The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Trump Administration

  • The Trump administration announced it will further tighten restrictions on Chinese telecom giant, Huawei Technologies, aimed at cracking down on its access to commercially available chips.

The U.S. Commerce Department will expand restrictions aimed at preventing Huawei  from obtaining semiconductors without a special license.

The administration added 38 Huawei affiliates to the U.S. government’s economic blacklist raising the total to 152 affiliates since Huawei was first added in May 2019.

  • President Trump dismissed a Democratic push for billions in U.S. Postal Service funding as a “con game” and shrugged off concerns from lawmakers that he is undermining the agency ahead of November’s election. 

Trump complained that the agency has lost tens of billions of dollars over the last several years, though it is a government-funded service that is not designed to make a profit.

  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Monday, August 24.
  • Two Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, Ted Lieu (CA) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY), urged the F.B.I. director to open a criminal investigation into the role that the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, played in mail delays that they said threaten to compromise the November election.
  • Senate Republicans are preparing to unveil a smaller coronavirus relief package as soon as Tuesday that is expected to include billions in new funds for the Postal Service.
  • The Trump administration announced that it officially approved a plan to open a pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil drilling. 
  • A federal appeals court in New York refused to re-hear a case and will allow a group of hotel and restaurant owners to sue President Trump for allegedly violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

The lawsuit claims the president violated the constitutional provision by refusing to put his business assets in a blind trust while in office and profiting off the presidency, to the detriment of industry competitors.

  • U.S. intelligence agencies assessed that Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group just last year alone, including a suicide bombing at a US air base in December.
  • California finalized fuel efficiency agreements with five automakers in an attempt to undercut the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era standards.

As part of the deal, BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo agreed to annual fuel economy improvements that align more closely to those required under the Obama administration compared with the less stringent ones just finalized.

Protests/Racial and Social Issues

  • Michigan police apologized after a Black reporter was arrested while covering a Proud Boys rally and counter protests. Samuel Robinson, had tweeted coverage from the protest throughout the day. He tweeted that he had been arrested and charged with impeding traffic.

“KDPS arrested an MLive reporter who they believed to be interfering or obstructing with their operations,” Kalamazoo Police Department Chief Karianne Thomas said during a press conference. “This person was wearing visible credentials and should not have been arrested.”

  • Police said protesters in Portland, OR, chased a truck before it crashed and then assaulted the driver late Sunday. It has yet to be determined what the impetus for the crash and assault was.
  • The Washington Football Team has named Jason Wright as its president, the first time an NFL team has named a Black man as its president.
  • Disney debuted its first bisexual lead character in its animated series “The Owl House” on the Disney Channel, just three months after Disney’s Pixar Studios introduced its first gay character in the short film, “Out.”
  • Three top producers at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” were fired Monday after the show launched an investigation into claims from former employees of sexual harassment and abuse.
  • Citing health concerns, the president of the National Organization for Women stepped down, amid a flurry of allegations of racism at the nation’s oldest and largest feminist organization.

Van Pelt’s resignation follows an internal investigation that concluded “governance issues and evidence of a toxic work environment.”

The Daily Beast reported in June that there had also been multiple allegations of racism at the senior level of the organization, but NOW’s internal examination claimed those accusations could not be substantiated.

  • A former Minneapolis police officer who was fired for decorating a Christmas tree with racist items two years ago should get his job back, an arbitrator has ruled.

The arbitrator said that Mark Bohnsack was wrongly terminated for the November 2018 incident that also resulted in the firing of another cop, but that Bohnsack must serve a 320-hour suspension without pay, officials said. The city has a right to appeal the decision.

Presidential Campaign

  • The president tweeted: “Some states use “drop boxes” for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots. So who is going to “collect” the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!” 

NOTE: Dropboxes are usually monitored by constant video surveillance and weigh about 600 pounds. They are actually considered a way to give the voter more control over their ballot. Election officials pick them up directly, eliminating the USPS (and potential delays) from the process.

  • In a campaign speech on the tarmac at Mankato Regional Airport, Trump once again repeated the false claim that: “I was man of the year eleven years ago in Michigan.” There was no such award or recognition. 
  • President Trump falsely asserted the only way he will lose the November election is if it is “rigged” further casting into doubt the presidential election results as he’s repeatedly attacked mail-in voting as being a source of widespread voter fraud without evidence.

“The only way we are going to lose this election is if the election is rigged,” Trump told supporters. “Remember that. It’s the only way we’re going to lose this election, so we have to be very careful.”

  • Miles Taylor, the former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff under President Trump, endorsed Joe Biden for president. 

In the video endorsement, Taylor said that Trump sought to stop FEMA from sending wildfire relief funds to California because “he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him, and that politically it wasn’t a base for him.”

Taylor also claimed that Trump wanted to restart the “zero tolerance” policy that led to family separation at the border and wanted to go even further by having a “deliberate policy of ripping children away from their parents” in order to deter illegal immigration.

  • The couple from St. Louis who waved guns at Black Lives Matter demonstrators in a video that went viral will participate at the Republican National Convention next week.

The Trump campaign said Mark and Patricia McCloskey would endorse the president for reelection during an appearance in the virtual program. The couple was previously featured in a Trump campaign virtual event.

  • The Trump campaign launched the sale of branded face coverings, months after the CDC first recommended masks as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The campaign store features a red “Trump” mask and a blue “MAGA” for $15 each.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, 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

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The U.S. reported 43,008 new cases and 619 additional deaths.
  • The multibillion-dollar effort to get a coronavirus vaccine on the market could see delays because researchers haven’t recruited sufficient numbers of minorities to join the clinical trials.
  • A school district in Arizona canceled its Monday classes after a “high volume of staff absences” created insufficient staffing levels.

The J.O. Combs Unified School District in San Tan Valley, Arizona, previously announced last week it would resume in-person instruction on Monday, but since that announcement, the district “received an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students.”

  • For the ninth straight day, New York state’s Covid-19 positivity rate is under 1%. 
  • New York City’s “Tribute in Light” that honors victims of the September 11 attacks will go on, organizers said Saturday, after concerns about workers’ safety during the pandemic threatened to cancel the tribute.
  • A fourth coronavirus cluster has been identified by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • South Carolina reported 537 new cases and nine additional deaths. The state’s positivity rate as of Saturday is 11%. 
  • A White House task force report warns that the coronavirus spread in Georgia is “widespread and expanding” and “strongly recommends” a statewide mask mandate. 

Georgia remains without a statewide mask mandate. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Saturday said residents are urged to wear face coverings and take other precautions. The order would allow local governments to mandate masks, but only on their publicly-owned property, not at private businesses.

  • A third Cherokee County school will temporarily end in-person learning after more than a quarter of its students were quarantined and 25 people at the school tested positive. 

Creekview High School now has 500 of its 1,800 students under precautionary quarantine.

  • Ohio reported 40 deaths on Saturday, marking the state’s highest number of deaths reported since July 31.
  • More than 30 Nashville police officers enforcing mask requirements issued nearly 3,000 warnings, 25 citations and arrested one person this weekend.

Officers were in Nashville’s famed entertainment district over the weekend as part of the department’s enhanced mask enforcement initiative.

  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) insisted that his state’s Covid-19 cases are under control despite a 23% positivity rate.
  • School officials in Oklahoma say a student knowingly attended classes with the coronavirus on the first day of school, thinking it was safe to do so because he was asymptomatic.

Officials announced that another student also tested positive for the virus, and 22 students who came in contact with the two students are now quarantining.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump has told aides he’d like to hold an in-person meeting with Russian President Putin before the November election.
  • Democratic leaders announce they are scheduling an emergency Aug. 24 hearing for top U.S. Postal Service officials to testify before Congress after the agency sounded the alarm about its ability to handle increased mail-in-voting.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told CNN that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “are looking at having a standalone bill” to provide funding to the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Pelosi said she is calling the House back into session this week to vote on a bill prohibiting the U.S. Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service.
  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN that he would be open to the idea of a standalone bill that contains only funding for the U.S. Postal Service. 

Meadows told CNN on Sunday that the U.S. Postal Service will not dismantle any mail sorting machines between now and Election Day.

  • The U.S. Postal Service announced it would stop removing mail boxes through late November following complaints about how some had been taken away.
  • Pentagon officials working on Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s cost-cutting review of the department have proposed slashing military health care by $2.2 billion, a reduction that some defense officials say could effectively gut the Pentagon’s health care system during a nationwide pandemic.
  • Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly told federal prosecutors last year that they believed President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner may have presented misleading testimony during the panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump Jr.’s and Kushner’s accounts of a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign reportedly conflicted with the testimony of former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates. 

The committee also reportedly accused the president’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, former campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis and private security contractor Erik Prince of lying to Congress, which potentially carries a felony charge.

Protests/Racial & Social Justice

  • Leslie David Baker, the actor best known for playing Stanley Hudson on “The Office,” shared some of the racist online abuse he says he has received since announcing his plans to star in a spinoff series to show the “great deal of work that needs to be done here in America regarding racism.”

“For those of you who don’t believe racism is still alive in the world… here’s the proof,” Baker wrote on Instagram on Wednesday, alongside screenshots of messages he says he’s recently received. “Our goal has simply been to entertain and give the fans a quality series.”

Presidential Campaign

  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris tweeted condolences to President Trump on the loss of his brother: “Mr. President, Jill and I are sad to learn of your younger brother Robert’s passing. I know the tremendous pain of losing a loved one — and I know how important family is in moments like these. I hope you know that our prayers are with you all.”

Harris tweeted: “Doug and I join the Biden family in sending our deepest condolences and prayers to the entire Trump family during this difficult time. Losing a loved one is never easy but know that we are thinking of you.”

  • Kamala Harris has support from a nontraditional corner as she seeks to become the country’s next vice president: Her sorority sisters.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the nation’s oldest African American Greek-lettered sorority, say they plan to help get Joe Biden elected after he named their sorority sister as his running mate.

  • President Trump is planning to deliver remarks on “a half century of Joe Biden failing America” in Old Forge, PA on the same day Joe Biden is set to give his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

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

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

Read Time: 5 Mniutes

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • A Utah officer accused of unnecessarily siccing his police K9 on a Black man, who was on his knees with his hands up at the time, has been suspended.

Authorities launched an internal investigation into the incident, most of which was captured on body camera video.

  • A Virginia mayor is facing calls for his resignation over a Facebook post in which he said that Joe Biden “just announced Aunt Jemima” as his running mate.

Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves posted the comment last weekend on his Facebook page. The comment was condemned by members of the Luray Town Council and other residents before he took it down.

  • Police declared a riot late Wednesday night after hundreds of demonstrators returned to downtown Portland after more than a week when the biggest events were held in other parts of the city. As many as 300 people had gathered by about 9:30 p.m.

The gathering remained largely peaceful until about 11 p.m., when a couple of small fires were lit near the federal courthouse. A fake pig’s head and a Trump flag were set ablaze in the middle of a major thoroughfare. Some fireworks and other objects were thrown over the fence surrounding the courthouse.

Oregon State Police troopers, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Portland police officers took to the streets to disperse the crowds, making arrests and deploying tear gas as they moved.

  • Oregon State Police said they were withdrawing protection from Portland’s federal courthouse over frustration at a prosecutor’s decision not to indict many people arrested in protests there.
  • Protesters in Minneapolis are demanding that 24 conditions be met before the cement barricades around the George Floyd memorial are brought down. 
  • A Ronald McDonald House in Chicago where over 30 families were staying was damaged amid looting in the city early Monday morning, according to multiple reports.
  • As FC Dallas and Nashville SC players took a knee during the national anthem ahead of their soccer match, fans at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX began booing them.
  • Dolly Parton voiced her support for the Black Lives Matter movement in a recent interview saying: “Of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”

She went on to discuss changing her dinner show attraction name after she was told its name with “Dixie” in the title was offensive, saying it was an easy decision. “As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumbass.”

  • Los Angeles police are investigating the attempted “swatting,” or making a hoax emergency call to send heavily-armed police to an address of a local Black Lives Matter activist.

Melina Abdullah, a professor at Cal State Los Angeles, on Wednesday streamed a live video on Instagram of the officers outside her home.

In the stream she said, “They have guns pointed at my house. There’s a helicopter overhead. Nobody’s knocked at the door, but apparently they’ve made announcements for people to come out with our hands up. My children are in the house. My children are in the house. I don’t know what this is.”

“We got a call to this location that there is a male in there holding you guys hostage, and he wants a million dollars or he’s going to kill you within an hour,” an officer said in the video.

LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein told the Times the incident was “most likely a swatting” and that the Major Crimes Division is investigating it.

  • City council members in Austin, Texas, have just approved a new budget slashing nearly $150 million from the city’s police force. Some of the funding that would have gone to police will be redirected to alternative forms of public safety, such as social work involvements.

Trump Administration

  • White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien called for President Trump to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize, citing his role in a diplomatic breakthrough between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed in a new interview that he and the Pentagon issued a warning to Russia over the reported bounties placed on US troops in Afghanistan.

“If the Russians are offering money to kill Americans or, for that matter, other Westerners as well, there will be an enormous price to pay,” Pompeo said.

  • The Trump administration has accused Yale University of illegally discriminating against white and Asian American applicants in favor of Black and Hispanic applicants, and threatened to file a civil rights lawsuit against the school if it refused to change its admissions practices.

Yale is refusing to change procedures, setting up a potentially high-profile court battle.

Presidential Campaign

  • Trump said that he does not want to fund the Postal Service because he wants to prevent mail-in voting during the pandemic, making explicit the reason he has declined to approve $25 billion in emergency funding for the cash-strapped agency.

“Now, they need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said in an interview on Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. He added: “Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.”

  • The day before publicly opposing funding to accommodate an expected surge in Americans voting by mail in this year’s presidential election, President Trump and the First Lady requested mail-in ballots to vote in Florida’s upcoming primary.
  • The U.S. Postal Service warned Pennsylvania officials earlier this year that the state’s election deadlines were too tight for the service’s “delivery standards” and could result in mail-in ballots being delayed for several days in a key 2020 battleground.
  • The Supreme Court denied the Republican Party’s request that it reinstate witness requirements for absentee ballots in Rhode Island after the state agreed to waive the restrictions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) responded to President Trump’s insult calling her a “poor student” by challenging the president to release his own college transcripts.

“Let’s make a deal, Mr. President: You release your college transcript, I’ll release mine, and we’ll see who was the better student. Loser has to fund the Post Office.”

  • President Trump has reportedly confirmed he will accept the Republican nomination from the White House lawn, despite criticism about the location and some allegations it may violate the Hatch Act.
  • President Trump is facing swift backlash after he refused to shut down a baseless and racist conspiracy theory that Sen. Kamala Harris would not be eligible to serve as vice president, and instead entertained the idea saying, “I’ll take a look.”
  • “I can’t believe I have to say this, but we can’t let Donald Trump open up the Grand Canyon for uranium mining,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden recently said as he vows to undo President Trump’s controversial mining projects.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, 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, Racial & Social Justice, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. reported 55,742 new cases and 1,485 additional deaths – the highest single day total for deaths since May.
  • The World Health Organization has issued new guidance advising people to postpone routine dental cleanings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Nearly three dozen current and former government health experts warn in a previously unpublished letter that the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database is placing an undue burden on hospitals and will have “serious consequences on data integrity.”
  • Based on a Duke University research, these are the types of masks that work best:

N95 masks, three-layer surgical masks, cotton masks, 

And these are the types that do not work as well:

Neck fleeces (gaiter masks), bandanas, knitted masks

  • The White House released new recommendations for schools as they prepare to reopen, however the recommendations are little more than basic hygiene tips and don’t outline what schools should do if they face coronavirus cases. 

The use of masks is recommended but not required for students, teachers or staff. They also “require students, teachers and staff to socially distance around high-risk individuals,” however it’s unclear how schools will go about doing that.

  • President Donald Trump announced a plan to send 125 million reusable masks to school districts throughout the country and deploy CDC teams to those that need help reopening for in-person learning.
  • Trump continued to push the false narrative that several states are in “fantastic shape” when it comes to the coronavirus.

“If you look at some of the states that had a flare-up recently, they’re all doing very well,” the president said. “Florida is going down. Arizona is going down, way down. They’ve done a fantastic job. California, as you know, is going down.”

NOTE: While new cases in Florida and Arizona are trending downward, they are not back to pre-June levels. California did experience some periods of brief decline in new cases but currently the average number of daily new cases is again on the rise.

  • Trump said: “I want to make it unmistakably clear that I am protecting people from evictions.

NOTE: His executive order does not prevent anyone from being evicted. It simply directs administration officials to “consider” whether “any measures temporarily halting residential evictions of any tenants for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”

  • President Trump’s senior aides acknowledged that they are providing less financial assistance for the unemployed than the president initially claimed. Senior White House officials said publicly that the maneuver only guarantees an extra $300 per week for unemployed Americans — with states not required to add anything to their existing state benefit programs to qualify for the federal benefit.
  • Fusion Health and Vitality, which operates under the name Pharm Origins, sold a product called the “Immune Drug”, which was advertised as lowering the risk of COVID-19 infection by 50 percent. The man behind the company is now charged with falsely promoting and selling the drug.
  • The Big East Conference postponed its fall sports and will assess the options to stage fall sports contests in the spring of 2021.
  • Churchill Downs racetrack has announced that the rescheduled Kentucky Derby will limit attendance to fewer than 23,000 spectators.

The new crowd figure represents less than 14% of the attendance record set in 2015. The Derby says 170,513 people attended that year.

  • November’s Masters golf tournament will be held without spectators.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order that allows schools and universities to reopen for the upcoming academic year. 

Social distancing and other protections would have to be strictly adhered to, he said, and students that want to continue remote learning must be accommodated.

  • North Paulding High School, the Georgia high school seen in a viral photo of crowded hallways, plans to move to a hybrid schedule. 
  • Cherokee County School District is temporarily closed for in-person learning at Georgia’s Woodstock High School with the reopening tentatively scheduled for Aug. 31.
  • One day after the Martin County School District in southeast Florida reopened for in-person instruction, an entire elementary school classroom was placed under quarantine, after a student began exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced 1,163 new positive cases, the single highest number of new positive cases the state has recorded since the start of the pandemic.
  • A Kansas prison is on lockdown due to Covid-19 outbreak. 84 residents and 10 staff tested positive this week.
  • As Texas soars past 500,000 Covid-19 cases, state officials are redoubling their efforts to get residents to wear masks and practice social distancing.
  • Queen Creek School Board in suburban Phoenix voted to resume school with 100% in-person learning starting Aug. 17.
  • John MacArthur, the pastor of Grace Community Church, a megachurch in Los Angeles, defended the church’s decision to allow over six thousand people in for services Sunday, with no social distancing and no masks – defying California state orders amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Asked about his disregard of coronavirus restrictions, MacArthur dismissed the responsibility for him to follow such guidelines.

Trump Administration

  • Channeling decades of racist attacks, President Trump claimed that his decision to scrap an Obama-era rule meant to quash racial discrimination would win the support of suburban women afraid of living near low-income housing projects.

Trump tweeted: “The “suburban housewife” will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge! @foxandfriends @MariaBartiromo”

  • President Donald Trump congratulated Marjorie Taylor Greene on her congressional primary victory, endorsing a Republican candidate with a history of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic remarks and who has embraced QAnon conspiracy theories.

“Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up — a real WINNER!”

  • President Trump went off on Bill Maher on Twitter, attacking him as “totally SHOT, looks terrible, exhausted, gaunt, and weak,” after the host of HBO’s “Real Time” delivered a mock eulogy for Trump’s funeral that said: “Some men look at the world and ask, ‘Why?’ Donald Trump looked at the world and asked, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
  • An Air Force helicopter was shot at from the ground and forced to make an emergency landing in Virginia, injuring at least one crew member, according to Pentagon officials. The helicopter had just left Joint Base Andrews, the home to the presidential aircraft Air Force One.
  • The State Department’s Office of Inspector General concluded that  billionaire New York Jets co-owner Woody Johnson, President Trump’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, made offensive remarks to staff at the U.S. Embassy in London.

The inspector general’s office “learned, through employee questionnaires and interviews, that the Ambassador sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color.”

Such “offensive or derogatory comments, based on an individual’s race, color, sex, or religion, can create an offensive working environment and could potentially rise to a violation of EEO laws,” the IG report states, deeming that a “more thorough review by the Department is warranted.”

  • A Native American tribe with ancestral roots in the regions surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border is suing the Trump administration to halt construction on a new piece of the border wall, alleging that the development will trample over the tribe’s sacred burial grounds.
  • Trump once again falsely said that the money from his tariffs on Chinese products is being paid by China. Americans are bearing most of the cost of the tariffs, and American importers make the actual payments to the government.

Protests/Racial & Social Justice

  • The family of a dead woman whose breasts were allegedly fondled by the Los Angeles Police Department officer David Rojas who discovered her body is suing the officer and the city, the family’s attorney Gloria Allred announced this week.

“It is not only against the law, but it is also against all sense of human decency.”

While he was alone in the room with the corpse as his partner returned to their squad car, Rojas allegedly fondled the woman’s breasts.

The officer had reportedly attempted to deactivate his body camera, but was still caught on video due to a delay between the deactivation and when the device actually turns off.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this week that the city will assess memorials, monuments and art as part of a racial healing and historical reckoning project, with the intent to analyze which figures may have a racist history, catalog the monuments, and, if needed, recommend their removal.

Presidential Campaign

  • The president’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner met recently with hip hop artist Kanye West. West has stepped up his efforts to be on the November ballot as part of an independent bid for the White House. The meeting comes as West has acknowledged his bid for president could siphon votes away from Joe Biden.
  • President Trump and allies in the Republican Party and on Fox News have quickly begun sexist and personal attacks against Kamala Harris, from Trump demeaning her as “angry” and “horrible” to commentators mocking her first name to comparing her to “payday lenders.”

Trump described her as “nasty” or “nastier” four times — terms he often uses for female opponents. After Joe Biden and Harris held their first joint appearance, Trump claimed without evidence that Harris was furious when she left the Democratic primary race after falling in the polls.

“She left angry, she left mad,” he said. “There was nobody more insulting to Biden than she was.”

Right-wing commentator, Dinesh D’Souza, appeared on Fox News and questioned whether Harris could truly claim she was Black.Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, mispronounced her first name and grew angry when corrected.

Eric Trump favorited a tweet, which was later deleted, that referred to Ms. Harris as a “whorendous pick.” Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign, posted during Ms. Harris’s first speech as Mr. Biden’s running mate on Wednesday, “Kamala sounds like Marge Simpson.”

  • Twitter said Wednesday it plans to expand its rules against misleading information about mail-in ballots and early voting, a move that could have major implications for the social media platform’s handling of tweets by President Donald Trump and his allies.

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

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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced her resignation on Tuesday, one day after the Seattle City Council cut the police department’s budget, as part of reform efforts following mass protests against police violence.
  • The family of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died in police custody in August of last year, is suing Aurora, Colorado police and medical officials over his death. McClain died after walking home from the grocery store as police responded to a suspicious person and he was injected with ketamine.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, McClain’s death has drawn renewed national attention.

  • “This act of pillaging, robbing & looting in Chicago was humiliating, embarrassing and morally wrong. It must not be associated with our quest for social justice and equality,” The Rev. Jesse Jackson said, condemning the looting reported in Chicago and asserting it’s not related to the broader movement fighting for Black Lives Matter.
  • An Indiana man has been charged with a hate crime by the Justice Department, which says he displayed swastikas, burning crosses and signs with racial slurs in an attempt to intimidate his Black neighbor. He also allegedly egged the neighbor’s house and played “Dixie,” an unofficial anthem of the Confederacy, on repeat.
  • A Colorado police officer has been placed on temporary suspension after it was learned he posted online comments under a fake name saying “kill them all” about Black Lives Matter protesters on a livestream of protests. Sgt. Keith Wrede was handed a 40-hour suspension, which he noted amounted to more than $2,000 in lost pay.
  • Harry H. Rogers, a 36-year-old self-proclaimed KKK leader, was convicted of six misdemeanors and sentenced to 12 months in jail for each after he drove a car through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters. He still faces three felony charges of attempted malicious wounding.
  • “I would say this: If they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open,” President Trump said in a new interview expressing hopes that the NFL is able to open during the coronavirus pandemic with the caveat that he wants players to stop participating in kneeling protests against racial injustice during the national anthem.
  • A federal judge ruled that an Idaho law, signed by GOP Gov. Brad Little, banning transgender people from altering the gender on their birth certificates is unconstitutional.

Trump Administration

  • Most Department of Veterans Affairs prescriptions are fulfilled by mail. But as U.S. Postal Service delays mount, veterans are reporting long wait times to receive critical medication and VA staff says the problem is growing.

VA’s mail-order pharmacy system processes nearly half a million prescriptions daily and each day, more than 330,000 veterans receive a package of prescriptions in the mail. Veterans who live further from VA medical facilities, especially in rural and remote areas of the country, often depend on mail-order prescriptions.

The delays are a direct result of policies instituted by Trump’s newly appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy.

  • President Trump’s interest in taking intelligence briefings has been declining steadily since his first months in office and has dropped to near zero in recent weeks, according to a review of all of his daily schedules.

Trump went from a high of 4.1 briefings per week on average in March 2017 to 0.7 per week since July 1, shortly after it became public that he had ignored intelligence reports about Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for each American soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Monday’s briefing, in fact, was the first in August and the first since July 22. That month had only three briefings scheduled.

  • A U.S. district court struck down the legal opinion used to justify the Trump administration’s coming rollback of protections for migratory birds late Monday, writing that the Department of the Interior memo was “contrary to law.”

The Trump administration had suggested a change that would only punish big oil and gas companies for killing birds on purpose, but not if it was accidental.

  • A government assessment recently obtained by an environmental group appears to link a well the group says is used in U.S.-Mexico border wall construction to low water levels in wildlife habitats at an Arizona refuge with endangered species.
  • A federal appeals court appeared unsympathetic to arguments that it should order a district court judge to dismiss criminal charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Presidential Campaign

  • The Democratic National Convention announced its speaker lineup. Notable speakers include: Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate. 
  • In 2011 and again in 2013, Trump donated a total of $6,000 to Harris’ campaign for California attorney general. His daughter, Ivanka, also gave Harris $2,000 in 2014
  • Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto fact-checked the Trump campaign’s assertion that Sen. Kamala Harris called Joe Biden a racist, noting that she “never did.”

The fact check followed Trump campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson falsely claiming: “Not long ago, Kamala Harris called Joe Biden a racist and asked for an apology she never received.”

  • President Trump is claiming that Sen. Kamala Harris was his “number one pick” to be Joe Biden’s running mate, knocking her unsuccessful presidential bid and complaining at length that she was “nasty” to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as well as Biden.

“She was extraordinarily nasty to Judge Kavanaugh… She was nasty to to a level that was just a horrible thing,” Trump said. “She was very very nasty, she was probably nastier than even Pocahontas to Joe Biden.”

  • President Trump and his campaign debuted their first video ad targeting Sen. Kamala Harris just minutes after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden named her as his running mate on Tuesday, trying to brand her as “phony” and him as “slow.”
  • In a racially charged statement, President Trump claimed he had such good poll numbers before the pandemic that “George Washington would have had a hard time beating me before the plague came in, before the China plague. And then, you know, like every other nation, like other countries, when you get hit, it affects you, and we went down a little bit.”
  • President Trump on Tuesday defended his “reluctance to embrace” United States intelligence agencies as he continues to question the latest reports that Russia is meddling in the 2020 election.

“If the first people you met from so called American Intelligence were Dirty Cops who have now proven to be sleazebags at the highest level like James Comey, proven liar James Clapper, & perhaps the lowest of them all, Wacko John Brennan who headed the CIA, you could perhaps understand my reluctance to embrace!”

  • Attendees at the Republican National Convention will be required to wear masks and badges that allow them to be tracked through Bluetooth technology that will help contact trace people should anyone contract coronavirus.
  • The progressive Jewish group Bend the Arc Jewish Action PAC has endorsed Joe Biden for president.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, 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 Update

  • The U.S. reported 42,003 new cases and 427 additional deaths.
  • President Trump repeated his false assertion that children are “essentially immune” from COVID-19 while downplaying a new report showing nearly 100,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of July, and said he does not think it means schools should stay closed.

“There may be a case, a tiny, a tiny fraction of death, tiny fraction, and they get better very quickly,” Trump said at a press briefing at the White House.

  • According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, there were 179,990 new Covid-19 cases among US children between July 9 and August 6.
  • President Trump lashed out at Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) after he criticized the president’s executive action over the weekend.

“RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he’s got it (Thank you President T), gone rogue, again,” Trump tweeted.

  • Sasse defended his opposition and indicated he would rather have the discussion privately with Trump – “since you moved our conversation from private to public, here we are.”

“On the topic that had you mad this weekend: No president — whether named Obama or Trump or Biden or AOC — has unilateral power to rewrite immigration law or to cut taxes or to raise taxes. This is because America doesn’t have kings,” Sasse wrote.

  • President Trump revealed that he is considering a capital gains tax cut in an effort to create more jobs.

NOTE: Studies have shown that reducing taxes on capital gains cannot be expected to generate significant new investment or jobs.

  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the administration is “prepared to put more money on the table” as stalled stimulus negotiations continue on Capitol Hill.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) denied President Trump’s claim that Democrats called him to resume negotiations, and said he has not seen any evidence that the President is personally involved in the negotiations for the next coronavirus relief bill.

“Fables from Donald Trump,” Schumer said in an interview on MSNBC.

  • Actress Alyssa Milano revealed that she was hospitalized for complications due to COVID-19 in April and that she still had symptoms of the disease months later.
  • Actor Antonio Banderas disclosed on Monday, his 60th birthday, that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
  • The Mountain West Conference postponed all fall sports. 
  • President Trump is calling on college sports leaders to allow the student athletes to play this season.
  • The NHL announced no new positive test results during the past week inside the league’s two hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton.
  • 107 school districts in New York state haven’t submitted plans for reopening.

“How you didn’t submit a plan is beyond me,” Gov. Cuomo said. “If they don’t submit a plan by this Friday, they can’t open.”

  • A Cedar Knolls, NJ QuickChek cashier suffered burns when John Dedolce, 42, of Randolph, threw his hot coffee on her after she asked him to readjust his face mask.

Dedolce refused to fix his mask, prompting the cashier to cancel his order and ask him to leave.

Dedolce then threw the food he was attempting to purchase onto the floor and threw hot coffee at the cashier before leaving the store, authorities said.

  • A teen employee at Sesame Place had to undergo surgery after being punched by a man he told to wear a face mask. Police are still searching for the suspect.

The employee asked a man to wear a face mask, noting they are required in the park. Police say the man later confronted the teen at a ride and punched him in the face.

Park security chased the man, but he and a woman fled and reportedly were last seen driving away in a vehicle registered in New York.

  • The Cherokee County School District in Georgia reported that 826 students and 42 staff members are in quarantine due to possible exposure to Covid-19.
  • Florida reported 4,155 new cases and 91 additional deaths. The number of new infections is the lowest increase since June 23. 
  • More than 40 members of a family tested positive for coronavirus after an infected relative from another state attended a funeral in West Virginia. 

Several received medical treatment due to worsening conditions. The latest, a 2-year-old girl, was diagnosed Sunday night after being taken to a Huntington hospital with a high fever.

  • Twenty-two schools in Mississippi are reporting positive Covid-19 cases. There have been nineteen cases reported among students and fifteen cases among staff.
  • In Kansas, fifteen counties with mask mandates reduced coronavirus case numbers, Lee Norman, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told the Kansas City Star.

“Some counties have been the control group with no mask and some counties have been the experimental group where masks are worn, and the experimental group is winning the battle. All of the improvement in the case development comes from those counties wearing masks,” Norman told the Kansas City Star.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump said he has asked that the G7 meeting be postponed until after the election in November, after a previous delay due to Covid-19 concerns.
  • The deficit climbed to a record $2.8 trillion during the first 10 months of fiscal 2020, roughly doubling the biggest annual deficit, according to figures released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
  • The EPA is set to end requirements this week that force gas and oil producers to find methane leaks, meaning some leaks could go unaddressed even as methane is 25 times more impactful than carbon dioxide and a major contributor to human-linked climate change. The rules will roll back requirements on smog as well.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen in the highest-level meeting between officials of the two nations in decades. China, which considers Taiwan a part of the country, condemned Azar’s visit.
  • China sanctioned eleven U.S. politicians and heads of organizations promoting democratic causes after the Trump administration leveled sanctions against eleven individuals last week over Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong.

Presidential Campaign

  • In a tweet, the president announced the two locations being considered for his acceptance speech: ”The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C. We will announce the decision soon!”
  • The Sierra Club, one of the nation’s most influential environmental groups, endorsed Joe Biden for president on Monday saying that “No president has been worse for our environment or our nation’s public health than Donald Trump,” and they are “confident” in Biden’s work for climate justice.
  • Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis tweeted a link to an article in which Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, asked people to stop misgendering her. Ellis wrote in the tweet: “This guy is making decisions about your health.”
  • Federal Elections Commission Commissioner Ellen Weintraub warned that a shift to mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic means there is a “substantial chance” that the results of the presidential and down-ballot races may not be called on election night.

“Let me just tell everybody, we’re all going to need to take a deep breath and be patient this year because there’s a substantial chance we are not going to know on election night what the results are.”

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • Hundreds of people swept through downtown Chicago early Monday, smashing windows, looting stores, confronting police and at one point exchanging gunfire with officers, authorities said.

More than 100 people were arrested according to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. Thirteen officers were injured, including a sergeant who was hit by a bottle. A civilian and private security guard were shot and wounded.

City officials said the seeds for the violent crime spree were sown on social media Sunday afternoon following an officer involved shooting in the Englewood neighborhood. Officers shot and wounded a 20-year-old man Sunday after he fired shots at them while being chased, authorities said.

“This was not an organized protest,” Brown said. “Rather this was an incident of pure criminality. This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our city.”

  • Portland police declared another riot on Sunday night after fireworks injured two officers during demonstrations around the Portland Police Association office. Police said protesters barricaded streets with dumpsters and fencing and a fire was lit on the sidewalk outside the police association office. 
  • The Seattle City Council approved proposals that would reduce the police department by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition — an action supported by demonstrators who have marched in the city following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis but strongly opposed by the mayor and police chief.
  • Multiple police officers in Santa Clarita Valley, CA are under scrutiny after footage went viral showing them pointing guns at a group of Black teenagers shortly after the teens were attacked at a bus stop. 

In footage, three officers could be seen pointing guns at the teens, who had their hands raised, as people could be heard repeatedly yelling to them off-camera “It’s not them” and “It’s the other guy.”

The mother of one of the boys said the police arrived on the scene shortly after her son and his friends had been attacked by a homeless man. The man had initially approached her son and his friends to ask them “if they had any crack, then tried to take their things.” 

The man allegedly became aggressive, removed his shirt, and “pulled out a knife and whip,” attempting to stab the group.

  • Opponents of the Black Lives Matter movement have shared a viral video of the protesters interrupting a church service in New York, blasting them for protesting at a church, but an investigation reveals the video was shared without the context that its pastor has a history of racist and inflammatory comments.

The church’s pastor, John Koletas, is a self-proclaimed “bigot,” subscribes to the “Curse of Ham,” a fringe Christian belief that Black people are the descendants of Noah’s son Ham and cursed by God.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, 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

8/10

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. reported 54,590 new cases and 1,064 additional deaths.
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates lamented the United States’ coronavirus “testing insanity,” which he said had caused the country to fall behind the rest of the world, much of which has begun reopening after flattening infection growth.

“A variety of early missteps by the U.S. and then the political atmosphere meant that we didn’t get our testing going,” Gates said. “It’s nonsense that any sort of travel ban we did was at all beneficial. That doesn’t pass the common sense test… and now we’ve executed our lockdowns nationwide with less fidelity than other countries.”

  • Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) blasted the unemployment benefits included in President Trump’s coronavirus executive actions, calling it an insufficient “country club fix” that will cut payments for millions of Americans. He added that it’s an “urban lie” to suggest that people receiving benefits are choosing not to work.
  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro defended President Trump’s recent executive actions when pressed about why the president wasn’t present for negotiations with Congress and instead at his golf club. Navarro claimed that Trump is the “hardest working president in history and he “works 24/7 in Bedminster, Mar-a-lago, the Oval Office or anywhere in between.”
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended President Trump’s coronavirus executive actions, claiming that Democrats would be responsible for delaying assistance to Americans if they challenged them in court: “If the Democrats want to challenge us in court and hold up unemployment benefits to those hard working Americans that are out of a job because of COVID, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do.”
  • Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, in a policy reversal, are now requiring customers to wear masks inside stores.
  • Eighty-two percent of K-12 teachers said in a new poll that they are concerned about holding in-person classes in the new school year, and 66 percent would rather teach their classes remotely.
  • North Paulding High School, the high school in Georgia that gained viral attention last week after photos emerged showing students, many without masks, in packed hallways says it will temporarily move to online learning after it was discovered multiple students and faculty contracted COVID-19 following its first week of classes.
  • MLB has postponed the St. Louis Cardinals’ three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, scheduled to begin Monday, due to recent positive Covid-19 test results. The Cardinals have now had 13 consecutive games postponed.
  • New York had the lowest one day positive infection rate since the start of the pandemic. New York had an infection rate of 0.78%.
  • Over 353 cars were stopped at New York City “quarantine checkpoints” in the first three days after being established. Approximately 1,100 masks were distributed as well.
  • Georgia reported 3,177 new cases and 13 additional deaths.
  • South Carolina reported 1,011  new cases and additional 18 deaths.
  • Florida reported 6,190 new cases and 77 additional deaths. This marks the thirteenth consecutive day the state has reported more than 6,000 cases in a single day.
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) pleaded with residents to wear masks during a press conference Sunday, calling it “common sense.”  His statement comes after announcing new rules on Friday designed to better enforce mask requirements and give local authority guidelines to enforce compliance.
  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) tweeted a picture of a crowded beach Sunday, saying that the crowds and “reckless behavior” will make the city shut down parks and the lakefront.
  • Texas reported 4,789 new coronavirus cases and 116 additional deaths.
  • Nevada reported 811 new coronavirus cases and 8 new deaths. A concerning 11.3% daily positivity rate was reported
  • California’s Department of Corrections reported a San Quentin State Prison employee is the eighth to die from Covid-19.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump denied reports the White House had reached out to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem about adding his face to Mount Rushmore, but he said “based on all of the many things accomplished during the first 3 1/2 years, perhaps more than any other Presidency, sounds like a good idea to me!”

Presidential Campaign

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wants President Trump to deliver his nomination speech “miles and miles away” from the White House grounds in a recent interview.

The White House chief of staff’s remarks come after the president indicated last week that he might deliver his nomination speech from the White House after he had backtracked from plans to give the speech in Jacksonville. 

  • White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said that the U.S. is aware of efforts from foreign adversaries to interfere in the U.S. 2020 elections, claiming that “there will be severe consequences for any country that attempts to interfere with our free and fair elections.” The comments came after a U.S. intel official said China, Russia and Iran were actively working to meddle in the election.
  • President Trump has used official White House travel to visit swing states and give de facto campaign speeches in front of friendly audiences in recent weeks, as he blurs the lines between governing and campaigning during a pandemic that has halted large-scale rallies.
  • Former first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich will reportedly be featured speakers on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, representing a broad ideological cross-section that looks to symbolize presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s push for unity in his race against President Trump.

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • A blistering letter from DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton demands answers from the Trump administration about the Secret Service’s treatment of two Black moms at the National Mall who say they were handcuffed, separated from their young crying babies, and that an officer pointed a rifle at the head of one of the women for roughly 45 minutes before officers eventually let them go.
  • The Louisville Metro Police Department has announced it will be clamping down on protest caravans as demonstrations have continued in the city over the past few months following the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

The department said all “pedestrians must stay out of the streets” going forward and that “cars and pedestrians will not be allowed to block intersections for any length of time.”

  • NBCUniversal has parted ways with NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy after allegations of homophobic, sexist and racist behavior that also included claims Telegdy cultivated a toxic work environment.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, 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, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. reported 53,923 new cases and 1,088 additional deaths. Twelve of the last fifteen days have seen deaths in excess of 1,000. Two of the sub-1,000 days were Sundays when states’ reporting of numbers is traditionally lower.
  • The United States has now recorded more than 5 million people infected.
  • Five hundred seventy children in America, most of them previously healthy, have experienced an inflammatory syndrome associated with Covid-19 called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C. Most became so ill that they needed intensive care, according to a new report from the CDC.
  • A new report by the CDC reveals that Hispanic and Black children have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic at a disproportionate rate, underscoring how minority communities across the country have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday that the chances of scientists creating a highly effective vaccine — one that provides 98% or more guaranteed protection — for the virus are slim.
  • President Trump announced he was issuing multiple executive actions designed to provide relief to millions of financially struggling Americans after talks between his aides and Democratic leaders on a new pandemic relief package broke down this week.

Speaking from his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, Trump said his orders would provide $400 per week in unemployment benefits, which is $200 less than the supplemental benefit that expired at the end of July. States will cover 25% of the costs while the federal government will cover 75%.

Trump also said he would suspend payments on some student loans through the end of the year, protect renters from being evicted from their homes, and instruct employers to defer certain payroll taxes through the end of the year for Americans who earn less than $100,000 annually.

It’s unclear where Trump will get the money to pay for the actions and whether they will face legal challenges.

  • Several GOP senators voiced discomfort regarding President Trump’s issuing of four executive orders meant to address the economic fall out of the coronavirus and bypassing Congress.

Some members of the president’s party took issue with the move, asserting that Congress should be legislating.

  • An official from a northeastern state run by a Democratic governor laughed on Saturday when asked about President Donald Trump’s executive action asking states to pay 25% of the $400 unemployment relief.

“We don’t have that money,” the official said.

The official went on to say they were not given a heads up on this executive action and that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, their funds are completely tapped.

  • Tens of thousands of motorcyclists swarmed the streets of Sturgis, SD on Saturday for an annual rally despite objections from residents — and with little regard for the coronavirus.

The herds of people overran every street in town, making no effort to keep six feet apart. Few masks could be seen, and free bandannas being passed out were mostly folded, or wrapped around people’s heads.

  • Johns Hopkins University is moving to remote learning and reducing undergraduate tuition by 10 percent for the fall term.
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst backtracked on a previous plan to let students enrolled in online classes live on campus. Just weeks before the semester is scheduled to begin, the university said only a small subset of students “enrolled in essential face-to-face classes” would be allowed into dorms and dining halls.
  • Officials at Harvard said that they plan to allow up to 40 percent of undergraduates, including the entire freshman class, to return to campus for the fall, but that all instruction would be delivered online.
  • The Mid-American Conference has postponed its entire fall sports season, becoming the first FBS conference to make the drastic decision because of ongoing concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
  • South Carolina reported  1,178 new cases and 67 additional deaths.
  • In a new “Fight the Spread” campaign, South Carolina health officials are encouraging residents to fight the spread of Covid-19 as evidence increases about “high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious.” 

Residents are urged to wear masks, practice social distancing and get tested.

The state’s current positivity rate is 15.9%,

  • Illinois reported more than 2,000 new Covid-19 positive cases for the second day in a row. The 2,190 new cases are the highest daily reported number since May 24.
  • Wisconsin reported 1,165 new cases –  its highest single-day number. 
  • Texas reported 6,959 new cases and 247 additional deaths.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) extended his disaster declaration for all Texas counties. 
  • Texas’ 7-day Covid-19 positivity rate has risen to 19.41% — the highest average since the pandemic began.
  • California reported 7,371 new cases and 178 additional deaths.

Trump Administration

  • TikTok has plans to sue the Trump administration over President Trump’s executive order on Thursday that targeted the Chinese-owned app, a person with direct knowledge of the pending complaint told NPR.

NPR’s source said that the wildly popular video app could file the lawsuit as early as Tuesday, adding it will be filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where the company’s American headquarters is located.

  • White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin clashed in front of President Trump on Thursday before he signed an executive order requiring the Chinese parent company of TikTok, called  ByteDance, to sell the app within 45 days or see it banned in the U.S.

Aides present at the meeting told the Washington Post that Mnuchin pushed for tech giant Microsoft to look into purchasing TikTok while Navarro pushed for a complete ban of the app in the U.S. and accused Mnuchin of being too soft on China, leading to their argument in front of the president. 

Sources described the interaction to the Post as a “knockdown, drag-out” brawl.

  • Jewish and Muslim advocacy groups came out against  retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, President Trump’s pick for ambassador to Germany, after a series of past controversial remarks about the Holocaust, Jews and use of force against civilians were unsurfaced this week. 

Presidential Campaign

  • Joe Biden blasted President Trump’s executive order to cut payroll taxes as “a reckless war on Social Security.”

“He is laying out his roadmap to cutting Social Security,” Biden said. “Our seniors and millions of Americans with disabilities are under enough stress without Trump putting their hard-earned Social Security benefits in doubt.”

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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Trump Administration, Presidential Campaign, and Protests Updates

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Trump Administration

  • President Trump’s advisers were wary to talk to him about military options over fears he’d accidentally start a war, CNN’s Jim Sciutto reported Thursday.

Sciutto, CNN’s chief national security correspondent, said multiple former administration officials told him that as tensions rose with North Korea and Iran, Trump’s advisers told foreign officials that they did not know what the president would choose to do next.

  • President Trump said that he had reimposed aluminum tariffs on Canada, reigniting a point of contention that had been cleared up prior to the finalization of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which went into effect in July.
  • Vice President Pence told Christian Broadcast Network’s David Brody, “Look, we have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, but Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives.” – a rare direct rebuke of the top justice after he ruled against the Trump administration in a series of recent cases.
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday said “most believe” the massive explosion that killed at least 100 people in Beirut was an accident, contradicting President Trump, who a day prior called the blast an “attack.”
  • The Pentagon is flying aid to Lebanon following the massive explosion that killed at least 150 people and injured thousands more in Beirut.
  • The Trump administration targeted eleven individuals with sanctions over China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, accusing the chief executive of the autonomous territory Carrie Lam of “implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes.”

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump claimed Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, is “against God” as he levied a stream of attacks on his likely opponent in the November election.

“Take away your guns, take away your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything,” Trump said, standing behind a podium with the presidential seal. “Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy.”

  • Joe Biden said his faith is the “bedrock foundation of my life” after President Trump accused him of being “against God.”

In a statement released via email, Biden criticized Trump,  “It’s beneath the office he holds and it’s beneath the dignity the American people so rightly expect and deserve from their leaders.” 

“However, like the words of so many other insecure bullies, President Trump’s comments reveal more about him than they do about anyone else,” he added. “They show us a man willing to stoop to any low for political gain.”

  • As a result of the Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump super PAC’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, Facebook is banning ads from the Committee to Defend the President.
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates rejected the Trump campaign’s request to modify the presidential debate schedule so the first debate occurs before states begin early voting.
  • Joe Biden was asked about his view toward normalizing relations with Cuba and pivoted into a comparison of diversity in African American and Latino communities.

“And by the way, what you all know but most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things. You go to Florida you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona. So it’s a very different, a very diverse community,” Biden told a panel of journalists. 

  • Joe Biden in a Thursday night tweet clarified his comments comparing African American and Latino communities.

“Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify. In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all.

Throughout my career I’ve witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community. It’s this diversity that makes our workplaces, communities, and country a better place.”

  • The top US counterintelligence official publicly announced Friday a series of foreign threats facing the upcoming 2020 presidential election, warning in particular that Russia is using a range of measures to “primarily denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden and that China prefers President Trump does not win reelection.
  • The State Department confirmed that it was behind text messages sent to Russians and Iranians promoting a multimillion-dollar bounty for information on foreign efforts to meddle in this year’s U.S. elections.

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • The U.S. Navy SEALs have reportedly cut ties with an independent Navy SEAL museum after a video surfaced over the weekend showing dogs participating in a demonstration in which they attacked a man in a Colin Kaepernick jersey.
  • Less than a year after being appointed, the now former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales has been demoted to captain over the department’s recent use of tear gas during protests. 

“His conduct is unbecoming, filled with ethical lapses and flawed decisions,” said Commissioner Raymond Robakowski

  • Video released this week following a North Carolina judge’s order shows a Black man in apparent medical distress repeatedly telling officers, “I can’t breathe,” days before he died in a hospital. 

John Elliott Neville, 56, of Greensboro, also can be heard telling officers, “Let me go!” and “Help me!” and calling out, “Mama!” during the episode a day after his December 1 arrest. He became unresponsive during the incident and died later at a hospital.

The five corrections officers and the nurse who attended to Neville leading up to his death have been charged with involuntary manslaughter by Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill. They have been relieved of duty, the sheriff’s office said.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, 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, Protests, Trump Administration, and Election Updates

Read TIme: 6 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. reported 60,264 new cases and 1,172 new deaths – The twelfth time in thirteen days over 1,000 deaths have been reported. 
  • Reiterating that Democrats are not interested in a short term coronavirus relief deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived on Capitol Hill on Saturday morning and told reporters she’s hoping “that we make progress on a long-term deal.”
  • Trump administration officials and Democratic leaders negotiating a new coronavirus relief package said they made “progress” during a rare Saturday meeting but aren’t yet close to a deal.
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) tested positive for the coronavirus days after he sat close to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who also tested positive. Grijalva is at least the 11th member of Congress to have tested positive.

In a statement, Grijalva said, “While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously. Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”

“This stems from a selfish act by Mr. Gohmert, who is just one member of Congress.”

  • The “diversity of response” by U.S. states hampered the country’s ability to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

When asked why Europe appears to have been more effective at controlling the spread of the virus, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said that it might have helped that about 95% of Europe had shut down much earlier.

“When you actually look at what we did, even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we really functionally shut down only about 50% in the sense of the totality of the country,” Fauci said.

  • A July 23 Delta flight from Detroit to Atlanta was forced to return to the gate when two passengers refused to wear masks, according to Delta Air Lines spokesperson Emma Protis.
  • Just hours after postponing Saturday night’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers, MLB announced the postponement of Sunday’s scheduled doubleheader between the two teams after four more Cardinals’ players tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been placed on the NFL’s Reserve/Covid-19 list by his team.
  • New Jersey reported 393 new cases of and 11 deaths.
  • Just days after the owners were arrested and the gym was shut down by officials, the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ made a dramatic re-open Saturday morning with gym owners kicking in the boarded-up front entrance.
  • 41 New York state establishments were issued Covid-19-related violations Friday.
  • Florida reported 9,591 new cases and 179 additional deaths.
  • Mississippi has the highest percentage of Covid-19 positive tests in the country at 21.11%.
  • California reported 219 Covid-19-related deaths, the most reported in a single day in the state.

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • Sgt. Daniel Perry, an active-duty Army sergeant from Fort Hood, says he was the one who shot and killed an armed protester during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Austin last week. His attorney said Perry fired out of self-defense after Garrett Foster allegedly raised an assault rifle toward him.
  • As some federal forces withdraw from Portland, more than 130 other federal officers will stay behind near the federal courthouse there to act as a “quick reaction force.”
  • The superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute said the school will not remove Confederate monuments or rename buildings named after Confederate leaders.

Trump Administration

  • The Census Bureau will cut the amount of time that it will spend knocking on doors across the country.

In April, the agency indicated that it would need until Halloween to accurately count all of the people in the country due to delays incurred by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the effort to knock on doors will stop Sept. 30,

  • The acting chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew Albence, is leaving the government.

Trump officials had accused Albence of favoring humanitarian concerns about the treatment of immigrants over the chance to take more aggressive action, POLITICO reported in March. Albence’s decision to halt most ICE enforcement efforts put him in a tenuous position with White House officials.

POLITICO reported in May that Albence had angered White House officials when he refused to install a number of political appointees at his agency.

  • In a 5-4 ruling that broke along ideological lines, The Supreme Court declined to block the Trump administration from using $2.5 billion in reallocated Pentagon funds to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

A federal appeals court last month said the use of defense funding for the project is illegal.

  • President Trump said  he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order as early as Saturday to ban the social media platform TikTok from operating in the United States.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.

  • A new proposal from the Trump administration that defines habitat under the Endangered Species Act would limit the areas species will have to recover, critics say.

When species are endangered, the ESA requires the government to set aside habitat deemed critical for its recovery.

But environmental groups say the new definition being proposed will allow the agency to block setting aside any land that isn’t currently habitat but might be needed in the future, particularly as the climate changes.

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin anticipates that his department will conduct a review of guidance related to the tax-exempt status of universities after President Trump tweeted earlier this month that he wanted the department to re-examine schools’ tax exemptions because of what he deemed “Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education.”
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions on Friday against Chinese officials and a government entity over Uighur human rights abuses he called the “stain of the century.”
  • U.S. Africa Command has been ordered to draw up plans to relocate its headquarters as part of the Trump administration’s military drawdown in Germany.

Presidential Campaign

  • House Democrats are warning that the integrity of November’s elections are under significant threat from foreign actors — and the Trump administration, they say, is going out of its way to conceal the danger from the public.

Emerging from a long, classified briefing with top administration officials in the Capitol, a host of Democrats said they now have less confidence that the elections will be secure from outside influence than they did going into the meeting.

  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding tens of thousands of documents that the State Department provided to Senate Republicans as part of their investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

“Secretary Pompeo has turned the State Department into an arm of the Trump campaign and he’s not even trying to disguise it.”

  • Joe Biden’s presidential campaign rolled out his plan to combat racial inequity in the nation’s economy as a part of his wide-ranging “Build Back Better” economic plan in the wake of the pandemic. The plan includes investing millions to help BIPOC-owned businesses recover from the coronavirus fallout, as well as plans to change the criminal justice system and invest in public housing.
  • President Trump held a scaled-down campaign-style rally on an airport tarmac in Florida, drawing a small crowd of supporters who nonetheless packed closely together in a state that has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Republican National Convention in Charlotte, NC, will be closed to the press. Reporters will not be allowed on site as RNC delegates vote to formally nominate President Trump as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee, but the vote will be livestreamed, the Republican official said.

The restriction is unprecedented in modern American political history, but Republican officials said they were forced to limit attendance due to social distancing restrictions imposed by the governor of North Carolina.

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