AlterNet Staff

Probe into suspected foreign campaign contribution for Trump mysteriously shut down

For the last three years, federal prosecutors have been conducting a secret investigation to determine whether or not millions of dollars flowing from an Egyptian state-owned bank could have illegally contributed to President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential victory. However, now that investigation has mysteriously been shut down.

This week, the investigative probe was confirmed by a Justice Department senior official who shared details with CNN. According to the DOJ official, the investigation was closed in July, reports CNN.

"The case was first looked at by the Special Counsel investigators who failed to bring a case, and then it was looked at by the US attorney's office, and career prosecutors in the national security section, who also were unable to bring a case. Based upon the recommendations of both the FBI and those career prosecutors, Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney, formally closed the case in July."

In a September court filing, the Justice Department confirmed that an "an ongoing foreign campaign contribution investigation" was transferred to Washington, D.C., prosecutors after United States Department of Justice Robert Mueller's office was shut down in July 2019.

At one point, the extensive, top-secret investigation was so confidential that a full floor inside a Washington, D.C. federal courthouse was blocked off so Mueller's team could carry out investigative proceedings.

While investigators still have not confirmed whether or not they had legitimate evidence to confirm bank transfer from the Egyptian bank, insiders have suggested otherwise.

According to The Daily Beast, multiple insiders reportedly confirmed to CNN that there was substantial information to uphold a subpoena and continue the campaign finance investigation despite Mueller's investigative probe being complete.

It has also been reported that there were questions concerning a last-minute campaign contribution to Trump's 2016 campaign. The president, himself, reportedly contributed $10 million to his own campaign. The sizable donation was the single, largest contribution to the campaign and the president could not be reimbursed for it. However, investigators had qualms about the donation and where it may have originated from.

Federal law enforcement officials suspected, in part because of intelligence information, that there was money moving through the Egyptian bank that could connect to Trump's campaign donation, according to the sources. Yet untangling the web of Trump's complex business interests ultimately remained out of reach. - CNN

DOJ admits Trump lied about declassification of Russia documents

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was forced to assert that President Donald Trump actually lied when he tweeted that he had declassified documents relative to the federal investigation into the alleged "Russian Hoax."

The DOJ released a statement in response to an emergency motion filed by BuzzFeed News journalist Jason Leopold seeking unredacted sections of the Mueller report and 302s— Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) witness interview materials. BuzzFeed also requested that Senior U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton order the government agency to reprocess its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lift redactions the Trump administration may have left in place.

The publication also argued that with the president's claim that the documents had been declassified, there was no longer a justifiable reason for the DOJ to legally continue withholding the documents.

However, the government agency pushed back against Trump's claims. While the DOJ officials acknowledged that the president does have the authority to declassify documents, they made it clear that he had not done so, despite his tweets suggesting otherwise.

"The President has the authority to declassify documents that are otherwise currently and properly classified. The President has not exercised this authority with respect to any of the FD-302s remaining at issue in this case," the DOJ wrote.

The DOJ added, "The Court cannot infer that any such sweeping order exists based on the President's Twitter statements because they merely suggest that the President 'authorized' the 'declassification' of unspecified information. The Twitter statements do not refer to any specific document and do not indicate that the President was exercising his Constitutional authority to declassify specific information. They were not an order to declassify particular material."

The latest controversy and DOJ response comes less than two weeks after Trump's problematic tweets. On October 6, the president claimed he had "fully authorized" the total declassification of the documents.

"I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!" Trump tweeted.

Just an hour after the initial tweet, Trump continued with his rant as he tweeted, "All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act!!!"

Regardless of Trump's tweets, the DOJ also noted the White House's position, which suggests Trump's social media remarks carry no weight and cannot be enforced.

"And the White House has made clear that the Twitter statements 'do not require altering any redactions on any record at issue in this case, including, but not limited to, any redactions taken pursuant to any discretionary FOIA exemptions,'" the DOJ wrote. "Nor do the President's statements on Twitter prevent the Department from taking appropriate exemptions and redacting documents consistent with law and the positions the Department takes in FOIA matters.' Therefore, the Twitter statements do not, as Plaintiffs argue, operate as a waiver of any of these exemptions."

WH officials tipped off GOP elites, trade insiders at helm of pandemic: NYT report

President Donald Trump's White House is, yet again, at the center of controversy for its early response to the pandemic.

Although Trump has repeatedly been criticized for downplaying the coronavirus and not responding soon enough, The New York Times reports that some of his White House officials, including the president's economic advisor Larry Kudlow, actually did react—to warn insiders about the possible collapse of the stock market.

According to an NYT report published on Wednesday evening, the president's White House's economic advisers privately warned various conservative insiders and wealthy campaign donors of the uncertainty that might arise due to the coronavirus outbreak. The warnings are said to have been issued in late February, just a few short weeks before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.

This occurred all while Trump waged a public effort to give the American people a false sense of security about the virus. The publication's report centered on a memo written by a hedge fund consultant, who attended a three-day meeting at the Hoover Institution, widely known as a conservative public policy think tank at Stanford University.

The consultant's assessment detailed the possibility of a pandemic-related market crash as he warned Republican elites, along with other well-connected stock traders. A total of eight people received the consultant's memo but many different aspects of the memo spread to many New York investors other elite trade insiders.

Here is an excerpt from the NYT report:

The consultant's assessment quickly spread through parts of the investment world. U.S. stocks were already spiraling because of a warning from a federal public health official that the virus was likely to spread, but traders spotted the immediate significance: The president's aides appeared to be giving wealthy party donors an early warning of a potentially impactful contagion at a time when Mr. Trump was publicly insisting that the threat was nonexistent.

Interviews with eight people who either received copies of the memo or were briefed on aspects of it as it spread among investors in New York and elsewhere provide a glimpse of how elite traders had access to information from the administration that helped them gain financial advantage during a chaotic three days when global markets were teetering." - The New York Times.

The NYT report comes months after Republican elites like Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) faced scrutiny following her and her husband's speculative sale of $18.7 million in Intercontinental Exchange stock, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Georgia senator, who also serves on the Senate Health Committee, first began selling off her stock on January 24 — the same day the committee held its first private all-members session on COVID-19. Loeffler's stock sales transactions were completed over three dates with the last transaction being completed on March 11, just two days before the WHO's pandemic declaration.

"Senator Loeffler filed another Periodic Transaction Report (PTR) and the facts are still the same," Loeffler's spokesperson told Vox in a statement. "These transactions are consistent with historical portfolio activity and include a balanced mix of buys and sells. Her stock portfolio is managed independently by third-party advisors and she is notified, as indicated on the report, after transactions occur."

Leaked footage exposes Trump allies boasting about ballot harvesting

Leaked footage from a right-wing organization reportedly shows multiple allies of President Donald Trump advocating for ballot harvesting despite the president constantly accusing Democratic voters of doing so.

With less than 25 days to Election Day, Republican activist Charlie Kirk spoke during a closed-door gathering of Conservatives hosted by the Council for National Policy (CNP) where he appeared to praise the impact coronavirus will have on the election. According to Kirk, COVID may prohibit many liberal college students from voting in the upcoming election.

"So, please keep the campuses closed," Kirk said in hopes that closures will suppress the vote. "Like, it's a great thing."

Many of the videos highlight discussions that took place between February and August. In one of the videos, Bill Walton, the executive committee president for CNP, even attempted to offer a dangerous comparison of the election to spiritual warfare as a matter of "good versus evil."

"This is a spiritual battle we are in. This is good versus evil," Walton said to an audience that attended an event at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City on Aug. 21, adding, "We have to do everything we can to win."

Ralph Reed, chairman of the nonprofit Faith & Freedom Coalition, also weighed in with a blatant commitment to ballot harvesting. Reed encouraged other evangelical leaders to do the same.

"Our organization is going to be harvesting ballots in churches," Reed said. "We're going to be specifically going in not only to White evangelical churches, but into Hispanic and Asian churches, and collecting those ballots."

Tom Fitton, president of the non-profit Conservative organization the Judicial Watch, also challenged the audience to come up with ways to suppress votes and "stop ballots from going out.

"We need to stop those ballots from going out, and I want the lawyers here to tell us what to do," Fitton said, adding, "But this is a crisis that we're not prepared for. I mean, our side is not prepared for."

The leaked footage follows Trump's repeated claim that the election will be rigged. For months, the president has waged war on mail-in ballots while filing lawsuits in multiple Democratic-run states. Trump has repeatedly condemned mail-in voting despite casting his own ballot by mail and encouraging Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina voters to vote by mail. Its also important to note that Florida and North Carolina are typically red states while Michigan is a swing state, all of which could greatly impact the outcome of the election.

USPS special agents find massive amount of undelivered mail in raid of QAnon postal workers's home

United States Postal Service (USPS) special agents reportedly discovered large amounts of undelivered mail after raiding the home of a mail carrier who aligns with the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon.

A total of eight large garbage bags—believed to be filled with undelivered mail—were confiscated from the home of USPS mail carrier, Sean J. Troesch, according to KDKA. Following the raid, the USPS Office of Inspector General confirmed agents had retrieved "several classes of mail," some of which were first class mail pieces.

"Special Agents recovered several different classes of mail, including business mail, flats, and small amount of first class mail. We expect to perform a piece count of the mail tomorrow, and make arrangements to have the mail delivered to customers as soon as feasible," the statement said.

Troesch's neighbors also revealed this was not the first time they had seen a large number of garbage bags in front of the home. Screenshots have also surfaced from a Facebook page belonging to someone who identifies as Sean J. Troesch. Many of the Facebook posts shared on that page highlighted far-right conspiracy theories, per the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Screenshots from Facebook

In addition to the QAnon posts focused on celebrity pedophilia conspiracies, Troesch is said to have posted an anti-quarantine post back in May. He also commented on multiple posts in support of QAnon theories.

Allegheny County voter registration records also indicate that a Sean J. Troesch resides at the residence that was raided by USPS special agents. The Inspector General office's findings are now being turned over to U.S. Attorney Bill Barr's office for a criminal investigation.

"Once USPS OIG special agents conclude their investigation, the case will be presented for federal prosecution to the U.S. Attorney's Office," Special Agent Scott Balfour told CNN.

No criminal charges have been filed against Troesch, as of yet.

Former military doctors urge vote for Biden to save Americans' 'health, security and future'

Former military healthcare specialists are appealing to the American public while urging them to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Dr. Dean Taylor—a retired U.S. Army colonel, orthopedic surgeon, and a United States Military Academy (West Point) graduate— penned an op-ed published to USA Today on behalf of physician leaders and graduates of the United States' service academies. He expressed concern about the future of America's values, health, and security.

"Our future depends on having leaders of integrity, a foundational value of our service academies, a guiding value of the U.S. military, a fundamental value of the medical profession, and a value central to the democracy of the United States. Our leaders must be dedicated to selfless service, duty and sacrifice," Taylor wrote. "They must put others before themselves."

Not only is the election on the line, but the public health is also a concern. In addition to the coronavirus outbreak, millions of Americans are also at risk of losing healthcare and pre-existing condition protections under the Affordable Care Act.

Taylor noted the importance of the American public receiving service from compassionate leaders who are committed to combatting the public health crisis currently plaguing millions of Americans.

He added, "Our future depends on leaders dedicated to the health and security of all Americans. They must have the experience to compassionately address our public health crisis, and the leadership skills to work collaboratively and restore our national security and economy."

Taylor went on to highlight the characteristics and qualities he believes make Biden a suitable candidate for president.

Joe Biden is the leader for our time and for our future. He is a servant leader of integrity, committed to the democratic process and willing to sacrifice selflessly. He is dedicated to uniting our country through collaboration, respect and civility. He has the personal and professional experience to understand the challenges of the pandemic, public health and health care. He will address those challenges so we can begin the process of restoring our national health structure, improving our economy, and protecting our national security.

He concluded, "We ardently encourage all of you as citizens of the United States of America to vote, and to vote for Joe Biden for the health, security and future of our entire country."

'Blatant abuse of the government': DOJ files lawsuit against Melania Trump's former advisor over tell-all book

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, former White House advisor and friend of first lady Melania Trump following the release of her tell-all book, "Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady."

The 16-page lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, argues that Winston Wolkoff signed a blanket nondisclosure agreement during her White House which spanned from January 2017 to August 2017. Government lawyers also insist she was bound to a confidentiality agreement far beyond her tenure.

As a penalty for the alleged "breach of contract," the Justice Department is also seeking to offset all proceeds from the book to the federal government.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Winston Wolkoff released a statement as she argued that the lawsuit is part of the Justice Department is attempt to silence her. Despite the lawsuit, Winston Wolkoff insists she did not violate any terms of confidentiality as the White House ultimately terminated the agreement.

"The President and First Lady's use of the U.S. Department of Justice to silence me is a violation of my First Amendment rights and a blatant abuse of the government to pursue their own personal interest and goals," Winston Wolkoff said in a statement. "I fulfilled all of the terms of the Gratuitous Service Agreement and the confidentiality provisions ended when the White House terminated agreement. With the publication of my book 'Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,' I have exercised my right to free expression. I will not be deterred by these bullying tactics."

The lawsuit quickly drew criticism from legal experts who believe it is a waste of the Justice Department's resources as it appears to be more of a personal issue regarding the first lady and her former confidante.

"This is a complete abuse of the Justice Department's finite resources to bring a personal lawsuit on behalf of the First Lady against a former advisor," said Brad Moss, a national security attorney. "The case law has been expressly clear for decades that former officials cannot be contractually censored for anything other than classified information, and no amount of legal hairsplitting over Wolkoff's 'status' as a volunteer is going to change that."

Bill Barr quietly buries DOJ report that undermines Trump's Obamagate conspiracy

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and Republicans' pseudo "unmasking" investigation into Former President Barack Obama has not only come up short—it has come up completely empty.

Barr-appointed U.S. Attorney John Bash concluded his investigative report into Obama-era officials to determine if President Donald Trump was really spied on as he claimed he was.

Unfortunately, for Trump, Bash concluded the investigative review without any criminal charges or the release of a public report detailing his findings, according to The Washington Post. As a result of Bash's findings, Barr is reportedly working to keep the document away from the public because it could likely exonerate Obama and refute Trump's claims.

"Bash's team was focused not just on unmasking, but also on whether Obama-era officials provided information to reporters, according to people familiar with the probe, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation. But the findings ultimately turned over to Barr fell short of what Trump and others might have hoped, and the attorney general's office elected not to release them publicly, the people familiar with the matter said. The Washington Post was unable to review the full results of what Bash found. - The Washington Post

On multiple occasions, President Donald Trump has spoken publicly about the "Obamagate scandal" despite having no evidence that such a scandal actually exists.

During a previous press conference in the Rose Garden, Trump was asked about his Mother's Day tweet storm. While the rest of the country celebrated the day, Trump was focused on Obamagate.

When asked what Obamagate is, Trump simply said, "You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious." Then, the president pivoted to criticizing the media for not releasing reports on the alleged "crimes."

'You know what the crime is': Trump stumped on Obamagate detailswww.youtube.com

No specific details about Bash's investigative findings have been released to the public.

Trump's daily rallies reveal the staggering number of battleground states in play this election: analysis

President Donald Trump's back-to-back campaign rallies may appear to be a sign of strength since the president declared he has defeated COVID-19, but the rallies actual reveal more about the peril of his re-election campaign, according to multiple political strategists.

Trump returned to the campaign trail on Monday after dismissing COVID-19 guidelines which require a full, 14-day quarantine. Over the next several days, he will be moving full steam ahead with scheduled visits to Iowa, Georgia, and Florida—states he won by sizable margins in 2016. In fact, no Democratic presidential candidate has managed to win the state of Georgia since Former President Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

While it would seem like Georgia is a safe Republican haven, that may not be the case this year. Now, one Democratic strategist argues that Trump would not be visiting states he felt confident he could easily win, reports The Hill.

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi noted the latest poll projections which appear to be favorable for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Although Trump has repeatedly described the polls as "fake," his rallies are scheduled in the states where polls suggest Biden is leading.

"It is pretty clear that Biden is on offense, Trump is on defense. The electoral map is expanding for Biden and shrinking for Trump," Trippi said, adding, "You don't change that dynamic by going to states you won. It's Biden who is going into states that Trump won and should be off the map."

It is no secret that Trump prefers rallies more than other political events as he believes it is the best way to connect with his base. In 2016, Sam Numberg, who served as one of the Trump campaign's senior advisors, offered remarks similar to Trippi's. He previously admitted how important it is for the president to visit key battleground states to secure the vote.

"The president needs to visit states that are either leaning in his column or trending away but very closely, so he can go to the true battlegrounds and concentrate on them later in the process," Numberg said.

The latest remarks come as Trump is reportedly pushing to increase his time on the campaign trail. According to NBC News, Trump's senior advisor Jason Miller revealed the president was "getting on my case for not having enough rallies and public events scheduled."

The publication reports that Trump is hoping to hold "more in-person rallies and other events" and possibly multiple events in one day as Election Day approaches.

Ex-State Dept. official who leaked Pentagon Papers: Trump is an 'enemy of the Constitution'

A former U.S. Defense and State Department official is speaking out and urging progressives to vote for Democratic presidential Joe Biden due to President Donald Trump's threat to the Constitution.

Daniel Ellsberg published an op-ed in the Detroit Metro Times asking the American public to back Biden in the upcoming presidential election. Ellsberg, who identifies as a progressive voter who initially supported Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) presidential campaign, admitted that Biden was not his first candidate of choice.

While Ellsberg expressed concern about Trump's repeated dismissals of climate change warnings, he also stressed how important it is to combat the growing threat to the United States' democracy.

"More urgently, we're facing an authoritarian threat to our democratic system of a kind we've never seen before," Ellsberg said. "Right now he is even casting unwarranted doubt on the validity of mail-in ballots, and in other ways as well putting in question for the first time in our history whether he would peacefully leave office after a full-accounting of votes cast by Election Day gave the majority in the Electoral College to his opponent."

He later added, "I now see Donald J. Trump as a domestic enemy of the Constitution, in the sense of that oath. As president he has assaulted not only the First Amendment but also virtually every other aspect and institution of our country that preserves us as a republic.

Ellsberg acknowledged the fact that many voters have reservations about a Biden presidency but he also emphasized the importance of defeating Trump, describing it as America "[dodging] a bullet."

"The election now underway must remove Donald Trump from the presidency," Ellsberg said. "Whatever reservations you might have about Joe Biden, the fact remains that his victory over Trump would mean that our country will have dodged a bullet — preventing the destruction of our Constitution as a functional document and averting irreversible damage to human civilization in the next four years."

Ellsberg faced a highly publicized political controversy over his release of the "Pentagon Papers" in 1971, a top-secret Pentagon study detailing the federal government's decision-making during the Vietnam War. He was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 but all charges against him were later dropped as a result of governmental misconduct and illegal practices for evidence-gathering.

Here are 10 vulnerable Senate seats that could flip in the 2020 election

As Election Day approaches, poll projections show that several senators' seats, both Democratic and Republican, may be up for grabs on Election Day. Although poll results signal that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is dominating the presidential race, his edge over President Donald Trump still may not be enough for some Democratic lawmakers to hold their seats. Here are the Senate seats that are most likely to flip with the upcoming general election.

1. Alabama: Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), incumbent: It is no secret that Alabama is a heavily red state. Tommy Tuberville — his Republican, Trump-backed opponent vowing to join the president's fight to "drain the swamp" — has taken aim at Jones in several political ads. Since Jones only managed to edge ahead of his scandalized Republican opponent Roy Moore by a narrow margin in 2018, there is strong speculation that the absence of that advantage might cost him the 2020 Senate race.

2. Arizona: Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), incumbent: Although Arizona is typically a Republican-dominated state, that could change in November. The latest polls show growing signs that Arizona could turn blue with the general election. In addition to the poll results, McSally also found herself at the center of conservative criticism following her Senate debate last week. The Republican lawmaker evaded questions about whether or not she was proud of her decision to support Trump. She never directly answered the question.

3. Colorado: Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), incumbent: Based on poll projections, there are strong indications that Colorado could be going blue in November, which will make it difficult for Gardner to retain his Senate seat. Although Gardner has made an effort to appeal to independent voters who could split the upcoming ticket, there are still multiple issues jeopardizing Gardner's seat. His inability to offer solid commitments on critical issues, including Trump's nomination of a Supreme Court justice just weeks before the upcoming election, could also be problematic for his re-election.

4. Georgia: Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), incumbent: Not only are Georgia Republicans concerned about Perdue's seat, but also their hold on the entire state due to the growing diversity in Georgia. If Democrats manage to turn the state blue, the first-term senator could be facing an uphill battle being re-elected. A Biden win could increase the possibility of Perdue's Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff unseating him. However, Perdue may have a better chance of maintaining his seat if the race goes to a run-off.

5. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), incumbent: The Iowa presidential race is quite different than when Trump carried the state by a sizable margin in 2016. This time around, the race is so close the election could swing either way which could be problematic for Ernst's re-election. In fact, the Quinnipiac University poll released the first week of October projected a 5% lead for Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield.

6. Maine: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), incumbent: With recent polling results under 50%, the four-term senator could be near the chopping block as Election Day approaches. Amid Trump's Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Collins is facing more scrutiny for her 2018 vote in support of Brett Kavanaugh. Latest projections have shifted the election from a possible toss-up to a win more favorable for Collins' Democratic opponent.

7. Michigan: Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), incumbent: While polls suggest the presidential race may result in a blue wave in Michigan, the Senate race remains close. In fact, a New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday showed Peters with only a 1% edge over his Republican opponent John James based on likely voters. Democrats' ad spend has also been criticized where Peters is concerned. Republicans have noted that Democrats' spending on advertisements for Peters' re-election campaign could be cause for concern. According to a CNN analysis of CMAG data, Democrats have spent approximately $55 million.

8. Montana: Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), incumbent: Despite multiple Senate Republicans vulnerability ahead of the upcoming election, Daines' odds appear to be a bit more favorable, according to CNN.

9. North Carolina: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), incumbent: The Republican lawmaker found himself at the center of controversy when he tested positive for COVID-19 just days after attending Trump's Rose Garden event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Like many Republicans, Tillis also did not to take mask-wearing as seriously as he should have. Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham has faced backlash over a renewed sex scandal, but poll projections indicate a close race.

10. South Carolina: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), incumbent: The South Carolina Senate race has garnered national attention due to the growing threat Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison poses. In fact, Harrison has become one of the biggest Senate contenders in the United States — breaking down fundraising barriers that even Graham, himself, expressed concern about. On Monday, The New York Times reported that Harrison has raised a record-breaking $57 million from July to September. As a result of Harrison's fundraising haul, Graham has admitted to being overwhelmed financially and even appealed to his supporters during a recent Fox News interview.

While there are Democratic senators at risk of losing their Senate seats, reports suggest Republican lawmakers are most vulnerable.

'His business model is chaos': Ex-Trump Homeland Security official says president can't keep country safe

A former Homeland Security official is speaking out about the difficulty she faced trying to protect the country while working in President Donald Trump's administration.

Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention, penned an op-ed that was published to USA Today on Tuesday morning. According to Neumann, Trump's erratic and combative behavior during the first presidential debate was nothing more than a glimpse into how he governs on a daily basis inside the White House.

"Everything we saw during the first presidential debate is indicative of how President Donald Trump behaves in the White House," Neumann said.

Neumann went on to offer a vivid description of Trump's business model as she slammed the president for his lack of organization and leadership. Neumann, a known conservative who admits she supported Trump in 2016, says debate moderator and Fox News host Chris Wallace experienced what White House staffers experience on a regular day.

First 2020 Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Joe Bidenwww.youtube.com


She added, "His business model is chaos. He has no organization, no leadership, and sees every interaction as a contest or a battle, even when it doesn't have to be. Chris Wallace now knows how so many administration staffers feel — and how I felt when the president got in the way of me doing my job. He is dangerous for our country."

The former Homeland Security assistant secretary went on to express concern about the sharp rise of white nationalist violence. Despite repeated warnings about white supremacists and nationalists being the largest deadly domestic threat in the United States, Neumann noted that the president responded to Homeland Security's report the same way he did during the presidential debate: by refusing to denounce white nationalism.

My time in office coincided with a dramatic rise in white nationalist violence, but my colleagues and I couldn't get the president to help address the problem. At the debate, America saw what I saw in the administration: President Trump refuses to distance himself from white nationalists.

Neumann recalled the terrorist attack in El Paso as she explained how Trump's rhetoric influences the actions of extremist groups.

"I realized after watching the White House response to the terrorist attack in El Paso that his rhetoric was a recruitment tool for violent extremist groups," Neumann wrote. "The president bears some responsibility for the deaths of Americans at the hands of these violent extremists."

She concluded with a reminder about the government's role in protecting the American public as she posed a compelling question about supporting Trump for a second presidential term.

"Your government is supposed to perform some basic functions; keeping you and your family safe is primary among them," she said. "In 2016, I voted for President Trump. But when someone asked me if I could vote for him again, after he time and again refused to keep Americans safe — how could I say anything but no?"

Men arrested for plot to kidnap Michigan governor also discussed kidnapping Virginia governor: FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has revealed several members of anti-government paramilitary groups who were arrested and charged for plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) also discussed kidnapping Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Special Agent Richard Trask, who was part of the task force that investigated the six men arrested last week, shared details about the orchestrated plots revealing they planned to kidnap both governors as a means of pushing back against coronavirus lockdown orders, according to CBS-13.

"They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders," Trask said.

The latest developments come just months after President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to "liberate" Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota back in April. At the time, the president took to Twitter to attack Democratic states and lawmakers when he clashed with them on lifting coronavirus restrictions and reopening states.

Although many states did not meet the (CDC) reopening guidelines, the president still pushed for states to reopen and his supporters followed suit. However, many Democratic lawmakers opposed doing so and instead opted to follow the science. Trump's calls for liberation led to maskless protests led by armed militants in several states including Michigan and Virginia.

According to the FBI, the investigation into the groups' plot had been conducted over several months. On Thursday of last week, the FBI revealed the affidavit detailing the elaborate plot to kidnap Whitmer. They also released the names of six men that had been arrested: Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, and Barry Croft.

Shortly after, it was revealed that seven more men had been arrested in connection with the plot.

"The attendees discussed plans for assaulting the Michigan State Capitol, countering law enforcement first responders, and using 'Molotov cocktails' to destroy police vehicles," the affidavit indicated. "The attendees also discussed plans for an additional meeting during the first weekend of July when they also would conduct firearms and tactical training."

Watch: Viral graph shows the stark divide between red and blue states on COVID-19 — and it's illuminating

President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed blue states for the United States' high coronavirus statistics. But a new graph has shed light on the political breakdown of states with the highest COVID-19 outbreaks.

An animated bar graphic featuring a visual of how the coronavirus spread in red and blue states reveals Trump's red states are actually the ones ravaged by coronavirus. When the animated visual was posted to Twitter on Monday, it quickly began circulating on social media. The graph begins with June 7 which was around the time when governors in many red states had taken Trump's advice, opting to reopen despite statistics and evidence indicating that cases would rise in states that reopened too quickly.

At the time, Trump also lambasted Democratic governors for being apprehensive about reopening too quickly. However, the visual below shows why it may have been beneficial to refrain from moving forward with an accelerated reopening.

As time progressed, the visual indicated that the states with predominantly Republican voters and leaders are the ones with the highest numbers of COVID cases and the worst outbreaks.

The alarming visual follows multiple occasions where the president blamed blue states for the uptick in coronavirus cases in the United states.

"If you take the blue states out," Trump said in September, adding, "we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at. We're really at a very low level, but some of the states — they were blue states, and blue-state management."

At the time, he also criticized Democratic governors' reopening plans as he falsely claimed their decisions to stave reopening hurt the American public more than the virus.

Trump added, "By the way, we'd recommend they open up their states. It's hurting people far more than the disease itself."

The Democratic National Committee fired back at Trump with a tweet highlighting the same findings depicted in the visual bar graph. With footage of Trump's remarks, the DNC noted that 9 out of 10 states with the worse COVID outbreaks are governed by Republican leaders and lawmakers despite Trump's claims.

"Trump continues to politicize the coronavirus," the Democratic National Committee tweeted. "COVID isn't a red state or blue state issue. 9 of the 10 states with the most infections per capita have Republican governors. This virus has impacted all Americans."

It has been nearly nine months since coronavirus was declared a public health emergency and seven months since the virus declared a global pandemic. In that time window, the United States has confirmed more than 8 million coronavirus cases and more than 220,000 Americans have died from the virus.

Trump rallygoers explain why they won't wear masks — even after president's COVID-19 diagnosis

As President Donald Trump made his return to the campaign trail, so did his supporters — and many still appear to be unfazed by the president's battle with the coronavirus.

During CNN's "AC360" on Monday, host Anderson Cooper highlighted a report conducted by Gary Tuchman. The network's national correspondent spoke with multiple Trump supporters who offered bizarre reasons to justify not wearing masks or taking COVID-19 seriously.

Despite the overwhelming number of reports highlighting details about the virus, its severity, explanations for how it spreads and evidence to confirm the spread, Trump supporters continue to ignore the science — and their actions at the president's rally were a glaring indication of their beliefs.

Tuchman hit the pavement in Sanford, FL, as he shared details about his observation of rallygoers. Although Trump tested positive for coronavirus and was hospitalized due to the severity of his case, his supporters still refuse to take it seriously.

"If you thought that people would be more careful at rallies after hearing that Donald Trump had coronavirus and there was a super spreading event at the White House, you would be incorrect," Tuchman said, leading off. "About 90% of people did not have masks. Every one had their temperatures checked and they were given hand sanitizer, and they were given masks and there was no mandate to wear them. Most of those masks were put in pockets and never came out again."

After Tuchman concluded his brief discussion with the first Trump supporter, he spoke with a woman who also dismissed the serious nature of the coronavirus outbreak as she insisted she is healthy with no underlying conditions.

"I am healthy, I have no underlying health issues. That seems to be the people that are most prone to get the disease," she said.

Tuchman pointed out that Trump was also considered healthy but he needed to be airlifted to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He also noted that Trump's recovery was likely due to the exclusive health care the president received —a type of health care most Americans could only dream of receiving.

"Trump was healthy too, though, and he had to take a helicopter to the hospital," Tuchman pointed out. "Do you have care that good?"

"No, but I take care of myself," the woman said.

Watch the video here.

Next, a rallygoer wearing a "Trump is my president" T-shirt falsely claimed that masks are actually a danger to the American public as he insisted masks are responsible for people fainting.

"People can faint because there is too much carbon dioxide going back in the system," the man said.

Tuckman also offered a hypothetical question for one of Trump's supporters. He asked her would she consider wearing masks if the president insisted it was safe. The woman admitted, "I would put it on." Despite Trump supporters being open to hearing him support mask-wearing, Tuchman noted he did no such thing on Monday night.

Hundreds of people gathered closely in the Florida airport hanger with no masks. During the rally, Trump continued with his dangerous rhetoric as he insisted he is now immune to the virus. As Trump continues to downplay the pandemic, more people are becoming infected with the virus as the death toll continues to rise.

More than 8 million coronavirus cases have now been reported in the United States. The death toll has also surpassed 210,000.

Here are 7 ridiculous moments from Trump's wacky and nonsensical remarks

President Donald Trump's antics have gotten progressively worse over the last week, and his interviews have been littered with epic blunders that have raised more questions about his mental capacity amid his battle with COVID-19.

1. The Nonexistent 'Second Debate' Victory

When Trump appeared on Fox News Thursday morning, he claimed to have beaten Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the first and second debates. However, there is one glaring problem with Trump's remarks: the second debate has not occurred yet and likely will not because the president refuses to commit to participating virtually despite being COVID-positive.

2. 'Tiny Windows'

When asked about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)'s proposed Green New Deal, Trump claimed the Democrats' plan focused on replacing regular sized-windows with tiny ones.

"They literally want to take buildings down and rebuild them... with tiny little windows. Tiny little windows so you can't see the light," Trump told Hannity during a phone interview on Thursday evening.

It's not clear at all what he was talking about.

3. Rationing Water for 'Little Tiny Fish':

Diving further into the abyss of baselessness, Trump also offered his take on the Green New Deal where California is concerned. Trump falsely claimed Biden and Harris want to use millions of gallons of water to care for "certain little tiny fish."

"California is gonna have to ration water. You wanna know why? Because they send millions of gallons of water out to sea, out to the Pacific. Because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish, that aren't doing very well without water. "

He also offered a suggestion for his climate change plan saying, "[California] should let water come down from the north, and accept it instead of throwing it out to the Pacific. But you always have to have forest management."

Again, the question must be asked: "What?"

4. COVID made me 'Better'

When asked about his last negative COVID test, Trump pivoted without answering the question. The president moved on to ranting and boasting about his alleged improved health as he claimed COVID has made him "better."

5. Little to No COVID Infection

When he confirmed that he would be tested again on Friday, he claimed doctors "found very little infection or virus, if any."

"The test will be tomorrow...because there's no reason to test all the time, but they found very little infection or virus, if any. I don't know that they found any, I didn't go into it greatly with the doctors," Trump told Hannity, seeming to suggest he was not infected with COVID-19.

That blunder garnered reactions from two different perspectives. While some Twitter users are wondering if the president ever had coronavirus, others believe he accidentally admitted that he is still infectious.

6. The 'Lingering Thing':

Just hours later after insisting COVID has made him better, Trump switched gears as he contradicted himself during an interview with Rush Limbaugh on Friday. Although Trump has widely declared that he has defeated COVID while promoting "Trump defeats COVID" pins through the White House gift shop, the president admitted there is a "lingering thing" from coronavirus.

The president dismissed speculation about his health despite him clearly being heard coughing his way through the Fox News interview with Hannity just hours earlier. Trump's coughing spell came just hours after White House physician Sean Conley actually cleared the president to resume with public events starting Saturday.

7. The 'Cure' for COVID

On Friday morning, Trump waded further into unconfirmed waters dangerously describing the Regeneron cocktail he was administered as treatment for coronavirus. Despite vastly limited clinical trials and no Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved emergency use authorization for the drug, which reportedly derives from the cells of aborted fetal tissue, Trump insists it is a "cure" for coronavirus.

"I'm telling you we have a cure -- more than just a therapeutic, we have a cure."

Trump's antics have influenced conversations about the invocation of the 25th Amendment. Multiple times this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has raised concerns about Trump's health and his ability to govern amid his bout with coronavirus as he is reportedly still taking medications for the illness.

McConnell confesses GOP candidates are overwhelmed as Election Day approaches

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) admitted many Republican electoral candidates, including lawmakers facing re-election, are financially overwhelmed as the fight uphill campaign battles due to all that has transpired over the last week surrounding President Donald Trump.

As Trump continues with his damaging rhetoric and reckless behavior, he is not only endangering his own chances of re-election but also the re-elections of his Senate Republican colleagues which jeopardizes them maintaining control of the Senate floor. Many Republican candidates are now faced with financial concerns as they try to push back and stabilize their campaigns.

According to a report published by The New York Times, details about McConnell's recent conversation during a conference call shed light on his concerns about Senate candidates. According to McConnell, Republicans, many of whom are being outraised by their Democratic opponents, are "financially overwhelmed."

"On Thursday, in a conference call with a group of lobbyists, Mr. McConnell vented that the party's Senate candidates are being financially overwhelmed because of small-dollar contributions to ActBlue, the online liberal fund-raising hub."

The reports about McConnell's concerns come less than two weeks after top-ranking Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) admitted that he was overwhelmed due to accelerated support for his Democratic opponent Jamie Harrison. During a Fox News interview, Graham, also chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appealed to the network's viewers to donate to his re-election campaign.

"I'm getting overwhelmed," Graham said to conservative Fox talk-show host Sean Hannity. "LindseyGraham.com. Help me. They're killing me, money-wise. Help me. You helped me last week — help me again. LindseyGraham.com."

Lindsey Graham: I'm getting overwhelmed... help me, they're killing me moneywise. Help mewww.youtube.com

Although South Carolina is typically a conservative state, Harrison turned heads less than a month ago when he defied fundraising odds, raising more than $1 million for two consecutive days in a row. The surge in donations brought Harrison's fundraising amount to more than $30 million, according to Politico.

Over the last two weeks, there has also been a significant shift in the presidential race. Following Trump's disastrous first presidential debate he and Republican lawmakers torpedoed in the polls. Republicans also found themselves at the center of controversy with Trump testing positive for COVID, in addition to the massive White House outbreak that led to more than 30 officials and aides also testing positive.

The odds are stacking against Republicans as Election Day approaches.

Bill Barr confirms GOP's Russia report will not be released before Election Day

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has reportedly begun suggesting to top Republican officials that the Department of Justice's invasive report on the origin of the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election will not be complete before Election Day.

On multiple occasions, President Donald Trump has insisted that "Obamagate" is a real scandal. In fact, on multiple occasions he has accused Former President Barack Obama of investigating his 2016 presidential campaign. However, there has always been just one issue with Trump's claims: he never had intelligence to support his allegations. Now, Barr's remarks raise more questions about whether or not Trump will ever be able to confirm his claims.

The latest news comes as Republican lawmakers hoped they would be able to tie the origin of the Russian investigation to Obama's administration. For years, Trump and many Republican lawmakers have accused Obama of abusing power but without the completed report to serve as substantial evidence of their accusations, the allegations are nothing more than speculation.

A Republican congressional aide reportedly weighed in on the potential impact the DOJ's delay could have on the election. Providing the report after the critical upcoming date could diminish the significance of the report along with the credibility of the investigation and the Republican Party.

"This is the nightmare scenario. Essentially, the year and a half of arguably the number one issue for the Republican base is virtually meaningless if this doesn't happen before the election," a GOP congressional aide told the publication.

The latest report about Barr's remarks comes just one day after Trump discussed the Russian investigation during a phone interview on Fox News. During that interview, Trump slammed Barr, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) director Christopher Wray. Although the report remains incomplete, Trump claimed the delays are simply to get "more" information.

"To be honest, Bill Barr is going to go down as either the greatest attorney general in the history of the country or he's going to go down as, you know, a very sad situation," Trump told host Maria Bartiromo. "I'll be honest with you. He's got all the information he needs. They want to get more, more, more. They keep getting more. I said, 'you don't need any more.'"

During the interview, Trump also lambasted Pompeo as he criticized him for not working harder to locate former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's emails.

"They're in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad, actually," Trump said. "I'm not happy about him for that reason. He was unable to get them out. I don't know why. You're running the State Department, you get them out."

Trump's doctor is trampling on public safety

White House physician Sean Conley confirmed on Thursday that President Donald Trump is now free to make a "safe return" to public events beginning on Saturday. However, medical experts are now questioning Conley's assessment and swift clearance of the president.

The president's doctor released a memo about the president's health insisting his condition has stabilized as he completed therapy for COVID-19. According to Conley the president is said to have responded the therapy "extremely well."

"Since returning home, his physical exam has remained stable and devoid of any indications to suggest progression of illness. Overall he's responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects," Conley wrote.

"Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday's diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President's safe return to public engagements at that time," he continued.

The latest news came as Trump announced his intent to resume with campaign rallies over the weekend as he insisted on holding a rally in Florida on Saturday and another in Wisconsin on Sunday. Conley is now facing criticism for his overall assessment of Trump's coronavirus case.

Last week, Trump was airlifted to Walter Reed Medical Center where he was hospitalized for COVID. The White House faced scrutiny for its inconsistencies and lack of transparency regarding the president's health. Although Conley often painted a relatively pleasant picture of Trump's health, the medications he was administered suggested that the president may have been battling a severe case of COVID. Despite speculation, Conley defied odds by allowing the president to discharge from the hospital in just three days.

Now, he has given Trump the green light despite the president being COVID-positive for just one week. Conley's continued efforts to trample public health norms undermines the expertise of health experts which further diminishes the severity of the coronavirus. Despite Conley's stance on Trump, there are 7.8 million coronavirus cases and each person's response to the virus is different. More than 217,000 Americans have died from coronavirus.

Pelosi: 'We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hinted at the possibility of a push for the invocation of the 25th Amendment in the wake of President Donald Trump's illness.

At her weekly press conference, the California lawmaker revealed she and her Democratic colleagues will be discussing the 25th Amendment on Friday amid growing concerns about the president's condition.

"Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow. We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment. But not to take attention away from the subject we have now," she said.

The top-ranking Democrat also discussed another key question she and other Democratic lawmakers have raised. Although Trump tested positive more than a week ago, the White House has yet to reveal when the president's last negative COVID test was — a critical piece of information needed for contact tracing. Pelosi also expressed concern about the Trump administration's lack of transparency regarding the president's illness and the coronavirus outbreak at the White House.

"I'm not talking about it today except to tell you, if you want to talk about that, we'll see you tomorrow," she said. "But you take me back to my point, Mr. President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this made a hotspot of the White House?"

Although Pelosi was asked for more details about Democrats' forthcoming discussions, she indicated that more information would be announced tomorrow. Pelosi's remarks come amid Trump's questionable behavior and impulsive actions which have greatly impacted multiple areas of government.

On Tuesday afternoon, the stock market crashed due to Trump abruptly ending stimulus negotiations. More than 30 White House officials have also tested positive for COVID-19 this week. But despite the outbreak, Trump continues to push for business as usual. Still positive, the president has returned to the White House.

While hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center for what is believed to have been a severe case of coronavirus, Trump made it clear there would be no transfer of power to Vice President Mike Pence. Even now, the president is reportedly still making decisions while taking medications. After Trump's announcement to end negotiations, Pelosi also expressed concern about his ability to make sound decisions while medicated.

Trump insists he feels "great" now but he is still confined to the White House.

Feds charge 6 men in plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and overthrow Michigan's government

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) thwarted a planned operation to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and now, six men are facing charges for their involvement in the alleged conspiracy.

On Thursday, the FBI released details about the affidavit which reveals how FBI agents infiltrated a Michigan militia. According to the FBI's court filing, the conspirators involved conducted surveillance on Whitmer's vacation home twice, per The Detroit News.

The men facing charges have been identified as: Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, and a Delaware man, Barry Croft, reports NBC News. However, court documents reportedly indicate that there are several other men who engaged in conversations with the men being charged.

It has been reported that their intent was to kidnap Whitmer from the vacation home in the western district of Michigan. They reportedly planned to transport the Democratic governor to a remote location in Wisconsin. There, the group of conspirators intended to conduct a "trial" based on their allegations of Whitmer having committed treason.

"Several members talked about murdering 'tyrants' or 'taking' a sitting governor," an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. "The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message."

In the affidavit, an FBI agent also indicated that Fox and the other men had planned to carry out the kidnapping before Election Day on November 3.

"On several occasions, Fox has expressed his intention and desire to kidnap Governor Whitmer before November, 3, 2020, the date of the national election," the FBI agent wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, (R-Clarklake) has also taken to Twitter with an announcement about the planned plot.

"A threat against our Governor is a threat against us all," Shirkey tweeted. "We condemn those who plotted against her and our government. They are not patriots. There is no honor in their actions. They are criminals and traitors, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The completed affidavit came just hours after the FBI raided a home in Hartland Township, MI., on Wednesday. Now, as reports are circulating about the FBI's affidavit, it is being reported that a standoff is underway in Munith, MI. involving State Police, Federal Law enforcement, and the Jackson County Sheriff's department, according to Raw Story.

Vulnerable GOP senators are distancing themselves from Trump

Vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election are putting distance between themselves and President Donald Trump as he continues to downplay the coronavirus and create more complications for lawmakers.

As Election Day draws near, more and more conservatives are becoming uncomfortable with the level of uncertainty that looms as a result of Trump's impulsive actions and erratic behavior. In a matter of seven days, poll results signaled a plummet in Republicans' support following Trumps' disastrous first presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

According to presidential historical Douglas Brinkley, the series of events that have transpired could be the beginning of an unraveling Republican Party as the president continues to veer further away from traditional politics, reports The Washington Post.

"It's a Republican Party unraveling," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said. "They're seeking to rid themselves of Trump at this juncture but realize they can't quite yet. But they know his name is no longer kinetic on the campaign trail."

Republican consultant and Trump detractor, Rick Tyler, also weighed in with his observation of the Republican Party describing their current problems as "cracks and fissures all over the ice."

"There are cracks and fissures all over the ice," Tyler said. "The president spent months ignoring the virus and talking about the economy coming back. But when the president catches the virus and the economy doesn't come back, what do you do? You try to survive."

The latest remarks come just days after Trump caused the stock market to crash after he abruptly ended stimulus negotiations. On Tuesday, the president impulsively took to Twitter announcing that would he would be ending stimulus negotiations until after the election.

"I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business," Trump tweeted.

Last week, an avalanche of setbacks also contributed to sharp declines for the president and Republican lawmakers. In a matter of just one week, Trump faced backlash for his erratic debate behavior, his passivity regarding white supremacy, his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, his xenophobic attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and a number of other issues.

Then, he sparked a media firestorm when he tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. The weekend also led to more scrutiny as his medical team remained mum about his condition and treatment.

On Sunday, Trump also faced backlash for endangering his own secret servicemen for the sake of a publicity stunt. Despite being COVID-positive, he had secret servicemen drive him around the perimeter of the hospital so he could wave to a small group of supporters who were gathered outside of the hospital. On Monday, the president was discharged from the hospital. Despite having been hospitalized for the virus, Trump reverted back to downplaying the virus. He has spent his entire week behind closed doors engaging in hostile tweet storms attacking various Democratic leaders.

Since last week, more than 30 White House officials and staffers who work in close proximity with the president have tested positive for coronavirus. Based on the timeline of events, there is speculation many may have tested positive after attending the Rose Garden event for Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Most attendees did not wear masks or practice social distance. Everything that has transpired continues to impact Republicans' approval ratings further placing Senate seats in jeopardy.

Trump's disturbing COVID cover-up is now being exposed

The dark details about President Donald Trump's coronavirus pandemic cover-up are being illuminated in a new, secret documentary titled, "Totally Under Control" and the filmmakers are weighing in to explain how the president's administration arrived at this chaotic point.

During an interview with The Daily Beast, the documentary filmmakers—Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan, and Suzanne Hillinger— shared details about the information they've compiled over the last several months exposing Trump's negligent handling of the coronavirus and his dark incentives for covering up his administration's pandemic shortfalls.

"I think what we've been seeing as a spectacle is a metaphor for what we've been living through since January, which is the substitution of political theater for public safety," Gibney said, adding, "And he's intentionally putting people at risk for the sake of political gain. There are a lot of politicians who are willing to sacrifice a lot in order to get elected or reelected, but when you see it this starkly where somebody who knows how deadly the virus is, and we know it by his own words, is willing to let people die in order to be able to safeguard his political future, it's terrifying."

Recalling the early days of the pandemic, Gibney mulled over multiple possibilities that may have led to the Trump administration's chaotic handling of the virus.

"The question early on was, Was it a fumble?" said Gibney. "Was it just an administration caught unprepared and unaware? Was it the thinning out of the federal government that Trump engaged in? But what we discovered over time — particularly with things like the handoff of the playbook from the Obama administration; the cruise; and the contagion exercise, which was published just a few months before the actual pandemic and contains all the information you would need to handle it; then the way that the whole testing episode was so mishandled... it seems much more intentional."

Gibney added, "It occurred to me for the first time that we were intentionally slow-walking testing. And, you know, sometimes Trump is not mysterious about these things. He says, 'Slow the testing down, please,' and 'I want the numbers to go up, keep the cruise ship offshore.' It's really a terrifying idea. Imagine if an oncologist operated that way, where you see a polyp and then decide, well, let's just hang on and see if it goes away."

According to the filmmakers, the documentary will offer additional evidence that supports investigative journalist Bob Woodward's incriminating audio tapes of Trump preferring to downplay the pandemic.

In the interview, the filmmakers revealed the audio tapes and information in the documentary could be used for an impending investigation into Trump's handling of the virus.

"There are senators — Senator Warren and others — who have opened an investigation and are looking into this as we speak," Harutyunyan said. "They're asking for records from these companies to see how much they profited from being the companies arbitrarily chosen by the government, and that the Trump administration is working with to basically subsidize the shipping costs of bringing PPE in. So there are still obviously questions out there, whether there was an intentional kind of profiteering by the government or not. Hopefully those are questions that will be answered soon."

"Totally Under Control" will be available to stream on Hulu on October 13.

Former Philly mayor  explains why Pennsylvanians are supporting Biden

Michael Nutter, former mayor Philadelphia, Penn., is explaining why residents in his state are embracing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Nutter penned an op-ed for CNN laying out the contrasts between Biden and President Donald Trump as he highlighted several reasons why he believes Pennsylvania residents are supporting Biden. Although it is no secret that Biden is a native of Scranton, Penn., he emphasized that the former vice president "understands and shares our values of hard work, facing tough times with resolve and being decent and kind to neighbors and strangers alike."

"Biden has put forward his vision for rebuilding our economy by "Building Back Better," another comprehensive and logical plan to get the country's economy moving quickly and safely."

The former Democratic mayor also reflected on all that has transpired over the last several months as he criticized President Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic, along with his administration's impact on the country. Nutter also expressed concern and contempt over the Trump administration's repeated attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its provisions protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.

"So many Pennsylvanians know that President Donald Trump has failed miserably in handling the Covid-19 pandemic -- in our cities, suburbs and rural areas," Nutter wrote. "They know that our health care systems are stretched to capacity, and in many areas of the state, vital care is far away from the people who need it most."

He added, "Trump is even using the courts right now to try to take away or destroy the Affordable Care Act and its provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions. People in Pennsylvania are smart enough to know that Trump and his campaign are spreading propaganda about this issue."

Nutter also touched on the differences in Biden and Trump's views where race relations are concerned. Noting the principles Pennsylvania is founded upon, Nutter highlighted the state's "principles of tolerance for others and an acceptance of people for who they are -- regardless of station in life, background, religion or race."

He wrote, "A significant component of the movement to abolish slavery was started in PA, and the Quaker mindset of tolerance and acceptance still remains in the hearts and minds of many Pennsylvanians."

However, Nutter believes Trump's focus is on fueling division and discourse by perpetuating fear among minorities while insisting systemic racism does not exist.

"Trump has done virtually everything possible to show disdain, antagonize and to create fear within Black and Latino communities and among all people of color in America," Nutter wrote. "Rather than trying to address systemic racism in America, Trump denies that it exists."

According to Nutter, the state of Pennsylvania has already had four years to evaluate Trump's leadership and many residents are interested in electing a president that is "strong, serious, stable and secure leadership in a president. Someone they can trust, who actually has values."

He is confident Biden is the right presidential candidate for the job.

Nutter concluded, "Biden -- smart, down-to-earth, empathetic, kind and serious about helping others -- is the leader that Pennsylvanians want to guide them into a better future."

Kushner's COVID 'task force' consisted of volunteers personally buying PPE: documentary

A new documentary shining a light on White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner's handling of the COVID-19 is raising questions about the credibility of his Supply Chain Task Force's pandemic response over the last several months.

In the forthcoming documentary titled, "Totally Under Control," Max Kennedy, Jr., also the 27-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, reflected on his time as a volunteer working for President Donald Trump's administration in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"My old boss called me and said he heard Kushner's task force needed younger volunteers who had general skills and were willing to work seven days a week for no money," Kennedy said.

Although Kennedy admitted that he was apprehensive about working for the Trump administration, he took the position. When he arrived at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, D.C., he and others were led to an underground conference room with no windows. TVs blaring news reports from Fox News covered the walls as representatives of FEMA and the military entered to brief the new staff about their positions.

According to Kennedy, volunteers were told that they needed to acquire "stuff" for the government. He soon learned the "stuff" they were referring to was actually personal protective equipment (PPE). After government officials left, Kennedy and other volunteers slowly began to better understand what was transpiring.

"We thought we'd be auxiliary support for an existing procurement team," Kennedy said in the documentary. "Instead, we were the team."

Due to the severe shortage of PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, it was up to Kennedy and the volunteer team to find and purchase what the United States needed. Although the Trump and his officials have often blamed Former President Barack Obama's administration for the PPE shortage and even the initial lack of COVID tests, the documentary reveals the Strategic National Stockpile's shortage was due to a number of reasons including approximately 12 million of the N95 masks in the stockpile were expired.

The shortage put a strain on many different healthcare systems forcing them to resort to having masks imported which, subsequently costed up to 10 times the amount they would have paid American vendors.

As the pandemic accelerated during the months of March and April, Kennedy and other volunteers, who had little to no experience in the medical field or supply chain management, worked around the clock to procure PPE. From their personal laptops and email addresses, their days consisted of cold calling and emailing to purchase PPE.

"We started cold emailing people we knew who had business relationships in China, looking for factories online, and emailing them from our personal Gmail accounts," Kennedy said in the film.

Despite their efforts, the procurement process proved to be quite difficult for Kennedy and other volunteers simply because they had no clue how procurement works and, apparently, no one explained the process to them.

In the documentary, Kennedy explained the process he and other volunteers had developed on their own in an effort to simply get the job done.

"We would call factories and say, 'We think the federal government can send you a check in 60 days,' and they would say, 'There's someone with a briefcase of cash, and they're offering to pay me right now,'" Kennedy said in the film. "And we would run around the FEMA building looking for someone who could tell us what payment terms the government was allowed to offer, and no one ever told us."

After about a week on the job, Kennedy revealed he and other volunteers were confronted by government officials and given an ultimatum: sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) or leave the premises immediately.

"We all had built our own relationships with manufacturers, and it felt like if we walked away, it would negatively affect our ability to buy this critical, life-saving equipment. And so we all begrudgingly signed the NDA," he said in the film.

In April, Kennedy opted to quit the task force and broke his NDA by submitting a complaint to Congress regarding Kushner's task force's handling of the pandemic.

Donald Trump Jr. baselessly accuses Pelosi of having 'substance issues' during bizarre Fox interview

Donald Trump Jr. claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has "substance issues" as he fired back at her for her latest criticism of his father, President Donald Trump.

During an appearance on Fox News, Trump Jr. was asked to weigh in on Pelosi's criticism of the president's decision to abruptly and unilaterally end negotiations for the next stimulus bill. More specifically, the president's son was asked about his reaction to Pelosi raising concerns about whether or not Trump is mentally capable of making such critical decisions since he is said to be on antiviral medications and steroids due to complications of coronavirus.

According to Trump Jr., Pelosi has "her own substance issues" although he offered no specific details about the allegation. He continued by echoing more baseless claims repeatedly perpetuated by his father.

"Nancy has her own substance issues according to the press and according to the media," Trump Jr. said. "I won't get into that. It's obviously nonsense. The reality is this: Nancy Pelosi was trying to stack literally, probably a trillion dollars of excess nonsense to bailout Democrat cities, to push for cashless bail, to get illegal immigrants stimulus checks as part of that package while the American taxpayer gets to foot the bill for her radical agenda."

Don Jr. sounds off on declassified Russia docs: 'We knew all along'www.youtube.com

Trump Jr.'s remarks about came less than one day after Pelosi reacted to Trump shutting down stimulus negotiations. During an appearance on ABC's "The View" Wednesday morning, Pelosi reiterated her concerns.

"I said yesterday to my colleagues, I said there are those who say that the steroids had an impact on people's thinking, I don't know, but there are those health care providers who say that," Pelosi said. "Also, if you have the coronavirus, it has an impact, as well. So the combination is something that should be viewed."

She also expressed concern about Trump's "erratic behavior."

Pelosi added, "I think it's true to form. I think that the president has always had erratic behavior. Right now it's very, very dangerous, because he knows the danger of the virus, but he's in denial, as he was right from the start. Denial, delay, distortion."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Trump Made “terrible mistake" Calling Stop to Stimulus Talks | The Viewwww.youtube.com

Her remarks came amid the president's ongoing tweet storm on Tuesday, contradicting himself more than once. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted and retweeted more than 50 times just between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., according to The New York Times.

In addition to Pelosi, the president lodged attacks on a number of Democratic leaders and lawmakers including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the journalist Lester Holt.

GOP senator caught disregarding mask policy on flight chairs committee overseeing airline safety

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is at the center of scrutiny as a result of his failure to adhere to the rules his own committee enforces.

Over the weekend, Twitter user Matt Harringer tweeted a photo of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS.) with his mask down while onboard a flight. The photo captures Wicker with his mask down below his chin as he looked at his cell phone.

Amid all that occurred over the weekend — including President Donald Trump's positive COVID-19 test results and his hospitalization at Walter Reed Medical Center, in addition to several White House staffers and multiple Republican senators also testing positive for the virus — Harringer shared the photo as he demanded that Wicker make his test results public since he could have possibly exposed passengers on that flight to coronavirus.

He tweeted, "I've seen enough Republican senators test positive to tweet this photo. @SenatorWicker — because you refused to wear a mask on our @Delta flight last night, please let your fellow passengers know your status once you've been tested."

Following the viral Twitter post, Harrington was interviewed by the Sun-Sentinel regarding the flight. He recounted his time on the flight as he noted that Wicker was maskless for nearly 90% of the flight as he criticized Wicker's cavalier attitude regarding the virus.

"It's incredibly upsetting to see people like the senator act like this is no big deal," Harringer said. "I don't know if he's lost anybody he loved, but when you lose somebody you love, you get upset about people not wearing masks."

As the photo began circulating on Twitter, Delta also reached out to Harringer saying, "Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people and our customers. We take our mask policy seriously and are investigating this incident."

Despite Harringer and other passengers' concerns, a representative from Wicker's office released a statement in his defense as insisting the senator had not attended any of the recent White House events.

"Senator Wicker lowered his face mask to eat a snack and forgot to put it back up. When he was reminded by a flight attendant, he put the mask back up," Wicker's office said. "He did not attend any recent events at the White House and has not been in contact with any of the individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days."

Trump's special COVID-19 treatment pushes the boundaries of fairness — and ethics experts are concerned

Ethicists are raising questions about the boundaries of fairness regarding President Donald Trump's coronavirus treatment and lack of transparency compared to that of the American public.

Since being hospitalized at Walter Redd Medical Center over the weekend, Trump has touted the exclusive drugs he has received while proclaiming that he has defeated COVID. However, the American public remains in the dark regarding factual details about the president's health. Many ethicists have raised questions about the president's treatment, according to AP News.

Initially, it was reported that Trump was administered Remdesivir—an antiviral drug commonly used for severe COVID cases— along with the antibody cocktail, Regeneron, and the steroid dexamethasone. However, there is no way to measure the effectiveness of these drugs used in conjunction with each other.

Ethicists have weighed in with their concerns about the president's care. George Annas, who serves as the head of the Center for Law and Health Ethics at Boston University.

"He deserves special treatment by virtue of his office," Annas said. "The question is whether it's good treatment."

Annas went on to express concern about Trump's public optics and how it impacts public safety and healthcare. From White House physician Dr. Sean Conley's refusal to offer factual information about the president's condition and treatment to Trump's continued attempts to downplay the severity of the coronavirus while touting unproven drugs, the American public has only been given an obscure view of the coronavirus through a limited scope.

He added, "The public is getting mixed messages about his condition and that's a problem."

Alison Bateman-House, an ethicist for New York University (NYU) Langone Health, also raised concerns about the ethical boundaries Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. may have crossed.

It has been reported that the pharmaceutical giant's spokeswoman Alexandra Bowie has indicated that less than 10 approval requests have been granted for use of the drug. She also reportedly reached out to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign "to make them aware of the compassionate use mechanism, should they need to apply" in the event he contracts the virus. However, "There was no promise of access to the medicine," she said.

According to Bateman-House, that action pushes boundaries when it comes to the promotion of an unapproved product.

"That crosses lines of appearing to promote a potentially unapproved product" in violation of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules, she said. Rather than directing people to enroll in studies, it suggests "just call us up and we'll cut the line for you," she said.

Dr. Steven Joffe, the chief of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, even questioned whether or not Trump's illness was, indeed, an emergency situation.

"It's not clear to me that this was an emergency situation," Joffe said.

He went on to express concern about the flaws in the United States' health care system as he criticized the president receiving treatment unavailable to the American public.

"I think there is something wrong with the privileged, the president, getting special treatment that's not available to the rest of us," he said. "There's so much injustice in our health care system, with so many people not even having access to the basics," as he noted that the favoritism shown to Trump is "a symptom of a much larger problem."

While Trump continues to downplay the virus based on his own experience, more than 7.7 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus and 216,044 have died from the virus.

McConnell snaps at opponent Amy McGrath for requesting pre-debate COVID-19 testing

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wasn't pleased with his Democratic opponent Amy McGrath's request for coronavirus testing ahead of their upcoming debate, scheduled for October 12.

In addition to that request, McGrath also challenged McConnell to take a COVID test at least once a week due to him being a public servant in close contact with White House officials and Kentucky residents. However, McConnell is pushing back against both requests.


The Kentucky lawmaker released a statement in response to McGrath's request. While taking a dig at his opponent, McConnell insisted that he would rather take the advice of his own doctor. He also alluded to McGrath's suggestion as being "erratic and uninformed campaign rhetoric."

"I'm unaware where Amy McGrath went to medical school, but I take my health care advice from my doctor, not my political opponent. At the end of the campaign season, it's imperative for all of us to tune out erratic and uninformed campaign rhetoric and make health care decisions for ourselves based on CDC guidance and our health care professionals," McConnell said in a statement.

Despite McConnell's claim that he does follow the guidelines laid out by the (CDC), McGrath still insists Republican lawmakers' actions prove they still do not take the pandemic seriously.

"We are in the brink of a constitutional crisis, with our president and members of Congress now infected with a potentially deadly disease, and McConnell still isn't taking this seriously," said McGrath. "We are scheduled to take the stage together for a debate in a week, and he must get tested and release the results the day of the debate at the very least. It is just basic respect to those working to get this debate done safely."

McGrath and McConnell's verbal exchange comes just days after the reported coronavirus outbreak at the White House. Now, multiple Senate Republicans have tested positive for the coronavirus and even McConnell admitted that there have been "risky behaviors" at the White House. However, it is still unclear whether or not McConnell will agree to McGrath's request ahead of their scheduled debate.

Fox Host blasts Trump for failed stimulus bill: 'It looks like the president is the one to blame now'

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade is blaming President Donald Trump for the failed stimulus negotiations despite the president pointing his finger at Democratic lawmakers.

Kilmeade and his co-hosts weighed in on Trump's abrupt decision to kill negotiations for the next stimulus bill until "after" he wins the election. Trump's tweet not only caused an uproar but also crashed the stock markets just an hour after federal chairman Jerome Powell warned that "too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses."

"For the president to come out with a tweet like that with the markets still open just crashed the market and cost people a lot of money," Kilmeade said as he recalled Powell warning just an hour before Trump's abrupt tweet.

Kilmeade admitted that he believes the president just made his uphill battle for re-election even more difficult as he pointed out the stance House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) could take. Although the negotiations have hit a wall multiple times, the top-ranking Democrat could easily say that she and Republican lawmakers were still making a considerable effort to reach a deal. However, Trump was the one who abruptly ended negotiations, altogether.

"I actually think the president now has more pressure on him now than he had before his first tweet," Kilmeade explained, "because Nancy Pelosi clearly could turn around and say it's not my fault. I was having talks."

He added, "So it looks like the president is the one to blame now. I don't know how he has leverage."

Kilmeade's remarks came shortly after Trump's reckless tweet. At the time, the president tweeted, "I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business."

However, the president's whirlwind did not stop there. Hours after ending stimulus negotiations, he actually retweeted Powell's warning as he admitted the federal chairman he was correct.


However, the president did not stop there. In the wee hours of the night, just hours after he tweeted ended negotiations and tweeted about Powell's remarks, Trump began negotiating with himself as he offered to send $1,200 stimulus checks to American workers in an effort to restart stimulus negotiations.

Trump's alarmingly impulsive behavior over the last several days has raised even more questions and concerns about his ability to lead. Many are calling for the invocation of the 25th Amendment, insisting Trump should not be in charge of decision making while on medications and steroids due to complications from coronavirus.

McConnell admits White House has engaged in 'risky behaviors' while appeasing COVID-positive Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell weighed in on President Donald Trump's latest antics as he distanced himself from the madness currently taking place at the White House.

While discussing his plan to move forward with the vote on the Senate floor for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, McConnell offered his take on all that has transpired over the last several days.

When asked if he thought the White House was engaging in risky behavior, the Kentucky lawmaker admitted that he did. However, he also insisted Senate Republications bare none of the blame despite many of them attending the Rose Garden event and other public events without masks or social distancing.

"I do think there have been risky behaviors, but not in the Senate," McConnell said. "And this nomination is now in the Senate. We know how to handle this. We've been dealing with this since May, and we'll handle it successfully."

"So you're saying you think the White House has taken too many risks?" Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked.

"Well, there's no question that some of the infections occurred elsewhere and not here," he replied, likely in reference to the Rose Garden superspreader even. He also assured that the Senate would "follow the CDC guidelines and get the job done."


Although McConnell has vowed that Senate Republicans will follow mitigation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), history has highlighted the inconsistencies in their efforts to do so. As of Wednesday morning, three Senate Republicans that are in quarantine following positive COVID-19 tests. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) have all tested positive for COVID-19 over the last week.

Photos and footage from the Rose Garden event captured Lee and Tillis socializing at the event without masks. Although McConnell is facing multiple COVID challenges as he continues his efforts to move forward with the vote on the Supreme Court nominee, he is still fighting to move forward.

With so many senators battling coronavirus, McConnell may soon end up disregarding the very CDC guidelines he has vowed to abide by just to move forward with his own agenda.

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