Daily Summaries

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.

Daily Summaries

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

Daily Summaries

Trump Daily – 7/28/2020 – Demon Semen

  • Last night the president retweeted roughly a dozen people touting the benefits of Hydroxychloroquine in treating/curing Covid-19. Several of these involved a video from a group of doctors pushing the drug. You may recognize Dr. Dan Erickson from a different viral video in April which was labeled as false on Facebook. Erickson claimed there was no reason for anyone who wasn’t sick to quarantine and used INCREDIBLY bad math to justify is false claims about the virus. But no one is talking about Dr. Erickson’s part in this new video thanks to Dr. Stella Immanuel who runs a “deliverance ministry” in addition to her medical clinic. (A deliverance ministry focuses on exorcising demons and other evil spirits from people and locations.) Dr. Immanuel claims she has had a 100% success rate with hydroxychloroquine and hasn’t lost a patient. Notably, Dr. Immanuel works at a walk-in clinic which means it’s unlikely she’s seen anyone who was dangerously ill with Covid-19. But it’s her other beliefs which are causing the current attention. Dr. Immanuel believes that diseases are caused by demons and that vaccines are assembled using alien DNA which prevents people from being religious when administered. (She claims the government is run by lizard people and other aliens, but it wasn’t clear if she thinks vaccines are made with the DNA of our reptilian overlords or if said reptilian overlords are using third-party alien DNA.) Dr. Immanuel believes the unique medical issues women face are caused by having sex with demons in their dreams as their semen causes things like endometriosis. I did not make that up. Sometimes though the demons are just witches who are astrally projecting and pretending to be demons. I wasn’t clear on whether an astrally projecting witch masquerading as a demon in a dream can ejaculate, much less if said faux-demon dream witch ejaculate can cause endometriosis. If you’re interested in such things, her ministry website should be back up again soon. Dr. Immanuel confirmed all of these beliefs herself tonight. To bring this back to our topic, THIS IS A PERSON THE PRESIDENT WAS TOUTING AS AN EXPERT ON COVID-19. As the United States closes in on 150,000 deaths, Donald Trump is still pushing conspiracy theories from crackpots and miracle cures while attacking the most experienced infectious disease expert on the entire planet. In today’s press conference, Trump was asked about these beliefs. He initially defended Dr. Immanuel, but when asked a followup about her alien DNA beliefs, he immediately ended the presser without answering. Twitter briefly cut off Donald Trump Jr’s access over this misinformation and deleted the Tweets the president was making about it. Surprisingly he hasn’t mentioned this today after saying this weekend it was “illegal” for Twitter to have trending topics related to negative news about him. Yes, the president thinks the law should force a social media sight from highlighting bad news about him.

(I am intentionally skipping covering Bill Barr’s testimony today as I found it useless)

Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 7/20/2020

  • Trump’s interview with Mike Wallace aired yesterday. Trump again bragged about doing well on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment which literally asks you to identify three animals. Trump insisted the questions got “very hard.” Wallace pointed out one of these “very hard” questions was to count backwards from 100 by 7s which he began to do. The president lied about the US having the lowest Covid-19 mortality rate in the world and was angered when Wallace pointed out this was not true. Trump also lied saying Biden wants to defund police which Biden has explicitly said he does not support. Trump asked for the text of a pact Biden made with Bernie Sanders saying it spoke about defunding police. Trump could not find that passage because it does not exist. The president again said that we would have fewer Covid-19 cases if we tested fewer people. He said “everybody” thought the summer heat would make the virus go away. No medical experts said this. The person who did was Donald Trump. When asked about the disproportionate rate black men are killed by police as compared to white men, Trump pointed out that many white men are killed by police too. He said religion will be “gone” if Biden is elected president. Biden is a lifelong devout Catholic. The president was asked about his attempts to have the courts throw out the entire Affordable Care Act which will immediately throw tens of millions of people off of their insurance plans. Trump said he will replace it with something which will protect pre-existing conditions and he will enact this replacement via executive order within the next two weeks because the Supreme Court’s DACA decision means he can enact anything via executive order as long as he follows the proper process. None of this is true. Every part was a lie. He does not have that authority, he does not have a plan, and the Republicans are trying to take away health insurance from millions of Americans during the worst pandemic in a century.

Trump Daily 4/5/2020

Catching up on some stories, nearly all Covid-19 related.

  • The president said we didn’t need to halt plane and train travel as passengers were getting “very strong tests” before departure and after arrival. This was a lie. No testing is being done of passengers at any point. Some flights have arrival screening (not testing), but not all of them.
  • The president attacked Captain Crozier, formerly of the USS Theodore Roosevelt for docking the ship in Vietnam. Vietnam has had one of the best responses to the virus in the world. They closed their schools on February 1st, long before most countries. When the carrier docked there, Vietnam had less than 20 cases. The outbreak from the ship had nothing to do with Vietnam. It also wasn’t Crozier’s decision. There are conflicting reports as to whether Trump was involved in firing Crozier but we know he was fired for drawing attention to the lack of response to the outbreak on his ship.
  • The president fired the Intelligence Inspector General who sent the Ukraine whistleblower report to Congress. Trump explicitly said the firing was because he sent the report. He was legally obligated to do so. The president must give Congress 30 days notice before firing an inspector general. He’s getting around the law this time by putting Atkinson on leave for 30 days.

The following articles are general summaries of the US response and how badly it went. Not summarizing them here as they’re all worth a full read.

Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 3/5/2020

  • In the White House, Trump blamed the problems with coronavirus testing on Barack Obama. Aside from the fact that Trump has been president for over 3 years, the rule he’s referring to here was never implemented. He’s lying.
  • Despite claims that the Ukraine military hold was due to a policy review, no policy review ever took place. The documents showing this were withheld from Congress without any legal basis.
  • The president called into The Sean Hannity show and told several lies about the coronavirus and that he had a “hunch” the numbers were wrong. He mentioned that people are getting better quickly and going to work with the virus. When asked for comment, the White House said he was referring to telecommuting. The president in the past week has told several outright lies about the virus and made several statements illustrating that he doesn’t understand any of the underlying science – such as saying this is a flu virus and asking why the flu vaccine can’t be deployed against it.
  • In the same interview, the president told one of his most frequent lies, claiming he is the one responsible for the Veterans Choice law. The law was written by John McCain and Bernie Sanders. It was signed into law by Barack Obama. He has told this lie about the law over 120 times. He also blamed Obama for the 1994 crime bill. Realizing his error, Trump then said Obama had been speaking about the bill at the time. Barack Obama was an unknown legal professor at the time. The president lied about this.

Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 3/2/2020

  • John Ratcliffe has been nominated to be Director of National Intelligence. He was previously nominated then withdrawn when it came out nearly every instance on his resume involving national intelligence was a lie. Nothing has changed since his last nomination. This may be an intentional tactic as if the Senate rejects him, Trump can simply keep acting DNI Grenell in place, who also has zero intelligence experience.
  • The United States and the Taliban, a terrorist organization, have announced a peace deal that would involve releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners from Afghani custody. Republicans were previously furious when President Obama brokered a prisoner swap involving 5 Taliban prisoners. The deal has already been rejected by the Aghani government and the Taliban has resumed military operations.
  • A judge had found that Ken Cuccinelli was illegally appointed as acting director of USCIS. The agency has already sent out notifications undoing actions he took this summer. He remains Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. Through Trump’s entire term he has abused the Vacancies Reform Act in order to avoid having to go through Senate confirmation of his nominees.
  • An upcoming book from David Enrich details the shady transactions taking place at Deutsche Bank. Despite their own internal processes red flagging Trump, the bank continued to loan him massive amounts of money, going so far as to give him a loan to cover another loan they held he had already defaulted on. Coincidentally, the bank was laundering massive amounts of Russian money.

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.”

Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 2/6/2020

  • Trump’s state of the union address contained numerous lies, but I wanted to focus on one in particular as it is so egregious. For years now, the president has been claiming that Democrats are trying to destroy healthcare while he and the Republicans are protecting patients with pre-existing conditions. The Department of Justice is currently arguing in the court system for undoing the only legal requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions. Trump has not taken ANY other actions. His repeated claim has no basis in reality. It’s pure fiction.
  • Susan Collins joined Lamar Alexander in justifying their impeachment votes by saying what the president did was wrong, but he likely learned a lesson from the process and would not do it again. The president has responded to their claims and said he did nothing wrong.
  • One of Ukrainian president Zelensky’s advisers told him to offer to help build a Trump Tower in Ukraine in order to help relations between the two countries. Trump currently operates businesses involved with dozens of foreign governments.
  • The Treasury Department is turning over financial documents about Hunter Biden to Senate investigators. Throughout all of the Ukraine scandal process there has not been so much as an allegation of a criminal act from Hunter Biden. The same Treasury Department is currently fighting turning over Trump’s tax records which the law explicitly requires them to give to Congress.
  • Attorney General Barr is calling for the United States to purchase private companies in order to gain access to their cellular technology.
  • In an hour-long unhinged rant from the White House, the president attacked Democrats, the FBI, and said the investigation into his campaign was “bullshit.” He said Comey was a sleazebag, that Pelosi, a lifelong Catholic, does not pray, and he attacked purple heart recipient Lt. Col. Vindman for testifying against him. In commenting about Steve Scalise’s 2017 shooting, he said most wives would not care their husbands were in the hospital. This was not the first time the president has shown he does not understand the concept of empathy, which he doesn’t personally experience.

Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 1/16/2020

Rachel Maddow concluded her two part interview with Lev Parnas tonight. I will not be including it here. I need to get my notes (pages!) sorted out and will be making a separate entry solely on the interview and the last two Parnas data dumps.

  • The Government Accountability Office released a finding today that withholding Ukraine’s aid package was illegal. The memo places the blame on the president. Their concluding paragraph stated alarm at the refusal of the White House to cooperate with their inquiry.
  • I am normally skeptical of books with insider perspectives from the White House, but Philip Ruicker and Carol Leonnig are highly credible in my opinion. Their new book claims that Trump did not understand the significance of Pearl Harbor, that Trump interrupted an interview with a Secretary of State candidate to ask when he could meet Putin, that Trump wanted Tillerson to help him get rid of the law which prevents US businesses from bribing foreign governments (Trump has publicly said in the past that US businesses should be able to offer such bribes), that Trump suspected that Colbie Holderness (assaulted by White House staffer Rob Porter) may have “purposefully ran into a refrigerator to give herself bruises and try to get money out of Porter,” and that Trump told the Prime Minister of India that his country did not share a border with China. India’s border with China is 2,520 miles long, the 9th longest international border in the world.