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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Bad Weekend for Trump

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

Jacob Knutson at Axios:
President Trump tweeted Sunday that neither he, Vice President Mike Pence nor chief of staff Mark Meadows were briefed on alleged intelligence that a Russian military spy unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
\Why it matters: Kremlin involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the death of American troops would mark a massive escalation in the U.S.-Russian relationship. Trump has already faced intense criticism over reports that he knew about the intelligence and took no action.
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement on Saturday denying the Times report that Trump and Pence had been briefed, but noted that her statement "does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence."
  • Trump tweeted on Sunday that "everybody is denying it" and that "there have not been many attacks on us."
  • 22 U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan in 2019, according to Stars and Stripes.
The backdrop: The New York Times reported Friday that Trump was briefed on the finding and that the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March. The report was confirmed by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and CNN.
  • The Times reported that despite knowing about the bounties, Trump floated expanding the upcoming G7 summit meeting in Washington, D.C., in September to include Russia.
  • Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in May about his plans to expand the G7 meeting to include Russia. The U.K. and Canada vehemently opposed the move.
  • Russia was disinvited from attending the annual meeting of the eight largest advanced economies in the world in 2014 for illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine.
The Lincoln Project reacted with impressive speed and force:


Derek Hawkins and colleagues at WP:
Global cases of covid-19 exceeded 10 million on Sunday, according to a count maintained by Johns Hopkins University, a measure of the power and spread of a pandemic that has caused vast human suffering, devastated the world’s economy and still threatens vulnerable populations in rich and poor nations alike.
In America, states around the country continued to report new daily highs in confirmed cases with 44,792 announced Saturday, as the total number of infections in the United States approached 2.5 million.
Here are some significant developments:
  • A record surge in new cases is the clearest sign yet of the historic failure in the U.S. to control the virus — exposing a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils.
  • Hospitals in Texas and Arizona are admitting coronavirus patients in record numbers as new infections continue to climb across southern and western states.
  • Vice President Pence has postponed planned campaign events in Arizona and Florida next week “out of an abundance of caution” amid major increases in coronavirus cases in those states, a Trump-Pence reelection campaign official said Saturday.
  • The faltering response in the U.S. remains a subject of global shock and fascination, with one prominent French virologist saying Sunday that the situation was “explosive.”
  • President Trump’s campaign directed the removal of thousands of social distancing stickers from seats before his rally in Tulsa