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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.

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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.”

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“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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Fox News reporter and right-wing conspiracy theorists planned to wiretap family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich: report

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The Daily Beast on Monday evening broke a bombshell report on a secret 2017 meeting in Texas on a right-wing conspiracy theory where espionage was discussed.

"One of their topics was responding to online critics of wealthy Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who had recently been outed as a driving force behind a retracted Fox News story about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich," The Beast reported. "The group that gathered at Butowsky’s home included a conspiracy theorist, a Fox reporter fighting for her career, a former private intelligence contractor married to star journalist Lara Logan, and a Democratic PR operative who lost his business in the face of sexual assault allegations."

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Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow read bombshell excerpts from a new book set for release on Tuesday.

The host interviewed David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" read excerpts from the book.

"There was no doubt that Deutsche Bank had extensive business dealings with Russia, and those dealings included acting as a conduit for dirty money to get out of Russia and into the western financial system," Enrich wrote.

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Trump said he ‘loved’ the fact that America is more divided than ever: ex-GOP congressman

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President Donald Trump bragged about increasing divisions in America during a White House meeting, a former Republican congressman explained on MSNBC on Monday.

Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) told host Joy Reid that "Donald Trump has intentionally tried to create the anxiety" that Americans are explaining.

"Garry Kasparov, the Russian freedom activist, has said the point of disinformation isn't to manipulate the truth, it's to exhaust your critical thinking," Jolly explained. "To exhaust your critical thinking, that's what we're experiencing as voters."

"I had a colleague that was in a meeting in the Roosevelt Room and he said he heard Trump say, 'Have you ever seen the nation so divided?' My colleagues and others said, 'No, we haven't.' Trump said, 'I love it that way.' This is the currency that he's peddling as political strategy, but it's not one we have to accept," Jolly explained.

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