Daily Summaries

Trump Daily – 10/17/2020

Intelligence agencies last year warned the president that Rudy Giuliani was being targeted by Russian intelligence to be a conduit for the election disinformation. This week the New York Post published information they received from Giuliani which is now being investigated by the FBI under suspicion that Russia was behind the story. The story is extremely fishy and even if the source of the information is accurate, what The Post published was stolen data from Hunter Biden. The data includes an email about a meeting between Joe Biden and a Ukrainian businessman set up by Hunter Biden. The Biden campaign says this never happened, which is verifiable. The Post also published a private text conversation, again stolen, between Hunter and his father while Hunter was in rehab. Hunter Biden was worried about the mistakes he’d made in his life harming his father’s political career. Joe Biden responded that the only thing that mattered to him was his son’s recovery and that he loved him. The Republican Party thinks that sentiment is damaging to Joe Biden. The stolen files included pictures of Hunter Biden using drugs. Republican Congressman Paul Gosar tweeted out one of the pictures, mocking Hunter Biden for using drugs, just as Donald Trump attacked him during the first debate. This is the current state of the Republican Party. They are devoid of empathy to a point of thinking attacking a candidate’s son for a drug addiction is a good political strategy. With the US nearing 220,000 Covid-19 deaths, the Trump campaign thinks attacking Hunter Biden is a good closing argument.

Speaking of Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, the “cybersecurity expert” ended a Zoom meeting but left the live feed running. He then proceeded to mock Asians. Yes, really.

The White House has cited a petition calling on the government to fully open businesses to develop herd immunity. The petition includes well known medical experts such as Dr. Person Fakename, I.P. Freely, and Dr. Johnny Bananas. Dr. Fakename could not be reached for comment.

As he publicly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was privately telling investment groups that the pandemic would be catastrophic, prompting his friends to sell off their investments.

President Trump is again bragging that federal law enforcement agents killed a suspect instead of arresting him. The officers appear to have lied about the suspect pulling a gun (he was armed but the weapon was in a pocket after he was shot) and witnesses now say they did not even announce themselves as law enforcement. The president of the United States is praising extrajudicial killings by police.

Trump extended his best wishes to the Kamala Harris staffer who contracted Covid-19 but added that was more than Harris did for him. He’s lying. Harris publicly wished him well.

Multiple times this week, president Trump attacked Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer after the FBI arrested a Trump-supporting terrorist group planning on kidnapping and executing her. He has called her a dictator, said that all of Michigan’s Covid-19 restrictions needed to be removed, and twice tonight led his rally crowd in a chant of “lock her up.” The president, who often encourages violence by his supporters, is openly siding with a terrorist group who planned to take out a governor because of Covid-19 safety measures.

Twice this week the president tweeted out material from The Babylon Bee, a satirical website, thinking it was real. One of the obviously fake articles was about Twitter shutting down to avoid spreading the New York Post article. It included a bit about Twitter programmers being unable to lift a hammer and therefore programming a robot to attack their own servers. The president thought this was a true story.

Trump said on Twitter that he had declassified all information relating to the Russia investigation. He’s done this in the past which resulted in reporters requesting said information. As in the past, the Department of Justice is arguing in court that the president saying he has declassified the information does not mean that the president has declassified the information. Fed up with Trump’s lies, the judge has ordered the Department of Justice to consult with the president about whether he actually issued such an order and return to court with the response.

Similar to what happened to Dr. Fauci recently, the Trump campaign is using an ad featuring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley without his permission and in uniform, which is a violation of the UCMJ. And like the ad featuring Fauci, the Trump campaign is not taking down the ad featuring Milley.

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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 10/14/2020 – Our Insane President

Yesterday the president twice tweeted out about a conspiracy theory from the right-wing depths of Twitter. This conspiracy claims that Iran was holding Osama bin Laden and the entire JPCOA (the Iran nuclear deal) was a cover for paying Iran to send bin Laden, or perhaps a body double, to Pakistan so that the Obama administration could then kill him and receive the credit for it. The originator of this conspiracy theory also says that Obama and Biden then arranged for the assassinations of every member of Seal Team Six who participated in the bin Laden raid. Trump has always been a conspiracy theorist. For a decade he insisted Obama was a Kenyan and that his investigative team had found very interesting things regarding his birth while they were in Hawaii. (He made this up.) He said global warming was invented by China to harm American businesses. And now he’s saying that Biden was involved in killing a Seal Team, several of whom are currently active on social media, in order to cover up a fake bin Laden raid. Donald Trump is completely disconnected from reality. Your Republican friends don’t care about this. They will vote for him anyway. Republican politicians di not care about this. They need his signature. The media has barely mentioned this. It’s simply baked in that Trump believes bullshit conspiracy theories and it’s treated as normal. It isn’t. It never has been. You want to support him? Then you should be able to defend the fact that he thinks Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK and that Biden ordered a Seal Team killed.

The New York Times published another financial bombshell. The short version – Trump has been doing political favors for his club members and those he does business with. The White House’s response to this story was that Eric and Donald Trump Jr. now run the company. This sort of corruption has been constant throughout this administration, beginning with the inauguration itself.

The Trump campaign is running an ad with quotes from Dr. Anthony Fauci make it appear Fauci was praising Trump’s handling of the pandemic. His quote was referencing other government officials. Fauci has never endorsed a candidate and does not want to appear to endorse one this year. He has asked the Trump campaign to stop using his words in the ad. The Trump campaign is refusing his request.

The Republican Party in California is setting up ballot dropboxes which appear to be official government ballot collection boxes. They are not. The state has determined this is illegal and sent a cease and desist letter to the Republicans. The party is ignoring the order and continuing to use them.

Former White House doctor, now Congressional candidate, Ronny Jackson did an event with Donald Trump where he declared that Joe Biden has some form of dementia. He’s previously said that Biden must be taking “memory enhancing” drugs to perform as well as he had.

The Department of Justice is suing former Melania Trump aid Stephanie Wolkoff for violating an NDA by publishing a book about Melania. Trump frequently uses NDAs for government employees which is absolutely illegal. Aside from classified information, a government employee has a first amendment right to reveal whatever information they’d like. They will lose this case, but it’s yet another example of Trump viewing the DoJ as his personal legal team.

Trump publicly declared that he had declassified all materials related to the Russia investigation. Reporters responded by requesting said information. The Department of Justice is arguing Trump saying he declassified the materials does not count as declassifying them. This has happened before. The DoJ argues that Trump’s tweets are official orders and that they are NOT official orders depending on which argument is more convenient for them.

The Justice Department’s investigation into what several Republicans called a massive scandal regarding the unmasking of names in intelligence reports has concluded that no one unmasked any names improperly. There have been several investigations into those who investigated Trump that the right has been banking on to justify Trump’s claims of a mass conspiracy against him. All of them so far have found nothing of the sort.

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Trump Daily 10/9/2020

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow it to immediately end census collection efforts despite a large number of non-respondents.

The president went to Walter Reed in November of last year. They said it was for part of his routine physical which makes no sense at all as the entire physical can be completed at the White House. We’ve now learned that the doctors working on Trump had to first sign an NDA. Two doctors refused and were not allowed to interact with him. Unusual does not cover this. NDAs against government employees are not actually legal, but Trump frequently uses them anyway. The doctors who signed them could be released from them, but it would likely require a legal battle.

Despite dozens of people contracting Covid-19 in the White House, the president continues to mock people for wearing masks. Immediately after the vice-presidential debate, Mike Pence was photographed with his prep team, none of whom wore a mask.

Elliott Broidy was previously one of the GOP’s finance officers alongside convicted felon Michael Cohen and Steve Wynn, accused of sexual harassment and assault. Broidy was previously caught paying off a Playboy model to keep quiet about an affair via money transferred by Michael Cohen. Sound familiar? Broidy is now set to plead guilty to using his political ties to Trump to aid Malaysian and Chinese interests.

The president multiple times this week said that the treatment he received from Regeneron is a “cure” for Covid-19 and that he’ll be making it readily available for free to every American with help from the military. Every word of this is bullshit. Regeneron isn’t even the name of the treatment. It’s the name of the manufacturer. The treatment is still in clinical trials. Less than 10 people nationwide have received it outside of those trials. If the treatment did cure Covid-19 and there was a way to pay for it for everyone, the company is not capable of manufacturing anywhere near the needed doses.

After the Rose Garden event which likely spread Covid-19 to dozens of people, the president met with several gold star families – those who have lost someone to wartime military service. The president said he couldn’t cancel the event because so many of the families insist on hugging and kissing him, implying they may have been the source of his infection.

Several men were arrested in a plot to kidnap and assassinate Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer over the state’s Covid-19 restrictions. The White House response to the arrests was that Whitmer was sowing discord. President Trump attacked her for not being sufficiently grateful for the arrests then said she was doing a terrible job and needed to fully reopen the state – the exact same claims made by the terrorists. Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham said several times today the men looked like antifa members, not Trump supporters. This is a lie. Several of them posted frequently about Trump on social media and several attended the anti-lockdown protests including the one where armed men overtook the Michigan capitol. These men are Trump supporting terrorists.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is saying he may release more of Hillary Clinton’s emails which is sure to damage her chances of being elected president next month. Every unclassified email the State Department possesses is already freely available on the State Department website. Pompeo is aware of this but said that maybe they’ll find some more. Pompeo’s job is to represent the country in all of our foreign relations. Threatening to release Clinton’s emails in an effort to sway the election obviously has nothing to do with this.

Following the huge expose of Trump’s taxes, the New York Times has revealed a large loan Trump gave his 2016 campaign likely violated the law. One of Trump’s businesses deducted the cost of the loan which isn’t legal. It was also personally backed by one of his business partners which would legally count as a contribution which was never disclosed.

Adding to warnings from HHS and DHS officials, we’ve learned officials at the Department of Justice warned their superiors about the physical and psychological damage from a family separation policy. They were warned and went forward with them regardless.

The CDC wanted to issue a recommendation for everyone on public transportation to wear masks. Like so many other issues, their safety recommendations were overruled by the White House.

Despite having recently hosted an event responsible for spreading Covid-19 to dozens of people, the White House has invited TWO THOUSAND people to an event tomorrow.

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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 10/7/2020 – Both Sides Now

Today I’m covering the stories you may have missed in the slurry of Covid-19 news but I want to address last week’s debate. The reaction I saw from independents and moderate conservatives was largely the same – this is awful and both candidates are awful.

Argumentum ad temperantiam. It’s one of the basic logical fallacies you learn when you study such things. There are several names and it’s related to several other fallacies, but essentially it’s the argument that when presented with two opposing ideas, the truth is in the middle of them. If two people argue the location of the US capital, with one person saying DC and another saying Los Angeles, surely the answer must be somewhere in the midwest. This tendency of us to average viewpoints is so strong it’s used in marketing – offer three options when you want to increase demand for the middle option. You will sell more than if you only offered that one option.

You see this everywhere in politics, especially in political journalism. It’s what leads to the “both parties are basically the same mindset.”

And it’s absolutely, demonstrably wrong.

Trump was at his most unhinged during the debate. He lied constantly. He delved into multiple conspiracy theories. He showed absolutely no understanding of the issues or even what a president does. He remains ignorant and incompetent, just as he has been his entire life. Biden made one factual error that I’ve seen, which was a trade statistic that was true in 2019. He had supported stances, which are fleshed out on his website. There was absolutely no comparison between the two. But our brains want to insist things are normal. So when they see Trump’s blathering insanity, we rationalize it by assuming both candidates are this way.

They are not. Trump is vile and cruel. Biden is one of the most empathetic candidates in history. Trump remains woefully unqualified for his office. Biden, like Clinton before him, was eminently qualified.

Enough with the “both sides” talk. You aren’t choosing between two sides of the same coin. You’re choosing between a monster and a good man.

News has nearly 24-7 been focused on Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis so here are some stories you may have missed over the last week:

The Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who lied about his resume specifically regarding intelligence experience, is declassifying documents about Clinton and the Russia investigation. The argument here is that Hillary Clinton blamed Russia for hacking her and working with Trump which led to the entire Russia investigation. The source in one of the releases we’ve seen so far? Russian intelligence. Our own intelligence community rejected this obviously fake information as obviously fake information. But Republicans are running with it, saying there would have been no investigation were it not for Clinton’s scheming. It is not possible to understate how ridiculous this is. While I don’t think this will play any factor at all in the election, the Republican Party is spreading KNOWN Russia disinformation to attack Hillary Clinton four years after she lost the election. Vote accordingly.

The White House was pressuring the CDC to downplay the risks of sending children to school during the pandemic. There have been numerous stories confirming the White House has been interfering with the scientific conclusions of the CDC. Dr. William Foege, a previous CDC director, privately wrote current CDC Director Robert Redfield urging him to resign due to his lack of pushback against Trump’s anti-science views.

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale is allegedly cooperating with an investigation into the campaign’s finances. Parscale himself has been accused of embezzlement and domestic violence.

Federal law enforcement officers were directed to speak sympathetically of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager accused of murdering two people at a protest.

Trump’s former National Security Adviser General McMaster has said the president is aiding and abetting Putin’s efforts to undermine the election.

Michael Flynn’s lawyer retweeted someone saying Trump was intentionally infected with the coronavirus in response to Justice Ginsburg’s death.

Trump said he has declassified all of the documents related to the Russia investigation. He did the exact same thing two years ago. After the first declaration, journalists requested the documents which they have a legal right to. The Department of Justice argued that the president tweeting he had declassified a document did not mean that the president had declassified a document. Undoubtedly, that will happen again. When Trump says he has declassified these documents, he is lying.

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Trump Daily 9/28/2020

A federal judge recently ordered that the census could not move their deadline for collecting data from October 31 to September 30. Response rates are still low, exacerbated by the pandemic. Commerce Secretary Ross wanted to end collection efforts at the end of this month, despite the fact that we know a large number of people have not yet responded. Today the Census Bureau announced they want to stop collecting on October 5. There is a technicality here the Commerce Department may be relying on in that the original order merely undid moving the deadline to September 30. The judge ordered the Commerce Department to explain what happened here and one government lawyer said there was no paper trail and the tweet announcing the change was the only thing written about the new policy. It’s unlikely the judge finds this acceptable, but watch this space.

The defense team for Michael Flynn submitted documents which were altered. The documents in question were memos from Peter Strzok and they had handwritten dates that were added and/or changed. (Strzok produced the original documents for comparison.) Flynn’s lawyers may not be the ones who changed the memos, but they were definitely altered by someone.

Twitter has added yet another disclaimer to one of the president’s tweets attacking mail-in voting. He said that mail-in ballots cannot accurately be counted. This is a lie. There are multiple states where mail-in ballots are the ONLY way to vote and they have been conducting their elections without issue for years. The primary source for attacking the integrity of the US election is the president.

CDC Director Redfield was overheard on the phone saying of White House coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas, “everything he says is false.” Redfield admitted to the statement. Dr. Atlas, who has zero experience in virology, epidemiology, or public health, has largely replaced Drs. Fauci and Birx at meetings and in public appearances of the task force. Atlas has pushed for removing Covid-19 restrictions and using herd immunity to stop the spread of the virus instead. Waiting for herd immunity will result in millions of deaths. Atlas has falsely claimed that children are not affected by the virus, among other lies.

The Trump campaign and its surrogates accused Hunter Biden of receiving $3.5 million from Yelena Baturina, the wife of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. Hunter Biden’s connection to the company is in dispute (a Biden lawyer said Hunter had nothing to do with the company’s founding) but regardless of that, there’s an issue that keeps coming up in the Trump smears of Hunter Biden. The COMPANY received $3.5 billion. Hunter Biden did not. When there isn’t a pandemic, I work for a large multi-billion dollar corporation. When that company receives money, an entire zero dollars of that goes to me personally. (I’ve been looking into changing that but so far the board has not expressed interest.) As every accusation Donald Trump makes about someone turns out to actually be something he’s done, Trump tried to develop properties in Moscow working with Luzhkov in the 90s. This is yet another business relationship Trump was pursuing in Russia without disclosing anything about it.

Channel 4 News in the UK (a publicly owned station separate from the BBC) got ahold of a database from the 2016 Trump campaign. 3.5 million African American voters are labeled as “deterrence.” (The label was not solely used for black voters.) Brad Parscale, who ran the 2016 digital operation, testified before congress that the campaign never targeted African Americans. That appears to have been a lie. Ads ran to discourage black voter turnout.

The New York Times has received several years’ worth of the president’s taxes. I want to note that almost immediately, right wingers began circulating that publishing this data or even possessing it is a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974. This isn’t true. The act criminalizing releasing certain private records. That only applies to a government agent releasing the records. The article does not identify the source – it may be any number of people from outside the government. Even if this did come directly from someone at the IRS, that employee committed a crime, but the New York Times has not. Issues like this have long since been settled law thanks to The Pentagon Papers case.

As to the meat of the article, it reveals several details about the president’s financial situation:

  • In 11 out of 18 years, the president paid zero federal income tax. In two of those years, he paid $750. Trump in the past has attacked Romney and Obama for their effective tax rates which we now know are orders of magnitude higher than Trump’s.
  • Nearly every business the president owns is losing a gargantuan amount of money.
  • The president is receiving a large amount of money from foreign sources, including foreign governments.
  • He has roughly half a billion in personally backed loans coming due in the next two years. His income stream does not support any ability to pay these loans. Every commercial bank but Deutsche Bank has refused to loan Trump any money for some time now. The commercial division at DB flagged him as a risk and stopped giving him loans. The personal division at DB flagged him as a risk but continued to loan him money, despite his default on a $600+ million loan from the bank. We do not currently know why DB overrode their own internal process saying not to loan money to Trump. The bank has recently been found guilty of laundering $20 billion for sanctioned Russian entities.
  • Trump used numerous questionable and outright illegal deductions. He deducted $750,000 in consulting fees paid to Ivanka while she was an employee of the company. He deducted the legal expenses incurred by Donald Trump Jr during the Mueller investigation. (Jr’s role in the Mueller investigation was solely related to his campaign activities and therefore cannot be deducted.)

In summation, the president typically pays almost nothing in federal income taxes, is likely using illegal deductions, has large business entanglements with foreign countries, and is massively in debt with no revenue to repay those debts and no banks willing to refinance it.

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Trump Daily 9/26/2020

President Trump said that the story that Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she didn’t want him replacing her was a hoax that came from Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, or Adam Schiff. The source for the story is Ginsburg’s granddaughter who was the person Ginsburg told this to. Trump called a family member of Ginsburg’s a liar days after her death.

A pseudonymous columnist at Redstate wrote several columns attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying there should never have been a lockdown or any need for mask wearing. The author implied Fauci and other health officials speaking about the pandemic were Nazis. As it turns out the author is Bill Crews. Mr. Crews worked in the public relations department at NIAID, the government organization headed by Fauci. Needless to say, Mr. Crews has stepped down.

In a new book from Andrew Weissmann, the former Mueller prosecutor claims the team shied away from examining Trump’s finances out of fear of angering the president. Among other allegations, Weissmann implies that Donald Trump Jr. pleaded the fifth amendment during the investigation.

The CIA has issued a report that Russia is likely directing an operation aimed at discrediting Biden. This report confirms another intelligence report recently published saying Andrii Derkach is the vector being used by Russia to spread disinformation. Derkach is a source for both Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who recently concluded his investigation into the Bidens. (The report showed nothing at all of consequence regarding the Bidens.) The CIA has been trying to keep intelligence about Russia away from the White House because Trump gets upset when he hears about Russia trying to aid his re-election.

I rarely just quote a headline, but I think it suffices here: “Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor.”

Multiple times this week Trump spoke about how “beautiful” it was when MSNBC reporter Ali Velshi was hit by a rubber bullet by police. The crowd in each instance has cheered Trump promoting violence against the press.

The CDC earlier this year responded to a severe Covid-19 outbreak in a South Dakota meat packing plant by issuing a report containing a large number of safety measures that needed to be implemented. Within a day, the report was altered so that every directive was qualified with a clause saying it should only be followed if it could be easily done. The changes came from CDC Director Redfield’s office.

Trump was on stage when word reached his campaign that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. His staff didn’t inform him because they were worried the crowd would cheer her death.

Eric Trump was ordered to testify in the criminal investigation of the Trump Organization. Eric responded that he would testify only after the election. Witnesses do not get to dictate to prosecutors the timeline of their cooperation. A judge has ruled Eric Trump must give his deposition on October 7 as ordered.

Twice this week, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election. During one response, he said that the election depends on whether Republicans can get enough mail-in ballots thrown out.

After years of saying he would unveil his health care plan “soon” or “within two weeks,” Trump announced an executive order on health care. The pillars include adding more choice, lowering costs, and protecting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Rather I should say the pillars say those are things we should do. The plan does not have any mechanisms for achieving these goals. Pre-existing condition coverage is CURRENTLY mandated by law. The Trump administration is suing to reverse that as we speak.

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Trump Daily 9/12/2020 – Woodward Again

When Bob Woodward published his first book on the incompetence of Donald Trump, the president was upset his staff kept him from being interviewed as he thought he would come across very well had Woodward spoken to him. For the soon-to-be-published second book, Woodward interviewed Trump 17 times and recorded the conversations. In early February, Trump told Woodward the coronavirus was more deadly than the flu and that he wanted to publicly downplay the risk posed by the pandemic. Trump lied to the public about the dangers of the virus and the White House is now spinning this as preventing panic, with Trump comparing himself to Winston Churchill during WW2. (Churchill notably never lied about the Nazi threat.) The book has several other more minor revelations – that DNI Coats warned Trump Devin Nunes was feeding him disinformation and that “his generals” were “pussies” for caring more about American alliances than trade deals.

In a series of court losses, a court is blocking the Trump administration’s efforts to end census collection efforts earlier than scheduled while a different court is blocking Trump’s effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census.

The Department of Justice is seeking to take over Trump’s defense in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against Trump. Carroll is suing the president for calling her a liar when she said he raped her. This echoes the civil suit brought by Summer Zervos against Trump. DoJ is arguing that Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he said Carroll was “not my type.” (This is absurd.) The express purpose of DoJ taking over the case is to have it dismissed due to sovereign immunity. You may sue Donald Trump for defamation, but not the US government. In summation, the federal government is trying to protect the president in a case hinging on whether or not he raped a woman.

A DHS whistleblower has filed a complaint alleging they were ordered to suppress or change intelligence regarding Russian election interference in order to avoid making the president look bad. Additionally, they say then DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen repeatedly lied about terrorists apprehended at the border while Ken Cuccinelli had them alter data on Central American countries to make them appear safe so as to avoid awarding asylum status to immigrants from those countries. Both Cuccinelli and Chad Wolf had them alter data to downplay the threat of white supremacist groups while inflating the danger from left wing groups such as antifa. Along these lines, Miles Taylor, an ex-DHS official, says that after a top intelligence official testified that Russia had worked to help elect Trump, Trump tried to have that official fired.

Michael Caputo is a Twitter troll who previously worked for The Kremlin and then a Russian PR firm where he worked on improving Putin’s image. He makes a short appearance in the Mueller report, arranging a meeting between Roger Stone and a man promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. In short, Caputo is shady as hell. He’s now the Public Affairs Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. Not only has Caputo been trying to muffle Dr. Anthony Fauci, but he has been directing the alteration of CDC data on the virus in order to support the president. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports have had an impeccable reputation for accuracy until now. The Trump administration is now changing scientific reports in order to downplay the threat of the pandemic.

The US Treasury Department announced sanctions against Ukrainian Andriy Derkach for his interference in the election. Derkach is the primary source for Senator Ron Johnson’s sham investigation into the company Hunter Biden worked for and met with Rudy Giulani about the Bidens. Derkach is a key element in Putin’s disinformation campaign.

The third-party judge appointed in the Michael Flynn case to render an opinion on how to move forward has done so. Judge John Gleeson determined that the Department of Justice effort to have the Flynn cased dismissed is not only full of error, but nothing more than a pressure campaign from the government to help the president. He openly called AG Barr’s efforts to dismiss the case corrupt.

Colorado, just tonight, won a restraining order against the US Postal Service. The USPS is sending out postcards to every home and PO Box in the nation with instructions on voting by mail. But they’re sending the SAME instructions to every state despite a wide variance in the process. While the cards are accurate in some states, they are incredibly wrong in several states. The cards contain instructions on how to request a mail ballot – which isn’t even possible in every state. Several Secretaries of State asked Postmaster Dejoy to review the cards before mailing. He refused and now the Postal Service is sending incorrect voting information to millions of voters.

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Trump Daily 9/5/2020 – Weekend Catch-up

  • The president posted statistics from a Qanon supporter about Covid-19 not being nearly as much of a threat because most people who die from Covid-19 have other causes of death listed. Twitter took the Tweet down. This has become a common talking point of the right. It’s true that few death certificates list only Covid-19 as the cause of death. But that’s normal. Most death certificates list multiple causes. Aside from common comorbidities, often someone who dies from Covid-19 will have ailments CAUSED by the virus listed on their death certificate. It’s common for a death certificate to list both Covid-19 and ARDS. ARDS is the respiratory disorder caused by Covid-19.
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Trump Daily 8/27/2020 – Catching Up Before the Final Convention Night

Doing one large write-up on the convention so here’s the other news you may have missed.

The Daily Beast detailed the relationship between Jared Kushner and Kirill Dmitriev who runs Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. Dmitriev will be familiar to you if you followed my coverage of the Mueller report. He set up covert meetings with Kushner and Erik Prince despite being under sanction by the United States. One of the earliest shipments of ventilators Kushner secured came from Dmitriev. They were never used as they were junk.

Trump has frequently warned of foreign governments somehow hacking mail-in voting. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has seen no evidence of this. Such large scale vote manipulation is functionally impossible because of how the US election system is run.

The NY Attorney General’s Office has detailed their investigation into The Trump Organization and it’s as we thought – they’re investing the group for lying about the value of properties both to banks and for tax purposes. Michael Cohen testified this was happening before Congress and the financial documents provided by Mary Trump to the New York Times proved it. Eric Trump is not cooperating with the investigation and his lawyer has alluded to him pleading the 5th amendment.

The Trump campaign released a fairly generic video about what a great job he’s done. All of the images used in the video are from stock footage. They just released another ad about how violent protests are across the country. The footage used for this ad is from Spain.

Per the former Chief of Staff at DHS, Trump was seeking ways to maim and injure immigrants at the border. DHS and CBP later considered using a microwave weapon which induces the feeling of your skin burning off. (This is a real device built by Raytheon though it has never been used.)

The CDC changed their guidelines to say people who have been directly exposed to someone with the virus do not need to be tested. This is a blatant attempt to decrease the number of reported cases before the election. The Covid-19 task force waited until Dr. Fauci was having surgery to discuss the change. Dr. Redfield partially walked back this change, but his statement no longer appears on the CDC website. This change came because of pressure from The White House.

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Trump Daily 8/10/2020

I’m covering three press conferences tonight, but I first want to mention that the first two of those took place from the president’s private golf club. He once again spent the weekend golfing during the pandemic which has now killed 163,000 Americans. In 2014, Trump frequently attacked President Obama over golfing during the West African Ebola outbreak which killed two Americans. Two. Not only is the president continuing to funnel government money into his private businesses, but this weekend he had an audience made up of his own customers there to provide an audience for the press conference. Those customers booed reporters and shouted down questions so the president would not have to answer them. During the first press conference, the president was asked by CBS’s Paula Reid about his extremely frequent lie that he passed Veterans Choice, a law signed by President Obama. (He’s now told this lie over 150 times). Rather than answer, Trump abruptly ended the presser.

In today’s press conference, Trump lied about mail-in voting, Russian interference, Democrats interfering in the election, how great America is handling Covid-19, being the first to institute tariffs on China, having no ventilators at the beginning of the pandemic, Obama’s “campaign” spying on his campaign and the flu pandemic of 1917 ending WW2 which notably ended in 1945. Trump explained his previous lie that no one had ever acted to protect pre-existing conditions, a legal requirement for the past decade, thanks to the ACA by saying he was the first to protect them via executive order and issuing an executive order to protect pre-existing conditions despite already being protected by law showed how much the Republicans want to protect them. The Republican Party for a decade has been trying to remove all protections for pre-existing conditions and the Trump administration has literally argued before the Supreme Court that mandating such protections is illegal. Today he proposed a capital gains tax to affect those suffering from the pandemic. 75% of capital gains taxes are paid by ONE PERCENT of the population.

He’s announced 4 executive actions. He’s called these both laws and executive orders as he still uses the terms interchangeably despite referring to completely distinct things. Regardless, only one of the released documents is an executive order. The other three are merely memos.

In Saturday’s press conference, the president lied about support for a payroll tax cut, lied about mail-in voting, lied about saying there would be lawsuits over his executive actions (he said he expected them on Friday and on Saturday denied saying that), lied about Democrats not wanting to protect people facing eviction, and lied about passing the Obama-era Veterans Choice law.

He told the treasury to stop collecting payroll tax for those making under $104,000. There are multiple problems with this. Firstly, taxation is a power expressly given to Congress in the Constitution. The executive branch cannot arbitrarily decide to raise or lower a tax. This is only a deferral so in theory that amount will be owed at the end of the year. He wants to make these cuts permanent however going forward which he claims he’ll do after re-election. These taxes directly fund Social Security and Medicare. The president’s plan here is to run on massive cuts to the incoming revenue to social security. (Employer payroll taxes were already deferred by Congress). This is also problematic as it only helps people who still have their incomes who by and large are not suffering financially because of the pandemic.

The second memo calls for $400 a week in extra unemployment payments. The president doesn’t have the authority to simply conjure unemployment payments so he’s using a bit of sleight of hand. The money will be taken from FEMA’s disaster relief fund. If that sounds familiar, this exact idea was a plotline on House of Cards. This sounds though like a great idea until you examine the mechanics. As this is not actually an unemployment payment, the money cannot be distributed through the states’ existing unemployment systems. They will have to design a completely new system to process and handle the payments. Because this is legally disaster aid, the states are required by statute to fund 25% of the payments themselves. Several states have completely run out of cash to handle unemployment payments and are constrained from deficit spending by their constitutions. In short, they literally cannot make the required 25% payments. This entire system is likely dead in the water.

The third action, actually an executive order, regards evictions. I’ll note here that the eviction protection that was already in place from Congress covered just a small portion of people. The vast majority of renters received no federal protection from eviction. But the few that did will not actually be covered by this memo as it doesn’t do anything. All the memo does is direct HHS and, oddly, the CDC to CONSIDER if they should implement some sort of eviction ban. Meanwhile people have lost their supplemental unemployment payments and currently have no means to pay rent.

Which leaves us to the fourth action, deferring student loan payments and interest through the rest of the year. Breaking from my normal form, he both has the authority to do this and it’s absolutely the right thing to do. The last deferral was put in place by Congress, but the president can take the action himself. This is a needed action with little to no downside.

The Director of National Intelligence has tied pro-Putin Ukrainian Andriy Derkach to Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2020 election. Specifically Derkach is providing disinformation about Hunter Biden to Republican politicians – regarding the same conspiracy theory the president keeps citing about the Bidens and Ukraine. Multiple members of congress, especially Devin Nunes and Ron Johnson, have been promoting the Russian disinformation for nearly the entire year. Johnson is currently heading the Senate investigation into it, despite being made aware that the basis for his investigation is literally a Russian attempt to swing the election to Trump. Derkach has appeared on Trump-favorite OANN and met with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The New York Times did a deep dive into election intelligence that you should read https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/08/magazine/us-russia-intelligence.html?smid=tw-share but one important take away is that after the intelligence community determined Russia was working to see Trump re-elected, the Director of National Intelligence was told to alter this assessment. He was fired and replaced by Robert Maguire, who complied.

As we near an election which will see more mail-in ballots than any in history, the newly appointed Postmaster General, a major Trump donor, has reassigned or fired THIRTY-THREE USPS staffers. He’s also been implemented changes/cuts with have resulted in nationwide mail delays.

The White House reached out to the governor of South Dakota to find out what the process is for adding Trump to Mount Rushmore.

The White House is exploring multiple options to curb legal voting by mail.

Trump has narrowed the location of his acceptance speech to Gettysburg, located in a national park, and The White House, owned by the public. Using public resources for his campaign is blatantly illegal, but nothing will happen because the Republican Party does not care what laws he breaks.

Trump said that lifelong devout Catholic Joe Biden is “against God” and Biden’s election would “hurt the Bible, hurt God.” Biden has frequently talked about his faith for decades. Trump does not attend church and cannot name a single Bible verse. When asked if he’s ever asked God for forgiveness, one of the central tenants of Christianity, Trump said he hadn’t ever done anything requiring forgiveness. Asked to explain this today, Trump said Biden was against God because of the policy agreement he signed with Bernie Sanders. Unable to offer specifics because he doesn’t read, Trump gave higher taxes as one of the reasons Biden is going to hurt God. Eighty percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump, the thrice married serial adulterer who bragged about how he sexually assaults women and who paid off a porn star he had an affair with weeks after his son was born. #familyvalues

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