A Wider-Than-Thought Trump Investigation – (Reports)

Obama (Privately) Slams Trump

Fauci has Birx’s back, Obama endorses over 100 down-ballot candidates, and the Manhattan D.A. may be taking a harder look at Trump. It’s Tuesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Where things stand

  • A court filing yesterday contained a significant clue indicating that the Manhattan district attorney’s office may be conducting a broader investigation than previously known into President Trump’s personal and business practices.

  • Until now, New York prosecutors were thought to be leading a relatively narrow investigation into hush payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

  • But in the filing, prosecutors said they had a wide legal basis on which to investigate Trump’s business practices, citing “undisputed” assertions made in earlier court papers and various news reports.

  • Among those reports was one that suggested the president might have illegally inflated his assets to lenders and insurers. Another focused on the congressional testimony of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, who told lawmakers last year that the president had committed insurance fraud. Trump’s lawyers have denied wrongdoing.

  • Another day, another flare-up in Trump’s continuing war with social media companies, which he seems to both love and loathe. But this time, conflict appears to have been averted.

  • Trump threatened last week to ban TikTok, a Chinese-owned company, from operating in the United States — part of a campaign-season blitz of anti-China messaging. But yesterday, Trump said that he had given his blessing over the weekend for Microsoft to buy the popular social media network, so long as a deal takes place by Sept. 15.

  • “It can’t be controlled for security reasons by China,” Trump said in comments at the White House. He said he would not mind if Microsoft or another “very American” company bought it.

  • Trump suggested that the government should be compensated for letting a deal go through, although he didn’t make it clear how such a premium might be collected. “A very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” Trump said.

  • Administration officials and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly cited security concerns over TikTok, a viral video app popular with children and young adults, saying it could potentially allow the Chinese government access to American user data.

  • Seven years of allegedly defrauding the government. $100 million in losses. One on-the-record exchange between a senior Trump administration official and a senator, during a congressional hearing, in which the official pledges to see if he can help the company.

  • These are all at the heart of a deal that the government struck with YRC Worldwide, a trucking company that had been sued by the Justice Department — until the administration decided to extend it a loan of $700 million, in exchange for a 30 percent stake in the business.

  • The deal, approved on the grounds that YRC was essential to national security, sent the company’s stock soaring and made YRC one of the largest recipients of taxpayer money allocated as part of the coronavirus relief legislation.

  • Barack Obama is wading more deeply into the 2020 campaign, and yesterday he released his first slate of endorsements. He lent his support to 118 candidates in 17 states, including 52 for the House of Representatives and five for the Senate in key battlegrounds.

  • All five of the Senate endorsements are of Democratic challengers running to unseat Republicans — in Colorado, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina and South Carolina. For now, he’s staying out of the Senate races in certain conservative-leaning states — including Montana, Kentucky, Georgia and Texas — where Democratic candidates are also challenging Republican incumbents, but where it isn’t clear if his endorsement would have the desired effect.

  • Ten of the candidates endorsed by Obama were alumni of his presidential administration.

  • All eyes are on Joe Biden as he moves toward an announcement of his choice of a running mate. He recently indicated that he would make a decision this week, though his aides now say the choice won’t become public until next week.

  • The White House is carrying out mandatory, random coronavirus testing for its staff in an effort to contain the virus’s spread at a time when it is pervading several regions of the country. Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, was revealed last week to have tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the latest in a string of administration officials to contract it.

  • The testing decision arrived a day after Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on CNN that the pandemic had entered a “new phase” in which the virus was “extraordinarily widespread” in rural areas as well as urban ones, in part because it was being transmitted by asymptomatic people.

  • Trump and other Republicans attacked Birx for her proclamation. The president tweeted that her comments were “pathetic” and painted the bad news as Democratic propaganda. He sought to walk back those remarks in an evening news conference, expressing his “respect” for Birx.

  • Also yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci backed up Birx’s analysis during a news conference at which he joined the governor of Connecticut by video conference. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Birx had been referring to the “inherent community spread” happening in some states. “When you have community spread, it’s much more difficult to get your arms around that and contain it,” he said.

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Photo of the day

President Trump held up a map showing coronavirus cases in the country during a meeting yesterday with tech workers.

Young voters haven’t forgotten about gun control, but they see it as inextricably linked to racial justice.

Yesterday was exactly one year since the massacre in El Paso, where a gunman who the authorities say was motivated by anti-Hispanic hatred killed 23 people at a Walmart Supercenter.

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Young gun-control activists in El Paso gathered for a vigil last night at the site of the attack, where they were joined by other community groups.

Joe Biden released a campaign advertisement recognizing the anniversary. In it, he says that Americans must “stand against hate.”

And Students Demand Action, a grass-roots arm of the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, posted a message on Instagram in remembrance of the victims. “We are committed to fighting for stronger gun legislation, because too often guns end up in the wrong hands and make hatred lethal,” the post read.

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Each of these acts of commemoration acknowledged the shooting not only as part of a national scourge of gun violence but also as an example of the country’s struggle with racism.

It has been over two years since young activists led the March for Our Lives, storming Washington with a demand for change after a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead. In those years, March for Our Lives and Students Demand Action have sprouted hundreds of chapters across the country. In 2018, their organizing efforts helped drive a surge in youth turnout in the 2018 midterm elections. And they have committed themselves to making just as big an impact this year.

The only catch is that many of those young voters who said that gun safety was their top priority in the months after Parkland have now turned their most intense focus toward other issues, particularly matters of racial justice, according to polls.

Still, activists insist that it isn’t a matter of either/or. In our interview for an article published yesterday, Alanna Miller, a 19-year-old organizer with Students Demand Action, said that the overlap between issues of racial justice and gun violence was in fact central to activists’ focus this year.

“I don’t know if I would still be in this movement, organizing, if I hadn’t expanded my worldview in thinking about this issue and how insidious and how pervasive it is,” Miller said.

And Charlie Kelly, Everytown’s senior political director, said that drawing these ties resonated with the young voters whom organizers were seeking to mobilize. “When we put out a call to our supporters to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, we saw students take action at twice the rate of any previous action,” he said.

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The post A Wider-Than-Thought Trump Investigation appeared first on New York Times.


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