Bob Woodward appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Monday night where he revealed new audio of President Trump that shocked Colbert. Last week, Woodward released audio recordings of conversations he had with Trump for his new book, Rage. In the recordings from February and March, Trump can be heard acknowledging how dangerous and deadly the coronavirus could be, but that he wanted to downplay it publicly, which is exactly what he did. Trump continued holding large rallies into March, where he referred to criticism of his handling of the pandemic as a Democrat hoax, and he refused to wear a mask in public as the CDC had recommended. But as Trump told Woodward on April 13th, in private, he was much more cautious.
“Bob, it’s so easily transmissible, you wouldn’t even believe it,” Trump told Woodward. “I mean, you could, you could be in the room…I was in the White House a couple of days ago, meeting of 10 people in the Oval Office and a guy sneezed—innocently. Not a horrible—you know, just a sneeze. The entire room bailed out, okay? Including me, by the way.”
“Well, I know he’s making light there at the end,” Colbert responded after hearing the audio, “but at the heart of that is something extraordinarily shocking.”
Trump held an indoor rally in Nevada on Sunday at which there was no social distancing and very little use of masks. Woodward wondered if Trump would have employed the same philosophy there as he did in the Oval Office.
“So he’s in the Oval Office, someone sneezes, and he bails out. He goes running out,” Woodward said. “Last night in Nevada when he was going through that rally—I mean, God knows how many people there, all packed together. I wonder if someone sneezed in the front row that Trump would bail out again and get out of the way.”
Woodward has spoken about his belief that Trump has failed the American people with his handling of the coronavirus, and he believes that Trump’s actions over the past several months will not be looked back upon favorably.
“When the history books about this are written and it’s all put together, people are gonna be, and historians are gonna be, stunned at the failure,” Woodward said, “the basic failure to lead and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on, guys.’”
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.
Watch Bob Woodward claim that Trump lied about the coronavirus because he did not understand the American public:
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South Africa anti-graft inquiry is biased against me
South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has requested the head of a commission investigating corruption during his presidency to step aside over alleged “bias”, his lawyers said.
Mr Zuma has repeatedly refused to testify at the commission.
But Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has set a “non-negotiable” date for him to appear.
Allegations of corruption dogged Mr Zuma’s presidency and led him to resign in February 2018.
The former president’s lawyer has said that he would not take part until Mr Zondo is replaced.
In a letter to the commission, Eric Mabuza said: “We are instructed to seek your recusal as chairperson of the commission on the ground that our client reasonably apprehends that you have already adopted a biased disposition towards him.”
He said that Mr Zondo was no longer capable of “exercising an independent and impartial mind”.
“President Zuma has always expressed his willingness to cooperate with the commission. This is in spite of his reservations about the legality of the commission and in particular, your suitability as chairperson, given your personal relations with him”.
The inquiry, known as the Zondo Commission, was established to investigate the “state capture” scandal during Mr Zuma’s tenure as president.
This centred around allegations about an Indian business family, the Guptas, who won lucrative contracts with state companies.
The family has also been accused of trying to influence political decisions, including the naming of ministers.
The Guptas have said that there were no cases to answer and that they were in the process of clearing their name “in the face of unfounded media allegations”.
Mr Zondo has chaired the commission for more than two years and it has heard testimony from ministers, ex-ministers, government officials, politicians and business executives.
Last week Mr Zuma said he was too ill to testify.
As a result, Mr Zondo held a televised media briefing where he ordered Mr Zuma to testify in November.
Making a televised announcement “attests to the fact that he seeks to portray him as uncooperative and belligerent in the eyes of the public”, Mr Zuma’s lawyer argued in the letter.
United Natural Drops 3.4% As CEO Retires
United Natural Foods fell 3.4% in extended trading on Monday after the company announced the retirement of its CEO Steven L. Spinner. Spinner will leave the food products company once a successor is appointed or his term ends on July 31, 2021. He will remain on the Board as Executive Chairman following his retirement.The announcement comes as United Natural Foods’ (UNFI) reported strong 4Q results on Monday. Adjusted EPS increased to $1.06 from $0.35 in the year-ago quarter, surpassing analysts’ expectations of $0.74. The company’s bottom-line results mainly benefited from higher revenues and income tax benefits.The company’s 4Q revenues of $6.76 billion beat the Street consensus of $6.63 billion. Quarterly sales grew 8% year-over-year on a 13-week comparable basis mainly driven by strong customer demand and benefits from cross-selling. The company’s retail identical store sales jumped 21% year-on-year during the quarter. (See UNFI stock analysis on TipRanks).In 4Q, United Natural Foods recorded an income tax benefit of 17.5% compared with a tax expense of 56% on pre-tax income in the year-ago quarter. The change in 4Q effective tax rate was mainly due to additional tax benefit from the US Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.For fiscal 2021, the company expects revenues and adjusted EPS in the range of $27-$27.8 billion and $3.05-$3.55, respectively.Last month, Oppenheimer analyst Rupesh Parikh reiterated a Hold rating on the stock following a virtual meeting with the company’s senior management including, CFO John Howard and CMO Chris Testa. In a note to investors, Parikh wrote, “We remain on the sidelines with UNFI driven primarily by elevated leverage levels and limited cash generation. We believe the company is well positioned to benefit N-T from elevated demand related to the current COVID-19 backdrop.”Overall, the rest of the Street has a cautiously optimistic outlook on UNFI with a Moderate Buy analyst consensus. With shares up nearly 119% year-to-date, the average price target of $25.50 implies further upside potential of approximately 33% to current levels.Related News: Thor Industries Pops 6%, Posts Strong 4Q Earnings On RV Demand AAR Soars 10%, Beats 1Q Estimates Despite Covid’s Impact Guggenheim Lifts Boston Beer’s PT To ‘Street High’ More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Uber Wins Appeal To Restore UK Operating License; Street Stays Bullish * United Airlines Up 5%, Pilots Approve Reduced Schedule To Avert 2,850 Furloughs * Sina To Be Taken Private In $2.6B Bid; Shares Gain 6% * GE’s GE9X Engine For Boeing’s New 777X Jet Gets US Certification
Air Force Completes 8-Year B-1 Bomber Battle Station Upgrade
The Air Force just wound up a major upgrade on its B-1B Lancer fleet that took eight years to complete.
The service announced that it finished the Integrated Battle Station, or IBS, modification earlier this month on 60 of the 62 long-range bombers in its inventory. Two aircraft are routinely reserved for testing operations.
To keep the Lancer viable in the future battlespace, the Air Force initiated IBS, likely the largest and most complicated modification the bomber will see in the near term — in 2012. The B-1 fleet is expected to be fully retired by 2036.
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Roughly 120 maintainers working in shifts executed 1,050,000 hours of planned work at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base to give “the flight deck a whole new look,” according to a service news release.
“This upgrade drastically improves aircrew situational awareness with color displays, and enhanced navigation and communication systems are projected to significantly enhance B-1B mission readiness,” Lt. Col. James Couch, 10th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in the release.
“All aircraft outfitted with the Integrated Battle Station modification enhancements provide the four members of the aircraft with much greater ‘battlefield’ awareness of surrounding threats, whether those threats are air-to-air or ground-to-air, and provides a much faster capability to execute both defensive and offensive maneuvers needed in any conflict,” Rodney Shepard, 567th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director, added in the release.
In 2017, the upgrade was more than half done, with 33 planes converted to the new system.
The modifications targeted three developmental programs for the bomber: the central integrated test system, a fully integrated data link, and the vertical situation display upgrade, according to officials who spoke with Military.com at the time.
The central integrated test system, or CITS, works as a diagnostic and recording system to give crew more information in flight, as well as diagnostic information for maintainers on the ground, Master Sgt. Brian Hudson, a B-1 avionics manager at Air Force Global Strike Command, explained during an interview in 2017.
The plane is already outfitted with the Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol, known as JREAP, which extends tactical data link communications over long-distance networks. But the Fully Integrated Data Link, or FIDL, gives “the addition of Link 16, so really what FIDL [does] is to add Link 16 and integrate with beyond-line-of-site JREAP, and merge those two together and push that information onto the displays inside a cockpit,” added Maj. Jeremy Stover, B-1 program element monitor and instructor weapons systems officer, in 2017.
Link 16 supports digital exchange of imagery and data in near-real time with aircraft, ships and some ground vehicles.
The total program cost for the IBS upgrade is estimated at $1.1 billion, officials said.
“Big thanks to the team at Tinker for doing a remarkable job retooling the B-1 and getting it back in the fight,” Gen. Tim Ray, the AFGSC commander, said in the release following the completion of the program. “The work the B-1 and our Airmen are doing is a great example of how we’re making a huge impact on Dynamic Force Employment to support the National Defense Strategy. These modifications have revitalized the B-1 for the high-end fight, allowing our precision strike force to remain strategically predictable but operationally unpredictable.”
During the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space and Cyber conference earlier this month, Ray said the readiness of the bomber fleet is improving, and its recovery and maintenance are well ahead of schedule, thanks to concentrated resources dedicated to bringing the workhorse airframe out of its previous abysmal state.
“[The Lancer is] probably six or seven months ahead of where we thought it would be,” he said Sept. 16.
“On any given day, I probably can fly well over 20 of the B-1s,” Ray said, referencing the fleet’s mission-capable rate, or the ability to fly at a moment’s notice to conduct operations.
Within the last year, the airframe has endured frequent inspections and time compliance technical orders, or TCTOs, which often mandate modifications, comprehensive equipment inspections or installation of new equipment.
The additional maintenance was necessary after the service overcommitted its only supersonic heavy payload bomber to operations in the Middle East over the last decade; the repeated deployments caused the aircraft to deteriorate more quickly than expected, Ray said last year.
The Air Force wants to downsize its Lancer fleet by 17 aircraft. In its 2021 fiscal budget request, it asked lawmakers to divest bombers that need repeated structural work, which will cost the service more in upkeep than modernization efforts, officials have said.
— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.
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