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Paranoid White House now locking everyone out of Trump’s calls except for a few key loyalists: CNN

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The Trump White House has taken steps to restrict access to President Donald Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders after his now-infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led to his impending impeachment.

CNN reports that officials have restricted access to Trump’s foreign calls with a small number of loyalists and that “transcripts of Trump’s calls with world leaders are also disseminated to a far smaller group of people inside the White House.”

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Trump’s July 25th call with Zelensky set off alarm bells among multiple White House officials after the president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

Now, however, one official tells CNN that “nobody is allowed on the calls” and that “the barn door officially closed after the horse escaped.”

Officials who have been sanctioned to participate in the president’s calls include national security adviser Robert O’Brien, his deputy Matt Pottinger, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and his deputy Rob Blair.

However, some experts worry that keeping so many officials out of the loop will hinder the administration’s ability to conduct a coherent policy.

“National security professionals seeking to advance US policy objectives may or may not reflect or even be aware of Trump’s personal views, which are often divorced from a rational process and center on Trump’s own obsessions and political interests at the expense of the national interest,” Colin Kahl, a former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, tells CNN. “Cutting subject matter experts and professionals out the loop will make this problem worse.”

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Mike Pence’s office punishes CNN for refusing to air his portion of coronavirus briefing

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Vice President Mike Pence has kept the nation's top health officials from appearing on CNN since the network stopped carrying the daily coronavirus briefings in their entirety.

The vice president's office, which is responsible for booking those officials to deliver pandemic information, told CNN that Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci would not be permitted to appear on the network until it carries the briefings, including Pence's remarks, in full.

"When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air," a Pence spokesperson told CNN.

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‘Well-spoken cultist’: Bill Barr trashed for praising ‘statesmanlike’ Trump and urging an end to COVID-19 lockdowns

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During an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham Wednesday night, Attorney General Bill Barr praised President Trump's "statesman-like" effort at the "beginning" of the coronavirus epidemic where he "tried to bring people together" while "working with all the governors" -- a characterization that did not go over well with many of the President's critics on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/matthewamiller/status/1248241999297339394

https://twitter.com/andeparks/status/1248255118291742722

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The Supreme Court is poised to extend gun rights at the worst possible time

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“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” —Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

As the deadly COVID-19 contagion sweeps across the country, gun sales are surging, spurred in many regions by panic buying and purchases by first-time firearm owners. Fearful and insecure Americans are taking advantage of weak and ineffective gun-control laws and stocking up, as President Trump might say, “like never before.”

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