Trump Endears Himself To White Supremacists… And Putin, Again… While America Gets Sicker

Ken AshfordEbola/Zika/COVID-19 Viruses, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

The nation is full of racial strife, although on the whole, the BLM movement is peaceful and making rapid progress.

 It’s ultimately all one thing: Donald J. Trump needs to be removed from office for abuse of power and dereliction of duty.

The Washington Post’s article published Sunday evening made it very clear numerous people knew about the bounties and that nothing had been done about them:

Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.

Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed this year. In each of those years, several service members were also killed by what are known as “green on blue” hostile incidents by Afghan security forces who are sometimes believed to have been infiltrated by the Taliban.

Multiple interrogations. Multiple people familiar.

Zero action taken.

And along with multiple U.S. service members dead, an unknown number of allies’ troops, contractors, civilian killed.

If Trump genuinely believed in getting out of Afghanistan through an effective peace agreement, this is its opposite even with a partial American force draw down. It’s how a country becomes even more destabilized and how its violence will spill over and follow U.S. and coalition partners home.

Trump had no problem with Putin stabbing him in the back because it was Putin, and he never has anything negative to say about Putin.

A little after midnight The New York Times published another article, this time expanding the period of time Trump should have known about Russia’s bounties to February 2019, along with the period of time in which Trump took zero action.

Three U.S. service members were killed in a blast last April, attributed to Taliban motivated by the Russian bounties.

Trump was notified at least once in a Presidential Daily Briefing in ample time to do something.

The excuses offered by the White House have been little more than variants of “The dog ate my homework.”

All bullshit.

The response has been just as stupid and ugly — offering Congressional Republicans a briefing first, allowing them to coordinate a response to cover the White House’s wretchedness.

The administration has been all over the map today in their attempts to explain and explain away the unfolding and evolving reporting on how Russian military intelligence, the GRU, has been offering bounties to the Taliban and Taliban affiliated officials to entice them to kill US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The White House Press Secretary kicked things off by asserting that the US Intelligence Community (IC) had differing opinions regarding this intelligence and because there was no consensus, it was not briefed to the President. The Press Secretary also stated that the President has still not been briefed on this matter!!!!

She made her statements shortly after it was reported that the US Congress would be given a briefing on this intelligence, reading them onto what the IC knows and is reporting. The briefing was done at the White House. This reporting was clarified about an hour later: the briefing would only be for Republicans. And while we now know that the Democrats in Congress will get a briefing on this tomorrow, doing it this way is a SERIOUS PROBLEM!!!! The reason we have a Gang of 8 – the Speaker and Minority Leader in the House, the Majority and Minority Leaders in the Senate, and the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence committees in each chamber – is to ensure that everyone gets briefed on this stuff at the same time. This is also the reason we are supposed to have a bipartisan intelligence oversight process within both the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) where everyone gets briefed at the same time. And the reason that the Gang of 8 or the members of both parties on the intelligence committees get briefed at the same time is to prevent accusations that one side is being told something the other side isn’t. To avoid the politicization of intelligence. And to prevent one side from being told something the other side isn’t.

As I type this, Congressman Schiff, the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has just told Chris Hayes that the Republicans on his committee are boycotting the committee hearings. He indicated that despite these hearing being unclassified and on unclassified matters, the Republican members of the committee don’t believe the hearings are secure enough because they’re being done by video-teleconference or include video-teleconferencing, so they’re boycotting them. This is a problem in and of itself, but it also exacerbates the problem of the Democrats and the Republicans being briefed separately on this matter by the White House. Because there will be no way for the Democrats to be sure that what they are told tomorrow morning is the same thing that the Republicans were told this afternoon. Especially because the Republican members of Congress who were briefed this afternoon immediately took steps to frame what they were told so as to reset and reframe the reporting on this issue. Here’s the statement from Republican Congressmen McCaul and Kinzinger:

Updating the Analysis On the Russian Bounties On US & Coalition Forces Reporting & the New Reporting On the President's Calls With Foreign Leaders

Not a terrible statement. Of concern is the fact that both the Director of National Intelligence and the White House Chief of Staff who were involved in the briefing were two of the most divisively partisan members of the Republican caucus in the House until they were tapped this spring to go to work for the administration in positions that neither are qualified for. Another Republican member of the House who was briefed, who, like Congressman Kinzinger, is a veteran, issued a far more detailed statement in a tweet thread. A statement that shows just how the intelligence is going to be framed and who is responsible for all of this:

I just left the White House where I was briefed by CoS @MarkMeadows and top intelligence officials. They discussed @nytimes‘ hit piece falsely accusing @realDonaldTrump of ignoring reports that Russia placed bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan.

A thread, 👇

— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) June 29, 2020

Having served in Afghanistan during the time the alleged bounties were placed, no one is angrier about this than me.

Now it’s impossible to finish the investigation. All b/c the @nytimes will do anything to damage @realdonaldtrump, even if it means compromising nat’l security.

— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) June 29, 2020

Americans don’t buy the phony Russia-Trump-Collusion narrative.

THEY SEE President Trump’s rock solid record in support of our troops, our veterans & American exceptionalism. THEY SEE the media walk back claims of a Trump-Russia scandal over & over. So tired. Change it up!

— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) June 29, 2020

This is going to be the official line going forward. That this isn’t a failure of the President and his senior national security principals to take threats to US and coalition forces seriously or to push back on Putin for increasing the threats they face while deployed in Afghanistan. Rather, the real scandal here is that The New York Times wrote a hit piece, which has now somehow destroyed the intelligence process making it impossible to really know what is going on. Congressman Banks, (R-IN 03) might as well have just come out and stated that nothing is true, therefore anything is possible, so who knows? The administration given separate briefings to the Republicans and Democrats in Congress will make this worse because there will be no way to really know that members of both caucuses were given the exact same briefings and received the exact same information.

But here’s the rub: nothing Trump, his evil minions in the White House, his useless family, his political party can do will explain away the lack of interest in protecting national security.

Because while the intelligence about the Russian bounties lay around collecting dust, at the very same goddamned time, Trump and his minions were busy working on developing a quid pro quo aimed at Ukraine.

Trump spent more time focused on using the power of the executive office to shake down Ukraine, harassing faithful federal employees like former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, in order to get himself re-elected to the job he refuses to do.

He put more effort into a couple of phone calls to Ukraine’s president.

More effort into halting shipment of arms to Ukraine.

More effort bitching about a whistleblower.

And zero effort into addressing his buddy Putin’s bounties on U.S. troops.

Donald J. Trump is a threat to this nation because he cannot and will not do anything to protect this country unless its about him.

More than 130,000 Americans have now died because of this immutable truth: 3000 Puerto Rican Americans, an untold number of American troops, and at least 128,000 COVID-19 victims are dead because Trump is absolutely useless for anything but golf and grifting from taxpayers.

Here is a great piece by James Fallows on Trump’s response to the pandemic is just fantastic:

Imagine if the National Transportation Safety Board investigated America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coping with a pandemic is one of the most complex challenges a society can face. To minimize death and damage, leaders and citizens must orchestrate a huge array of different resources and tools. Scientists must explore the most advanced frontiers of research while citizens attend to the least glamorous tasks of personal hygiene. Physical supplies matter—test kits, protective gear—but so do intangibles, such as “flattening the curve” and public trust in official statements. The response must be global, because the virus can spread anywhere, but an effective response also depends heavily on national policies, plus implementation at the state and community level. Businesses must work with governments, and epidemiologists with economists and educators. Saving lives demands minute-by-minute attention from health-care workers and emergency crews, but it also depends on advance preparation for threats that might not reveal themselves for many years. I have heard military and intelligence officials describe some threats as requiring a “whole of nation” response, rather than being manageable with any one element of “hard” or “soft” power or even a “whole of government” approach. Saving lives during a pandemic is a challenge of this nature and magnitude.

It is a challenge that the United States did not meet. During the past two months, I have had lengthy conversations with some 30 scientists, health experts, and past and current government officials—all of them people with firsthand knowledge of what our response to the coronavirus pandemic should have been, could have been, and actually was. The government officials had served or are still serving in the uniformed military, on the White House staff, or in other executive departments, and in various intelligence agencies. Some spoke on condition of anonymity, given their official roles. As I continued these conversations, the people I talked with had noticeably different moods. First, in March and April, they were astonished and puzzled about what had happened. Eventually, in May and June, they were enraged. “The president kept a cruise ship from landing in California, because he didn’t want ‘his numbers’ to go up,” a former senior government official told me. He was referring to Donald Trump’s comment, in early March, that he didn’t want infected passengers on the cruise ship Grand Princess to come ashore, because “I like the numbers being where they are.” Trump didn’t try to write this comment off as a “joke,” his go-to defense when his remarks cause outrage, including his June 20 comment in Tulsa that he’d told medical officials to “slow the testing down, please” in order to keep the reported-case level low. But the evidence shows that he has been deadly earnest about denying the threat of COVID-19, and delaying action against it.

“Look at what the numbers are now,” this same official said, in late April, at a moment when the U.S. death toll had just climbed above 60,000, exceeding the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. By late June, the total would surpass 120,000—more than all American military deaths during World War I. “If he had just been paying attention, he would have asked, ‘What do I do first?’ We wouldn’t have passed the threshold of casualties in previous wars. It is a catastrophic failure.”

As an amateur pilot, I can’t help associating the words catastrophic failure with an accident report. The fact is, confronting a pandemic has surprising parallels with the careful coordination and organization that has saved large numbers of lives in air travel. Aviation is safe in large part because it learns from its disasters. Investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board go immediately to accident sites to begin assessing evidence. After months or even years of research, their detailed reports try to lay out the “accident chain” and explain what went wrong. In deciding whether to fly if I’m tired or if the weather is marginal, I rely on a tie-breaking question: How would this look in an NTSB report?

What an interesting way of looking at this.

He is unfit for the office of the presidency.

He must be removed from office.

But Trump is not the only failure. Every GOP senator who voted not to convict him this January is responsible for this debacle. American blood is on their hands having enabled Trump’s continuing incompetence and malignance because they were worried about him tweeting mean things at them.

They should be worried about their asses meeting the wrath of the American public.

We can start by demanding better of the GOP senators who we will be forced to live with for another two to four years. Find out where they stand on Trump’s failure to protect the troops.

And if one of the following senators up for re-election is your senator, vote them out of office. Vote for a Democrat to replace the two open seats because no matter who wins the White House, we need a veto-proof majority in the Senate to fix this mess.

SenatorFirst NamePartyState
ErnstJoniRIA
PerdueDavidRGA
SasseBenRNE
CottonTomRAR
DainesSteveRMT
RoundsMikeRSD
CornynJohnRTX
EnziMikeRWY
InhofeJamesROK
CassidyBillRLA
McConnellMitchRKY
RischJimRID
SullivanDanRAK
TillisThomRNC
GardnerCoryRCO
GrahamLindseyRSC
CapitoShelley MooreRWV
CollinsSusanRME
Hyde-Smith (1)CindyRMS
McSally (2)MarthaRAZ
Loeffler (3)Kelly LynnRGA
Roberts (4)PatRKS
Alexander (5)LamarRTN

(1) Appointed to fill Thad Cochran’s seat, expected to run in 2020
(2) Appointed to fill John McCain’s seat, running in 2020
(3) Appointed to fill Johnny Isakson’s seat, running in 2020
(4) Retiring in 2020. Seat open.
(5) Retiring in 2020. Seat open.

Weekly List 189

Ken AshfordWeekly ListLeave a Comment

This week started with a humiliating return to the campaign trail for Trump, as a mere 6,200 supporters showed up for his rally in Tulsa, after the campaign bragged more than one million had registered. Trump’s poll numbers continue to sag amid his mishandling of the pandemic and racial justice protests. Instead of rising to the challenge, Trump reverted to drumming up racism and division — resulting in even the conservative Wall Street Journal Editorial Board warning he was in danger of not only losing to Democrat Joe Biden, but also taking the Republican Senate down with him.

This week the coronavirus pandemic got out of control in several states that reopened without proper precautions. Trump ignored the record number of daily cases, repeatedly lying that the increase was due to an increase in testing. The White House Coronavirus Task Force returned after a two month hiatus, and Vice President Mike Pence likewise used it as an opportunity to lie to the American people that the curve was flattened and states were reopening safely. The Trump regime refused to take any leadership in testing or contact tracing, leaving states on their own, as the death toll passed 125,000 Americans in just four months’ time.

As the week came to a close, shocking reporting indicated that Russia had put a bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and that Trump had been informed months ago, yet took no action, raising renewed questions and concerns about his strange relationship with President Vladimir Putin.

  1. On Saturday, Geoffrey Berman ended his standoff with Attorney General William Barr and Trump late in the day, saying he would exit his post as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
  2. On Saturday, after the Trump campaign claimed more than 1 million had registered for his Tulsa event and at least 100,000 were expected, BOK Center, with a capacity of 19,200, was not nearly full.
  3. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence canceled plans last minute for what was expected to be a huge outdoor overflow rally including a large stage and screen projecting from inside the arena, as no one was there.
  4. NYT reported Trump was warned while flying in on Air Force One about the crowd size, and was stunned. He yelled at aides backstage while looking out to the half-empty floor and empty seats in the upper bowl.
  5. Trump campaign senior members blamed protestors for stopping supporters from entering, but reporters there said there were few protests. Rather, teenagers on social media were said to have pranked the events.
  6. Teens on social media platform TikTok and fans of Korean pop music groups, known as K-pop, ordered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets by encouraging followers in their networks to reserve tickets.
  7. Trump delivered a meandering, grievance-filled speech in Tulsa, lasting 1 hour and 43 minute long. Trump railed railed against “left-wing radicals,” whom he falsely claimed were rioting in cities.
  8. Trump threatened and blamed protestors, saying in Tulsa, “We had a bunch of maniacs come and sort of attack our city,” falsely claiming, “they were very violent people. And our people are not nearly as violent.”
  9. Trump said, “I know our people. We will never submit to their threats, and we will never let them destroy our nation,” adding of protestors, “When you see those lunatics all over the streets, it’s damn nice to have arms.”
  10. Trump attacked efforts to take down Confederate statues, calling protestors “thugs,” saying it was an assault on “our heritage,” adding we “want to save that beautiful heritage of ours, we have a great heritage.”
  11. Trump again falsely claimed that there were more coronavirus cases because there was more testing, and shockingly claiming, “so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”
  12. As 120,000 Americans were dead, Trump joked, “We got another one over here,” pointing into the crowd, saying, “The young man is 10 years old. He’s got the sniffles. He’ll recover in about 15 minutes. That’s a case!”
  13. Trump also said there were “19 or 20 names” for the virus, including the “kung flu.” In March, amid reporting someone in the regime used the term, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway called it “highly offensive.”
  14. Trump spent fourteen minutes complaining about the media coverage of his awkward walk down the ramp and trouble drinking water at West Point, then drank a glass of water, for which his supporters applauded.
  15. Trump made no mention of Juneteenth, and did not address the Black Lives Matter protests or police reform in his speech, despite broad approval in polling for reform in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
  16. Early Sunday, Trump arrived back at the White House and was seen sulking as he walked out of his helicopter, with his tie undone and scrunching a red MAGA hat in his hand — out of sync with Trump’s usual pageantry.
  17. On Sunday, the Tulsa fire department told Forbes that just under 6,200 attended Trump’s rally at BOK Center, well below its capacity. A Trump campaign staffer lied to Forbes, claiming the turnout was 12,000.
  18. On Sunday, Tom Petty’s family issued a cease and desist to the Trump campaign after they played his song “Won’t Back Down” at the rally. The family joined Rihanna, the Rolling Stones, and the family of Prince in doing so.
  19. Petty’s family said in a statement, “the Petty family doesn’t stand for this,” adding, “We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either.”
  20. On Sunday, Trump golfed at his club in Virginia, his 270th time golfing while in office at one of his properties. He was, uncharacteristically, largely absent from Twitter as well.
  21. On Sunday, White House adviser Peter Navarro told “State of the Union” that Trump was being “tongue in cheek” at the rally when he made his remark about slowing coronavirus testing.
  22. On Sunday, Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp claimed on “Fox News Sunday” that the low rally turnout was because of “protesters.” Tulsa World reported police only arrested one protestor for trespassing.
  23. Schlapp added, “I’d love to see a Joe Biden rally,” and credited Trump with “the phenomenon of the rally.” Host Chris Wallace countered, “it makes you guys look silly when you deny the reality of what happened.”
  24. On Sunday, NYT reported while advisers and associates were still dissecting why the rally failed, they acknowledged to one another that Trump had not been able to sway public opinion from fear of the virus.
  25. They also acknowledged that the myriad of bad polls showing Trump’s standing eroding may not be fake, and that Trump might be on course to lose to Democrat Joe Biden in November.
  26. The campaign had hoped the Tulsa rally would be a reset for Trump’s slide in the polls, mishandling the coronavirus outbreak, and stoking racial tension. Now other rallies planned for the summer seemed uncertain.
  27. Trump was giddy about going out on the campaign trail and the event. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale hyped that the Tulsa rally would show the pent-up demand for Trump’s appearances.
  28. In a statement released Sunday, Parscale refuted that TikTok teens were responsible, saying we “weed out bogus numbers,” and blamed the media for stoking fear about the virus and “images of American cities on fire.”
  29. Parscale also blamed local law enforcement in an interview, claiming they had overreacted and made entry difficult. However, campaign officials admitted privately that many who signed up were not supporters.
  30. Outside advisers said Trump’s team was fielding calls from nervous donors and Republican lawmakers, wondering if the flopped rally indicated problems that were too big to fix ahead of Election Day.
  31. On Sunday, Politico reported the Trump campaign had centered his rally speech around a theme that Biden is mentally diminished and beholden to the liberal fringe. But the message got lost in Trump’s meandering remarks.
  32. The campaign knew the 1.1 million registrations were inflated. They determined 300,000 were fake, and only 200,000 to 300,000 lived within driving distance. They assumed 60,000 would show, worst case.
  33. The campaign hoped a packed arena would show strength, and be a kickoff to sow doubt about Biden’s capacity. Officials say the mishap has scrambled plans to do future arena-style events.
  34. On Sunday, Trump told Axios that he is reconsidering his decision to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, and is open to meeting with dictator Nicolás Maduro, who is backed by Russia.
  35. On Sunday, John Bolton told ABC News he hopes the world will remember Trump as a one-termer who did not “plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral,” saying we can recover from one term, but not two.
  36. Bolton said Trump does not “fully understands the democratic process,” the Constitution, or the “proper role of the presidency,” and Trump’s “scattershot” national security decisions are “a danger for the republic.”
  37. On Sunday, an NYT op-ed noted, “We’re Feeding America, but We’re Sacrificing Ourselves,” cited 7,184 Tyson Food workers have been infected and 24 have died as plants do not allow social distancing to meet demand.
  38. On Sunday, AP reported a top TSA official in Kansas, Jay Brainard, filed a whistleblower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, saying the TSA helped spread Covid-19 by not providing enough protective gear.
  39. On Sunday, Monmouth University said it would remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from its marquee building, citing administrators, professors, and students who said the former president had abhorrent views on race.
  40. On Sunday, NYT reported the statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback, flanked by a Native American and African man, will be removed from the entrance of the American Museum of National History, saying it symbolizes colonialism and racism.
  41. On Tuesday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order, changing the state’s official name from State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to Rhode Island.
  42. On Sunday, The Tennessean, the state’s largest newspaper, is investigating how a blatantly Islamophobic ad by a right-wing fringe group, claiming “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear bomb in Nashville,” ran in print.
  43. On Sunday, NBC News reported 53 Republican candidates running for Congress in 2020 have promoted a QAnon conspiracy theory that Trump is leading a secret battle against a sprawling liberal child sex-trafficking ring.
  44. Thirty have dropped out or been defeated in primaries. Of the 23 others still running, six have qualified to be on the November 3 ballot, one has been endorsed by Trump, and one in Georgia has a chance of winning.
  45. Eric Trump tweeted an image of a U.S. flag with a giant Q over it, with a QAnon hashtag, on Saturday to promote Trump’s rally in Tulsa. Under the post, Eric wrote, “TULSA OKLAHOMA HERE WE COME!!!”
  46. On Sunday, ESPN reported a noose was found in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. NASCAR said a statement, “there is no place for racism in NASCAR.” Other drivers walked with him in solidarity.
  47. On Tuesday, an FBI investigation found the noose had been in the garage since 2019, and was a garage pull. Wallace’s teammates had discovered it. Wallace said he was “relieved” the noose was not targeted at him.
  48. On Saturday, AP reported Kentucky is bracing for possible voting problems in its Tuesday primary. Amid expected high turnout, the state will have fewer than 200 of 3,700 polling place open due to a shortage of workers.
  49. A federal judge rejected an effort last Thursday to add more polling places, leaving Jefferson County, which has 767,000 residents and includes the city of Louisville, and is 20% Black, with just one polling place.
  50. Fayette County, the second largest county, will also have one polling place. The five largest counties filed a lawsuit claiming voter disenfranchisement. Some voters also complained they had yet to receive their mail-in ballot.
  51. On Monday, AG Barr told Fox Business he was “worried about a number of things going into the election,” including “censorship of robust debate” and “undermining the public confidence in the integrity of the elections.”
  52. Barr claimed, without evidence, when state governments use mail-in ballots, they “open the floodgates of potential fraud, then people’s confidence in the outcome of the election is going to be undermined.”
  53. WAPO noted Barr himself has voted absentee. Virginia state voting records show him as a resident of Fairfax County, and indicate that Barr voted by mail in 2019 and 2012.
  54. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history,” adding, “We voted during World War One & World War Two with no problem.”
  55. Trump also claimed, “they are using Covid in order to cheat by using Mail-Ins!” and “MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES…IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”
  56. Trump also tweeted, “If people can go out and protest, riot, break into stores, and create all sorts of havoc, they can also go out and VOTE,” and of mail-in ballots, “who knows where they are going, and to whom?”
  57. WAPO reported there was no evidence that wide-scale fraud is possible. Election officials across the country disputed claims made by Trump and Barr, including a foreign country mailing phony ballots without detection.
  58. For the election on November 3, given the number of states planning to allow mail-in voting and the time it took to count ballots in primaries, barring a landslide, it could take days or weeks to count all the ballots.
  59. Notably in primaries, a record number of voters have requested mail-in ballots. In Pennsylvania 1.5 million used mail-in ballots, compared with 84,000 in 2016. In Kentucky, 1 million used them in the primary compared to 50,000 in the past.
  60. Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley warned given Trump frequently making accusation of a ‘rigged election,’ a long vote count “is going to automatically create mayhem about a ‘rigged’ election.”
  61. On Monday, Business Insider reported Pence and First Lady Karen both illegally voted by mail in Indiana earlier this year, using the Indiana governor’s mansion as an address, despite no longer living there.
  62. On Tuesday, WAPO compiled a list and found 16 Trump officials, including Trump himself, First Lady Melania, Barr, Pence, Parscale, Ivanka and Jared, Kayleigh McEnany and others have voted by mail recently.
  63. On Monday, WSJ reported before Barr abruptly announced that Berman would be replaced, he met with him Friday afternoon and asked him to sign a letter criticizing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, but Berman refused.
  64. The letter cited enforcement of social-distancing rules to block religious gatherings but not recent street protests. Berman voiced strong opposition to the notion of a double-standard, and called the letter a political stunt.
  65. It was not known what role the disagreement played in Berman’s firing. Barr tried to reach Berman on his cell phone in the evening, then shortly after 9 p.m. sent out the press release saying Berman was stepping down.
  66. On Monday, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said two additional advance team members in Tulsa had tested positive for coronavirus. He said the two were at the rally, but wore face masks.
  67. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported that Trump was so outraged when he saw how thin the crowd was in Tulsa, that he threatened not to go onstage. The blame game has shifted into high gear after the Tulsa debacle.
  68. Trump has also lost the attack line that Biden is too old for the job, starting after West Point. A West Wing official saying there is “something off about Trump,” and after the shaky ramp descent, “He doesn’t have the stamina.”
  69. Returning to the campaign trail was also viewed as central to Trump’s reelection strategy, but with Covid spiking, it is unlikely rallies will be possible soon. Parscale and Jared Kushner are both under fire by Trump.
  70. On Monday, WAPO reported the campaign is telling the narrative that Trump was pleased with the rally, claiming Biden could never get that many to an arena, and millions watched the rally on television.
  71. Despite public health guidelines and a renewed outbreak, an angry Trump is pushing to do more large, indoor rallies and is leaving it up to his campaign to ensure the venues are full.
  72. On Monday, Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending new H-1B visas for skilled workers, and other visas, citing the pandemic, which takes effect on June 24 and lasts until the end of the year.
  73. The order is likely to be challenged in court by business groups. The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimated the order will block shut out roughly 325,000 immigrants. The Trump regime estimated 525,000.
  74. On Monday, CBS News reported on a call with governors, Vice President Pence said Trump’s comment on slowing testing at the Tulsa rally was “a passing observation.”
  75. Nevada Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak said on the call Trump’s comments were “certainly not helpful,” adding it is not more testing but “people not wearing masks and not following the social protocols.”
  76. On Monday, at the daily briefing, White House press secretary McEnany said of Trump’s comment on slowing testing, “he made in jest,” and “Any suggestion that testing has been curtailed is not rooted in fact.”
  77. Asked about Trump using the racist phrase ‘kung flu’, McEnany lied, saying, “The president doesn’t,” and claiming, “What the president does do is point to the fact that the origin of the virus is China.”
  78. On Monday, in an interview with Scripps News, Trump refused to say whether he actually told staff to slow down, saying, “If we did slow it down, we wouldn’t show nearly as many cases.”
  79. When pressed again, Trump said, “Frankly I think we’re way ahead of ourselves if you want to know the truth,” adding, “The reason we have more cases [is] because we do more testing than any other country by far.”
  80. On Monday, Trump again pushed the false claim: “Our Coronavirus testing is so much greater (25 million tests) and so much more advanced, that it makes us look like we have more cases.”
  81. On Monday, NPR reported the White House scaled back Covid-19 temperature checks and wellness questions for reporters and others entering, after months of practicing these safety measures.
  82. Later Monday, Trump tweeted, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” and “WOW! The Trump Rally gives @FoxNews the “LARGEST SATURDAY NIGHT AUDIENCE IN ITS HUSTORY [sic]”.
  83. Trump also tweeted an article by Fox News about it being his largest rally. Trump added, “Isn’t it amazing that virtually nobody in the Lamestream Media is reporting this rather major feat!”
  84. On Monday, a federal judge struck down parts of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order to delay reopening of gyms, that a spokesperson for Whitmer said would save lives. The ruling has been appealed.
  85. On Monday, California reported a record 5,065 daily cases. Arizona reported a record 3,593 daily cases and ICU usage of 84% ahead of Trump’s visit to the state on Tuesday for a rally in Phoenix.
  86. On Monday, Florida changed the way it reported Covid-19: state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees advised hospitals to report only ICU patients receiving “an intensive level of care,” not the total occupying ICU beds.
  87. On Monday, CBS News reported top Trump fundraiser, Eric Beach, who has raised $40 million for Trump but has no experience in supplying medical goods, formed Colt International to distribute 3M N95 masks.
  88. CBS obtained a letter from Colt sent to prospective customers, saying Colt will “work directly with the 3M Corporation.” Colt offered masks at $2.20, a markup of 93 cents above 3M’s list price, plus a 10% commission.
  89. On Friday, ProPublica reported a company run by Mathew Konkler, a White House volunteer for Pence, who had no experience with medical supplies, was awarded a $2.4 million contract in May from the regime.
  90. Konkler’s company, BlackPoint Distribution Company LLC, was awarded its first contract in May from the Bureau of Prisons, with limited competition, to supply surgical gowns to its facilities.
  91. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported a federal judge will allow a lawsuit filed by U.S. citizen children whose undocumented parents were denied Covid-19 stimulus checks, rejecting the Trump regime’s attempt to block it.
  92. On Monday, Politico reported the House Judiciary Committee is preparing to subpoena Barr on July 2. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her leadership Monday night that Chair Jerrold Nadler is starting down the path.
  93. Later Monday, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani did a conspiracy theory rant on Fox News accusing “antifa, Black Lives Matter, the communists, and their allies” of “executing a plan they wrote about four or five years ago.”
  94. Giuliani added, without evidence, “People who say they are favorable to Black Lives Matter: Black Lives Matter wants to come and take your house away from you,” adding, “They want to take your property away from you.”
  95. Later Monday, demonstrators tried to topple the statue of President Andrew Jackson in the park next to the White House. Police in riot gear intervened and stopped them.
  96. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Numerous people arrested” for “disgraceful vandalism…of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson,” warning, “10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!”
  97. On Tuesday, Trump continued, “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison.”
  98. Trump added, “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”
  99. Later, before heading to Arizona, Trump told reporters police had stopped “vandals, hoodlums, anarchists and agitators” from toppling the Jackson monument, adding “numerous people” are in jail and more going.
  100. Trump added, “We are looking at long term jail sentences,” adding, “Some people don’t like that language, but that’s what they are: Bad people. They don’t love our country, and they’re not taking down our monuments.”
  101. On Tuesday, 65 faculty members of Barr’s alma mater, George Washington University Law School, said in a letter he has “failed to fulfill his oath of office to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States.’”
  102. The faculty, from both political parties, said Barr’s actions “have undermined the rule of law, breached constitutional norms, and damaged the integrity and traditional independence of his office” and of the DOJ.
  103. On Tuesday, ahead of a House hearing on the coronavirus, Trump tweeted, “We did a great job on CoronaVirus, including the very early ban on China, Ventilator production, and Testing, which is by far the most, and best.”
  104. Trump also falsely claimed, “We saved millions of U.S. lives.! Yet the Fake News refuses to acknowledge this,” adding, “why doesn’t the Lamestream Media treat us as they should? Answer: Because they are Fake News!”
  105. Shortly after, asked by reporters if he was joking at his Tulsa rally about directing the regime to slow coronavirus testing, Trump said, “I don’t kid. Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear.”
  106. Trump added, “We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world….Our tests are the best in the world, and we have the most of them,” falsely claiming, “By having more tests, we find more cases.”
  107. On Tuesday, NYT reported with Trump sinking in the polls and his Tulsa rally failing, Trump has leaned into to his old habit of dividing Americans by falsely portraying Black Americans as dangerous or lawless.
  108. In the past few days, Trump has retweeted a series of tweets portraying random incidents of Black people attacking white people, with no context, and baselessly argued that Barack Obama committed treason.
  109. Trump’s actions are out of step with the country, and even his base. A NYT/Siena College poll found 46% of somewhat conservative and 70% of moderate voters disapproved of his handling of the racial justice protests.
  110. On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted an old rallying cry for his base: “It is ashame [sic] that Congress doesn’t do something about the lowlifes that burn the American Flag. It should be stopped, and now!”
  111. On Tuesday, House Energy Committee Chair Frank Pallone Jr. harshly criticized the Trump regime’s response, calling Trump’s comment on testing “extremely reckless” and noting his ignoring public health officials.
  112. Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “I know for sure none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing.” Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, and CDC Director Robert Redfield agreed.
  113. Fauci also said the country was seeing a “disturbing surge” of infections in several states, and “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges in Texas, Florida and other states.”
  114. On Tuesday, a Brazilian federal judge ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a face mask when outdoors in Brasilia, citing local rules designed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  115. On Tuesday, NYT reported as the European Union reopens their borders after months of restrictions, Americans will be blocked from travel due to the U.S. failure to control the coronavirus. So will Brazilians and Russians.
  116. On Tuesday, Trump took his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border visiting Arizona to showcase his wall, a cornerstone for his campaign. Just three new miles of new wall have been constructed — the rest has been repair.
  117. Trump then addressed Students for Trump event at a church in Phoenix. There were no temperature checks, social distancing, or masks, despite a local ordinance requiring masks as the virus was out of control there.
  118. Trump started 10 minutes early, telling the 3,000 attendees they were the guardians of our country’s heritage, saying, “We’re here today to declare that we will never cave to the left wing and the left-wing intolerance.”
  119. Trump said protestors “hate our history, they hate our values, and they hate everything we prize,” and want to “demolish our heritage,” adding, “Our country didn’t grow great with them. It grew great with you.”
  120. Trump used his signature 2016 phrase “Lock ’em up” about protestors, saying, “You don’t burn buildings…And you don’t erase the people with whom you disagree,” adding, “It’s called civilized people.”
  121. Trump bragged his Tulsa event was the “number one show in Fox history for a Saturday night.” He accused “vicious” Democrats of stifling dissent, and lied, accusing them of letting anyone vote, “even if they’re not citizens.”
  122. Trump predicted “the most corrupt election in the history of our country,” falsely claiming Democrats are “using the China virus as the excuse for allowing people not to go to the polls,” and “we cannot let this happen.”
  123. Trump called Covid-19 “the plague,” and lied that “It’s going away,” saying, “What a job we’re doing with testing. We did ventilators,” and attacking “the fake news people” for misleading the public.
  124. Trump also poked fun at the disease which has killed more than 120,000 Americans in four months, calling it various names including his xenophobic slur the “kung flu,” to rousing applause.
  125. On Tuesday, Twitter flagged another of Trump’s tweets, noting in a warning covering it it had violated “our policy against abusive behavior, specifically, the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group.”
  126. The tweet that was covered targeted protestors, saying, “There will never be an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!”
  127. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Trump family asked the court to stop publication of Mary Trump’s tell-all book, citing an NDA. The suit was filed by Trump’s younger brother, Robert, in Queens County Surrogate’s Court.
  128. Mary is expected to reveal she was a source of confidential tax documents to The Times used in their coverage of the Trump’s finances. Trump told Axios last week, without evidence, “She’s not allowed to write a book.”
  129. On Tuesday, Aaron Zelinsky, one of four prosecutors who quit the Roger Stone case, told the House Judiciary Committee in prepared testimony “Stone was being treated differently” because of his relationship to Trump.
  130. Zelinsky also said, “I was explicitly told that the motivation for changing the sentencing memo was political, and because the acting U.S. Attorney was ‘afraid of the President.’”
  131. On Tuesday, the White House Correspondents Dinner, which had been rescheduled for August because of the pandemic, was canceled.
  132. On Tuesday, WAPO reported seven states — Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas — reported their highest coronavirus hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
  133. Texas and California added more than 5,000 cases. Arizona, Nevada, and Missouri had single-day highs. Overall, 33 states and territories saw an increase from the prior week.
  134. On Wednesday, an NYT/Siena College poll found Biden taking a commanding 50-36 lead over Trump, benefiting from enormous margins with Black and Hispanic voters, women, and young people.
  135. Since taking office, Trump has made no effort to broaden his base. The fall reflects his mishandling of the deadly virus which crippled the economy, and his angry bluster and militaristic threats towards racial unrest.
  136. The poll found nearly 60% disapprove of his handling the pandemic, and by a 21-point margin voters said the government should prioritize slowing the spread over the economy. Just 22% rarely or never wear a mask.
  137. On Wednesday, in a 2-1 ruling by the federal appeals court in D.C., with the majority opinion written by Trump appointee Judge Neomi Rao, the court dismissed criminal charges against Michael Flynn.
  138. Rao wrote that Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to ask for briefing and schedule a hearing to probe the DOJ’s decision to drop Flynn’s case undermines the executive branch’s “exclusive prosecutorial power.”
  139. Rao wrote that Flynn’s case did not present the “rare” circumstances that would require additional investigation by the judge. It was unclear if Sullivan would appeal, as it is highly unusual for a sitting judge to do so.
  140. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Is James Comey and his band of Dirty Cops going to apologize” to Flynn for ruining his life?, adding, how about “Mueller and his Angry Democrat Cronies” and “Obama & Biden?”
  141. On Wednesday, Kellyanne Conway, who previously said the term ‘Kung Flu’ was “highly offensive,” this time said Trump’s use of the phrase was to highlight the origins of the coronavirus in China.
  142. On Wednesday, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the three states from any state with a positive test rate of 10% or higher.
  143. The states said they were aiming to keep their infection rate down. The restrictions initially included Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Texas, and Utah.
  144. On Wednesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice abruptly fired Cathy Slemp, the state’s top health official, hours after he publicly questioned whether she had overstated the active virus caseload, saying he lost faith in her.
  145. Slemp, a regular featured on the governor’s daily virus news conferences, is the 28th senior public health official to leave or be fired. She has decades of public health experience, and Justice, a billionaire coal businessman, had previously praised her at press conferences.
  146. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Trump’s 200th federal judge. None of the appeal or Supreme Court appointees were Black. This marked the first time in four decades there is not a single appeals court vacancy.
  147. On Wednesday, LA Times reported California was having an alarming spike of new cases, reaching 6,600 Wednesday, as well as hospitalizations, raising concern the state may have lost the battle to control the virus.
  148. On Wednesday, Politico reported New York City has not seen an uptick in cases from protests that took place in early June. Protestors cited they wore masks, were outside, and social distanced when possible.
  149. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the CDC is taking the rare step of buying 7 million doses of flu vaccine — 14 times the usual 500,000 doses the agency typically buys — to prepare for the overlap of the coronavirus and flu.
  150. The purchase comes as Trump and his regime play down the risk of Covid-19 this fall. Health officials are especially concerned about nursing homes, African Americans, Hispanics, and people with underlying conditions.
  151. On Wednesday, Disney announced it is postponing the reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, the company’s theme parks in California. A phased reopening was scheduled for July 17.
  152. On Wednesday, party officials said the Democratic National Convention would be moved to a smaller venue in Milwaukee and be nearly all virtual, citing the surging coronavirus cases. Biden will still attend in person.
  153. On Wednesday, the NYC Marathon, which takes place in November, was canceled due to the pandemic. This would have been the 50th running of the marathon, the world’s largest.
  154. On Wednesday, the NFL canceled its 2020 Hall of Fame Game scheduled for August between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, after several players and staff tested positive. Enshrinement will be postponed to 2021.
  155. On Wednesday, the Fresno Bee reported a judge ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake cow parody account, one parodying his mother and a Republican strategist.
  156. On Wednesday, Trump hosted Poland’s far-right President Andrzej Duda, who is in a close race for re-election, to a meeting in the Oval Office, in a move one Democrat called unseemly given Duda’s tilt towards autocracy.
  157. Duda, in office since 2015, has presided over political restrictions on Poland’s judiciary, media, and civil society, and has become one of Trump’s preferred foreign partners. The meeting was merely a photo op for Duda.
  158. Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden, “I do believe he has an election coming up, and I do believe he will be successful,” adding, “He’s doing a terrific job. The people of Poland think the world of him.”
  159. Duda joined Trump, lamenting protesters defaced a statue in Lafayette Square of the Polish general Tadeusz Kosciuszko, saying, “For completely incomprehensible reasons to us, that monument was devastated.”
  160. On Wednesday, NY Daily News reported a spokesperson for New York City Mayor de Blasio said the city will paint the words “Black Lives Matter” in big yellow letters right in front of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.
  161. On Thursday, Trump attacked de Blasio, tweeting he “wants to paint the fabled & beautiful Fifth Avenue,” and invoked a protest chant, ““Pigs in a Blanket, Fry ’Em Like Bacon”, referring to killing Police, is their chant.”
  162. On Wednesday, WAPO reported U.S. Marshals were told by the White House in an email directive to prepare to protect monuments nationwide, as Trump looks to target people who vandalize them during protests.
  163. On Wednesday, WAPO reported dozen of Secret Service officer and agents who were in Tulsa last week for Trump’s rally have been told to self-quarantine for 14 days after two of their colleagues tested positive.
  164. The order to quarantine when they returned from the trip came after the discovery hours before the rally that six staffers tested positive, including two Secret Service agents. All were tested Tuesday upon their return.
  165. Later Wednesday, Trump falsely claimed in a tweet, “Pres. Obama destroyed the lobster and fishing industry in Maine. Now it’s back, bigger and better.” It was Trump’s trade war with China that hurt the industry.
  166. Trump also tweeted, “LAW & ORDER!” and “Very sad to see States allowing roving gangs of wise guys, anarchists & looters… indiscriminately ripping down our statues and monuments to the past.”
  167. On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported another 1.5 million filed for unemployment, higher than the 1.3 million expected. This marked the 14th straight week that more than 1 million filed for unemployment.
  168. There have been a total of 47.3 million applications for unemployment since March, and the recent pace has not eased. Some states are still dealing with the backlog of the early weeks of the pandemic.
  169. On Thursday, an NYT/Siena poll found Trump falling behind in six battleground states that he won in 2016: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina.
  170. On Thursday, a Fox News poll found Trump trailing in red states Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, and in battleground Florida which Trump needs to win, with Biden’s lead up to 49-40.
  171. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News and phony Fake Suppression Polls have never been worse. The Lamestream Media has gone CRAZY!”
  172. On Thursday, the White House said Trump will not follow New Jersey’s 14-day quarantine when he visits this weekend, citing, “The President of the United States is not a civilian,” and anyone with him will have been tested.
  173. On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office reported that the government did not consult death records for three rounds of coronavirus stimulus payments, sending $1.4 billion of checks to dead people.
  174. On Thursday, Trump tweeted displeasure that no one on a Fox News segment defended him, saying protestors “were anything but friendly, and how I stood and held the Bible upside down — it wasn’t upside down.”
  175. On Thursday, Trump lashed out at Black Lives Matter, claiming their leader states, ““If U.S. doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it”. This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!”
  176. The tweet seemed to reference a Fox News interview of Hawk Newsome, president of the Greater New York Black Lives Matter, which was replayed multiple times. Newsome called Trump “a terrible and racist leader.”
  177. On Thursday, NBC News reported while Trump told the crowd in Arizona the coronavirus is “going away” Tuesday, the White House task force data showed Phoenix had the highest number of new cases among the 10 metropolitan regions that were spiking.
  178. The task force also found San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi, Lubbock and College Station, Texas were spiking. Gov. Greg Abbott paused the state’s reopening on Thursday, citing an “explosion” of virus infections.
  179. On Thursday, Trump again tweeted the false claim, saying, “The number of ChinaVirus cases goes up, because of GREAT TESTING” and deaths are down, adding, “The Fake News doesn’t like telling you that!”
  180. On Thursday, Dallas Morning News reported Dallas city and county leaders are discussing opening a pop-up medical facility at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center as cases and hospitalizations spike.
  181. On Thursday, Pence toured and gave a speech at Lordstown Motors Corp. in Ohio. Neither Pence nor anyone in his entourage wore a mask or social distanced — nor did company officials who accompanied them.
  182. On Thursday, a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasted 179,106 deaths by October 1, down from a 201,129 forecast on June 15, citing more cases in younger people who have lower death risk.
  183. The new study also found the number of projected deaths drops by 33,000 to 146,047 if at least 95% of Americans wear face masks in public.
  184. On Thursday, an ABC News/Ipsos poll found 89% of Americans said they have worn a face mask in public in the last week when they left their home, compared to 11% who did not.
  185. On Thursday, the CDC Director Redfield told reporters the coronavirus may have infected 10 times more Americans than reported, based on surveys of blood samples taken from around the country.
  186. Redfield estimated 25 million Americans may have been infected, saying,
    “This virus causes so much asymptomatic infection
    . We probably recognized about 10 percent of the outbreak.”
  187. On Thursday, Politico reported on Pence’s call with governors Monday, while he and other experts repeated Trump’s narratives that the spike in cases was due to testing, there was a sense of alarm among governors.
  188. Despite mounting evidence of outbreaks in the South and West, the Trump regime has shown no appetite for taking back the reins to lead a response, insisting states and localities are capable of managing the pandemic.
  189. Without a comprehensive national coronavirus testing strategy, some states have a logjam while others have plenty. Arizona, which has been overwhelmed by demand, is using Arizona State Fairgrounds for testing.
  190. There is no national apparatus for contact tracing, leaving states on their own to trace and discern how the virus travels. Redfield told Congress the CDC has hired just 28,000 of the 100,000 tracers it is seeking.
  191. On Thursday, WAPO reported in recent week three studies have focused on conservative media’s role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus by amplifying misinformation and conspiracy theories.
  192. One new study found infection and mortality rates are higher in places where Fox News host Sean Hannity, who initially downplayed the severity of the pandemic, reaches the largest audiences.
  193. Another study found those who got news from conservative sources like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories or unfounded rumors like Vitamin C could prevent infection.
  194. On Thursday, NYT reported the Trump regime is quietly discussing ending Congressional review of weapon sales to foreign governments. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are involved.
  195. The review process allows lawmakers from both parties to block weapons sales to foreign governments over humanitarian concerns. The regime has been particularly frustrated with Congress holding up sales to Saudi Arabia.
  196. On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled for the Trump regime, saying asylum seekers rejected in bare-bones summary proceedings cannot contest the denial in federal court.
  197. On Wednesday, NASA announced it will rename its headquarters for Mary Jackson, the agency’s first female African American engineer, one of the “Hidden Figures” who helped propel NASA at the dawn the Space Age.
  198. On Thursday, the country music group the Dixie Chicks changed their name to the Chicks, citing criticism over its use of the word “Dixie,” a nostalgic nickname for the Civil War-era South.
  199. On Thursday, Disney announced, after an online petition, that its Splash Mountain ride, based on the controversial 1946 film “Song of the South,” which includes racist tropes, will be “completely reimagined.”
  200. On Thursday, The Hill reported Madison, Wisconsin police are investigating after a Black woman, Althea Bernstein, 18, said four white men sprayed her with lighter fluid and tried to set her on fire when she was stopped for a red light.
  201. On Thursday, a Queens judge dismissed the claim from Trump’s brother to halt the tell-all book by Mary Trump, saying the claims were not appropriate for his court. The book will come out in July.
  202. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 21-1 to approve legislation that would give the DOJ IG the authority to investigate attorneys within the department. Lindsey Graham was the one no.
  203. On Thursday, Trump did an in-person town hall with Hannity and 50 supporters in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the first audience town hall in the pandemic. CNN media analyst Brian Stelter likened it to “propaganda.”
  204. Trump claimed, “A friend of mine said, ‘you have to be the most perfect person,’” asking the audience, “Isn’t that true?” The audience clapped. Hannnity appeared uncomfortable.
  205. After banter with Hannity, the first audience question was, “I appreciate so much what you have done for this country. And I know it’s been tough. What do you think is your greatest accomplishment, in your eyes?”
  206. Trump reversed again on testing after saying he did not kid on Tuesday, saying he was being sarcastic: “Sometimes I jokingly say, or sarcastically say, if we didn’t do tests we would look great.”
  207. Trump invoked three cities with large Black populatiosn — Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore — and said crime there makes it “worse than Afghanistan,” and “They want help. These cities, it’s like living in hell.”
  208. Trump called protestors taking down statues “terrorists,” saying, “there is going to be retribution because there has to be. These people are vandals. They’re agitators, but they’re really, they’re terrorists in a sense.”
  209. When Hannity asked Trump about his “top priority items for a second term,” Trump seemed unprepared and unable to answer, saying, “the word experience is still good,” adding, “Now I know everybody.”
  210. On Thursday, the U.S. had a record 39,972 daily confirmed coronavirus cases, with Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona accounting for nearly half the cases.
  211. Later Thursday, Trump tweeted the false claims, “Coronavirus deaths are way down. Mortality rate is one of the lowest in the World. Our Economy is roaring back” with only “embers” of the virus. Over 125,000 had died.
  212. On Thursday, WAPO reported as Trump planned a massive fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on July 3, experts are concerned about spreading the coronavirus and wildfires caused by the fireworks.
  213. The National Park Service stopped fireworks at Mount Rushmore in 2010, citing environmental and safety risks. Neither federal nor state officials have imposed social distancing requirements for Trump’s planned event.
  214. On Thursday, the Trump regime’s Bureau of Land Management proposed allowing fossil fuel extraction in 82% of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the nation’s largest piece of public land.
  215. The proposal would remove wildlife protections that have been in place for more than four decades. The BLM posted its Final Environmental Impact Statement on Thursday, and is expected to issue a final decision in 30 days.
  216. Late Thursday, in a late night filing, the DOJ said it would not oppose Roger Stone’s request for a 60-day delay in the start of sentence, due to the pandemic. Stone, 67, cited health problems he would face behind bars.
  217. On Thursday, NYT reported Russian hackers associated with the group Evil Corp, whose leaders were indicted by the DOJ in December, are retaliating by targeting Americans working from home.
  218. Symantec Corporation, one of the firms that monitors corporate and government networks, issued an urgent warning, saying hackers were exploiting new work habits to inject code into corporate networks.
  219. The Department of Homeland Security has also been racing to fortify voter registration systems run by cities and states, fearing ransomware to freeze voter rolls and through the November 3 election in chaos.
  220. Late Thursday, the Trump regime filed a brief in support with the Supreme Court reaffirming its position that the Affordable Care Act in its entirety is illegal because Congress removed the individual mandate.
  221. Shortly after, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, “Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits…in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty.”
  222. On Friday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi said of Trump, “I don’t think he understands anything,” citing he “doesn’t want to wear a mask, who again called the virus a hoax — it’s going to go away magically.”
  223. Pelosi added he does not support science: “He has events that are counter to that. So we have a moment — I mean, I’m in a mood, because this is a matter of life and death. And this administration has failed miserably.”
  224. On Friday, the WSJ Editorial Board criticized Trump for having no second term message beyond his own grievances, and warned that he is heading for a historic loss and will bring the Republican Senate down with him.
  225. On Friday, conservative columnist Peggy Noonan said in a WSJ op-ed this was “The Week It Went South for Trump,” noting, “He hasn’t been equal to the crises,” and “doesn’t un­der­stand his own base. I’ve never seen that…”
  226. On Friday, WAPO reported Arizona has “lost control” of the pandemic, as Gov. Doug Ducey refused to take actions to shut down the state while cases spiked, testing was limited, and overwhelmed with a positive rate of 23%.
  227. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix where Trump held an indoor event on Tuesday, recorded 2,000 cases a day, eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days.
  228. On Friday, Texas Gov. Abbott reversed course and closed bars and limited restaurant occupancy. He also shut down river-rafting trips, which had been blamed for outbreaks, and outdoor events of more than 100 people.
  229. On Friday, Florida reported a record nearly 9,000 new cases, as hospitals and local leaders warned about rampant complacency, and there were long lines for testing. The state stopped bars from selling alcohol.
  230. On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted that he has offered assistance to Texas, Florida, and Arizona with handling the pandemic, noting the states that came to New York’s aid and paying it forward.
  231. On Friday, Biden said in an interview he would make wearing masks in public mandatory. At least 16 states and D.C. have mandated masks. The CDC recommended everyone should wear one when they go out in public.
  232. On Friday, Fauci told WAPO in an interview that the Trump regime is considering “pool testing” patients, which would test groups of people at once, rather than a single test for each individual.
  233. Fauci said, “Something’s not working,” of the current approach, adding, “What you need to do is find the penetration of infected people in your society. And the only way you know that is by casting a broad net.”
  234. On Friday, the White House Coronavirus Task Force held its first public briefing in nearly two months. More than 70,000 had died since the briefing on April 27. The briefing was held at the Department of Health and Human Services.
  235. Pence claimed “this moment is different” than two months ago when there were more hospitalizations and deaths, lying that “We’re in a much better place.” Last time a spike in cases preceded hospitalizations and deaths.
  236. Pence also falsely claimed, “As we stand here today, all 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly,” and We flattened the curve.” Both statements are lies.
  237. Pence said the task force had met 17 times since the country had started to reopen, and encouraged people to follow local guidelines on Covid-19, despite Trump starting to hold large indoor campaign rallies.
  238. Asked about the rallies without masks even where masks are required, Pence dodged, saying that “freedom of speech, right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.”
  239. Pence said, “I just encourage every American to continue to pray,” adding, “Pray for all the families that have lost loved ones. Pray for our health care workers on the front line,” and for “each do our part to heal our land.”
  240. The experts at the briefing were more sanguine, with Fauci noting, “We are facing a serious problem in certain areas,” and HHS Sec. Alex Azar saying, “We have some very concerning hotspots.”
  241. While the briefing took place, Trump held an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting, which is co-chaired by Ivanka. Trump thanked her, saying, “She works very hard to get jobs.”
  242. On Friday, WAPO reported teachers in Fairfax, Virginia, which has one of the nation’s largest school system, revolted against teaching in-person for the fall until the district revised its strategy to more safely reopen.
  243. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 700 points on concern the coronavirus is spiking, and some states are rolling back their reopening measures.
  244. On Friday, Caroline Hunter, a long-serving Republican appointee to the Federal Election Commission, resigned, leaving the panel without a four-person quorum to conduct business ahead of the election.
  245. The FEC had regained its quorum earlier this month with a Trump appointee, after the longest period in its history without one. The FEC is left with one Democrat, one Republican and one independent.
  246. On Friday, in an NPR interview, Barr said, “I think there’s a range of concerns about mail-in ballots,” citing “the possibility of counterfeiting.” When asked if he had any evidence, Barr said, “No, it’s obvious.”
  247. On Friday, Facebook announced it would follow Twitter and remove posts that incite violence or attempt to suppress voting, and label posts that violate hate speech or other policies, even from politicians.
  248. The move came after more than 100 brands boycotted advertising on Facebook, including Coca-Cola, Honda, Hershey, and apparel companies Lululemon and Jansport.
  249. On Friday, National Geographic reported while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently closed the country’s borders until July 21, just 9% of Canadians agree with welcoming U.S. visitors this summer.
  250. On Friday, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found Trump disapproval hit an all-time high of 58%, 40% approve. The poll also found 49% “strongly disapprove” of Trump, the highest on record for the poll.
  251. On Friday, for the first time since the District of Columbia was established 230 years ago, the House passed a bill 232 to 180, along party lines, to declare the city, which has 700,000 residents, the 51st state.
  252. Supporters say the legislative milestone will begin to right historical wrongs which impact the city’s 46% Black residents. The city’s population is larger than mostly white states Vermont and Wyoming.
  253. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton noted recent federal law enforcement action against protestors would not be allowed if the District was a state. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are against the bill.
  254. On Friday, Mike Henry, whose voiced the character of the Cleveland Brown since Family Guy debuted in 1999, stepped away, tweeting, “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color.”
  255. Several other actors announced this week they will no longer voice Black characters, including Kristen Bell who voiced a biracial character on Central Park, and Jenny Slate who voiced a Black character on Big Mouth.
  256. On Friday, NBC News reported Trump called Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and asked that the Park Service restore a statue of in D.C. of Albert Pike, a Confederate general, that was taken down on Juneteenth.
  257. On Friday, Trump canceled his trip to Bedminster, NJ for the weekend, saying it was not related to the quarantine rule. Gov. Phil Murphy told CNBC the rule would not have applied to Trump as “an essential worker.”
  258. Trump later tweeted, “I was going to go to Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, but wanted to stay in Washington, D.C. to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced.” Notably, it was meant to be a rainy weekend in New Jersey.
  259. Trump added, “The arsonists, anarchists, looters, and agitators have been largely stopped,” adding, “I am doing what is necessary to keep our communities safe — and these people will be brought to Justice!”
  260. Trump later added he had signed “a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues — and combatting recent Criminal Violence,” adding, “Long prison terms.”
  261. On Friday, NYT reported U.S. intelligence has concluded Russia secretly offered a bounty to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan, including targeting American troops, amid peace talks.
  262. Intelligence briefed Trump and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the finding in late March. Officials developed a menu of options to respond. Trump has thus far not responded in any way.
  263. The disclosure comes while Trump recently said he would invite Russia and expand the G7 nations, as well as other episodes in international territory and airspace, and Trump pulling U.S. troops out of Germany.
  264. On Friday, Paul Monies, a reporter for Oklahoma Watch who covered Trump’s Tulsa rally, tweeted he had tested positive for Covid-19. Monies said he had contacted everyone he was in touch with over the last 14 days.
  265. Later Friday, a federal judge in Los Angeles order the Trump regime to release migrant children held in three family detention centers no later than July 17. As of June 8, there were 124 living in these centers.
  266. In her order, Judge Dolly Gee criticized the Trump regime for its spotty compliance with recommendations by the CDC, saying, “The family residential centers are on fire and there is no more time for half measures.”
  267. Overall, about 2,500 immigrants held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers have tested positive for coronavirus. The agency said it released at least 900 who have tested positive.
  268. Later Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Trump’s use of military funds for his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border was illegal, saying it violates the Appropriations Clause which gives Congress power on their purse.
  269. On Friday, MSNBC host Chris Hayes called on Trump to resign, saying, “If this presidency had creditors, the virus’ resurgence this week would have been a default event. Only it is not his creditors who are suffering. It is us.”
  270. On Friday, the U.S. set a single-day record for the third day in a row, with 44,702 new coronavirus cases. Thirteen states have set their own record of cases reported over the past seven days.
  271. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Do not believe the Fake News Media” about his disastrous Tulsa rally and town hall with Sean Hannity, saying both got high ratings, and “These are the real polls, the Silent Majority.”
  272. Trump also tweeted, “We will win the Election against Corrupt Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Schumer,” on various policies and adding, “Also, our Heritage, History and LAW & ORDER!
  273. Trump also tweeted about his regime seeking to terminate Obamacare, noting he terminated “the very expensive, unpopular and unfair Individual Mandate provision,” calling Obamacare a “joke.”
  274. Trump falsely claimed “many States & the U.S. are asking the Supreme Court that Obamacare itself be terminated so that it can be replaced with a FAR BETTER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE.”
  275. Trump also falsely claimed, “I will ALWAYS PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS!!!” Trump has offered no alternative or any kind of healthcare plan while in office.
  276. On Saturday, Nevada reported 1,099 new cases, with the majority coming in Clark County, home of Las Vegas casinos which saw nearly 1,000 cases in a single day, a record, roughly three weeks after reopening.
  277. On Saturday, nearly 10,000 tested positive in Florida, as that state continued to surge, with a positive rate of nearly 13%. Floridians in the 25-34 age range account for the largest percentage, 20% of cases.
  278. On Saturday, the Princeton University Board of Trustees said it would remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the public policy school and residential college, calling him “a racist who segregated the nation’s civil service.”
  279. On Saturday, after claiming Friday he was staying at the White House to “to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced,” Trump golfed at his club in Virginia. The weather in Bedminster was rainy.
  280. As the week came to a close, there were 9,859,738 worldwide cases and 495,573 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 2,483,516 cases (25.2%), 125,169 deaths (25.3%), and a mortality rate of 5.0%.

Stone Was Handled With Velvet Gloves [UPDATE: And Flynn Walks!]

Ken AshfordCourts/Law, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Today, in a few short hours, Aaron Zelinsky will testify how the DOJ under Barr gave Stone preferential treatment

Another Justice Department employee will testify about anti-trust litigation that is being pushed by the DOJ even though anti-trust criminality standards are not met.

Taken together, we can see how Barr is using the DOJ to further a political agenda and attack those who are investigating criminality by Trump cronies.

BREAKING UPDATE: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan to comply with the Justice Department and dismiss the charges against President Donald Trump’s ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The 2-1 opinion was written by Judge Neomi Rao, an ultraconservative appointed by Trump to fill the seat vacated by Brett Kavanaugh.

Neomi Rao ruled against Emmet Sullivan in “Mike Flynn’s” petition for a writ of mandamus on two grounds. First, DOJ is entitled to a presumption of regularity:.

The government’s representations about the insufficiency of the evidence are entitled to a “presumption of regularity … in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary.” United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456, 464 (1996) (quotation marks omitted). On the record before the district court, there is no clear evidence contrary to the government’s representations. The justifications the district court offers in support of further inquiry—for instance, that only the U.S. Attorney signed the motion, without any line prosecutors, and that the motion is longer than most Rule 48(a) motions—are insufficient to rebut the presumption of regularity to which the government is entitled.

She also argued that DOJ was correcting itself, though without laying out any basis that DOJ had found that it had made an error.

Finally, each of our three coequal branches should be encouraged to self-correct when it errs. If evidence comes to light calling into question the integrity or purpose of an underlying criminal investigation, the Executive Branch must have the authority to decide that further prosecution is not in the interest of justice.2 As the Supreme Court has explained, “the capacity of prosecutorial discretion to provide individualized justice is firmly entrenched in American law. …

This is particularly ridiculous given that, in its most recent filing, DOJ made clear that DOJ had not erred. Nevertheless, this argument was likely critical to getting Karen Henderson on board.

Of significant import, Rao’s opinion makes no attempt to defend Flynn’s argument. Rather, her order is entirely about preventing DOJ — Bill Barr — from the embarrassment of being forced to explain his decision.

In this case, the district court’s actions will result in specific harms to the exercise of the Executive Branch’s exclusive prosecutorial power. The contemplated proceedings would likely require the Executive to reveal the internal deliberative process behind its exercise of prosecutorial discretion, interfering with the Article II charging authority. Newman, 382 F.2d at 481 (citing United States v. Cox, 342 F.2d 167, 171 (5th Cir. 1965)). Thus, the district court’s appointment of the amicus and demonstrated intent to scrutinize the reasoning and motives of the Department of Justice constitute irreparable harms that cannot be remedied on appeal. See Cobell, 334 F.3d at 1140 (“[I]nterference with the internal deliberations of a Department of the Government of the United States … cannot be remedied by an appeal from the final judgment.”); see also Cheney, 542 U.S. at 382.

We must also assure ourselves that issuance of the writ “is appropriate under the circumstances.” Cheney, 542 U.S. at 381. The circumstances of this case demonstrate that mandamus is appropriate to prevent the judicial usurpation of executive power. The first troubling indication of the district court’s mistaken understanding of its role in ruling on an unopposed Rule 48(a) motion was the appointment of John Gleeson to “present arguments in opposition to the government’s Motion.” Order Appointing Amicus Curiae, No. 1:17-cr-232, ECF No. 205, at 1 (May 13, 2020) (emphasis added). Whatever the extent of the district court’s “narrow” role under Rule 48(a), see Fokker Servs., 818 F.3d at 742, that role does not include designating an advocate to defend Flynn’s continued prosecution. The district court’s order put two “coequal branches of the Government … on a collision course.” Cheney, 542 U.S. at 389. The district court chose an amicus who had publicly advocated for a full adversarial process. Based on the record before us, the contemplated hearing could require the government to defend its charging decision on two fronts— answering the district court’s inquiries as well as combatting Gleeson’s arguments. Moreover, the district court’s invitation to members of the general public to appear as amici suggests anything but a circumscribed review. See May 12, 2020, Minute Order, No. 1:17-cr-232. This sort of broadside inquiry would rewrite Rule 48(a)’s narrow “leave of court” provision.

And we need not guess if this irregular and searching scrutiny will continue; it already has. On May 15, Gleeson moved for permission to file a brief addressing, among other things, “any additional factual development [he] may need before finalizing [his] argument” and suggesting a briefing and argument schedule. Mot. to File Amicus Br., No. 1:17-cr-232, ECF No. 209, at 1–2 (May 15, 2020). The district court granted the motion and then set a lengthy briefing schedule and a July 16, 2020, hearing. See May 19, 2020, Minute Order, No. 1:17- cr-232. In his brief opposing the government’s motion, Gleeson asserted the government’s reasons for dismissal were “pretext” and accused the government of “gross prosecutorial abuse.” Amicus Br., No. 1:17-cr-232, ECF No. 225, at 38–59 (June 10,

2020). He relied on news stories, tweets, and other facts outside the record to contrast the government’s grounds for dismissal here with its rationales for prosecution in other cases. See id. at 43, 46–47, 57–59. These actions foretell not only that the scrutiny will continue but that it may intensify. Among other things, the government may be required to justify its charging decisions, not only in this case, but also in the past or pending cases cited in Gleeson’s brief. Moreover, Gleeson encouraged the district court to scrutinize the government’s view of the strength of its case—a core aspect of the Executive’s charging authority. See In re United States, 345 F.3d 450, 453 (7th Cir. 2003) (condemning district court’s failure to dismiss criminal charges based on its view that “the government has exaggerated the risk of losing at trial”). As explained above, our cases are crystal clear that the district court is without authority to do so. See Fokker Servs., 818 F.3d at 742; Ammidown, 497 F.2d at 623.

This order is entirely about preventing Billy Barr from embarrassment. It has zero to do with Mike Flynn’s case.

Robert Wilkins wrote a dissent that makes a lot of sound points that — if Sullivan chooses to ask for an en banc hearing — might be very powerful. Read it.