September 05, 2020

Week 199

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

This week, with no discernible post-convention bounce and the election two months away, Trump was frenzied. He started the week with a storm of tweets, and then embarked on espousing a series of bizarre conspiracy theories that made him appear mentally unfit to lead, some of which were then backed in part by Attorney General William Barr — our country’s chief law enforcement officer, who openly lied and obfuscated in a television interview.

While continuing to attack the integrity of the election, Trump encouraged his supporters, at campaign rallies in two swing states and on Twitter, to vote twice, an illegal act. Notably, reporting this week indicated the attack lines used by his campaign, including disparaging the integrity of mail-in voting, nearly mirrored those of Russian intelligence. The entire week felt not only chaotic, but almost surreal given the bizarre conspiracies, lies, and calls for both violence and illegal acts Trump openly floated.

The week closed with blockbuster reporting by the Atlantic on Trump’s disparaging of members of the U.S. military, calling them “losers” and “suckers” for the ultimate sacrifice. A story Trump denied, but was confirmed by the Post, the AP and even Fox News. The story shook the nation, and Trump could not shake its impact on his image as a pro-military strong man as the week came to a close.

In between, this was the longest week so far, by far. There are so many stories that needed focus, and got very little or none. They are recorded here for posterity and to be undone when this nightmare of an era is over. Notably also in the midst of the gravest public health crisis in a century, Trump has managed to undermine the trust in all our public health agencies, as we near 200,000 Americans dead, with projections showing more than double that could die by year-end in the pandemic.

  1. On Sunday, an ABC/Ipsos poll taken after the Republican National Convention found 31% of Americans view Trump favorably, unmoved from 32% pre-convention. Joe Biden saw a bump from 40% to 45% post convention.
  2. Just 37% approved of the messaging at the RNC, 59% disapproved (net -22). For the DNC, 53% approved, 42% disapproved (net +11). The poll also found 63% disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
  3. The poll also found 62% see the police shooting of Jacob Blake as a broader problem, compared to 74% who said so of George Floyd. Just 27% of Republicans and 52% of whites agree, down from 55% and 70% in early June.
  4. A Marquette University Law School poll found support for Black Lives Matter in Wisconsin dropped to 48% approve, 48% disapprove, from 61% approve, 38% disapprove in mid-June.
  5. On Saturday, Democrats reacted to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence ending in-person briefings on election interference. Biden said, “Trump is hoping Vladimir Putin will once more boost his candidacy.”
  6. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff called it “a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility” to keep Congress informed, and “a betrayal of the public’s right to know.”
  7. Asked by reporters, Trump said, “Director [John] Ratcliffe brought information into the committee, and the information leaked,” lying, “Whether it was Shifty Schiff or somebody else, they leaked the information.”
  8. Later Saturday, acting Senate Intelligence Chair Marco Rubio said Congressional oversight faced “a historic crisis,” and “Intelligence agencies have a legal obligation to keep Congress informed of their activities.”
  9. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported for months top White House officials, including NSA Robert O’Brien and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have discussed with staff and with Trump how to restrict the flow of information to Congress.
  10. There was a belief among the group that Democrats have politicized briefings. Meadows, a former member of the House Oversight Committee, also felt that leaks were weaponized.
  11. O’Brien has told NSA officials he does not want them engage with Congress on election security, saying it was not their purview, and also told his team to limit Congressional briefings.
  12. On Saturday, asked by reporters if he would visit Kenosha, Trump said, “probably so,” adding, “We’ve had tremendous success,” and lying, “Within a few minutes of the guard, everybody cleared out and it became safe.”
  13. On Saturday, WAPO reported the University of Alabama campus topped 1,000 coronavirus cases. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said the spike could threaten the city’s health-care system and economy.
  14. On Sunday, SUNY Oneonta said it would close for two weeks after topping 100 cases. The school canceled in-person classes and sent students home on Thursday, after cases spiked to nearly 400.
  15. Utah State University said high levels of Covid-19 were detected in the wastewater in four dorms, requiring 287 students to be quarantined. By Thursday, four of those students had tested positive.
  16. On Saturday, Politico reported according to a new book by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, First Lady Melania’s former senior advisor, Trump wanted his inauguration to look like a North Korean military parade.
  17. Wolkoff also said Melania did not want to move to the White House after the inauguration, in part because did not want use the same shower and toilet as former first lady Michelle Obama.
  18. Wolkoff told ABC News on Monday that she is working with three prosecutors on investigations into potential financial crimes related to Trump’s 2017 inauguration, adding, “it’s taken over my life.”
  19. WAPO reported Wolkoff also said Melania used private email accounts while in the White House, including a private Trump Organization account, an email from a MelaniaTrump.com domain, iMessage, and Signal.
  20. The messages included discussions of government hires and contracts, schedules for Trump and Melania on state visits, strategic partnerships for the Be Best initiative, and finances for Trump’s inauguration.
  21. Later Saturday, the White House announced Trump would travel to Kenosha on Tuesday. Asked if Trump would meet with Jacob Blake’s family, a spokesperson said the schedule had not been ironed out yet.
  22. On Saturday, CNN reported two Russian aircraft made an “unsafe, unprofessional” intercept of a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber in the Black Sea, according to a statement by the U.S. Air Force. Trump did not comment.
  23. On Saturday, NBC News reported Sheriff Todd Wright of Arkansas County, Arkansas resigned after a recording of a meeting where he delivered a racist rant, using a racial slur about Black people nine times, was leaked.
  24. On Monday, WAPO reported a South Carolina police officer was suspended for using the n-word repeatedly on camera, describing a Black man calling him that, and complaining, “He can say it to me, but I can’t say it to him?”
  25. On Saturday, ABC News reported an appeals court temporarily halted protections for journalists and legal observers in Portland, saying it was too broad and lacked clarity as to who qualified as a journalist.
  26. Attorney General William Barr heralded the ruling in a statement as “an important step,” saying, “the district court’s order prevented the federal government from effectively addressing violent mobs.”
  27. On Saturday, a man was killed in Portland, after a caravan of Trump supporters arrived in the city. The group of 1,000 vehicles had convened in the suburb of Clackamas, Oregon, in the parking lot of a mall.
  28. Several attendees in Clackamas were armed, and some got in tussles with the local crowd. After a short series of speeches, the caravan of vehicles headed towards Portland, with a route meant to loop around the city.
  29. The route shifted through the city. As trucks waving Trump flags drove by, some people shouted chants opposing Trump. Trump supporters were seen on video firing paintballs and pepper spray from the back of trucks.
  30. A man was shot and killed downtown. It was unclear if the shooting was related to the demonstrations. The Portland Police chief said he spoke with organizers of the caravan and urged them to stay on the highway.
  31. On Sunday, NYT reported the man who was killed had an insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group. SPLC said the group frequently engages in violence in the Pacific Northwest, at times with hate group the Proud Boys.
  32. On Sunday, starting before 6 a.m., Trump sent 89 tweets and retweets in a period of just over two hours, many touting his chances of re-election, in addition to 18 tweets sent after midnight, many relating to Portland.
  33. Trump tweeted of Americans, “They want Safety & Security, and do NOT want to Defund our Police!” Trump also tweeted a video of Trump supporters heading into Portland, calling them “GREAT PATRIOTS!”
  34. Trump also tweeted, “The big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected after 95 days of watching and incompetent Mayor,” and called Mayor Ted Wheeler “a FOOL,” adding, “Bring in the National Guard!”
  35. Trump also retweeted the phone number for Mayor Wheeler, encouraging people to call him to demand he resign. Trump liked a tweet a post saying Kyle Rittenhouse is “a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump.”
  36. Trump’s other tweets included a call for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be imprisoned, a threat to send federal forces against protestors outside the White House, and attacks on media outlets CNN and NPR.
  37. Trump also retweeted a post by pro-Trump fringe network One America News Network, claiming the riots and protests were “a coup attempt […] led by a well funded network of anarchists trying to take down the President.”
  38. Trump also retweeted a post citing a fringe conservative news site’s claim that the coronavirus death toll was 9,000 — not the nearly 183,000 reported by the CDC— because others who died also had other health issues or were old.
  39. Twitter latter removed the post retweeted by Trump which claimed the CDC had “quietly” updated its guidance to indicate only 6% of the coronavirus death toll was related to the virus.
  40. Trump ended his flurry of tweets just after 8 a.m., tweeting, “LAW & ORDER!!!”
  41. NYT noted Biden’s lead had slipped to six points post the RNC in the Monmouth poll from 10 post the DNC, and a similar trend in some others; but reported that typically post convention bumps are temporary.
  42. On Sunday, Trump golfed at his club in Sterling, Virginia, the 294th time in office. Supporters and protestors lined up outside the club holding signs including, “Trump 2020,” “Lock him up!,” and “Black Lives Matter.”
  43. On Sunday, Meadows told “Meet the Press” that Trump was “on the side of law enforcement and the rule of law,” saying “Democrat-led” Portland turned down federal help.
  44. On Sunday, Kate Bedingfield of the Biden campaign told “Fox New Sunday” that Trump “has encouraged his supporters to go out, to be aggressive,” adding, “we are living in Donald Trump’s America.”
  45. Democrats noted Trump’s departing counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News, “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety.”
  46. On Sunday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf blamed state and local officials for the violence, telling “This Week” that “all options continue to be on the table, specifically as we talk about Portland.”
  47. Later Sunday, Biden condemned violence in Portland as “unacceptable,” but called on Trump to stop “fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters.”
  48. Biden added in his statement, “The job of a president is to lower the temperature,” adding, “And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president.”
  49. Later Sunday, Wheeler held a news conference, blaming Trump’s “campaign of fear” for the increase in violence, saying, “It’s you who have created the hate and the division.”
  50. Wheeler added, “You want me to stop the violence that you helped create. What America needs is for you to be stopped,” and “I’d appreciate that the president either supports us or he stays the hell out of the way.”
  51. On Sunday, Kenosha Mayor John Antaramia told NPR he does not want Trump to visit “at this point in time,” saying, “all presidents are always welcome…I think, better had he waited to have for another time to come.”
  52. On Sunday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers also asked Trump not to come in a letter, saying, “I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing” and “will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward.”
  53. On Sunday, White House social media director Dan Scavino tweeted an altered video appearing to show Biden fall asleep during a TV interview. Twitter applied its “manipulated media” label to the tweet.
  54. Later Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Rest in peace Jay,” referring to Aaron “Jay” Danielson, the far-right Trump supporter who was killed in Portland. Trump had yet to recognize those killed and wounded by Rittenhouse in Kenosha.
  55. On Sunday, NYT reporter Michael Schmidt said law enforcement never fully investigated Trump’s ties to Russia, even though some career FBI counterintelligence investigators said it posed a national security threat.
  56. Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe opened an inquiry into Trump, believing he would be fired soon. McCabe pushed former deputy director Rod Rosenstein to hire a special counsel. McCabe briefed Robert Mueller.
  57. In his upcoming book, Schmidt reports Rosenstein secretly made the decision and limited the scope of the Mueller probe, without letting McCabe know for the 10 months he remained there.
  58. Schmidt also said in his book that former White House counsel Don McGahn raised concerns about Jared Kushner’s security clearance in early 2018, noting “serious additional concerns” in his background check.
  59. In a memo to then-White House chief of staff John Kelly, McGahn said information relayed to him “raises serious additional concerns about whether this individual ought to retain a top security clearance.”
  60. On Sunday, ABC News reported far-right extremists tried to storm Germany’s parliament building on Saturday to protest coronavirus restrictions. Some were captured in the building by police and removed.
  61. During the march of roughly 38,000, protestors complained about vaccinations, face masks, and the German government. Some wore T-shirts promoting the “QAnon” conspiracy theory and other nationalist slogans.
  62. On Sunday, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told FT he would bypass the normal approval process to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine saying, “Our emergency use authorization is not the same as a full approval.”
  63. Hahn claimed, however, he would not rush the vaccine to please Trump, saying, “This is going to be a science, medicine, data decision. This is not going to be a political decision.”
  64. On Monday, a survey by STAT and the Harris Poll found 78% of Americans are concerned the Covid-19 vaccine approval is being driven by politics, not science, including 72% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats.
  65. Later Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Joe Biden is coming out of the basement earlier than his hoped for ten days because his people told him he has no choice.” Trump sent a series of tweets on this theme, as did the GOP.
  66. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “When is Slow Joe Biden going to criticize the Anarchists, Thugs & Agitators in ANTIFA?” Biden had condemned all violence. Trump had not.
  67. On Monday, the Military Times reported Trump’s popularity with active duty troops has fallen: 38% have a favorable view, while 50% unfavorable, and of those, 42% “strongly” disapprove of Trump’s time in office.
  68. In 2016, 46% viewed Trump favorably, while 37% unfavorably. Biden leads Trump 41-37, with 13% undecided. In October 2016, Trump led Clinton 41-21, with 34% undecided.
  69. On Monday the family of the late Herman Cain tweeted then deleted an article repeating the smaller death toll conspiracy theory spread by Trump, tweeting, “It looks the virus is not as deadly” as the media claimed.
  70. On Monday, Twitter labeled a tweet by the Trump campaign “manipulated media” for posting a misleading clip of Joe Biden saying, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America!”
  71. On Monday, Trump tweeted a false claim, saying, “If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now.” Gov. Evers brought in the guard.
  72. Trump added he was still coming, saying, “I will see you on Tuesday!” He also tweeted, “Portland is a mess, and it has been for many years. If this joke of a mayor doesn’t clean it up, we will go in and do it for them!”
  73. Trump also tweeted, “The Radical Left Mayors & Governors of Cities where this crazy violence is taking place have lost control of their ‘Movement,’” adding, “the Anarchists & Agitators got carried away and don’t listen.”
  74. On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News Trump will go to Kenosha, saying, “He loves the people of Wisconsin, and he looks forward to speaking directly to them and unifying the state.”
  75. McEnany was later asked by reporters at the daily briefing if Trump was going to condemn Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing protestors. She responded, “The president is not going to weigh in on that.”
  76. McEnany also admitted that Trump has still not spoken to Jacob Blake’s family, saying, “We are efforting outreach, have not been able to connect yet.” At attorney for the family said they have not received any calls.
  77. Shortly after, an aide to Meadows tweeted that he has “reached out on behalf of POTUS and left multiple messages” with the family, and added, “He’s also spoken several times with Julia Jackson’s pastor.”
  78. Shortly after, Jacob Blake’s father told CNN, “We don’t have a family pastor,” adding, “I don’t know who he talked to. I don’t care who he talked to.”
  79. Shortly after, the attorney for the Blake family clarified that Trump reached out to the pastor of Jacob Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, but refused to have a call with the family “if Ms. Jackson’s legal team monitored the call.”
  80. On Monday, in a blistering speech from Pittsburgh, Biden condemned violence and Trump defending Rittenhouse, accusing Trump of “poisoning” the nation’s values, and slamming his mishandling Covid-19.
  81. Biden said of Trump, “He doesn’t want to shed light, he wants to generate heat, and he’s stoking violence in our cities. He can’t stop the violence because for years he’s fomented it.”
  82. On rioters, Biden said, “It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted,” adding Trump is “trying to scare America,” and what is really causing the nation’s fear is Trump’s own failures.
  83. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Just watched what Biden had to say,” adding, “he’s blaming the Police far more than he’s blaming the Rioters, Anarchists, Agitators, and Looters, which he could never blame.”
  84. On Monday, Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban led his team on a march for racial justice. He said, “Today I’m like a proud parent,” standing where George Wallace stood in 1963 to block Black students from enrolling.
  85. On Monday, WAPO reported Scott Atlas, Trump’s new coronavirus adviser who has no infectious disease experience, is pushing the controversial “herd immunity” strategy, alarming public health officials.
  86. Sweden failed with the strategy: being among the highest infection and death rates in the world, and no economic benefit. Experts say the strategy could lead to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American deaths.
  87. Officials say Atlas has crafted himself as the “anti-Dr. Fauci.” He has argued lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have health costs as well, such as people losing their jobs or foregoing doctor visits.
  88. Some of Atlas’s ideas, such as only people with symptoms should be tested, have already been implemented with updated CDC guidance. He has also said repeatedly, without evidence, that children do not spread the virus.
  89. Atlas also frequently clashes with Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, both of whom Trump has stopped from making White House-related appearances, on issues like face masks and school reopening.
  90. Atlas refused to comment, but issued a statement claiming the reporting by WAPO was untrue. Later Monday, at an event with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Atlas lied, saying the Post never asked him for comment.
  91. On Monday, Politico reported the Department of Health and Human Services is bidding out a $250 million contract to a communications firm for messaging to “defeat despair and inspire hope” on Covid-19.
  92. The HHS document also lists a goal to “target specific audiences with tailored communications.” The contract comes ahead of the election, and amid concern about the regime’s health agencies independence.
  93. On Monday, the U.S. surpassed 6 million coronavirus cases. It took the country 22 days for the last million. Only two other countries in the world, Brazil (3.9 million) and India (3.6 million), had more than 1 million cases.
  94. On Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to continue to implement safety measures, saying, “No country can just pretend the pandemic is over.”
  95. On Monday, at his daily briefing, Trump told reporters he would travel to Kenosha Tuesday, but would not be meeting with Blake’s family, adding, “I spoke with the pastor, wonderful man, the family’s pastor.”
  96. Asked about state and local leaders asking him not to come since it would increase violence or exacerbate tension, he said, “It will also increase enthusiasm and it could increase love and respect for our country.”
  97. Asked if he would condemn Rittenhouse, Trump falsely claimed, “You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him.”
  98. Trump also lied saying, “I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been — I — he probably would have been killed.” AP Fact-Check noted, “The first fatal shooting happened before Rittenhouse ran away and fell.”
  99. Per the criminal complaint, Joseph Rosenbaum was shot and killed first. After, Rittenhouse was chased by people trying to stop. He tripped and fell. He then shot and killed Anthony Huber, and shot and injured a third man.
  100. Asked about video of his supporters shooting paintballs from the back of pick-up trucks in Portland, Trump said, “Paint is a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets.” Shooting with paint balls is considered to be a crime.
  101. Trump also claimed that protests in Portland have been so damaging that “the entire city is ablaze all the time.” A spokesperson for the Portland Fire Department told CNN it was a lie, texting, “We are not ablaze in Portland.”
  102. On Monday, ABC News reported current and former national security officials raised concerns about Attorney General Barr’s removal of Brad Wiegmann, a 23-year career official, weeks before the election.
  103. Deputy Assistant AG Wiegmann, who headed an office that help ensure federal counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities are legal, was reassigned two weeks ago and replaced by a political appointee.
  104. On Monday, WAPO reported the Trump regime rolled back a 2015 Obama-era regulation that would have required coal plants to treat wastewater with more modern, effective methods to limit toxic wastewater.
  105. Power plants, the largest industrial source of toxic wastewater pollution, were supposed to begin showing they were using updated technologies in 2018, but the Trump regime delayed the rule three years ago.
  106. On Monday, House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney said she would subpoena the USPS and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to compel them to turn over documents relating to mail delays.
  107. Maloney also sought any communications DeJoy had with Trump or members of his reelection campaign. Last Friday, DeJoy said he would not provide any documentation requested at the hearing voluntarily.
  108. On Monday, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 8-2 that the Michael Flynn case does not need to be immediately dismissed, and Judge Emmet Sullivan can scrutinize the DOJ decision to dismiss charges.
  109. The decision reversed a lower court decision that ordered Sullivan to close the case. The court also rejected Flynn’s request to have the case moved to a different judge, saying there was “no basis” for disqualifying Sullivan.
  110. On Monday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s policy of allowing border patrol agents to conduct credible fear assessments for asylum-seekers, saying, “these procedures plainly violate Congress’s requirements.”
  111. On Monday, Forbes reported in a sharply worded decision, a second federal appeals judge slammed Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for diverting coronavirus relief funds away from poor students.
  112. In the CARES Act, Congress appropriated $13 billion, most of which was meant for schools with the highest number of poor students. DeVos instead allocated to schools based on the number of students per school.
  113. On Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals not to allow Manhattan DA Cy Vance to get tax returns, ahead of a hearing Tuesday, and said they would ask the Supreme Court to intervene again.
  114. Trump’s lawyers claimed turning over the returns could cause Trump “irreparable harm,” and said, “The District Attorney should not have been allowed to ‘run roughshod’ over the President.”
  115. On Monday, according to a state business record filing, USPS Board of Governors Chair Robert Duncan is listed as Director of Mitch McConnell’s $130M super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund.
  116. On Tuesday, NYT reported an internal Postal Service Inspector General audit found more than one-million mail-in ballots were mailed late to voters during the 2020 primaries between June 2 to August 13.
  117. The audit found those votes were at “high risk” of not making it back to officials in time to be counted, raising concerns about whether the agency is prepared to process a major increase for the general election.
  118. The audit noted, “While the Postal Service has made progress in preparing for the 2020 general election, there are concerns” with “processes to help ensure the timely delivery of election and political mail.”
  119. On Thursday, NYT reported that the USPS has paid DeJoy’s former company, XPO Logistics, $286 million since 2013 for services that include managing transportation and providing support during peak times.
  120. Figures obtained by the Times from a public record request also revealed that DeJoy still holds a $30 million stake in the company, which has ramped up business with the Postal Service since he took over.
  121. On Monday, CNN reported NYT’s Michael Schmidt says in his new book Vice President Mike Pence was on standby to temporarily “take over” during Trump’s visit to Walter Reed in November 2019 if he had to be anesthetized.
  122. On Tuesday, Trump responded to rumors on his health, tweeting, “It never ends! Now they are trying to say that your favorite President, me, went to Walter Reed” having “suffered a series of mini-strokes. Never happened.”
  123. Trump added, “Never happened to THIS candidate — FAKE NEWS. Perhaps they are referring to another candidate from another Party!” Notably, Schmidt’s book did not specify a particular ailment.
  124. On Tuesday, the White House physician said Trump “has not experienced nor been evaluated for a cerebrovascular accident (stroke), transient ischemic attack (mini stroke), or any acute cardiovascular emergencies.”
  125. Later, Trump tweeted CNN should fire analyst Joe Lockhart, whom he called “a lifetime failure,” over Lockhart’s tweet, which asked, “Did @realDonaldTrump have a stroke.” He did not specify mini-stroke.
  126. On Monday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham interviewed Trump for an hour, in which he advanced a series of bizarre conspiracy theories on a variety of topics, raising questions by some about his mental health.
  127. Trump said, “we had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.”
  128. Pressed by Ingraham, Trump alleged the plane was headed to D.C. to disrupt the RNC . This claim is a lie, and appears to be based on a rumor from June on a fringe group’s rumor posted on Facebook.
  129. Sen. Rand Paul advanced a similar conspiracy theory in Week 198, saying, “I promise you that at least some of the members and the people who attacked us were not from D.C.,” adding, “They flew here on a plane.”
  130. Trump also shared a conspiracy theory that protestors for racial justice are being bankrolled by “some very stupid rich people,” likely based on far-right, anti-Semitic tropes that George Soros is funding protestors.
  131. Trump also shared a pillar of the conspiracy advanced by QAnon, saying, “People that you haven’t heard of” are controlling Biden.
  132. Trump also invoked the suburbs of New York, saying, “Westchester was ground zero…They were trying to destroy the suburban, beautiful place,” falsely claiming desegregation caused “low-income housing” and “crime.”
  133. Trump also invoked Sen. Cory Booker, and the racist trope of Black men threatening white women, saying, “So you have this beautiful community in the suburbs, including women, right? Women. They want security.”
  134. Trump added, “If Biden gets in, he already said it’s going to go at a much higher rate [of low-income housing] than ever before. And you know who’s going to be in charge of it? Cory Booker.”
  135. Trump also compared the police officer who shot Blake seven times to a golfer, saying, “they choke, just like in a golf tournament, they miss a 3-foot putt.” Ingraham tried to clean up this comparison, but Trump stuck with it.
  136. In part two of the interview, which aired Tuesday, Trump repeated the conspiracy theory, saying, “I saw a statistic come out the other day, talking about only 6% of the people actually died from COVID.” This is not true.
  137. Ingraham tried to correct him, saying those who die from Covid-19 often have other conditions, but Covid-19 “might ultimately have been the key morbidity.” Trump repeated “But it’s an interesting statistic.”
  138. Trump also falsely claimed that he won the popular vote in 2016, saying, “I think I did win the popular vote on a true sense. I think there was tremendous cheating in California…in New York and other places.”
  139. On Monday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Wolf told Fox News the DOJ launched an inquiry “targeting” protest leaders of organizations and those who may be funding their movement “across the country.”
  140. Asked why leaders of Black Lives Matter and antifa had not been arrested, Wolf said, “This is something I talk to the AG (Barr) personally about. And I know that they are working on it.”
  141. On Tuesday, USA Today reported the DOJ has launched a criminal inquiry into the leadership and financing of protests against police. Federal authorities claimed they are not targeting free speech rights.
  142. A spokesperson said the DOJ is examining “coordinated, criminal activity … and violence related to riots, destruction of federal property and violence against law enforcement officers.”
  143. On Thursday, WAPO reported a new report by a nonprofit Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project found 93% of the racial-justice protests this summer remained peaceful and nondestructive.
  144. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Daniel McMahon, a Florida man who called himself an “antifa hunter” and used social media to threaten and intimidate his political enemies, was sentenced to three years in prison.
  145. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Alan Viarengo, 55, a California man with ties to the far-right “boogaloo” movement, was in custody after sending two dozen misogynistic and threatening letters to a county health officer.
  146. Investigators seized 138 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosive materials from Viarengo’s home. He was charged with felony counts of stalking and threatening a public official.
  147. On Tuesday, Facebook took down a Russian disinformation network of fake accounts and pages created by Internet Research Agency, which recruited a U.S. journalist to write articles critical of Biden and Harris.
  148. Facebook was tipped off by the FBI to a dozen operations linked to IRA. Operatives created fictitious personas to direct traffic to new site called Peace Data, which billed itself as a “global news organization.”
  149. Twitter also removed Russia backed accounts. The operation was designed to target left-leaning voters written by an unwitting journalist through dozens of social media accounts created through artificial intelligence.
  150. On Tuesday, retailer Old Navy said it will pay its 50,000 employees for eight hours of work if they volunteer to be poll workers on Election Day, on top of what they earn from their local election board.
  151. On Tuesday, a USC Dornsife Daybreak Poll found the presidential race to be remarkable stable post conventions, with Biden up 11 points. Trump has lost roughly 9% of supporters who backed him in 2016.
  152. On Tuesday, Fauci debunked the conspiracy theory retweeted by Trump about coronavirus deaths on “Good Morning America,” which claimed a CDC update meant only 6% had died of Covid-19.
  153. Fauci said, “That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of Covid didn’t die of Covid-19. They did,” adding, “It’s not 9,000 deaths from Covid-19, it’s 180-plus-thousand deaths.”
  154. On Tuesday, CNN reported in a rebuke to FDA Commissioner Hahn, a National Institutes of Health panel said there is no evidence backing the use of convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19, telling doctors not to use it as a standard of care.
  155. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime will not join a global effort to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine, called Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax), because, in part, of the WHO’s involvement.
  156. More than 170 countries are in talks to participate in the Covax Facility which aimed to speed development and secure doses for all countries to distribute to the most high-risk segments of each population.
  157. Trump’s go it alone move was described as “huge gamble” by a health expert. The premise of Covax was to discourage hoarding and vaccinate high risk people in every country first for better health outcomes.
  158. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a preliminary analysis released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found multiple areas of potential waste and fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program.
  159. The panel found more than 10,000 loans totaling over $1 billion went to companies that “double dipped,” and loans were “diverted from small businesses truly in need to ineligible businesses or even to criminals.”
  160. Watchdog groups cited the lack of transparency, saying the Trump regime “failed to design and implement” a program to help small businesses, and rather the “the wealthy and well-connected were showered” with aid.
  161. On Tuesday, the court blocked the release of Trump’s tax returns to Manhattan DA Vance, pending a hearing on the appeal set for September 25. Trump is the only modern day president not to release his tax returns.
  162. On Tuesday, in a 2-1 ruling, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the House cannot go to court to enforce subpoenas in the Don McGahn case, because there is no statute giving that chamber the authority to do so.
  163. If the ruling stands, it would gut the House subpoena power, and take away the ability to demand information from sources unwilling to give it, upending decades of congressional oversight and investigations.
  164. If it stands, the ruling would effectively end several pending legal battles on House subpoenas, including for Trump’s financial records and records on the regime’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  165. The panel said the House can pass legislation to make subpoenas enforceable, but the courts cannot create a legal mechanism to mandate compliance. Pelosi said the House would appeal the ruling.
  166. On Tuesday, Trump again attacked the NBA, tweeting, “People are tired of watching the highly political @NBA,” falsely claiming, “Basketball ratings are WAY down, and they won’t be coming back.”
  167. Trump also inserted himself in the Big Ten’s discussions, tweeting he “had a very productive conversation” with the Commissioner “about immediately starting up Big Ten football,” adding, “On the one yard line!”
  168. The Big Ten confirmed the conversation, calling it “productive,” but added that it will return “at the appropriate time,” and the conversation was about getting rapid testing. There are no plans to start immediately.
  169. On Tuesday, before leaving for Kenosha, Trump falsely claimed, “One of the reasons I’m making the trip today and going to Wisconsin is we’ve had such a big success,” lying that it “would’ve been burnt to the ground.”
  170. In Kenosha, over the objections of state and local leaders, Trump toured a block that had been besieged by violence and fire, blaming “domestic terror” and calling the violence “anti-American.”
  171. Trump did not mention Jacob Blake or acknowledge the reason for the protests and anger or concerns of Black Americans, instead siding with law enforcement, and saying he felt “terribly” for anyone who suffered a loss.
  172. Trump called for confronting the “radical ideology that includes this violence,” and “far-left politicians continue to push the destructive message that our nation and our law enforcement are oppressive or racist.”
  173. Trump said, “Once they responded and once we took, you know, control of it, things went really well.” AP Fact-Check said Gov. Evers authorized deployment of the National Guard, Trump had nothing to do with it.
  174. Evers said National Guard troops at Kenosha from Arizona, Michigan, and Alabama were operating under the control of those states and Wisconsin, “not in a federal status.”’
  175. Shortly after, WTMJ Milwaukee reported the Kenosha man Trump stood with in front of a burned down store was not the current owner of the shop. Tom Gram, the current owner, said Trump used his destroyed store for a photo op.
  176. Gram said he got a call from the White House on Monday to ask if he would join Trump on a tour, and immediately declined. Instead Trump invited John Rode III, who sold the store to Gram eight years ago.
  177. At a nearby peaceful block party, Jacob Blake’s uncle told reporters, “All I ask is that he keep his disrespect, his foul language far away from our family,” adding, “We don’t have any words for the orange man.”
  178. Trump also brought Barr for a meeting with Kenosha law enforcement, saying, “We’re ready, willing and able to send in, you know, a massive group of people that are really highly trained.”
  179. Trump added, “We could solve that problem in less than an hour in Portland … and at some point, Bill, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.” Trump also tweeted about sending law enforcement to Portland.
  180. Shortly after, the Mayor of Kenosha called out Trump, saying, “I want to dispel….that angry mobs were trying to get into my house last night,” calling it “completely false,” and saying the city is “peaceful” and “healing.”
  181. On Tuesday, LA Times reported Trump had abandoned the compassionate image the RNC painted of him, where speaker after speaker tried to soften his belligerent and racist image.
  182. Instead Trump has returned to familiar territory of angry, incendiary rhetoric. A GOP pollster noted Trump is betting that fear of violence spreading to the suburbs will be greater than fear of the pandemic spreading.
  183. Later Tuesday, Pence was asked on Fox News if he had been alerted to assume the presidency, and said, “I don’t recall being told to be on standby,” and when pressed said, “part of this job is you are always on standby.”
  184. On Wednesday, a YouGov poll found 56% of Americans think violence will get worse if Trump is re-elected, 18% say better. Those who think better included 46% of Republicans, 17% of Independents, and 5% of Democrats.
  185. On Wednesday, a Civiqs poll found 33% of Republicans believe that the QAnon theory is mostly true, 23% say that some parts are true, and 13% think it is not true at all. In contrast, 72% of Democrats it is not true at all.
  186. On Wednesday, a Congressional Budget Office projected U.S. debt will hit $3.3 trillion next year, exceeding the size of the entire country’s economy, for the first time since 1946, just after World War II.
  187. On Wednesday, NYT reported Trump laid out a directive in a memo to Office of Management and Budget director Russell Vought and AG Barr to cut funding to cities run by Democrats, citing violent protests.
  188. Trump wrote, “Anarchy has recently beset some of our states and cities,” adding his regime “will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.”
  189. Trump singled out Portland, Seattle, D.C., and New York; although some cities run by GOP mayors had higher crime rate growth, and experts say the rise in crimes is largely related to fallout from the pandemic.
  190. The memo gives Barr 14 days to identify “anarchist jurisdictions” where officials have “permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures.”
  191. The Times noted the memo comes as Trump trails Biden in polling, and looks to shift attention away from his failed response to the pandemic, to what he has tried to portray as out-of-control crime in Democratic cities.
  192. On Wednesday, NBC News reported just as Trump tried to use a narrative of a caravan full of muscular young Latin men in “gangs” ahead of the 2018 midterms, now is betting his re-election on fears of crime rising.
  193. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found just 8% list crime as their top issue, while a majority cited the economy, jobs, or health care. Also, 62% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans said crime is not rising where they live.
  194. On Thursday, mayors from New York City, D.C., Portland, and Seattle blasted Trump’s funding cut, saying, “our cities, and the millions of Americans who we represent, are not President Trump’s political pawns.”
  195. They added, “We are confronting unprecedented challenges — fighting back a pandemic and economic devastation without another stimulus,” calling Trump’s new attacks unlawful and unconstitutional.
  196. The U.S. Conference of Mayors said in statement amid the pandemic, struggling economy, and social unrest we need “national healing and unity,” but this memo “is intended only to inflame tensions and divide us.”
  197. On Wednesday, a German government spokesperson said Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent similar to the one used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.
  198. The E.U. called it a “despicable and cowardly” act, adding, “perpetrators need to be brought to justice.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it “a crime against the basic values and basic rights we stand for.”
  199. The White House said it was “deeply troubled by the results,” but failed to call out Russia or Putin specifically. Trump said nothing publicly. Navalny remained in a coma at a Berlin hospital.
  200. On Wednesday, ABC News reported DHS withheld a July intelligence bulletin from Congress warning law enforcement agencies about a Russian scheme to promote “allegations about the poor mental health” of Biden.
  201. The briefing, “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” was submitted for review on July 7, and set to be sent to federal, state, and local law enforcement on July 9, but was blocked.
  202. Emails show an hour before it was set to be sent, a senior DHS official intervened and it was never sent. Notably, the Trump campaign has repeatedly engaged in a similar line of attack.
  203. On Wednesday, NPR reported employees at the Voice of America say Trump appointee Global Media CEO Michael Pack threatened to take away legal protections intended to insulate reporters from political meddling.
  204. Pack, who has upended the agency and purged staff, told The Federalist, “My job really is to drain the swamp, to root out corruption.” Employees say Pack brooded over loyalty and described his outlook as “paranoid.”
  205.  Employees say Pack has tried to influence which stories get told, replacing a senior editor who had that task. Journalists have been second guessed and cite stories were removed from the VOA website.
  206. On Wednesday, BBC reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and one of her top aides on a U.S. sanctions list.
  207. The ICC is currently investigating whether U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The sanctions list has historically been reserved for war criminals and international terrorists.
  208. A spokesperson for Human Right Watch called it a “shameful new low for U.S. commitments to justice for victims of the worst crimes,” adding it marked a “stunning perversion of US sanctions.”
  209. On Wednesday, New York Daily News reported Lin Wood, the attorney representing Rittenhouse, claimed he was locked out of Twitter for posting about his defense, after Twitter cited him for “glorifying violence.”
  210. Wood told Fox News he planned to sue, saying, “I’m going to take Jack Dorsey’s ass down.” He also represents Nicholas Sandmann, Carter Page, St. Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey, and Marjorie Greene.
  211. On Wednesday, The Hill reported Facebook removed a post by GOP Rep. Clay Higgins for inciting violence. Higgins posted a photo of Black men with guns, adding, “One way ticket fellas. Have your affairs in order.”
  212. On Wednesday, former press secretary Sarah Sanders said in her new memoir that after Kim Jong-un winked at her at a summit in 2018, Trump told her she would have to go to North Korea to “take one for the team.”
  213. On Wednesday, 81 Nobel Prize winners endorsed Biden in an open letter, citing his “willingness to listen to experts” and his “deep appreciation for using science to find solutions.”
  214. On Wednesday, Fauci predicted a “safe and effective” coronavirus vaccine on “TODAY” by the end of the year, saying thus far there is not “enough data that you would really feel comfortable it was safe and effective.”
  215. On Wednesday, NYT reported the CDC told state public health officials in all 50 states and five large cities to prepare to prepare to distribute a coronavirus vaccine as early as late October to early November.
  216. The CDC guidelines outlined scenarios for an unidentified Vaccine A and Vaccine B to be given to health care workers and other high-risk groups first. Trump continued to push for a vaccine by Election Day.
  217. On Wednesday, WAPO reported a claim made by Biden in a speech is true: the coronavirus has killed 100 police officers this year so far, more than all other causes combined.
  218. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the first death linked to the Sturgis Rally was a Minnesota man in his 60s. So far, at least 260 cases in 11 states can be directly linked to the rally, according to health departments.
  219. On Wednesday, Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds said she would not order masks or bar closures despite recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task after Iowa cases rose at the highest rate in the country.
  220. On Wednesday, WAPO reported amid flare-ups on college campuses, schools are trying to withhold data, citing privacy laws. However three legal experts said laws do not apply to overall coronavirus campus data.
  221. University of Alabama faculty were threatened with “serious consequences” if they shared news about infections. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told its student newspaper it would not reveal data.
  222. On Wednesday, WAPO reported amid the Trump regime’s troubled response to the pandemic, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is facing an internal investigation for treatment of colleagues and two deals.
  223. The White House Counsel’s Office investigated Navarro’s behavior in response to repeated complaints in 2018, and found he was routinely verbally abusive toward colleagues. He was most abusive to young women.
  224. The regime terminated a contract Navarro had negotiated with Philips for 42,900 ventilators, after a HHS investigation “concluded that the government had overpaid for the ventilators by $500 million.”
  225. The regime also canceled a transaction Navarro championed for a government loan to fund Eastman Kodak’s transformation into a drugmaker, after allegations of insider trading.
  226. The HHS watchdog says it is broadening its investigation to all of his deals. Navarro came close to getting fired over abuse charges, but Trump remains loyal to him, and the abusive behavior is said to continue.
  227. On Wednesday, in an interview at an event on the tarmac in Wilmington, North Carolina, Trump suggested his supporters vote twice, once by mail and once in person. Voting twice is illegal, and in North Carolina is a felony.
  228. Asked if he has confidence in mail-in voting, Trump said, “Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote.”
  229. Trump told supporters, “send it in early and then go and vote. You can’t let them take your vote away; these people are playing dirty politics…if you have an absentee ballot…send it in, but I’d check it, follow it and go vote.”
  230. At the same time, AG Barr spoke to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, telling numerous, verifiable lies. Barr said of widespread mail-in voting, “people are playing with fire.” There is no evidence of problems with mail-in voting.
  231. When pressed, without citing evidence, Barr said, “people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which as a matter of logic is very open to fraud and coercion is reckless and dangerous.”
  232. When asked for evidence on his past statement that a foreign country could sent thousands of fake ballots, Barr said, “as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.” Pressed by Blitzer, asking,“Pardon?” Barr repeated, “Logic.”
  233. Barr added, “A bipartisan commission chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker said back in 2009 that a mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion.” This is not what the 2005 report found.
  234. To bolster his point, Barr added, “We indicted someone in Texas, 1,700 ballots collected from people who could vote.” The assistant district attorney on that case told the Post, “That’s not what happened at all.”
  235. Blitzer pressed Barr for how many indictments the DOJ obtained for voter fraud, Barr said, “I don’t know.” Pressed again, Barr said obscured, “I don’t know…I know there are a number of investigations.”
  236. Barr denied systemic racism in law enforcement, saying ,“I don’t think there are two justice systems,” and “The narrative that the police are on some epidemic of shooting unarmed Black men is simply a false narrative.”
  237. Asked about Trump’s assertion of “thugs” on airplanes, Barr said, “They are flying around the country,” adding, “we see some of the purchases they’re making before the riots of weapons to use in those riots.”
  238. Pressed on a specific instance of black-clad antifa members on a plane claimed by Trump, Barr said, “I don’t know what the President is referring to.”
  239. Barr claimed some of the 300 arrests this summer were from antifa, but could not give specifics, saying, “I’ve talked to every police chief in every city…they all have identified Antifa as the ramrod for the violence.”
  240. Barr claimed that China was a bigger threat to the election than Russia. When pressed why, Barr said, “Because I’ve seen the intelligence, that’s what I’ve concluded,” and then added, “I’m not going to get into that.”
  241. Barr said neither former President Barack Obama nor Biden were under investigation, despite Trump’s claims. Barr sidestepped whether it was appropriate for Trump to order him to open investigations of opponents.
  242. On Wednesday, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan told Fox News that “groups like antifa” are sending protestors by plane to cities around the country to incite violence.
  243. Morgan added, “That’s a typical tactic” of groups like antifa, claiming, “They will fly in people from outside the city, outside the state to go in, to cause violence…That’s being done in cities across this country.”
  244. When asked by NBC News for proof, a CBP spokesman said there was no information to support Morgan’s claim. Rather, he said Morgan was referring generally to the fact many protestors are from out of state.
  245. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported unemployment fell to 8.4% in August, down from 10.2% in July. Employment growth slowed in August, and nearly one-fifth of job adds were temporary census workers.
  246. Reuters noted a miscalculation error of people misclassifying themselves as “employed but absent from work.” Without the error, unemployment would have been 9.1%. Also, 29.2 million were on unemployment.
  247. Trump celebrated, tweeting, “Great Jobs Numbers!” Biden said the country was in a K-shaped recovery, with “those at the top are seeing things go up those in the middle and bottom are seeing things go down and get worse.”
  248. On Thursday, in a remarkable move, the North Carolina State Board of Elections issued a statement to North Carolina voters saying, “It is illegal to vote twice in an election” and “a Class I felony.”
  249. On Thursday, Twitter slapped warnings on two of Trump’s tweets that encouraged his supporters to vote twice. The warning noted: “This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.”
  250. Trump made similar comments on Facebook, which placed a notice beneath the post, noting, “voting by mail has a long history of trustworthiness in the US and the same is predicted this year.”
  251. On Thursday, ABC News reported DHS’s intelligence branch issued the warning to federal and state law enforcement partners after finding with “high confidence” that Russia is amplifying mail-in voter fraud claims.
  252. The bulletin warned, “Russian state media and proxy websites in mid-August 2020 criticized the integrity of expanded and universal vote-by-mail.” The effort comes as Trump was doing the same.
  253. Notably, this marked the second piece of intelligence indicating that the Trump campaign and Russia were aligned in messaging ahead of the election with the same goal: mail-in voter fraud and Biden’s mental acuity.
  254. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that the Kenosha militia group took down their Facebook event page that preceded the deadly shooting, despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s claim that the company had removed it.
  255. On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported the U.S. trade deficit surged to $63.6 billion in July, the highest level in 12 years, as imports jumped by a record amount.
  256. On Thursday, former Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said in an op-ed that he was voting for Biden, saying, “Trump is a bully who lacks a moral compass.”
  257. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump installed a new temporary State Department inspector general, appointing Matthew Klimow, the former U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan, in another IG shake up.
  258. It was unclear why Trump chose the temporary appointment, which lasts just 90 days. The watchdog office had been run by Diana Shaw, who had experience, but also worked closely with the ousted IG Steve Linick.
  259. On Thursday, Trump held a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania as polls showed that state tightening. Trump mocked Biden, saying, “Did you ever see a man that likes a mask as much as him?”
  260. The crowd of two-thousand at an airplane hangar were seated closely together with no masks. Trump spoke for 90-minutes on familiar themes: “the fake news media,” “the fake polls,” and “the plague from China.”
  261. Trump pledged to “keep your jobs in America” and bring “rioters, looters, violent extremists,” and “anarchists” to justice, and warned, “Joe Biden wants to surrender your jobs to China.”
  262. For a second time in two days, Trump encouraged his supporters to vote twice, saying those who vote by mail should also show up on Election Day to make sure their ballot was counted. Voting twice in the state is illegal.
  263. On Thursday, a Fox News polls found Biden ahead of Trump in battleground states Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Biden’s advantage came from strong support among women and suburban voters.
  264. Shortly after, Trump attacked Fox News, saying their “polls are, as in the past, Fake News,” adding, “They have been from the beginning, way off in 2016. Get a new pollster. I believe we are leading BIG!”
  265. On Thursday, Atlantic reported when Trump canceled his visit to an American cemetery near Paris in Week 104, Trump told a senior aide, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”
  266. On the same day, as his canceled visit was blamed on rain and the helicopter not being able to fly, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines killed at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.
  267. When John McCain died, Trump told his senior staff, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral,” and was furious when he saw flags lowered to half-staff: “What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser.”
  268. Trump does not understand why the U.S. intervenes for allies, or why Americans treat former prisoners of war with respect. He called former President George H. W. Bush a “loser” for being shot down in World War II.
  269. A senior adviser also said Trump also does not understand why the U.S. government placed value on finding soldiers missing in action, saying they performed poorly and got caught, and deserved what they got.
  270. On a Memorial Day 2017 trip to Arlington National Cemetery with his then chief of staff John Kelly, while visiting the grave of his son Robert Kelly, Trump asked Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?
  271. Trump also could not understand why high-ranking military officials like Kelly and James Mattis would choose that path, saying that talented people who do not pursue riches are “losers.”
  272. Generals say unlike previous presidents, Trump believes that the military is beholden to him alone. Many senior officers expressed concern about his understanding of the rules governing the use of the armed forces.
  273. Trump worldview is tied to money, and he has a pathological fear of being seen as a “sucker.” At a planning meeting for his 2018 military parade, Trump told staff not to invite amputees, saying, “Nobody wants to see that.”
  274. The White House denied the Atlantic reporting. When Trump returned from his Pennsylvania trips, he angrily told reporters the article was a “disgrace” and the sources “lowlifes.”
  275. Trump also said, “I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” adding, “There is nobody that respects them more. So, I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing.”
  276. Trump also sent a series of tweets, saying, “I was never a big fan of John McCain, disagreed with him on many things,” claiming the lowering of our flags and the “first class” funeral “had to be approved by me.”
  277. Trump added, “I never called John a loser. I swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES.”
  278. Trump added, “This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!” In a 2015 interview, Trump called McCain a “loser.”
  279. Shortly after, the AP’s investigative and veteran military reporter confirmed the Atlantic story in its entirety. WAPO also confirmed key parts of the story.
  280. Late Thursday, Portland law enforcement shot and killed Michael Forest Reinoehl while trying to arrest him for Saturday’s shooting death of right-wing activist Aaron J. Danielson. Reinoehl may have supported antifa.
  281. On Friday, Facebook announced it would remove the pages of the far-right group Patriot Prayer and its founder Joey Gibson, saying it would lead to more violence. Gibson’s Instagram account was taken down too.
  282. On Friday, Fox News reported 175 current and former law enforcement officers, including former U.S. attorneys, state attorneys general, sheriffs, and police chiefs endorsed Biden, calling Trump a “lawless” president.
  283. On Friday, Trump tweeted that his approval by Rasmussen was back up to 52%, the highest it has been since late February, before the coronavirus lockdown. Rasmussen has skewed pro-Trump from other pollsters.
  284. On Friday, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the model used by the White House, predicted 410,451 deaths from the coronavirus by January 1, 2021 — more than doubling the existing death toll.
  285. The model also said 122,000 of those deaths could be avoided with safety measures, including mandating face masks. It also warned if restrictions are eased the death toll to be more than 620,000.
  286. On Friday, officials at the WHO said they do not expect a widely available coronavirus vaccine until mid-2021.
  287. On Friday, WAPO reported USPS police officers blocked Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz from touring two mail-processing centers, and threatened to escort her from the property if she refused to leave.
  288. Wasserman Schultz, a member of the House Oversight Committee, said she notified the mail service of her plans on Thursday afternoon, but the agency claimed she did not give enough notice.
  289. Wasserman Schultz told the Post, “I’m outraged. I’m angry,” adding, “seniors aren’t getting their medicine,” and she was “worried for the voters” on the upcoming election.
  290. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “the Atlantic Magazine is dying, like most magazines, so they make up a fake story in order to gain some relevance,” adding, “just like the Fake Dossier,” and a “total fraud.”
  291. On Friday, USA Today reported according to a Pentagon memo, Trump ordered the military’s independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, to present a plan to dissolve by September 15, and stop publishing Sept. 30.
  292. The newspaper, which is printed around the world and delivered daily to troops, has been a lifeline for American troops since the Civil War. Closing it would be Trump’s latest attack on the free press.
  293. A bi-partisan letter sent by Sen. Tammy Duckworth and four Republicans, called on Defense Secretary Mark Esper to “take steps to preserve the funding prerogatives of Congress before allowing any such disruption.”
  294. On Friday, a visibly angry Biden lashed out at Trump over the Atlantic reporting, saying if true, “it’s disgusting,” and affirms that “Trump is not fit to do the job of president, to be the commander in chief.”
  295. Biden said his late son Beau, who served in Iraq, “wasn’t a ‘sucker,’” and the “servicemen and women he served with, particularly those who did not come home, were not ‘losers,” calling Trump’s comments “un-American” and “unpatriotic.”
  296. Biden said of the QAnon conspiracy theorists, “I’ve been a big supporter of mental health,” adding, “Look at how it makes us look around the world. It’s mortifying. It’s embarrassing, and it’s dangerous.”
  297. Biden added Trump “has to know better,” and mocked Trump, Paul, Barr and others, saying, “Have you guys found that plane load of people in uniforms and weapons and flying around?”
  298. Shortly after, Trump reversed on shutting down Stars and Stripes, tweeting, “The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch.”
  299. On Friday, Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin sent a series of tweets, saying two former senior Trump regime officials confirmed most of the Atlantic reporting.
  300. One source said Trump said of Vietnam, “It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker.” Trump said of veterans, “What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money” and would muse, “Why would they do it?”
  301. Griffin confirmed Trump could have driven to the cemetery outside Paris like other world leaders did, but “He just didn’t want to go.” And confirmed he did not want wounded soldiers at his July Fourth parade.
  302. On McCain, Trump did not want flags lowered for McCain, but others in the White House ordered them at half mast. There was a stand off and then Trump relented.
  303. On Friday, at his daily briefing, Trump denied the Atlantic reporting call it a “hoax.” He also excoriated Kelly, who was publicly silent, saying he was “exhausted” and “unable to handle the pressure” as his chief of staff.
  304. Trump added of Kelly, he “didn’t do a good job, had no temperament, and ultimately he was petered out,” adding, “He got eaten alive. He was unable to handle the pressure of this job.”
  305. Trump refused to condemn Russia on poisoning Navalny, saying, “I don’t know exactly what happened, I think it’s tragic. It’s terrible, it shouldn’t happen. We haven’t had any proof yet, but I will take a look.”
  306. Trump added, “It is interesting that everybody is always mentioning Russia,” adding, “I don’t mind you mentioning Russia,” but said China is the nation you should be talking about, saying they “are far worse.”
  307. Trump also contradicted public health officials, saying we should have a coronavirus vaccine “before the end of the year and maybe even before Nov. 1. I think we can probably have it sometime in October.”
  308. Trump also falsely claimed that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the virus, praising himself despite more than 185,000 dead, saying we would have had “1.5 or 2 million deaths…if I went in a different direction.”
  309. Trump also announced he would he will award the Medal of Freedom to legendary college football coach and supporter Lou Holtz, who spoke glowingly about him at the RNC, and questioned Biden’s Catholic faith.
  310. Later Friday, Trump called on Fox News to fire Griffin, citing an article in Breitbart and adding, “All refuted by many witnesses. Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us.”
  311. Later Friday, WAPO reported Trump will direct federal agencies to cancel all race-related trainings, saying the training sessions teach that America is an “inherently racist or evil country.”
  312. In an OMB memo, Director Vought instructed agency heads to come up with a list of contracts for training involving “white privilege” or “critical race theory,” and cancel them.
  313. Vought wrote, “it has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.”
  314. On Saturday, Trump sent a flurry of tweets before going golfing. He tweeted and quoted numerous tweets celebrating what Breitbart called his “Purge of ‘Critical Race Theory’ from Federal Agencies.”
  315. Trump also cited a Breitbart article about his awarding a medal to Holtz, adding, “Letters from so many coaches, athletes and others pushed hard for this. I agree, has done so much for so many!”
  316. Trump also tweeted, about himself, “You work so hard for the military, from completely rebuilding a depleted mess that was left by OBiden, and fighting for large scale military pay raises.”
  317. Trump continued, “and then a slimeball reporter, maybe working with disgruntled people, makes up such a horrible charge,” adding, “This reminds me of the Dirty Dossier,” which was “pushed hard” by McCain.
  318. Trump added the dossier was a “total fraud” and “So many other scams also. The Radical Far Left is VICIOUS, they will do or say anything to win. But they won’t, we will WIN, & have four great years!”
  319. On Saturday, Trump visited his golf course in Sterling, Virginia. This is his 295th time golfing at one of his properties since taking office, and his 389th visit to one of his properties.
  320. On Saturday, NBC News reported Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles ordered that DHS must cease placing children in hotels by September 15, after reporting on this by the Times.
  321. On Saturday, VP candidate Kamala Harris told CNN, “I would not trust Donald Trump” on a Covid-19 vaccine, and “it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability.”
  322. Harris added health experts will “be muzzled and “suppressed,” adding Trump is “looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days” and will do anything “to pretend he has been a leader on this issue when he is not.”
  323. As the week came to a close, there were 26,683,612 worldwide cases and 875,943 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 6,217,082 cases (23.3%), 188,034 deaths (21.5%), and a mortality rate of 3.0%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, September 5, 2020

Trump tours an area on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, damaged during demonstrations after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. It was later reported that the man pictured is not the current owner of the business that was burned down. The real owner declined the White House invitation to participate, saying “I think everything he [Trump] does turns into a circus and I just didn’t want to be involved in it.”