US Politics in Trump era
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
States and experts begin pursuing a coronavirus national strategy in absence of White House direction
In the absence of White House direction, states and America’s top experts have begun pursuing a national strategy against coronavirus. The question is whether their effort can succeed without the federal government.
President Trump has removed the chairman of the federal panel Congress created to oversee his administration's management of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed last month. Glenn Fine, who had been the acting Pentagon inspector general, was informed Monday that he was being replaced by Sean W. O’Donnell, currently the inspector general at the Environmental Protection Agency.
In September 2018, the Trump administration received detailed plans for a new machine designed to churn out millions of protective respirator masks at high speed during a pandemic. An HHS spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that although Halyard’s plans were feasible, no funding was available to build the machine.
The confluence of a slow initial response by the Trump administration, its wariness of compelling the industry to produce gear and a long-running debate about granting manufacturers legal protection in a health emergency contributed to a critical shortage of masks to front-line workers, according to an examination by The Washington Post of the early weeks of the crisi
Navy Dismisses Captain Who Sounded The Alarm on Coronavirus, Signaling A Willingness to Stifle Dissent
The dismissal of a senior officer for raising concerns about the well-being of his crew is highly unusual, and signals that the Trump administration is willing to take extraordinary steps to silence internal dissent about its handling of the global pandemic.
President Trump is firing the intelligence community inspector general whose insistence on telling lawmakers about a whistle-blower complaint about his dealings with Ukraine triggered impeachment proceedings last fall, the president told lawmakers in a letter late Friday.
Travel data of passengers arriving in the United States from China during the critical period in December, January and February, when the disease took hold in that country, shows a stunning 759,493 people entered the U.S.
While much of the world moved swiftly to lock down crucial medical supplies used to treat the coronavirus, the U.S. dithered, maintaining business as normal and allowing large shipments of American-made respirators and ventilators to be sold to foreign buyers.
Immediately after signing the historic $2 trillion coronavirus aid package, President Trump sought to curb oversight provisions in the bill by asserting presidential authority over a new inspector general’s office.The move could presage a major battle between the White House and Capitol Hill as the Trump administration moves to implement the new law.
The Trump Department of Justice has asked Congress to craft legislation allowing chief judges to indefinitely hold people without trial and suspend other constitutionally-protected rights during coronavirus and other emergencies, according to a report by Politico’s Betsy Woodruff Swan.
While the president says he wants to help Americans workers through the coronavirus pandemic, behind the scenes his party is crafting legislation that would leave the least fortunate behind.
As the United States enters a critical phase in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s leading public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appears to be on the sidelines, with its messages increasingly disrupted or overtaken by the White House.
President Donald Trump’s directive for governors to buy their own medical supplies to fight the coronavirus has run into a big problem—the federal government. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker told Trump during a video conference on Thursday that his state three times lost out to the federal government on purchases of critical supplies, creating an awkward moment during the made-for-TV event at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington.
Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, has created his own team of government allies and private industry representatives to work alongside the administration’s official coronavirus task force, adding another layer of confusion and conflicting signals within the White House’s disjointed response to the crisis.
The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog division has been so weakened under the Trump administration that it is failing to provide basic oversight of the government’s third-largest federal agency, according to whistleblowers and lawmakers from both parties.
The culture that President Trump has fostered and abided by for more than three years in the White House has shaped his administration’s response to a deadly pandemic that is upending his presidency and the rest of the country, with dramatic changes to how Americans live their daily lives.
German officials will discuss a reported U.S. attempt to secure the rights to any coronavirus vaccine developed by a German pharmaceutical company in crisis meetings on Monday, the country's interior minister said, amid concerns that the Trump administration was trying to monopolize the market.
When President Trump took office in 2017, the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact. Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014. One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19.
In the U.S., we are grossly underprepared for COVID-19 (coronavirus), now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The federal government has failed to protect its citizens by not responding in a timely and adequate manner.
President Donald Trump’s address from the Oval Office on coronavirus Wednesday night didn’t just send markets plunging (again) — it also required some immediate clean-up from the President and others because of numerous significant errors.
Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned President Donald Trump and his administration last year that a pandemic could lead to serious problems if they didn’t take public health preparedness more seriously.
President Trump’s company charges the Secret Service for the rooms it uses while protecting Trump at his properties. The charges have been as high as $650 per night for a Mar-a-Lago Club hotel room, or $17,000 a month for a cottage at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
The moment we feared has come: in a real emergency, the president’s inability to stay with reality and to resist the need to conform the world to what is in his head will now result in a tangible loss of lives. People are asking: Is the president capable of functioning in a crisis?
Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and others have less to say about the spread of the virus than concern for how the news coverage of it affects President Trump. In fact, many conservative commentators have expressed less interest in the spread of the virus or efforts to combat it than in the story of the virus — a story they are convinced shows bias designed to harm President Trump.
Johnny McEntee, an ex-college quarterback, heads a sweeping White House effort to purge the civil service and install loyalists. McEntee summoned cabinet liaisons to the White House last week to tell them to root out Trump critics in their ranks, according to reporting by Axios. McEntee has also put a freeze on political appointments and told colleagues that the White House would be selecting cabinet deputies from now on, according to the New York Times.
For at least 10 years, Mr. Kerik had been seen as a fallen figure from a distant tough-guy era in New York, banished to the margins of power. But with the rise of Mr. Trump, Mr. Kerik’s fortunes changed. His brand — brashly conservative, critical of federal prosecutors and close with right-wing media — precisely fit the jaw-jutting mold favored in the White House.
Trump Quietly Slashed Pay Raise for Federal Workers a Day Before Claiming US Economy Is Best ‘In History’
In a move that drew outrage from labor unions and progressives, President Donald Trump this week quietly took steps to slash a scheduled pay raise for millions of federal workers from 2.5% to 1% due to supposed concerns about "keeping the nation on a fiscally sustainable course."
President Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday that includes a familiar list of deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing efforts, food stamps and Medicaid, reflecting Mr. Trump’s election-year effort to continue shrinking the federal safety net.
The decision to move Colonel Vindman out of the White House complex, reported previously by Bloomberg News and The Washington Post, came as Mr. Trump and his allies have made clear that they will seek to exact payback against those he blames for triggering his impeachment and trial.
President Trump fired two of the most prominent witnesses in the impeachment inquiry within hours of each other Friday evening, moves that amounted to retribution against those he holds responsible for his attempted removal.
President Trump’s company charges the Secret Service for the rooms agents use while protecting him at his luxury properties — billing U.S. taxpayers at rates as high as $650 per night, according to federal records and people who have seen receipts.Those charges, compiled here for the first time, show that Trump has an unprecedented — and largely hidden — business relationship with his own government.
Moving to counter the spreading coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration said Friday that it would bar entry by most foreign nationals who had recently visited China and put some American travelers under a quarantine as it declared a rare public health emergency.
The number of Americans without health insurance has increased by 7 million since President Donald Trump took office, new Gallup data released Wednesday shows. The country’s uninsured rate has steadily ticked upward since 2016, rising from a low of 10.9 percent in late 2016 to 13.7 percent — a four-year high.
‘Biggest Loss of Clean Water Protection the Country Has Ever Seen’: Trump Guts Safeguards for US Streams and Wetlands
The Trump administration is set to continue its corporate friendly assault on U.S. environmental regulations Thursday by finalizing a rule that will allow companies, landowners, and property developers—including golf course owners like the president—to dump pesticides and other pollutants directly into many of the nation's streams and wetlands, potentially threatening the drinking water of millions of Americans.
The White House on Thursday introduced major changes to the nation’s benchmark environmental protection law, moving to ease approval of major energy and infrastructure projects without detailed environmental assessment or consideration of climate change.
With his Thanksgiving vacation, President Donald Trump’s golf hobby has now cost Americans an estimated $115 million in travel and security expenses ― the equivalent of 287 years of the presidential salary he frequently boasts about not taking.
When the Keystone Pipeline burst last week, half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool’s worth of a particularly dirty fossil fuel spilled into wetlands in North Dakota. And the thick liquid, known as tar sands oil, will be nearly impossible to clean up.
Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers Friday that when she read how President Trump had talked about her to his Ukrainian counterpart in a July phone call — saying ominously that “she’s going to go through some things” — the color drained from her face.“It sounded like a threat,” she said.Even as Yovanovitch testified, the president continued to go after her, writing on Twitter, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.”
Senate Confirms Controversial Judicial Nominee, Flipping Court That Will Decide Trump Subpoena Cases
The Senate confirmed Steven Menashi to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday by a vote of 51–41. Every Republican present except Sen. Susan Collins supported Menashi; every Democrat present opposed him. With this confirmation, Donald Trump has flipped the 2nd Circuit to a majority of Republican appointees—a momentous shift in the balance of power that could help the president shield himself from criminal liability and congressional scrutiny in a jurisdiction, New York, which he previously called home.
The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policy making.
Struggling dairy farmers who flocked to an expo in Wisconsin last month hoped to hear some encouragement from one of their own — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a Georgia agri-businessman whose dad had run a small farm.But some came away angry after Perdue — speaking in a state that lost nearly two dairy farms a day last year — remarked that small farms would not likely survive as the “big get bigger and small go out.”
Days after a decorated Army lieutenant colonel offered damaging testimony about President Trump’s conduct on a July phone call with Ukraine’s leader, Mr. Trump stood on the South Lawn and issued a vague but ominous warning.“You’ll be seeing very soon what comes out,” Mr. Trump said on Saturday, referring to the officer, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman.
The Trump administration notified the international community Monday that it plans to officially withdraw from the Paris climate accord next fall, a move that will leave the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases as the only nation to abandon the global effort to combat climate change.
The Trump administration is expected to roll back an Obama-era regulation meant to limit the leaching of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury into water supplies from the ash of coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans.
When President Trump announced on Sunday morning that Islamic State founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, he thanked the Russians for their help while explaining that he kept Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the dark because he was afraid of leaks.
Footage of the US special forces raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Syrian compound reportedly consisted of overhead surveillance footage and no audio, prompting questions over the extent of the dramatic licence taken by Donald Trump in describing the final moments of one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.
The U.S. government’s budget deficit ballooned to nearly $1 trillion in 2019, the Treasury Department announced Friday, as the United States’ fiscal imbalance widened for a fourth consecutive year despite a sustained run of economic growth. The deficit grew $205 billion, or 26 percent, in the past year. The country’s worsening fiscal picture runs in sharp contrast to President Trump’s campaign promise to eliminate the federal debt within eight years.
Trump administration officials have admitted that last summer they knowingly withheld billions of dollars Congress appropriated to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. House Democrats say withholding the relief money violates the law. The HUD delay meant the island missed a deadline to apply for billions of dollars in disaster relief funds, raising doubts about when, if ever, the money will flow to the island devastated in September 2017 by a Category 5 hurricane.
The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine told lawmakers Tuesday that President Trump made the release of military aid contingent on public declarations from Ukraine that it would investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election, contradicting Trump’s denial that he used the money as leverage for political gain.
The Taliban have wanted the United States to pull troops out of Afghanistan, Turkey has wanted the Americans out of northern Syria and North Korea has wanted them to at least stop military exercises with South Korea. President Trump has now to some extent at least obliged all three — but without getting much of anything in return.
“There Is Definite Hanky-Panky Going On”: The Fantastically Profitable Mystery of the Trump Chaos Trade
In the last 10 minutes of trading on Friday, August 23, as the markets were roiling in the face of more bad trade news, someone bought 386,000 September e-minis. Three days later, Trump lied about getting a call from China to restart the trade talks, and the S&P 500 index shot up nearly 80 points. The potential profit on the trade was more than $1.5 billion.
Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americans Want
The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All—calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.
An estimated 50 nuclear bombs stored at a US airbase in Turkey have become potential bargaining chips in the tense relationship between Washington and Ankara in the wake of the Turkish offensive into Syria. The presence of B61 nuclear gravity bombs at İncirlik airbase, which is about 100 miles from the Syrian border and which the US air force shares with its Turkish counterpart, is complicating Washington’s calculations.
Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine in May, testified to impeachment investigators on Friday that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”
Treasury Department officials are considering rolling back a tax rule aimed at preventing American companies from moving money offshore to avoid U.S. taxes, according to several people familiar with discussions.
The White House declared war on the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, announcing that it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election” and setting the stage for a constitutional clash with far-reaching consequences.
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into recent trade agreements that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits, a move that could help lock in America’s tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home.
The trade war has cost farmers potential Chinese orders for the corn-based fuel as well as for a byproduct that is used as animal feed. Now, the refinery exemptions are compounding the financial pain — and threatening political consequences for the president, who won this state and its six electoral votes in 2016.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the Trump administration acted lawfully when it scrapped the U.S. government’s net neutrality rules in 2017, dealing a blow to tech giants and consumer advocates who argued that the repeal would create a stratified Internet of fast and slow lanes.
Multiple news outlets reported on Monday that Barr’s Italy trip focused on urging the country’s officials to help his Justice Department investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation for an effort that appears aligned with long-festering conspiracy theories on the matter. The campaign to squeeze foreign countries for information that would discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation also extended to a July 29 meeting that Barr had in London with British officials.
U.S. manufacturing fell deeper into a contraction last month, erasing hope of a quick turnaround for the industry and handing a blow to President Trump’s promises that he would revive blue-collar jobs and companies. September marked the worst month for U.S. manufacturing in more than a decade, since June 2009.
President Trump on Monday questioned whether the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, should be arrested for treason for his description of a phone call Mr. Trump had with the president of Ukraine during a recent congressional hearing.
President Trump was repeatedly warned by his own staff that the Ukraine conspiracy theory that he and his lawyer were pursuing was “completely debunked” long before the president pressed Ukraine this summer to investigate his Democratic rivals, a former top adviser said on Sunday.
President Trump told a crowd of staff from the United States Mission to the United Nations on Thursday morning that he wants to know who provided information to a whistle-blower about his phone call with the president of Ukraine, saying that whoever did so was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days,” spies were dealt with differently.
President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he discussed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Ukraine’s president as Democrats ramped up calls for an investigation into whether he improperly pressured a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent.
Donald Trump’s promise to a foreign leader so troubled an official in the US intelligence community that it prompted the person to file a whistleblower complaint, according to multiple media reports. Speculation in Washington was at fever pitch on Thursday over which leader Trump was speaking to and what promise he made. The substance of the complaint remained a mystery.
The Israelis deployed StingRay mobile identity-catchers, devices that are mistaken for cell towers by cell phones, allowing them to capture the contents of calls and the mobile browser activity. Lipmann says that the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division subjected the devices to extensive forensic tests, looking at where the components came from, how old they were, and considering who would have access to them, and the trail led inexorably to Israel.
The Trump administration on Thursday is expected to complete the legal repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation, which had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and water bodies. Weakening the Obama-era water rule had been a central campaign pledge for Mr. Trump, who characterized it as a federal land-grab that impinged on the rights of farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers to use their property as they see fit.
The White House was directly involved in pressing a federal scientific agency to repudiate the weather forecasters who contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian would probably strike Alabama, according to several people familiar with the events.
John Bolton fired: Trump fires national security adviser, saying he ‘disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions’
President Trump announced Tuesday that he had fired his national security adviser, John Bolton, saying in tweets that he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” Trump’s harshly worded tweet made clear that long-simmering frustration with Bolton had boiled over. Bolton immediately took issue with Trump’s assertion that he was fired, saying that he had offered his resignation.
President Trump escalated his unprecedented attacks against America’s central bank Friday, calling Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell an “enemy” of the United States that is as bad as China, a tweet that triggered a stock market slide and came minutes after Powell vowed to keep the economy growing.