September 18, 2021, 15:02

The Note: For conspiracy-loving Trump, JFK files are a big moment

The Note: For conspiracy-loving Trump, JFK files are a big moment

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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It figures to be quite a moment for conspiracy theories. And nobody relishes a good conspiracy theory quite like President Donald Trump.

The president finds the remaining government documents surrounding the Kennedy assassination to be “interesting,” or so he informed his Twitter audience – around the time he was touching down at Dallas Love Field, no less. The fact that he also supplied a hashtag – #JFKFiles – speaks to the power he sees in this moment.

It’s not simply that Trump has trafficked heavily in conspiracy theories himself, from the birther movement and through the insinuation that Ted Cruz’s dad was connected to Lee Harvey Oswald. It’s not just that he associates himself with people like Alex Jones and Roger Stone, who have make fame and fortune out of conspiracy yarns.

It’s that a big part of Trump’s appeal is based on the sense that there is a big conspiracy that only he can unravel. The mistrust in institutions, the rise of fake news, the willingness to believe in dark, secret forces – that is all entwined in the fabric that produced the Trump presidency.

That makes Trump a player in the national moment that will surround today’s document release. New files are highly unlikely to close any cases.

The president will be just fine with that.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The president today plans to declare a national state of emergency around the opioid epidemic in the country, but will the announcement be more than just that and how does it fit into the president’s larger vision for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act?

So far, most Republican health care bills have pushed to weaken requirements under the so-called Obamacare law that individual health insurance plans cover care like drug and addiction treatment. FEMA money, used for federal disasters and states of emergency, has been stretched thin for hurricane relief, and negotiations around government funding for next year are still ongoing.

Plus, a long list of top tier federal health care vacancies beg the question, who will carry out any new charge?

The commission led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to explore ways to curb opioid overdoses, recommended the president declare a national emergency back in July. In the meantime, then-head of Department Health of Human Services Tom Price stepped aside and the White House has yet to nominate a replacement cabinet secretary. President Trump’s pick for drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., took himself out of the running for that job just a week ago, and the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency left earlier this month too.

The president has tried to blame Democrats for slowing the gears when it comes to moving nominations, but that is not the case here.

The TIP with Whitney Lloyd

Federal Communications Committee Chairman Ajit Pai vigorously defended the First Amendment at an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

I stand on the side of the First Amendment; I firmly believe that journalists should heed their viewers, their listeners and their readers — not the dictates of officials in DC,” Pai said. “We must stop the federal government from intervening in the news business,” he added.

Pai then announced the FCC will be voting on November 16 to reform media ownership regulations, eliminating rules that restrict common ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations.

Watch or read Pai’s remarks:


  • Today is the deadline for the remaining John F. Kennedy assassination documents to be released.
  • President Donald Trump is expected to officially declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency in an announcement he will make on Thursday.
  • Secretary Mattis will attend the cremation ceremony for King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Thailand.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee will get a closed briefing on Niger from Assistant Defense Secretary Robert Karem and Air Force Major General Albert Elton at 9 a.m.
  • The House is slated to vote on the Senate budget resolution.
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has a hearing on “Exploring Free Speech on College Campuses,” featuring Dr. Robert Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago at 10 a.m.
  • National Intelligence Director Dan Coats talks “protecting our homeland” at the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement’s 12th Homeland Security Conference at 11 a.m.

    “I went to an Ivy League college. I was a nice student. I did very well. I’m a very intelligent person. You know, the fact is, I think, I really believe, I think the press creates a different image of Donald Trump than the real person.” —President Trump


  • Trump lashes out at Republican Sen. Jeff Flake after he announced he’s not running again. “Jeff Flake, with an 18 percent approval rating in Arizona, said ‘a lot of my colleagues have spoken out.’ Really, they just gave me a standing O!” Trump wrote on Twitter. (Meghan Keneally)
  • ‘I was extremely nice’ to widow of fallen soldier, says Trump after criticism of condolence call. (Adam Kelsey)
  • Biden ‘decided I’m not going to decide not to run’ in 2020. (Meghan Keneally)
  • Witnesses in Bergdahl sentencing hearing emotionally recount rescue attempts. (Christi Lowe and Adam Kelsey)
  • What Jeff Flake’s decision to quit will mean for Senate seat. The news puts even more pressure on both parties to grab control of a seat that is crucial to the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. (John Verhovek)
  • Martha Raddatz reflects on her upcoming miniseries about ‘Black Sunday: ‘It’s different than anything I’ve ever done.’ (Paola Chavez)
  • US Ambassador Scott Brown ‘counseled’ after comments in Samoa spark injury. (Ben Gittleson)
  • The Huffington Post profiles four government employees who quit the Trump administration:
  • The Atlantic considers the possibility of Democrats reviving the idea of a public option for health care:
  • Source:

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