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Trump bans government scientists from sharing their work with the taxpayers who funded it

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Donald Trump wants to be known as the president who tweets, but his administration is placing certain restrictions on government researchers sharing their findings with the Americans who pay for their work.

The president signed executive orders Tuesday that cut off all new contracts and grants for the Environmental Protection Agency — and he also banned the agency’s employees from providing updates on social media or to journalists, the Associated Press reported.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent an email Monday morning, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, prohibiting its employees from communicating with the public about their taxpayer-funded work.

Those “public-facing documents” include news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content, said Sharon Drumm, chief of staff of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The USDA rescinded that order Wednesday, saying it had not been officially released and guidelines about its implementation had not been issued.

A Reuters analysis showed the leaked document was similar to guidelines issued in 2009 by President Barack Obama’s agriculture secretary, but the Trump administration memo was different in two key ways.

The new memo centralized the agency’s media inquiries and social media presence through the Office of the Secretary, and USDA agencies were ordered to review websites, blog posts and other social media and “remove references to policy priorities and initiatives of the previous Administration.”

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The U.S. Department of the Interior reportedly ordered employees to stop posting messages on government Twitter accounts after the National Park Service a post comparing the size of Trump’s inauguration with President Barack Obama’s in 2009.

Drumm’s message did not specifically refer to Trump, but the department’s scientists believe the order was a message from the administration.

The memo was vaguely worded enough that department officials weren’t sure whether scientists are allowed to publish studies in academic journals or present findings at conferences, but the USDA’s statement clarified that those should not be blocked.

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“ARS values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public,” the agency said in a statement.

A Washington Post reporter also tweeted Tuesday afternoon that taxpayer-funded economists might also be forbidden from sharing their findings with the public without approval from the Trump administration.

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A University of Maine researcher issued a warning on social media that additional political attacks on scientists were coming.

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“Please, stand up for science and the environment,” warned Jacquelyn Gill, a paleoecologist and biogeographer. “This is the emergency we were all worried about.”

Updates added Wednesday after the USDA rescinded the memo and Reuters compared the document to one circulated in 2009 by the Obama administration.


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2020 Election

New Jersey Republicans not interested in party-jumping Jeff Van Drew as their candidate in 2020: report

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According to a report in Politico, Democratic lawmaker Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ) is not being welcomed with open arms by Republicans in his district after word got out that he is planning on switching parties following lobbying from President Donald Trump.

With polling in his district showing he was facing an uphill climb for re-election the Democrat, who is considered fairly conservative and has opposed the impeachment of Trump, is expected to announce the switch soon with reports stating he has already informed his staffers of the imminent move.

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WATCH: Town hall crowd explodes into applause as New Jersey lawmaker announces he will vote for Trump impeachment

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On Sunday morning CNN aired a clip of Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) announcing before a town hall crowd on Saturday that he will vote for the impeachment of Donald Trump -- causing some of the audience members to explode into applause over his decision.

In the clip, the lawmaker explains, "Based on the evidence I have seen in the depositions, the hearings and the documents I've seen, I believe on the two counts of impeachment that the vote that has been put before us, that the vote should be yes, and I will be voting yes."

With that, the crowd burst into cheers with some leaping from their seats.

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ABC News had the goods on Jeffrey Epstein years ago — and killed the story

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Multimillionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein died in suspicious circumstances at a Manhattan correctional facility on Aug. 10. The wealthy and powerful New York financier, a convicted sex offender, stands accused by dozens of women and girls of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse. He was an enormously influential and well-connected man who counted as friends billionaire business ownersHollywood starsBritish royals, and even top media figures like Katie Couric and Charlie Rose — with some of his associates falling under suspicion of condoning or even participating in a pedophile ring.

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