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President Donald Trump is reportedly considering replacing Defense Secretary Mark Esper with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie ahead of the 2020 election, despite being warned against doing so by his top advisors.

Esper has publicly broken from the president this summer over the administration’s use of federal assets to control protests and riots across the country, and two senior administration officials told NBC News that Trump is still considering removing his Pentagon chief ahead of November. NBC’s sources say that Wilkie has met with Trump and multiple senior White House officials about helming the Department of Defense.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 18: (L-R) U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, Vice President Mike Pence, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper listen during a news briefing on the latest development of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. at the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced on Twitter that the U.S. and Canada will close their border to non-essential traffic to try and stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Wilkie further defended Trump Sunday from allegations that he has a history of disparaging wounded veterans and prisoners of war, as detailed by The Atlantic and other media outlets over the past week. During an interview with CNN, he brushed off Trump’s insults against former Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.

“It’s politics,” Wilkie stated after noting he was friends with the late Republican Senator. “It’s the heat of a campaign.”

Trump routinely referred to McCain as a “loser” and feuded with him throughout the 2016 campaign up until his death in 2018.

Trump first soured on Esper after he took an opposing position from the president in June, stating he didn’t believe it was appropriate to mobilize the military to help police violence spilling out of peaceful protests over the police killing of George Floyd.

“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” Esper told reporters during a press conference shortly after the president first floated invoking the Insurrection Act. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

The White House declined Daily Caller’s Monday inquiries on NBC’s report.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: REPORT: Trump Considering Replacing Defense Secretary Mark Esper With Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie

Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere says that the administration is compiling a “dossier” of “false” articles published by reporters regarding President Donald Trump.

Deere originally discussed the dossier with The Washington Post when asked for comment on a story titled, “Room rentals, resort fees and furniture removal: How Trump’s company charged the U.S. government more than $900,000.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to journalists (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop,” he stated. “Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people, ” Deere told WAPO.

When asked to clarify by Daily Caller, Deere simply answered that he had “nothing to add.”

The Washington Post piece — by-lined by Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, and Joshua Partlow — explained how federal agencies have spent nearly $1 million at Trump Organization properties since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

The piece notes that Trump properties frequently charged Secret Service for “resort” and “furniture removal” fees and often negotiated the federal government into reserving rooms for 2-week-long blocks, on the off chance Trump added travel to his schedule.

The piece claims that, despite his campaign promise to not use the presidency to enrich himself, POTUS has steered millions to the Trump Organization both through his official travel and headlining numerous Republican events held at his properties.

Deere pushed back on that claim, telling the Post that Trump “turned over the day-to-day responsibilities of running the company though he was not required to, [and] has sacrificed billions of dollars” as a result of turning down opportunities because of his position.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: White House Is Compiling A ‘Dossier’ Of Reporters Publishing ‘False’ Articles Regarding Trump, Deputy Press Sec Claims

President Donald Trump announced significant developments for coronavirus vaccine candidates produced by biopharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 27: (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Trump told reporters Monday in North Carolina that Moderna’s candidate had already begun Phase 3 trials — conducted under the government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative — and noted that “there’s never been anything like this in terms of speed, nothing even close.” He added that Pfizer, which just landed a Warp Speed contract worth nearly $2 billion, plans to begin Phase 3 trials for its vaccine candidate later this week.

“We have shaved years off of the time that it takes to develop a vaccine,” he continued. “We have done it while maintaining safety.”

The president, speaking at a Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center, additionally announced that his administration signed a $265 million contract with FujiFilm to “dramatically expand” vaccine production capabilities at the company’s facility located at Texas A&M University.

In recent days Trump has doubled down on praising Warp Speed and the administration’s quest to produce hundreds of millions of viable vaccine doses by the end of the year. The president stated last week that the administration would provide doses for public consumption free of charge.

Trump has also taken a more serious tone when asked about masks’ ability to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We are asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room on July 21. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They will have an effect and we need everything we can get.”

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: Trump Says Two Coronavirus Vaccines Are Beginning Phase 3 Trials — Touts Another Gov Contract To Expedite Dose Production

A new report from Yahoo claims that a 2018 presidential finding from President Donald Trump authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to unilaterally carry out cyber attacks against a host of countries including Iran, China, Russia and North Korea.

The report, which quotes numerous current and former U.S. intelligence sources, says the previously secret authorization has resulted in more than a dozen destabilizing attacks against the aforementioned countries.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 08: (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The White House wanted a vehicle to strike back,” one intelligence official told Yahoo. “And this was the way to do it.”

The finding reportedly loosened Langley’s evidence restrictions for approving cyberattacks, but some officials expressed concern that doing so lowered the CIA’s standing to that of WikiLeaks. Other officials said that the lack of oversight and coordination could adversely impact both other U.S. intelligence agencies and those of our allies if they are operating within a network attacked by the CIA.

The report named two individuals responsible for fast tracking the CIA’s new cyber benefits: Current Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Bolton wrote about the need “to scrap the Obama-era rules and replace them with a more agile, expeditious decision-making structure” in his recently released book, “The Room Where It Happened.” Yahoo noted that Bolton publicly celebrated in September 2018 Trump’s decision to ease Obama-era cyber regulations on the military, but the authorization specific to the CIA was kept secret by the administration.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Council, and multiple White House officials did not respond to Daily Caller’s inquiries by press time.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: REPORT: Trump Secretly Authorized CIA To Carry Out Cyber Attacks On Iran, China, Russia And Others

The Trump administration is narrowing its investigation of administration officials who could have potentially leaked information to the New York Times and Associated Press regarding alleged Russian bounties paid for the killings of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The search has focused on less than 10 potential suspects with access to the information contained in the original reports, according to Politico.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspell and Secretary of State of State Mike Pompeo all criticized the leaks for compromising investigations into the alleged bounties themselves.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: President Donald Trump and first Lady Melania Trump walk out to an event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 04, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is hosting a “Salute to America” celebration that includes flyovers by military aircraft and a large fireworks display. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

McEnany argued at a recent White House press briefing that the intelligence community would likely not be able to reach a consensus on the veracity of the intelligence as Russia will likely move to amplify the public reports to sow discord within the United States.

When asked if the “intelligence does turn out to be true,” she did respond that “this president is prepared to act and will always act with in protecting our American troops.”

“U.S. and coalition force protection is a critical priority for both the President and the intelligence community,” Ratcliffe added in a similar statement. “The selective leaking of any classified information disrupts the vital intelligence work to collect, assess, and mitigate threats and places our forces at risk. It is also, simply put, a crime.”

“We are still investigating the alleged intelligence referenced in recent media reporting and we will brief the President and Congressional leaders at the appropriate time. This is the analytic process working the way it should,” he continued. “Unfortunately, unauthorized disclosures now jeopardize our ability to ever find out the full story with respect to these allegations.”

Neither the National Security Council nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to Daily Caller’s inquiries on the subject by press time.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: REPORT: Trump Administration Narrows Investigation Into Russian Bounty Leaks To 10 Individuals

President Donald Trump told the Daily Caller about a series of conversations he had with former National Security Adviser John Bolton that made him realize Bolton was a “dumb maniac who wants to go to war with any anybody that can breathe.”

Trump, during an hour-long exclusive interview in the Oval Office, said that, despite knowing of Bolton’s hawkish foreign policy, he hired him “to hear both sides.”

President Donald Trump sits down for an Oval Office interview with Daily Caller’s Christian Datoc, Vince Coglianese, and Geoff Ingersoll (White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

“This guy’s a dumb maniac that wants to go to war with any anybody that can breathe,” he continued. “And I like to hear all sides, and I like to hear his side.”

Still, the president said that two conversations Bolton had with him back in 2018 convinced him “Bolton was stupid.”

The first occurred shortly after Bolton’s May 2018 appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” during which Bolton floated using the “Libyan model” on North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.

TRUMP: He made a serious statement. I said, ‘now what does that mean, the Libyan model?’ To me it means one thing. Gaddafi was taken over by a mob, dumped into a sewer, shot a hundred and twenty-eight times, and pissed on.

DAILY CALLER: After he was shot by a NATO aircraft.

TRUMP: Add that to it.

DAILY CALLER: What precipitated Gaddafi getting grabbed by the mob was NATO shooting him with a drone.

TRUMP: I didn’t know that. Well, add that to it. So, Bolton is on television, and I have a good relationship with Kim Jung Un, and I have a representative, right, saying this. Believe me, it was a very bad statement, that you know they put out a statement right after. I said, ‘maybe they didn’t see it.’ They did. About five minutes later, they put out a very strong statement and then right after that I was with him and said, ‘why did you make that statement?’ He said, ‘I wasn’t referring,’ and I said, ‘there’s only one thing you can refer to.’

The second centered around Bolton’s support for the Iraq War.

“I said, ‘so going into the Middle East was that a good thing or a bad thing?’” Trump recounted to the Caller. “He said, ‘I think it was a good thing,’ I said, ‘you cannot be serious about that.’ It’s the most tragic mistake our country ever made.”

Daily Caller will be publishing additional selections from the interview with the president in the coming days.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: EXCLUSIVE: Trump Details Two Specific Conversations He Had With John Bolton That Made Him Realize He Was A ‘Dumb Maniac’

Attorney General Bill Barr said Monday that the Justice Department has gathered evidence showing that antifa and “foreign actors” are among the groups responsible for the violence undermining peaceful George Floyd protests.

Barr told reporters during a Thursday press conference that there are three separate sets of people taking part in the protests: peaceful demonstrators, looters, and “extremist agitators who are hijacking the protests to pursue their own separate and violent agenda.”

“We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity,” he continued. “We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence.”

The attorney general additionally thanked law enforcement for working to “protect” the nation’s capital before adding that the most recent demonstrations in Washington, D.C. have been peaceful.

Barr previously condemned the violent elements of some protests and, along with President Donald Trump, urged the deployment of National Guard troops to regain control of city streets.

US President Donald Trump holds up a Bible as he gestures, alongside US Attorney General William Barr (L), White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (2nd-L) and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, outside of St John’s Episcopal church across Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020.(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, he pledged that “there will be even greater law enforcement resources and support” to handle protesters.”

“The most basic function of government is to provide security for people to live their lives and exercise their rights,” he wrote at the time. “We will meet that responsibility here in the nation’s capital.”

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: Bill Barr: DOJ Has Evidence Antifa, ‘Foreign Actors’ Among Groups Responsible For Violence At Protests

President Donald Trump announced in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday that he will soon deliver plans authorizing all 50 governors to reopen state economies “at a time and in a manner as most appropriate.”

Trump’s comments come one day after stating the president’s authority on the issue is “total,” bringing widespread criticism from governors, constitutional scholars and others.

His tone changed slightly Tuesday, but still expressed a desire to reopen the economy in the near future.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 14: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, in the Rose Garden at the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is expected to announce a new task force dedicated to reopening the country and will be headed by president’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, a former Republican Congressman from North Carolina. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized, and we will soon be sharing details and new guidelines with everybody,” he stated. “I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly, and will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a re-opening and a very powerful re-opening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate.”

“The day will be very close,” Trump continued. “Certain states as you know are in a much different condition, much different place than other states. It’s going to be very, very close, maybe even before the date of May 1st.”

Trump had previously said he hoped to reopen the economy by May 1.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: Trump Says He Will Give 50 Governors A Unique Plan To Reopen Their Economies — Some Could Be Authorized Before May 1

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff sent a letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell raising concerns over his recent “organizational and personnel changes” at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a move which senior intelligence officials criticized in comments to Daily Caller.

One intelligence official noted that letters sent to ODNI by the Senate Intelligence Committee include signatures from both Chairman Richard Burr and Ranking Member Mark Warner and, often times, additional Senators from both parties. Schiff’s letter, the official pointed out, was sent from his office alone, without the notarization of Ranking Member Devin Nunes.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 26: Peter Asher speaks with Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Capitol Hill on February 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

“The [ODNI] staffers are so sick and tired of [Schiff] politicizing the intelligence community for his own gain,” the official told Daily Caller. “Notice how he sent the letter to the media before he sent it to ODNI.”

A second intelligence official declined to directly comment on Schiff’s letter but told Daily Caller that the Senate Intelligence Committee had not told Grenell and ODNI to refrain from making any personnel decisions, despite some media reports.

Schiff’s letter in particular singles out the recent replacement of the Acting Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Russ Travers with Lara Shioa, the first woman ever-tapped to lead the nation’s counterterrorism efforts.

MUNICH, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 15: Nancy Pelosi (R), speaker of the US house of representatives and US ambassador to the federal republic of Germany Richard Allen Grenell (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

“President Trump did not nominate you for confirmation as permanent DNI, and it would be inappropriate for you to pursue any additional leadership, organizational, or staffing changes to ODNI during your temporary tenure,” the letter reads. “Any effort, moreover, to remove or otherwise institute personnel actions against apolitical career officers based on their perceived loyalty to the President would contravene civil services protections.”

The letter further calls on Grenell to inform the committee in writing by April 16 of all past and potential personnel changes at ODNI and the reasons for undertaking them. The letter also calls for Grenell to turnover any communications between ODNI and the White House regarding the departures of Travers and former Acting Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Peter Hall.

In addition to the personnel concerns, Schiff’s letter highlights President Donald Trump’s recent firing of former Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson and alleged actions taken by an ODNI staff member involving classified information on election security.

Schiff wrote Grenell that the House Intelligence Committee would be investigating both matters, urged him against attempting to interfere in either probe, and asked him to turn over any relevant documents on the two issues by April 16.

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: Senior Intel Officials Criticize Adam Schiff’s Letter To Director Richard Grenell, Pressing Him Over ODNI Personnel Changes

The Trump administration has rolled back a Food And Drug Administration rule instituted by President Barack Obama that has stalled coronavirus testing at the state level.

The rule in question previously required state-run laboratories to only run medical tests pre-approved by the F.D.A.

Commissioner Stephen Hahn first addressed the testing problem on Saturday by issuing new guidance that would allow the state labs to conduct not-yet-approved coronavirus testing on patients in response to the public health emergency. In return for skirting the Obama-era regulation, laboratories must apply for an F.D.A. review of the new test, document the test’s accuracy and notify the F.D.A. of the test’s validity prior to F.D.A. completing the approval process.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 29: Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The Summit is an annual event hosted by the Obama Foundation. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“We believe this policy strikes the right balance during this public health emergency,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn of the rule change. “We will continue to help to ensure sound science prior to clinical testing and follow-up with the critical independent review from the FDA, while quickly expanding testing capabilities in the U.S.”

“This action today reflects our public health commitment to addressing critical public health needs and rapidly responding and adapting to this dynamic and evolving situation.”

Vice President Mike Pence confirmed to reporters Wednesday that the rule in question had in fact been reversed, and President Donald Trump addressed it during his Wednesday meeting with airline officials at the White House.

“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place at a much more accurate and rapid fashion,” Trump stated. “That was a decision we disagreed with. I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason it was made. But we’ve undone that decision.”

Author: Christian Datoc

Source: Daily Caller: Trump Administration Reverses Obama-Era Regulation Responsible For Coronavirus Testing Roadblock

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