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The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
The Daily Show puzzles over some of Donald Trump’s most baffling attempts to explain how the world works, including his takes on 5G, windmills, trade deals and more.

Trump claims he has 'absolute right' to order US companies out of China under 1977 law
By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump claimed he has the "absolute right" to "order" US companies to stop doing business with China that would involve using his broad executive authority in a new and unprecedented way under a 1977 law.
On Friday, China unveiled a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods, the latest escalation in an on-going trade war that's putting a strain on the world's two largest economies. In response, Trump wrote on Twitter later Friday: "Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China including bringing ...your companies HOME and making your products in the USA."
When leaving the White House for the G7 summit in France, Trump told reporters, "I have the absolute right to do that, but we'll see how it goes." He later explained that he was referring to the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and in a Friday tweet wrote: "For all of the Fake News Reporters that don't have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. Case closed!" Trump's latest comments again raise questions as to how far the President's authority goes under the IEEPA. In May, Trump threatened to slap Mexico with punitive tariffs unless it slowed the passage of migrants from Central America to the US. The IEEPA, according to the Congressional Research Service, has never been invoked to impose tariffs, and Trump ultimately drew back at the last minute. The IEEPA, passed in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam, gives Trump "broad authority to regulate a variety of economic transactions following a declaration of national emergency," according to an analysis by the CRS. Those presidential powers can be used "to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat....to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States." Under the IEEPA, the President has to consult with Congress before invoking his authority and, after declaring a national emergency, send a report to Congress explaining why. This authority has been used frequently; there have been 54 national emergencies, 29 of which are ongoing. In the first use of the IEEPA, during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, President Jimmy Carter imposed trade sanctions against Iran, freezing Iranian assets in the US, according to CRS. Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas and a CNN legal analyst, told CNN in May that what Trump wanted to do under the law with Mexico may have been within the authority given to the White House by Congress -- though it might not have been what Congress ever intended.

In a series of frantic and lengthy cable news interviews Thursday, the just-resigned CEO of Overstock.com wove a tale of intrigue, misconduct by federal “men in black” and fear of being “ground into a dust” by a political forces who he said wanted him quiet. In interviews on Fox News, Fox Business Network and CNN, Byrne told his complicated story, casting himself as a lowly security clearance holder who provided information on alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, with whom he said he had a relationship. The extent to which Byrne’s claims are true remains an open question. “The FBI has no comment,” Bureau spokesperson Carol Cratty told TPM in an email, presented with the businessman’s claims. Byrne’s bizarrely public interjection into the Trump-Russia story began with an Aug. 12 press bulletin, “Overstock.com CEO Comments on Deep State, Withholds Further Comment.” He claimed that starting in 2015 he’d been an unwitting source of information for “political espionage conducted against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (and to a lesser degree, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz).” In the days after the press release, Overstock’s share price plummeted. In two articles by Fox News contributor Sara Carter for which Byrne served as a source, one in July and one on the day of his Overstock press bulletin, Byrne claimed he’d had a relationship with the alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, rekindling it in mid-2016, he said, at the request of “men in black” who were aware that Butina was a foreign agent. Byrne also alleged that he had shared exculpatory information about Butina with the government, which it then withheld from Butina’s defense team. He also claimed to have told his story to the Justice Department — which he’s celebrated as having returned to “rule of law” under Attorney General Bill Barr. “I ended up in the center of the Russian and the Clinton investigations,” Byrne told Fox Business host David Asman on Aug. 12. “I have all the answers. I have been sitting on them waiting for America to get there.”

by Spencer Kimball
They brew beer, make musical instruments, publish children’s books and design headphones. Their industries are diverse, but they all have something in common: They represent American small and medium-sized businesses that rely on China either for production or essential equipment. And they are dreading President Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs in a trade war that reached new intensity on Friday. The trade fight erupted more than a year ago, but past rounds of import duties have mostly affected parts and components that are not obvious to the average U.S. consumer. It’s this latest round that could impact everything from the craft beer you drink on the weekend to the musical instrument you play or the book your kid reads. While some industries were granted a reprieve until Dec. 15 in the midst of the holiday shopping season, others will face higher tariffs as soon as Sept. 1, just before Labor Day. Trump said on Friday that he “hereby ordered ” American companies to find an alternative to China and make their products in the United States. The president also raised the tariff rate on $300 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 15% in response to Beijing imposing tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods. Small and medium-sized companies are now scrambling to adjust their business plans in response. ‘It’s an unjustified tax’ Adrian Sawczuk has a passion for beer. He’s been a home brewer for a decade now, so when he and his wife, Dara, decided they wanted to open a business together, a brewery was a natural fit.

China said on Saturday it strongly opposes Washington’s decision to levy additional tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods and warned the United States of consequences if it does not end its “wrong actions”. The comments made by China’s Ministry of Commerce came after the U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Friday that Washington will impose an additional 5% duty the Chinese goods, hours after Beijing announced its latest retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, in the latest tit-for-tat moves in their bilateral trade dispute. “Such unilateral and bullying trade protectionism and maximum pressure violates the consensus reached by head of China and United States, violates the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit, and seriously damages the multilateral trade system and the normal international trade order,” China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on Saturday. “China strongly urges the United States not to misjudge the situation or underestimate determination of the Chinese people,” it added. Trump’s latest tariff move, announced on Twitter, said the United States would raise its existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to 30% from the current 25% beginning on Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist People’s Republic of China. At the same time, Trump announced an increase in planned tariffs on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to 15% from 10%. The United States will begin imposing those tariffs on some products starting Sept. 1, but tariffs on about half of those goods have been delayed until Dec. 15. Trump was responding to Beijing’s decision on Friday night that it was planning to impose retaliatory tariff on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports ranging from soybean to ethanol. China will also reinstitute tariffs of 25% on cars and 5% on auto parts suspended last December.

By Richard Gonzales
The Trump administration is making changes to the agency that operates the nation's immigration court system, a move immediately denounced by the immigration judges' union as a power grab. The agency is called the Executive Office for Immigration Review and it is an arm of the Justice Department. Under the interim rule announced Friday, the agency's director will have the power to issue appellate decisions in immigration cases that have not been decided within an allotted timeframe. It also creates a new office of policy within EOIR to implement the administration's immigration policies. The head of the immigration judges' union accused the administration of trying to strip power away from judges and turn the immigration court system into a law enforcement agency. "In an unprecedented attempt at agency overreach to dismantle the Immigration Court, the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) today published a new interim rule, effective next Monday, which takes steps to dismantle the Immigration Court system," Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said in a statement. "DOJ's action ends any transparency and assurance of independent decision making over individual cases."

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - President Donald Trump has a lot of power to make things happen in this country. He can move economic markets with a single tweet. He can destroy a Republican's political career on a whim (see "Flake, Jeff"). He can declare national emergencies -- even if they aren't actual national emergencies. But being president does have its limits. The job is president, not dictator, after all. And again on Friday morning, Trump showed he doesn't totally grasp that crucial difference -- as he took to Twitter to protest $75 billion in new tariffs imposed by China. Tweeteth Trump (bolding is mine): "Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won't let that happen! We don't need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them. The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA. I will be responding to China's Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States. Also, I am ordering all carriers, including Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the Post Office, to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!). Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans a year. President Xi said this would stop - it didn't. Our Economy, because of our gains in the last 2 1/2 years, is MUCH larger than that of China. We will keep it that way!" The language Trump used sounds pretty official, right? "Hereby ordered!" It makes me think of a king reading a proclamation off of a long scroll! Here's the thing: Donald Trump can't order American business to do anything. There's a reason the business world is known as the "private sector" -- because it's not owned or controlled by the government (aka the "public sector.") We don't have state-run industry (or media). The President of the United States can't "order" privately held business to do, well, much of anything. Now, that doesn't mean that Trump can't have any influence. Every CEO will be apprised of Trump's tweets -- if they haven't already been -- and some, in an effort to cozy up to Trump or because they agree with him about the threat posed by China, will look for ways to divest in the country. But that's very different than companies having to look for alternatives to China because the President said so. They, uh, don't.

The tweets captured the president's frustration as his escalating trade war with China heightens the risk of a recession in an election year.
President Donald Trump lobbed firebombs at China, U.S. companies and his handpicked Federal Reserve chief as he warned of an unspecified action against the world’s No. 2 economy coming later Friday — a reflection of Trump’s rising anxiety about an increasingly troubled economic picture at home. Trump responded with fury after taking a pair of blows Friday morning when China announced a fresh round of tariffs and Fed Chairman Jay Powell did not explicitly pledge aggressive interest rate cuts as the president has demanded. Erupting on Twitter, the president vowed a yet-to-be-announced counterattack against Beijing, ordered U.S. companies to find an alternative to doing business with China and suggested Powell could be a “bigger enemy” than the country’s communist leader. It was unclear exactly what Trump meant with his directive to the U.S. companies or whether he plans additional action to execute the order, but the tweets captured the president's frustration as his escalating trade war with China weighs on the economy and heightens the risk of a recession during an election year. "Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue," Trump wrote. "I won’t let that happen! We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them." He continued, "The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA. I will be responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States."

By Kathryn Watson
As President Trump departs for France to represent the U.S. at the G-7 summit of world leaders, the memories of the insults he has leveled against key U.S. allies will still be fresh, and he'll be interacting with some of those same leaders over the next few days. In recent weeks, the president has lashed out at some of the United States' steadfast friends, while offering glowing words for strongmen like North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Russia's Vladimir Putin. In recent days, Mr. Trump has revived his suggestion that Russia should be reinstated into the group of seven leaders of major advanced economies, blaming former President Obama for allowing Russia to annex Crimea. Mr. Trump sometimes suggests America's friends treat her worse than her enemies, particularly on trade, a worldview and approach to international politics that critics say sends the wrong signal to a watching world. "Our allies take advantage of us far greater than our enemies," the president told his audience at a manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania earlier this month.

The bizarre-even-by-Trump-standards past 72 hours, explained
From an ill-fated attempt to purchase Greenland to God comparisons, the past three days have been a lot.
By Aaron Rupar
President Donald Trump repeatedly threatened to release ISIS fighters in Europe as a form of punishment for countries like Germany and France; said he’s strongly considering trying to change the Constitution by executive order (it doesn’t work that way); indicated he hasn’t ruled out trying to illegally serve more than two terms; rewrote history during comments about Russia’s expulsion from the G8 that framed the situation in the most pro-Kremlin manner possible; and, despite five draft deferments, joked about giving himself the Medal of Honor. That was Wednesday. And that’s an incomplete list of all the outlandish stuff Trump said on that day alone. Any of the aforementioned statements would’ve generated major scandals coming from the mouth of any other president. But given the week Trump has been having, they arguably didn’t even make the cut of the five most WTF things he’s said since his New Jersey vacation ended on Monday. Even in the context of a presidency that has regularly veered into surreal territory, the 72-hour period from Monday through Wednesday stood out. From a silly, ill-fated attempt to purchase Greenland that turned into a diplomatic row to amplifying a conspiracy theorist who compared him with God, Trump seems to be out there more than ever before. Here’s a chronological rundown of just some of the lowlights.

Dow skids 500 points lower, stock market wipes out weekly gains as Trump appears to mandate that U.S. companies make products 'home'
By Mark DeCambre
U.S. stocks hit session lows on Friday as President Donald Trump appeared to mandate in a tweet that U.S. companies make their products at home and said he would hold a conference in the afternoon to discuss the matter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.54% fell 500 points, or 1.9% at 25,759, the S&P 500 index SPX, -1.63% fell 2% at 2,865, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -2.02% declined 2.3% lower at 7,806. Trump said "our great American companies" to "immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA." The losses erased weekly gains for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq while the Dow was off 0.1%. The Trump statement comes after the Chinese ministry indicated that it was preparing to raise tariffs in two batches on $75 billion in U.S. imports on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, which would coincide with the dates that the U.S. is slated to increase tariffs on some $300 billion in China goods.

WASHINGTON — Hours after Beijing said it would increase tariffs on American goods in response to President Trump’s latest round of Chinese levies, the president ordered companies in the United States to stop doing business with China and warned of additional retaliation. In a series of angry Twitter posts, Mr. Trump said “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” The president also said he was ordering the United States Postal Service and private American companies like FedEx, Amazon and UPS to search packages from China for the opioid Fentanyl and refuse delivery.

House Democrats say a federal employee has given them evidence of "inappropriate efforts" on Trump tax audit
by Igor Derysh
A federal employee turned over “credible” evidence to House Democrats of possible “inappropriate efforts to influence” the IRS presidential audit process, House lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday. In July, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., sued Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after the latter rejected the panel’s request for six years of Trump’s tax returns. On Tuesday, House lawyers cited the new evidence in a motion asking a federal judge to rule without trial that the Treasury Department is required by law to turn over the president’s tax returns. The motion included a letter from Neal to Mnuchin revealing that the committee in July received an “unsolicited communication” from a federal employee “setting forth credible allegations of ‘evidence of possible misconduct’ — specifically, potential ‘inappropriate efforts to influence’ the mandatory audit program,” Politico reported. In a response two weeks later, Mnuchin rejected Neal’s request for records related to the matter and urged him to take it up with the IRS inspector general. House lawyers said in the motion Tuesday that the new evidence has heightened the need for the committee to receive Trump’s tax returns. The IRS is required to audit the president and vice president each year. Democrats argue that the new evidence requires them to see Trump’s tax returns to ensure the IRS audit process is legitimate. “The Committee needs the requested information to evaluate the integrity of the IRS’s existing program for auditing Presidents’ tax returns — a need only heightened by the Committee’s receipt of whistleblower allegations about improper influence in that program,” the attorneys said. Attorneys for Trump did not address the allegations but submitted their own filing asking the judge to delay any decision on the House motion, arguing that significant legal issues still needed to be worked out. The administration has argued the tax return request serves no legislative purpose. "All told, it took the Committee 180 days to bring this suit (and still another 49 days after that before moving for summary judgment), with little to no explanation for its leisurely pace," the Trump attorneys said in their filing. "The Committee’s purported desire to consider legislation regarding the Presidential audit process does not require that the Court suddenly bring these proceedings to a gallop." But the House filing said that the new evidence shows that “time is of the essence,” Reuters reported. Neal would not allude to what the evidence was but offered to provide it to the court.

By Sarah Jones
“I am the chosen one,” Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday. He looked up to the heavens as he said this, CNBC reports, so perhaps he truly believes that God anointed him to win a trade war with China, which he also started. This analysis is supported by two uniquely cursed presidential tweets, which he unleashed before he spoke to reporters. In them, he quoted remarks by conservative commentator Wayne Allyn Root, who has assigned Trump a lofty and troubling designation.

By Greg Sargent - Opinion writer
A series of mass shootings carried out by deranged men animated by white nationalist ideology — along with the arrests of others allegedly hellbent on carrying out their own carnage — has raised two critical questions. First, does the Trump administration have a comprehensive plan to combat the rising threat of white supremacist and white nationalist terrorism? And second, to what degree does President Trump’s regular trafficking in racist and white nationalist language and tropes — and his tacit winking at such activity — fuel the threat? House Democrats are set to hold hearings this fall that will intensify the focus on these questions, by posing them to officials in Trump’s own administration who are grappling with the rising menace of white nationalist violence. In an interview with me, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said that Democrats are planning to bring in senior national security officials to question them about these matters.

President outdoes himself in new press conference as he attacks the Danish prime minister, Jewish Democrats and the press Donald Trump started off precisely on-message. Strolling to the end of a White House driveway on Wednesday ahead of his departure for a veterans event in Kentucky, the president began speaking while still walking toward a crowd of waiting reporters. “So the economy is doing very, very well,” he said. With fears of a recession stirring and public confidence in the health of the economy dropping for the first time in Trump’s presidency, it was a sound message to project to a skittish nation. But that was as good as it got. What followed might have swept away all previous Trumpian benchmarks for incoherence, self-aggrandizement, prevarication and rancor in a presidency that has seemed before to veer loosely along the rails of reason but may never have come quite so close to spectacularly jumping the tracks. The latest major Trump resignations and firings Over an ensuing half-hour rant, Trump trucked in antisemitic tropes, insulted the Danish prime minister, insisted he wasn’t racist, bragged about the performance of his former Apprentice reality show, denied starting a trade war with China, praised Vladimir Putin and told reporters that he, Trump, was the “Chosen One” – all within hours of referring to himself as the “King of Israel” and tweeting in all caps: “WHERE IS THE FEDERAL RESERVE?”

Morning Joe
Joe Scarborough: ‘Donald trump yesterday embraces the title of the King of Israel’ and ‘the second coming of God’. The Morning Joe team put together a little mash in response to Trump’s outlandish claims.

The president is sick of “disloyal” American Jews, who apparently don’t know what’s good for them. But “Jewish people in Israel love him,” according to the crazed conspiracy theorist Trump quoted on Twitter.
By Bess Levin
It’s been an eventful 18 hours in the fevered mind of Donald Trump. Yesterday, the president unleashed an anti-Semitic rant in the Oval Office in which he declared that Jews who vote for Democrats are either uneducated or disloyal. Unfortunately, with about 70% of Americans Jews being registered Democrats, that’s a lot of disloyalty. So Trump looked elsewhere for answers, and lo, he found an unhinged supporter who says Israelis (the real Jews!) love Trump like the “King of Israel” and “the second coming of God.” Then he cited him on Twitter:  Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump · Aug 21, 2019 “Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world...and the Jewish people in Israel love him.... Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump ....like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God...But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for..... It’s probably self-evident that anyone claiming Trump is the Messiah is not right in the head, but just so it’s on the record, Wayne Allyn Root—a self-described “Jew turned evangelical Christian”—is an unhinged conspiracy theorist who believes the 2017 Las Vegas shooting was a “coordinated Muslim terror attack” by ISIS and that George Soros paid actors to stage the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that included Nazi chants like “Jews will not replace us.”

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
(CNN)There's been a change in President Donald Trump. He used to say he had accomplished more than any other President, a debatable claim. But now he's using messianic language about himself. "I'm the chosen one," he said Wednesday about what he claims is a singular, and still only hoped-for, trade deal with China. That was after he quoted a conspiracy theorist who described him, literally, as being like the King of Israel and said Jews "love him like the second coming of God" - -- also known as the Messiah. Then Trump joked in front of a group of veterans about giving himself the Medal of Honor -- an award that recognizes the highest levels of military valor. "Is this real life?" asked the New York Times Editorial Board on Wednesday in a piece about Trump's decision to cancel a visit to Denmark over its Prime Minister's cool reaction to his idea that the US should buy Greenland. (She was given the designation "nasty" on Wednesday, joining other prominent women who have crossed Trump.) The Times wasn't arguing that the idea of buying Greenland was a bad one but that Trump's decision to go diplomatically nuclear with Denmark -- a tiny country that has been a steady military ally -- over a perceived slight involving a real estate offer that wasn't even officially made is surreal. And that's the point. Trump's reality -- where countries can be bought and sold and where it's worth spending a day rhetorically fighting Denmark -- is different from other people's. His amazingly thin skin, his combative foreign policy, his complete rejection of diplomacy, his demand for complete loyalty all come at a very real public cost. He continues to pursue nuclear talks with a regime run by an infantile strongman with whom he feels he has a good relationship despite most diplomats saying he has enabled anti-US propaganda.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday (20 August) gave a foretaste of his convention-wrecking diplomacy at next weekend’s G7 by calling for Russia – expelled from the group of democracies – to be readmitted. Coming four days before he arrives at the summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz, Trump’s support for President Vladimir Putin was likely to be only the first diplomatic hand grenade unleashed on what used to be a cozy club of rich, Western allies. “I could certainly” support that, he told reporters at the White House. “It’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8, because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.” Russia was kicked out of the old G8 format after the 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, in Ukraine. Putin has also been accused of orchestrating murders of opponents in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, as well as attempting to manipulate the 2016 US election that saw Trump win a surprise victory. But Trump, in comments that may irk G7 partners meeting from Saturday on the French Atlantic coast, declared that Russia had been expelled because his predecessor Barack Obama had been “outsmarted” by Putin.

Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow condemns Trump: "This rhetoric from the president is going to get Jews killed"
By Jake Johnson
Progressive Jews accused President Trump of blaring "straightforward anti-Semitism" after he said from the Oval Office on Tuesday that Jewish Americans who vote for the Democratic Party are either ignorant or disloyal. The smear — which sparked widespread outrage and the trending hashtag #DisloyaltoTrump — came after Trump once again baselessly accused Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., of hating Jews and Israel. "Where has the Democratic Party gone?" Trump said. "Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the state of Israel? I think that any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." IfNotNow, a youth-led progressive Jewish advocacy group, quickly hit back, condemning the president for once again deploying the kind of hate-filled rhetoric that has fueled recent anti-Semitic attacks in the United States. "This is an explicit dual loyalty charge wielded by the president of the United States against 80 percent of American Jews who voted against him," the group said in a statement to Newsweek, alluding to 2018 midterm election data from the Pew Research Center. "It is not merely an anti-Semitic dog whistle — it's a bullhorn to his white nationalist base," said IfNotNow. "American Jews and Democratic voters know full well the impact of the racist policies of Netanyahu and the Israeli government on the Palestinian people. This is why an overwhelming majority ... oppose those policies, like unchecked settlement expansion."

By Ben Winck
A handful of President Trump's favorite economic indicators are turning sour less than a year after he bragged about their performance. Just 11 months ago, the administration briefed the press with several charts that showed the economy was performing well under Trump. Nearly all of the indicators now show a downward trend, with some falling just after the September briefing, New York Times reporter Jim Tankersley first wrote on Tuesday. That hasn't stopped the White House from continuing to praise the economy. Trump lauded it as "incredible" on Tuesday before revealing his administration was considering "various tax reductions" to stimulate consumer spending. The president stressed that any tax cut wouldn't represent an effort to invigorate a slowing economy. "I've been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time," Trump said. "Whether or not we do it now, it's not being done because of recession." Here are four indicators that might suggest otherwise, and what their downward trend means for the US economy:

President Donald Trump claimed to laughter on Wednesday that he sought to give himself a Medal of Honor, but decided not to after being counseled against the move by aides. The offhand remark from the president came during his address to the 75th annual national convention of American Veterans, a volunteer-led veterans service organization also known as AMVETS. At the event in Louisville, Kentucky, Trump singled out for praise WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams. “Thank you, Woody. You’re looking good, Woody. Woody’s looking good,” Trump said. “That was a big day, Medal of Honor. Nothing like the Medal of Honor,” he continued. “I wanted one, but they told me I don't qualify, Woody. I said, 'Can I give it to myself anyway?' They said, 'I don't think that's a good idea.'”

It took Trump two weeks to go from saying he wanted to do something to trying to justify doing nothing.
By Aaron Rupar
On August 7 — days after gunmen using semiautomatic weapons killed 31 people in separate shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — President Donald Trump told reporters he intended to respond to the latest outburst of deadly gun violence with new background checks legislation. “I’m looking to do background checks,” Trump said, without providing any details. “I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before ... [Congress is] getting close to a bill.” “We have to have very meaningful background checks,” he added. What a difference two weeks makes. During a Q&A session with reporters on Wednesday, Trump completely reversed himself, saying, “We already have strong background checks.” He also portrayed the National Rifle Association — which spent $30 million to elect him — as something akin to a co-equal branch of government, and echoed NRA talking points by expressing concern that any new gun control measures would be “a slippery slope.” Pressed by a reporter on how his talking point about “a slippery slope” mimics the NRA’s preferred language on gun control, he added, “No. It’s a Trump talking point ... we have a Second Amendment and our Second Amendment will remain strong.”

By Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly
President Trump’s proclivity for spouting exaggerated numbers, unwarranted boasts and outright falsehoods has continued at a remarkable pace. As of Aug. 5, his 928th day in office, he had made 12,019 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement the president has uttered. Trump crossed the 10,000 mark on April 26, and he has been averaging about 20 fishy claims a day since then. From the start of his presidency, he has averaged about 13 such claims a day. About one-fifth of these claims are about immigration, his signature issue — a percentage that has grown since the government shut down over funding for his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, his most repeated claim — 190 times — is that his border wall is being built. Congress balked at funding the concrete barrier he envisioned, so he has tried to pitch bollard fencing and repairs of existing barriers as “a wall.”

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN)In the midst of answering a question about the ongoing trade war with China on Wednesday, President Donald Trump turned from reporters, looked to heavens and proclaimed, "I am the chosen one." He was, ostensibly, joking. The point he was trying to make is that past presidents should have dealt with the inequities in the United States' relationship with China but didn't, leaving him to handle it. But as always with Trump, his jokes are freighted with what he believes to be lots and lots of truth. Two serious strains of Trump thought are at work in the "chosen one" moment. First, Trump does believe he is special and unique. In his defense, he's far from the first president or even presidential candidate to believe that. As Beto O'Rourke famously/infamously told Vanity Fair in announcing his 2020 presidential campaign: "Man, I'm just I'm just born to be in it." Trump's view of himself as special, of course, didn't arrive when he got elected president in 2016. While that stunning victory was perhaps the strongest evidence -- in Trump's mind -- of just how special (and how much better) he is, it's not as though he didn't think of himself that way prior to November 8, 2016. As he wrote in "The Art of the Deal" (Trump's second favorite book behind the Bible, he says): "I like thinking big. I always have. To me it's very simple: if you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big. Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage." Since being elected president, Trump has repeatedly told attendees at his campaign rallies that they should be so thankful he won because had Hillary Clinton won the economy would have collapsed and we would be at war with North Korea -- among other catastrophes. (It's, uh, impossible to prove these hypotheticals true or false.)

President Donald Trump said again he was looking "very seriously" at ending the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil.
Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he was looking “very seriously” at ending the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil. Trump spoke to reporters as he departed the White House for a speech in Louisville, Kentucky. He said birthright citizenship was “frankly ridiculous.” “We’re looking at it very, very seriously,” he said. This isn’t the first time Trump has claimed he’d do away with it — he said something similar in October. But the citizenship proposal would inevitably spark a longshot legal battle over whether the president can alter the long accepted understanding that the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil, regardless of a parent’s immigration status. James Ho, a conservative Trump-appointed federal appeals court judge, wrote in 2006, before his appointment, that birthright citizenship “is protected no less for children of undocumented persons than for descendants of Mayflower passengers.”

By Brett Samuels
President Trump on Wednesday signed a memorandum directing the Department of Education to eliminate all federal student loan debt owed by tens of thousands of severely disabled veterans. Trump signed the directive following a speech to AMVETS at the organization's 75th annual convention in Kentucky. The announcement drew applause from those in attendance, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. "Nobody can complain about that, right?" Trump said. "The debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. It will be gone. They can sleep well tonight."

By Nancy Altman, Opinion Contributor
Donald Trump recently floated cutting the Social Security contribution rate. Voters should not be fooled by this Trojan horse. It looks like a gift to working Americans. In reality, it is part of a longstanding effort to end Social Security. The proposed cut is supposedly about stimulating the economy. But there are many better ways to achieve that goal. Indeed, cutting the Social Security contribution rate is a particularly poor way. The largest breaks would go to those with higher incomes — who are more likely to simply save the cut and less likely to spend it. Moreover, about one-fourth of those who work for state and local governments don’t participate in Social Security. Therefore, they would get nothing. If Trump truly wanted to stimulate the economy through tax breaks, there are much more targeted, efficient ways to do that. He could reinstate the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, which President Obama and the Democrats in Congress employed in 2009 and 2010. Unlike cutting the Social Security contribution rate, that tax cut was targeted to those who were least likely to simply save it and most likely to spend it in their local economies immediately.

By Kif Leswing
President Donald Trump likes Apple CEO Tim Cook. But it’s not necessarily because he’s running a big and successful business. Rather, Trump said Cook calls him “whenever there is a problem.” “That’s why he’s a great executive,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday outside the White House. “Because he calls me and others don’t.” Last week, Cook joined Trump for dinner at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Their warm relationship stands in stark contrast to Trump’s position on other top executives, whom he frequently antagonizes. “Others go out and hire very expensive consultants,” Trump said. “Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly.” Cook may be willing to reach out because Apple has a lot at stake when it comes to policy decisions. The company does the majority of its final device assembly in China, putting products such as the iPhone at risk when the Trump administration announces tariffs on Chinese imports. Trump has said he wants Apple to make its products in the U.S. - Sound like Trump feelings are hurt because the other CEO do not call him, poor baby.

By Donna Borak, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump is trying to outrun a possible recession as he runs for reelection in 2020, but his efforts to keep the economy going now might make any downturn harder to fix. Trump says he's looking at a range of proposals to keep the economy moving -- everything from giving workers a pay bump by cutting payroll taxes to cutting capital gains taxes for investors. But economists say attempts by the President to get ahead of a slowdown today would leave policymakers with far less ammunition to fend off further calamities down the road. "We're shooting all the arrows before we even need to start shooting," said Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. "If things turn out badly, our conventional tools will have been exhausted to a great degree." During past downturns, both Democrats and Republicans -- including former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- have leaned on tools like one-time tax rebates or extended unemployment benefits to spur consumer spending, a major driver of economic growth. The US economy appears -- at least for now -- to be chugging along, with growth at 2.1%. Wages for workers have grown. Unemployment remains at a historic 50-year low. And consumers are still spending at a clip at their favorite retailers. Concerns about a slowdown and an eventual general recession has increased since the beginning of August as the chances of a trade deal with China have receded. Several major countries have reported poor growth, with Germany's economy contracting slightly. Classic market indicators are blinking red, with the yield curve on US bonds (briefly) inverting last week for the first time since the pre-recession year of 2007. JPMorgan Chase warned last week that the probability of a downturn over the next 12 months has climbed to 40%. Bank of America says the odds of a recession next year are greater than 30%. And Goldman Sachs says the recession risk is rising because of Trump's trade war, though the bank's head said last week he's not concerned about an imminent crisis.

By Lisette Voytko
Topline: Just hours after accusing Jewish people who vote for Democrats of “disloyalty” (which drew widespread condemnation), President Trump quoted a controversial radio host who called him the “King of Israel” and “the second coming of God,” in the latest of a series of inflammatory comments about Jews. In his tweet, Trump thanked Wayne Allyn Root, considered a “conspiracy theorist” by the Washington Post and others, for the tweets, calling them “very nice words.” Trump followed his tweets by saying “I am the chosen one” during an interview with White House reporters. He was referring to his role in managing the trade war with China. #DisloyalToTrump and #KingofIsrael soon began to trend on Twitter. Trump also caused a firestorm of controversy last week when he encouraged Israel to bar Muslim congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting the country⁠—which Israel acted upon.

By Kevin Breuninger
President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared himself “the Chosen One” as he defended his administration’s actions in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The president’s self-aggrandizing remark followed a string of criticisms aimed at his predecessors, whom he claimed had ignored China’s alleged malpractice on trade. “This isn’t my trade war, this is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “Somebody had to do it,” the president said. He added, while looking to the heavens: “I am the Chosen One.” Trump continued: “Somebody had to do it, so I’m taking on China. I’m taking on China on trade, and you know what? We’re winning.” “I was put here by people,” the president said. “I was put here by people to do a great job. And that’s what I’m doing.”

By Tom Porter
President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the prospect of the US falling into recession as "irrelevant" and defended his decision to wage a trade war with China. During a White House visit by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump was asked about concerns that his trade war with China was dragging down the US economy. "Somebody had to take China on," Trump replied. "And it's about time, whether it's good for our country, or bad for our country short term. "Long term, it's imperative that somebody does this because our country cannot continue to pay China $500 billion because stupid people are running it. "I don't mind this question. Whether it's good or bad, the short term is irrelevant. We have to solve the problem with China because they're taking out $500 billion a year plus. And that doesn't include intellectual-property theft and other things."

The White House is weighing cuts to corporate and payroll taxes, among other measures, to cushion the U.S. economy if an election-year recession hits. In public, President Donald Trump and top White House officials keep extolling the strength of the U.S. economy. In private, they’re increasingly worrying about a global economic slowdown triggering a U.S. recession — and weighing options to shore up the economy ahead of an election year. At a fundraising luncheon this week in Jackson, Wyo., headlined by both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged the risks to the GOP elite behind closed doors. If the U.S. were to face a recession, it would be “moderate and short,” Mulvaney told roughly 50 donors, according to an attendee. White House officials are discussing a broader package of measures than previously disclosed, including a cut of an additional percentage point or two to the corporate tax rate. That’s on top of a potential payroll tax cut, which the Obama administration had used to shore up the economy, and a move to index the capital gains rate to inflation, which potentially could be done through an executive order and has internal support from the National Economic Council, the vice president’s office and Mulvaney. Pegging the capital gains rate to inflation would exempt some gains from taxation. “We have been talking about indexing for a long time,” Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “I can do it directly.”

President Donald Trump said that the administration is looking at possible tax cuts, but reiterated that the US economy is still growing and remains very far from a recession. "We're looking at various tax rate deductions but I'm looking at that all the time ... that's one of the reasons we're in such a strong economic position. We're, right now, the No. 1 country anywhere in the world by far as an economy," Trump told press during a White House meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. But despite Trump's public-facing vociferousness about the strength of the economy on his watch and aides stating they have no concerns about a recession, officials have discussed the possibility of a potential payroll tax cut to stave off anxiety over an economic slowdown in recent days.

By Maegan Vazquez and Jim Acosta, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats, saying "it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." Trump was speaking to the press in the Oval Office about two Democratic congresswomen barred from entering Israel over their involvement in the movement to end international support for the country because of its policies toward Palestinians. "Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this -- even three years ago -- of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people -- I can't believe we're even having this conversation," Trump added. "Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel?" He added, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat -- it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." The remark led critics to argue the President was dabbling in the anti-Semitic trope of "dual loyalty," which questions the loyalty of Jewish citizens. "It's unclear who @POTUS is claiming Jews would be 'disloyal' to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews. As we've said before, it's possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims. It's long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football," Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted later Tuesday.

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business)Either you reject the lies, or you accept the lies.
Of all the divides in American life today, this is the divide I keep thinking about. President Trump and his allies lie with reckless abandon. They make dishonest politicians from the past look like amateurs. When they get called out, they lie about the lying. Trump did this on Wednesday after Robert Mueller contradicted several of the president's fictions about the Mueller Report. When PBS "NewsHour" correspondent Yamiche Alcindor pointed this out to him, citing Mueller's own words, Trump denied it and insulted Alcindor. I'm often told that people are "numb" to Trump's noise and nonsense. But let's examine this for a minute: Why is there not more outrage? Some people, primarily fans of Trump, excuse or rationalize the lies for various reasons. Other people simply cannot. So much of the anti-Trump outrage from progressives and anti-Trump conservatives and columnists and pundits boils down to "He's deceiving you. He's lying to your face. Don't you care?" And the press is right smack dab in the middle of this because advocating for facts gets you labeled "fake news." Which is, again, another lie. Old-fashioned tenets of the news business fade away in this fog of disinformation. For example: "What the president says is news." I still think that's true, but when he's telling you not to believe your own eyes and ears, is it really news?

By Bess Levin
Newly obtained documents show the brazen methods with which the president inflated his assets to banks and insurance companies. During his 72 years on Earth, Donald Trump has told something like 2,936,880 lies, based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations. (According to The Washington Post, the president has told at least 9,179 whoppers just since taking the oath of office—so, you do the math.) Sometimes, the lies are big, like the one he told about seeing “thousands” of supposed terrorist sympathizers “cheering” from New Jersey as the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11. Other times, the lies are small and largely pointless, like his claim that he didn’t call Tim Cook “Tim Apple” when he 100 percent did, on-camera, in a room full of people. Frequently, the lies revolve around his net worth, including its origin (his father) and how big it is (a lot smaller than he claims). As we learned from Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony last month and a New York Times exposé last week, Trump’s lies about his wealth haven’t been confined to bragging about it on TV, but have also allegedly manifested in financial statements sent to banks and insurance companies, in which the ex-real-estate developer inflated his assets in order to obtain loans. And now, thanks to documents obtained by the Post, we have some fun examples of his most absurd financial claims, many of which are now under scrutiny. During his 72 years on Earth, Donald Trump has told something like 2,936,880 lies, based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations. (According to The Washington Post, the president has told at least 9,179 whoppers just since taking the oath of office—so, you do the math.) Sometimes, the lies are big, like the one he told about seeing “thousands” of supposed terrorist sympathizers “cheering” from New Jersey as the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11. Other times, the lies are small and largely pointless, like his claim that he didn’t call Tim Cook “Tim Apple” when he 100 percent did, on-camera, in a room full of people. Frequently, the lies revolve around his net worth, including its origin (his father) and how big it is (a lot smaller than he claims). As we learned from Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony last month and a New York Times exposé last week, Trump’s lies about his wealth haven’t been confined to bragging about it on TV, but have also allegedly manifested in financial statements sent to banks and insurance companies, in which the ex-real-estate developer inflated his assets in order to obtain loans. And now, thanks to documents obtained by the Post, we have some fun examples of his most absurd financial claims, many of which are now under scrutiny.

By Tom Porter
The Trump administration is considering reversing some of US President Donald Trump's signature tariffs against China as one of a range of measures that would be meant to protect a weakening US economy from recession, The New York Times reported late Monday. In public, Trump and senior administration officials have been bullish about the prospects for the US economy following signs in the bond market last week that could herald a coming recession. It was reported last week that officials were reluctant to prepare for recession amid fears that doing so could weaken confidence in the US economy and hasten a downturn. - If the economy is as good as Trump claims, why is Trump considering reversing his signature tariffs against China to protect a weakening US economy from recession?

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - Listen carefully to how President Donald Trump answered a question Sunday about his support for expanded gun control measures:
"So, Congress is working on that. They have bipartisan committees working on background checks and various other things. And we'll see. I don't want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don't want them to forget that, because it is. It's a mental health problem. And as I say -- and I said the other night in New Hampshire; we had an incredible evening -- I said: It's the people that pull the trigger. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger." And then, when pressed on his recently expressed support for expanded background checks in the wake of twin mass murders in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Trump said this on Sunday: "I'm also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment, more so than most Presidents would be. People don't realize we have very strong background checks right now." Those two responses read like a press release from the National Rifle Association. All the elements are there:

By Rebecca Klar
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said on Monday that he’s assembling a team of former Cabinet members to speak out against President Trump in an effort to find a Republican challenger to the president in 2020. “I'm in the process of putting together a team of people that feel the exact same way that I do. This is not a ‘Never Trump’ situation, this is not just screeching rhetoric. This is, 'OK, the guy's unstable, everyone inside knows it, everyone outside knows it, let’s see if we can find a viable alternative,'” Scaramucci said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.” “Moreover, I’ve got to get some of these former Cabinet officials in unity to speak up about it.” Scaramucci would not reveal names of former officials that he said feel that Trump is unstable. But he said he expects more to come out publicly in upcoming months. “I predict in middle or late fall there will be a trove of people that will come together in unity to say this is what’s going on. This is how the person’s acting. This is why there’s nobody inside the White House he’s taking any advice from,” Scaramucci said. He also did not disclose names of possible candidates he’s looking to back along with the team he’s looking to assemble.

Ben Ray Luján, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is the highest-ranking House Democrat to support an impeachment investigation. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the No. 4 House Democrat, announced his support for an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump on Monday. Luján, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is the highest-ranking House Democrat to back impeachment thus far. The New Mexico Democrat, who currently serves as assistant speaker, is running to fill an open Senate seat in his home state next year.

By Scott Neuman
The Pentagon says it has tested a U.S. missile that exceeds limits set down by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Cold War agreement between Washington and Moscow that was officially scrapped less than three weeks ago. In Sunday's test off the coast of California, a modified Navy Tomahawk cruise missile flew more than 310 miles (500 kilometers). It marks a first for the U.S. since the arms-control treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The INF Treaty had barred the possession, production or flight-testing of all types of missiles with a range between 310 miles and 3,417 miles (500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers) — nuclear weapons considered especially destabilizing because of their short flight times. The Soviet Union and the U.S. had both deployed such weapons in Europe. The Pentagon's announcement on Monday said the missile was fired from a ground mobile launcher on San Nicolas Island, Calif., and "accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight." Hinting that the test was likely the beginning of a program to build additional weapons once barred by the treaty, it added: "Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform [the Department of Defense's] development of future intermediate-range capabilities."

By Damian Paletta
Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing growing concerns about the economy among President Trump’s top economic aides. The talks are still in their early stages and have included a range of other tax breaks. The officials also have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve any of these measures, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy. Even though the discussions within the White House had begun, the White House released a statement disputing that the payroll tax idea was actively under “consideration.” - If the economy is as good as Trump claims, why are they discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut?

By Scott Horsley
President Trump and his economic team are downplaying warnings of slower economic growth, despite signals from the bond market that a recession could be looming. But the president is also calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again to help boost growth. "Our Economy is very strong," Trump tweeted Monday, accusing Democrats of badmouthing economic conditions to boost their chances in the 2020 election. "I don't think we're having a recession," Trump told reporters on Sunday. "We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money. They're buying." White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also stressed consumer spending during appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows. "I don't see a recession," Kudlow said on NBC's Meet the Press, echoing his boss. "Consumers are working at higher wages. They are spending at a rapid pace." Consumer spending is a major pillar of the U.S. economy, and data from the Commerce Department last week showed retail sales are still strong. That helped to temper recession warnings from the bond market, which triggered the year's biggest selloff on Wall Street last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both fell about 3% last Wednesday. Market indexes have since rebounded. Stocks were up more than 1% in early trading Monday. - If the economy is as good as Trump claims, why must the Fed help the economy?

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to set a legal precedent that would enable employers to fire employees because they are transgender. The Department of Justice has submitted a brief to the Court Friday asking the Justices to rule that Title VII, a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or national origin, does not protect transgender people. The department argued that they should throw out a lower court ruling that found that a funeral home that fired a transgender woman had discriminated against her. The brief concerns R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, one of three cases that the Supreme Court agreed to hear earlier this year that concern whether Title VII can be applied to LGBTQ workers. In the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit found that the owner of the funeral home, Thomas Rost, had violated the law when he fired Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who worked for the company from 2007 to 2013. According to court documents, Stephens sent the company a letter in 2013 that said she struggled with a “gender identity disorder” and planned to begin to live as a woman, including by wearing the company’s female uniform – a jacket and skirt – instead of a suit and tie.

Opinion by Dean Obeidallah
(CNN) - On Saturday, right-wing activists gathered in Portland, Oregon, for a rally (unironically) titled, "End Domestic Terrorism." Among the groups reportedly at the event was the "Proud Boys," an organization formally designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spewing white nationalist memes as well as for being horribly anti-Muslim and misogynistic.Some members of this group have been arrested in the past for acts of violence. To add to that, the FBI, according to a July 2018 internal memo from the Clark County Sheriff's Office in Washington, described the Proud Boys as "an extremist group with ties to white nationalism," that has "contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington." Given the Proud Boys' history, you would expect the President of the United States to send a clear message before this rally that he not only denounced the hate group, but that he was dedicating all federal resources needed to help local authorities ensure these extremists don't injure or kill innocent people. Instead, the morning of the event Trump took to Twitter to only condemn Antifa, short for anti-fascists, who had come to counter-protest the extremist groups involved in the rally, tweeting, "Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an 'ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.'" To be clear, Antifa, not one but a collection of anti-fascist groups with no centralized leader, has engaged in deplorable violence where people have gotten hurt. For example, members of Antifa were reportedly involved in a violent protest ahead of provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos's planned appearance at the University of California, Berkeley in February 2017. In June, a conservative reporter was punched and had milkshakes thrown at him reportedly by members of Antifa in Portland during a rally held by the Proud Boys. Yet, Trump singled out Antifa as the group to be deemed a terrorist organization. This is not a surprise given Antifa has protested Trump in the past while the Proud Boys have been outspoken Trump backers, with Southern Poverty Law Center stating that the red MAGA hat "is nearly as prominent at one of Proud Boys gatherings" as the polo shirts the members wear as uniform. One of the Proud Boys first public outings, as the SPLC noted, was a 2017 pro-Trump art exhibit.

By Brendan Murray
London | US President Donald Trump drew so much attention this past week on matters ranging from wanting to buy Greenland to a supporter's weight problems, that it was easy to miss some of his more stinging remarks on trade. While much of the focus was on his plans to divide up implementation of the next round of 10 per cent tariffs on Chinese imports between September 1 and December 15, and on the sharemarket plunge that followed, comments he made at a rally in New England signalled no backing down from his views about imbalances elsewhere. "The European Union is worse than China, just smaller. It treats us horribly: barriers, tariffs, taxes," he told a crowd Thursday in Manchester, New Hampshire, a city originally modelled after its industrial namesake in England. "They treat us really badly."

by Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Scaramucci, who was the White House communications director for 11 days back in 2017, threw the latest punch in his internet feud with President Donald Trump, predicting that he will drop out of the 2020 presidential race by March in a no-holds-barred interview with Vanity Fair published Friday. “It’s gonna become very clear that it’s impossible for him to win,” Scaramucci said. “And is this the kind of guy that’s gonna want to be that humiliated and lose as a sitting president? He’s got the self-worth in terms of his self-esteem of a small pigeon. It’s a very small pigeon.” The comments come following a week of tweeting back-and-forth and derogatory statements to the press between the two men. In a tweet Monday, the president said Scaramucci "had nothing to do with my Election victory." Trump also suggested Scaramucci's recent criticism was motivated by the fact that his former aide "is only upset that I didn’t want him back in the Administration (where he desperately wanted to be)." The president added that Scaramucci "just wanted to be on TV!" Scaramucci, who has been nicknamed “the Mooch,” had kicked off the war of words when he said on CNN he could no longer support the president after seeing his reactions to the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

By Carmen Reinicke
President Trump has long said that China is far more affected by the tariffs he's imposed than the US. Industry watchers have voiced disagreement, saying US consumers and companies are taking large hits as well. An August study from the New York Federal Reserve showed that tariffs and trade policies are seen pushing up prices and reducing profits for manufacturing and service businesses in the tri-state area. President Donald Trump said Friday that "the longer the trade war goes on, the weaker China gets and the stronger we get." But a new report published Friday from the New York Federal Reserve shows that may not be the case for businesses in New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut. In the supplemental questions to the Empire State Manufacturing and Business Leaders Survey, more manufacturers and business leaders said that tariffs and trade-war policy have pushed up prices and reduced profits compared to 12 months ago. "The data illustrate a considerably more widespread effect of higher input costs among service firms than in last year's survey," the NY Fed wrote in the report. This is an issue because it can weigh on profits, be passed along to the consumer, or both. President Trump has long said that China is paying the price for the increased tariffs, and that they're not hurting US consumers, workers, companies. But economists and analysts disagree. US consumers are paying more for products either imported from China or made with parts imported from there. Meanwhile, companies have said they would have to raise prices, and that downward pressure on earnings could lead to serious declines in stock prices. Some corporations are also hiring less amid escalating trade tensions, hurting US workers.

By Zeeshan Aleem
Trump did not address members of the alt-right gathering for a Portland rally, but did say he’s considering designating antifa an “organization of terror.” President Trump issued a stark warning to antifa, the collective of militant anti-fascist leftist groups, ahead of a rally on Saturday in Portland, Oregon, where antifa activists were widely expected to confront far-right activists. “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” Trump tweeted. “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!” Notably, the president did not warn or criticize the controversial right-wing group organizing the rally that antifa was planning to protest against. Organizers Joe Biggs and Enrique Tarrio, who did not receive a permit for the rally, are members of the Proud Boys, a group of self-proclaimed “Western chauvinists” with links to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and a history of violence against left-wing activists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated them as a hate group. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told The Oregonian he believed members of the alt-right like Biggs and Tarrio come to Portland hoping to foment violence, well aware that it is home to a large antifa contingent, Rose City Antifa. “I think they come to Portland because it gives them a platform,” Wheeler said. “They know that if they come here conflict is almost guaranteed.” Of Trump’s tweet, Wheeler said, “Frankly, it is not helpful.” Trump’s disinterest in criticizing the Proud Boys is part of a longer trend in which he’s remained completely silent or, at most, has been mildly critical of the threat posed by white nationalist and white supremacist organizations, many of whom view his presidency as a boon for their cause and whose language echoes that of the president.

By Kumail Jaffer
DONALD TRUMP’S administration has reportedly developed a deadly new long-range hypersonic missile which could be a game-changer in the ongoing arms race with Russia and China. The US President may still be on a golfing trip, but back home a key weapons developer is set to release a new hypersonic missile which could counter Russia’s efficient S-400 systems. The Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) was announced this week after the group had worked closely with the US Army to develop the technology. It is set to be a huge upgrade on the Tomahawk cruise missiles used on Syria last year. According to a document detailing the weapon seen by Defense Blog, the mobility of the LRHW is part of a wider strategy to expand and modernise US military technology. It reads: “It will bring online a new class of ultra-fast, manoeuvrable, long-range missiles to neutralise enemy defensive weapons with rockets launched from trucks with Transporter Erector Launchers.”

By Sarah Westwood and Yon Pomrenze, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Workers at the Pennsylvania petrochemical plant where President Donald Trump spoke Tuesday were told that if they didn't attend the event, they either had to use paid time off or receive no pay for the day. At least some of the workers who attended the speech were instructed not to protest the President, who told the crowd of workers at the Royal Dutch Shell plant he would be imploring their union leaders to support his reelection.
The instructions to the workers came in a memo, a copy of which was obtained by CNN's Polo Sandoval from a congressional source. That source was given the memo by a person in Beaver County, Pennsylvania -- the site of the plant. "Your attendance is not mandatory. This will be considered an excused absence. However, those who are NOT in attendance will not receive overtime pay on Friday," read part of the memo. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith confirmed workers were told they would also miss out on some overtime pay if they skipped the event. Shell said it did not write the memo.

By Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
(CNN) - As President Donald Trump's trade advisers were searching last week for a strategy to forestall his threatened tariffs on China, they struck upon a novel approach: appeal to his Christmas cheer. Under pressure from retailers to prevent a move that would likely have caused prices of popular consumer goods to spike, the President's team came to him during a meeting last week with a warning. Applying new tariffs on all Chinese imports, they cautioned, could effectively "ruin Christmas," according to people familiar with the matter. It was a tactic that worked: Trump announced the tariffs would be delayed until December 15. It was one back-down amid a grueling trade war that Trump insists will eventually benefit Americans -- and will demonstrate his toughness on China. And while it caused markets to soar on Tuesday, the gains were erased a day later amid new fears of an impending recession. As signals mount of a global slowdown -- spurred partly by the trade war -- Trump and his advisers are increasingly looking for ways to prevent economic anxieties from reaching Americans before next year's presidential election.

By Ryan Browne and Kevin Liptak, CNN
ashington (CNN) - The Trump administration has informally greenlit a potential major arms sale to Taiwan involving dozens of new F-16 fighter jets, according to administration officials and others familiar with the matter. The decision comes amid heightened tensions with China as a trade war wages on and a crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong draws US criticism. The new weaponry -- the largest US sale to Taiwan in several years -- could further erode ties, since Beijing views the self-governing island as part of China. Congress was notified informally of the potential sale on Thursday, according to a senior administration official and others familiar with the matter. It's expected to be reviewed and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

By Bynomaan merchant, associated press
A federal appeals court on Friday cleared the way for the U.S. government to forbid Central American immigrants from seeking asylum at the two busiest stretches of the southern border in a partial legal victory for the Trump administration. The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows President Donald Trump to enforce the policy in New Mexico and Texas, rejecting asylum seekers who cross from Mexico into either state. Under Friday's ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar's July 24 order stopping the policy would apply only in California and Arizona, which are covered by the 9th Circuit. The two busiest areas for unauthorized border crossings are in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley and the region around El Paso, Texas, which includes New Mexico. Nearly 50,000 people in July crossed the U.S. border without permission in those two regions, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Anderson Cooper 360
President Trump has claimed for years that he was once named "Michigan Man of the Year," a title that does not exist. CNN's Anderson Cooper reports.

By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN
(CNN) - Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, was a founding member of a group more than a decade ago that described undocumented immigrants as "foreign invaders" responsible for "serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking, terrorism." The group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, was established in 2007, when an immigration revamp was being hotly debated in Congress. Its founding principle was that undocumented immigration represented an invasion of the United States on par with foreign invasion that should justify invoking war powers under the Constitution -- extreme rhetoric Cuccinelli has continued to use in recent years, and that has been adopted by President Donald Trump and other Republicans. Speaking with Breitbart radio in October of last year, Cuccinelli argued that states could use "war powers" to block Central American migrants, many of whom were reportedly planning to seek asylum in the US and who'd formed a so-called caravan, from coming across the border. "We've been being invaded for a long time, and so the border states clearly qualify here to utilize this power themselves. And what's interesting is they don't need anyone's permission," Cuccinelli said. "They can do it themselves. And because they're acting under war powers, there's no due process. They can literally just line their National Guard up with, presumably with riot gear like they would if they had a civil disturbance, and turn people back at the border. Literally, you don't have to keep them, no catch and release, no nothing. You just point them back across the river and let them swim for it."

By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Ben Kamisar
First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter. WASHINGTON — For all of the focus this week on the state of the economy, Trump’s tariffs and the 2020 Democratic horserace, there’s been an even more significant story staring us in the face. The president and his administration are trying to rewrite the story of America. Earlier this week, for example, you had acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli revising Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge," Cuccinelli said, announcing the Trump administration’s policy to deny green cards to legal immigrants who use government benefits. Then yesterday, you had the president of the United States urging Israel to bar two Democratic lawmakers from entering Israel. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

By Sophie Tanno For Mailonline
The internet has been flooded with hilarious memes, after it was revealed President Donald Trump is eyeing up the island of Greenland. Two sources told the Wall Street Journal that Trump has repeatedly asked his advisers with 'varying degrees of seriousness' if it would be possible for the U.S. to acquire the autonomous Danish territory for its resources and geopolitical significance. It's unclear how exactly the US would go about buying the largest island in the world following previous unsuccessful attempts by the US in 1946 and 1867. 'What do you guys think about that?' Trump asked a table of associates last spring when the idea of buying the island first came to be, a source told the Wall Street Journal. 'Do you think it would work?' Twitter users have had a field day at the news.

By John Harwood
If ever the U.S. economy could use a strong tax cut tail wind, it could use one now as conditions weaken around the world. But the tail wind isn’t there. Instead, benefits from what President Donald Trump called “the biggest reform of all time” to the tax code have dwindled to a faint breeze just 20 months after its enactment. Half of corporate chief financial officers surveyed by Duke University expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020. Two-thirds expect a recession by the end of next year. Corporate executives blame the darkening outlook on Trump’s trade war with China. The president blames mismanagement by Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman he appointed. But economists who have examined the impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act say it isn’t helping much in any of the ways advocates once advertised: overall growth, business investment, or worker pay. The strongest current case for the law’s economic benefits is that it remains too early to see them.

Donald Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. Copenhagen: Danish politicians on Friday poured scorn on the notion of selling Greenland to the United States following reports that President Donald Trump had privately discussed the idea of buying the world's biggest island with his advisers. Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. "It has to be an April Fool's joke. Totally out of season," former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter. The notion of purchasing the territory has been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but was taken more seriously by others in the White House, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday. Talk of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. "If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad," foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People's Party, Soren Espersen, told broadcaster DR.

By Justin Baragona
“Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us,” Trump yelled. President Trump ridiculed the physical appearance of a man in the crowd of his Keep America Great rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday night, telling the guy and everyone watching at home that he had a “serious weight problem” and should get some exercise. Midway through a rally that had already featured him claiming that the stock market would crash if he weren’t re-elected, Trump’s typically off-the-rails speech was interrupted by demonstrators, and an apparent Trump supporter got up and grabbed a banner from their hands. Trump, appearing only to spot the general commotion, saw the apparent supporter in the melee and the president took some potshots at the man after it seems he wrongly identified him as a protester. “That guy has got a serious weight problem,” Trump yelled. “Go home, get some exercise!” After demanding security escort the man out of the arena, the president appeared briefly self-conscious before returning to his taunts: “Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says ‘What the hell have you just done?’” The Daily Mail identified the man who Trump mistakenly identified as a protester as Frank Dawson, and reported that he had no ill will toward Trump. Everything’s good!” Dawson told Fox News. “I love the guy! He’s the best thing that ever happened to this country.” Trump has reportedly called and spoken with Dawson. The interruption appeared to be led by a group of three young people holding two banners reading “Jews Against the Occupation,” according to a report from The Washington Post.

By Jessica Taylor
At his first campaign rally after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump appeared to back away from supporting a possible expansion of background checks in favor of a push for more attention to mental illness. "There is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger — it's the person holding the gun," Trump said to roars and a standing ovation from the Manchester, N.H., crowd. At his first campaign rally after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump appeared to back away from supporting a possible expansion of background checks in favor of a push for more attention to mental illness. "There is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger — it's the person holding the gun," Trump said to roars and a standing ovation from the Manchester, N.H., crowd.

By Asawin Suebsaeng, Justin Baragona
Trump has long feared a possible recession and what it could do to his re-election chances—so amid talk of a downturn, he and his defenders are naming a scapegoat and motive. For years, President Trump has discussed with his advisers—with a hint of worry—the possibility of an economic recession occurring on his watch. Ever since early 2017, he’s made it plain to aides that he understands how a recession can cripple, or destroy, a presidency. Trump has also long made it abundantly clear that if a recession does happen, he knows exactly whom to blame: chiefly, his enemies in the media, and a Federal Reserve chairman whom he’s privately compared to an inept golfer. According to three people who’ve spoken to Trump about recessions and the American economy since 2017, the president has repeatedly voiced concerns—or bitter annoyance—about what he views as media outlets’ ability, or even alleged desire, to help create economic recession through self-fulfilling prophecy. One of these sources said they’ve heard Trump say at least three times over the past two and a half years that the media would “love it if” a recession occurred during his first term, seriously harming his chances at re-election in 2020. Since his inauguration, the president has brought up the subject of possible recession, sometimes as an unprompted tangent, in various policy and messaging discussions, including on health care, taxes, and trade.

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