Raw Story

Trump's own officials are terrified about what he'll do the day after the election: NYT

Journalist Ron Suskind has talked with multiple current and former Trump administration officials who say they're deeply concerned about what President Donald Trump will do the day after the election next week.

In multiple interviews, these officials sketched out a scenario in which Trump would encourage his supporters to disrupt voting in cities in key swing states.

"Disruption would most likely begin on Election Day morning somewhere on the East Coast, where polls open first," Suskind writes. "Miami and Philadelphia (already convulsed this week after another police shooting), in big swing states, would be likely locations. It could be anything, maybe violent, maybe not, started by anyone, or something planned and executed by any number of organizations, almost all of them on the right fringe, many adoring of Mr. Trump."

The big danger, these officials tell Suskind, is that early news of unrest at polling places will spark further instances across the country.

"News of even a few incidents could summon a violent segment of Mr. Trump's supporters into action, giving foreign actors even more to amplify and distribute, spreading what is, after all, news of mayhem to the wider concentric circles of Mr. Trump's loyalists," he writes.

Officials then say Trump will claim some kind of "victory" on November 4th even if the vote tallies show him behind.

"If the streets then fill with outraged people, he can easily summon, or prompt, or encourage troublemakers among his loyalists to turn a peaceful crowd into a sea of mayhem," Suskind writes. "They might improvise on their own in sparking violence, presuming it pleases their leader."

One FBI official tells Suskind that the agency has been gaming out how it will handle weeks of unrest that could come after the election.

"We've been talking to our state and local counterparts and gearing up for the expectation that it's going to be a significant law-enforcement challenge for probably weeks or months," this official said. "It feels pretty terrifying."

Read the whole story here.

Inside the White House’s secret $300 million campaign to ‘defeat despair’ about COVID-19

The House Oversight Committee has obtained documents detailing how the health department's top spokesman steered a $300 million taxpayer-funded ad campaign to "defeat despair" about the coronavirus. The documents show that he suggested an ad campaign to help boost President Trump's image during the pandemic, POLITICO reports.

Michael Caputo sought to overrule the career civil servants assigned to the campaign by rushing the production of ads featuring Trump-supporting celebrities.

"…contractors vetted at least 274 potential celebrity contributors for their stances on gay rights, gun control and the 2016 election before allowing them to participate in the campaign," the report states. "One promised public service announcement, which would have also featured infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, was nixed because the celebrity who was set to participate with Fauci had been critical of President Donald Trump, according to documents."

"Caputo also pitched the idea of framing the ad campaign around helping the president," the report continues. "He made the suggestion in a meeting with communications firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe, positioning it as an effort to encourage Trump's base to buy into public health concepts like wearing masks, according to notes dated Sept. 17 and provided to the committee."

Read the full report over at POLITICO.

Trump could flee the country if he loses the election — and continue sowing political chaos. Here's how

Is President Donald Trump a flight risk if he loses the election? According to the president himself: "Maybe."

Trump pondered the possibility of leaving the U.S. after an election loss during a campaign rally in Georgia, and a retired Army general examined that unprecedented situation from a military intelligence standpoint in a new column for Politico.

"Setting aside for the moment his conduct as president, Trump faces a financial and legal reckoning of immense proportions as soon as he leaves office," wrote retired Brig. Gen. Peter Zwack. "If he loses, he will no longer have protection from an avalanche of charges and lawsuits against him, his family and the Trump Organization. His years of alleged tax evasion will be officially scrutinized—and far more publicly than before he held office. He will no longer be able to claim (falsely) that his taxes are still 'under audit' and unavailable. Trump properties and investments could be frozen, seized or plummet in value. The true nature of his extraordinary personal financial debt — recently reported as $421 million — will be exposed, and his likely foreign creditors revealed."

Trump's personality and longstanding habits suggest that he would not be willing to face a serious challenge to his self image and freedom from accountability, Zwack argued, and that makes him a candidate to join other recent world leaders who've fled legal problems after losing power.

"There is nothing in this president's demeanor, past or present, to suggest that he has the fortitude or integrity to face auditors, prosecutors, or anyone else who challenges him, particularly if the outcome is likely to involve public humiliation and loss of assets, prestige and power," Zwack wrote. "The option of salvaging what he can by relocating to a jurisdiction beyond the reach of U.S. laws would not be a stretch for someone who has long been openly disdainful of our tax and legal systems."

Zwack speculates that Trump could arrange a "stealth departure" during the transition period if he loses badly, possibly by slipping his Secret Service detail and refusing to return home while on an overseas trip, but the retired general fears a "chilling alternative" of a close election where the president flees to another country.

"Hunkered down in a foreign country willing to provide sanctuary, he could conceivably style himself a 'president in exile' and incite his die-hard American followers to resist the election results," Zwack wrote. "A degree of domestic upheaval and dangerous division would linger for an extended period until the new administration is able to foster calm and unity."

"If all this sounds like a B-grade spy novel, it should," he added. "The flight of a U.S. president would be unprecedented, unsettling and profoundly disappointing. As a minimum, a presidential defection would temporarily absorb the resources and attention of a wide range of U.S. defense, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. In more than two centuries of peaceful transfers of presidential power, nothing remotely conceivable like it has ever happened."

Revealed: DOJ moved to quash probe into Turkish bank after lobbying from Erdogan

A major new investigation from the New York Times reveals that President Donald Trump's Department of Justice has moved to aggressively squash an investigation into a Turkish bank after the president was repeatedly lobbied on the issue by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

At the center of the investigation was Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish bank that investigators suspected was illegally funneling money to Iran.

The probe into Halkbank was being led by Geoffrey Berman, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York who stepped down over the summer after what he described as "unprecedented" pressure from Attorney General Bill Barr.

According to the Times' reporting, Berman in June of 2019 met with Barr to discuss the Halkbank case — and the attorney general pressed Berman to accept a settlement agreement in which the bank would avoid getting hit with a criminal indictment.

Berman, however, rejected Barr's efforts.

"This is completely wrong," Mr. Berman later told DOJ lawyers. "You don't grant immunity to individuals unless you are getting something from them — and we wouldn't be here."

As it turns out, Erdogan had been privately lobbying Trump to have the DOJ drop the case for months, and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in late 2018 similarly tried to put a stop to the probe.

This was particularly troubling, according to former Trump national security adviser John Bolton and other officials, because the president has business dealings in Turkey.

"He would interfere in the regular government process to do something for a foreign leader," Bolton said. "In anticipation of what? In anticipation of another favor from that person down the road."

'Wives of the Deplorables': Trump-hating women don’t understand why their husbands still back the president

Women whose husbands voted for President Donald Trump are gathering online to support one another.

Carole Catherine, who learned her husband Tim backed Trump the day after the 2016 election, started the "Wives of the Deplorables" group on Facebook last year to figure out how to speak to her partner about politics, reported CNN.

"I didn't know that he's anti-abortion," she said. "I didn't know that he is so emotional about immigration. Both of us never really fleshed out those issues."

Catherine said group members are glad to have a place to talk about how it feels to be married to a Trump supporter.

"There is a big wall between us like never before," one woman told the group. "We've been married 45 years and I adore him. Except this. I have GOP friends and I love them. But it's hard to be married to a man who I thought shared the same values."

Democrat Joe Biden leads Trump by an average of 25 points among women voters, and white women in particular are moving away from the president since the last election, despite his often clumsy attempts to woo them back.

"I'm a suburban woman, I have kids, I go to a job everyday," said Gretchen Wisehart, a Democrat married to a Trump-backing Republican. "There were a lot of women who voted for him in 2016 as the lesser of two evils. But his constant rhetoric, the way he demeans women, it turns women off. It turns them the other way. I hear it from a lot of people."

Catherine said group membership has grown in the final months of the 2020 election, but she sees a ray of hope in her own relationship with comments her husband has made about Trump.

"'What's the a-hole and chief saying today?'" Catherine said her husband recently asked. "And I was like, 'I love you!'"

But she said the Trump presidency has done real harm to their marriage.

"We've had some really good conversations recently, where I can tell that we agree on more than I think, and it makes me feel so good," Catherine said. "He wants things to be pre-politics, but that's the thing. Your relationship has changed forever, for good and for bad, and, you know, there's a little of both."

Former Trump staffer says conservative media ‘brainwashed’ her into hating Democrats

On CNN Wednesday, Jessica Denson, the former coordinator of the Trump 2016 campaign's Hispanic outreach who starred in a recent ad for Joe Biden, opened up about how she was taken in by the Trump campaign — and why he must be defeated.

"My motive to go and help that campaign and be of service to the American people was sabotaged, and I've seen my experience repeated in the experience of one public servant after another over the past four years," said Denson, who spearheaded a lawsuit to free former Trump campaign officials from nondisclosure agreements. "I have seen that this campaign continues to go out brandishing a Bible and an American flag and claiming that they have anything to do with freedom, but I've lived first-hand that they have nothing to do with freedom. They have worked very much against free speech and democracy."

"Let me ask you a question," said anchor Jake Tapper. "You went to work for President Trump, or candidate Trump, in 2016, doing Hispanic outreach. He launched his campaign casting aspersions on the kind of people crossing the border in Mexico, saying that they were rapists and drug dealers, and some, I'm sure, are good people, which offended a lot of Latinos and a lot of other people. So I'm sure a lot of people in the Latino community said, you must have known what you were getting in to you went to work for him. What did you tell them?"

"I tell them it's a fair perspective," said Denson. "But I spent the better part of eight years watching conservative media, being brainwashed into thinking the Democrats were really dangerous and were going to take away our freedoms, which I don't believe anymore. I understand how deeply mesmerized I was into that false narrative. And I thought that Donald Trump was going to be a fighter for the American people. So I kind of put the best construction on everything he said and — father forgive me — believed him in his con, that he was going to put his own interest aside and be a public servant for this country."

"Donald Trump talked a lot in 2016 about the dignity of work," added Denson. "I, as a woman, and just in general as someone who came to that campaign with a spirit of service, have never experienced greater indignity or disrespect in my life, and I hope the American people understand this message. I hope they understand when Donald Trump plays the victim, he is not the victim. He is only a victim of his own deceit. And if you want salvation for this country and redemption even for Donald Trump, he needs accountability like water in the desert and I hope that you will give that to him."

Watch below:

Former Trump campaign official Jessica Denson speaks out in support of Biden youtu.be

Armed Biden and Trump supporters involved in violent clash outside Georgia Democratic rally

Supporters of President Donald Trump were involved in a physical confrontation with supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden outside a rally for the Democratic candidate in Warm Springs, Georgia on Tuesday.

Video of the incident was captured by Twitter user AlliB77, who describes herself as an "unapologetic conservative."

As the video begins, a Biden supporter wearing a face mask can be see charging at a mask-less Trump supporter.

An armed Trump supporter then puts the Biden supporter in a chokehold before tossing him to the ground.

At that point, an armed Biden supporter tries to break up the fight.

"I will fucking hurt you!" a woman yells.

The two armed men then square off.

"Back up!" the armed Biden supporter demands.

"This is peaceful!" someone shouts. "We've got enough violence. This is peaceful."

A woman with a Biden sign then becomes angry and claims that one of the men involved in the skirmish is autistic.

"You want to talk about my boy?" she exclaims. "You want to call my boy a retard? I will slap the god damn taste out of your mouth."

"Let me tell you something you aborted bastard," the woman adds before walking away.

Watch the video below.

Trump’s Omaha rally disaster may have tanked his chances for a single electoral vote in Nebraska

Donald Trump may have helped seal a key electoral vote from Nebraska last night: For Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

In a disastrous turn of events that's a metaphor for the Trump Administration, Trump's rally at Omaha's Eppley Airfield in freezing temperatures resulted in multiple people hospitalized and thousands stranded on highways. Many among those waiting in the cold were elderly.

"Following President Donald Trump's rally Tuesday night at Eppley Airfield, many attendees struggled to leave the area and multiple people were taken to the hospital," KETV-7, Omaha's ABC-TV affiliate, reported. "More details are expected to be released later Wednesday."

As one of Trump's super-spreader events, the rally had been widely panned by Democrats as others a health risk to Omaha residents, where COVID-19 numbers have spiked to recent levels in recent weeks. Apparently, frostbite needs to get added to the risk factors.

Wind-chill levels fell to the 20s, the station reported. That apparently didn't dampen supporters' enthusiasm for Trump, nor Trump's enthusiasm for misstating simple facts.

"The president was greeted by a large crowd which was chanting 'four more years," KETV reported. 'Is there any place you would rather be than a Trump rally on about a 10-degree evening?" the president asked on the 31-degree night.

The one-hour rally ended at 9:00, but it took until well after midnight to clear the area.

"Thousands who had gathered to hear him speak were stuck in traffic, many left without a way to get back to their vehicles on the other side of the airport." It was reported.

Attendees told KETV NewsWatch 7 that there weren't enough buses for all of the people. A reporter tweeted that he heard an Omaha officer say, "We need at least 30 more buses."

The Washington Post was there, as well.

"As long lines of MAGA-clad attendees queued up for buses to take them to distant parking lots, it quickly became clear something was wrong" the Post reported.

"Thousands who had gathered to hear him speak were stuck in traffic, many left without a way to get back to their vehicles on the other side of the airport." It was reported.

Attendees told KETV NewsWatch 7 that there weren't enough buses for all of the people. A reporter tweeted that he heard an Omaha officer say, "We need at least 30 more buses."

The Washington Post was there, as well.

"As long lines of MAGA-clad attendees queued up for buses to take them to distant parking lots, it quickly became clear something was wrong" the Post reported.

"Leaving thousands of Nebraskans stranded in the cold captures the entire Trump administration,' she told the newspaper. "I hope those responsible for the poor planning to feed Trump's ego will be held accountable and that fellow Nebraskans turn out to vote to end this chaos."

And there was this: "Supporters of the President were brought in, but buses weren't able to get back to transport people out. It's freezing and snowy in Omaha tonight," tweeted Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt (D). "He truly does not care about you."

For their part, Trump supporters, who had been willing to expose themselves to COVID-19 for an hour of presidential assurance that "we've turned the corner" on the pandemic, were at least openly fine with the chaotic scene.

Kris Beckenbach of Lincoln, who volunteered to help at the rally, said she didn't blame organizers.

"How do you practice for that?" she told the World Herald, noting the thousands of people who attended. (The crowd was estimated at more than 6,000). The newspaper quoted the Trump supporter as saying she would do it all again:

"I would go up early and stand there all those hours. It was an adventure," she said. "It was absolutely an adventure."

Trump went to Omaha because Nebraska is just one of two states (Maine being the other) that portions its vote by congressional district. Polls have shown Biden leading in the 2nd district anchored by Omaha and suburbs.

Were Biden to hold Hilary Clinton's 232 votes and flip Wisconsin (where new Washington Post polling shows him up a whopping 17 points today) and Michigan (where he's consistently maintained 7-to-10 point leads), he would need only 12 electoral votes to win the presidency by heating the 270 mark.

The one scenario that would bring Nebraska's one electoral vote into play is Trump winning Pennsylvania and holding Ohio and the battleground southern states of North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In that event, Arizona's 11 electoral votes–for which Biden is still leading–would only put the former vice president over the top only if he also holds his lead for the single vote of Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.

Trump probably didn't lose any of his base voters by literally freezing them. But with local news coverage and chatter among neighbors dominated by tales of the rally fiasco, if there are many fence-leaners in Omaha, they probably weren't too impressed.

The president may have just left himself out in the cold again.

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.

Trump blasted by his own White House experts for ‘mind-boggling’ claim he ended COVID-19 pandemic

The leader of the free world on Tuesday continued the pattern of his administration spreading absurd and scientifically-inaccurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Donald Trump's White House Office of Science and Technology Policy touted Trump "ending the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Health officials and scientists working on the Trump administration's coronavirus response said on Tuesday they are personally offended by the White House's announcement that it has successfully ended the COVID-19 pandemic—a pandemic that is, in fact, worsening," Daily Beast correspondent Erin Banco reported Tuesday. "Four officials working with the White House coronavirus task force told The Daily Beast that they viewed the White House's statement as a personal slight and a public rebuke of their efforts to try and get control of the virus."

"It's mind-boggling," one official said. "There's no world in which anyone can think that [statement] is true. Maybe the president. But I don't see how even he can believe that. We have more than 70,000 new cases each day."

"The White House is operating on a completely different speed than the rest of the health agencies," one senior administration official said. "They've all but given up on the idea that there is more to do in terms of getting a handle on these new cases that are popping up. The rest of us still view the threat of those cases as the top concern."

Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control under Obama, went on record to discuss the claim.

"We have exploding case counts. Death rates will undoubtedly rise. They are living in a parallel universe that bears no relation to the reality that Americans are living," Dr. Frieden said. "And this idea that we should let it spread and protect the vulnerable is a really dangerous mistake. The idea that it [containing the virus] can't be done ignores reality."

More than 225,000 people have died of coronavirus in America.

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