Posts tagged with "Richard Nixon"

Trump admits to ‘downplaying’ COVID-19 to the nation—even, knowing it was ‘deadly stuff’

September 11, 2020

Last March, President Donald Trump personally told top-tier journalist Bob Woodward that he had deliberately and knowingly played down the threat of the coronavirus during his press events, even though he was aware that it had the potential to be—and already had been seen to be—vastly more serious than the seasonal flu.

In fact, he told the journalist that he “liked” playing down the pandemic.

In an attempt to walk back that damaging statement this past week, the president explained his rationale for keeping the truth from the American people: He said he “intentionally played down the deadly nature of the rapidly spreading coronavirus in an attempt to avoid a “frenzy” among voters (and in the financial markets); and as part of an escalating damage-control effort by his top advisers,” The Washington Post reports.

“This is deadly stuff,” Mr. Trump said on February 7 in one of 17 on-the-record  telephone interviews with Woodward over seven months for his coming book, Rage.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” the president told the author in audio recordings made available on The Washington Post website. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

But three days after those remarks, Trump told the Fox Business anchor Trish Regan: “We’re in very good shape. We have 11 cases. And most of them are getting better very rapidly. I think they will all be better.” A little less than two weeks later, he told reporters on the South Lawn that “we have it very much under control in this country.”

By February 26, the president was publicly dismissing concerns about just how lethal the virus was. “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for,” he said at a White House news conference. “And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

And by February 28, The Washington Post reports, at a rally in South Carolina, Mr. Trump denounced Democrats for their concerns about the virus as “their new hoax,” after the Russia

Indeed, according to the Post, Trump was absorbing in real time the information he was given by health and national security experts, he made a conscious choice not only to mislead the public but also to actively pressure governors to reopen states before his own government guidelines said they were ready.

By March, Mr. Trump was straightforward with Woodward about his tactics. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said in an audio recording of an interview on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

He detailed “the viciousness of the virus,” saying, “You know when it attacks it attacks the lungs. And I don’t know—when people get hit, when they get hit, and now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob.” He went on: “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too — plenty of young people.”

And yet in an interview broadcast by Fox and Friends on August 5, Trump asserted: “If you look at children, children are almost, and I would say almost definitely, but almost immune from this disease. I don’t know how you feel about it, but they’ve got stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this.”

Two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that “children are at risk for severe Covid-19.”

One question swirling in Washington this past week was why the president had given Woodward such extensive access. Woodward—a longtime editor and reporter at The Washington Post who with Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon—has written books on most of Nixon’s successors, many of them critical. Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former top political adviser, noted on Fox News on Wednesday that nearly every president who has cooperated with Woodward has regretted it.

Current White House officials said that Trump opened his door to Woodward in the hope that the eventual book would be positive. The president did not speak to Woodward for his first book on the Trump presidency, “Fear, and the president has maintained that it would have turned out better had he participated.

Officials also said that Trump, who has great faith in his ability to sell people on his version of events, was eager to have Woodward’s seal on his time in office.

Research source: @washingtonpost

House Judiciary panel agrees on procedural steps to impeachment, as Dems covertly list credible charges

September 13, 2019

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee clandestinely have begun to compile a list of possible charges against President Donald Trump— delineating potential articles of impeachment—even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders publicly resist taking such action, The Washington Post reported on September 12. 

Indeed, the Post says, the procedural tools approved on Wednesday—on a 24-17 party line vote—by that committee are similar to those used against former presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Commenting on the markup of the resolution for investigative procedures, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) said in his opening remarks: “The resolution before us represents the necessary next step in our investigation of corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power.

“This Committee has already covered the central findings of the Special Counsel’s investigation,” he said, adding, “The President’s 2016 campaign asked for and received the assistance of the Russian government.  Key figures from the campaign then lied to federal investigators about it.  The Special Counsel found that, at least ten times, the President took steps to interfere with the investigation.  In at least five of those incidents, the Special Counsel concluded that all of the elements necessary to charge obstruction of justice had been met.”

Nadler continued, “Our investigation is not only about obstruction. Our work must also extend beyond the four corners of the Mueller Report.  We have a responsibility to consider allegations of federal election crimes, self-dealing, violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, and a failure to defend our nation from future attacks by foreign adversaries.

“And, of course, this Committee and others have gone to court to secure evidence that has been withheld from Congress on indefensible legal grounds.  Former White House Counsel Donald McGahn is not ‘absolutely immune’ from appearing before this Committee.  We require his testimony for our obstruction investigation.  But the President has vowed to ‘fight all of the subpoenas,’ and this, too, is conduct that requires a congressional response.

“As Members of Congress—and, in particular, as members of the House Judiciary Committee—we have a responsibility to investigate each of these allegations and to determine the appropriate remedy.  That responsibility includes making a judgment about whether to recommend articles of impeachment.”

He ended with a call to action. “…We have a constitutional, historical, and moral obligation to fully investigate these matters.  Let us take the next step in that work without delay. I urge my colleagues to adopt this resolution.”

According to the Post’s report, additional potential impeachment articles being explored by the committee could focus on hush-money payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

Sources told the news outlet that the current behind-the-scenes planning reflects a growing desire among House Democrats to build a public case against Trump—and soon—even if there is no chance the Senate would convict him.

The additional tools approved on Wednesday would, the Post says, allow the committee to designate certain hearings as impeachment sessions, allow counsels to question witnesses publicly, permit some evidence to remain private and allow the president’s counsel to respond in writing to evidence and testimony.

Trump “has trampled the Constitution,” said Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee), a committee member who has drafted his own articles, threatened to introduce them and then backed off after learning of the panel’s plans to eventually craft its own. “There is just so much you could go after. It’s going to be refining it down to the most salient.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) commented that the vote was a “continuation of what we have been doing.” Asked Thursday to clarify whether Democrats have taken a new step toward impeachment, Pelosi demurred, according to a report by The Huffington Post, saying,  “There’s nothing different from one day to the next,” she said. “We’re still on our same path.”

She added that the investigations, which have been greatly stymied by the administration’s refusal to comply with subpoenas, were moving at a good pace.

“We are, from a timing standpoint, where we need to be,” Pelosi said

Research contact: @washingtonpost