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Trump’s White House stonewalled IG probe of alleged improper pressure in a lucrative defense contract

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Two major tech companies headquartered in Washington State, Microsoft and Amazon, competed for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract — which the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) ultimately gave to Microsoft. This week, the Pentagon’s inspector general released a report concluding that the decision was “consistent with applicable law” and there was no impropriety on the part of the Defense Department. But the Pentagon inspector general, according to Law & Crime reporter Jerry Lambe, was “unable to determine” whether or not the Trump White House tried to improperly influence that decision.

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In a 313-page report, the Pentagon inspector general’s office explained, “We sought to review whether there was any White House influence on the JEDI cloud procurement. We could not review this matter fully because of the assertion of a ‘presidential communications privilege,’ which resulted in several DoD witnesses being instructed by the DoD Office of General Counsel not to answer our questions about potential communications between White House and DoD officials about JEDI.”

The report added, “Therefore, we could not definitively determine the full extent or nature of interactions that administration officials had, or may have had, with senior DoD officials regarding the JEDI Cloud procurement.”

On Twitter, Jonathan Rath Hoffman (assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs) addressed the matter and posted, “We can do this again: ‘DoD OGC stated that White House Counsel was willing to allow witnesses to provide written answers to our questions where the presidential communication privilege was invoked.’ They choose not to take the answers. Regardless, the IG found no influence.”

But Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, saw Hoffman’s tweet and responded, “This, of course, is not how Inspector General investigations work — as this DoD spokesperson well knows. The IG decides how and when to collect evidence in a corruption investigation. Instead, we have White House interference in an investigation of…. White House interference.”

We can do this again: “DoD OGC stated that White House Counsel was willing to allow witnesses to provide written answers to our questions where the presidential communication privilege was invoked.” They choose not to take the answers. Regardless the IG found no influence. https://t.co/WK3hmuZ0rX

— Jonathan Rath Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox) April 15, 2020

This, of course, is not how Inspector General investigations work—as this DoD spokesperson well knows. The IG decides how and when to collect evidence in a corruption investigation. Instead, we have White House interference in an investigation of . . . White House interference. https://t.co/qIe3frHgDe

— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) April 15, 2020

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has accused President Donald Trump of waging a “personal vendetta” against him and alleged that he did everything he could to make sure Amazon wasn’t awarded the JEDI contract. There has been very bad blood between Trump and Bezos, who owns the Washington Post — a publication that Trump absolutely despises. And many of the Post’s opinion columnists have been highly critical of Trump, from liberal journalist Eugene Robinson to Never Trump conservatives such as George Will, Jennifer Rubin, Kathleen Parker and Max Boot.


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Republicans have gone silent about their internal polls because they show a ‘Democratic rout’: Election analyst

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On Saturday, writing for CNN, elections forecaster Harry Enten argued that it's not just public polls showing President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans losing big in November — it's the GOP's private internal polls, too.

"Perhaps, it's not surprising then that when one party puts out a lot more internal polls than normal, it is good for their side," wrote Enten. "Parties tend to release good polling when they have it. Since 2004, there has been a near perfect correlation (+0.96 on a scale from -1 to +1) between the share of partisan polls released by the Democrats and the November results."

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2020 Election

Kayleigh McEnany slammed for press conference stunts designed to duck tough Trump questions

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In a report on Kayleigh McEnany's tenure as White House press secretary at Politico, critics took special notice of her refusal to give straight answers about Donald Trump and turning every inquiry back on reporters in the form of attacking the media for even asking.

Using the press secretary's contentious Tuesday press conference where she dismissed press attempts to get to the bottom of the Russian bounty reports, and what the president knows about it, as a springboard, Politico found critics who called McEnany out for her deflections and distractions.

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Trump ridiculed for plan to build a ‘National Garden of American Heroes’: ‘Surprised he didn’t include Zorro’

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At President Donald Trump's Independence Day Speech at Mount Rushmore, he pledged to sign an executive order establishing the "National Garden of American Heroes" in reaction to efforts to tear down monuments glorifying racist historical figures. Although many of the people proposed by the administration for the garden, like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., are fairly universally beloved, others, like former President Ronald Reagan, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and evangelical preacher Billy Graham, are sharply partisan choices.

The White House just sent out the text of the executive order. It creates a task force to recommend how and where to create this new garden. And it specifies the statues that should be in the park (including Antonin Scalia): pic.twitter.com/fGjFbr4JtQ

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