The Past 24 Hours or So – Trump Administration, Protests/Racial and Social Issues, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Trump Administration

  • U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy told lawmakers on Monday that he planned to resume some cost-cutting measures that have factored in widespread service delays, defying Democratic lawmakers who have sought to block his changes.
  • A KREX 5/Fox 4 viewer said she went to the USPS sorting annex on Patterson Road and Burkey Street Monday morning when she noticed a red dumpster by the loading docks.

When she asked what was being thrown out, a clerk said it was a brand new mail sorting machine.

The clerk added, “It took two months to set up and they were just about to do a test run when the postmaster general ordered us to take it out, now we’re sorting by hand. No wonder they say we’re losing money when they throw out expensive machines like that.”

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating whether President Trump illegally inflated his assets to attract investors and earn loans, her office revealed in court documents on Monday. James filed a lawsuit against the president’s son, Eric Trump, and the Trump Organization, accusing them of failing to comply with subpoenas as part of the investigation.
  • Manhattan’s top prosecutor, Cyrus Vance Jr., to delay enforcement of a subpoena for eight years of President Trump’s tax returns.

Though Vance had the legal right to enforce a subpoena to obtain Trump’s corporate and personal tax records, he agreed to temporarily shelve the subpoena against Trump’s accounting firm. The delay allows for another round of litigation, extending the nearly year long court battle over the subpoena in which Trump has lost every bout, including a landmark decision last month at the Supreme Court.

  • Canada largely won a case before the World Trade Organization on Monday in a long-running dispute with the United States over U.S. duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber exports.

The panel found that duties, designed to counter Canadian subsidies, did not breach global trading rules because Washington had not shown that prices paid by Canadian firms for timber on government-owned lands were artificially low.

The Trump administration levied tariffs of up to 17.99% against what it saw as unfair subsidies for Canadian exporters of softwood lumber, which is used in home construction.

  • The Trump administration threw up major hurdles for a planned copper and gold mine in Alaska, a move that could kill the project that had drawn opposition from environmentalists, recreational groups and prominent Republicans.

The current proposal for the Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay “cannot be permitted,” the Army Corps of Engineers said, and it called for a series of strict conditions the project’s developers would need to meet to offset the environmental harms that the massive project would have on the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

  • Environmental groups wasted no time challenging the Trump administration’s attempt to allow oil and gas drilling in an Alaska refuge where polar bears and caribou roam.

Two lawsuits filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage sought to block the Interior Department’s plan to allow oil and gas lease sales on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a 1.56 million-acre strip of land along Alaska’s northern Beaufort Sea coast, or about 8% of the 19.3 million-acre refuge.

  • A federal appeals court has narrowed an anti-riot law the Trump administration is wielding to bring federal charges against individuals accused of fueling civil unrest.

The three-judge appeals court panel unanimously concluded that language in the Anti-Riot Act that makes it a crime to “encourage,” “promote” or urge a riot is unconstitutionally overbroad because it encompasses speech protected by the First Amendment.

  • Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen C. Goss: Trump’s proposal to eliminate payroll taxes would deplete the Social Security Trust Fund by 2023, “with no ability to pay benefits thereafter.”

Protests/Racial and Social Issues

  • Police shot a Black man in the back multiple times in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as his three sons watched on Sunday, his family’s lawyer said, sparking a night of unrest during which protesters hurled firebombs and bricks at law enforcement officers.

A video circulating on social media showed Jacob Blake walking toward the driver’s side of a gray SUV followed by two officers with their guns drawn at his back. Seven gunshot sounds can be heard as Blake, who appears to be unarmed, opens the car door.

It was unknown whether the officer saw something inside the vehicle to justify deadly force. It was also not clear whether one or both officers fired their weapons.

  • The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department announced an 8 p.m. curfew for the second night in a row Monday. The curfew follows unrest in Kenosha after the police shooting of Jacob Blake Sunday.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called for an immediate investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) activated the National Guard to assist local law enforcement after protests in Kenosha turned violent following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
  • Police in Kenosha deployed tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters who converged on the county courthouse during a second night of protests. 
  • Angry, maskless spectators forced themselves into the Idaho House special session on the coronavirus pandemic, shattering a glass door, rushing into the gallery that had limited seating because of the virus and forcing lawmakers to ask for calm in a crowd that included a man carrying an assault-style weapon.

After some people shoved their way past Idaho State Police, Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke allowed the gallery to fully open as long as the crowd stopped chanting and was respectful.

“I want to always try to avoid violence,” he told The Associated Press later.

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump on Monday claimed Democrats are using the coronavirus to “steal” the 2020 election, arguing closures of businesses and demands for mail-in voting are not driven by a pandemic that has killed nearly 180,000 Americans in five months, but to defeat him.

“They’re using COVID to defraud the American people, all of our people, of a fair and free election. We can’t do that.”

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to share a message with the Republican National Convention this week is a break from all sorts of norms and precedents designed to keep America’s chief diplomat out of the partisan fray. It may also be violating State Department policy he himself approved.
  • A progressive pro-immigration group is launching an ad targeting Asian American voters in battleground states by highlighting President Trump’s controversial rhetoric about the coronavirus. The 60-second ad intersperses clips of Trump calling the virus the “Chinese flu,” “Chinese virus” and “kung flu,” along with reports of rises in anti-Asian discrimination.
  • More Than a Vote, a group of athletes headlined by LeBron James is launching a campaign to increase the number of poll workers in Black electoral districts ahead of November’s general election.
  • The federal government has largely implemented the election security recommendations that the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and National Institute of Standards and Technology generated in 2016. 

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

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