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Trump rages at allies as potential October surprises fizzle

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Halfway through October, President Donald Trump's surprises are sputtering.

Instead of big new announcements from the Rose Garden or in an election battleground, Trump has taken to dialing Fox hosts from the White House and ripping his senior-most Cabinet members for not delivering before November 3.

There was always somebody there to hand him hundreds of millions of dollars to bail him out," said Mary Trump, the President's niece who recently published a scathing account of his upbringing.

Current and former Justice officials have said the Durham probe has yet to find evidence to bring any major indictments against the people Trump considers his political enemies.

And Barr has also told Republican lawmakers in recent weeks not to expect a report from Durham on his findings before Election Day. Durham is notoriously slow and methodical in his investigations, which typically stretch years, according to people familiar with how he works, an issue that has frustrated Justice officials and Trump's congressional allies.

Trump had once openly speculated a vaccine would be available before the election, a prospect whose political upsides he did little to discount.

But after a weeks-long hold-up by White House officials, the US Food and Drug Administration made clear in new guidelines last week that comprehensive safety data on vaccine candidates will be required before emergency authorizations are granted -- making it difficult, if not impossible, for any vaccine maker to apply for emergency authorization by Election Day. Trump fumed in the hours afterward -- "Just another political hit job!" -- and still sounded chagrined on Thursday morning.

The politics have similarly stymied Trump's talks on a major new stimulus, which just last week he tried calling off before abruptly reversing course.

The move, which caused stocks to tumble, puzzled many of the President's allies since Trump himself had been itching to issue new checks to Americans in the weeks before the election.

"I think he must see that the political environment for him is becoming increasingly problematic, so his desire to do what he wants to do in the last weeks of the campaign I think becomes more insistent," former national security adviser John Bolton -- now a critic of Trump's -- said in an episode of "The Axe Files" this week, listing a new arms deal with Russia or a fourth summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the the types of outlandish October surprises Trump might concoct.

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