[Discussion] Hope to Remember The Trump Administration Thread as being 'transparent and honest'

Let's follow and discuss what our newest presidential administration gets up to, the good, the bad, the lawsuits, and the many many indictments.

Is their first priority to protect him? I mean, we've never tested what happens if the Secret Service has to deal with a president (or ex-president) being arrested.

It's not like he'd be physically in danger anyway...I assume their mandate doesn't extend to bailing him out of legal trouble.

I assume if he went to jail the Secret Service wouldn’t be there with him. But there’s a pitch for a lame sitcom.

White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info

Associated Press wrote:

The Trump White House has installed two political operatives at the nation’s top public health agency to try to control the information it releases about the coronavirus pandemic as the administration seeks to paint a positive outlook, sometimes at odds with the scientific evidence.

The two appointees assigned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Atlanta headquarters in June have no public health background. They have instead been tasked with keeping an eye on Dr. Robert Redfield, the agency director, as well as scientists, according to a half-dozen CDC and administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal government affairs.

The appointments were part of a push to get more “politicals” into the CDC to help control messaging after a handful of leaks were “upsetting the apple cart,” said an administration official.

When the two appointees showed up in Atlanta, their roles were a mystery to senior CDC staff, the people said. They had not even been assigned offices. Eventually one, Nina Witkofsky, became acting chief of staff, an influential role as Redfield’s right hand. The other, her deputy Chester “Trey” Moeller, also began sitting in on scientific meetings, the sources said.

...

Before Witkofsky and Moeller, the Trump administration had appointed others at CDC in Atlanta who were viewed by staff with some suspicion. But none of the predecessors’ roles was so clearly to report internal agency business up to Washington, according to officials who talked to The AP.

And Witkofsky seemed a particularly strange fit for the nation’s top public health agency. She studied finance and business administration in college and graduate school, and at one point worked as a publicist and talent booker for Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network. Her political work included being an events director during the George W. Bush 2000 presidential campaign. As a State Department official, she developed an international engagement program for U.S. athletes and coaches.

Her lack of familiarity with the CDC, and how it worked, quickly became clear in meetings, according to multiple agency officials. At one, Witkofsky expressed surprise that the CDC had a supporting foundation, one agency official recalled.

Though Witkofsky was largely unknown, she had met a few CDC workers months earlier. In March, on behalf of the administration, she had worked communications when Trump visited a CDC lab. Clad in a red “Keep America Great” baseball cap, Trump had praised the CDC and assured the public “we’re prepared for anything.” Trump asserted that he has a terrific grasp of public health. “Maybe I have a natural ability,” he boasted.

In her new role, Witkofsky communicated regularly with Michael Caputo, chief of communications for CDC’s parent agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, two administration officials said. At the time Caputo’s office was attempting to gain control over the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR, a CDC scientific weekly known for publishing authoritative and unvarnished information about disease-fighting efforts, according to multiple accounts.

Witkofsky’s deputy, Moeller, who began work on the same day, is a longtime GOP supporter who worked on the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in 2004. The most recent post on his Facebook page was a “Make America Great Again” Trump campaign banner.

They wanted him to sit in meetings and “listen to scientists,” said a former CDC official.

Witkofsky was added to CDC’s website when she became acting chief of staff, but Moeller’s name appears nowhere on either the HHS or CDC sites.

An HHS spokesperson said both Witkofsky and Moeller report to Redfield but refused to comment further on personnel matters.

Nevin73 wrote:

I was thinking about the ramifications of him fleeing to Russia. If he runs, he will have a Secret Service detail with him. As his protection is their first priority (and requires a level of trust), I doubt that they would bring him back to face state prosecution. I actually doubt they would bring him back for federal prosecution. But they will be with him, continuing to cost us money.

I would think this would run counter to their role as GS-13+ employees of the Treasury. Their boss isn't technically the ex-president, it's their managers within USSS that they answer to. Travel, etc., would have to receive approval from TRE, and the Secretary of the Treasury is a cabinet-level position, appointed by the current president.

I'm not sure that sworn law enforcement officers of the US government can ignore court orders without assuming some significant legal risk.

And, as stated before, their mission as bodyguards is to make sure he doesn't eat a bullet, not run interference with the justice system.

All that said, the Secret Service is going to have a TON of work to do following these four years to improve their workplace culture, realign their mission with what the general populace wants and basically get right. The next leader of that org is going to have their work cut out for them.

They're going to need f*cking Steve Rogers.

DSGamer wrote:

I assume if he went to jail the Secret Service wouldn’t be there with him. But there’s a pitch for a lame sitcom.

9pm "Cellmates" (TV-MA): Donald concocts a plan to market "Trump Hooch;" MiB 1 and MiB 2 try to organize a launch party without the Warden finding out.

Top_Shelf wrote:

All that said, the Secret Service is going to have a TON of work to do following these four years to improve their workplace culture, realign their mission with what the general populace wants and basically get right. The next leader of that org is going to have their work cut out for them.

They're going to need f*cking Steve Rogers.

And stop f*cking Colombian prostitutes.

It's going to be a bad winter.

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I assume if he went to jail the Secret Service wouldn’t be there with him. But there’s a pitch for a lame sitcom.

9pm "Cellmates" (TV-MA): Donald concocts a plan to market "Trump Hooch;" MiB 1 and MiB 2 try to organize a launch party without the Warden finding out.

That’s what it would be. It would be a multi-cam comedy with a laugh track. Like Hogan’s Hero’s meets Oz meets House of Cards.

DSGamer wrote:
H.P. Lovesauce wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I assume if he went to jail the Secret Service wouldn’t be there with him. But there’s a pitch for a lame sitcom.

9pm "Cellmates" (TV-MA): Donald concocts a plan to market "Trump Hooch;" MiB 1 and MiB 2 try to organize a launch party without the Warden finding out.

That’s what it would be. It would be a multi-cam comedy with a laugh track. Like Hogan’s Hero’s meets Oz meets House of Cards.

Is Alec Baldwin free? Can Danny Trejo play his cellmate?

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I assume if he went to jail the Secret Service wouldn’t be there with him. But there’s a pitch for a lame sitcom.

9pm "Cellmates" (TV-MA): Donald concocts a plan to market "Trump Hooch;" MiB 1 and MiB 2 try to organize a launch party without the Warden finding out.

I would watch this, actually.

New York Post Published Hunter Biden Report Amid Newsroom Doubts

New York Times wrote:

The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said.

Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

Coming late in a heated presidential campaign, the article suggested that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The Post based the story on photos and documents the paper said it had taken from the hard drive of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden.

Many Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents, said five people with knowledge of the tabloid’s inner workings. Staff members also had concerns about the reliability of its sources and its timing, the people said.

The article named two sources: Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump now facing federal fraud charges, who was said to have made the paper aware of the hard drive last month; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was said to have given the paper “a copy” of the hard drive on Oct. 11.

Mr. Giuliani said he chose The Post because “either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out.”

Top editors met on Oct. 11 to discuss how to use the material provided by Mr. Giuliani. The group included the tabloid veteran Colin Allan, known as Col; Stephen Lynch, The Post’s editor in chief; and Michelle Gotthelf, the digital editor in chief, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting. Mr. Allan, who was The Post’s editor in chief from 2001 to 2016 and returned last year as an adviser, urged his colleagues to move quickly, the person said.

As deadline approached, editors pressed staff members to add their bylines to the story — and at least one aside from Mr. Golding refused, two Post journalists said. A Post spokeswoman had no comment on how the article was written or edited.

Headlined “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS,” the article appeared Wednesday with two bylines: Emma-Jo Morris, a deputy politics editor who joined the paper after four years at the Murdoch-owned Fox News, and Gabrielle Fonrouge, a Post reporter since 2014.

Ms. Morris did not have a bylined article in The Post before Wednesday, a search of its website showed. She arrived at the tabloid in April after working as an associate producer on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her Instagram account, which was set to private on Wednesday, included photos of her posing with the former Trump administration members Mr. Bannon and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as Roger J. Stone Jr., a friend and former campaign adviser to Mr. Trump. (In July, the president commuted the sentence of Mr. Stone on seven felonies.)

Ms. Fonrouge had little to do with the reporting or writing of the article, said three people with knowledge of how it was prepared. She learned that her byline was on the story only after it was published, the people said.

So Giuliani picked the New York Post because they wouldn't fact check his bullsh*t too hard and, even then, no reporter wanted their name on the byline.

She learned that her byline was on the story only after it was published, the people said.

Wow. That is some editorial bullsh*t right there.

Just a steaming pile.

I would love be the attorney that shreds the chain of custody in this "case" into a billion pieces.

Trump’s den of dissent: Inside the White House task force as coronavirus surges

WaPo wrote:

As summer faded into autumn and the novel coronavirus continued to ravage the nation unabated, Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist whose commentary on Fox News led President Trump to recruit him to the White House, consolidated his power over the government’s pandemic response.

Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing. He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas. And he advocated allowing infections to spread naturally among most of the population while protecting the most vulnerable and those in nursing homes until the United States reaches herd immunity, which experts say would cause excess deaths, according to three current and former senior administration officials.

Atlas also cultivated Trump’s affection with his public assertions that the pandemic is nearly over, despite death and infection counts showing otherwise, and his willingness to tell the public that a vaccine could be developed before the Nov. 3 election, despite clear indications of a slower timetable.

Atlas’s ascendancy was apparent during a recent Oval Office meeting. After Trump left the room, Atlas startled other aides by walking behind the Resolute Desk and occupying the president’s personal space to keep the meeting going, according to one senior administration official. Atlas called this account “false and laughable.”

Discord on the coronavirus task force has worsened since the arrival in late summer of Atlas, whom colleagues said they regard as ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest. As the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Deborah Birx is tasked with collecting and analyzing infection data and compiling charts detailing upticks and other trends. But Atlas routinely has challenged Birx’s analysis and those of other doctors, including Anthony S. Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, with what the other doctors considered junk science, according to three senior administration officials.

Birx recently confronted Vice President Pence, who chairs the task force, about the acrimony, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Birx, whose profile and influence has eroded considerably since Atlas’s arrival, told Pence’s office that she does not trust Atlas, does not believe he is giving Trump sound advice and wants him removed from the task force, the two people said.

Pence did not take sides, but rather told Atlas and Birx to bring data bolstering their perspectives to the task force and to work out their disagreements themselves, according to two senior administration officials.

The result has been a U.S. response increasingly plagued by distrust, infighting and lethargy, just as experts predict coronavirus cases could surge this winter and deaths could reach 400,000 by year’s end.

This assessment is based on interviews with 41 administration officials, advisers to the president, public health leaders and other people with knowledge of internal government deliberations, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide candid assessments or confidential information.

...

Atlas said he has always stressed “all appropriate mitigation measures to save lives,” and he responded to accounts of dissent on the task force by saying, “Any policy discussion where data isn’t being challenged isn’t a policy discussion.”

On the issue of herd immunity, Atlas said, “We emphatically deny that the White House, the President, the Administration, or anyone advising the President has pursued or advocated for a wide-open strategy of achieving herd immunity by letting the infection proceed through the community.”

The doctor’s denial conflicts with his previous public and private statements, including his recent endorsement of the “Great Barrington Declaration,” which effectively promotes a herd immunity strategy.

On Saturday, Atlas wrote on Twitter that masks do not work, prompting the social media site to remove the tweet for violating its safety rules for spreading misinformation. Several medical and public health experts flagged the tweet as dangerous misinformation coming from a primary adviser to the president.

“Masks work? NO,” Atlas wrote in the tweet, followed by other misrepresentations about the science behind masks. He linked to an article from the American Institute for Economic Research — a libertarian think tank behind the Barrington effort — that argued against masks and dismissed the threat of the virus as overblown.

Trump and many of his advisers have come to believe that the key to a revived economy and a return to normality is a vaccine.

“They’ve given up on everything else,” said a senior administration official involved in the pandemic response. “It’s too hard of a slog.”

...

Birx and Fauci have advocated dramatically increasing the nation’s testing capacity, especially as experts anticipate a devastating increase in cases this winter. They have urged the government to use unspent money Congress allocated for testing — which amounts to $9 billion, according to a Democratic Senate appropriations aide — so that anyone who needs to can get a test with results returned quickly.

But Atlas, who is opposed to surveillance testing, has repeatedly quashed these proposals. He has argued that young and healthy people do not need to get tested and that testing resources should be allocated to nursing homes and other vulnerable places, such as prisons and meatpacking plants.

...

Most controversially, Atlas has pushed a baseless theory inside the task force that the U.S. population is close to herd immunity — the point at which enough people become immune to a disease either by becoming infected or getting vaccinated that its spread slows — despite a scientific consensus that the United States is nowhere close.

Given the transmissibility of the coronavirus, experts estimate about 60 to 70 percent of the population would need to become infected to reach herd immunity, a course that they warn would probably result in hundreds of thousands of excess deaths. A recent CDC study, about which Redfield testified to the Senate, showed about 9 percent of people in the United States had antibodies against the virus.

But Atlas publicly contradicted Redfield last month, telling reporters that more of the population was protected against the virus because of so-called T-cell immunity, in which people with exposure to previous coronaviruses — such as the common cold — have T cells that also protect them against covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

No credible scientific study has proved this theory, and Atlas’s advocacy of it dismayed other task force officials.

At a task force meeting late last month, Atlas stated that there was herd immunity in much of the country because of a combination of high infection rates in cities such as New York and Miami and T-cell immunity, according to two senior administration officials. He said that only 40 to 50 percent of people need to be infected to reach the threshold. And he argued that because of this immunity, all restrictions should be lifted, schools should be opened and only the most vulnerable populations, such as nursing home residents, should be sheltered.

This resulted in a fierce debate with Birx and Fauci, who demanded Atlas show them the data that backed up his assertions, one of the officials said.

“It is not the case there’s extra immunity around in T cells,” Lipsitch said. “The vast, vast majority of infectious-disease epidemiologists in this country don’t believe several of the key points these people are arguing for and don’t believe it because the evidence isn’t there and points in the other direction.”

Regardless, Trump has used Atlas to back up his own rejection of medical expertise. At Thursday’s NBC News town hall, a Florida voter asked the president whether after contracting covid-19 he now believed in the importance of mask-wearing.

Trump equivocated.

“I’ve heard many different stories on masks,” he said.

When Guthrie challenged him by noting that all of his health officials were united in advocating masks, Trump countered by invoking Atlas.

“Scott Adkins,” Trump said, mispronouncing the doctor’s name. “If you look at Scott, Dr. Scott, he’s from — great guy — from Stanford, he will tell you.”

“He’s not an infectious-disease expert,” Guthrie said.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Trump replied. “Look, he’s an expert. He’s one of the experts of the world.”

OG_slinger wrote:

Trump’s den of dissent: Inside the White House task force as coronavirus surges

WaPo wrote:

Atlas shot down attempts to expand testing. He openly feuded with other doctors on the coronavirus task force and succeeded in largely sidelining them. He advanced fringe theories, such as that social distancing and mask-wearing were meaningless and would not have changed the course of the virus in several hard-hit areas. And he advocated allowing infections to spread naturally among most of the population while protecting the most vulnerable and those in nursing homes until the United States reaches herd immunity, which experts say would cause excess deaths, according to three current and former senior administration officials.

TL;DR version: While the coronavirus was killing thousands of people, Atlas shrugged.

OG_slinger wrote:

Most controversially, Atlas has pushed a baseless theory inside the task force that the U.S. population is close to herd immunity — the point at which enough people become immune to a disease either by becoming infected or getting vaccinated that its spread slows — despite a scientific consensus that the United States is nowhere close.

Given the transmissibility of the coronavirus, experts estimate about 60 to 70 percent of the population would need to become infected to reach herd immunity, a course that they warn would probably result in hundreds of thousands of excess deaths. A recent CDC study, about which Redfield testified to the Senate, showed about 9 percent of people in the United States had antibodies against the virus.

The plan, then, to spell it out, is to kill Americans until enough of them survive to make the disease go away.

Atlas thinks it'll need just a few thousand deaths, the real number is probably multiple times the number of people who have died so far.

That's if herd immunity is even possible--given that reinfection has been confirmed, we're not sure that testing positive for the antibodies is going to slow the infection rate. Maybe even especially if the reinfection is mild, which seems like a condition that would be tailor-made for more super-spreader events.

The best people.

One of the many words to key in on within that article is "neuroradiologist."

I'll acknowledge the physician credential, but will also assert that this guy has no business dictating White House policy and response on infectious disease.

Is he one of Rand Paul and Stella Immanuel's buddies? I mean, a neuroradiologist, an ophthalmologist, and a pediatrician sound exactly like the super-team this country needs to beat COVID19.

DrSugardaddy wrote:

One of the many words to key in on within that article is "neuroradiologist."

I'll acknowledge the physician credential, but will also assert that this guy has no business dictating White House policy and response on infectious disease.

Is he one of Rand Paul and Stella Immanuel's buddies? I mean, a neuroradiologist, an ophthalmologist, and a pediatrician sound exactly like the super-team this country needs to beat COVID19.

There's got to be a depressing joke in there: A neuroradiologist, an ophthalmologist, and a pediatrician walk into a bar....

Fox News Passed on Hunter Biden Laptop Story Over Credibility Concerns

Mediate wrote:

Mediaite has learned that Fox News was first approached by Rudy Giuliani to report on a tranche of files alleged to have come from Hunter Biden’s unclaimed laptop left at a Delaware computer repair shop, but that the news division chose not to run the story unless or until the sourcing and veracity of the emails could be properly vetted.

With the general election just three weeks away, Giuliani ultimately brought the story to the New York Post, which shares the same owner, Rupert Murdoch. The tabloid has been exhaustively covering the contents of the laptop — which include everything from emails regarding Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian company to personal photos of the recovering addict — with each morsel being amplified in the conservative media world, including on Fox News’ top-rated opinion programs. Thus far, the Fox’s News division has only been able to verify one email from the tranche leaked.

...

But according to two sources familiar with the matter, the lack of authentication of Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop, combined with established concerns about Giuliani as a reliable source and his desire for unvetted publication, led the network’s news division to pass. Fox News declined to comment on this story.

Some of Fox News’ top news anchors and reporters have distanced themselves from the story. During an on-air report that largely focused on how social media platforms handled this story, Bret Baier said, “Let’s say, just not sugarcoat it. The whole thing is sketchy.”

“You couldn’t write this script in 19 days from an election, but we are digging into where this computer is and the emails and the authenticity of it,” he added.

Chris Wallace also called the story “suspicious” and said, “I can understand the concern about this story. It is completely unverified and frankly, Rudy Giuliani is not the most reliable source anymore. I hate to say that, but it’s just true.”

On that same topic:

The startling new “revelations” about Hunter Biden mirror classic disinformation campaigns in Russia, and look a great deal like the last-minute “revelations” about Hillary Clinton’s emails “discovered” on a laptop in Fall 2016, all of which later came to nothing. Former CIA officer Evan McMullin tweeted: “For weeks, there’s been awareness in intel circles of Russian plans to return (with Trump) to their bogus Biden-Burisma narrative and, as I’ve warned, their plan to expand that to include bonkers pedophilia and human trafficking allegations against the Bidens. Don’t fall for it!”

And yet, certain Republican lawmakers are running with the story. Republican Representative Lee Zeldin of New York tweeted that “Joe Needs to answer some questions ASAP about this dirty $ setup.” Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) went onto the Fox News Channel to suggest that the computer at the center of this story, allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden, had child pornography on it. This prompted intelligence specialist Malcolm Nance to tweet: “Whoa. The Republicans tried to tie Hunter Biden to child pornography. This is a 100% FSB [Russian Intelligence Agency] tactic. The FSB ALWAYS claims/plants Child porn on their opponents.”

Expect to hear a lot in the next three weeks about Hunter Biden trafficking children for sex.

Man, when Fox news passes over a story because they're concerned about its validity that's really saying something. I expect this story is running 24/7 over on OANN?

It's the exact same playbook Russia used internally as well. It's disgusting. Ron Johnson is likely Russian compromised as well, right?

Fox News passed it over, but obviously the "totally not news, just entertainment" shows that make up the most popular part of their programming is happy to present it as fact. If/when the story gets proved to be fake, that also allows them to turn around and say "see, this is why you can't trust that fake liberal media!"

DrSugardaddy wrote:

a neuroradiologist, an ophthalmologist, and a pediatrician...

...walk into a bar and catch coronavirus.

At this point, any news about the Trump Coronavirus response makes me shrug my shoulders in resignation, tbh.

Edit: JC-hausered! This is what happens when you respond to a post over 2 hours since you last refreshed the thread...

DSGamer wrote:

It's the exact same playbook Russia used internally as well. It's disgusting. Ron Johnson is likely Russian compromised as well, right?

Ron Johnson:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...

Trump trying to tee up canceling the next debate. He's insisting that they only debate foreign policy instead of the announced topics, which are:

  • Fighting COVID-19
  • American Families
  • Race in America
  • Climate Change
  • National Security
  • Leadership

Glad he made it clear that he doesn't want to talk about any of that.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Trump trying to tee up canceling the next debate. He's insisting that they only debate foreign policy instead of the announced topics, which are:

  • Fighting COVID-19
  • American Families
  • Race in America
  • Climate Change
  • National Security
  • Leadership

Glad he made it clear that he doesn't want to talk about any of that.

That letter from the campaign is nuts and off the rails... I didn't know Trump was competing against the moderator... It gets worse from there.

Indeed, almost all of them were discussed at length during the first debate won by President Trump over moderator Chris Wallace and candidate Joe Biden
JC wrote:

That letter from the campaign is nuts and off the rails... I didn't know Trump was competing against the moderator... It gets worse from there.

"The moderator of the second debate, which was cancelled, revealed his anti-Trump bias by accidentally tweeting what was supposed to be a direct message to a well-known Trump critic..."

The "well-know Trump critic" was Anthony Scaramucci who Trump himself had (briefly) hired to be the White House Director of Communications back in 2017. Scaramucci's hiring was the trigger for the resignations of Sean Spicer and chief of staff Reince Priebus who were both vehemently opposed to him joining the White House.

The DM was Steve Scully asking Scaramucci if he should respond to Trump calling him a "never Trumper" before the debate.

Tanglebones wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

It's the exact same playbook Russia used internally as well. It's disgusting. Ron Johnson is likely Russian compromised as well, right?

Ron Johnson:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...

I was going to post this article.

Ron Johnson is one of the Moscow 8. He's absolutely in Russia's pocket.

Also:

Ron Johnson refuses to address these made up allegations!

"I didn't just admit to bribery. It was a perfect rally speech, believe me..."

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/TIRlfee.jpg)