demand Trump's

Trump’s demand that the US get a cut of TikTok’s sale could set a dangerous precedent – CNN

San Francisco (CNN Business)TikTok is up for grabs. But while the popular short-form video app likely won’t lack for suitors, President Donald Trump says the US government needs to get a “substantial amount of money” as part of any deal.

It’s a demand that experts say is far outside the norm at best, and if it were to be met could set a dangerous precedent.
“It’s really not for the President to say that a deal can go through or a deal can’t go through, or that a company must pay a ransom to the United States government or get a deal done by a particular deadline,” said Avery Gardiner, general counsel and senior fellow for competition, data and power at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “That’s very unusual, it’s more than very unusual. It’s wrong, it doesn’t happen.”
The US government’s authority to compel foreign firms to sell their business to an American company comes primarily from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS has stepped up its scrutiny of Chinese-owned firms in recent years as tensions between the United States and China on technology escalate — the committee recently forced the Chinese owners of Grindr to sell the gay dating app to a US-based company over national security concerns.
ByteDance, the Chinese tech firm that owns TikTok, is already under investigation by CFIUS over its 2016 acquisition of US app And there is a scenario in which the committee could insert a fee to cover the government’s expenses from the review process, according to Jeffrey Bialos, a partner at law firm Eversheds Sutherland who served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Industrial Affairs in the Clinton administration.
“The only argument I can see the government making is that they should be compensated for the time and effort they spent on this,” Bialos said. However, “to require that part of the consideration ByteDance is getting from selling its business go to the US government, I think that’s an overreach.”
Trump said he would seek a “very large percentage” of any deal, which could be a substantial amount given TikTok’s estimated valuation of $50 billion by some investors.
The TikTok saga could also scuttle potential future deals in a tech industry already under scrutiny.
“The recent events around TikTok will change the way we look at companies that are based in China or have interest in expanding to China, which is often one of the most interesting markets to expand into from the US,” said Mike Jones, co-founder and managing partner at Science Inc, a Los Angeles-based incubator and tech studio that’s backed companies such as Dollar Shave Club and Bird.
“The recent developments give us pause and change the way we think about company growth and development when the government could block them from crossing into markets,” Jones added.
Gardiner points to the growing pressure on tech companies that have any links to China, citing the Trump administration’s years-long campaign against Huawei as an example.
“That’s going to make American companies think twice about purchasing or being purchased by Chinese entities in the tech space,” she said. “I think that does have a chilling effect on the merger landscape.”
Ultimately, though, Bialos says if all the parties involved in the deal agree to cut the government in, there’s not much anyone can do about it. Microsoft, seen as the frontrunner so far to purchase TikTok, said it would be open to “providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.”
“If they agree to that as one of the conditions, it’s hard for anyone to challenge it,” Bialos said. “I’m not sure anybody could oppose it readily if the party involved here agrees to it.” (Chinese state-run media this week slammed the US moves and said China will “by no means accept” the “theft” of TikTok.)
It’s a slippery slope with the potential to fundamentally change how business is done in the United States.
“I suppose it’s possible that any company could voluntarily write a check to the US Treasury, but making that a de facto requirement for mergers in the United States would be incredibly dangerous,” said Gardiner. “To condition deals on requiring a payment to the government would be a drastic change and, in my mind, it would be a terrible mistake.”
— Sara O’Brien contributed to this report.

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Fact-checking Trump’s continued assault on mail-in voting and suggestions of delaying the election – CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump went on a tear against mail-in voting Thursday morning. In a pair of tweets, he once again falsely claimed that mail-in voting was rife with fraud and an easy target for foreign election interference.

“Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster,” Trump tweeted. “The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race.”
More and more states are considering mail-in ballots as the coronavirus pandemic shows little sign of slowing down in the US before the November presidential election. After drawing a false distinction between absentee voting and mail-in voting, the President suggested delaying the election instead of relying on mail-in voting.
He tweeted: “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
Facts First: This is yet another egregious attempt by Trump to mislead the public by sowing doubts about mail-in-voting by making false claims about the potential of voter fraud and rigged elections.
No matter how many times the President claims otherwise, voting-by-mail rarely results in fraud. And although Trump has tried to spin the two as fundamentally different before, absentee and mail-in voting are essentially the same, both subject to several degrees of verification. As more Americans than ever are expected to cast mail-in ballots this year due to the pandemic, experts acknowledge there might be some logistical issues in terms of people being able to receive and mail in their ballots. But that’s a far cry from the claims of fraud and rigged elections that the President continues to espouse.

Absentee and mail-in voting

Trump often defends absentee voting — a practice he is more than familiar with — while lambasting mail-in voting. But the voting methods are very similar, and experts have told CNN they are largely “the same thing.”
“No-excuse mail voting or absentee voting — whatever you call it — is essentially the same thing,” David Becker, founder of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research told CNN’s Marshall Cohen. “You request a ballot, you get a ballot, you vote, you send it in, and there are protections in place. It doesn’t matter whether you call it mail voting or absentee voting. It’s the same thing.”
Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine professor and one of the nation’s top experts in election law, told CNN “The President seems to be trying to distinguish between mail in voting where someone has to have an excuse and no excuse voting by mail.”
While there can be some differences in the methods used to implement absentee and mail-in voting, experts say that they are both secure ways of voting.
“The bottom line is that absentee and mail balloting are secure in America,” Wendy Weiser, the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center, told CNN. “Election officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, pretty much universally are confident in the system.”
You can read more here on how mail-in voting works.

Mail ballot fraud

Trump’s insistence that an increase in mail-in voting this November will result in massive fraud is unfounded.
While rare instances of voter fraud from mail-in ballots do occur, it is nowhere near a widespread problem in the US election system.
Mail ballot fraud is exceedingly rare in part because states have systems and processes in place to prevent forgery, theft and voter fraud. These systems would apply to both absentee ballots and mail-in ballots for in-state voters.
You can read more about the history of mail ballot fraud and Trump’s false claims about it here.

Foreign interference

Contrary to the President’s insinuation, nonpartisan election experts say it would be very difficult for foreign countries to influence the election using mail-in voting, which would require printing millions of fraudulent mail-in ballots.
Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, said in a statement Friday that it is “extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to broadly disrupt or change vote tallies without detection.”
Chris Krebs, the Trump administration’s own official in charge of securing elections has also said mail-in voting is not an easy way for foreign countries to get involved with US elections.
At a Brookings event in mid-July on “Election integrity and security in the era of COVID-19,” Krebs, who is director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, outlined the complexities involved in a foreign adversary attempting to counterfeit a mail-in ballot and the steps in place to verify each ballot’s authenticity.
During the same event, David Becker said the voting system is such that the situation Trump describes would be “virtually impossible.”
“There’s so many checks and balances in the system it’s virtually impossible, I’d never say impossible, it’s virtually impossible to change the outcome of an election in a way that would be undetected,” Becker said.

Changing election day

In his tweet, Trump suggested that the election be delayed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”
Who has the authority to change the date of a US presidential election? In one word, Congress.
The US Constitution only permits Congress to change the date of a presidential election. In order for Trump to have that power, Congress would have to pass a new statute giving it to him.
In a report from the Congressional Research Service from March 20 which looked at legal considerations for potentially postponing the federal elections this year, it notes that “[o]nly Congress may change this date by enacting a new statute.”
“The presidential election date has never been changed in response to an emergency,” the report continues.
The CRS also explains that “[u]nlike the practice of some states that allow the Governor to postpone an election during emergencies, neither the Constitution nor Congress provides any similar power to the President.”
So while Trump is welcome to advocate for a change-of-date, he’s powerless to actually do so. And with Democrats — who strongly support mail-in voting during the pandemic — controlling the House and many Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, already rejecting the President’s suggestion, it’s almost certain Trump won’t get his wish.

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Trump’s commutation of ally Roger Stone’s sentence sparks outrage – The Guardian

Outrage is growing among opponents of Donald Trumps decision to commute the prison sentence of his longtime friend and notorious Republican fixer Roger Stone despite the US attorney general having de…
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Trump’s Fortune And Children Could Be In Jeopardy With Supreme Court Decision – NPR

President Trump is not pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday that his financial records have to be turned over to a New York grand jury.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is not pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday that his financial records have to be turned over to a New York grand jury.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court cases are complicated, and their implications can be muddy.

But a few things are clear from what the court decided Thursday about the President Trump’s financial records. Presidents do not have absolute immunity from having to release financial records, and more specifically to Trump, we likely won’t see his taxes until after the presidential election.

That, though, may be beside the point, because allowing a New York grand jury — and motivated district attorney — to mine his records could jeopardize his brand, the fortune he built and even possibly his children, who work for the Trump Organization.

Supreme Court Says Trump Not 'Immune' From Records Release, But Hedges On House Case

Here are some key questions answered about what the court decided and what it means politically.

Will I see Trump’s taxes?

Maybe eventually, but not before the November presidential election. That’s for a couple of reasons. Take the congressional case — the Supreme Court said that the case has to go back to the lower courts and that Congress has to better define what it is looking for from the president.

That could mean more hearings and appeals and the case eventually finding its way back to the Supreme Court. That would certainly not happen before November.

The Economy May Be Losing Its Impact On Presidential Elections

The other case involves a New York grand jury that is seeking Trump’s financial records, including his taxes, from third parties, like banks and accountants, and not from the president directly.

Little is known about that New York investigation, led by New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance. The only way Trump’s taxes or other financial records would be made known to the public is if people were indicted, the case went to trial and the financial records were used as evidence. That would take months, if not longer.

Is this a win or loss for the president?

Overall, it’s a big loss. Details of his financial dealings are likely to eventually be made public — something Trump has long tried to avoid.

Now, he and his allies could argue that it’s not all bad, given that none of the information is likely to come out before November and, therefore, won’t have an impact on his potential reelection.

But given the country’s polarization, unless something provably criminal came out, it’s probably unlikely that it would have had much impact on the presidential election anyway. But that may not be the point. (More on that below.)

After all, the Access Hollywood tape, which showed Trump engaged in a lewd conversation about women, came out in October 2016, and Trump still won. And when it comes to taxes, Trump has said before that it made him “smart” to figure out how not to pay them. His base has never abandoned him.

All that said, look at how Trump is reacting to what were big decisions from the court — and in a 7-to-2 manner — that, bottom line, said a president does not have categorical immunity to block a subpoena just because he’s president.

Trump tweeted that it’s “not fair” that he has “to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York” and that, in the past, the court has given “broad deference” to presidents.

The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2020

Setting the record straight, though: The high court has never said a president has immunity from all forms of subpoenas. While the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has advised that a president should not be indicted while in office, the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Nixon forced the release of secret White House tape recordings that eventually led to Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Do we know what the New York grand jury is investigating?

We don’t know exactly what the grand jury is investigating — it’s a secret. But it could be anything and everything related to Trump, the Trump Organization and people around him. That was made pretty clear by the reaction from Vance after the ruling.

“This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one — not even a president — is above the law,” Vance said in a statement. “Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead.”

“Wherever they may lead” is pretty expansive and shows why Trump is so irritated by all of this.

Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Is Back In Federal Prison

There are some clues from last year’s congressional testimony from Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.

“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” Cohen said.

That’s just one example. A mysterious $50 million loan for a project in Chicago is also under scrutiny.

With all that, whether this matters to the presidential election might be beside the point. His financial records being fully investigated has the potential to imperil the organization he built and the people who work for it, including himself — and his children.

Remember, Trump was already ordered last year to pay $2 million in damages for misuse of funds from his foundation, and it was in the process of dissolving because of that.

How does Biden try to leverage this?

Biden Counters Trump's 'America First' With 'Build Back Better' Economic Plan

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has already been trying to make this a matter of corruption and transparency.

It certainly helps blunt Trump’s attacks on Biden for his son Hunter’s role in sitting on an energy company board in Ukraine while Ukraine was part of Biden’s portfolio as vice president.

Biden has gone after Trump on his taxes, pointing out that he himself has released 21 years of tax returns.

On Thursday, after the court’s ruling, Biden tweeted that point again: “As I was saying.”

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President Trump’s niece lays out unflattering profile of uncle, says he cheated on SATs in new book – CBS This Morning

President Trump’s niece lays out unflattering profile of uncle, says he cheated on SATs in new book – CBS This Morning
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Trump’s post-Covid bubble is popping – CNN

(CNN)America’s single worst day of new coronavirus cases obliterated President Donald Trump’s fantasyland vision of a post-Covid America — even as he sowed new diversions in an effort to hide the reality of his leadership void in a deepening national crisis.

More than 37,000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The numbers superseded the previous darkest day of the pandemic, on April 24. The new data suggests that the sacrifices made by tens of millions of Americans who stayed at home, that cost many of them their jobs, might have been in vain. It also suggest that the aggressive state re-openings championed by Trump, who wants a quick economic reboot to boost his reelection hopes, exacerbated a situation that now seems close to tipping out of control across a swathe of southern states.
A total of 30 states are now reporting a rise in new daily cases of the novel coronavirus while others keep setting new records in each 24-hour period. And while the President lives in a bubble of his own obsessive political feuds and the embrace of conservative media that rarely dwells on the virus, the reality of a pandemic that may still be in its early changes is beginning to squeeze in on his world.
In a sign that the White House needs to get control of the worsening situation, Vice President Mike Pence will chair the first public briefing of the White House coronavirus task force on Friday in two months. Senior government public health officials have faded from the scene in recent weeks as Trump has tried to send a message that the US has “prevailed” over the virus and is reopening.
On Thursday alone, Texas — the poster child for Trump’s reopening strategy — paused its transition to restoring normal life, alarmed by rising hospital admissions and a surge in new infections. Apple closed stores across Texas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina to protect customers and workers from virus spikes. Dozens of Secret Service agents are now self-isolating after several of their colleagues were found to have the virus after traveling to the President’s rally in Oklahoma over the weekend. Multiple Trump campaign staffers have taken the same step, after eight of their co-workers tested positive in the latest sign that Trump’s plans for a full resumption of campaign rallies are not only reckless but may prove logistically impossible.
Across the country, as California struggles through an awful time, Disneyland put back its plans to reopen, in a symbolic illustration of the plight of an entire state — and indeed a nation that has seen leisure and frivolity disappear amid the worst domestic crisis since the Second World War.
There are more signs that the rocket-like economic recovery that Trump has been projecting is not materializing either. Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that unemployment could dip below 10% by the end of the year, meaning that it would be still at an elevated level when Trump faces reelection in November. And US retail giant Macy’s announced it would cut around 3,900 jobs as part of a restructuring effort amid an economic crisis that Trump’s early denial about the pandemic and mismanagement of it when it arrived in the US may have exacerbated.
All of this came a day after the President welcomed Poland’s President to the Oval Office for what he said was “the first after Covid” encounter with a foreign leader and after a week in which he has said, falsely, that the only reason that cases of the coronavirus are rising is because his government has pushed more testing. Trump has mostly ignored the virus in recent days, preferring to stoke racial and social divides over the felling of statues — even ordering the reinstatement of a monument in Washington, DC, that honors a Confederate general who was recognized for his contribution to the Freemasons.
Yet on Thursday, Trump climbed aboard Air Force One for the third time in five days for a cross country trip — to swing state Wisconsin — that flouted his own government’s guidelines on the use of masks and social distancing, and that in itself was a massive deflection from the building national tragedy that the President appears determined to ignore since it contradicts his great comeback narrative he is determined to use for his reelection campaign.
At no time on Thursday did Trump model the use of a mask — despite it being a precaution scientists say could do the most to slow the spread of the disease, which is intensifying its first wave assault ahead of a feared second attack in the fall. But even in the friendliest possible territory — a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity — members of the audience sat on stools that were spaced apart and did wear masks on the orders of the TV station.
The President, who has previously said the virus was fading away and dying out, got a predictably easy ride on the show, as he was teed up for his campaign lines on immigration, protecting statues that anti-racism protesters want to tear down and attacks on Democrats and presumptive nominee Joe Biden, as well as false claims about the dangers of fraud from mail-in balloting.
The President predicted that the US would have a vaccine for the coronavirus before the end of the year, in contravention of the advice of most scientific experts. And at times, he seemed to strike an almost valedictory note, as he made meandering arguments about the mental capacity of his rival.
“I mean, the man can’t speak,” Trump said. “And he’s going to be your president because some people don’t love me, maybe.”
Biden, who is seizing on Trump’s failures on the pandemic to try to oust him after a single term, earlier lambasted the President’s behavior.
“He’s like a child who can’t believe this has happened to him. All his whining and self-pity. Well, this pandemic didn’t happen to him. It happened to all of us. And his job isn’t to whine about it, his job is to do something about it. To lead,” Biden said.

Plight of Texas encapsulates growing national crisis

The increasing chasm between Trump’s version of America and the reality of a nation falling back into an exhausting fight with the disease after a hopeful period in early May and June raises the question of how long the President can go on ignoring the situation. This is especially the case when even his allies, like Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, are now admitting they’re dealing with a serious problem. In places like Texas, filling hospital wards and intensive care units — that could in a few weeks, given the normal course of the illness, be expected to lead to higher death rates — contradict optimistic talk from politicians and especially Trump’s fictional narrative that the worst is past.
“It’s pretty dire,” Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Texas’s Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“We’ve got an enormous amount of community transmission. If you look at the curve of the numbers going up, it’s following what we call an exponential curve, which is it looks initially flat, and then it accelerates very sharply, almost vertically. And that’s where we’re at right now,” Hotez added.
Abbott had hoped to pursue an opening plan that envisaged getting the state mostly back to normal by July 4.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Abbott said.
The bad news that contradicts Trump’s rosy version of a post-Covid America is not confined to Texas. Arizona’s governor said Thursday the state’s reopening plans are now “on pause” as a result of a major spike in coronavirus cases. Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, said Arizona will not be rolling back its business reopening plans, but will be requiring businesses to follow social distancing rules that are still in effect. “If they choose not to, there will be accountability, and there will be enforcement.”
In California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom warned he would slow the state’s opening if hospitals become strained as his state announced another 5,000 infections. In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine implicitly rejected Trump’s rationale for rising infections. “We have increased testing, but we do not believe this increase in cases is completely due to testing,” DeWine said, confirming that hospitalizations are up.
Mississippi established its highest single-day increase of new coronavirus infections on Thursday. There are now at least 30 states reporting an increase in new cases in the past week. Of those states, 13% are reporting a 50% or greater increase.

‘I don’t think he’s going to change where he’s at on masks’

The worsening picture is not yet convincing Republican leaders to require their constituents to wear masks, which appears still to be a leap too far.
“I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing,” said Abbott, one of a number of Republican leaders urging people to wear masks but who won’t mandate the step, which some conservatives argue is an infringement on their personal rights, despite evidence that many people are ignoring medical advice.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is another member of that group, even though he habitually wears a mask while navigating Capitol Hill. “I think that’s what people ought to do. And that’s what we’re doing in the Senate and what I’m counseling other people to do,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters Thursday.
Many Americans have an innate and genuine skepticism of government mandating that they do anything. That is why Trump could provide such a valuable role by demonstrating the use of masks. But the President, despite his legendary appeal to his base, often appears loath to use that political capital and convince his supporters to change their behavior.
One of Trump’s closest political friends, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, is not holding his breath for a change of heart on Trump’s part.
“Listen, I don’t think he’s going to change where he’s at on masks. But he might, I don’t know,” Graham said.

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Trump’s Tulsa rally and Biden’s social distancing show differences in campaigning amid a pandemic – CNN

(CNN)The dramatic differences in how President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are returning to the campaign trail — Trump with a mega-rally, Biden with small, socially distanced groups — is showcasing the gulf between their approaches to governance.

Trump’s campaign is moving forward with plans for Saturday night’s event in Tulsa despite complaints from local officials and dire warnings from public health experts about the dangers of packing 20,000 people into cramped indoor quarters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Biden, his presumptive Democratic opponent, has made a much more methodical return to the trail — wearing masks while near others and practicing social distancing as he follows the guidance of public health officials and a team of doctors and experts his campaign has assembled, while forgoing in-person events that are open to the public.
Their approaches are offering a real-time window into their vastly different views of science, which Trump has repeatedly questioned and Biden has embraced, and the role of the presidency, with Biden seeking to model the behavior recommended by public health officials and Trump focused on sending the message that the United States is emerging from the pandemic — even as 21 states see an increase in coronavirus cases.
Trump “refuses to wear a mask, failing one of the most basic tests of leadership,” Biden said in a speech at a recreational center outside Philadelphia on Wednesday, attended by a limited crowd of about 20 invited guests and reporters.
“He takes no responsibility. He exercises no leadership. Now we’re just flat surrendering the fight. Instead of leading the charge to beat the virus, he’s just basically waved the white flag … so he can get back to his campaign rallies that will put people at risk,” Biden said.
“Donald Trump thinks if he puts his head in the sand, the American people will, too,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
For Biden, the contrast appears to be paying off: A CNN poll released last week found him with a 14-percentage-point advantage over Trump nationally among registered voters, and several other recent polls have shown him with similar leads.

‘That is the gold standard and his stock and trade’

Trump’s Tulsa rally has come together in a haphazard manner. It was initially planned for Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates slaves’ emancipation in the United States, but amid an outcry and protests over racial injustice across the nation, Trump’s campaign postponed it by one day.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have also announced plans to visit other states in the coming weeks, which would make the Tulsa event the first in a series of rallies with less than five months remaining before the 2020 general election.
The campaign moves come as Pence, in a call with governors and in a misleading Wall Street Journal opinion piece, this week portrayed a nation “winning the fight against the invisible enemy” and said that concerns of a second wave of coronavirus are “overblown.”
For its part, Trump’s campaign has bragged that more than 1 million people have signed up for tickets to the Saturday night rally in Tulsa’s BOK Center, and the campaign is exploring overflow venues to add.
The rally — which goes against the guidance of Trump’s own administration — has provoked a public outcry, including from local officials.
David Bart, the Tulsa City-County Health Department director, pleaded with Trump to postpone the event. And Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a Facebook post Tuesday that he has concerns about the rally.
“I don’t like to be the first to try anything. I would have loved some other city to have proven the safety of such an event already,” he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, has warned that large-scale events are risky at this stage in the pandemic and urged those who attend to wear masks.
Trump’s campaign has said it will perform temperature checks and have hand sanitizer and masks on hand — though wearing them would be optional, and Trump himself has not worn masks at public events.
“We always tell people, here’s the guidance, feel comfortable, don’t feel comfortable. We also know that people don’t want to be locked down forever,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Wednesday.
She cast criticism of Trump’s return to holding rallies as motivated not by public health concerns, but by “those who will never want to do that again because obviously that is the gold standard and his stock and trade for him.”

‘He can’t ignore it away in June’

Biden’s style was on display Wednesday outside Philadelphia, where he held a roundtable with four local business owners. They sat spaced apart on a patio outside a restaurant, and didn’t shake hands or pose close together for pictures.
At the event, he faulted Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“One of the problems is that, in my view is, nobody’s taking responsibility here. The President says, ‘It’s not my responsibility. It’s not my fault,'” Biden said.
In his speech later, he said Trump had “lost interest” in the pandemic and was declaring victory too early.
“Just like he couldn’t wish COVID-19 away in March, just like he couldn’t tweet it away in April, he can’t ignore it away in June,” Biden said.
Biden — who spent more than two months at home in Delaware after effectively sealing the Democratic presidential nomination with big wins in South Carolina, on Super Tuesday and in the March 10 Michigan primary — has this month begun a cautious return to campaigning, starting with a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony.
He has sought to play a healer-in-chief role amid the triple crises of the pandemic, its dire economic costs and the protests across the nation against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
Biden’s first flight in nearly three months came last week, with a trip to meet with Floyd’s family in a Houston restaurant. Photos from the meeting showed attendees wearing masks.
He is increasingly holding roundtable-style events, including one Wednesday in Philadelphia. Before those events, Biden’s campaign has screened attendees to make sure none have come in contact with people who have tested positive for the coronavirus. The campaign asks attendees to wear masks and practice social distancing, and has sometimes taken their temperatures upon arrival.
Those events — like the targeted roundtables Biden’s campaign has live-streamed on a near-daily basis for months — are invitation-only. He has not yet held events that are open to the public.
Biden has sat for in-person and virtual interviews, and his events and fundraisers are open to the press, usually with a small group of “pool” reporters covering them and then distributing detailed notes to other journalists. But his approach has not allowed for the sort of daily give-and-take with reporters that takes place in and around the White House.
His campaign has appointed a public health advisory committee, saying it will follow the advice of those doctors and experts on how to operate. Biden aides would not say whether larger public events are in the works.
Meanwhile, virtual events have worked well for Biden. His campaign raised $6 million in one night through a joint virtual fundraiser with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and $3.5 million in a similar event with California Sen. Kamala Harris. A virtual fundraiser is planned for later this month with former President Barack Obama. And his polling lead has increased in recent weeks.
Trump’s campaign blasted Biden on Tuesday for the slow return to in-person campaigning, claiming his approach is about avoiding questions, rather than following public health guidance.
“This is obviously a tactic to help him avoid errors and embarrassing, lost trains of thought, while also conveniently preventing the press corps from asking him any questions in person,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
“At what point will Biden subject himself to the scrutiny American voters deserve when considering the next President of the United States?” Murtaugh said.
On Wednesday, Murtaugh pointed out on Twitter that it has been 76 days since Biden held a news conference.
Trump has also mocked Biden for wearing a mask in public — something the President has refused to do.
Biden, meanwhile, delivered a scathing speech lambasting Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. It was carried live across cable news networks.
He pointed out that, with its Tulsa rally, Trump’s campaign is poised to violate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and is asking attendees to sign waivers releasing the campaign from responsibility if they become ill.
“Donald Trump’s failure to fight the coronavirus with the same energy and focus that he used to troll his enemies on Twitter has cost us lives and it’s putting hope for an economic recovery at risk,” Biden said.

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Column: Trump’s surprise center of resistance: the Pentagon – Los Angeles Times

The leaders of the American military establishment drew a line in the sand last week, staging a polite but unmistakable rebellion against the dangerous impulses of President Trump.

And the rebels may be winning.

The most widely noted salvo came from former Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, who declared, after more than a year of silence, that Trump “does not even pretend to try” to unify the American people.

But Mattis wasn’t the only dissident — or even the most important one.

Trump’s Defense secretary, Mark Esper, rebuffed the president’s threat to deploy active-duty soldiers into American cities to quell the protests that have erupted since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

On Friday, Esper ordered regular Army units that were rushed to Washington early in the week to return to their bases in New York and North Carolina, de-escalating the sense of armed siege in the nation’s capital.

He also directed National Guard troops to patrol the city without weapons, despite Trump’s direction that they be “heavily armed.”

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also weighed in, warning that the U.S. armed forces will not allow themselves to be used against nonviolent protests.

Every member of the U.S. military swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution, he wrote his commanders, “including the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.”

The chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force issued similar messages, reinforcing their fidelity to the Constitution and pledging to battle racism in their ranks.

A full-dress parade of retired officers spoke out as well. Milley’s predecessor as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, retired Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, warned that Trump’s threat to use troops would damage trust in the armed forces.

“Our fellow citizens are not the enemy,” he wrote.

It was an extraordinary moment — as if we were in a banana republic ruled by a would-be authoritarian, and the nation’s military leaders decided it was their job to preserve the Constitution.

The dissents from Esper and Milley were belated. They both accompanied Trump on his disastrous stroll to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op, an embarrassing image they’re now trying to erase. They also both approved the initial decision to move 1,600 active-duty troops to bases near the capital.

But their public breaks with a notoriously vengeful president still qualified, at least in Washington, as modest acts of bureaucratic courage.

Unlike Mattis, they aren’t retired. They’re at the peak of their careers. They still face the daily challenge of managing the president’s demands. Their reputations are still at the president’s mercy.

At least, they were until last week. And that may be the point.

Esper and Milley have implicitly dared the president to fire them. That’s not an especially unusual act in Washington — but it’s normally done in private, where everyone can back down without fear of humiliation. It’s almost never done in public.

Esper’s defiance was especially notable since the former Raytheon lobbyist was widely viewed as a compliant aide-de-camp. He initially seemed to support Trump’s call for troops last week and even referred to the streets of Washington as a “battle space,” as if it were Fallujah or Kandahar.

But after he ran into massive resistance from the Pentagon officers’ corps, he switched sides.

If there’s anything uniformed officers hate, it’s being ordered to use force to solve a political problem without clear military objectives. The current generation learned that in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In this case, they faced a nightmare scenario: U.S. combat troops clashing with unarmed American civilians exercising their legal right to protest.

The episode laid bare a deeper divide.

When the president came to the White House in 2017, he believed the armed forces, which he frequently called “my military,” were part of his political base. He stuffed his administration with retired military officers — “my generals” — including Mattis.

But the generals didn’t simply salute and carry out his orders. They insisted on offering their professional advice and, on occasion, pushing back.

And they chafed at Trump’s casual portrayal of the armed forces as one of his personal political assets.

“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people,” the president bragged in 2019.

That’s not how professional officers see their role. It’s not even an accurate reflection of their private views; a poll of military personnel last year found that they are only a little more supportive of the president than civilian voters, with 50% saying they view him unfavorably.

For the generals, this isn’t only about following the Constitution. It’s a matter of protecting the services in which they’ve made their careers.

The military is the most admired institution in American life, and they want to keep it that way. As a practical matter, they want their massive budget requests to win support from Democrats as well as Republicans.

And since roughly 40% of service members are people of color, they know they must make diversity work.

A standoff with Esper and Milley poses an unusual challenge for Trump — especially when he’s seeking reelection.

He reportedly doesn’t want to fire them. But leaving them in place makes him look less than the strongman he aspires to be.

Nothing says “internal chaos” more clearly than Cabinet officers or top aides refusing to fully carry out the president’s desires and publicly staking lines they will not cross.

But if you’re worried that Trump might refuse to leave office if he loses the November election, this is a good thing: a signal that he can’t count on the military to get his way. We’re not a banana republic yet.

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Trump’s 2016 campaign brass warns he’s in trouble in 2020 – POLITICO

Bossie and Lewandowski, who served as top aides on Trump’s 2016 effort, complained to the president about his political operation. Trump’s campaign team, in response decided to rush their Arizona and Florida representatives onto airplanes for a Thursday meeting with the president.

Republicans involved with setting up the Thursday meeting with Trump’s state directors said they were taken aback by Bossie and Lewandowski’s warning. They felt the need to mollify Trump, who has been kept abreast of his reelection effort but hasn’t always been aware of the granular, on-the-ground details.

The sequence, which was described by four people familiar with what transpired, offered the latest snapshot of Trump’s angst about his battleground state standing. With just five months until the election, the president has been privately expressing concern about his poll numbers and senior Republicans are openly sounding alarms about his swing state prospects.

Neither Bossie nor Lewandowski, who is currently serving as a senior adviser to the reelection campaign, responded to requests for comment. A Trump campaign spokesman declined to comment.

Bossie, a Republican National Committee member from Maryland, was seen with Trump twice over the Memorial Day weekend, including a visit to the president’s golf course in Sterling, Va.

Arizona in particular emerged as a trouble spot for the party. Trump won the state by more than 3 percentage points in 2016, but recent polls have shown him trailing Joe Biden there. A Democrat hasn’t carried the state in a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1996.

When the discussion turned to Arizona in the Thursday meeting, Trump and his political advisers expressed concern about GOP Sen. Martha McSally’s campaign to win a full term in the seat to which she was appointed in 2018. The president waved in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was there to meet with him on a separate matter, for the discussion.

Those present in the meeting also voiced worry about the prospects of another red state senator, Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler. The senator had at the time been under federal investigation for stock trades, though the Department of Justice has since dropped the investigation.

Georgia, like Arizona, hasn’t been won by a Democratic presidential candidate in decades. But recent surveys have shown Trump on shaky ground, including one commissioned by the political team of GOP Gov. Brian Kemp that had the president running neck-and-neck with Biden.

On Tuesday, the campaign announced that it was promoting former White House political director Bill Stepien to deputy campaign manager. The move was described as an attempt to provide additional support to campaign manager Brad Parscale, though some in the White House viewed it as a check on Parscale.

The reelection effort also announced that Stephanie Alexander, who had been the Midwest political director, was being promoted to chief of staff.

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Dr. Siegel on Trump’s hydroxychloroquine use: ‘It is a doctor-patient decision, It should not be challenged’ – Fox News

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel defended President Trump‘s use of hydroxychloroquine Monday after the president announced he was taking the antimalarial drug as a preventive measure against contracting the coronavirus.

“This drug hydroxychloroquine, which we’ve used in millions of people against malaria [as a] prophylaxis so that you don’t get malaria, it’s used for lupus and other rheumatological problems,” Siegel said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight“. “A top rheumatologist told me that in the lab, it shows anti-viral activity against COVID-19, and it prevents uptake in the cells and it also decreases the inflammation that we’re seeing with this virus.”


Siegel said he was looking at the issue “medically” not politically.

“Does it work in humans? We’ve seen some studies from Italy, from France and from China that show it might work early in the course of it [coronavirus],” Siegel said. “And there’s a big study in Spain right now and a huge study from the NIH looking at this. Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit has given it to three thousand health care workers, Tucker, to see if it prevents them from getting COVID-19.”

Trump revealed to reporters earlier Monday that he’s been taking a hydroxychloroquine pill every day for about a week and a half.

“I’m taking it – hydroxychloroquine,” the president told reporters during a roundtable with restaurant industry figures in the White House’s State Dining Room.


Dr. Siegel, who has said hydroxychloroquine saved his father’s life, said the president’s physician should “not be challenged.”

“When Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, who I have met with and think is quite reasonable, weighs the options back and forth, he decides to prescribe it for the president,” Siegel said. “It is a doctor-patient decision. It should not be challenged. It is a medical decision made between a doctor and a patient. You can prescribe off-label. So I don’t think it’s wild or anything like that. I think it’s reasonable.”

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