September 12, 2020

Week 200

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

Things are getting worse in America, week by week. This week, as the West Coast saw wildfires spread, with much of California, Oregon, and Washington covered in smoke so thick the sun couldn’t break through and the sky was a hazy gray or shade of yellow and orange, Trump ignored it. Just as he skipped a commemorative ceremony in lower Manhattan for the anniversary of 9/11 — as if the blue states were not his responsibility — repeating a theme from the start in office: leader of his supporters, not the country.

This week Trump was engulfed in a second major scandal, as journalist Bob Woodward released tapes of conversations he had with Trump on a variety of topics, including Trump admitting he knew in early February that Covid-19 posed a dire risk — a fact he hid and lied about for months. One historian described it as “the greatest dereliction of duty” in presidential history.

This week reporting revealed the Trump regime’s embrace of tactics more familiar to an authoritarian regime than a democracy. Department of Health and Human Services officials sought to hide information and alter reports on the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak, while a whistleblower complaint portrayed Department of Homeland Security officials hiding intelligence on Russian interference, and altering reports to blame left-leaning groups for violence. There was more shocking news about the Justice Department intervening in a case for Trump on a personal matter, while a top deputy of John Durham resigned from his investigation of the investigators, citing pressure from Attorney General William Barr to finalize a report before the election. The Treasury Department sanctioned Andrii Derkach, described as an active Russian agent, who had been a source of information for both Rudy Giuliani and Senate Chairs Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley in their investigations of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

America is a country at war with itself, with Trump stoking division as a campaign strategy. The apocalyptic skies of the West seemed to capture the dystopian feel of an exhausted, anxious, fearful, downtrodden America. Having failed to truly tame the coronavirus over the summer with no federal strategy and Trump refusing to even encourage face masks, the country now heads into fall and winter, with dire predictions on illness and death.

  1. On Sunday, a CBS News poll found on recent protests in Wisconsin, 39% believe Trump is trying calm the situation, while 47% say he is trying to encourage fighting. For Biden, 49% say calming and 30% encouraging fighting.
  2. On safety, 48% said Biden made them feel more safe, 43% Trump. On the best way to end protests, 60% say police reform, 25% punish protestors. The poll showed Biden up 52-42 nationally, and 50-44 in Wisconsin.
  3. The polls found voters skeptical on a coronavirus vaccine, which 65% said is being rushed through, 35% said it is not. 21% said they would get a shot as soon as possible, 58% would wait, and 21% would never get one.
  4. On Saturday, a CNN poll found views on protest and racism have become more partisan: 55% now say racism is a big problem, down from 67% in June. Republican views dropped from 43% to 22%, Democrats 90% to 84%.
  5. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump has drawn $58.4 million in campaign funds to pay bills for legal and compliance expenses since 2015, compared to $10.7 million for Obama at a comparable time.
  6. Areas of spending outside norms include attempts to enforce non-disclosures to silence critics, covering family bills, lawsuits arising from Trump rallies, and litigation about mail-in ballots and voting rights.
  7. On Saturday, the New York Daily News reported Stephen Ross, a former QAnon follower, launched Debunkqanon.com which will have research debunking many of the conspiracies and help others leave the group.
  8. Ross, 27, said he started with the PizzaGate and Sandy Hook kid actors conspiracies, and later was brainwashed into believing conspiracies like Lady Gaga worshiped Satan and Hillary Clinton ate children.
  9. On Saturday, the editors at BuzzFeed News announced it would refer to QAnon as a “collective delusion,” citing QAnon is bigger and much more dangerous than other conspiracy theories.
  10. Some have compared QAnon to a religion, with Trump a savior figure in a “Great Awakening.” In addition to embracing dangerous conspiracy theories, the group has also motivated people to commit acts of violence.
  11. On Saturday, thousands protested outside the Kentucky Derby, calling for justice for Breonna Taylor, six months after she was killed. The stands inside were almost empty, while outside thousands chanted her name.
  12. On Saturday, Portland police arrested more than 50 people on the city’s 100th night of demonstrations since the killing of George Floyd. Police declared a riot after protestors threw fire bombs and fireworks at officers.
  13. Later Saturday, a federal judge ordered the Census Bureau and Commerce Department to temporarily stop following a plan to wind down operations in order to finish the census by the end of September, a month early.
  14. The judge wrote that previous court cases had found that it is in the public interest for Congress be fairly apportioned and that the federal funds be fairly distributed. She ordered a hearing for September 17.
  15. On Saturday, Indiana University said it was seeing “uncontrolled spread of Covid-19” among Greek life and other communal living, with a positivity rate above 50%. Nearly 2,600 students live in these kinds of setting.
  16. Universities of Iowa, South Carolina, and Alabama have also seen large outbreaks. Dr. Deborah Birx urged governors not to send students who test positive home, to prevent further spread of the virus.
  17. On Saturday, NYT reported in Michael Cohen’s new book, he claimed Trump held a “low opinion of all Black folks,” reportedly saying, “Tell me one country run by a Black person that isn’t a shithole.”
  18. Cohen also said Trump was obsessed with former president Barack Obama, hiring “a Faux-Bama” to record a video where Trump belittled the fake Obama and then fired him, calling it “a kind of fantasy fulfillment.”
  19. Reuters reported Cohen said he pushed evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. to endorse Trump just before the Iowa primary in 2016 by offering to keep “personal” photographs of the Falwells from becoming public.
  20. On Sunday, Trump golfed at his property in Sterling, Virginia. An analysis by the Post estimated at least 3,000 Americans have probably died of Covid-19 while Trump has played golf.
  21. On Sunday, Trump attacked Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow, saying she was “wasting money he left her on a failing Radical Left Magazine that is run by a con man (Goldberg)” that “spews FAKE NEWS.”
  22. Trump encouraged his supporters to harass her, tweeting, “Call her, write her, let her know how you feel!!!” Trump quoted a tweet saying Jobs donated $500,000 to the Biden campaign and is a co-owner of the Atlantic.
  23. On Sunday, the Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg told CNN Trump’s tweet to Powell Jobs should be seen as a threat, saying, “I spent a lot of my career covering dictatorships… It is a threat. It is meant to intimidate.”
  24. On Sunday, Trump tweeted about purging “Critical Race Theory,” saying the Department of Education will investigate schools using the NYT’s “1619 Project” in their curriculum and “if so, they will not be funded!”
  25. Trump also lied, tweeting, “The Democrats, together with the corrupt Fake News Media, have launched a massive Disinformation Campaign,” citing their “lies about me and the Military,” adding, “But #MAGA gets it!”
  26. Trump also inserted himself in college football, tweeting, “Big Ten Football is looking really good, but may lose Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland,” blaming their governors. The league voted 11-3 not to start play yet.
  27. Trump also tweeted a series of videos related to violence, including a fight in Texas between protesters and security officers at an event for a Trump-affiliated group, and two celebratory videos of protests in Portland.
  28. On Sunday, WAPO reported five people who worked for Louis DeJoy at New Breed Logistics said they were urged by DeJoy aides or DeJoy himself to write checks or attend GOP fundraisers, and were later reimbursed.
  29. Two other employees familiar with New Breed’s financial and payroll system say DeJoy directed additional bonus payments to staffers as a way to reimburse their contributions, an arrangement that is unlawful.
  30. A Post analysis found between 2000 and 2014, 124 New Breed employees together gave more than $1 million to GOP candidates. Many had not made previous donations. Nine employees donated $700 to Democrats.
  31. Reimbursing campaign contributions is a violation of North Carolina and federal election laws. DeJoy’s prolific fundraising positioned him as a GOP powerbroker in NC, and propelled him to being appointed U.S. Postmaster General.
  32. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump is increasingly casting himself as the defender of white America, in recent days taking actions indicating the country’s real race problem is bias against white Americans.
  33. Trump sent a flurry of weekend tweets on racial sensitivity training, saying, “This is a sickness,” “Please report any sightings so we can quickly extinguish!” and “How to be Anti-White 101 is permanently cancelled!”
  34. Trump’s abrupt policy to cancel diversity training seems to have originated from watching Fox News, where host Tucker Carlson and his guests criticized the “cult indoctrination” of “critical race theory.”
  35. On Sunday, hundreds protested for the fifth night in Rochester, New York, after Daniel Prude, 41, a Black man, died of asphyxiation after police placed a hood over his head during a mental health emergency in March.
  36. On Sunday, more than 100,000 protestors marched in Minsk at Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s residence, calling for him to step down. Protests also took place in other cities including Brest, Vitebsk, and Grodno.
  37. On Monday, Guardian reported Belarus opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova was snatched from the street by unidentified masked men in Minsk on Monday, who drove her away in a minivan.
  38. On Monday, NYT reported that Trump has emerged as inspiration for Germany’s far-right. At rallies held by German conspiracy theorists, ultranationalists, and neo-Nazis, participants view Trump as a “savior” and “liberator.”
  39. Extremism watchers say Trump’s overt nationalism, tolerance for white supremacists, and skepticism of the pandemic has spread, blurring the lines between real and fake news, and enabling far-right groups.
  40. On Tuesday, the Atlantic reported Hong Kong officials are seeking to rewrite history of last year’s protests including police brutality on July 21 to paint the protesters as the villains, bringing suffering on others.
  41. On Monday, Labor Day, Trump quoted a tweet saying political unrest “could lead to ‘rise of citizen militias around the country,’” and adding, “These are the Democrats ‘peaceful protests,’…“Sick!”
  42. Trump also retweeted a video of Black protesters in Pittsburgh screaming at White outdoor diners. He also tweeted, “Disgraceful. Never seen anything like it. Thugs!” and “because of weak and pathetic Democrat leadership.”
  43. On Monday, Trump held an impromptu press conference, summoning reporters to the White House North Portico for what quickly devolved into a rambling campaign event, with him airing grievances.
  44. Trump attacked Biden, who was spending the day meeting with labor leaders in Pennsylvania, calling him “a stupid person,” and lashed out at Sen. Kamala Harris for saying she does not trust him on a vaccine.
  45. Trump said Harris was “disparaging a vaccine,” so people do not think it is “a great achievement,” adding, “We could have a vaccine soon, maybe even before a very special day. You know what day I’m talking about.”
  46. Notably, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is head of the Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” initiative, told NPR last week a vaccine ready for public distribution in November is “extremely unlikely.”
  47. Trump attacked military officials, saying Pentagon officials are not “in love with me,” citing, “because they want to do nothing but fight wars,” adding, “But we are getting out of the endless wars.”
  48. Trump also seemed to suggest generals are trying to enrich corporations, saying they “fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”
  49. Trump again denied the Atlantic reporting, saying, “Only an animal would say things like that,” and falsely claimed that Goldberg has a “tremendously bad history,” and accused him of being pro-Democrat.
  50. Trump called the article “a hoax,” adding, “The magazine itself, which I don’t read, I hear is totally anti-Trump…He made up the story, it’s a totally made-up story.”
  51. Trump also attacked McCain, saying, “I’ve always been on the opposite side of John McCain,” adding, “John McCain liked wars — I will be a better warrior than anybody but when we fight a war we’re going to win them.”
  52. Asked about DeJoy and allegations of campaign finance violations, Trump first said, “I don’t know much about it,” but when pressed added, “Let the investigations go. But he’s a very respected man.”
  53. On Monday, NYT reported the Trump campaign has spent more than $800 million of the $1.1 billion it raised since the beginning of 2019, not only losing its cash advantage, but putting it in a cash crush with 60 days left.
  54. Under former campaign manager Brad Parscale, the campaign burned through hundreds of millions in cash, leaving with Trump ten points behind. Bill Stepien imposed belt tightening measures.
  55. Parscale, who had a car and driver, spent on well-paid staff and consultants, as well as other extravagances like magnetic pouches for cellphones so people could not record events. He spent $800,000 to boost his social media presence.
  56. The Trump campaign was forced to slash its August television spending, spending $5 million to Biden’s $36 million in convention month. Biden ran a minimalist campaign early on, raising money using Zoom events.
  57. On Monday, House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney said in a statement that her panel was opening an investigation of Postmaster DeJoy for reimbursing donations, following reporting by the Post.
  58. Maloney added DeJoy faces “criminal exposure” not only if the allegations are true, “but also for lying to our committee under oath.” DeJoy forcefully denied he reimbursed donations to Trump’s 2016 campaign at hearings.
  59. Maloney also urged the Board of Governors of the USPS to immediately suspend DeJoy, who they should never “have hired in the first place.WAPO reported the Board will met with DeJoy privately on Wednesday.
  60. On Wednesday, the Board of Governors backed DeJoy after a closed-door meeting, saying they were “thrilled” with his performance, and he has “100 percent board support” despite the Post reporting.
  61. On Monday, New York Magazine reported Kanye West has spent nearly $7 million of his own money in an effort to appear on presidential ballots — almost all of which went to professionals with Republican or Trump ties.
  62. West was set to appear on the ballot in at least 12 states, including swing states like Minnesota and Iowa, and possibly five other states where he is in litigation to appear. He was thrown off the ballot in Arizona most recently.
  63. On Monday, Eric Trump quoted a tweet that the NFL Dallas Cowboys would allow protests during the national anthem, saying, “Football is officially dead — so much for “America’s sport.” Goodbye NFL…I’m gone.”
  64. On Monday, Oregon Live reported a pro-Trump “Cruise Rally” began in the parking lot of Clackamas Community College, with several hundred attendees, including right-wing groups Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys.
  65. Some of the group then drove in a caravan to Salem. Two Proud Boys were arrested by Salem and Oregon State Police for chasing, tackling, and assaulting left-wing protestors with weapons, fists, and pepper spray.
  66. On Tuesday, in an op-ed, Benjamin Ginsberg, a top GOP election lawyer who has represented four Republican presidential candidates, slammed Trump for falsely claiming our elections are “rigged” and “fraudulent.”
  67. Ginsberg also chastised Trump for instructing “voters to act in a way that would fulfill that prophecy,” citing his telling his supporters in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to vote twice last week, as well as tweeting it.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump complained that Twitter would not remove a ‘Moscow Mitch’ meme, tweeting, “Why does Twitter leave phony pictures like this up,” adding, “Mitch must fight back and repeal Section 230, immediately.”
  69. Trump also quoted a tweet with a photo of a Reuters reporter holding his mask, griping, “Same guy that didn’t want to take off his mask yesterday in asking a question while being very socially distanced. Fake News!”
  70. Trump sent a flurry of other tweets, saying, “New York City must stop the Shutdown now. The Governor & Mayor” are “destroying” the city, and promoting a book by Fox News’ Charles Payne.
  71. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats will open up their states on November 4th…These shutdowns are ridiculous,” adding, “only being done to hurt the economy prior to the most important election.”
  72. On Tuesday, CEOs of nine drug companies took the unprecedented step of signing a pledge not to seek regulatory approval for a coronavirus vaccine before the safety and efficacy have been established in Stage 3 trials.
  73. The companies said, “We believe this pledge will help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which Covid-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved.”
  74. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters a vaccine would be produced in record time, and accused Biden and Harris of “reckless antivaccine rhetoric,” claiming, “The vaccine will be safe.”
  75. Trump added, “These are the greatest companies in the world that do this, the greatest labs, the greatest doctors,” and continued going against public health officials on the timing of the vaccine, adding, “it will be delivered before the end of the year.”
  76. On Tuesday, at a health conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci said of a vaccine, “it’s unlikely we’ll have a definitive answer” by the November 3 election, saying it is more likely a vaccine will be ready by “the end of the year.”
  77. On Tuesday, clinical trials for a vaccine produced by Oxford University and drug maker AstraZeneca, a leading candidate, were put on hold after a study participant in the U.K. reportedly developed a spinal cord injury.
  78. On Tuesday, Politico reported the U.S. Agency for International Development plans to deactivate its coronavirus task force, claiming it was poorly managed and that its functions can be delegated.
  79. The move comes as nearly 190,000 Americans had died of the virus, and as Trump and his aides look to downplay the pandemic ahead of the election. USAID has been on the front lines of the battle with the coronavirus.
  80. On Tuesday, a study by IZA Institute of Labor Economics found the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was a “superspreader event” that cost public health agencies $12.2 billion, based on an estimated $46,000 cost per case.
  81. The study also found that one-fifth of the 267,000 U.S. cases from August 2 to September 2 can be traced back to the rally. Cases rose 14.6% in jurisdictions that had weak mitigation policies, 2.6% with strong.
  82. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Trump is considering putting $100 million of his own money into his re-election campaign, if necessary. Trump has spoken to numerous people, but has not committed.
  83. Consideration of self-funding follows heavy spending by his team earlier in the year that failed to push him ahead of Biden in the polls, and the Biden campaign and related entities far out-raising Trump entities.
  84. Trump spent $66 million on his 2016 campaign. It would be unprecedented for an incumbent president to use their own money toward winning a second term.
  85. Shortly after, Trump responded, tweeting his campaign spent “a lot of money” to combat “false reporting and Fake News” on his handling of the coronavirus, adding, “Now they see the GREAT job we have done.”
  86. Trump also falsely claimed, “Suburban voters are pouring into the Republican Party because of the violence in Democrat run cities and states,” and “If Biden gets in, this violence is “coming to the Suburbs.””
  87. Trump also continued to conflate protestors and criminals, tweeting, “They are not “peaceful protesters”, as Sleepy Joe and the Democrats call them, they are THUGS — And it is all taking place in Democrat run cities.”
  88. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters before leaving for campaign rallies, Trump said, “We’ve done a great job with the China virus — a great job,” adding, “But the press was fake, and we have to spend a lot of money.”
  89. Trump added, “The suburbs are coming big to us,” and “If you elected this guy, the suburbs would be overwhelmed with violence and crime,” adding, “This is the most important election in the history of our country.”
  90. Shortly after, Trump tweeted Democrats admit his “message is “working” on violence coming to the Suburbs in a Looney Biden Administration,” and stoking racism, citing, “low income housing and projects” under Biden.
  91. Trump also tweeted, “Sleepy Joe Biden has pledged to ABOLISH Suburban Communites [sic] as they currently exist by reinstating Obama’s radical AFFH Regulation.” This is a lie about what Biden supports.
  92. On Tuesday, campaigning in Florida, Trump signed a largely symbolic proclamation for a moratorium on drilling off the southeast coast, after his regime has actively taken steps to roll back environmental protections.
  93. In an act of gaslighting, Trump said of himself, “Trump is the great environmentalist,” and adding, “Number one since Teddy Roosevelt.”
  94. On Tuesday, Trump held a campaign rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where scores of his supporters gathered without masks despite requests from a local Republican official and a state mandate.
  95. Trump launched a new baseless claim that Democrats will attempt voter fraud, saying, “Gotta be careful with those ballots…I don’t like it… you have a Democrat governor, you have all these Democrats watching that stuff.”
  96. Trump encouraged his supporters to become poll watchers, saying, “Be poll watchers when you go there. Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do. Because this is important. We win North Carolina.”
  97. Democrats and voting-rights groups worried that the Trump campaign’s aggressive plan to poll-monitoring, a function typically taken on by state election officials, is an effort to intimidate and suppress the vote.
  98. Trump also said having Kamala Harris as first woman president “would be an insult to our country,” falsely claiming, “People don’t like her. Nobody likes her.”
  99. On Tuesday, asked in an interview with TV show Extra about Kyle Rittenhouse, Donald Jr. called him a “young kid” putting himself in a volatile situation, and saying, “We all do stupid things at 17.”
  100. On Tuesday, CBS News reported an investigation is underway after a video showed bags of mail being dumped in two spots in the Los Angeles area — in the parking lot of a spa and a salon.
  101. On Tuesday, Axios reported a new study showed Russia is using a strategy for 2020 used in 2016 to split Democratic voters, saying Biden is a pro-cop, establishment centrist who cannot be trusted by progressives.
  102. On Tuesday, the DOJ moved to replace Trump’s private attorneys with government lawyers to defend Trump in the E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit. Notably, American taxpayers would foot Trump’s legal bill.
  103. In the highly unusual move, the DOJ claimed in court papers that Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied knowing Carroll, and thus could be defended by government lawyers.
  104. The Times reported the move effectively protects Trump from embarrassing public disclosures in the middle of his campaign, after a state judge ruled Trump could be deposed ahead of the election.
  105. Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan said, “Trump’s effort to wield the power of the U.S. government to evade responsibility for his private misconduct is without precedent,” and a move to “prevent the truth from coming out.”
  106. On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr defended the DOJ’s move to intervene, saying the action is “a normal application of the law. The law is clear. It is done frequently.” This is a false claim.
  107. Barr also blamed the political environment for the uproar on the DOJ’s involvement, saying, “The little tempest that is going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”
  108. Experts said it was not clear that Trump defaming Carroll had anything to do with the scope of his White House duties, and DOJ lawyers will have a tough task arguing it was in Trump’s official capacity.
  109. The DOJ move — part of Barr’s expansive view of executive authority — will benefit Trump by delaying the case, and could lead its dismissal since federal courts have not historically permitted defamation cases.
  110. On Wednesday, a far-right member of the Norwegian parliament, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, nominated Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for “a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.”
  111. Tybring-Gjedde, who is anti-immigrant, also nominated Trump is 2018, but insisted Trump meets the criteria this time “no matter how Trump acts at home.”
  112. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Deutsche Bank hired Robert Kimmitt, a longtime friend of AG Barr, for legal representation . Kimmitt’s “precise role” at Deutsche was not “clear even to many executives within the bank.”
  113. Senior executives hoped Kimmitt’s relationship with Barr “could help clear up a logjam” of investigations. The bank has been under federal criminal investigation for Russian money laundering since the Obama era.
  114. On Wednesday, Bob Woodward released tapes of his conversations with Trump for his new book “Rage” on CNN. The tapes reveal Trump admitting to hiding the truth about the threat of the coronavirus.
  115. In a January 28 intelligence briefing, NSA Robert O’Brien told Trump Covid-19 would be the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency. The deputy NSA told Trump it could be as bad as the 1918 pandemic.
  116. Woodward wrote that Trump knew the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” Trump told Woodward on February 7, “This is deadly stuff.”
  117. Trump told Woodward on March 19, “I wanted to always play it down,” even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier, adding, “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
  118. Trump also said on March 19, “Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob,” adding, “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too, plenty of young people.”
  119. Woodward wrote, “Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states,” and “There was no real management theory of the case.”
  120. On race, Trump called Woodward after Lafayette Square to boast, saying, “We’re going to get ready to send in the military slash National Guard to some of these poor bastards that don’t know what they’re doing.”
  121. Woodward asked if he needed to better “understand the anger and pain” felt by Black Americans, Trump said, “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”
  122. In a conversation on July 8, Trump complained about his lack of support with Black voters, saying, “I’ve done a tremendous amount for the Black community…And, honestly, I’m not feeling any love.”
  123. Trump said he calls Obama by his first and middle names, “Barack Hussein,” but would not do so in his company, to be “very nice.” Trump added, “I don’t think Obama’s smart. I think he’s highly overrated.”
  124. Woodward wrote Trump was taken in by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s flattery of him, and was awestruck when they met in 2018. Trump bragged Kim “tells me everything,” including about having his uncle killed.
  125. On his closeness to authoritarian leaders, Trump said, “It’s funny, the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. You know? Explain that to me someday, okay?”
  126. Trump also bragged, “I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before.” Officials later anonymously confirmed this, and were surprised Trump had publicly disclosed it.
  127. The book cites grumblings of former officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis telling then DNI Dan Coats, “There may come a time when we have to take collective action” since Trump is “dangerous. He’s unfit.”
  128. And Trump telling trade advisor Peter Navarro, “Not to mention my fucking generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals.”
  129. Shortly after, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany lied to reporters, saying, “The president never down played the virus,” and adding, “The president expressed calm and he was serious about this.”
  130. When further pressed about Trump lying, McEnany said, “No one is lying to the American people,” claiming, “One day, covid will go away. I think we can all hope for that day…One day it will go away. That is a fact.”
  131. Shortly after, “Face the Nation” tweeted a clip of NSA O’Brien’s appearance on the show in February, days after he informed Trump. He said, “There’s no reason for Americans to panic. This is something that’s a low risk.”
  132. On Wednesday, Politico reported emails reveal Paul Alexander, a senior adviser to Michael Caputo, HHS’s assistant secretary for public affairs, instructed NIH officials about what Fauci was allowed to say to the press.
  133. Alexander wrote Fauci should refrain from speaking about the risks to children, citing an example of interview where Fauci said college students should get tested repeatedly, saying, “I disagree…Vehemently.”
  134. He added to tell Fauci to say “masks are for the teachers in schools. Not for children,” falsely claiming, “There is no data, none, zero, across the entire world, that shows children, especially young children, spread this virus.”
  135. On Tuesday, CNN reported according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association, more than half a million children have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, nearly 10% of cases.
  136. The groups said 70,630 new cases were reported from August 20 through September 3 as children went back to school, a 16% increase over two weeks. The virus disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic children.
  137. On Wednesday, WAPO reported one month into the forced reopening of Florida schools, infections among school-aged children have jumped 34%, yet health data is being kept secret from parents in much of the state.
  138. Since reopening, 10,513 children have tested positive, and at least 1,210 students and teachers have been sent home to quarantine. Parents and teachers unions have complained about the lack of transparency.
  139. State guidelines for reopening did not recommend sharing data, and Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered some districts to stop releasing data. The state left it up to districts whether to require students and staff to wear masks.
  140. On Wednesday, California University of Pennsylvania lineman Jamain Stephens Jr., 20, was suspected to have died of Covid-19. The death came amid the debate about the safety of playing collegiate football.
  141. On Wednesday, the Des Moines Register reported the White House coronavirus task force again urged Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds to close bars statewide amid a surge. She had closed bars in six of 61 counties.
  142. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “I will be announcing a list of future potential Supreme Court Justices,” in an attempt to distract from scandals and motivate conservative voters.
  143. Shortly after, speaking to reporters, Trump gave 20 names he was considering for Supreme Court, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton. Hawley tweeted “no interest” after the announcement.
  144. On the Woodward tapes, Trump did not deny he deliberately played down the coronavirus threat, saying, “I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country. And I don’t want people to be frightened.”
  145. Trump also attacked Woodward, saying, “I was very open, whether it’s to Woodward or anybody else,” calling it “another political hit job,” and “you cannot show a sense of panic or you’re going to have bigger problems.”
  146. Shortly after, Carl Bernstein told CNN, “We listen to him cover up this grave national emergency. This is one of the great presidential felonies of all time, maybe the greatest…This is a kind of homicidal negligence.”
  147. Bernstein, the journalist who broke the Watergate story with Woodward, added the tapes were “even more devastating than Nixon’s tapes.”
  148. Biden called it “a life-and-death betrayal of the American people,” adding, “It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty, a disgrace,” and “He knew how deadly it was. He…played it down…worse, he lied.”
  149. On Wednesday, a CNN investigation found Covid-19 drug remdesivir, manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, is being rationed in the U.S. while it is plentiful in other developed countries.
  150. Remdesivir was developed with the help of U.S. taxpayer money, but the Trump regime has not given the green light for manufacture of a generic versions of the drug, as is being done in other countries.
  151. At a press conference on Tuesday, physicians, advocates, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett excoriated the regime for the shortage. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Chair Maloney asked the GAO in a July letter to investigate.
  152. On Wednesday, CNN reported a whistleblower alleged Trump appointees at the DHS repeatedly directed career officials to change intelligence assessments on antifa and “anarchist” groups to match Trump’s rhetoric.
  153. The complaint was filed by Brian Murphy, who previously oversaw the intelligence division at DHS, but was reassigned in early August after reporting he had gathered intelligence reports on two U.S. journalists.
  154. The complaint filed with the DHS inspector general named acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Ken Cuccinelli, citing their actions amounted to an abuse of power.
  155. The complaint also states Wolf and Cuccinelli tried to alter a report to downplay the threat posed by white supremacists, instead emphasizing the role of leftist groups due to concerns on how it would reflect on Trump.
  156. The complaint cited Wolf told Murphy in May to shift his attention away from Russian interference, and focus instead on interference by China and Iran, and said the instructions came from NSA O’Brien.
  157. The complaint also cited that on July 8, Wolf told Murphy to hold an “intelligence notification” regarding Russian disinformation efforts on the 2020 election, citing in part because it “made the President look bad.”
  158. Shortly after, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff said Murphy would be called in to testify, citing an effort “to politicize, manipulate, and censor intelligence” to benefit Trump.
  159. On Wednesday, Politico reported Senate Republicans dismissed concerns that the Trump regime had cut off in-person intelligence briefings, and defended the director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe.
  160. On Wednesday, former DNI Dan Coats criticized the suspension of in-person briefing, saying, “It’s imperative that the intelligence community keep Congress fully informed about the threats to our elections.”
  161. Coats added, “these briefings in person should be delivered to both the Senate and the House oversight committees and…to the duly elected members…at the appropriate classification level when directed.”
  162. Coats, a former GOP Senator added, “We must stand united in defending the election security process from being corrupted and ensure that a vote cast is a vote counted,” and “We’ve got to get this process back in place.”
  163. Later Wednesday, AP reported Vice President Mike Pence and top officials from the Trump campaign were slated to attend a Montana fundraiser next week, hosted by a couple who expressed support for QAnon.
  164. Caryn and Michael Borland have shared QAnon memes and retweeted posts from QAnon accounts. Trump fundraiser Kimberly Guilfoyle and GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel are also listed on the invitation.
  165. Later Wednesday, Trump called in to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show to defend his Woodward interview, saying, “I don’t want to scare people. I want people not to panic, and that’s exactly what I did.”
  166. Trump called his interview a “hit job” like Woodward did to Obama and W. Bush, saying he was not sure if the book was good or bad, but “I probably, almost definitely won’t read it because I don’t have time to read it.”
  167. Trump continued to lie about mail-in voting, saying, “the ballots are missing, they are gone. There — there has been fraud. There has been deceit and deception.”
  168. Trump oddly claimed sending out mail-in ballots could undermine enthusiasm, saying, “that takes the enthusiasm away a little bit, because we have this massive — the largest ever, they say, the difference in enthusiasm.”
  169. On Wednesday, wildfires raged in Oregon, California, and Washington, fanned by a record-shattering heat wave, with the smoke in many regions blocking out the sun. Oregon had unprecedented fires.
  170. WAPO reported that Trump has not publicly spoken about the wildfires raging in these states, which have displaced 500,000 people in Oregon, and caused fire tornadoes, killed a 1-year-old in Washington state.
  171. The Post scanned Trump’s social media, public comments, and White House briefings and found no comments by him or his press secretary on one of the worst natural disasters to hit the West in modern times.
  172. The Post noted his silence matches his silence in office on other events that evoke the struggles of Democratic-led states, climate change, and crises that require empathy.
  173. On Tuesday, Facebook software engineer Ashok Chandwaney resigned in a letter posted to the company’s internal employee network, saying CEO Mark Zuckerberg “is profiting off hate in the US and globally.”
  174. On Wednesday, in an interview with Axios, Zuckerberg was asked if the company will be seen as an “accelerant of social destruction.” Zuckerberg gave a lengthy pause before denying it.
  175. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported Peter Thiel, a board member of Facebook, hosted a dinner for avowed white nationalist Kevin DeAnna in 2016, as he went all in for Trump.
  176. On Thursday, Twitter announced that it will label or remove posts that prematurely declare victory in the November election, another step by social media companies to proactively plan for Trump misinformation.
  177. Twitter said in a blog post it would slap warning labels or take down posts “claiming victory before election results have been certified” or seeking to “prevent a peaceful transfer of power.”
  178. On Thursday, Reuters reported Microsoft alerted Washington-based SKDKnickerbocker, one of the Biden campaign main election campaign advisory firms, that Russian state-backed hackers targeted them.
  179. SKDK said the hackers failed to gain access: “They are well-defended, so there has been no breach.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the allegations as “nonsense.”
  180. On Thursday, Microsoft said in a blog post that the same Russian military intelligence unit, Fancy Bear, that hacked the Democrats in 2016 has renewed efforts to target U.S. campaigns.
  181. Microsoft said the Russian hackers tried to breach computers at more than 200 organizations including political campaigns and their consultants. The company noted hacking attempts by China and Iran too.
  182. Microsoft said most of the attacks were halted, and targets were notified. The company did not comment on who had been successfully hacked, or assess which foreign adversary poses the greatest threat to the election.
  183. Chinese hackers had largely focused on gathering intelligence for economic and political advantage, while Russia looked to destabilize foreign governments.
  184. On Thursday, AP reported the DOJ criminally charged Russian national Artem Mikhaylovich Lifshits of being part of a sweeping Russian effort to sow distrust in the American political process.
  185. The DOJ said Lifshits, as part of a group, Project Lakhta, traveled to the U.S. to collect intelligence and operated fictitious social media accounts to send messaging to millions of Americans on divisive social issues.
  186. The group operated through entities including Internet Research Agency, which was charged in the Mueller investigation. Lifshits used stolen identities to open fake accounts at banks and digital currency exchanges.
  187. Lifshits tried to sow discord, incite civil unrest, and polarize Americans on issues like gun rights, immigration, the Confederate flag, and race relations. Notably, the DOJ did not name which candidate he promoted.
  188. Also on Thursday, the Treasury Department announced sanctions on four people, including Lifshits and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, who was characterized as “an active Russian agent” for over a decade.
  189. The sanctions noted Derkach interfered in the 2020 election by releasing edited audio recordings earlier this year, matching recordings he released of conversations between Biden and Ukraine’s former president.
  190. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world.”
  191. Shortly after, Rudy Giuliani tried to distance himself from Derkach. Giuliani spent months promoting allegations about Biden and his dealings with the Ukraine government, based on edited tapes from Derkach.
  192. Giuliani played a critical role in drawing public attention to Derkach and his claims. The two appeared together on One America News Network in late 2019 to push their debunked corruption allegations on Biden.
  193. After the impeachment hearings, GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley continued to investigate Biden and Ukraine, which Democrats said was based on Russian disinformation, including from Derkach.
  194. The two defended their inquiries in a statement Thursday, claiming they are being mindful of Russian disinformation, and falsely claiming Democrats were using the likes of “Derkach to smear their political rivals.”
  195. Johnson said he would wrap up his investigation before the election, telling reporters his panel’s final interviews in the Biden-Ukraine investigation could take place next week.
  196. On Thursday, Trump sent a flurry of tweets, saying, “Fake News is at it again! They will take any statement from me… in complete conjunction with all of their allies, dismantle it.”
  197. Trump also continued to attack Cuomo, quoting a tweet about shootings being up and adding, “One of the WORST governors in the USA. Caused 11,000 deaths in nursing homes alone due to his bad moves.”
  198. Trump also tweeted, “Governor Cuomo has completely lost control. Sad!” quoting a tweet about people leaving the area, and retweeted a post saying, “You ordered thousands of senior citizens to their death in nursing homes.”
  199. Trump also tweeted, “Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!” after Woodward’s disclosures. It was unclear what he meant, but Trump seemed to want to bring up what he thought were successes.
  200. Trump also tweeted the false claim, “Sending out 80 MILLION BALLOTS to people who aren’t even asking for a Ballot is unfair and a total fraud in the making. Look at what’s going on right now!”
  201. The Post reported Trump had made more than 100 false claims or stoked imaginary threats about voting by mail since the start of the year.
  202. Trump also oddly tried to shift the blame to Woodward, tweeting he “had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives?”
  203. Trump also tweeted, despite his comments to Woodward, “Democrats, OPEN THE SCHOOLS ( SAFELY), NOW…let the money follow the child (FAMILY).” By 10 a.m., Trump had sent scores of tweet and retweets.
  204. On Thursday, a WAPO poll found 56% believe it is appropriate for athletes to kneel during the national anthem, 42% say it is not. Also, 62% say professional athletes should use their platforms to express their views.
  205. On Thursday, a Monmouth poll found Biden up by 9 points, but found just 2% of Trump supporters believe he will lose, to 12% for Biden — raising concerns that Trump voters will not accept the outcome of the election.
  206. On Thursday, WAPO reported according to a witness, police shot and killed Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-described anti-fascist in Week 199 without warning or first trying to arrest him. He did not have a gun at the time.
  207. On Thursday, NBC News reported the DOJ filed a brief in support of an Indianapolis Catholic school firing a gay teacher, saying the church’s actions are protected by the First Amendment.
  208. The DOJ cited the “ministerial exception,” a protection for religious institutions, saying it is “entitled to employ in key roles only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent” with its “religious precepts.”
  209. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump “hid the facts and refused to take the threat seriously, leaving the entire country exposed and unprepared.”
  210. Pelosi said he “showed his contempt — contempt for the American people and their health; contempt for science; contempt for any real effort to crush the virus; contempt for his supporters, their children, their parents.”
  211. On Thursday, Trump held an impromptu briefing. Asked why he lied to the American people, Trump said, Terrible question. The phraseology. I didn’t lie. What I said is we have to be calm, we can’t be panicked.
  212. Trump continued to attack the reporter, ABC News’ John Karl, saying, And your question, the way you phrased that is such a disgrace. It’s a disgrace to ABC television network. It’s a disgrace to your employer.”
  213. Asked later why he didn’t tell the American people what he told Woodward, he again tried to shift blame, saying, If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, then he should have immediately, right after I said it.”
  214. Trump also admitted he watches a lot of Fox, saying, “I watch Liz McDonald…I watched Lou Dobbs last night. Sean Hannity last night. Tucker last night. Laura. I watched Fox & Friends in the morning.”
  215. Trump, who recently told NYT he does not watch much television, praised the hosts for covering his debunked allegation of Obama spying on him, saying, “They cover…it’s really an amazing thing. They got caught.”
  216. On Thursday, Trump told Fox News host Jeannine Pirro in a pre-recorded interview that if he wins on Election Night and Democrats take to the streets to protest, he will “put them down very quickly.”
  217. Trump added, “We have the right to do that. We have the power to do that, if we want,” and “I mean, it’s very easy…we’d do that and put it down within minutes,” adding, “Look, it’s called insurrection.”
  218. On Thursday, a panel of three federal judges ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency oversees the census, not to exclude people living in the country as ordered by Trump, saying it violates the law.
  219. On Thursday, Fox New anchor Bret Baier shut down a Trump campaign spokesperson who lied, saying Trump told the American people and Woodward the “same things,” by saying repeatedly, “That’s not true.”
  220. On Thursday, Allan Lichtman, the historian known for accurately predicting presidential elections, said Trump’s downplaying the pandemic marks “the greatest dereliction of duty” in presidential history.
  221. On Thursday, WAPO reported as schools reopen, six teachers in five states have died from the pandemic since early August.
  222. On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Freeland, Michigan, telling the 5,000 supporters packed together with no face masks, “No president has done for Michigan what President Trump has done for Michigan.”
  223. Trump lied saying, “the last administration nearly killed the U.S. auto industry, I saved it,” adding, “We brought you a lot of car plants…and we’re going to bring you a lot more.” Trump brought one facility in four years.
  224. Trump also lied, saying he spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, claiming “five new car companies are coming to Michigan.” This is not true. The state has also lost car jobs under Trump, even pre-Covid.
  225. Trump accused Biden of wanting to “flood the state with refugees,” take away people’s guns, and “destroy your suburbs” — which the Detroit Free Press called wild exaggerations or outright falsehoods.
  226. Trump also lied, saying Biden “will destroy your protections for pre-existing conditions” from Obamacare, and Trump went on to say that he would himself preserve these protections. The exact opposite is true.
  227. Trump also called on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to “open up your state,” calling her a “liberal hypocrite.” And claimed again without evidence he had once been given a “Man of the Year” award in Michigan.
  228. Trump also called Woodward a “whack job,” and compared his response to Covid-19 to Winston Churchill and the British mantra popularized in World War II, “keep calm and carry on.”
  229. Trump held the packed, maskless rally days after Politico reported Trump advisors have told him to pull out of the state he won by 10,000 votes in 2016, as he is losing suburban and working-class whites to Biden.
  230. Daily Beast reported that on Thursday, NYT reporter Kathy Gray tweeted that she was removed from Trump’s Michigan rally without explanation, saying, “First for me: Trump campaign tracked me down from pics i tweeted.”
  231. The Times said in a statement, “We’re disappointed that the Trump campaign refused to credential our freelancer and then, when she registered and attended as a member of the public, they ejected her.”
  232. On Thursday, Gov. Whitmer said Trump rejected the request for full federal funding for Michigan National Guard’s coronavirus activities. Florida, Texas, Arizona, Connecticut, and California were fully funded.
  233. On Thursday, New York Daily News reported the Trump regime quietly stripped nearly $4 million from a program that tracks and treats FDNY firefighters and medics suffering from 9/11 related illnesses.
  234. The Treasury Department started withholding part of the payments, authorized by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, four years ago, and held on to the payments.
  235. On Friday, September 11, the Trump regime admitted to defunding the FDNY’s healthcare program. After repeated requests for comment, a Treasury official called it “an unfortunate situation.”
  236. On Friday, Trump did not visit lower Manhattan, but went to Shanksville, Pennsylvania to honor the victims of the hijacked plane. Trump and Biden agreed to not publicly attack one another on the solemn day.
  237. Trump, who frequently attacks those who kneel during the National Anthem, appeared to not know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, omitting “under God.” First Lady Melania did not say the pledge.
  238. Trump did not meet with family members of those lost in Shanksville, but rather delivered condolences in scripted remarks read from a teleprompter before heading back to the White House.
  239. In his speech, Trump referenced his record of confronting terrorism. Trump bragged about killing Qassem Soleimani and Abu Bakr al-Bagdhadi, neither of whom was involved in the 9/11 attack.
  240. Biden attended a commemoration ceremony in lower Manhattan, where he spoke and exchanged an elbow bump with Vice President Mike Pence who also attended, and was seen consoling family members.
  241. Biden also visited Shanksville where he met with families who lost relatives. Biden brought beer and pastries to members of the city fire department, delivering on a promise he made on his 2012 visit.
  242. On Friday, WAPO reported a coronavirus outbreak in Farmville, Virginia that has infected more than 300 inmates in an immigration jail stemmed from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement flight to bring agents.
  243. ICE flew immigrant detainees to Virginia, so the plane could transport Homeland Security tactical teams to quell protests in Washington, circumventing restrictions on using charter flights for employee travel.
  244. On Friday, Fauci told MSNBC that he disagree with Trump who said in Michigan Thursday that the U.S. has “rounded the final turn” of the pandemic, saying, “the statistics…they’re disturbing.”
  245.  Fauci said he believes we will have a vaccine “by the end of this year, the beginning of next year,” but that we may not get back to our normal lives until “well into 2021” maybe “the end of 2021.”
  246. On Friday, science editor H. Holden Thorp said in an op-ed that Trump “full-out lied” about the pandemic, adding, “these lies demoralized the scientific community and cost countless lives in the United States.”
  247. On Friday, the IHME revised model projected 415,000 Americans would die by the end of the year, saying the nation could see a “very deadly December.” The model’s worst case scenario was 600,000 deaths.
  248. IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray told CNN, “When we look ahead into the winter with seasonality kicking in, people becoming clearly less vigilant, you know mask use is down, mobility is up in the nation.”
  249. On Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said there was concern for dozens of people missing as more than a million acres had burned in the state. Wildfires continued in California and Washington. More than 17 had died.
  250. Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, said, “We are preparing for a mass fatality incident based on what we know and the numbers of structures that have been lost.”
  251. FBI Portland and other law enforcement refuted false rumors spreading in conservative circles about an invasion of left-wing mobs and arsonists, which had caused some to refuse evacuation orders.
  252. On Friday, Politico noted it took Trump three weeks to mention the wildfires ravaging the Western states, which are considered blue states, as opposed to his recent response to the hurricane in Louisiana.
  253. Trump tweeted late Friday, “THANK YOU to the 28,000+ Firefighters and other First Responders who are battling wildfires across California, Oregon, and Washington. I have approved 37 Stafford Act Declarations.”
  254. On Friday, WNPR reported GOP Connecticut State Sen. Eric Berthel faced questions after posting a photo on social media showing his car with a sticker that gave a nod to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
  255. Berthel defended himself in an interview, saying, “Like many movements…I think it has allowed for people who have previously felt disconnected from public policy and government to be part of the conversation.”
  256. On Thursday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court told election officials not to mail out absentee ballots yet, so the justices can determine whether to include a Green Party candidate on the ballot.
  257. On Friday, a Texas court ruled the state can allow different rules for mail-in voting during the pandemic based on age, saying voters under the age of 65 must meet certain conditions in order to vote by mail.
  258. On Friday, the 11th Circuit court denied voting rights to ex-felons in Florida who cannot pay off their court fees, siding with GOP legislators. In the 2018 election, Florida voted to allow ex-felons the right to vote.
  259. On Friday, a YouGov poll found Biden increased his lead to 10 points from 6 post RNC, noting 23% say their opinion changed of Trump’s Covid-19 response because of the Woodward tape, including 15% of Trump voters.
  260. The poll also found 23% of Independents and 6% of Trump voters said Trump’s comments on the military increased their support for Biden.
  261. On Friday, Politico reported Democrats are building an edge in early voting, having a roughly 3-to-1 advantage over Republicans in absentee ballot requests in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
  262. Democrats also lead in Florida by 700,000 ballot requests, while the party also leads in New Hampshire, Ohio, and Iowa. Democrats who did not vote in 2016 are also requesting ballots at a faster pace than Republicans.
  263. On Friday, Politico reported John Gleeson, the court-appointed adviser by Judge Emmet Sullivan in the Michael Flynn case, argued against the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the case in a 30-page brief.
  264. Gleeson cited clear evidence the DOJ’s motion “reflects a corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system, and said Flynn should be punished for additional “perjurious” statements during the case.
  265. On Friday, Reuters reported the Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Marco Rubio and ranking member Mark Warner wrote to the DHS requesting additional documents related to the whistleblower complaint.
  266. Later Friday, the Hartford Courant reported federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, a top aide to John Durham on his Trump-Russia investigation, resigned amid concern of pressure from Barr.
  267. Dannehy, a highly regarded prosecutor, informed colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Haven of her resignation from the DOJ in a Thursday email. Durham has not publicly said she was on the case.
  268. Colleagues say Dannehy was concerned in recent weeks about pressure from Barr to produce results before the election. They said she has considered resigning for weeks but paused because of loyalty to Durham.
  269. Durham associates without direct knowledge believe he is under pressure to produce some sort of report prior to the election, and that the investigation will be disbanded if Trump loses.
  270. Shortly after, HuffPost reported prosecutor John Choi resigned from Trump’s Law Enforcement Commission, telling Barr his concern that the commission was “intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda.”
  271. The commission was formed last October. Choi said the group is intent on “providing cover” for a predetermined law-and-order agenda that “will only widen the divisions in our nation.”
  272. Later Friday, Politico reported HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo and his aides demanded the right to review the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports — a pillar of U.S. medical research.
  273. In emails to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials, Caputo and his aides openly complained the CDC reports would undermine Trump’s optimistic messages.
  274. CDC officials fought back against the most sweeping changes, but increasingly allowed the aides to check reports and change wording. The changes have occurred all summer up until this week.
  275. Caputo’s team tried to retroactively change reports that they claimed wrongly inflated the risks of Covid-19, and to make clear Americans who were sickened may have been infected because of their own behavior.
  276. Caputo’s team held up the release of a report on hydroxychloroquine for about a month, questioning the political leanings of its authors. It came out last week, saying, “the potential benefits…do not outweigh their risks.”
  277. On Saturday, Trump again told supporters to vote twice, tweeting, “NORTH CAROLINA: To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY..go to your Polling Place to see if it was COUNTED. IF NOT, VOTE!”
  278. Both Twitter and Facebook flagged Trump’s post. Twitter covered it and said it “violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.” Facebook added, “Voting by mail has a long history of trustworthiness.”
  279. North Carolina’s AG tweeted in response, “NORTH CAROLINA: Do NOT do what the President directs,” saying send it in early and “track it ONLINE with BALLOTTRAX,” adding, “Do NOT vote twice (it’s a felony).”
  280. On Saturday, Politico reported Republicans and Trump allies are concerned his remarks on mail-in voting will suppress the GOP vote. They have repeatedly warned him that it is a “huge risk.”
  281. Trump had made some effort in August to encourage absentee voting. Democrats, and some Republicans, believe Trump is trying to undermine confidence in the election in order to explain away a loss in November.
  282. As the week came to a close, there were 28,551,911 worldwide cases and 916,715 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 6,457,140 cases (22.6%), 193,215 deaths (21.1%), and a mortality rate of 3.0%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, September 12, 2020

Embers light up a hillside behind the Bidwell Bar Bridge as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, Calif., on Sept. 9, 2020. The blaze, part of the lightning-sparked North Complex, expanded at a critical rate of spread as winds buffeted the region.