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April 29, 2019

The rate at which President Trump makes false or misleading statements continues to rise — especially when he gets on the phone with Sean Hannity.

Trump has now made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims during his presidency, The Washington Post's fact checker said on Monday. This unfortunate milestone comes after a particularly prolific week for Trump: During a 45-minute interview with Hannity on April 25, he racked up 45 false or misleading claims. This was the conversation during which Trump said, among other things, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was "an attempted overthrow of the United States government."

In fact, in just three days last week, from April 25 to April 27, Trump totaled 171 mistruths, the Post says. This fast pace seems to even be surprising the fact checkers, who note that Trump in the first 100 days of his presidency was making fewer than five false or misleading claims per day. By September 2018, he was at eight claims per day. But since September, his average has been 23 a day. Trump took 601 days to hit 5,000 claims, but in the seven months since then, he's already doubled that.

The fact that the 2018 midterm elections came during that stretch of time is certainly a factor, as is the release of Mueller's report. The Post's Glenn Kessler noted on CNN that Trump continues to insist, for instance, that Mueller cleared him of obstruction when actually the report outlined instances of potential obstruction and did not exonerate him.

With the 2020 presidential election fast approaching, don't be surprised if even these numbers seem downright quaint in a year's time. Brendan Morrow

12:47 p.m.

After shaking off the Week 1 cobb-webs, the NFL season is in full swing. Here are four Week 2 games to watch Sunday:

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, 1 p.m. on CBS — This game will likely be ugly, seeing as it pits the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots against the Dolphins, who are in full rebuild mode. But it is also expected to be Antonio Brown's first game in the New England uniform. While Brown is one of the league's most exciting players on the field, he's also one of its most controversial. After a tumultuous offseason, the wide receiver is now facing sexual assault allegations.

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. on CBS — The Titans were one of the league's most impressive teams in Week 1, after demolishing the trendy Cleveland Browns, 43-13. This divisional showdown should shed some more light on just how good Tennessee really is. The Colts, meanwhile, are coming off a close loss the Los Angeles Chargers, but it seems like they should remain competitive even without recently-retired quarterback Andrew Luck.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Arizona Cardinals, 1 p.m. on Fox — This one is all about the quarterbacks. Baltimore's Lamar Jackson was dominant against a paltry Miami defense last week — five touchdowns and a perfect passer rating are impressive no matter who the opponent is. Kyler Murray, the no. 1 pick in this year's draft, will be under center for Arizona. Murray struggled early in his debut against the Detroit Lions, but he went on to lead a comeback that ended in a tie.

Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. on Fox — New Orleans fans have been waiting for this one. The two teams met in last year's NFC championship game where it looked like New Orleans was going to the Super Bowl. But a bizarre no-call on a play that most agree should have been defensive pass interference on the Rams allowed Los Angeles enough time to force overtime and, eventually, win. Tim O'Donnell

12:15 p.m.

The United Auto Workers said its roughly 49,000 members who work at General Motors plants across the country will strike beginning at 11:59 p.m. Sunday evening.

A four-year contract between GM and the union expired Saturday and the two sides failed to reach a new agreement as talks broke down. GM said Sunday the auto company's offer to the union includes more than $7 billion in investments, more than 5,400 jobs, higher pay, and improved benefits.

"We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency," the automaker said in a statement. "Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business."

But union leaders said the sides are far apart on economic issues, despite some progress being made in the negotiation. "We are standing up for job security for our members and their families," Terry Dittes, director of the UAW GM department, said. He added that the the strike "represents great sacrifice and great courage on the part of our members."

The last time a national strike was called was 2007. It lasted for 17 hours. Read more at The Associated Press and The Detroit News. Tim O'Donnell

10:59 a.m.

President Trump is offering some of his favorite advice for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He wants him to sue.

The New York Times on Saturday reported a previously unknown sexual misconduct allegation made against Kavanaugh by a former Yale University classmate who reportedly witnessed the incident at a party during Kavanaugh's freshman year at the Ivy League school. The classmate reportedly alerted senators and the FBI about it during Kavanaugh's confirmation process last year, but the agency did not investigate the claims.

Kavanaugh, of course, faced several accusations of sexual misconduct before his confirmation, and the latest one has led to calls for a new investigation into the matter. But Trump, apparently, won't stand for that, instead chalking the news up to a conspiracy theory being pushed by the Democrats and the media in the hopes of impeaching the Trump-appointed justice.

Trump is therefore suggesting Kavanaugh defend his reputation by suing for libel. If he doesn't, the president vaguely called for the Justice Department to "come to his rescue." Tim O'Donnell

8:33 a.m.

Max Stier, a former Yale University classmate of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, reportedly notified senators and the FBI during the justice's confirmation process last year about a previously unreported sexual misconduct allegation involving Kavanaugh when he was a student at Yale.

Stier reportedly said he saw Kavanaugh — a freshman at the time — at a drunken dorm party with his pants down when his friends then pushed his penis into a female student's hands. The story is similar to an allegation against Kavanaugh made by another Yale student, Deborah Ramirez, but it is unclear if they are the same incident. It is also unclear if Stier knew the female student, or if she has verified the incident as described.

The FBI reportedly did not investigate the allegation and Stier has declined to speak about it publicly, but The New York Times reports it corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Stier.

Kavanaugh faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct during his confirmation process, though only one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, was permitted to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

8:18 a.m.

Iran on Sunday denied U.S. accusations that it was behind Saturday's drone strikes on two major oil sites in Saudi Arabia, which forced Saudi Aramco to suspend its production output by half.

Yemen's Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran in a civil war against a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attacks, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Tehran, arguing there was "no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said Pompeo was "turning to 'max deceit'" after "having failed at 'max pressure,;" and Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, called Pompeo's allegations "pointless."

Regardless of whether Pompeo's claims are correct, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia already accuse Tehran of providing Houthi forces with military equipment and training. So, if the rebels did in fact launch the attacks, it is unlikely Washington would ignore Iran's potential role in the incident.

The situation is just the latest example of heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington, which have risen since the U.S. departed the 2015 nuclear pact and placed sanctions on Iran. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

September 14, 2019

President Trump tweeted Saturday that he's been in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the possibility of moving forward with a mutual defense treaty between the two nations.

The fact that the treaty has been discussed is only surprising in the sense that the two countries already have a close military partnership. It appears, then, that Trump's statement might be linked to Israel's election which is set next week.

Axios reports that Trump's announcement was "exactly the kind of support" Netanyahu has long been seeking from Trump as he looks to hold on to his post. In response, Netanyahu thanked the president, saying Israel has "never had a greater friend in the White House." Tim O'Donnell

September 14, 2019

A two-and-half-years old lawsuit finally came to a close Friday, when Judge Richard E. Moore ruled that two confederate statues of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, must remain standing. Moore, however, did not award any damages after plaintiffs argued that the 188 days the statues remained covered by tarps encroached on a state law protecting war memorials and caused the plaintiffs emotional distress. He did say he would award attorney fees.

The city had said the law was unconstitutional because the war memorials send a racist message, The Guardian reports. But the argument was unable to sway Moore, even though he did acknowledge the authors of the historic preservation statute likely had more sinister intent.

"I don't think I can infer that a historical preservation statute was intended to be racist," Moore said. "Certainly, [racism] was on their minds, but we should not judge the current law by that intent."

The statues were covered by tarps following the death of Heather Heyer at a violent "Unite the Right" rally in the Virginia city in August 2017. Read more at The Daily Progress and The Guardian. Tim O'Donnell

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