Trump Defends Kavanaugh After NYT Report: ‘Should Start Suing People’ or DOJ ‘Should Come to His Rescue’

President Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning defending Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after a new report in The New York Times.

The Times reported on another allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh yesterday:

A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)

Mr. Kavanaugh did not speak to us because we could not agree on terms for an interview. But he has denied Dr. Ford’s and Ms. Ramirez’s allegations, and declined to answer our questions about Mr. Stier’s account.

There’s now renewed outcry over Kavanaugh and calls for additional investigation, including from 2020 candidate Julián Castro:

President Trump defended Kavanaugh on Twitter this morning, saying people are lying about him to “scare him into turning Liberal,” even suggesting he “should start suing people for liable [sic], or the Justice Department should come to his rescue.”

Trump previously misspelled “libel”


Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for liable, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue. The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019

[Mediaite]

Kellyanne Conway: It’s unconstitutional for Democrats to ’embarrass this president’ with impeachment

White House aide Kellyanne Conway on Sunday insisted that Democrats do not have a “constitutional basis” to embarrass President Donald Trump by conducting an impeachment inquiry.

Conway made the remarks while speaking to FOX News Sunday guest host Bill Hemmer.

“Complete nonsense,” she said when asked about the impeachment proceedings. “They need to get a messaging meeting and they need to read the constitution of the Democratic Party.”

“Americans, the Congress, they work for you,” Conway continued, talking over the FOX host. “And they’re wasting your money and your time trying to impeach a president where there are no high crimes and misdemeanors.”

She added: “Stop the nonsense of harassing and embarrassing this president and the people around him when you have no constitutional or legal basis to do so.”

Democrats have argued that they have a constitutional duty to conduct an impeachment inquiry.

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump lashes out at MSNBC’s Joy Reid, claims she has ‘NO talent’

President Trump on Saturday lashed out at MSNBC’s Joy Reid, saying that the TV host has “NO talent.”

“Who the hell is Joy-Ann Reid? Never met her, she knows ZERO about me, has NO talent, and truly doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor needed for success in showbiz,” Trump tweeted.

“Had a bad reputation, and now works for the Comcast/NBC losers making up phony stories about me. Low Ratings. Fake News!” he continued.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the president to go after Reid ahead of her Saturday morning show, though the MSNBC host had criticized recent remarks by Trump while guest hosting “All in with Chris Hayes” on Friday night.

The Hill has reached out to MSNBC for comment.

The MSNBC host and a hashtag for her show, #AMJoy, trended on Twitter Saturday after the president’s post, with members of the program appearing to take the president’s tweet in stride.

“Great job getting us trending, #reiders! Can we get our #AMJoy hashtag even higher? Let’s do it!” the

Trump’s tweet Saturday morning came hours after Reid appeared on the network and highlighted a number of recent remarks by the president.

In a segment on Trump’s visit to Baltimore for the House GOP retreat, she mocked his “Mike Pounce” gaffe and said he “went on to treat the gathered Republicans to some smoking hot beauty tips” while discussing his remarks on lightbulbs. 

She also said that he sounded “like a desperate man” when he said “whether you like me or not it makes no difference because our country will go to Hell if any of these people get in.”

Reid has been critical of the president in the past, releasing a book about Trump earlier this summer titled “The Man Who Sold America.”

She said in a tweet earlier this month that Trump “has turned the presidency into a travel agency servicing the Trump Organization and its properties and golf clubs around the world.” 

Trump’s tweet attacking the MSNBC host Saturday morning came after he sent another tweet saying “A Very Stable Genius!” and offering thanks for the comment, though he did not provide any more information on the remark or attribute it.

[The Hill]

Trump delivers bizarre speech in Baltimore during Democratic debate

While the Democratic presidential candidates debated in Houston on Thursday night about environmental policy, the role of racism in American society, health care access, and other issues, President Donald Trump gave a speech to a House Republican retreat in Baltimore. The contrast between the president and the Democrats who are vying to take his job was remarkable.

Perhaps the clearest distinction came as Trump resurrected his fake middle-class tax cuts while Democrats had a detailed conversation about how to provide affordable health care to more people without dramatically raising taxes — within minutes of each other.

“We’re now working on a tax cut for middle-income people that is going to be very, very inspirational,” he told House Republicans, bringing up an idea he hyped just before last November’s midterm elections, only to forget about it as soon as it came and went. “It’s going to be something that I think it’s what everybody is looking for. We’ll be announcing it sometime in the next year.”

While one can pick holes in the tax plans offered by Democrats, at least they’re coherent plans. Trump, on the other hand, is offering soundbites that he thinks will play well with voters without seemingly having any intention of following through.

But Trump has a long history of this sort of thing. On Tuesday, for instance, he vowed that Republicans “will always protect patients with preexisting conditions,” despite the fact that two years ago he wholeheartedly embraced health care legislation that would’ve resulted in millions of people losing coverage. Trump even mocked the late Sen. John McCain during his speech for voting against it.

That was par for the course in Trump’s more than hour-long speech, during which he made a number of outlandish and self-refuting claims. He began by bragging about the move his administration made earlier in the day to repeal an Obama-era rule meant to limit pollution in America’s rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. But a short time later, he seemed to accidentally admit that rules of that sort have helped the country’s water remain relatively clean.

“The Clean Waters act didn’t give you clean waters — by the way, today we have the cleanest air, we have the cleanest water that we’ve ever had in the history of our country,” Trump said, falsely, combining two statements that directly contradict each other.

When he wasn’t contradicting himself or gaslighting, Trump offered hyperbolic commentary about MS-13 (“They take young women. They slice them up with a knife. They slice them up — beautiful, young.”), Democratic presidential candidates (“They’re gonna take your money, they’re gonna take — and very much hurt — your families.), and expressed his now-familiar ignorance about wind energy.

“If you happen to be watching the Democrat debate and the wind isn’t blowing, you’re not going to see the debate … ‘the goddamn windmill stopped!’” he said.

Trump even took aim at the city that was hosting the House Republican retreat, characterizing Baltimore as a city that has “been destroyed by decades of failed and corrupt rule.” He closed by promising some sort of major federal action unless Los Angeles and San Francisco take quick action to clean up homelessness.

The spectacle was dark, and at times brutal. Republicans, as they have mostly done since Trump became the Republican nominee for president in 2016, cheered.

Meanwhile, in Houston, Democratic presidential candidates took a few potshots at each other and, of course, at Trump — but they also got deep into the weeds of policy and outlined their respective visions of an America where immigrants are treated with respect, the climate crisis is taken seriously, and claims about health care proposals are backed up with actual plans.

The difference couldn’t have been clearer. Then again, it was just as clear in 2016.

[Vox]

Trump says he doesn’t believe report of Israel spying on White House

US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he does not believe a report that Israel was likely behind the placement of devices in the vicinity of the White House that can capture cellphone calls.

“I don’t believe that, no, I don’t believe the Israelis were spying on us. I really would find that hard to believe,” Trump told reporters at the White House after being asked about the report.

The Politico news outlet reported Thursday that the FBI had determined Israel was responsible for the placement of cellphone surveillance equipment near the White House and at other sensitive locations in Washington, DC.

“My relationship with Israel has been great,” Trump said, listing some of his pro-Israel accomplishments. “Anything is possible,” he conceded, “but I don’t believe it.”

Earlier Thursday a senior US official also denied the report.

The story “is completely false. Absolutely false. I checked,” Noga Tarnopolsky, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, quoted the senior administration official as saying.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials swiftly rejected the accusation as a “blatant lie.” Netanyahu said it was absolutely false, without “a scintilla” of truth.

“There is a longstanding commitment, and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the US. This directive is strictly enforced without exception,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office read.

Also, an Israeli spying operation against the United States government on American soil would represent a dramatic departure from decades-old Israeli policy, a former intelligence official said.

According to Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser, that was not a pro forma denial by a government caught doing something it shouldn’t, but a true description of Israeli policy.

“Can I tell you from personal knowledge that it’s not happening today? No. Could someone have lost it completely in some upper echelon of the government? I don’t know. But based on everything I know, it’s totally false,” Freilich told The Times of Israel.

A former senior US official with knowledge of the alleged Israeli operation told Politico it was assumed that the devices were installed to spy on US President Donald Trump and his top aides, although it was unclear whether the attempt was successful.

[Times of Israel]

Trump Administration to Finalize Rollback of Clean Water Protections

The Trump administration on Thursday is expected to complete the legal repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation, which had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and water bodies.

The rollback of the 2015 measure, known as the Waters of the United States rule, has been widely expected since the early days of the Trump administration, when President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to begin the work of repealing and replacing it.

Weakening the Obama-era water rule had been a central campaign pledge for Mr. Trump, who characterized it as a federal land-grab that impinged on the rights of farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers to use their property as they see fit.

Environmentalists say Mr. Trump’s push to loosen rules on clean water regulations represents an assault on protecting the nation’s streams and wetlands at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly declared his commitment to “crystal-clean water.

The repeal of the water rule, which is scheduled to be announced at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, will take effect in a matter of weeks.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, which had worked together to write the original Obama rule, are expected to issue a new, looser replacement rule by the end of this year.

The clean water rollback is the latest in a series of actions by the Trump administration to weaken or undo major environmental rules, including proposals to weaken regulations on planet-warming emissions from carspower plants and oil and gas drilling rigs, a series of moves designed to push new drilling in the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and efforts to weaken protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Environmentalists assailed the move.

“With many of our cities and towns living with unsafe drinking water, now is not the time to cut back on clean water enforcement,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We need more, not less, protection for clean water.”

But farming groups, a key political constituency for Mr. Trump, praised the repeal of a regulation that they said had severely restricted how farmers could use their land.

“The rule that was developed in 2015 was a significant overreach,” said Don Parrish, director of regulatory relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation, which has lobbied for the repeal and replacement of the rule. “It overstepped the limit of protecting clean water and tried to regulate land use. It created liabilities that can end up putting farmers in jail.” He was referring to actions like using pesticides, he said.

The Obama rule, developed under the authority of the 1972 Clean Water Act, was designed to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about a third of the United States. It extended existing federal authority to limit pollution in large bodies of water, like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, to smaller bodies that drain into them, such as tributaries, streams and wetlands.

Under the rule, farmers using land near streams and wetlands were restricted from doing certain kinds of plowing and planting certain crops and would have been required E.P.A. permits in order to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers that could have run off into those water bodies.

[The New York Times]

Trump Flirts With $15 Billion Bailout for Iran

President Donald Trump has left the impression with foreign officials, members of his administration, and others involved in Iranian negotiations that he is actively considering a French plan to extend a $15 billion credit line to the Iranians if Tehran comes back into compliance with the Obama-era nuclear deal.

Trump has in recent weeks shown openness to entertaining President Emmanuel Macron’s plan, according to four sources with knowledge of Trump’s conversations with the French leader. Two of those sources said that State Department officials, including Secretary Mike Pompeo, are also open to weighing the French proposal, in which the Paris government would effectively ease the economic sanctions regime that the Trump administration has applied on Tehran for more than a year.

The deal put forward by France would compensate Iran for oil sales disrupted by American sanctions. A large portion of Iran’s economy relies on cash from oil sales. Most of that money is frozen in bank accounts across the globe. The $15 billion credit line would be guaranteed by Iranian oil. In exchange for the cash, Iran would have to come back into compliance with the nuclear accord it signed with the world’s major powers in 2015. Tehran would also have to agree not to threaten the security of the Persian Gulf or to impede maritime navigation in the area. Lastly, Tehran would have to commit to regional Middle East talks in the future. 

While Trump has been skeptical of helping Iran without preconditions in public, the president has at least hinted at an openness to considering Macron’s pitch for placating the Iranian government—a move intended to help bring the Iranians to the negotiating table and to rescue the nuclear agreement that Trump and his former national security adviser John Bolton worked so hard to torpedo.

At the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France last month, Trump told reporters that Iran might need a “short-term letter of credit or loan” that could “get them over a very rough patch.”

Iranian Prime Minister Javad Zarif made a surprise appearance at that meeting. To Robert Malley, who worked on Iran policy during the Obama administration, that visit indicated that “Trump must have signaled openness to Macron’s idea, otherwise Zarif would not have flown to Biarritz at the last minute.” 

“Clearly, Trump responded to Macron in a way that gave the French president a reason to invite Zarif, and Zarif a reason to come,” he said.

The French proposal would require the Trump administration to issue waivers on Iranian sanctions. That would be a major departure from the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign to exact financial punishments on the regime in Tehran. Ironically, during his time in office, President Barack Obama followed a not-dissimilar approach to bring the Iranians to the negotiating table, throttling Iran’s economy with sanctions before pledging relief for talks. The negotiations resulted in the Iran nuke deal that President Trump called “rotten”—and pulled the U.S. out of during his first term.

Trump’s flirtations with—if not outright enthusiasm toward—chummily sitting down with foreign dictators and America’s geopolitical foes are largely driven by his desire for historic photo ops and to be seen as the dealmaker-in-chief. It’s a desire so strong that it can motivate him to upturn years of his own administration’s policymaking and messaging.

And while President Trump has not agreed to anything yet, he did signal a willingness to cooperate on such a proposal at various times throughout the last month, including at the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France, according to four sources with knowledge of the president’s conversations about the deal.

Several sources told The Daily Beast that foreign officials are expecting Trump to either agree to cooperate on the French deal or to offer to ease some sanctions on Tehran. Meanwhile, President Trump is also considering meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September. 

“I do believe they’d like to make a deal. If they do, that’s great. And if they don’t, that’s great too,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “But they have tremendous financial difficulty, and the sanctions are getting tougher and tougher.” When asked if he would ease sanctions against Iran in order to get a meeting with Iran Trump simply said: “We’ll see what happens. I think Iran has a tremendous, tremendous potential.”

Spokespeople for the State Department, White House, and Treasury did not provide comment for this story. A spokesperson for the National Security Council simply referred The Daily Beast to Trump’s Wednesday comments on Iran. Bolton didn’t comment on Wednesday, either.

Trump’s willingness to discuss the credit line with the French, the Iranians and also Japanese President Shinzo Abe frustrated Bolton, who had for months urged Trump not to soften his hard line against the regime in Tehran

Bolton, who vociferously opposed the Macron proposal, departed the Trump administration on explicitly and mutually bad terms on Tuesday. On Bolton’s way out of the door, Trump and senior administration officials went out of their way to keep publicly insisting he was fired, as Bolton kept messaging various news outlets that Trump couldn’t fire him because he quit. The former national security adviser and lifelong hawk had ruffled so many feathers and made so many enemies in the building that his senior colleagues had repeatedly tried to snitch him out to Trump for allegedly leaking to the media. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Bolton messaged The Daily Beast to say that allegations about him being a leaker were “flatly incorrect.

At a press briefing held shortly after Bolton’s exit on Tuesday, neither Secretary of State Mike Pompeo nor Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin showed much sympathy for Bolton’s falling star in Trumpworld. “There were many times Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed,” Pompeo told reporters. “That’s to be sure, but that’s true with a lot of people with whom I interact.”

According to those who know Pompeo well, the secretary’s public statement was a glaring understatement.

[The Daily Beast]

‘I don’t blame Kim Jong Un’: In dismissing Bolton, Trump sides with North Korean leader — again

Having ousted John Bolton from the White House, President Trump delivered a kick to his former national security adviser to illustrate just how far he had fallen. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the president said, “wanted nothing to do with” him during diplomatic talks over the past 17 months.

“I don’t blame Kim Jong Un,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.

Trump’s remarks on Wednesday revealed lingering resentment that, in his view, Bolton had threatened to derail the United States’ historic first summit with Kim last year by taking an unnecessarily provocative position in suggesting that Pyongyang must follow the “Libya model” and relinquish all of its nuclear weapons under any prospective deal.

Trump’s willingness to publicly side with Kim over a recently departed senior aide marked the latest in a string of extraordinary episodes in which he has aligned himself with one of the world’s most brutal dictators against individual Americans, the intelligence community, the military and U.S. allies.

Since the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi in February collapsed without a deal, Trump has sought to rekindle dormant bilateral negotiations by flattering Kim — but also by offering him political cover on a list of provocations that cut against U.S. interests.

This summer alone, the president has:

●Reiterated his belief that joint U.S.-South Korea military drills are “ridiculous and expensive” — this time after receiving a personal letter from Kim complaining about the exercises.

●Declared that the North’s testing of short-range missiles did not violate an agreement with Kim, prompting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to call the tests a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

●Endorsed, while on a state visit to Tokyo, North Korean state media’s mockery of former vice president Joe Biden as a “fool of low IQ,” saying he agreed.

●Stated that he would not have authorized using Kim’s family members as spies against the regime amid reports that the CIA had cultivated the dictator’s half brother as an intelligence asset. (Kim Jong Nam was assassinated in Malaysia in 2017, at the North Korean leader’s direction, according to South Korea’s spy agency.)

Former U.S. officials said Trump’s approach with Kim fits his pattern of trying to maintain good personal relationships with hostile foreign leaders in hope that it will pay off at the negotiating table. Yet they emphasized that the strategy has not led to breakthroughs on Trump’s biggest foreign policy initiatives, including an effort to secure a trade deal with China.

“It’s his idea that you have to be utterly obsequious with your negotiating partner to suggest you’re a good guy and they should deal with you,” said Christopher Hill, who served as the lead negotiator in the George W. Bush administration during the Six Party Talks with North Korea. “Of course, he’s got very little to show for it. The North Koreans have just pocketed it.”

Although Trump has emphasized that Kim has abided by a private pledge in Singapore to refrain from testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, experts say the North has improved the accuracy and maneuverability of its short-range arsenal.

Trump Administration to Crack Down on Vaping with Plan to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

The Trump administration is planning to crack down on vaping, especially when it comes to its use among teens.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the administration’s plan to completely remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market, save for tobacco-flavored products, on Wednesday from the Oval Office. He noted that about 8 million adults and 5 million children are currently vaping.

Before Azar announced the plan, President Donald Trump highlighted the fact that vaping poses a danger to children, saying that the popularity of e-cigarettes is a “very new and potentially very bad” problem.

The president and Azar were joined by First Lady Melania Trump and the Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Norman Sharpless.

“We want to have parents understand that we’re studying it very carefully,” Trump said. “There have been deaths and there have been a lot of other problems. People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes, but it’s turned out that it has its own difficulties.”

Azar then said that new data from the National Youth Tobacco survey shows “a continued surging” in e-cigarette use among teens and that young users are specifically drawn to the many flavors currently on the market, like mint and candy.

“With the president’s support, the Food and Drug Administration intends to finalize a guidance document that would commence enforcement to require that all flavors, other than tobacco flavor, would be removed from the market,” Azar said, adding that once the FDA finalizes the guidance, enforcement actions will begin.

Azar suggested that the ban on flavors could be the first step of many to keep children from vaping.

“If we find that children are being attracted to tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, if we find that manufacturers are marketing the tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes to children, or placing them in settings where they get them, we will take enforcement action there also,” he added.

Trump’s announcement comes one day after Kansas health officials confirmed the sixth vaping-related death in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control is investigating more than 450 reported cases of severe lung illness linked to vaping from U.S. residents of all ages, a number that the CDC said on Friday had more than doubled from the prior week.

The CDC is urging Americans to avoid vaping while investigations into the deaths and illnesses proceed.

“While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products,” said Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, incident manager of the CDC’s response to the vaping-related lung injuries. “People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms, for example, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting — and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.”

On Wednesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said the health organization “strongly supports” the FDA’s plan to “finalize an enforcement policy that will clear non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes from the market.”

“This is an important step in response to the epidemic of e-cigarette use among our Nation’s youth, and will help protect them from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks. Clearing the market of non-tobacco-flavored products is important to reverse this alarming epidemic,” he continued in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

“Any tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for youth. Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain. We must do everything we can to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students.”

[People]

Reality

Donald Trump actually did a very good thing, and announced a ban on flavored e-cigarettes which are notoriously marketed to children.

Later we learned it was only after Melania was scared for her son, because the Trump’s only care about themselves.

Later Trump walked back his comments, saying not all e-cigarettes are bad… because he’s a shill for any industry who will donate to his campaign.

White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump


Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly disavow the forecasters’ position that Alabama was not at risk. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, issued an unsigned statement last Friday in response, saying that the Birmingham, Ala., office was wrong to dispute the president’s warning.

In pressing NOAA’s acting administrator to take action, Mr. Ross warned that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation was not addressed, The New York Times previously reported. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone, and a senior administration official on Wednesday said Mr. Mulvaney did not tell the commerce secretary to make such a threat.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intervening in the professional weather forecasting system to justify the president’s mistaken assertion. The Commerce Department’s inspector general is investigating how that statement came to be issued, saying it could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which is controlled by Democrats, announced on Wednesday that it too has opened an investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions.

The White House had no immediate comment on Wednesday, but the senior administration official said Mr. Mulvaney was interested in having the record corrected because, in his view, the Birmingham forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been forecasts showing possible impact on Alabama.

Mr. Trump was furious at being contradicted by the forecasters in Alabama. On Sept. 1, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

For nearly a week, Mr. Trump kept insisting he was right, displaying outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

Mr. Ross called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings, and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode.

The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed to their jobs by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain in their jobs as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday called the Birmingham office’s statement “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

[The New York Times]

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