The Past 24 Hours or So

10/16

Read Time: 10 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 63,242 new cases with a test positivity rate of 6.286% and 953 additional deaths. 15,270 patients are receiving critical care.
  • Surging coronavirus cases in many areas of the country may make it unwise to hold large family gatherings at Thanksgiving this year, particularly if elderly relatives or out-of-state travel are involved.
  • The antiviral drug Remdesivir – one of a number of medications given to President Trump when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month – had no substantial impact on the survival of coronavirus patients or the length of their hospital stays, according to a World Health Organization clinical trial.
  • Dozens of scientists and public health organizations blasted a “herd immunity” strategy being endorsed by top officials at the White House — which calls for quickly reaching herd immunity by letting COVID-19 spread uncontrolled among the young and healthy population while protecting the vulnerable — saying it “would haphazardly” sacrifice lives and calling it “a political statement.”

“Instead of selling false hope that will predictably backfire, we must focus on how to manage this pandemic in a safe, responsible, and equitable way,” 14 public health groups wrote in an open letter.

  • The coronavirus pandemic may have caused tens of thousands of more deaths in the spring and summer than previously thought, a new study says.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond found nearly 75,000 more people may have died from the pandemic than what was recorded in March to July, according to the report published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA. 

By examining death certificates, the study found more than 150,000 deaths were officially attributed to COVID-19 during that period. But researchers determined that nearly 75,000 additional deaths were indirectly caused by the pandemic, bringing the total number of deaths for those four months to more than 225,000. 

  • President Trump spoke dismissively about Dr. Anthony Fauci during a campaign rally, suggesting he had offered inconsistent advice about the novel coronavirus and claiming the nation’s top infectious disease expert is a Democrat.
  • President Trump complained that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has thus far failed to strike a deal on coronavirus relief legislation amid his ongoing negotiations with House Democrats.

In an interview on Fox Business, Trump said he had authorized Mnuchin to offer more than $1.8 trillion in federal spending to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to help shore up the pandemic-battered U.S. economy.

“I’ve told him,” Trump said. “So far, he hasn’t come home with the bacon.”

  • President Trump kept up his attacks against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Thursday morning by nonsensically accusing her of wanting to be a “dictator” a week after the FBI thwarted an alleged militia plot to kidnap her.

“Michigan, she has to open up. She wants to be a dictator in Michigan,” Trump said. “The people can’t stand her. And they want to get back and want to get back to work and so Michigan we won.”

Trump said that states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina have to “open up,” and boasted that they will the day after the November election.

“They got to open them up. They will open them up on November 4th. They’re only doing it for politics,” Trump said

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday broke with President Trump and shot down the prospect of a coronavirus deal totaling between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion — the goalposts of the current talks between Democrats and the White House — as he prepares to force a vote on a $500 billion bill.
  • Orthodox Jewish leaders say they have seen a growing faction of young men in the community who are tired of coronavirus guidelines and resentful of the secular authorities.
  • Chris Christie, who was recently hospitalized with a coronavirus infection, told The New York Times on Thursday that he had believed he was in a “safe zone” at the White House and that he was “wrong” to not wear a mask.
  • YouTube will ban content containing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines. The video platform is already removing content with misinformation about the existence and the transmission of the coronavirus, as well as content promoting medically unsubstantiated methods of treatment.
  • The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons shut down their practice facility after positive COVID-19 test. 
  • The AAC announced that the football game between No. 8-ranked Cincinnati and Tulsa has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases at Cincinnati. 
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that there continues to be “very, very, very low positivity levels” of COVID-19 in schools.
  • Pennsylvania added nearly 1,600 Covid-19 cases, marking the 10th consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases.
  • Philadelphia public schools will begin phasing back in-person learning starting Nov. 30.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) reported a record number of new coronavirus cases for a second day in a row.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed an executive order today, extending current Covid-19 restrictions through Oct. 31.
  • Missouri reported 1,413 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 on Tuesday — the highest daily count since the pandemic began.
  • New Mexico is reporting the highest infection levels the state has seen since the pandemic began, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said in a news conference on Thursday.

The positivity rate is 8.1%, and hospitalizations are up 74%.

“These are the highest levels we’ve been at, and in a very bad way,” Lujan Grisham said. The state had been doing well before this, she said — “and now, we’re in those columns where we’re leading the country, if not in the number one position, nearing it for uncontrollable spread.”

“This is the most serious emergency that New Mexico has ever faced,” she added.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the border will remain closed until the U.S. can get a handle on the coronavirus as cases rise again. The Prime Minister is also urging Canadians to think about the health risks if they choose to travel abroad.
  • Paris and other French cities will be subject to a nighttime curfew starting Saturday to try to slow the spread of coronavirus, French President Emmanuel Macron announced.
  • Italy on Wednesday recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The country saw 7,332 new cases exceeding the previous daily high set during the first wave of the pandemic on March 21, of at least 6,557 cases. 

Presidential Campaign

  • U.S. intelligence analysts suspected at least as far back as last month that a mixture of hacked and forged emails from the Ukrainian company Burisma Holdings might be dumped online as an “October surprise,” The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Russian military-intelligence hackers successfully breached Burisma’s servers in January, The Times reported earlier this year.

Wednesday’s report said analysts contacted people with knowledge of the hack because they were concerned “the Burisma material would be leaked alongside forged materials in an attempt to hurt” the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

Earlier Wednesday, the New York Post published an article purporting to feature a “smoking-gun email” between a Burisma executive and Biden’s son Hunter.

As Business Insider reported, the authenticity of the Post article is highly questionable, and its sourcing raises numerous red flags.

  • Trump retweeted white nationalist Lauren Southern and Tarl Warwick, a YouTuber with far-right connections.
  • A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina absentee ballots must include a witness signature, delivering a win to Republican groups in the state that have pushed for tighter regulations around absentee voting.
  • A Pennsylvania county has to resend nearly 29,000 ballots to voters after a printing error led to voters receiving incorrect ballots.
  • Twitter had briefly locked Trump’s reelection campaign account. A Twitter spokesperson explained: “Accounts that Tweet the materials or links to the materials referenced here may be required to delete those Tweets based on our policies on hacked materials and private and personal information.”
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s Twitter account was temporarily locked after she shared a New York Post story on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, that has drawn questions about its sourcing and accuracy. She said Twitter “essentially” had her at “gunpoint” with the move.
  • President Trump tore into NBC hours before appearing on the network for a town hall forum, preemptively complaining that he would be treated unfairly: “And so they asked me if I’d do it, and I figured what the hell, we’ve got a free hour on television.”

“So you know, I’m being set up tonight, right. I’m doing this town hall with Con-cast,” Trump said, mocking the name of NBC’s parent company. “So I’m doing it and it’s NBC. The worst.”

Trump mocked network anchor Lester Holt and political director Chuck Todd, while lamenting that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s town hall on the network earlier this month was “meant for children.”

  • More than 100 Hollywood actors, directors, producers and showrunners sent an open letter opposing NBC’s decision to air a town hall with President Trump at the same time as one being held with Joe Biden. 

“President Trump refused to participate in the virtual debate scheduled for Thursday night by the Presidential Debate Commission. By agreeing to air his town hall as counter-programming opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall on ABC, you are enabling the President’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public.”

  • Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam Adelson gave $75 million to Preserve America, a new anti-Biden super PAC that suddenly became one of the biggest 2020 spenders last month.

In total, Preserve America raised $83.76 million between its creation on Aug. 31 and the end of September. Other major donors include Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who gave $5 million, investment banker Warren Stephens, who gave $2 million, and businesswoman Diane Hendricks, who gave $1 million.

The group will report spending $77 million in September, with almost all of it — just under $76 million — on independent-expenditure ads attacking Biden. In just over a month of activity, Preserve America has become one of the largest outside spenders in politics

  • Former President Obama will hit the campaign trail for Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the closing two weeks of the presidential race, when he is expected to visit key battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — states the former running mates carried in 2008 and 2012.
  • Senior White House adviser Hope Hicks joined President Trump on his two-day trip to North Carolina, Florida and North Carolina, flying on Air Force One just two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. She was not wearing a mask.
  • Kamala Harris is canceling her campaign travel schedule through Sunday after two campaign staffers, including her communications director Liz Allen, tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump Administration

  • The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 898,000 new claims. The number of people who are continuing to receive unemployment benefits dropped 1.2 million to 10 million. The decline signals that many of the unemployed are being recalled to their old jobs; but, it also reflects the fact that potentially even more people have used up their regular state benefits — which usually expire after six months — and have transitioned to extended benefit programs that last an additional three months.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department shows that the job market remains fragile, and it coincides with other recent data that have signaled a slowdown in hiring. The economy is still roughly 10.7 million jobs short of recovering all the 22 million jobs that were lost when the pandemic struck in early spring.

  • Watchdog organizations are now calling for the Agriculture Department’s inspector general to investigate whether Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has run afoul of the ethics agreement he signed as a nominee for the job early in the Trump administration.

Perdue pledged in 2017 to separate himself from his multimillion dollar business holdings that could pose conflicts of interest in his public duties. But last year, he disclosed he had become trustee of a newly formed fund that includes many of the same assets as his original family trust.

Racial & Social Issues

  • YouTube on Thursday became the latest social media giant to take steps to stop QAnon, the sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory community whose online fantasies about a cabal of satanic pedophiles running the world have spilled over into offline violence.

The company is updating its hate speech and harassment policies to prohibit “content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence.” The new policy will prohibit content promoting QAnon, as well as related conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate, which falsely claims that top Democrats and Hollywood elites are running an underground sex-trafficking ring from the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant.

  • Motel 6, Home Depot and Keurig Dr Pepper have cut ties with the Richards Group, an advertising agency in Dallas, after a report that its founder had made racist remarks in a meeting last week.

During a Zoom meeting of more than three dozen Richards Group employees on Thursday, a creative team working on the Motel 6 account presented an idea for an ad to Stan Richards, who founded the Richards Group in 1976. Mr. Richards responded to the idea by saying, “It’s too Black,” according to a person at the meeting, who said the ad would have featured Black, white and Hispanic guests. Mr. Richards, who is white, added that the ad might offend or alienate Motel 6’s “white supremacist constituents,” the person said.

  • Texas football players, many of whom have raised concerns over using “The Eyes of Texas” as the school song, have been told by the athletic director that they are expected to be “standing together as a unified group” for the song that has roots in blackface minstrel shows.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

10/15

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 58,467 new cases with a test positivity rate of 6.162% and 830 additional deaths. 15,219 patients are receiving critical care. 
  • Seemingly frustrated by the fact that, 200,000 deaths later, there was still uncertainty about the federal government’s COVID-19 prevention strategy, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, paused before laying out, yet again, her broken-record response: Wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay socially distanced. 

“We have been able to give our best public health and scientific advice to leadership and… I continue to do that everyday whether it is the governor, whether it is the president, or whether it is members of the community. The consistency of that message is absolutely key,” Birx said at the University of Connecticut. Pressed again on whether masks were necessary, the task force leader rolled her eyes: “Let me make it clear: We know how effective these are in blocking our droplets. It’s not just theoretic[al].”

  • Tom Frieden, former director for the CDC said, “There is no national plan, no clear organization, we’re not on the same page and there’s a failure to communicate. There has not been consistent messaging from the federal government. Plus, there has been a politicization of mask-wearing and a lack of discipline in thinking about when to close and what to open. It’s mind-boggling.”
  • Bill Gates lashed out at the Trump administration for undermining infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and other government scientists. 

“We’re engaged in something where we’re attacking the government’s top scientists, not speaking out about how to save lives, but instead undermining the credibility of the person who’s the most knowledgeable,” the Microsoft founder and philanthropist said Tuesday during a Politico Playbook virtual discussion. 

“Expertise matters, and the CDC is largely not allowed to speak out. And so, fortunately, Dr. Fauci has risen above the noise level in talking about masks and best practices. And so the fact that they’re trying to undermine him, for some reason … That just blows the mind,” he said.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said that after a review of President Trump’s most recent coronavirus test, he is confident that the president is “not shedding infectious virus.”
  • Coronavirus precautions will result in a very different kind of Thanksgiving for many people this year, himself included, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected. Either they’ve been very recently tested, or they’re living a lifestyle in which they don’t have any interaction with anybody except you and your family,” he said.

  • The CDC said on Wednesday that COVID-19 vaccines may not be initially recommended for children, when they become available.
  • Melania Trump says her and the president’s 14-year-old son Barron tested positive for COVID-19 but exhibited no symptoms, and that he has since tested negative.
  • President Trump invoked his son Barron’s positive coronavirus case in a push to physically reopen U.S. schools, saying that the 14-year-old was unaffected by the virus because of his immune system. “It happens. People have it and it goes. Get the kids back to school. We’ve got to get them back to school,” Trump told the crowd.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke Wednesday morning to discuss coronavirus aid proposals. The two spent an hour seeking clarification on language, which was productive.

One major area of disagreement continues to be that the White House lacks an understanding of the need for a national strategic testing plan. 

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin later in the day said he and Pelosi were “far apart” on some details of another coronavirus relief package, and that an agreement would be hard to reach before the Nov. 3 election.
  • Economic experts are warning the job market won’t recover from fallouts caused by the coronavirus pandemic until 2024.
  • Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn shared a 2018 photo of a group of Democratic senators on Twitter and questioned why they were not wearing masks. The post drew fierce criticism for being misleading as it was taken well before the pandemic.
  • Wells Fargo has fired about 100 to 125 employees for unethically availing themselves of coronavirus relief funds, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The bank believes some of its staffers made “false representations in applying for coronavirus relief funds for themselves” defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration.

  • An El Paso man was arrested last week and charged with practicing medicine without a medical license for selling and administering fraudulent COVID-19 treatments
  • Walmart will spread Black Friday deals in its stores across three weekends in November in an effort to lessen crowds during the coronavirus pandemic while offering other sales online.
  • House Republican Bill Huizenga announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. He was tested ahead of seeing Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Michigan.
  • University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to prohibit trick-or-treating this year, citing concerns over COVID-19.
  • The French government on Wednesday declared a public health state of emergency, giving officials greater powers to impose new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Coincidingly, France’s President Macron announced curfews in major cities.

Trump Administration

  • Robert O’Neill, who has publicly said he killed bin Laden in the 2011 raid ordered by former President Obama, pushed back on Trump in a series of tweets for promoting the conspiracy theory that it was a bin Laden’s body double who was killed and not the terrorist leader.

“Very brave men said goodby to their kids to go kill Osama bin Laden. We were given the order by President Obama. It was not a body double. Thank you Mr. President.”

  • Consumer confidence index, as of September, stood at 80.4 – 6.8 points lower than in October 2016, just before Trump was elected.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs pose a global threat, after Pyongyang’s unveiling of previously unseen intercontinental ballistic missiles at a predawn military parade.
  • A U.S. appeals court agreed to fast-track a Justice Department appeal of a ruling blocking the government from banning new TikTok downloads from U.S. app stores.
  • The FDA approved the world’s first successful treatment for the Ebola virus, a major step against one of the world’s deadliest pathogens.
  • Conservation groups are planning to sue the Trump administration in order to spur endangered species protections for giraffes. With as few as 69,000 adult giraffes remaining in the wild, environmentalists have for years pushed the federal government to protect the species, something they say will inhibit trade for hunting trophies.

Presidential Campaign

  • Twitter has suspended a group of fake accounts pretending to be owned by Black supporters of President Donald Trump and his re-election campaign.

Offending accounts appeared to use stolen photos of real people including military veterans and members of law enforcement in their profile pictures.

Collectively, the accounts had 265,000 retweets or Twitter mentions. Some of them had amassed over 10,000 followers.

  • Republicans in California drew widespread backlash this week and state officials have accused them of breaking the law by installing unofficial ballot drop boxes in multiple counties, a move deemed misleading and possibly harmful to counting mail-in ballots. 

President Trump is now cheering on the move, tweeting: “Fight hard Republicans. They have been taking advantage of the system for years!”

  • The California Republican Party said Wednesday it will not comply with the state’s cease-and-desist order over unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in at least four counties, escalating a brewing political showdown ahead of the November election.

The unauthorized ballot boxes, which state officials have called illegal, have been found in at least four counties across the state

  • Weeks before Election Day, 14 million people have already voted in the presidential election, according to an analysis by the United States Election Project, another sign that this presidential election could spark record-breaking turnout.
  • A federal judge has extended the deadline for registering to vote in Virginia by 48 hours after the state’s online voter registration system went down because of an accidentally severed cable.

Wednesday’s order in Richmond is an effort to make up for several hours of lost time on Tuesday, which had been the last day to register before the November general election.

  • At three different campaign rallies this week, Trump repeated the lie that Mexico is paying for the border wall. 
  • NBC’s announcement on Wednesday that it will host a town hall with President Trump Thursday night resulted in considerable blowback on social media, with critics arguing it should not have been scheduled up against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s town hall at the same time on ABC.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, one of President Trump’s most vocal Republican critics, said that he will not support the president when it comes to the November election.
  • The scientific journal Nature has endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president, citing what it calls President Trump’s attacks on “so many valuable institutions,” including the press, the courts and science agencies.

“Joe Biden, Trump’s opponent in next month’s presidential election, is the nation’s best hope to begin to repair this damage to science and the truth,” the endorsement reads.

  • Michelle Obama issued a challenge to celebrities to round up their Voting Squad and several are beginning to answer the call. Kerry Washington, Chris Paul, Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, Shonda Rhimes, and Janelle Monáe are among the big names who have assured the former First Lady that they were up for the challenge.
  • Twitter has stopped users from sharing a New York Post article completely and Facebook is tamping down on the spread of the story after many sounded an alarm that it had questionable sourcing. The story in question attacks Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and includes allegations based off hacked information.
  • In a new ad released by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign, George Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd, calls for change and discusses the importance of voting after her brother was killed by police officers in Minneapolis. She recalls Biden meeting with her family, saying he was “there to listen” and describing him as “very sincere.” 

“Biden is the change that we need.”

Racial & Social Issues

  • Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes says she is “not ok” after a virtual town hall she was hosting was repeatedly interrupted by racist slurs from zoombombers. Someone yelled, “Shut up N-word,” and then someone began playing the same racial slur on a loop over music. Another person posted “GO PICK YOUR COTTON.”  

“Black women are expected to press on, to ignore this behavior,” she wrote in a post speaking out about the incident. “The only way we can cut the cancer of racism out of our communities is by calling it out when we see it and raising our collective voices to get rid of it.”

  • The St. Louis couple who went viral for waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching on their street pleaded not guilty to two felony charges over the incident. Should they be charged, Missouri Gov. Michael Parson (R) has already suggested he’d pardon the couple.
  • Federal prosecutors have charged a white Michigan man with a hate crime for allegedly breaking an African American teenager’s jaw with a bike lock during a tense confrontation. Lee Mouat repeatedly yelled racial slurs and said that African Americans had no right to use the public beach where the incident occurred, according to prosecutors.
  • Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of slaves in the U.S., is officially a public holiday in the State of New York.

Gov. Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday, passed by the Legislature in July, designating June 19th as Juneteenth.

  • Ice Cube is reportedly helping develop the Trump administration’s “Platinum Plan,” which aims to bring $500 billion to Black America. His involvement has sparked backlash by some, but Ice Cube says he’s willing to work with both parties to address racism in the United States.
  • Over 60 local prosecutors and state attorneys general issued a joint statement Wednesday saying that they will not enforce laws criminalizing abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that first legalized the procedure.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 9 Minutes

10/14

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 47,184 new cases and 676 additional deaths. 15,079 patients are receiving critical care. 
  • With 33 states reporting a rise in new COVID-19 cases and a nationwide uptick in hospitalizations, officials worry this could be the beginning of the fall surge experts have warned about.
  • Eli Lilly’s late stage clinical trial of a monoclonal antibody treatment has been paused by federal regulators due a safety concern. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
  • FDA inspectors found serious quality-control problems at an Eli Lilly plant making one of two coronavirus drugs praised by Trump as a “cure.”
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said that shortages of testing supplies are disconcerting, and speak to the disconnect between the information that he receives and the experiences of those who are working on the ground. 

“That’s really very disconcerting, in October of 2020, when we knew about those shortages in the spring of 2020,” said Fauci.

  • The federal government said Tuesday it was investing close to half a billion dollars in a cartridge-based on-the-spot coronavirus test that it said would help “dramatically” expand its supply of tests by next spring.
  • President Trump attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci Tuesday morning after the nation’s top infectious disease expert criticized the president’s reelection campaign for featuring him in a political advertisement.

Trump tweeted: “Actually, Tony’s pitching arm is far more accurate than his prognostications. “No problem, no masks”. WHO no longer likes Lockdowns – just came out against. Trump was right. We saved 2,000,000 USA lives!!!”

  • President Trump urged Congress to “go big or go home” on another round of coronavirus stimulus, amid broad objections within his own party to his latest $1.8 trillion proposal.

“STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

  • Two dozen COVID-19 cases have been officially linked by officials in Minnesota to people who attended President Trump campaign events in the past month, most of them attendees at airport rallies hosted by Trump.
  • With the holidays approaching, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield warned that small family gatherings are becoming a growing source of coronavirus spread.
  • Bill Gates called out the federal government for inadequacies in coronavirus testing and sending out what he called “bad messages” on best practices, such as wearing masks.

The billionaire philanthropist, whose foundation is the largest private underwriter of public health initiatives, said the U.S. still has time to do “far, far better” in its COVID-19 testing implementation, criticizing the government — without calling out the Trump administration explicitly — for long test-result wait times and poor contact tracing efforts.

  • The Labor Department announced that Secretary Eugene Scalia’s wife, Trish, has tested positive for coronavirus. Both Scalias attended the Rose Garden event on September 26 where President Donald Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee. 
  • Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • American golfer Dustin Johnson, who sits atop the World Golf Rankings, has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • After announcing five new COVID-19 positive tests within the football team earlier on Tuesday, the University of Florida has paused team activities. 
  • A party venue in Long Island has been slapped with $12,000 in COVID-19 violation fines after 37 cases were traced back to a birthday party held there.
  • For the first time in the 178-year history of the New York Philharmonic, the symphony orchestra is canceling its entire season. 
  • Nineteen student-athletes from the swimming and diving teams at the University of Delaware were sanctioned and suspended after violating the school’s COVID-19 protocol. 
  • The Philadelphia Eagles announced they will welcome fans to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time this season for their game vs. the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Occupancy will be limited to 7,500 people, which includes players, coaches, team and stadium personnel, media and fans.

  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said that “some 65 staff” members had to quarantine after he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
  • A Broward County, Florida first grader tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the first day of school on Friday.
  • Wisconsin reached a new state record for the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in a single day with 3,279. The grim milestone comes as cases see another surge across the U.S. heading into the fall flu season.
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) said COVID-19 cases were rising at a “concerning rate,” and warned new restrictions could be needed, with the city’s seven-day average daily case rates as “high right now as they were at the height of the pandemic back in May.”
  • Utah is experiencing “one of the worst outbreaks in the country” and has announced a new three-tier Covid-19 monitoring system for counties, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said Tuesday. 

Counties will be placed on a low, moderate, or high transmission level which will determine things like when masks are required to be worn, and how large of a group can gather.

  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is announcing a partial rollback of the state’s economic reopening, as coronavirus numbers increase rapidly. 

“When the community spread of the virus becomes uncontrollable – and we are fast approaching that point – our only option is to simply shut down those opportunities for the virus,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

  • Eighteen employees from a United States Postal Service processing center in Las Vegas have tested positive for coronavirus since Sept. 26.
  • The UK government is accused of ignoring its own scientists, who three weeks ago suggested considering a so-called “circuit-breaker,” a short lockdown to bring coronavirus incidence levels down.
  • The Mayor of London said it was “inevitable” the UK’s capital would meet the threshold for tougher coronavirus restrictions in the coming days.
  • Germany has reported 24,584 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days — the highest weekly count since April. 
  • Bavarian state premier Markus Söder is warning that Germany could “lose control of the coronavirus” pandemic, urging “something must be done this week,” ahead of a key meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s federal states.
  • Russia reported 13,868 new cases on Tuesday — another record-high daily increase, according to data from the country’s coronavirus response center.

Moscow is the worst affected city with 4,618 new cases — also a record-high daily increase.

Presidential Campaign

  • A federal appeals court reinstated Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order limiting ballot drop sites to one per county. The decision means more than a dozen satellite locations in at least two counties will remain shut down.
  • As early voting began in Texas on Tuesday, there were reports of hours long wait times as some voters turned out in the pre-dawn hours.
  • An accidentally cut cable has caused the entire Virginia voter registration online system to go down on the last day to register to vote before election day.
  • Early voting got off to a delayed start in Fort Bend County, Texas after an election system glitch left voters unable to cast ballots when the polls opened at 8 a.m., causing frustration for voters and prompting recriminations from elected officials.

Election computers apparently were set for next week instead of Tuesday, causing the system to go down countywide and hundreds of people waited in lines to vote, according to Fort Bend District Attorney Brian Middleton.

  • Georgia officials reported record-breaking voter turnout Monday, the first day in the state for early voting, with 126,876 ballots cast for the Nov. 3 elections. 

The secretary of state’s office announced the record-breaking voting total Monday, adding the previous record was around 90,000 voters.

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced they would donate $100 million to shore up election security efforts, a month after the couple donated $300 million for the same issue. 

The funds will go to the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which received $250 million as part of the previous donation. Another $50 million from the previous donation went to the Center for Election Innovation and Research to help secretaries of state across the nation boost election security efforts. 

The two donations together total $400 million, the same amount appropriated by Congress this year for state and local election officials to address challenges to elections posed by COVID-19.

  • A new billboard displayed right outside the Des Moines International Airport in Iowa, where President Trump is set to hold a campaign rally on Wednesday, warns it will be a “superspreader event.”

The billboard reads: “TRUMP COVID SUPERSPREADER EVENT,” along with a large arrow pointed toward the airport where the president will speak to supporters.

  • Michelle Obama and LeBron James are teaming up their voter engagement organizations, with the former first lady saying making a plan to vote early is “critical” this year.

Obama’s organization, When We All Vote, and the James’ group, More Than a Vote, announced their new partnership’s shared goal for the voter drives is to “build momentum and excitement around voting early,”

  • President Trump’s son Eric canceled a campaign event for his father in Michigan on Tuesday after the venue hosting it revealed a former employee was involved in an alleged plot to kidnap the state’s Democratic Governor.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court asking the justices to shield his tax records from a New York grand jury subpoena.

The filing from Trump’s personal attorneys marks the second time the president has asked the court to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from obtaining eight years of his tax records.

In July, the justices voted 7-2 to reject Trump’s argument that presidents have sweeping immunity from the criminal process, but said Trump could mount other legal objections in lower court proceedings.

  • The FBI says the men accused in a group plot against Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer also discussed kidnapping Virginia governor Ralph Northam.
  • The World Trade Organization opened the door for the European Union to impose tariffs on $4 billion worth of U.S. exports, saying the EU’s retaliation over America’s tax breaks for Boeing were legal.

The EU will have to request further authorization for new tariffs in areas such as agriculture, meaning they will not be enacted immediately.

  • The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing.
  • The Justice Department filed a complaint against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to first lady Melania Trump, alleging that she breached a 2017 nondisclosure agreement with the publication of her new tell-all book.
  • The Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to shut down the census count early.
  • Embattled Bureau of Land Management official William Perry Pendley told a Wyoming public radio station he has not been “ousted” from his job at the agency despite a court ruling saying he illegally served as its acting chief.

Racial & Social Issues

  • An armed security guard hired to protect a television news crew at a weekend protest shot and killed a protester after he reached into his shirt, causing the guard to fear for his safety, according to a lawyer representing the guard’s family.
  • A Black man is suing Galveston, Texas, and its police department for more than $1 million after a 2019 incident in which he was handcuffed and tied to officers on horseback as they led him down a street.
  • Facebook will start banning ads that explicitly discourage people from getting vaccinated, as it also announced a new flu vaccine information campaign.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 9 Minutes

10/13

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 43,043 new cases and 284 additional deaths. 14,914 patients are receiving critical care.
  • Nine states reported record-high hospitalizations on Sunday: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
  • Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson has paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.
  • The city of Qingdao in eastern China has tested more than 3.07 million people for COVID-19 since the weekend, when 12 locally transmitted cases were reported, according to the city’s information office.

No new cases have been identified by the citywide testing program from the more than 1.1 million samples already returned. 

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 can survive for nearly a month in cooler, dark conditions on some nonporous surfaces such as glass and money in controlled laboratory conditions, according to a study published Monday that notes that the primary source of spread still appears to be through airborne aerosols and droplets caused by talking, singing, breathing or laughing.
  • Tensions between Anthony Fauci and President Trump are increasing after the nation’s top infectious disease expert asked the Trump campaign to take down a new ad that features comments of his that he says were taken out of context and used without his consent. But the Trump campaign and the president himself continue to assert the ad is just fine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci repeated his displeasure. “By doing this against my will, they are in effect harassing me,” Fauci told CNN.

  • Dozens of doctors practicing in Michigan wrote a letter to TV stations in the state on Monday urging them to stop airing an ad from the Trump campaign that features comments on the coronavirus pandemic from Dr. Anthony Fauci that Fauci says were used without his consent and which are taken out of context. 

“Physicians and public health professionals work hard every day to inform people about reducing COVID-19 infections and how we can all stay safer, and President Trump’s campaign ad undermines these life-saving efforts,” Dr. Rob Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, told The Hill in a statement.

  • With new coronavirus infections numbering between 40,000 and 50,000 a day, Dr. Fauci says the country is “facing a whole lot of trouble” 
  • Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, refused to wear his mask while taking questions from reporters outside the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “I’m not going to talk through a mask,” he said.
  • Trump boarded Air Force One via the much shorter fuselage stairs, fueling speculation he lacks the energy to climb the normal AF1 boarding stairs. 
  • Several major media organizations have declined to allow reporters to travel with President Trump aboard Air Force One to campaign events due to concerns about a lack of COVID-19 protocols observed by White House staff.
  • As President Trump plans to hold events daily leading up to the November election, Dr. Fauci says it’s “even a worse time to do that” with the coronavirus pandemic showing climbing cases in the U.S.

“We know that is asking for trouble when you do that. We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregate settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves.”

  • President Trump boasted about being “immune” to the coronavirus, painted a rosy picture of his administration’s pandemic response in his return to the campaign trail Monday following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

“Now they say I’m immune. I feel so powerful. I’ll walk in there. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience,” Trump told the crowd. “I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss.”

  • Scientists have confirmed the first case of coronavirus reinfection in the United States: a 25-year-old Nevada man whose second round of the virus was more severe than the first.
  • Despite no federal attempt to map how COVID-19 is spreading across schools, early data from the COVID-19 School Response Dashboard which is run by a group of national education organizations, researchers and technology experts is indicating that schools don’t currently appear to be the major spreaders that experts once feared. 

Data taken from the last two weeks of September from more than 200,000 students attending school in-person from 47 states found an infection rate of 0.13% among students and 0.24% among staff.

  • New York City issued  62 summonses and over $150,000 in fines since Friday during pandemic-related closures and restrictions.

The penalties included five issued to religious congregations.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the fines for mass gatherings in violation of state rules would be up to $15,000 a day, and the fines for not wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing could be $1,000 a day.

  • Vanderbilt University announced that due to the quarantining of individuals with positive tests and those designated as close contacts, the Commodores’ game against Missouri scheduled for Oct. 17 will be postponed.
  • Authorities in Nashville are investigating an outdoor religious concert that took place downtown on Sunday, after videos shared by the organizer showed hundreds of people crowding together, most of them not wearing masks.

The Nashville Metro Public Health Department said the event organizers did not submit an application to the Health Department or a permit application to any Metro department.

  • Newly uncovered confidential data reveals that there have been many outbreaks of coronavirus in schools, workplaces and other facilities driving a surge of COVID-19 cases in Illinois, which were previously undisclosed and perplexing public health experts.

Several outbreaks have occurred at correctional facilities and a major military base.

  • A Wisconsin judge has ruled the state’s mask mandate will be allowed to continue, turning aside a challenge from a conservative legal group that argued the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, overstepped his executive authority by issuing emergency orders to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • North Dakota has fewer than 20 staffed ICU beds available as COVID-19 cases surge.
  • Over the last four weeks, hospitals in the northwest and northeast of England have witnessed a seven-fold increase in COVID patients in their ICUs. The coronavirus situation is “building up nationally” across England, with hospitals in northern regions especially at risk of being overwhelmed by ICU patients, UK health officials warned.
  • The growing number of coronavirus patients has forced several hospitals across Belgium to reduce, cancel and postpone non-urgent operations to free up resources.

Trump Administration

  • Confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, began Monday.
  • President Trump lashed out at “radical activists” and “extremists” bringing attention to Christopher Columbus’ ties to slavery and mistreatment of Indigenous people on Columbus Day, celebrating the holiday with a call to “safeguard our history.” Trump also said those who oppose the figure or prefer celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day “spread hate and division.”
  • Two ethics groups are calling on the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General William Barr, alleging he has used the role for political reasons to support President Trump. 

The groups wrote in a 267-page research paper that Barr has an “authoritarian worldview” that “makes him see himself as entitled to ignore laws, ethics, and historical practices” as the attorney general.

  • Despite fears that climate change threatens wolverines’ habitat in the lower 48 states, the federal government has decided against protecting the animals, saying their populations are stable.

“With fewer than 300 wolverines left in the contiguous United States, there is no justification for the FWS’ decision to deny protection. Listing wolverines as threatened or endangered would trigger new, badly needed conservation efforts,” Earthjustice said in a release slamming the Trump administration’s decision to remove protections for the animal.

  • Officials in Wisconsin have informed FoxConn, the Taiwan-based company that pledged to create 13,000 jobs across the state that it has missed employment targets necessary for being approved for state tax credits for the second year in a row. It comes after President Trump has repeatedly praised his deal with the company to create more jobs.

Racial & Social Issues

  • Facebook has explicitly banned Holocaust denial. The social network said its new policy prohibits “any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust”.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg wrote that he had “struggled with the tension” between free speech and banning such posts, but that “this is the right balance.”

  • Pennsylvania’s second lady, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, on Sunday tweeted that she had been the victim of a racist attack while shopping at her local grocery store and shared a video of a woman calling her a racial slur through the window of her car.

Fetterman, who is normally accompanied by state troopers whenever she leaves her home, decided to go out on her own when she realized that a sale on golden kiwis would be ending soon at her neighborhood Aldi.

She says that the woman who accosted her and called her the N-word recognized her as the wife of Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) which is what apparently led to the racist incident.

  • The University of North Carolina Asheville locked down its campus during the weekend after the school said multiple offices received threatening emails demanding the removal of a Black Lives Matter mural that had reportedly been painted recently by students during the school’s “Student Rights Week.”
  • A Miami street will be renamed to honor Trayvon Martin, the teenager whose 2012 death sparked a nationwide reckoning with racial injustice and police brutality and has helped inspire the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Preliminary findings from a new study out of Canada are pushing back against common misconceptions of social programs and those experiencing homelessness. Researchers behind the bold new study that kicked off in 2018 gave a one-time lump sum of 7,500 Canadian dollars — about $5,700 — to 50 people who had recently become homeless, and allowed them to choose how to spend the money while following their lives over 12 to 18 months. 

The study found that those who received the money on average were able to find stable housing faster, maintain financial security and stability and increased their spending on food, clothing and rent.

Presidential Campaign

  • California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office is investigating the placement of unauthorized ballot drop boxes in Orange, Los Angeles and Fresno counties.

“Operating unofficial ballot drop boxes — especially those misrepresented as official drop boxes — is not just misleading to voters, it’s a violation of state law,” Padilla said in a statement.

The Fresno County Republican Party posted what it called a list of “secure” ballot collection sites on its website, none of which are official county drop box locations.

California Republican officials have defended the drop boxes, saying a 2016 law allowing so-called ballot harvesting permits them. State officials said the boxes do not constitute harvesting, which allows voters to designate someone to submit ballots on their behalf.

  • A federal judge has upheld an agreement that extends Minnesota’s absentee ballot counting deadline by seven days, dealing a blow to Republicans.
  • Alaska’s Supreme Court affirmed a ruling on Monday by a lower state court that threw out a requirement for Alaskans planning to vote by mail to have their ballots witnessed and signed by a person over the age of 18.
  • Hundreds of people lined up early Monday morning in Georgia to vote. Some complained on Twitter of 90-minute delays as new touch-screen voting machines had to be rebooted.
  • Joe Biden released a statement celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Biden’s statement made no mention of Christopher Columbus.
  • Snoop Dogg is lending his 2004 hit “Drop it Like it’s Hot” to a Democratic campaign urging voters to use ballot drop box locations. The 60-second campaign ad shows voters depositing their ballots in official boxes as the rapper’s song plays in the background.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

10/12

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 46,776 new cases and 464 additional deaths. 14,741 patients are receiving critical care.
  • Anthony Fauci, the U.S. says a new Trump campaign ad that features a clip of him discussing coronavirus takes his comments on the matter out of context, adding that he never even signed off on the video being used by the campaign. 

“In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate.”

  • President Trump claimed, without evidence, that he is “immune” from COVID-19 following his apparent recovery from the virus, and he defended his decision to deliver a speech to a crowd at the White House on Saturday less than a week after leaving the hospital. 

“It seems like I’m immune,” Trump said on Fox.

Trump said he believes he will be immune for “maybe a long time, maybe a short time, could be a lifetime.”

  • A tweet from President Trump claiming that he was now “immune” to COVID-19 after his treatment for the virus last week was tagged by the platform as “misleading” and was hidden because it “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
  • President Trump has sparked a new wave of criticism over his treatment of members of the military after suggesting he may have caught the coronavirus from Gold Star families, adding to bad blood that already lingered over his alleged “suckers” and “losers” comments about dead soldiers.
  • President Trump considered staging his own Clark Kent moment as he exited last week from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by ripping open a button-down to reveal a Superman t-shirt. Trump shared the idea of appearing frail when he emerged from the facility then exposing the Superman t-shirt underneath his top layer, which he described as a symbol of strength
  • Business leaders were infuriated after President Trump this week blocked negotiations on COVID-19 relief, warning that many employers in the industries won’t survive another month without knowing if help is on the way. 

“Millions of jobs and the livelihoods of people who have built their small business for decades are just withering away because our leaders in Washington are prioritizing politics over people,” Chip Rogers, CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the Trump administration’s policies on coronavirus testing and tracing inadequate as dozens of states report rising COVID-19 cases, saying “in terms of addressing testing, tracing and treatment, what the Trump Administration has offered is wholly insufficient.”
  • Sen. Kamala Harris will take part in this week’s Supreme Court hearing remotely from her Senate office, a spokesperson said today, citing Republicans’ response to a recent coronavirus outbreak. 

“Due to Judiciary Committee Republicans’ refusal to take common sense steps to protect members, aides, Capitol complex workers, and members of the media, Senator Harris plans to participate in this week’s hearings remotely from her Senate office in the Hart building,” said Chris Harris, a spokesman for the Democratic senator.

  • The NFL postponed Sunday’s game between the Broncos-Patriots after the Patriots reported a positive COVID-19 test on Sunday.
  • Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that large public events, including campaign rallies for President Trump, should not take place without social distancing efforts.

Presidential Campaign

  • A federal court of appeals has issued a temporary stay of a lower court’s ruling that had halted the governor of Texas’s efforts to limit counties across the state to one ballot drop-off location.
  • President Trump has instructed his campaign advisers to schedule numerous events and get him on the road “every single day” between now and the election as the day draws closer and following his doctor clearing him to hold events after contracting coronavirus.
  • The White House is calling for a canceled in-person debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to be rescheduled after the president’s physician said Saturday that Trump was no longer at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a recent interview that election results in her state will be determined “soon after polls close” later this year. But she also added that results will not be announced before an “artificial deadline set by people with political agendas.”

“We’re gonna get this right,” she said.

Racial & Social Issues

  • One person was fatally shot in Denver on Saturday against the backdrop of opposing rallies between far-right and far-left activists. A local TV station reported that a security guard it had hired was being detained in connection with the shooting.Police say it does not appear that the shooter was fueled by any political ideology.
  • The Human Rights Campaign unveiled its Congressional Scorecard for the 116th Congress, grading lawmakers on their support for the LGBTQ community less than a month out from Election Day.

Democrats scored better than Republicans, with 227 Democrats receiving perfect scores and no Republicans getting perfect scores from the group. The average score for Democratic senators was 96, while the average score for GOP senators was 1.6.

  • The LGBTQ Victory Fund revealed in a new report this week that there is a “historic number” of openly LGBTQ candidates who are on general election ballots this year. Over 30 percent of the LGBTQ candidates running in 2020 also identify as people of color.
  • Documents from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s internal investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor reportedly show that even after the case was turned over to the office of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the department worked to gather negative information about Taylor’s boyfriend.
  • The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit accusing Yale University of race and national origin discrimination in its college admissions process. It alleges the school uses an “oversized, standardless, intentional use of race” in its process which favors Black and Hispanic students, while harming Asian and white applicants.
  • Children’s show “Sesame Street” announced it will air a half-hour special aimed at teaching kids about racism and how to stand up to it. “The Power of We” is set to air Oct. 15 and will be available on HBO Max.
  • Police in Portland, Oregon declared a riot as protestors toppled statues and shattered windows in the downtown area during “Indigenous Day of Rage” protests.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

10/10

Read Time: 9 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 57,542 new cases and 904 additional deaths. 14,777 patients are receiving critical care.
  • Only 2 states are showing a downward trend in new cases compared to the previous week — Hawaii and Alabama. At least 28 states are showing upward trends and 20 states are holding steady.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said that there was a “superspreader event” at the White House late last month, a stark assessment of the string of positive coronavirus cases among the president and top aides. At least 34 White House staffers and contacts have been infected.

“Well, I think the data speak for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House, and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks.”

  • Public health officials in Washington, D.C. are calling for COVID-19 tests to be administered to anyone who attended the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event which has seen several attendees test positive for coronavirus including President Trump, Kellyanne Conway and multiple Republican lawmakers.
  • Nine people who attended a campaign rally for President Trump in Bemidji, Minn., last month have tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the latest member of Congress to contract the virus.
  • President Trump participated in his first on camera interview since testing positive for COVID-19, acknowledging that he experienced fatigue and could have faced a more dire outcome without the access to medical care he has as president.
  • The White House blocked the CDC from implementing a rule mandating all passengers and employees to wear face coverings on public and commercial transportation. The order, which would have been the administration’s most stringent measure to curb the coronavirus’s spread, was drafted under the CDC’s “quarantine powers” and had the backing of Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. But the White House’s coronavirus task force, headed by Vice President Pence, declined to consider it.
  • Inching closer to Democrats’ demands, President Trump and his aides on Friday offered Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package, sources said, as the president urged the negotiators to “go big.”

The new figure was a jump from the White House’s $1.6 trillion offer last week, but there was no indication that Pelosi would come down from her demand for a $2.2 trillion package. 

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump tweeted on Friday morning, a striking reversal from his position on Tuesday when he said he would walk away from negotiations.

  • Twenty-eight states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico, have experienced surges in new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, a trend that could be treacherous as the flu season approaches.
  • The CDC warned that there is an “urgent need” to address the spread of coronavirus among young adults. The study found that COVID-19 hotspots in June and July first began rising among young people aged 24 and under, before later rising in older, more vulnerable age groups.
  • Morgan Wallen, slated to perform on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live,” was dropped as the show’s musical act after breaking coronavirus prevention protocols. Footage surfaced showing the country singer partying without a face mask at a football game between Alabama and Texas A&M.
  • Dr. Deborah Birx reminded the Northeast to take action before the coronavirus takes off again. 

“People let down their guard when they were with friends and family, and they took off their masks, and they share dinner, or they share drinks inside, and those become spreading events,” she said.

  • The Broadway League announced on Friday that all ticket sales for Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through May 30, 2021.
  • Florida will be “like a house on fire” in another few weeks because the state has dropped coronavirus precautions, and President Trump probably should not hold a rally there right now, infectious disease specialist Mike Osterholm said. 

“Florida is ripe for another large outbreak.” “What they’ve done is opened up everything as if nothing had ever happened there…in eight to 10 weeks, and I will likely bet that Florida will be a house on fire. “

Trump Administration

  • President Trump called into Rush Limbaugh’s talk radio show for two hours and lashed out at several people including LeBron James, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
  • President Trump again lashed out at Attorney General William Barr after it was revealed that the U.S. attorney investigating the origins of the Russia probe is not expected to release any information related to his inquiry before the election.

“If that’s the case, I’m very disappointed,” Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. “I think it’s a terrible thing. And I’ll say it to [Barr’s] face.”

“It’s a disgrace. It’s an embarrassment,” Trump added. “See, this is what I mean with the Republicans. They don’t play the tough game.”

  • President Trump dropped an F-bomb on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show while referring to putting Iran “on notice.” 

“Iran knows that, and they’ve been put on notice: If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before,” Trump said.

  • An appraisal of a New York property that resulted in President Trump receiving a $21 million tax break appears to have relied on unsupported assertions, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. The New York Attorney General’s office has indicated it is investigating whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of Trump’s Seven Springs estate.
  • President Trump’s tax records reveal that he engineered a windfall of more than $21 million during his 2016 presidential run, The New York Times reported Friday. A hotel Trump owns with casino mogul Phil Ruffin made payments to several companies Trump controlled, one of which that has zero employees, and that money then flowed to the president himself at a time when Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was in need of funds and many of his businesses were losing money. The hotel wrote off the payments as a business expense according to the Times.
  • Five suspended officials in the US Agency for Global Media filed a lawsuit against the agency and its Trump-appointed CEO Michael Pack over allegations executives are breaking the law by promoting a pro-President Trump agenda. Journalists were allegedly punished for negative stories about Trump, as well as stories about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the racial justice protests across the country.
  • President Trump chastised Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for calling him “complicit” in the extremism associated with the FBI-thwarted scheme to kidnap her, condemning the Democratic leader for not thanking him after his Justice Department foiled the plot. 

“Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist.”

  • Last month was the hottest September on record, beating out the same month in 2019 and 2016 — the previous two warmest Septembers ever recorded. The Trump administration has repeatedly downplayed the impact of global warming.
  • Hurricane Delta made landfall in Louisiana Friday evening as a Category 2 storm. Delta set a new record by becoming the 10th named storm to hit the continental United States this year

Presidential Campaign

  • Twitter said Friday it would add new labels and restrictions on tweets when U.S. politicians try to spread election misinformation, joining other social media companies in tightening its rules in the final weeks of the election season.

The changes come after criticism that fact-check labels on certain tweets, including those from President Donald Trump about mail-in voting, were inadequate to counter the misinformation directed at voters.

  • Around 50,000 voters in Ohio received inaccurate absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 general election, according to The Franklin County Board of Elections. The board said Friday that it has already begun the process of printing replacement ballots which will be sent to USPS within 72 hours for delivery.

“Every voter who received an inaccurate ballot will receive a corrected ballot.”

  • A federal judge on Friday denied a motion to extend voter registration in Florida after a technical issue on the state’s website may have prevented 20,000 additional people from signing up to vote in next month’s election.
  • A federal judge shot down a Texas proclamation limiting each county in the state to just one ballot drop-off location in this year’s elections, handing Democrats a key win in a competitive state.
  • Frank Fahrenkopf, a co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said President Trump’s campaign has presented “no evidence whatsoever” that he has tested negative for the coronavirus amid controversy over the remaining presidential debates.
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates has officially cancelled the second debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden scheduled for Oct. 15 after the candidates signaled they planned to attend other events that day amid a dispute over the terms for the debate.

“It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.”

  • A Michigan township employee had his hand sliced open and required 13 stitches after he tried to remove an illegally placed Trump-Pence 2020 sign that had been booby-trapped with razor blades.
  • President Trump will hold a campaign rally on Monday in Sanford, Florida, his first time hitting the campaign trail since testing positive for COVID-19. The announcement comes despite the fact that the White House has yet to say whether Trump is still infectious.
  • With just less than four weeks until Election Day, the number of ballots mailed in and in-person votes cast early surpassed the 5.5 million mark Wednesday, according to the United States Elections Project, which compiles early voting data. That figure is more than 73 times the number of votes that were cast at this point in 2016. Florida and Virginia have led the spike in early voting, with more than 947,000 and nearly 770,000 votes being cast in each state, respectively.
  • More than 200 retired generals and admirals endorsed Joe Biden for president in a letter published Thursday, saying he had the character and judgment to serve as commander-in-chief instead of President Donald Trump, who has failed “to meet challenges large or small.”

Some of the officers who signed the letter supporting Biden had retired only in the past few years, including Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump before he retired in August 2019; Vice Adm. Gardner Howe, a Navy SEAL leader who also retired last year; and retired Adm. Paul Zukunft, who oversaw the Coast Guard until 2018.

  • More than 1,600 faith leaders have endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president as of Friday, including some who could influence evangelical votes. Vote Common Good, which compiled the endorsements this week, says it is the largest group of clergy to endorse a Democratic candidate for president in modern history.
  • Democrats are warning their voters not to become complacent as Joe Biden builds up a formidable polling lead in the race for the White House. They say the political terrain is extremely volatile and that even small changes in their projected turnout models could produce wild swings in the Electoral College.
  • Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., slammed President Trump for using her father’s image in a political ad, calling it “beyond insulting.” 

“My father should not be used in ways strongly misaligned with his vision and values, @realDonaldTrump. My father was working for an America with leaders who have answered the call to conscience and compassionate action.”

  • Sharon Robinson, the daughter of legendary professional baseball player Jackie Robinson, scolded President Trump after his campaign released an ad featuring her father’s photograph: “The Trump campaign is in opposition to all that Jackie Robinson stood for and believed in. We’re insulted and demand that his image be removed!”

Racial & Social Issues

  • As a means to help consumers track and avoid establishments that have a history of racism, restaurant and business-reviewing site Yelp is implementing a new feature that will place a Consumer Alert label on business pages that have reviews of “overtly racist actions.”
  • An incident caught on video shows Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stopping a Black man on a jog in Boston this week, prompting a massive outcry from local officials who said “racial profiling and stops like these are wrong, unjustified, and will not be tolerated.”
  • A district judge has agreed to let Derek Chauvin — the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally knelt on George Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes in May — live outside of the state of Minnesota as he awaits trial. The judge cited “safety concerns” for Chauvin. 
  • A Texas grand jury indicted Netflix for the “lewd” representation of children in a controversial French film called “Cuties.” The indictment charges the popular streaming site for “promotion of lewd visual material depicting child” for its drama about a young girl who is torn between her conservative Muslim family’s values and her desire to join a dance team.

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

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

10/8

Read Time: 9 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 50,602 new cases and 916 additional deaths. 14,571 patients are receiving critical care. 
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that as many as 400,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if action isn’t taken in the fall and winter. He acknowledged the decreasing trust in him as a public official, especially among Republicans and those who believe the country needs to reopen fully, but pleaded for compliance to public health guidelines. 

“Maybe 50 percent of you hate me because you think I’m trying to destroy the country, but listen to me for six weeks or so, and do what I say, and you’ll see the numbers go down.”

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called on President Trump and his fellow senators to pass more coronavirus relief legislation, the day after Trump called off bipartisan talks on another round of aid.
  • President Trump reports feeling “great” and experiencing no symptoms less than six days after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, according to a memo from the White House physician issued Wednesday.

“He’s now been fever-free for more than 4 days, symptom-free for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalization,” White House physician Sean Conley wrote.

  • Regeneron says it has applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization for its experimental monoclonal antibody therapy, the same antibody cocktail given to President Trump.
  • President Trump returned to work in the Oval Office, six days after testing positive for the coronavirus. His dismissal of the CDC recommendation that coronavirus patients self-isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms raises concerns that White House staff may be at risk of further increased cases.
  • In a new video, President Trump sang the praises of an experimental drug he was given that is not widely available to the American public to tread COVID-19, saying: “For me, I walked in, I didn’t feel good. A short 24 hours later I was feeling great…  I feel great. I feel, like, perfect. So, I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise.”
  • Neurological symptoms are extremely common among COVID-19 patients sick enough to be hospitalized, a study published Monday finds. The symptoms range from mild to severe, and can include headaches, dizziness and altered brain function.
  • William Foege, the former director of the CDC, is calling on the agency’s current leader Robert Redfield to expose what he says is President Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I start each day thinking about the terrible burden you bear,” Foege wrote in a newly obtained letter. “Don’t shy away from the fact this has been an unacceptable toll on our country … it is a slaughter and not just a political dispute.”

  • Corey Lewandowski, a top Trump campaign advisor, was spotted at a kids’ football game over the weekend without wearing a mask even though he had said he would isolate himself because he had been exposed to people with the coronavirus.
  • Thirty-four White House staffers and “other contacts” have been infected with the coronavirus in recent days, a figure that is 10 more than 24 staffers previously reported.
  • The Marine Corps’ No. 2 officer has tested positive for coronavirus, the service announced on Wednesday.

Assistant Marine Commandant Gen. Gary Thomas was among top military officers who put themselves under quarantine this week after Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray tested positive on Monday.

  • A top White House security official, Crede Bailey, is “gravely ill” after contracting COVID-19 in September.

Bailey is in charge of the White House security office, which handles credentialing for access to the White House and works closely with the U.S. Secret Service on security measures throughout the compound.

  • President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani says in a new interview that he is taking hydroxychloroquine despite testing negative twice for the coronavirus, praising his doctor as a “genius” at COVID-19 treatment.
  • Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele blasted President Trump as a “super spreader” as a growing number of White House officials test positive for the coronavirus.

“He takes his mask off in contravention of everything we know. He is the super spreader. He is the problem in the White House, and everyone wants to tiptoe around it,” Steele said.

  • The NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, was asked about the possibility of the league pausing the season since COVID-19 cases have already forced games to be postponed and team facilities to close.

“We’ve said all along every option is on the table. We’ve never taken any option off the table, which includes…some type of pause or reset or any other kind of alternative arrangements,”

  • Boston Public Schools delayed its reopening plan after the city saw an alarming surge in coronavirus cases. Mayor Marty Walsh (D) announced the setback after Boston’s coronavirus positivity rate spiked beyond 4 percent.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is warning that residents will face “a couple tough weeks ahead” as the city prepares to close some nonessential businesses and schools, increase fines for social gatherings and limit houses of worship amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

“Let’s support each other, let’s work with each other, let’s listen to each other, and overcome this challenge,” de Blasio said.

  • The state of Tennessee this week began auctioning off “surplus” coronavirus testing materials, listing 13 pallets of test swabs and other supplies on GovDeals.com, a government liquidation website.

But soon after being asked about the auction by The Tennessean on Thursday, state officials said the supplies were put up for sale in error and promptly removed the auction listing.

  • Wisconsin health officials are activating a 530-bed field hospital located at the state’s fairgrounds to relieve medical facilities overwhelmed by a massive influx of COVID-19 patients.

“We hoped this day wouldn’t come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different, more dire place today and our healthcare systems are beginning to become overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases,” Gov. Tony Evers (D) said.

Racial & Social Issues

  • Derek Chauvin — the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes in May, resulting in his death — has been released from custody after posting bond. Chauvin’s bond was set at $1 million, as he’s facing multiple charges in connection to Floyd’s death, including second-degree murder.
  • Jacob Blake has been released from the hospital, over a month after he was shot seven times in the back at point-blank range by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
  • Ted Cruz and billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, went head-to-head on Twitter this week, with the GOP lawmaker accusing the NBA of turning “every game into a left-wing political lecture.” 

“You haven’t watched a game of the finals, how would you know what is being said or done?” Cuban shot back. “Since when is a desire to end racism an insult to anyone or political?”

  • Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick penned a fiery new essay calling for fundamental shifts in law enforcement and the prison system in the United States, writing “Fuck reform.” 

“Ultimately, I realized that seeking reform would make me an active participant in reforming, reshaping, and rebranding institutional white supremacy, oppression, and death,” he writes.

Trump Administration

  • A federal appeals court ruled that President Trump cannot block enforcement of a New York grand jury subpoena for 8 years of his tax returns.
  • Donald Trump mounted an overnight Twitter blitz demanding the jailing of his political enemies and calling out allies he says are failing to arrest his rivals swiftly enough.

Trump retweeted supporters’ criticisms of Attorney General William Barr. He wondered why his rivals, like President Barack Obama, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton hadn’t been imprisoned for launching a “coup” against his administration.

“Where are all of the arrests?” Trump said, after several dozen tweets on the subject over the past 24 hours. “Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? Long term sentences would have started two years ago. Shameful!”

By early afternoon, Trump was letting loose his frustrations in an all-caps missive that seemed aimed at nobody in particular.

“DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, THE BIGGEST OF ALL POLITICAL SCANDALS (IN HISTORY)!!! BIDEN, OBAMA AND CROOKED HILLARY LED THIS TREASONOUS PLOT!!! BIDEN SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO RUN – GOT CAUGHT!!!” Trump tweeted.

  • Attorneys for E. Jean Carroll, the writer who accused President Trump of raping her in the 1990s, moved to block the Justice Department from intervening in her defamation case against him. The agency claimed Trump was “acting within the scope of his office” when he said he didn’t know her and denied her allegations. 

“There is not a single person in the United States — not the President and not anyone else —  whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted.”

  • The Trump administration has just filed a last-minute emergency request to the Supreme Court seeking to halt the 2020 Census count. Critics say the moves by the Trump administration risk undercounting minority populations composed of both legal and undocumented immigrants.
  • The DOJ “inadvertently” altered a document it filed in court in its ongoing effort to dismiss charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, prosecutors said today, attributing it to a wayward “sticky note” that was scanned onto a key piece of evidence department officials have cited in seeking to abandon the case.
  • The Justice Department announced an indictment against two British citizens accused of being part of an ISIS cell that beheaded western hostages, including four Americans, in Syria. The pair will be flown from Iraq to the U.S. to face prosecution.
  • The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, saying the federal appeals court made the incorrect call in abandoning the sentence “in one of the most important terrorism prosecutions in our nation’s history.”

Presidential Campaign

  • Steve Cortes, a senior adviser to President Trump’s reelection campaign, said there’s no guarantee that the next presidential debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden will take place and that Trump will need medical clearance to participate after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • A postal employee in New Jersey who dumped more than 1,800 pieces of mail, including 99 ballots for the upcoming election that were intended for households in heavily Democratic areas, faced arraignment on Wednesday in federal court on charges of delay, secretion or detention of mail and obstruction of mail. 
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign plans to resume running negative digital and television advertisements against President Trump as he recovers from COVID-19, after temporarily stopping the ads while Trump was receiving treatment. Trump did not stop running negative ads of Biden during the same time span.
  • The New England Journal of Medicine in an unprecedented editorial denounced the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and called for voting out “current political leaders” who are “dangerously incompetent.” 

The editorial marks the first time the prestigious medical journal, which usually stays out of politics, has weighed in on an election.

  • Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who served as director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency under multiple presidents, endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and denounced President Trump in a moving testimonial. 

“If there is another term for President Trump, I don’t know what happens to America. Truth is really important, but especially in intelligence. President Trump doesn’t care about facts. President Trump doesn’t care about the truth. He doesn’t listen to his experts.”

  • The New York Times editorial board endorsed Joe Biden’s White House bid on Tuesday, throwing its support behind the former vice president four weeks before Election Day.

“In the midst of unrelenting chaos, Mr. Biden is offering an anxious, exhausted nation something beyond policy or ideology. His campaign is rooted in steadiness, experience, compassion and decency.”

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

10/7

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 38,691 new cases and  635 additional deaths. 14,508 patients are receiving critical care. 
  • All the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are quarantining at home after a positive COVID test for Admiral Ray, the Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard.
  • White House physician Sean Conley has just released a statement saying that President Trump is reporting “no symptoms” after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center during his treatment for the novel coronavirus.

“Vital signs and physical exam remain stable, with an ambulatory oxygen saturation level of 95-97%. Overall he continues to do extremely well, I will provide updates as we know more,” Conley wrote.

  • Stephen Miller, a top aide to President Donald Trump, tested positive for Covid-19 today, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • White House press aide Jalen Drummond has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the third aide under White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to test positive and yet another attendee of the Rose Garden event considered a “super-spreader” to contract the virus.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation has rejected a petition from a labor union that would issue a departmentwide mandate requiring all passengers on DOT-approved transportation to wear masks, underscoring the lack of universal health protocols deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic by the federal government.
  • President Trump lashed out at the news media for its focus on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic – less than 24 hours after he returned to the White House from being treated for COVID-19.

Trump tweeted: “The Fake News Media refuses to discuss how good the Economy and Stock Market, including JOBS under the Trump Administration, are doing. We will soon be in RECORD TERRITORY. All they want to discuss is COVID 19, where they won’t say it, but we beat the Dems all day long, also!!!”

  • President Trump downplayed the coronavirus by comparing it to the flu, even though COVID-19 has a mortality rate 10 times higher than most strains of the flu. 

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump tweeted. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

NOTE: More people in the U.S. have already died from the coronavirus than those who died from influenza during the past five flu seasons combined.

  • Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell is warning that a failure to provide further support for the coronavirus-wracked economy could lead to a downward spiral of layoffs and economic decline that undoes all the recovery from the 2008 recession.
  • A White House decision to halt release of new standards for emergency authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine came after officials close to President Donald Trump told the FDA that the pharmaceutical industry had objected to the tougher requirements.
  • The FDA is calling on drugmakers to submit two months of safety data before applying for a COVID-19 vaccine approval  — even after President Trump blasted the precautions and the White House sought to block the formal release of the guidelines.
  • Rick Bright, who alleges the Trump administration retaliated against him after he raised the alarm on the nation’s COVID-19 testing strategy due to “political considerations,” has resigned from the government. In a newly filed complaint, Bright warned that Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist who is one of Trump’s COVID-19 advisers, was “calling the shots” at the White House despite not having a background in infectious diseases.
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trials have been slowed after contractors did not recruit enough minority participants to determine how the product will affect different demographics.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has done little to punish companies when their workers get sick or even die from the coronavirus, as major employers and President Trump’s political appointees have pushed for a much more lenient approach to handling risks like COVID-19 on the job than previous administrations.

OSHA  has received 10,485 complaints and referrals about COVID-19 risks at workplaces and closed 8,702 of them during the pandemic. But in these cases — some involving companies worth millions — the agency hasn’t proposed a single penalty greater than $30,000 for coronavirus-related risks.

  • The San Diego Unified School District is removing letters from President Donald Trump that his administration placed inside food boxes as part of a federal coronavirus relief program for families in need.

Critics have accused Trump of politicizing poverty and using the food relief program as a campaign tool.

  • A third-grade teacher in North Carolina died over the weekend following a recent COVID-19 diagnosis that required her students to quarantine, roughly two months after the school district resumed some in-person classes.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) last week became the first governor in America to rescind a statewide mask mandate, almost two months after imposing it as coronavirus cases spiked over the summer.

Racial & Social Issues

  • Wolf City, Texas police officer Shaun Lucas has been charged with murder after fatally shooting a Black man named Jonathan Price as Price was attempting to break up a fight between a man and a woman at a gas station. 

The officer allegedly used a Taser on Price as he was walking away and shot the man while he was convulsing on the ground.

  • The Anti-Defamation League says it has found a “deluge” of anti-Semitic tweets targeting Jewish lawmakers, including conspiracy theories linked to billionaire philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros, “explicit antisemitic language,” tropes related to Jewish “power and control” and tweets “questioning the loyalty and faith of Jewish incumbents.
  • Facebook announced today that it will remove any pages, groups and Instagram accounts linked to QAnon, the baseless fringe movement, which is celebrated by some on the far right.

The move goes beyond a policy the company announced in August of taking down QAnon content associated with potential violence.

  • A grand jury in St. Louis returned an indictment on Tuesday against the white couple who brandished guns at Black protesters as they marched past their home in June in a menacing display caught on video that earned them a spotlight at the Republican National Convention and the admiration of President Trump.
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced it will be dedicating a $250 million grant to be spent over the next five years to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces.” The new endeavor aims to bring more context to pre-existing monuments, relocate others and fund the creation of new ones depicting people from diverse communities.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, are calling for an end to “structural racism” saying so long as it exists “untapped potential will never get to be realized.”

“It is not about pointing the finger, it is not about blame. I will be the first person to say, again, this is about learning. And about how we can make it better.”

Trump Administration

  • The five U.S. attorneys along the border with Mexico, including three appointed by President Trump, recoiled in May 2018 against an order to prosecute all illegal immigrants even if it meant separating children from their parents. They told top Justice Department officials they were “deeply concerned” about the children’s welfare.

But the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, made it clear what Mr. Trump wanted on a conference call later that afternoon, according to a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general into Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy.

“We need to take away children,” Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”

  • The Trump administration is set to publish additional immigration reforms aimed at making it more difficult for skilled foreign workers to acquire visas, another step in the White House’s attempt to restrict immigrants entering the U.S.
  • The monthly U.S. trade deficit in goods hit a record high in August, despite Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to reduce it dramatically by negotiating new trade deals and getting tough on unfair foreign trade practices, a Commerce Department report says.
  • A newly released report from the Department of Homeland Security, which a whistleblower alleges was delayed for months in an effort to benefit President Trump ahead of the election, reveals that white supremacists remain “the most persistent and lethal threat” in the country.
  • Senate Judiciary Committee pressed the DOJ to explain the omission of a 2006 anti-abortion newspaper advertisement signed by Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, in her materials to the committee.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he expects Republicans will confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the election and added “there’s nothing I can see that would keep that from happening.”

Presidential Campaign

  • More than 3.8 million Americans already cast ballots for the general election, compared to just 75,000 by this point in 2016, according to a data from the U.S. Elections Project.
  • Vice President Pence is requesting that no plexiglass dividers be placed on his side of the stage at Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate, after an announcement Monday by the Commission on Presidential Debates that dividers had been agreed to as a safety measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • As President Trump recovers from coronavirus, his campaign says he will debate Democratic nominee Joe Biden in person next week for the second presidential debate. 

It’s unclear, however, if the president will be healthy enough to attend the debate, or whether he would be exposing other attendees to a contagious virus that has killed roughly 210,000 people in the U.S.

  • Joe Biden said that the next presidential debate should be called off if President Donald Trump is still positive for COVID-19.
  • President Trump lashed out at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden after he pledged to enact legislation making Roe v. Wade “the law of the land” if it were overturned by the Supreme Court, falsely accusing the former vice president of being “in favor” of late term abortions “right up until the time of birth, and beyond.”
  • Florida extended the deadline for voter registration after the state’s online portal crashed under the weight of heavy traffic hours before the the Oct. 5 deadline.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a law allowing local clerks a limited window to process mail ballots ahead of Election Day, as election experts warn results may take longer than usual because of the time it takes to process and count absentee votes.
  • A federal judge pushed back Arizona’s voter registration deadline through Oct. 23, ruling in favor of advocates who argued the coronavirus pandemic hindered registration efforts. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and the Republican National Committee opposed the lawsuit in court.
  • Former first lady Michelle Obama launched a series of blistering attacks against President Trump in a lengthy video called her “Closing Argument,” describing Trump’s policies as “racist” and accusing him endangering American lives with his behavior during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Search your hearts, and your conscience, and then vote for Joe Biden like your lives depend on it.”

  • The Lincoln Project launched a $1 million campaign against President Trump in Texas as Election Day looms.

The Republican anti-Trump group is targeting Hispanic and female voters in the Lone Star State, where polls show a competitive race between the president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

  • Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, around the level reported before the elections in 2004 and 2008. High enthusiasm levels are bipartisan, with 80 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of Republicans both saying they are now more enthusiastic than in the past.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

10/6

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 38,444 new cases and 328 additional deaths. There are 14,283 patients receiving critical care. 
  • President Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center by helicopter Monday evening, with Marine One touching down on the White House South Lawn about 15 minutes later. He walked out of Walter Reed under his own power, but did not take questions from reporters gathered outside.
  • President Trump, who remains highly contagious for COVID-19, was seen almost immediately removing his face mask upon returning to the White House from Walter Reed hospital where he has been treated for coronavirus.
  • “Don’t be afraid of Covid,” Trump tweeted of the virus that’s infected more than 7.4 million Americans, killed nearly 210,000 and resulted in the president getting airlifted to a hospital.
  • Veteran news anchor Dan Rather blasted President Trump in a pair of tweets for his brief appearance in an SUV outside Walter Reed Medical Center as just the latest in a series of what Rather referred to as “photo ops,” writing: “Covid motorcades, signing blank papers, and tear gas walks to a church: the tragedy of Donald Trump’s photo ops.”
  • The White House is not contact tracing guests and staff who attended a Rose Garden event for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite many viewing it as a possible spreader of coronavirus. At least 11 attendees at the event have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said that he has requested a briefing from the Secret Service on its safeguards for agents exposed to COVID-19, a day after President Trump left his hospital suite while undergoing treatment for the virus to greet supporters from his motorcade, putting his protective detail at risk of exposure.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee is postponing a hearing with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe after several GOP members were either diagnosed with or possibly exposed to the coronavirus and McCabe said that he would not testify before the committee given the uptick in coronavirus cases in the Capitol.

The move comes as Republicans are moving forward with their plan to start Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett next week.

  • The CDC revised its guidance on the coronavirus Monday, acknowledging that it can sometimes spread through airborne particles that can “linger in the air for minutes to hours” and among people who are more than six feet apart.

“These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation,” the CDC’s new guidance says. “Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.”

The agency added that it is “much more common” for the virus to spread through close contact than through airborne transmission.

  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has tested positive for Covid-19, she tweeted in a statement Monday morning. McEnany emphasized that she had previously tested negatively “consistently” and is experiencing no symptoms.
  • Two of McEnany’s deputies, Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt, have also tested positive.
  • Several reporters slammed White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for not wearing a mask during briefings, with one saying she “recklessly endangered lives.”

“I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do reporting at The White House. This is just crazy,” one reporter said.

  • Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California has tested positive for COVID-19. Pastor Laurie was at the Prayer March on the Mall with Mike Pence and Franklin Graham and the Rose Garden event later that day.
  • More than half of Americans blame the federal government for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a higher number than those who said they primarily blamed foreign governments such as China for the disease’s spread.
  • In a series of public attacks on President Trump, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy said that Trump’s high-dollar fundraiser at his New Jersey golf club unnecessarily exposed hundreds of people to COVID-19.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered new restrictions on pandemic hot spots in New York City, although they do not go as far as the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, had requested.
  • Thirteen workers at a Minneapolis steakhouse were quarantining after the restaurant catered a private fundraiser attended by President Donald Trump during his visit to Minnesota last week. 

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Attorneys for Breonna Taylor’s family are calling for a new special prosecutor to reopen her case and for Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to recuse himself from the matter.
  • The Supreme Court has allowed a lawsuit to proceed against Kim Davis, a former Kentucky county clerk who gained national attention in 2015 for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite the high court’s decision legalizing same-sex unions across the country.
  • Fred Gerteiny, a television sports reporter in Connecticut, was fired after referring to Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) as “Uncle Tom” in a since-deleted tweet. 

Gerteiny’s tweet was in response to Scott, who is the only Black GOP senator, who addressed President Trump’s “stand back and stand by” remarks on the white supremacist Proud Boys group during Tuesday night’s presidential debate

Trump Administration

  • The EPA is turning its oversight of a number of environmental issues on tribal lands over to the state of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma requested the authority in July using a little-known provision of a 2005 law carved out especially for the state. The move will give the state more oversight over environmental issues for Oklahoma’s 38 federally recognized tribes, something the Cherokee Nation called a “knee-jerk reaction to curtail tribal jurisdiction [that] is not productive.”

  • Eric Trump has answered questions under oath from New York investigators as part of an ongoing civil probe into whether the value of Trump Organization assets were inflated to gain tax benefits.

Monday’s virtual deposition was spearheaded by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who launched the investigation into the First Family’s assets last year.

  • A U.S. appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration cannot resume detention of unaccompanied immigrant children in hotels.

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump’s campaign is waging a behind-the-scenes effort to threaten low-profile county officials into ignoring election rules and sowing doubt in the mail voting process.

Trump’s campaign launched an “unusually aggressive” push on the local level, sending 100 county election officials in North Carolina “threatening letters” and “misinformation” to urge them to disregard a new rule that makes it easier for voters to fix mistakes on their mail ballots, according to the Associated Press. The warnings came after the state Board of Elections settled a lawsuit after ballots cast by Black voters in the state were disproportionately rejected.

  • More than 100,000 absentee ballot requests have been invalidated in several Iowa counties after a judge sided with the Trump campaign and Republican Party, upholding a recent law making absentee voting harder in Iowa. The law, which was pushed by Republican state lawmakers this summer, complicates and slows down procedures for processing absentee-ballot requests, making it needlessly difficult for county auditors trying to get voters their ballots in time.
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates has approved plans for plexiglass to be used in Wednesday’s VP debate amid mounting concerns about COVID-19 transmission.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would follow medical experts’ advice when asked whether it was safe to take part in next week’s scheduled debate as President Trump undergoes treatment for COVID-19.

“Listen to the science. If scientists say that it’s safe…then I think that’s fine,” Biden said. “I’ll do whatever the experts say is appropriate for me to do.

  • Civil rights and voter advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas officials after Abbott issued a new proclamation allowing only one mail ballot drop-off location per county, effectively shuttering dozens of voting sites across the Lone Star State.
  • Four years ago, African American voter turnout fell for the first time in decades, and Donald Trump was able to wrestle away battleground states Barack Obama had won in both 2008 and 2012. In this election cycle, reporting suggests Biden can win states with relatively large Black populations, such as North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania, if African American turnout reaches 2012 levels.

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