Via the Washington Post:
On Wednesday, it appears the White House attempted to retroactively justify a tweet that President Trump issued over the weekend in which he warned, erroneously, that Alabama would be affected by Hurricane Dorian.
In a White House video released Wednesday, Trump displays a modified National Hurricane Center “cone of uncertainty” forecast, dated from 11 a.m. on Aug. 29, indicating Alabama would in fact be affected. The graphic appears to have been altered with a Sharpie to indicate a risk the storm would move into Alabama from Florida.
“We had, actually, our original chart was that it was going to be hit — hitting Florida directly,” Trump said as he displayed the graphic from Aug. 29, which now includes an added appendage extending the cone into Alabama. “That was the original chart,” Trump said. “It could’ve, uh, was going towards the Gulf,” Trump explained in the video.
Asked about the altered hurricane forecast chart at a White House event on opioids Wednesday afternoon, Trump said his briefings included a “95 percent chance probability” that Alabama would be hit. When asked whether the chart had been drawn on, Trump said: “I don’t know; I don’t know.”
White House deputy press secretary J. Hogan Gidley later confirmed the drawing was made using a black sharpie, while criticizing the media for focusing on it.
Trump’s tweet on Sunday came as Dorian was hitting the Bahamas as a high-end Category 5 hurricane, and the tweet sparked enough public alarm that it prompted the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala. to bluntly tweet 20 minutes later: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”
Busted. And as others have noted, not unlike a kid in grade school trying to change the grade on their math test from 62 to 82 to prove to their parents that they’re doing their homework.
Turns out altering official government reports is illegal.
Altering official government weather forecasts isn’t just a cause for concern — it’s illegal. Per 18 U.S. Code 2074, which addresses false weather reports, “Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.”
That law applies to what is now known as NOAA’s National Weather Service, which contains the National Hurricane Center.
So this may the how the House finally comes around to impeachment. Hey, whatever works.