The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 10 Minutes

9/24

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 38,669 new cases and 1,171 additional deaths. 
  • A new Quinnipiac poll asked respondents, “Who do you trust more on information about the coronavirus. Democrats responded 1% for President Trump and 97% CDC scientists. Conversely,  51% Republicans trusted President Trump while only 36% chose CDC scientists.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate begins Phase 3 trials in the United States today. Trials for the single-dose vaccine will include up to 60,000 adult participants at nearly 215 sites in the US and internationally.
  • President Trump suggested it was “a political move” for the FDA to consider strengthening its safety standards for the emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine, breaking with experts at the agency and saying: “That has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it. That sounds like a political move.”
  • The Trump administration’s bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent efforts to meddle with recommendations from the CDC are taking a substantial toll on the nation’s foremost public health institution.

Current and former CDC officials described a workforce that has seen its expertise questioned, its findings overturned for political purposes and its effectiveness in combating the pandemic undermined by partisan actors in Washington.

“I have never seen morale this low. It’s just, people are beaten down. People are beaten down partially by a public who not only distrusts us but who actually think we want to infringe on their civil liberties,” said one current CDC employee. “The other factor is the active undermining by senior members of our own administration.”

  • White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has told people around her that she is “distressed” with the direction of the task force, describing the situation inside the nation’s response to the coronavirus as nightmarish.

Birx views Dr. Scott Atlas, a recent addition to the task force, as an unhealthy influence on the president’s thinking when it comes to the virus. “The President has found somebody who matches what he wants to believe,” a source close to Birx said of her view of Atlas’s relationship with Trump. 

Birx believes Atlas is feeding the president misleading information about the efficacy of face masks for controlling the spread of the virus. Trump, whose rallies draw crowds of supporters who refuse to wear masks, has repeatedly mocked Democratic rival Joe Biden for using them.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci accused Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) of repeatedly misconstruing information about the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic today, including making misleading claims about herd immunity and the effects of mitigation measures.
  • Thousands of people may have been exposed to the coronavirus on commercial flights this year, the CDC announced, saying it knows of 1,600 flights in the first eight months of the year where a person who may have had the virus was present.
  • Sacred Heart University in Connecticut is threatening to send students home for remote learning unless the school can flatten its infection curve and students take social distancing more seriously.
  • Syracuse University announced that it is canceling its spring break for the upcoming Spring 2021 semester, “in order to minimize travel-related COVID-19 risks and to avoid quarantine-related complications.”
  • A fourth-grader in Massachusetts was reportedly sent home from his school after sneezing in class and told to not return until testing negative for COVID-19.
  • Event organizers for the annual Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration announced the countdown will take place this year, with some changes in format.

The countdown will take place “visually, virtually and safely,” according to a video teaser organizers sent out as part of a release.

  • The Metropolitan Opera announced they have canceled the entire 2020-21 season due to the “ongoing health crisis.”
  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19. Parson has urged residents to wear masks and maintain social distancing, but he has been an outspoken opponent of mask mandates, appearing at functions without one.

Trump Administration

  • House Democrats introduced sweeping legislation empowering Congress with more muscular oversight and anti-corruption tools to rein in abusive presidents — present and future. The bill includes efforts to curb abuses of presidential pardons; prevent presidents from profiting personally from the office; and secure administrative compliance with congressional subpoenas.
  • A New York state judge ordered President Trump’s son Eric to answer questions under oath in a fraud investigation into his family’s real estate business.

Last week, Eric Trump’s lawyers said he was willing to be interviewed — but would only do so after the presidential election because he did not want his deposition to be used “for political purposes.”

But on Wednesday, a state judge in Manhattan, Arthur F. Engoron, ruled that Mr. Trump had to sit for a deposition no later than Oct. 7.  Justice Engoron said he found Mr. Trump’s arguments that a delay was necessary “unpersuasive.”

  • A $1 billion fund Congress gave the Pentagon in March to build up the country’s supplies of medical equipment has instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used to make things such as jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.

The Cares Act, which Congress passed earlier this year, gave the Pentagon money to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” But the Defense Department began reshaping how it would award the money in a way that represented a major departure from Congress’ intent.

  • President Trump nominated Allen Souza, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), to serve as the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community, where he would replace an official that the president ousted in April.
  • CIA Director Gina Haspel limits the amount of Russia-related intelligence that reaches President Trump because he is often angered by reports that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election to help secure his victory.
  • President Trump announced he will sign an executive order he says would ensure all babies born alive, including those born prematurely or that survive abortions, receive medical care, in an appeal to conservatives and religious voters. It comes as Trump has repeatedly and inaccurately claimed babies are being killed after their birth, calling it an abortion.

The text of the order was not available after the announcement, making it unclear what it actually does.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Brett Hankison, the sole Louisville police officer who was indicted Wednesday in the raid that resulted in the killing of Breonna Taylor, has posted a $15,000 bail within hours of being booked at a Kentucky jail. No officers were charged in connection to Taylor’s shooting, but Hankison was charged for wanton endangerment for opening fire that entered another apartment.
  • President Trump reacted to a grand jury’s findings in the killing of Breonna Taylor by praising Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron as “a star” and touting his political accomplishments for the Black community. Pressed more about the case and Breonna Taylor specifically, President Trump did not comment, saying only: “It’ll all work out.”
  • Joe Biden urged anyone protesting after the announcement of charges in the Breonna Taylor case to remain peaceful and not engage in violence.

“One thing I want to make clear, protesting makes a lot of sense it is clear people should be able to speak. But no violence, no violence,” Biden told WSOC. “My heart goes out to Breonna Taylor’s mom. The last thing she needs to see is violence in the streets. Protest peacefully, no violence.”

  • Members of the Kentucky National Guard and Kentucky State Police have been activated to work in Louisville, Gov. Andy Beshear said. 
  • Protests erupted over news that a grand jury did not hand down any charges for the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, but rather charged one officer for shooting into a neighbor’s home. Police officers in riot gear are already clashing with crowds of protesters in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The Louisville Metro Police Department announced that one officer has been shot.
  • The FBI Louisville field office said it has deployed a SWAT team to respond to a Louisville Metro Police Department officer being shot and “will continue to assist in the investigation.”

The department has not provided additional details on the shooting.

  • Thousands of protesters around the country hit the streets after a Kentucky grand jury decided that no officers would be charged directly with Breonna Taylor’s death.
  • In the wake of a grand jury announcing no charges in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, MSNBC’s Joy Reid implored social justice activists to focus their efforts on voting in order to correct the issue of systemic racism and police brutality in the criminal justice system.

“Stop expecting justice from this system,” she said. “The only way to change that is to change who governs us.”

  • Pittsburgh Police are searching for two men accused of shooting paintballs at the Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Pittsburgh. One of the men can be seen in the images wearing a Confederate flag sweatshirt and Trump campaign hat.
  • Four people filed a federal lawsuit demanding that Facebook prevent militias and hate groups from using the site after a militia group used the platform to draw armed people to protests in Wisconsin last month that left two people dead.
  • Fox News personality Judge Jeanine Pirro called Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with fatally shooting two people in Kenosha, “innocent” and said he has been unfairly “demonized” by the media and social justice activists.  “He’s all-American, and he’s trying to just make sure his town is safe,” Pirro said.
  • The House passed a landmark bill called the CROWN Act that bans discrimination over race-based hairstyles to stop workplace dress codes and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks.
  • The Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after the Nazi death camp survivor, has released a report detailing the origins of the QAnon conspiracy theory and warning about its deeply anti-Semitic nature.

“[T]here is very little original about QAnon’s conspiratorial core,” the center wrote in a blog post. It also highlights just how much of the theory can be traced back to other well known conspiracies.

  • President Trump allegedly made private claims among senior officials that a lack of initiative, rather than racism, had prevented progress in the United States by Black Americans. Trump also reportedly said following phone calls with Jewish lawmakers that Jews “are only in it for themselves” and “stick together” in an ethnic alliance.
  • Leaked chat logs show Portland-area pro-Trump activists planning and training for violence, sourcing arms and ammunition and even suggesting political assassinations ahead of a series of contentious rallies in the Oregon city, including one scheduled for this weekend.

The chats on the GroupMe app, shared with the Guardian by the antifascist group Eugene Antifa, show conversations between Oregon members of the Patriots Coalition growing more extreme as they discuss armed confrontations with leftwing Portland activists, and consume a steady diet of online disinformation about protests and wildfires.

  • Asian American are calling out 164 Republican members of Congress who voted against a resolution denouncing hate incidents toward Asian Americans during the pandemic.

Actor Daniel Dae Kim tweeted: “I just read this bill. All it basically says is that Anti-Asian sentiment, racism and discrimination is wrong. It asks for nothing more than that. Yet 164 members of Congress (all Republican) voted against it. #vote”

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump had barely taken the stage during a rally in Minnesota on Friday night when the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died at the age of 87.

Trump’s aides refrained from telling him about the justice’s death over fears that if he announced onstage Ginsburg had died, it would lead his supporters to cheer.

  • A Republican-led Senate inquiry into corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, involving Ukraine found no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president.
  • Multiple senators are sounding the alarm around foreign threats to U.S. elections, with lawmakers pressing for more information to be made public after two classified briefings from top federal officials in the Trump administration.

“I am very deeply concerned, I think the American people need to know what we heard,” one lawmaker said. “I think the threat, my impression, is really potentially shocking.”

  • As part of their attempt to interfere with the 2020 election, Russians are grabbing screenshots of President Trump’s tweets, or quoting his own misleading statements, analysts and officials say.
  • President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election in November, telling reporters when asked during a press briefing that he needs to “see what happens,” sowing doubt about the security of mail-in ballots.

“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump said. “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there will be a continuation.”

  • Joe Biden picked up endorsements from over 50 Latino faith leaders who blasted President Trump, saying he’s used faith to back an agenda that “has violated” human rights issues “that are pro-life such as educational opportunities, food security, prison reform, and racial equity.”
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who left their full-time work with the British royal family and moved to California earlier this year, are calling on Americans to cast their ballot in the US election. 

“Every four years, we’re told the same thing: that this is the most important election of our lifetime But this one is,” the couple said in a new video. “As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.”

When asked about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s comments, Trump responded, “I’m not a fan of hers. And I would say this: and she probably has heard that. I wish a lot of luck to Harry, because he’s going to need it.”

  • A video of Joe Biden answering questions during a television interview has been edited to claim, incorrectly, that he was using a teleprompter. The modified clip has been shared by people close to President Trump, including his son Eric.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s