NYT sources: most senior officials w/ Senate-confirmed jobs, regular access to Trump & highest-level briefings; some still serving. Several are currently in Intel, law enforcement, nat'l security & are focused on violent, far-right white supremacy groups encouraged by Trump.
Officials: "in 1st debate, when the president offered one of the most astonishing performances of any leader in modern American history--bullying, ridiculing, manic, boasting, fabricating, relentlessly interrupting & talking over his opponent: that’s really him.... That’s Trump.”
Trump couldn’t seem to take in complex info: "What they saw instead was the guy from the first debate. He’d switch subjects, go on crazy tangents, abuse and humiliate people, cut them off midsentence. Officials I interviewed described this scenario again and again."
During meeting on the border wall, Trump called the person who built a flagpole at 1 of his golf courses & b/c the flagpole was "really big," Trump thought he'd know how to build a wall, said source who attended the meeting.
Trump's habit of calling friends, inc'g Hannity & Dobbs, during meetings & involving them in the debate led officials to "joke it was like a phone-a-friend thing, a lifeline thing" on a game show. Officials began phoning some of his friends to secretly enlist their help.
Trump wanted the Pentagon to follow the advice of Billy Graham's grandson on Afghanistan, despite Mattis explaining it'd destabilize the region.

Senior Pentagon official: "with him, it’s like improv. So, he gets this stray electron and he goes, ‘OK, this is the ground truth.’"
Mattis & Kelly were shocked when Trump told OH audience US troops would leave Syria "very soon." They knew "the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria were, soldier for soldier, probably the most valuable fighting force on the planet," stabilizing the region & holding Putin & Assad in check.
"Soon much of Congress, the Pentagon, the State Dept & Mr. Kelly were doing various versions of 'The Truman Show,' trying to get people on the phone that Mr. Trump trusted. This went on for much of the year...to excise this idea of pulling troops out of Syria from the man."
Top Pentagon officials learned by tweet the US would pull troops out of Syria. "Senior leadership of the US govt went into a panic. Capitol Hill too." Bolton & aides called more than a dozens senators from both parties. Vets Sens Graham, Ernst, Sullivan were "dumbstruck."
Mattis "worked nearly 2 years developing techniques to try to manage Mr. Trump, from colorful PowerPoint slides to several kinds of flattery." During Oval Office meeting, when Trump refused to back off troop withdrawal, he pulled his resignation letter from his pocket.
Kelly was almost done cleaning out his office the next day. He told Trump, "whatever you do, don't hire a 'yes man.'" Trump hired a yes man.
Kelly spent 17 months as chief of staff, "stopping Mr. Trump from umpteen crazy moves, from calling in the Marines to shoot migrants crossing the Rio Grande — 'It’s illegal, sir, and the kids, they’re good kids, they just won’t do it' — to invading Venezuela. The list was long."
Fmr senior official: Trump "just assumed that generals would be completely loyal to the kaiser. And when we weren’t, that was a huge shock to him, because he thought if anyone was going to be loyal, it would be the generals.'"
"This shock, 1st 2-plus years of struggle with seasoned, expert advisers" led Trump to get rid of any advisers or senior officials who vowed loyalty to the Constitution over personal loyalty to him. Which is pretty much what he proceeded to do."

Enter #Barr.
#Barr auditioned w/ 19-page memo arguing "the president’s powers should be exercised nearly without limits and his actions stand virtually beyond review."
#Barr's actions upon receipt of the Mueller Report "constituted what amounted to a clean kill, decapitating the sprawling nearly two-year investigation led by his old friend with a single blow."

2 more "heavyweight senior officials" soon resigned: DNI Coats & his deputy.
Trump selected TX Rep John Ratcliffe to replace Coats, but he quickly withdraw after news reports questioned his qualifications. He was a "small-town mayor-turned-congressman with no meaningful experience in intelligence" who didn't have the Senate votes for confirmation.
Trump 1st tapped a communications official from the GW Bush admin to be the Director of Nat'l Intelligence, but brought back Ratcliffe in May. The Senate confirmed him 49-44, the lowest support ever for the position. Ratcliffe is now positioned to serve Trump post-election.
"By the summer of 2020, Mr. Trump was well along in completing the transition to a loyalty-tested senior team."

Having a loyal AG & DNI now allows Trump "to coordinate two key agencies of the government — secret intelligence and prosecution — toward his own political ends."
Thru summer/fall 2020 #Barr announced politically motivated action and investigations, incl'g attempts to "support the fiction of widespread voter fraud," & Ratcliffe collected & released info targeted at Trump's opponents.
A loyal FBI "would be an ideal triad for this sort of activity." Current Director Wray "drew Trump's ire" when he repeated (under oath) the intel community's assessment that Russia intervened in 2016 to help Trump.

"FBI has been under siege since this past summer."
Senior FBI official: "The White House is using friendly members of Congress to try to get at certain information under the guise of quote-unquote, oversight, but really to get politically helpful information before the election."
Senior FBI official: Sen @RonJohnsonWI “sends letters constantly now, berating, asking for the sun, moon, stars, the entire Russia investigation, and then either going on the morning talk shows or calling the attorney general whenever he doesn’t get precisely what he wants.”
Pressure increased when Trump was "told 3 weeks ago that he wouldn’t get the 'deliverables' he wanted before the election of incriminating evidence about those who investigated & prosecuted his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn," 2 FBI officials told NYT.
Trump appears prepared to fire both FBI Director Wray & CIA Director Haspel "immediately after the election, when Mr. Trump will want to show the cost paid for insufficient loyalty and to demonstrate that he remains in charge."
"Nov. 4 will be a day, said one of the former senior intelligence officials, “when he’ll want to match word with deed.” That is, when Trump will expect officials who've said they're loyal to him to take actions to protect his hold on power.
"Disruption would most likely begin on Election Day morning somewhere on the East Coast, where polls open first. Miami and Philadelphia (already convulsed this week after another police shooting), in big swing states, would be likely locations."
"It could be anything, maybe violent, maybe not, started by anyone, or something planned and executed by any number of organizations, almost all of them on the right fringe, many adoring of Mr. Trump. The options are vast and test the imagination."
[I'm omitting specifics of "what could follow next" from this summary because it's just too damned scary.

#Vote to save lives. #Vote to save the country. This is not a test. This is the real deal.]
Trump's supporters could "take advantage of a 2018 court ruling that allows the RNC to pursue 'ballot security' operations without court approval."

[In the past 4 years, Senate #Republicans have packed courts with 220+ Trump-nominated judges & 3 Supreme Court Justices.]
Police in cities across the country are prepared for a variety of election day scenarios, including violence.

Altho groups like Antifa are less structured than white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, there are potentially "vast" numbers "on both sides," as Trump puts it.
"Violence and conflict throughout that day at the polls would surely affect turnout, allowing Mr. Trump to claim that the in-person vote had been corrupted, if that suits his purposes. There’s no do-over for Election Day."
"Under the 12th Amendment, which Mr. Trump has alluded to on several occasions, the inability to determine a clear winner in the presidential election brings the final decision to the House of Representatives."
"The current composition of the House, in which Republicans control more state delegations even though Democrats are in the majority, favors Trump. But the state count could flip to the Democrats with this election."
"There are many scenarios that might unfold from here, nearly all of them entailing weeks or even months of conflict, and giving an advantage to the person who already runs the U.S. government."
If Biden is way ahead in projections from vote counts & exit polls, "Trump may find himself having to claim fraud or suppression that amounts to too large a share of votes to seem reasonable. Inside the Biden campaign they are calling this 'too big to rig.'"

"The question is not so much the difference between the candidates’ vote totals, or projections of them, as it is what Mr. Trump can get his supporters to believe. Mr. Trump might fairly state, at this point, that he can get a significant slice of his base to believe anything."
[10/31 noon: Biden leads in 9 of 11 battlegrounds: AZ FL GA IO MI NV NC PA WI. If he wins MI (+8.8), PA (+5.1), WI (+8.6), he can lose every other battleground & win.

Trump leads in OH (+0.9) & TX (+1.3).

Biden is +8.7% in national popular #vote . TURNOUT IS EVERYTHING. #GOTV]
[10/31 538 forecast gives Biden 90% odds of winning: a 97% chance of winning the popular vote & a 7% chance of losing the #ElectoralCollege vote, as Hillary did in 2016. DON'T BE COMPLACENT. HILLARY LOST BY 77,744 VOTES. But don't believe Trump's BS that the race is close. #vote ]
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