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US Monthly Headline News September 2019 Page 4


Lawmakers argue Trump's alleged corruption is easier for the public to understand than 'arcane terms' like obstruction of justice.
By ANDREW DESIDERIO and HEATHER CAYGLE
House Democrats have spent months trying to make obstruction of justice charges stick against President Donald Trump as they build a case for impeachment. But in recent weeks, senior Democrats have shifted their focus toward reports that Trump is using his presidency to enrich himself in violation of the Constitution. And they’ve hammered the president more than ever on a range of allegations, from campaign-finance crimes to abuses of power. Pro-impeachment Democrats are hoping that a renewed focus on corruption and self-dealing could give their effort to oust Trump the momentum that former special counsel Robert Mueller never had. “The Mueller report has clearly been muddled and I’m not sure that the public really has much of a concept of what that showed,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), who supports impeachment. “And corruption is pretty easy to understand.” While they’re not quite admitting defeat on the Mueller report, Yarmuth and other pro-impeachment lawmakers cited efforts by the White House and the Justice Department to slow-walk the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoenas for documents and testimony related to the Mueller probe, many of which are lagging in federal court and could take months to reach a conclusion. more...

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

By Zack Budryk
The Trump Organization and President Trump himself have been directly involved in developing a partnership between his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland and Glasgow Prestwick Airport since 2014, according to The New York Times. The partnership, which began a year before Trump’s presidential campaign kicked off, worked to add Trump Turnberry to a list of hotels used by the airports aircrew, despite the fact that it is significantly farther away from the airport than other hotels used in a similar manner and has higher advertised prices, according to the Times. Executives with the organization met with airport officials for talks on how to drive more referrals, according to the Times, citing documents obtained through the Scottish Freedom of Information law. The Pentagon and the airport both confirmed to the Times that the airport has a separate arrangement with the U.S. Air Force to refuel American planes and arrange hotel accommodations. “We provide a full handling service for customers and routinely arrange overnight accommodation for visiting aircrew when requested,” the Prestwick airport said in a statement on Monday. “We use over a dozen local hotels, including Trump Turnberry, which accounts for a small percentage of the total hotel bookings we make,” it added. The report comes amid controversy over U.S. military personnel staying at the resort while traveling through the airport in March. more...

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

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

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

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



By Justine Coleman
FEMA official arrested on bribery, fraud charges from power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico. A former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official was reportedly arrested on Tuesday, charged with taking bribes from a company responsible for restoring power in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Federal officials arrested former Deputy Administrator Ahsha Tribble, who oversaw the FEMA region including Puerto Rico, and the former president of Cobra Acquisitions, Donald K. Ellison, accusing them of conspiring to defraud the federal government, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. “They took advantage of one of the most vulnerable moments in the history of Puerto Rico to enrich themselves,” the U.S. attorney for Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, told The New York Times. Ellison would allegedly reward Tribble with gifts such as a helicopter tour over Puerto Rico, plane tickets and hotel stays. In exchange, the FEMA official would advocate to Cobra's advantage during the recovery efforts. more...

'We’re a real estate hedge fund,' one says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
(Newser) – "We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund,” a senior official at Liberty University said. "We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students' money to do it." Those are among the accusations in a Politico Magazine report about Jerry Falwell Jr.'s stewardship of the Christian school in Virginia. More than two dozen current and past employees—even board members—are hesitant to have their names used, but they disclosed information about Falwell's reign in a sign of increasing opposition to his leadership. They described an atmosphere of fear, sweetheart deals that enrich his family and friends, and personal behavior they see as falling short of the evangelical Christian ideal—including partying, sharing racy photos, and telling employees about his sex life in graphic detail. "Everybody walks around in fear," said one employee who provided information about the school. "But someone’s gotta tell the freakin’ truth,” said another. more...

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. told Hill.TV on Tuesday that he has begun sharing information with the FBI in what he alleged was a criminal conspiracy against him by former board members at the school. Falwell said in an exclusive interview that in the coming days the FBI will review university documents at the Lynchburg, Va., campus. He accsed former colleagues of stealing school property in the form of emails and then sharing them with reporters in an effort to damage his reputation. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. “Our attorneys have determined that this small group of former board members and employees, they’re involved in a criminal conspiracy, are working together to steal Liberty property in the form of emails and provided them to reporters," Falwell Jr. said. The accusation follows a Politico story published Monday that detailed a "culture of fear and self-dealing at the largest Christian college in the world." The story cited internal Liberty University emails, which Falwell Jr. and his attorney's allege were stolen in a coordinated effort. more...

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

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

They attract money and attention to the predominantly white universities that showcase them, while HBCUs struggle. What would happen if they collectively decided to go to black schools?
By Jemele Hill
n the summer of 2018 Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was then ranked as the top high-school football player in America, visited Florida A&M University, in Tallahassee. When a player of Thibodeaux’s caliber visits a perennial football power—say, Alabama—it’s called Wednesday. But when he visits a historically black college or university (HBCU) like Florida A&M, it threatens to crack the foundation on which the moneymaking edifice of college sports rests. “I really just wanted to learn the history of FAMU,” Thibodeaux, a defensive end who received a scholarship offer from the school after his freshman year in high school, told me. “And I wanted to show there were more opportunities out there than just big-time Division I schools.” Ultimately, and perhaps inevitably, Thibodeaux announced that he was going to one of the top football programs in the country, the University of Oregon. “Nobody wants to eat McDonald’s when you can get filet mignon” is how Thibodeaux put it. But over the course of the five months between his visit to FAMU and his decision to enroll at Oregon, Thibodeaux—who gushed about the historically black university on social media—galvanized alumni and boosted national awareness of the institution. It was a moment of hope for HBCUs, and it should have been a moment of fear for the predominantly white institutions whose collective multibillion-dollar revenues have been built largely on the exertions of (uncompensated) black athletes. more...

At least Ingraham didn’t tell Watson to “shut up and tackle,” so she’s got that going for her.
By Justin Baragona
Things didn’t go as planned for Fox News host Laura Ingraham at the end of a Monday night interview with New England Patriots tight end Ben Watson, causing the conservative primetime star to stumble when she realized her guest didn’t have the opinion she seemed to want of him. Watson, who had just spent the majority of the segment defending New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees’ involvement with anti-LGBTQ group Focus on the Family, was then asked to react to Atlantic writer Jemele Hill’s call for elite black athletes to stop attending white-majority colleges—an article that has predictably sparked outrage on the right. “When I saw the uproar over it, I read the article,” Watson told the Ingraham Angle host. “I agreed with her. She had some great points in that article there.” The pro athlete went on to note Hill’s article argued that historically black colleges and universities have struggled to compete financially with majority-white institutions since integration, possibly contributing to the large wealth gap between white and black families. more...

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

By Kevin Breuninger, Dan Mangan
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he fired national security advisor John Bolton, saying on Twitter he had “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” But minutes later, Bolton in his own tweet said that he “offered to resign” Monday night — and that Trump told him, “Let’s talk about it tomorrow.” “I offered to resign last night. He never asked for it, directly or indirectly,” Bolton said in a later text to NBC News. “I slept on it, and resigned this morning.” Either way, the departure of the national security hawk Bolton shocked Washington, D.C., and oil crude futures fell. Bolton, who was named national security advisor to succeed H.R. McMaster in March 2018, is a harsh critic of Iran, and has advocated military strikes against that oil-rich nation. “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Trump said in a tweet. more...

Thomas has moved from black nationalism to the right. But his beliefs about racism, and our ability to solve it, remain the same.
By Corey Robin
Clarence Thomas is the longest-serving Justice on the Supreme Court. When he joined the bench, on October 19, 1991, the Soviet Union was a country, Hillary Clinton was Arkansas’s First Lady, and Donald Trump had recently declared the first of his businesses’ six bankruptcies. Since then, Thomas has written more than seven hundred opinions, staking out controversial positions on gun rights and campaign finance that have come to command Supreme Court majorities. “Thomas’s views,” the Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar has said, “are now being followed by a majority of the Court in case after case.” That was in 2011. Today Thomas is joined on the Court by Neil Gorsuch, who frequently signs on to Thomas’s opinions, and Brett Kavanaugh. Eleven of his former clerks have been nominated by Trump to the federal bench. Four of them sit on the Court of Appeals, just one step away from the Supreme Court. By consensus, Thomas is the most conservative member of the Court. So it’s surprising that the central theme of his jurisprudence is race. When he was nearly forty years old, just four years shy of his appointment to the Court, Thomas set out the foundations of his vision in a profile in The Atlantic. “There is nothing you can do to get past black skin,” he said. “I don’t care how educated you are, how good you are at what you do—you’ll never have the same contacts or opportunities, you’ll never be seen as equal to whites.” This was no momentary indiscretion; it was the distillation of a lifetime of learning, which began in the segregated precincts of Savannah, during the nineteen-fifties, and continued through his college years, in the sixties. On the Court, Thomas continues to believe—and to argue, in opinion after opinion—that race matters; that racism is a constant, ineradicable feature of American life; and that the only hope for black people lies within themselves, not as individuals but as a separate community with separate institutions, apart from white people. more...

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

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter
Washington (CNN)As the Supreme Court launches a term filled with some of the most bitterly divisive and provocative issues of the day, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch has a message for anyone who might believe that it's a judge's job to fix politics: "Do you really want me to rule the country?"
"It is a raucous republic and the battle of ideas is what our founders had in mind," he said in a lengthy interview with CNN. What they didn't have in mind, "was nine old people in Washington sitting in robes telling everybody else how to live." Such judicial modesty comes weeks before the Supreme Court will return from a summer recess and decide cases concerning LGBT rights, the Second Amendment, immigration and maybe even abortion and health care -- all in the heat of the presidential campaign. The newly solidified conservative majority is finding its footing after a term of transition and the liberals on the bench are bracing for a hard right turn. Gorsuch, nominated in 2017 by President Donald Trump, has proven to be a solid conservative vote, following largely in the footsteps of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, while developing his own independent streak as well. In a wide-ranging interview conducted in an ornate conference room at the Supreme Court, Gorsuch responded to critics of his judicial philosophy. He also discussed the confirmation process, Trump's tweets and campaign rhetoric, his own views on overturning settled law, and even the surprise he had for Brett Kavanaugh. 'This is not a tyranny of a few': At oral arguments and in his opinions, Gorsuch is setting out on a singular course. He aims not just to solve the cases at hand, but to change the way people think about the law. His project is in part to finish the work of Scalia by reinvigorating a judicial philosophy that looks to the original meaning of the Constitution. He sees a judge's job as enforcing that approach "as faithfully and fearlessly" as possible. "The most vulnerable among us has the same rights as the richest and the most powerful," he said. But his approach to the law rubs a number of different groups, who believe it writes them out of the Constitution, the wrong way. Like the more liberal justices on the court, they believe the document evolves with time. It's a battle between originalists and so-called "living constitutionalists." Gorsuch takes on their philosophy arguing that it permits judges to add things into the Constitution that aren't there. "I say the country is owned by We The People. We wrote a Constitution, we put down what we wanted to put in it. We can amend it when we wish and it is not up to nine people to tell 330 million Americans how to live." In a new book, "A Republic, If You Can Keep It," he puts it another way: Under originalism a judge can't add or subtract rights "willy nilly." "If you want to change the Constitution, you can do it," he says. For critics of that approach -- those who see a broader role for the courts -- he sternly says: "I say get involved. This is a republic. This is not a tyranny of a few." more...

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

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

By Bill Chappell
The National Rifle Association is suing the city and county of San Francisco and its Board of Supervisors over a unanimous vote to designate the NRA a domestic terrorist organization. The pro-gun group says lawmakers are trying to discriminate against people "based on the viewpoint of their political speech." In its Sept. 3 resolution, the board said San Francisco should "take every reasonable step" to limit any vendors and contractors with which it does business from also doing business with the NRA. It also said it is "urging other cities, states, and the federal government to do the same." The NRA calls the terrorist designation a "frivolous insult" — but it adds that the lawmakers' actions also "pose a nonfrivolous constitutional threat." The group says San Francisco is violating U.S. laws that protect free speech and association. The terrorist-designation resolution is not yet official, as Mayor London Breed has not signed it. If she doesn't endorse the bill within 10 days of passage, it will take effect without any other action. But she could also veto the resolution. more...

By Molly Olmstead
On Monday, Politico Magazine published an account from “more than two dozen current and former high-ranking Liberty University officials” detailing a culture of self-dealing and intimidation fostered by Jerry Falwell Jr., the prominent Donald Trump supporter and president of the country’s largest conservative evangelical university. The story, reported by Brandon Ambrosino, painted an image of a hypocritical Christian leader who bucked his father’s more religious mission in order to chase profit and political power. The allegations, piled atop previously reported accounts of suspicious business deals by Falwell, were numerous. Here are some of the highlights. Sexual Impropriety: Reuters reported in May that former Trump lawyer (and current federal prisoner) Michael Cohen had helped Falwell deal with the fallout from some scandalous photos. The Miami Herald confirmed in June that the photos existed, and that some of them featured his wife, Becki. And according to Politico, Liberty officials said Falwell showed or sent male friends and associates, including at least one Liberty employee, photos of Becki “in provocative and sexual poses.” more...  

More than two dozen current and former Liberty University officials describe a culture of fear and self-dealing at the largest Christian college in the world.
By BRANDON AMBROSINO
At Liberty University, all anyone can talk about is Jerry Falwell Jr. Just not in public. “When he does stupid stuff, people will mention it to others they consider confidants and not keep it totally secret,” a trusted adviser to Falwell, the school’s president and chancellor, told me. “But they won’t rat him out.” That’s beginning to change. Over the past year, Falwell, a prominent evangelical leader and supporter of President Donald Trump, has come under increasing scrutiny. News outlets have reported on business deals by Liberty University benefiting Falwell’s friends. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen claimed that he had helped Falwell clean up racy “personal” photographs. Based on scores of new interviews and documents obtained for this article, concerns about Falwell’s behavior go well beyond that—and it’s causing longtime, loyal Liberty University officials to rapidly lose faith in him. More than two dozen current and former high-ranking Liberty University officials and close associates of Falwell spoke to me or provided documents for this article, opening up—for the first time at an institution so intimately associated with the Falwell family—about what they’ve experienced and why they don’t think he’s the right man to lead Liberty University or serve as a figurehead in the Christian conservative movement. In interviews over the past eight months, they depicted how Falwell and his wife, Becki, consolidated power at Liberty University and how Falwell presides over a culture of self-dealing, directing university resources into projects and real estate deals in which his friends and family have stood to make personal financial gains. Among the previously unreported revelations are Falwell’s decision to hire his son Trey’s company to manage a shopping center owned by the university, Falwell’s advocacy for loans given by the university to his friends, and Falwell’s awarding university contracts to businesses owned by his friends. “We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund,” said a senior university official with inside knowledge of Liberty’s finances. “We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.” more...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

A Mother Jones investigation has uncovered new information about a puzzling Trump deal.
By Russ Choma
Donald Trump’s massive debts—he owes hundreds of millions of dollars—are the subject of continuous congressional and journalistic scrutiny. But for years, one Trump loan has been particularly mystifying: a debt of more than $50 million that Trump claims he owes to one of his own companies. According to tax and financial experts, the loan, which Trump has never fully explained, might be part of a controversial tax avoidance scheme known as debt parking. Yet a Mother Jones investigation has uncovered information that raises questions about the very existence of this loan, presenting the possibility that this debt was concocted as a ploy to evade income taxes—a move that could constitute tax fraud. Here’s what is publicly known about this mystery debt: On the personal financial disclosure forms that Trump must file each year as president, he has divulged that he owes “over $50 million” to a company called Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC. The forms note that this entity is fully owned by Trump. In other words, Trump owes a large chunk of money to a company he controls. We don’t assess any value to it because we don’t care,” Trump said of the loan. “I have the mortgage. That is all there is. Very simple. I am the bank.” The disclosures state that this loan is connected to Trump’s hotel and tower in Chicago, and the forms reveal puzzling details about Chicago Unit Acquisition: It earns no revenue—suggesting that Trump was not paying interest or principal on the loan—and Trump assigns virtually no value to Chicago Unit Acquisition. Something doesn’t add up. Under basic accounting principles, a firm that is owed money and has no outstanding debt should be worth at least as much as it is owed. The loan has another odd feature: It is identified as a “springing” loan, a type of loan made to borrowers who are viewed as credit risks. Known sometimes as “bad boy” loans, these agreements allow the lender to impose harsh repayment terms if certain criteria aren’t met. These are not the type of loan terms that someone is likely to impose on himself. The Trump Organization has consistently refused to answer questions about Chicago Unit Acquisition, a limited liability company it formed in Delaware in 2005, as construction began on the Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Chicago. But Trump did tell the New York Times in a 2016 interview that this debt represents a loan he repurchased from a group of lenders. “We don’t assess any value to it because we don’t care,” Trump said. “I have the mortgage. That is all there is. Very simple. I am the bank.” Jason Greenblatt, who was then the Trump Organization’s top lawyer, declined to explain to the Times the reason for the Chicago Unit Acquisition deal. “It’s really personal corporate trade secrets, if you will,” he said. “Neither newsworthy or frankly anybody’s business.” more...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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