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Defense Secretary Splits From Trump on Use of Military in US Cities: ‘I Do Not Support Invoking the Insurrection Act’

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In a rare move Secretary of Defense Mark Esper split from President Donald Trump on the use of the U.S. Military in American cities. Esper, in a hastily-called press conference, told reporters point blank: “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

The Defense Secretary said active-duty U.S. troops “should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations.” He added he does not believe America is in that situation presently.

Esper has been highly criticized since he participated in President Donald Trump’s Monday evening photo-op, which was held in front of St. John’s Church, across from the White House. That area was cleared by using rubber bullets and, according to reporters who were on the scene, teat gas. Esper on Wednesday specifically denied that the National Guard used tear gas, but other law enforcement and federal agencies were on the scene as well.

Sec. Esper said he was unaware he would be part of that photo-op, which in itself has been highly controversial. He said he tries to keep the Military out of politics and admitted his participation, which he said was unplanned on his part, failed in that goal.

The Pentagon chief also made an impassioned vow on the role of the U.S. Military.

“The Department of Defense, the armed services, our uniformed leaders, our civilian leaders and I take seriously our oath to support and defend the Constitution,” he said, “and to safeguard to those very rights contained in that document.”

Esper ended the press conference somewhat abruptly, saying he was on his way to the White House.

Update:
Former Pentagon Public Affairs official Adam Blickstein calls Esper’s remarks “a stunning reversal” and “a direct rebuke” to President Trump.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

 

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Far Right House Republicans Urge Barr to Appoint Special Counsel to Investigate Joe Biden and Son Hunter

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Eleven of the most extreme House Republicans are urging Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the former Vice President’s son Hunter Biden.

Fox News reports the Republicans want Barr “to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged revelations coming from a laptop purported to have belonged to Joe Biden’s son Hunter — specifically the elder Biden’s alleged participation in his son’s business dealings.”

The letter to the Attorney General is signed by just 11 of the 198 Republican Representatives, among them far right extremists like white supremacist Steve King of Iowa, white nationalist Louis Gohmert of Texas, religious extremist Jody Hice of Georgia, and science-denier Paul Gosar of Arizona.

Also among the 11 signatories, Congressman Andy Biggs, a “hydroxychloroquine kook” according to a local Arizona opinion writer, took to Twitter to attack Biden.

The allegations against the Bidens, fueled by a NY Post article being called Russian disinformation and based on content provided by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have been debunked from the start.

Trump is attacking Barr for not having already opened an investigation into the Bidens.

Should Barr cave and open an investigation it would not be the first politically-motivated attack on Bidem from Republicans. Last month Senate Republicans ended an investigation that “found no evidence of improper influence or wrongdoing by the former vice president, closing out an inquiry its leaders had hoped would tarnish the Democratic presidential nominee.”

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Trump Delivers Closing Pitch to ‘Suburban Housewives’ at Rally: ‘Women, I Like Women — I Like Women!’

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President Donald J. Trump made his closing pitch to who he called “suburban housewives” at his Arizona rally Monday. He bellowed, “Women, I like women — I like women!” in a classic Trumpian move while his supporters cheered.

“Listen, here’s the story. They said ‘suburban women’ — I used to call them ‘suburban housewives,’ I got killed all the time. I said, ‘ugh, I better go politically correct.’ Is there one woman here who minds being called, if you’re married at least, a ‘suburban housewife’ ’cause…”

The crowd erupted with “No!”

“The only ones who mind are those characters… there’s a lot of people up there – the press, right? Those are the only ones. The rest of them don’t.”

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Trump Aides Lament Guthrie Town Hall Was ‘Damaging’ to President as He ‘Runs Out of Time’: AP Reporter

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Reporting on the fall-out from Donald Trump’s controversial town hall on MSNBC on Thursday night, Associated Press White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire claimed that aides to the president are already admitting that the president made some “damaging” comments that could hurt his re-election campaign.

Speaking with “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski, Lemire said the range of topics exposed the president and his answers likely didn’t make anyone on the fence consider voting for him.

“Viewers would have experienced some whiplash watching the two — trying to watch both town halls,” Lemire explained while comparing the Trump town hall to Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s on ABC. “There was one moment that crystallized it: at the same moment that Trump was defending QAnon, Joe Biden was talking about the taxes. He showed empathy to the listeners, to those asking him questions.”

“In terms of the president, people I have talked to around him last night and a few texts early this morning suggested once again a real anger at the media,” he continued. “Blaming the scapegoat, in this case, Savannah Guthrie who I thought did a terrific job yesterday.”

“But I will say they do say there may have been some moments last night that may have been damaging,” he added. “Like not denouncing QAnon. The very testy one when he finally got around to denouncing white supremacy. There are certainly going to be questions about tax returns and whether or not he took a COVID test before the last debate. Several times he dodged, he evaded and raised real questions as to whether or not he exposed Joe Biden last time which is going to raise more concerns about next week when they’re supposed to set up for a final debate next Thursday.”

“The president, frankly, is running of out of time” he explained before concluding, “It’s hard to imagine, even his aides concede, that there was any moment last night that the president swung voters his way when he simply is running out of time and opportunities to change the trajectory of this race.”

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