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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 24)

Twitter Warns that Trump Tweet Could Spur Violence

Westlake Legal Group twitter-warns-that-trump-tweet-could-spur-violence Twitter Warns that Trump Tweet Could Spur Violence twitter Trump, Donald J Social Media Minneapolis (Minn) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots
ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_172931115_a46552ea-338d-4dcd-b9d1-33132a437045-articleLarge Twitter Warns that Trump Tweet Could Spur Violence twitter Trump, Donald J Social Media Minneapolis (Minn) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The company prevented users from viewing Mr. Trump’s message without first reading a brief notice describing the rule violation. Twitter also blocked users from liking or replying to Mr. Trump’s post.

But Twitter did not take the tweet down, saying it was in the public’s interest that the message remain accessible.

Twitter said that it had made its decision “based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”

In the tweet, Mr. Trump called the protesters “thugs” and said he had told Minnesota’s governor that the military “is with him all the way.”

“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” the president wrote. “Thank you!”

The company’s decision comes a day after Mr. Trump signed an executive order that seeks to to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content posted on their platforms. The president had fulminated over Twitter’s decision earlier this week to append fact-checking labels for the first time to two of his tweets. In response, he accused Twitter of stifling speech and said that he would put a stop to the interference.

In Mr. Trump’s tweets about the Minneapolis protests, which he posted early Friday morning, he also criticized Mayor Jacob Frey’s response to the demonstrations.

“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City,” the president wrote. Mr. Trump said Mr. Frey, a Democrat, must “get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.”

It was unclear if the president intended to send additional troops after Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard to help restore order in the Twin Cities.

Mr. Trump had previously described the video of Mr. Floyd’s death as a “very shocking sight” and “a very very sad event,” saying he had asked the F.B.I.’s investigation to be expedited.

Mr. Frey did not know about Mr. Trump’s tweets until a reporter read them aloud during a news conference early on Friday. The mayor shook his head and then gave a fiery retort, slamming a podium for emphasis.

“Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions,” he said. “Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis.”

“Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis,” he continued. “We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes. But you better be damn sure that we’re going to get through this.”

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

Why President Trump’s Order on Social Media Could Harm Him

WASHINGTON — President Trump, who built his political career on the power of a flame-throwing Twitter account, has now gone to war with Twitter, angered that it would presume to fact-check his messages. But the punishment he is threatening could force social media companies to crack down even more on customers just like Mr. Trump.

The executive order that Mr. Trump signed on Thursday seeks to strip liability protection in certain cases for companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook for the content on their sites, meaning they could face legal jeopardy if they allowed false and defamatory posts. Without a liability shield, they presumably would have to be more aggressive about policing messages that press the boundaries — like the president’s.

That, of course, is not the outcome Mr. Trump wants. What he wants is the freedom to post anything he likes without the companies applying any judgment to his messages, as Twitter did this week when it began appending “get the facts” warnings to some of his false posts on voter fraud. Furious at what he called “censorship” — even though his messages were not in fact deleted — Mr. Trump is wielding the proposed executive order like a club to compel the company to back down.

It may not work even as intended. Plenty of lawyers quickly said on Thursday that he was claiming power to do something he does not have the power to do by essentially revising the interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the law passed by Congress in 1996 that laid out the rules of the road for online media. Legal experts predicted such a move would be challenged and most likely struck down by the courts.

But the logic of Mr. Trump’s order is intriguing because it attacks the very legal provision that has allowed him such latitude to publish with impunity a whole host of inflammatory, harassing and factually distorted messages that a media provider might feel compelled to take down if it were forced into the role of a publisher that faced the risk of legal liability rather than a distributor that does not.

“Ironically, Donald Trump is a big beneficiary of Section 230,” said Kate Ruane, a senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which instantly objected to the proposed order. “If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Donald Trump’s lies, defamation and threats.”

Mr. Trump has long posted false and disparaging messages to his 80 million followers on Twitter, disregarding complaints about their accuracy or fairness. In recent weeks, he has repeatedly issued tweets that essentially falsely accused Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host, of murdering a staff member in 2001 when he was a congressman. Mr. Scarborough was 800 miles away at the time and the police found no signs of foul play. The aide’s widower asked Twitter to delete the messages, but it refused.

Mr. Trump and his allies argue that social media companies have shown bias against conservatives and need to be reined in. While they are private firms rather than the government, the president and his allies argue that they have in effect become the public square envisioned by the founders when they drafted the First Amendment and therefore should not be weighing in on one side or the other.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_172428240_3233d6c6-abd3-4d83-a8b7-1e2573bc38eb-articleLarge Why President Trump's Order on Social Media Could Harm Him United States Politics and Government twitter Trump, Donald J Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Freedom of Speech and Expression Executive Orders and Memorandums Conservatism (US Politics) Computers and the Internet Censorship
Credit…Glenn Chapman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The order that Mr. Trump signed said that an online provider that weighs in on some tweets beyond certain limited conditions “should properly lose the limited liability shield” of the law “and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.”

The order asks the Federal Communications Commission to draft regulations to that effect and directs the Federal Trade Commission to consider action against providers that “restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.”

On Thursday, Mr. Trump framed his goal as combating bias. “Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they’re a neutral platform, which they’re not, not an editor with a viewpoint,” he said in the Oval Office as he signed the order.

But some government officials said his plan was unenforceable. “This does not work,” Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the F.C.C. first appointed under President Barack Obama, said in a statement. “Social media can be frustrating. But an executive order that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into the president’s speech police is not the answer. It’s time for those in Washington to speak up for the First Amendment. History won’t be kind to silence.”

Even some conservatives objected, warning that the president was handing control of the internet to the “administrative state” and creating a bonanza for liberal trial lawyers to go after unpopular speakers traditionally filtered out by the mainstream media — including those like Mr. Trump himself.

“Conservatives must appreciate the fact that social media has empowered countless new voices on the right and allowed them to garner millions of followers and billions of views,” said Patrick Hedger, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “The net effect of social media has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The Communications Decency Act was passed during the dawn of the modern information age, intended at first to make it easier for online sites run by early pioneer companies like Prodigy and AOL to block pornography even when it is constitutional without running afoul of legal challenges.

By terming such sites as distributors rather than publishers, Section 230 gave them immunity from lawsuits in many circumstances. Over time, the law became the guarantor of a rollicking, almost no-holds-barred internet by letting sites set rules for what is and is not allowed without being liable for everything posted by visitors, as opposed to a newspaper, which is generally responsible for what it publishes.

Since Section 230 was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the courts have repeatedly shot down challenges to get around it, invoking a broad interpretation of immunity. In recent years, the court system has been flooded with litigants claiming that social media companies blocked them or their content.

As a result, Mr. Trump may face an uphill road with his order. Daphne Keller, who teaches at Stanford Law School and has written extensively on internet law and regulation, said the order appeared to be “95 percent political rhetoric and theater that doesn’t have legal effect and is inconsistent with what the courts have said.”

However, Ms. Keller, who worked as an associate general counsel at Google for 10 years, said that even if the order did not carry legal weight, it may still be challenged because it was potentially an abuse of power that could violate the First Amendment rights of the companies.

Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School and a director of the High Tech Law Institute there, said that the order “doesn’t stand a chance in court” but that it could do some damage until a legal challenge reached the judicial system. “Section 230 is a magnet for controversy, and this order pours fuel on the fire,” he said.

While the courts have sided with the internet companies, Congress is a different matter. Both Republicans and Democrats have taken issue with the protections afforded to social media companies, even though they disagree on why.

Republicans have accused the companies of censoring conservative voices and violating the spirit of the law that the internet should be a forum for a diversity of political discourse. Democrats have argued that the companies have not done enough to remove problematic content or police harassment.

Jeff Kosseff, a cybersecurity law professor at the United States Naval Academy and the author of a book about the law, “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,” said he believed that Section 230 would be repealed by Congress in the next few years. He believes that the internet of 1996, when the law was written to protect start-ups, is different now and that many of the tech firms protected under the statute are among the most valuable companies in the world.

Without Section 230, courts would be forced to apply the protections of the First Amendment to the modern internet. “We haven’t had a test of that yet,” Mr. Kosseff said, “because there was always Section 230.”

In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s order may still have an impact. “I think what the order is trying to do is say a company like Twitter holds itself out to be a neutral platform, and when it is biased against conservatives, it is acting deceptively,” said Jeffrey Westling, a technology and innovation policy fellow at R Street Institute, a public policy research organization.

Mr. Westling said the legal theory would probably be difficult to pursue. “The issue I have and I think a lot of people are starting to realize is the executive order doesn’t need to be legally enforceable to still be a threat to these companies,” he said. “The companies will likely win any challenge, but no one wants to go through litigation. It becomes a cost-benefit analysis of, ‘Is it worth it to put a fact check the next time the president puts a false tweet out there?’”

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Daisuke Wakabayashi from Oakland, Calif. Kate Conger contributed reporting from Oakland, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

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

Biden vs. Trump on Coronavirus Testing

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. has proposed harnessing the broad powers of the federal government to step up coronavirus testing, with a public-private board overseeing test manufacturing and distribution, federal safety regulators enforcing testing at work and at least 100,000 contact tracers tracking down people exposed to the virus.

The presumptive Democratic nominee’s plan, laid out in a little-noticed Medium post, stands in stark contrast to President Trump’s leave-it-to-the-states strategy, detailed in an 81-page document released over the weekend. And it presents voters in November with a classic philosophical choice over the role they want Washington to play during the worst public health crisis in a century.

With more than 100,000 Americans already dead from the coronavirus and at least 1.7 million infected, testing has emerged as a major campaign issue. Polls show that most people want better access to testing and believe that it is the job of the federal government. Like Mr. Biden, Democrats running for Congress have seized on testing as a prime example of what they view as Mr. Trump’s incompetent response to the crisis.

In Michigan, Senator Gary Peters, an incumbent Democrat, tells viewers in a TV ad that “our workplaces need to be safe” and “that means more testing.” In Colorado, an ad for Senator Cory Gardner, an incumbent Republican, begins with footage of a news anchor saying, “Coronavirus tests are coming to Colorado from South Korea because of Senator Cory Gardner.”

In Maine, Sara Gideon, a Democrat running to unseat Senator Susan Collins, is airing an ad in which she says that “the federal government needs to expand testing, which is critical to keeping us safe.” In Washington, Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference on Tuesday to attack the Trump plan as insufficient.

“Mr. President, take responsibility,” Ms. Pelosi declared, adding, “That’s what the president of the United States is supposed to do.”

Beyond the slogans and congressional calls for a national testing strategy, Mr. Biden’s plan, laid out late last month as he struggled to grab voters’ attention, begins to flesh out what such a strategy would entail.

Harking back to the War Production Board created during World War II by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the former vice president proposed a “Pandemic Testing Board” to oversee “a nationwide campaign” to increase production of diagnostic and antibody tests, coordinate distribution, identify testing sites and people to staff them, and build laboratory capacity.

Testing, he and his advisers wrote, “is the springboard we need to help get our economy safely up and running again.”

Mr. Biden said he would do what the Obama administration did during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 — instruct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which regulates workplace safety, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue detailed guidance for how employers should protect their workers, including testing, campaign advisers say. OSHA would enforce compliance.

Under Mr. Trump, OSHA has issued Covid-19 guidance for employers that is “advisory in nature and informational in content” and does not mention testing. The C.D.C.’s interim guidance for employers says only that companies “should not require a Covid-19 test result” or a doctor’s note to grant sick leave or to determine whether employees can return to work.

Mr. Biden would also create a federal entity: the U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps, a force of at least 100,000 people, including AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers and laid off workers, to trace the contacts of those who test positive for the virus. It would also “become the permanent foundation” of a service that would address other public health priorities like the opioid epidemic.

Republicans argue in favor of a more localized response led by state governments. “With support from the federal government to ensure states are meeting goals, the state plans for testing will advance the safe opening of America,” says the Trump administration’s Covid-19 Strategic Testing Plan, prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, called Mr. Biden’s idea a “typical Democratic response.”

“There’s a big difference between what’s going on in Queens, N.Y., and rural Tennessee, and the governors know best what to do,” he said, adding, “Every time you have a national problem, whether it’s education or health, the instinct of Democrats is to say, ‘Let’s solve it from Washington,’ and my instinct and that of Republicans is that this is a country that works state by state, community by community.”

Some public health experts, including those who advise the Biden campaign and some who do not, say that is a false dichotomy. The federal government could and should cooperate with and support the states, and also take a more aggressive role, they say, particularly in a chaotic environment where a global shortage has left governors — and now employers — competing for scant supplies of test kits and wondering how best to use them.

“Every university, every employer, every organization is struggling to figure out how to use testing to create a safe environment,” said David A. Kessler, a Biden campaign adviser who was the commissioner of food and drugs under Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton.

“If you’re Amazon,” he added, “you can hire people to put in place testing systems to help assure the safety of your work force, but not everyone can do that. Why are we reinventing this firm by firm, school by school, employer by employer?”

Congress required Mr. Trump to provide a national testing strategy in the $484 billion stimulus package it passed last month and required the states to submit plans to the federal government for approval. But Democrats on Capitol Hill say the strategy the Trump administration offered over the weekend falls far short of what they envisioned.

Experts say there should be two main components to a comprehensive national testing strategy: a centralized effort to acquire test kits and distribute them, and clear guidance on how to use them.

Andrew Slavitt, who was the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama and has provided advice to the Trump White House during the pandemic, said one reason for the government to control the acquisition of coronavirus tests was that commercial labs were increasing their prices to as much as $140 a test.

“In this laissez-faire policy, there are scarce resources, and whoever has the scarce resources gets to charge what they want, and the states all get to bid and now the employers are bidding,” he said. “The consequences of this are to make the distribution much more costly, much more uneven.”

As for how to use the tests, Republicans say such plans are best developed state by state, community by community. But with a virus that respects no borders, Democrats insist that a national standard is essential.

“We would say, if you want to reopen a school, then you have to test so many kids per day; they have to be retested every so often,” said Representative Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, adding: “The same thing with employers. How many people have to be tested before it’s safe to go back to work? How often do they have to be retested?”

Polls show that voters tend to favor a prominent role for the federal government. In a Pew Research survey released this month, 61 percent of Americans said coronavirus testing was mostly or entirely the responsibility of the federal government, not the states.

A Fox News poll released last week found that 63 percent of registered voters viewed the “lack of available testing” as a “major problem.” Just 12 percent said it was not a problem at all. Voters said they trusted Mr. Biden to do a better job on health care than Mr. Trump by a 17-point margin and favored Mr. Biden on the handling of the pandemic by nine points over Mr. Trump.

In a CNN poll earlier in May, 57 percent of Americans said the federal government was not doing enough to address the limited availability of coronavirus testing.

“When Americans hear Trump talking about testing not being his responsibility, the takeaway is that he’s just passing the buck,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.

While Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that anyone who wants a test can get one, that is not true in many parts of the country. It is true in Tennessee, where Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has decided that the state will pay for testing. “When in doubt, get a test,” he said on his Facebook page, adding, “Aggressive testing is key to our reopening strategy.”

And while Mr. Trump has emphasized the number of people who have been tested — more than 15 million Americans, as of Monday — experts say the more important metrics are what percentage of the population has been tested, what percentage of tests come back positive and how those tests are deployed.

“Instead of focusing on what we need to do as a country to keep ourselves and our populations and especially our vulnerable people safe, and saying let’s come up with the right testing strategy and make sure we have enough tests to implement it, we’ve just been fighting about the number of tests,” said Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Testing has been a confounding issue for Mr. Trump since the early days of the pandemic, when sloppy laboratory practices at the C.D.C. caused contamination that rendered the nation’s first coronavirus tests ineffective, delaying the rollout. The country never quite caught up.

Countries that had aggressive early testing campaigns — South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Germany, among others — have largely controlled their epidemics. Before the pandemic there were 12 direct flights between Taiwan and Wuhan, China, its epicenter, each week.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_172826667_196189da-2caa-4721-985d-fb8c78a0cf1a-articleLarge Biden vs. Trump on Coronavirus Testing United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Tests (Medical) Presidential Election of 2020 Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Biden, Joseph R Jr
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s travel ban “led us to believe that we had shut the barn door when there was a flood of virus coming into our country from multiple directions,” said J. Stephen Morrison, who runs a global health program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He added, “We didn’t have a testing system and we didn’t want one.”

Emily Cochrane and Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting from Washington, and Giovanni Russonello from New York.

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

Biden vs. Trump on Coronavirus Testing

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. has proposed harnessing the broad powers of the federal government to step up coronavirus testing, with a public-private board overseeing test manufacturing and distribution, federal safety regulators enforcing testing at work and at least 100,000 contact tracers tracking down people exposed to the virus.

The presumptive Democratic nominee’s plan, laid out in a little-noticed Medium post, stands in stark contrast to President Trump’s leave-it-to-the-states strategy, detailed in an 81-page document released over the weekend. And it presents voters in November with a classic philosophical choice over the role they want Washington to play during the worst public health crisis in a century.

With more than 100,000 Americans already dead from the coronavirus and at least 1.7 million infected, testing has emerged as a major campaign issue. Polls show that most people want better access to testing and believe that it is the job of the federal government. Like Mr. Biden, Democrats running for Congress have seized on testing as a prime example of what they view as Mr. Trump’s incompetent response to the crisis.

In Michigan, Senator Gary Peters, an incumbent Democrat, tells viewers in a TV ad that “our workplaces need to be safe” and “that means more testing.” In Colorado, an ad for Senator Cory Gardner, an incumbent Republican, begins with footage of a news anchor saying, “Coronavirus tests are coming to Colorado from South Korea because of Senator Cory Gardner.”

In Maine, Sara Gideon, a Democrat running to unseat Senator Susan Collins, is airing an ad in which she says that “the federal government needs to expand testing, which is critical to keeping us safe.” In Washington, Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference on Tuesday to attack the Trump plan as insufficient.

“Mr. President, take responsibility,” Ms. Pelosi declared, adding, “That’s what the president of the United States is supposed to do.”

Beyond the slogans and congressional calls for a national testing strategy, Mr. Biden’s plan, laid out late last month as he struggled to grab voters’ attention, begins to flesh out what such a strategy would entail.

Harking back to the War Production Board created during World War II by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the former vice president proposed a “Pandemic Testing Board” to oversee “a nationwide campaign” to increase production of diagnostic and antibody tests, coordinate distribution, identify testing sites and people to staff them, and build laboratory capacity.

Testing, he and his advisers wrote, “is the springboard we need to help get our economy safely up and running again.”

Mr. Biden said he would do what the Obama administration did during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 — instruct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which regulates workplace safety, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue detailed guidance for how employers should protect their workers, including testing, campaign advisers say. OSHA would enforce compliance.

Under Mr. Trump, OSHA has issued Covid-19 guidance for employers that is “advisory in nature and informational in content” and does not mention testing. The C.D.C.’s interim guidance for employers says only that companies “should not require a Covid-19 test result” or a doctor’s note to grant sick leave or to determine whether employees can return to work.

Mr. Biden would also create a federal entity: the U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps, a force of at least 100,000 people, including AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers and laid off workers, to trace the contacts of those who test positive for the virus. It would also “become the permanent foundation” of a service that would address other public health priorities like the opioid epidemic.

Republicans argue in favor of a more localized response led by state governments. “With support from the federal government to ensure states are meeting goals, the state plans for testing will advance the safe opening of America,” says the Trump administration’s Covid-19 Strategic Testing Plan, prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, called Mr. Biden’s idea a “typical Democratic response.”

“There’s a big difference between what’s going on in Queens, N.Y., and rural Tennessee, and the governors know best what to do,” he said, adding, “Every time you have a national problem, whether it’s education or health, the instinct of Democrats is to say, ‘Let’s solve it from Washington,’ and my instinct and that of Republicans is that this is a country that works state by state, community by community.”

Some public health experts, including those who advise the Biden campaign and some who do not, say that is a false dichotomy. The federal government could and should cooperate with and support the states, and also take a more aggressive role, they say, particularly in a chaotic environment where a global shortage has left governors — and now employers — competing for scant supplies of test kits and wondering how best to use them.

“Every university, every employer, every organization is struggling to figure out how to use testing to create a safe environment,” said David A. Kessler, a Biden campaign adviser who was the commissioner of food and drugs under Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton.

“If you’re Amazon,” he added, “you can hire people to put in place testing systems to help assure the safety of your work force, but not everyone can do that. Why are we reinventing this firm by firm, school by school, employer by employer?”

Congress required Mr. Trump to provide a national testing strategy in the $484 billion stimulus package it passed last month and required the states to submit plans to the federal government for approval. But Democrats on Capitol Hill say the strategy the Trump administration offered over the weekend falls far short of what they envisioned.

Experts say there should be two main components to a comprehensive national testing strategy: a centralized effort to acquire test kits and distribute them, and clear guidance on how to use them.

Andrew Slavitt, who was the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama and has provided advice to the Trump White House during the pandemic, said one reason for the government to control the acquisition of coronavirus tests was that commercial labs were increasing their prices to as much as $140 a test.

“In this laissez-faire policy, there are scarce resources, and whoever has the scarce resources gets to charge what they want, and the states all get to bid and now the employers are bidding,” he said. “The consequences of this are to make the distribution much more costly, much more uneven.”

As for how to use the tests, Republicans say such plans are best developed state by state, community by community. But with a virus that respects no borders, Democrats insist that a national standard is essential.

“We would say, if you want to reopen a school, then you have to test so many kids per day; they have to be retested every so often,” said Representative Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, adding: “The same thing with employers. How many people have to be tested before it’s safe to go back to work? How often do they have to be retested?”

Polls show that voters tend to favor a prominent role for the federal government. In a Pew Research survey released this month, 61 percent of Americans said coronavirus testing was mostly or entirely the responsibility of the federal government, not the states.

A Fox News poll released last week found that 63 percent of registered voters viewed the “lack of available testing” as a “major problem.” Just 12 percent said it was not a problem at all. Voters said they trusted Mr. Biden to do a better job on health care than Mr. Trump by a 17-point margin and favored Mr. Biden on the handling of the pandemic by nine points over Mr. Trump.

In a CNN poll earlier in May, 57 percent of Americans said the federal government was not doing enough to address the limited availability of coronavirus testing.

“When Americans hear Trump talking about testing not being his responsibility, the takeaway is that he’s just passing the buck,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.

While Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that anyone who wants a test can get one, that is not true in many parts of the country. It is true in Tennessee, where Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has decided that the state will pay for testing. “When in doubt, get a test,” he said on his Facebook page, adding, “Aggressive testing is key to our reopening strategy.”

And while Mr. Trump has emphasized the number of people who have been tested — more than 15 million Americans, as of Monday — experts say the more important metrics are what percentage of the population has been tested, what percentage of tests come back positive and how those tests are deployed.

“Instead of focusing on what we need to do as a country to keep ourselves and our populations and especially our vulnerable people safe, and saying let’s come up with the right testing strategy and make sure we have enough tests to implement it, we’ve just been fighting about the number of tests,” said Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Testing has been a confounding issue for Mr. Trump since the early days of the pandemic, when sloppy laboratory practices at the C.D.C. caused contamination that rendered the nation’s first coronavirus tests ineffective, delaying the rollout. The country never quite caught up.

Countries that had aggressive early testing campaigns — South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Germany, among others — have largely controlled their epidemics. Before the pandemic there were 12 direct flights between Taiwan and Wuhan, China, its epicenter, each week.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_172826667_196189da-2caa-4721-985d-fb8c78a0cf1a-articleLarge Biden vs. Trump on Coronavirus Testing United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Tests (Medical) Presidential Election of 2020 Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Biden, Joseph R Jr
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s travel ban “led us to believe that we had shut the barn door when there was a flood of virus coming into our country from multiple directions,” said J. Stephen Morrison, who runs a global health program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He added, “We didn’t have a testing system and we didn’t want one.”

Emily Cochrane and Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting from Washington, and Giovanni Russonello from New York.

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

Defying Trump, Twitter Doubles Down on Labeling Tweets

OAKLAND, Calif. — Twitter continued to add new fact-checking labels to hundreds of tweets, even as the Trump administration prepared an executive order to curtail the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content posted on their platforms.

Twitter’s move escalated the confrontation between the company and President Trump, who has fulminated this week over actions taken by his favorite social media service.

Twitter on Tuesday had appended fact-checking labels for the first time to two of Mr. Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots, refuting their accuracy. In response, Mr. Trump accused Twitter of stifling speech and declared that he would put a stop to the interference.

Since then, White House officials have drafted an executive order that would make it easier for federal regulators to argue that companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter are suppressing free speech when they suspend users or delete posts. The executive order may come as early as Thursday.

But Twitter has doubled down. Late Wednesday, it added fact-checking labels to messages from Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry who had claimed that the coronavirus outbreak may have begun in the United States and been brought to China by the U.S. military.

Twitter also added notices on hundreds of tweets that falsely claimed a photo of a man in a red baseball cap was Derek Chauvin, an officer involved in the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died this week after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by police. The Twitter label alerted viewers that the image was “manipulated media.”

The drama between Twitter and Mr. Trump shows that a backlash against large tech companies, which had receded in the initial phases of the pandemic, is now back in full force. The Justice Department has also recently signaled that it is preparing to bring an antitrust case against Google, perhaps as soon as this summer.

“This proposed executive order seems designed to punish a handful of companies for perceived slights,” said Jon Berroya, chief executive of the Internet Association, a lobbying group representing many of the major tech companies. “It stands to undermine a variety of government efforts to protect public safety and spread critical information online through social media and threatens the vibrancy of a core segment of our economy.”

A Twitter spokeswoman said that the tweets modified on Wednesday contained “potentially misleading content” and that the fact-checking was consistent with the company’s approach this month.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, also said he would not back down from the fact-checking effort. “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information,” he wrote.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163192350_49b287d3-3a37-4063-a3d7-8f91a3cf1797-articleLarge Defying Trump, Twitter Doubles Down on Labeling Tweets Zuckerberg, Mark E United States Politics and Government twitter Trump, Donald J Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Facebook Inc Executive Orders and Memorandums Dorsey, Jack Corporate Social Responsibility Computers and the Internet Censorship
Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

A draft of the executive order targets protections granted to technology services under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The law gives tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter broad immunity from liability for content created by their users.

As Mr. Trump and other conservative figures have claimed that social media companies are biased against them, Republican lawmakers have proposed modifications to the statute. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has argued that to maintain Section 230 protections, social media services should be required to submit to a third-party audit to ensure their content moderation systems are politically neutral.

Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon who wrote the law, said Mr. Trump was threatening Section 230 to “chill speech and bully” the big tech companies into giving the White House more favorable treatment.

“He’s clearly targeting Section 230 because it protects private businesses’ right not to have to play host to his lies,” Mr. Wyden said in a statement. “Efforts to erode Section 230 will only make online content more likely to be false and dangerous.”

The draft of the executive order included new ways that federal agencies could enforce against what it called “selective censoring.” If introduced, it would likely face legal challenges.

Harold Feld, the senior vice president of Public Knowledge, a policy nonprofit, said that the draft executive order appeared designed to limit speech on social media that disagreed with the president. That was “literally the worst case scenario that the authors of the First Amendment were afraid of,” he said.

Twitter’s confrontation with Mr. Trump has also opened new fissures in Silicon Valley. While Mr. Dorsey has doubled down on fact-checking tweets, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has distanced his social network from that effort.

In a taped television interview that ran Thursday morning on Fox News, Mr. Zuckerberg said, “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.”

His comments were at odds with some of his own company’s actions. In the past, Facebook, too, introduced fact-checking labels, using third-party services to review potentially false information. The approach has been scattershot and uneven, and critics have argued that third-party fact checkers have been unable to keep up with the billions of pieces of content on the social network.

“We’re talking about this as if it’s about fact-checking, but it’s not,” said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media watchdog. “It’s about whether platforms will facilitate fraud that undermines civic engagement.”

Facebook declined to comment.

On Twitter, Mr. Dorsey fired back after Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments became public before they were aired.

“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,’” he said of his decision to fact-check tweets. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

Kate Conger reported from Oakland, Calif., and Mike Isaac from San Francisco.

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Trump Prepares Social Media Executive Order to Limit Protections

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The Trump administration is preparing an executive order intended to curtail the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for what gets posted on their platforms, two senior administration officials said early Thursday.

Such an order, which officials said was still being drafted and was subject to change, would make it easier for federal regulators to argue that companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter are suppressing free speech when they move to suspend users or delete posts, among other examples.

The move is almost certain to face a court challenge and is the latest salvo by President Trump in his repeated threats to crack down on online platforms. Twitter this week attached fact-checking notices to two of the president’s tweets after he made false claims about voter fraud, and Mr. Trump and his supporters have long accused social media companies of silencing conservative voices.

White House officials said the president would sign the order later Thursday, but they declined to comment on its content. A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment.

Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, online companies have broad immunity from liability for content created by their users.

But the draft of the executive order, which refers to what it calls “selective censoring,” would allow the Commerce Department to try to refocus how broadly Section 230 is applied, and to let the Federal Trade Commission bulk up a tool for reporting online bias.

It would also provide limitations on how federal dollars can be spent to advertise on social media platforms.

Some of the ideas in the executive order date to a “social media summit” held last July at the White House, officials said.

Although the law does not provide social media companies blanket protection — for instance, the companies must still comply with copyright law and remove pirated materials posted by users — it does shield them from some responsibility for their users’ posts.

Along with the First Amendment, Section 230 has helped social media companies flourish. They can set their own lax or strict rules for content on their platforms, and they can moderate as they see fit. Defenders of the law, including technology companies, have argued that any move to repeal or alter it would cripple online discussion.

But as conservatives have claimed that social media companies are biased against them and overmoderate their political views, Republican lawmakers have increasingly pushed to modify the statute.

Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri also chimed in this week after Twitter applied its new fact-checking standard to the president. Both lawmakers have been critics of the protections that technology companies enjoy under Section 230, and they renewed their calls to alter it.

The president has long favored Twitter as a means to reach his supporters, posting personal attacks and previewing policy. This week, Mr. Trump repeatedly spread a debunked conspiracy theory about the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and the death of a woman who worked for him in his congressional office years ago. The woman’s widower has pleaded with Mr. Trump to stop.

The president ignored the widower’s request and denounced Twitter, claiming in a tweet that the social media company was trying to tamper with the November presidential election.

On Wednesday, he continued to criticize the company, accusing it of stifling conservative views. “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” Mr. Trump tweeted.

A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment on the executive order. Representatives for Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, appeared to be pre-emptively trying to soften any blowback from the White House. In a taped television interview scheduled for Thursday morning with Fox, he cast aspersions on Twitter’s willingness to fact check Mr. Trump on its platform in real time.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

Courts have often ruled in favor of technology companies, upholding their immunity. It is not clear that the executive order would alter judges’ views on the law.

“It’s unclear what to make of this because to a certain extent, you can’t just issue an executive order and overturn on a whim 25 years of judicial precedent about how a law is interpreted,” said Kate Klonick, an assistant law professor at St. John’s University who studies online speech and content moderation.

Ms. Klonick, who said she had seen a draft version of the order, said that it was “likely not going to be upheld by a court.”

Mike Isaac and Dai Wakabayashi contributed reporting.

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U.S. to Expel Chinese Graduate Students With Ties to China’s Military Schools

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration plans to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese graduate students and researchers in the United States who have direct ties to universities affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army, according to American officials with knowledge of the discussions.

The plan would be the first designed to bar the access of a category of Chinese students, who, over all, form the single largest foreign student population in the United States.

It portends possible further educational restrictions, and the Chinese government could retaliate by imposing its own visa or educational bans on Americans. The two nations have already engaged in rounds of retribution over policies involving trade, technology and media access, and relations are at their worst point in decades.

American officials are discussing ways to punish China for its passage of a new national security law intended to enable crackdowns in Hong Kong, but the plans to cancel student visas were under consideration before the crisis over the law, which was announced last week by Chinese officials. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the visa plans with President Trump on Tuesday in a White House meeting.

American universities are expected to push back against the administration’s move. While international educational exchange is prized for its intellectual value, many schools also rely on full tuition payments from foreign students to help cover costs, especially the large group of students from China.

Administrators and teachers have been briefed in recent years by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department on potential national security threats posed by Chinese students, especially ones working in the sciences. But the university employees are wary of a possible new “red scare” that targets students of a specific national background and that could contribute to anti-Asian racism.

Many of them argue that they have effective security protocols in place, and that having Chinese students be exposed to the liberalizing effects of Western institutions outweighs the risks. Moreover, they say, the Chinese students are experts in their subject fields and bolster American research efforts.

Chinese students and researchers say growing scrutiny from the American government and new official limits on visas would create biases against them, including when they apply for jobs or grants.

The visa cancellation could affect at least 3,000 students, according to some official estimates. That is a tiny percentage of the approximately 360,000 Chinese students in the United States. But some of those affected might be working on important research projects.

The move is certain to ignite public debate. Officials acknowledged there was no direct evidence that pointed to wrongdoing by the students who are about to lose their visas. Instead, suspicions by American officials center on the Chinese universities at which the students trained as undergraduates.

“In China, much more of society is government-controlled or government-affiliated,” said Frank Wu, a law professor who is the incoming president of Queens College. “You can’t function there or have partners from there if you aren’t comfortable with how the system is set up.”

“Targeting only some potential professors, scholars, students and visitors from China is a lower level of stereotyping than banning all,” he added. “But it is still selective, based on national origin.”

The State Department and the National Security Council both declined to comment.

American officials who defend the visa cancellation said the ties to the Chinese military at those schools go far deeper than mere campus recruiting. Instead, in many cases, the Chinese government plays a role in selecting which students from the schools with ties to the military can study abroad, one official said. In some cases, students who are allowed to go overseas are expected to collect information as a condition of having their tuition paid, the official said, declining to reveal specific intelligence on the matter.

Officials did not provide the list of affected schools, but the People’s Liberation Army has ties to military institutions and defense research schools, as well as to seven more traditional universities, many of them prestigious colleges in China with well-funded science and technology programs.

The F.B.I. and the Justice Department have long viewed the military-affiliated schools as a particular problem, believing military officials train some of the graduates in basic espionage techniques and compel them to gather and transmit information to Chinese officers.

While some government officials emphasize the intelligence threat posed by students from military-affiliated universities, others see those Chinese citizens as potential recruits for American spy agencies. Preventing the students from coming to the United States may make it more difficult for the agencies to recruit assets inside the Chinese military.

After completing their graduate work, some students land jobs at prominent technology companies in the United States. That has made some current and former American officials wary that the employees could engage in industrial espionage.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, who now leads the committee, has sent letters to universities in his state warning about ties to the Chinese government.

Mr. Rubio has been pushing schools to cut relations with China’s Thousand Talents program, which has provided funding for American researchers — including Charles M. Lieber, the chairman of Harvard University’s chemistry and chemical biology department, who was arrested by the F.B.I. in January on charges of concealing his financial relationship with the Chinese government.

Asked about the Trump administration’s move to cancel the visas of some Chinese students studying in the United States, Mr. Rubio said he supported “a targeted approach” to make it more difficult for the Chinese Communist Party to exploit the openness of American schools to advance their own military and intelligence abilities.

“The Chinese government too often entraps its own people into service” to the Communist Party and its objectives “in exchange for an education in the U.S.,” Mr. Rubio said, adding that “higher education institutions in America need to be fully aware of this counterintelligence threat.”

Other Republican lawmakers proposed legislation on Wednesday to bar any Chinese citizen from getting a visa for graduate or postgraduate study in science or technology.

Trump administration officials have discussed restricting Chinese student visas over the past three years, current and former officials said.

In 2018, the State Department began limiting the length of visas to one year, with an option for renewal, for Chinese graduate students working in fields deemed sensitive. An official said targeting graduates of the military-linked schools gathered steam after the F.B.I. announced in January that it was seeking a Boston University student who had hid her affiliation with the People’s Liberation Army when applying for a visa.

F.B.I. officials said the student, Yanqing Ye, had studied at the National University of Defense Technology in China and was commissioned as a lieutenant before enrolling in Boston University’s department of physics, chemistry and biomedical engineering from October 2017 to April 2019.

While in Boston, Lieutenant Ye continued to get assignments from the Chinese military, including “conducting research, assessing United States military websites and sending United States documents and information to China,” according to the F.B.I. wanted poster.

The Justice Department charged Lieutenant Ye, who is believed to be in China, with acting as a foreign agent, visa fraud and false statements.

The vigorous interagency debate over the move to cancel visas has lasted about six months, with science and technology officials generally opposing the action and national security officials supporting it.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank, has researched the Chinese military-affiliated universities, and that has influenced thinking in the American government. A 2018 report called “Picking Flowers, Making Honey” said China was sending students from those universities to Western universities to try to build up its own military technology.

The study suggested that the graduates were targeting the so-called Five Eyes countries that share intelligence: the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Australia. In many cases, the report said, students hid their military affiliations while seeking work in fields with defense applications, like hypersonics.

Under the current Chinese government, Beijing has aggressively tried to combine military and civilian work on important technology, said American officials and outside researchers. That often includes tapping the expertise of civilian companies and universities.

“To some degree, U.S. concerns are driven by the assessment that Chinese companies and universities seem unlikely to refuse outright or could be compelled to work with the military, whereas their American counterparts often appear more resistant to working on military research,” Elsa B. Kania, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, wrote in a report last August.

“It is also striking at the same time that some of China’s leading technology companies appear to be less directly engaged in supporting defense initiatives than might be expected relative to their American counterparts,” she added.

United States officials said the fusion policy also entailed sending military-trained students to American universities to try to gain access to technological know-how that would be valuable to China and its defense industry.

The Chinese military has strong ties to a number of schools with an overt military bent, according to the Australian think tank.

Less obvious to the casual observer are the more traditional universities with longstanding ties to the military.

According to the policy institute and American officials, those are Northwestern Polytechnical University, Harbin Engineering University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Beihang University, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Nanjing University of Science and Technology.

Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Beijing.

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Hong Kong Has Lost Autonomy, Pompeo Says, Opening Door to U.S. Action

Mr. Pompeo’s action came just hours before China was expected to pass a national security law that would allow Chinese security agencies to take broad actions limiting the liberties of Hong Kong residents, many of whom have protested the proposed law and clashed with police officers.

The United States and China appear to be on a collision course over the future of Hong Kong, a center of global capitalism and symbol of resistance to the Chinese Communist Party. Relations between the two nations are at their worst in decades, and disputes have flared over trade, national security and the origins of the coronavirus.

President Trump’s foreign policy aides are discussing actions that would be among the harshest punishments taken against China over the past three years. The actions could have far-reaching consequences for global commerce and transform how Chinese and foreign companies operate, as well as upend the lives of many of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents, who have been under enormous pressure from years of political crackdowns.

Hong Kong has been a financial and commercial hub since late last century. China relies on the bustling city of ports and skyscrapers on the edge of the South China Sea for transactions with other countries. Many Chinese and foreign firms use Hong Kong as an international or regional base, and members of elite Communist Party families or executives with ties to them do business and own property there. Many companies also raise capital by listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Mr. Pompeo has said the security law would be a “death knell” for Hong Kong, which has had liberties under a semiautonomous system of governance that do not exist in mainland China, including freedoms of speech, the press and assembly, as well as an independent judiciary.

In recent days, protesters in Hong Kong have taken to the streets to voice outrage at the proposed law, only to be beaten back by police officers clad in riot gear and firing tear gas.

American diplomats said they called on Wednesday for a virtual meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss Hong Kong, but China blocked the move.

If it proceeds with punishments, the Trump administration could impose the same tariffs on exports from Hong Kong that it puts on goods from mainland China, said officials with knowledge of the discussions. Other trade restrictions that apply to China, including bans or limits on what American companies can sell to Chinese companies because of national security or human rights concerns, may be imposed on Hong Kong as well.

Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers are discussing visa bans on Chinese officials who enact the law.

“I certified to Congress today that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997,” Mr. Pompeo said Wednesday. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”

“Hong Kong and its dynamic, enterprising and free people have flourished for decades as a bastion of liberty, and this decision gives me no pleasure,” he added. “But sound policymaking requires a recognition of reality. While the United States once hoped that free and prosperous Hong Kong would provide a model for authoritarian China, it is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself.”

Mr. Pompeo is the most vocal of a group of national security officials who advocate tough policies on China. Some of Mr. Trump’s top economic advisers prefer a more conciliatory approach to dealing with China, the world’s second-largest economy, and will likely urge caution. American corporate executives have said the administration should act with care.

Mr. Trump has rarely made any strong comments on the situation in Hong Kong, and he has praised Xi Jinping, the president of China, throughout his time in office, even insisting that they have a strong friendship. Mr. Trump has also been eager to promote a trade agreement he signed with China in January as an economic win for the United States. He wants to avoid jeopardizing that deal, even though Beijing is not meeting purchasing quotas mandated by it.

The president is keen to boost the U.S. economy, which has fallen into recession during the pandemic, ahead of the November presidential election.

But on Tuesday, when asked by reporters about China’s proposed national security law, Mr. Trump said he planned to act this week. “I think you’ll find it very interesting,” he said, adding that his response would come “very powerfully.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_172871856_1c5f4d61-6dad-417b-859d-87923dc3f8ab-articleLarge Hong Kong Has Lost Autonomy, Pompeo Says, Opening Door to U.S. Action United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike Law and Legislation International Trade and World Market Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong China
Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The certification by the State Department is a recommendation on policy and does not itself catalyze actions immediately. American officials, including Mr. Trump, will now weigh what steps to take.

The United States is likely to choose specific areas in which to break off cooperation first with Hong Kong, including trade and law enforcement.

The president would need to issue an executive order to end the special relationship entirely, according to people familiar with the discussions. One possibility is for the United States to take piecemeal action over the next year before ending the special status if China does not change course, they said.

“We’re not hopeful that Beijing will reverse itself, but that is an option,” David R. Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, said of the Chinese government’s push on the national security law.

Britain handed Hong Kong to China in 1997, after the two nations reached an agreement on the colony 13 years earlier. In 1992, the United States passed a law that said the American government would treat a Beijing-ruled Hong Kong under the same conditions it had applied to the British colony.

In November, after months of pro-democracy protests and crackdowns by the police in Hong Kong, Mr. Trump signed into law a bipartisan bill requiring the State Department to provide an annual certification to Congress to help determine whether to continue the special relationship with Hong Kong.

That certification depends on a judgment by department officials of whether China was ceding enough autonomy to Hong Kong.

Susan Shirk, a former State Department official now at the University of California, San Diego, said that given the mandate from Congress, Mr. Pompeo had no choice on his assessment “once Beijing blatantly overruled the Hong Kong legislature with a new law that integrates Hong Kong” into the Chinese security state.

“Of course, the big losers will be the people of Hong Kong, not the politicians in Beijing or Washington who produced this predicament,” she added.

Mr. Pompeo’s announcement is certain to draw condemnation from Beijing, where the government is holding its annual legislative session this week. Officials announced details of the proposed law Friday, at the start of the session.

“If anyone insists on harming China’s interests, China is determined to take all necessary countermeasures,” Zhao Lijian, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a news conference earlier Wednesday in Beijing. “The national security law for Hong Kong is purely China’s internal affair that allows no foreign interference.”

Some American business executives are advising the Trump administration to tread carefully on changing the relationship with Hong Kong.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents American companies in Hong Kong, said in a statement Tuesday that it was “deeply concerned” about the proposed national security law. It asked the Chinese government to “peacefully de-escalate” the situation and preserve the semi-autonomy of the “one country, two systems” framework that, under the 1984 treaty between Beijing and London, is supposed to exist until 2047.

“We likewise urge the Trump administration to continue to prioritize the maintenance of a positive and constructive relationship between the United States and Hong Kong,” the group said.

It added that “far-reaching changes” to Hong Kong’s status “in economic and trade matters would have serious implications for Hong Kong and for U.S. business, particularly those with business operations located there who exercise a positive influence in favor of Hong Kong’s core values.”

Julian Ku, a law professor at Hofstra University, said the Trump administration had flexibility on which options to exercise.

“I would expect the president would act on some agreements, but not on others,” Mr. Ku said. For example, he noted, the administration might terminate the extradition treaty with Hong Kong, since the national security law makes fair adjudication less credible, or it could put Hong Kong under the same controls that limit American technology exports to China.

“But he might leave the visa waiver treatment that Hong Kong residents currently receive when coming to the U.S. alone for now,” he said.

Mark Williams, the chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, said Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imports from mainland China — which are paid by American companies — would not automatically extend to Hong Kong despite the new State Department assessment. But the cumulative effect of various actions would erode Hong Kong’s status as an international business center, Mr. Williams wrote in a note to clients.

“The irony is that in punishing Hong Kong, we wind up martyring it rather than saving it,” said Daniel Russel, an assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific in the Obama administration. As for diplomacy between Washington and Beijing, he said: “The brake pads in the relationship have worn very, very thin. And it’s hard to see this confrontation going anywhere except escalation.”

In Congress, Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida and a sponsor of the bill on Hong Kong that passed last fall, cheered Mr. Pompeo’s announcement.

“For years, the Chinese government and Communist Party have walked back on its commitment to ensure autonomy and freedom for Hong Kong,” Mr. Rubio said. “We cannot let Beijing profit from breaking the Sino-British Joint Declaration and trying to crush the spirit of Hong Kong’s people.”

On another front, the State Department plans to expand the list of Chinese state-run news organizations operating in the United States on which it has imposed new restrictions, including foreign employee quotas, American officials said. And the agency is watching to see if China will retaliate against American journalists in Hong Kong for the administration’s most recent round of visa restrictions against Chinese journalists. In March, China expelled American journalists from three news organizations, including The New York Times.

Michael Crowley and Ana Swanson contributed reporting from Washington, and Keith Bradsher from Beijing.

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Twitter Comes Under Attack From Trump’s Supporters

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Not long after Twitter added a warning label to two of President Trump’s tweets on Tuesday, his supporters swung into action.

On Twitter, Mr. Trump’s adherents targeted one of the company’s executives for old tweets in which he had criticized the president and other Republicans. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers including Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, said they would move to regulate Twitter.

In right-wing media, pundits such as Trish Regan and websites like the Gateway Pundit decried the decision and accused Twitter of bias. The furor quickly spread through dozens of Facebook groups, Reddit forums and YouTube videos.

The activity was payback for Twitter, Mr. Trump’s favorite social media platform, after the company took action on the president’s tweets for the first time. While for years Twitter had been hands-off on Mr. Trump’s posts, which have often included falsehoods and threats, it added fact-checking labels to two of the president’s messages related to mail-in ballots on Tuesday to signal that they were inaccurate.

That sparked a vitriolic reaction from Mr. Trump, who said on Twitter that the company was interfering with the presidential election and stifling free speech. His supporters — a mixture of mainstream Republicans, far-right personalities and online acolytes — then quickly turned to a well-worn playbook of vilifying those whom they saw as slighting him.

But this time, the right-wing machinery training its sights on a publicly traded company — Twitter — and its roughly 5,000 employees, took on an added menace, disinformation researchers said.

The tactics are something that Mr. Trump’s supporters “return to again and again,” said Melissa Ryan, chief executive of Card Strategies, a consulting firm that researches disinformation. “Where it gets worrisome for the tech companies is, of course, the Trump administration has the power to make their life very difficult.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump continued his tirade. In two tweets, he accused social media companies of working to “totally silence conservatives voices.” He added, “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”

The right-wing backlash against Twitter built even as some researchers questioned how effective the labels on Mr. Trump’s tweets would be. Some said they were unlikely to sway public opinion about the reliability of Mr. Trump’s statements; others criticized the “get the facts” language that Twitter had added to the posts as vague. Several pointed out that Twitter had not gone as far as removing the posts.

Even labeling a claim “false” on social media reduced its perceived accuracy by only about 13 percentage points, said Katie Clayton, a researcher who worked on a 2019 study at Dartmouth College that examined fact-check labels on news headlines on Facebook.

Still, she said, Twitter’s actions were “a step in the right direction.”

A Twitter spokesman said the online harassment that one of its executives was experiencing was “disappointing.” The San Francisco company, whose employees curated its fact-checks, added that it would continue labeling tweets that contained misinformation about elections or coronavirus. It said it might expand those policies to include labels for misinformation about additional topics.

In total, the backlash against Twitter has spread to more than 100 Facebook group and pages, thousands of tweets and several Reddit forums in which Mr. Trump’s followers have claimed that Twitter suppresses conservative speech, according to a New York Times analysis. In those online threads, Trump supporters said Twitter employees were biased liberals and urged Mr. Trump to fast-track regulations to limit the company.

“I wonder if Jack Dorsey grew up dreaming: ‘one day I will connect the world with an easy to use app, giving every individual a voice, then I will censor, throttle, and ban the people with whom I disagree,’” wrote one Twitter user, referring to the social network’s chief executive.

Fans of Mr. Trump also rapidly turned on Yoel Roth, a Twitter executive who combats bots, election interference and fake accounts. The campaign against Mr. Roth started late Tuesday when Liz Wheeler, a TV host on One America News Network, a cable network that has championed the Trump administration’s agenda, unearthed and reposted tweets in which Mr. Roth had referred to Mr. Trump as a “racist tangerine.” Others added a tweet from Mr. Roth that called Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, a “bag of farts.”

Far-right media outlets like Breitbart and The Gateway Pundit immediately seized on the messages as proof that Twitter was biased against conservatives. By Wednesday morning, Mr. Roth’s old tweets had reached the White House. On Fox News, Kellyanne Conway referenced him by name and called on supporters to “wake him up.”

“I think I want to raise the name of somebody at Twitter,” Ms. Conway said in the interview, spelling out Mr. Roth’s Twitter handle so that viewers could find his social media profile. “Somebody in San Francisco, go wake him up and tell him he’s about to get a lot more followers.”

Mentions of Mr. Roth on Twitter spiked to 180 mentions in a five-minute span on Tuesday evening, and to 478 mentions on Wednesday morning, according to The Times analysis. Mr. Roth declined to comment.

The decision to fact-check Mr. Trump was not Mr. Roth’s, a Twitter spokesman said. It was instead made by executives focused on legal and policy issues after Mr. Trump’s tweets were reported to the company through a portal used by election-related nonprofits and those who administer elections in states.

In Washington, the confrontation between Mr. Trump and Twitter reinvigorated calls among Republican lawmakers to change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects technology companies from most liability for content posted by their users.

“The law still protects social media companies like Twitter because they are considered forums not publishers,” Mr. Rubio tweeted on Tuesday. “But if they have now decided to exercise an editorial role like a publisher then they should no longer be shielded from liability & treated as publishers under the law.”

In a letter on Wednesday to Mr. Dorsey, Mr. Hawley said Twitter enjoyed a “special immunity worth billions” and called on lawmakers to put an end to the “sweetheart deal.”

Ms. Ryan, the disinformation researcher, said Twitter is in “uncharted territory.”

“You can predict pretty easily how Trump is going to respond,” she said. But with Twitter, “once the company enforces a policy, is it going to succumb to the blowback? Or is it going to stay the course? I think that’s the important thing to watch moving forward.”

Kate Conger reported from Oakland, Calif., and Davey Alba from New York. Ben Decker contributed reporting.

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‘Ugly Even for Him’: Trump’s Media Allies Recoil at His Smear of MSNBC Host

Westlake Legal Group 27trump-media2-facebookJumbo ‘Ugly Even for Him’: Trump’s Media Allies Recoil at His Smear of MSNBC Host Washington Examiner, The Wall Street Journal Trump, Donald J Scarborough, Joe News and News Media New York Post Klausutis, Lori (1972-2001) Fox News Channel

Even President Trump’s most stalwart media defenders have recoiled at his baseless smears against the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, whom Mr. Trump has all but accused of killing a former staff member two decades ago despite a total lack of evidence.

The president is accustomed to — and often relishes — blowback from critics in the press. But he is now facing an unusual chorus of reproach from the media platforms he relies on for comfort.

The New York Post, Mr. Trump’s first read in the mornings, lamented in an editorial on Tuesday that the president “decided to suggest that a TV morning-show host committed murder. That is a depressing sentence to type.” The Post’s editorial board went on to scold its most powerful reader: “Trust us, you did not look like the bigger man.”

Vile,” declared the editorial board of The Washington Examiner, the popular conservative news site, in a scathing article on Wednesday that called Mr. Trump’s attacks “incompatible with leadership.” Mr. Trump is so enamored of The Examiner that he often grants interviews to its journalists, including one earlier this month.

And the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, a bellwether of establishment conservative thought, called Mr. Trump’s unfounded accusation against Mr. Scarborough “ugly even for him.”

“We don’t write this with any expectation that Mr. Trump will stop,” The Journal wrote in its editorial. “Perhaps he even thinks this helps him politically, though we can’t imagine how. But Mr. Trump is debasing his office, and he’s hurting the country in doing so.”

This is not the first time that otherwise pro-Trump media outlets have balked at the president’s more outlandish behavior.

When The Journal criticized Mr. Trump in April for his freewheeling coronavirus briefings, the president spat back on Twitter, writing, “WSJ is Fake News!”

If this week’s blowback affected Mr. Trump, the president has not shown it: He taunted Mr. Scarborough again on Wednesday in a tweet that referred to a “Cold Case.”

The president’s attacks have caused anguish to the family of Lori Klausutis, the staff member in Mr. Scarborough’s former Congressional office who died in 2001 when a heart condition caused her to fall and hit her head on a desk. Mr. Scarborough was not present and the police ruled her death an accident. Ms. Klausutis’s relatives have said that the president’s evocation of her death, and his unfounded insinuation that she had an affair with Mr. Scarborough, has caused them deep distress.

On Fox News, where pro-Trump cheerleading is a staple of morning and evening programming, the subject did not surface during Tuesday’s prime-time: Mr. Scarborough went unmentioned by Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson. (Fox News, The Post and The Journal are all controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch.)

Bret Baier reported on the controversy on his Tuesday newscast with the Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz, who offered sympathy to the Klausutis family. “The president and the cable host are accustomed to public combat,” Mr. Kurtz said. “But a man who lost his wife years ago never wanted the spotlight.”

Over the weekend, Mr. Kurtz had offered a more tempered view. “Now, I can’t defend the president, suggesting without a shred of evidence that a cable news guy, however rough his criticism, might be linked to murder,” he said on his Sunday Fox News program. “But I also don’t think the president of the United States should be barred from communicating with his 80 million Twitter followers. People are smart enough to make up their own minds about his controversial tweets.”

Howard Polskin, who compiles a daily newsletter, TheRighting, that tracks conservative news outlets, said he found The Examiner’s anti-Trump editorial noteworthy. “When I saw The Examiner one, my head snapped back,” he said in an interview.

But Mr. Polskin wondered if the negative focus on Mr. Trump’s comments could ultimately redound to the president’s benefit.

“Trump opening up this front with Joe Scarborough is another thing in the news cycle, another thing for people to talk about,” Mr. Polskin said. “It occupies time on the talk shows. It gets people away from that 100,000 figure,” referring to the estimated number of Americans who have died from coronavirus.

“Trump’s a master at that,” Mr. Polskin added. “Throwing out these bright, shiny diversions.”

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