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Wilbur Ross threatened to fire NOAA staffer who tweeted out correction to Trump’s false weather report

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The New York Times is reporting that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire a NOAA staffer after the National Weather Service in Birmingham corrected President Donald Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian was going to devastate Alabama. According to NOAA, after the president’s tweet, they were inundated with questions about the hurricane coming to Alabama.

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According to three sources, Ross intervened two days after the Twitter exchange. He called acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs while in Greece and told Jacobs to “fix” the contradiction.

Jacobs reportedly objected to Ross’ demands and Ross responded by saying that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if nothing was fixed.

Political appointees are appointed by the administrator and the White House, but career researchers, meteorologists and other scientists are long-term government employees.

The National Weather Service Director went another route with the incident. In a meeting Monday, Louis Uccellini said that forecasters in Birmingham “did what any office would do to protect the public” when they issued the rebuke of Trump.

When spending the Labor Day holiday weekend golfing, Trump claimed that he was getting hourly updates on the hurricane. It’s unclear why Trump would get such an outdated weather report predicting the hurricane was going to Alabama. By the very early morning of Aug. 31, forecasters found that the storm was moving north. Trump ultimately found a Rear Admiral willing to fall on the sword for the Alabama forecast flub.

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“The New York Times story is false. Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian,” said a Commerce Department spokesperson.


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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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