By Robert A. Vella

The desperation of President Trump‘s reelection campaign is getting feverish.  Following the Senate hearing on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy‘s abortive moves to slowdown mail deliveries intended to impede voting by mail and sabotage the U.S. Postal Service, which turned into a public relations disaster for Trump with another hearing scheduled for Monday in the House of Representatives, the president reached deep into his bag-of-tricks and offered an absurd red-herring to appease his rabid supports.  Trump said that he would send law enforcement personnel to in-person polling stations to prevent non-existent voter fraud (i.e. voter intimidation and suppression).  He can do no such thing, and his ridiculous statement only reveals the high anxiety Trump is feeling about the 2020 election.  With little more than two months remaining in the campaign, Trump is left frustrated, politically isolated, and facing a broad opposing coalition which is numerically superior to his own.  His plans for the Republican National Convention have fallen apart disastrously by his arrogant meddling, and next week’s bifurcated events will likely pale in comparison to the professional production displayed by Democrats.  Nervous and embittered, Trump is turning on Republicans and turning towards Vladimir Putin for assistance.  The Russian strongman, however, may be more of a hindrance than a help.  After the recent poisoning of his main political rival, and his support for the rigged election in Belarus, Putin is persona non grata in America and around much of the world.

A new exposé on Fox News details a hostile takeover by Trump supporters (including Attorney General William Barr) and internal turmoil following the ouster of Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes during the 2016 election campaign.  The fascinating reporting by CNN’s Brian Stelter uncovers a right-wing propaganda machine which had serious reservations about their chosen leader.

Lastly, we’ll update the latest on Putin’s rival Alexei Navalny, news on COVID-19, and some court rulings which are adding to Trump’s woes.

Trump’s desperation

From:  Trump says he wants police at polling sites. Experts say that’s unlawful.

A day after Donald Trump told Sean Hannity he wanted law enforcement officers at polling places, a chorus of experts including multiple secretaries of state told ABC News the president can’t ask them to go there.


Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, told ABC News the president can’t give orders to local sheriffs and can’t send federal forces into polling places.

“There’s no law that I’m aware of that permits, or that would authorize, the president to deploy federal law enforcement or military or anything like that for domestic use in and around in or around polling places,” Ho told ABC News. “Just checking someone’s ID at the door doesn’t really do anything from an election security perspective — from a voter intimidation perspective, I can see how having law enforcement ask people for IDs when you’re entering into a polling location could be intimidating.”

The law enforcement officers dispatched on Election Day to help maintain order typically aren’t checking IDs.

“While I can’t speak for every individual sheriff, I am not aware of any plans to operate outside of normal duties on Election Day,” David A. Mahoney, sheriff of Transylvania, North Carolina, told ABC News in an email. “I have not had any contact with the Department of Justice regarding polling places. I have no plans to conduct ID checks, and voters in Transylvania County should not expect anything out of the ordinary on Election Day.”

Under the Voting Rights Act, DOJ can deploy poll watchers to specified locations “to help assess compliance with the federal voting rights laws,” according to the department’s website.

The DOJ didn’t respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

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Postmaster general Louis DeJoy and several Republican senators broke with the president to say voting by mail is safe

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Fox News exposé

From:  William Barr told Murdoch to ‘muzzle’ Fox News Trump critic, new book says

The attorney general, William Barr, told Rupert Murdoch to “muzzle” Andrew Napolitano, a prominent Fox News personality who became a critic of Donald Trump, according to a new book about the rightwing TV network.

Barr’s meeting with Murdoch, at the media mogul’s New York home in October 2019, was widely reported at the time, with speculation surrounding its subject. According to Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, subjects covered included media consolidation and criminal justice reform.

“But it was also about Judge Andrew Napolitano.”

Stelter’s in-depth look at Fox News, its fortunes under Trump and its links to his White House will be published on Tuesday. The Guardian obtained a copy.

Related stories:

New book reveals “shadow chief of staff” Sean Hannity actually thinks Trump is “batsh*t crazy”

Ex-DHS official: Trump wanted us to tune in to Lou Dobbs’s show ‘every night’

Navalny poisoning update

From:  Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in coma and ‘critical,’ taken to Berlin after suspected poisoning

MOSCOW —Russia’s most prominent Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny, was in a critical condition and undergoing full tests at a German hospital Saturday after an emergency medical flight from Russia with suspected poisoning.

Navalny, in a coma since collapsing early Thursday, arrived in a convoy of ambulances under a heavy security escort at the Charité hospital following a flight from Siberia that was tracked closely by international media.

Navalny, 44, was stricken on a plane traveling from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. His spokeswoman and others suspect he was the target of a deliberate poisoning — a method used before by Russian agents — possibly in tea he drank at an airport cafe.


On Friday, Alexander Murakhovsky, chief physician at Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1, denied permission for Navalny to be transferred to German care, prompting Navalny’s colleagues to accuse authorities of trying to cover up a proper investigation of the suspected poisoning.


Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh called the refusal to allow Navalny to depart an attempt to take his life, suggesting on Twitter that authorities wanted to thwart an investigation by stalling “until the poison in his body can no longer be traced.”

Related stories:

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Trump remains largely silent on reported poisoning of Russian dissident as Europe, US lawmakers offer support

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COVID-19 news

From:  Researchers show that COVID-19 racial disparities aren’t inevitable

One of the hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is that the disease disproportionately strikes people of color. But it doesn’t have to be that way, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed more than 11,000 COVID-19 patients who were sick enough to seek treatment at a hospital and found that Black Americans in the study were no more likely to die of the disease than their white counterparts. Even when they zeroed in on the sickest patients — those who were admitted to an intensive care unit and who had to be put on ventilators — the results were the same.

The patients in the study were treated between Feb. 19 and May 31 at one of 92 Ascension hospitals in 12 states: Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. All of the hospitals in that Catholic healthcare system followed the same protocols for testing and treating their COVID-19 patients.

Black patients were overrepresented among the 11,210 patients included in the study — they accounted for 37% of those with confirmed cases of COVID-19, though they’re 13.4% of the U.S. population. Another 41% of the patients were white, and the racial identities of the remaining 22% was either “other” or “missing.”

Compared to the white patients, those who were Black were about five years younger and more likely to have a history of serious health conditions, including asthma, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. They were also more likely to be insured by Medicaid and to have a higher “neighborhood deprivation index,” indicating more poverty and less employment and education.

Related stories:

Global Deaths Reach 800,000 With U.S. Cases Steady: Virus Update

South Africa’s COVID-19 infections breach 600,000 mark

Swedish PM defends COVID strategy from criticism over death toll

Court rulings

Trump loses bid to delay handover of tax returns to NY prosecutor

Appeals court sets September 1 hearing on deadline for Trump’s financial records subpoena

Judge orders Trump to pay legal fees to Stormy Daniels

Appeals court backs greater disclosure of ‘dark money’ donors

10 thoughts on “Trump’s desperation, Fox News exposé, Navalny poisoning update, COVID-19 news, and court rulings

  1. Assuming that Mr. Navalny is indeed poisoned (highly probable but not proven yet), I find the timing with the Belarus election highly curious. From a rather cynical point of view, I would say that poisoning Mr. Navalny is a tactical mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Normally, I tend to qualify criminal acts as alleged before they are proven. But in Putin’s case, such editorial caution isn’t really necessary. His history of ordering/condoning assassinations and other atrociousness is very long. Besides, who is able to prove anything against Putin in Russia?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think “conditioning” is the proper term here. I do not think that Putin is directly giving orders but rather giving a “carte blanche” to his subordinates to deal with his opponents as they see fit.

        This way Putin can always claim “plausible deniability” in such cases, though he is perfectly aware of what is going on.

        Besides power in Russia is very opaque. We know that Putin is an important player, though we know little in how far he has to acknowledge the power of other players (e.g. oligarchs, FSB and so on).

        Disclaimer: my MSc was about Russian foreign policy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, I am about 9-to-1 (if not more) sure that Mr. Navalny is actually poisoned. However, we cannot rule out is he indeed suffering from some natural disease. Though this case smells very suspicious.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Trump’s desperation, Fox News exposé, Navalny poisoning update, COVID-19 news, and court rulings | sdbast

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