The Past 24 Hours or So

10/9

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 54,870 new cases and 975 additional deaths. 14,653 patients are receiving critical care. 
  • President Trump suggested during an interview that he could have caught the coronavirus from Gold Star families who had visited the White House to tell stories of their loved ones who died serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

“And I can’t back up, Maria, and say ‘Give me room, I want room. Give me 12 feet, stay 12 feet away when you talk.’ They come within an inch of my face sometimes.”

  • White House physician Sean Conley says that President Trump would be able to make a “safe return” to public events on Saturday, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and even as Conley refuses to say the last time Trump tested negative for the virus.
  • The COVID-19 treatment used by President Trump during his illness was tested using a cell line derived from a human fetus, even though his administration opposes the use of aborted fetuses for scientific purposes.
  • Researchers in Chicago found that more than 80 percent of sampled coronavirus patients had some form of neurologic impact, including muscle pain, headaches and encephalopathy. 
  • Two days after abruptly calling off coronavirus relief talks with Democrats, President Trump did a full 180-degree turn and said Thursday that he was now negotiating a “bigger deal” than a narrowly focused package to rescue airlines.

“I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they’re starting to work out.”

  • Amtrak says without $5 billion in pandemic stimulus funds from Congress, it will shed 2,400 workers, cut the frequency of trains on some routes, and stop major improvement projects.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will unveil a bill on Friday written with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a constitutional law expert, that would create a commission to determine whether a president is fit for office amid concerns over President Trump becoming sick with COVID-19.
  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in May reportedly hosted a lavish indoor wedding for his daughter in Atlanta despite city and state health protocols that prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people to stem the spread of coronavirus Approximately 70 maskless guests wearing tuxedos and gowns were reportedly in attendance, including GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.
  • The Miami Dolphins have been given clearance to go to full capacity of 65,000 fans at Hard Rock Stadium by Florida Gov. DeSantis (R). The team, though, says their current plan of 13,000 fans remains the same for their next home game on Oct. 25.
  • New Jersey reported 1,301 new cases of Covid-19, the highest number since May 29.
  • Health officials in North Carolina are asking people who attended the Mecktoberfest celebration at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte to consider getting tested for COVID-19.

The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday that two coronavirus cases have been connected to the event.

  • Florida reported at least 3,306 additional cases – the highest single-day jump in new infections since Sept. 18.
  • Indiana is again in danger of being added to Chicago’s quarantine travel order next week, Chicago’s top doctor announced while disapproving of the neighboring state’s recent reopening.

Though Indiana is still just at a warning level, Chicago residents are “strongly advised” to avoid traveling there.

  • Baylor University, in Waco, Texas, has announced it is halting all football-related activities following positive results from recent coronavirus testing.

Trump Administration

  • A little less than 7 months after Trump encouraged his supporters in a tweet to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” law enforcement officials charged 13 suspects with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and terrorism crimes, after an investigation revealed the right-wing plotters had planned to overthrow the state government of Michigan and take Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hostage.
  • The federal deficit for 2020 is believed to have hit a record-smashing $3.1 trillion in 2020, well over double the highest deficit on record, according to a newly released estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • President Trump swiped at two of his most loyal Cabinet members, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Bill Barr, as well as his FBI director in a phone interview as he worked himself into a rage over Hillary Clinton’s emails, the Russia investigation, and the 2016 election.

Trump criticized Pompeo and Barr, lamenting that they had not done enough to speed the process of trying to implicate his political opponents in wrongdoings. 

“To be honest, Bill Barr is going to go down as either the greatest attorney general in the history of the country or he’s going to go down as, you know, a very sad situation,” Trump said. “I’ll be honest with you. He’s got all the information he needs. They want to get more, more, more. They keep getting more. I said, ‘you don’t need any more.’ “

Pompeo was targeted for not working to find and release Clinton’s deleted emails, a subject of fascination for the president and his supporters.

“They’re in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad, actually,” Trump said. “I’m not happy about him for that reason. He was unable to get them out. I don’t know why. You’re running the State Department, you get them out.”

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) are calling for Treasury Department inspectors general to investigate whether there has been any inappropriate interference in IRS audits of President Trump. The request comes after a bombshell New York Times report detailed how Trump has been subject to a years-long audit over a $72.9 million refund he claimed in 2010.
  • President Trump reportedly required physicians at Walter Reed Medical Center to sign non-disclosure agreements before treating him for an unknown health issue last year. At at least two physicians refused to sign the legal documents and were told that they could not be involved with the president’s treatment.
  • The Supreme Court declined to act on a Trump administration request to reinstate a rule mandating that abortion-inducing drugs be taken in the presence of a doctor.
  • Hundreds of attorneys and judges are offering support to Justice Department officials who resign or speak out about what they say is “political misuse” of the department by Attorney General William Barr before the election. 

The Lawyers Defending Democracy wrote that Barr has “increasingly politicized with his public and private actions,” and expressed concerns about “his readiness to influence the upcoming election.”

Presidential Election

  • Minutes after the organizing commission announced that the next debate between President Trump and Joe Biden would be held virtually to protect the health of those involved, Trump said he would refuse to participate. 

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump said. The Biden campaign stated they would still participate with or without Trump. 

  • Joe Biden’s presidential campaign rejected a suggestion from President Trump’s camp to postpone the next two presidential debates by a week, the latest development in a head-spinning back-and-forth over the format and dates of the next two head-two-heads. 

“Donald Trump can show up, or he can decline again. That’s his choice,” the Biden team said.

  • President Trump’s campaign adviser Steve Cortes is accusing Democratic nominee Joe Biden of using Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis as an excuse not to show up for the next presidential debates as the candidates clash over the format of the next debate. 

“We can’t trust him to do a Zoom call from his basement where he could be assisted by teleprompters and staff,” he said. “No, if he wants to be the commander-in-chief of the greatest republic in history, he has to get on the stage himself and face off with Donald Trump.”

  • President Trump twice referred to Kamala Harris, an elected member of the Senate and the first Black and South Asian woman to be the vice-presidential nominee of a major political party, as a “monster” following her debate against his running mate. 

“This monster that was on stage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night, by the way. This monster, she says, ‘no no, there won’t be fracking,’ there won’t be this. Everything she said is a lie.”

Trump has previously called Harris “very nasty” – a term he frequently uses for females he takes issue with. 

  • Voter registration forms with the wrong name, address and date of birth were accidentally mailed to 11,000 North Carolina residents by technology vendor Civitech. 

In Los Angeles, around 2,100 residents received misprinted mail ballots that were missing the presidential vote card. In both cases, voters will receive new and corrected registration forms and ballots.

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a Republican bid to block mail voting in Montana. The emergency application was denied by Justice Elena Kagan without any additional comment or noted dissents.
  • Federal judges have blocked a lower court’s order extending the deadline for returning mail ballots in Wisconsin, requiring that absentee ballots be in the hands of election officials by the time the polls close on Election Day.
  • The Biden campaign quickly sold out of a “Truth Over Flies” fly swatter it was offering after an insect landed on Vice President Mike Pence’s head during his debate against Kamala Harris.
  • The Office of Special Counsel ordered Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to reimburse taxpayers for using an official event to promote Trump’s reelection, a violation of ethics laws.
  • Facebook has banned the U.S. marketing firm that was behind a campaign to disseminate deceptive political content on behalf of Turning Point USA, a political advocacy group for young conservatives with ties to President Trump.

Racial & Social Issues

  • A police officer in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, will not face charges in the fatal shooting of a Black teen in February, the district attorney in Milwaukee County announced Wednesday. Alvin Cole, 17, was fatally shot by Officer Joseph Mensah, who is also Black.

Cole was shot outside of the Mayfair Mall on February 2 after police responded to a report of a man who was seen with a gun. According to Chisholm’s report, Mensah arrived at the scene, began the pursuit of two subjects, and fired several shots at Cole after he aimed a handgun at him. Chisholm said evidence showed that Cole was in possession of a stolen 9mm handgun.

  • An interim principal at a Kansas City-area high school has apologized for storming onto the volleyball court and demanding that the girls team take off their racial unity T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Together We Rise” before a game.

WDAF-TV reports that the Park Hill South School’s girls volleyball team wore the T-shirts for warm-ups before their Sept. 29 game. Interim principal Kerrie Herren made them take them off. He has since repeatedly apologized, saying he made a mistake and that the girls can wear them from now on.

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

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