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Behind the Nashville bombing, a conspiracy theorist is cooking up the government

In August 2019, Ms Perry told police she believed Mr Warner was making bombs in the recreational vehicle parked outside his house on Bakertown Lane, and Mr Throckmorton told police Mr Warner was capable of making explosives. Officers attended his home but neither the Nashville Police nor the FBI conducted an investigation. A police and municipal review committee is now examining why.

Credit…FBI via Associated Press

Ms Perry, through attorneys, declined to comment.

Ms Deck, 44, first met Mr Warner several months later when he arrived at the South Nashville Waffle House where she worked. “The first time I met him, I just thought his cornbread wasn’t really baked in the middle and was a bit off,” she said.

She described two distinct sides to him.

There was the man who spent countless hours glued to his computer, immersing himself in eccentric intrigues.

But there was also the man who fixed the windshield wipers on his Nissan pickup truck, fixed his computer, footed the bill for dozens of other diners at Waffle House, and took his Yorkie, Bubba, for a walk in the park.

But when Ms Deck started dating Mr Warner’s two-bedroom duplex in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, he told her that no one had visited him for 20 years. His distrust of the government dated back to roughly the same time, as he subscribed to the 9/11 conspiracy theory that this was internal work rather than an al Qaeda terrorist attack.

It seems to Mrs Deck that he started on the path that led him to downtown Nashville at least 20 years ago. “He kept saying, ‘9/11 is what made me,’” she said.

Mr. Warner grew up in Nashville, attending local Catholic schools. He served two years in the Navy in the mid-1970s. He never mentioned his family except for a deceased brother, Ms. Deck said. Her mother and sister declined to be interviewed.

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After years in government, Biden has a new advantage: Air Force One.

WASHINGTON – President Biden has been elected for nearly four decades. He interacted with nine presidents. He’s used to the staff waiting for him, traveling in motorcade, and knowing his way around the Oval Office and the Mazelike layout of the West Wing for eight years as vice president.

“It feels like I’m coming home,” he said on the opening day, as he approached the White House along the parade route.

But not all the attributes of power are an old hat for the country’s oldest president. When he flies on Air Force One Friday afternoon to return home to Wilmington, Del., For the weekend, it will be his first flight on the presidential jet in more than two decades, according to more than a half- dozen administration officials and former Biden aides.

As Vice President of President Barack Obama, Biden was banned from flying the Boeing VC-25 known as Air Force One. For security reasons, the vice president and the president never fly together. Air Force Two, a Boeing 757, is a smaller, much smaller, and much more modest aircraft.

Despite his decades in the public service, the only trip on Air Force One that anyone in the White House or in Mr. Biden’s circle can remember taking was in the summer of 2000. At the time, Mr. Biden had visited Colombia as part of a delegation. with President Bill Clinton, helping unveil an emergency aid package to fight the drug trade and support the country’s democracy.

This means that Jill Biden, the first lady, who accompanied Mr. Obama to a Michigan community college on Air Force One in 2015, was on board more recently than her husband. (At the time, Dr Biden said she spent her time on flight filing papers.)

It is possible that Mr Biden will be riding Air Force One on Friday afternoon, but not the one that delighted his predecessors so much. It might be called Air Force One, but it’s a Boeing 757-200, which is a smaller, narrow-bodied jet airliner used for smaller airports. In this case, the journey that has usually left the Commander-in-Chief, whoever he is, stunned and in awe of his newfound advantage will have to be postponed.

“When that 747 lands, it’s a sight to see,” John Podesta, former White House chief of staff, told Clinton. “When the president takes these steps, you feel the power. He will feel the power. It’s a little different from the 757. ”

Even President Donald J. Trump, who loved to brag about his own Trump-branded aircraft, was impressed.

“It’s a very special plane,” he told reporters after taking them to his front cabin for a rare glimpse en route to Philadelphia. He had only been on duty for six days when he showed off a navy Air Force One jacket. His press officer, Sean Spicer, described him as “impressed by the splendor of this plane”.

In 2018, Mr. Trump boasted that the plane, outfitted to function as a mobile White House, had “about 20 televisions.” Still, he had plans for an airplane makeover, plans that never came to fruition and which the Biden administration made clear could not be lower than his priority list.

Mr Obama also seemed enthralled with his new commute when he caught his first flight in the third week of his presidency, traveling a short distance to Williamsburg, Va., To attend a retreat for Democrats from the Bedroom.

“What do you think of this breathtaking ride here? It’s not bad, ”Obama told reporters in the back of the plane. Like Mr. Trump, he also put on a show of his crew jacket, which had his name sewn on.

Mr. Clinton took his first flight 22 days after taking office in 1993. He flew to Detroit for a nationally broadcast town hall event to lay the groundwork for the economic policies he was on. the point of revealing, while his staff joked about how relieved he was. to give up his rickety country plane, nicknamed “Air Elvis”.

President George W. Bush’s first trip on Air Force One after moving to the White House took place less than a month after starting his presidency, when he visited families and military troops to Fort Stewart, Ga., as part of a list of trips to promote its national security policies.

White House officials have not said when Mr Biden will make his first domestic trip, but said a typical presidential travel schedule is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Certainly her preference would be to take a plane and fly across the country, but that’s not the stage we’re currently planning,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the meeting. ‘a briefing last month.

Other senior administration officials insisted Mr Biden was not on the ground and would be visiting the country soon, pointing to the fact that he had safely made two trips to Georgia during the transition to campaign for the Democratic Senate candidates.

Presidential travel is expensive and time consuming, but it is also essential for work, former White House officials have said.

“It is essential that people feel the presence and are aware that the President has taken the time to come to where they are,” said Mr. Podesta. “One of the things that underlies the deep divisions in the country is the people who feel like ‘you forgot me’. Show changes in this dynamic. “

Mr Podesta said it would be essential for Mr Biden to travel after speaking at a joint session of Congress this month, even if it meant taking health risks. “He’s going to give a lot of ideas on what needs to be built and he’s got to go to some places where these things will be built,” he said.

But given the pandemic and the politically fragile time the country finds itself in, Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, said staying in Washington more often might work better for Mr Biden.

“After the assassination of John Kennedy, the country was so agitated that the new president, Lyndon Johnson, pledged not to travel abroad for a while,” he said. “Although for different reasons, the fact that Biden stays close to the White House reminded me of that. I believe right now seeing Biden in the State Dining Room announcing how he’s dealing with one supreme issue after another is more reassuring than seeing him on the road, in the middle of a pandemic, trying to find a crowd to talk to.

Mr. Biden, however, may disagree once he gets on the plane.

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Biden’s team rushes to take over government and oust Trump loyalists

Until Judge Merrick B. Garland was confirmed as Attorney General, Monty Wilkinson, a longtime employee who worked closely with Eric H. Holder Jr. when he was Attorney General, acts as temp worker.

The Acting Deputy Attorney General is John P. Carlin, who headed the Department of Justice’s national security division during the Obama administration. He only holds the post until Lisa Monaco, who has worked closely with Mr Carlin over the years, can be confirmed as Deputy Attorney General. She was a Homeland Security Advisor under Mr. Obama, and during the Trump years she and Mr. Carlin led a group studying the most difficult issues in cyber politics.

Just as the politicization of the Justice Department angered criticism of Mr. Trump, the castration of the Environmental Protection Agency sparked outrage among progressives, and it is probably not surprising that the agency is already undergoing transformation.

About a month before the inauguration day, a Trump official who ran the water office, Charlotte Bertrand, suddenly emerged as the woman who would take over as interim administrator if the head of the agency resigned. When that moment came, she never had a chance to settle into the chair.

Just hours into his presidency, Mr. Biden appointed Jane Nishida, senior deputy director of the agency’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs, to lead the agency until its nominee, Michael S. Regan, North Carolina’s primary environmental regulator, be confirmed.

But long before Mr Regan reached the building, a group of young staff – a list that reads like a who’s who of climate change policy fools, many of whom have been ousted from the Obama administration. – will be at work.

Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, said the team of seasoned staff members were chosen specifically to do swift work to overturn Mr Trump’s policies.

“It was clear that we were coming out of the most anti-environmental and anti-climate administration of action we have ever had,” Ms. Sittenfeld said. She added: “The need to act immediately was going to be vitally important. There has been a very intentional, very thoughtful and ambitious effort to immediately put in place highly qualified experts. “

Reporting was contributed by Lisa Friedman, Noah weiland, Glenn thrush, Helene cooper, Coral Davenport, Katie benner, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs

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Federal government orders states to expand vaccine targets as Covid-19 deaths rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended last month that after vaccinating healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, states should vaccinate people over the age of 75 and some workers ” frontline ‘who cannot do their homework. Only after that, the CDC advised, should states turn to people aged 65 to 74 and adults of all ages with high-risk medical conditions. The CDC’s recommendations were not binding, but many states have largely followed them as demand still greatly exceeds supply.

It is not clear how the threat to execute Mr. Azar worked; in two weeks, Mr. Biden will have already been sworn in as president. Mr Azar said the incoming Biden administration would be notified of the changes, while adding that the Americans “operate with one government at a time, and this is the approach that we believe serves the mission best.

Mr Biden is expected to announce the details of his own vaccination plan – which will include federally-backed mass vaccination clinics – this week. Biden’s transition team declined to comment on Trump’s new policy on Tuesday. But a person familiar with the president-elect’s plans said Mr Biden also plans to expand the universe of those eligible for vaccination.

Mr Azar said people seeking the vaccine because they have high-risk medical conditions should provide “some form of medical documentation, as defined by the governors”, but he did not specify. A significant portion of the population has conditions that the CDC has determined increase the risk of severe Covid disease, starting with obesity, which affects at least 40 percent of adults.

Other people who would be immediately eligible for vaccines under Mr Azar’s directive include the more than 30 million adults with heart problems, 37 million people with chronic kidney disease and 1 in 10 with chronic kidney disease. of diabetes.

The new distribution plan, first reported Tuesday morning by Axios, is a reversal for the Trump administration, which had withheld around half of its vaccine supply – millions of vials – to ensure second doses would be available . Mr Azar said the administration always expected to make the switch when they were confident in the supply chain.

Dr Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, praised the administration’s decision, comparing the current situation to the Titanic, where there was no enough lifeboats to save everyone, “and you have to decide who you’re going to let talk to.”

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More hacking attacks uncovered as officials warn of ‘serious risk’ to US government

WASHINGTON – Federal officials issued an urgent warning on Thursday that hackers who had penetrated deep into government systems were also using other malware – and various attack techniques – that posed “a serious risk to the federal government.”

The warning, from the cybersecurity arm of the Department of Homeland Security, gives no details. But it confirmed suspicions voiced earlier this week by cybersecurity firm FireEye that there were almost certainly other avenues that had been found for the attack.

FireEye was the first to inform the government that hackers from a Russian intelligence agency had, since this spring, breached critical network surveillance software used by the government and hundreds of Fortune 500 companies. .

The discovery greatly complicates the challenge for federal investigators as they search the computer networks used by the Treasury, Defense Department, Commerce Department, and nuclear laboratories, trying to assess the damage and figure out what the pirates had stolen. He suggests that other “supply chain” software used by government agencies and businesses is also corrupt, although investigators appear to lack a complete list.

But it also raises the possibility that the hackers’ goal went beyond espionage, and that Russian actors, once inside the systems, could modify data or use their access to gain control over it. computer systems that perform industrial processes. So far, however, there has been no evidence that this is happening.

The alert also heightened the urgency of government warnings. After playing down the incident – President Trump said nothing and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hijacked the hack as one of many daily attacks on the federal government, suggesting China was the biggest offender – the new alert left no doubt that the assessment had changed.

“This adversary has demonstrated an ability to exploit software supply chains and has shown significant knowledge of Windows networks,” the alert said. “It is likely that the adversary has additional initial vectors of access and tactics, techniques and procedures” which, he said, “have not yet been discovered”.

“Taken together, these observed techniques indicate an adversary who is skillful, stealthy with operational security, and is willing to spend significant resources to maintain a secret presence,” the warning said. As a result, it could take months, investigators say, to determine to what extent U.S. networks are compromised.

The warning came just days after Microsoft, which produces Windows software and monitors the worldwide network of computers running Windows, took emergency action with FireEye to cut off communication between SolarWinds network management software. and a command and control center which the Russians used to send instructions to their malware.

It cut off the penetration. But that doesn’t help organizations that have already been breached, since the first software was corrupted by malware in March. And the key line of the disclaimer read that “SolarWinds'” supply chain compromise is not the only initial infection vector “that was used to enter federal systems. This suggests that other software, also used by the government, has been infected and used for access by foreign spies.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Newly formed Travel Coalition says government help is needed now

A newly formed coalition of representatives from the travel industry, both public and private, has asked Congress to pass another aid package before the end of the year.

The group, which includes the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the US Travel Association, according to our sister publication Travel Weekly, is called the Covid Relief Now Coalition.

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“With Election Day far behind and most of the contests resolved, we renew our urgent request for action to help prevent further job losses on Main Street, especially as rising coronavirus cases put economies in the dark. the entire country most at risk, “the coalition wrote.

The coalition said it surveyed more than 1,800 cities, counties and industry associations, with 80 percent of those surveyed saying their financial health was affected by COVID, while 91 percent believe their condition will worsen without additional financial help. .

A second round of government aid has been discussed for months after the initial CARES Act distributed $ 25 billion in grants and loans to airlines alone in March. But this latest package has been bogged down by partisan politics until a teaser earlier this week on a bipartisan proposal calling for another $ 17 billion from airlines, as well as aid for other travel entities.

“The time to move forward on the next round of Covid-related economic relief is now, during the 2020 dubious lame legislative session,” the coalition said.

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Seismic work in arctic won’t hurt polar bears, government says

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday that a seismic survey scheduled for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska this winter would “have nothing more than a negligible impact” on the number of polar bears in the region.

The finding was contained in an agency proposal to allow up to three incidents in which bears could be harassed or inadvertently disturbed during investigative work, which would take place over several months and aimed at detecting signs of oil and gas reserves underground.

The agency said a few incidents of unintentional harassment, such as getting too close to a bear and causing it to run away or cutting off feeding, would not affect survival. He added that he did not expect bears to be physically injured or killed during the investigation.

The proposal is due for publication in the Federal Register on Tuesday, after which the public will have 30 days to comment. Approval after the comment period would remove a major hurdle to allow the investigation to begin early next year.

The project, which was proposed by an Alaskan Native village company, would involve heavy trucks and other equipment driving through snow-capped tundra into part of the refuge, the coastal plain along the Beaufort Sea.

Polar bears are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. With climate change reducing the extent of sea ice, their primary habitat, the southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation declined by about 40 percent from 2001 to 2010. It is currently estimated that there are about 900 animals in the subpopulation.

The loss of sea ice means more bears are coming to land for longer periods. Pregnant bears, in particular, often build winter dens in the snow of the coastal plain where they give birth to young and feed them during their first months of life.

Robert Dewey, vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, said spotting polar bears in their dens can be very difficult. “But that doesn’t stop developers from continuing to explore for oil and gas there,” he said, criticizing the Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal.

The Arctic Refuge, one of the last great tracts of virgin land in the United States, has long been protected from oil and gas development. But in 2017, the Trump administration and Republicans who controlled Congress removed protections from 1.5 million acres of the Coastal Plain.

Since then, the White House has moved forward with a plan to allow oil and gas drilling there. The polar bear’s proposal is another sign that these efforts have gained momentum in recent weeks after President Trump’s reelection defeat.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management announced a plan to sell oil and gas leases on the Coastal Plain on Jan.6, two weeks before the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden Jr., who opposes drilling in the refuge.

In addition, the office is preparing an environmental assessment of the planned investigation. A spokesperson for the office said the assessment should be available “relatively soon” and would be followed by a comment period before the office makes a final decision on whether or not to allow the investigation.

Assessing the potential effect on polar bears had been somewhat of a stumbling block in approving a seismic study at the refuge. A previous proposal, presented in 2018, was ultimately scrapped as an EA, and work to determine the impact on polar bears dragged on.

Under federal law to protect polar bears and other marine mammals, the Home Office, which includes the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service, can authorize the “accidental harassment” of an animal. small number of animals during activities in an area such as a refuge. A clearance usually involves lengthy discussions and negotiations between government scientists and those proposing the activity.

In its request, the indigenous village company that proposed the investigation, the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation, said it would take several measures to detect bears in their dens and avoid contact with them, including late reconnaissance flights. January, before the trucks start to operate. These flights would use infrared cameras to detect bear heat.

Investigation teams would then establish a one-mile buffer zone around each den to avoid disturbing the bears and possibly removing them from their den, which could threaten the survival of the cubs.

A study published this year questioned the effectiveness of airborne thermal cameras. He revealed that for more than a decade using them on the North Slope of Alaska, oil companies have located less than half of the known dens of maternal bears and their cubs.

The village corporation’s proposal originally provided for a single reconnaissance flight. But the Fish and Wildlife Service said the proposal now included three flights, all of which would take place before the trucks entered the refuge. On average, coastal plain dens are covered by less than 100 centimeters, or about 39 inches, of snow, the service said, and having three flights “increases the likelihood of detecting dens to less than 100. cm deep at 98%.

Environmental groups also opposed the proposed seismic survey because of the potential damage heavy trucks could cause to the delicate arctic tundra, even under the blanket of snow. Traces of the only other investigation conducted there, in the 1980s, are still visible today.

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Judge orders government to fully reinstate DACA program

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to completely restore an Obama-era program designed to protect undocumented immigrant youth from deportation, dealing what could be a final blow to the long-standing effort President Trump to end protections.

The program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created by President Barack Obama in 2012. Over the years, it has protected more than 800,000 people, known as “dreamers.” », Which met a series of strict eligibility conditions.

Brooklyn U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ordered the administration to allow newly eligible immigrants to file new applications for protection under the program, rescinding a memorandum released this summer by Chad Wolf on Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, who restricted the program to those already registered. No less than 300,000 new candidates could now be eligible, according to the lawyers who pushed for reinstatement.

The Homeland Security Department’s memo also limited the program’s benefits, including work permits, to one year, but the judge on Friday ordered the government to reduce them to full two years. Judge Garaufis, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, also said the government must find a way to contact all immigrants eligible for the program to inform them of the change.

The program still faces other challenges, including a case in federal court in Texas, where Republican attorneys general have asked a judge to declare the program illegal.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has vowed to restore the DACA program when he takes office next month, but a legislative solution that would permanently allow dreamers to live and work legally in the United States remains elusive, leaving their fate to the changing political winds.

Yet the decision is a significant legal setback to Mr. Trump’s years-long attempt to keep his promise to end the program, which applies to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States in their youth and have lived in America most of their life. .

As a candidate, Mr. Trump insisted that the program, which Mr. Obama put in place through executive action, was unconstitutional and, as president, he decided to ‘End it in September 2017. The legal battle over the program culminated in a Supreme Court ruling this summer in which judges said the president did not follow proper procedures to end the program.

As a result of the decision, Wolf only partially reinstated the program, refusing to allow new immigrants to apply and reducing the length of renewals to one year, instead of the two years previously allowed under the program.

In November, Judge Garaufis ruled that the partial reinstatement was invalid because it was issued in the form of a memo from Mr Wolf, who Judge Garaufis said had been unlawfully appointed to his post. On Friday, after hearing from both sides, the judge said the agency was to announce the news of the full reinstatement on its website by Monday.

“This is a very big day for DACA recipients and immigrant youth,” said Karen Tumlin, director of the Justice Action Center, which argued the class action lawsuit. “This opens the door for over a million young immigrants who have been unfairly denied their chance to apply to DACA.”

The Trump administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Adam Liptak contribution to reports.

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Fighting election results, Trump uses new weapon: government

“We have not seen any president in history lose reelection, refuse to concede defeat and take action that threatens to abuse presidential power to stay in power,” said Michael Beschloss, a prominent presidential historian. “Here, Donald Trump is again in a historic category of his own – and this time, it bodes ill for democracy.

Richard Norton Smith, who wrote a biography of Herbert Hoover and wrote one about Gerald R. Ford, two of the nine, recalled Hoover’s anger against the man who beat him, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and their icy car ride until the inauguration in March 1933.

“But the point is Hoover, even though he was embittered at FDR’s reluctance to cooperate, as he defined it, shared the same car, just as he had hosted the Roosevelts for the pre-inaugural ritual tea that night. previous, “Mr. Smith told me. “They may look down on each other, but their personal animosity has been offset by their commitment to the democratic process.

The oft-cited parallel is where Vice President Al Gore pushed for recounts in Florida in 2000 to overcome a slim lead from his Republican opponent, Governor George W. Bush of Texas. But Mr. Gore was not the incumbent, and President Bill Clinton did not order the administration to intervene, although he withheld transition resources from Mr. Bush until the fight. be resolved.

“We were very careful not to use government resources, funds, personnel or even a paperclip,” said Donna Brazile, who was Mr. Gore’s campaign manager.

In Florida, Mr Gore had a plausible chance to change the election outcome, given that he lost only 327 votes in a single state after the machine’s automatic recount. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is behind by tens of thousands of votes in several states that are set to change, something that has never happened on this scale.

“The big difference,” Ms. Brazile said, “is that it looks like a big public relations campaign in the courts to defile voters where Trump has lost or underperformed on storytelling. much broader claim that this election was rigged.

Reporting was provided by Michael D. Shear of Wilmington, Del., And Helene Cooper and Alan Rappeport of Washington.

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The Trump campaign has set up “ war rooms ” in the White House complex, confusing politics and government.

President Trump’s campaign has set up two “war rooms” in the White House compound for election night, officials confirmed on Tuesday, once again raising questions about the mix of official and politician at the Trump era.

A war room is in Eisenhower’s executive office building, which is adjacent to the White House, campaign and White House officials have confirmed. White House officials also said there was a separate, smaller business in the White House building.

The use of government assets for political purposes has been a recurring theme in the Trump administration over the past year. Mr Trump held the final night of the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House in late August, after plans were repeatedly altered due to the coronavirus.

And in the final months of the campaign, Mr. Trump relied increasingly on political appointments and government agencies to bolster his reelection campaign.

The war room “had to be in close proximity to the president,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “There is no expense to American taxpayers for the use of a room,” where, he said, “events such as prayer services and receptions for outside groups occur frequently. “.

Mr Murtaugh added that “every piece of equipment, including WiFi and computers, has been paid for by the campaign, and no White House staff are involved.

The White House legal adviser’s office approved the arrangement, he said.

Previous administrations have put in place some sort of surveillance effort at the White House, although some have been careful to avoid involving campaign staff.

When former President George W. Bush ran for reelection in 2004, his team moved into the White House residence with a screen for officials to monitor campaign data, according to one person. involved in the operation. It has been approved by the White House. Lawyers office. But in this case campaign staff were not present and officials involved had to demonstrate that they had worked a certain number of hours in government in order to participate, the person involved said.