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President Trump during a briefing on the status of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Commerce Department inspector general released a report Thursday detailing how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defended President Trump's erroneous claims that last September's Hurricane Dorian would severely impact Alabama, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The report found that pressure from the White House resulted in NOAA releasing an unsigned statement that confirmed the president's claim that Alabama was in the storm's path.

  • Though the IG concluded that NOAA's statement damaged its reputation and eroded public trust in the agency, the report provided no recommendations for punishing officials and did not propose specific policy changes.

Background: Trump said Alabama was threatened by the hurricane and later defended the claim with a doctored version of an official National Hurricane Center map illustrating Hurricane Dorian's path that appeared to show Alabama in the eye of the storm.

  • The Birmingham office of the National Weather Service debunked the president's assertion at the time, but NOAA said in a Sept. 6, 2019 statement that the Birmingham office's post was “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

What they're saying: “The broader, longer-term consequence is that NOAA’s rebuke of the NWS Birmingham office could have a chilling effect on NWS forecasters’ future public safety messages, as well as undercut public trust in NWS forecasts,” the report noted, per the Post.

  • “The Department’s and NOAA’s actions, in the words of one senior NOAA official, 'hit at the core' of NOAA,” the report concludes. “The Statement undercut the NWS’s forecasts and potentially undercut public trust in NOAA’s and the NWS’s science and the apolitical nature of that science.”
  • Craig McLean, then NOAA's acting chief scientist, said in a letter at the time that NOAA's "intervention to contradict" the Birmingham office's assertion on Dorian "was not based on science" and "simply put, political."

Go deeper: Trump rails against Obama, FBI, Senate GOP after Supreme Court ruling

Go deeper

Hurricane Sally makes landfall in Alabama with "life-threatening storm surge"

A driver navigates along a flooded road as the outer bands of Hurricane Sally come ashore in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, on Tuesday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday morning, packing maximum sustained winds were 105 mph.

What's happening: "Historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding along and just inland of the coast, from Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile Bay, Alabama," the National Hurricane Center said, as the storm's eyewall was moving across the coast.

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

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