Matthew Chapman

Devin Nunes faces most significant re-election fight yet as constituents turn on him: report

On Wednesday, The Guardian profiled the congressional race of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a longtime Central Valley representative who became a bogeyman of the left during his unflappably pro-Trump tenure as Intelligence Committee chairman — and revealed why his re-election could be even tougher now than his narrow victory in 2018.

"Two years ago, after 16 years in Congress, Nunes faced his first significant re-election battle when a local prosecutor, Andrew Janz, came within five percentage points of unseating him," reported Andrew Gumbel. "This year, small business owner and civic activist Phil Arballo could come closer still with a campaign that has focused predominantly on the local issues that many constituents accuse Nunes of ignoring."

"In a district that, until recently, was considered one of the few remaining safe Republican seats in California, Arballo is polling about five points behind Nunes but is rapidly closing in, according to a recent internal Democratic party poll," continued the report. "The Democrat has also managed to pull in a sizeable fundraising haul, largely from small donations including hundreds of thousands of dollars raised in response to Nunes's constant lawsuits. (Nunes still enjoys a huge fundraising advantage, though)."

"Arballo's coalition is built on two pillars: the changing demographics of the area, which is now almost 50% Latino, and disaffection with Nunes," said the report. "As Nunes has focused his energies largely on Washington's toxic political culture and made himself less visible in his district, that disaffection has only grown."

Some of the strongest organizing efforts against Nunes come from constituents who have grown sick of his antics, including organic fruit farmer Paul Buxman.

The two got off on the wrong foot soon after Nunes' first election, where he visited Buxman's farm only to grab a photo-op. "Buxman never was able to arrange a meeting with Nunes, despite making multiple overtures. Pretty soon, he stopped voting for him," said the report. Buxman also began leaving complaints after Trump was elected and Nunes focused all his energies on investigating his political enemies, but "Nunes paid no attention until Buxman signed a petition demanding that Nunes stop describing himself as a farmer on the electoral ballot" — at which point Nunes sued him for defamation.

"I've said prayers for him," said Buxman. "The way I see it, the best thing that could happen to him is that he lose the election. For his own sake. Then he really could start farming. I'd be glad to help him do that."

You can read more here.

Wall Street has decided it’s fine with Democrats sweeping the election — here's why

President Donald Trump has tried to portray himself as an economic savior, and warned that Joe Biden winning the election would be a disaster for jobs and businesses.

But according to Politico, Wall Street executives don't agree. Many of them are now actively rooting for Democrats to sweep the 2020 election — because Republicans have failed to deliver crucial stimulus.

"Traders in recent weeks have been piling into bets that a 'blue wave' election, in which Democrats also seize the Senate, will produce an economy-juicing blast of fresh fiscal stimulus of $3 trillion or more that carries the U.S. past the coronavirus crisis and into a more normal environment for markets," reported Ben White. "Far from panicking at the prospect of a Biden win, Wall Street CEOs, traders and investment managers now mostly say they would be fine with a change in the White House that reduces the Trump noise, lowers the threat of further trade wars and ensures a continuation of the government spending they've seen in recent years."

According to the report, Wall Street traders still like the idea of Trump winning, as it would mean a continuation of their preferred tax and regulatory policy. But they are willing to give that up, at least in the short term, for an all-Democratic government that would provide economic relief to the pandemic.

"The market very much believes that Biden is going to win and the Senate is going to tip to Democrats," said one Wall Street CEO to Politico. "And the assumption is that we are going to have a very significant increase in stimulus very quickly and that's very positive for markets. But the fact is there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty around the outcome of the election and when stimulus might actually come, if it ever does."

House Judiciary GOP slammed for ‘psychopathic’ tweet implying Barrett is a birthday gift for Hillary Clinton

On Monday evening, the House Judiciary Committee tweeted a gloating jab at Hillary Clinton following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The juvenile behavior of the committee, whose ranking member is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), promptly earned criticism from commenters on social media.

CNN unearths recording of Kayleigh McEnany saying Trump would have 'a problem' running against Biden

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is a loyal mouthpiece for President Donald Trump, both in presidential policy and against his political opponents in the election campaign. She has echoed Trump's attacks on Joe Biden, calling him a "radical socialist" and using monikers like "Sleepy."

But on Monday, CNN unearthed audio of McEnany from 2015 during an interview on New York AM970, in which she offered a very different view.

"I think the Republicans run into a problem if it is Joe Biden and if it is maybe a Trump on the other side," said McEnany. "Because Joe Biden, one of the things he is remarkable at is really kind of being a man of the people and resonating with middle class voters. Feeling like — coming off as human. His gaffes — as much as we make fun of them — to a certain extent they make him look human. So not, since he's likable."

She added that she believed Trump would probably have an easier time against Biden than Hillary Clinton, who ended up being his opponent that year, but she added that if Biden were to run against Trump, "I think the juxtaposition of kind of the man of the people and kind of this tycoon, is a problem."

Russia used Trump's personal lawyer to feed misinformation to the president -- and the White House knew

The White House was warned that Russian intelligence was seeking to exploit his personal attorney according to a bombshell new report in The Washington Post.

"U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that President Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence," the newspaper reported, citing "four former officials familiar with the matter."

"The warnings were based on multiple sources, including intercepted communications, that showed Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine, where he was gathering information that he thought would expose corrupt acts by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter," The Post reported. "The intelligence raised concerns that Giuliani was being used to feed Russian misinformation to the president, the former officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information and conversations."

One former official described the message of the warnings as “Do what you want to do, but your friend Rudy has been worked by Russian assets in Ukraine."

Trump reportedly shrugged his shoulders and replied, "That's Rudy."

"Officials' warnings about Giuliani underscore the concern in the U.S. intelligence community that Russia not only is seeking to reprise the disinformation campaign it waged in 2016, but also may now be aided, unwittingly or otherwise, by individuals close to the president. Those warnings have gained fresh urgency in recent days. The information that Giuliani sought in Ukraine is similar to what is contained in emails and other correspondence published this week by the New York Post, which the paper said came from the laptop of Hunter Biden and were provided by Giuliani and Stephen K. Bannon, Trump's former top political adviser at the White House," The Post reported.

Judge rules feds must act after GOP senator caught coordinating with dark money group

On Wednesday, the Quad-City Times reported that a federal judge is ordering the Federal Election Commission to investigate a "dark money" group accused of improper coordination with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

"A U.S. District Court judge has entered a default judgment against the Federal Election Commission, ordering it to take action on a complaint involving a so-called dark-money group tied to Sen. Joni Ernst's campaign," reported Gary Krambeck. "The action Wednesday was brought by the left-leaning Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, which told the court the FEC had failed to take action on its complaint that Ernst's campaign had illegally coordinated with the dark-money group, Iowa Values, a political nonprofit backing Ernst."

"According to a July 2019 email obtained by The Associated Press, an Ernst campaign consultant asked a donor to make a $50,000 contribution to Iowa Values, a political nonprofit backing the incumbent Republican, after Ernst introduced the two," said the report.

Even after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, it is illegal for campaigns, whose donors face strict legal limits, to directly work with outside political nonprofits, who can spend as much as they want. However, the FEC is currently not enforcing these rules, mainly because it lacks the quorum to meet and conduct business in the first place.

Ernst, who is facing a tough re-election battle against Democratic businesswoman Theresa Greenfield, has denied she did anything improper.

Former Trump official rips president’s crusade against Obama after DOJ investigation flop

On CNN Wednesday, former Trump administration security staffer Miles Taylor broke down the failure of Attorney General William Barr's crusade against Obama administration "unmasking" and what it means for the president.

"You worked inside the national security establishment as chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security," said anchor John Berman. "This morning we learned that despite the cries from the president and his supporters and an entire television network for years that something untoward was happening in the Obama administration, about unmasking — unmasking is asking for names to be unredacted in intelligence documents — there was an investigation by the Justice Department, The Washington Post reports this morning they didn't find anything illegal, into criminal charges, they are not even going to write a report. Nothing to see here. What's your take away from this this morning?"

"[Trump] has been so hyper-focused on this practice of unmasking," said Taylor. "As a former national security official, this is a common practice. What happens is you might get very sensitive intelligence information regarding very serious threats to the United States, and usually and appropriately the intelligence community redacts the names of U.S. officials and U.S. organizations. But if it's something serious that needs to be followed up on, oftentimes you might need to put in a request to find out who that individual was. There is a disciplined process for that, one that includes transparency, oversight, internal checks and balances."

"What I believe that [prosecutor] John Bash found … was that there was nothing wrong here and that this was all bluster on behalf of the president," concluded Taylor.

Watch below:

Miles Taylor says Trump's war on intelligence is failing

Fake Black Trump ‘supporters’ with tens of thousands of followers purged on social media

On Wednesday, Forbes reported that Twitter is suspending several fake accounts posing as Black supporters of President Donald Trump, saying that they violate the guidelines on spam and account manipulation.

Many of these accounts used identical language over and over, like "YES I'M BLACK AND I'M VOTING FOR TRUMP". Some used images of real Black people without their knowledge or permission. According to Clemson University communications professor Darren Linvill, two dozen of these fake accounts have been retweeted or promoted over 265,000 times.

"Social media platforms are scrambling to tighten and enforce policies on misinformation and disinformation in the runup to November 3, as they seek to avoid a repeat of the 2016 poll that saw Russia interfere through troll accounts, and other tactics, on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube," reported Isabel Togoh. "Twitter has banned all political ads on the platform and is flagging misleading posts and content more prominently (including President Trump's), while Facebook has succumbed to pressure from lawmakers and campaigners and made a lastminute U-turn on certain forms of misinformation spreading, including those related to Covid-19, Qanon, and Holocaust denial."

Trump demands Puerto Rico vote for him. There’s just one glaring problem

At his rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport on Monday, President Donald Trump devoted part of his speech to Puerto Rico — proclaiming he has been a terrific president for the island and demanding that its people vote for him for president.

There's only one problem with Trump's demand: Puerto Ricans cannot vote for Trump, because Puerto Rico is not a state.

While the GOP's official platform includes statehood for Puerto Rico, party leaders have broadly opposed granting it, out of fear that Democrats would dominate its congressional representation.

The fact that Puerto Rico has no say in either the Electoral College or Congress has empowered the president to ignore the island. He was roundly criticized for a slow and insufficient response to hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, and once even asked his officials to look into whether he could trade the "dirty" and "poor" island to Denmark in exchange for Greenland.

Widespread shock as ‘completely inadequate’ VP debate stage is revealed: ‘Is this some kind of a joke?’

On Wednesday, ahead of the vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, NBC reporter Amanda Golden posted a picture of the debate stage, complete with the infection control features the candidates and debate commission agreed to for the safety of the candidates, moderator, and audience — including the plexiglass barriers that Pence's team had objected to.

But commenters on social media immediately noticed the setup looked wrong. The seats still looked unnecessarily close to each other, making no use of space that could have been used for further social distancing, and the plexiglass barriers were small and only separated the candidates, leaving the side facing the moderator table completely exposed. Many demanded to know why the candidates were even sharing a stage at all, and why the Commission on Presidential Debates could put them in separate studios, or have them call in remotely.

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