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


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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

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

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Cliff Sims, who wrote tell-all White House memoir, joins spy office

Sims declined to comment. An ODNI spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

POLITICO previously reported that Trump was incensed by Sims’ book, with several current and former White House officials having described the president as “very pissed off” and “really hopping mad” upon reading early excerpts and leaks of its text.

“A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction,” Trump tweeted in January 2019. “He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!”

In his lawsuit against Trump, Sims argued that the federal government was seeking to penalize his “First Amendment right to disclose unclassified information regarding which he learned during his tenure as a federal employee.” The lawsuit was eventually dropped.

After a brief legal dispute, Sims and Trump reconciled because Trump eventually realized that the book was ultimately flattering toward him while offering a stinging critique of some of his senior staff, according to the official.

Since leaving the White House in mid-2018, Sims also remained a close ally of the Trump family, especially son-in-law Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., as well as counselor Hope Hicks.

Sims’ attorney for the lawsuit was Mark Zaid, who has represented a number of federal government whistleblowers alleging misconduct by the Trump administration.

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Interior Designer Sofia Joelsson Joins Douglas Elliman

Sofia Joelsson and Lee Ann Edwards

Sofia Joelsson and Lee Ann Edwards

Interior designer Sofia Joelsson joined Douglas Elliman.

Joelsson joined Elliman’s Carmenate/Duchon team, based out of South Beach. Joelsson has worked with developers who include David Martin of Terra, Marcelo Kingston of Multiplan Real Estate Asset Management and One Thousand Museum co-developer Louis Birdman.

Jonathan Eismann, a longtime broker with Lombardi Properties, joined Gridline Properties as a senior associate.

The Altman Companies hired Lee Ann Edwards as president of Altman Management Company, where she will lead business development and strategy. She previously worked at Riverstone Residential, Greystar and RE Carroll Management.

Elandis, a real estate ownership and property management subsidiary of the Libra Group, announced the launch of a joint venture with international asset manager M&G Investments. The joint venture will focus on acquiring and repositioning workforce multifamily communities across the Sunbelt region, particularly in states that include Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Nevada.

RKW Residential hired Carlos Vilchez as its new chief operating officer. Prior to joining RKW, Vilchez owned a consulting practice. He was also previously an auditor at the accounting firm PwC before serving as chief financial officer of several companies.

RE/MAX Presidential announced it’s opening a new office at 19790 West Dixie Highway in Aventura. The space is expected to open Thursday, and is across the street from Aventura Mall.

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PLNAR Joins Guidewire PartnerConnect Solution Alliance Program; Publishes Ready for Guidewire Integration for Virtual Interior Inspections


Guidewire Software, Inc. (NYSE: GWRE), the platform P&C insurers trust to engage, innovate, and grow efficiently, today announced that PLNAR, a leading provider of virtual claims technology solutions for the insurance industry, has joined Guidewire PartnerConnect as a Solution partner. The companies also announced that PLNAR’s new Ready for Guidewire validated add-on is now available to insurers in the Guidewire Marketplace.


Insurance customers have high expectations of their insurers and are not afraid to find a new insurer if their expectations are not being met. According to a 2020 J.D. Power study, homeowners insurance claimants can be driven to shop their policies with other insurers if they are required to exert a high level of effort to get their claim resolved. To make the interior property claims process as smooth as possible and help insurers meet these high expectations, PLNAR created their contactless claims platform to put the power in the hands of the policyholder and enable digital adjusting of interior property claims.


Since 2012, PLNAR has worked to develop a program for insurers that combines intuitive AI (artificial intelligence) and AR (augmented reality) technology while leveraging technology that eighty-one percent of Americans already own – smartphones. PLNAR’s platform streamlines the interior property claims process for adjusters and claimants alike by enabling a self-service, digital claims process. With PLNAR’s technology, anyone with a smartphone can document interior property and damage to put desk adjusters virtually into interior spaces and shorten cycle times.


PLNAR’s contactless claims platform, delivered through their Ready for Guidewire add-on for Guidewire ClaimCenter, takes digital photos captured with the PLNAR SNAP app and transforms them into fully measured, interactive 3D models. PLNAR SNAP guides users through simple, standardized steps and procedures to capture photos. Photos taken with SNAP are embedded with dimensioning data, ensuring that adjusters receive the proper claims data, including comprehensive and detailed measurements, without needing to send an adjuster or inspector on site. PLNAR leverages this dimensioning data to generate complete data sets and a fully measured, interactive 3D model of the interior property. Additionally, desk adjusters can assess and measure damage and other details within the pictures using PLNAR’s patented SmartPix technology.


PLNAR’s Ready for Guidewire integration enables claims professionals to:


  • Easily send a PLNAR SNAP project link to field adjusters, gig-workers, inspectors, or policyholders directly from ClaimCenter;

  • Receive access to photos taken with SNAP, interactive 3D models, comprehensive detailed measurement data, and other virtual adjustment tools within ClaimCenter;

  • Enable virtual and desk adjusters to assess and measure damage anywhere in the room with the measure-within picture, SmartPix, technology; and

  • Keep all parties safe by allowing a completely contactless self-service interior property claims inspection.


“Consumers have grown accustomed to being in control with online platforms and apps and are now, more than ever, concerned with safety,” said Andy Greff, CEO, PLNAR. “By enabling contactless inspections for interior property claims through ClaimCenter, Guidewire and PLNAR enable a fully

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U.S. Senate committee joins House panel in probing Homeland whistleblower complaint

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate intelligence committee is investigating a whistleblower complaint filed by a former top U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official alleging he was pressed to skew official intelligence reports for political purposes, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf arrives with U.S. President Donald Trump to participate in an Iowa disaster recovery briefing, at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S., August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Senators Marco Rubio and Mark Warner, the committee’s Republican acting chair and Democrat vice chair, wrote to DHS deputy general counsel Joseph Maher on Thursday, saying they had received the complaint and asking for related documents.

Brian Murphy, who until recently was acting chief of DHS’ intelligence and analysis (I&A) office, alleged in the complaint that acting DHS chief Chad Wolf asked him to stop providing assessments on Russian election interference and to play down U.S. white supremacist activity.

“As the Committee investigates this matter, we respectfully request that you provide the Committee with all intelligence assessments produced by I&A related to Mr. Murphy’s complaint including but not limited to products related to migration and asylum, foreign interference in U.S. elections, and domestic threats related to white supremacism, antifa and ‘anarchist groups’”, the senators’ letter says.

A spokesman for Rubio said Murphy’s complaint “will be treated as seriously as any other complaint.”

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment but said on Wednesday, “We flatly deny that there is any truth to the merits of Mr. Murphy’s claim.”.

The Rubio-Warner letter, first reported by Reuters, indicates the Republican-led Senate committee is joining the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee in digging into allegations in the complaint that Murphy, who served as acting DHS intelligence for several months this year, filed earlier this week with the DHS Inspector General.

Mark Zaid, a lawyer for Murphy, said “We have specifically requested DHS’s position on whether it will block Mr. Murphy’s classified testimony before relevant congressional committees, including when faced with a subpoena.”

Murphy’s complaint alleges that Wolf told him to stop providing assessments of the threat of Russian interference in the Nov. 3 election and to play down U.S. white supremacist activity. Murphy says Wolf told him in mid-May to report instead on political interference threats posed by China and Iran, and to highlight the involvement of left-wing groups in domestic disorder.

The House Intelligence Committee requested that Murphy appear for a deposition on Sept. 21. House committee chairman Adam Schiff said on Friday he met with the DHS’ Maher earlier this week to discuss Murphy’s complaint.

The White House has denied suggestions by Murphy that Robert O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, instructed Wolf to play up intelligence supporting Trump’s political themes.

Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Tom Brown

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