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.

Standard
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

Standard