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.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Wall Street fears stimulus is doomed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fight over a new Supreme Court justice will take Washington's partisan bickering to a new level and undermine any chance for needed coronavirus relief measures before November's election, Wall Street analysts say.

What we're hearing: "With the passing of Justice Ginsburg, the level of rhetorical heat has increased, if that seemed even possible," Greg Staples, head of fixed income for the Americas at DWS Group, tells Axios in an email.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 31,346,086 — Total deaths: 965,294— Total recoveries: 21,518,790Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,858,130 — Total deaths: 199,890 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

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