This Morning’s Tweetstorm Targets Media, Qatar

Angry, Puzzling, Directed At One Favorite Target, And A New One

Our job at The Chaos Report is to sift through a lot of mainstream media (and non-mainstream) in an effort to bring you the best stories, and we have not come across any story trying to take the President’s power to Tweet away. We have, however, seen many suggesting Trump’s own staff would like him to back off. Is that “fake news”?

Trump’s Tweet yesterday about the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also slammed the “MSM”:

That’s after he was slammed for this earlier Tweet:

(The Mayor’s exact quote was: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.”)

So we had an idea: let’s take Trump’s directions seriously and ignore the mainstream media (“MSM”). Instead, we’d turn where Trump often asks us to turn for coverage he deems “fair”: Fox and Breitbart. Maybe they’d “correct” us. Maybe they’d win us over to the President’s point-of-view.

Except, neither of them support Trump’s version. Fox: “Khan’s “no reason to be alarmed” line was in the context of a broader quote regarding a bolstered police presence.” Its reporter then provides Khan’s direct quote. Breitbart: “[Khan] told citizens that there was “no reason to be alarmed” by the increased police presence in the city.” Although Breitbart does give Trump some wiggle room: they kind of like what he has to say about mainstream media anyway, and suggest Trump might have a legit beef with the Mayor, who is Muslim, after he criticized Trump’s statements on Islam during the presidential campaign.  (BTW, Breitbart also fired a reporter who, in the aftermath of the London terror attacks Tweeted: “there would be no deadly terror attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn’t live there.” We won’t name the reporter, but unfortunately, we’re pretty sure she’ll get a good job elsewhere.)

Trump Points Finger At Qatar In Early Morning Tweet

Just yesterday, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said Trump intended to play peace-maker in the sudden and ugly dispute between Saudi Arabia (and its allies) and Qatar. Sure doesn’t seem like it today. During Trump’s recent Mideast visit, Trump bonded with the Saudis over a shared open hostility to Iran. The Saudis accuse Qatar of getting too cozy with Iran and says the tiny nation promotes “practices that strengthen terrorism.” Qatar denies that. Qatar is home to the biggest U.S. air base in the region. The falling out, so far, has cut off many flights into Qatar, and closed its only land border.

Stealth Meeting Of Senate Republicans Today To Push Healthcare Along

The aim: to put their plan to a vote by the end of July. The problem: there isn’t really a plan on the table. But that’s part of what is expected to be addressed at the closed door meeting. “I think…you’ll see a draft of the draft,” is how Kansas Senator Pat Roberts put it, according to this report from The Hill. Trump Tweeted this morning he’d also be paying Republican leadership a visit.

Minutes After Classified Docs Are Published, FBI Moves Swiftly To Arrest An Alleged Leaker

Reality Winner is her name. And the Justice Department is accusing her of “gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information” for removing a top secret document from an NSA facility in Georgia and mailing it to a news organization. According to a fascinating affidavit written by the FBI agent-in-charge, that news agency (which is not identified by the FBI) then shared it with the government, in an effort to get comment on it. That’s when the FBI noticed the document was creased, and so determined it had been folded and mailed, rather than transmitted over the internet. Investigators quickly discovered only six people had printed out the document, checked all their desktops, and on Winner’s found email exchanges with the same news organization.

Winner is an Air Force veteran, who speaks several languages, according to her mom. Although not currently in the service, she had top secret clearance as a federal contractor (just like Edward Snowden.)

So What Was The Leak?

It’s apparently this story, in the Intercept, alleging a top secret NSA report found evidence that Russia not only tried to influence the Presidential election, it also made some effort to hack the email accounts of voting machine companies and local election officials. (However, The Intercept says it received its intel from an anonymous source.)

As PBS Newshour pointed out on election day, a widespread election day hack would be difficult to pull off because so many different states and municipalities run thousands of different systems with thousands of different protocols. At the same time, for some insane reason, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina all now use digital voting systems with no paper trail. Another concern is ancient software in voting machines that are 10+ years old in many places. And even a small identified hack could cause delays in counting, court challenges, and general disarray.

Third London Attacker ID’d

He’s 22-year old Youssef Zaghba, an Italian of Moroccan descent, who lives in London. An Italian newspaper said he was stopped attempting to travel to Syria last year, and British intelligence services were informed. Britain says he was not under surveillance.

Police and MI5 (the British equivalent of the FBI) had previously investigated one of the other attackers, 27-year old Pakistani-born Khuram Butt. Butt had even appeared in a TV documentary “The Jihadis Next Door.” He’d also held jobs at Kentucky Fried Chicken, and as a customer service agent for the London Underground.

The Guardian has a continually updating feed with everything happening related to the investigation, as does the BBC.

Trump Goes For Broke In Travel Ban Tweets

The Washington Post has what may be an unnecessarily deep tweet-by-tweet analysis.

We’d suggest it may be much simpler: Trump’s realized his Tweets make it much more unlikely the Supreme Court will overturn lower court rulings before it hears the case, so he’s going for broke.

Trump Does Some (Arguably) Positive Things, But Drowns Them Out In His Own Cacophony

Trump could’ve gotten some good press today: even from the “MSM.” He introduced a proposal to privatize air traffic control as part of his “infrastructure week.” Although not unanimously supported, proponents say it will get better technology in place, faster. Detractors say it will end up costing passengers a lot more, just so the federal government can get expenses off its books. Still, it’s in line with Trump’s campaign promise to improve infrastructure.

Then, along with Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin he announced an overhaul of the way patient data is handled by the VA. This plan comes with its own controversy too: it was awarded to an outside contractor, with no competitive bidding. The argument being since the same company is already building a similar system for the Pentagon, why build it twice? Trump lauded the decision as “one of the biggest wins in decades” for veterans.

Dramatic Change To NATO Speech Shocks Even His Own Staff

European leaders were staggered when President Trump spoke at NATO and refused to commit to the treaty group’s one-for-all, all-for-one mutual defense pledge. A potential bombshell of a story from Politico now suggests some of Trump’s own staff might’ve been equally dumbfounded.

The story cites five sources, saying “National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all…had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech….They thought it was.”

According to the report, it was “only upon delivery” that they realized Trump had altered the speech, without telling them anything. The big lingering question: was it Trump’s decision alone?

Sizing Up The Opioid Crisis

We’ve reported several times on the opioid crisis, and innovative moves by federal, state and local governments to combat it. We will continue to do so, because we feel it’s one of the biggest issues facing the country today. For that reason we point you to a really good piece of reporting from Vox which explains why it’s so difficult to fix: areas that have the highest opioid abuse rates (like West Virginia), also have the highest numbers of people who actually need strong pain killers.

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