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Trump claims he signed a law that’s been on the books for decades

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- Commentary

President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he signed legislation that has, in fact, been law for many years:

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Many observers quickly pointed out that Trump was wrong. The Whistleblower Protection Act became law in 1989. The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act became law in 1998.

On June 23, 2017, Trump did sign the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act — which is the law that the tweet he quoted referred to.

The Ukraine scandal, which has led to Trump’s impeachment proceedings, was sparked by a whistleblower complaint filed under the 1998 law, which offers significantly less protection than the 1989 law. It does, however, require that whistleblowers not face retaliation — though it provides no enforcement mechanism for this provision.

Trump seems to be bemoaning the irony of the fact that he signed a whistleblower protection law (even though he doesn’t seem to know which one), and he now finds himself under political threat because of a whistleblower. He may also be suggesting that he shouldn’t be criticized for going after the whistleblower, given that he signed such a law, though the first reading seems more plausible.

But Trump has previously championed the VA law, which sought to protect whistleblowers for good reason. The troubled agency has long been accused of underserving veterans, and enabling employees to report waste, fraud, and abuses could help improve the department’s ability to serve its clients. Of course, this is why whistleblower protections in all agencies and businesses are a good idea — they can help expose wrongdoing.

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Trump, though, is much more interested in concealing his own wrongdoing than actually helping governmental institutions function better, so it makes sense that he may be rethinking his stance on whistleblower protections.

Maybe then it’s not so surprising that the VA whistleblower law seems to be having trouble of its own, as CNN’s Daniel Dale noted:

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Mnuchin threatens to make taxpayers pay back COVID money unless Trump is reelected

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested on Sunday that Americans will have to pay the government back for any payroll tax reduction unless President Donald Trump is reelected.

In an interview on FOX, host Chris Wallace noted that the president's latest executive action on COVID-19 financial relief is "not a tax cut."

"It's a payroll tax suspension," Wallace explained. "Isn't there a danger that a lot of businesses won't pass these saving through to workers because they're going to hold on to the money because at some point, according to this executive action by the end of the year, those payroll taxes are going to be have to be paid anyway?"

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Virtual learning means unequal learning

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WASHINGTON — Karen Reyes, who teaches deaf and hard-of-hearing children in Austin, Texas, worries about her first-grade pupils who will be learning online this fall. She’s concerned that virtual learning is harder for younger, special needs children, especially those who may not have as much support at home as students in more affluent communities.“It has brought out a lot of the inequities in our district, especially in special education,” Reyes said of the distance learning program.In her school, 93% of the students are considered economically disadvantaged, according to a city estimate.“Eit... (more…)

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2020 Election

‘We need a reality check here’: CNN’s Bash cuts off Kudlow’s rambling spin on Trump’s unemployment plans

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An alternately amused and baffled Dana Bash was forced to cut off Donald Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow on CNN Sunday morning as he attempted to spin the president's plans to help out the unemployed with income supplements, changing his numbers from $400 to $800 to $1,200 all within three to four sentences.

Pressed about the president's executive order calling for a $400 supplement -- with $100 coming from the states at Trump's demand -- the State of the Union fill-in host tried to cut through Kudlow's veering from dollar amount to dollar amount to get a clearer understanding of what the president is proposing.

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