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

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

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

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

New York Daily News
By Michael McAuliff and Chris Sommerfeldt

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

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

By Salvador Rizzo

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

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

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

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

The Guardian
Victoria Bekiempis

Bob Wooodward has been forced to defend himself against criticism that he waited too long to reveal that Donald Trump had told him in early February that he knew coronavirus was “deadly stuff”. The journalist and author’s revelation on Wednesday, ahead of his next book’s release, that Trump knew how dangerous the virus was so early on has prompted outrage against the president, but also raised an ethical question: shouldn’t Woodward have immediately made this public? Trump, who has regularly played down the threat of a virus which has now killed almost 200,000 in the US, has justified his stance as not wanting to cause panic.

“Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning. Critics of Woodward saw self-interest in his sitting on the information. “Bob Woodward knew the truth behind the administration’s deadly bungling – and worse – and he saved it for his book, which will be released to wild acclaim and huge profits after nearly 200,000 Americans have died,” Esquire’s Charles P Pierce wrote on Twitter. More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Eric Bradner, CNN

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

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

China is also growing more adept at targeting campaign workers. But contrary to Trump administration warnings, Beijing is mostly targeting Biden campaign officials.
By David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth

The Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the Democratic National Committee four years ago is back with a series of new, more stealthy hacks aimed at campaign staff, consultants and think tanks associated with both Democrats and Republicans. That warning was issued on Thursday by the Microsoft Corporation, in an assessment that is far more detailed than any yet made public by American intelligence agencies.

The findings come one day after a government whistle-blower claimed that officials at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security suppressed intelligence concerning Russia’s continuing interference because it “made the president look bad,” and instructed government analysts to instead focus on interference by China and Iran. Microsoft did find that Chinese and Iranian hackers have been active — but often not in the way that President Trump and his aides have suggested. More...

WRAL Investigates
By Cullen Browder, WRAL anchor/reporter

Carolina Beach, N.C. — A three-time cancer survivor who reached out to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis for help with her health insurance dilemma said that she got an insensitive response from a staffer instead. "I’ve seen just about everything health care has to throw at a person," said Bev Veals of Carolina Beach. Over the past 20 years, Veals beat cancer three times, and her fight included struggles to get care and medical bankruptcy. When her husband was furloughed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, Veals worried about losing her health insurance, so she reached out to lawmakers for help. "I wanted answers because the thought of having no health care and possibly getting sick with COVID is extremely frightening," she said recently.

During Veals' calls, she came across a Washington, D.C., staffer for Tillis. Frustrated by his lack of empathy, she started recording her calls. "You’re saying that, if you can’t afford it, you don’t get to have it, and that includes health care?" she asked. "Yeah, just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it," he replied. "But health care is something that people need, especially if they have cancer," Veals said. "Well, you got to find a way to get it," he responded. When she asked the staffer what she's supposed to do, he said, "Sounds like something you’re going to have to figure it out." "To compare it to a dress shirt made me incredibly angry and hurt," Veals told WRAL Investigates. More...

Alana Wise

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ryan Browne, CNN

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

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

By Eric Bradner, CNN

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

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

Washington Post
Opinion by Benjamin L. Ginsberg

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

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

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

By Robert Costa and Philip Rucker

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

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

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

By Jamie Gangel and Jeremy Herb, CNN

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

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

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

By Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb and Elizabeth Stuart, CNN

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

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

“I not only agree with it,” Bill Barr told the Selma Times-Journal in January 1994 about the bill’s “three-strikes” provisions, “I called for it when I was attorney general.”
Scott Bixby

As the presidential campaign enters the post-Labor Day home stretch, the Trump campaign has invested heavily in swing-state advertising that labels former Vice President Joe Biden as both too weak on crime and too tough on crime. But every time the Trump campaign hits Biden for his authorship of the 1994 omnibus crime bill that vastly expanded funding for police and the construction of prisons—part of a concerted effort to weaken the former vice president’s standing among Black voters—they are omitting the fact that a key member of the cabinet derided the law as not tough enough. “Yes, more police,” Bill Barr, fresh off his first stint at the helm of the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush, told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer in August 1993 when asked about the proposed legislation.

“But they also need prosecutors and prisons. If you put police on the street with no prison space behind them, all you’re going to do is spin that revolving door faster.” But Barr also praised parts of the 1994 crime bill, primarily the aspects that have now dogged Biden as progressive policies on law enforcement reform and criminal justice have become Democratic orthodoxy. Among the components of the crime bill that Barr supported included the so-called “three strikes” provision that required life sentences for those convicted of multiple crimes, the expansion of mandatory minimums, and an increase in prison capacity and decrease in granting of parole. “I not only agree with it,” Barr told the Selma Times-Journal in January 1994 about the bill’s “three-strikes” provisions, “I called for it when I was attorney general.” More...

Dan Mangan

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

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

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) Benjamin Ginsberg, a top Republican election lawyer who has represented four Republican presidential candidates, slammed President Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud in a new op-ed saying it lacks evidence and is "unsustainable." Ginsberg, a longtime lawyer who recently retired from the practice and co-chaired the 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, wrote in The Washington Post on Tuesday that Trump's recent comments about widespread fraud in mail-in voting, which risk undermining confidence in the election, and urging voters to cast their ballots twice are "doubly wrong."

"The president's actions -- urging his followers to commit an illegal act and seeking to undermine confidence in the credibility of election results -- are doubly wrong," he wrote, adding they place an obligation on Trump's campaign and the Republican Party to "reevaluate their position in the more than 40 voting cases they're involved in around the country."

He added, "Legions of Republican lawyers have searched in vain over four decades for fraudulent double voting. At long last, they have a blatant example of a major politician urging his supporters to illegally vote twice." Ginsberg wrote, "The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there's no proof of widespread fraud," adding there are isolated incidents across both parties. "Elections are not rigged. Absentee ballots use the same process as mail-in ballots -- different states use different labels for the same process." More...

By Geneva Sands, CNN

Washington (CNN) White supremacists will remain the most "persistent and lethal threat" in the United States through 2021, according to Department of Homeland Security draft documents. The most recent draft report predicts an "elevated threat environment at least through" early next year, concluding that some US-based violent extremists have capitalized on increased social and political tensions in 2020. Although foreign terrorist organizations will continue to call for attacks on the US, the report says, they "probably will remain constrained in their ability to direct such plots over the next year." The threat assessment -- which also warns of continued disinformation efforts by Russia -- is especially notable as President Donald Trump has often employed race-baiting tactics in his quest for reelection and frequently downplayed the threat from white supremacists during his term in office.

The Trump administration has portrayed Antifa and anarchists as a top threat to the US, with the President tweeting this summer that the US will designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. The recently released draft reports, which were made public by Lawfare Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes and first reported by Politico, assess a host of threats, including cyber, foreign influence and irregular migration. All three drafts state that white supremacist extremists are the deadliest threat. However, the placement and language about white supremacy in three versions of the DHS draft documents differ slightly.

The earliest available version of the "State of the Homeland Threat Assessment 2020" drafts reads: "We judge that ideologically-motivated lone offenders and small groups will pose the greatest terrorist threat to the Homeland through 2021, with white supremacist extremists presenting the most lethal threat." The lead section on terror threats to the homeland is changed in the latter two drafts to replace "white supremacist extremists" with "Domestic Violent Extremists presenting the most persistent and lethal threat." The reports, however, all contain this language: "Among DVEs [Domestic Violent Extremists], we judge that white supremacist extremists (WSEs) will remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland through 2021." More...

History, theology, and culture all contribute to the racist attitudes embedded in the white church.
By Michael Luo

Early on in “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” the first of three autobiographies Douglass wrote over his lifetime, he recounts what happened—or, perhaps more accurately, what didn’t happen—after his master, Thomas Auld, became a Christian believer at a Methodist camp meeting. Douglass had harbored the hope that Auld’s conversion, in August, 1832, might lead him to emancipate his slaves, or at least “make him more kind and humane.” Instead, Douglass writes, “If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways.” Auld was ostentatious about his piety—praying “morning, noon, and night,” participating in revivals, and opening his home to travelling preachers—but he used his faith as license to inflict pain and suffering upon his slaves.

“I have seen him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with a heavy cowskin upon her naked shoulders, causing the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture—‘He that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes,’ ” Douglass writes. Douglass is so scornful about Christianity in his memoir that he felt a need to append an explanation clarifying that he was not an opponent of all religion. In fact, he argued that what he had written about was not “Christianity proper,” and labelling it as such would be “the boldest of all frauds.” Douglass believed that “the widest possible difference” existed between the “slaveholding religion of this land” and “the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ.” More...

CBS News

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake struck in East Freehold, New Jersey, early Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Residents took to social media to express their shock at the rare occurrence as numerous reports of shaking have been reported across the state and in New York City. Hundreds of people as far away as Philadelphia and Long Island, New York, contributed to the USGS' "Did You Feel It?" map, reporting only weak or light shaking and no damage. "It would be very surprising for us to see anything more than you know, damaged shelves or picture frames falling off of windows," said Robert Sanders, a geophysicist with the survey. more...


Cardi B and Candace Owens are in an epic feud, with Candace calling Cardi an "illiterate rapper" who isn't worthy of interviewing Joe Biden ... thing is, Owens just doesn't get it. Owens blasted Cardi for her recent sit down with Biden ... specifically, Cardi's question about what Biden would do about Black men dying in America. Owens thinks Cardi should have fired back that, according to her, most Black men don't die at the hands of cops but rather other Black men.

Apparently, Owens doesn't think there's an issue with systemic racism in police departments, nor does she address the long list of Black men and women who have died at the hands and knees of cops ... sometimes over minor offenses and sometimes over no offenses at all. Owens just can't wrap her head around Cardi interviewing a Presidential candidate ... she just can't understand why Biden didn't, as she put it, sit down with "intellectual" black people. More...

Golda Barton claimed she told police her son was unarmed and warned them that he did not know how to regulate his behavior
nbc los angeles

Authorities in Utah are investigating the shooting of a 13-year-old with autism by police in the Salt Lake City area. Police said they were called to a home in Glendale Friday night with a report of a boy who had threatened people with a weapon. The young man reportedly ran and was shot by an officer after being pursued by police. The child’s mother, Golda Barton, told KUTV-TV that her son has autism and she had called police because he was having a breakdown and needed a crisis intervention team. more...

By Topher Gauk-Roger and Stephanie Becker, CNN

(CNN) Bags of mail were dumped in a parking lot in Glendale, California, last week, according to surveillance footage obtained by CNN. The September 3 video shows a Budget rental vehicle backing into the lot of 7Q Spa Laser & Aesthetics. A person is seen exiting the vehicle and tossing numerous bags off the back of the truck into the lot. Minutes later, the person gets back into the vehicle and drives away -- leaving the bags of mail in the lot. "It was completely unusual," 7Q owner Lilia Serobian told CNN affiliate KCBS/KCAL. She said upon closer inspection of the bags, she noticed they were filled with hundreds of unopened envelopes and packages from the US Postal Service.

"It's suspicious. You start thinking, 'OK, something is going on,' because no one has access to all those boxes and packages." US Postal Service employees weren't involved in the dumping of bags, Omar Gonzalez, the Western Regional Coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union, told CNN. Gonzalez said the person seen on surveillance video tossing the bags of mail out of a Budget rental truck was a contractor and after watching the surveillance tape, Gonzalez said the bags appeared to be bulk shipment mail.  More...

By Caroline Linton

Two pro-Trump cruise rallies are underway Monday in Portland, Oregon, as protests continued for the 102nd consecutive day. Organizers of both rallies told CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV that they would be paying tribute to Aaron Danielson, the Patriot Prayer supporter who was shot to death on August 29 amid dueling rallies in the city. Labor organizers and Black Lives Matter protesters planned rallies for Monday as well. Hundreds of people attended the pro-Trump rally at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, according to KOIN. Attendee Keith Diffenderffer told KOIN: "We have to stand up for America because we are in control of it. If we take control of it and if we don't, we have to accept what other people want." More...

In an exclusive interview, Joshua Powell breaks ranks with the NRA.
By Pierre Thomas and Pete Madden

A former high-ranking official within the National Rifle Association is breaking ranks with the powerful gun lobby, publishing a book that accuses its leaders of decades worth of mismanagement and fraud that he says has left the organization in a state of financial and moral disarray. In an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas, Joshua Powell, who formerly served as chief of staff to longtime NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, said the lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking to dissolve the NRA for an array of "illegal conduct" merely scratches the surface of a much deeper culture of corruption.

"I think the NRA faces a massive threat," Powell said. "I think that the attorney general is really at the tip of the iceberg in understanding what's gone on at the [NRA] for 30 years." Powell, one of four top NRA executives named in the lawsuit, is now seeking to distance himself from the organization he once helped lead. He not only decried the alleged mismanagement of millions of dollars in charitable donations for the personal use of the organization's top executives but also denounced the organization's posture on the issue of gun violence, particularly in the wake of school shootings, as self-serving and dangerous. "Gun owners across America," Powell said, "should be horrified by what I saw inside of the NRA." More...

Ashley Collman

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

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

By Ashitha Nagesh BBC News

Fred Armisen declared this - in song form - in the opening scene of the sketch comedy show Portlandia in January 2011. The show satirised the city on the US West Coast for its "hipster" culture - a city that gave unicyclists the right of way, where people brewed kombucha before it became mainstream, and whose slogan was literally "Keep Portland Weird". Four years later, with the city in the throes of rapid gentrification, beloved Portland magazine Willamette Week declared to its readers that this moment in 2011 was officially the day "Old Portland", the one that was fun, bohemian and "weird", died. If the "Old Portland" was seen as a liberal utopia, then the "New Portland", in 2020, is characterised by civil rights protests, violent clashes between far-right and anti-fascist groups, and images of federal agents indiscriminately bundling protesters into unmarked vehicles.

While Old Portlanders may have discussed their vegan cheese side-businesses, New Portlanders bond over how many times they've been tear-gassed. But this change wasn't as much of a leap as it may seem on the surface. While the Portlandia stereotype endured for almost a decade, the reality for Portlanders themselves was very different. In the 2010s, wealthy outsiders relocated themselves and their businesses to the city in the hopes of capitalising on its "cool", while East Coast publications repeated the show's joke about Portland being "a retirement community for the young". The city's residents were frequently caricatured as the kind of people who use "cacao" as a safe word.

A city 'built on white supremacy'
Portland is often called the whitest big city in the US - about 72% of its population is non-Latino white, while only about 6.6% of the population is black (compared to 12.7% of the overall US population). This is something black history and urban development scholars say is by design, not happenstance. Prof Shirley Jackson, a Black Studies professor at Portland State University, said that it was important to remember that Oregon was founded on the basis of "excluding certain populations, namely African-Americans".

Although the provisional government of the territory banned slavery in 1844, it also required all African-Americans to leave Oregon - any black person who stayed would be publicly flogged every six months until they left. Five years later, in 1849, another law was passed forbidding free African-Americans from entering the territory, and in 1857 Oregon adopted a state constitution banning black people from entering, living or owning property in the state. In 1859, when Oregon joined the union ahead of the civil war, it was the only state to explicitly forbid black people from living within its borders.

Going into the 20th Century, the deadly, white supremacist Ku Klux Klan had increasing influence in the state. In one particularly telling photo, published by a local newspaper in 1921 and preserved by the Oregon History Project, two representatives of the KKK's Oregon chapter, wearing hoods and robes, posed with some of the state's most powerful officials - including the police chief and the district attorney. more...

By Hollie Silverman, CNN

(CNN) One of the multiple wildfires burning in California was started during a gender-reveal party, officials said. A "smoke-generating pyrotechnic device" used at the party sparked the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, Cal Fire said in a press release. The fire started Saturday at 10:23 a.m. PT (1:23 p.m. ET) at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa and spread from the park north on to Yucaipa Ridge, according to the release. It has since grown to 7,400 acres as of Monday and is just 7% contained, the Cal Fire incident website shows.

Because of the fire, the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls have been ordered to evacuate. An evacuation warning is in effect for the Yucaipa bench area, and Yucaipa Community Center is being used as a temporary evacuation facility, according to Cal Fire. More than 500 personnel have been deployed to the fire, along with 60 engines and four helicopters, according to the website. Overnight weather is expected to remain hot and dry with a relative humidity of 20%, San Bernardino National Forest said in it's evening update on the fire. Winds will also continue at three to five miles per hour with gust up to 10 miles per hour, resulting in "active fire behavior throughout the night." No charges have been announced in the blaze. more...

By Paul Vercammen, Hollie Silverman, Ross Levitt and Susannah Cullinane, CNN

(CNN) Los Angeles County recorded its highest-ever temperature Sunday as the weekend heat fanned wildfires across California and put additional strain on the state's power network. The record temperature was at Woodland Hills, according to Dave Bruno, senior meteorologist for the National Weather Service. "We reached 121 degrees (F) in Woodland Hills, California. That is the highest-ever temperature at a station, beating 119 degrees on July 22, 2006," Bruno told CNN Sunday. The temperature is also the highest recorded in the Los Angeles County warning area, which includes Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, a tweet from the National Weather Service Los Angeles said Sunday. more...  

By Melissa Klein, Larry Celona and Dean Balsamini

That’s rich. One of the Black Lives Matter protesters now facing felony rioting and misdemeanor graffiti charges — after a window-smashing free-for-all in Manhattan — is a wealthy Upper East Sider whose mother is an architect and whose father is a child psychiatrist. Clara Kraebber, 20, is one of eight people arrested Friday night after a roiling, three-hour rampage that police say caused at least $100,000 in damage from Foley Square up to 24th Street.

“Every city, every town, burn the precinct to the ground!” the group chanted as it moved up Lafayette Street while busting the plate glass facades of banks, Starbucks and Duane-Reades. The protest was organized by groups calling themselves the “New Afrikan Black Panther Party” and the “Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement.” Given her privileged upbringing, Kraebber might seem an unlikely alleged revolutionary in those ranks. more...


A controversial report in The Atlantic that said President Donald Trump disparaged US military members who died in service later had key details confirmed by other news outlets, including Fox News. Hours after network correspondent Jennifer Griffin confirmed portions of the story, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld contradicted her reporting by calling the news "a hoax." more...


Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says Attorney General William Barr's claim, that China is a bigger threat to election security than Russia is a "blatantly false statement." #CNN #News. more...

Fox spent hours bashing The Atlantic’s anonymous sourcing before citing unnamed sources to slap the report. (Hours later, another Fox reporter confirmed the original story.)
Justin Baragona - the daily beast

Fox News hosts and pundits spent much of Friday morning pushing back against an eye-popping report from The Atlantic alleging President Donald Trump called fallen military heroes “losers” and “suckers.” The network largely focused on the story’s multiple anonymous sources to suggest it was fabricated.

And without a hint of irony, Fox News correspondent John Roberts on Friday morning cited on-air two anonymous sources refuting the bombshell report, claiming “the president never said that according to both of these sources.” Roberts also backed the president’s denial that he canceled a trip to a France war cemetery “filled with losers” because he didn’t want to get his hair wet.

(UPDATE: Further complicating Fox’s mixed messaging on the use of anonymous sources in reporting, the network’s senior national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin on Friday afternoon confirmed The Atlantic’s reporting. A former Trump official told Griffin that Trump had said aloud that soldiers who went to Vietnam were “suckers,” asked “what’s in it” for vets, suggested “wounded guys” in a military parade would be “not a good look,” and did not want to lower flags for McCain’s death.) more...

Fox News host Bret Baier highlighted the hypocrisy of the president railing against “cancel culture” while trying to get his Fox colleague fired.
Matt Wilstein - the daily beast

Filling in for Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this weekend, Bret Baier took the opportunity to accuse President Donald Trump of “cancel culture” hypocrisy for saying Fox News should fire the reporter who confirmed the explosive story from The Atlantic about his verbal attacks on the U.S. military.

“Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting,” the president tweeted on Friday after Fox’s national security correspondent confirmed with her sources that, among other things, he had described U.S. service members as “suckers” and “losers.” Trump added, “Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!” “Have you ever heard the president use any of that language about veterans, dead or alive, ever being around him?” Baier asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Sunday morning. more...

The fake news site Peace Data isn’t the first time Russian trolls struck unwitting victims. But for a disabled woman ensnared in the scheme, she almost lost access to vital care.
Adam Rawnsley

For a time, it seemed like a great gig. Jacinda Chan’s job working for the website Peace Data was everything she’d been looking for. It was paid work writing about her favorite subject—human rights and Latin America—and her editors paid on time.

Chan, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy and is a quadriplegic, hadn’t been able to get many good jobs in journalism. “I have difficulty finding employment in the USA because people look at me and wonder how I can work if I'm on a respirator,” she wrote to an editor at the site in July. “That is why I like this job. Nobody questioned my ability because I'm disabled. I just got the money.” But this week it all came crashing down when Facebook revealed that Peace Data was fake. After a tip-off from the FBI and an internal investigation, the company discovered that the site was linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the troll farm responsible for much of the meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Elaborate ruse
The site used a mixture of fake personas and real, unwitting journalists tricked into believing the site was a legitimate outlet for human rights journalism. A number of the contributors have since come forward to share their stories about being exploited. But of all the people who’ve written for the site, Chan appears to have suffered the most from the troll farm’s ruse. The site has since shut its doors, leaving a cartoon of social media executives on a guillotine and a few embarrassed contributors in its wake. But the IRA’s ruse almost cost Chan much more—a lifeline to home caregivers. more...

By Michael Finnegan Staff Writer

President Trump resumed television advertising after the Republican National Convention with two racially charged commercials airing in Minnesota and Wisconsin, battleground states racked by social upheaval after recent violent police encounters with Black men. Trump’s ads show how he is trying to replicate his 2016 success in stirring racial resentments of white voters in Upper Midwest regions that have struggled for decades with a painful decline in manufacturing jobs.

His Minnesota spot shows people leaping through broken storefront windows with arms full of stolen merchandise and protesters watching a Minneapolis police precinct burn down during unrest that erupted after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in May by a white officer who knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. “Lawless criminals terrorize Minneapolis. Joe Biden takes a knee,” a woman says of Trump’s Democratic challenger before an image of Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis wearing a hijab flashes on screen. “The weak response from Biden and radicals like Ilhan Omar has led to chaos and violence.” more...

By Hugo MartínStaff Writer

After 12 years of working as a housekeeper, Olga Castillo was laid off in March from the DoubleTree hotel in downtown Los Angeles, one of the millions of people put out of work by a pandemic that has hit the hospitality industry especially hard. The 55-year-old mother who earned $20.90 per hour at the hotel now worries about how she will pay medical bills if she, her teenage daughter or her husband, a gardener, get infected by the coronavirus. The family does not have health insurance. “I pray to God to be free of this virus,” she said in Spanish. After she was laid off, the owner of the DoubleTree hotel accepted a loan of between $1 million and $2 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, with the stated intention of retaining 176 jobs. But months after taking the money, the hotel doesn’t seem to have anywhere near 176 employees. And Castillo — along with scores of her co-workers — is still waiting to be called back in. more...

By Ryan Struyk, CNN

(CNN) Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris strongly rebuked President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr for denying there's systemic racism in the US justice system, saying they are "spending full time in a different reality." "We do have two systems of justice" for Black and White Americans, Harris said. The comments from the first Black and South Asian American woman on a major party presidential ticket come less than two months before the November election in an exclusive "State of the Union" interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday, in which Harris suggested Trump was not a "real leader" on racial justice and was trying to "pretend that he has been a leader" on the coronavirus pandemic.

"I don't think that most reasonable people who are paying attention to the facts would dispute that there are racial disparities and a system that has engaged in racism in terms of how the laws have been enforced," said Harris, a California senator and former state attorney general. "It does us no good to deny that. Let's just deal with it. Let's be honest. These might be difficult conversations for some, but they're not difficult conversations for leaders, not for real leaders." more...

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

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

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


Several boats have sunk on a lake in the US state of Texas during a parade to support President Donald Trump in November's election, officials say. Authorities say the choppy water was likely caused by the large number of vessels moving closely together on Lake Travis, near the state capital, Austin. Images showed boats with Trump campaign flags manoeuvring at close quarters. Media say people had to be rescued from the water, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. The event, called Lake Travis Trump Boat Parade, was organised on Facebook, and more than 2,600 people marked themselves as having attended it. more...

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

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

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

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

In stark contrast to rightwing claims, 93% of demonstrations have involved no serious harm to people or property
Lois Beckett

The vast majority of the thousands of Black Lives Matter protests this summer have been peaceful, with more than 93% involving no serious harm to people or damage to property, according to a new report tracking political violence in the United States. But the US government has taken a “heavy-handed approach” to the demonstrations, with authorities using force “more often than not” when they are present, the report found. And there has been a troubling trend of violence and armed intimidation by individual actors, including dozens of car-ramming attacks targeting demonstrators across the country.

The new data on protests and the US government’s response comes from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (Acled), an organization that has long tracked political violence and unrest in regions around the world, together with Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative. Data assembled by Acled has been viewed as a reliable source of information on the death toll in Yemen, civilians killed by governments in Africa and political violence against women, among other conflicts. The organization launched a new “US crisis monitor” project this year, concerned that the US is “at heightened risk of political violence and instability going into the 2020 general election”. more...

By Barbara Starr and Jennifer Hansler, CNN

Washington (CNN)As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his efforts to exert his personal influence around the globe and meddle in American democracy and is accused of using a nerve agent to poison one of his main political opponents, President Donald Trump broke his recent silence on Russia and the attack on Alexey Navalny, calling it "tragic" but emphasizing that he has a good relationship with the Russian leader.

"I don't know exactly what happened. I think it's tragic. It's terrible; it shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet, but I will take a look," Trump said on Friday in a news conference at the White House. In response to further questions on the matter he attempted to deflect to his favorite opponent, claiming that what China is doing is "far worse." And as he had done the night before at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, he stressed, "I do get along with President Putin."

There was no reference to Russian efforts to interfere in US politics following Thursday's news that an intelligence bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security warned that Moscow is attempting to sow doubt about the integrity of the 2020 elections by amplifying false claims that mail-in voting resulting in widespread fraud. And the President made no mention of other provocations in recent weeks, including a collision between a Russian military convoy and a US armored vehicle that injured seven American troops. more...

“For people out here, the Postal Service is absolutely a lifeline," a West Virginia farmer said.
By Phil McCausland

When Jacob Gray opened the box of chicks he ordered, he saw that about 300 of them had been mashed to a pulp. The 100 or so birds that survived tread on their dead fellows and nibbled on what remained of them. Gray, 28, has been ordering chicks from a breeder in California for his farm in rural southwest Colorado for more than seven years. He never lost more than about a dozen birds in a perforated box of 400 because the U.S. Postal Service delivered them within two days.

That changed over the past few months, as the boxes arrived days late to his home in Delta County, Colorado, an area larger than Rhode Island with a population of about 30,000 people. “I opened it up and was immediately hit with the smell of death,” he said of the most recent box he received two weeks ago. “Sometimes, the post office would call us in the morning and say, ‘Get these things out of here,’ because they smelled so bad.”

Hundreds of baby birds Gray ordered this summer have died, and he said he had to cancel his remaining orders and renegotiate his farm loan because of nearly $4,000 in losses — more than 10 percent of what he’d hoped to earn this year. Recent Postal Service delays have affected millions of Americans’ packages and letters, but the impact has been particularly widespread and difficult in rural communities, which depend on the federal agency more than densely populated regions of the United States. *** Trump is a cheater he is willing to screw up the mail a lifeline for some to help win reelection. *** more...

Andrew Hay, Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Californians sought relief on Friday from the first day of a punishing heat wave expected to last through the Labor Day weekend, bringing temperatures of up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius) and raising the risk of wildfires and rolling blackouts. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, a proclamation that allows power plants to operate beyond normal limits throughout the three-day holiday weekend. “The heat is on again! Please do your part to #ConserveEnergy to avoid power outages over #LaborDayWeekend. Some state beaches are closed or have modified operations due to wildfires & COVID-19,” California State Parks said on Twitter.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast a heat wave carrying “rare, dangerous and very possibly fatal” temperatures across Southern California for the holiday weekend. “There is a high risk for heat illness along with heightened fire weather concerns,” the NWS Los Angeles office reported, forecasting record high temperatures on Saturday and Sunday. more...

Erin Corbett

Just hours after Michael Reinoehl spoke to VICE News about fatally shooting a member of the far-right group Patriot Prayer during a rally in downtown Portland, police shot and killed him near Olympia, Washington. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, investigators who were part of a federal task force moved to arrest Reinoehl Thursday night after a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge issued an arrest warrant.

“The fugitive task force located Reinoehl in Olympia and attempted to peacefully arrest him,” the U.S. Marshals Service claimed. Law enforcement officers at the scene allege Reinoehl, 48, was armed with a firearm at the time of his arrest and was “threatening the lives of law enforcement officers” but no other witnesses have corroborated this account of events. Officers ultimately shot and killed him during the attempted arrest.

Reinoehl had been a person of interest in the police investigation into the killing of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, the Patriot Prayer member who was participating in a pro-Trump car caravan on August 29 in Portland. In an earlier conversation with VICE, Reinoehl said he was acting in self defense when he shot Danielson. more...

By Lisa Conley

Kayne West on Friday filed to appear on Kentucky's ballot as an independent presidential candidate, according to the secretary of state’s office. Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams on Friday tweeted a photo of West's application, and later tweeted that his staff is "diligently reviewing this filing, including an estimated 19,000 petition signatures, to determine whether Mr. West has qualified to appear." West on Friday also filed paperwork to get on Mississippi's ballot, according to Secretary of State Michael Watson, who will meet with Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Attorney General Lynn Fitch on Tuesday to rule on West’s qualifications, local CBS affiliate WJTV reported. more...

By Christina Carrega

(CNN) Two members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia group from Missouri traveling to Kenosha, Wisconsin, were arrested Thursday by federal officials and charged with illegally possessing a cache of weapons. Michael M. Karmo and Cody E. Smith were separately charged and ordered to be temporarily detained until their bail hearings on September 8 at 10:30 a.m. in front of Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Dries. Karmo, 40 and Smith, 33, were roommates for a month, worked together and were members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia, a pro-law enforcement group, according to the criminal complaint.

They traveled by car to Kenosha to "see for themselves" what was going on at the protests, attended a "Make America Great Again" rally and planned to go to Portland to "take action" if police were defunded, according to Karmo's criminal complaint. "Kenosha Police Department advised FBI that a law enforcement agency in Iowa had received a tip that Karmo and an unidentified male were in possession of firearms and traveling from Missouri to Kenosha, Wisconsin," prosecutors said in a statement Thursday. FBI agents found in their hotel room an Armory AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-Gauge shotgun, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition, body armor, a drone, a twisted cable survival saw, a dagger and other materials, prosecutors said. They each have criminal records and were not authorized to have any firearms of ammunition, prosecutors said. more...

By Justine Coleman

The U.S. Postal Service has made millions of dollars in payments to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's former company in recent weeks, The New York Times reported Wednesday. A spokesman for the company, XPO Logistics, pointed out to The Hill that the payments were part of a contract signed last December, before DeJoy was named postmaster general in June, but the records will likely increase questions surrounding changes DeJoy has made to the organization.

A public records request from the Times determined that the Postal Service has paid XPO and its subsidiaries about $14 million in the past 10 weeks. The Postal Service had paid $3.4 million during the same period in 2019 and $4.7 million during the same period in 2018. Since 2013, the Postal Service has compensated DeJoy’s former company and its subsidies between $33.7 million to $45.2 million each year for managing transportation and providing support during peak times, records show.

The postmaster general continues to have a stake in XPO worth between $30 million and $75 million and was given $1.86 million in rent last year through a leasing agreement that he made while still at the company, according to the Times. Several Democrats have criticized DeJoy for his ongoing financial ties to the company, where he served as the chief executive of the supply chain business and was a board member until 2018.  more...

Guardian staff and agencies

The New York police department says it is trying to find a car that drove through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters blocking a street in Times Square on Thursday night. Video posted on social media showed the car jerking through the crowd with its horn blaring as demonstrators scream and scramble out of the way. One video posted on Twitter by a user named DataInput, showed a dark sedan plowing into a crowd of people who were standing in front of the vehicle with bicycles.

Gwynne Hogan, a WNYC reporter, tweeted that the crowd appeared “rattled” but that “most people were able to jump out of the way.” No one appeared to be seriously injured. The NYPD said on Twitter that the car was not a police vehicle. The protesters had gathered after seven police officers involved in the suffocation death of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, were suspended. Prude, 41, who was Black, died when he was taken off life support on 30 March, seven days after officers who encountered him running naked through the street put a hood over his head to stop him from spitting, then held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. more...

Michael Karmo and Cody Smith face weapons charges

Federal agents arrested two Missouri men in Pleasant Prairie after receiving a tip they were coming to Kenosha to possibly "loot" and "pick people off." The FBI tracked Michael Karmo and Cody Smith to the La Quinta hotel in Pleasant Prairie on Sept. 1. Investigators said they searched the men's vehicle and hotel room, where FBI agents recovered an Armory AR-15 assault rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-Gauge shotgun, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition, body armor, a drone and other materials. more...

An update on the many investigations into the president’s business interests.
By Ray Suarez

You could be forgiven for losing track of all the investigations into President Donald Trump’s business—there are just so many of them. They take a long time, they’re complex, and there’s no linear story structure. The latest salvo came from the New York State Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating whether Trump’s company improperly inflated the value of its assets to get tax benefits and loans. But how close are we to the truth? On Thursday’s episode of What Next, I checked in with David Fahrenthold, a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at the Washington Post, to find out what we know and still don’t know about the Trump Organization and its finances. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

David Fahrenthold: Closer is the key word. We know a lot more about the state of its businesses, its business partners, the pressures it’s under, and its business with the federal government than we did when we started. But in many ways it’s still a black box. There’s still a lot I don’t know. The Trump Organization is facing a level of legal scrutiny that it really has never faced before. It has always sort of skated by, both because Trump was so difficult to deal with—he was so contentious when you went after him as an investigator—and because it wasn’t very big. None of its balance sheets were ever that big, and so people didn’t feel like it was worth the trouble. Now, that’s changed. It’s facing some pretty serious investigations, and that could cost it a lot of money in legal fees, but it could also bring some significant damages, and, perhaps most importantly, it could crack open this black box of a company in a way that we really have not seen before.  “Trump has always exploited honor systems. He does what the honor system doesn’t expect.” — David Fahrenthold. more...

A man suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland, Oregon, was killed as investigators moved in to arrest him.
Associated Press

LACEY, Wash. (AP) — A man suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland, Oregon, last week was killed as investigators moved in to arrest him, a senior Justice Department official told The Associated Press. The man, Michael Reinoehl, 48, was killed as a federal task force attempted to apprehend him in Lacey, Washington, the official said. Reinoehl was the prime suspect in the killing of 39-year-old Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was shot in the chest, the official said. more...

Charles Davis

The Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has joined the chorus of critics outraged at a report in The Atlantic indicating that President Donald Trump had described US troops who died in World War I as "suckers " and "losers." "If the revelations in today's Atlantic article are true, then they are yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the president of the United States," Biden said in a statement Thursday evening.

The Atlantic article, published earlier Thursday, cited multiple unnamed sources familiar with comments Trump made in France in 2018. The morning he was set to visit the Aisne-Marne cemetery in France, the report said, Trump told senior staff members: "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers." In another conversation, he was said to have called US Marines killed in the 1918 Battle of Belleau Wood "suckers" because they died. The White House has denied the report, calling it "fake news." Biden, whose son Beau served in Iraq, said in his statement that he considered the protection of "generations of American troops" who "have shed blood around the world in defense of our freedoms and to protect US vital interests" to be the "one truly sacred obligation" of a president.

"Duty, honor, country — those are the values that drive our service members," he said. "Those are the values that have formed the core of America's defense for centuries. And if I have the honor of serving as the next commander in chief, I will ensure that our American heroes know that I will have their back and honor their sacrifice — always." Biden's comments were more measured than some others'. Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said he was disappointed but not surprised. "This is who he is," he said of Trump. "#PresidentMayhem has no respect for anyone." more...

David Choi

President Donald Trump on Thursday evening denied having ever called Sen. John McCain of Arizona a "loser," despite having previously tweeted out a news article that described him doing exactly that. Trump and his senior officials on Thursday attempted to deflect the blowback from an article published in The Atlantic that quoted several unnamed sources who said the president had made disparaging remarks about US service members — including those who died in battle and those who went on to become notable politicians.

The Atlantic's sources said Trump referred to McCain and President George H.W. Bush, two former US Navy fighter pilots, as "losers" for being shot down in battle. McCain's plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, leading to his capture and torture by North Vietnamese forces for more than five years. Bush's plane was shot down by Japanese forces during World War II. Trump himself received a deferral for service in Vietnam, saying he had bone spurs in his feet. more...


The president reportedly made the remarks ahead of a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, which was canceled after he fretted about rain messing up his hair.
Patricia Kelly Yeo, Blake Montgomery

President Donald Trump called American soldiers who died on French soil during World War I “losers” during a trip to France in 2018, according to multiple sources cited by The Atlantic. The comments, reportedly made ahead of a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery that was ultimately canceled and blamed on bad weather, were part of a pattern of the Commander in Chief badmouthing slain service members. Trump later referred to World War I Marines who were killed at Belleau Wood, where American and allied troops successfully halted the German advance towards Paris in 1918, as “suckers” for dying at at the hands of the enemy. Trump reportedly expressed confusion about the United States’ involvement in World War I, asking aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?”

Responding to the report in a statement, the White House said, “This report is patently false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn.” An investigative reporter for the Associated Press tweeted that a senior Defense Department official “confirmed this story by Jeffrey Goldberg in its entirety.” In a statement, Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, said if the report was true, the president's comments are “yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the President of the United States.” The president has a long history of attacking military service members, even those in his own party, including the late Republican leader Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whom he called a “fucking loser” upon seeing flags lowered to half-mast in McCain's honor after his death in 2018. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of McCain in 2015 while running for the Republican presidential nomination. “I like people who weren’t captured.” The president reportedly told his staff, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral” after McCain’s death. Trump was not invited to the memorial service. more...

Jessica Krug, an activist who teaches African American history, writes Medium post apologizing for false identity
Poppy Noor

A seasoned activist and professor of African American history at George Washington University has been pretending to be Black for years, despite actually being a white woman from Kansas City. In a case eerily reminiscent to Rachel Dolezal, Jessica A Krug took financial support from cultural institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for a book she wrote about fugitive resistance to the transatlantic slave trade. But according to a Medium post allegedly written by Krug herself, her career was rooted in a “toxic soil of lies”.

“To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” she wrote. In Krug’s book Fugitive Modernities, published before her confession, she writes in her acknowledgments: “My ancestors, unknown, unnamed, who bled life into a future they had no reason to believe could or should exist. My brother, the fastest, the smartest, the most charming of us all. Those whose names I cannot say for their own safety, whether in my barrio, in Angola, or in Brazil.” more...

A respected, combat-tested Black colonel has been passed over three times for promotion to brigadier general. What does his fate say about the Corps?
By Helene Cooper

WASHINGTON — All things being equal, Col. Anthony Henderson has the military background that the Marine Corps says it prizes in a general: multiple combat tours, leadership experience and the respect of those he commanded and most who commanded him. Yet three times he has been passed over for brigadier general, a prominent one-star rank that would put Colonel Henderson on the path to the top tier of Marine Corps leadership. Last year, the Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, even added a handwritten recommendation to Colonel Henderson’s candidacy: “Eminently qualified Marine we need now as BG,” he wrote.

But never in its history has the Marine Corps had anyone other than a white man in its most senior leadership posts. Colonel Henderson is Black. “Tony Henderson has done everything you could do in the Marines except get a hand salute from Jesus Christ himself,” said Milton D. Whitfield Sr., a former Marine gunnery sergeant who served for 21 years. Proud and fierce in their identity, the Marines have a singular race problem that critics say is rooted in decades of resistance to change. As the nation reels this summer from protests challenging centuries-long perceptions of race, the Marines — who have long cultivated a reputation as the United States’ strongest fighting force — remain an institution where a handful of white men rule over 185,000 white, African-American, Hispanic and Asian men and women. “It took an act of Congress last year to get them to integrate by gender at the platoon level,” said Representative Anthony G. Brown, Democrat of Maryland and a former Army helicopter pilot. “And now they continue to hold onto that 1950s vision of who Marines are.” more...

By Chauncey Alcorn CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $100 million to the nation's four historically Black medical schools to help ease the student debt burden for the next generation of Black physicians. The billionaire's charity, Bloomberg Philanthropies, announced the donation on Thursday as part of Bloomberg's Greenwood Initiative, which was created earlier this year to help address economic justice issues that have affected Black Americans since the abolition of slavery.

The funds will be distributed to Howard University's College of Medicine in Washington, the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Meharry Medical College in Nashville and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. The schools said they will use the donations to create scholarships of up to $100,000 for students currently enrolled and receiving financial aid. Students who graduated in the spring are not eligible to receive funds. more...

By Taylor Romine, Benjamin Norbitz and Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) Newly released police video of a March incident that led to a Black man's death in Rochester, New York, shows officers covering his head with a "spit sock" and holding him on the ground in a prone position before he stopped breathing. Daniel Prude, 41, was having a mental health episode on March 23 when his brother Joe called the Rochester Police Department for help, the family said at a press conference Wednesday. A video provided by family attorneys shows what happened next: Responding officers handcuffed Prude, who was naked, in the middle of a snowy wet street, placed a covering over his head to stop him from spitting and knelt on him while he was on his stomach.

Several minutes later, EMTs arrived and began to perform chest compressions, the video shows, and he was then placed on a gurney and into an ambulance. When Prude arrived at the hospital, he was brain dead, his brother said. He died a week later. His death was ruled a homicide by the Monroe County Medical examiner, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by lawyers for his family. The report cites complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint as a finding. The report also cites excited delirium and acute PCP intoxication as causes of death. more...

By Alessandra Malito

The Congressional Budget Office released an updated budget outlook, including the pandemic’s impact on the economy. Many young Americans say they don’t expect to get Social Security when they retire, but it’s the older workers of today who may see the first cuts to their benefits. The Congressional Budget Office released an updated budget outlook on Wednesday, originally published in July, to reflect the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. In the report, the agency said the budget deficit will reach a record $3.3 trillion this year — and $13 trillion over the next decade. The national debt, which is projected to be 98% of gross domestic product this year, is also expected to surpass the levels of World War II next year, when it’s expected to reach 104% in 2021.

Among the numerous adverse effects of the current crisis is the steep incline in the expected insolvency dates for Social Security and Medicare’s programs, which are expected to run out of money in 11 years compared with the previous projection of 15 years. The programs rely heavily on payroll taxes. The CBO expects reported receipts from payroll taxes to increase this year despite record levels of unemployment in recent months, but that will change in subsequent years, it said. Lower interest rates and price levels will also reduce the cost of Social Security and other related health care programs, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which did an analysis on CBO’s updated outlook. more...

Dan Mangan

A New York judge has ordered lawyers for President Donald Trump’s company and his son Eric to court later in September to explain why they should not be subject to subpoenas issued by the state attorney general’s office as part of an ongoing civil investigation. Attorney General Letitia James is investigating whether the Trump Organization incorrectly valued several real estate assets on annual financial statements that were used to obtain loans, as well as to get economic and tax benefits related to those properties.

The probe comes as Trump, a Republican, is facing a tough reelection fight against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, a former vice president, and as Trump seeks to block a grand jury subpoena to his accountants for his income tax returns and other financial records from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Unlike James’ civil investigation, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office is conducting a criminal probe. more...

By John Bowden

The daughter of a Chicago man who died after Rochester, N.Y., police detained him in March for running naked in the street while in some sort of mental distress blamed "racist" police officers for her father's death on Thursday. During a press conference held remotely, Daniel Prude's 18-year-old daughter Tashyrah Prude pointed out that her father appeared to follow all police commands in video of the incident released by family this week before his death by asphyxiation in Rochester police custody.

"A racist police officer saw a Black man in need and decided that he just didn’t deserve to live," Tashyrah Prude said. “I don’t understand how anybody could say or feel like he was a threat to the police when he complied with all orders," she continued, adding: "There's nothing that anyone could say that could convince me that he was a threat to the police officers."

Officers are seen on the video slamming Daniel Prude's face into the pavement and placing a so-called spit hood over his head. New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has reportedly been investigating the incident for months. A medical examiner ruled that Daniel Prude, 41, was the victim of a homicide as a result of “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint," while noting that he also was found to have the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system. more...

By Rebecca Klar

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” taunted President Trump with a full-page ad in newspapers on Thursday for a mock law firm looking to represent a “soon-to-be ex-president.” The ad was published ahead of the Republican National Convention's last night, when Trump is expected to deliver remarks formally accepting his party nomination.  “Are you a soon-to-be ex-president? About to lose legal immunity? Has your lawyer gone to jail? Call the very fine people on YOUR side,” the text of the ad reads for the mock firm, “Trevor Noah & Associates & Sons presidential attorneys.” more...

Proprietor of century-old camera shop said he did not want to become part of Trump’s ‘circus’
Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday to survey businesses damaged by recent unrest over the shooting of Jacob Blake — but he was unable to convince all the owners to pose with him. And when one owner in particular refused to take part in Mr Trump’s appearance, the president’s team instead welcomed the previous owner as if he were the current one. According to local station TMJ-4, Tom Gram, of the burned-out Rode’s Camera Shop, rejected a request from the White House to meet the president on camera, later telling the station he wanted no part in an appearance he expected would “turn into a circus”.

But instead of leaving the shop out of Mr Trump’s stop, the White House team invited the previous owner, John Rode III, who was introduced by the president as if he currently owned the store — which Mr Gram bought from him eight years ago. Mr Rode posed with a picture of the 109-year-old store and thanked Mr Trump for coming to see the damage, as well as for sending federal troops to calm the violence in the city. He also appeared later in the day at a roundtable with the president and attorney general Bill Barr, at which Mr Trump repeatedly complained about the Wisconsin governor’s reticence to call for federal help during the protests.

Mr Gram, meanwhile, told TMJ-4 that he had a different message for Mr Trump: “Do your job.” “I think he needs to bring this country together rather than divide it,” he said. The protests in Kenosha are some of the most intense of the summer, coming after months of unrest across the US sparked by the death of George Floyd. Numerous businesses have been damaged by fire; others have been sprayed with graffiti and had their windows smashed in. more...

By Megan Hickey

CHICAGO (CBS) — The video is hard to watch – a Black man suffocating after being taken into custody by police in Rochester, New York. The Chicago man, Daniel Prude, died months before George Floyd. As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported Wednesday, Prude was a Chicago resident visiting Rochester when his brother called the police because he was having a mental health issue. From there, the moments leading up to his eventual death were all captured on police body camera. “The man is defenseless, butt-naked on the ground. He was cuffed up already,” said Daniel Prude’s brother, Joe Prude. “I mean, come on. How many more brothers need to die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”

The body cam video shows Rochester officers detaining a naked 41-year-old Daniel Prude in the early hours of March 23. Prude was ordered to lie on the ground. Police put his hands behind his back and handcuffed him. The video shows Prude yelling and spitting as he lies completely naked on the snow-covered ground. A white spit hood is placed on his head. Later, an officer appears to be pushing his head into the pavement. Prude was taken to the hospital, where he died days later. His death was ruled a homicide, caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” more...

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) Michigan and North Carolina election officials reminded citizens Thursday that voting twice is illegal and they could be prosecuted after President Donald Trump encouraged voters to do so. The warnings come after Trump, while speaking to reporters Wednesday in Wilmington, North Carolina, encouraged voters to test the state's voting system when asked if he was confident in the state's mail-in voting system. Vote-by-mail has become a key issue in the lead up to the 2020 election as many states are resorting to an increase in voting by mail amid fears of spreading coronavirus at the polls. Trump, who has also questioned mail-in voting and spread false information about the practice leading to wide-spread fraud, said for people to send in their ballots and then go vote as well.

"Send them in strong, whether it's solicited or unsolicited. The absentees are fine. You have to work to get them, you know," Trump said. "And you send them in, but you go to vote. And if they haven't counted it, you can vote. So that's the way I feel," he said. Americans are only allowed to vote once during an election. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday retweeted a news article about the President's remarks and wrote "don't try this at home." "Hey folks. Attorney General Nessel here-top law enforcement official in Michigan, for those keeping track. Don't try this at home. I will prosecute you," she tweeted. "Also, this might be a good time to remind people not to drink bleach," she added in reference to a moment earlier this year when Trump suggested sunlight and ingesting disinfectants could help cure coronavirus.

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, also sent a message to North Carolina residents reminding them that voting twice is illegal and is a Class 1 felony in the state. "Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law," Brinson Bell said in a statement, adding that there are procedures in place that prevent double voting. "Electronic pollbooks with information about who has already voted are used at every early voting site. If a voter tries to check in who has already voted, they will be prevented from voting a regular ballot." She added, "A voter will be offered a provisional ballot if they insist on voting, and this ballot will be researched after Election Day to determine whether it should be counted." more...

Infamous on-stage incident sparked a chain reaction of squabbles and accusations between West, Swift and Kim Kardashian
Adam White

Kanye West has said he only crashed Taylor Swift’s MTV Video Music Awards speech in 2009 because God told him to. West famously ran onto the stage at the 2009 ceremony to protest Swift’s Best Female Video win, arguing that the trophy should have gone to Beyoncé’s video for “Single Ladies”. The incident gave way to a chain reaction of events involving Swift, West and his wife Kim Kardashian West, who were subsequently involved in a number of high-profile squabbles.

Speaking to Nick Cannon on his YouTube interview series Cannon’s Class, West recalled what motivated the 2009 incident. “Right now, God is giving me the information and he ain’t gave me no other information other than this information, so that means he wants me to say this now,” West explained. “If God ain’t want me to run on stage and say Beyoncé had the best video, he wouldn’t have sat me in the front row. more...

By Ted Barrett, CNN

(CNN) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her hair styled Monday inside a San Francisco hair salon, her office said in a statement Tuesday, an apparent violation of the city's Covid-19 safety regulations that enraged the salon's owner. The acknowledgment came after Fox News reported that the owner of the salon, Erica Kious, was angry that Pelosi had broken the rules requiring such hair treatments to be done outdoors because of the pandemic. Fox also reported it had obtained security footage showing the speaker inside eSalon not wearing a mask. Pelosi's staff insisted Pelosi wore a mask while getting her hair done except for a brief period when she got her hair washed. The security footage shows Pelosi not wearing a mask as she walks briefly between two small rooms in the salon, her hair wet as if just washed. "The speaker always wears a mask and complies with local Covid requirements," Pelosi's Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill said in the statement. more...

Chick-fil-A restaurant exterior Cindy Ord/Getty Images
By Ralph Schwartz

Maybe fast-food restaurants should ask their social media-savvy employees to leave their phones at home. Videos of what goes on behind the scenes at fast-food places often go viral (via BuzzFeed) and have been known to generate negative publicity. Even something as routine as making the lemonade at Chick-fil-A can cause viewers to swear off the drink — or even the restaurant — for life.

Chick-fil-A employee Hayden Alumbaugh posted a short video to TikTok that shows a pitcher of sugar going into a container of yellow liquid, with the caption, "This is how much suger (sic) they put in the lemonade at Chick-fil-A," along with a queasy-face emoji. The video, posted on August 4, has been watched 2.6 million times. "I'm gon have to find another drink then," one commenter said under the video. "Just another reason not to eat there," someone else commented. more...

Emily McCormick

The US economy regained fewer than expected private jobs in August, according to ADP’s closely watched monthly payrolls report. Private payroll gains totaled 428,000 in August, coming in at less than half consensus economist estimates for 1 million, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. July’s private payroll gains were upwardly revised to 212,000, from the 167,000 previously reported. The service-providing sector added back a net 389,000 payrolls in August, led by the leisure and hospitality industries with a gain of 129,000. Education and health services industries added 100,000 payrolls, accelerating gains from July. Information jobs were the only ones to have lost payrolls on net, with this industry seeing 1,000 net job losses.

The goods-producing sector added 40,000 payrolls during August. Construction industries added 28,000 jobs, after losing payrolls in July. By business size, large companies with at least 500 employees added back the most jobs in August, or 298,000. Small- and medium-sized businesses gained 52,000 and 79,000, respectively. Wednesday’s report marked the second consecutive month that ADP’s payrolls report sharply missed expectations, with payroll gains coming in the hundreds of thousands rather than at least 1 million. more...

By Shawn Cohen In Kenosha, Wisconsin, For Dailymail.com

A boisterous Trump supporter wearing a MAGA hat in downtown Kenosha called police to drive him home Tuesday after getting into a fight with a crowd of protesters who ordered him to 'get the f**k out of the park,' hours after the president left town. The fight broke out at 5:30pm in Civic Center Park, across from the county courthouse. A former U.S. Marine named David, who refused to give his last name because he fears he'll be targeted, was at the park earlier in the day leading chants among scores of Trump supporters who were facing off against Black Lives Matter protesters during the president's visit. He described them as 'the true criminals' in America. David's side went home, but he stuck around and got into a heated argument with the remaining protesters in a spectacle that played out before news crews in town covering Trump. more...

Vanessa Romo

A man charged with running a drug syndicate was offered a plea deal in July if he would name Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman killed by police in her Louisville, Ky. apartment, as a member of his alleged criminal gang, according to the man's attorney. Taylor was shot dead March 13 by white Louisville Metro Police officers who had broken into her apartment at night using a "no-knock" warrant. Her death has led to nationwide protests against police brutality.

The purpose of the raid on Taylor's home was to find evidence linking her to an ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, a convicted felon with a history of drug trafficking, according to court documents. Police didn't find any. Now it appears prosecutors attempted to tie Taylor to a life of crime after her death.

By Jenn Selva and Leah Asmelash, CNN

(CNN) The University of California system can no longer use ACT and SAT tests as a determinant for admissions, a superior court judge has ruled, handing a victory to students with disabilities. The "test optional" policy at most UC campuses affords privileged, non-disabled students a "second look" in admissions, said Brad Seligman, the Alameda County Superior Court Judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California on Tuesday.

At the same time, he said, a "second look" would be denied to less privileged students and students with disabilities who are unable to access the tests. Therefore, the conclusion is to do away with the tests all together. The news comes months after the university system waived the standardized testing requirements until 2024, after its Board of Regents voted unanimously. A news release from May stated that if a new test hadn't emerged by 2025, the system would eliminate the standardized testing requirement for California students. But the judge's ruling Monday went even further, prohibiting the consideration of scores from students who still chose to submit them. "The current COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions in the availability of test sites," Seligman said in his ruling. "While test-taking opportunities for all students have been limited, for persons with disabilities, the ability to obtain accommodations or even to locate suitable test locations for the test are 'almost nil'."

Rebecca Morin USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, voters ended the Kennedy family winning streak in Massachusetts. Sen. Ed Markey, the incumbent, defeated Rep. Joe Kennedy III in the Democratic primary. In a concession speech Tuesday night, Kennedy said he would "pledge my support to him and his campaign in the months ahead" "The senator is a good man," Kennedy said. "You have never heard me say otherwise." Markey, 74, was the frontrunner in what has become a closely watched race nationally. Several months ago, Kennedy was leading in polling. But Markey recently took the lead in multiple polls. According to an Emerson poll released last week, Markey was at 56% while Kennedy was at 44% with 4.6-point margin of error.

Kenneth Walker "has already sustained life-long trauma," according to his lawyer.
By Samira Puskar and David K. Li

The boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville woman killed in a "hail of police gunfire" during a late night raid earlier this year, filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against the city and department. Kenneth Walker "has already sustained life-long trauma, still fears harm from those who consider him a danger and seek to take away his freedom again," according to a complaint filed by his lawyer, Steve Romines, in Jefferson County District Court. Louisville police Sgt. Lamont Washington told NBC News they do not comment on pending litigation.

The county attorney, who represents the city in civil litigation, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Fischer declined to specifically address claims in the civil complaint. "We’ve not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on the specifics of pending litigation," Fischer's Director of Communications Jean Porter said in a statement. "But as the mayor has said, Breonna Taylor's death was a tragedy, and justice, peace and healing are what is needed for her, for her loved ones and for our community."

Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said the specific violations were not known, the Los Angeles Times reported.

LOS ANGELES — A Black man who deputies said was stopped for riding his bicycle in violation of vehicle codes was fatally shot when he dropped a bundle of items that included a gun, authorities said, setting off a protest march to a nearby sheriff's station in Los Angeles. Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said the specific violations were not known, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Dean said investigators had not yet interviewed the deputies, but he gave this account: When deputies tried to stop the man, he dropped his bike and ran. When they caught up to him he punched one of them in the face and dropped a bundle of clothes he was carrying. The deputies spotted a handgun in the bundle and opened fire. “He was in possession of a firearm and did assault a deputy,” Dean said. *** If man dropped the gun then he was unarmed there was no reason to shot him. ***

The social media giant acted against a small network of pages and accounts that directed users to a fake left-leaning news site called Peace Data
By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg

Facebook removed a network of fake accounts and pages created by Russian operatives who had recruited U.S. journalists to write articles critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, an apparent bid to undermine their support among liberal voters. Facebook said it caught the network of 13 fake accounts and two pages early, before it had a chance to build a large audience — an action that the company said was evidence of its growing effectiveness at targeting foreign disinformation operations ahead of the 2020 election.

The takedown emerged as a result of a tip from the FBI and was one of a dozen operations tied to the Russian Internet Research Agency or individuals affiliated with it that Facebook has disrupted since the last presidential election, when IRA-backed pages amassed millions of views on the platform. The pages had about 14,000 followers. “They’ve gotten better at hiding who they are, but their impact has gotten smaller and smaller,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, said of the foreign operations.

Bobby Allyn

Facebook and Twitter said Tuesday that they had removed accounts linked to Russian state actors who tried to spread false stories about racial justice, the Democratic presidential campaign of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and President Trump's policies. Researchers who have examined the operation say it attempted to steer left-leaning voters away from the Biden-Harris campaign in an way that echoes the Russian disinformation campaigns that sought to depress progressive and minority support for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Facebook said the the Russian agents set up a site posing as an independent news outlet and managed to recruit "unwitting freelance journalists" to write stories that were shared by dozens of social media accounts created through artificial intelligence. The Russian operatives, according to Facebook, primarily used a website called PeaceData. It billed itself as a news site that aimed to shed light on corruption, abuse of power and human rights. Both Facebook and Twitter detected and removed accounts associated with the the site before any of them had gathered a large following.

"The wealthy and well-connected were showered with our tax dollars and fraudsters took advantage of the program's troubling lack of transparency," one government waste watchdog concluded.
By Ben Popken

Over $1 billion in emergency coronavirus aid relief went to companies who “double dipped” and received multiple Paycheck Protection Program loans, in violation of the program’s rules, according to a preliminary analysis released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

Congressional investigators identified multiple areas of potential waste and fraud in PPP, part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, which offered qualifying small businesses up to $10 million in emergency, forgivable loans to shore up their payroll and meet basic expenses due to business impacts from the coronavirus and lockdown periods. The PPP program gave loans to nearly 4.9 million small businesses for a total of $521 billion. As designed, the program still has $133 million in untapped funds.

The latest analysis “suggests a high risk that PPP loans may have been diverted from small businesses truly in need to ineligible businesses or even to criminals,” according to the report, which was released earlier on Tuesday as part of a Subcommittee hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday afternoon.

Adult film star Ron Jeremy was charged Monday with 20 new counts involving 12 women and a teenage girl, authorities said.
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adult film star Ron Jeremy was charged with 20 new counts of rape or sexual assault involving 12 women and a teenage girl, authorities said. The charges come two months after the 67-year-old Jeremy was charged with the rape of three women and the sexual assault of a fourth. Jeremy pleaded not guilty to the new charges in Los Angeles Superior Court, and had already denied the previous allegations. Jeremy, whose legal name is Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, has been held in jail on $6.6 million bail since June.


There is a new, despicable revelation in the Breonna Taylor investigation ... prosecutors tried to smear her by offering her ex-boyfriend a plea deal that could have turned a 10-year sentence into probation if he agreed to say Breonna was dealing drugs, and it's flat-out false. Documents have surfaced showing that Jamarcus Glover, Breonna's ex who is charged with drug trafficking and gun charges, was offered the deal if he'd say Taylor was part of an organized crime syndicate trafficking drugs into Louisville. There is absolutely no evidence to support this, but attorney Sam Aguiar, who reps Breonna's family, says, "The fact that they would try to even represent that she was a co-defendant in a criminal case more than a month after she died is absolutely disgusting."

By Reuters and Ap and Emily Goodin, Senior U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com

President Donald Trump on Monday urged a federal appeals court not to let Manhattan's top prosecutor have his tax returns, saying 'the deck was clearly stacked against' him, and said he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene if necessary. The argument was made in a filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, which on Tuesday will hear arguments on Trump's bid to delay Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's subpoena for the tax returns during Trump's appeal. Absent a delay, Trump requested a stay to give the Supreme Court time to consider his request. A spokesman for Vance declined to comment. - What is Trump hidding?

“Whatever it was, it was serious enough that the vice president was warned to be on standby," the MSNBC host noted
Bob Brigham

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC was able to infer a fascinating conclusion after new reporting on President Donald Trump's rushed trip to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in November. Reporting at the time said the visit was "abnormal" and "scheduled last minute." "Here is something we do not know until now," Maddow said. "In November, you may remember a little bit of a health scare or at least a lot of health questions raised about President Trump. It was a Saturday afternoon in mid-November and President Trump was seemingly rushed off to Walter Reed Medical Center. This was an unannounced trip, it was a surprise, it led a lot of questions to what may have went wrong for the president that may lead to a rushed trip."

"The White House later cooked up some weird story about how that sudden, unannounced trip to Walter Reed had been a long plan segment of the president's annual physical and he was like doing a bit of it as if physicals are a thing that's happening in the episodes over the course of the season or something," she joked. "It was very strange, that's not how physicals work." "People who've worked at the White House say the White House medical office is so well-equipped that White House medical staff can handle on-site all but the most serious incidents without a president ever having to be rushed off campus from the white house to the hospital," she reported. "But rushed he was. What was that all about?"

CBS News

Joe Biden has not traveled to Wisconsin, but President Trump is planning to visit Kenosha on Tuesday after days of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Politico national correspondent Natasha Korecki joins CBSN's "Red & Blue" to discuss the latest on the campaign trail.

By Justine Coleman

A Florida man known as “the Antifa hunter,” who launched online harassment campaigns against those who disagreed with white supremacy, was sentenced on Monday to three years and five months in prison.  A federal judge in Virginia sentenced Daniel McMahon, 32, of Brandon, Fla., after he admitted to using social media to threaten a Black activist to stop him from running for office and threatening to sexually assault a female activist’s autistic daughter, The Associated Press reported.

McMahon pleaded guilty to cyberstalking and bias-motivated interference with a candidate for elective office in April. The FBI recovered his computer and several loaded guns from McMahon’s home that he shared with his parents, prosecutors said, with the computer showing evidence of his harassment campaigns and of his interest in racially motivated killings.

McMahon operated his cyberstalking through the name “Jack Corbin,” an alias under which he convinced activist Don Gathers against running for the City Council of Charlottesville, Va. Prosecutors said he alleged Gathers had attacked a white supremacist group member and called for a “diversity of tactics” to be used against him, according to the AP.  After Gathers was informed of the threats, he announced that he wouldn’t run for office.

By Lance Lambert

After three weeks of silence between Democratic and Republican leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows discussed another coronavirus stimulus package on Thursday. The meeting concluded without a deal, and Pelosi said the two parties were "at a tragic impasse." Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that Democrats offered to come down from their request for $3.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion. Meanwhile, on Friday the White House offered to come up from $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion. Both parties rejected the other's offer, however, they've moved closer in terms of size of the stimulus package. When the negations broke down on August 7, the two parties were $2.4 trillion apart. Now they're $900 billion apart. It's unclear if Democratic and Republican party leaders will continue negotiations this week.

Isabel Togoh Forbes Staff

McDonald’s is being sued for up to $1 billion by dozens of Black former franchise owners who claim that the fast food giant systematically placed them in “substandard locations” that hinder profitability and growth, saddling them with high insurance costs and leaving their restaurants performing below the national norm, according to the plaintiffs. The lawsuit comes weeks after the world’s biggest fast food chain was among dozens of corporations to release a statement in support of Black Lives Matter and condemn racism following George Floyd’s death and nationwide anti-racism protests.

In June, new CEO Chris Kempczinski acknowledged McDonald’s had more work to do to improve racial equality and diversity within the company, after two executives filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly pushing out Black managers and franchisees. Despite this, Kempczinski claimed that the chain had created more millionaires in the Black community than any other company. But the latest lawsuit, filed by 52 Black former franchise owners in a Chicago federal court, says their average sales of $2 million a year between 2011 and 2016 were $700,000 below the national average, often leading them to bankruptcy, Reuters reports. Jim Ferraro, representing the plaintiffs, told Reuters that the number of Black franchise owners has halved to 186 over the past two decades, while a lawsuit earlier this year claims that almost a third of Black franchisees left under ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook’s tenure between 2015 and 2019.

The lawsuit comes weeks after the world’s biggest fast food chain was among dozens of corporations to release a statement in support of Black Lives Matter and condemn racism following George Floyd’s death and nationwide anti-racism protests. In June, new CEO Chris Kempczinski acknowledged McDonald’s had more work to do to improve racial equality and diversity within the company, after two executives filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly pushing out Black managers and franchisees. Despite this, Kempczinski claimed that the chain had created more millionaires in the Black community than any other company.

But the latest lawsuit, filed by 52 Black former franchise owners in a Chicago federal court, says their average sales of $2 million a year between 2011 and 2016 were $700,000 below the national average, often leading them to bankruptcy, Reuters reports. Jim Ferraro, representing the plaintiffs, told Reuters that the number of Black franchise owners has halved to 186 over the past two decades, while a lawsuit earlier this year claims that almost a third of Black franchisees left under ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook’s tenure between 2015 and 2019.

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