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Watch: Feds release disturbing footage of Whitmer kidnapping suspects' training drills with assault rifles

Federal prosecutors released disturbing footage created by the suspects involved in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

On Friday, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge publicly unveiled a trove of evidence, including text messages and recorded footage that was used presented in a hearing for the suspects identified as—Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta—who now face charges for their involvement in the alarming plot.

The clip below captures several men participating in military-style drills while firing assault weapons. The video then shifts to Caserta who expressed disapproval of the U.S. government.

"If this s**t goes down... okay... if this whole thing starts to happen, I'm tellin' you what dude, I'm takin' out as many of those motherf**kers as I can. Every single one dude. Every single one. And if you guys are gonna give any of these motherf**kers a chance, any of these gang f**king criminal a** government thugs that rob people everyday, if you're even gonna give them a second to try to speak or tell their story, don't even f**k with me dude.

"I have zero patience for immoral coward criminals," Caserta said, adding, "I'm sick of being robbed and enslaved by the state. Period... And these are the guys who are actually doing it."

Videos show training for alleged governor kidnapping plot youtu.be

Additional disturbing details about the plot were also shared via Twitter by Fox 17 reporter Doug Reardon of Detroit, Mich. The evidence also included text message conversations with one message, in particular, appearing to suggest that Whitmer be killed.

That message read, "Have one person go to her house. Knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her… "

The latest developments come as President Donald Trump continues to attack Whitmer. In fact, he even attempted to blame her for the plot orchestrated against her due to the strict coronavirus shutdown orders she enforced. The president took to Twitter on last Thursday to verbally attack Whitmer as he falsely claimed she called him a "White Supremacist," according to CNN.

"Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities," he wrote, urging her in another tweet to "open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!"

Noam Chomsky: 'If you don't push the lever for the Democrats, you are assisting Trump'

Noam Chomsky, one of the world's foremost public intellectuals, has provided the international left with wisdom, guidance and inspiration for nearly 60 years. Proving that he operates at the locus where argumentation and activism meet, he demonstrates indispensable intellectual leadership on issues of foreign policy, democratic socialism and rejection of corporate media bromides.

One of the founders of linguistics, he is also an American dissident who has wrestled with systems of power on matters no less important than genocide, war and poverty, creating a corpus of classics, ranging from his manifesto against the Vietnam War, "American Power and the New Mandarins," to his amplification of reason against a jingoistic cacophony following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, "9-11." "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media," which he co-authored with Edward S. Herman, is essential reading for anyone interested in the real biases against democracy in the commercial press. His more recent book "What Kind of Creatures Are We?" provides a deft and provocative exploration of human purpose and the common good.

At 91, he is still committed to seeking and sharing the truth, and showing little patience for the foolishness and selfishness of the powerful.

With dozens of books, and countless lectures and articles, Chomsky has addressed nearly every major topic of politics and economics with an orientation toward democracy, peace, and justice, but his new book is possibly his most urgent. "Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal," co-authored with progressive economist Robert Pollin, measures the stakes of climate change as threatening the survival of the human species, and offers a bold and ambitious solution that can not only stave off disaster, but create a more beautiful, hospitable and just world.

I recently interviewed Chomsky over the phone about climate change, the Green New Deal, and the 2020 presidential election.

We can, perhaps, begin by spotlighting Amy Coney Barrett's remarks at her nomination hearings calling climate change a "controversial and contentious issue." One of the realities you and your co-author, Robert Pollin, identify in this book, which seems to elude most other analysts, is that while our mainstream discourse often presents a "debate" surrounding climate change, there is no debate at all – not just among scientists, but among the institutions that are actively making the problem worse. They know they are courting catastrophe.

Not just "courting," but causing catastrophe. She not only said that it is "contentious." She said, "I'm not a scientist. I don't really know about it." Unless she is a hermit living in Montana without any contact with the outside world, it is inconceivable that anyone could even be considered for a Supreme Court position who doesn't know about the most significant environmental issue.

In the case of the major institutions, let's start with the Pentagon. They are open about it. They acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat. They've argued we should prepare for it. They've published documents about it. Certainly, they know about it.

In the case of ExxonMobil, their scientists were among the first to discover the nature of the problem back in the 1970s. We have the full record, and it's quite extensive. Their scientists provided detailed reports on the threat of global warming – on the threat it will have on the business of fossil fuels. They knew and know about everything. What actually happened with ExxonMobil is – when James Hansen made a speech about global warming in 1988, which received a lot of publicity, at that point management moved to a new position. It wasn't outright detail, because that would have been too easy to expose. They said, "Well, it's uncertain." This was a strategy to shed doubt. In other words, "we really don't know yet. So, we better not do anything precipitous." That was an effective strategy, and that's the Barret strategy: "It's contentious." Meanwhile, the scientific evidence is accumulating beyond any question. ExxonMobil knows all of this, and they've said straight out that, unlike other companies, they won't put aside funds to develop sustainable energy. They've committed to keeping to their business model of doing what is most profitable, and that is developing as many fossil fuels as possible.

Then, there is JPMorgan Chase. They know, and they've conceded. They were one of the world's leading financiers of fossil fuels. Recently, their CEO, Jamie Dimon, announced [they] have to do something about fossil fuels, because of the reputational risks. "Reputational risks" translates into "it is harming our business, because consumers are upset." In fact, an interesting memo leaked from JPMorgan Chase that said [the company is] pursuing policies that place the survival of humanity at risk, and [the company has] to be careful about [its] reputational risks. The "survival of humanity."

There is an interesting question about people like Jamie Dimon. They know exactly what is happening, but they are willing to proceed knowing that it is going to cause a cataclysm — a total disaster that will be irreversible. What is in the mind of somebody like that? Maybe we can say that Mike Pence listens to his preacher, and actually believes there is no need to worry, because God will take care of it. But not the executives of ExxonMobil or JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase used the phrase, "survival of humanity," and you are quoting it. All of your books deal with serious issues, to put it mildly. It seems, though, that the new book is the most urgent. Is that a fair characterization?

Let's take seriously the publication of the Department of Transportation — their document on climate change and emission standards. It was an astonishing document, and it is shocking that it didn't get more coverage.

It is a careful environmental assessment from the Trump administration. It concluded that on our present course we will reach four degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. What is that? Total cataclysm. No one can even estimate the effects. Organized human life as we know it will be over. Of course, it will build up over the years, getting worse and worse with sea levels rising, extreme weather events, and so on. So, after describing this, they offer a prescription, and here it is: Let's reduce emission regulations on cars and trucks.

This is the most extraordinary document in human history. I can't think of anything like this. The thing that comes closest is the Nazi Wannsee declaration in 1942, which was the formal decision of the Nazi party to wipe out all the Jews of Europe. Not even that said, "Let's race ahead to make some money while destroying the prospects of all human life on Earth." Why isn't this the headline everywhere?

You've asked two questions, I assume rhetorically, but I'm curious if you can offer an answer to either. First, what kind of people have an awareness that they are threatening all livable ecology and proceed along the same course? Second, why isn't this the headline everywhere?

I have no independent evidence about what is inside people's minds. In the case of the Trump administration, I simply think that they don't care. They are sociopaths. We see this constantly with the president, from the pandemic to hurting the World Health Organization, because it improves his election prospects. If that means kill people in Africa and Yemen who depend upon the WHO for survival, that's fine. The Palestinians didn't treat him nicely? Good. Cut off money for their hospitals. I think it is the mentality that all of us have when we walk down the street and realize that we might crush a lot of ants. We don't think, "I'll take all kinds of precautions to avoid crushing ants." That is the Trump administration's attitude toward the human species. I'm sure it isn't everybody, but it is the mentality that comes from the top down.

There is also the idea, "We have force. Therefore, we can compel anyone else to surrender to it." We see that constantly in the most remarkable ways. A couple of weeks ago the administration approached the United Nations Security Council, requesting that they reinstitute the sanctions against Iran, which were torturing and killing Iranians. The Security Council flatly rejected it. Well, they didn't say no. They abstained, because you don't want to irritate the master too much. So what did the U.S. do? Mike Pompeo returned to the Security Council, and said, sorry children, we're reinstituting the sanctions, because we say so. Has that ever happened in the history of the Security Council? I don't know everything, but I don't think so. What country acts that way? This one does.

There's a major biodiversity conference going on right now at the UN. It is of crucial significance not only for the many species that are being crushed, but for human survival. For example, one of the issues they are addressing is how to prepare for the next pandemic. There is one major country that is not attending. The usual one. The United States. Take a look for coverage. I did, and all I could find was approximately two minutes on NPR.

The New York Times: Great newspaper, right? A couple of days ago, they ran an article on Chevron buying Noble, which gives them entry into the Eastern Mediterranean – huge natural gas fields. Good article on how it will expand production. It will be very good for Israel and Egypt. It didn't say one word about how this is another stab in the heart of the possibility of human survival. It isn't something they really think about. They don't see it as their task to think about it. They write about gas markets, very little about climate change, because it is good for Israel-Egypt relations. There is a biodiversity conference happening, but the U.S. isn't attending. So, who cares?

Now, what about the banks? They know what is happening, and this is my best guess. Let's see if it is plausible. I put myself in the position of Jamie Dimon. I'm sure he knows all about global warming. He cares about it. He probably contributes to the Sierra Club is his spare time. He has two choices. He can say, "What we are doing is horrible. I refuse to participate." He does that, and the board of directors throws him out. They bring someone else in who will do it. So, then he says to himself, "I'm as humane as that next guy they would bring in to destroy the planet. So, I might as well be the one to do it."

ExxonMobil has shareholders. They do what is best for them. The only other way to explain it is sociopathy, but I don't think they are all sociopaths. I think they are the same as people like us.

If the profit at the center of the system incentives sociopathy, is it possible to proceed with something like the Global Green New Deal, on the level that is necessary, without addressing the profit motive?

That's a question that Robert Pollin and I discuss. First of all, there is the simple question of timescale. The timescale needed to deal with this urgent problem is a decade or two. Major institutional changes, which I think are very much in order, have a totally different timescale. It is a much longer process. The fact of the matter is that in order to survive we have to deal with the problem within the framework of the existing institutions. Then, comes the question, can it be done?

We think so. Without radical modification of the existing institutions, which on the side, we can continue to pursue – it is a parallel project – but without that happening, there are adjustments possible. This is mainly Pollin's work – looking at how we can proceed within the timescale and within the existing institutions.

Take fossil fuels. One thing that could be done is simply to take them over – socialize them. It isn't even that expensive. With the oil prices, they aren't worth that much right now. Then, we can put the institutions in the hands of the workforce and the community, and have them do what has to be done. What has to be done? Cut back annually – say 5 percent – on the use of fossil fuels. That would be enough to bring us to net zero emissions by the midcentury. Set the workforce to do things that they know how to do. Let's have them work on developing sustainable energy. They know how to do it. Outside of ExxonMobil, every major company has a division on this.

We might recall that one of the leading early environmentalists was Tony Mazzocchi, the head of the Oil, Chemical, Atomic International Workers Union. Those are the guys on the front line. They're the ones being poisoned. Mazzocchi and his union pushed for safety regulations, and the reduction of fossil fuels. That can be picked up. That's within the framework of institutions.

Take the carbon tax. In itself, it is destructive. It leads to what happened in France. You're telling poor, working people, "You will have to pay more to get to work, because I care about the environment." The way that a carbon tax ought to work is redistribution of the income. Tax the fossil fuels, but then redistribute the profits to the people who need it. The rich guys aren't going to like that, but there's a lot of things that they don't like. They don't like Social Security, but we ram it down their throats through popular pressure.

All of this is within a range of expenses that is not very high. We have Robert Pollin's model. We have a different model from Jeffery Sachs, which reaches pretty much the same conclusion. It can probably all be done within 2-3% of GDP. It is important to note that this doesn't only end fossil fuel production. It creates a better world.

The small number of workers in the fossil fuel industry can get a much better job doing something else. If they need help during the transition period, we can do it for peanuts. Pollin points out that the amount that is needed annually is a fraction of what the Treasury recently poured out to save Wall Street. These things are not out of sight.

Now, there are plenty of barriers. Plenty of fighting back. Amy Coney Barrett saying, "I don't know what's happening. I'm too remote from all of this." The people behind her, getting her to say it, they are going to try to block it.

But there are popular forces who pressing for this, because they know it has to happen quickly. Most of them are young. Greta Thunberg, for example, saying eloquently, "You betrayed us." We should listen to her. Yes, we've betrayed them. Now, we have to change course.

Too often the issue is presented as dichotomous, meaning working class economics versus environmentalism. Why is that wrong?

There will be better jobs and more jobs for working people with a Green New Deal. Jobs ranging from construction to retrofitting houses to mass transportation to installing solar panels and wind turbines to research and development. That whole range presents many more opportunities than there are in fossil fuels, and it makes for a better world.

I don't know where you live. I live in Arizona right now, but I lived outside Boston most of my life. It isn't much fun sitting in a traffic jam for over an hour to get to work.

I live near Chicago. I can relate.

Same thing. It would be much nicer to have a highly efficient mass transit system. You step inside, read a newspaper, enjoy a cup of coffee, and get to where you need to go in no time. It is a better world. In Arizona, I know people who pay $1,000 over the summer for air conditioning. I pay $10 a month, because we've installed solar panels on the roof. It is a better life. Furthermore, I don't have to feel guilty about using so much electricity. The sun is up there, and it is just giving it to me. Insulate your home. You are more comfortable, you are saving money, and you are saving the environment.

It isn't 100 percent. The coal miners, for example. It is a rotten job, but it does pay well. They are on their way out anyway, though. So, we better begin to think about how we can ease the transition. They can do constructive things. In Germany, they are phasing out coal mines, and turning them into ways to produce sustainable energy. These are good jobs, cleaner jobs, and less dangerous. Where there are people who are going to be harmed, we can help them ease the transition.

And again, let's remember that the fossil fuel workers are the ones suffering directly. They experience the worst health consequences – the workers and the people who live near the plants. So, it is in their interest more than anyone. It isn't a hard sell if you break through the propaganda.

You are using the simple, but profound phrase, "It's a better life." It seems that the Global Green New Deal presents the left with a great opportunity to offer to people a large-scale, ambitious project for reimagining human life and society that leads to dramatic improvements.

Absolutely. These two questions that you presented earlier — environmentalism or changing the institutions. This is where they coincide.

Let's take the auto industry. It is a huge industry; the core of American production. In 2009, after the financial collapse, the auto industry was nationalized. There were choices at the time, and if the left had been up to it, we could have made a better choice. The first choice, which is what the Obama administration did, was to pay off the executives and the shareholders, and then return the industry to its original owners, and have them go back to what they were doing — make traffic jams in Chicago and Boston.

Another possibility was to take the industry that we owned, and hand it over to the workforce and the community, and ask them to alter it in ways that were more beneficial. They might have developed an efficient mass transit system. If we start doing that, we undercut the institutions that work for profit, and transform them into democratic institutions that work for public needs. This isn't nationalization, putting it into the hands of unaccountable bureaucrats. It is giving it to workers and community members who can use it for their own needs. That is radically undermining capitalist institutions.

I'm sure you know the Next System Project. One of their proposals that makes great sense is to expand the postal service into general services for people, like banking. It is a perfect way to do banking — not commercial banking, JPMorgan Chase giving someone $2 billion — but the kind of banking we all do. It would be easy to do it through the post office. There are post offices everywhere, the staff is already there, the infrastructure is there. Much of what we do can happen through socialized institutions, which people are surprisingly favorable to. And it would improve our lives. It is a good part of life to have a postal carrier who you get to know. You trust him. You can ask him to feed your dog when you are away. It makes life better.

This is one of the reasons why the rich and powerful want to destroy public institutions, like the Post Office. Public institutions show people that there is an alternative to individualism and consumerism that is possible.

There is so much that it is possible if we only escape the rigid doctrinal assumptions that say, to quote Ronald Reagan, "government is the problem." It is a problem for the rich. It isn't a problem for the rest of us.

Forgive me for closing with what is by now an obligatory and predictable question, but I think I am forever banished from journalism if I don't ask. How do you respond to the irresponsible leftist purity that discourages voting for Biden because of his limitations as a candidate, and the troubling aspects of his record?

My position is to vote against Trump. In our two-party system, there is a technical fact that if you want to vote against Trump, you have to push the lever for the Democrats. If you don't push the lever for the Democrats, you are assisting Trump. We can argue about a lot of things, but not arithmetic. You have a choice on Nov. 3. Do I vote against Trump or help Trump?

It is a simple choice. He's the worst malignancy ever to appear in our political system. He is extremely dangerous.

All of this for the left shouldn't even be discussed. It takes a few minutes. Politics means constant activism. An election comes along every once in awhile, and you have to decide if it is worth participating. Sometimes not — there were cases when I didn't even bother voting. There were cases when I voted Republican, because the Republican congressional candidate in my district was slightly better. It should take roughly a few minutes to decide, then you go back to activism, which is real politics.

There is a new phenomenon on the left. I had never even heard of it before 2016, which is to focus, laser-like, on elections. That's where you get these crazy ideas like condemnation of "lesser-evil voting." Of course, you vote against someone dangerous if it is necessary, but that is not serious political activity. Serious political activity comes out of commitment to educational and organizational work.

Somehow parts of the left within the past few years have unconsciously accepted establishment propaganda. The establishment view of politics is that the public are spectators, not participants in action. Your function is to show up every few years, push a lever, go back home, leave the rest to us. You shouldn't have "democratic dogmatisms about people judging what's in their best interest" — I'm quoting Harold Lasswell, one of the founders of political science. The establishment view is that we have to provide people with, to quote Reinhold Niebuhr, "necessary illusions" and "emotionally potent simplifications." We'll handle the real work.

To see the left buy into this is astonishing. If you don't buy into the establishment picture, you don't talk about "lesser-evil voting." You talk about activism and strategy. Every once in awhile, you decide whether or not it is worth the effort to push a lever. Sometimes it is so obvious, as it is now, that it shouldn't take two minutes to decide.

Michael Cohen scorches Rudy Giuliani: He was 'used by Russians' because he's 'drunk all the time'

President Donald Trump's former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen is sounding off about the latest scandal surrounding the president's current lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

During an appearance on MSNBC's "The Beat" with host Ari Melber, Cohen weighed in on recent reports about the White House being warned last year that the Russian government could be attempting to manipulate Giuliani with disinformation about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

That intelligence came amid questionable reports about alleged emails found on Hunter Biden's laptop. The laptop, obtained by Giuliani from a dubious source, reported contained emails between Hunter Biden and foreign officials. Melber quickly dived in to discuss the subject, at hand. He asked if Cohen though Giuliani was being used by Russian officials.

"I want to start as promised with Giuliani and we can then widen out," Melber said at the beginning of his discussion with Cohen. "Do you think Rudy Giuliani is being used as a tool and hack of the Russians, whether or not it passes a legal line and do you think that's wrong?"

Without hesitation, Cohen admitted that he does believe Giuliani is being used and that he was likely an easy target for the Russians.

"Of course it's wrong and the answer is yes," Cohen replied. "Rudy is being played by the Russians. He's 100 percent susceptible to being used by Russians because… the disinformation, he runs right back to President Trump like a child running to a parent: 'Look what I have. Look what I have.' Let's not forget, I was in Trump's office when Roger Stone contacted Mr. Trump at the time to tell him about the emails that were going to be dropped ultimately learning several days later they were the [John] Podesta emails."

Cohen went on to explain why Giuliani is likely one of the worst foot soldiers Trump could use for the discovery opposition research on Biden and his family.

"Trump speaks and behaves like the mob boss and this is what he's doing," Cohen added. "He's using his soldier, but the problem here is that Rudy isn't a soldier. Rudy is — Rudy is drunk all the time, which is a big problem and that's what makes him susceptible because his faculties are gone. He behaves crazy."

The remarks quickly garnered a reaction from Melber who, in turn, asked for clarity on whether or not he had personally seen Giuliani drink.

"As a journalist, I'm asking: Are you sharing an opinion or observation like you've seen him drink X amount?" Melber asked.

Cohen wasted no time clarifying that he has witnessed Giuliani drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

"No, no, I've seen him drink to the point like he's a high school drunk," Cohen claimed. "And it makes him susceptible. He takes the information that he gets and provides it to the president and simply because Rudy — who used to be considered, you know, I mean, a real litigator and he was considered to be America's Mayor — he's now really just a joke. And he takes it right back to Trump and Trump listens to it."

Watch: Trump rallygoers offer bizarre explanations to defend president's failure to condemn QAnon

President Donald Trump's fierce supporters are offering bizarre and baseless explanations to defend his refusal to condemn QAnon conspiracy theories during his town hall with NBC News moderator Savannah Guthrie.

Despite being repeatedly grilled about the disturbing conspiracy theories which Guthrie explained, Trump continued to claim he had very little knowledge about the extremist group. Ahead of the president's campaign rally in Macon, Ga., on Friday, CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman had an opportunity to speak with a number of Trump supporters who weighed in on the president's failure to condemn QAnon.

Tuchman spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper with details about his observations and experience speaking with several of the president's supporters.

"Like we have seen before, most people are not wearing masks and not social distancing," Tuchman said of Trump's rally in Sanford, Fla., earlier this week. "It looks like a concert. He's been talking about locking up Hillary Clinton and no mention of QAnon. He had a chance to condemn QAnon last night but he did not do it. We talked to supporters in strong favor of QAnon and others know little about it but none we talked to want to condemn it."

Many of them believe the president's refusal to condemn the group is a subtle form of support for it. The first rallygoer Tuchman spoke with wore a white T-shirt that read, "QAnon: WWG1WGA" to show her support for the conspiracy group. Then, while speaking with two women, Tuchman asked, "Do you think he [Trump] has your back by not criticizing it?"

"Yeah," the woman responded as she nodded her head. "I really do."

The next rallygoer was asked should Trump denounce the QAnon conspiracy. He flatly responded, "No." When Tuchman described the conspiracy theories as "crazy stuff," the woman standing next to the man interjected saying, "No, that's what you guys try to make us believe, crazy stuff."

Not deterred, Tuchman pressed further: "But do you believe that there are Democrats and celebrities that are in a pedophile ring?"

"Yes, I do," she said.

When Tuchman asked the woman to explain the origin of the conspiracy theory, she struggled to come up with a solid answer.

"Where does that come from?" the woman repeated. "Why don't you ask the little kids?"

As Tuchman noted that there is no evidence to support the QAnon claims, the woman pivoted and asked what news outlet he works for. After learning he works for CNN, she quickly retreated with no further defense of the conspiracy. Despite no evidence, Trump's supporters have made it clear that they support him by any means. Tuchman also revealed how rare it is to ever find an undecided voter in attendance at a Trump rally.

Most rallygoers attend the event maskless while disregarding social distancing practices.

Rachel Maddow explains why Trump’s NBC town hall backfired

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday recapped President Donald Trump's NBC News town hall meeting with host Savannah Guthrie.

Maddow noted the event, "was a strange replacement for what was otherwise supposed to be the second presidential debate of this general election season. Again, the reason we got here is because President Trump dropped out of the second debate."

The host noted the health revelations inadvertently made by Trump, his refusal to say if he had been test for COVID-19 as he promised to do before the first debate, Trump's views on herd immunity and his admission that he probably owes overseas sources money.

"I know why the president didn't want to do a second debate with Joe Biden. I don't now necessarily know why he wanted to do this," Maddow noted.

"The news that I just gave you, in terms of the admissions the president made there, all those things alone are not directions in which the president wants to be steering the national political discussion, you know, two-and-a-half weeks from the election," Maddow explained. "But that's what he did."

"It did just feel like he got run down, run over by most of this. But not enough to stop him from telling a very long string of very potent lies, particularly on the issue of covid," she noted.

Watch:

Trump refuses to answer key question about suspicious finances after Savannah Guthrie grilling

NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie challenged Donald Trump on his finances during a town hall meeting that was held after the president refused to participate in the second debate.

"The New York Times has obtained, it says, years of your tax returns among other things. It says you've had debts of approximately $421 million that you have personally guaranteed and that will come due in the next four years," Guthrie noted. "The question is on behalf of voters, who do you owe $421 million to?"

"What they did is illegal, number one. Also, the numbers are all wrong with the numbers that were released," Trump replied, with his statements contradicting each other.

"I'm very under -- when i decided to run, i'm very under levered," Trump said as he repeatedly forgot the word "leveraged."

Guthrie noted Trump could clear things up by releasing his tax returns, but Trump falsely claimed he could not do so while being audited.

Watch:

Nashville confirms more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours of maskless religious event

Despite increases in COVID-19 cases across the country, some people are committed to large gatherings. Christian pastor Sean Feucht has once again hosted a prayer protest at which he claims thousands were in attendance. The Sunday protest entitled "Let Us Worship" included live music with no social distancing between packed, unmasked crowds. Individuals gathered at the city's Public Square Park to protest safety measures in place in religious institutions in efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Footage of the event has gone viral on social media with no masks in sight as people gather around what looks like a concert stage. "We had THREE venue changes and so much resistance BUT THE CHURCH WILL NOT BE SILENCED!" Feucht said in a tweet Sunday about the event.

According to The Tennessean, California-based Feucht hosted the event in Nashville despite not having a permit to do so. As a result, the Metro Public Health Department is investigating the incident. "We have worked very hard to slow the spread of COVID by taking a measured approach to protect the community," the health department told The Tennessean. "The Health Department is very concerned by the actions that took place at the event and we are investigating and will pursue appropriate penalties against the organizer."

Nashville has limited gatherings without city approval to 25 people, CBS News reported. Approved events can have a maximum of 500 people, but masks are required. Dr. Alex Jahangir, leader of the city's coronavirus task force, expressed concern about the gathering, especially during a time when the state has seen an increase in cases. Jahangir told The Tennessean he was unaware of the event until Monday morning. "Any time there are a lot of people together, without masks, I have concerns, and that holds true in this scenario," Jahangir said. "From the pictures I saw online, good Lord, did you see people wearing masks? I didn't. That is not helpful to our cause."


Police Chief John Drake also noted the irresponsible behavior as the police department was not present at the event. "I am greatly disappointed that the organizer of Sunday's event and those in attendance did not better prioritize their health and the health of others through social distancing and the wearing of face coverings," he said Monday, according to NBC News. "Personal responsibility is a necessity regardless of the purpose for a public event."

Last month Daily Kos reported on other events hosted by Feucht, including an event described as a rock concert in California where thousands attended without COVID-19 precautions. According to Feucht's website, he also hosted an event in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday and plans to host more in South Carolina, Missouri, and Washington, D.C. Feucht's "Let Us Worship" tour is spreading more than freedom of faith across the country—it's spreading COVID-19.

As my colleague Marissa noted, some religious leaders across the country have resorted to ignoring coronavirus regulations. COVID-19 cases nationwide have been linked to these events, which often violate public health rules, including social distancing, mandatory masks, and limits on those in attendance. Just a day after the event's occurrence, The Tennessean reported an increase of more than 250 cases within 24 hours; this has resulted in health officials being "very concerned" about the increase in numbers this event will bring.

A video from the event shared on YouTube depicts a crowd of all ages gathered at the Nashville courthouse Sunday:

#LETUSWORSHIP - Sean Feucht - Nashville, TN youtu.be


Robert Reich: We can save democracy from GOP sabotage — here's how

I keep hearing from progressives who lament that even if Biden wins, Trump and McConnell have tilted the playing field forever.

They point to McConnell's rush to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, after blocking President Obama's nominee for 293 days because it was "too close" to the next election. And to the fact that Republicans in the Senate represent 11 million fewer Americans than their Democratic counterparts, and are still able to confirm a Supreme Court justice and entrench minority rule.

But that's not the end of the story.

The Constitution doesn't prevent increasing the size of the Supreme Court in order to balance it. Or creating a pool of circuit court justices to cycle in and out of it. In fact, the Constitution says nothing at all about the size of the Court.

I also hear progressives express outrage that this imbalance of power exists in the Electoral College, which made Trump president in 2016 despite having lost the popular vote by 3 million, and made George W. Bush president in 2000, despite losing the popular vote by about half a million.

But this doesn't have to be the end of the story, either. From granting statehood to Washington, D.C. to abolishing the Electoral College, nothing should be off the table to strengthen our democracy.

There is no reason to accept the structure of our democracy when it repeatedly empowers a ruthless minority to impose its will over the majority. Or when it denies full representation to U.S. citizens, as is the case for Puerto Rico, which absolutely deserves self-determination.

Pay no mind to those who argue that these moves would be unfair abuses of power. Unfair, after what Trump and McConnell have done?

Abuses of power? When Trump is urging his followers to intimidate Biden voters? When he won't even commit to a peaceful transition of power and refuses to be bound by the results? When he's already claiming the election is rigged against him and will be fraudulent unless he wins? When he's threatening to have states that he loses declare the votes invalid and certify their own slate of Trump electors in January?

I'm sorry. There's nothing unfair about making our democracy fairer. There's no abuse of power in remedying blatant abuses of power.

Watch:


How to Beat Republicans at Their Own Game youtu.be

Watch: Protesters block entrance of Senate building as first Barrett confirmation hearing begins

Dozens of demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Hart Senate Office Building Monday morning to protest the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee's decision to hold the first confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump's right-wing Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett with less than a month to go before the pivotal November election.

Chanting "Whose court? Our court!" and "Let the people decide," the protesters gathered minutes before Barrett's first confirmation hearing (which can be viewed live below) was set to kick off despite opposition to the proceedings from thousands of legal experts, civil rights organizations, and a majority of Americans.

"If Senate leadership forces a nominee before the next Congress and president are installed, it would deprive the people of their voice and further destabilize a nation already gripped by crisis," Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of advocacy group CPD Action, said in a statement ahead of the demonstration.

"We're mobilizing all those who believe in freedom, equality, and justice to engage in direct action to put pressure on both key Senate Republicans as well as Democrats to ensure that this confirmation is delayed," said Archila.



Watch the Barrett hearing:


WATCH LIVE: Judge Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court confirmation hearings - Day 1 youtu.be



Trump dodges tough questions on his health during rambling Tucker Carlson interview

Donald Trump's appearance on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, less than a week since the president returned from being hospitalized for COVID-19, revealed very little about Trump's health or infectiousness. Yet unintentionally, the president seems to have dropped some clues about the seriousness of his condition during the rambling, tangent-ridden interview.

The interview on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" was conducted by Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News contributor who has defended Trump's poor handling of the American coronavirus outbreak, compared the pandemic to the flu and in 2016 raised concerns about the neurological health of then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton despite never having examined her in person.

Carlson set a hagiographic tone for the segment at the beginning, describing Trump's supposed "remarkable turnaround" before allowing Siegel to conduct the interview. The two were not in the same room: Siegel was in a studio and Trump was in the White House, being filmed separately. Trump and Siegel's conversation wandered, from Trump blaming China for the virus and repeatedly mentioning Regeneron (a company that gave him an experimental drug and with which he has personal ties) to describing himself as "very strong," offering to donate his plasma and claiming that he has improved faster and better than others who have had COVID-19.

Despite these attempts to project that he was "virile," Trump admitted that the disease had made him feel "tired," adding that "my life is based a little bit on energy and I didn't have it." While downplaying his symptoms, however, Trump promised to freely give away the drugs that he has previously claimed constituted a "cure" for him. (Curiously, Trump has been consistently opposed to universal healthcare policies that might make such drugs free and accessible, though he was treated by the military healthcare system that has been likened to an exclusive form of universal healthcare).

Trump also stated that was "medication-free." "I'm not taking any medications as of eight hours ago," he claimed.

Trump also claimed that his Secret Service agents did not mind his Walter Reed hospital drive-by, which involved close physical contact with the security detail. Some current and former Secret Service agents interviewed by CNN were "frustrated" by Trump's publicity stunt. "We're not disposable," one said.

Trump declined to say if he had received a test for the virus today that might definitively say if he had cleared the virus from his system. "I have been retested and I haven't even found out numbers or anything yet .... I'm at either the bottom of the scale or free," the president said. Based on reports of infections, the CDC recommends that those who have had COVID-19 refrain from being around others until at least 10 days since their first symptoms appeared and 24 hours since their fever waned without the use of "fever-reducing medications."

Trump also denied experiencing any of the psychological symptoms that frequently accompany dexamethasone, the steroid that he is using to stop his immune system from destroying his infected lungs.

"The interview yielded little useful clinical information," Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and former secretary of health in Maryland, wrote to Salon about the Siegel-Trump exchange. "The physician interviewer asked questions that were superficial and President Trump gave no specific answers. He did admit to getting a CAT scan but we are not sure of what body part. He also said he got a lung test but no specific insight into what test. I suspect it was a breathing test since he said they told him he could keep his jacket on. He did not seem out of breath but he did not exert himself during the interview. Basically no new information."

One expert who spoke to Salon said that, based on Trump's self-described symptoms, there is reason for concern about whether he could infect other people.

"Based on the limited public data available, and the President's own description of imaging results and tests tonight, we must assume that he presented to Walter Reed Hospital with a severe case of COVID-19 as defined by the Center for Disease Control," Dr. Russell Medford, Chairman of the Center for Global Health Innovation and Global Health Crisis Coordination Center, told Salon by email. "The CDC's own guidelines advise that patients with severe disease may be infectious for up to 20 days after symptom onset."

He added, "To release the President earlier should require the President's physician to provide the necessary assurances that the President is no longer infectious and to consider releasing the key medical information that supports those assurances."

The Commission on Presidential Debates cancelled the second scheduled event between Trump and Biden earlier on Friday, after Trump refused to do a virtual debate that would prevent Trump from spreading the virus. While Biden had been willing to debate Trump virtually, the president insisted that the two men had to meet in person. Because both Biden and Trump are men in their 70s, they are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19.

Rambling Trump flops hard after Limbaugh asks how he will protect people with pre-existing conditions

President Donald Trump rambled off-topic after Rush Limbaugh asked him about health care protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

The president and his Republican allies are keen to undo the Affordable Care Act, which could place health care out of reach for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and the conservative Limbaugh asked Trump to explain his plan.

"This is [from] a woman in Massachusetts named Kathy," Limbaugh said, reading the listener's question. "'I'm glad that you and the lady are recovering from COVID, so happy you're our president thank you for all you do to defend us. Questions about health care and pre-existing conditions are very important to me and a lot of Americans. I believe you said pre-existing conditions will be covered in your health care plan, but please could you explain this a little more because there are a lot of people saying you're not going to cover pre-existing conditions and I wish you need to get your message out since this that the Democrats are trying to malign you on this."

The president didn't spend much time addressing health care or pre-existing conditions.

"The Democrats are vicious and they lie, and what they do, as an example health care and other things," Trump said, "they have me standing at the grave of beautiful soldier at an old cemetery, magnificent cemetery, and nobody respects soldiers more than I do, especially whether you're talking about live soldiers or soldiers that gave their lives, and they have a source say these are suckers and losers. This was for a magazine that's third-rate, you know super-liberal Obama magazine, and it's a quote, they took that quote from one source I have 25 people that verbally, that, you know, on the record, said that was never said. Who would ever say that? Only an animal would say that."

Trump continued complaining about that Atlantic report, which was corroborated by other news organizations, before addressing Kathy's question.

"They do the same thing with health care," Trump said. "They'll make a statement that's so bad. Now pre-existing conditions, I'm totally for, but I'm against Obamacare because Obamacare is too expensive. I already got rid of the individual mandate, which is the worst part of Obamacare, that we had to pay a fortune for the privilege of not paying for bad health insurance. You understand that. So I got rid of it, that was I got rid of it through the law. I got rid of it under our tax decrease, the the biggest tax decrease in the history of our country. We would have never been able to build up the economy if we didn't get that, but one of the things I got in, I got rid of the individual mandate and what I want to do is, and we're fighting to terminate, I sort of have terminated Obamacare, because once you get rid of the individual mandate it's no longer Obamacare, but I had a choice to make. Rush, it was a big choice. Do I maintain Obamacare, the remnants of Obamacare, after that the, you know, the mandate. Do I maintain it well or do I run it badly? I could have done it either way."

The president insisted his Department of Health and Human Services was running the health care exchange well, and better than the Obama administration had, but claimed the coverage was still bad.

"Remember they spent $50 million, $5 billion dollars on the server, if you remember," Trump said. "They couldn't get the server right."

Limbaugh tried to steer the president back on topic, and the president briefly obliged.

"What they do is they love to say that I'm going to get rid of pre-existing conditions," Trump said. "No. I want to terminate Obamacare and then come up with a great, and we have come up with a great health care plan that's much less expensive and does include people with pre-existing conditions. That's what I want to do."