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Westlake Legal Group > Ross, Wilbur L Jr

Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-storm-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mulvaney, Mick Jacobs, Neil Hurricane Dorian (2019) Commerce Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed aides to intervene with a federal scientific agency, leading to a highly unusual public rebuke of the forecasters who contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.

In response to the president’s request, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration publicly correct the forecasters, who had insisted that Alabama was not actually at risk from Hurricane Dorian.

A senior administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said Mr. Trump told his staff to have NOAA “clarify” the forecasters’ position. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, then issued an unsigned statement saying the Birmingham, Ala., office of the National Weather Service was wrong to refute the president’s warning so categorically.

But the statement only exacerbated the uproar over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction as critics accused his administration of politicizing the weather. The Commerce Department inspector general has opened an investigation, and on Wednesday, a Democrat-controlled House science committee kicked off its own inquiry.

As a result, the furor over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction has evolved from a momentary embarrassment into a sustained political liability for the administration — no longer just a question of a president unwilling to admit a mistake but now a White House willing to force scientists to validate it.

The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Ross warned NOAA’s acting administrator that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation were not addressed. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone. A senior official on Wednesday said that if Mr. Ross did make such threats, it was not at the direction of Mr. Mulvaney.

After The Times disclosed Mr. Mulvaney’s role on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction, which the senior official confirmed to The Times. But when Mr. Trump was asked by a reporter if he told his chief of staff to instruct NOAA to “disavow those forecasters,” he denied it.

“No, I never did that,” Mr. Trump said. “I never did that. That’s a whole hoax by the fake news media. When they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama, that’s just fake news. It was — right from the beginning, it was a fake story.”

The White House had no comment beyond the president’s remarks. The senior official made a distinction between telling NOAA to “disavow” the forecast and “clarify” it. The White House argument was that the forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been models showing possible impact on Alabama.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intruding in the professional weather forecasting system to rationalize an inaccurate presidential assertion. In opening its investigation, the Commerce Department’s inspector general said the events could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology expressed similar concerns as it announced its own investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions on Wednesday.

“We are deeply disturbed by the politicization of NOAA’s weather forecast activities for the purpose of supporting incorrect statements by the president,” wrote Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chairwoman of the committee, along with Representative Mikie Sherrill, the chairman of its oversight panel.

The latest challenge to Mr. Trump’s credibility has its origins in one of the more prosaic duties a president has, warning the nation when natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian threaten communities.

On Sept. 1, as Dorian gathered strength over the Atlantic and headed toward the east coast, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama, among other states, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Earlier forecast maps had suggested that Alabama might see some effects from the edge of the storm, but by the time of the president’s tweet, the predictions had already changed.

A few minutes after Mr. Trump’s tweet, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted its own message on Twitter flatly declaring that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.” The forecasters were correct; Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump was furious at being challenged and kept insisting for days that he had been right. He displayed or posted outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might still be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

After Mr. Trump told his staff on Sept. 5 to address the matter, Mr. Mulvaney called Mr. Ross, who was in Greece traveling for meetings. Mr. Ross then called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, at home around 3 a.m. on Friday morning Washington time and instructed him to clear up the agency’s contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday faulted the Birmingham office for a tweet that “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

Unassuaged, the House science committee has demanded documents and information related to the NOAA statement and its origins.

In addition to emails, memos, text messages and records of telephone calls, the committee asked Mr. Ross to answer a number of questions, including whether any representative of the Executive Office of the President directed NOAA to issue Friday’s statement or specify the language in it.

They also reminded Mr. Ross of statements that he made under oath in his confirmation hearing that he would not interfere with science, particularly at NOAA, which in addition to weather forecasting is the agency responsible for understanding and predicting changes in the earth’s climate.

“Science should be done by scientists,” Mr. Ross testified in that January 2017 hearing. “I support the release of factual scientific data.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-storm-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mulvaney, Mick Jacobs, Neil Hurricane Dorian (2019) Commerce Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed aides to intervene with a federal scientific agency, leading to a highly unusual public rebuke of the forecasters who contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.

In response to the president’s request, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration publicly correct the forecasters, who had insisted that Alabama was not actually at risk from Hurricane Dorian.

A senior administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said Mr. Trump told his staff to have NOAA “clarify” the forecasters’ position. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, then issued an unsigned statement saying the Birmingham, Ala., office of the National Weather Service was wrong to refute the president’s warning so categorically.

But the statement only exacerbated the uproar over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction as critics accused his administration of politicizing the weather. The Commerce Department inspector general has opened an investigation, and on Wednesday, a Democrat-controlled House science committee kicked off its own inquiry.

As a result, the furor over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction has evolved from a momentary embarrassment into a sustained political liability for the administration — no longer just a question of a president unwilling to admit a mistake but now a White House willing to force scientists to validate it.

The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Ross warned NOAA’s acting administrator that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation were not addressed. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone. A senior official on Wednesday said that if Mr. Ross did make such threats, it was not at the direction of Mr. Mulvaney.

After The Times disclosed Mr. Mulvaney’s role on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction, which the senior official confirmed to The Times. But when Mr. Trump was asked by a reporter if he told his chief of staff to instruct NOAA to “disavow those forecasters,” he denied it.

“No, I never did that,” Mr. Trump said. “I never did that. That’s a whole hoax by the fake news media. When they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama, that’s just fake news. It was — right from the beginning, it was a fake story.”

The White House had no comment beyond the president’s remarks. The senior official made a distinction between telling NOAA to “disavow” the forecast and “clarify” it. The White House argument was that the forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been models showing possible impact on Alabama.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intruding in the professional weather forecasting system to rationalize an inaccurate presidential assertion. In opening its investigation, the Commerce Department’s inspector general said the events could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology expressed similar concerns as it announced its own investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions on Wednesday.

“We are deeply disturbed by the politicization of NOAA’s weather forecast activities for the purpose of supporting incorrect statements by the president,” wrote Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chairwoman of the committee, along with Representative Mikie Sherrill, the chairman of its oversight panel.

The latest challenge to Mr. Trump’s credibility has its origins in one of the more prosaic duties a president has, warning the nation when natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian threaten communities.

On Sept. 1, as Dorian gathered strength over the Atlantic and headed toward the east coast, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama, among other states, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Earlier forecast maps had suggested that Alabama might see some effects from the edge of the storm, but by the time of the president’s tweet, the predictions had already changed.

A few minutes after Mr. Trump’s tweet, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted its own message on Twitter flatly declaring that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.” The forecasters were correct; Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump was furious at being challenged and kept insisting for days that he had been right. He displayed or posted outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might still be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

After Mr. Trump told his staff on Sept. 5 to address the matter, Mr. Mulvaney called Mr. Ross, who was in Greece traveling for meetings. Mr. Ross then called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, at home around 3 a.m. on Friday morning Washington time and instructed him to clear up the agency’s contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday faulted the Birmingham office for a tweet that “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

Unassuaged, the House science committee has demanded documents and information related to the NOAA statement and its origins.

In addition to emails, memos, text messages and records of telephone calls, the committee asked Mr. Ross to answer a number of questions, including whether any representative of the Executive Office of the President directed NOAA to issue Friday’s statement or specify the language in it.

They also reminded Mr. Ross of statements that he made under oath in his confirmation hearing that he would not interfere with science, particularly at NOAA, which in addition to weather forecasting is the agency responsible for understanding and predicting changes in the earth’s climate.

“Science should be done by scientists,” Mr. Ross testified in that January 2017 hearing. “I support the release of factual scientific data.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-storm-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mulvaney, Mick Jacobs, Neil Hurricane Dorian (2019) Commerce Department

WASHINGTON — President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed aides to intervene with a federal scientific agency, leading to a highly unusual public rebuke of the forecasters who contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.

In response to the president’s request, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration publicly correct the forecasters, who had insisted that Alabama was not actually at risk from Hurricane Dorian.

A senior administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said Mr. Trump told his staff to have NOAA “clarify” the forecasters’ position. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, then issued an unsigned statement saying the Birmingham, Ala., office of the National Weather Service was wrong to refute the president’s warning so categorically.

But the statement only exacerbated the uproar over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction as critics accused his administration of politicizing the weather. The Commerce Department inspector general has opened an investigation, and on Wednesday, a Democrat-controlled House science committee kicked off its own inquiry.

As a result, the furor over Mr. Trump’s storm prediction has evolved from a momentary embarrassment into a sustained political liability for the administration — no longer just a question of a president unwilling to admit a mistake but now a White House willing to force scientists to validate it.

The New York Times reported this week that Mr. Ross warned NOAA’s acting administrator that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation were not addressed. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone. A senior official on Wednesday said that if Mr. Ross did make such threats, it was not at the direction of Mr. Mulvaney.

After The Times disclosed Mr. Mulvaney’s role on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction, which the senior official confirmed to The Times. But when Mr. Trump was asked by a reporter if he told his chief of staff to instruct NOAA to “disavow those forecasters,” he denied it.

“No, I never did that,” Mr. Trump said. “I never did that. That’s a whole hoax by the fake news media. When they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama, that’s just fake news. It was — right from the beginning, it was a fake story.”

The White House had no comment beyond the president’s remarks. The senior official made a distinction between telling NOAA to “disavow” the forecast and “clarify” it. The White House argument was that the forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been models showing possible impact on Alabama.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intruding in the professional weather forecasting system to rationalize an inaccurate presidential assertion. In opening its investigation, the Commerce Department’s inspector general said the events could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology expressed similar concerns as it announced its own investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions on Wednesday.

“We are deeply disturbed by the politicization of NOAA’s weather forecast activities for the purpose of supporting incorrect statements by the president,” wrote Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, the chairwoman of the committee, along with Representative Mikie Sherrill, the chairman of its oversight panel.

The latest challenge to Mr. Trump’s credibility has its origins in one of the more prosaic duties a president has, warning the nation when natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian threaten communities.

On Sept. 1, as Dorian gathered strength over the Atlantic and headed toward the east coast, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama, among other states, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Earlier forecast maps had suggested that Alabama might see some effects from the edge of the storm, but by the time of the president’s tweet, the predictions had already changed.

A few minutes after Mr. Trump’s tweet, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted its own message on Twitter flatly declaring that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.” The forecasters were correct; Alabama was not struck by the hurricane.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump was furious at being challenged and kept insisting for days that he had been right. He displayed or posted outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might still be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

After Mr. Trump told his staff on Sept. 5 to address the matter, Mr. Mulvaney called Mr. Ross, who was in Greece traveling for meetings. Mr. Ross then called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, at home around 3 a.m. on Friday morning Washington time and instructed him to clear up the agency’s contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday faulted the Birmingham office for a tweet that “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

Unassuaged, the House science committee has demanded documents and information related to the NOAA statement and its origins.

In addition to emails, memos, text messages and records of telephone calls, the committee asked Mr. Ross to answer a number of questions, including whether any representative of the Executive Office of the President directed NOAA to issue Friday’s statement or specify the language in it.

They also reminded Mr. Ross of statements that he made under oath in his confirmation hearing that he would not interfere with science, particularly at NOAA, which in addition to weather forecasting is the agency responsible for understanding and predicting changes in the earth’s climate.

“Science should be done by scientists,” Mr. Ross testified in that January 2017 hearing. “I support the release of factual scientific data.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-storm-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mulvaney, Mick Jacobs, Neil Hurricane Dorian (2019) Commerce Department

WASHINGTON — The White House was directly involved in pressing a federal scientific agency to repudiate the weather forecasters who contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian would probably strike Alabama, according to several people familiar with the events.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly disavow the forecasters’ position that Alabama was not at risk. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, issued an unsigned statement last Friday in response, saying that the Birmingham, Ala., office was wrong to dispute the president’s warning.

In pressing NOAA’s acting administrator to take action, Mr. Ross warned that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation was not addressed, The New York Times previously reported. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone, and a senior administration official on Wednesday said Mr. Mulvaney did not tell the commerce secretary to make such a threat.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intervening in the professional weather forecasting system to justify the president’s mistaken assertion. The Commerce Department’s inspector general is investigating how that statement came to be issued, saying it could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which is controlled by Democrats, announced on Wednesday that it too has opened an investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions.

The White House had no immediate comment on Wednesday, but the senior administration official said Mr. Mulvaney was interested in having the record corrected because, in his view, the Birmingham forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been forecasts showing possible impact on Alabama.

Mr. Trump was furious at being contradicted by the forecasters in Alabama. On Sept. 1, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

For nearly a week, Mr. Trump kept insisting he was right, displaying outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

Mr. Ross called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings, and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode.

The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed to their jobs by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain in their jobs as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday called the Birmingham office’s statement “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say

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WASHINGTON — The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.

That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disavowing the office’s own position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew criticism from the scientific community that NOAA, a division of the Commerce Department, had been bent to political purposes.

Officials at the White House and the Commerce Department declined to comment on administration involvement in the NOAA statement.

The actions by the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., are the latest developments in a political imbroglio that began more than a week ago, when Dorian was bearing down on the Bahamas and Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that Alabama would be hit “harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

Mr. Trump persisted in saying that Alabama was at risk and a few days later, on Sept. 4, he displayed a NOAA map that appeared to have been altered with a black Sharpie to include Alabama in the area potentially affected by Dorian.

Mr. Ross, the commerce secretary, intervened two days later, early last Friday, according to the three people familiar with his actions. Mr. Ross phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. Unlike career government employees, political staff are appointed by the administration. They usually include a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 09CLI-NOAA2-articleLarge Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Dorian (2019) environment

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross in August. CreditEraldo Peres/Associated Press

However, a senior administration official who asked not to be identified when discussing internal deliberations said that the Birmingham office had been wrong and that NOAA had simply done the responsible thing and corrected the record.

That official suggested the Twitter post by the Birmingham forecasters had been motivated by a desire to embarrass the president more than concern for the safety of people in Alabama. The official provided no evidence to support that conclusion.

On Monday, Craig N. McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist, sent an email to staff members notifying the agency that he was looking into “potential violations” in the agency’s decision to ultimately back Mr. Trump’s statements rather than those of its own scientists. He called the agency’s action “a danger to public health and safety.”

Dr. Jacobs is scheduled to speak Tuesday at a weather industry conference in Huntsville, Ala.

On Monday, the National Weather Service director, Louis W. Uccellini, got a standing ovation from conference attendees when he praised the work of the Birmingham office and said staff members there had acted “with one thing in mind, public safety” when they contradicted Mr. Trump’s claim that Alabama was at risk.

A Presidential Storm Leaves Forecasters Rebuked

Sept. 6, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_160193625_7150617c-bc42-4cac-9e83-7a70074d9efe-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Dorian (2019) environment

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say

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WASHINGTON — The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.

That threat led to an unusual, unsigned statement later that Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disavowing the office’s own position that Alabama was not at risk. The reversal caused widespread anger within the agency and drew criticism from the scientific community that NOAA, a division of the Commerce Department, had been bent to political purposes.

Officials at the White House and the Commerce Department declined to comment on administration involvement in the NOAA statement.

The actions by the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., are the latest developments in a political imbroglio that began more than a week ago, when Dorian was bearing down on the Bahamas and Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that Alabama would be hit “harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

Mr. Trump persisted in saying that Alabama was at risk and a few days later, on Sept. 4, he displayed a NOAA map that appeared to have been altered with a black Sharpie to include Alabama in the area potentially affected by Dorian.

Mr. Ross, the commerce secretary, intervened two days later, early last Friday, according to the three people familiar with his actions. Mr. Ross phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. Unlike career government employees, political staff are appointed by the administration. They usually include a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 09CLI-NOAA2-articleLarge Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Dorian (2019) environment

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross in August. CreditEraldo Peres/Associated Press

However, a senior administration official who asked not to be identified when discussing internal deliberations said that the Birmingham office had been wrong and that NOAA had simply done the responsible thing and corrected the record.

That official suggested the Twitter post by the Birmingham forecasters had been motivated by a desire to embarrass the president more than concern for the safety of people in Alabama. The official provided no evidence to support that conclusion.

On Monday, Craig N. McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist, sent an email to staff members notifying the agency that he was looking into “potential violations” in the agency’s decision to ultimately back Mr. Trump’s statements rather than those of its own scientists. He called the agency’s action “a danger to public health and safety.”

Dr. Jacobs is scheduled to speak Tuesday at a weather industry conference in Huntsville, Ala.

On Monday, the National Weather Service director, Louis W. Uccellini, got a standing ovation from conference attendees when he praised the work of the Birmingham office and said staff members there had acted “with one thing in mind, public safety” when they contradicted Mr. Trump’s claim that Alabama was at risk.

A Presidential Storm Leaves Forecasters Rebuked

Sept. 6, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_160193625_7150617c-bc42-4cac-9e83-7a70074d9efe-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Ross, Wilbur L Jr National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Dorian (2019) environment

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U.S. Gives Companies More Time to Cease Doing Business With Huawei

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-HUAWEI-facebookJumbo U.S. Gives Companies More Time to Cease Doing Business With Huawei Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Commerce Department Blacklisting 5G (Wireless Communications)

WASHINGTON — The United States will allow American companies to continue doing business with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, for an additional 90 days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday.

The government’s reprieve is intended to give rural telecommunications companies in the United States more time to wean themselves off Huawei, which supplies many of those providers with parts and equipment. Rural telecom firms in the United States have been scrambling to figure out how they will replace Huawei equipment since the Trump administration effectively banned the company from United States communications networks in May and have been lobbying the White House for more time.

“As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” Mr. Ross said in a statement.

In a sign that the administration is not completely easing pressure on Huawei, the Commerce Department said that it was also adding 46 affiliates of Huawei to the entity list.

In a terse statement issued on Monday, Huawei called the addition of the affiliates “politically motivated” and unrelated to national security and said that it was being treated “unjustly.”

“These actions violate the basic principles of free market competition,” Huawei said in a statement. “Attempts to suppress Huawei’s business won’t help the United States achieve technological leadership.”

Huawei has been thrust into the middle of President Trump’s trade fight with China and the president has given mixed signals about the telecom giant’s fate. After trade talks broke down in May, Mr. Trump’s Commerce Department added the company to a United States “entity list” that effectively banned the firm from buying American technology and other products without government approval.

Mr. Trump has also called the company a national security threat. The United States has concerns that Huawei could pose a national security threat by being used to help the Chinese government’s espionage efforts and to disrupt American telecommunications infrastructure in the event of a conflict.

But after adding Huawei to the entity list in May, Commerce promptly offered a reprieve for American firms doing business with the company until Aug. 19. Mr. Trump had hinted that he could yield further on Huawei in exchange for China purchasing more American farm products, but no such agreement has emerged.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr. Trump suggested that there might not be another extension.

“Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all,” he said.

The temporary relief for Huawei comes as trade negotiations between the United States and China remain at an impasse.

Mr. Trump agreed last week to delay some additional tariffs on toys and electronics until December but the United States is still expected to slap levies on more Chinese imports on Sept. 1, Earlier this month it labeled China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994. China is expected to unveil plans to retaliate.

Despite escalating tension, Mr. Trump said that he and President Xi Jinping of China were planning to speak and that the two countries would continue to have trade talks.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been urging Mr. Trump to keep his hard line on Huawei. Lifting the ban outright would likely be met with strong bipartisan disapproval.

Speaking on the Fox Business Network on Monday, Mr. Ross said that the administration would offer another extension through mid-November.

The Trump administration has warned that Huawei poses a national security threat and American officials have been warning allies for months that the United States would stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Companies Working With Huawei Get More Time to Stop

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-HUAWEI-facebookJumbo U.S. Companies Working With Huawei Get More Time to Stop Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Commerce Department Blacklisting 5G (Wireless Communications)

WASHINGTON — The United States will allow American companies to continue doing business with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, for an additional 90 days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday.

The government’s reprieve is intended to give rural telecommunications companies in the United States more time to wean themselves off Huawei, which supplies many of those providers with parts and equipment. Rural telecom firms in the United States have been scrambling to figure out how they will replace Huawei equipment since the Trump administration effectively banned the company from United States communications networks in May and have been lobbying the White House for more time.

“As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” Mr. Ross said in a statement.

Huawei has been thrust into the middle of President Trump’s trade fight with China and the president has given mixed signals about the telecom giant’s fate. After trade talks broke down in May, Mr. Trump’s Commerce Department added the company to a United States “entity list” that effectively banned the firm from buying American technology and other products without government approval.

Mr. Trump has also called the company a national security threat. The United States has concerns that Huawei could pose a national security threat by being used to help the Chinese government’s espionage efforts and to disrupt American telecommunications infrastructure in the event of a conflict.

But after adding Huawei to the entity list in May, Commerce promptly offered a reprieve for American firms doing business with the company until Aug. 19. Mr. Trump had hinted that he could yield further on Huawei in exchange for China purchasing more American farm products, but no such agreement has emerged.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr. Trump suggested that there might not be another extension.

“Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all,” he said.

The temporary relief for Huawei comes as trade negotiations between the United States and China remain at an impasse.

Mr. Trump agreed last week to delay some additional tariffs on toys and electronics until December but the United States is still expected to slap levies on more Chinese imports on Sept. 1, Earlier this month it labeled China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994. China is expected to unveil plans to retaliate.

Despite escalating tension, Mr. Trump said that he and President Xi Jinping of China were planning to speak and that the two countries would continue to have trade talks.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been urging Mr. Trump to keep his hard line on Huawei. Lifting the ban outright would likely be met with strong bipartisan disapproval.

Speaking on the Fox Business Network on Monday, Mr. Ross said that the administration would offer another extension through mid-November.

In a sign that the administration is not easing pressure on Huawei, the Commerce Department said that it was also adding 46 affiliates of Huawei to the entity list.

The Trump administration has warned that Huawei poses a national security threat and American officials have been warning allies for months that the United States would stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Companies Working With Huawei Get More Time to Stop

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-HUAWEI-facebookJumbo U.S. Companies Working With Huawei Get More Time to Stop Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Commerce Department Blacklisting 5G (Wireless Communications)

WASHINGTON — The United States will allow American companies to continue doing business with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, for an additional 90 days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday.

The government’s reprieve is intended to give rural telecommunications companies in the United States more time to wean themselves off Huawei, which supplies many of those providers with parts and equipment. Rural telecom firms in the United States have been scrambling to figure out how they will replace Huawei equipment since the Trump administration effectively banned the company from United States communications networks in May and have been lobbying the White House for more time.

“As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” Mr. Ross said in a statement.

Huawei has been thrust into the middle of President Trump’s trade fight with China and the president has given mixed signals about the telecom giant’s fate. After trade talks broke down in May, Mr. Trump’s Commerce Department added the company to a United States “entity list” that effectively banned the firm from buying American technology and other products without government approval.

Mr. Trump has also called the company a national security threat. The United States has concerns that Huawei could pose a national security threat by being used to help the Chinese government’s espionage efforts and to disrupt American telecommunications infrastructure in the event of a conflict.

But after adding Huawei to the entity list in May, Commerce promptly offered a reprieve for American firms doing business with the company until Aug. 19. Mr. Trump had hinted that he could yield further on Huawei in exchange for China purchasing more American farm products, but no such agreement has emerged.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr. Trump suggested that there might not be another extension.

“Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all,” he said.

The temporary relief for Huawei comes as trade negotiations between the United States and China remain at an impasse.

Mr. Trump agreed last week to delay some additional tariffs on toys and electronics until December but the United States is still expected to slap levies on more Chinese imports on Sept. 1, Earlier this month it labeled China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994. China is expected to unveil plans to retaliate.

Despite escalating tension, Mr. Trump said that he and President Xi Jinping of China were planning to speak and that the two countries would continue to have trade talks.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been urging Mr. Trump to keep his hard line on Huawei. Lifting the ban outright would likely be met with strong bipartisan disapproval.

Speaking on the Fox Business Network on Monday, Mr. Ross said that the administration would offer another extension through mid-November.

In a sign that the administration is not easing pressure on Huawei, the Commerce Department said that it was also adding 46 affiliates of Huawei to the entity list.

The Trump administration has warned that Huawei poses a national security threat and American officials have been warning allies for months that the United States would stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Companies Get More Time to Stop Working With Huawei

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-HUAWEI-facebookJumbo U.S. Companies Get More Time to Stop Working With Huawei Trump, Donald J Ross, Wilbur L Jr International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Commerce Department Blacklisting 5G (Wireless Communications)

WASHINGTON — The United States will allow American companies to continue doing business with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, for an additional 90 days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday.

The government’s reprieve is intended to give rural telecommunications companies in the United States more time to wean themselves off Huawei, which supplies many of those providers with parts and equipment. Rural telecom firms in the United States have been scrambling to figure out how they will replace Huawei equipment since the Trump administration effectively banned the company from United States communications networks in May and have been lobbying the White House for more time.

“As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” Mr. Ross said in a statement.

Huawei has been thrust into the middle of President Trump’s trade fight with China and the president has given mixed signals about the telecom giant’s fate. After trade talks broke down in May, Mr. Trump’s Commerce Department added the company to a United States “entity list” that effectively banned the firm from buying American technology and other products without government approval.

Mr. Trump has also called the company a national security threat . The United States has concerns that Huawei could pose a national security threat by being used to help the Chinese government’s espionage efforts and to disrupt American telecommunications infrastructure in the event of a conflict.

But after adding Huawei to the entity list in May, Commerce promptly offered a reprieve for American firms doing business with the company until Aug. 19. Mr. Trump had hinted that he could yield further on Huawei in exchange for China purchasing more American farm products, but no such agreement has emerged.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr. Trump suggested that there might not be another extension.

“Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all,” he said.

The temporary relief for Huawei comes as trade negotiations between the United States and China remain at an impasse.

Mr. Trump agreed last week to delay some additional tariffs on toys and electronics until December but the United States is still expected to slap levies on more Chinese imports on Sept. 1, Earlier this month it labeled China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994. China is expected to unveil plans to retaliate.

Despite escalating tension, Mr. Trump said that he and President Xi Jinping of China were planning to speak and that the two countries would continue to have trade talks.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been urging Mr. Trump to keep his hard line on Huawei. Lifting the ban outright would likely be met with strong bipartisan disapproval.

Speaking on the Fox Business Network on Monday, Mr. Ross said that the administration would offer another extension through mid-November.

In a sign that the administration is not easing pressure on Huawei, the Commerce Department said that it was also adding 46 affiliates of Huawei to the entity list.

The Trump administration has warned that Huawei poses a national security threat and American officials have been warning allies for months that the United States would stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com