July 04, 2020

Week 190

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week the coronavirus spread further out of control, topping 50,000 daily cases for three consecutive days — more than 10,000 higher than the early peak in April. Trump continued to largely ignore the pandemic, refuse to wear a mask, and make the most trusted source of information, Dr. Anthony Fauci, less accessible, leading to confusion in the patchwork of state responses.

This week reporting indicated Trump knew as early as 2019 that Russia had put bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and several U.S. Marines were killed as a result. Trump pretended he had not been briefed, and after he officially was briefed Tuesday, continued to call the matter a “hoax” repeatedly, and took no steps to hold Russia accountable.

Trump continued to stoke an us vs. them divide in America, invoking a straw man “new far-left fascism” in a divisive, dystopian July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore, claiming to be the savior of law enforcement and our “heritage.” Even as Trump continued to fall in the polls, and the mood of the nation continued to darken, Trump seemed unable to rise to the occasion, and do anything other than revert to racism and divisiveness — moving in the opposite direction of the country’s mood amid what the New York Times coined the broadest social movement in history. By week’s end, even Republican lawmakers worried Trump would forever associate their party with racial animus.

  1. On Tuesday, a Pew Research poll found just 12% say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country, 87% are not. National satisfaction decreased by 19 points since April.
  2. The poll also found that 71% of Americans are angry and 66% are fearful, while just 17% are proud. Trump’s approval fell to 39% approve, 59% disapprove — with his approval among Republicans falling to 78%.
  3. On Thursday, a Yahoo News/YouGov poll found in 1989 when Ronald Reagan gave his departing speech, 52% of Americans believed the U.S. was a shining city on a hill, now just 17% agree, while 62% disagree.
  4. Those who no longer believe America is the shining city included 73% of Democrats, 70% of Independents, and 47% of Republicans. Of those who do, 11% of Democrats, 14% of Independents, and 30% of Republicans.
  5. On Saturday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence “were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence.”
  6. The Times reporting indicated Trump was notified, but had not authorized steps to retaliate. Democratic candidate Joe Biden pledged retaliation, saying Putin “will be confronted and we’ll impose serious costs on Russia.”
  7. Later Saturday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence tweeted a statement by DNI John Ratcliffe: “I have confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed.”
  8. CIA Director Gina Haspel made a rare public comment: “Hostile states’ use of proxies in war zones to inflict damage on U.S. interests and troops is a constant, longstanding concern. CIA will continue to pursue every lead.”
  9. On Saturday, WAPO reported in the hours before Trump’s Tulsa rally, his campaign directed workers to remove thousands of social distancing stickers from seats meant to establish distance between attendees.
  10. The removal contradicted instruction from the management of BOK Center. A worker also said they were instructed to remove other signs calling for social distancing around the center.
  11. On Saturday, WAPO reported the new surge in coronavirus cases has exposed a crisis in governance, from Trump to state officials. Trump and Pence continue to flout health experts’ advice, leaving Americans confused.
  12. Trump’s public mentions of the coronavirus declined by two-thirds between April and early June. When he did mention the pandemic, it was often to float misinformation on treatments, masks, and testing.
  13. The White House has blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from some appearances he has requested in recent weeks, including CNN’s town hall. Senior regime officials said Fauci is not always good about “staying on message.”
  14. Experts say the White House played a central role in undermining a clear and consistent message needed to mount a successful public health response to a pandemic. Trump publicly undermines Fauci.
  15. Trump no longer participates in the task force or weekly call with the governors, instead getting updates from Pence. Trump also has no interest in shepherding a national response, leaving some states scrambling.
  16. On Sunday, Politico reported Trump has endured the worst stretch of his presidency in recent weeks, and after widespread polling results, privately has grudgingly conceded he is in a position to lose in November.
  17. Aides believe Trump has enough time to turn things around, but he has been unable to be disciplined, and continually is unfocused and undermines himself. The campaign is making a massive tv-buy to go after Biden.
  18. Trump allies are also worried: Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Trump “could well lose this election.” Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Trump needs to make the race “more about policy and less about your personality.”
  19. On Sunday, the world passed 10 million coronavirus cases, with the U.S. accounting for more than 25% of worldwide cases. More than 500,000 have died worldwide, with more than 125,000 in the U.S. — again 25%.
  20. On Sunday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned on “State of the Union” that the “window is closing” to get the coronavirus under control, calling the current state a “very, very serious situation.”
  21. On Sunday, Pence visited Dallas amid a surge in daily cases, and addressed a large audience of 2,200 indoors with no social distancing and few masks at First Baptist Dallas.
  22. Also at the church, a 100-person choir sang at full volume without wearing masks, and did not stand the recommended six feet apart. They did wear masks while seated.
  23. Dr. Deborah Birx, who accompanied Pence, falsely claimed amid a record spike, “It was a very serious and safe opening plan, and you can see the impact of the opening plan and how it worked out.”
  24. At an event with Gov. Greg Abbott, Pence praised him, saying, “I want to commend the governor for your decisive action reopening this economy.” For one of the first times, Pence was seen wearing a mask at times.
  25. On Sunday, Houston Chronicle reported Texas Medical Center, a large group of hospitals in Houston, deleted ICU data from its website Sunday morning. Last Thursday, their ICU capacity hit 100% for the first time.
  26. Following the Chronicle’s story and inquiry to hospital management, TMC reposted the information, along with some cosmetic changes at 6 p.m.
  27. On Sunday, at 7:39 a.m., Trump retweeted a video showing his supporters clashing with protestors in Florida, and one yelling “White power! White power!” Trump added, “Thank you to the great people of The Villages.”
  28. WAPO reported shortly after the tweet was sent senior staffers expressed concern to press secretary McEnany, Jared Kushner, and other senior advisers, who spoke with Trump.
  29. Shortly after, Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black GOP senator and an ally of Trump, told “State of the Union” of Trump’s tweet, “I think it’s indefensible, we should take it down. That’s what I think.”
  30. Shortly after, roughly three hours after the tweet was sent, Trump gave the okay to delete his incendiary tweet.
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians,” calling it another Russia hoax created “by the Fake News @nytimes.”
  32. Trump added, “Everybody is denying,” and falsely claimed, “Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration,” adding, “Probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax.”
  33. Trump also quoted a tweet by former DNI Richard Grenell, saying, “I never heard of this,” adding, “The Fake News @nytimes must reveal its “anonymous” source. Bet they can’t do it, this “person” probably does not even exist!”
  34. On Sunday, Trump denied being briefed on the bounties. Trump golfed with Graham, who tweeted Trump would “take such allegations seriously and inform Congress immediately as to the reliability” of the reporting.
  35. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told “This Week” she had not been briefed, adding, “This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed.”
  36. On Sunday, Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, tweeted the White House must explain, “Who did know and when?” and “What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?”
  37. U.S. intelligence had been investigating an April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three U.S. Marines. In early 2020, SEAL Team Six raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000.
  38. On Sunday, Trump falsely claimed in a tweet, “Since imposing a very powerful 10 year prison sentence on those that Vandalize Monuments, Statues etc….the Vandalism has completely stopped.”
  39.  Fact checkers noted Trump has no such authority since he is not a judge. The executive order he signed last week basically instructs the attorney general to enforce laws that already exist.
  40. Trump also tweeted a series of U.S. Park Police images which read “ATTEMPT TO IDENTIFY” in a search for protestors who tried to topple the statue of Andrew Jackson during recent protests.
  41. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” reported that Trump regime officials knowingly allowed flawed Covid-19 antibody tests to enter the U.S. market, leading to inaccurate data about virus spread.
  42. The defective tests led to false data which supported re-openings, potentially causing thousands more preventable deaths. It took 50 days for the FDA to reverse its course on antibody tests.
  43. Later Sunday, WAPO reported Russian bounties are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, based on information gleaned by U.S. military interrogations of captured militants.
  44. On Sunday, CNN reported there were discussions in the U.S. intelligence community in February and March about the Russian operation, leading to efforts to protect U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
  45. Later Sunday, Trump again claimed he was not briefed, tweeting, “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP.”
  46. Quoting a tweet by Graham saying Congress must “get to the bottom” of recent reporting, Trump added, “another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks [sic]…to make Republicans look bad!!!”
  47. On Sunday,Trump also tweeted, “Absentee Ballots are fine,” adding, “Mail-In Voting…will lead to the most corrupt Election is USA history,” adding, “Bad things happen with Mail-Ins…look at Special Election in Patterson.”
  48. Trump and sixteen others known in the regime voted absentee. In Patterson, a city councilman and a councilman-elect were among the four people charged with voter fraud in a May 12 municipal election in New Jersey.
  49. On Saturday, the Mississippi state legislature overwhelmingly passed a resolution which will begin the process to change the state’s flag, which includes a Confederate battle emblem in the corner.
  50. On Sunday, Pence told “Face the Nation” that he refuses to say “Black lives matter” because he believes the leadership of the BLM movement is pushing a “radical-left agenda.” Pew found 67% of American support BLM.
  51. On Sunday, BuzzFeed reported of the 93 U.S. attorneys under Trump, only seven are women and only two are Black. The rest are white men.
  52. On Sunday, a white couple in St. Louis, Missouri stood outside their mansion and pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protestors who were walking by on their way to protest at the mayor’s home.
  53. On Sunday, Starbucks announced it would pause social media advertisement, joining a growing list of companies to do so — many just on Facebook. Facebook stock fell 8% on Friday, Twitter fell by 7%.
  54. On Monday, Reddit, one of the largest social networking and message board websites, banned its biggest community devoted to Trump, ‘The_Donald’ subreddit community, citing hate speech.
  55. Reddit said the subreddit, which has 790,000 users and has been highly influential among Trump’s online base, had consistently broken its rules by allowing people to target and harass others with hate speech.
  56. On Monday, Twitch suspended Trump’s channel for “hateful” comments made in two separate events: one from Trump’s Tulsa rally, and one a rebroadcast of Trump’s speech in 2016 where he called Mexican immigrants rapists.
  57. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson,” and cited a push to remove John Wayne’s name from a California airport, calling both “incredible stupidity.”
  58. Trump also falsely claimed, “95% Approval Rating of President Trump in the Republican Party” — recent polls showed 78% — adding, “I would imagine the 5% are the RINOS’ and stupid people.”
  59. Trump also falsely claimed, “the @nytimes Polls are Fake! The @FoxNews Polls are a JOKE!” adding, “Do you think they will apologize to me & their subscribers AGAIN when I WIN? People want LAW, ORDER & SAFETY!”
  60. Trump also tweeted, “Seattle Looters, Agitators, Anarchists and ‘Protestors’, are now refusing to leave the ‘CHOP’ Zone. They have ZERO respect for Government.” The zone was cleared on Wednesday.
  61. On Monday, the New York Times joined the AP in announcing it will start using uppercase “Black” to describe people and cultures of African origin, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  62. On Tuesday, Netflix announced it will move $100 million, or 2% of its bank holdings, to Black-owned banks to support Black communities.
  63. On Monday, McEnany told “Fox & Friends” on Trump’s deleted tweet that he had not heard the “white power” shout, claiming the tweet was “to stand with his supporters, who are oftentimes demonized.”
  64. Later Monday, at a White House press briefing, McEnany said the allegations of Russian bounty were unconfirmed: “There is no consensus…and the veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated.”
  65. Asked if Trump had a specific message for Moscow in light of the bounties on U.S. troops, McEnany said, “No, because he has not been briefed on the matter.”
  66. McEnany was asked if Trump believes “it was a good thing that the South lost the Civil War”’ given his view on memorializing the Confederacy. McEnany dismissed the question, calling it “absolutely absurd.”
  67. Asked by reporters on Trump’s tweet, McEnany told reporters that Trump “did not hear that particular phrase.” When pressed on whether Trump condemned the phrase “white power,” she left the room.
  68. On Monday, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told NBC News the allegations were “100 percent bull,” adding no “American representatives have ever raised this question”
  69. On Monday, the White House briefed eight senior Republicans on intelligence that Russian offered bounties that targeted U.S. troops. Notably, no Democrats were briefed Monday despite their requests.
  70. Traditionally such a briefing would be bipartisan. Notably, Democrats control the House Armed Services and Foreign Affair committees. It was unclear if any lawmakers had been briefing prior to reporting.
  71. On Monday, after the briefing, Republicans expressed alarm. Two House members said, “we strongly encourage the Administration to take swift and serious action to hold the Putin regime accountable.”
  72. On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld abortion rights, with Chief Justice John Roberts again siding with liberal justices, striking down a Louisiana law that was virtually identical to a Texas law it invalidated four years ago.
  73. On Monday, Politico reported the coronavirus surge is becoming another albatross for Trump’s reelection chances. If he loses any one of either Florida, Texas, or Arizona, his reelection is all but doomed.
  74. On Monday, House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus Chair James Clyburn said in a letter to the GOP ranking member that he will no longer recognize members who do not wear face masks at panel hearings.
  75. On Monday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced his city will require masks at the Republican National Convention in August, citing advice of healthcare experts.
  76. On Monday, Los Angeles County health officials warned with the surge in cases, there may not be enough hospital beds to meet demand in the coming weeks.
  77. On Monday, the Broadway League, which represents theater owners and producers, announced Broadway will remain shuttered until at least January due to the pandemic.
  78. On Monday, CNN reported more than 200 people in West Virginia were urged to quarantine for 14 days, after a member of a Planet Fitness gym tested positive.
  79. On Monday, in a dramatic shift, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered bars, movie theaters, gyms, and water parks to shut down after the state reported its highest number of cases, 3,858, on Sunday.
  80. On Monday, CNN reported at least 16 states paused or rolled back reopening plans with the July 4 holiday weekend approaching. Last week, 31 states saw an increase in new cases compared to the week prior.
  81. On Monday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told Fox News on Trump’s upcoming July 3 celebration at Mount Rushmore, “We will have a large event at July 3rd,” and “we will not be social distancing.”
  82. Noem added state officials have told people in South Dakota “to focus on personal responsibility,” adding, “Every one of them has the opportunity to make a decision that they’re comfortable with.”
  83. Later Monday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham told her viewers to “suit up for this battle” because “it is do-or-die time,” and added, someday “American heroes will be celebrated again.”
  84. Late Monday, NYT reported Trump was given a written briefing in late February by U.S. officials which concluded Russian military intelligence paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops.
  85. The intelligence on the Russian plot was also viewed as serious and solid enough to disseminate in The Wire, a classified compendium, more broadly across the intelligence community in a May 4 article.
  86. Shortly after, AP reported that top White House officials were aware in early 2019 of the intelligence on Russia offering bounties. The assessments was in at least one of Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time.
  87. The White House claimed Trump has not yet been briefed on the intelligence because it has not been fully verified. AP noted it is rare for intelligence to be fully confirmed before it is presented to top officials.
  88. Intelligence in early 2019 indicated Russian operatives had become more aggressive in their desire to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Network, designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2012.
  89. Concerns about Russian bounties resurfaced after the SEAL raid in early 2020. An official told AP that White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien did brief Trump. O’Brien has denied such a briefing occurred.
  90. Erik Hendricks, the father of a Marine killed, said, “If this was kind of swept under the carpet as to not make it a bigger issue with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled…I lost all respect for this administration.”
  91. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “We are tracking down the two Anarchists who threw paint on the magnificent George Washington Statue,” warning, “They will be prosecuted,” and, “Turn yourselves in now!”
  92. On Tuesday, CNN reported according to White House and intelligence officials, Trump was often outplayed by authoritarian leaders like Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and abusive to traditional allies.
  93. Trump told German Chancellor Angela Merkel she was “stupid,” and disparaged leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and Australian PM Scott Morrison.
  94. Trump took calls from Erdogan twice a week. He spoke to other authoritarian leaders Saudi Crown Prince MBS and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un about his wealth, genius, and “great” accomplishments in office.
  95. His calls caused officials including NSAs H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Sec. James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly to conclude Trump was often “delusional.”
  96. On Tuesday, 22 Texas bar owners are suing Gov. Abbott over the newly announced coronavirus shutdown order, citing it unconstitutionally bypasses the state legislature as well as the impact on them and their families.
  97. On Tuesday, Fauci testified before the Senate. He expressed dismay over people congregating in crowds and not wearing masks and inadequate attention being paid to guidelines on reopening.
  98. Fauci said, “We’re going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there’s going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop,” adding, “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
  99. Fauci and CDC Director Robert Redfield stressed the importance of masks. Fauci said, “Anything that furthers the use of masks, whether it’s giving out free masks or any other mechanism, I am thoroughly in favor of.”
  100. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there should be no stigma in wearing a face mask, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said doing so is essential to reopening the economy.
  101. Republican Senators, especially ones in states with surges, are also publicly encouraging masks. The recent shift has left Trump isolated, with Trump and his White House staff openly resisting the call for masks.
  102. On Tuesday, CNN reported the Trump campaign canceled his scheduled rally in Alabama next weekend ahead of the senate primary, citing rising cases of the coronavirus.
  103. A source close to the campaign told CNN there are currently no rallies on the horizon, but aides continue to look for possible venues for possible future events.
  104. On Tuesday, NYT reported scientists say a new strain of swine flu virus, known as G4 EA H1N1, is spreading to humans in China, and should be “urgently” controlled to prevent another pandemic.
  105. On Tuesday, CNN reported Senate Republicans voted to strip language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have required presidential campaigns to report offers of foreign election help.
  106. The amendment to add the language passed 8-7 in the Senate Intelligence Committee, with Susan Collins joining Democrats. Ranking member Mark Warner bemoaned a “back-room deal” to strip out the provision.
  107. On Tuesday, a New York state Supreme Court temporarily blocked Mary Trump’s book from release to allow the judge to decide the validity of Robert Trump’s claims of a written agreement among family members.
  108. Later Tuesday, NYT reported Russian bounty suspicions were supported by financial data intercepted by American officials, showing transfers from a bank account controlled by G.R.U. to a Taliban-linked account.
  109. Intelligence analysts concluded the transfers were most likely part of a bounty program described by detainees during interrogations. The transfers helped confirm the reliability of the detainees’ statements.
  110. White House officials did not mention the wire intercepts in their briefing of House Republicans on Monday. Investigators are focused on at least two deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
  111. On Tuesday, the White House held a last-minute press briefing, announced an hour prior, after Biden accused Trump of shirking his responsibility as commander in chief by not reacting to information in his daily briefing.
  112. Biden told reporters, “The idea that somehow he didn’t know or isn’t being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty if that is the case,” adding, “If he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that’s a dereliction of duty,”
  113. When asked why Trump does not read the daily brief, McEnany said Trump “does read,” and he is “the most informed person on planet Earth when it comes to the threats we face.”
  114. McEnany added that Trump “has been briefed” — after declining to specify that on Monday — and added, “but that does not change the fact that there is no consensus on this intelligence that still has yet to be verified.”
  115. Asked about masks after a shift by Republican leadership, McEnany said Trump “has said he has no problem with masks,” adding, “CDC guidelines are still recommended but not required.”
  116. Later Tuesday, Defense Sec. Mark Esper said in a statement, the DOD “has no corroborating evidence at this time to validate the recent allegations regarding malign activity by Russian…against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.”
  117. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, blaming the pandemic on China, saying, “As I watch the Pandemic spread…I become more and more angry at China,” adding, “People can see it, and I can feel it!”
  118. Trump also tweeted, “This is a battle to save the Heritage, History, and Greatness of our Country! #MAGA2020” People noted this tweet and others evoking racist themes were 14 words long.
  119. 14 Words” is a reference to the slogan “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,” which the Anti-Defamation League calls “the most popular white supremacist slogan in the world.”
  120. Later Tuesday, Trump lamented, “Where are you Roger Ailes?” after a segment featuring Fox News analyst Donna Brazile, a Democrat. Trump, who had been attacking Biden’s cognitive abilities, got asked the same.
  121. Shortly after, Trump defended himself, tweeting, “I know better than anyone that my friend Roger Ailes died 3 years ago, just look at what happened to @FoxNews. We all miss Roger!!!”
  122. Later Tuesday, GOP Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attacked Fauci for saying Texas skipped over guidelines for reopening, telling Fox News Fauci “doesn’t know what he’s talking about” and “has been wrong every time.”
  123. Later Tuesday, Fox News host Ingraham called Fauci “Dr. Doom” and “fearmongering” on the coronavirus, and accused him of working for the Biden campaign, showing a “Biden — Fauci 2020” graphic.
  124. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump’s White House was split over whether to talk publicly about the pandemic or stay silent, as infection rates spike in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Georgia.
  125. Senior aides, Pence, and others advocated to resume a daily briefing, believing it is necessary to keep Americans up to date about the nature of the outbreak as the virus spikes and death toll rises, passing 126,0000.
  126. Meadows, Kushner, McEnany and counselor to the president Hope Hicks are against hosting regular sessions, saying the focus should be on the path forward and the nascent economic recovery, without scaring the country.
  127. Trump has told aides he expects a vaccine in the fall, and wants messaging to stay optimistic. Polls show Trump is losing support of senior citizens, suburban women, and white non-college-educated voters.
  128. Later Tuesday, shortly before midnight, Trump tweeted, again threatening to veto this year’s $740 billion annual defense bill if it included renaming Confederate-named bases.
  129. Evoking a racist slur, Trump tweeted, “I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) […] is in the Bill!”
  130. On Tuesday, Lauren Boebert, a gun-rights activist who supports the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon, pulled a primary upset, defeating a House incumbent in Colorado. Trump had endorsed her opponent.
  131. On Wednesday, a Politico/Morning Consult survey found Trump’s approval fell to 39% approve, 59% disapprove. The polls also found 63% want the government to address the spread of the virus, 29% do not.
  132. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Can’t believe how badly @CNN has done in the newly released TV ratings. They are so far below @FoxNews (thank you President Trump!).”
  133. Trump also swiped at CNN host Chris Cuomo, tweeting, “Fredo should be given a big pay cut! MSDNC also did poorly. As I have long said, Fake News does not pay!!!”
  134. Trump also attacked MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, tweeting, “Congratulations to @foxandfriends on completely dominating…Morning Joke, staring Psycho Joe Scarborough on MSDNC, a Concast Company.”
  135. On Wednesday, Trump also called the bounty report a “hoax” again, tweeting the “story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party….Just another HOAX!”
  136. Trump added, “The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it.” A few hours later, Trump retweeted his own tweet.
  137. Trump also tweeted, “this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party,” again claiming, “I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level.”
  138. Trump also attacked NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, tweeting, “NYC is cutting Police $’s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS,” and yet de Blasio is painting a “Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue.”
  139. Trump, who was upset about the street painting outside Trump Tower, claimed “this will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember horrible BLM chant.”
  140. On Wednesday, at a news conference, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on the coronavirus, Trump, “denied the reality of this situation from day one,” and, “Republican governors listened” to Trump and some will not wear a mask.
  141. Cuomo said, “the country is suffering” because of Trump and he needs to “change course,” adding, “The first thing he can do — come clean with the American people, admit the threat of this virus. Admit you were wrong.”
  142. On Wednesday, in an interview with Fox Business, Trump said, “I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus,” adding, “I think at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”
  143. Trump also softened his positions on masks, saying, “I’m all for masks. I think masks are good,” adding, “Actually, I had a mask on, I sort of liked the way I looked,” and said that he thought he looked like the “Lone Ranger.”
  144. Trump however did not think there needed to be a national mandate, saying, “I don’t know if you need mandatory,” adding, “You have many places in the country where people stay very long distance.”
  145. Shortly after, at a daily press briefing, McEnany said Trump “is confident” Covid-19 “will disappear,” and described the resurgence of cases as “embers.”
  146. On Wednesday, a Yale School of Public Health study found the official U.S. coronavirus death toll is a “substantial undercount.” The number of deaths through May 30 were 122,300 or 19% higher than normal.
  147. Of the 122,300 excess deaths, just 95,235 were attributed to Covid-19, meaning the number of reported deaths was likely 28% higher.
  148. On Wednesday, at a House hearing, Brett Giroir, the U.S. government’s coronavirus testing coordinator, contradicted Trump, saying, “We are not flattening the curve right now,” adding, “The curve is still going up.”
  149. Giroir also said it is “absolutely correct that some labs across the country are reaching or are near capacity” on testing. He added federal officials are working to develop “surge testing” for rising states with rising cases.
  150. On Wednesday, NBC News reported in hard hit states Arizona, California, and Texas, people are waiting hours in line to be tested. In nine states, it takes four days to get results — in 41 states, it can be a three day wait.
  151. On Wednesday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the removal of all Confederate statues from city land. Richmond served as the capital of the Confederate States of America for most of the Civil War.
  152. On Wednesday, a video of a white woman in Michigan pulling a gun on a Black teenager and her mother in a parking lot went viral. The woman was charged on Thursday with one count each of felonious assault.
  153. On Wednesday, the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division lifted the injunction on Mary Trump’s book, saying publisher Simon & Schuster did not seem to be bound by the confidentiality agreement.
  154. On Wednesday, Putin won a referendum to prolong his stay in power until 2036 in a landslide, with 78% voting to approve. Critics slammed voting irregularities and said that voters were denied access to balanced information.
  155. On Wednesday, hundreds of officials who worked for former GOP President George W. Bush’s administration formed a political action committee called “43 Alumni for Biden” to support Biden in November.
  156. One of the 43 Alumni organizers said of their support for Biden, “We know what is normal and what is abnormal, and what we are seeing is highly abnormal. The president is a danger.”
  157. On Wednesday, AP reported while Trump is fighting for re-election, recent revelations showed he is not doing the job, including claiming to having not read the PDB on Russia bounty, and doing nothing on the pandemic.
  158. Trump continued to try to be obsessed with dominating the news cycle, even if it involves something negative and creates new crises to be handled. But 2020 has been more about substance than style.
  159. Trump’s critics, and some allies, say he has fallen short in the moment: just 37% approve of his handling of the pandemic, and he has been absent from discussions on systemic racism, and derelict on national security.
  160. On Wednesday, the U.S. hit a record number of new daily coronavirus cases, adding more than 50,000 — far higher than the peak during the New York and early state peak, which never reached 40,000.
  161. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May, as the economy regained 4.8 million jobs in June, following the 2.7 million added in May.
  162. Notably, for most of June many states had reopened, prior to the surge late in the month. Closures raised uncertainty about July and beyond. The Congressional Budget Office forecast 10.5% unemployment by December.
  163. The jobs report also showed Black unemployment continued to recover more slowly: white unemployment fell to 10.1% from 12.4%, while Black unemployment fell to 15.4% from 16.8% — the widest gap in five years.
  164. On Thursday, at a hastily prepared news conference in the Rose Garden, Trump celebrated the numbers, saying, “Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back. It’s coming back extremely strong.”
  165. Trump said, “I think it’s working out very well,” noting some areas are having a “flare up, and we’re putting out the fires,” adding, “But other places were long before us, and they’re now — it’s like life; it’s got a life.”
  166. Trump lied, saying in Pence’s call “Not one governor needed anything,” falsely claiming, “They have all of the ventilators they have,” and “we’re the ventilator king. We’re now producing thousands of ventilators.”
  167. Trump also said, “We have some areas where we’re putting out the flames or the fires, and that’s working out well.” He then left without taking any questions from the reporters, a trend as of late.
  168. On Thursday, as Trump was holding his celebratory news conference, NBC News reported Jeffrey Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire on sex abuse charges by the F.B.I.
  169. Maxwell was charged with six-counts by the Southern District of New York for allegedly helping Epstein groom girls as young as 14 years old, going back as far as 1994, for sex with rich and powerful men.
  170. On Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed to the Trump regime’s request to take up the case on whether the House Judiciary Committee can have access to Mueller grand jury materials in the next term.
  171. The ruling will means the grand jury materials will most likely not be released ahead of the November election, a victory for the Justice Department and Trump.
  172. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported senior Trump regime members, including NSA O’Brien, have recommended to Trump that he not formally invite Russia to attend the G7 summit this year in response to the bounties.
  173. Trump has not made a decision yet. The discussions highlight the extent to which the regime is worried about the optics of Trump embracing Russia in the midst of uproar over putting bounties on U.S. soldiers.
  174. Democrats called on Trump to address it. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a member of the Armed Services Committee, expressed exasperation for the inadequate DOD briefing, and said she has not heard from other senior officials.
  175. On Thursday, CNN reported the DOJ is considering replacing the US attorney in Brooklyn, who has been moved to a new position in D.C., with a senior department official close to Attorney General William Barr.
  176. The Brooklyn position wields significant influence, and recently investigated individuals close to Trump, including Tom Barrack, who chaired his inaugural committee. Barrack was interviewed last year.
  177. On Thursday, Sen. Duckworth put a hold on 1,100 military promotions until Esper assured her in writing that Lt. Col. Alex Vindman will not be punished for his impeachment testimony.
  178. On Thursday, AP reported the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has confirmed a report that service members who were mobilized to D.C. last month amid civil unrest were issued bayonets.
  179. Members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regimen were mobilized, but they were never actually sent to the protests.
  180. On Thursday, Clay County, Florida Sheriff Darryl Daniels, standing with 18 deputies, condemned BLM in a video, and said he will deputize gun owners if his department cannot handle protestors.
  181. On Thursday, on BBC Radio, Fauci warned of a “greater outbreak ahead,” saying, “What we have seen over the last several days is a spike in cases that are well beyond the worst spikes that we have seen.”
  182. Fauci said while some countries in Europe fully locked down, even the strictest U.S. restrictions shut down 50%, which “allowed the perpetuation of the outbreak that we never did get under very good control.”
  183. On Thursday, Florida reported more than 10,000 new cases, a single day record. Infections rose in the state by 168%, or over 95,000 new cases in June, with the infection rate rising from 4% to 15%.
  184. On Thursday, Texas Gov. Abbott mandated face masks for every Texan living in a county with more than 20 cases. Abbott said, “Covid-19 is not going away,” adding, “In fact, it’s getting worse.”
  185. On Thursday, WAPO reported hospitals across the South and West are filling up, with Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona setting records for hospitalizations on Thursday.
  186. In Arizona, where the virus appeared to be out of control, hospitals raced to expand capacity, and chillingly, state officials activated “crisis standards of care” protocols to determine who gets ventilators.
  187. On Thursday, Georgia reported a record high 3,472 cases. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, “We were one of the first states to open up…we’re now paying for it on the back-end.”
  188. On Thursday, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who attended Trump’s Tulsa rally, said in a statement that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is being treated in an Atlanta hospital.
  189. It was unclear if Cain contracted the virus before, after, or at the rally. He tweeted a photo of himself in close proximity to others at the rally. None were wearing masks.
  190. On Thursday, Fauci said in an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association that the coronavirus may have mutated to become more infectious, noting research is “still at the stage of trying to confirm that.”
  191. On Thursday, WAPO reported Pence’s trip to Arizona this week had to be postponed from Tuesday until Wednesday after one Secret Service agent scheduled for the trip tested positive and others showed symptoms.
  192. This is the second time agents have contracted the virus. At least three who worked on the advance team for Trump’s Tulsa rally tested positive. Despite these illnesses, Pence’s team moved ahead with the Arizona trip.
  193. An official defended Pence’s trip, saying Pence wanted to see the hardest hit areas. Pence however did not leave the airport on his Phoenix trip, which lasted just two and a half hours.
  194. On Thursday, Pence visited Tampa, Florida, praising Gov. DeSantis for his “innovative” response to the pandemic, and falsely claiming Florida is in a “much better place” to fight the outbreak, as the virus raged out of control.
  195. On Thursday, the U.S. set another record for new coronavirus cases, surpassing 55,000 daily cases.
  196. Later Thursday, Trump tweeted about the rise, falsely claiming it is “because our testing is so massive and so good, far bigger and better than any other country,” claiming, “This is great news.”
  197. Trump also lied, tweeting, “even better news is that death, and the death rate, is DOWN.” In the past wave, a rise in cases precedes hospitalizations and deaths. He also referred to “younger people, who get better much easier and faster!”
  198. On Friday, Trump headed to South Dakota for his July Fourth celebration. Gov. Noem confirmed social distancing would not be enforced for the expected 7,500 attendees, and they would not be required to wear masks.
  199. Before Trump left for his trip, he found time to golf at a Trump golf course in Sterling, Virginia. He had no scheduled meetings to address the growing surge of coronavirus cases.
  200. WAPO reported Trump will face protests from Native American leaders who criticized Trump’s use of the site, which they say was built on sacred tribal land, as well as the risk to the environment and public health.
  201. On Friday, CNN reported the White House has not approved TV interview requests for Fauci, the most trusted public health official, amid the surge in the pandemic. Birx and Redfield are rarely granted permission either.
  202. Fauci has made an effort to get the word out by appearing on podcasts and webcasts, and in other interviews. Public health officials said the trend is troubling, and appears to be partly due to Trump denialism of the crisis.
  203. On Friday, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told the “TODAY Show” he opposed a nationwide mask mandate, saying of young people “many of them will rebel and do the exact opposite.”
  204. In the convoluted messaging from the regime, Adams refused to answer if people should attend large July Fourth gatherings like Trump’s Friday rally, saying “Every single person has to make up their own mind.”
  205. On Thursday, FedEx, the Washington Redskins’ most prominent sponsor and namesake for their stadium, asked the team to change its name, saying it is a racial slur against Native Americans.
  206. On Friday, the Washington Redskins said in a statement the organization will be undertaking a “thorough review” of their team name amid mounting pressure from fans and sponsors.
  207. On Friday, NYT reported Black Lives Matter may be the largest movement in U.S. history: four recent polls suggest about 15 million to 26 million Americans have participated in demonstrations in recent weeks.
  208. Protests peaked on June 6 when half a million people turned up at nearly 550 places across the U.S. Notably, the events were organic and sprung up, rather than being formally organized like the Women’s March.
  209. On Friday, CNN reported at least eight Secret Service agents are back at a hotel in Phoenix, some suffering from flu-like symptoms of the coronavirus, after traveling with Pence earlier in the week.
  210. After Trump’s Tulsa rally, up to 15 agents who tested positive drove back to D.C. in cars. On Thursday, at least 20 staffers and Secret Service agents did a walk-through to prepare for Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore.
  211. One source told CNN, “Even ardent Trump supporters are fed up,” adding “We signed up to take a bullet for him, we did not sign up to get sick for him for no good reason.”
  212. Later Friday, NYT reported Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Jr. and a top fund-raising official for Trump, tested positive for coronavirus on Friday before the Trump event at Mount Rushmore.
  213. Guilfoyle traveled with Donald Jr. to South Dakota, but they did not fly on Air Force One with Trump. As a routine precaution, people who come in close contact with Trump are tested for the virus. She was asymptomatic.
  214. Guilfoyle attended Trump’s Tulsa rally. She and Donald Jr. will drive back from South Dakota to the East Coast.
  215. Shortly after, CNN reported Guilfoyle was backstage at the Tulsa rally, and was also at Trump’s Phoenix event, but that she has not had recent contact with Trump. Donald Jr. tested negative.
  216. Guilfoyle has been with Donald Jr. hosting high-dollar fundraisers over the past several days, and has met privately and at small events with a lot of the campaign donors.
  217. Donald Jr. posted images on social media falsely claiming masks do not help stop the spread of coronavirus, including a photo of scientists in hazmat suits in Wuhan adding “Your bandana probably works too.”
  218. On Friday, as Trump arrived for his rally, Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, North Carolina and South Carolina reported their highest daily cases. Houston, Dallas, Jacksonville and Los Angeles, were seeing alarming growth.
  219. Trump arrived, the National Guard was cleared dozens of mostly Native American demonstrators who were blocking a key artery leading to the site, protesting the taking of land from the Lakota people.
  220. AP reported the National Guard and local authorities dispersed the crowd using pepper spray. Ahead of Trump’s visit, the Mississippi flag, which will be revamped, was removed from an area where all 50 flags fly.
  221. On Friday, NYT reported Trump used this Mount Rushmore July Fourth speech to deliver a divisive, dystopian culture war message, barely mentioning the pandemic despite more than 53,000 daily cases.
  222. Although the Trump campaign had bragged that attendance was limited to 7,500 reserved spots, which they claimed were oversubscribed, just 3,700 showed up according to a White House pool report.
  223. Trump made the case for a second term, evoking a battle against a straw-man version of the left, which he labeled a “new far-left fascism,” who he claimed are seeking to wipe out the country’s values and history.
  224. Trump told the crowd, few of whom wore face masks, “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”
  225. Trump said “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime” but he would protect the Second Amendment, police and the our heritage.
  226. Trump added, “We will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people,” and he will establish an outdoor park with “the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live.”
  227. Trump claimed “children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe the men and women who built it were not heroes but villains,” adding “This radical view of American history is a web of lies.”
  228. Presidential historian Michael Bechloss said, “Most presidents in history have understood that when they appear at a national monument, it’s usually a moment to act as a unifying chief of state, not a partisan divider.”
  229. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s push to stoke racism, including his push to preserve Confederate symbols and his harsh denunciation of the racial justice movement in his Friday speech, have unnerved Republicans.
  230. Republicans are concerned that Trump amplifying racism and stoking culture wars to stoke resentment of some white Americans for his own political gain, will forever associate the GOP with his racial animus.
  231. Republicans fret privately Trump’s focus on the race and his culture wars leave the GOP running against currents of change, and that along with the pandemic and economy will cost them the Senate and more House seats.
  232. On Saturday, July Fourth Trump sent scores of angry tweets and retweets on a variety of topics. Trump tweeted, “”Change Hearts Not Stones. There is no end to historical purification.” Great historian Doug Wead.”
  233. Trump also quoted a tweet from an unverified account that then made its tweet private, adding “The @nytimes is a very corrupt and dishonest media outlet that suffers TDS at a level rarely seen.”
  234. On Saturday, ABC News reported Mississippi could drop its statewide election voting process that dates back to the Jim Crow-era: facing a lawsuit, an amendment has been put on the ballot for November.
  235. The amendment to the state’s constitution would erase an Electoral College-type provision meant to dilute Black voting power. Mississippi is the only state with such a system for state elections.
  236. On Saturday, the MLB Cleveland Indians said in a statement the organization would consider changing its name, citing “the recent social unrest in our community and our country.”
  237. On Saturday, Reuters reported Mexican consulates across the U.S. have requested Americans refrain from crossing the border for recreation or tourism, in an effort to limit the spread of coronvirus.
  238. On Saturday, Florida reported nearly 11,500 daily cases, a new record, with a positive test rate up to 14%. DeSantis has refused to halt reopening or mandate masks, pushing down responsibility to local officials.
  239. As the week came to a close, there were 11,137,846 worldwide cases and 527,647 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 2,817,620 cases (25.3%), 129,509 deaths (24.5%), and a mortality rate of 4.6%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, July 4, 2020

Work crews remove the statue of confederate general Stonewall Jackson, Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate statues in the city, saying he was using his emergency powers to speed up the healing process for the former capital of the Confederacy amid weeks of protests over police brutality and racial injustice.