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Trump is terrified a recession is coming — and he has no plan if it does: report

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Economists and analysts overwhelmingly agreed this week that a recession is, if not looming, appearing to be much more likely in the near future than it was before.

But in President Donald Trump’s White House, such pessimism is verboten. According to multiple reports, Trump’s team has been emphasizing rosier economic numbers and brushing off signs of a coming downturn. Trump even suggested that he “suspects many economists and other forecasters are presenting biased data to thwart his reelection,” according to the Washington Post. (Trump previously complained that positive economic reports under President Barack Obama were fake.)

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Despite this hesitance to accept reality, Trump also fears the warnings might be correct. The Post reported:

…the president has sounded anxious and apprehensive. From his golf club in New Jersey, where he is vacationing this week, Trump has called a number of business leaders and financial executives to sound them out — and they have provided him a decidedly mixed analysis, according to two people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversations were confidential.

“He’s rattled,” [one] Republican said. “He thinks that all the people that do this economic forecasting are a bunch of establishment weenies — elites who don’t know anything about the real economy and they’re against Trump.”

The Associated Press confirmed this report, finding: “Trump is growing increasingly worried the economy won’t look so good come Election Day.”

But most worrying of all is that the White House seems utterly unprepared if a recession does hit. The Republican Party has already expended much political capital on a deficit-busting tax cut and spending increases, and any effort to stimulate the economy through fiscal policy would likely spur fissures among the GOP’s rank and file. Trump’s main plan to stave off economic pain thus far appears to be berating Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

And, as CNBC John Harwood argued Friday, the tax cut’s promised economic benefits appear to be illusory.

The Post also noted:

Administration officials are not actively planning for a recession because they do not believe one will occur, and they worry that making such plans would validate a negative narrative about the economy and precipitate a crash, according to people involved in internal discussions.

Despite the focus on Trump’s own contributions to the potential recession — his pointless trade war with China, his belligerence toward other world leaders, his empty economic policies — much of it likely remains out of his control. European countries like Germany and the United Kingdom might be headed for recession no matter what Trump does. China’s own downturn has been expected for a long time now, and it could be on track for a market correction regardless of Trump’s attempted economic sabotage.

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But as the Post’s Catherine Rampell argued, Trump is particularly badly positioned to deal with a recession, whatever its cause. That’s because he’s surrounded himself with cranks and cronies.

She wrote a recent piece disparaging his economic aides and appointees titled: “Trump has a dream team for mismanaging a recession.”

“Trump’s economic brain trust consists of a guy who plays an economist on TV, a crank  who has been disowned by the (real) economics profession and the producer of ‘The Lego Batman Movie,‘” she wrote Thursday. “Trump — like the rest of us — had better hope and pray that we don’t have a recession anytime soon. Because if we do, it’s gonna be bad.”

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The White House is now ‘furiously backpedaling’ after promoting gun background check legislation

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Will President Donald Trump support background checks on firearms sales? At this point, it’s not even clear if the White House has enough internal coherence to claim he even has any position at all on the matter.

News broke Wednesday morning, originally from the conservative Daily Caller reporter Amber Athey, that White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland, along with Attorney General Bill Barr, brought a proposal for expanded background checks modeled off the Manchin-Toomey bill to GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill:

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Did Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump break up over Iran?

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It appears there is trouble in Warhawk paradise if Twitter is any indication.

A Twitter exchange between Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and President Donald Trump are battling over the recent drone strike of the Saudi oil fields. Trump, Graham and the Saudis are all blaming Iran, but Japan said that there is no evidence that it was Iran.

Aaron Blake at the Washington Post noted that Trump and Graham have long been together on foreign policy issues, but something changed when it comes to Iran.

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Accused child molester Roy Moore defends Brett Kavanaugh: ‘I too was the object of false allegations’

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Accused child molester Roy Moore on Wednesday came to the defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault.

Moore's remarks came after The New York Times published accounts from a new book, which found that two of Kavanaugh's accusers were credible.

In a statement to the press, Moore defended Kavanaugh on Wednesday.

"I too was the subject of false allegations, but unlike Justice Kavanaugh and others who have suffered the ire of the left, I filed suit against my accusers and their conspirators," Moore said. "For over two years, I have not seen nor been able to question any of those who went on national television tol tell their false stories just 32 days before the election in December 2017, and ironically I have been sued for defamation for merely denying their false and malicious accusations."

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