October 10, 2020

Week 204

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

This week the public was given little information about Trump’s health and recovery from the coronavirus, including basic questions like when he last tested negative or his medical status. Even by Trump’s standards, this week he acted extraordinarily crazed and erratic — both in his actions and his words. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned if Trump was in “an altered state,” as it was unclear if a steroid he was taking as treatment, which can result in mild to moderate psychiatric side effects, was to blame.

Despite being hospitalized for Covid-19, Trump did not change his approach to the pandemic, like caring about the wellness of those around him, or adhering to safety guidelines. As he plummeted further in the polls, and there was talk of a landslide, he returned to the White House, then the Oval Office, and was eager to get back on the campaign trail, despite likely being contagious. It was remarkable.

Later in the week, Trump made a series of long appearances on Fox and other conservative media, coughing and sounding unhinged, and repeatedly calling on the Justice Department to indict his political enemies. After Michigan law enforcement and the FBI announced arrests in an alleged plot by domestic terrorists to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and orchestrate a coup of sorts, Trump, whose words had incited their actions, fanned the flames further by seeming to side with the 13 suspects, some who had links to the national “boogaloo” anti-government movement, and criticizing Whitmer.

  1. On Saturday, a study by Harvard University found Trump is the biggest spreader of misinformation on mail-in voting, through tweets, press conferences, and Fox News interviews — much more so than Russian bots.
  2. The Republican National Committee and Trump campaign staffers follow Trump’s talking points, which are supported by the right-wing media ecosystem, primarily Fox New, functioning in effect as a party press.
  3. On Saturday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tried to walk back his comments earlier in the day, telling Reuters, “The president is doing very well,” and is “up and about and asking for documents to review.”
  4. Trump was reportedly furious over Meadows’ comments earlier in the day, a month before the election. Meadows later called into Fox News, praising Trump’s “unbelievable courage” and “unbelievable improvement.”
  5. On Saturday, Bloomberg News reported White House aide Nick Luna, who serves as a personal attendant to Trump, tested positive. Luna was on the flight to the debate and rally in Minnesota last week.
  6. On Saturday, Trump ally Chris Christie said he checked himself into the hospital, saying he had “mild symptoms,” but cited his “history of asthma.”
  7. On Saturday, Trump indicated support for a coronavirus relief package, tweeting, “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!”
  8. On Saturday, Vanity Fair reported Trump grew visibly anxious as his fever spiked to 103 and he was administered oxygen Friday at the White House, before being moved later in the day to Walter Reed Medical Center.
  9. Trump did not want to go to Walter Reed a month before the election, but doctors gave him the ultimatum, he could leave while he could still walk on Friday, or be taken later in a wheelchair or a stretcher.
  10. Trump also experienced heart palpitations Friday night, possibly a side effect of the antibody treatment, and asked aides, “Am I going out like Stan Chera?” referring to a New York real-estate developer who died of Covid.
  11. Later Saturday, Trump tweeted a four-minute edited propaganda-type video of himself, saying he is “starting to feel good,” and congratulating himself on his job performance, saying, “I think I’ll be back soon.”
  12. The White House also sent out photos of Trump sitting in a conference room at Walter Reed appearing to review and sign documents. In the video he was dressed in a blue jacket and white shirt, a white shirt in the photos.
  13. On Saturday, WAPO reported several Republican lawmakers continued to question the efficacy of masks, including Sen. Ron Johnson who tested positive, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, whose state has a surge in cases.
  14. Sen. Charles Grassley, 87, refused to get tested, despite attending the White House Supreme Court reception for Amy Coney Barrett, and being fourth in line for the presidency and on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  15. Among Trump supporters, there was widespread optimism that Trump would quickly recover from a virus many believe is not as bad as what scientists say. Trump made no shift in recommending safety measures.
  16. Later Saturday, WAPO reported the White House had taken little action to help to those exposed, including 200 supporters at Bedminster, attendees of the SCOTUS reception, and the Minnesota rally or the debate.
  17. As of late Saturday, neither the White House or campaign had offered help with contact tracing, even though the CDC had a contact tracing team ready to go. No guidance had been offered to rattled staffers.
  18. Several guests who attended the Barrett reception said they had not been contacted. New Jersey asked the Republican National Committee for attendee names for contact tracing. The RNC sent an email to attendees.
  19. On Sunday, an ABC News poll found 72% of Americans do not believe Trump took the risk of contracting the virus seriously enough, and 72% said he did not take the appropriate precautions with his personal health.
  20. After Trump’s diagnosis, 81% are either somewhat or very concerned about getting Covid-19, up 72% two weeks ago, with concern increasing most among Republicans from 52% to 70%.
  21. On Sunday, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien did not acknowledge Russian interference to denigrate Biden on “Face the Nation,” saying as “Trump often says, it’s trust but verify. So we’ll keep an eye on it.”
  22. O’Brien also touted assurances he had received from top Russian officials, adding, “the Russians did commit to not interfere in the elections.”
  23. On Sunday, at a second daily medical briefing, Trump’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, again raised more questions than he answered, giving limited information on Trump’s condition and treatments.
  24. Conley admitted Trump had at least two alarming drops in oxygen levels not previously disclosed when asked by reporters on Saturday, which occurred on Friday morning and on Saturday. Trump was given oxygen.
  25. Conley also said Trump was given the steroid dexamethasone on Saturday, in addition to remdesivir. Dexamethasone is not typically used for mild or moderate cases of Covid-19.
  26. Conley said he omitted mention because he wanted to “reflect the upbeat attitude” that the team and Trump had about his condition, and did not want “to give any information that might steer the course of illness.”
  27. On Sunday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spoke briefly to reporters on the White House grounds after doing an appearance on Fox News. She was not wearing a mask.
  28. Asked when Trump knew of his first positive test, and if he was tested before the debate, McEnany said, “Yeah, I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with timestamps every time the president’s tested.”
  29. McEnany refused to say how many people working at the White House had tested positive, citing “privacy concerns,” and “safeguarding the information of the personnel here in the White House,” — a false excuse.
  30. On Sunday, amid pushback on Conley’s mixed messaging, White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah told reporters, “when you’re treating a patient, you want to project confidence…to lift their spirits.”
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I really appreciate all of the fans and supporters outside of the hospital,” saying, “they really love our Country and are seeing how we are MAKING IT GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!”
  32. Later Sunday, Trump posted another rambling, upbeat video from Walter Reed, saying, “It’s been a very interesting journey,” adding, “I learned a lot about Covid,” and claiming, “I get it, and I understand it.”
  33. Trump added, “I also think we’re going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots we have on the street, and they’ve been out there for a long time,” adding, “They’ve got Trump flags and they love our country.”
  34. Shortly after, Trump left the hospital with his security detail to take a ride in a black Suburban SUV and wave at his supporters, an attempt to show strength which raised outrage and questions about his judgment.
  35. Photos showed Trump in a face mask waving from the back seat, while Secret Service in the front row wore a full medical gown, respirator mask, and a clear face shield.
  36. An attending physician at Walter Reed tweeted that the Secret Service has to be quarantined now, and they “might get sick. They may die. For political theater….Trump put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
  37. The doctor noted the SUV was hermetically sealed against chemical attack, saying the risk to Secret Service agents of “COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures.”
  38. Later Sunday, WAPO reported Secret Service agents were outraged by the drive outside the hospital. One agent said, “He’s not even pretending to care now,” after the trip. A former agent said, “Where are the adults?”
  39. On Sunday, WSJ reported Trump had already received a positive result from a rapid test on Thursday evening before making an appearance on Fox News, and was awaiting the result of a second test.
  40. On Sunday, a Justice Department spokesperson reversed, saying Attorney General William Barr, who attended the Barrett reception and was seen in close conversation with Kellyanne Conway, would quarantine “for now.”
  41. On Monday, Barr reversed again, and said he would return to get tested Tuesday, and return to the office Wednesday. A DOJ spokesperson said Barr was an essential worker, exempt from 14-day guidelines.
  42. On Monday, NYT reported at least 11 people who attended the Barrett Rose Garden reception had tested positive, including eight who sat in the front rows of the outdoor reception.
  43. At the indoor reception after, where attendees did not wear masks, photos showed Barrett in close conversation with several who have tested positive, including Chris Christie and Sens. Thom Tillis and Mike Lee.
  44. On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked by CNN if he was personally involved with Trump’s care. Fauci said, “I think it’s obvious that I have not been involved,” and warned it is unlikely, but his recovery could reverse.
  45. On Monday, NYT reporter Michael Shear, who was one of the three reporters to get infected at the White House last week, told CNN that the White House has not reached out to do contact tracing.
  46. On Monday, NYT reported the White House has decided not to contact trace the Barrett reception, despite it being a “super-spreader” event. The White House also declined help from the CDC with contact tracing.
  47. The White House will only contact those exposed to Trump two days prior to his diagnosis Thursday evening, mostly by email, not the recommended phone calls to provide information on symptoms and quarantining.
  49. Trump also sent a long series of all-cap tweets, including, “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. VOTE!” and “STOCK MARKET HIGHS. VOTE!” and “SPACE FORCE. VOTE!” and “PRO LIFE! VOTE!”
  50. Shortly after, Goldman Sachs’ chief economist said polls favor Democrats, and “all else equal, such a blue wave would likely prompt us to upgrade our forecasts,” in a report citing a faster economic recovery.
  51. Goldman noted a greater probability of fiscal stimulus, and “it would likely result in substantially easier US fiscal policy, a reduced risk of renewed trade escalation, and a firmer global growth outlook.”
  52. On Monday, the Supreme Court’s first day back in session without Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Jr. renewed their objection to the Obergefell decision which legalized gay marriage.
  53. In turning away a case for Kim Davis, Thomas wrote, “those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell.”
  54. On Monday, Eric Trump was deposed by the New York attorney general’s office as part of an investigation into the Trump Organization, involving four properties, including the Seven Springs estate in Westchester.
  55. On Monday, a CNN poll found 69% said they trusted little of what they heard about Trump’s health, 12% trust most of it. On handling the pandemic, 60% disapprove of his handling, a new high, 30% approve.
  56. The polls also found 72% felt Trump acted irresponsibly regarding the risk of coronavirus to others around him, and 63% say his infection is unlikely to change anything about the way he handles the pandemic.
  57. On Monday, McEnany tweeted that she had tested positive for coronavirus, emphasizing she had previously tested negatively “consistently” and is experiencing no symptoms. She attended the Barrett reception.
  58. McEnany also claimed, “I definitely had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House briefing on Thursday,” and said she would begin quarantining.
  59. McEnany canceled a previously scheduled appearance on Fox News Monday morning. In the afternoon, two of McEnany’s deputies, Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt, said they too had tested positive.
  60. Later Monday, Trump tweeted, “It is reported that the Media is upset because I got into a secure vehicle to say thank you to the many fans and supporters,” adding, “If I didn’t do it, Media would say RUDE!!!”
  61. Trump also tweeted, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M.” and tweeted, “Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!! The Fake News only shows the Fake Polls.”
  62. Trump also tweeted, “I feel better than I did 20 years ago,” which doctors attributed to his being on steroids.
  63. On Monday, the Commission on Presidential Debates approved plans for a plexiglass petition to separate Kamala Harris and Mike Pence at the vice presidential debate, as well as the moderator Susan Page.
  64. The plans had the support of the Cleveland Clinic ,which was advising on protocols. Katie Miller, a Pence spokesperson and wife to Stephen said, “If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.”
  65. Later Monday, Trump left Walter Reed in an orchestrated move reminiscent of authoritarian propaganda. He walked out, waving to their cameras and pumping his fist in the air, but did not take questions.
  66. After a helicopter flight back to the White House, Trump walked up the stairs to a first-floor balcony, and standing in front of a row of American flags, in an apparent show of strength, removed his mask.
  67. Trump posed in salute and the helicopter flew off. He could be seen at times gasping for air. Trump then, still without a mask, headed inside the White House where he potentially exposed staffers wearing masks.
  68. Trump then came back outside on the balcony where he was seen reshooting his entrance into the White House, again without a mask.
  69. After he returned, he tweeted a video saying, “Get out there, be careful.” adding, “I knew there’s danger to it. But I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did.”
  70. Trump added, “don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it,” and, “We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines.” Few Americans have access to healthcare remotely like his.
  71. Trump added he “didn’t feel so good” when he got the virus but “felt great” two days ago, “better than I have in a long time,” falsely claiming, “maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.” More than 210,000 Americans were dead.
  72. The Trump campaign also used Trump’s exit to fund-raise, sending an email with the subject header, “I’M BACK,” and urging supporters not to be “afraid of Covid.”
  73. Later Monday, Fauci told CNN Trump “looks fine” but he is in the early stages of recovery, adding, “if you look at the clinical course of people sometimes, when you’re five to eight days in, you can have a reversal.”
  74. On Monday, WAPO reported the number of coronavirus cases in D.C. surged on Monday after the outbreak at the White House, as residents feared they may have come in contact with White House officials.
  75. Later Monday, Twitter said it temporarily locked Trump out his account for violating its policy for tweeting the email address of a New York Post columnist. Twitter said he had to delete the tweet to unlock his account.
  76. On Monday, Texas U.S. Attorney John Bash, appointed by Trump in late 2017 and tapped by Barr to investigate the Obama administration for “unmasking,” resigned.
  77. On Saturday, coronavirus infection rates in New York City continued to soar. A former CDC director said the city is “on the edge of a precipice.”
  78. On Tuesday, Montana and Oklahoma set single-day case records. Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming reported more cases in the last week than in any week during the pandemic.
  79. On Wednesday, the city of Boston said it was suspending the reopening of public schools, citing the city’s positivity rate had climbed to over 4%.
  80. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump returned from Walter Reed to a White House in chaos, with the West Wing mostly empty as staffers were out sick or working from home to avoid the White House outbreak.
  81. Aides said Trump’s voice was stronger, but at times he still sounded like he was trying to catch his breath. Some wondered if Trump’s erratic behavior was the result of the cocktail of drugs he is taking, including a steroid.
  82. On Tuesday, Trump falsely compared the coronavirus to the flu, tweeting, “Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country?”
  83. Facebook removed a similar post on its platform. Later, Twitter put a “public interest notice” on Trump’s tweet for “making misleading health claims about COVID-19.”
  84. On Tuesday, Conley did not hold a briefing, but said in a memo “today he [Trump] reports no symptoms,” adding, “Vital signs and physical exam remain stable,” and “Overall he continues to do extremely well.”
  85. It was still unclear the status of Trump’s health, or when he first tested positive. NYT reported the White House conceded Trump was not tested daily, and there was a reliance on tests as curative measure, not diagnostic.
  86. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a military valet for Trump tested positive over the weekend.
  87. On Tuesday, seven of the eight members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said they are quarantining after they attended a meeting at the Pentagon Friday with Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray, who tested positive Monday.
  88. Among those quarantining: Joints Chief Gen. Mark Milley, two Air Force generals, commander of U.S. Space Command, the Air Force chief of staff, the Army chief of staff, the chief of naval operations, and the head of the National Guard.
  89. WAPO reported Ray had attended a White House event on September 27 for Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day. Trump, Pence, and Defense Secretary Mike Esper and other senior defense officials were also there.
  90. A White House spokesperson told the Post that attendees of the September 27 event were not contacted because all had tested negative prior to the event, and no positives were found in the first 48 hours after.
  91. On Tuesday, a third and fourth press aide, Harrison Fields and Jalen Drummond, tested positive, meaning four aides and McEnany were positive.
  92. On Tuesday, House Democrats said they would introduce a largely symbolic bill to block the Trump regime from using taxpayer funds for the planned “defeat despair” coronavirus ads, calling them pre-election propaganda.
  93. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department announced the U.S. trade deficit rose 5.9% to $67.1 billion for August, the highest level in 14 years.
  94. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a speech that the U.S. economy faces “tragic” risks from doing too little to support the economy with a stimulus relief package.
  95. Powell added, “At this early stage, I would argue that the risks of policy intervention are still asymmetric. Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship.”
  96. On Monday, a Hill-HarrisX Daily poll found 74% of voters want the Senate to take on Covid-19 relief before considering Trump’s Supreme Court pick, 26% said the Supreme Court pick first.
  97. On Tuesday, Trump halted Covid-19 relief talks with Democrats until after the election, sending the stock market plunging 500 points, claiming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith.”
  98. Trump tweeted, “Pelosi is asking for $2.4 Trillion Dollars to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States” not related to Covid-19, and “We made a very generous offer of $1.6 Trillion Dollars.”
  99. Trump added, “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating,” and told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee” for Supreme Court.
  100. Trump also tweeted false information, saying, “Our Economy is doing very well,” and “The Stock Market is at record levels. JOBS and unemployment also coming back in record numbers.”
  101. Shortly after, American Airlines and United Airlines said they would start laying off 32,000 workers, Walt Disney slashed 28,000 workers while Allstate announced it will cut 3,800 jobs, roughly 8% of its workforce.
  102. Shortly after, Pelosi said in a statement, “Clearly, the White House is in complete disarray,” and warned, “over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies will rise.”
  103. Shortly after, in a call with the Democratic caucus, Pelosi said, “Believe me, there are people who thought, who think that steroids have an impact on your thinking,” adding, “So, I don’t know.”
  104. Later Tuesday, top adviser Stephen Miller tested positive, bringing the total to 14 in Trump’s close circle. Miller’s wife Katie, Pence’s communications director, tested positive in the spring.
  105. Katie Miller, who had been in Utah with Pence doing debate preparation, left after the news on her husband. Stephen said, “over the last five days I have been working remotely and self-isolating.”
  106. On Tuesday, AP reported Trump’s Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys are overwhelmingly white men (85%), compared to 58% for former presidents Barack Obama, 73% for W. Bush, and 63% for Bill Clinton.
  107. On Tuesday, Facebook announced it would ban QAnon across its platforms, a move the company said would limit the “ability of QAnon and Militarized Social Movements to operate and organize on our platform.”
  108. On Tuesday, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Mark and Patricia McCloskey on counts of exhibiting a weapon and tampering with evidence. GOP Gov. Mike Parson has said he would pardon them if convicted.
  109. On Tuesday, the Trump regime’s Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor announced new rules that would limit H-1B skilled-worker visas, saying the regime was making it a priority due to job losses in the pandemic.
  110. On Tuesday, DHS’s first annual homeland threat assessment found white supremacists remain the deadliest U.S. terror threat.
  111. Since 2018, the report found white supremacists conducted more lethal attacks than any other group, targeting racial and religious minorities, the LGBTQ community, and politicians who promote multi-culturalism.
  112. The report also found Russia is the “likely primary covert influence actor and purveyor” of disinformation and misinformation, with an objective to to undermine the electoral process and to divide and destabilize America.
  113. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf had failed to condemn or focus on white supremacists, and falsely claimed of the report, “The most long term strategic threat to Americans…is the threat from China.”
  114. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump authorized the declassification and release of documents related to Russian interference in the 2016 election that his own advisers warned may be Russian disinformation.
  115. The move was made while Trump was still at Walter Reed. Meadows said Trump “already tasked me with getting some declassification rolling,” in an attempt to rewrite history of the Russia probe.
  116. Some documents were released Tuesday afternoon, and first published on Fox News, including heavily redacted notes from former CIA Director John Brennan after a briefing with Obama.
  117. A second document released Tuesday describes “an exchange” between unknown individuals regarding “Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan” concerning Trump and Russian hackers hampering the U.S. election.
  118. On Tuesday, CNN reported that before his diagnosis, Trump had personally called the CEOs of drug companies repeatedly to pressure them to come up with a vaccine before Election Day.
  119. Later Tuesday, the FDA released updated, stricter guidelines for coronavirus vaccine developers, making it highly unlikely there would be a vaccine ahead of the election.
  120. The revised guidelines, which were approved by the Office of Management and Budget, appeared to be an abrupt reversal after Meadows had tried to block the move over the past two weeks.
  121. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “New F.D.A. Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job,” tagging FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.
  122. Trump also sent several dozen tweets Tuesday, repeatedly asking, “Where are all of the arrests?” adding, “Can you imagine if the roles were reversed?” and demanding that Barr lock up his political enemies.
  124. Trump also tweeted, “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining…the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”
  125. Then notably seemed to reverse himself, “All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly.”
  126. Trump also reversed himself on a relief package, tweeting, “The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program.”
  127. Trump also tweeted, “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?”
  128. Trump also tweeted, “11,00 [sic] North Carolina residents get incorrect voter registration forms. 2000 LA County Voters received “faulty” Ballots,” adding, “This will be the most corrupt Election in American History!”
  129. Trump’s effort to discredit the election referenced voter registration applications that a printing company in NC incorrectly sent, and LA county ballots that were misprinted without the presidential race.
  130. On Tuesday, whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright, a senior vaccine scientist, submitted his “involuntary resignation” from National Institutes of Health after being demoted and left with nothing to do.
  131. On Tuesday, NYT reported in May 2018, then AG Jeff Sessions told five U.S. attorneys working along the border on a conference call “we need to take away children” as part of the regime’s zero-tolerance policy.
  132. Notes from the call indicate Sessions also said, “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.” The five told top DOJ officials they were “deeply concerned” about the children’s welfare.
  133. Then deputy AG Rod Rosenstein went further in a call a week later, telling the five it did not matter how young the children were, adding the prosecutors should not have refused to prosecute cases involving infants.
  134. According to a report from the DOJ IG, the DOJ’s top officials were “a driving force” behind separating thousands of families, many of them fleeing violence in Central America and seeking asylum in the U.S.
  135. The report also found senior DOJ officials viewed the welfare and tracking of children to be the responsibility of other agencies. Also, Border Patrol missed serious felony cases being tied up with carrying out zero-tolerance.
  136. On Wednesday, the New England Journal of Medicine urged voters to vote Trump out of office. It was the first time the prestigious medical journal weighed in on an election since its founding in 1812.
  137. The editorial, signed by three dozen editors, said the Trump regime took “a crisis and turned it into a tragedy,” adding, “the magnitude of this failure is astonishing” and has “disproportionately affected communities of color.”
  138. They added, Trump “politicized the development process and led to growing public distrust,” and noted other democracies “outperformed us by orders of magnitude,” and we “failed at almost every step.”
  140. Trump also tweeted, “DEMS WANT TO SHUT YOUR CHURCHES DOWN, PERMANENTLY. HOPE YOU SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING. VOTE NOW!” The claim was rated “Pants on Fire” false by PolitiFact.
  141. Trump also tweeted a video of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer losing a Supreme Court case, saying, “We just got a BIG win for the people of Michigan. Open up your Churches and your Schools…Have fun!”
  142. Trump also tweeted, the “DEMOCRAT RUN BALLOT SYSTEM IS CORRUPT! Look at what’s happening with Fake, Missing and Fraudulent Ballots all over the Country.” Twitter put a warning on the tweet.
  144. On Wednesday, ProPublica reported in a DOJ internal memo distributed Friday, the agency created an exception to a decades-long policy meant to prevent prosecutors from taking steps that could interfere in the election.
  145. The email said under the exception, U.S. attorney’s offices will now be allowed to take public investigative steps on matters of suspected fraud before the polls close, even if it affects the election outcome.
  146. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel in New York rejected Trump’s efforts to block a Manhattan D.A. subpoena, saying, “Grand juries must necessarily paint with a broad brush,” and it was not driven by politics.
  147. On Wednesday, Trump posted another propaganda-type video of himself in front of the White House, after two days of being out of the public eye, saying of the virus, “I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it.”
  148. Trump said it was blessing because he took an experimental antibody cocktail, still in clinical trials, produced by Regeneron, saying, “To me it wasn’t therapeutic — it just made me better, OK? I call that a cure.”
  149. Trump added that everyone should have access to the antibody cocktail, which was not FDA approved, for “free,” claiming, “I feel great — I feel, like, perfect.” Doctors have not shared what other medications Trump is taking.
  150. Trump said, “I walked in, I didn’t feel good. A short 24 hours later I was feeling great. I wanted to get out of the hospital,” adding, “And that’s what I want for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment.”
  151. In the video aimed at appealing to senior voters, who Trump is losing in the polls, Trump said, “I’m a senior. I know you don’t know that. Nobody knows that. Maybe you don’t have to tell them. But I’m a senior.”
  152. Trump’s skin appeared darkened by make-up, and he appeared to struggle with breathing at times. As the video was released, coronavirus had killed more than 1 million worldwide, and 211,000 in the U.S.
  153. On Wednesday, Trump returned to the Oval Office in the afternoon, even as his condition remained unclear for the public, and as many of his aides were under quarantine given the White House outbreak.
  154. A new White House memo instructed staffers to follow new safety protocols, including some that Trump had dismissed, including wearing surgical masks and protective eye covers.
  155. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported the White House quietly told a veterans group on October 2 that attendees of a September 27 White House event to honor Gold Star families may have been exposed.
  156. The warning is the first known outreach to visitors about the outbreak. Photos of the event, attended by Trump, showed minimal mask wearing and social distancing.
  157. On Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported a White House official, Crede Bailey, who is in charge of the security office, is gravely ill with Covid-19, and has been hospitalized since September.
  158. On Wednesday, WSJ reported U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Gary Thomas tested positive and had mild symptoms. Thomas was at the Pentagon meeting last week with other military leaders.
  159. On Wednesday, the Trump regime asked the Supreme Court to block a court order extending the 2020 census, and allow counting to end soon. A lower court said the count should continue until October 31.
  160. On Wednesday, the DOJ said it “inadvertently” altered documents that it had recently submitted to a federal court in the Michael Flynn case as part of its effort to have the case dismissed.
  161. Federal prosecutors said FBI agents’ handwritten notes were not dated, so agents put sticky notes on the files with “estimated dates,” and prosecutors forgot to remove them before scanning and submitting to the court.
  162. On Wednesday, Facebook announced it would take more preventive measures to keep political candidates from using it to manipulate the election’s outcome and its aftermath, amid alarm over Trump’s recent statements.
  163. The platform also said in addition to the week before the election, political ads will be banned indefinitely after polls close on November 3, and the company will take other steps to try to limit disinformation.
  164. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that several far-right websites, including The Daily Caller, ZeroHedge, NewsMax, TheEpochTime, and The Blaze are sharing headlines from Russia state media outlet RT.
  165. RT was a central player in Russia’s efforts to disrupt the 2016 election. Beyond the far-right websites, RealClearPolitics displayed RT’s headlines. Facebook and Twitter implemented changes to limit RT’s exposure.
  166. On Wednesday, a YouGov survey found 55% of registered voters said they expect violence to increase after Election Day, 11% said they did not expect an increase, and 33% said they were not sure.
  167. On Wednesday, Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris had a more traditional debate, which most polls showed Harris won. The most memorable moment was a fly that remained on Pence’s head for over two minutes.
  168. Pence was asked if he would accept a peaceful transition of power, given Trump’s past statements that he would not, and refused to answer.
  169. Shortly after, Harlan Hill, an Advisory Board Member on the Trump campaign tweeted, “Kamala Harris comes off as such an insufferable lying bitch.” The next day Fox News said Hill would no longer be booked.
  170. Shortly after, Sen. Mike Lee, who is quarantining having tested positive for Covid-19, tweeted, “We’re not a democracy,” and tweeted, “The word ‘democracy’ appears nowhere in the Constitution.”
  171. After midnight, Lee added, “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic] are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that” — raising alarms ahead of the election.
  172. On Thursday, in his first public interview of the week, Trump spoke to Fox Business for an hour-long rambling interview. Trump claimed, “I beat him [Biden] easily in the first debate,” but said, “No, I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate.”
  173. On the virus, Trump said, “I’m back because I’m a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young,” and lied, “I think I would have done it fine without drugs. It — you know, you don’t really need drugs.”
  174. Trump said of Harris, “This monster that was on stage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night by the way, but this monster…” and called her “horrible,” “totally unlikable,” and a “communist.”
  175. Trump added, “Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country…I won’t forget it,” and said, “why isn’t Hilary Clinton being indicted for terminating 33,000 emails.”
  176. Trump also said Barr should indict Biden and Obama, saying, “And that includes Obama and it includes Biden … we have everything … I say, Bill, we have plenty.”
  177. Trump also criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not releasing Hillary’s emails, saying, “they’re in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo is unable to get them out…I’m not happy about him for that, that reason.”
  178. Trump also claimed he might have caught the virus at the Gold Star family event, saying, “Sometimes, I’d be in groups of, for instance,” adding, “I can’t say, ‘Back up, stand 10 feet,’ you know? I just can’t do it.”
  179. Trump also called the Regeneron drug he was given “a gift from heaven.” Experts noted that without a vaccine, Trump seemed to be turning his focus to this drug as his “October surprise.”
  180. On Thursday, Conley said in a note Trump has completed his treatments to alleviate the symptoms of the coronavirus and will be able to resume public engagements” on Saturday. No specific data was given.
  181. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump and Meadows called FDA Commissioner Hahn to urge him to quickly clear the coronavirus antibody treatment manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
  182. Critics said Trump inserting himself, as he did with hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma, risked further undermining trust in regulators and creating confusion that what worked for Trump will work for all.
  183. In another video on Thursday, Trump lied, saying, “We’re going to make them available immediately; we have an emergency use authorization that I want to get signed immediately,” and falsely calling it a “cure.”
  184. Notably, the antibody treatment Trump was touting relied on testing employing a fetal tissue cell line from the 1980s widely used in biomedical research—ironic given Trump’s clampdown on fetal tissue research.
  185. On Thursday, seeming to break from Trump, McConnell said he has avoided the White House since August 6, citing concerns that White House officials were not taking proper precautions for Covid-19.
  186. On Thursday, NBC News reported Trump required personnel at Walter Reed to sign nondisclosure agreements during his surprise trip to there on November 16, 2019, before they could be involved with treating him.
  187. The NDAs were required for both physicians and nonmedical staff, most of whom are active-duty military service members. At least two doctors refused to sign and did not treat him. The reason for his visit is unknown.
  188. On Thursday, the Department of Labor announced weekly jobless claims rose to 840,000, higher than the 825,000 expected. There were still 25.5 million Americans collecting some kind of benefit.
  189. On Thursday, at her weekly press conference, Pelosi told reporters to come to the Hill “tomorrow,” citing, “We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.” She did not elaborate.
  190. Shortly after her press conference, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, Pelosi said, “The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now,” adding, “I don’t know how to answer for that behavior.”
  191. Shortly after, Trump tweeted in response, “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!”
  192. On Thursday, NYT reported White House aides privately expressed concern that Trump’s animated mood is from taking dexamethasone, a steroid which can result in mild to moderate psychiatric side effects.
  193. On Thursday, AP reported state and federal law enforcement officials have begun preparing for possible widespread unrest at the polls on Election Day, amid concerns for safety stoked in part by Trump’s rhetoric.
  194. FBI and local officials set up command centers to improve coordination on reports of violence and voter intimidation, and to issue public warnings that any crime that threatens voting on November 3 will not be tolerated.
  195. On Thursday, Detroit Free Press reported the FBI thwarted what they described as a plot by militia to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
  196. The FBI charged six men who plotted to kidnap her from her vacation home, with one saying Whitmer “has no checks and balances at all. She has uncontrolled power right now. All good things must come to an end.”
  197. An additional seven men linked to domestic terrorist group Wolverine Watchmen were charged with planning and trying to target police and the Michigan state Capitol.
  198. The six men consulted and trained with members of the group, and undertook rehearsals in August and September. Four planned to meet Wednesday to “make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear.”
  199. The criminal complaint showed the men planned to kidnap Whitmer at her summer residence, calling her a “tyrant bitch,” and hoped to start a wider rebellion, saying, “I can see several states takin’ their fuckin’ tyrants.”
  200. Whitmer said they were looking to kidnap and kill her, and blamed Trump, saying, “When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit.”
  201. Whitmer added of Trump’s debate last week, he said, “‘Stand back and standby,’ he told them. ‘Stand back and standby.’ Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action.”
  202. Experts said Trump’s rhetoric helped fuel violence and hate. Trump had tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” on April 17, and had made critical comments on Whitmer for months, including at his rallies in Michigan.
  203. Some of the 13 men had ties to the extremist ideology known as “boogaloo.” Several of the suspects praised Trump on their social media, and often pushed conspiracy theories espoused by him.
  204. On Thursday, Trump adviser Jason Miller told Fox News, “If we want to talk about hatred, then Gov. Whitmer, go look in the mirror — the fact that she wakes up everyday with such hatred in her heart for President Trump.”
  205. Later Thursday, without condemning the men or their plot, Trump attacked Whitmer in a series of tweets, saying she “has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating.”
  206. Trump also took credit, tweeting, “the Federal Government provided tremendous help…they foiled a dangerous plot,” adding, “Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist.”
  207. Trump added, “Biden and Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs,” and, “Governor Whitmer — open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!”
  208. On Thursday, federal judge Reggie Walton asked the DOJ to determine if Trump’s tweet Tuesday ordering blanket declassification of all Russia probe documents should include a fully unredacted Mueller report.
  209. On Thursday, Elliott Broidy, a prominent fundraiser for Trump and the GOP, was charged with participating in a scheme to illegally lobby the Trump regime to stop the investigation of Malaysian financier Jho Low.
  210. On Thursday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Meadows planned a lavish wedding for his daughter in Atlanta in May, violating state and city orders banning gatherings of 10 people or more.
  211. On Thursday, a federal appeals court in Wisconsin blocked an extension of the absentee ballot deadline by six days in the state, saying ballots must be delivered to election clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.
  212. On Thursday, more than 6.6 million Americans had voted — a record, and suggesting a record turnout for 2020. Of states that reported voting by party affiliation, Democrats had outvoted Republicans by more than 2–1.
  213. Later Thursday, the Commission formally canceled the second presidential debate, after disagreements over the format. The debate would have been one of Trump’s last chances to catch up with Biden.
  214. Later Thursday, Trump ended the day as he started it, with an appearance on Fox. Trump called in to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show for 25 minutes, during which he repeatedly coughed and cleared his throat.
  215. Trump said he wanted to hold a rally in Florida on Saturday and Pennsylvania the following day, violating public health guidelines, adding he was in “great shape,” although needing to stop to cough.
  216. When Hannity asked if he had tested negative for the virus, Trump said he would not get an “actual test” until Friday, then suggested he had been tested and it had found “very little infection or virus, if any.”
  217. Trump inexplicably rambled: “California is going to have to ration water…Because they send millions of gallons of water out to sea…Because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish that aren’t doing very well without water.”
  218. On Friday, Politico reported John Durham is not expected to complete and release his review of the origins of the Russia investigation until after the election — a report Trump had counted on as a game changer in October.
  219. Trump allies have also for months publicly asserted on Fox News and elsewhere that Durham’s investigation would result in the arrests of top Obama administration officials. The DOJ did not comment.
  220. On Friday, Trump called in to Rush Limbaugh’s show and spoke to him for two hours. In a 36-hour period, Trump did extended interviews with Fox Business, Fox News, and then ally Limbaugh.
  221. Trump bragged “our nuclear is all tippy top now,” saying that China and Russia dream of the weapons the U.S. military has.
  222. Trump rattled off a long list of people he said undermined him, including Biden, Hillary, and former FBI director James Comey. He complained about not being recognized for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
  223. Trump said of the Durham report not being ready, “I’m very disappointed,” adding, “I think it’s a terrible thing. And I’ll say it to his [Barr’s] face,” later adding, “I think it’s a disgrace. It’s an embarrassment.”
  224. Trump added, “First of all, if we don’t win this election, that whole thing’s going to end, okay?” adding, “That’s another thing I’m fighting for because these people have to be brought to justice.”
  225. Trump also reversed again on the coronavirus relief bill, saying, “I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering.”
  226. After Trump had been on the show for two hours, Limbaugh finally tried to wrap Trump, saying, “I know you’ve got a jam-packed day left on your schedule…”
  227. On Friday, WAPO reported guests from the Barrett reception have scattered across the country, with no systematic effort to trace or advise the hundreds of guests who attended.
  228. Guests returned to at least 20 states, many by plane. They returned to college campuses, attended churches, addressed crowds at indoor conventions, and sat at the dinner table with elderly parents.
  229. When they learned they were exposed, some quarantined or got tested, but many waited for symptoms, though the virus can be spread even by asymptomatic people. None were contacted by the federal government.
  230. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel mingled with donors at a September 25 event with Trump at Trump Hotel DC. She started to have symptoms Monday, and got a positive test back on September 30, but did not notify donors.
  231. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia was also at the September 25 event and then the Barrett reception. McDaniel did not attend, but headed back to Michigan. She tried and failed to inform Trump she was positive.
  232. On Friday, Fauci called the Barrett reception a “super spreader event,” telling CBS News radio, “It was in a situation where people were crowded together and not wearing masks.”
  233. On Friday, Pelosi threw her support behind legislation that would establish a commission of experts to assess presidential capacity, saying Trump “shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”
  234. Pelosi said this is not about Trump, saying, “He will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents,” and whether it should be invoked is “not for us to decide.”
  235. On Friday, the White House increasing its coronavirus stimulus offer to $1.8 trillion, close to the $2.2 trillion bill passed by the House. Trump also tweeted, “Go Big!” days after pulling from negotiations.
  236. On Friday, the Office of Special Counsel found that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue violated the Hatch Act by advocating for Trump’s re-election during an August visit to North Carolina.
  237. The OSC asked Perdue to reimburse the government for costs associated with the event. The White House has declined to act on a long list of referrals for violations of the Hatch Act by regime members.
  238. On Friday, a YouGov survey conducted in seven European countries found people overwhelmingly wanted Biden to win, but only between 2% (Germany) and 11% (Italy) thought the election would be completely free and fair.
  239. On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed that nine people who attended Trump’s rally in Bemidji on September 18 had tested positive. Two were hospitalized with one in the ICU.
  240. On Friday, Post and Courier reported the scheduled South Carolina Senate debate was canceled, after Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, refused to get a Covid-19 test.
  241. On Friday, Trump canceled plans to host rallies over the weekend in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. The campaign, which also has many staffers impacted by the virus, has tried to get an eager Trump on the trail.
  242. On Friday, ABC News reported Trump planned to host his first in-person campaign event since testing positive on the South Lawn of the White House, with him speaking from the balcony on the theme of law and order.
  243. Trump invited 2,000 people to attend the event, despite concerns that the Barrett event may have been a super-spreader. Attendees must bring masks and were subject to temperature checks.
  244. On Friday, WAPO reported that two students and a teacher at the private school in South Bend attended by Barrett’s children tested positive. The school notified parents late Thursday.
  245. On Friday, Notre Dame President John Jenkins faced a student petition calling on him to a resign for not wearing a mask or social distancing at the Barrett reception, and a possible “no confidence” resolution by the faculty.
  246. On Friday, NYT reported the White House blocked a CDC order last month that would have required all passengers and employees on all forms of public and commercial transportation to wear masks.
  247. On Friday, WAPO reported a group of lawyers calling themselves The Orders Project will offer free legal advice to military and National Guard who question the legality of orders they are given during protests.
  248. The group was formed in response to the use of force in Lafayette Square, and anticipates the military could find themselves in the same position over the election, citing Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition.
  249. On Friday, the DOJ sued Yale University, alleging discrimination against white and Asian applicants. A higher education association called it “shocking and disheartening,” noting the timing ahead of the election.
  250. On Friday, Pompeo, heeding Trump’s call, said he is working to release more of Hillary’s emails, telling Fox News, “We’re going to get all this information out so the American people can see it.”
  251. Pressed on when the emails would be released, Pompeo said we are “doing it as fast as we can. I certainly, I certainly think there’ll be more to see before the election.”
  252. On Friday, WAPO reported lagging in the polls, Trump is publicly criticizing Barr and pressuring the DOJ to target Democrats, falsely claiming wrongdoing by Biden, Obama and Hillary.
  253. Trump’s public calls for the DOJ to target his political opposition is unprecedented in modern American history. Ratcliffe and GOP Senate Chairs Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley have complied with Trump.
  254. On Friday, as the week came an end, Barr had yet to comment publicly on the Michigan arrests. Typically the attorney general would weigh in on such a high profile cases when it is announced.
  255. Later Friday, Trump appeared on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show in an interview with Dr. Marc Siegel, a physician and Fox News personality who has criticized measures to slow the spread of the virus and as well as Fauci.
  256. It was the first on camera interview of Trump, although Siegel interviewed him remotely and Trump sat in front of a remote-controlled camera for a softball interview, with Trump lying, “I didn’t have a problem breathing.”
  257. Asked if he was tested, Trump said, “I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet, but I’ve been retested and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free.”
  258. On Friday, the U.S. reported more than 57,000 coronavirus cases, the most since mid-August, and marked the third day of surging cases. Almost half of states reported 1,000 or more daily cases.
  259. Late Friday, a federal judge in Texas blocked Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting ballot-drop off boxes to one per county, saying it placed an unacceptable burden on the voting rights of elderly and disabled Texans.
  260. On Saturday, a judge in Philadelphia rejected an effort by the Trump campaign to send poll watchers to voting sites in the city as early voting started, saying it is not allowed under state law.
  261. On Saturday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit challenging drop boxes for mail-in voting in the state, saying the campaign provided no credible evidence of voter fraud.
  262. On Saturday, NYT reported there were over 200 companies, special-interest groups,and foreign governments that patronized Trump properties, while reaping benefits from him and his regime.
  263. An analysis of his tax returns for his first two years in office showed his family businesses netted nearly $12 million from 60 customers who then saw their interests advanced before the Trump regime.
  264. The Times analysis also found more than 100 companies that patronized Trump properties, while wanting something from the federal government. Some golfed with Trump to win favor.
  265. On Saturday, Trump hosted roughly 400 supporters on the South Lawn for an 18-minute speech. Most wore face masks, but they were packed close together despite the lawn being largely empty.
  266. Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech from the balcony, claiming if Democrats win, they will launch a crusade against law enforcement. Trump continued to downplay the virus, saying we would “defeat it.”
  267. The event was organized by conservative provocateur Candace Owens to encourage African Americans to leave the Democratic Party, and was largely attended by Black and Latino Americans, yet Trump’s message was one he typically used to target white suburban voters.
  268. On Saturday, the Taliban appeared to endorse Trump, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid telling CBS News, “We hope he will win the election and wind up U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.”
  269. As the week came to a close, there were 36,978,455 worldwide cases and 1,069,469 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 7,679,534 cases (20.8%), 213,954 deaths (20.0%), and a mortality rate of 2.8%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, October 10, 2020

Trump, standing on the Blue Room Balcony, watches Marine One fly off after arriving back at the White House, Monday evening, Oct. 5, 2020 in Washington, after being treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The president’s personal physician, Dr. Sean Conley, told reporters on Monday afternoon that Trump is not out of the woods yet, but that there is no care at the hospital that the president cannot get at the White House.