US Politics in Trump era
Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.
President Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic has imperiled both his own re-election and his party’s majority in the Senate, and Republican lawmakers in crucial states like Arizona, North Carolina and Maine have fallen behind their Democratic challengers amid broad disapproval of the president, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College.
Attorney General William P. Barr told federal prosecutors in a call last week that they should consider charging rioters and others who committed violent crimes at protests in recent months with sedition, according to two people familiar with the call.
Former vice president Joe Biden holds a narrow edge in the key battleground state of Wisconsin as President Trump’s law-and-order message has so far failed to translate into significant support or change the dynamic of the race there, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services have sought to change, delay and prevent the release of reports about the coronavirus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because they were viewed as undermining President Trump’s message that the pandemic is under control.
DHS official Brian Murphy alleges he was told to stand down on reporting about Russian interference threat
A senior Department of Homeland Security official alleges that he was told to stop providing intelligence reports on the threat of Russian interference in the 2020 election, in part because it “made the President look bad,” an instruction he believed would jeopardize national security.
President Trump acknowledged Wednesday that he intentionally played down the deadly nature of the rapidly spreading coronavirus last winter as an attempt to avoid a “frenzy,” part of an escalating damage-control effort by his top advisers to contain the fallout from a forthcoming book by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward.
Israel is cited often in Senate report as link to Russian interference (but our media ignore connection)
Quick show of hands. How many of you have heard of Guccifer 2.0? Guccifer was of course the on-line identity of the hackers allegedly connected to Russian intelligence who shared emails from the Democratic National Committee with Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, how many of you know that Guccifer 2.0’s phone was registered in Israel?
The conventional wisdom tends to be that Americans in uniform are more conservative than the civilian population at large. But in this case, the results of the Military Times survey suggest that political attitudes between the two groups aren't that different: roughly half of active-duty troops, for example, have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.
The Postal Service is crucial to farmers and rural areas that President Trump won in 2016. Now, residents worry it is being dismantled. People who voted for Trump and now organizing against Trump claiming that he has not delivered for rural America.
Kodak and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., are facing high-profile insider trading investigations, but data show the Securities and Exchange Commission pursued far fewer insider trading cases last year.
U.S. stocks are hovering near a record high, a stunning comeback since March that underscores the new phase the economy has entered: The wealthy have mostly recovered. The bottom half remain far from it.
The United States Postal Service is removing mail sorting machines from facilities around the country without any official explanation or reason given, Motherboard has learned through interviews with postal workers and union officials. I
President Donald Trump proclaimed Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have the capacity to handle an unprecedented increase in mail-in ballots because it lacks funds that his administration is blocking, remarks that were immediately viewed as an open admission of election sabotage by a president who has previously called USPS “a joke.”
An order signed by President Trump to boost unemployment benefits is already creating massive headaches for state labor officials, raising the potential that millions of Americans who are out of work as a result of the coronavirus will see little-to-no additional aid any time soon.
THE TRUMP administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has manifestly failed to achieve either its stated or unstated aims: It has not forced Iran to renegotiate the nuclear accord from which President Trump unwisely withdrew; nor has it ended Iranian aggression in the Middle East or caused the regime of Ali Khamenei to collapse. Now it may result in a powerful new blow to U.S. interests, in the form of an Iranian partnership with China that could rescue Iran’s economy while giving Beijing a powerful new place in the region.
President Trump sought to draw a hard line on the coronavirus relief bill Sunday, saying it must include a payroll tax cut and liability protections for businesses, as lawmakers prepare to plunge into negotiations over unemployment benefits and other key provisions in coming days.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested Friday that the government should consider forgiving all taxpayer-backed small loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program without verifying how the funds were used, a decision that could wipe away debt for millions of small businesses but would also substantially increase the risk of fraud.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a divisive speech on Thursday calling for the United States to ground its human rights policy more prominently in religious liberty and property rights.
Small-business borrowers and bankers say Trump administration’s job data is riddled with inaccuracies
A trove of data on $517 billion in emergency small-business loans contains numerous errors that cast doubt on the Trump administration’s jobs claims and obscure the real economic impact of the program, according to a Washington Post analysis and interviews with bankers and borrowers.
For months, Anthony S. Fauci has played a lead role in America’s coronavirus pandemic, as a diminutive, Brooklyn-accented narrator who has assessed the risk and issued increasingly blunt warnings as the nation’s response has gone badly awry. But as the Trump administration has strayed from the advice of many of its scientists and public health experts, the White House has moved to sideline Fauci
President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime confidant Roger Stone on Friday, using the extensive powers of the presidency to protect a felon and political ally while also lashing out against a years-long probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
The closest thing social conservatives and evangelical supporters of President Donald Trump had to a conversation stopper, when pressed about their support for a president who is so manifestly corrupt, cruel, mendacious, and psychologically unwell, was a simple phrase: “But Gorsuch.”
Religious organizations across the U.S. have received at least $7.3 billion in federal rescue package loans, with evangelical leaders tied to President Donald Trump and megachurches tied to scandals pulling in some of the largest payouts.
President Trump used the spotlight of the Fourth of July weekend to sow division during a national crisis, denying his failings in containing the worsening coronavirus pandemic while delivering a harsh diatribe against what he branded the “new far-left fascism.”
The moment President Donald Trump started tweeting at 12:46 a.m. about the “RINO Republicans” at the Lincoln Project who’d just run an ad attacking his response to the pandemic, Reed Galen knew his hunch was right: you can trigger a Trump freakout with a little bit of planning and pop psychology.
On April 15, the Department of Justice announced that it had reached a $41 million settlement with two Florida healthcare providers— and two of its former executives over fraudulent billing claims. This quartet, the government alleged, had for half a decade asked patients to undergo unnecessary urine drug tests solely for the purpose of getting reimbursements under Medicare and Medicaid.
Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday night abruptly tried to fire the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, who has investigated several of President Trump’s closest associates, but Mr. Berman said he would not leave.
U.S. attorney who was investigating people close to Trump now says he will step down, ending standoff with attorney general
Barr informed Berman of the president’s move in a sharply worded letter, explaining that Berman’s deputy, Audrey Strauss, will serve as the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan until the Senate can confirm a permanent replacement. Under Berman, the office managed a number of sensitive investigations involving people close to Trump, including his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.
In his new book, John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, describes instances when the president sought to halt criminal inquiries. He also says President Trump’s loyalists mocked him behind his back.
Facebook on Thursday removed advertisements posted on its platform by the Trump campaign that prominently featured a symbol used by Nazis to classify political prisoners during World War II, saying the imagery violated company policy.
The former US national security adviser John Bolton is facing calls to elaborate on a claim in his new book that Donald Trump agreed to help Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by intervening in a federal investigation into a Turkish state-owned bank. The Turkish leader and his son-in-law and finance minister, Berat Albayrak, have both been linked to the Halkbank scandal by Turkish investigators.
Top State Department official Mary Elizabeth Taylor resigns in protest of Trump’s response to racial tensions in the country
A senior State Department official who has served in the Trump administration since its first day is resigning over President Trump’s recent handling of racial tensions across the country — saying that the president’s actions “cut sharply against my core values and convictions.”
Federal officials responsible for spending $660 billion in taxpayer-backed small-business assistance said Wednesday that they will not disclose amounts or recipients of subsidized loans, backtracking on an earlier commitment to release individual loan data.
So if we’re going to get much oversight, particularly of the bailout aspects of the CARES Act it’s probably going to come from the Congressional Oversight Commission, which specifically was charged with monitoring the Federal Reserve’s $4.5 trillion money cannon. There are supposed to be five members on the commission; one chosen by each leader in the House and Senate, and a fifth, the chair, chosen by mutual agreement between Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.
Barr personally ordered removal of protesters near White House, leading to use of force against largely peaceful crowd
Attorney General William P. Barr personally ordered law enforcement officials to clear the streets around Lafayette Square just before President Trump spoke Monday, a Justice Department official said, a directive that prompted a show of aggression against a crowd of largely peaceful protesters, drawing widespread condemnation.
The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, was seething. President Trump had just visited St. John’s Episcopal Church, which sits across from the White House. It was a day after a fire was set in the basement of the historic building amid protests over the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.
President Trump on Monday threatened to deploy federal troops if state and city leaders don’t act to quell acts of violence and looting amid the protests over the killing of George Floyd. Moments earlier, just outside the White House, federal authorities used rubber bullets, flash bangs and gas to clear peaceful protesters from the area.
In cities across America on Sunday, people awoke to see shattered glass, charred vehicles, bruised bodies and graffiti-tagged buildings. Demonstrators gathered again in peaceful daytime protest of racial injustice. By evening, thousands had converged again in front of the White House, where people had rioted and set fires the night before. President Trump stayed safely ensconced inside and had nothing to say, besides tweeting fuel on the fire.
Emerging from a hack joke trope and in far-right memes in racist and homophobic corners of the Internet, armed extremists wearing Hawaiian or "Aloha" print shirts at protests across the US are signalling support for a "second Civil War" over stay-at-home orders and perceived threats to the Second Amendment.
Trump Wants to Declare Antifa a Terrorist Organization, Even Though Right-Wing Extremists Have Been More Violent
By including Antifa under that definition, the government runs the risk of wrongly labeling all counter protesters as white supremacists, the Anti-Defamation League said, which could allow police to violate the rights of peaceful protesters.
Top HHS watchdog being replaced by Trump says inspectors general must work free from political intrusion
The chief watchdog for the Department of Health and Human Services, being replaced as part of President Trump’s purge of inspectors general, told lawmakers on Tuesday that freedom from political intrusion is “a key safeguard for the programs we oversee.”
President Donald Trump may have fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick because he was investigating U.S. military sales to Saudi Arabia, Democratic lawmakers said on Monday, although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he sought Linick’s removal because his work was undermining the department.
Instead of organizing as a bloc to make coordinated demands or threatening to withhold votes, the progressive approach has been to meet with leadership individually with legislative wish lists, with the hope that working behind the scenes will influence the legislation.
Hydroxychloroquine drug promoted by Trump as coronavirus ‘game changer’ increasingly linked to deaths
For two months, President Trump repeatedly pitched hydroxychloroquine as a safe and effective treatment for coronavirus, asking would-be patients “What the hell do you have to lose?” Growing evidence shows that, for many, the answer is their lives.
President Trump continued his purge of inspectors general late Friday, moving to oust Steve A. Linick, who had served in that post at the State Department since 2013, and replacing him with an ambassador with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence. The decision to remove Mr. Linick, first reported Friday night by Politico, is the latest in a purge of inspectors general whom Mr. Trump has deemed insufficiently loyal to his administration, upending the traditional independence of the internal watchdog agencies whose missions are to conduct oversight of the nation’s sprawling bureaucracy.
One of the world’s oldest and best-known medical journals Friday slammed President Trump’s “inconsistent and incoherent national response” to the novel coronavirus pandemic and accused the administration of relegating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to a “nominal” role.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders are teaming up to create joint “unity” task forces that will have a direct hand in shaping Democratic policy and the party’s agenda in 2020 and beyond.
Watchdog Demands Probe After Energy Secretary Admits WH Pressed Fed to Give Oil Companies Access to Covid-19 Funds
A watchdog on the congressional committee tasked with overseeing the Trump administration's handling of Covid-19 bailout funds demanded an investigation Tuesday after Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette openly admitted in a television appearance that the White House pressed the Federal Reserve to alter one of its lending programs for the benefit of fossil fuel companies.
In a week when the novel coronavirus ravaged new communities across the country and the number of dead soared past 78,000, President Trump and his advisers shifted from hour-by-hour crisis management to what they characterize as a long-term strategy aimed at reviving the decimated economy and preparing for additional outbreaks this fall.
The United States’s wars continue to rage in the Middle East and Africa against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even in normal times, these conflicts got little public scrutiny. But with attention more occupied than usual, some U.S. military operations have been escalating even further. In recent years, these conflicts have become even deadlier for innocent people
Some of the richest people in the US have been at the front of the queue as the government has handed out trillions of dollars to prop up an economy it shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the billionaire class has added $308bn to its wealth in four weeks - even as a record 26 million people lost their jobs.
Dr Wen explains how to think about fighting this pandemic. She claims rightly that the Federal Government has a responsibility to assess the problem and then figure out how to deliver. We can't afford to ignore science
Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service
A top donor to President Trump and the Republican National Committee will be named the new head of the Postal Service, putting a top ally of the president in charge of an agency where Trump has long pressed for major changes in how it handles its business. Trump’s Treasury Department and the Postal Service are in the midst of a negotiation over a $10 billion line of credit approved as part of coronavirus legislation in March.
Republican lawmakers and finance industry lobbyists are using the coronavirus pandemic to press regulators into rapidly waiving financial safeguards for community banks. And so far, banking regulators have obliged, lifting rules imposed after the 2008 crisis that limit risk-taking and require banks to undergo more strenuous audits.
The US and other countries have raised questions about whether China was fully transparent when the virus first emerged there. So what do we know about what happened in China, and what did it say and do about the outbreak?
The move marks a stunning reversal in the case of the former Army general who was convicted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also will likely intensify concerns within and outside the Justice Department that Barr and its politically appointed leadership is intervening in sensitive cases to help the president’s friends and political allies.
A former top vaccine official removed from his post last month alleged in a whistleblower complaint on Tuesday that he was reassigned to a less prestigious role because he tried to “prioritize science and safety over political expediency” and raised health concerns over a drug repeatedly pushed by President Trump as a possible cure for coronavirus.
Since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, Caterpillar has suspended operations at two plants and a foundry, Levi Strauss has closed stores, and toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker is planning layoffs and furlough. While thousands of their workers are filing for unemployment benefits, these companies rewarded their shareholders with more than $700 million in cash dividends
The coronavirus response being spearheaded by President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has relied in part on volunteers from consulting and private equity firms with little expertise in the tasks to which they were assigned, exacerbating chronic problems in obtaining supplies for hospitals and other needs, according to numerous government officials and a volunteer involved in the effort.
It would be an understatement to say Mitch McConnell’s suggestion that state and local governments should declare bankruptcy rather than seek more federal funding went down like a lead balloon. It was a rare instance of the Senate majority leader overplaying his hand.
Strategic National Stockpile chief Robert Kadlec focused on biodefense — and a former client, Emergent BioSolutions, benefited
After Robert Kadlec was confirmed as President Trump’s top official for public health preparedness in 2017, he began pressing to increase government stocks of a smallpox vaccine. His office ultimately made a deal to buy up to $2.8 billion of the vaccine from a company that once paid Kadlec as a consultant, a connection he did not disclose on a Senate questionnaire when he was nominated.
Trump uses White House coronavirus events to project return to normalcy while relying on testing that public lacks
As Trump aides have signaled that he could soon begin regular travel, the reality is that the White House has created a picture of security that is propped up by special access to the kind of wide-scale testing for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, that most of the nation remains without.
Publicly traded companies have received more than $1 billion in funds meant for small businesses from the federal government’s economic stimulus package, according to data from securities filings compiled by The Washington Post.
Senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to four senior administration officials with knowledge of internal planning. The move could splinter already strained relations between the two superpowers at a perilous moment for the global economy.
Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.
U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.
Major donors to President Donald Trump’s presidential reelection campaign have won coveted loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, the new government effort to provide a lifeline to small businesses under duress because of the coronavirus pandemic.
At almost every juncture, Donald Trump has made decisions about the coronavirus pandemic that have led to more death. His behavior is that of a person who has no care or concern for the health, safety and welfare of the American people.
Trump rebuked by doctors, Lysol after asking if disinfectants can be injected to kill coronavirus in people
After a presentation Thursday that touched on the disinfectants that can kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces and in the air, President Trump pondered whether those chemicals could be used to fight the virus inside the human body.“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said during Thursday’s coronavirus press briefing. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?
Hundreds of millions of dollars of Paycheck Protection Program emergency funding has been claimed by large, publicly traded companies, new research published by Morgan Stanley shows.In fact, the U.S. government has allocated at least $243.4 million of the total $349 billion to publicly traded companies, the firm said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) drew flak Thursday from governors in both parties after suggesting that states hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak should be allowed to seek bankruptcy protections rather than be given a federal bailout.
With the pandemic severely restricting economic activity, thousands of small businesses across the country are on the brink of collapse. Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program as a lifeline. The $350 billion fund was intended to rescue small businesses with forgivable loans to cover their payrolls for two months.
Donald Trump tried and failed on Wednesday to coerce two of the government’s top medical experts to endorse his claim that a second wave of Covid-19 infections in the fall is unlikely, hours after a federal whistleblower said he was fired by the administration for limiting the use of an unproven drug treatment touted by the president.
An informal coalition of influential conservative leaders and groups, some with close connections to the White House, has been quietly working to nurture protests and apply political and legal pressure to overturn state and local orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump says he will issue order to suspend immigration during, closing off the United States to a new extreme
President Trump announced in a tweet late Monday night that he plans to suspend immigration to the United States, a move he said is needed to safeguard American jobs and defend the country from coronavirus pandemic, which he called “the Invisible Enemy.”
Progressives exploded in frustration Tuesday as the Senate prepared to pass an interim funding bill for coronavirus relief that once again included no funding for the Post Office, food banks, or election security, and provided no bailout oversight and no funding for states and cities—leading critics to wonder why Democratic lawmakers refused to use their leverage and hold up the bill.
More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials.
Trump says government will step up coronavirus testing efforts, after governors blast federal inaction
President Trump said on Sunday that the federal government is stepping up efforts to obtain vital supplies for coronavirus testing, hours after several governors from both parties faulted his administration for not doing enough to help states. Public health experts say testing on a larger scale is a crucial step before resuming normal social and economic activity in the country. But Trump defended the administration’s approach of leaving testing largely to states.
The United States is embarking on a rapid-fire experiment in borrowing without precedent, as the government and corporations take on trillions of dollars of debt to offset the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.
President Trump sparked uproar on Twitter Friday with a series of tweets encouraging followers to “liberate” amid a growing movement of protests across the country to demand governors reopen “nonessential businesses” and send people back to work.
Nothing But a Taxpayer ‘Subsidy to Insurers’: Democrats Float Plan to Backstop For-Profit Healthcare Industry During Covid-19 Pandemic
House Democratic leadership came under fire Tuesday after it was reported a proposal is now under consideration to backstop for-profit healthcare insurance companies with taxpayer dollars instead of simply opening public programs like Medicare and Medicaid to those laid off or uninsured amidst the coronavirus outbreak ravaging the country.
President Trump announced Tuesday that he will suspend payments to the World Health Organization in response to the United Nations agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as the organization is in the midst of combating a global outbreak that has killed thousands and crippled world economies. Trump’s announcement was expected, as he seeks to deflect blame for his early dismissal of the virus as a threat to Americans and the U.S. economy.
More than 80 percent of the benefits of a tax change tucked into the coronavirus relief package Congress passed last month will go to those who earn more than $1 million annually, according to a report by a nonpartisan congressional body expected to be released Tuesday.
More than 17 million people have filed for unemployment in the past four weeks as the novel coronavirus continues to drive the U.S. economy into recession. That means that millions are or soon will be without health insurance, and millions more will struggle to pay premiums and co-pays on insurance they do have. This puts even more pressure on hospital systems — already under enormous financial strain — because they are required to treat all patients with emergency conditions, including the uninsured.