The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Trump Administration

  • A new U.S. Postal Service rule bans clerks from signing mail-in ballots as witnesses while on duty. 

Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai sent the USPS a letter seeking an explanation as Alaskans complained that postal workers in her state had been telling voters they were not allowed to sign the ballots.

“This came as a surprise to the state because we know in past elections postal officials have served as witnesses,” Fenumiai wrote. “Rural Alaska relies heavily on postal officials as they are often sometimes the only option for a witness.

Alaska is one of several states that require people who vote by mail to have their ballots signed by a witness.

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tweeted: “Earlier today, I spoke with Postmaster General DeJoy regarding his alleged pause in operational changes. During our conversation, he admitted he has no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other infrastructure that have been removed.”

“This, taken with his unwillingness to plan for adequate worker overtime, directly jeopardizes the election and threatens to disenfranchise voters in communities of color, while also slowing delivery of medicines to veterans.”

  • The Trump administration’s method of keeping the controversial acting head of the Bureau of Land Management in power even after his nomination is withdrawn is likely not legal, according to experts.

William Perry Pendley’s nomination was withdrawn amid doubts he had the votes to be confirmed because of his opposition to federal ownership of public lands and his controversial comments on climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

But Pendley is still running the agency because of succession orders dictating that the acting chief will lead the department if the director role remains unfilled. 

Legal experts say the succession orders are dubious because Pendley is essentially giving himself the authority to act as director.

  • A federal major disaster declaration approved Monday does not include financial assistance for Iowans recovering from last week’s devastating derecho, despite President Donald Trump tweeting he approved the state’s application in “FULL.” 

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request for $82.7 million to cover the 8,273 homes that were damaged or destroyed was not approved. Neither were her requests for $3.77 billion for agriculture damage to farmland, grain bins and buildings and $100 million for private utilities repair.

  • The Trump administration is pushing to sell F-35 fighter jets and drones to the United Arab Emirates, officials said. Israel and Congress may object.
  • “The president’s talked before about wanting to purchase Greenland, but one time before we went down, he told us not only did he want to purchase Greenland, he actually said he wanted to see if we could sell Puerto Rico. Could we swap Puerto Rico for Greenland,” Miles Taylor, a former DHS official, said. “Because in his words Puerto Rico was dirty and the people were poor.”
  • President Trump praised Laura Loomer, a far-right candidate with a history of spreading anti-Muslim rhetoric, after her Republican primary victory in a Florida House race.
  • Twitter says it will not reverse its decision to ban far-right activist and self-described “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer from its platform after her Republican primary win in Florida.
  • President Trump offered measured praise for followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory,

“I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. But I don’t know much about the movement,” he said at a press briefing.

“I’ve heard these are people that love our country…I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.”

A reporter attempted to explain to the president that QAnon is a conspiracy theory that Trump and his allies are working together to expose and arrest an underground cabal of global elites who control the government and run child sex trafficking rings.

The once-fringe movement has grown dramatically in the last few years, with estimates that put its adherents in the hundreds of thousands.

That expansion has been enough to have the FBI label the loose community of believers as a domestic terror threat.

  • President Trump has just announced that his administration would notify the United Nations of plans to restore “virtually” all sanctions on Iran.
  • Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to falsifying a document to justify surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser as part of the 2016 investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Protests/Racial and Social Issues

  • A realtor who had been with RE/MAX for nearly 50 years was fired for removing Black Lives Matter signs in an affluent neighborhood where she sells homes. 

RE/MAX Alliance Owner Chad Ochsner said, “We’re not a company that can condone trespassing on people’s private property and theft.” “For us, it doesn’t matter what the politics is.”

  • Ashton Bindrup, a waiter at an Ogden, UT restaurant, found a bigoted message written on a cash tip that was left for him.

The bill, marked in pen with the words, “Get out of America, Fag!” was left behind by three adults — all of whom were wearing “Trump 2020” hats.

“They’d asked me for a pen during the meal,” Bindrup explained. “They paid with card, but it was all an electric system so there was no receipt… that’s why I thought it was odd when they asked for the pen.”

  • A Long Island man and his live-in girlfriend have been arrested after their black next-door neighbor accused them of a yearslong campaign of racist intimidation that included throwing feces and a dead squirrel onto her property.
  • The New York Police Department admits it used facial recognition software during its investigation targeting Black Lives Matter organizer Derrick Ingram, who saw his apartment surrounded by officers, police dogs and a helicopter earlier this month as part of the operation. He was allegedly being targeted for assault charges after yelling into a megaphone directed at an officer.
  • A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union reveals that even though Americans have spent most of 2020 inside their homes social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic, fatal police shootings haven’t stopped or slowed down. As of June 30, law enforcement officers had shot and killed 511 people.

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump’s reelection campaign sued New Jersey over the state’s decision to use a hybrid voting model for November’s election in which all residents will be mailed a ballot, leaving it up to them to decide if they would like to vote by mail or in person.
  • The Trump campaign is suing three Iowa counties over their absentee ballot request forms, marking the latest effort to go after states and localities that seek to make it easier to vote by mail this fall. The counties were sending ballots with some personal information already filled out for voters as they argued blank forms could disenfranchise voters who do not know their voting pin or driver’s license number.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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