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WATCH: The Very Worst Moment In Trump’s HBO Fiasco

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A new interview of President Donald Trump with Axios' Jonathan Swan garnered much attention and acclaim for the reporter on Tuesday, with many stunned at the level of ignorance, incompetence, and callousness on display in the White House.

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Why Trump Suddenly Urged Florida Voters To Use Mail Ballots

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump and his allies have been waging a disinformation campaign about mail-in voting, aggressively trying to delegitimize the practice that has a history in the United States dating back to the Civil War. The plan, as I've argued, seems to be to lay the groundwork for challenging mail-in votes or stopping them from being counted if it looks like he's ahead with in-person ballots on Election Day.

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Senate Republicans Allow Vital Jobless Benefits To Lapse, Then Flees Capital

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Despite the pandemic-induced recession, millions of jobless Americans have been kept afloat by an uncharacteristically generous act of Congress. In addition to their state's usual unemployment payments — usually a fraction of their previous wages — Americans have been eligible to receive and additional $600 a week, desperately needed support for people who saw their incomes crater.

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Federalist Society Co-Founder Calls For Trump’s Impeachment For Proposing To Postpone Election

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Steven Calabresi is not among the usual slate of conservative critics of the president. He doesn't appear on MSNBC to lambast the Republican Party or write denunciations of the White House for The Bulwark. But in a new piece for the New York Times published Thursday, he offered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump's suggestion on Twitter that he may seek to delay the November election.

Calabresi started with his Trumpist bona fides, confirming that he's not inclined to criticize the president:

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WATCH: Rep. Swalwell Traps Barr On Stone Resentencing And Trump Obstruction

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

While much of Tuesday's House Judiciary Committee Hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr was wasted with imprecise and circuitous questions that let him filibuster and avoid accountability, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) managed to use his brief time to zero in on a key issue. He exposed Barr's excessive fealty and deference to President Donald Trump and effectively debunked the attorney general's claims to be an impartial defender of the rule of law.

Swalwell began by addressing an issue that had been discussed previously in the hearing without much clarity: Barr's interference in the sentencing recommendation of Roger Stone.

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Uh-Oh: Kids’ Cartoon Show Fact-Checks White House Press Secretary

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

During her Friday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany informed her viewers of news that was sure to devastate millions of kids. "Paw Patrol," a beloved children's show, was canceled, she said.

Except, as the show would later point out, this was just another one of McEnany's many lies and falsehoods.

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Trump Flubs Desperate Appeal For ‘Housewives’ Vote

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Almost nothing President Donald Trump ever does is subtle. When he tries to appeal to specific voting demographics, he often lacks the finesse to communicate the essential idea that he doesn't just care about them for their votes — he actually shares their values.

That's why he can easily espouse bigoted ideas even when trying to court specific groups of voters, such as when he told African-Americans that they are "living in hell in the inner cities" or when he told Jewish voters that supporting Democrats demonstrates "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

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Furious Trump Forced To Cancel GOP Convention In Florida

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

On Thursday, President Donald Trump was finally forced to admit that the Republican National Convention he has been dreaming of simply can't happen.

"I told my team it's time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida, component of the GOP convention," he said. "We'll be starting in North Carolina for the Monday, we were never taking that off, that's remaining as it is. The delegates are going to get together, that's where they do their nomination."

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Republicans Savage Each Other As Pandemic And Economy Worsen

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Every day, new polls come out that show Republicans in dire straits for the 2020 election. And it's no surprise — the economy is collapsing and the country is ravaged by a devastating pandemic, events that President Donald Trump is in no small part to blame for.

But the stress of impending doom isn't focusing GOP minds or encouraging them to band together. Instead, the pressure seems to be tearing them apart. And in their dysfunction, they may be ready to thwart the country's best chances of muddling through the present devastation further undermining their own electoral standing heading into November.

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Trump Weirdly Offers Warm Wishes For Epstein’s Accused Procurer

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump horrified many viewers of his Tuesday coronavirus briefing — filled with many lies and distortions about the ongoing pandemic — when he was asked about the fate of Ghislaine Maxwell.

The longtime girlfriend of the late Jeffrey Epstein, who was believed to have engaged in decades of sex trafficking and abuse of young girls, is now in federal custody. She faces multiple charges of participating in sex trafficking with Epstein, who was also a friend of the president before they reportedly had a falling out.

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Fox Host Openly Mocks Trump’s Attempt To Smear Biden

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump was not prepared for an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, one of the few people on the network still willing to challenge his lies.

In a new clip released Friday from a forthcoming interview, Wallace contradicted Trump's claim that his 2020 opponent Joe Biden wants to defund and abolish the police.

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Sotomayor Rebukes Court Majority For Jeoparding Rights Of Florida Voters

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a forceful rebuke to her colleagues on the Supreme Court Thursday as the majority decided to leave in place a lower court's ruling protecting Florida's effort to disenfranchise nearly 1 million voters.

The Supreme Court had been faced with the prospect of weighing in on a battle over a Florida law requiring people who have been convicted of felonies to pay all related fines to the state before they can vote. In 2018, Florida passed a popular referendum by a large margin permitting people with felonies on their records to participate in elections, but the state government — clearly fearful this change will hurt Republican officeholders — tried to find a loophole. So the new rule puts another hurdle in place for people who have committed felonies to jump over before they can register to vote.

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Trump Niece: 'Of Course' I Heard Him Use The N-Word

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Mary Trump, the president's niece, revealed in an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that she has heard her uncle use the n-word and anti-Semitic slurs.

A clip of the interview aired on the network ahead of Maddow's show at 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday night.

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Latest Trump Ad Shows Why His Campaign Is Failing

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

There's a new ad out from the Trump campaign, and it shows quite clearly why the president's team is having such a hard time selling the prospect of his re-election.

The video begins by listing a series of supposed agenda items from the "radical left-wing mob" — taking over cities, defunding police — claiming that Biden supports these goals.

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Kansas GOP Congressman Busted For Election Felonies -- Including Voter Fraud

Republican Rep. Steven Watkins of Kansas was charged with three felonies on Tuesday by Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay.

Watkins is accused of unlawfully voting in advance, voting without being qualified to do so, and interfering with law enforcement, according to KSNT, a Topeka TV station. He is also reportedly charged with a misdemeanor for failing to change his address with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Kagay said the ongoing pandemic had delayed the investigation. It was originally conducted by the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office.

Watkins represents Kansas's Second Congressional District.

Many on Twitter observed the irony of the fact that, despite the Republican Party's obsession with voter fraud — which is generally rare — this is another instance in which a figure in the GOP is implicated in the crime.

Vengeful Trump Takes Down Sessions In Senate Runoff

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions lost his primary race to be the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama on Tuesday night in a landslide, according to Decision Desk HQ. Early returns showed him losing the shot to win back his old seat by more than 20 points to opponent Tommy Tuberville, who will face off against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November.

It wasn't a surprising loss for Sessions, though it is a brutal one. He gave up his seat in the Senate to become President Donald Trump's attorney general, and he lost his big chance to return because his one-time benefactor turned against him. Trump enthusiastically endorsed Tuberville while viciously and repeatedly denouncing Sessions.

There's no reason to feel any sympathy for Sessions. He's an unrepentant racist who loved Trump's anti-immigrant bigotry so much that he was the first sitting senator to endorse him as a presidential candidate. He was one of the leading architects of the family separation policy that tore apart immigrant children from their parents, inflicted untold suffering, and created enduring trauma.

But his national humiliation should be a warning to the rest of us. Like it or not, Trump is in all likelihood to remain president until at least January of 2021. And his treatment of Sessions could presage his treatment of the country — especially if he loses re-election to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sessions genuinely did love Trump. He loved Trump enough to endorse him early in the race when many still thought he was destined for defeat. Had Trump gone down in flames, Sessions would have been seen as an easy mark.

He took the risk, though, because Sessions really believed in Trump. He believed in the anti-immigrant message, the barely concealed racial animus. He wanted to help Trump enact that vision, to turn it into law.

Yet despite his commitment to Trump, he had his limits. When early in Trump's presidency, the Russia investigation began to come into view, Sessions did nothing to stop it. Worse than that, in Trump's eyes, he recused himself from the case as the ethics regulations dictated he must. He refused repeatedly to intervene in the investigation despite Trump's pleas. Trump never forgave him for this, seeing it is a fundamental betrayal, even though Sessions was only following the law and his conscience on this matter — one of few saving graces in an otherwise loathsome career. Trump eventually fired him in what can only be described as an act of obstruction of justice and retaliation.

Sessions was thoroughly humiliated, and he only humiliated himself further when he ran for his old Senate seat. Despite Trump's constant abuse, he pledged to serve the president's will in the Senate. The Republican voters, it seemed, didn't buy it. They took Trump's word on what was good for Trump over Sessions' protestations.

So for a second time, Trump has degraded and humiliated Sessions, a man who from all appearances genuinely loved him and wanted to serve his ends. And this time, it wasn't about wresting control of a vexing investigation; it certainly wasn't about policy differences. Sessions probably would have been a loyal ally in the Senate if he had the chance to be around for a second Trump term. Trump sabotaged Sessions because he felt Sessions was insufficiently loyal when he needed it. It was an act of vindictiveness and spite. It was also, intentionally or not, a warning to anyone else who isn't loyal.

Which brings us back to the November election. Currently, Trump is strongly favored to lose. He may pull off a stunning upset and scrape by with an electoral college victory once again, but right now, it's a longshot. Most likely, Biden will be the next American president.

So what happens if Trump loses? There's been a lot of discussion about how Trump might try to contest the result or throw the election into doubt. Those are real possibilities that we need to be deeply concerned with.

But those efforts may fail, or the loss may be decisive enough that Trump doesn't even try to deny it. What then? That's when we might realize just how bad it is having a president who revels in spite and retaliation. A man with the power of the presidency, and all that that entails, will hold his office for another two and a half months after losing. He'll feel betrayed by the American people, and he'll no longer have much incentive to keep us in his good graces. We should be thinking hard about how he could be constrained in that time and what he might try to do to exact his revenge.

Trump Stuns Observers At Rambling, Incoherent, Press Conference

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

WATCH LIVE: Trump holds White House news conference

President Donald Trump clearly misses holding rallies filled with thousands of his fawning supporters hanging on his every self-aggrandizing word. So on Tuesday, at a press event ostensibly staged to discuss his new executive order withdrawing recognition of Hong Kong as independent from China, he decided to indulge himself by launching into a meandering campaign-style monologue for the reporters in attendance.

He leaped from topic to topic, sometimes in a single run-on sentence, and often failed to complete thought. He took aim at his election opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, attacking a laundry list of the Democrat's policies that he twisted and distorted. Recalling a campaign theme he has long ignored, Trump called out Biden's son, saying: "Where's Hunter?"

And he returned to many of his favorite topics, such as immigration. He boasted of his relationship with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and warned that a President Biden would tear down the wall he has started to build on parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Probably never been a time when candidates are so different," Trump said.

There was no consistent thread or argument to his ramblings, aside from his own supposed greatness. It was pure stream of consciousness, supplemented by factoids apparently printed on notes on his lectern. He claimed to be the defender of African Americans at one moment because he favors school choice, but then slipped into attacking low-income housing and saying he'd preserve the suburbs — an unsubtle code for protecting white neighborhoods.

He lied so constantly that CNN's Daniel Dale, one of the president's most assiduous fact-checkers, noted that he couldn't cover the speech in real-time on Twitter because there were just so many falsehoods.

Many observers also noted that, given that this was a White House event, it was wildly inappropriate and potentially illegal for him to hold what was essentially a campaign rally.

"This is an official White House event in the Rose Garden but President Trump has spent much of his remarks here lashing out at former VP Joe Biden and other Democrats," said PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor.

Others expressed alarm at the president's conduct.

"Even for Trump, this seems more rambling than usual, drifting from subject to subject, sometimes within the same run-on sentence," said New York Times reporter Peter Baker.

The Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans opposed to the president, was even harsher:

The Times' Maggie Haberman reported that the president's own staff have tried to avoid exactly these kinds of situations.

"This event is another data point as to why Trump aides have been keeping him from doing briefings. He can't even stay on the topic of Hong Kong," she said. "It's just a grievance session."

Even a Fox News host recognized how brazenly inappropriate Trump's actions were:

Most distressing of all, though, was that Trump still seemed to have no sense of the gravity of the pandemic that is still raging in the United States. He repeated his false argument that there are only more cases in the U.S. because there is more testing, and he essentially ignored the state of economic and public health crises that remain out of control.

"If I wasn't here to stop it, we'd be in some mess," he said with no sense of irony.