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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 12)

President Trump’s Pardons: Stone, Blagojevich and More

Westlake Legal Group president-trumps-pardons-stone-blagojevich-and-more President Trump's Pardons: Stone, Blagojevich and More United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Stanton, Angela Safavian, David H Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Milken, Michael R Lorance, Clint A Libby, I Lewis Jr Kerik, Bernard B Johnson, Alice Marie Ex-Convicts Blagojevich, Rod R Black, Conrad M Arpaio, Joseph M Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

President Trump on Friday commuted the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime friend and former campaign adviser who had openly expressed loyalty to him throughout a congressional investigation into ties between Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

“The simple fact is that if the special counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation, Mr. Stone would not be facing time in prison,” the White House said in a statement on Friday evening.

Mr. Stone had been days away from reporting to a federal prison to serve a 40-month sentence for seven felonies, including lying to federal investigators, tampering with a witness and impeding a congressional inquiry. He had aggressively lobbied for clemency, both in the courts and on social media.

The commutation, which was immediately criticized by Democrats, adds Mr. Stone to a list of beneficiaries of Mr. Trump’s clemency in cases that resonate with him personally — or with people who have a direct line to him through friends or family — over thousands of other cases awaiting his review.

According to the Justice Department, Mr. Trump has commuted the sentences of 10 people, not including Mr. Stone, but he has received 7,786 petitions for commutation. This puts him far behind his most recent predecessor, President Barack Obama, who commuted the sentences of 1,715 people, but closer to President George W. Bush, who commuted the sentences of 11 people.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution gives presidents unlimited authority to grant pardons, which excuse or forgive a federal crime. A commutation, by contrast, makes a punishment milder without wiping out the underlying conviction — in Mr. Stone’s case, the White House did not argue that he was innocent. Both are forms of presidential clemency.

Here are some of the pardons and commutations issued by Mr. Trump:

Pardon: Aug. 25, 2017

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_169654206_ea5ad79b-00b2-448f-8df3-078b4efe4f62-articleLarge President Trump's Pardons: Stone, Blagojevich and More United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Stanton, Angela Safavian, David H Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Milken, Michael R Lorance, Clint A Libby, I Lewis Jr Kerik, Bernard B Johnson, Alice Marie Ex-Convicts Blagojevich, Rod R Black, Conrad M Arpaio, Joseph M Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons
Credit…Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Joe Arpaio, an anti-immigration crusader who enjoyed calling himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” was the first pardon of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Once one of the most popular — and divisive — figures in Arizona, Mr. Arpaio was elected sheriff of Maricopa County five times before he was ultimately charged with criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop detaining people solely on the suspicion that they were undocumented immigrants.

In a move that drew outrage from Democrats and immigration advocates, Mr. Trump, who has staked much of his political capital around zero-tolerance immigration policies, pardoned Mr. Arpaio less than a month after he was found guilty.

Pardon: May 15, 2019

Conrad M. Black, a former press baron and friend of Mr. Trump’s, was granted a full pardon 12 years after his sentencing for fraud and obstruction of justice.

Mr. Black, who once owned The Chicago Sun-Times, The Jerusalem Post and The Daily Telegraph of London, among other newspapers, was convicted of fraud in 2007 with three other former executives of Hollinger International. They had been accused of skimming millions of dollars from the media company.

Mr. Black, who was released from prison in 2012, is the author of several pro-Trump opinion articles as well as a flattering book, “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”

COMMUTATION: Feb. 18, 2020

Credit…Laura McDermott for The New York Times

Former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years in prison for trying to sell or trade to the highest bidder the Senate seat that Mr. Obama vacated after he was elected president. Mr. Blagojevich’s expletive-filled remarks about his role in choosing a new senator — “I’m just not giving it up for nothing” — were caught on government recordings of his phone calls and became punchlines on late-night television.

Pardon: May 31, 2018

Dinesh D’Souza received a presidential pardon after pleading guilty to making illegal campaign contributions in 2014. Mr. D’Souza, a filmmaker and author whose subjects often dabble in conspiracy theories, had long blamed his conviction on his political opposition to Mr. Obama.

“What happened here is Obama and his team — Eric Holder, Preet Bharara in New York — these guys decided to make an example of me, and I think that the reason for this was Obama’s anger over my movie that I made about him,” Mr. D’Souza said on “Fox and Friends,” one of Mr. Trump’s favorite shows.

His reasoning seemed to strike a nerve with the president: In issuing his pardon, Mr. Trump said that Mr. D’Souza had been “treated very unfairly by our government,” echoing a claim the commentator has often made himself.

Pardon: Feb. 18, 2020

Credit…Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, pleaded guilty in 1998 to concealing an extortion plot. Mr. DeBartolo was prosecuted after he gave Edwin W. Edwards, the influential former governor of Louisiana, $400,000 to secure a riverboat gambling license for his gambling consortium.

The 49ers won five Super Bowl championships in a 14-year span while Mr. DeBartolo was serving as the team’s principal owner. Although Mr. DeBartolo avoided prison, he was fined $1 million and was suspended for a year by the N.F.L.

commutation: June 6, 2018

Credit…Erin Schaff for The New York Times

Alice Marie Johnson was serving life in a federal prison for a nonviolent drug conviction before her case was brought to Mr. Trump’s attention by the reality television star Kim Kardashian West.

The president’s decision to commute her sentence freed Ms. Johnson, who had been locked up in Alabama since 1996 on charges related to cocaine distribution and money laundering.

Since her release, the Trump campaign has used her as the face of its outreach to Black voters: In February, Ms. Johnson was featured in the campaign’s Super Bowl ad, which was viewed by about 102 million people during the game.

“I’ve been such a source of pride for him,” Ms. Johnson said at the time. “Who doesn’t want to show something they’re proud of during an election year? That’s what all the candidates do. For him to highlight me, it makes me know he’s not only proud, he’s super proud.”

Pardon: May 24, 2018

Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion, was tarnished by a racially tainted criminal conviction in 1913 — for transporting a white woman across state lines. It haunted him even well after his death in 1946.

Politicians and celebrities alike tried for years to secure a pardon, but in the end, Mr. Trump was swayed by a friendly phone call from Rambo.

“Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter just weeks before announcing his decision. “His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Pardon: Feb. 18, 2020

Credit…Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Associated Press

Ten years ago, Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. Around the time of his sentencing, federal prosecutors denounced Mr. Kerik as a corrupt official who sought to trade his authority for lavish benefits.

Mr. Trump said he heard from more than a dozen people about pardoning Mr. Kerik, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer. Mr. Kerik’s rise to prominence dates to the 1993 campaign for mayor in New York City, when he served as Mr. Giuliani’s bodyguard and chauffeur. After the pardon was announced, Mr. Kerik expressed his gratitude to Mr. Trump on Twitter. “With the exception of the birth of my children,” he wrote, “today is one of the greatest days in my life.”

Pardon: April 13, 2018

I. Lewis Libby Jr. was Vice President Dick Cheney’s top adviser before Mr. Libby was convicted in 2007 of four felony counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice, in connection with the disclosure of the identity of a C.I.A. officer, Valerie Plame.

Mr. Libby had maintained his innocence for years, and his portrayal as a victim of an unfair prosecution ultimately found favor with Mr. Trump.

“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Mr. Trump said in a statement, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”

Pardon: Nov. 15, 2019

Mr. Trump’s decision to clear three members of the armed services who had been accused or convicted of war crimes signaled that the president intended to use his power as the ultimate arbiter of military justice.

He ordered full pardons of Clint Lorance, a former Army lieutenant who was serving a 19-year sentence for the murder of two civilians, and Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Special Forces officer who was facing murder charges for killing an unarmed Afghan he believed was a Taliban bomb maker.

The president also reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who had been acquitted of murder charges but convicted of a lesser offense in a high-profile war crimes case.

All three had been championed by prominent conservatives who had portrayed them as war heroes unfairly prosecuted for actions taken in the heat and confusion of battle.

Pardon: Feb. 18, 2020

Credit…Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Michael R. Milken was the billionaire “junk bond king” and a well-known financier on Wall Street in the 1980s. In 1990, he pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, though his sentence was later reduced to two. He also agreed to pay $600 million in fines and penalties. After his release, Mr. Milken created the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.

Mr. Milken did not have a pardon or commutation application pending at the Justice Department’s pardons office, meaning that the president made that decision entirely without official department input. Among those arguing for Mr. Milken to be pardoned were Mr. Giuliani, who as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York prosecuted Mr. Milken.

Pardon: Feb. 18, 2020

Credit…Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

David H. Safavian, the top federal procurement official under President George W. Bush, was sentenced in 2009 to a year in prison for covering up his ties to Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist whose corruption became a symbol of the excesses of Washington influence peddling. Mr. Safavian was convicted of obstruction of justice and making false statements.

“Having served time in prison and completed the process of rejoining society with a felony conviction, Mr. Safavian is uniquely positioned to identify problems with the criminal justice system and work to fix them,” the White House said in the statement announcing his pardon.

Pardon: Feb. 18, 2020

Credit…Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Angela Stanton — an author, television personality and motivational speaker — served six months of home confinement in 2007 for her role in a stolen-vehicle ring. Her book “Life of a Real Housewife” explores her difficult upbringing and her encounters with reality TV stars.

Before her pardon, she gave interviews in which she declared her support for Mr. Trump. In announcing her pardon, the White House credited her with working “tirelessly to improve re-entry outcomes for people returning to their communities upon release from prison.”

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

Trump Commutes Sentence of Roger Stone in Case He Long Denounced

Westlake Legal Group trump-commutes-sentence-of-roger-stone-in-case-he-long-denounced Trump Commutes Sentence of Roger Stone in Case He Long Denounced United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons
Westlake Legal Group 00dc-stone-pardon-facebookJumbo Trump Commutes Sentence of Roger Stone in Case He Long Denounced United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

WASHINGTON — President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. on seven felony crimes on Friday, using the power of his office to help a former campaign adviser days before Mr. Stone was to report to a federal prison to serve a 40-month term.

In a lengthy statement released late on a Friday evening, the White House denounced the prosecution against Mr. Stone on what it called “process based charges” stemming from “the Russia Hoax” investigation. “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” the statement said. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”

Punctuated by the same sort of inflammatory language and angry grievances characteristic of the president’s Twitter feed, the official statement assailed “overzealous prosecutors” working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and the “witch hunts” aimed at the president and his associates. It attacked the “activist juror” who led the panel that convicted Mr. Stone and went on to complain about the show of force used by federal law enforcement agents when he was arrested.

“These charges were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice,” the statement said. “This is why the out-of-control Mueller prosecutors, desperate for splashy headlines to compensate for a failed investigation, set their sights on Mr. Stone.”

It added: “The simple fact is that if the special counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation, Mr. Stone would not be facing time in prison.”

Mr. Stone, 67, a longtime Republican operative, was convicted of obstructing a congressional investigation into Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and has been openly lobbying for clemency, maintaining that he could die in prison and emphasizing that he had stayed loyal to the president rather than help investigators.

“He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him,” Mr. Stone told the journalist Howard Fineman on Friday shortly before the announcement. “It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.”

After the commuGrant Smith, a lawyer for Mr. Stone, said, “Mr. Stone is incredibly honored that President Trump used his awesome and unique power under the Constitution of the United States for this act of mercy. Mr. and Mrs. Stone appreciate all the consideration the President gave to this matter.”

Granting clemency to Mr. Stone is certain to prompt new complaints that the Trump administration is thwarting the federal justice system to help the president’s friends. The Justice Department moved in May to dismiss its own criminal case against Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. And last month Mr. Trump fired Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney whose office prosecuted Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, and has been investigating Rudolph W. Giuliani, another of his lawyers.

Mr. Trump has used his power to issue pardons or commutations to a variety of political allies, supporters or people with connections to his own circle, like the former New York police commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, the financier Michael R. Milken and former Governor Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois. But Mr. Stone is the first figure directly connected to the president’s campaign to benefit from his clemency power. While Mr. Trump has publicly dangled pardons for associates targeted by investigators, that was a line he had been wary of crossing until now amid warnings from adviser concerned about the possible political damage.

Mr. Stone made no secret of his desire for clemency from the president. While it was not immediately clear when the two last spoke, Mr. Stone has given several interviews in which he said he was “praying” for a reprieve from Mr. Trump. He cited health concerns, including asthma, and a fear of the coronavirus.

“I think I’ll be the last person to know” if there is an action from the president, Mr. Stone told Fox News earlier this week. “He hates leaks, and he hates to be told what to do. I have instructed my lawyers not to contact the lawyers at the White House.”

Mr. Stone added: “The president, who I’ve known for 40 years, has an incredible sense of fairness. He is aware that the people trying to destroy Michael Flynn, now trying to destroy me, are the people trying to destroy him.”

Mr. Stone has been one of the most colorful figures in American politics for decades, cheerfully engaging in tactics that others would disavow. He made political contributions to a Republican challenger to President Richard M. Nixon in 1972 under the name of the Young Socialist Alliance and hired an operative to try to infiltrate the campaign of George McGovern, the Democratic candidate.

He was accused of leaving a threatening, profanity-laced voice mail message for the father of Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York, resulting in his resignation. But he later got his revenge on Mr. Spitzer by claiming credit for spreading the rumor that the governor wore black dress socks during sexual escapades with prostitutes.

An unapologetic admirer of Mr. Nixon who even had the disgraced president’s face tattooed on his back, Mr. Stone also worked for other major Republican candidates including former Gov. Tom Kean of New Jersey and Senator Bob Dole, the party’s 1996 nominee for president.

Mr. Stone’s history of scandals and dirty tricks did not trouble Mr. Trump. Mr. Stone is not only Mr. Trump’s longest-serving political adviser, but he has been integral to most of the president’s political activities over the past 33 years. He was there when the celebrity real estate developer first wrote “The Art of the Deal” in 1987 and a makeshift effort in New Hampshire was made to draft Mr. Trump to run for president.

He helped organize Mr. Trump’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee in 2011, where he declared himself against abortion rights. And he helped map out the first days of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign before leaving after several weeks over the direction of the campaign.

Mr. Stone quit as an adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign; Mr. Trump later claimed he fired Mr. Stone. Either way, the falling out was sour. Mr. Trump later called him a “stone-cold loser” and aides said the president viewed him as self-promoter.

But after Mr. Stone was indicted, the president repeatedly hinted that he might pardon him. “Roger Stone and everybody has to be treated fairly,” he said after Mr. Stone was sentenced. “This has not been a fair process.”

The debate over clemency for Mr. Stone has raged within the White House for months. Among those who advocated on behalf of it from outside the building were Tucker Carlson, the influential Fox News anchor, and Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Within the White House itself, Mr. Stone had few allies. Many Trump aides who knew him from the campaign did not like him, were envious of his long relationship with Mr. Trump or thought clemency would be bad politics.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, expressed concern about possible political damage, according to two people familiar with the discussions, although he has left people with different impressions about where he stands. The same is true of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been involved in most of the clemency discussions throughout the last three years.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, was concerned about intervening on Mr. Stone’s behalf, according to the people close to the discussions. One of the few within the White House who backed clemency was Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser and an old friend of Mr. Stone. Mr. Kudlow spends more time with Mr. Trump than many other advisers.

Mr. Stone was convicted last year of obstructing a congressional inquiry into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Prosecutors convinced jurors that he lied under oath, withheld a trove of documents and threatened an associate with harm if he cooperated with congressional investigators. Mr. Stone maintained his innocence and claimed prosecutors wanted him to offer information about Mr. Trump that he said did not exist.

Mr. Stone was sentenced against a backdrop of upheaval at the Justice Department not seen for decades. First, four career prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison, citing advisory sentencing guidelines that generally govern the department’s sentencing requests.

After Mr. Trump attacked the prosecutors’ recommendation on Twitter, Attorney General William P. Barr overruled it. Mr. Trump then publicly applauded him for doing so, even though the attorney general said he made the decision on his own and criticized the president on national television for undercutting his credibility.

The prosecutors withdrew from the case in protest, and one quit the department entirely. At Mr. Stone’s sentencing hearing in February, United States District Judge Amy Berman Jackson called the situation “unprecedented.” Without naming him, she suggested that the president had tried to influence the course of justice by publicly attacking her, the jurors and the Justice Department lawyers.

“The dismay and disgust at any attempt to interfere with the efforts of prosecutors and members of the judiciary to fulfill their duty should transcend party,” she said.

In an interview with ABC News this week, Mr. Barr defended both the original prosecution of Mr. Stone as well as his own intervention to reduce the punishment, saying the case itself was “righteous” but the sentencing recommendation “excessive.”

Mr. Stone, who lives in Florida, had been ordered earlier to report to the Bureau of Prisons by June 30 to begin serving his sentence. He sought a two-month delay, citing the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through federal prisons, but Judge Jackson granted him only a two-week reprieve, noting that the prison he was to report to was “unaffected” by the outbreak.

Two other former aides to Mr. Trump who were convicted of federal crimes were released from prison to serve out their sentences under home arrest because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Cohen, who broke with Mr. Trump and publicly accused him of vast wrongdoing, was released from a federal prison camp in May, but taken back into custody this week after refusing to agree to terms of his probation that would have forced him to scrub a tell-all book he planned to publish in September. He was serving a three-year sentence for campaign finance violations and other crimes related a scheme to pay hush money during the 2016 presidential race to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, which the president has denied.

Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, was also released in May from a central Pennsylvania prison, where he was serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence for bank and tax fraud. He is now confined at home.

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

How ICE Helped Spread the Coronavirus

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Using evidence that’s hidden in plain sight, our investigative journalists present a definitive account of the news — from the Las Vegas massacre to a chemical attack in Syria.

Using evidence that’s hidden in plain sight, our investigative journalists present a definitive account of the news — from the Las Vegas massacre to a chemical attack in Syria.

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

How a Conservative Supreme Court and Trump’s Appointees Declared Their Independence

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-court-sub-facebookJumbo How a Conservative Supreme Court and Trump's Appointees Declared Their Independence United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Supreme Court (US) Roberts, John G Jr Kavanaugh, Brett M Gorsuch, Neil M Decisions and Verdicts Courts and the Judiciary Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — At his campaign rally last month in Tulsa, Okla., President Trump ranked his Supreme Court appointments among his biggest achievements. “Two great Supreme Court judges!” he boasted. “So, we have two justices of the Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh, they’re great. They are — they’re great.”

He might not have felt so warmly on Thursday after Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh categorically dismissed his claim to “absolute immunity” from investigators seeking his tax returns. In a pair of far-reaching rulings, Mr. Trump’s two appointees joined a unanimous conclusion that the president went too far by pronouncing himself exempt from legal scrutiny.

The forceful decisions represented a declaration of independence not only by Mr. Trump’s own justices but by the Supreme Court as an institution, asserting itself as an equal branch of government in the Trump era. No matter how often Mr. Trump insists that he has complete authority in this instance or that, the justices made clear on Thursday that there were in fact limits, just as they did in landmark executive power cases involving Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton.

That a conservative court including two of his own appointees would so decisively slap down a Republican president’s expansive claim of constitutional power served as a reminder that institutional prerogatives still matter in Washington, even in a time of extreme partisanship. The court remains broadly conservative on important issues like religious freedom, but in cases on gay rights, immigration, abortion and now executive power, it has defied the president repeatedly in recent weeks.

By forging a unanimous consensus on Mr. Trump’s immunity claim, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. seemed to underline the point he made two years ago when he rebuked Mr. Trump by saying there were no “Obama judges or Trump judges.” Even on the overall votes on the two cases, both decided 7 to 2, he brought together four liberals and three conservatives, echoing the firm lines drawn by the court against other overreaching presidents.

“The truth is, President Trump’s arguments for immunity were so sweeping that it was almost impossible for any justice to really embrace them,” said Tom Goldstein, a prominent Supreme Court litigator and the publisher of Scotusblog, a website that tracks the court.

Still, the justices cut Mr. Trump a break by sending the two cases back to lower courts to consider the merits of the subpoenas according to standards set by the court, additional litigation that will most likely keep his tax returns shielded from public view through the general election on Nov. 3.

Many legal experts predicted that Mr. Trump ultimately could still stave off congressional demands for his returns because the justices in Trump v. Mazars USA seemed dubious about their legitimacy and put the onus on the House to justify its need for the documents. But experts said Mr. Trump was likely to eventually lose the effort to block a New York prosecutor because the justices in Trump v. Vance put the burden on the president to come up with a compelling rationale for why the returns should not be turned over.

The president lashed out on Twitter minutes after the court’s rulings, once again presenting himself as a victim. “This is all a political prosecution,” Mr. Trump wrote. “I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”

“Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference,’” he added. “BUT NOT ME!”

In fact, Mr. Trump was the one seeking special treatment. Every president since Jimmy Carter has voluntarily released his tax returns, but Mr. Trump has refused since 2015 when he began running for the White House and said he was being audited. While he promised to make them public once the audit was over, he never has.

Five years later, the White House said on Thursday that he was still being audited but did not identify which years of tax returns were being reviewed. Once in office, every sitting president’s returns are audited automatically, so if that remains his standard, he presumably will never release them voluntarily.

Similarly, Mr. Trump was seeking court protection beyond that enjoyed by any other president, claiming “absolute immunity.”

That flew in the face of the principles set by the court when Mr. Nixon in 1974 lost his bid to shield tape recordings that implicated him in the Watergate cover-up. In that case, U.S. v. Nixon, the court ruled against the president 8 to 0, including three of his appointees, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Lewis F. Powell Jr. A fourth appointee, Justice William H. Rehnquist, recused himself because he had served in Mr. Nixon’s Justice Department.

Twenty-three years later, the court rebuffed Mr. Clinton’s immunity claim while in office against a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state worker. Both of Mr. Clinton’s appointees, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, rejected his position in the 9-to-0 decision in that case, Clinton v. Jones.

Like his predecessors, Mr. Trump was unhappy with the rulings, although aides sought to calm him by assuring him that he could continue fighting in lower courts. But he expressed deep anger at Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, seeing their votes as a betrayal, according to a person familiar with his reaction.

But the two justices only followed in the footsteps of their predecessors by rejecting the president who put them on the court. While each of them has generally sided with Mr. Trump since taking office, in this case they drew a line. Neither is personally close to Mr. Trump nor is either thought to be much of an admirer of the president, so some saw the decision as a way to distance themselves.

“My guess is their feeling about him is, ‘We intend to be on this court long after he is a bad memory, and if his administration is about to come crashing down, we might as well have been people who weren’t willing to completely blow up the Constitution for him,’” said Richard Primus, a constitutional scholar at the University of Michigan Law School, adding that they would do so only if they also saw it as “the right legal answer.”

Mike Davis, who as a congressional aide helped confirm both of Mr. Trump’s justices and now leads the Article III Project to support his other judicial nominees, said the president should not be too disappointed in his appointees.

“I would say, ‘Mr. President, you appointed judges, not puppets, and they’re going to follow the law and it doesn’t matter who appointed them,’” Mr. Davis said. “Despite perceived setbacks here and there, President Trump’s transformation of the federal judiciary is his biggest accomplishment.”

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said she did not ask Mr. Trump specifically for his reaction to the position taken by Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, but insisted that “his justices did not rule against him.”

Like the president’s other aides, she focused on the fact that the court sent the cases back to lower courts for further proceedings with standards for Mr. Trump to meet if he wants to avoid subpoenas, and she cited cautions in the ruling against fishing expeditions. “That language made it pretty clear that this was a win for the president,” Ms. McEnany said. “The justices did not rule against him.”

In a concurrence in the New York case, joined by Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh flatly dismissed Mr. Trump’s constitutional argument. “In our system of government, as this court has often stated, no one is above the law,” he wrote. “That principle applies, of course, to a president.”

But he added that “a court may not proceed against a president as it would against an ordinary litigant,” and so state prosecutors must still justify their demands for documents like his tax returns. He said he would apply the same standard articulated in the Nixon case, that prosecutors have to provide a “demonstrated, specific need” for the information, a formulation that Chief Justice Roberts did not adopt in his majority opinion.

Justice Kavanaugh’s position perhaps should not come as much of a surprise. While known as an advocate of executive authority, he expressed reverence for the Nixon ruling during his confirmation hearings in 2018, calling it “one of the greatest moments in American judicial history.”

“I would say all the people who opposed Kavanaugh on the grounds that he somehow believed in an imperial presidency and thought the president is above the law ought to reconsider and apologize for how incorrectly they read his past,” said Carrie Campbell Severino, the president of the Judicial Crisis Network, a group that supports conservative judicial nominees. “This is totally consistent with what he’s said before.”

Liberal activists, however, were hardly rushing to give him much credit. “The claim of absolute immunity was too far out there to endorse with a straight face,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive group fighting Mr. Trump’s judicial nominations. “It is hardly reassurance about the types of justices that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch are.”

Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have been supportive of the Trump administration, but not across the board. Justice Kavanaugh has voted for the position espoused by the administration 67.6 percent of the time, making him the second-most reliable ally behind Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., according to figures compiled by Adam Feldman, a statistician for Scotusblog. Justice Gorsuch has agreed with the administration’s point of view 56.1 percent of the time, making him fifth, behind Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts.

Justice Gorsuch has broken with Mr. Trump other times in recent weeks. He wrote the majority opinion last month establishing that federal civil rights law bars workplace discrimination against L.G.B.T. workers, and he wrote another majority opinion released on Thursday ruling that much of eastern Oklahoma falls within an Indian reservation.

Mr. Trump has attacked Chief Justice Roberts for his votes against the president’s positions in recent weeks, but not his own appointees up until now. Ms. McEnany said some of the rulings of recent weeks bolster the president’s determination to remake the judiciary. “We need more conservative justices on the court,” she said. “That’s been the big takeaway.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.

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A Conservative Court and Trump’s Own Appointees Declare Their Independence

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-court-sub-facebookJumbo A Conservative Court and Trump’s Own Appointees Declare Their Independence United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Supreme Court (US) Roberts, John G Jr Kavanaugh, Brett M Gorsuch, Neil M Decisions and Verdicts Courts and the Judiciary Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — At his campaign rally last month in Tulsa, Okla., President Trump ranked his Supreme Court appointments among the biggest achievements of his tenure. “Two great Supreme Court judges!” he boasted. “So, we have two justices of the Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh, they’re great. They are — they’re great.”

He might not have felt so warmly on Thursday after Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh categorically dismissed his claim to “absolute immunity” from investigators seeking his tax returns. In a pair of far-reaching rulings, Mr. Trump’s two appointees joined a unanimous conclusion that the president went too far by pronouncing himself exempt from legal scrutiny.

The forceful decisions represented a declaration of independence not only by Mr. Trump’s own justices but by the Supreme Court as an institution, asserting itself as an equal branch of government in the Trump era. No matter how often Mr. Trump insists that he has complete authority in this instance or that, the justices made clear on Thursday that there were in fact limits, just as they did in landmark executive power cases involving Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton.

That a conservative court including two of his own appointees would so decisively slap down a Republican president’s expansive claim of constitutional power served as a reminder that institutional prerogatives still matter in Washington, even in a time of extreme partisanship. The court remains broadly conservative on a variety of important issues like religious freedom, but in cases on gay rights, immigration, abortion and now executive power, it has defied the president repeatedly in recent weeks.

By forging a unanimous consensus on Mr. Trump’s immunity claim, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. seemed to underline the point he made two years ago when he rebuked Mr. Trump by saying there were no “Obama judges or Trump judges.” Even on the overall votes on the two cases, both decided 7 to 2, he brought together four liberals and three conservatives, echoing the firm lines drawn by the court against other overreaching presidents.

“The truth is, President Trump’s arguments for immunity were so sweeping that it was almost impossible for any justice to really embrace them,” said Tom Goldstein, a prominent Supreme Court litigator and the publisher of Scotusblog, a website that tracks the court.

Still, the justices cut Mr. Trump something of a break by sending the two cases back to lower courts to now consider the merits of the subpoenas according to standards set by the court, additional litigation that seems likely to keep his tax returns shielded from public view at least through the general election on Nov. 3.

Many legal experts predicted that Mr. Trump ultimately could still stave off congressional demands for his returns because the justices in Trump v. Mazars USA seemed more dubious about their legitimacy and put the onus on the House to justify its need for the documents. But experts said Mr. Trump was likely to eventually lose the effort to block a New York prosecutor because the justices in Trump v. Vance put the burden on the president to come up with a compelling rationale for why the returns should not be turned over.

The president lashed out on Twitter in the minutes after the court’s rulings, once again presenting himself as a victim. “This is all a political prosecution,” Mr. Trump wrote. “I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”

“Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference,’” he added. “BUT NOT ME!”

In fact, Mr. Trump was the one seeking special treatment. Every president since Jimmy Carter has voluntarily released his tax returns, but Mr. Trump has refused since 2015 when he first began running for the White House and said he was being audited. While he promised to eventually make them public once the audit was over, he never has.

Five years later, the White House said on Thursday that he was still being audited but did not identify which years of tax returns were being reviewed. Once in office, every sitting president’s returns are audited as a matter of course, so if that remains his standard, he presumably will never release them voluntarily.

Similarly, Mr. Trump was seeking court protection beyond that enjoyed by any other president, arguing that he had “absolute immunity.”

That flew in the face of the principles set by the court since Mr. Nixon in 1974 lost his bid to shield tape recordings that implicated him in the Watergate cover-up. In that case, U.S. v. Nixon, the court ruled against the president 8 to 0, including three of his appointees, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Lewis F. Powell Jr. A fourth appointee, Justice William H. Rehnquist, recused himself because he had served in Mr. Nixon’s Justice Department.

Twenty-three years later, the court rejected a bid by Mr. Clinton claiming immunity while in office against a civil sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state worker. Both of Mr. Clinton’s appointees, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, rejected his position in the 9-to-0 decision in that case, Clinton v. Jones.

Both of those cases had cataclysmic results for the presidents involved. The disclosure of the Watergate tapes led to Mr. Nixon’s resignation, and the Jones case led to Mr. Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Like his predecessors, Mr. Trump was unhappy with the rulings, although aides sought to calm him by assuring him that he could continue fighting in lower courts. But he expressed deep anger at Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, seeing their votes as a betrayal, according to a person familiar with his reaction.

But the two justices only followed in the footsteps of their predecessors by rejecting the president who put them on the court. While each of them has generally sided with Mr. Trump since taking office, in this case they drew a line. Neither is personally close to Mr. Trump nor is either thought to be much of an admirer of the president, so some saw the decision as a way to distance themselves.

“My guess is their feeling about him is, ‘We intend to be on this court long after he is a bad memory, and if his administration is about to come crashing down, we might as well have been people who weren’t willing to completely blow up the Constitution for him,’” said Richard Primus, a constitutional scholar at the University of Michigan Law School, adding that they would do so only if they also saw it as “the right legal answer.”

Mike Davis, who as a congressional aide helped confirm both of Mr. Trump’s justices and now leads the Article III Project to support his other judicial nominees, said the president should not be too disappointed in his appointees.

“I would say, ‘Mr. President, you appointed judges, not puppets, and they’re going to follow the law and it doesn’t matter who appointed them,’” Mr. Davis said. “Despite perceived setbacks here and there, President Trump’s transformation of the federal judiciary is his biggest accomplishment.”

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said she did not ask Mr. Trump specifically for his reaction to the position taken by Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, but insisted that “his justices did not rule against him.”

Like the president’s other aides, she focused on the fact that the court sent the cases back to lower courts for further proceedings with standards for Mr. Trump to meet if he wants to avoid subpoenas. “That language made it pretty clear that this was a win for the president,” Ms. McEnany said. “The justices did not rule against him.”

In a concurrence in the New York case, joined by Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh flatly dismissed Mr. Trump’s constitutional argument. “In our system of government, as this court has often stated, no one is above the law,” he wrote. “That principle applies, of course, to a president.”

But he added that “a court may not proceed against a president as it would against an ordinary litigant,” and so state prosecutors must still justify their demands for documents like his tax returns. He said he would apply the same standard articulated in the Nixon case, that prosecutors have to provide a “demonstrated, specific need” for the information, a formulation that Chief Justice Roberts did not adopt in his majority opinion.

Justice Kavanaugh’s position perhaps should not come as much of a surprise. While known as an advocate of executive authority, he expressed reverence for the Nixon ruling during his confirmation hearings in 2018, calling it “one of the greatest moments in American judicial history.”

“I would say all the people who opposed Kavanaugh on the grounds that he somehow believed in an imperial presidency and thought the president is above the law ought to reconsider and apologize for how incorrectly they read his past,” said Carrie Campbell Severino, the president of the Judicial Crisis Network, a group that supports conservative judicial nominees. “This is totally consistent with what he’s said before.”

Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have been supportive of the Trump administration, but not across the board. Justice Kavanaugh has voted for the position espoused by the administration 67.6 percent of the time, making him the second-most reliable ally behind Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., according to figures compiled by Adam Feldman, a statistician for Scotusblog. Justice Gorsuch has agreed with the administration’s point of view 56.1 percent of the time, making him fifth, behind Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts.

Justice Gorsuch has broken with Mr. Trump other times in recent weeks. He wrote the majority opinion last month establishing that federal civil rights law bars workplace discrimination against L.G.B.T. workers, and he wrote another majority opinion released on Thursday ruling that much of eastern Oklahoma falls within an Indian reservation.

Mr. Trump has attacked Chief Justice Roberts for his votes against the president’s positions in recent weeks, but not his own appointees up until now. Ms. McEnany said some of the rulings of recent weeks bolster the president’s determination to remake the judiciary. “We need more conservative justices on the court,” she said. “That’s been the big takeaway.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.

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In ‘Buy American’ Speech, Biden Challenges Trump on the Economy

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Joseph R. Biden Jr. laid out a populist economic vision to revive and reinvest in American manufacturing on Thursday, calling for major new spending and stricter new rules to “Buy American” as part of an effort to more aggressively challenge President Trump on two of his signature issues: the economy and nationalism.

In a speech in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Mr. Biden lacerated Mr. Trump for a bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic that has deepened the economic crisis and a misplaced focus on the stock market, while framing his own economic agenda around a new campaign tagline, “Build Back Better.”

Mr. Biden said his plans would leverage trade, tax and investment policy to spur domestic innovation, reduce the reliance on foreign manufacturing and create five million additional American manufacturing and innovation jobs.

“I do not buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past,” Mr. Biden said, speaking at a metalworks factory in Dunmore not far from this childhood home of Scranton, a place where Mr. Biden often returns rhetorically to emphasize his blue-collar roots.

“When the federal government spends taxpayers’ money, we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs,” he added.

On the same day, Vice President Mike Pence embarked on a Trump campaign bus tour across Pennsylvania, a sign of the state’s significance in the Electoral College calculations of both campaigns.

Mr. Biden’s campaign is riding high in the polls but his advisers, as well as Republican strategists, still see the economy as perhaps his area of greatest vulnerability against Mr. Trump. The president’s campaign — and the president himself when on message — has tried to argue that he oversaw a booming economy until the coronavirus pandemic brought about an “artificial” slowdown.

House Republican leaders recently briefed their members on polling showing Mr. Trump’s enduring advantage on the economy, and a recent New York Times/Siena College poll showed the economy as perhaps a lone bright spot for the president, even as he trailed by 14 percentage points overall.

In some ways, Mr. Biden was seizing the “Buy American” message from Mr. Trump himself, who campaigned on an “America First” agenda in 2016 and wrote on Twitter on his Inauguration Day that “Buy American” was one of “two simple rules” that would guide his administration. (The other was “hire American.”)

Mr. Biden has long cast himself as a champion of the American worker, particularly as vice president, when he led the Obama administration’s Middle Class Task Force and oversaw implementation of the 2009 economic stimulus bill. But he has faced criticism from Mr. Trump and from former liberal rivals like Senator Bernie Sanders over his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s and other trade deals that followed.

On Thursday, the Trump campaign announced a new television ad attacking Mr. Biden’s record as “dangerous and foolish,” highlighting Mr. Biden’s vote for NAFTA in 1993 and his past support for trade relations with China and for the Trans-Pacific Partnership as vice president.

The Pennsylvania speech is the first of several steps Mr. Biden is taking in the coming weeks to detail an expanded economic agenda, beyond what he proposed in the primaries. On Thursday, Mr. Biden specifically proposed a $300 billion increase in government spending on research and development of technologies like electric vehicles and 5G cellular networks, as well as an additional $400 billion in federal procurement spending on products that are manufactured in the United States.

Mr. Biden described it as a level of investment “not seen since the Great Depression and World War II” and emphasized that among his top priorities is to expand prosperity to all corners of the country, both racial and geographic.

“This money will be used purposefully to ensure all of America is in on the deal, including communities that historically have been left out: Black, brown and Native American entrepreneurs, cities and towns everywhere,” he said.

Mr. Biden’s campaign is rallying top surrogates in key battleground states to amplify and showcase his economic message on Friday: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will hold a roundtable discussion aimed at Arizona voters, Senators Tammy Duckworth and Tammy Baldwin will do one for Wisconsin, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan will headline one for her state and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio will hold one for his state.

His campaign aides cheered on Twitter that the three leading cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — carried Mr. Biden’s speech live, even as his remarks were briefly interrupted by a audible downpour at the plant.

As Mr. Trump has increasingly focused his campaign on stoking white resentment and fears, Mr. Biden and his campaign have stressed their efforts to increase opportunities for Black, Latino, Asian-American and other workers. “An economy for every American,” Mr. Biden said on Thursday.

“Donald Trump may believe that pitting Americans against Americans may benefit him. I don’t,” he said. Later in his speech, he invoked Mr. Trump’s recent comments defending the Confederate flag and accused the president of being “determined to drive us apart.”

While Mr. Biden has said in speeches since he began his campaign more than a year ago that Wall Street is not the true economic engine of America, he sharpened his tone on Thursday, saying it was “way past time to put an end to shareholder capitalism.”

He lashed Mr. Trump, in particular, for his focus on the stock market as a metric of success as tens of millions of Americans have been driven to file jobless claims during the ongoing pandemic. “Throughout this crisis, Donald Trump has been almost singularly focused on the stock market, the Dow, Nasdaq,” Mr. Biden said. “Not you. Not your families.”

Aides also said that Mr. Biden, the former vice president, would propose additional deficit spending next year to help the economy recover from the recession caused by the pandemic, building on the more than $3 trillion in new borrowing that Congress and Mr. Trump have already approved amid the crisis.

Mr. Biden has thus far proposed to offset the entirety of his spending plans with nearly $4 trillion in tax increases, largely by reversing some of Mr. Trump’s signature tax cuts for high earners and otherwise raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Aides said he would do the same to fund his procurement and research plans.

Mr. Biden proposed the smallest amount of new federal spending among the major Democratic contenders during the presidential primary race, and his plan, despite its new spending, remains far less expensive than those proposed by his former rivals, like Mr. Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Mr. Biden has sought to straddle the line on economic policy and elsewhere between his moderate political instincts and a progressive wing of the party that lined up in the primaries behind candidates, like Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, who promised sweeping and systemic change.

On Wednesday, a Biden-Sanders “unity task force” published 110 pages of platform recommendations, including plans on the economy. Its recommendations included more sweeping proposals than Mr. Biden has embraced in the campaign, including a New Deal-style federal jobs program to use government funds to put Americans to work on infrastructure and other projects. The recommendations also included a so-called baby bonds proposal that would seek to reduce wealth disparities between Black and white Americans by giving every child in the country a government-funded savings account.

Mr. Biden is planning four rollouts ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August on his plans to “mobilize the American people” for challenges in a future Biden administration. The speech on Thursday was the first in the series.

The next three, according to a campaign document, will be on “modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future,” then a plan “to build a 21st-century caregiving and education work force” followed by a plan “to advance racial equity in America.”

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U.S. Weighs Early Vaccine Access for Minorities and Others at Risk

Federal health officials are already trying to decide who will get the first doses of any effective coronavirus vaccines, which could be on the market this winter but could require many additional months to become widely available to Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an advisory committee of outside health experts in April began working on a ranking system for what may be an extended rollout in the United States. According to a preliminary plan, any approved vaccines would be offered to vital medical and national security officials first, and then to other essential workers and those considered at high risk — the elderly instead of children, people with underlying conditions instead of the relatively healthy.

Agency officials and the advisers are also considering what has become a contentious option: putting Black and Latino people, who have disproportionately fallen victim to Covid-19, ahead of others in the population.

In private meetings and a recent public session, the issue has provoked calls for racial justice. But some medical experts are not convinced there is a scientific basis for such an option, foresee court challenges or worry that prioritizing minority groups would erode public trust in vaccines at a time when immunization is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic.

“Giving it to one race initially and not another race, I’m not sure how that would be perceived by the public, how that would affect how vaccines are viewed as a trusted public health measure,” said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, a group represented on the committee.

While there is a standard protocol for introducing vaccines — the C.D.C. typically makes recommendations and state and local public health departments decide whether to follow them — the White House has pressed the agency at times to revise or hold off on proposals it found objectionable. President Trump, who has been pushing to reopen schools, fill workplaces and hold large public events, has been acutely focused on the political consequences of public health guidance.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost every aspect of the administration’s response has involved scarce resources, high demand and claims that the privileged were receiving unfair advantage. The White House recently created Operation Warp Speed, a multiagency effort to accelerate vaccine development that has invested billions of federal dollars in a growing number of companies. At the public advisory committee hearing, held in mid-June, a Defense Department representative said the operation would address the distribution plans in coming weeks.

To speed distribution, the most promising vaccines will start being made even before they have cleared the final stages of clinical trials and been authorized for public use by the Food and Drug Administration.

But there will be a gap between the first doses coming off the manufacturing lines and a stockpile large enough to vaccinate the U.S. population. “I would say months,” Dr. José R. Romero, the chairman of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, predicted.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_174315897_9b51dd17-0bc9-4b57-b38e-48d645b7c864-articleLarge U.S. Weighs Early Vaccine Access for Minorities and Others at Risk Vaccination and Immunization United States Trump, Donald J Redfield, Robert R Race and Ethnicity Hispanic-Americans Food and Drug Administration Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Black People Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
Credit…Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The committee, which reports to the C.D.C. director, has long played a key role in determining how to implement new vaccines. The group includes 15 voting members selected by the health secretary who come from immunology, infectious disease and other medical specialties, 30 nonvoting representatives from across the health field, and eight federal officials focused on vaccines. Still, it operates largely out of sight.

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Updated 2020-07-09T10:04:11.935Z

“It’s a back-room kind of thing,” said Dr. Nancy Bennett, a health professor at the University of Rochester who led the advisory committee from 2015 to 2018.

Dr. Romero is among four committee members who have been deliberating on the plans since this spring alongside doctors at the C.D.C., representatives from the health field, ethicists and other outside consultants. In June, they briefed the full committee on their work, offering a glimpse of the questions being considered.

As they come up with a multitiered schedule for the first 1.2 million vaccine doses and then the next 110 million, they have focused on who should be considered essential workers, what underlying conditions should be taken into account and what kinds of living environments — nursing homes, homeless shelters — put people at high risk. Among the questions: What should be done about pregnant women? Should teachers go toward the front of the line? Should prisoners be in a top tier?

But for the broader committee, questions of whether to prioritize race and ethnicity sparked the most debate.

Black and Latino people have become infected with the virus at three times the rate of whites, and have died nearly twice as frequently. Many of them have jobs that keep them from working at home, rely on public transportation or live in cramped homes that increase their risk of exposure. They are more likely to suffer from underlying health problems, including diabetes and obesity, that raise the risk of hospitalization and death. Not only do the groups have less access to health services, they have a documented history of receiving unequal care.

The questions come amid a national uproar over the United States’ racist past, which stretches into its response to infectious disease — including the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, when the government deliberately let hundreds of Black men go untreated even when there was a known cure for the disease.

Dr. Sharon Frey, a professor of infectious diseases at St. Louis University, pointed to health disparities among Black and Latino people at the recent meeting.

“I think it’s very important that the groups get into a high tier,” she said. “Maybe not an entire group, but certainly to address people who are living in the urban areas in these crowded conditions.”

Dr. Peter Szilagyi, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles, said he was “really struggling with what to do about race and ethnicity.”

He wondered if a lot could be accomplished for minority groups by prioritizing people in general with underlying conditions and by trying to improve their access to health care.

Dr. Romero, the chairman, was doubtful. “This will not address the problem that exists now,” he said. “I think we need to deal with this issue at this time with the information that we have. And it is: They are groups that need to be moved to the forefront, in my opinion.”

Dayna Bowen Matthew, dean of the George Washington University Law School, who has focused on racial inequality in health care and is serving as a consultant on the prioritization issue, agreed.

“It’s racial inequality — inequality in housing, inequality in employment, inequality in access to health care — that produced the underlying diseases,” Dr. Matthew said in an interview. “That’s wrong. And it’s that inequality that requires us to prioritize by race and ethnicity.”

Harald Schmidt, an assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, is not a member of the committee, but has been suggesting other ways vaccine prioritization could work. He predicts that courts would strike down any guidelines explicitly based on race and ethnicity. Instead, he has proposed using an index that takes into account education, income, employment and housing quality to rank neighborhoods by socioeconomic disadvantage that he says could serve as a good proxy.

“It’s imperative that we pay attention to how Covid has impacted the health of minorities differently; otherwise it compounds the inequalities we’ve seen,” Dr. Schmidt said.

There may be substantial differences in how racial and ethnic groups view vaccines. A recent Pew survey found that a little over half of Black adults said they would definitely or probably get a coronavirus vaccine if one were available today, while 44 percent said they would not. Among Hispanic and white adults, 74 percent said they would get the vaccine, while around a quarter said they would not.

“Because of Tuskegee and structural racism within the health care system, you have to make a case much more strongly to the African-American population,” Dr. Schmidt said.

Whoever is prioritized for the first doses, it will not matter if the vaccines don’t work for those demographics. And that will not be determined unless the vaccine trials themselves include those groups. So far, several vaccine candidates have entered final Phase 3 trials.

At a Senate hearing last week, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C. director, and Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes for Health, emphasized the need for racial and other diversity within the trials.

“The last thing we want to be is trying to recommend who gets the vaccine and we don’t have any data on how the vaccine works in the population that we think really needs this vaccine,” Dr. Redfield said.

Credit…Pool photo by Saul Loeb

“This has got to be a really high priority,” Dr. Collins said. “This may make it more challenging to run a Phase 3 vaccine trial. When you’re trying to enroll a very diverse set of volunteers, it would be much easier just to line up a bunch of 20-somethings who happen be from the white population, but that is not the only answer. We need to really have this diversity.”

Dr. Collins said he and Dr. Redfield had pushed to bring the National Academy of Medicine, an independent nonprofit, into the advisory committee’s work because people were “uneasy about the government calling the shots here.”

Dr. Romero said that the advisory committee would start holding more frequent public meetings on prioritization later this summer, and that it would eventually involve representatives of the communities being considered in its deliberations.

“If we feel that minority populations are important, then certainly we would look at the perceptions of those target groups,” he said.

At the committee’s recent meeting, Col. Matthew Hepburn, the Defense Department’s vaccine coordinator in Operation Warp Speed, said the multiagency effort was preparing to focus on prioritization.

“From an Operation Warp Speed standpoint, in our first few weeks, we really focused on the earlier product development and making some of those important decisions to get to accelerate the product development pipeline,” said Colonel Hepburn, who is also a physician.

But now, he said, there were other questions to consider: “How would these vaccines be distributed based on their induction? Which populations benefit most from vaccinations? Those are critical issues that need to be addressed, and our intention is to address those in the coming weeks.”

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Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen

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WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday pressured the government’s top public health experts to water down recommendations for how the nation’s schools could reopen safely this fall and threatened to cut federal funding for districts that defied his demand to resume classes in person.

Once again rejecting the advice of the specialists who work for him, Mr. Trump dismissed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “very tough & expensive guidelines,” which he said asked schools “to do very impractical things.” Within hours, the White House announced that the agency would issue new recommendations in the days to come.

The president’s criticisms, in a barrage of Twitter threats, inflamed a difficult debate that has challenged educators and parents across the country as they seek ways to safely resume teaching American children by September. Even as the coronavirus is spreading faster than ever in the United States, Mr. Trump expressed no concern about the health implications of reopening in person and no support for compromise plans that many districts are considering.

His all-or-nothing stance left him at odds with the nation’s two largest school districts. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced shortly after Mr. Trump’s tweets that schools would not fully reopen in September, with students attending classes in person only one to three days a week to accommodate social distancing. The chief public health officer in Los Angeles County told school officials on Tuesday to be prepared to continue learning entirely from home given the surge of infections in California.

But Mr. Trump’s attack on the C.D.C. underscored his growing impatience with public health experts he considers obstacles to his ambitions of reopening the country after months of lockdown. As he significantly trails his Democratic challenger in most polls, the president has brushed off warnings and pushed states to reopen businesses in hopes of reviving the crippled economy before the election on Nov. 3, a goal that would be hamstrung if parents had to remain at home with their children this fall.

“I disagree with @CDCgov,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, a day after hosting a series of calls and events to pressure schools to reopen fully. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

During a coronavirus task force briefing later Wednesday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the C.D.C. would issue new recommendations next week, saying the guidelines should not be a reason for schools to stay closed. “We just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” he said, promising “five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_171513666_cf91ee01-7256-4a85-9c3f-8b6ea0f5291f-articleLarge Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Education (K-12) E-Learning DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Budgets and Budgeting
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The agency has recommended for weeks that schools that remain open modify layouts to maintain social distancing, install physical barriers where that is not possible, increase disinfection and cleaning of facilities, avoid serving communal meals in cafeterias, discourage sharing objects and ensure ventilation systems are up-to-date. If a school has a confirmed case, the guidance says, students and “most staff” members should be dismissed for two to five days while local health officials consider what to do next.

An administration official, who discussed internal deliberations on condition of anonymity, said the new guidance had been in development for weeks but had yet to be cleared by top C.D.C. or task force officials. The guidelines would address how schools can reopen and whether parents should send children, most likely including a checklist for making that decision. The official denied that Mr. Trump or other White House officials had pressured the agency to ease the existing guidelines for schools, which were updated in April.

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Updated 2020-07-09T00:26:39.977Z

Another official said that some in the White House had learned of the C.D.C.’s plans to distribute new guidance only on Tuesday, when Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the agency’s director, told governors about it in a call led by Mr. Pence. Dr. Redfield said on Wednesday that Americans should not interpret C.D.C. guidelines as requirements.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and one of the coronavirus task force’s most prominent members, did not attend the briefing on Wednesday, an absence that drew attention. Dr. Fauci later said in a brief telephone conversation that he was part of a small group of officials asked to call in from the White House Situation Room to a meeting the task force held before the briefing. Dr. Fauci said the officials who called in were less relevant to the topics discussed in the briefing.

In taking on defiant educators, Mr. Trump invoked the one lever he had — federal funding — to impose his will on schools, which are traditionally run by localities and states.

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but it is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

In reality, it may be a hollow threat. The president has no control over about 90 percent of school district budgets, which are generally financed by local property and sales taxes. And he has little control over federal funding already appropriated by Congress.

“Trump has no legal authority to withhold funds,” Arne Duncan, the secretary of education under President Barack Obama, said during a briefing with reporters on Wednesday. “Threatening people, bullying them, lying doesn’t stop the virus from spreading.”

He added: “It’s ludicrous. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad.”

The School Superintendents Association objected to Washington dictating such decisions, citing Mr. Trump’s past support for local control of schools. “You don’t support local decision making if its conditional on only making choices you support,” the organization said in a statement.

As unemployment reaches levels not seen since the Great Depression, the nation’s public schools face severe state budget cuts and mass layoffs, even as children’s academic and social support needs grow.

But Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, signaled that Mr. Trump’s threat was serious and that the department was “looking at all of our options” to determine how it could be carried out.

“As the secretary has said, the investment in education is a promise made to students and families,” Ms. Hill said. “If schools are not going to keep that promise, why would they get the money? Why shouldn’t that money go directly to parents to find an option for their student if the school they are assigned to refuses to open?”

Mr. Pence also indicated that the administration would seek “a strong incentive” for states to fully reopen when Congress takes up the next round of emergency relief funding this month.

Video

transcript

‘We’re Prepared to Work With Each School,’ Redfield Says

Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Dr. Robert R. Redfield of the C.D.C. and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, addressed plans to reopen schools.

“It’s absolutely essential that we get our kids back into classrooms for in-person learning. We can’t let our kids fall behind academically, but it’s important that the American people remember that for children that have mental health issues, for special needs children, for nutrition, for children in communities facing persistent poverty, the school is the place where they receive all those services.” “It would fail America’s students, and it would fail taxpayers who pay high taxes for their education. Ultimately it’s not a matter of if schools should reopen, it’s simply a matter of how. They must fully open and they must be fully operational, and how that happens is best left to education and community leaders.” “I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of C.D.C.’s guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed. We’re prepared to work with each school, each jurisdiction, to help them use the different strategies that we propose that help do this safely so they come up with the optimal strategy for those schools.” “We are worried now that as cases spread, that it’s getting to the older parents and the grandparents. And I call on again, every multigenerational household: Get tested and protect those in the household. And we do know that there are children with vulnerability.”

Westlake Legal Group merlin_174358911_aa6ab372-197c-4e0e-923e-2553d9ccbffc-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Education (K-12) E-Learning DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Budgets and Budgeting
Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Dr. Robert R. Redfield of the C.D.C. and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, addressed plans to reopen schools.CreditCredit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times

The Education Department may be able to reroute or withhold some emergency coronavirus relief funding that school districts say they desperately need to fund staff, programming and the public health measures recommended by the C.D.C. And the president could veto additional funds that schools want from Congress this summer.

On Wednesday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Trump would seek to “substantially bump up money for education” in the next coronavirus relief package, but “this money should go to students.”

A senior House Democratic aide said lawmakers would most likely push to limit the president’s authority to withhold school funds in a next round of relief.

Many parents, educators and doctors believe that the social, educational and psychological costs of a prolonged shutdown or online learning now outweigh the risk of the virus itself, a position expressed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. But how schools reopen safely is a matter of serious discussion.

Joining the briefing with Mr. Duncan and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former C.D.C. director, said schools should reopen, but safely.

“Here’s the bottom line,” he said. “The single most important thing we can do to keep our schools safe has nothing to do with what happens in schools. It’s how well we control Covid in the community.”

In citing European countries, Mr. Trump was making an apples-and-oranges comparison. Germany and the other nations he cited have all gained control over the pandemic, while cases are rising significantly in the United States. While the United States recorded 54,000 new cases on Tuesday alone, Sweden logged just 283, Germany reported 279, Norway had 11 and Denmark just 10. Even accounting for population differences, those countries are in significantly better condition than the United States.

Credit…Ina Fassbender/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

So far, there has been little evidence that school reopenings in Europe have resulted in widespread increases in coronavirus cases. Most countries took steps like wearing masks, reducing class sizes and keeping children in small groups at recess and lunchtime, measures that Mr. Trump is resisting.

But scientists do not know to what degree children spread the virus to others. There is some evidence that children are less likely than adults to transmit the virus, and that younger children transmit it less frequently than teenagers do. This may suggest that the risk of spread in preschools is lower than in high schools, which would be a welcome finding for many working parents and for early childhood educators, who cannot teach as effectively online as high school teachers can.

While children have proved less susceptible to the disease, teachers are more vulnerable because of their age. Many have expressed concern about returning to work in buildings that were never intended to keep children six feet apart or otherwise prevent the spread of a deadly virus.

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the mortality rate for those 25 and younger was less than a tenth of a percent, though she cautioned there was much to learn. “Until we know how many have been infected, we have no evidence that there is significant mortality in children without coexisting diseases,” she said.

But she added that children might be a threat to relatives in multigenerational homes. “Americans have done a great job in keeping infection rates low in children in the sheltering time,” she said. “We are worried now that as cases spread that it is getting to the older parents and the grandparents.”

Pam Belluck contributed reporting from New York.

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What Will Trump’s Rally in New Hampshire Be Like? It’s Anyone’s Guess

Three days before President Trump’s latest rally, in a state that Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016, the only thing that seems clear is that the president’s team has no idea what to expect.

Mr. Trump’s campaign is planning an event at an airport hangar in Portsmouth, N.H. But the state’s governor, Chris Sununu, a Republican, has said he will not be attending. It isn’t clear how many other Republican elected officials will come. The number of attendees could be low, or it could be expansive. There could be lots of people drifting in from Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts.

Campaign officials believe they will be able to prevent the kind of ticket prank that helped turn Mr. Trump’s rally last month in Tulsa, Okla., into a far smaller event than expected — but they still cannot say for sure. And most significantly, there is the looming threat of the coronavirus spreading in a crowd where attendees will be in relatively close quarters, despite being mostly outdoors.

“It’s not what we need right now in terms of Covid,” said Tom Rath, a Republican former New Hampshire attorney general. “We have been very, very fortunate — our number of deaths are quite small.”

Mr. Sununu, in particular, is threading a needle in a year when he is up for re-election in a swing state, and has gotten praise for how he has handled the coronavirus crisis, Mr. Rath said.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday night, Mr. Sununu said he might have a chance to see Mr. Trump during his swing through the state, but it would not be at the rally on Saturday.

“I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people, if that’s your question specifically,” Mr. Sununu said.

The Trump campaign is attempting a reboot of the reboot that fizzled out just a few weeks ago — the June 20 rally in Tulsa that the president and his team bragged had spurred nearly one million ticket requests. In the end, it drew only about 6,200 people to the 19,000-seat arena.

Since then, campaign officials and the White House have discussed ways to allow Mr. Trump to hit the stump the way he wants to — at big rallies — without endangering people. On Wednesday, a leading health official in Tulsa said that Mr. Trump’s rally probably contributed to a drastic increase in coronavirus cases there.

Also on Wednesday, Max Miller, the head of the advance team at the White House, was announced as the deputy campaign manager for presidential operations. Mr. Trump asked Mr. Miller to assume the role after Brad Parscale, the campaign manager, suggested that Mr. Trump choose a person with whom he has a personal relationship to help oversee the rallies.

For now, the campaign is treating the Saturday evening rally as a potential prototype for future events. Some requests from the president have not yet come to pass, according to a person familiar with the planning, such as his interest in adorning his rally with statues of founding fathers. Preserving statues of historical figures, including from the Confederacy, has become a cause for the president in recent weeks.

And Trump campaign officials dismissed the impact of the teenage TikTok users who claimed responsibility for sabotaging the president’s rally in Tulsa last month. Those ticket requests were counted when Mr. Parscale hyped the rally online, officials said. But they weeded out those requests and still thought that they could fill an arena as well as a space reserved for an overflow crowd with the president’s supporters in a red state that he won by more than 36 points four years ago.

Still, contact information from ticket registration for the New Hampshire rally was being cross-referenced with data in previous lists of supporters, in an effort to better protect themselves from online tricksters.

The more visible problem with the Tulsa event, officials conceded, was that they grossly underestimated how frightened their own supporters would be to attend an indoor rally at all. It was not clear whether they would face the same problem for the event at an airfield in New Hampshire.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_171536526_278e8724-5db9-4ada-9298-bf985fd8ac7f-articleLarge What Will Trump’s Rally in New Hampshire Be Like? It’s Anyone’s Guess Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Parscale, Brad (1976- ) New Hampshire Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Credit…Steven Senne/Associated Press

The campaign this time selected a mostly outdoor venue, and has been “strongly” encouraging attendees to wear face masks, all in the hopes of easing health concerns as officials try to stage large social gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. But officials say they are aware that they cannot force people out of their homes and into the venue — and there was a chance that the rally crowd would be thinner than expected, again.

Mr. Parscale, chastened by last month’s experience, was not hyping any crowd numbers ahead of the weekend rally.

The difficulty in giving Mr. Trump the kind of adoring rallies that he seeks has been growing more and more apparent to White House officials and campaign advisers. The campaign last month canceled a planned rally in Mobile, Ala., where the president was expected to campaign for Tommy Tuberville in his Senate runoff on Tuesday against Jeff Sessions.

In the past, when Mr. Trump has held rallies in Mobile, he has had to move his event to the Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which seats 43,000 people, because of high demand. But officials say the days of filling stadiums with that kind of capacity were behind them, for now.

Tulsa was not the first time the Trump campaign had been flooded with bogus ticket sign-ups online. Officials say they comb through all of the sign-ups and look to see whether the person requesting a ticket is a registered Republican, or has any history of voting for a Republican candidate at all. If they don’t, those requests are often discarded.

“Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVP’d with a cellphone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers,” Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission — entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”

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Alexander Vindman to Retire After Clashes With Trump

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-vindman-facebookJumbo Alexander Vindman to Retire After Clashes With Trump Vindman, Alexander S United States Defense and Military Forces United States Army Trump, Donald J National Security Council impeachment Esper, Mark T Defense Department Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — An Army officer who was a prominent witness during the impeachment inquiry into President Trump last year said on Wednesday that he had decided to retire after what his lawyer called a campaign of White House intimidation and retaliation.

The incident is the latest in what Pentagon and congressional officials say could be another flash point between the president and the military.

The witness, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran who served on the staff of the White House National Security Council, is among scores of officers who have been picked to be promoted to full colonel this year. Typically, such promotions are backed by Army and Pentagon officials before moving to the White House for final approval, and then to the Senate for a confirmation vote.

But the White House had made clear to officials in the Pentagon’s office of personnel and readiness, which handles such matters, that Mr. Trump did not want to see Colonel Vindman promoted, officials said.

Mr. Trump’s allies at the White House asked Pentagon officials to find instances of misconduct by Colonel Vindman that would justify blocking his promotion, administration officials said on Wednesday.

On multiple occasions, including this week, the White House pressed the Pentagon to seek witnesses who would come forward and say that Colonel Vindman acted improperly, the officials said.

But Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have been unable to produce such evidence, largely because it does not exist, according to one administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

With that hurdle cleared, Mr. Esper on Monday approved the promotion list, including Colonel Vindman, and it was expected to be delivered to the White House by Friday, a second administration official said.

Senior Army leaders were caught off guard by Colonel Vindman’s decision on Wednesday. Mr. McCarthy was expected to have a general officer contact Colonel Vindman to discuss his options, an administration official said.

But people familiar with Colonel Vindman’s decision said he felt increasingly pessimistic that he had a meaningful future in the Army. He announced his decision in a short Twitter message on Wednesday morning.

“Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love,” he said. “My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives.”

Colonel Vindman’s lawyer, David Pressman, said in a statement that the officer was the victim of campaign of “bullying” and “intimidation” by the White House.

“Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation, the president of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a president,” Mr. Pressman said. “Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers.”

Mr. Pressman added, “Vindman did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the president and his proxies.”

The White House declined to comment.

In his role as a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council staff, Colonel Vindman was on Mr. Trump’s phone call on July 25 with Ukraine’s president that later was a central element of the impeachment inquiry. Colonel Vindman testified in the House impeachment hearings that it was “improper for the president” to coerce a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.

Hours before Colonel Vindman was marched out of the White House in February by security guards, Mr. Trump foreshadowed his fate when asked if he would be pushed out. “Well, I’m not happy with him,” the president told reporters. “You think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not.”

A person familiar with Colonel Vindman’s decision said he decided to retire after more than 21 years in the Army when it became apparent he would not be able to serve in a useful capacity in his area of specialty, Eurasia affairs. He had been scheduled to start a term at the Army War College later this summer.

Colonel Vindman’s retirement, which still must be approved by the Army, comes despite promises from Mr. Esper and other senior military leaders to protect from retribution members of the armed services who return to military duties after serving tours at the White House.

Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, said last week that she would block Senate confirmation of 1,123 military personnel promotions until she received assurances that Colonel Vindman’s promotion would not be blocked.

“Lt. Col. Vindman’s decision to retire puts the spotlight on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s failure to protect a decorated combat veteran against a vindictive commander in chief,” Ms. Duckworth said in a statement on Wednesday.

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