White House grinds to a halt as Trump’s press chief joins Covid-infected list

Donald Trump’s top spokesperson, Kayleigh McEnany, announced she had tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, in yet another escalation of a rampaging outbreak that hospitalized the president and threw the White House into disarray – even as Trump announced he was leaving hospital.

a woman talking on a cell phone: Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Related: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for coronavirus – live

With the pandemic surging, the economy foundering and the election fast approaching, operations at the White House appeared to grind to a halt, with senior staff complaining anonymously to reporters they had been kept in the dark about the president’s condition and given no instruction about how to stay safe as more than a dozen colleagues and recent visitors announced they had Covid-19.

Kayleigh McEnany on Friday at the White House. No internal communications detailing precautions staff should take had been issued, a senior aide told Axios.

© Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Kayleigh McEnany on Friday at the White House. No internal communications detailing precautions staff should take had been issued, a senior aide told Axios.

The state of Trump’s health was muddled by mixed messages from his doctors and top aides – and by erratic moves by Trump himself, who left the hospital for a brief car ride on Sunday night and on Monday morning cut loose a string of all-caps campaign-related tweets.

However, early Monday afternoon, just as a fresh medical briefing on the president was awaited and amid growing speculation, Trump tweeted that he would leave the hospital that evening, at 6.30pm.

He simultaneously downplayed once again the seriousness of the disease, having received himself the best care available anywhere, by saying : “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Trump was admitted Friday evening and had reportedly demanded to be released on Sunday, but was assuaged with the controversial ride in an armored SUV to greet supporters outside the hospital.

Citing an anonymous source, Vanity Fair magazine reported on Monday that Donald Trump Jr was worried by his father’s behavior and had sought help from his siblings in “staging an intervention”.

Depending on when he contracted the virus, it seemed Trump had not yet emerged from the window when he is likely to be infectious. It was unclear how his return to the White House could impact the escalating health crisis there.

No internal communications detailing precautions staff should take had been issued, a senior White House official told Axios. It’s “ridiculous,” the official said. “A bunch of us are talking about it and just gonna make the calls on our own.”

Video: Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19 (Reuters)

Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19



Democrats condemned the White House’s handling of the outbreak – and

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White House intervened to halt release of Bolton book with flawed classification review, federal official says

The Trump administration unsuccessfully sued in June to block the release of Bolton’s White House memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” after a review completed by Knight concluded in April it no longer contained classified information. At that point, however, an untrained Trump appointee undertook a new review and wrongly challenged hundreds of passages leading to the government litigation, Knight asserted.

Objecting that “a designedly apolitical process had been commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose,” Knight said several government attorneys agreed in a later debriefing when she speculated that the reason the Justice Department was suing Bolton was “because the most powerful man in the world said that it needed to happen,” Wainstein wrote.

Wednesday’s court filing is the latest revelation triggered by Bolton’s disclosures over his 17-month tenure as President Trump’s top national security official, in which he painted a withering portrait of Trump as an “erratic” and “stunningly uninformed” leader who repeatedly sought foreign leaders’ assistance for his personal benefit.

It comes after a June 20 ruling in which U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District of Columbia denied the Trump administration’s request to halt publication, but said that government might be able to seize Bolton’s profits if the book’s release came without written White House authorization that it contained no classified material.

Bolton “exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability” in further litigation, the judge warned.

All sides are due back in court Thursday for further arguments. It is not clear what impact Knight’s disclosures may have. Lamberth said Bolton should have sued the government instead of“unilaterally” opting out of the review process if he was dissatisfied with it.

Separately, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas to Bolton’s publisher as part of a Justice Department investigation into whether he criminally mishandled classified information in the book.

In a statement last week, Bolton’s lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said, “Ambassador Bolton emphatically rejects any claim that he acted improperly, let alone criminally, in connection with the publication of his book, and he will cooperate fully, as he has throughout, with any official inquiry into his conduct.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, “Mr. Bolton chose to publish a manuscript that four senior National Security officials have stated, under penalty of perjury, contains classified information,” and that “Ms. Knight’s letter confirms that Mr. Bolton did not receive the appropriate and required written, pre-publication approval.” Kupec added, “The publication of a memoir by a former National Security Adviser, right after his departure, is an unprecedented action, and it is not surprising that National Security Council staff would pay close attention to ensure that the book does not contain the release of classified information.”

Deputy Assistant Attorney General David M. Morrell in June acknowledged in court that he knew of no precedent in which high-level officials intervened in classification reviews, but said, however irregular, the process was entirely

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White House directs federal agencies to halt some race-related trainings

The directive targets training on “white privilege” or “critical race theory.”

The White House is directing federal departments and agencies to “cease and desist” funding for certain types of race and diversity training, according to a new memo sent out to federal agencies by the Office of Management and Budget on Friday.

In the memo, OMB Director Russell Vought tells the heads of federal agencies that certain types of racial bias training, reportedly being administered by executive agencies, are “un-American” and “divisive” and said President Donald Trump had directed the agencies to stop these trainings.

“These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce,” Vought wrote.

On Saturday morning, Trump retweeted nearly 20 references to this directive. Many of the tweets came from individuals who often tweet far-right leaning perspectives, as well as from several right-leaning publications.

One such retweet was a video of a Fox News’ Tucker Carlson highlighting the use of the race and diversity trainings within the federal government.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Sept. 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Sept. 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign event at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Sept. 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa.

In the memo, Vought references press reports of trainings during which attendees have been told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or are “required to say that they “benefit from racism.”

The memo was first reported by Real Clear Politics and followed by the Washington Post.

It was not immediately clear what specific trainings the memo was directing to be halted.

ABC News reached out to the White House for additional information on the types of training the White House is targeting with its directive. The inquiry was referred to the Office of Management and Budget, which did not immediately respond.

The White House will be offering additional guidance on carrying out the President’s Directive, the OMB memo states. In the meantime, agencies are being directed to identify these trainings and are encouraged to begin identifying ways to cancel contracts for trainings that teach “white privilege” or “critical race theory.”

Diversity initiatives at federal agencies were implemented in part by a 2011 Executive Order by then President Barack Obama. Advocates say they can be helpful in spotting racial biases and improving inclusivity.

Race has come into increasing focus in the runup to the 2020 election, as protests over police shootings of people of color have led to nationwide protests.

Trump has been critical of these protestors and campaigned on the need for police and political leaders to crack down them.

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