The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 8 Minutes

9/26

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 50,963 new cases and 844 additional deaths. There are 14,141 in critical condition. 
  • The number of novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 7 million – more than 20% of the world’s total – as Midwest states report spikes in COVID-19 infections. 
  • A new COVID-19 mutation appears to be even more contagious, according to a study — and experts say it could be a response by the virus to defeat masks and other social-distancing efforts. Though the strain isn’t more deadly, researchers said it appeared to have adapted better to spread among humans.
  • A nationwide study of the blood of more than 28,000 people found that, as of July, approximately 9.3% in the United States had antibodies to the novel coronavirus. The numbers ranged from an average of 3.5% in the West to an average of 27% in the Northeast.
  • Anthony Fauci warned the country is “entering into a risk period” for rising coronavirus infections as colder weather approaches and people spend more time indoors. 

“We know we could get into serious trouble if we don’t do certain things. And I hope that that understanding is not going to frighten people, but will jolt them into realizing that it is within our hands to prevent that.”

  • A single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response against the novel coronavirus in an early-to-mid stage clinical trial, according to interim results published on Friday.
  • U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about coronavirus relief on Friday and they agreed to hold more talks.
  • A federal judge ruled in favor of the National Association of the Deaf and five deaf plaintiffs, who argued that the lack of a sign language interpreter during coronavirus briefings was a violation of the First Amendment because deaf and hard-of-hearing people were not getting proper access to crucial health information. 

The White House has been ordered to begin providing interpreters starting Oct. 1.

  • Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous carnival parade has been postponed for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Two people were indicted for their alleged role in a COVID-19 outbreak at a Massachusetts veterans’ home that contributed to the deaths of at least 76 residents, the state’s attorney general announced on Friday.

A grand jury on Thursday indicted superintendent Bennett Walsh and David Clinton, the former medical director of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, on charges of criminal neglect related to their work at the facility.

  • More than 40 staff members at Staten Island’s Edwin Markham Intermediate School have been asked to quarantine after one person tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and first lady Pamela Northam have tested positive for coronavirus, the governor’s office announced Friday.
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) lifted all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, including restaurants and bars, saying the threat of the coronavirus pandemic had eased sufficiently to allow the state to enter the final phase of its reopening.
  • An Ohio police officer tased and arrested a woman on Wednesday after she refused to leave an eighth grade football game for not wearing a mask, officials said.

Police in Logan, Ohio, who identified the woman as Alecia Kitts, said the officer told Kitts she would be asked to leave because she was not wearing a mask, in violation of school policy. After Kitts refused to leave the stadium, the officer warned she would be cited for trespassing. She was tased after she resisted arrest.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality, Made history again on Friday as the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.
  • Rep. Attica Scott (D), Kentucky’s only Black female state lawmaker, who wrote and introduced “Breonna’s Law,” legislation that would end no-knock warrants across the state, was taken into custody Thursday night during protests in downtown Louisville.

Scott was arrested on first-degree rioting charges — a felony — along with failure to disperse and unlawful assembly, both misdemeanors. Scott’s daughter was also taken into custody.

  • A white supremacist was killed in a shootout with deputies in Templeton, California. Deputies tried to conduct a traffic stop on Christopher Michael Straub, 38, near a cemetery. Straub got out of his vehicle and ran through the vineyards of the cemetery.

He then hid and ambushed deputies, firing multiple rounds at them with a handgun. A deputy was hit in the leg and airlifted to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery and is in stable condition, the release said.

Additional deputies arrived on scene and intercepted Straub as he tried to regain access to his vehicle. Straub was later pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.

After the shooting, authorities found multiple weapons in Straub’s vehicle, including four assault-style rifles, one bolt-action hunting rifle, one shotgun, and two handguns along with the handgun he used to shoot at deputies, plus hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

  • Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump had a simple message for Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron: Release the transcript of the grand jury proceedings in the case of Breonna Taylor.

“If you want us to accept the results, then release the transcript so we can have transparency.”

  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) declared a state of emergency in Portland over the weekend due to risks of violence as thousands of members of  “white supremacist groups” such as the Proud Boys hold a rally.
  • President Trump made an appeal to Black voters with his new “Platinum Plan”, vowing to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, prosecute the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization, and create tax cuts for minority-owned businesses and more.
  • Bank of America Corp said on Friday it was issuing a $2-billion bond, where a portion of the proceeds will be used for the financial empowerment of Black and Hispanic-Latino communities.
  • At least 33 statues of the explorer Christopher Columbus have been removed this year following a summer of Black Lives Matter protests and a national reckoning about monuments connected to racism and white supremacy.

Trump Administration

  • A federal appeals court revived a lawsuit by House Democrats claiming President Trump’s use of a national emergency to divert military funds for border wall construction unconstitutionally bypassed Congress’s authority to appropriate funds.
  • A judge is expected to decide by Sunday whether to allow a ban on TikTok from Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc Google app stores after a last-minute filing by the Department of Justice in support of the move.
  • A federal judge has ordered William Pendley to be removed as head of the Bureau of Land Management, ruling that Pendley served unlawfully in his position for over a year.
  • The Trump administration has finalized a plan to open previously protected areas of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging. 

The area full of centuries-old trees is a major carbon sink, meaning its trees soak up carbon from the atmosphere and lessens the impacts of climate change. Critics say cutting down the “pristine forest” would be “an ecological atrocity.”

  • The Trump administration rescinded an award recognizing the work of a journalist from Finland last year after discovering she had criticized President Trump in social media posts, then gave a false explanation for withdrawing the honor, according to a report by the State Department’s internal watchdog.

After the State Department withdrew Jessikka Aro’s invitation and the story became public in a report by Foreign Policy magazine, the department’s press office told reporters that Aro had been “incorrectly notified” that “she’d been selected as a finalist,” adding: “This was an error. This was a mistake.”

The report noted that the decision to withdraw the award stemmed from the discovery of the social media posts, despite public claims otherwise. “Every person OIG interviewed in connection with this matter acknowledged” that had her social media posts not been flagged, “Ms. Aro would have received the IWOC Award,” the report said.

  • Robert Cardillo, Trump’s former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said President Trump puts more weight on “the word of dictators like Vladimir Putin” than the U.S. intelligence community.

“Suffice to say that the person you see presiding over COVID-19 press conferences is the same one in the privacy of his office. He has little patience for facts or data that do not comport with his personal world view. Thus, the conversations are erratic and less than fully thoughtful.”

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump slammed the Black Lives Matter movement as an “an extreme socialist” organization that is “destroying many Black lives” during a campaign event on Friday planned to court Black voters.
  • Retired Adm. Paul Zukunft, the former head of the Coast Guard under President Trump, said Trump’s record shows he is unfit for office: “I’ve seen an insurgency, if you will, on our constitutional rights and more power being centralized at the executive level that has really divided our nation. I am concerned that our constitutional rights are being infringed upon from within.”
  • President Vladimir Putin called on Friday for an agreement between Russia and the United States to guarantee not to engage in cyber-meddling in each other’s elections and internal affairs.
  • Michael Bloomberg rolled out a new $40 million ad buy in Florida as Democrats look to bolster Joe Biden’s chances of winning the Sunshine State. 

The new ad blitz is the first to be announced from Bloomberg since he pledged to spend $100 million in Florida, the biggest swing state in the nation and a place that is considered a virtual must-win for President Trump this November. 

  • Black North Carolina voters are seeing their ballots rejected at twice the rate of white residents in the state, according to a new study.
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson unintentionally revealed that he is unsatisfied with the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office and its director John McEntee, after his notes were visible to reporters at President Trump’s campaign rally. 

“I am very loyal to you and after you win I hope to stay in your administration,” the notes said. “I am not happy with the way PPO is handling my agency.”

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: 8 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 44,315 new cases and 940 additional deaths.
  • Two prominent groups of scientists who regularly advise the government warned of “alarming” political interference in the work of scientists and public health experts contributing to the government’s Covid response.
  • CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield announced the majority of Americans remain susceptible to the virus.

Redfield said preliminary results on the first round of a study by the agency show more than 90% of the population is susceptible.

That means more than 295 million Americans could still get infected with the virus. Thus far, around 7 million Americans have reportedly contracted the virus. 

  • People in their 20s now account for more COVID-19 infections than any other age group, according to a new analysis from the CDC. The findings suggest that young people are not as immune to the virus as some previously thought, and that young adults are contributing to the community spread of the virus, including to people at high risk for more severe illness.
  • New York will conduct its own review of virus vaccines, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, sowing further doubts about a federal process he said he doesn’t trust.
  • An estimated 870,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, up from the previously weekly figure, as the U.S. struggles to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its economic devastation.

While the labor market is showing signs of picking up, the pace at which it is improving has slowed, and some indicators are even hinting at backsliding.

  • A Virginia health official is seeking to block President Trump’s campaign rally on Friday, arguing that the event is expected to draw thousands of attendees in violation of Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order banning gatherings larger than 250 people.
  • Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) echoed a widely debunked claim that the number of COVID-19 deaths has been inflated across the country. The conspiracy theory downplaying the extent of the coronavirus pandemic has also been pushed by President Trump, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS).
  • Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and a conservative legal advocacy group are suing Gov. Kay Ivey (R) over the state’s coronavirus guidelines, arguing that stay-at-home orders, restrictions on businesses and churches, face mask rules and more “are simply against our rights secured by the Constitution of the United States.”
  • The Pac-12 will play football starting later this year, after officials reversed a decision to postpone the season because of the pandemic.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Hunterdon Central Regional High School in New Jersey is under intense scrutiny for a photo posted on social media of two students mocking George Floyd’s death.

In the photo, one person is wearing a police badge and a red “Make American Great Again” hat and another is wearing an ape mask and getting a knee to the back of the neck.

  • The man accused in the shootings of two Louisville Metro police officers, Larynzo D. Johnson, 26, of Louisville, was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer and 14 counts of wanton endangerment of a police officer.

His arrest report says Johnson used a handgun to fire at police multiple times before fleeing. A witness pointed Johnson out to police who took him into custody.

  • Officer Robinson Desroches and Major Aubrey Gregory, the two Louisville Metro Police Department officers shot Wednesday evening, are expected to recover from their injuries
  • Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family, says he believes the Kentucky Attorney General’s investigation into her death was a cover-up.
  • “I’ve been lost for words today!” NBA star LeBron James said about the Louisville grand jury’s decision in the Breonna Taylor case. “I’m devastated, hurt, sad, mad! We want Justice for Breonna yet justice was met for her neighbors apartment walls and not her beautiful life. Was I surprised at the verdict. Absolutely not, but dammit I was & still am hurt and heavy hearted!”
  • Two reporters for the conservative publication The Daily Caller were arrested during protests in Louisville on Wednesday, according to their editor. They will be charged with breaking curfew and unlawful assembly after they allegedly failed to comply with police orders and return to the designated “observation area.”
  • Louisville Metro Police declared an unlawful assembly downtown Thursday night  “due to protesters breaking windows” on Fourth Street. A citywide curfew is in effect from 9 p.m. ET to 6:30 a.m.
  • Several hundred protesters marched through New York City tonight and chanted Breonna Taylor’s name.
  • One protester was injured on Wednesday night after a pickup truck drove through a group of protesters marching in Buffalo, N.Y.

Video captured by WKBW shows the truck accelerating toward a group of people in the street before there is an audible bang. Protesters are heard screaming, and several are seen attempting to run after the truck as it drives away from the scene.

  • One man has been detained by Denver Police after he allegedly accelerated his car into a group of people during a protest. They demonstrators were marching against a Kentucky grand jury deciding not to bring any charges against police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor.
  • A woman in New York City has been charged with assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment after being caught on video throwing a bottle and yelling a racial slur at a Black runner.
  • A police officer in Seattle was placed on administrative leave after video footage showed him walking his bike over  the head of a protester lying in the street.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump and the first lady were greeted by boos and chants of “vote him out” from the gathered crowd paying respects to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • A federal judge rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe alleging that he was fired in 2018 as an act of political retribution at the behest of President Trump.
  • President Trump announced that he has signed a symbolic executive order aimed at protecting people with pre-existing conditions  — even as he takes fire from top Democrats over a lawsuit seeking to overturn ObamaCare.
  • “President Trump’s bogus executive order on pre-existing conditions isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on. It is an insult to every family with someone with a pre-existing condition that President Trump thinks he can get away with this farce,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, taking aim at an executive order the president has claimed will protect patients with pre-existing conditions.
  • President Trump said at a Florida campaign rally that he’s “no longer angry” at GOP Sen. Mitt Romney over his impeachment vote earlier this year because he is supporting a Senate vote on Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court nominee: “Even Mitt’s on board. It’s a good thing to see.”
  • EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sought to portray some of the agency’s most significant regulatory rollbacks and rules governing regulation from power plants, vehicle emissions and methane emissions as environmentally friendly.

Many of the rules are expected to provide significantly fewer emissions reductions than Obama-era rules that they replaced.

  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that US Postal Service mail-sorting machines dismantled earlier this year would not be put back together amid a spike in mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • A Department of Homeland Security whistleblower’s testimony to House investigators has been postponed a second time as his attorney awaits a top secret security clearance that he now accuses DHS of slow-walking in order to “prevent the deposition.”
  • Mary Trump is suing her uncle, President Trump, and his sister and late brother over allegations they committed fraud in order to deprive her of her interests in the Trump family business and enrich themselves.

Presidential Campaign

  • Senate Republicans gently pushed back today against President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election.⁣ Many suggested in statements this morning that this year’s election would be no different than previous ones and reiterated that the Constitution guarantees that whoever loses must cede the presidency. But no one condemned Trump directly by name, and they declined to weigh in on whether it was appropriate for the president to suggest he won’t leave office.⁣
  • Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said that he offered grants to election officials in nearly 6,000 counties previously covered by the Voting Rights Act.

“Today I sent a letter to nearly 6,000 elections officials and county commissioners in states formerly covered by Voting Rights Act Section 5 inviting them to apply for grants, funded by me, to reopen polling centers and improve voting access,” Schwarzenegger tweeted. 

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is positioning himself as a key surrogate for President Trump weeks before the election, an almost unheard-of role for the US’s top diplomat but one the former Republican congressman has embraced as part of his own future political ambitions. 

“Campaigning for President Trump with taxpayer resources is just the latest example of Secretary Pompeo’s willingness to break the law and put his political interest above our national interest,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) wrote in an email to The Hill.

  • Two recently retired four-star officers who served under President Donald Trump have joined a group of nearly 500 national security leaders in endorsing Joe Biden and condemning the commander in chief they served.
  • Jennifer Pritzker, a billionaire who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Trump in 2016, made a $2,000 donation to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden last month.
  • President Trump claimed Fox News host Chris Wallace is “controlled by the radical left” and won’t press Democratic nominee Joe Biden during the upcoming presidential debate. 

“He will ask tough questions of me and it will be unfair, I have no doubt about it.”

  • The U.S. election system is resilient enough that voting and vote-tallying can continue even if hackers breach one of its components, Homeland Security’s cyber arm and the FBI said in their latest attempt to soothe worries about Election Day.
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray is casting doubts on concerns raised by some Republicans that mail-in voting could increase the chances of voter fraud, assuring lawmakers that widespread voter fraud efforts from a foreign adversary would be a “major challenge.”
  • A strong majority of Americans support amending the U.S. Constitution to replace the Electoral College with a popular vote system. A new Gallup survey found that 61 percent support the idea.

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: 10 Minutes

9/24

Coronavirus/COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

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

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

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

The department has not provided additional details on the shooting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presidential Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 9 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 48,794 new cases and 821 additional deaths.
  • The United States has surpassed 200,000 deaths from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

The first death from coronavirus in the US was reported on Feb. 29.  

Fifty four days later, on April 23, the US reported 50,000 deaths from Covid-19. Just 29 days later, on May 23, the nation crossed 100,000 deaths. 

It took 65 days to reach 150,000 deaths on July 28. It has taken 55 days to reach 200,000 deaths.

  • In a pre-recorded speech before the annual meeting of world leaders, President Trump admonished China over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, demanding that the intergovernmental organization hold Beijing’s ruling Communist government “accountable for their actions.”
  • China’s Ambassador to the United Nations hit out at the United States, calling the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic “a complete failure.”

In a news conference held at the Chinese Mission in New York, Zhang Jun said: “If we do have to hold anyone accountable, it should be the United States held accountable for losing so many lives with their irresponsible behavior.”

  • The National Institutes of Health is expanding trials of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. The trials are receiving $48 million through Operation Warp Speed.
  • Nearly nine million Americans are still without their stimulus checks seven months after the CARES Act passed, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted President Trump’s claim at a rally that the coronavirus affects “virtually nobody” young, and only hits the elderly, saying: “It’s very disrespectful to me, because I’m in my 70s … It isn’t just the elderly and those with underlying conditions. It can be serious in young people.”
  • Fauci said the reporting of 40,000 coronavirus cases each day is “unacceptable” — and that rate of infection needs to come down before winter.
  • Fauci said he wouldn’t grade how the U.S. has handled the COVID-19 pandemic – but instead said the numbers speak for themselves.

During a CITIZEN by CNN Conference on Tuesday, Dr. Sanjay Gupta read a viewer question about President Trump giving the White House response to the pandemic an A+.

Fauci refused to give his own grade, saying he doesn’t find those types of questions helpful.

“Take a look at the numbers and make up your own mind,” Fauci said. “We don’t need a soundbite from me. Take a look at the numbers.”

  • Fauci said the “divisive state” of US society is a roadblock to the country’s coronavirus response, calling out individuals for “taking sides” on public health measures. 

“What has evolved now is that almost people take sides, like wearing a mask is or not is a political statement, and that’s really very unfortunate. Totally unfortunate because this is a purely public health issue. It should not be one against the other.”

  • President Trump offered his first reaction to the United States surpassing 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, telling reporters it was “a shame” but that it could have been worse.

“I think it’s a shame. I think if we didn’t do it properly and do it right you’d have 2.5 million deaths,” he told reporters.

  • Max Kennedy Jr., the grandson of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy told The New Yorker that he was the whistleblower that sounded the alarm on presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner’s coronavirus task force to Congress.

Kennedy said he sent an anonymous whistleblower complaint to Congress in April “detailing dangerous incompetence” in the administration’s pandemic response, according to the report.

Brad Smith, one of the leaders of the task force, “pressured [Kennedy] to create a model fudging the projected number of fatalities,” according to the report. Smith told him that he wanted the model to revise down the number of projected deaths, arguing that experts’ models were “too severe,” according to Kennedy.

“I don’t know the first thing about disease modelling,” Kennedy said he told Smith, adding that he turned down the task.

The team was also directed to prioritize requests from Trump’s friends and supporters, including “special attention” for Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, who demanded masks for a hospital she favored.

  • The CDC issued its first guidance for the holidays. Most traditional activities for Halloween, such as door-to-door trick-or-treating and costume parties, are discouraged this year due to the pandemic
  • Senate Democrats have just introduced the Science and Transparency Over Politics (STOP) Act, legislation that would establish a task force to investigate claims that the Trump administration politicized health agencies’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We simply cannot trust this administration to protect the American people, which is why Congress must step in.”

  • The NFL has fined New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden $100K each for not properly wearing face coverings on MNF

The Saints and Raiders were also fined $250K each, bringing total for Week 2 fines to $1.75M.

  • The NFL and the NFL Players Association report no new COVID-19 cases among the league’s 2,438 players from Sept. 13 to 19, according to testing results released Tuesday.
  • Following multiple positive COVID-19 tests among student-athletes at Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish have postponed Saturday’s game against Wake Forest.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that large outdoor venues will be allowed to open at 7% capacity starting October 2 if stable COVID-19 trends continue.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • The California Department of Education announced new anti-racism lessons and teacher training for school districts days after President Trump decried the notion of teaching slavery as a founding tenet of the U.S. and called for a more “patriotic education.”
  • Wells Fargo & Co Chief Executive Charles Scharf exasperated some Black employees in a Zoom meeting this summer when he reiterated that the bank had trouble reaching diversity goals because there was not enough qualified minority talent, two participants told Reuters.

He also made the assertion in a company-wide memo June 18 that announced diversity initiatives as nationwide protests broke out following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, in police custody.

“While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from,” Scharf said in the memo, seen by Reuters.

  • Jon Mattingly, one of the Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, wrote a letter to his colleagues taking aim at city officials amid speculation that a decision will soon be reached in the case of Taylor’s death and saying he knows they did “the legal, moral and ethical thing that night.”
  • Costco removed Palmetto Cheese from 120 of its stores after the founder of the brand called the Black Lives Matter movement a “terror organization” on his public Facebook.

Trump Administration

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced that he will support a vote on President Trump’s expected Supreme Court nominee this year. 
  • Senate Republicans are eyeing a confirmation vote in late October for President Trump’s eventual Supreme Court nominee, who is yet to be announced. The GOP seems confident they can fill the seat of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the November election.
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that she will vote against a Supreme Court nominee if one is brought to the Senate floor before the November election.
  • President Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Trump and other U.S. leaders are “making it easy” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meddle in the U.S. election when they echo divisive messages. 

“Putin doesn’t create these divisions in our society, he doesn’t create these doubts, he magnifies them, and we just have to be really careful to not be our own worst enemy,” he said.

  • The Trump administration will begin to retroactively apply its controversial “public charge” rule, which would make it easier for immigration officials to deny entry or legal status to people likely to rely on government assistance, to immigrants following a court decision that lifted a nationwide injunction on the policy.
  • The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to consider hearing oral arguments in December for its appeal of a lower court ruling blocking President Trump’s order excluding people in the U.S. illegally from the census.
  • EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says there is “scientific debate” on whether hurricanes and other natural disasters are exacerbated by climate change, backing President Trump’s claims that fires in California are bad because of poor forest management.
  • Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette questioned whether humans are causing climate change despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that the phenomenon is human-caused.
  • The White House is appointing Ryan Maue, a meteorologist who has been vocal in questioning the science connecting climate change to extreme weather events, as the new chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency charged with overseeing the National Weather Service and monitoring hurricanes, wildfires and other extreme weather.

Presidential Campaign

  • With help from Michael Bloomberg, John Legend and others, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition says it has now raised more than $20 million to pay off outstanding court debts to help former felons be able to register to vote.
  • Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) endorsed Joe Biden for president. In a tweet, McCain said, “My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost. There’s only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is @JoeBiden.” 
  • The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned that foreign malicious hackers will likely attempt to spread disinformation around election results later this year. 

The agencies warned that “foreign actors and cybercriminals could exploit the time required to certify and announce elections’ results by disseminating disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud, and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy.”

  • President Trump, who has repeatedly made dubious claims about expanded mail-in voting inviting substantial fraud into the election, argued that his forthcoming nominee to the Supreme Court should receive a vote before the November election so that the high court will have nine justices to resolve election-related disputes. 

“You need that with the unsolicited millions of ballots that they’re sending. It’s a scam,” Trump claimed. “It’s a hoax.

  • President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will face questions about the novel coronavirus, the Supreme Court and their respective records in elected office when they meet for the first 2020 presidential debate next week.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, announced the list of topics on Tuesday. The debate will also cover the economy, race and violence in U.S. cities, and the integrity of the election.

  • Republicans plan to ask the Supreme Court to review a major Pennsylvania state court ruling that extended the due date for mail ballots in the key battleground state, teeing up the first test for the Supreme Court since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • Maine will now use ranked-choice voting in the November election, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday after a months-long legal battle, making it the first state to use ranked-choice voting in a presidential election. 

When voters in Maine cast their ballots in less than two months, they will be able to rank candidates in order of preference, instead of choosing just one.

  • A top-secret CIA assessment reportedly concludes that Russian President Vladamir Putin is behind a disinformation campaign targeting U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, “supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November.”
  • Thirteen Nobel Prize-winning economists endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, saying his agenda will lead to “economic growth that is faster, more robust, and more equitable.” 

“While each of us has different views on the particulars of various economic policies, we believe that Biden’s overall economic agenda will improve our nation’s health, investment, sustainability, resilience, employment opportunities, and fairness and be vastly superior to the counterproductive economic policies of Donald Trump.”

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: 8 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, allowing visitors to pay respects during an unusual outdoor viewing aligned for the pandemic era, the Supreme Court announced on Monday.
  • The World Health Organization urged more wealthy countries to join its vaccine agreement.

More than 150 countries, representing 64 percent of the world’s population, have agreed to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, which aims to develop and distribute $2 billion in doses of a vaccine by the end of 2021.

Under the plan, rich and poor countries pool money to provide manufacturers with volume guarantees for a slate of vaccine candidates. The idea is to discourage hoarding and focus on vaccinating high-risk people in every participating country first.

  • President Trump predicted that a coronavirus vaccine would become available “within a matter of weeks,” again contradicting the assessments of his own administration’s top public health officials.
  • At a rally in Ohio on Monday, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that coronavirus only affects the elderly, and that young people don’t die from the illness.
  • The CDC quietly introduced — and then on Monday quietly withdrew — guidance on its website acknowledging that the coronavirus is transmitted mainly through the air.

The rapid reversal is another in a string of confusing missteps from the agency regarding official guidance that it posts on its website. The latest debacle concerns the spread of the virus by aerosols, tiny particles containing the virus that can stay aloft for long periods and travel further than six feet.

“In the scientific community, it’s become very clear that aerosols are very important,” said Linsey Marr, an expert in airborne viruses at Virginia Tech. “I hope that it comes back in some form that acknowledges the importance of aerosols.”

  • Much of Europe is scrambling to avoid another round of economically devastating widespread lockdowns as new spikes emerge in France, hospitals begin to fill in Spain and officials in the United Kingdom warn that a six-month fight to contain the virus remains ahead.
  • Residents of the United Kingdom who don’t self-quarantine after testing positive for the novel coronavirus could soon find themselves with $13,000 fines under a new order scheduled to take effect this month.
  • An organization of Black doctors is forming a task force to screen federal decisions about coronavirus vaccines and treatments, the latest sign of the medical community’s eroding trust in the FDA and the CDC under President Trump.
  • The managing editor of RedState who writes under a pseudonym, is actually William B. Crews, a public affairs specialist for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has used his RedState position to spread COVID disinformation and smear his boss, Dr. Fauci, as a “mask nazi.”
  • From resistance to face masks and scorn for the science of the virus to predicting the imminent arrival of a vaccine while downplaying the death count, President Trump and a sizable number of his supporters have aligned behind an alternate reality minimizing a tragedy that has killed an overwhelming number of Americans and gutted the economy.

This mix of denial and defiance runs contrary to the overwhelming evidence about the spread and toll of the virus, and it is at the center of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort.

  • A coalition of 25 Democratic mayors has announced the rollout of pilot guaranteed income programs in their cities during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The programs offer monthly cash payments to low-income residents to supplement the existing social safety net.
  • The NFL fined three head coaches – – Denver’s Vic Fangio, Seattle’s Pete Carroll and SF’s Kyle Shanahan – $100,000 each for not wearing masks Sunday, and each of their teams another $250,000, sources told ESPN.

So that’s $1.05 million dollars in fines for not wearing masks.

  • New York City public schools reopened on Monday for up to 90,000 children — a small fraction of the city’s 1.1 million public school students but the first time any in-person classes have been held since the pandemic took hold in March.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Federal authorities have opened a civil rights investigation and a Louisiana State Police trooper is on leave as new questions have surfaced about the death of Ronald Greene, a Black man, after a high-speed chase in northern Louisiana last year.

“Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers,” the police report says, adding that he “became unresponsive” and died as he was being taken to a hospital. The report does not mention any use of force by troopers.

The front of Mr. Greene’s car did not strike anything and his airbag did not deploy, a lawsuit filed by Greene’s family said. Mr. Greene got out of the car uninjured and could “walk, speak and otherwise function in a healthy manner.”

As more troopers arrived at the scene, Mr. Greene apologized for leading the chase, according to the lawsuit. Two troopers pinned him down and “individually and in concert used lethal force against Greene,” including shocking him three times with a Taser as he begged them to stop.

Officers called an ambulance. When it arrived, emergency medical technicians found Mr. Greene unresponsive with multiple Taser barbs in his body, according to the lawsuit.

The family commissioned an independent autopsy that found severe injuries to Mr. Greene’s head and skull, and several wounds to his face, Mr. Merritt, the lawyer, said. After examining the damage to Mr. Greene’s car, which was mostly on the rear driver’s side, an accident reconstruction expert found it was “inconsistent with a fatal collision,” Mr. Merritt said.

  • A State of Emergency has been declared in Louisville, Kentucky in preparation of the grand jury decision for the Breonna Taylor case. LMPD has banned days off and is erecting barricades across the city.
  • According to a statement the Justice Department released Monday, New York City, Portland and Seattle are the three cities that “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” leading to their designation as an “anarchist jurisdiction.”
  • The NYPD announced 86 people were arrested in Times Square during a demonstration against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) on Saturday.

Police said the demonstration became tense when officers tried to move protesters from the area. Everyone arrested was charged with disorderly conduct. There were no reported injuries.

  • Florida Gov. Ron. DeSantis (R) announced new legislation that would charge protesters with felonies for damaging property and inflicting injuries, as well as sentence them to mandatory jail time for hitting a law enforcement officer. The bill, which state lawmakers will consider during next year’s legislative session, would also bar protesters who commit crimes from receiving state benefits or working for the state.
  • Jacob Gardner, a white bar owner charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man during a protest in Nebraska in May — less than a week after the killing of George Floyd — has died by suicide, the man’s lawyer said on Sunday.
  • Lifetime plans to premiere its first holiday movie focused on a gay couple this year, and is calling “The Christmas Setup” a “feel-good LGBTQ holiday romance.”
  • The confrontational tactics of some protesters against racial injustice worry others who fear an aggressive approach will antagonize people who may be receptive to their message, or play into conservatives’ critique of the largely nonviolent protests.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump questioned Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish that her replacement on the Supreme Court be chosen by the next president, suggesting without evidence that Democrats had concocted a quote provided by Justice Ginsburg’s grieving family.
  • President Trump said he would name a nominee to the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after services for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • Three Republican Senators — Mitt Romney of Utah, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Charles Grassley of Iowa — have been silent on filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Just two of them could force their party to delay a vote.
  • The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has requested documents from the Director of National Intelligence detailing President Trump’s ties to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The documents, Sen. Bob Menendez said, are necessary to examine examples of Trump’s dealings with the Turkish president since taking office, including his refusal to enforce congressionally-mandated sanctions on Turkey.

  • The Office of the Special Counsel has started investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for potentially violating the Hatch Act, after she slammed Joe Biden in a Fox News interview and her agency promoted it through official channels.
  • The federal debt will soar to levels unseen in the nation’s history over the next 30 years, consuming an ever-growing and unsustainable proportion of the nation’s income, the director of the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.
  • The Trump administration on Monday removed the top two liaisons between the White House and the health department, leaving HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s chief of staff as the de facto personnel chief.
  • Top Trump administration officials announced a slate of punitive measures intended to add teeth to its attempt to reimpose international sanctions on Iran — a diplomatic maneuver dismissed by much of the global community as illegal and ineffective.
  • President Trump said he would not support a TikTok deal unless Walmart and Oracle own a controlling stake in the popular video-sharing app — appearing to reject the terms of an agreement he said over the weekend had his approval.

Presidential Campaign

  • Facebook announced that 2.5 million U.S. users have registered to vote in the upcoming general election through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger — a figure more than halfway towards Facebook’s goal of registering 4 million U.S. users to vote ahead of November.
  • A judge in New York has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to treat election mail as a priority amid widespread reports of mail delays resulting from operational changes directed by President Trump’s postmaster general.
  • Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is expanding its advertising offensive in Georgia and Iowa as the former vice president looks to broaden his path to the White House and expand the electoral battlefield beyond core states, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, where recent polls already show him with the lead.
  • President Trump claims he could easily close the growing fundraising gap between his campaign and that of Democratic nominee Joe Biden by calling “rich people that I know.”

“Give me one day and a telephone, I could get all these rich people that I know very much to all put up millions of dollars a piece,” Trump said during an interview on Fox and Friends.

  • A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that challenges a Nevada state law sending ballots to all active voters amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The lawsuit lacks standing, according to U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan in a Sept. 18 order dismissing the lawsuit.

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: 7 Minutes

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

The House passed a measure sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) condemning anti-Asian bigotry and discrimination relating to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to increased numbers of Asian Americans experiencing harassment and physical assaults.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the agency conducted research on whether it could pursue charges against Portland officials after nightly protests for police reform led to clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement.

Seattle’s Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan fired back after a “chilling” report that Attorney General William Barr instructed prosecutors to consider charging her with crimes for allowing residents to establish a protest zone.

“The DOJ cannot become a political weapon operated at the behest of the President to target those who have spoken out against his actions. That is an act of tyranny, not of democracy.”

A Utah police officer has been charged with second-degree felony assault for an April incident that drew national attention in which he ordered a police dog to bite a Black man who was complying with orders and had already raised his hands.

In the video, the man can be heard saying “I’m on the ground. Why are you biting me?”

Trump Administration

A former model has come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the US Open tennis tournament more than two decades ago, in an alleged incident that left her feeling “sick” and “violated”.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Amy Dorris alleged that Trump accosted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the tournament in New York on 5 September 1997.

Dorris, who was 24 at the time, accuses Trump of forcing his tongue down her throat, assaulting her all over her body and holding her in a grip she was unable to escape from.

Another 860,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor reported

These numbers don’t include claims filed under the government’s various other jobless aid programs, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits for those who aren’t usually eligible, such as the self-employed.

President Trump’s town hall with ABC News on Tuesday only drew in 3.97 million viewers, less than “America’s Got Talent,” the NBA Playoff telecast on ESPN and Fox News prime-time programming featuring Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

President Trump announced he will soon be signing an executive order establishing a “national commission to promote patriotic education” called the “1776 Commission.” He said the commission will be aimed at establishing “patriotic” and “pro-America” education that will celebrate American history. In his remarks, Trump criticized the 1619 Project, a New York Times project that explores slavery’s legacy.

“Our youth will be taught to love American with all of their heart and all of their souls,” Trump said.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates who worked with President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to collect information on political rivals, were charged on Thursday with additional campaign finance crimes in connection with a company Parnas founded.

Judge Stanley Bastian issued a nationwide injunction against the controversial U.S. Postal Service changes that have delayed mail delivery across the country, calling it “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service.”

Attorney General William Barr belittled the idea that lower level attorneys within his own Justice Department have any power to make decisions on how the agency is run, equating that notion to toddlers running a preschool.

“Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency.”

Presidential Campaign

FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed Russia has made “active efforts” to influence the 2020 election. Wray told the House Committee on Homeland Security that Russia is continuing attempts to influence the upcoming presidential election, “primarily to denigrate” Joe Biden and his campaign.

Members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who were appointed by President Trump voted to shelve a report on threats to minority voting rights during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report. The report, which had been worked on for months, raised issues like difficulties with in-person and mail-in balloting faced by voters of color, people with disabilities, and those with medical conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus.

Twitter added a label directing users to information about “safe and secure” mail-in voting methods to a tweet posted by President Trump attacking vote-by-mail. The social media platform said it added the label to the tweet for “making a potentially misleading statement regarding the process of mail-in voting.”

Olivia Troye, the former top homeland security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, endorsed Joe Biden and accused President Trump of weak leadership and of dramatically mismanaging the response to the coronavirus crisis.

Vice President Pence dismissed Olivia Troye, calling her a “disgruntled employee” playing politics.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s former chief of staff, Josh Venable, has joined the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, a group of anti-Trump Republicans, as an adviser.

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 – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 4 Minutes

  • The U.S. reported 40,021 new cases and 1,202 additional deaths.
  • Of all the viral diseases and emerging infections that he’s encountered throughout his career, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he has “never seen anything with a range” like the novel coronavirus, which he said suggests factors other than underlying medical conditions affect disease severity. 

At least 40% of patients have no symptoms, while some stay ill for months on end,” Fauci said. 

“It’s just completely unique to see that degree of variability of a single microbe, which means there are things that are determining that, that we still at this point don’t understand.”

  • The White House press pool was informed that multiple White House staff have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, predicted that most of the American public will not have access to a vaccine against the novel coronavirus until late spring or summer of next year.

Redfield also said, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine, because the immunogenicity may be 70% and if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will,”

  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the vaccine could be ready “potentially by the end of September”: “We have a real hope of getting something that actually works.”
  • President Trump contracted his Redfield, at his press briefing. Trump said Redfield was ‘mistaken’ and ‘confused’ when he told lawmakers that a coronavirus vaccine wouldn’t be widely available until mid-way through 2021.
  • Trump attempted to paint a rosy picture of COVID-19 cases in the country by suggesting that if “you take the blue states out” of the equation, the U.S. wouldn’t be experiencing an alarming death toll rate from the novel coronavirus compared to other countries.

“If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at,” Trump said. “We’re really at a very low level, but some of the states —they were blue states, and blue-state management.”

  • As mask wearing continues to be a sore subject for many Americans, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says it could save the economy.

“All of us have a role to play in our nation’s response to the pandemic. Following the advice of the public health professionals, to keep appropriate social distances and to wear masks in public will help get the economy back to full strength.”

  • Eli Lilly and Co. says early data from its mid-stage trial of an antibody therapy shows it is safe and may reduce some symptoms of coronavirus disease.
  • President Trump called on congressional Republicans to support a massive economic relief bill with “much higher numbers” and stimulus payments for Americans, abruptly proposing an entirely different plan than what the Senate GOP sought.

“We are encouraged that after months of the Senate Republicans insisting on shortchanging the massive needs of the American people, President Trump is now calling on Republicans to ‘go for the much higher numbers’ in the next coronavirus relief package,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement.

  • The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7in Colorado protested against the Trump administration for the “ineffectual” fine levied against meatpacking company JBS for failing to protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Six workers died and more than 300 tested positive for COVID-19 at JBS Greeley facility. OSHA fined JBS $15,615.

  • Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before President Trump’s indoor rally in June, warning there could be significant spikes of coronavirus cases and deaths from the event, according to internal state documents. 

Dozens of emails obtained by The Hill through a state freedom of information request reveal growing angst within the Oklahoma public health department in the days leading up to the June 20 rally.

  • Twitter suspended the account of a Chinese scientist who suggested that the novel coronavirus was created in a lab and intentionally released, despite no evidence to support the claim. 
  • An American military employee is potentially facing jail in Germany after she allegedly went on a bar crawl while showing symptoms of COVID-19, infecting at least 23 others and exposing more than 710 people to the virus. Despite awaiting test results after returning from Greece with COVID symptoms, the 26-year-old went partying while waiting for test results. Bavaria’s governor called it a “model case of stupidity.”
  • Just over a month after the Big Ten decided to postpone its 2020 football season, the league reversed its decision and announced plans to begin playing.
  • Florida reported 195 new pediatric cases. To date there have been 54,849 cases of coronavirus among children with 688 requiring hospitalization.
  • Los Angeles has the lowest number of patients hospitalized from coronavirus since the outbreak started. There are currently 804 patients hospitalized with coronavirus in the county – the first time the seven day average has been under 1.000 since May.

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

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • After months of protests calling for charges, a Nebraska grand jury has indicted the white bar owner who shot and killed James Scurlock, a 22-year-old Black man, during a Black Lives Matter protest in Omaha, Nebraska, in June.

The grand jury determined that Jake Gardner, 38, will face four charges including manslaughter, attempted first-degree assault, use of a firearm, and terror threats.

  • Law enforcement and other officials in Rochester, New York worked for months to withhold information about the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man whom police hooded and pinned to the ground in a graphic video that has drawn a national outcry, documents show.

Prude’s family has accused authorities of a coverup.Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren fired the city’s police chief Monday after an internal investigation concluded that police commanders and city officials did not take Prude’s death seriously enough and may have sought to mislead the public. 

The documents, which the city released Monday, capture repeated attempts by officials to prevent the full picture of Prude’s death from getting out as they worried about a public backlash in a climate of growing scrutiny of police.

  • Editors at The Miami Herald and its sister Spanish-language newspaper, El Nuevo Herald, apologized to readers this week for including a Spanish-language insert that said American Jews support “thieves and arsonists” and compared Black Lives Matter protesters to Nazis.
  • Federal prosecutors in California have charged Steven Carrillo, a supporter of the far-right “Boogaloo” movement, with the murder of federal protective security officer Dave Underwood during a May 29 anti-racism protest in Oakland.
  • Maryland’s diocese of the Episcopalian Church voted to fund a $1 million reparations fund for programs benefiting Black residents of Baltimore and other areas after discovering the church’s role in fostering systemic racism in the state.
  • The National Registry of Exonerations spent more than six years examining the cases of 2,400 innocent people who were exonerated from 1989 to 2019, finding that 54 percent were sent to prison because of intentional or negligent mistakes by police, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials.

The most common form of misconduct involved concealing evidence that could have cleared the defendant — occurring in 44 percent of the cases that led to exonerations. Next was perjury and other forms of misconduct at trial by police and prosecutors, witness tampering, the use of manipulative interrogation techniques to secure false confessions, and faking crimes, with officers planting drugs or guns on suspects or falsely claiming they had assaulted an officer.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported Attorney General William Barr instructed U.S. attorneys to seek several federal charges when prosecuting people accused of committing crimes related to demonstrations. He urged federal charges even when state charges could apply, sources told the newspaper.

The attorney general reportedly also encouraged federal prosecutors to charge protesters with sedition. Legal experts told the Journal that those charges would require the government to prove a conspiracy to attack government agents or officials that posed an imminent danger.

Trump Administration

  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s controversial midsummer operational directives delayed nearly 350 million pieces, or 7 percent, of the country’s first-class mail in the five weeks they were in effect, according to a new report.
  • Michael Caputo, the health department’s top communications official, is taking a 60-day medical leave, three days after urging President Trump’s supporters to prepare for an armed insurrection and accusing government scientists of “sedition.”
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not divulge details of a health care plan President Trump has been promising for months, telling a reporter, “If you want to know, come work here at the White House.” 
  • The EPA will postpone training on environmental inequity faced by communities of color and low-income communities following a White House order calling for agencies to stop training involving what it described as “anti-American propaganda.”

Presidential Campaign

  • In the latest instances of Trump launching a campaign of online disinformation – the president has tweeted out numerous false claims and misleadingly labeled videos – Wednesday, Trump tweeted an altered video of Joe Biden playing “Fuck The Police” instead of “Despacito” which is what Biden actually played on his cellphone. On Tuesday, Trump shared a tweet baselessly accusing Biden of being a pedophile.
  • In a significant reversal from last month’s decision, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, said that he will continue to brief congressional leaders and the Senate and House intelligence committees on efforts to secure the 2020 vote from foreign interference — though his office will no longer conduct briefings for all lawmakers, citing the need to protect intelligence sources and methods.
  • Billionaire casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson is reportedly planning to spend $20 million to $50 million to support President Trump’s reelection bid.
  • Twitter and Facebook have shut down accounts on their platforms reportedly linked to a misleading social media campaign run by Turning Point Action, an offshoot of popular conservative youth activist organization Turning Point USA.

Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages at the direction of Turning Point Action.

The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out by humans paid to use their own accounts, though nowhere disclosing their relationship with Turning Point Action or the digital firm brought in to oversee the day-to-day activity. One user included a link to Turning Point USA’s website in his Twitter profile until The Washington Post began asking questions about the activity.

  • A Michigan state appeals court has just upheld the right of Michigan’s top election official to send unsolicited absentee ballot applications to all of the state’s registered voters, a move that will allow widespread access to mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Ras Baraka said at a virtual press conference that thanks to a partnership between Essex County, the New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center and the National Basketball Players Associations, the Prudential Center in Newark will act as a “super” polling site this November.

  • Live Nation is exploring more than 100 concert venues across the country to serve as polling places in the upcoming November elections.

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: 6 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 47,685 new cases and 1,144 additional deaths. 
  • A new study finds some evidence that infusions of convalescent plasma may help severely ill coronavirus patients survive better. 

Patients given the plasma treatments at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City were a little less likely to die and a little less likely to get worse in the hospital than patients not given the treatment.

  • Bill Gates called the U.S. response to Covid-19 “shocking” and “mismanaged” in an interview published on Monday in Stat.

“You know, this has been a mismanaged situation every step of the way,” Gates told Stat. “It’s shocking. It’s unbelievable – the fact that we would be among the worst in the world.”

  • In an April 13 phone call with journalist Bob Woodward, President Trump called coronavirus “the plague” acknowledging it would be devastating for vulnerable Americans, saying “this thing is a killer if it gets you. If you’re the wrong person, you don’t have a chance.”
  • President Trump defended his assertion that the novel coronavirus would “disappear” with or without a vaccine, saying the United States would develop what he called “herd mentality.”

“With time it goes away,” Trump said. “You’ll develop — you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.”

NOTE: To develop herd immunity, about 200 million American’s would need to contract the virus. The death toll would be nearly 6 million. 

  • President Trump claims that he “up-played” the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, despite telling Bob Woodward in March that he “wanted to always play it down.”

“I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action,” Trump said today when asked why he minimized COVID-19 when the virus has proven to be particularly lethal for communities of color, adding: “My action was very strong.”

  • The assistant secretary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, accused the media of being dishonest about the coronavirus pandemic and reiterated talking points about Covid-19 that President Trump has pushed for months, including that schools should reopen for in-person learning and that very few children are affected by Covid-19.
  • More than a week after tests were placed on hold due to serious side effects in a participant in Britain, AstraZeneca has resumed COVID-19 vaccine trials in South Africa.
  • Speaker Pelosi insisted that the House will stay in session until she and other congressional leaders can reach agreement on a long-stalled covid relief package.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY0 is calling for the resignation of Trump administration health secretary Alex Azar, amid mounting evidence of political interference in the federal government’s coronavirus response.
  • The White House blocked trade adviser Peter Navarro from testifying at a House oversight hearing Wednesday about a partially canceled Defense Production Act contract to manufacture ventilators.
  • Canada’s health minister on Tuesday said she could not rule out another full lockdown if needed amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases, but added that the government was significantly more prepared to manage the virus than during the first wave.
  • The University of Arizona has issued a recommendation, in accordance with the local county health department, strongly urging students to shelter in place until Sept. 30 following a large number of positive Covid-19 cases.
  • Major League Baseball announced that the home of the Texas Rangers, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, will host the World Series. 

MLB’s 2020 postseason plan includes hosting games at four neutral site stadiums in California and Texas starting with the Division Series.

  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced 87 Covid-19 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the highest number of deaths reported in one day since early May.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Officials in Louisville, Kentucky, announce a financial settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman fatally shot by police in her home in March.

Trump Administration

  • A nurse at a Georgia Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility is accusing the detention center of performing hysterectomies on immigrant women being detained there, usually without their consent.
  • President Trump revealed that he wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier in his presidency, reversing his previous denial that the issue ever came up.

“I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set. Mattis didn’t want to do it,” Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends, referring to then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “Mattis was against most of that stuff.”

Trump’s comments are similar to a report in journalist Bob Woodward’s 2018 book “Fear.” Following the book’s publication, Trump denied the account, dismissing the book as “fiction” and telling journalists that assassinating Assad “was never contemplated, nor would it be contemplated.”

“Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Trump is said to have told Mattis.

In the Tuesday interview, Trump also personally attacked Mattis as “highly overrated” and “a bad leader,” saying “he was terrible to me, he was a terrible general.”

  • The World Trade Organization found on Tuesday that the United States had breached global trading rules by imposing multi-billion dollar tariffs in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, a ruling that drew anger from Washington.

The WTO said the U.S. duties broke trading rules because they applied only to China and were above maximum rates agreed to by the United States. Washington had not then adequately explained why its measures were a justified exception.

  • The Trump administration is no longer moving forward with plans to soon issue a controversial Medicaid rule that states warned would force major cutbacks.

The rule, proposed late last year, would overhaul how states use certain Medicaid payments to draw down more federal dollars. Both Democratic and Republican governors criticized the proposal, arguing it could hurt their ability to fund their state’s Medicaid programs when they’re already facing pandemic-related economic pressures.

  • A surge in people buying guns since the coronavirus pandemic began has flooded the FBI’s background check system, causing a spike in the number of delayed checks and allowing gun sales to proceed without them.
  • The president claimed to have read Bob Woodward’s book on Monday night. “I read it very quickly. And it was very boring.”

Note: The book is 466 pages and would take the average person more than twelve hours to read.

  • President Trump backtracked on his decision to reimpose 10 percent aluminum tariffs on Canada on Tuesday, hours before Ottawa was set to announce retaliatory measures.

Presidential Campaign 

  • A voter-outreach effort by the U.S. Postal Service drew a growing backlash as election officials in several states warned voters that the embattled agency was providing inaccurate information about how to vote in the Nov. 3 election.
  • A state judge in Ohio ruled that election officials can set up multiple drop boxes per county for voters to return absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential election, writing that a limit of one per county is “arbitrary and unreasonable.”
  • County elections officials in Pennsylvania may no longer discard mail ballots simply because they question the authenticity of a voter’s signature.

The Pennsylvania Department of State issued that guidance last week and, on Tuesday, two organizations that had sued the state over the practice dropped a federal lawsuit challenging it.

  • The Texas Supreme Court has again issued a ruling blocking Harris County from sending mail-in ballot applications to all of its over 2 million registered voters amid an ongoing court battle.
  • Scientific American offered its first presidential endorsement on Tuesday, backing Joe Biden, saying he is better on science and ripping President Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic in the U.S.”

  • The Black Voters Matter Fund, a nonprofit organization aimed at mobilizing voters in marginalized and predominantly Black communities, said it will be deploying voter outreach caravans in states across the South and the Midwest and rolling out radio advertisements in an effort to engage and rally Black voters ahead of the election.

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: 8 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 30,555 new cases and 386 additional deaths. 
  • Children can and do transmit the coronavirus to members of their household, according to a new report by the CDC.
  • Two Emory University doctors stressed the importance of getting a flu shot this year – to avoid what they call the “twindemic” of Covid-19 and influenza.
  • Adults who tested positive for COVID-19 are twice as likely to have eaten at restaurants within the two week period prior to becoming sick, according to a new study from the CDC that suggests a link between dining out and contracting coronavirus.
  • President Trump said he is not concerned about getting coronavirus at indoor campaign rallies because he speaks from a stage “very far away” from attendees.
  • Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said Monday that President Trump’s comments that “nothing more could have been done” to handle the coronavirus pandemic was “absurd.” 

“By mid-April here in the northeast in the New York-New Jersey area where I live, the densest part of the country, we knew how to flatten the curve,” Johnson said. “We knew how to slow the spread of the virus through aggressive physical distancing, through hygiene, wearing masks, but after April even though things slowed down here in the northeast, we had the spikes in the rest of the country simply because our national leadership, our President, allowed this to become a political issue.”

  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) pandemic restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders in their lawsuit against Wolf, a Democrat, and his health secretary.

  • The people responsible for a weekly report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been in “trench warfare” with Washington officials over the report’s scientific integrity, infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner said.
  • The House Oversight and Reform Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisisare is launching an investigation into the Trump administration’s political interference with the publication of scientific reports at the CDC.

The committee cited reporting from Politico that showed administration appointees have repeatedly interfered with the CDC’s reports on the pandemic, which are published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

  • After several NFL coaches were seen not following league protocols for face coverings during Sunday’s Week 1 games, the league’s executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent responded by sending a memo to clubs Monday morning cautioning coaching personnel to wear their masks at all times.
  • This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be “reimagined” amid the coronavirus pandemic, with organizers opting to make the iconic holiday season kick-off event virtual instead of the traditional live parade.
  • Asbury Park, NJ’s zombie walk,which usually happens the first Saturday in October on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, has been canceled.In past years, the event has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest gathering of zombies.
  • The Smithsonian is expected to reopen four additional museums Friday since closing due to Covid-19.
  • South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette (R) announced via Twitter that she has tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Henderson, Nevada, the city where President Donald Trump held an indoor campaign rally, said Monday the venue owner is being fined $3,000 for violating coronavirus prevention mandates.

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • Los Angeles is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman who shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. 

Two deputies were “ambushed” while sitting in a patrol car on Saturday after a lone gunman shot at them. They remain hospitalized in critical condition.

  • Hundreds of protesters flooded the streets of Lancaster, Pennsylvania late Sunday evening, with police deploying tear gas, as demonstrators responded in outrage over officers fatally shooting a man with a knife.
  • Rochester, New York Mayor Lovely Warren has just announced she is firing the city’s chief of police and suspending its city attorney in the aftermath of the death of Daniel Prude in police custody in March.
  • A Missouri police officer who fatally shot a woman during a traffic stop will not face charges, even after the officer’s claims that she was going to shoot him were contradicted by evidence that showed there was no gun in the car and she never owned a gun.
  • Police have given more than 100 people head injuries with so-called less-lethal ammunition such as rubber bullets at protests this summer, according to a report from the group Physicians for Human Rights.
  • Michael Cohen says the main reason for President Trump’s disdain former President Obama is his race, telling “The View” in a new interview, “why he despises him to the extent that he does, I believe it’s purely racial.”

“I believe it’s solely predicated on the fact that Barack Obama is Black.”

  • Philanthropist Susan Sandler will invest $200 million in social justice organizations committed to fighting systemic racism and boosting turnout in underrepresented communities in battleground states. The investments will reportedly be carried out through the newly formed Susan Sandler Fund.
  • Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich took a knee during the national anthem on Sunday before his team’s season opener, later saying “white leaders really have an opportunity to step up” on the issue of social injustice.

“We thought it was a unique way to express what needs to be done, where someone like myself, a white leader, would kneel, not out of defiance but out of humility,” Reich told reporters. “We can’t leave things the way they are.”

“It takes all of us, everybody, but certainly white leaders really have an opportunity to step up and make a big change as far as systemic racism is concerned,” he added.

Colts players stood for the anthem with arms locked.

Trump Administration

  • The Trump administration is looking to expand a ban on global health aid for foreign organizations that provide or promote abortions.

The proposed change would require that foreign organizations receiving global health aid through contracts from the U.S. government agree to not provide or promote abortions — even with funding from other sources.

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the country should not be focused on deficits as it struggles under the economic weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, will step down from his position and return from the country in October, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing announced Monday.
  • A federal appeals court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to terminate a program that lets at least 300,000 immigrants live and work in the US.

In a 2–1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a preliminary injunction issued by US District Judge Edward Chen in 2018 that prevented the administration from ending temporary protected status for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

  • Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services made outlandish and false accusations that career government scientists were engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election.

Caputo accused the CDC of harboring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Trump, even if that opposition bolsters the Covid-19 death toll.

Caputo, who has faced criticism for leading efforts to warp CDC weekly bulletins to fit Trump’s pandemic narrative, suggested that he personally could be in danger from opponents of the administration. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he urged his followers.

He went further, saying his physical health was in question, and his “mental health has definitely failed.”

Mr. Caputo predicted that the president would win re-election in November, but that Joe Biden  would refuse to concede, leading to violence. “And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin.” he said. 

  • The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General is investigating the department’s intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, whose sentence was reduced drastically after President Trump tweeted about the sentencing and critics say the decision was based on the president’s personal friendship with Stone. 

Trump ultimately commuted Stone’s sentence in July before he was to report to prison.

Presidential Campaign

  • The crowd at President Trump’s rally Sunday evening  in Henderson, Nevada chanted “lock him up” after the president accused his predecessor, former President Obama, of being caught “spying” on the 2016 Trump campaign, a claim for which there is no evidence.
  • A day after President Trump held his first indoor rally in months, the Trump campaign swiped at Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s campaign for continuing to use virtual events during the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting Biden’s latest event shows “how low Virginians are on the Biden campaign’s priority list as all they could manage is a virtual event.”
  • Kid Rock headlined a campaign rally for President Trump in Michigan on Monday.
  • Nearly 200 environmental leaders signed an open leader on Monday urging like-minded voters to support Joe Biden in the November election instead of casting their ballots for the Green Party’s candidate.
  • Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden in a Monday letter in which he called on Americans to vote “for the future of our republic.”
  • President Trump signaled he would participate in a four-hour debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden moderated by Joe Rogan, despite such a format being likely impossible.

Trump shared a tweet from Tim Kennedy, a retired mixed martial artist, who wrote that Rogan, a comedian and mixed martial arts color commentator, offered during his podcast to moderate a four-hour debate between Trump and Biden without a live audience.

  • The NAACP, in conjunction with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), announced a seven-figure radio ad buy that hits President Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color.

The ads will run on Black radio stations in a handful of crucial swing states, including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina.

  • Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
  • A digital ad released by a fundraising arm of the Trump campaign on Sept. 11 calling on people to “support our troops” used a photo of Russian-made fighter jets and weapons.
  • President Trump and Joe Biden’s takes on climate change appeared vastly different as the two presidential candidates visited California on Monday to discuss raging wildfires in the state. 

Biden called Trump a “climate arsonist” while Trump told a top official, without evidence, that the world would soon see “cooler” temperatures, adding “I don’t think science knows” it will get warmer.

  • An analysis from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School finds that the national debt would decrease and GDP would increase under Joe Biden’s plan compared to President Trump’s current laws by 2050.
  • Samuel L. Jackson is promising his followers he will teach them how to swear in 15 different languages if enough of them go online to check their registration or register to vote.

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