September 18, 2020

When news broke that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died Friday after battling pancreatic cancer, tributes from politicians and Americans all over the country came pouring in within minutes.

One voice conspicuously missing? President Trump's.

Trump was speaking at a rally in Minnesota when the Supreme Court announced Ginsburg's death. And while he certainly can't be blamed for failing to check Twitter while giving one of his signature rambling speeches, as the hour wore on, it became increasingly strange that the president was seemingly one of the few top lawmakers who hadn't heard the major update.

As NBC News' Garrett Haake put it, the "political earth has shifted under his feet" during the course of his rally, and he was seemingly without a clue.

Ginsburg's death constitutes "political earth," of course, because with a vacancy on the Supreme Court, Trump and the Republican-majority Senate are now likely to push forward with a conservative nominee to replace her before the November presidential election. With a new Trump-picked justice, the court's conservative majority would be further solidified for years to come.

Trump told the crowd about his belief that Sean Hannity should win a Pulitzer Prize, called Joe Biden "Sleepy Joe," and discussed the latest poll numbers, all while pundits and Americans everywhere were meanwhile considering the sudden change to the 2020 race. When he started ruminating on the power of the president to influence decades of judicial balance on the Supreme Court, attendees began yelling "Ginsburg is dead," video shows.

At last, after Trump exited the stage nearly two hours after the court's announcement, reporters seemingly informed Trump of Ginsburg's passing. "She just died? Wow. I didn't know that," he responded. He said he was "sad to hear" the news and praised her as an "amazing woman." Summer Meza

1:13 a.m.

Before President Trump abruptly ended an interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes on Tuesday, his aides handed the veteran CBS journalist a large hardcover book that White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said contained Trump's health care accomplishments.

When Trump tweeted out more photos of Stahl and the book, what was "supposed to be a cheeky illustration of an administration hard at work" turned into "a tidal wave of online snark," Rob Crilly writes at The Washington Examiner. That's mostly because the book appeared to be full of blank pages.

Well, "The Washington Examiner has obtained a PDF of the contents, which shows its 512 pages contain 13 executive orders and 11 other pieces of health care legislation enacted under Trump," Crilly writes. The legislation includes the part of Trump's 2017 tax overhaul that reduced the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to zero, several executive orders, and "pages of another document, entitled 'America First Healthcare Plan.'" Is this the long-promised, never-delivered Trump health care plan? Crilly doesn't say.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on MSNBC Wednesday night that the bigger point for him is that the American people want "a president who is not going to create hysteria every single day, not gonna be firing people, not gonna be attacking people, not going to be arguing with Lesley Stahl or with Dr. Fauci," but rather "would focus on their needs: How do we get health care for all? How do we deal with the pandemic?" Peter Weber

12:25 a.m.

"President Trump and his advisers have repeatedly discussed whether to fire FBI Director Christopher A. Wray after Election Day," less than four years into his 10-year term, The Washington Post reports. "Trump often complains about members of his Cabinet and contemplates dismissing them, without doing so," the Post concedes, but he is "increasingly frustrated" that "federal law enforcement has not delivered his campaign the kind of last-minute boost that the FBI provided in 2016."

Specifically, the Post says, Trump is agitated that neither Wray nor Attorney General William Barr has announced that "Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, or other Biden associates are under investigation," as then-FBI Director James Comey did with Hillary Clinton 11 days before the last presidential election, sending Clinton's poll numbers sliding.

Comey's decision to publicly disclose a reopened, ultimately fruitless investigation of Clinton's emails so close to the election was sharply criticized by Democrats and the Justice Department inspector general. It was also the official reason Trump fired Comey four years into his 10-year term.

Trump hasn't exactly kept his feelings secret. As his poll numbers remain dire weeks before Election Day, Trump "has intensified public calls for jailing his challenger, much as he did for Hillary Clinton," the Post notes. "Trump has called Biden a 'criminal' without articulating what laws he believes the former vice president has broken."

"Trump considers Wray one of his worst personnel picks," the Post reports, and many of his top aides and conservative media allies are similarly critical. Trump has also publicly floated the idea of firing Attorney General Barr, citing the lack of a pre-election report on the Russian investigation from U.S. Attorney John Durham.

"Trump was so focused on the Durham report that he would turn up the television volume when segments would air about it," the Post reports. "Trump has told allies that he once believed Barr would deliver 'scalps' in the form of Durham's findings, according to an adviser who recently spoke to Trump about it. 'But they aren't doing s---,' the president said, according to this person." Read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

October 21, 2020

Vivian "Millie" Bailey has had a lot of adventures during her 102 years of life, and over the weekend, she made another memory when she fulfilled her dream of going skydiving.

Bailey said said was inspired by former President George H.W. Bush, who celebrated his 75th, 80th, 85th, and 90th birthdays by jumping out of a plane. "I just always thought it would be a thrill," Bailey told WJZ.

The Howard County, Maryland, resident is a World War II veteran; in 1942, she joined the U.S. Women's Army Auxiliary. Bailey received the American Theater Medal, Women's Army Corps Medal, and World War II Victory Medal, and after being honorably discharged in 1946 as a first lieutenant, she worked for nearly three decades with Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.

Bailey has spent her retirement giving back — since the Vietnam War, she has sent care packages to troops, and she raises on average $10,000 a year to donate to local schools. "I try every day to do something for someone else," Bailey said. In 2018, the Howard County Police Department celebrated her 100th birthday by renaming its annual Making a Difference Award in her honor.

"There are a lot of things that I can look back on," Bailey told WJZ. "I am thoroughly happy and feel blessed that I've been able to do whatever I've been able to do." There's still one more thing she wants to cross off her bucket list: meeting former first lady Michelle Obama. Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday said dealing with the coronavirus pandemic "would have been challenging for any president, but this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true."

Obama made his remarks in Philadelphia during a drive-up rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Obama said that South Korea recorded its first COVID-19 case at the same time as the United States, "and its per capita death toll is just 1.3 percent of what ours is. Canada is just 39 percent of what ours is. Other countries are struggling with the pandemic, but they're not doing as bad as we are because they've got a government that's actually been paying attention."

Comparing Biden to President Trump, Obama declared that "Joe's not going to screw up testing, he's not going to call scientists idiots, he's not going to host a superspreader event at the White House." The United States is eight months into the pandemic, and cases are again on the rise across the country, but "Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us," Obama said. "He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself."

Trump can't say Obama didn't try to warn him — before leaving office, his administration passed along a 70-page document on how to fight pandemics, the former president stated, with information included on novel coronaviruses. "We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook," Obama said. "They probably used it to prop up a wobbly table somewhere."

Obama didn't just focus on the pandemic. He also made the pitch for Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), promising voters they "are going to fight for you every day. They care about you and they care about this democracy. ... They believe that no one, especially the president, is above the law. They understand that protests on behalf of social justice isn't un-American, that's the most American thing there is. That's how this country was founded: protesting injustice." Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

Russia and Iran have obtained voter registration information and Iran is using it to send disinformation to voters, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced during a Wednesday night news conference.

Ratcliffe said these "actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries," while Wray stated Americans "should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism."

Democratic voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, and at least two other battleground states have reported receiving emails claiming to be from the Proud Boys, a far-right group. The intimidating emails tell recipients if they don't vote for President Trump, "we will come after you."

Ratcliffe, a Trump appointee, said Iran was behind some threatening emails sent to Americans, and while he did not give any specific details, he did say they were "designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump." This immediately received pushback from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who tweeted, "Actually, [Department of Homeland Security] officials say that Iran sent spoofed emails to intimidate voters FOR Donald Trump. Are you being fully honest with the American people?"

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner tweeted a copy of an email his friend received, purportedly from the Proud Boys, and he said "by its very terms, it's designed to HURT Biden!" Ratcliffe, Kirschner added, shared "disinformation" in an attempt to "energize Trump's base." Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

Former President Barack Obama had a little fun on Wednesday during his drive-up rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, telling the crowd in Philadelphia that he doesn't think a certain news channel would have been as easy on him regarding his taxes as they are on President Trump.

Obama brought up a New York Times article published on Tuesday night, which said Trump's tax records show he maintains a bank account in China. "Can you imagine if I had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for re-election? Obama said. "You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would have called me Beijing Barry."

The Times also reported late last month that in 2016 and 2017, Trump only paid $750 in federal income taxes, and Obama quipped that as a teenager scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins, "I think I might have paid more taxes. How is that possible?" Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

In a blistering rebuke of President Trump and his relationship with the truth, former President Barack Obama on Wednesday said if Joe Biden is in the White House, Americans will be able to "go about your lives knowing that the president is not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world or that Navy SEALs didn't actually kill [Osama] bin Laden."

Trump recently retweeted a baseless QAnon conspiracy theory claiming the terrorist is still alive, and during a rally in Philadelphia, Obama said the president is doing outrageous things in order to "distract all of us from the truly destructive actions that his appointees are doing all across the government, actions that affect your lives." He used the Environmental Protection Agency as an example, saying it is "supposed to protect our air and water, and right now is run by an energy lobbyist that gives polluters free rein to dump unlimited poison into our air and water."

The polls may show Biden leading Trump in several key states, but "we can't be complacent," Obama said. Trump was trailing at this time in 2016, too, and "a bunch of folks stayed home and got lazy and complacent. Not this time. Not in this election." This is the "most important election of our lifetimes," Obama declared. "What we do these next 13 days will matter for decades to come." He urged Democrats to vote up and down the ticket, saying "we will not only elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we will also leave no doubt about what this country stands for. We will not leave any doubt about who we are as a people and the values and ideals that we embrace." Catherine Garcia

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