sharing app to an American company or be banned from operating in the United States. Now he may have to settle for less. The proposal put before his administration this weekend wouldn't sell the company outright. It's unclear if it will resolve national security concerns about China's access to data on TikTok's 100 million U.S. users, or Chinese control of the algorithm that fuels the app. And the deal came together only after Beijing pulled a power move of its own, by expanding its authority to veto transactions that give up Chinese intellectual property.

The president must now decide whether to accept the proposed deal, which would create a tech partnership between TikTok and Oracle, a California-based company closely aligned with Trump. If he rejects it, TikTok could have to cease doing business in the U.S. come Sunday under an order he signed last month. Terms of the proposal were still unclear Monday, although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they came with a promise of creating thousands of new American jobs. Also undefined: whether the companies will meet Trump's demand in August that the U.S. Treasury be "well compensated" for making the deal possible. The outcome has symbolic importance for Trump, who has portrayed his reelection as crucial for U.S. hopes of countering China's rise to global dominance. More...

The procedures a detainee says are being performed now are of a piece with states’ not-so-long ago efforts to sterilize people of color as supposed “morons” and “sex delinquents.”
The Daily Beast
Kali Holloway

Not long after defenders of Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda pilloried U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prisons “concentration camps on our southern border,” an ICE detainee in Georgia is alleging cruel and horrific medical neglect, including forced sterilizations performed by a gynecologist dubbed “the uterus collector.”

“When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp,” the detainee is quoted as saying in a whistleblower complaint, noting that between October and December of 2019, she met five different women at the prison who had been given non-consensual hysterectomies. “It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies.” More...

Ella Lee USA TODAY

The claim: President Donald Trump achieved these 10 things. As President Donald Trump is in the final stretch of his bid for reelection, some of his supporters are pointing to accomplishments the president supposedly has achieved since he took office in 2017. “President Donald Trump over the last week did the following, but you probably won't hear about it from the News,” the Facebook post reads, accompanied by three muscle-flexing emoji and an American flag emoji. The post then lists 10 supposed accomplishments, from making vaccines voluntary to busting global trafficking rings. The original poster did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

Here’s a breakdown of each claim.
1. Trump made vaccines voluntary, not mandatory. The military will check purity and distribute vaccines
Every state in the U.S. requires children to be vaccinated against certain diseases as a condition for attending school. Those laws have been put in place by state governments, not the federal government. For example, all states require vaccinations against DTaP, MMR and polio to attend any school, while the HPV, influenza and Hepatitis A and B vaccines are required by some states, but not all. All school immunization laws offer exemptions to children for medical reasons, and 45 states plus Washington, D.C., grant exemptions for religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Just 15 states allow exemptions for philosophical reasons.

2. Trump defunded the World Health Organization ‘forever’ and wants an investigation into its operations
Trump announced in April that he planned to stop funding the World Health Organization. “Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump told reporters April 14. “…As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability.” Whether the president can actually stop funding WHO is another question. Congress holds the country’s spending power, so if Congress mandates aid to WHO by statute, Trump has no constitutional authority to deny it, according to an "Expert Forum" analysis published by the American Constitution Society, a left-leaning organization. However, current appropriations laws give the administration some flexibility over WHO funding, so the administration may have the authority to withhold funding until Congress eliminates that flexibility, the analysis explains. The U.S. still owes WHO money, too. More...

President refuses to acknowledge climate change as factor in crisis on visit to California. Plus, the ‘jarring medical neglect’ of Ice detainees
The Guardian
Tim Walker

Good morning. Smoke from the record-breaking wildfires in the western US has reached almost as far away as Hawaii and Michigan, while four west coast cities now rank in the top 10 for worst air quality in the world. In Oregon, where 10 people are dead and 22 still missing, state prisoners say guards have responded to unrest with pepper spray which exacerbates existing respiratory problems. During a meeting with California officials to discuss the wildfire crisis on Monday, Donald Trump again denied the conclusions of climate science, claiming the world would soon “start getting cooler”. His election rival Joe Biden, speaking near his home in Delaware, described the president as a “climate arsonist”. More...


By Aila Slisco

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said that President Donald Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been "uneven" while refusing to say whether she would vote for him in her first debate with Democratic challenger Sara Gideon on Friday. Collins, who said Trump was "unworthy" to be president before the 2016 election, has been guarded in her remarks about him as she seeks reelection. During the debate, she was asked about whether Trump had "failed" in protecting Americans from COVID-19, after portions of the president's comments in interviews for Bob Woodward's upcoming book Rage revealed that he had intentionally downplayed the threat.

"I believe that the president should have been straightforward with the American people," Collins said. "The American people can take hard facts and he had an obligation to be straightforward with them and to tell all that he has known." "I have said since the beginning that the president's performance has been uneven," she added. "And that he should follow the advice of his excellent medical advisers." More...

Jake Lahut

President Donald Trump bizarrely shared a tweet describing him as "fanboying for dictators" on Monday. The first line of the tweet from a columnist summarized Trump's comments at a MAGA rally on Sunday in Nevada, where he praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin for being more mentally "sharp" than Democratic nominee Joe Biden, in another norm-shattering attack from a politician who built his personal brand on them.

"But you see, I deal with all these people and they don't have the kind of mental problem that Sleepy Joe has, they're very sharp," Trump said. The president is presenting himself as a tough negotiator with the leaders of these adversarial nations, despite failing to take action for Russia reportedly offering money for attacks on US troops in Afghanistan and stalled negotiations with North Korea that have failed to compel them to renounce nuclear weapons. More...

business insider
Connor Perrett

President Donald Trump on Saturday once again suggested interest in serving three terms in office, telling attendees of a campaign event in Nevada that he was "probably entitled" to an additional four years following a hypothetical second term.

"And 52 days from now we're going to win Nevada, and we're going to win four more years in the White House," Trump told the mostly maskless, non-socially-distant crowd of his supporters on Saturday. "And then after that, we'll negotiate, right? Because we're probably — based on the way we were treated — we are probably entitled to another four after that."

Trump has frequently argued that he's been treated unfairly in comparison with his predecessors, often pointing to the Russia investigation and his impeachment. Throughout his first term as president, Trump has also frequently floated the idea that he will attempt to serve more than two terms in office. In August, at a rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the president similarly suggested he was owed a third presidential term. More...

Source: Reuters/AP

Donald Trump repeats claims he earlier made online, boasting of winning the 'Bay of Pigs Award' – an honour that doesn't exist. Trump twice visited a Bay of Pigs museum in Miami in 2016, where he received 'a hand-painted Brigade 2506 shield', which his campaign insisted was the award in question. Trump made the claims while courting Latino voters in Nevada, a state where he trails rival Joe Biden in polls, and one where the president failed to overcome Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. Trump boasts about getting 'Bay of Pigs Award' – which doesn't exist Video...

The current president has made his mental stability a cornerstone of his campaign
Salon
David Edwards

Likely voters believe that Democratic nominee Joe Biden is more mentally sound that President Donald Trump, according to a recently-released Fox News poll. The survey of likely 1,191 likely voters found that 51% believe that Biden "has the mental soundness to serve as president." Only 47% of likely voters told Fox News that President Trump has the "mental soundness" to be commander-in-chief. The current president has made his mental stability a cornerstone of his campaign. The same voters preferred the compassion of Biden over Trump, 62% to 44%, the poll found. More...

The governor, a Democrat, said the president appears to have "forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic."
NBC News
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak slammed President Donald Trump on Sunday night for violating state rules by holding a 2020 campaign rally indoors with thousands of people. In a lengthy thread on Twitter, the Democratic governor said that Trump "is knowingly packing thousands into an indoor venue to hold a political rally" and has "forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic." "This is an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves," Sisolak said. "It's also a direct threat to all of the recent progress we've made and could potentially set us back."

"As usual, he doesn't believe the rules apply to him," Sisolak said of Trump, and accused the president of "reckless and selfish actions." Trump held his first indoor rally in months in Henderson, Nevada, on Sunday night. Aides said that every attendee would have their temperature checked before entering and would be provided with a mask that they were encouraged to wear. They also had access to hand sanitizer. However, like the president's recent rallies, most supporters were not wearing face coverings. More...

By Rebecca Klar

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said on Sunday that he would have responded differently to the coronavirus outbreak if President Trump had not downplayed its threat earlier this year.  Garcetti said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he would have taken action earlier, and saved lives in the process, if Trump had publicly shared what he said privately to journalist Bob Woodward.

“We were the first city to close things down, the first city to offer widespread testing. But we had to go it alone. And we heard that consistently. That's up to the states. That's up to the local governments,” Garcetti said. Garcetti said Trump’s decision to downplay the threat at the same time he was describing the coronavirus as "deadly" to Woodward and the delayed local action cost thousands of lives in his city and possibly 100,000 across the nation.  

“I had firefighters providing tests to people, volunteers who would give their time because we had no leadership at the national level,” Garcetti said. “If we had known and had leadership that ... actually allowed us to do the work and provided us the resources to do so, we would have taken action much earlier, and thousands of lives in my city and, obviously, maybe tens of thousands if not 100,000 lives in America could have been saved.” Trump acknowledged last week that he may have downplayed the threat of the coronavirus to the public. Asked after the Woodward recordings were released if he misled the public or downplayed the coronavirus, Trump told reporters, “If you said in order to reduce panic, perhaps that’s so.”  More...

*** Is Trump taking performance-enhancing drugs? We know Trump projects and so far, everything he has accused others of he is guilty of. Is Trump taking performance-enhancing drugs, if we go by Trump’s history of projecting himself on to others then yes, Trump could be taking performance-enhancing drugs. Maybe Trump should be tested for drug use. ***

By Alexis Benveniste, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Mary Trump believes her uncle President Donald Trump is growing desperate to improve his reelection chances. That's why he accused Joe Biden of taking drugs to enhance his performance before debates, the author of "Too Much and Never Enough" told CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" Sunday. The drug-use accusation is "Donald's desperation," Mary Trump said, adding that "he's grasping at straws at the moment." President Trump has accused Biden of drug use in the past, although there is no evidence to substantiate the claim. The accusation began picking up buzz on social media Friday, after Trump spoke to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro.

"There's probably, possibly drugs involved. That's what I hear," President Trump told Pirro. Mary Trump said her uncle has accused Biden of mental instability because the president himself has been accused of lacking mental fitness in his old age. Trump has defended himself by claiming he aced a cognitive test, although that does not -- as he claimed -- indicate mental superiority. "He projects about almost everything," Mary Trump said. "Normalizing him — which has been going on for decade — is one of the reasons we're here." More...

*** What country does Roger Stone thinks this is Russia.This is America not some third world country or a dictatorship if you lose you lose you don’t declare martial law if you lose election. ***

Trump meanwhile promises to ‘put down’ leftwing protests and says US Marshals killing Portland suspect was ‘retribution’
Martin Pengelly

Roger Stone, whose 40-month prison sentence for lying to Congress and witness tampering in the Russia investigation was commuted by Donald Trump, has said Trump should seize total power and jail prominent figures including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg if he loses to Joe Biden in November. The long-time Republican strategist and dirty trickster, who has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, lied about contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election regarding emails hacked from Democratic party accounts.

In turn, special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee suspected Trump lied when he said he could not recall discussing the leaks with Stone. Stone did not turn on Trump and had his sentence reduced on the recommendation of attorney general William Barr. But he still faced prison before Trump acted. His conviction stands. Both men were in Nevada on Saturday, Trump holding campaign events while Stone sought to raise money for himself. He outlined his advice to Trump should he lose in a call to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s Infowars online show, on Thursday. More...

*** Trump said he is downplaying the coronavirus that has killed over a 190,000 Americans because he did not want to cause panic. However, he has no problem causing panic by playing up the protest that have killed less than 25 people. ***

Analysis by Maeve Reston, CNN

(CNN) Taking the stage at a rally in Nevada Saturday night, President Donald Trump didn't hold back. He said his anger about a recent Democratic ad that highlighted his alleged comments disparaging dead American soldiers had freed him to take his campaign to the next level: "Now I can be really vicious," he said to roars of approval from the crowd of Trump supporters in Minden. The President, who has long relished his role as a divider who amasses power by creating a climate of fear, went on to describe his opponent, Joe Biden, as "shot" and a puppet of the radical left, before accusing Democrats of trying to "lock law-abiding Americans in their homes" during the pandemic as they fight God, guns and oil.

"At no time before has there been a clearer choice between two parties or two visions, two philosophies, two agendas for the future. There's never been anything like this," Trump said during the rally where he claimed he was "probably entitled" to a third term because he's been so poorly treated. "The Democrats are trying to rig this election, because it's the only way they're gonna win," he said. Trump's divisive tactics this weekend immediately erased the fleeting moment of unity that came Friday as the nation marked the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. At the 9/11 memorial service in New York City, the nation caught a glimpse of the spirit of bipartisanship that existed back in 2001 as it reeled from the terrorist attacks. Biden and Vice President Mike Pence exchanged an elbow bump as they passed one another, a rare moment of comity within a deeply polarized nation led by a President who continues to divide Americans and turn them against one another, even as the nation is gripped by crisis. More...


*** Is Trump taking performance-enhancing drugs? We know Trump projects and so far, everything he has accused others of he is guilty of. Is Trump taking performance-enhancing drugs, if we go by Trump’s history of projecting himself on to others then yes, Trump could be taking performance-enhancing drugs. Maybe Trump should be tested for drug use. ***

Martin Pengelly

Fox News will broadcast an interview on Saturday night in which Donald Trump accuses Joe Biden of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Trump ally who sought to change CDC Covid reports claims he was fighting 'deep state' “I think there’s probably – possibly – drugs involved,” Trump told Jeanine Pirro, in a released excerpt. “That’s what I hear. I mean, there’s possibly drugs. I don’t know how you can go from being so bad where you can’t even get out a sentence…” Trump did not finish his own sentence, but he went on to say he was referring to the Democratic presidential nominee’s hesitant performances in early primary debates, before his surge to victory on the back of a win in South Carolina.

“You saw some of those debates with the large number of people on the stage,” Trump said. “He was, I mean, I used to say, ‘How is it possible that he can go forward?” According to the president, Biden won the nomination because the progressive vote was split. “And he only won because Elizabeth Warren didn’t drop out,” he said. “Had she dropped out Bernie [Sanders] would’ve won Super Tuesday, every state, and you would’ve had Bernie instead of Biden.” More...

Derkach was sanctioned this week by the U.S. Treasury Department for attempting to interfere in the upcoming U.S. elections by peddling conspiracies on Joe Biden.
Emily Shugerman - the daily beast

Faced with a U.S. Treasury Department report linking him to a Russian agent, Rudy Giuliani defended himself Saturday by claiming he had no idea that Ukrainian lawmaker and conspiracy-peddler Andriy Derkach was a foreign operative. In an interview Saturday on AM Joy, the president’s personal attorney refused to directly answer questions from interviewer Jonathan Capehart about how he could have been in the dark about Derkach’s political affiliations. “You’re a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, a former mayor of New York City, you have a national security firm,” Capehart said. “How could you not know that this person you were talking to was a known Russian agent?“

Giuliani responded by telling Capehart to “calm down,” and pivoted to a Trump team talking point about members of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team “wiping” their cell phones after investigating the president’s ties to Russia. According to the Treasury Department, Derkach was an “active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services.” The Director for the National Counterintelligence and Security Center cited Derkach in August as an example of Russian-backed interference in the 2020 election. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Derkach met with Giuliani in December of last year to push the conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election. According to the Treasury Department, the two have met at least twice since then, including for an interview for Giuliani's YouTube show about the Bidens. More...

By Dave Goldiner - New York Daily News

Rudy Giuliani claimed ignorance Saturday about a Trump administration report that fingered one of the main sources of a failed smear campaign against Joe Biden as a longtime Russian intelligence agent. The Trump Treasury Department said Andriy Derkach, a major conduit of bogus dirt on Biden in Ukraine, has been on Russian premier Vladimir Putin’s payroll for a decade. But Giuliani insisted he knows nothing about the damning report.

"I (have never) seen any evidence that (Andriy Derkach) is or is not a Russian agent,' Giuliani told MSNBC. “So I don’t know anything about that.” Derkach has met with Giuliani at least three times and appeared twice on the former mayor’s YouTube show to peddle supposed scandals involving Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump and his Republican allies once hoped to gin up a damaging smear campaign about Biden using the information gleaned from Derkach and other dubious figures in the byzantine world of pro-Russian Ukraine politics. More...

By Dave Goldiner - New York Daily News

Vice President Pence on Saturday abruptly canceled a planned fund-raiser at the Montana estate of right-wing supporters of the wacky QAnon conspiracy theory. Without offering any reasons, the Trump reelection campaign said Pence would no longer attend the event set for Monday at the home of big bucks donors Caryn and Michael Borland. It wasn’t immediately clear if either Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is fighting for his political life amid a strong challenge, or the state’s GOP candidates for governor and Congress still planned to attend the fund-raiser.

Pence still plans to appear with the trio at a rally in Bozeman on Monday as the GOP is forced to shore up support in what should be a shoo-in state for them. QAnon is a shadowy internet figure who claims to have inside information about a shadowy clique of Deep State operatives linked to child sex rings and liberals. Q, as adherents refer to the supposed head of the group, claims President Trump is on a revered mission to root out the supposed enemies of good and decency. More...

By Marshall Cohen

Washington (CNN) While election officials across the country try to prepare Americans for the chance of a prolonged vote-counting process this year, President Donald Trump and his allies have drawn a line in the sand and say they want to see a winner declared on election night. As a result, Trump and his allies are setting unrealistic expectations, and undermining warnings from bipartisan state and local election officials and experts that a slower vote-count doesn't always indicate a problem.

Relying on an inaccurate and misleading interpretation of how US elections are conducted, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said last Wednesday that the Trump administration wants to see a presidential winner projected on election night this November. "What we want election night to look like is a system that's fair, a situation where we know who the President of the United States is on election night. That's how the system is supposed to work. And that's ultimately what we're looking for and what we're hoping for," McEnany said in a Fox News interview, where she criticized Democrats for expanding access to mail-in voting.

Facts First: McEnany is completely wrong when she says "the system is supposed to" produce a clear winner on election night. That's a modern tradition in US politics, and it's what many expect when watching the results. But it's not required by law and it's not what the system is designed to do. In recent months, Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election, refused to say if he'll accept the results and spread false information and conspiracy theories about mail-in voting. He has a long history of rejecting election results and levying baseless accusations of widespread fraud when he sees election results that he doesn't like. He and his team have also attempted to suggest that any delay in the announcement of results is somehow improper, and that, despite Covid, 2020 Election Night should look and feel like any other election -- even though the pandemic has drastically transformed how people vote and how states count those ballots. McEnany's implication that a clear winner be determined on Election Night is rules- or law-based is part of that effort, one that experts say is not grounded in any reality.  More...

By Nick Valencia and Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) Trump-appointed communications officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services pushed to change language to weekly science reports released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so as not to undermine President Donald Trump's political message, according to a federal health official. Amid tension between the administration and the CDC, former Trump campaign official turned chief HHS spokesman Michael Caputo and his team had demanded to see reports out of the CDC before they are released, a senior administration official said. Officials within HHS had defended the demand, saying that CDC fell under the agency's umbrella and that all communications and public documents needed to be cleared at the top.

A federal official told CNN that in addition to reviewing reports, HHS political appointee Paul Alexander has regularly added his input -- often interpreted by CDC officials as political in nature -- to weekly scientific reports intended to track the ongoing coronavirus pandemic response. The development marks the latest example of political interference by administration appointees at the nation's health agencies. Politico first reported about the pressure being put on the CDC regarding these reports.

The source said some federal health officials at the CDC believe the interference to be an effort to change communications by the CDC's scientists so as not to contradict the President. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the significance of the virus, sometimes contradicting his own White House task force doctors. In a statement to CNN, Caputo defended the actions and praised Alexander. More...

Martin Pengelly in New York

A former Trump campaign official now spokesman for the US health department sought to change key reports on the coronavirus pandemic, in some cases “openly complaining” that they “would undermine the president’s optimistic messages about the outbreak”, according to internal emails seen by Politico. The official, Michael Caputo, told the website he was attempting to stymie “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

The news comes after reports that a whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security said he was told to stop making Donald Trump “look bad”, via reports on Russian election interference. It also comes as a new book by Bob Woodward details the president’s reasoning behind optimistic messaging about the coronavirus outbreak. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward in March, more than a month after telling him the virus was “deadly stuff”. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” More... *** Trump claims he did not want to start a panic about the coronavirus while he creates a panic with attacks about the protest. ***

Charles Davis and Sarah Al-Arshani

Trump administration officials have sought to water down reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Politico reported Friday night, with one political appointee accusing career scientists of trying to undermine the president's campaign to reopen schools. "CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration," Dr. Paul Alexander, a scientific advisor to agency spokesperson Michael Caputo, wrote in an Aug. 8 email to CDC Director Robert Redfield. Alexander, who was appointed this spring by Caputo, a former Trump campaign official, accused scientists of seeking to "hurt the president," according to the email obtained by Politico.

Caputo and his communications staff have worked to delay CDC reports that contradict President Donald Trump's rhetoric. One publication was held back for about a month, according to Politico, for recommending against the use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug touted by the White House as a potential cure for COVID-19. The reports, written by career scientists, are known as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, and according to Politico, are used to "inform doctors, researchers, and the general public about how Covid-19 is spreading and who is at risk." Jennifer Kates, of the Kaiser Family Foundation's global health work, who has relied on past reports, told Political they are "the go-to place for the public health community to get information that's scientifically vetted." More...

The Trump nomination shows that peace had its chance, and blew it.
Graeme Wood

Trolls are a Scandinavian invention, straight from the frigid sagas of Norse mythology, but Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a Norwegian parliamentarian, swears that he is not one. Observers of his antics this week could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. On Wednesday, he announced that he had nominated Donald J. Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. “Can you name a person who has done more for peace than President Trump?” Tybring-Gjedde asked me, insisting that the question was a serious one. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, agreed. ”This is a hard-earned and well-deserved honor for the president,” she said. Tybring-Gjedde defended his nomination on Fox News remotely, and to me in person at a café in Oslo. “Do we give the prize to Greta Thunberg, for screaming about the environment?” he asked. “The agreement he made between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could mean peace between Israel and the Arab world. That is like the [Berlin] Wall falling down.” Today the White House reportedly will announce that Bahrain, another Gulf monarchy, will recognize Israel.

If Trump wins the prize, it will be the fourth Nobel awarded for peace between Israel and its neighbors. (The announcement will come on October 9.) That will make Arab-Israeli peace mediators more successful at charming the Nobel Committee than the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has won three times in the prize’s 120-year history, but still less successful than my favorite, which is no one at all. The committee has declined to award a peace prize 19 times, most recently in 1972. (The next year, in a decision so trollish it might have come out of the Prose Edda, they awarded the prize to Henry Kissinger.) Giving the peace prize to no one at all is a tradition the Nobel Committee should revive, perhaps on a permanent basis. The record of achievement of the peace laureates is so spotty, and the rationales for their awards so eclectic, that the committee should take a long break to consider whether peace is a category coherent enough to be worth recognizing. Peace had its chance, and blew it. The Trump nomination—one of hundreds, including this second from a Swede—helps show why. More...

The politically appointed HHS spokesperson and his team demanded and received the right to review CDC’s scientific reports to health professionals.
By DAN DIAMOND

The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals. In some cases, emails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump's optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO and three people familiar with the situation.

CDC officials have fought back against the most sweeping changes, but have increasingly agreed to allow the political officials to review the reports and, in a few cases, compromised on the wording, according to three people familiar with the exchanges. The communications aides’ efforts to change the language in the CDC’s reports have been constant across the summer and continued as recently as Friday afternoon. The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports are authored by career scientists and serve as the main vehicle for the agency to inform doctors, researchers and the general public about how Covid-19 is spreading and who is at risk. Such reports have historically been published with little fanfare and no political interference, said several longtime health department officials, and have been viewed as a cornerstone of the nation's public health work for decades. More...


New Day

CNN's John Avlon looks back at what President Donald Trump said he did during the 9/11 attacks and what he actually did during and after the attacks on the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. Source: CNN. Video...

By Kara Scannell, Evan Perez and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) Nora Dannehy, a top prosecutor working for US Attorney John Durham on the probe of the Russia investigation for Attorney General William Barr, has resigned, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Connecticut said. The Hartford Courant, which first reported Dannehy's departure, cited colleagues who told the newspaper that Dannehy was stepping down in part due to concerns of political pressure to deliver a report before the presidential election. CNN has not confirmed the reason for her decision, but a source familiar with the matter confirmed she was working on the Russia probe. Dannehy rejoined the office in March 2019. She had previously worked for nearly two decades for the office before leaving to become deputy attorney general for the state of Connecticut.

She returned to the US Attorney's Office in Hartford to work with Durham and the two have long been close, according to a former Justice Department colleague. Dannehy has a by-the-book and methodical reputation that dates back to her previous tenure in the office, and she isn't one to make sudden decisions, the former colleague says. "She's long had a very close working relationship with John Durham," a lawyer who has dealt with Dannehy for decades told CNN. "It would be extraordinary for her to have left her longtime colleague, unless there was a very good reason in her mind to do it." One lawyer familiar with Dannehy's work for Durham said her departure was puzzling. She had appeared committed to the investigation and "just worked like a dog on this." The decision was all the more surprising given her long history of working alongside Durham. "She is a consummate professional and has historically operated at the highest ethical standards," the lawyer added.

Status of Durham probe
Inside the Justice Department, some officials familiar have grown concerned that Barr's public comments on Durham's work, as well as President Donald Trump's repeated claims of what he expects to come from the probe, are damaging to the legitimacy of Durham's investigation and to the department. Trump hopes that Durham will discredit the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation into his 2016 campaign, and allies, including Barr, have questioned whether the Russians showed a preference for Trump in 2016. But the US intelligence assessment released last month threatens to undercut those goals, making clear the Russians are doubling down on their pro-Trump efforts to undermine Democratic nominee Joe Biden's 2020 campaign. More...

When the president has faced off with China, he often ends up in a jam. And the solution to the TikTok stalemate isn't clear.
By MERIDITH MCGRAW

President Donald Trump has browbeaten his way into yet another expensive and politically loaded standoff with China — this time over an app populated with dancing ferret videos and at-home lip syncs. Trump’s order that TikTok’s parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, sell off its U.S. operations — initially seen as a potential opportunity for an American company — has turned into a quagmire. China has issued new export restrictions that raise uncomfortable questions about what the American company might have to do to satisfy Beijing. TikTok is suing the Trump administration over the president’s order, which claimed the app could potentially funnel Americans’ personal data back to the Chinese government. And the U.S. government is apparently exploring alternate ways for TikTok to operate in America without selling off its entire business, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Essentially, Trump has backed himself into a corner. His moves against TikTok are part of a broader tough-on-China push he has made a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, an outlet to deflect blame for mishandling the coronavirus. But each time he has chosen to face off with China — over trade, 5G technology or Hong Kong — he has ended up at a critical moment when he has to find his way out of a jam. This time around, Trump’s way out isn’t clear. If China delays a TikTok sale — or scuttles the deal altogether — Trump will be forced either to relent with Beijing or to ban the viral video app outright from U.S. soil. If Trump blinks, he risks looking like he caved to Beijing weeks before the election. If Trump follows through with his threats, he risks Chinese retaliation against the U.S. business community, not to mention angering millions of TikTok-loving Americans. And a deadline looms — Trump asked for a deal to be completed by the week of Sept. 20, and he said on Thursday that he wouldn’t extend the deadline. More...

BBC

The federal government spent more than $6tn in the first 11 months of its financial year, including $2tn on coronavirus programmes, the Treasury Department said. The figure outpaces the $3tn it took in from taxes. The shortfall is more than double the previous full-year record, set in 2009. At the time, Washington was grappling with the aftermath of the 2008 housing financial crisis. Even before the pandemic, the US was on track to run a deficit of more than $1tn this year - large by historic standards. But the spending approved to try to cushion the financial impact of the virus has exploded those projections.

The Congressional Budget Office this month predicted that the US was likely to run a full-year deficit of $3.3tn, more than triple the shortfall recorded last year. The federal government's financial year ends in September. The agency said it expected total US debt to exceed $26tn.

'Unsustainable'
At a hearing in Washington in June, Jerome Powell, the head of the US central bank, told members of Congress that America's spending path was "unsustainable", but said reducing the shortfall should not be a priority given the state of the economy. The economy shrank at an annual rate of more than 30% in the April-June period, its worst quarterly contraction on record. Data suggest job layoffs and business closures are continuing. Roughly 30 million people - about 20% of the American workforce - remain on some form of unemployment benefits, despite reopening underway, the Labour Department said this week. Many conservatives in Washington, however, remain leery of further spending. Republicans this week put forward a $300bn proposal for more aid. The plan failed to advance, with Democrats saying it fell far short of the more than $3tn in relief they support. More...

New York Daily News
By Michael McAuliff and Chris Sommerfeldt

The Trump administration acknowledged Friday to stripping millions of dollars from an FDNY fund that foots healthcare bills for 9/11 survivors and promised to try to put an end to the heartless practice. The administration’s about-face came after the Daily News exclusively reported Thursday that the Treasury Department has over the past four years siphoned nearly $4 million from the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program, which helps cover medical services for firefighters, EMTs and paramedics still suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.

The Treasury Department explained that it conducts offsets through the Treasury Offset Program which matches the name and taxpayer identification number, or “TIN” for outgoing payments against its debt records. If there is a match, an offset is applied as requires by law. Some payees – such as New York City – use a single TIN for many or their subdivisions, which can result in the payment for one subdivision being subject to offset for a debt owned by another. However, Dr. David Prezant, the FDNY’s chief medical officer who oversees the 9/11 program, told The News earlier this week that he’s been asking the Treasury Department and the city for years about the quiet rerouting of cash and that no one has ever given him an answer. More...

Payments stopped without explanation leaving care of New York firefighters with 9/11-related illnesses in jeopardy
Oliver O'Connell

The Trump administration has been accused of siphoning almost $4m from a program that treats New York firefighters and medics suffering from 9/11 related illnesses. The Treasury Department stopped payments almost four years ago to the FDNY World Trade Centre Health Program, according to reporting by The Daily News, with no reason given. Payments to the program were authorised by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, but the Treasury began to keep some of the money.

Dr David Prezant, the program’s director and FDNY’s chief medical officer, told the publication that there has been no official explanation as to why the payments were stopped and no notification that it was going to happen. He told The Daily News that approximately half a million dollars a year was missing in 2016 and 2017. That figure increased to about $630,000 in 2018 and 2018, and the in 2020 $1.447m was diverted away from the program by late August.

“Here we have sick World Trade Centre-exposed firefighters and EMS workers, at a time when the city is having difficult financial circumstances due to Covid-19, and we’re not getting the money we need to be able to treat these heroes,” said Dr Prezant. Long Island Republican congressman Peter King took up the case and received a partial explanation — that another agency in the city was in an unrelated feud with the federal government over Medicare bills. Why the FDNY program is suffering as a consequence of that remains a mystery. More...

By Salvador Rizzo

“Mail-In Ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 Election.” — President Trump, in a tweet, July 2, 2020

More than 100 times this year, President Trump has peddled false claims or imaginary threats about voting by mail. The president may believe this disinformation campaign helps his chances of being reelected. But he is sowing confusion as states prepare for the Nov. 3 general election and is falsely accusing state officials of trying to rig the outcome. Trump also has encouraged people to vote twice, which is illegal. A mountain of evidence shows that mail voting has been almost entirely free of fraud through the decades, but Trump insists that it’s a recipe for disaster.

These warnings about vote-by-mail are almost identical to the disinformation Russia is spreading to undermine confidence in the U.S. presidential election. “Since March 2020, Russian state media and proxy websites have denigrated vote-by-mail processes, alleging they lack transparency and procedural oversight, creating vast opportunities for voter fraud,” according to a Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin. Election experts say that mail voting is slightly more vulnerable to fraud than voting in person but that both methods are trustworthy because of the safety measures state officials use to verify ballots.

“The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud,” Benjamin L. Ginsberg, a leading Republican elections lawyer who retired last month, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Sept. 8. “At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged.” Some GOP strategists reportedly are worried Trump’s claims could boomerang on Republicans by depressing their voters’ participation. But it’s not just Trump. Attorney General William P. Barr and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel have repeated these falsehoods. More...

The president claims he is a champion of Black Americans. But those who have tried to work with him tell a different story.
By Glenn Thrush

On Martin Luther King’s Birthday in January 2017, Donald J. Trump, then the president-elect, welcomed a group of civil rights leaders, led by Dr. King’s eldest son, into his office in Trump Tower. After a tour of Mr. Trump’s celebrity curio collection (Shaquille O’Neal’s sneakers, size 22, were a highlight), the visitors presented him with a proposal intended to prevent state voter identification laws from disenfranchising people of color.

The delegation had low expectations. Mr. Trump had championed the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in America and, in their view, played to racial fears during the 2016 campaign. He quickly dashed even those modest hopes. Low turnout among Black voters, Mr. Trump declared, had helped him defeat Hillary Clinton.

“Many people didn’t go out — many Blacks didn’t go out — to vote for Hillary because they liked me. That was almost as good as getting their vote,” Mr. Trump said, lowering his voice to say the word “Blacks,” on a recording provided by a meeting participant and confirmed as authentic by three others. (A White House spokesman did not dispute the veracity of the recording.) More...

Will Feuer

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended comments he made to reporter Bob Woodward in early February in which he acknowledged the coronavirus “goes through air” despite publicly downplaying the threat in public and telling Americans the virus would disappear. At the time of Trump’s private comments to Woodward, it was unclear how the virus spread and scientists were debating whether and to what degree it could spread through the air. Trump, however, insisted on Thursday that it was widely understood that the virus spread through particles in the air before his private remarks, which were made in a Feb. 7 taped phone call between Woodward and the president.

“This is stuff that everyone knew. There’s a report that I have here someplace where China said it was airborne earlier than the statements I made. People knew it was airborne. This was nothing,” he said Thursday in a White House press briefing. “When I say it was airborne, everybody knew it was airborne. This was no big thing. Read the reports. China came out with a statement that it was an airborne disease. I heard it was an airborne disease. I assumed it early on.” In response to a question about what report the president was citing, a White House official pointed CNBC to a Jan. 30 report from TIME. The report said Chinese authorities announced on Jan. 7 that they had isolated the virus, which “belongs to the coronavirus family... and spreads via airborne droplets.”

A day after Trump’s private comments to Woodward, Chinese state media The China Daily reported that Zeng Qun, deputy head of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, said the virus can spread through aerosol transmission, suggesting the virus was airborne in some situations. But the very next next day, officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention disputed the earlier report, according to The China Daily, saying that there was no evidence the virus could spread through airborne particles. More...

Hansi Lo Wang

A special three-judge court in New York has ruled to block the Trump administration's efforts to make an unprecedented change to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country — leaving out unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers that determine each state's share of seats in Congress. The ruling comes after the July release of a memorandum by President Trump that directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, to provide Trump with information needed to exclude immigrants living in the U.S. without authorization from the apportionment count.

Since the first U.S. census in 1790, the country's official once-a-decade population numbers used to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives have included both U.S. citizens and noncitizens, regardless of immigration status. Enacted after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment ended the counting of an enslaved person as "three fifths" of a free person by requiring the counting of the "whole number of persons in each state." The president ultimately plays a limited role in reapportioning Congress. After the president hands off the latest numbers to Congress, it is the clerk of the House of Representatives who is supposed to send to the governors a "certificate of the number of Representatives" each state receives, according to Title 2 of the U.S. Code. More...

Rage, based on 18 interviews with the president, shows Trump implicating himself, such as downplaying the Covid threat
The Guardian
Victoria Bekiempis in New York

Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book, Rage, spurred extensive uproar following Washington Post and CNN reports on Wednesday on some of the famed investigative journalist’s bombshell claims. Woodward’s reporting – which is largely based on 18 interviews with Donald Trump – show the president implicating himself with his own words, admitting, for example, that he knowingly downplayed Covid-19. Here are the most explosive revelations from Woodward’s book.

Trump knew coronavirus was a significant threat early on
During a 7 February phone call with Woodward, Trump reportedly recognized that the virus was dangerous. “It goes through the air. That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” Woodward also reported that Trump said: “This is deadly stuff.” More...

"The president's lies are undeniable and inexcusable,” said Urquiza, who delivered a blistering rebuke of Trump's handling of the pandemic at the DNC.
By Adam Edelman and Marianna Sotomayor

The woman who publicly recounted how her father died of COVID-19 because he trusted President Donald Trump doubled down on her criticism Thursday following the revelation that the president told journalist Bob Woodward he intentionally played down the pandemic even though he knew it was “deadly.” Kristin Urquiza, who blamed Trump during an emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention last month for the death of her father from COVID-19 and blasted his overall handling of the pandemic, tore into the president anew Thursday during a phone call with reporters organized by Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

“That betrayal of my father and our country is even more clear now. The president's lies are undeniable and inexcusable,” Urquiza said on the call. “If Donald Trump had told the American people in public what he had told Bob Woodward in private, thousands of lives could have been spared, including my dad,” she said. “The sad thing is that it didn't have to be this way. These deaths were needless and preventable.” More than 192,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and there have been nearly 6.4 million confirmed infections.

Urquiza's comments come one day after news emerged that Trump had acknowledged the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic in a February interview with Woodward and acknowledged downplaying the threat in an interview a month later. “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic," Trump said in a March 19 call with Woodward, according to an audio clip posted Wednesday on The Washington Post's website. The newspaper obtained a copy of the book, "Rage," which is scheduled to be released next week.

In the same interview, Trump acknowledged that the disease was more deadly than he previously thought. "Now it's turning out it's not just old people, Bob. But just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It's not just old, older," Trump said, according to an audio clip, and then added, "young people, too, plenty of young people." Biden and other top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., slammed Trump over his comments, with the Democratic presidential nominee calling it “a life-and-death betrayal of the American people.” More...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) It matters who the president is. Millions of lives and livelihoods depend on the character, competence, altruism and integrity of the person in the Oval Office -- whatever their party or ideology. But President Donald Trump -- as he devastatingly revealed in his own voice to Bob Woodward -- met the great crisis of his age with ineptness, dishonesty and an epic dereliction of duty. Rarely have a president's actions -- or inaction -- and individual decisions on such a critical issue been so consequential and so exposed in his own time -- in this case in taped interviews with The Washington Post reporter for his new book, "Rage." Throughout history, presidents responded to moments of great trial by leveling with the American people about often-dire challenges, but also summoned a collective sense of mission toward a less perilous destination.

Twice, in the 1930s Great Depression and after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, a Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, told the country the truth, and it listened and followed. On another day of infamy -- 19 years ago on Friday -- a Republican, George W. Bush, consoled and united a people violated by a shocking act of terrorism on 9/11. When Trump's time came -- in February -- we now know that he perfectly understood the pernicious nature of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus. But while he told Woodward in a phone call "this is deadly stuff" and that the pathogen caused a viciously contagious illness much worse than the flu, Trump didn't level with the American people. In fact, he deliberately misled them and failed to prepare the government for a vast national effort. Worse, for weeks he continued to misinform the country about the severity of the pathogen that caused the worst global pandemic in 100 years.

The 190,000 American families who lost loved ones and could never say goodbye, the millions of unemployed, the business owners who went bust, a generation of kids who haven't been in class for months and everyone else self-distanced from their regular lives now face the same question: How different would things have been had the President done his job properly?

'I always wanted to play it down'
The scandal of negligence Woodward exposed is distinct from the whirlwind of political corruption, abuses of power, chaotic West Wing dramas and wild personality paroxysms that have defined Trump's presidency. He can't spin this one away as "fake news" because he is on tape. He indisputably told Woodward he purposefully minimized a once-in-a-century health crisis. "I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic." More...

By Eric Bradner, CNN

(CNN) Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said President Donald Trump "seems to have no conception of what constitutes national security" after Trump revealed in interviews with Bob Woodward the existence of a classified nuclear weapons system. In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, the former vice president said Trump's comments to Woodward -- made in a series of 18 interviews for the journalist's upcoming book "Rage" -- were "not a surprise." "You wonder why people in the intelligence community wondered from the very beginning whether you could share data with him, 'cause they don't trust him. They don't trust what he'll say or do," Biden said. "He seems to have no conception of what constitutes national security, no conception of anything other than, what can he do to promote himself?"

Biden cited an Axios report that Trump asked whether nuclear bombs could be dropped in the middle of hurricanes to dissipate them before landfall, which Trump has denied. He also pointed to Trump's comment last year that the Continental Army "took over the airports" from the British in the Revolutionary War, more than a century before airplanes existed. Trump blamed a faulty teleprompter at the time. "This is the guy who said maybe the way to deal with hurricane is drop a nuclear bomb on them. I mean -- seriously, he said it!" Biden said. "I mean, God. Or you know, the problem with the Revolutionary War was they didn't have enough airports. I mean, I just -- it is beyond my comprehension." Biden then pointed to The Atlantic's recent report that Trump had referred to those killed and injured at war "losers" and "suckers." He highlighted his deceased son Beau Biden's service in Kosovo and in the Iraq war, "and all the people with him, the people who died. They're suckers? I mean I can't fathom." More...

The alleged fraud represents only a tiny fraction of the $525 billion in PPP loans that were given out to 5.2 million applicants in the program.
By KELLIE MEJDRICH

Federal law enforcement officials have identified nearly 500 individuals suspected of committing coronavirus-related loan fraud and have opened “several hundred” investigations, the Justice Department said Thursday. It's still unclear how many people bilked the Paycheck Protection Program, which offered government-backed, forgivable loans to small businesses, but acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt said, “we do believe it’s significant."

“There will be plenty of work for us to do in the months going forward,” said Rabbitt, who works for the DOJ’s Criminal Division. New details on potentially fraudulent applications for the loan program, which is credited with saving millions of jobs, show how the rush of aid during the early pandemic emergency has led to what prosecutors, Democratic lawmakers and taxpayer advocates fear could be widespread abuse. More...

Dan Mangan

The White House requested that the U.S. Justice Department launch a last-minute, controversial effort to intervene in a lawsuit in which President Donald Trump is accused of defaming E. Jean Carroll, a writer who says Trump raped her years ago, Attorney General William Barr revealed Wednesday. Barr also said that American taxpayers — and not Trump personally — will be responsible for any monetary damages awarded Carroll, if she proves her claims against the president, and if a judge agrees to allow the Department of Justice to handle the case.

Barr defended the DOJ’s intervention in the case as proper and warranted by both the law and recent practice by other administrations. The DOJ on Tuesday filed a legal action seeking to transfer Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against Trump, which was filed in New York state court, to Manhattan federal court. The action also asks that the United States government replace Trump as the defendant in the case. More...

Alana Wise

President Trump has released an additional 20 names he would select from if any Supreme Court vacancies arise during his remaining time in office, including the president's rival-turned-Senate ally, Ted Cruz. The list also includes Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley as well as two former solicitors general. The president's running list, which he first compiled in 2016, already included more than a dozen conservative legal minds from across the country. With Wednesday's additions, he adds bulk to the number of justices he would choose from to bolster the court's conservative majority.

"Over the next four years, the next president will choose hundreds of federal judges and one, two, three, four Supreme Court justices," Trump said during a Wednesday press conference at the White House before laying out what he called a bleak picture of possible realities if "radical left judges" were nominated under Democratic rival Joe Biden. Trump's updated list, which includes several women and people of color, reflects the emphasis the Republican Party has to pay in its attempt to court voters more broadly outside of white, often older, reliably conservative circles. More...

By Rebecca Kheel

President Trump bragged about a supposedly secret nuclear weapons system in an interview with Bob Woodward, according to excerpts from the veteran journalist's new book. Trump discussed the weapons system while reflecting on how close the United States and North Korea came to nuclear war in 2017, according to excerpts from “Rage” published Wednesday by The Washington Post, where Woodward is an associate editor. “I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about,” Trump told Woodward, according to the Post.

“We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before,” Trump added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Woodward’s book says unnamed sources later confirmed a new weapons system but would not provide any further details and were surprised that Trump had disclosed it, the Post reported. When reached for comment by The Hill, the Pentagon said it does not have a comment "on a book that hasn’t published yet." Woodward’s book says unnamed sources later confirmed a new weapons system but would not provide any further details and were surprised that Trump had disclosed it, the Post reported. When reached for comment by The Hill, the Pentagon said it does not have a comment "on a book that hasn’t published yet." More...

William Cummings USA TODAY

After President Donald Trump accused senior military leaders of advocating war to please defense contractors, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said he and his colleagues only recommend putting troops in harm's way as a "last resort." During a news conference at the White House Monday, Trump claimed senior military officials did not like his opposition to "crazy endless wars." "I’m not saying the military is in love with me – the soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs, and make the planes, and make everything else, stay happy," Trump said.

McConville, whom Trump appointed in August 2019, declined to respond directly to the president's remarks when asked about them during an interview Tuesday with Defense One Executive Editor Kevin Baron. Baron pointed out Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had also been critical of the power wielded by what former President Dwight Eisenhower referred to as the "military industrial complex." "I'm not going to comment on, really, the president's comments, or, really, any of the politicians' comments,"  McConville said. "We live in a political environment, but we're an apolitical organization. I think it really must remain that way, especially with an election coming up." More...

The criticism from Thornberry is among the sharpest GOP reactions to Trump's comments thus far.
By CONNOR O’BRIEN and LARA SELIGMAN

Congressional Republicans are defending military leaders after President Donald Trump accused "top people in the Pentagon" of keeping the U.S. at war to appease defense contractors. “I don't buy that idea at all,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump confidante. “I've known most of these three and four stars when they were colonels. They have their own family members in these fights.”

In fact, “the people who want to avoid the war the most are the ones who actually fight it," Graham continued. Trump on Monday said Pentagon leaders don't like him "because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy." The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday said he was “dismayed” by the rhetoric of the past few days, noting that Trump’s accusation is “wrong” and helps America’s enemies. More...

By Aris Folley

President Trump said he doesn’t feel a responsibility “at all” to try have a better understanding of the pain Black Americans feel, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward. His comment came during an interview he had with Woodward on June 19, just weeks after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May sparked months of widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

In the discussion, which is one of nearly 20 interviews between Woodward and Trump that are referenced in the journalist’s book "Rage," according to The Washington Post, Woodward presses the president about race. At one point, the journalist – after pointing out a number of similarities Trump and he share, like race and age –  suggests to the president that they have a duty to try have a better understanding of the “the anger and pain” Black Americans feel.  In response, Trump reportedly says, “No … You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”

Woodward presses Trump further about the topic, but, in response, Trump reportedly refers to how well the economy has fared for Black Americans under his administration. He also reportedly again reiterated his long-repeated claim of doing more for the Black community than almost any president in history. Days after that conversation, Trump reportedly had another discussion with Woodward, who has released portions of audio of some of the interviews he has had with Trump that will be referenced in "Rage." In that conversation, Trump is pressed for his thoughts on whether systemic or institutional racism exists in the United States. More...

The former head of the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence division has accused three senior leaders of warping the agency around President Trump’s rhetoric.
By Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Nicholas Fandos

WASHINGTON — Top officials with the Department of Homeland Security directed agency analysts to downplay the threat of violent white supremacy and of Russian election interference, according to a whistle-blower complaint filed by a top intelligence official with the department. Brian Murphy, the former head of the intelligence branch of the Homeland Security Department, said in a whistle-blower complaint filed on Tuesday that he was directed by Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the department, to stop producing assessments on Russian interference. The department’s second highest ranked official, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, also ordered him to modify intelligence assessments to make the threat of white supremacy “appear less severe” and include information on violent “left-wing” groups, according to the complaint, which was released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee.

In so doing, the two top officials at the department — both appointees of President Trump — appeared to shape the agency’s views around Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and interests. Mr. Murphy, who was removed from his post in August after his office compiled intelligence reports on protesters and journalists in Portland, Ore., asserted in the complaint that he was retaliated against for raising concerns to superiors and cooperating with the department’s inspector general. He asked the inspector general to investigate. “The protected disclosures that prompted the retaliatory personnel actions at issue primarily focused on the compilation of intelligence reports and threat assessments that conflicted with policy objectives set forth by the White House and senior Department of Homeland Security” officials, Mr. Murphy’s lawyers wrote in the 24-page complaint.

“The protected disclosures that prompted the retaliatory personnel actions at issue primarily focused on the compilation of intelligence reports and threat assessments that conflicted with policy objectives set forth by the White House and senior Department of Homeland Security” officials, Mr. Murphy’s lawyers wrote in the 24-page complaint. More...

Alana Wise

President Trump acknowledged the deadliness of the coronavirus in early February and admitted in March to playing down its severity, according to interviews with the president that are included in a new book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward. "This is deadly stuff," the president told Woodward in a Feb. 7 conversation, according to the book, which is called Rage. "You just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flu." But at the time, Trump was publicly saying that the virus was less of a concern. On Feb. 10, he told supporters in New Hampshire: "Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away." Later that month, Trump tweeted that the virus was "very much under control in the USA."

And in March, he compared the novel coronavirus to the seasonal flu, saying in a Fox News interview, "We've never closed down the country for the flu." Trump's claims came despite scientists' relatively early findings that the coronavirus presented significantly more challenges than the seasonal flu because of its novelty, high hospitalization rate and other difficulties. The coronavirus has now been blamed for nearly 190,000 deaths in America. About a month after the February conversation, Trump admitted to Woodward that he had been playing down the virus' severity. "I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic." One study has estimated that if the United States had implemented social distancing measures just a week earlier in March, some 36,000 lives could have been saved. More...

By Elizabeth Crisp

"I wanted to always play (coronavirus) down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," Donald Trump admitted to journalist Bob Woodward in a March 19 interview that was taped. Despite that admission, revealed Wednesday along with other excerpts and tapes from Woodward's 18 interviews with the president since December, the White House claims Trump never downplayed the disease. "The president never downplayed the virus," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday. Referencing a stack of detailed notes and timelines, McEnany set out to refute the damning admissions contained in Woodward's forthcoming book, Rage.

"The president has never lied to the American public on Covid," she said. According to Woodward's book and recorded conversations made public Wednesday, Trump knew that the virus was highly-contagious and deadly—even before the United States had reported a single Covid-19-related death. "This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7. Three days later at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump told his supporters, "I think it's going to all work out fine," and suggested that it would "go away" by April. McEnany described Trump's efforts as trying to keep Americans calm. "He makes clear he doesn't want to see chaos," she said. "This president does what good leaders do." More...

By Eric Bradner, CNN

(CNN) Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused President Donald Trump of "a life-and-death betrayal of the American people" hours after journalist Bob Woodward revealed ahead of the publication of his new book, "Rage," that Trump had concealed the true threat posed by coronavirus. While campaigning in Michigan on Wednesday, Biden pointed to Trump telling Woodward in a recorded February interview that the virus was more deadly than the flu, airborne and highly contagious. "He knew it and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied," Biden said about the threat posed by the virus, which has now left more than 185,000 Americans dead. "It's beyond despicable. It's a dereliction of duty. It's a disgrace," Biden said. "He failed to do his job on purpose. It was a life-and-death betrayal of the American people."

Trump's comments downplaying the virus come as he is trailing Biden in national polls just three weeks from the first debate. They follow last week's report in The Atlantic -- confirmed in part by other news outlets but vehemently denied by Trump -- that the President had called those wounded and killed at war "losers" and "suckers." Biden told autoworkers Wednesday that Trump "has broken just about every promise he's ever made to the American worker." Seizing on Trump's comments about war dead, he added: "Did you really expect anything different from this guy? From someone who called those of you and those who are serving in uniform, who have given their lives for this country, losers and suckers?" The former vice president was in Michigan to make an economic case against Trump in Macomb County, rolling out a plan to stop businesses from moving jobs overseas in one of the nation's most important battlegrounds in November's election. More...

By Zachary Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) A whistleblower is alleging that top political appointees in the Department of Homeland Security repeatedly instructed career officials to modify intelligence assessments to ensure they matched up with misleading public comments from President Donald Trump about Antifa and "anarchist" groups, according to documents reviewed by CNN and a source familiar with the situation. Specifically, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Ken Cuccinelli, both Trump appointees, directed officials to change intelligence assessments based on Trump's political rhetoric, an order the whistleblower says amounted to an abuse of authority, according to the documents.

Both Wolf and Cuccinelli also tried to alter a report to downplay the threat posed by White supremacists and instead emphasize the role of leftist groups due to concerns about how the initial language would reflect on the President, according to a source familiar with the claims raised by the whistleblower.
DHS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment regarding allegations that Wolf and Cuccinelli ordered officials to change intelligence assessments for political reasons but have broadly denied either man took actions that constitute as an abuse of power, as stated in the complaint.

Separately, the complaint says, Cuccinelli expressed frustration with intelligence reports detailing conditions in Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador, late last year and accused "deep-state intelligence analysts" of compiling the information to undermine Trump's objectives regarding asylum, according to the documents reviewed by CNN. The allegations were raised in a complaint filed recently by Brian Murphy to the DHS inspector general, according to the source. Murphy previously oversaw the intelligence division at the department but was reassigned this summer after it was revealed his office had gathered intelligence reports on two US journalists. More...

By Shane Harris and Nick Miroff

A senior Department of Homeland Security official alleges that he was told to stop providing intelligence analysis on the threat of Russian interference in the 2020 election, in part because it “made the President look bad,” an instruction he believed would jeopardize national security. The official, Brian Murphy, who until recently was in charge of intelligence and analysis at DHS, said in a whistleblower complaint that on two occasions he was told to stand down on reporting about the Russian threat. On July 8, Murphy said, acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf told him that an “intelligence notification” regarding Russian disinformation efforts should be “held” because it was unflattering to Trump, who has long derided Russian interference as a “hoax” that was concocted by his opponents to delegitimize his victory in 2016.

It’s not clear who would have seen the notification, but DHS’s intelligence reports are routinely shared with the FBI, other federal law enforcement agencies, and state and local governments. Murphy objected to Wolf’s instruction, “stating that it was improper to hold a vetted intelligence product for reasons [of] political embarrassment,” according to a copy of his whistleblower complaint that was obtained by The Washington Post. Murphy also alleges that two months earlier, Wolf told him to stop producing intelligence assessments on Russia and shift the focus on election interference to China and Iran. He said Wolf told him “that these instructions specifically originated from White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.” Murphy said he would not comply with the instructions, which he believed would “put the country in substantial and specific danger,” according to the complaint, which was filed Tuesday with the DHS inspector general. More...

By Robert Costa and Philip Rucker

President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the coronavirus outbreak in China. “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.” Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly. “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis. At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air. Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. More...

CNN

President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and "more deadly than even your strenuous flus," and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage." #CNN #News Video...

By Ryan Browne, CNN

Washington (CNN) The top Republican on the House Armed Services committee criticized President Donald Trump for giving "our adversaries an opening" with his recent comments accusing Pentagon leaders he appointed of seeking to fight wars to boost the profits of defense firms. "As a matter of fact, I've been a little dismayed at what's happened the past few days," Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas said Wednesday when asked about Trump's comments at an event hosted by Defense News. "I know the President says things for effect a lot, but to have a commander in chief question the motivations of military leaders and basically say they're in it for themselves is wrong and it gives our adversaries an opening," he added. Thornberry is retiring at the end of the term and has been willing to criticize the Trump administration over policies including diverting military funds to pay for the border wall.

"You can say well their judgment is wrong or they think too much alike, there's some legitimate issues to discuss. But their motivation, their patriotism, is to me without question, these are remarkable individuals," Thornberry said, adding, "The people who have to send folks into war are the most reluctant to go to war because they've seen it themselves, they've experienced it themselves, they know the cost." The Pentagon has yet to comment directly on the President's comments. The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James McConville, declined to comment directly on the Trump's statement on Tuesday but rejected the idea that military commanders are influenced by defense firms. "I can assure the American people that the senior leaders would only recommend sending our troops to combat when it's required in national security and the last resort. We take this very, very seriously in how we make our recommendations and I think that's all I can really say on that, I feel strongly about that," he said at an event hosted by Defense One. McConville also noted that many of the top military leaders at the Pentagon "have sons and daughters who have gone to combat or may be in combat right now." More...

Dan Mangan

Several lawyers on Wednesday blasted the U.S. Department of Justice’s last-minute effort to act as President Donald Trump’s attorneys in a civil case where he is accused of defaming a writer who has said Trump raped her years ago. “The DOJ was not meant to serve as the president’s personal in-house counsel, particularly on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Joseph Tacopina, a New York defense attorney. “Trump calling an alleged victim of rape ... a liar is not an act in his official capacity,” said Tacopina.

“Although ad hominem attacks on members of the regular public may be a regular occurrence in the Oval Office these days, Article II of the Constitution does not include within the functions of the presidency the role of Chief Mudslinger.” The Justice Department on Tuesday, in a highly unusual move, filed a legal action seeking to transfer E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against Trump, which is currently being handled in New York state court, to Manhattan federal court. More...

By Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb and Elizabeth Stuart, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and "more deadly than even your strenuous flus," and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage." "This is deadly stuff," Trump told Woodward on February 7. In a series of interviews with Woodward, Trump revealed that he had a surprising level of detail about the threat of the virus earlier than previously known. "Pretty amazing," Trump told Woodward, adding that the coronavirus was maybe five times "more deadly" than the flu. Trump's admissions are in stark contrast to his frequent public comments at the time insisting that the virus was "going to disappear" and "all work out fine."

The book, using Trump's own words, depicts a President who has betrayed the public trust and the most fundamental responsibilities of his office. In "Rage," Trump says the job of a president is "to keep our country safe." But in early February, Trump told Woodward he knew how deadly the virus was, and in March, admitted he kept that knowledge hidden from the public. "I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic." If instead of playing down what he knew, Trump had acted decisively in early February with a strict shutdown and a consistent message to wear masks, social distance and wash hands, experts believe that thousands of American lives could have been saved. *** Trump does not give a shit about Americans he only cares about winning the election and will put more lives at risk to do so. *** more...

By Jamie Gangel and Jeremy Herb, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump's former top Cabinet officials are among his harshest critics in journalist Bob Woodard's new book "Rage," providing some of the most brutal assessments of the commander in chief to date: "Dangerous." "Unfit." "No moral compass." "Doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie." Woodward's book paints a devastating portrait of Trump by those who worked in his inner circle. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, all hired at the start of Trump's presidency, are quoted detailing their frustrations with Trump's inability to focus, their alarm over his refusal to accept facts or listen to experts, their fears over the consequences of his impulsive decision-making -- and one top official even suspected Russian President Vladimir Putin had something on Trump.

The book is filled with searing indictments of Trump. Mattis is quoted criticizing the President both for his chaotic process and ill-advised, go-it-alone policy decisions. When Trump says he wants to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and South Korea, Mattis privately told Coats, "That's dangerous," Woodward reports. "The President has no moral compass." Coats agreed. He's quoted as saying, "To him, a lie is not a lie. It's just what he thinks. He doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie." Mattis is quoted as saying Trump took foreign policy actions that showed adversaries "how to destroy America. That's what we're showing them. How to isolate us from all of our allies.

How to take us down. And it's working very well." Woodward conducted hundreds of hours of confidential background interviews with firsthand witnesses for "Rage." Woodward writes that when he attributed quotes to participants, the information comes either from the person, a colleague with direct knowledge, or primary source documents. The damning criticisms from top administration officials are just some of the numerous revelations in "Rage." The book is also based on 18 wide-ranging interviews Woodward conducted with Trump, in which Trump admitted he intentionally downplayed the threat of the coronavirus publicly. More...

Trump is expected to also announce a reduction of troops in Afghanistan in the coming days.
By LARA SELIGMAN

The U.S. plans to cut the troop presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 by the end of September as President Donald Trump seeks to fulfill a campaign promise to end America's "endless wars." The withdrawal will bring the U.S. troop level in Iraq down to 3,000, said Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command. He announced the troop withdrawal during a ceremony for Operation Inherent Resolve, the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State militants, with Iraq's minister of defense. Trump has campaigned on ending America's wars, and has reduced U.S. troop presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The news also comes as Trump faces backlash over allegations that he called U.S. troops "losers" and "suckers," and as he trails his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, in the polls just weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. The announcement also comes two days after Trump accused Pentagon leaders of waging wars to ensure contractors "stay happy." More...

Republicans have insufficient evidence to call elections ‘rigged’ and ‘fraudulent’
Washington Post
Opinion by Benjamin L. Ginsberg

Benjamin L. Ginsberg practiced election law for 38 years. He co-chaired the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Legions of Republican lawyers have searched in vain over four decades for fraudulent double voting. At long last, they have a blatant example of a major politician urging his supporters to illegally vote twice. The only hitch is that the candidate is President Trump. The president, who has been arguing that our elections are “rigged” and “fraudulent,” last week instructed voters to act in a way that would fulfill that prophecy.

On Wednesday in North Carolina, he urged supporters to double vote, casting ballots at the polls even if they have already mailed in absentee ballots. A tweet claiming he meant only for people to check that their ballots had been received and counted sounded fine — until Trump renewed his original push on Thursday evening in Pennsylvania and again Friday at a telerally. The president’s actions — urging his followers to commit an illegal act and seeking to undermine confidence in the credibility of election results — are doubly wrong. They impose an obligation on his campaign and the Republican Party to reevaluate their position in the more than 40 voting cases they’re involved in around the country. These cases are part of a torrent of 2020 voting litigation that pits Republicans’ belief that election results won’t be credible without state law safeguards against Democrats’ charges that many such rules are onerous and designed to suppress the votes of qualified citizens inclined to vote Democratic. More...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump on Tuesday went further than ever before in putting the degradation of the rule of law at the center of his reelection campaign. Trump called on his supporters in North Carolina to act as poll watchers, to watch out for "thieving, and stealing and robbing" that he is warning without evidence will taint Election Day. He made his call at a packed rally in Winston-Salem where he and many of his fans made a mockery of the state's mask mandate -- as well as the advice of his own government amid a pandemic that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans and was exacerbated by his prioritizing politics over science. But most shockingly, and in one of the most stunning maneuvers in the modern history of the Department of Justice, government lawyers Tuesday applied to take over the defense of Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by a woman who accused him of rape in the 1990s.

The move will inflame claims that Attorney General William Barr, who misrepresented the Mueller report and has intervened in other highly political cases that are inconvenient to the President, is acting as Trump's personal lawyer and desecrating his department's traditional role. The latest development came nearly four years into a presidency marked by Trump's constant efforts to test the limits of his power and to weaponize the legal and institutional functions of the government to further his political ends. That process is accelerating now as a President impeached for abuse of power seeks to use all the tools of his office to secure a second term and is undermining the integrity of the vote with flagrantly false claims of election corruption. But while Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, used their convention to warn Trump is tearing at the foundations of the republic itself, there is little sign that Trump's fervent base -- or the Republicans who saved his presidency in a Senate trial -- are concerned at his broadening power grabs. More...


Copenhagen, Denmark — A far-right Norwegian lawmaker said Wednesday that he has nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Middle East. Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Norwegian Parliament for the far-right Progress Party, said Mr. Trump should be considered because of his work "for a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel which opens up for possible peace in the Middle East." "No matter how Trump acts at home and what he says at press conferences, he has absolutely a chance at getting the Nobel Peace Prize," Tybring-Gjedde, told The Associated Press. He said he nominated Trump on Wednesday, adding that "Donald Trump meets the criteria" for the Nobel Peace Prize. President Trump retweeted a link to the Jerusalem Post's article about his nomination, saying simply, "Thank you!" More...

By Holmes Lybrand and Tara Subramaniam, CNN

Washington, DC (CNN)During a campaign speech in North Carolina on Tuesday, President Donald Trump spent much of his time attacking his opponent, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, with accusations that were often false or misleading. He inaccurately went after Biden on topics ranging from gun control, the border, his tax plan and pandemic response. CNN counted at least 10 false or misleading claims Trump made against his opponent. Here's a look at the President's claims and the facts behind them. Trump said that Biden wants to "confiscate your guns."

Facts First: Biden's gun control plan does not include confiscating legally owned weapons but would mandate that people who own assault weapons either properly register them with the authorities or sell them to the federal government, along with other measures.

Borders
Trump argued that Biden wants to "eliminate America's borders."
Facts First: This is flatly false. Biden does not support an open borders policy.

Suburbs
Trump suggested Biden and Democrats want to destroy suburbs. "They want to destroy your suburbs. You know that," Trump said.
Facts First: This fear mongering is entirely false. The Obama-era housing rule Trump is hinting at was meant to address racial segregation and does not abolish suburbs in any way.

This is a repeat of Trump's racially coded nonsense from July, when he worked to overturn the change the Obama administration made in 2015 to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, a decades-old federal requirement aimed at eliminating discrimination and combating segregation in housing. You can read more about the regulations and Trump's false claims here.

Mark Katkov

The U.S. Justice Dept. Tuesday moved to assume responsibility for defending President Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says Trump raped her in the 1990s. E. Jean Carroll filed suit in New York state court last year after Trump, answering reporters' questions, denied knowing her and accused her of lying. Carroll, a columnist for Elle magazine, wrote in a memoir that Trump had raped her in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in 1995 or 1996. In an unusual five-page filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Justice Dept. argued that Trump's remarks were made in the performance of his official duties as president and that therefore government attorneys should assume Trump's defense from his private lawyers.

In his just-released tell-all book, the president’s former fixer recalls how Fox News’ founder and its star host both abased themselves at the altar of Trump.
Lloyd Grove Editor at Large, Maxwell Tani - the daily beast

President Donald Trump’s most influential supporters in the media—Fox News star Sean Hannity, his boss Roger Ailes, and National Enquirer executive David Pecker—were so desperate for Trump’s approval that they frequently humiliated themselves to win it, according to the just-released memoir by the president’s disgruntled former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.

In Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, Cohen—who was disbarred last year and is currently serving a three-year sentence under house arrest in Manhattan after pleading guilty to felony counts of tax evasion, lying to Congress (which he admitted having done in the service of “protecting” Trump), and violating campaign-finance laws—provides numerous examples of the former reality star’s ability to intimidate and manipulate his ostensibly powerful minions in the media.

During the early Republican primary race, Cohen writes, Hannity was distraught about being “put in the penalty box” by the Trump campaign and anxious to get back into the candidate’s good graces after then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Trump that Hannity was a secret supporter of Trump’s strongest opponent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

“In the summer of 2015,” Cohen writes, “I knew that Hannity was doing what he could for the Trump campaign, but that he had to be careful. His viewership wasn’t monolithically for Trump, yet, and there were more than a dozen candidates, some commanding large segments of the Republican Party. Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and each of the other declared candidates had to be given time to make their case, meaning that Trump didn’t absolutely dominate Hannity’s highly rated show in the way that the Boss wanted—and that Lewandowski demanded.” more...

Former Trump fixer says now-president disliked Barack Obama just because of his skin colour
John T. Bennett - independent

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former fixer and personal attorney, claims his former client once said "only the blacks" could live in difficult conditions as the duo drove through a predominantly black neighborhood in Chicago. "Only the Blacks could live this way," Mr Cohen told NBC News in an interview to air on Tuesday to coincide with the release of his new tell-all book. "I, of course, said to him, 'Well that's not really true,'" Mr Cohen claimed. "He goes, 'No, only the Blacks could live this way.'"

Mr Cohen also contended to NBC that Mr Trump's longtime disdain for former President Barack Obama stems from the 44th commander in chief being both black and the country's first black president. Mr Trump's former fixer describes his then boss as a racist who has become the leader of a cult. He also suggests in the interview that the president should step down before he is shamed when hit with possible criminal charges. More...

By Holmes Lybrand and Tara Subramaniam, CNN

Washington, DC (CNN) President Donald Trump used a Labor Day press briefing at the White House to give a campaign-style address, attacking his political opponents, touting the alleged success the US has had against the coronavirus and repeating many false and misleading claims along the way. In all, CNN counted at least 11 outright falsehoods and a few more that were misleading or lacked context. Here's a look at the President's claims and the facts behind them. When asked about the Black Lives Matter protests happening across the US, Trump talked about the federal crackdown on protesters who have destroyed monuments, claiming, "We have now over 1,000 people, federal, in jail. We're prosecuting many people."

Facts First: This is not accurate based on data from Trump's own Department of Justice. While it is not clear where the 1,000 number came from, the department reported that as of September 2, a total of 227 people have been federally charged in cities, including Minneapolis, Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle. The charges vary from arson to assaulting a federal officer.

Cancel culture
After a reporter asked about the President's calls to investigate the use of the New York Times' 1619 project to teach students about the country's history with racism, Trump said he wants "everyone to know everything they can in history," adding that he is "not a believer in cancel culture."

Facts First: It's false for Trump to suggest he doesn't like "cancel culture," considering how he has himself explicitly advocated cancellations, boycotts and firings on numerous occasions for what he considers objectionable words and acts. CNN's Daniel Dale compiled a list of such instances, countering the President's assertion. More..

The president's former lawyer spoke out in an exclusive interview with NBC News' Lester Holt.
By Allan Smith

President Donald Trump's ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, told NBC News in an exclusive interview that he believes his former boss is a racist "cult leader" who would be wise to resign before he's faced with potential criminal charges. Cohen spoke with NBC News' Lester Holt ahead of the release Tuesday of his new book, "Disloyal: a Memoir," which discusses his experience working for Trump. "In the book, obviously, I describe Mr. Trump as a cult leader, and I was in this cult," Cohen said. "So one of the purposes of writing the book is really from one former cult member to the current ones," he continued. "I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Open your eyes as I have. And I want you to appreciate that Donald Trump cares for no one or anything other than himself."

Cohen said Trump's backers have to defend his "indefensible" actions, mentioning The Atlantic's report last week in which several sources with firsthand knowledge of Trump's remarks said he referred to American service members killed in combat as "losers" and "suckers." Trump has repeatedly denied the accuracy of the story, as have administration officials and allies. "I mean, who could possibly accept this?" Cohen said of Trump's reported remarks. "But when you're in the Trump cult, you have no choice but to accept it." In the interview, Cohen mentioned several instances in which Trump made remarks that Cohen considered racist, one of them when he was driving with Trump through a predominantly Black Chicago neighborhood and Trump said, "Only the Blacks could live this way." More...

Opinion by Samantha Vinograd

(CNN) Let's call a lie a lie. It gets tiresome under President Donald Trump as his inaccurate statements pile up, but it's important that Americans are made aware that the President continues to lie about almost everything. Each new falsehood is unsurprising based on his track record with the truth -- but that doesn't make them any less dangerous. They pose risks to our democracy, including the security of our election in November.

During a White House press briefing on Friday, in response to a question about the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, President Trump said the US had no proof yet about what had happened. Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, collapsed on a flight to Moscow on August 20 and was taken to Berlin for treatment two days later.

The German government said last Wednesday that Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group -- a Soviet-era chemical weapon. The same agent was used in a March 2018 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury. A senior German security official told The New York Times that German military scientists "were 100 percent certain that it was Novichok."

Yet during that Friday briefing, two days after the German announcement, Trump answered a question about Navalny's poisoning with a rambling response mentioning China, North Korea and Afghanistan, before turning to Navalny and saying, "We haven't had any proof yet, but I will take a look." Those statements sound like the US President is serving as a surrogate for the Kremlin -- the Russian government is saying there is no proof and that they need more information from Germany. More...

President Donald Trump’s campaign is having money trouble, according to a New York Times report
Cody Fenwick

President Donald Trump's campaign is having money trouble, according to a New York Times report, while former Vice President Joe Biden's team is flush with cash. Biden announced a record-breaking sum of nearly $365 million in fundraising for the month of August, swiftly outpacing the president's best month. And the report Monday from the Times exposed just how deep and sordid the story behind the Trump campaign's depleted coffers and revealed signs of animosity brewing with its ranks. Here are seven key details from the report:

1. The big takeaway: Trump has poured $800 million down the drain with little to show for it

   "If you spend $800 million and you're 10 points behind, I think you've got to answer the question 'What was the game plan?'" said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist who runs a small pro-Trump super PAC, and who accused [former Trump campaign manager Brad] Parscale of spending "like a drunken sailor."

Of course, one of the biggest problems is that Trump has always been an unpopular president never interested in appealing to a broad majority of the country rather than his narrow base. You can't spend your way out of that problem.

2. Parscale, meanwhile, is trying to spread the blame around

Unusually for a Trump campaign official, Parscale seemed to be willing to comment extensively for the Times piece. In the comments printed, he appeared desperate to deflect blame for overspending to the Trump family and the RNC. For example: More...

By Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump launched an unprecedented public attack against the leadership of the US military on Monday, accusing them of waging wars to boost the profits of defense manufacturing companies. "I'm not saying the military's in love with me -- the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy," Trump told reporters at a White House news conference. Trump's extraordinary comments come as several defense officials tell CNN relations between the President and Pentagon leadership are becoming increasingly strained.

They also followed efforts by Trump to convince the public that he had not made a series of reported disparaging remarks about US military personnel and veterans, which were first reported by The Atlantic magazine. A former senior administration official confirmed to CNN that Trump referred to fallen US service members at the Aisne-Marne cemetery in crude and derogatory terms during a November 2018 trip to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Other outlets, including Fox News, have confirmed much of The Atlantic's reporting, which Trump and the White House vehemently deny. Some have expressed concern that the President's Monday accusations against the military's top brass could have a corrosive effect. "The President's comments about the motivations of military leaders not only demeans their service and that of those they lead; he lends credence to the very disdain and thoughtlessness he tries to deny," retired US Navy Rear Admiral and CNN analyst John Kirby said.

Republican donor was appointed postmaster general in May despite having no experience working in USPS
Matt Mathers

Donald Trump has said his controversial appointment as US postmaster general should lose his job if allegations of campaign finance violations against him are proved. Louis DeJoy, a Trump donor and Republican party fundraiser appointed to his role in May this year, pressured employees at his former company into making donations to GOP candidates, it has been claimed. As owner of New Breed Logistics, a North Carolina-based supply chain firm sold to XPO in 2014, Mr DeJoy often asked workers and managers to make donations to the campaigns of Republicans running for office, several former employees told the Washington Post. It is alleged that staff who donated to Mr DeJoy's favoured candidates would recieve company bonuses in return, with managers at the firm also expected to participate.

"Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses," David Young, a former human resources director who previously had access to New Breed's payroll records, told the Post. According to a Post analysis of campaign finance records dating back two decades, there was a "pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates." In a statement, Monty Hagler, a spokesperson for Mr DeJoy, said the postmaster general "regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason". Mr DeJoy "was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution," Mr Hagler added. He added that while running New Breed logistics, Mr DeJoy ensured that the company, and anyone affiliated with it, was fully compliant with US election contribution rules.

Some service members expressed skepticism after bombshell report prompted an outpouring of condemnation
Edward Helmore

Donald Trump was struggling to retain support of active US service members, according to polls, even before last week’s bombshell report that the commander-in-chief referred to fallen and captured US service members as “losers” and “suckers”. But some veterans and military family members remain conflicted. The Atlantic magazine’s story – in which four sources close to Trump said he cancelled a visit to pay respects at an American military cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because he thought the dead soldiers were “losers” and “suckers” and did not want the rain to mess up his hair – prompted an outpouring of condemnation, and comes less than two months before the 3 November election.

Several former Trump administration officials confirmed the report. Trump and the White House have denied it, with the president insisting: “There is nobody feels more strongly about our soldiers, our wounded warriors, our soldiers that died in war than I do.” Polls in 2016 showed active service members preferred Trump to Hilary Clinton by a large margin, but polling from late July and early August conducted by the Military Times showed the continued steady drop in opinions of the commander-in-chief since he was elected, with almost 50% of respondents reporting an unfavorable view. “I recommend all veterans to use their Military pics as a profile pic to let Trump know how many people he has offended by calling fallen soldiers losers and suckers. #NewProfilePics,” army veteran David Weissman, who describes himself as an “apologetic” former Trump supporter, wrote on Twitter last week, in a post that went viral.

Ashley Collman

President Donald Trump spoke condescendingly about evangelical Christians after holding a meeting with religious leaders before the 2016 election, his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has said in a new book. Cohen, who broke with Trump to cooperate with the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, is releasing a memoir Tuesday titled "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump." The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the book before its release, reported one passage in which Cohen details what he says happened after Trump met with prominent evangelical leaders at Trump Tower in 2016 before winning the presidency.

After the meeting was over, Cohen says, Trump said: "Can you believe that bulls---? Can you believe people believe that bulls---?" "The cosmic joke was that Trump convinced a vast swathe of working-class white folks in the Midwest that he cared about their well-being," Cohen added, according to The Post. "The truth was that he couldn't care less." It's unclear what meeting Cohen was referring to, but Trump did meet with conservative Christian leaders in New York City in June 2016, according to NPR, which was allowed inside the private event. Though Trump — a self-described Presbyterian — was not known for being religious, evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported him in 2016, with 80% of the group voting for him over Hillary Clinton. Evangelical Christians are an important voting bloc. With one in four Americans describing themselves as evangelical, they are the most common religious group in America, according to the Brookings Institution think tank. more...

By Michael Kranish - washington post

As Donald Trump laid the groundwork in 1999 to run for president as the Reform Party candidate, he made a little-remembered attack on the person he saw as a rival in a possible general election campaign: Republican John McCain. Many considered McCain a war hero for surviving five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and a television interviewer asked why Trump felt he was more qualified to be commander in chief. “Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Trump said in the CBS interview.

A few years earlier, Trump had bragged on a morning radio show about avoiding the Vietnam draft, remarking that one of the show’s hosts who had gotten out of service by declaring he had a bad knee had done a “good job.” Long before Trump’s views of the military would emerge as a flash point in his 2020 reelection campaign — before he would shock the political world with the more widely seen 2015 attack on McCain, in which he said the senator was “not a war hero” and declared, “I like people who weren’t captured” — Trump had a long track record of incendiary and disparaging remarks about veterans and military service.

Many of his remarks are memorialized in television interviews and the tapes of radio conversations with shock jocks, dating to his years as a private citizen and businessman. Trump, who avoided military service by citing a bone spur in his foot, has disparaged veterans who were wounded or captured or went missing in action and even compared his fear of sexually transmitted diseases to the experience of a soldier, saying in 1993, “if you’re young, and in this era, and if you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam. It’s called the dating game.”

It is a history filled with contradictions, of a man who denigrates his handpicked generals while saying no one supports the military more than he does, and of a commander in chief who questions the bravery of some soldiers even as he reversed disciplinary action against a Navy SEAL over the objections of Pentagon officials. He was raised in a family that criticized the value of military service, according to niece Mary L. Trump, but nonetheless he was sent to a military academy for most of his teenage years. more...

Barbie Latza Nadeau

During Donald Trump’s infamous 2018 visit to Paris, in which his planned trip to a French cemetery for fallen soldiers was canceled, he did a little shopping—at the home of the U.S. ambassador to France. While strolling around the lavish ambassador’s residence in Paris, he reportedly took a fancy to a number of pieces of artwork, including a bust of Benjamin Franklin and some Greek mythical figurines. So he ordered them removed from the residence and packed into Air Force One and brought to the White House, according to Bloomberg. more...

By John Bowden

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on North Carolina's attorney general to open an investigation into the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, over claims made by five former employees of DeJoy's former company alleging that he reimbursed employees with company funds for donating to GOP candidates. In a tweet Sunday evening, the Senate's top Democrat said that the allegations raised in a report from The Washington Post earlier Sunday required investigation by officials independent of the U.S. Justice Department in Washington D.C.

"These are very serious allegations that must be investigated immediately, independent of the Trump Justice Department," said Schumer in the tweet. "North Carolina’s Attorney General—an elected official who is independent of Donald Trump—is the right person to start this investigation." His remarks came after a former human resources manager, among others, told the Post that DeJoy had violated federal law earlier in his career by pressuring employees of his company to make donations to Republican candidates before reimbursing them with company funds. A spokesperson for DeJoy has denied that he ever sought to improperly pressure employees, and did not address allegations that he reimbursed employees.

By Daniel Politi

President Donald Trump’s November 2018 trip to France is again in the news because of his canceled trip to a cemetery for fallen Marines and allegations that he disparaged veterans. But Bloomberg reports on another aspect of the trip that raised more than a few eyebrows. After Trump’s cemetery trip was canceled, the president suddenly had a few hours to kill inside the U.S. ambassador’s historic residence in Paris and it seems that during that time he took a particular liking to a few pieces of art. The next day, he ordered a Benjamin Franklin bust, a Franklin portrait and a set of figurines of Greek mythical characters be loaded on Air Force One to go back to Washington with him, reports Bloomberg.

The ambassador was reportedly surprised by the move but didn’t raise any objections with Trump joking the art could come back “in six years,” when his second term would be coming to an end. Not everyone was happy with the president’s decision as some in the State Department exchanged tersely worded emails with White House officials. But after all the hand-wringing it was decided that the move was legal because the art is government property.

The Trump administration wanted to end the 2020 census a month early. A judge temporarily blocked its plan.
By Riley Beggin

A federal judge ruled Saturday that the Trump administration must stop plans to halt in-person census counting early — at least temporarily. The long-term fight over the administration’s efforts to shorten the census data collection period will continue under the decision, which resulted in a temporary restraining order from US District Judge Lucy Koh of Northern California. Koh’s order requires the administration to stop scaling back counting efforts until at least September 17, when another court hearing will help determine when counting will end.

The potential consequences are vast: The census count influences not only the number of representatives each state gets in Congress, but how much federal funding each state receives — and how voting district lines are drawn for the next decade. Ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, census data collection was scheduled to conclude on August 15; however it was extended until October 31 given the challenges the pandemic created, particularly around in person outreach — a key way of ensuring hard to count populations are included in the final tally.

In early August, the bureau announced it would end counting at the end of September instead, arguing doing so was necessary to meet the December 31 deadline to send the final numbers to Congress. Work to wind down counting is already underway, according to the associate director of the census, who said in court filings that the agency had already started firing temporary employees in some areas. A number of civil rights groups, local governments, and the Navajo Nation — among others — sued over the new deadline, and Koh determined communities would likely experience irreparable harm if the census count was cut short.

By Alexis Benveniste, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, said his magazine's story about Trump calling Americans who died in battle "losers" and "suckers," was just the tip of the iceberg. "I would fully expect more reporting to come out about this and more confirmation and new pieces of information in the coming days and weeks," Goldberg told CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" Sunday. "We have a responsibility and we're going to do it regardless of what he says."

The magazine received backlash -- from Trump and many others -- for attributing the information to four anonymous sources. CNN has confirmed several aspects of The Atlantic's reporting, also with sources who chose to remain anonymous. But Goldberg said that's how the media is able to do its job of uncovering stories that take place behind closed doors. "We all have to use anonymous sources, especially in a climate where the president of the United States tries to actively intimidate," Goldberg said of his editorial decision to cite nameless people. "These are not people who are anonymous to me." Carl Bernstein, the investigate reporter known for breaking the Watergate story that took down President Richard Nixon, told Stelter on Reliable Sources Sunday that anonymous sourcing is often a crucial tool for reporters.

"Almost all 200 of our stories about Watergate were based on anonymous sourcing," he said. Bernstein added that during the Trump era, "reporting is almost uniformly based on anonymous sourcing in part because that's the only way we can get to the truth." When it comes to the current presidency, Bernstein said, "We have to recognize that almost everything we know about the truth of Donald Trump and his presidency comes from reporting," adding, "The fake news is the president's news," and journalists are "doing the real reporting."

White House dismisses as ‘fan fiction’ the tell-all memoir of convicted former fixer who claims Trump is guilty of the same crimes as him
Staff and agencies - the guardian

Michael Cohen’s tell-all memoir makes the case that president Donald Trump is “guilty of the same crimes” that landed his former fixer in federal prison, offering a blow-by-blow account of Trump’s alleged role in a hush money scandal that once overshadowed his presidency. It also alleges that Trump made numerous racist remarks, according to the Washington Post, including saying that Barack Obama only got into Columbia University and Harvard Law School because of “fucking affirmative action”. Trump had “hatred and contempt” for Obama, the book says. Trump began his political career by promoting the “birther” conspiracy theory that falsely claimed Obama was not born in the US. CNN also reports that Cohen’s book claims that before he became president “Trump hired a ‘Faux-Bama’ to participate in a video in which Trump ‘ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him’.” CNN included a picture it said was from the book of Trump in an office facing a black man across a desk.

Michael Cohen’s tell-all memoir makes the case that president Donald Trump is “guilty of the same crimes” that landed his former fixer in federal prison, offering a blow-by-blow account of Trump’s alleged role in a hush money scandal that once overshadowed his presidency. It also alleges that Trump made numerous racist remarks, according to the Washington Post, including saying that Barack Obama only got into Columbia University and Harvard Law School because of “fucking affirmative action”. Trump had “hatred and contempt” for Obama, the book says. Trump began his political career by promoting the “birther” conspiracy theory that falsely claimed Obama was not born in the US. CNN also reports that Cohen’s book claims that before he became president “Trump hired a ‘Faux-Bama’ to participate in a video in which Trump ‘ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him’.” CNN included a picture it said was from the book of Trump in an office facing a black man across a desk.

According to the Post, Cohen alleges that the US president has a “low opinion of all black folks”. Trump said: “Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a shithole. They are all complete fucking toilets,” Cohen claims, and praised apartheid-era South Africa, saying: “Mandela fucked the whole country up. Now it’s a shithole. Fuck Mandela. He was no leader.” Of all the crises Cohen confronted working for Trump, none proved as vexing as the adult film actor Stormy Daniels and her claims of an extramarital affair with Trump, Cohen writes in Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J Trump. more...

William Cummings USA TODAY

Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Sunday that if President Donald Trump disparaged fallen U.S. soldiers by calling them "losers," as was reported by The Atlantic and several other news outlets, it was "despicable" and unsuitable for the person in charge of America's armed forces. Trump has strongly denied The Atlantic report, based on four anonymous sources, that he called dead and wounded U.S. service members "losers and suckers." The president told reporters Thursday, "I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more."  Several media outlets, including the Associated Press and Fox News, have since confirmed many of the quotes used in The Atlantic piece.

Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran and two-term Republican senator, told ABC News "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz that if Trump's reported comments are "real, it's beneath the dignity of any commander in chief. Truly they're despicable." Hagel said that while the report was based on anonymous sources, the remarks fit with a pattern of previous statements and actions. He cited Trump's past comments about the late Sen. John McCain as well as three former military general who served in his own Cabinet: former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former national security adviser William McMaster and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. He also accused the president of using veteran and active-duty troops as political "props."

Mayowa Tijani, AFP Nigeria

Multiple posts shared thousands of times on Facebook claim that the United States has officially declared Nigeria a “terrorist and unstable nation”. They also allege that US President Donald Trump has “rejected” a new arms deal with the West African country. The claims are false: Nigeria has not been designated a terrorist state and Trump in 2018 overturned an arms embargo imposed by his predecessor Barack Obama. “Breaking News: Trump Rejects New Arms Deal with Nigeria,” reads the headline on a post shared more than 1,000 times.

Showing a picture of Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, it claims that the “United States GOVERNMENT has OFFICIALLY declared NIGERIA a Terrorist and unstable nation and vowed never to sell weapons to them for violation of human right against it citizens (sic)”. The post has also been shared here, here and here, while a different picture with the same claim was shared here.

Nigeria declared a terrorist nation?
The United States has never declared Nigeria a terrorist nation, according to its list of state sponsors of terrorism, which is updated from time to time.  The list currently includes North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Syria.  However, the US recently issued a travel advisory urging its citizens to avoid some regions in Nigeria “due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime”.

Al Jazeera English

A US presidential election during a pandemic is unprecedented. So a lot of Americans plan to vote by mail to stay safe.
But President Trump has attacked mail-in voting and says it raises the risk of fraud. So how does postal voting work? Why does Trump hate the idea? And why did the president replace the postmaster general during an election year?

Tom Porter

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, has described his ex-boss' obsessive hatred of President Barack Obama in extracts from his upcoming memoir published by news outlets Saturday. In an extract of Cohen's "Disloyalty: A Memoir," published by CNN and the Washington Post, Cohen claims that Trump described Obama as a "Manchurian candidate" who owed his place at Columbia University and Harvard Law School to "f---ing affirmative action." According to the CNN extract, Trump, in pursuing his grudge against Obama, hired a lookalike "Fauxbama" and "ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him" in a bizarre video.

In the book, reports CNN, Cohen does not name the man hired to play Obama or say on what date the incident took place, but does include a picture from the video. It shows Trump sitting across his Trump Tower desk from a man resembling Obama. On the desk in front of Trump are two books, one with Obama's name on the front.

As he has done with other aspects of the presidency, Donald J. Trump has redefined the practice in ways that have unsettled even some Republicans.
By Eric Lipton

WASHINGTON — President Trump was proudly litigious before his victory in 2016 and has remained so in the White House. But one big factor has changed: He has drawn on campaign donations as a piggy bank for his legal expenses to a degree far greater than any of his predecessors. In New York, Mr. Trump dispatched a team of lawyers to seek damages of more than $1 million from a former campaign worker after she claimed she had been the target of sexual discrimination and harassment by another aide. The lawyers have been paid $1.5 million by the Trump campaign for work on the case and others related to the president.

In Washington, Mr. Trump and his campaign affiliates hired lawyers to assist members of his staff and family — including a onetime bodyguard, his oldest son and his son-in-law — as they were pulled into investigations related to Russia and Ukraine. The Republican National Committee has paid at least $2.5 million in legal bills to the firms that did this and other legal work. In California, Mr. Trump sued to block a law that would have forced him to release his taxes if he wanted to run for re-election. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have paid the law firm handling this case, among others, $1.8 million.

In this members-only episode of The New Abnormal, Lev Parnas spills the tea on Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Ukraine saga, and how the “cult” talks smack on their own leader.
The Daily Beast

Lev Parnas has been a major character in the ongoing Trumpworld corruption saga and was even arrested for his role in it all. These days, he is choosing to spill the tea. The former ally of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani joined this bonus members-only episode of The New Abnormal to come clean about his complicity in the Trump “cult,” how he started to “drink the Kool-Aid” (“I was approached by a couple of gentlemen in Florida to hold a fundraiser for [Trump]”) and what he knows about Ukraine.

Ashley Collman

Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders describes one of her former colleagues as a "foulmouthed Jew" in her new memoir. In "Speaking for Myself: Faith Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House," Sanders describes former White House communications team colleague Josh Raffel as "a liberal, aggressive, foulmouthed Jew from New York City," according to Jewish Insider, which obtained a preview copy of the book.

Despite being "pretty much his total opposite," Sanders, born in Hope, Arkansas, says she grew to love Raffel during their time working together. "He is one of the funniest people I know, intensely loyal, and probably the most talented communications strategist I've ever worked with," Sanders writes. "Nobody in the White House could work a story better than Josh, and he was always one of the first colleagues I turned to for help on the toughest assignments."

The Border Patrol video includes false and misleading headlines and a fictionalized murder set to horror-movie music.
Jean Guerrero

The Trump administration’s white supremacist propaganda machine removed a video on Saturday that it had posted earlier in the week. The removal came hours after this story, which has been updated, reported on its use of false migrant crime statistics and a fictionalized story about a dark-skinned migrant murdering a man with a knife.

The video had been uploaded to YouTube on Thursday by Border Patrol, part of the Department of Homeland Security, which did not respond to a request for comment about it on Friday and also did not immediately respond to a request Saturday evening for comment on its removal. According to YouTube, the video, which had been viewed about 1,500 times as of Saturday afternoon, "has been removed by the uploader."


Joe Biden declares Donald Trump 'unfit' for presidency as anger grows over media reports he disparaged fallen soldiers. US President Donald Trump has come under fire over reports he mocked the country's war dead as "suckers" and "losers", with Joe Biden, his main opponent in the upcoming presidential election, declaring him "unfit" for the commander-in-chief role. Biden's comments on Friday came as Trump again sought to dismiss as "false" the alleged comments, first reported on by The Atlantic magazine and then by The Associated Press news agency.

Voice cracking, Biden told reporters in Delaware that "you know in your gut" Trump's comments, if true, are "deplorable". "I've just never been as disappointed, in my whole career, with a leader that I've worked with, president or otherwise," Biden added. "If the article is true - and it appears to be, based on other things he's said - it is absolutely damning. It is a disgrace." Trump, in the Oval Office, said no apology was necessary, because it was a "fake story". The allegations, sourced anonymously, describe multiple offensive comments by the president towards killed and captured US service members during a trip to France in November 2018.

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

(CNN) A federal judge issued an order Friday blocking the US government from detaining migrant children in hotels, a practice that has been a key part of a secretive new system that immigration advocates had warned was putting kids in danger. The Department of Homeland Security must stop placing minors in hotels and transfer them to licensed facilities by September 15, Judge Dolly M. Gee said, noting that conditions in hotels "are not adequately safe and do not sufficiently account for the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors in detention."

Immigration and civil rights groups had said the growing use of hotels to detain children and families during the coronavirus pandemic amounted to a shadow immigration system that skirted the law. They alleged the hotel detentions violated children's rights under the 1997 Flores settlement, which limits the length of time and conditions under which US officials can detain immigrant children. Judge Gee's order applies to unaccompanied minors and children detained with family members. It provides exceptions for children to be detained in hotels for one or two nights while in transit or prior to flights.

By Robert Farley

Elections officials and voting experts say President Donald Trump gave bad advice when he encouraged mail-in voters to show up at polling places on Election Day and cast an in-person ballot if poll workers can’t confirm that their mail-in ballot was received. It is unnecessary, will likely cause long delays at polling places, and could be illegal. In many states, poll workers will not know whether a mail-in ballot has been received and accepted. Besides, voters in the vast majority of states can check the status of their mail-in ballot online. Even in states without online tracking systems, voters can call their local elections offices to check their ballot status. (See this spreadsheet for links to state tracking systems.) Also, some states accept and count ballots after Election Day if they were postmarked by Nov. 3.

A voter unsure if their ballot has been received would only be allowed a provisional ballot. Those ballots are counted after the election, and if it is determined that a mail-in vote was received from the same voter, the provisional ballot would be discarded. Trump raised eyebrows with comments in an interview with WECT TV6  in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Sept. 2. when he was asked if he had confidence in the estimated 600,000 votes that will be cast by mail-in ballot in the state.

BBC

President Donald Trump has refused to condemn Russia over the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, saying he has not seen proof. He said the case was "tragic" but urged reporters to focus instead on China, which he said was a bigger threat to the world than Russia. Nato and Germany say there is "proof beyond doubt" that Mr Navalny was attacked with a Novichok nerve agent. His team says he was poisoned on the Kremlin's orders. Russia denies this. On Saturday, the Russian foreign ministry suggested that if a Novichok-type nerve agent had indeed been used, it did not necessarily originate in Russia. Mr Navalny - an anti-corruption campaigner who has long been the most prominent face of opposition to President Vladimir Putin in Russia - is in a coma in a Berlin hospital having been airlifted there from Siberia, where he fell ill.

What did Trump say?
Speaking at a press event on Friday, he said he had yet to see evidence of poisoning in the case. "So I don't know exactly what happened. I think it's tragic, it's terrible, it shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet but I will take a look," he said. He also stopped short of criticising Mr Putin and said Beijing posed a greater threat. "It is interesting that everybody's always mentioning Russia and I don't mind you mentioning Russia but I think probably China at this point is a nation that you should be talking about much more so," he said.

What is Nato's position?
Tests at a military laboratory in Germany show "beyond doubt" the presence of a Novichok nerve agent, the German government and Nato say. On Friday Nato called for Russia to disclose its Novichok nerve agent programme to international monitors. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said members were united in condemning the "horrific" attack on Mr Navalny.

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