Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 7/22/2020

  • The Deputy Director of the federal force arresting people in Portland addressed the arrest of a person seen in a viral video last week. CBP agents are seen grabbing the person who did not appear to be doing anything illegal and taking them away in an unmarked van. We now know why they were targeted. This person was earlier in a crowd next to someone shining a laser pointer at the agents. They wanted to question them. Rather than speaking to them there on the street, they took them to a federal courthouse where they were questioned for 20 minutes. Kris Cline, the deputy director of the Federal Protective Service, said this was perfectly legal. He is egregiously wrong on two counts. Firstly, he said this was not an arrest. The Supreme Court has ruled on situations exactly like this. This person was arrested. Secondly, the agents do not have probable cause to do anything other than ask questions simply because this person was nearby someone who is alleged to have committed a crime. This is also explicitly addressed by the Supreme Court. The people heading up the federal police action in Portland are either unaware of some very basic concepts of what they’re doing or they’re choosing to ignore them.
  • The president, both in live remarks and tweets, has commented this week about how the US response is the best or nearly the best in several metrics. He’s lying. 25% of confirmed global cases are in the US. The US is the tenth WORST country in the world for per capita cases. I didn’t check tonight to see how many countries are doing better in this category, but it’s above 170. Over 170 countries have a lower per capita infection rate than the US. The US has now had more confirmed cases than any country in the world in the past week. Per capita, that’s 7th worst in the world. (Take that, Montenegro!) 25% of global deaths have occurred in the US. Per capita, that falls into the same rank as total cases – 10th worst in the world. As far as recent deaths, the United States looks slightly better – second worst instead of worst, behind Brazil. The current daily death rate, which is increasing, is 11th worst in the world. As they once tried to pretend the pandemic was not happening, Republicans are now trying to pretend the pandemic has been handled well in the United States. It is difficult to understate how wrong this is. We are not merely doing worse than other industrialized democracies, we are doing worse than nearly every country on the planet.
  • The day after press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump is tested multiple times a day for the coronavirus, the president said he has never been tested more than once a day. It’s not clear which one of them is lying.
  • The president directed the ambassador to the United Kingdom to ask them to move the British Open to his failing golf course. This alone would be one of the biggest presidential scandals in history, but it’s barely a blip on anyone’s radar right now due to the dozens of other Trump scandals. Trump did absolutely no divestment from any of his private businesses and funnels taxpayer money to them, promotes them from official platforms, and encourages foreign governments to patronize them. Republicans are fine with that.
  • With unemployment assistance set to expire next week, the Republicans have no idea what they’d like to do about that other than cutting aid by 83%. Several of them have spoken about how they can’t pay people to stay home from work when paying people to stay home from work is the entire point of the program. We will absolutely not overcome this pandemic without giving money to people for not working. There are no other options. The longer this process is delayed, the worst the situation will be and the more it will cost to fix it. Notably, this concept of fiscal responsibility was not present when the Republicans passed a huge tax cut which blew a massive hole in the deficit.
  • Trump is still bragging about performing “well” on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment he took in 2018. He again said some of the questions are harder than identifying a drawing of a horse, but he’s finally offered a specific example of a “difficult” question – being able to recite 5 words which had been read to him. This test measures cognitive decline, primarily in dementia patients. Anyone without a severe brain issue should be able to achieve a nearly perfect score. The president thinks it’s good that his doctors were surprised he did well.
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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 7/14/2020

  • White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro has published an op-ed attacking Dr. Fauci. I’m not sure we have seen anything like this in modern US history – a White House official is publicly attacking a top government scientist. Before diving into the details, I want to compare their credentials. Dr. Fauci has been the lead infectious disease expert in the US for thirty six years. Before that he was a research scientist and a director of multiple government medical science organizations. Fauci has been heavily involved with, if not directly overseen, every major outbreak in the country across four decades. He is arguably the most experienced infectious disease expert on the entire planet. Peter Navarro has an economics degree. He ran for mayor of San Diego and lost, ran for city council and lost, ran for the board of supervisors and lost, ran for congress and lost, then finally ran for city council again… and lost. He has otherwise been a professor and author, but before joining the Trump campaign, was most known as a political pundit. He has zero medical, public health, or scientific experience. I’ll dive into his op-ed in the next bullet point.
  • The president turned what was supposed to be a press conference about Hong Kong into a campaign speech, speaking for nearly an hour and taking only three questions at the end, one of which was the softball “Do you see yourself as an underdog?” This was a particularly abnormal event, as you are not legally allowed to use White House resources to campaign. While talking about trade with China, Trump said the country was “taking money from the treasury.” In Bob Woodward’s book, he described economic adviser Gary Cohn trying to explain to Trump that trade deficits do not cost anything, but Trump insisted a trade deficit meant money was being taken from the US government. This is absolute nonsense. The president still believes it after several years in office. In the rest of his long incoherent rant, the president said the Paris Climate Accords required the country to close 25% of businesses, a lie, that Biden supported carbon regulations that would result in banning windows, a lie, and asked why Biden didn’t fix our highways while vice-president. Congress appropriates infrastructure spending. The president still does not have a basic grasp of how the government works. He threw in the typical attacks on Hunter Biden and mail-in voting. This was an event about Hong Kong.
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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 6/26/2020

New studies from Harvard Kennedy and the University of Chicago correlate right-wing news consumption with believe in misinformation about the coronavirus.

With millions losing their health insurance during the pandemic, the Trump administration has filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court requesting that the entire ACA be struck down. Donald Trump for years now has maintained he will protect health care access to those with pre-existing conditions while never offering a mechanism for doing so.

In an NPR interview, AG Barr attacked voting by mail as an insecure system, vulnerable to fraud. Barr himself, along with multiple senior members of the Trump administration, votes by mail. Mail voting systems have multiple barriers to fraud that would be effectively impossible for a foreign power to exploit as Barr and Trump have warned of.

In response to testimony and a whistleblower complaint that the Department of Justice’s investigation into marijuana companies was predicated solely on Barr’s personal animus, the DoJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility responded that such investigations would be perfectly fine.

A GRU unit (Russian military intelligence) was paying bounties to terrorists in Afghanistan for killing Allied forces, including Americans. The president was briefed about this in March. The US has not responded in any way. After learning of these assassinations funded by Russia, the president pitched the idea of Russia rejoining the G7.

In the first Covid-19 task force press conference in 68 days, Pence casually estimated 240,000 Americans will die from Covid-19. The estimate coming from Trump and Pence has steadily increased since the beginning of the pandemic, when Trump said there were only 15 cases which would soon be near zero. Pence mentioned daily cases in OK declining while failing to mention it was a slight decline after a massive spike. Pence was twice asked about holding large rallies while the task force advises against large gatherings. And twice Pence responded by saying they had a first amendment right to free speech and assembly. The second time Pence took this question, he promptly ended the press conference, after having answered only six questions.

A 3 panel judge on the 9th circuit ruled that Trump diverting funds appropriated to military infrastructure projects to build the border wall was unconstitutional. (The Supreme Court decision regarding this subject dealt with a stay, not the merits of the case itself.) This will undoubtedly head to the Supreme Court, but likely won’t be resolved this year.

Ron Johnson is reviving his Senate investigation of Joe Biden’s son Hunter ahead of the November election. Hunter Biden has never been credibly accused of any specific wrongdoing.

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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 2/14/2020

  • Barr will be testifying before the House at the end of March. This is notably after the release date of John Bolton’s book. It is however very likely that Barr will refuse to answer several questions.
  • The president ranted from the White House about the Roger Stone conviction saying no one even knew what he had been convicted of. Stone was convicted of seven felonies – 1 count of obstruction, 1 count of witness tampering, and 5 counts of lying to Congress. These counts are all detailed and publicly available. The president was lying. He is also attacking the jury foreman because they are a Democrat. Belonging to a political party does not mean a person is so biased as to require they not sit on a jury.
  • John McEntee was fired from the White House after failing to obtain a security clearance because of a massive gambling habit and allegations of financial crimes. McEntee is returning to the White House and will be in charge of vetting all White House personnel.
  • Trump introduced a worker during the state of the union address he said was the beneficiary of a tax break signed into law by Trump. He lied. The same thing happened with a student Trump said was in a failing government school. She is not.
  • After all four prosecutors in the Roger Stone case resigned over Trump and Barr’s interference with their sentencing recommendation, the president said they resigned because they were “caught in the act by me.”

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