Trump Administration, Week 181: Friday, 3 July – Thursday, 9 July 2020 (Days 1,260-1,266)

Elijah McClain: Murdered by police in Aurora, Colorado, in August 2019


Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.


For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!


Friday, 3 July 2020, Day 1,260:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 3 July 2020: Coronavirus Cases in the U.S. Are Rising, Even as Death Rates Trend Down. At least five U.S. states set single-day records on Friday as the country’s daily infection report passed 50,000 again. President Trump, in a speech at Mount Rushmore, barely mentioned the pandemic.  The New York Times, Friday, 3 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 3 July 2020: Trump speaks at Mount Rushmore as U.S. sets record for new cases, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Jacqueline Dupree, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 3 July 2020: “The United States tallied its largest single-day total of coronavirus infections Friday since the start of the pandemic, 57,497 confirmed cases, as President Trump attended a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, where the crowds were not required to wear masks or practice social distancing. Friday’s record, which comes a day after a peak of 55,220, is the seventh reported high in nine days. With the rate of new coronavirus cases rising in nearly 40 states, Fourth of July celebrations across the United States have been canceled or scaled back as anxious governors and mayors urge people to take a more restrained approach to the holiday. Trump delivered a fiery speech Friday, for the first of two nights of Independence Day celebrations he will attend. Heading into the holiday weekend, at least 20 states set record highs for the average of new cases over seven days, with Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina tallying the highest number of infections. Florida leads the nation with 9,488 new reported cases Friday — the 26th consecutive day it has set a record in its seven-day average. Meanwhile, scientists warn of a new coronavirus mutation, which doesn’t appear to make people sicker, but there’s concern it has made the virus more contagious.

Here are some other significant developments:
  • Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, speaking Friday on NBC’s ‘Today’ show, said everyone should wear a mask when going out in public but stopped short of discouraging large gatherings — which would undercut Trump’s desire to see large crowds at his scheduled holiday events.
  • The weekend’s weather is expected to push most states into the 90-degree range and threatens to further strain hospital capacity. High temperatures are forecast to be especially intense in the central and southern United States, which is struggling with the worst of the outbreak.
  • Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tested positive for the coronavirus Friday while in South Dakota, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their personal situation. Trump Jr. was cleared of the virus, and the couple will drive home together to avoid contact with others.
  • Ahead of baseball and basketball returning this month, several players were reported Friday to have become infected with the coronavirus. Major League Baseball announced 38 players and staff members tested positive on 19 teams, even as the 60-game schedule is set to open on July 23 or 24.
  • Jimmie Johnson, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, tested positive for the coronavirus, meaning he will not drive in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, the first time he is missing a race in his Cup career, he said in a statement.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

U.S. enters Fourth of July weekend facing surging coronavirus infections, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Friday, 3 July 2020: “The United States entered the Fourth of July weekend against a backdrop of surging coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, with officials and health experts nervously watching to see if the public would heed warnings to limit the size of their gatherings and take other steps to slow the virus. Nationwide, new infections reached another single-day high of 57,497 on Friday, and at least 20 states set record highs for the average of new cases over seven days. Faced with the soaring numbers, governors and mayors around the country have canceled or scaled back Independence Day celebrations and pleaded with people to wear masks, maintain social distancing and only celebrate with household members. ‘We’re going to have to celebrate differently this year. Everyone should cancel plans with others for the 4th of July,’ Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted. ‘Please stay home and save lives — it’s that simple.’ Beaches were closed in Los Angeles, South Florida and in other states, but Myrtle Beach, S.C., remained open to the public, even as cases in the city and state continued to rise sharply. The tourist hub passed a last-minute mask ordinance as it prepared for thousands of vacationers to flock in for the holiday. ‘We are doing all that we can,’ Mayor Brenda Bethune told CNN. ‘I believe that people spread this virus ⁠ — that’s been proven ⁠ — not places.’

Here are some significant developments:
  • Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that the new waves of infection were far from over. ‘It’s worse, will continue to get worse, and will take months to improve substantially. We are going in the wrong direction, fast,’ he tweeted.
  • Ahead of baseball and basketball returning this month, several players were reported Friday to have become infected with the coronavirus. Major League Baseball announced 38 players and staff members tested positive on 19 teams, even as the 60-game schedule is set to open on July 23 or 24.

Interim Aurora, Colorado, police chief Vanessa Wilson fires 3 officers as part of Elijah McClain photo investigation. The Denver Post, Sam Tabachnik and Elizabeth Hernandez, Friday, 3 July 2020: “Aurora’s interim police chief on Friday fired two officers who posed for a photo reenacting a chokehold at the site of Elijah McClain’s violent arrest, and terminated a third officer who received the picture mocking the 23-year-old’s death last summer. Jason Rosenblatt, the officer who received that photo and a second image, was one of the three officers involved in McClain’s death, but later was cleared of criminal or departmental wrongdoing. ‘We are ashamed, we are sickened, and we are angry about what I have to share,’  interim Chief Vanessa Wilson said at a news conference. ‘While the allegations of this internal affairs case are not criminal, they are a crime against humanity and decency. To even think about doing such a thing is beyond comprehension and it is reprehensible.’ Officers Erica Marrero and Kyle Dittrich were fired for posing for the photos in October with officer Jaron Jones, who resigned Tuesday after learning he would be terminated. The official cause for firing all of the officers: conduct unbecoming. Wilson said she fired Rosenblatt because he received the photos via text and ‘replied with the inappropriate comment ha ha.’ ‘I am disgusted to my core,’ Wilson said. The photos, released Friday, were taken Oct. 20 near a memorial for McClain.” See also, Interim Aurora police chief fires 3 Colorado officers over photo taken near memorial site for Elijah McClain, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Thursday, 3 July 2020: “The interim police chief of Aurora, Colo., on Friday fired two officers who she said were in a photo reenacting the violent arrest of a 23-year-old black man, Elijah McClain, who died last summer after he was placed in a chokehold and injected with a heavy sedative by paramedics. Interim chief Vanessa Wilson also terminated a third officer, Jason Rosenblatt, who received the photo and participated in McClain’s arrest. Wilson said Rosenblatt replied ‘a ha’ to the image, taken last October near a memorial to McClain. McClain’s death has been a focus of the street protests in Colorado that erupted after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Aurora officers have not been charged.” See also, Photos show Aurora police officers smiling while re-enacting chokehold that killed Elijah McClain, CBC|The Associated Press, Friday, 3 July 2020: “Police released photos Friday showing three officers smiling as they re-enacted a chokehold that their colleagues used on Elijah McClain, a Black man who died after police stopped him as he walked down the street last summer in a Denver suburb. Following an internal investigation by the Aurora Police Department, interim police chief Vanessa Wilson fired three officers, one of whom received the photos by text and responded ‘haha.’ The officer who was seen re-enacting the chokehold resigned. ‘We are ashamed, we are sickened, and we are angry,’ Wilson said. The officers may not have committed a crime, but the photographs are ‘a crime against humanity and decency,’ she said.”

Continue reading Week 181, Friday, 3 July – Thursday, 9 July 2020 (Days 1,260-1,266)

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the Girlfriend of Trump’s Eldest Son and a Top Fund-Raising Official for the Trump Re-Election Campaign, Tests Positive for Coronavirus, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 3 July 2020: “Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of President Trump’s eldest son and a top fund-raising official for the Trump re-election campaign, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday before a Fourth of July event at Mount Rushmore, a person familiar with her condition said. Ms. Guilfoyle traveled to South Dakota with Mr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., in anticipation of attending a huge fireworks display where the president was set to speak. They did not travel aboard Air Force One, according to the person familiar with her condition, and she was the only person in the group who tested positive. As a routine precaution, people who come in close contact with Mr. Trump are screened for the virus.” See also, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend and top Trump campaign official, tests positive for coronavirus, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond, Jim Acosta, and Caroline Kelly, published on Saturday, 4 July 2020: “Kimberly Guilfoyle — the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. and a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign — has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a top official for the committee she leads. ‘After testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure,’ said Sergio Gor, chief of staff for the Trump Victory Finance Committee. ‘She’s doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she’s asymptomatic but as a precaution will cancel all upcoming events. Donald Trump Jr was tested negative, but as a precaution is also self isolating and is canceling all public events.’ Guilfoyle tested positive in South Dakota before she was set to attend the President’s event at Mount Rushmore, a person familiar with the matter and a campaign source familiar with the matter said. Guilfoyle was not with the President and Donald Trump Jr. has so far tested negative, the person familiar with the matter said. That source said Guilfoyle had not had recent contact with the President, but she was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was backstage for his rally there and, was also at his event in Phoenix.”

Trump Administration readies a new message for the nation on coronavirus: ”We need to live with it,’ NBC News, Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker, and Monica Alba, Thursday, 3 July 2020: “After several months of mixed messages on the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is settling on a new one: Learn to live with it. Administration officials are planning to intensify what they hope is a sharper, and less conflicting, message of the pandemic next week, according to senior administration officials, after struggling to offer clear directives amid a crippling surge in cases across the country. On Thursday, the United States reported more than 55,000 new cases of coronavirus and infection rates were hitting new records in multiple states. At the crux of the message, officials said, is a recognition by the White House that the virus is not going away any time soon — and will be around through the November election. As a result, President Donald Trump’s top advisers plan to argue, the country must figure out how to press forward despite it. Therapeutic drugs will be showcased as a key component for doing that and the White House will increasingly emphasize the relatively low risk most Americans have of dying from the virus, officials said.”

Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Friday, 3 July 2020: “Standing in a packed amphitheater in front of Mount Rushmore for an Independence Day celebration, President Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech on Friday that cast his struggling effort to win a second term as a battle against a ‘new far-left fascism’ seeking to wipe out the nation’s values and history. With the coronavirus pandemic raging and his campaign faltering in the polls, his appearance amounted to a fiery reboot of his re-election effort, using the holiday and an official presidential address to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism.”… Mr. Trump barely mentioned the frightening resurgence of the pandemic, even as the country surpassed 53,000 new cases and health officials across the nation urged Americans to scale back their Fourth of July plans. Instead, appealing unabashedly to his base with ominous language and imagery, he railed against what he described as a dangerous ‘cancel culture’ intent on toppling monuments and framed himself as a strong leader who would protect the Second Amendment, law enforcement and the country’s heritage.” See also, At Mount Rushmore, Trump exploits social divisions and warns of ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ in dark speech ahead of Independence Day, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Ashley Parker, Colby Itkowitz, and Maria Sacchetti, Saturday, 4 July 2020: “At the foot of Mount Rushmore’s granite monument to his presidential forebears, President Trump on Friday delivered a dark speech ahead of Independence Day in which he sought to exploit the nation’s racial and social divisions and rally supporters around a law-and-order message that has become a cornerstone of his reelection campaign. Trump focused most of his address before a crowd of several thousand in South Dakota on what he described as a grave threat to the nation from liberals and angry mobs — a ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ that aims to rewrite U.S. history and erase its heritage amid the racial justice protests that have roiled cities for weeks.” See also, Trump Flouts Coronavirus Rules and Warns of ‘New Far-Left Fascism’ in Speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota Ahead of July 4th, NPR, Suzanne Nuyen, published on 4 July 2020: “On the eve of Independence Day, President Trump celebrated at the foot of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota with a fireworks display and an impassioned speech against what he called a ‘new far-left fascism.’ About 7,500 attendees won an online ticket lottery sponsored by South Dakota’s state tourism department to come to the event. Despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, crowds in red, white and blue were seen packed close together and mostly maskless. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem told Fox News ahead of the event that while free masks would be provided, attendees would not be required to wear them or practice social distancing.”

New Trump Administration Memo Seeks to Foster Doubts About Suspected Russian Bounties. Criticized for its inaction, the Trump administration commissioned a new look at a months-old intelligence assessment. It emphasizes gaps. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, Rukmini Callimachi, and Adam Goldman, Thursday, 3 July 2020: “A memo produced in recent days by the office of the nation’s top intelligence official acknowledged that the C.I.A. and top counterterrorism officials have assessed that Russia appears to have offered bounties to kill American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, but emphasized uncertainties and gaps in evidence, according to three officials. The memo is said to contain no new information, and both its timing and its stressing of doubts suggested that it was intended to bolster the Trump administration’s attempts to justify its inaction on the months-old assessment, the officials said. Some former national security officials said the account of the memo indicated that politics may have influenced its production.”

Voting rules changed quickly for the primaries. But the battle over how Americans will cast ballots in the fall is just heating up. The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck, Friday, 3 July 2020: “When the novel coronavirus pandemic collided with this year’s primaries, states across the country raced to temporarily adjust voting procedures to make it safer for people to cast their ballots. But efforts to set rules for the general election are now locked in more intractable fights, fueled by deepening polarization around voting practices and a torrent of litigation aimed at shaping how ballots are cast and counted. While the vast majority of voters were permitted to cast absentee ballots during the primaries, only about 10 states so far have announced that they will make voting by mail easier for November, raising fears that Election Day could be marked by long lines and unsafe conditions at polling locations if the health crisis persists. With Republican governors under pressure from President Trump not to expand voting by mail and many legislatures adjourned for the year or deadlocked along party lines, changes in the coming months are likely to come through court decisions. Legal battles in about two dozen states are now poised to shape the details of how roughly 130 million registered voters are able to cast ballots in upcoming contests, with more than 60 lawsuits related to absentee voting and other rules wending their way through the courts, according to a tally by The Washington Post.”

‘Kill ’em.’ In early June Houston Republican powerbroker Steve Hotze left Texas Governor Greg Abbott a voicemail requesting National Guard ‘shoot to kill’ protesters, The Texas Tribune, Patrick Svitek, Friday, 3 July 2020: “In the days after George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis last month, as massive protests against police brutality spread across Texas and other states, conservative power broker Steve Hotze of Houston called Gov. Greg Abbott’s chief of staff to pass along a message. ‘I want you to give a message to the governor,’ Hotze told Abbott’s chief of staff, Luis Saenz, in a voicemail. ‘I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ‘em. Thank you.’ The voicemail, which The Texas Tribune obtained Friday via a public information request, came on the weekend of June 6, several days after Abbott activated the Texas National Guard as some of the protests became violent. It is unclear whether Saenz responded, and Abbott’s office declined to comment on the voicemail.”


Saturday, 4 July 2020, Day 1,261:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 4 July 2020: Trump Hosts July 4 Event at White House as U.S. Coronavirus Cases Soar, The New York Times, Saturday, 4 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant updates in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 4 July 2020: As the U.S. logs 26th straight day of record average coronavirus case totals, Trump says the country has ‘made a lot of progress,’ The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Marisa Iati, and David Nakamura, Saturday, 4 July 2020: “President Trump said Saturday that his administration had “made a lot of progress” on controlling the novel coronavirus pandemic, even as the seven-day average of cases in the United States set a record for the 26th straight day. Officials and health experts watched nervously to see whether July 4 gatherings would increase the spread while the virus continued to spiral out of control in much of the country, particularly in the South. Several states experienced record numbers of confirmed infections and hospitalizations.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Florida logged another daily high number of new cases. Hospitalizations in Arizona set a record. Intensive care unit capacity at the world’s largest medical center, in Houston, was exceeded at one point in the day.
  • Several California municipalities dismissed requests from higher governments to forgo fireworks shows or close beach parking lots to promote social distancing, local news outlets in the state reported.
  • In tweets earlier in the day, Trump correctly said the number of virus deaths and the rate of those deaths are declining. He also said that ‘If we didn’t test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases’ — a false statement that misleads because the rate of positive cases continues to rise in states showing a marked increase in infections.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

239 Experts With 1 Big Claim: The Coronavirus Is Airborne, The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Saturday, 4 July 2020: “The coronavirus is finding new victims worldwide, in bars and restaurants, offices, markets and casinos, giving rise to frightening clusters of infection that increasingly confirm what many scientists have been saying for months: The virus lingers in the air indoors, infecting those nearby. If airborne transmission is a significant factor in the pandemic, especially in crowded spaces with poor ventilation, the consequences for containment will be significant. Masks may be needed indoors, even in socially-distant settings. Health care workers may need N95 masks that filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they care for coronavirus patients. Ventilation systems in schools, nursing homes, residences and businesses may need to minimize recirculating air and add powerful new filters. Ultraviolet lights may be needed to kill viral particles floating in tiny droplets indoors. The World Health Organization has long held that the coronavirus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets that, once expelled by infected people in coughs and sneezes, fall quickly to the floor. But in an open letter to the W.H.O., 239 scientists in 32 countries have outlined the evidence showing that smaller particles can infect people, and are calling for the agency to revise its recommendations. The researchers plan to publish their letter in a scientific journal next week.” See also, Scientists urge the World Health Organization (WHO) to address airborne spread of coronavirus, The Washington Post, James McAuley and Emily Rauhala, published on Sunday, 5 July 2020: “More than 200 scientists from over 30 countries are urging the World Health Organization to take more seriously the possibility of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus as case numbers rise around the world and surge in the United States. In a forthcoming paper titled ‘It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of Covid-19,’ 239 signatories attempt to raise awareness about what they say is growing evidence that the virus can spread indoors through aerosols that linger in the air and can be infectious even in smaller quantities than previously thought. Until recently, most public health guidelines have focused on social distancing measures, regular hand-washing and precautions to avoid droplets. But the signatories to the paper say the potential of the virus to spread via airborne transmission has not been fully appreciated even by public health institutions such as the WHO. The paper, which was shared with The Washington Post ahead of publication this week in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, comes as the WHO faces criticism over its coronavirus response, calls for reform and a U.S. threat to cut funding and withdraw completely.”

Militias flocked to Gettysburg to foil a supposed antifa flag burning, an apparent hoax created on social media, The Washington Post, Shawn Boburg and Dalton Bennett, Saturday, 4 July 2020: For weeks, a mysterious figure on social media talked up plans for antifa protesters to converge on this historical site on Independence Day to burn American flags, an event that seemed at times to border on the farcical…. As word spread, self-proclaimed militias, bikers, skinheads and far-right groups from outside the state issued a call to action, pledging in online videos and posts to come to Gettysburg to protect the Civil War monuments and the nation’s flag from desecration. Some said they would bring firearms and use force if necessary…. The episode at Gettysburg is a stark illustration of how shadowy figures on social media have stoked fears about the protests against racial injustice and excessive police force that have swept across the nation since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.”

Christopher Columbus statue near Little Italy is brought down and tossed into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, The Baltimore Sun, Colin Campbell and Emily Opilo, Saturday, 4 July 2020: “A crowd of shouting protesters yanked down the Christopher Columbus statue near Little Italy, dragged it to the edge of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and rolled it with a splash into the water as fireworks went off around the city on the night of the Fourth of July. Dedicated in 1984, the statue is the latest monument in the U.S. to fall this year during the national reckoning over racism and police violence that also has toppled statues of Confederate figures and enslavers around the country. The debate drew renewed attention to Baltimore’s Christopher Columbus memorials — including one in Herring Run Park believed to be the nation’s oldest. The legacy of the 15th-century Italian explorer, who had long been credited by history textbooks as a hero who discovered America, has come under fire over his violent enslavement of native people.”

At Mount Rushmore and at the White House, Trump Updates ‘American Carnage’ Message for 2020, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 4 July 2020: “Trump used the spotlight of the Fourth of July weekend to sow division during a national crisis, denying his failings in containing the worsening coronavirus pandemic while delivering a harsh diatribe against what he branded the ‘new far-left fascism.’ In a speech at the White House on Saturday evening and an address in front of Mount Rushmore on Friday night, Mr. Trump promoted a version of the ‘American carnage’ vision for the country that he laid out during his inaugural address — updated to include an ominous depiction of the recent protests over racial justice. In doing so, he signaled even more clearly that he would exploit race and cultural flash points to stoke fear among his base of white supporters in an effort to win re-election. As he has done in the past, he resorted on Friday to exaggerated, apocalyptic language in broadly tarring the nationwide protests against entrenched racism and police brutality, saying that ‘angry mobs’ sought to ‘unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities’ and that those seeking to deface monuments want to ‘end America.’ Mr. Trump followed up with his remarks on Saturday from the South Lawn of the White House, which sounded more like a campaign rally, and repeated the themes from the previous evening.” See also, In Trump’s new version of American carnage, the threat isn’t immigrants or foreign nations. It’s other Americans. The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Saturday, 4 July 2020: “In his inaugural address, President Trump sketched the picture of ‘American carnage’ — a nation ransacked by marauders from abroad who breached U.S. borders in pursuit of jobs and crime, lured its companies offshore and bogged down its military in faraway conflicts. Nearly 3½ years later, in the president’s telling, the carnage is still underway but this time the enemy is closer to home — other Americans whose racial identity and cultural beliefs are toppling the nation’s heritage and founding ideals.”

Georgia Tech Professors Revolt Over Reopening and Say Current Plan Threatens Lives of Students, Faculty, and Staff, NPR/GPB, Wayne Drash, Saturday, 4 July 2020: “The majority of Georgia Tech professors, including some of the university’s most acclaimed faculty members, have launched a revolt over reopening this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the current plan ‘threatens the health, well-being and education of students, staff, and faculty.’ More than 800 of Tech’s 1,100 faculty members outlined their concerns to the Georgia Board of Regents in a letter titled ‘Statement of Academic Faculty of Georgia Tech on the COVID-19 Crisis and Fall 2020 Semester.’ ‘We are alarmed to see the Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia mandating procedures that do not follow science-based evidence, increase the health risks to faculty, students, and staff, and interfere with nimble decision-making necessary to prepare and respond to COVID-19 infection risk,’ the professors wrote.”


Sunday, 5 July 2020, Day 1,262:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 5 July 2020: Phoenix Mayor Says FEMA Refused to Help With Testing. Data shows how much harder the pandemic is hitting Black and Latino Americans. The New York Times, Sunday, 5 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 5 July 2020: Coronavirus updates: Seven-day average case total in the U.S. sets record for 27th straight day, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Marisa Iati, and Jacqueline Dupree, Sunday, 5 July 2020: “Officials in states with surging coronavirus cases issued dire warnings and blamed outbreaks on early reopenings Sunday as the seven-day average for daily new cases in the United States reached a record high for the 27th straight day. ‘We don’t have room to experiment, we don’t have room for incrementalism when we’re seeing these kinds of numbers,’ said Judge Lina Hidalgo (D), the top elected official in Harris County, Tex., which encompasses the sprawling Houston metro area. ‘Nor should we wait for all the hospital beds to fill and all these people to die before we take drastic action.’

Here are some significant developments:

  • The University of Washington reported that at least 121 students have tested positive for the virus and that 112 of them lived in fraternity houses near the Seattle campus. The university’s medical school has erected a pop-up testing site near the school’s Greek Row.
  • Thirteen states reported new highs in their seven-day case averages, with Montana, Delaware and Alaska experiencing the biggest percentage change from their past records. West Virginia also set a record number of daily cases, with 130.
  • South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and California reported record numbers of current covid-19 hospitalizations. The country’s seven-day average of new deaths fell to 485, down from 562 on June 28, but health experts cautioned that the count of infections would soon drive the number back up.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus, The New York Times, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Robert Gebeloff, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Will Wright, and Mitch Smith, Sunday, 5 July 2020: “Racial disparities in who contracts the virus have played out in big cities like Milwaukee and New York, but also in smaller metropolitan areas like Grand Rapids, Michigan…. Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture:Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.”

Trump Falsely Claims ’99 Percent’ of Virus Cases Are ‘Totally Harmless.’ The president dismissed the severity of the pandemic, downplaying the effect of the disease even as infections surge across the Sunbelt and rebound in California. The New York Times, Roni Caryn Rabin and Chris Cameron, Sunday, 5 July 2020: “President Trump dismissed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States over the weekend, downplaying the impact of the disease and saying that while the testing of tens of millions of American had identified many cases, ’99 percent’ of them were ‘totally harmless.’ His remarks about a virus that has already claimed nearly 130,000 lives were perplexing. The coronavirus is surging across the Sunbelt states and has rebounded in California. At least 2.8 million Americans have been infected, and public health officials have said the real number of infections may be 10 times higher.” See also, Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, declined to defend Trump’s claim that 99% of Covid-19 cases are ‘harmless,’ CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi and Sarah Westwood, Sunday, 5 July 2020: “The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday declined to defend President Donald Trump’s unfounded claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are ‘totally harmless’ and repeatedly refused to say whether Trump’s remark is true or false. ‘I’m not going to get into who is right and who is wrong,’ Dr. Stephen Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN’s Dana Bash on ‘State of the Union.’ During his remarks Saturday at the White House Independence Day event, Trump claimed without evidence that 99% of coronavirus cases ‘are totally harmless.’ The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 35% of cases are asymptomatic, but even people with mild or no symptoms can spread the virus to others. While the World Health Organization has said the global fatality rate is likely less than 1%, the WHO also said about 20% of all people who are diagnosed with coronavirus are sick enough to need oxygen or hospital care. ‘I totally support the CDC and the information that they’re putting out with respect to this pandemic,’ Hahn said Sunday. Hahn said the coronavirus pandemic is ‘a rapidly evolving situation’ but stressed that the US ‘absolutely must take this seriously.'”

Duke Energy and Dominion Energy Cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline After Years of Delays, The Wall Street Journal, Katherine Blunt, Sunday, 5 July 2020: “The builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are pulling the plug on the project as companies continue to meet mounting environmental opposition to new fossil-fuel conduits. Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. said Sunday they were abandoning the proposed $8 billion pipeline—which aimed to carry natural gas 600 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina and underneath the Appalachian Trail—citing continued regulatory delays and uncertainty, even after a favorable Supreme Court ruling last month. Dominion said it was selling the rest of its natural-gas transmission and storage network to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. for $9.7 billion including debt. The deal includes a 25% stake in the Cove Point liquefied natural gas export facility in Maryland, of which Dominion will remain the largest owner.”


Monday, 6 July 2020, Day 1,263:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 6 July 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Coronavirus Cases ‘Never Got Down to Where We Wanted to Go’ as Deaths Pass 130,000, The New York Times, Monday, 6 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 6 July 2020: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for coronavirus; many states mandate masks and shut down again, The Washington Post, Lateshia Beachum, Kim Bellware, Brittany Shammas, Hannah Denham, Reis Thebault, Kareem Copeland, Hannah Knowles, Felicia Sonmez, and Katie Shepherd, Monday, 6 July 2020: “Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has tested positive for the coronavirus, she announced on Twitter on Monday. ‘COVID-19 has literally hit home,’ she tweeted. ‘I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive.’ More local and state leaders on Monday embraced new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus as the United States entered its 28th day reporting record-high average infections. Elected officials have called the rush to reopen a mistake.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

As Coronavirus Cases Rise, the Federal Work Force Heads Back to the Office. Federal employees are being ushered back to office buildings under inconsistent and conflicting reopening plans, against the wishes of leaders in the nation’s capital. The New York Times, Zach Montague, Monday, 6 July 2020: “As coronavirus cases surge around the country and epidemiologists urge caution, the federal government is heading back to work, jeopardizing pandemic progress in one of the few regions where confirmed infections continue to decline: the nation’s capital. At the Energy Department’s headquarters, 20 percent of employees — possibly as many as 600 — have been authorized to return on a full- or part-time basis. The Interior Department said in a statement last month that it anticipated about 1,000 workers to soon return daily to its main office near the White House. The Defense Department has authorized up to 80 percent of its work force to return to office spaces, which could result in as many as 18,000 employees inside the Pentagon building, according to a spokeswoman. Many of them are already there. Private-sector employers remain hesitant to put workers back in their seats. Restaurant and bar owners around the country are shutting their doors anew. But agency chiefs at the nation’s largest employer, the 2.1 million-strong federal government, are taking their cues from an impatient President Trump and summoning employees to their desks.”

Bipartisan group of former government officials demand science-based approach to the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Monday, 6 July 2020: “Fifty-seven former government scientists and public health officials of both parties called on Monday for a science-based approach to the coronavirus pandemic and criticized the Trump administration for marginalizing science and expertise in its response. Officials from the Trump, Obama and George W. Bush administrations all signed the statement, underscoring the widespread concern over Trump’s response to a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 127,000 Americans so far. Much of the country has experienced a resurgence of covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, and new daily infections surpassed 50,000 for the first time last week. ‘Sidelining science has already cost lives, imperiled the safety of our loved ones, compromised our ability to safely reopen our businesses, schools, and places of worship, and endangered the health of our democracy itself,’ the officials wrote.”

Supreme Court says a state may require presidential electors to support its popular-vote winner, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 6 July 2020: “The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that a state may require presidential electors to support the winner of its popular vote and may punish or replace those who don’t, settling a disputed issue in advance of this fall’s election. Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court as it considered for the first time the issue of ‘faithless electors’ and whether the Constitution sees members of the electoral college — whose votes ultimately elect the president — as representatives of the intent of their state’s voters or as independent thinkers. The Washington state law at issue ‘reflects a tradition more than two centuries old,’ Kagan wrote. ‘In that practice, electors are not free agents; they are to vote for the candidate whom the State’s voters have chosen.’ In an opinion that referred to both the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ and the HBO sitcom ‘Veep,’ Kagan added: ‘The State instructs its electors that they have no ground for reversing the vote of millions of its citizens. That direction accords with the Constitution — as well as with the trust of a Nation that here, We the People rule.'” See also, Supreme Court Rules States May Curb ‘Faithless Electors.’ The court said states may require members of the Electoral College to vote for the presidential candidates they had promised to support. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 6 July 2020: “States can require members of the Electoral College to cast their votes for the presidential candidates they had pledged to support, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday. In curbing the independence of electors, the court limited one potential source of uncertainty in the 2020 presidential election. Every four years, weeks after Election Day, the members of the Electoral College cast the actual votes for president. Many states have laws requiring electors to pledge that they will support the winner of the state’s popular vote, but electors occasionally go rogue. The votes of only 10 ‘faithless electors’ could have changed the outcomes in five of the previous 58 presidential elections. In the 2000 election, for instance, George W. Bush beat Al Gore by five electoral votes. Recent court decisions had come to opposite conclusions about whether electors may disregard their pledges.”

Supreme Court Won’t Block Ruling to Halt Work on Keystone XL Pipeline, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 6 July 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from the Trump administration to allow construction of parts of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that had been blocked by a federal judge in Montana. But the court temporarily revived a permit program that would let other oil and gas pipelines cross waterways after only modest scrutiny from regulators. The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices rule on emergency applications, and it said it would last while appeals moved forward. There were no noted dissents. Environmental groups had challenged the permit program, called for by the Clean Water Act, saying it posed a threat to endangered species. In April, Judge Brian M. Morris of the Federal District Court in Montana suspended the program, which is administered by the Army Corps of Engineers, saying that it had been improperly reauthorized in 2017. The government, he wrote, had violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to adequately consult with federal wildlife agencies.”

Federal Judge Rules the Dakota Access Pipeline Must Shut Down Pending Review, The New York Times, Jacey Fortin and Lisa Friedman, Monday, 6 July 2020: “The Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route from North Dakota to Illinois that has inspired intense protests and legal battles, must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil by Aug. 5, a district court ruled on Monday. The decision, which could be subject to appeal, is a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Native American and environmental groups who have fought the project for years, and a significant defeat for President Trump, who has sought to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline alive. ‘Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline,’ Mike Faith, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said in a statement. ‘This pipeline should have never been built here,’ he added. ‘We told them that from the beginning.’ The ruling, by Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle. It essentially vacates a federal permit that had allowed the pipeline to operate while the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which had granted the permits for the pipeline, conducted an extensive environmental impact review.” See also, Court Orders Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Environmental Review, Forbes, Elana Lyn Gross, Monday, 6 July 2020: “Three years after the Dakota Access pipeline first started carrying oil, a federal judge ordered Monday that the pipeline must be shut down during a court-ordered environmental review that is necessary because the U.S. government violated federal environmental law, in a decision seen as a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a defeat for the oil industry and President Donald Trump, who backed it in 2017.”

Data from the Treasury and the Small Business Administration show small-business loans went to private-equity backed chains and members of Congress, The Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell, Aaron Gregg, Steven Rich, Anu Narayanswamy, and Peter Whoriskey, Monday, 6 July 2020: “Data released Monday by the Small Business Administration shows that businesses owned by members of Congress and the law practice that represented President Trump were among the hundreds of thousands of firms that received aid from the agency. As part of its $660 billion small-business relief program, the SBA also handed out loans to private schools catering to elite clientele, firms owned by foreign companies and large chains backed by well-heeled Wall Street firms. Nearly 90,000 companies in the program took the aid without promising on their applications they would rehire workers or create jobs. The data, which was released after weeks of pressure from media outlets and lawmakers, paints a picture of a haphazard first-come, first-served program that was not designed to evaluate the relative need of the recipients. While it buttressed a swath of industries and entities, including restaurants, medical offices, car dealerships, law firms and nonprofits, the agency did not filter out companies that have potential conflicts of interest among influential Washington figures.” See also, Lobbyists, Law Firms, and Trade Groups Took Small-Business Loans, The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek, Jim Tankersley, and Luke Broadwater, Monday, 6 July 2020: “The Trump administration, under pressure to reveal which companies received loans from a $660 billion program intended to keep small businesses afloat, on Monday released data showing that restaurants, medical offices and car dealerships ranked high among the top loan recipients. The detailed information from the Paycheck Protection Program was confined to companies that received loans of more than $150,000. The administration said 86.5 percent of the loans were for less than that amount, so the snapshot captured only one sliver of businesses that tapped funds. So far, banks have made about 4.9 million loans through the program, with an average size of $107,000…. Sprinkled among the beneficiaries were businesses that are likely to attract scrutiny, including a fancy sushi restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington; Kanye West’s company, Yeezy; and President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. Washington lobbying shops, high-priced law firms and special-interest groups also received big loans, according to the administration, the latest indication of how the government’s centerpiece effort to shore up mom-and-pop shops set off a race by organizations far afield from Main Street to secure federal money. The disclosure could further fuel outrage toward the program, which has been complicated by revelations that large, publicly traded companies were taking big loans and concerns that it might leave borrowers saddled with debt.” See also, Small Business Loans Helped the Well-Heeled and Connected, Too, The Wall Street Journal, Ryan Tracy, Chad Day, and Heather Haddon, Monday, 6 July 2020: “Congress designed the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses weather fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, but the program’s $521 billion in loans also went to well-heeled and politically connected firms across the economy, including law offices, charities, restaurant chains and wealth managers. The Trump administration released the names of borrowers for the first time Monday, following pressure by Congress and others to disclose who received the taxpayer-funded loans.”

Trump Adds to Playbook of Stoking White Fear and Resentment. With a defense of Confederate flags and a false accusation against a Black NASCAR driver, Bubba Wallace, President Trump is focusing on racial and cultural flash points to appeal to his base. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Monday, 6 July 2020: “President Trump mounted an explicit defense of the Confederate flag on Monday, suggesting that NASCAR had made a mistake in banning it from its auto racing events, while falsely accusing a top Black driver, Darrell Wallace Jr., of perpetrating a hoax involving a noose found in his garage. The remarks are part of a pattern. Almost every day in the last two weeks, Mr. Trump has sought to stoke white fear and resentment, portraying himself as a protector of an old order that polls show much of America believes perpetuates entrenched racism and wants to move beyond. Two weeks ago, the president retweeted a video of a supporter shouting ‘white power’ at a retirement community filled with older people whom he wants to win over. Last week, he wrote that he was reviewing a fair housing regulation that is aimed at eliminating racial housing disparities in the suburbs, but that he said would have a ‘devastating impact’ on those communities — a play to white suburbanites whose votes would be crucial to his re-election. On Monday, he also tweeted his displeasure with sports teams that are reviewing the appropriateness of nicknames that are offensive to Native Americans, seeking to curry favor with Americans who believe political correctness has gone too far. He has invoked fear of crime with tweets about sanctuary cities and crime rates in New York and Chicago, and has spoken of preserving ‘our heritage,’ picking up the language of those who want to honor the Confederacy.” See also, White House refuses to denounce Confederate flag as Trump bemoans NASCAR’s recent decision to ban it from all races and events, CNN Politics, Betsy Klein and Kevin Liptak, Monday, 6 July 2020: “The White House press secretary refused to denounce the Confederate flag during a press briefing Monday after President Donald Trump bemoaned NASCAR’s recent decision to ban it from all races and events. The White House attempted to cast his message as one of support for the racing sport’s fans. But Trump’s declaration bore little resemblance to the White House’s explanations for it. And his spokeswoman’s refusal to voice an official stance on flying the Confederate flag was itself an indication of Trump’s continued attempts to use racist symbols as an appeal to some white voters as he attempts to resuscitate his reelection bid.”

House Democrats insert language in federal spending bill ordering removal of Confederate statues from U.S. Capitol, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Monday, 6 July 2020: “House Democrats have included language in a federal funding bill ordering the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol, setting the stage for a battle over the issue later this year. The move comes amid a national debate over racial injustice sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis police custody in May. As large-scale protests over police brutality and systemic racism have swept the country for weeks, some demonstrators have toppled statues and monuments to Confederate figures, arguing that their removal is long overdue. The fiscal year 2021 legislative branch funding bill released Monday by the House Appropriations Committee includes a provision directing the Architect of the Capitol to remove statues or busts ‘that represent figures who participated in the Confederate Army or government, as well as the statues of individuals with unambiguous records of racial intolerance,’ according to a summary released by the panel.”

Breonna Taylor’s Family Claims She Was Alive After Shooting but Given No Aid, The New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi, Monday, 6 July 2020: “For up to six minutes after she was shot by police officers during a drug raid, Breonna Taylor, an emergency room technician, lay dying in her apartment but received no medical aid, her family claims in a new court filing. The document also contends that the post-midnight raid on March 13 was motivated by the mayor’s desire to clear a block in one of Louisville’s most blighted neighborhoods for redevelopment. The court papers amend an earlier lawsuit against the three officers who fired into Ms. Taylor’s apartment while executing a search warrant, seeking evidence against an ex-boyfriend who was a convicted drug dealer. City officials called the claims a ‘gross mischaracterization,’ while the coroner who performed the autopsy said the young woman’s injuries would have been lethal even with intervention. ‘Even if it had happened outside of an ER we couldn’t have saved her,’ said the coroner, Dr. Barbara Weakley-Jones. The 31-page complaint filed Sunday presents a new narrative of the events leading up to the raid, which it describes as ‘wanton’ and ‘reckless,’ and attempts to fill in the details of how the 26-year-old Black woman died at the hands of white officers.”

U.S. says foreign students will have to leave if their school goes online-only. The news comes as some colleges and universities, including Harvard, have announced they will hold online-only courses this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. NBC News, Sahil Kapur, Monday, 6 July 2020: “The government announced Monday that international students will not be allowed to stay in the country if the institution in which they’re enrolled is holding online-only courses this fall, and those failing to comply with the rules will risk deportation. Students on F-1 and M-1 visas who face such a situation ‘must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,’ the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a news release.” See also, New rules for international students could cost U.S. colleges $41 billion, CNBC, Jessica Dickler, published on Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “International students in the U.S. contributed nearly $41 billion to the national economy in the 2018-2019 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. (By other accounts, the number is even higher.)” See also, Trump Visa Rules Seen as Way to Pressure Colleges on Reopening. International students will be required to take at least one in-person class to keep their visas, at a time when many universities are prioritizing online instruction. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Dan Levin, published on Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “A directive by the Trump administration that would strip international college students of their U.S. visas if their coursework was entirely online prompted widespread confusion on Tuesday as students scrambled to clarify their statuses and universities reassessed their fall reopening policies amid the coronavirus pandemic. The White House measure, announced on Monday, was seen as an effort to pressure universities into reopening their gates and abandoning the cautious approaches that many have announced they would adopt to reduce Covid-19 transmission. The effect may be to dramatically reduce the number of international students enrolling in the fall. Together with delays in processing visas as a result of the pandemic, immigrant advocates say the new rules, which must still be finalized this month, might discourage many overseas students from attending American universities, where they often pay full tuition.”


Tuesday, 7 July 2020, Day 1,264:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 7 July 2020: As Coronavirus Cases in the U.S. Top 3 Million, Dr. Anthony Fauci Warns Against Misreading a Falling Death Rate, The New York Times, Tuesday, 7 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 7 July 2020: United Airlines Cuts Flight Schedule for August, The New York Times, Tuesday, 7 July 2020:

  • United pares its flights after a surge in virus cases crimps demand.
  • The Fed’s top bank overseer warns of risks ahead.
  • Sweden’s pandemic response is a cautionary tale for the rest of the world.
  • Stocks drop as Wall Street cools off after five-day rally.
  • Delta, United and Southwest sign deal for Treasury loans.
  • Pandemic lockdowns hasten infrastructure work.
  • Europe’s recession will be worse than expected.
  • The coronavirus job crisis will continue for years, a new report says.
  • Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.

Some significant updates for the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 7 July 2020: Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the White House pandemic response, says the U.S. underestimated community spread of coronavirus, spurred by young people, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Adam Taylor, Hannah Denham, Meryl Kornfield, Reis Thebault, Michael Brice-Saddler, Felicia Sonmez, Hannah Knowles, and Katie Shepherd, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “The Trump administration’s covid-19 response coordinator acknowledged Tuesday that the country was not prepared for the spread of the disease among young Americans — a key factor in recent spikes of infection across several states. On a video conference hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank, Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the White House pandemic response, said leaders in states that were not hard-hit early on ‘thought they would be forever spared through this,’ and when they reopened their economies, they didn’t expect a surge in cases spurred by a cohort of mostly millennials. The United States has reported 29 consecutive days of record-high average infections, led by Texas, Florida, Georgia and California. Hospitalizations continued to climb in the South and West on Tuesday, with patients filling intensive care units and federal health officials moving to shore up testing in hot spots. More than 128,000 people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Trump administration officials are dialing up pressure on local officials to resume in-person learning at schools.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, called the recent focus on the coronavirus’s decreasing mortality rate in the United States a ‘false narrative,’ while President Trump continued to tout those numbers on Twitter.
  • The Trump administration has sent a letter to the United Nations withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic move that could reshape public health diplomacy.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Tuesday said the state’s Department of Health will mandate face coverings in seven counties with spiking covid-19 cases, including the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati areas.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has sought repeatedly to minimize the coronavirus as he urges the country back to work, has tested positive for covid-19.
  • A nursing home outside Philadelphia gave some veterans a ‘covid cocktail’ including hydroxychloroquine without coronavirus testing, sometimes appearing to violate federal guidelines and illustrating a breakdown in protocols involving a medicine that Trump continues to promote.
  • Officials from the World Health Organization said they were aware of the calls from scientists to more seriously consider the possibility of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

U.S. Will Pay $1.6 Billion to Novavax for Coronavirus Vaccine, The New York Times, Katie Thomas, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “The federal government will pay the vaccine maker Novavax $1.6 billion to expedite the development of a coronavirus vaccine. It’s the largest deal to date from Operation Warp Speed, the sprawling federal effort to make coronavirus vaccines and treatments available to the American public as quickly as possible. The deal would pay for Novavax to produce 100 million doses of its new vaccine by the beginning of next year — if the vaccine is shown to be effective in clinical trials. That’s a significant bet on Novavax, a Maryland company that has never brought a product to market.”

56 Florida hospital ICUs have hit capacity, CNN Health, Nicole Chavez and Madeline Holcombe, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “The worsening coronavirus pandemic hit a series of somber peaks across the United States on Tuesday, renewing fears that more hospitals could be overloaded with Covid-19 patients. At least 56 intensive care units in Florida hospitals reached capacity on Tuesday, state officials said. Another 35 hospitals show ICU bed availability of 10% or less, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration in that state. Georgia surpassed 100,000 reported coronavirus cases, becoming the ninth state to pass the mark. In California, the number of hospitalizations across the state were at an all-time high and the virus positivity rate jumped more than 2% in Los Angeles.”

Trump donors among early recipients of coronavirus loans, Associated Press, Brian Slodysko and Angeliki Kastanis, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “As much as $273 million in federal coronavirus aid was awarded to more than 100 companies that are owned or operated by major donors to President Donald Trump’s election efforts, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data. Many were among the first to be approved for a loan in early April, when the administration was struggling to launch the lending program. And only eight businesses had to wait until early May before securing the aid, according to the AP’s review of data released Monday. The Trump-connected companies obtained the aid through the Paycheck Protection Program, which extends a lifeline to small businesses struggling to navigate the pandemic. Fast-food chains like Muy Brands, oil and gas companies and white-collar firms were all granted a slice of more than $659 billion in low-interest business loans that will be forgiven if the money is used on payroll, rent and similar expenses.”

Trump Pledges to ‘Pressure’ Governors to Reopen Schools Despite Health Concerns, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. ‘We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools,’ Trump said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon at the White House. ‘Get open in the fall. We want your schools open,’ Trump said…. Despite Trump’s comments, senior administration officials said on a background call with reporters Tuesday morning that the decision to reopen public schools remains a local one.” See also, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos blasts school districts that hesitate at reopening, Politico, Nicole Gaudiano, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “Donald Trump in a ramped-up push to reopen schools vowed Tuesday to ‘put pressure’ on reluctant governors, while Education Secretary Betsy DeVos blasted education leaders who won’t accept risk and ‘gave up and didn’t try’ to launch summer instruction. But the result was intensifying tensions with teachers unions and leading school groups, including the PTA, who charged that the Trump administration in a ‘vacuum of leadership’ has ‘zero credibility in the minds of educators and parents when it comes to this major decision.’ The dispute leaves the White House deeply at odds with many involved in making major decisions in the next few weeks about reopening schools. The White House devoted most of the day to its suddenly energized drive to reopen schools that shuttered during the pandemic, insisting it’s okay to move ahead and that decisions last spring to close down came from states rather than health experts at the CDC. The meetings and speeches appeared to hinge on a bet by the administration that parents are worried about the virus but still want their kids back in school, and would respond to broadsides aimed at school leaders and politicians.” See also, Trump pushes schools to open in the fall, downplaying risks as virus spreads, The Washington Post, Laura Meckler, Wednesday, 7 July 2020: “President Trump on Tuesday dialed up pressure on state and local authorities to reopen schools, even as coronavirus cases spike, accusing officials who keep them closed as being motivated by politics. He said in-person education was essential for the well-being of students, parents and the country as a whole, and he vowed to keep up the pressure on governors to open buildings. ‘We want to reopen the schools,’ Trump said. ‘We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons. They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep schools closed. No way.’ The president did not mention that his own reelection prospects may depend on whether voters see the country as having recovered from the economic and social devastation of the novel coronavirus pandemic. It’s also unclear whether the schools push will be a political winner for Trump. Some parents are eager to return to normal but many others, fearful of the virus, have told districts they want to keep their children home this fall.” See also, As the Coronavirus Continues to Spread, Trump Leans on Schools to Reopen, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Erica L. Green, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “President Trump demanded on Tuesday that schools reopen physically in the fall, pressing his drive to get the country moving again even as the coronavirus pandemic surged through much of the United States and threatened to overwhelm some health care facilities. In a daylong series of conference calls and public events at the White House, the president, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other senior officials opened a concerted campaign to lean on governors, mayors and others to resume classes in person months after more than 50 million children were abruptly ejected from school buildings in March. Mr. Trump and his administration argued that the social, psychological and educational costs of keeping children at home any longer would be worse than the virus itself. But they offered no concrete proposals or new financial assistance to states and localities struggling to restructure academic settings, staffs and programs that were never intended to keep children six feet apart or cope with the requirements of combating a virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans.”

States sue U.S. Department of Education over virus relief funds diverted from public schools to private schools, PBS, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “The U.S. Department of Education is attempting to take pandemic relief funds away from K-12 public schools and divert the money to private schools, California and four other Democratic-led states argued in a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Trump administration. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the lawsuit, which was joined by Maine, New Mexico, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The suit also names Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as a defendant. Becerra said the department unlawfully interpreted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which established guidelines to distribute $13.2 billion in aid to schools nationwide using Title I funds earmarked for students from low-income families. The department’s interpretation will instead allow school districts to get funds based on their total student population, leading tens of millions of dollars to be diverted from public schools in the poorest districts to private institutions with tuition similar to that charged by private colleges, the lawsuit says.”

Movement for Black Lives seeks sweeping legislative changes, Associated Press, Kat Stafford, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “Proposed federal legislation that would radically transform the nation’s criminal justice system through such changes as eliminating agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration and the use of surveillance technology was unveiled Tuesday by the Movement for Black Lives. Dubbed the BREATHE Act, the legislation is the culmination of a project led by the policy table of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 organizations. It comes at an unprecedented moment of national reckoning around police brutality and systemic racism that has spurred global protests and cries for change after several high-profile killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd. ‘We stand on the shoulders of giants and there has been 400 years of work that Black people have done to try to get us closer to freedom,’ Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said. ‘This moment is a watershed moment. I think this moment calls for structural change and transformative change in ways that we haven’t seen in a very long time. We see this opportunity to push for the BREATHE Act as a part of what we’re calling the modern-day civil rights act.’ The proposed changes, first shared with The Associated Press, are sweeping and likely to receive robust pushback from lawmakers who perceive the legislation as too radical.”Park Police did not record their radio transmissions during Lafayette Square operation against protesters on June 1. Critical record of how police launched sweep against protesters is lost. The Washington Post, Tom Jackman, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “Audio of the forceful push led by U.S. Park Police to sweep protesters out of Lafayette Square on June 1, moments before President Trump’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church, was not recorded by the Park Police radio communications system, the agency said Tuesday. The sudden march into the group of protesters, featuring members of the Park Police, Secret Service, D.C. National Guard and Arlington County police, is now under investigation by Congress and the inspectors general of the Interior Department and Justice Department and the subject of civil lawsuits. The sweep along H Street caused an uproar because police used smoke and chemical irritants, along with officers on horseback, to clear out protesters well before a 7 p.m. curfew, with advance announcements that many said they did not hear.”Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signs bill allowing all voters to vote by mail, CNN Politics, Jamie Ehrlich, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill on Monday allowing all registered voters in the Bay State to vote by mail in the primary and general elections this fall if they choose, his office confirmed to CNN. The new law means Massachusetts joins other states — including Michigan, Nevada, California, New Hampshire and Wisconsin — in moving to make it easier for more people to vote by mail as coronavirus infection numbers climb and states are forced to look ahead to the November election. The bill requires that an application to vote by mail be sent to everyone in the state who was registered to vote prior to July 1. It also expands early voting, adding additional days in order to limit crowds at the polls for those who still wish to vote in person.”

The Inside Story of Why Mary Trump Wrote a Tell-All Memoir. Trump’s niece was a family outcast. Her new book casts a cold light on the relatives she describes as dysfunctional. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Michael Rothfeld, and Maggie Haverman, Tuesday, 7 July 2020: “For most of her life, Mary L. Trump was shunted aside by her own family…. Ms. Trump’s status as an outcast culminated in 1999 when Fred Trump Sr. died, and she discovered that she and her brother had been cut out of his will, depriving them of what they believed was their rightful share of untold millions. A dispute over the will devolved into a court fight, its details shielded by a confidentiality agreement that Ms. Trump has adhered to for nearly 20 years. Now, however, the story of that fight — and other new allegations — has been thrust into the spotlight with the publication of Ms. Trump’s memoir, a copy of which The New York Times obtained on Tuesday. The book, along with a number of court documents that have never been reported, sheds new light on a decades-long saga of greed, betrayal and internecine squabbles, laying out what Ms. Trump has described as her family’s legacy of darkness and dysfunction…. The book makes a number of allegations that Ms. Trump depicts as family secrets, among them a claim that a young Donald Trump paid someone to take his SAT, the standardized test used for college admissions. It also alleges that Mr. Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge, considered him ‘a clown’ who had ‘no principles’ and that the Trump family left Fred Trump Jr. unattended at a hospital on the night that he died. In her book, Ms. Trump seeks to explain how Donald Trump’s position in one of New York’s wealthiest and most infamous real-estate empires helped him acquire what Ms. Trump has referred to as ‘twisted behaviors’ — attributes like seeing other people in ‘monetary terms’ and practicing ‘cheating as a way of life.’ Ms. Trump, a clinical psychologist, calls her grandfather — the president’s father, Fred Trump Sr. — a ‘sociopath’ who damaged his children. His father’s behavior, she concludes, led the president to adopt bullying and other aggressive behaviors to mask his own insecurities.”


Wednesday, 8 July 2020, Day 1,266:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 8 July 2020: At Least 5 States Set Single-Day Coronavirus Case Records, The New York Times, Wednesday, 8 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 8 July 2020: United Says 36,000 Workers Could Be Furloughed, The New York Times, Wednesday, 8 July 2020:

  • United Airlines says it could furlough up to 36,000 workers.
  • Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818, files for bankruptcy.
  • Fed’s Main Street lending program attracts few big banks.
  • Warren Buffett gives billions to charities, including the Gates Foundation.
  • U.K. Chancellor details plan to preserve and create new jobs.
  • United pares its flights after a surge in virus cases crimps demand.
  • Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 8 July 2020: U.S. surpasses 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases as Trump pushes to reopen schools, The Washington Post, Lateshia Beachum, Meryl Kornfield, Brittany Shammas, Hannah Denham, John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez, Reis Thebault, Marisa Iati, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “The coronavirus pandemic’s surge across the Sun Belt continued Wednesday as thousands of new cases in Florida and Arizona pushed the total number of confirmed infections in the United States past 3 million, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. The U.S. coronavirus death toll has surpassed 128,000. The milestone came as president Trump and senior administration officials made a concerted effort Wednesday to downplay recommendations of their own health experts as they ramped up pressure on states to reopen schools, characterizing the move as key to the nation’s recovery.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

U.S. Hits 3 Million Confirmed Coronavirus Cases, The Wall Street Journal, Talal Ansari and Catherine Lucey, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “The U.S. surpassed three million confirmed Covid-19 cases less than a month after crossing the two million mark, as the virus spread rapidly in the nation’s three most populous states. Climbing case counts in California, Texas and Florida drove the U.S. to a new single-day record of infections, with 60,000 new cases reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. After the coronavirus was first reported in the U.S. in January, the first million reported cases developed over roughly three months, as testing centered around those who had fallen ill and essential workers. The second million cases were reported over a period of about six weeks.’We have never gotten out of the first wave,’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top-infectious disease expert, in an interview with The Journal podcast. ‘So I wish we would stop talking about waves and just look at the reality of where we are right now.'”

Vice President Mike Pence says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will issue new guidance on school openings after criticism from Trump, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue new guidance on school openings, Vice President Pence said Wednesday, hours after President Trump criticized earlier recommendations as ‘very impractical’ and vowed to meet with the agency himself. Citing Trump’s concern that the guidance might be ‘too tough,’ Pence said that the CDC would issue additional recommendations starting next week that would provide ‘more clarity’ and stressed that the guidelines should not supplant the judgment of local officials. ‘We don’t want the guidance from CDC to be a reason why schools don’t open,’ Pence said. ‘I think that every American, every American knows that we can safely reopen our schools. . . . We want, as the president said this morning, to make sure that what we’re doing doesn’t stand in the way of doing that.’ His comments, at a White House coronavirus task force briefing, came about two hours after Trump undercut the recommendations of administration health experts as he continued to step up pressure on state and local officials to reopen school campuses this fall. ‘I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,’ Trump wrote. ‘While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!'” See also, Trump disavows his own administration’s guidance for reopening schools. Politico, Quint Forgey, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly disavowed his own administration’s guidance for reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the federal recommendations were too burdensome as he ramped up his bid to have students return to classrooms in the fall.” See also, Trump Criticizes Guidelines From the Centers for Disease Control for Reopening Schools. He calls the rules too expensive and renews his push to get children back to classrooms this fall despite rising coronavirus cases. The Wall Street Journal, Alex Leary and Catherine Lucey, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “President Trump pushed federal health officials to ease coronavirus guidelines for schools and threatened to withhold federal funding from districts that don’t reopen, stepping up his effort to get children back in classrooms…. Administration officials said the CDC would provide new guidance next week that should allay some of the president’s concerns. Decisions about how and whether to reopen schools are largely up to state and local governments, and many districts have said they plan to offer learning in-person and remotely. On Wednesday, New York City—the nation’s largest school system—announced preliminary plans to have schools reopen this fall with a mix of in-person and remote learning.”

Trump threatens to cut federal funds from schools that don’t reopen. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos slams ‘adults who are fear mongering and making excuses’ for not reopening. Politico, Nicole Gaudiano, Juan Perez Jr., and Michael Stratford, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are threatening to cut federal funding if schools don’t fully physically reopen, increasing pressure on education leaders as the Trump administration intensifies its drive to get kids back in classrooms. Trump on Wednesday morning tweeted, ‘In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!’ Trump’s remarks came as part of a new administration-wide push to get schools to reopen for in-person classes in the fall, which is widely seen as critical to jump-starting the economy ahead of the presidential election. During a White House event on Tuesday, Trump also vowed he would ‘put pressure’ on governors reluctant to open schools amid rising cases of coronavirus.” See also, Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Erica L. Green, and Noah Weiland, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “President Trump pressured the government’s top public health experts on Wednesday to water down recommendations for how the nation’s schools could reopen safely this fall and threatened to cut federal funding for districts that defied his demand to resume classes in person. Once again rejecting the advice of the specialists who work for him, Mr. Trump dismissed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ‘very tough & expensive guidelines,’ which he said asked schools ‘to do very impractical things.’ Within hours, the White House announced that the agency would issue new recommendations in the days to come.”

Harvard and MIT file suit over Trump administration visa rule for international students. The suit says that ‘the effect–and perhaps even the goal–is to create as much chaos for universities and international students as possible. Politico, Juan Perez Jr., Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed suit Wednesday against DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in an attempt to halt a proposed federal policy that could deport international students taking online-only courses at U.S. colleges. Harvard plans to teach its students online in the fall, though the school plans to invite up to 40 percent of its undergraduates back to campus. MIT plans a hybrid on-campus and online program for the 2020-21 academic year. The government’s proposal is still being finalized, but could affect a swath of other schools struggling to reopen their doors while the coronavirus pandemic continues.” See also, Harvard and MIT Sue the Trump Administration Over International-Student Policy, The Wall Street Journal, Melissa Korn and Michelle Hackman, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration in federal court Wednesday over new rules barring international students from staying in the U.S. while taking classes entirely online this fall. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting the government from enforcing rules that were laid out Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement governing how foreign students can—and can’t—enroll at U.S. universities this fall in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Among the restrictions: Those foreign students attending schools offering classes only online can’t be in the U.S. to take their web-based courses, and those whose schools are offering hybrid or in-person classes must be here to participate. Colleges and foreign students swiftly criticized the rules, saying they erected unnecessary obstacles that would prevent some from continuing or beginning their academic careers.” See also, Harvard and M.I.T. Sue to Stop Trump Visa Rules for Foreign Students, The New York Times, Anemona Hartocollis and Miriam Jordan, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration in federal court on Wednesday, seeking to block a directive that would strip foreign college students of their visas if the courses they take this fall are entirely online. University leaders and immigrant advocates called the new policy cruel and reckless, with several education groups saying they planned to join the legal battle. The Massachusetts attorney general vowed to support Harvard and M.I.T.’s efforts to block the rules, which were announced Monday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” See also, Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration to protect student visas, escalating fight over online learning, The Washington Post, Susan Svrluga and Nick Anderson, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration Wednesday over an order that would require international students to take classes in person this fall, despite rising coronavirus caseloads that are complicating efforts by colleges and universities to offer in-person learning. The lawsuit represented a swift response to an unexpected order issued this week by the federal government, as universities rush to protect the status of thousands of international students. It also marks a new battle line in the war between President Trump and education leaders over how to safely reopen schools in the midst of his reelection bid.”

Tulsa sees Covid-19 surge in the wake of Trump’s June rally, CNN, Kay Jones and Brian Ries, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “The city of Tulsa is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, a little over 2 weeks after President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in an indoor arena there. Dr. Bruce Dart, Executive Director of the Tulsa Health Department, said in a press conference on Wednesday there are high numbers being reported this week, with nearly 500 new cases in two days and trends are showing that those numbers will increase. There had been a 20% decline in new Covid-19 cases the week of June 28 through July 4…. When asked if the cases in Tulsa are going up due to the rally on June 20, Dart said that there were several large events a little over two weeks ago. ‘I guess we just connect the dots,’ Dart said.” See also, Coronavirus Surge in Tulsa ‘More Than Likely’ Linked to Trump Rally. Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, said Tulsa County had reported nearly 500 new cases of Covid-19 in the past two days. The New York Times, Maggie Astor and Noah Weiland, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “A surge in coronavirus cases in and around Tulsa, Okla., is probably connected to the campaign rally President Trump held there last month, the city’s top health official said on Wednesday. Tulsa County reported 206 new confirmed cases on Tuesday and 261 — a record high — on Monday, and Dr. Bruce Dart, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, said at a news conference that it was reasonable to link the spike to the rally and related events. ‘The past two days we’ve had almost 500 cases, and we know we had several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right,’ Dr. Dart said. ‘So I guess we just connect the dots.'”

Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases, The New York Times, Kate Conger, Jack Healy, and Lucy Tompkins, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Weeks after President Trump demanded that America’s shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed. The virus has infiltrated Sunday sermons, meetings of ministers and Christian youth camps in Colorado and Missouri. It has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that defied lockdowns and refused to heed new limits on numbers of worshipers.”

Supreme Court Upholds Trump Administration Regulation Letting Employers Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage. The regulation was the latest attempt to undermine the ‘contraception mandate,’ a signature initiative of the Obama administration. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Trump administration regulation that lets employers with religious or moral objections limit women’s access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act and could result in as many as 126,000 women losing contraceptive coverage from their employers. The 7-to-2 decision was the latest turn in seven years of fierce litigation over the ‘contraception mandate,’ a signature initiative of the Obama administration that required most employers to provide cost-free coverage for contraception and that the Trump administration has sought to limit. In a second major decision on religious rights on Wednesday, the court ruled by another 7-to-2 vote that employment discrimination laws did not apply to teachers in religious schools. Last week, by a 5-to-4 vote, it said state programs that provide scholarships to students in private schools may not exclude religious schools. The three decisions were part of a broad examination of the relationship between church and state over the 15-year tenure of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in which the court’s conservative majority has almost always sided with religious groups…. The clash between contraceptive coverage and claims of conscience is a key battleground in the culture wars, and the Supreme Court’s decision is likely to mobilize voters on both sides of the divide.”

Supreme Court Rules Job Bias Laws Do Not Protect Teachers in Catholic Schools, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that federal employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at church-run schools whose duties include religious instruction. The 7-to-2 ruling could affect more that 100,000 teachers at Catholic elementary and secondary schools and many other employees of religious groups. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom forbids judges from interfering in the internal workings of religious institutions…. In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the majority’s ‘simplistic approach has no basis in law.’ The decision was a setback for L.G.B.T.Q. workers, who just weeks ago gained protections under a federal employment-discrimination law. ‘While the Supreme Court has made it clear that it is against the law to fire someone for being L.G.B.T.Q.,’ James Esseks, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement, ‘today they made it easier for religiously affiliated employers to discriminate — including against L.G.B.T.Q. people.'”

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman retires, citing campaign of ‘bullying’ and ‘retaliation’ by Trump after impeachment testimony, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan and Shane Harris, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “An Army officer who played a high-profile role in President Trump’s impeachment proceedings is retiring from the military over alleged ‘bullying’ and ‘retaliation’ by the president, his attorney said Wednesday. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who served as a national security aide at the White House until earlier this year and was up for promotion to colonel, will leave the military instead, his attorney, David Pressman, said in a statement. ‘Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation, the president of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers,’ Pressman said. ‘LTC Vindman’s patriotism has cost him his career.'” See also, Lt. Col Alexander S. Vindman, Army Officer Who Clashed With Trump Over Impeachment, Decided to Retire After a Campaign of White House Intimidation and Retaliation, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “An Army officer who was a prominent witness during the impeachment inquiry into President Trump last year said on Wednesday that he had decided to retire after what his lawyer called a campaign of White House intimidation and retaliation. The incident is the latest in what Pentagon and congressional officials say could be another flash point between the president and the military.” See also, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman to retire from military. His lawyer blames White House ‘campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation.’ CNN Politics, Jim Sciutto, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry, is retiring from the US Army after more than 21 years of military service because he determined that his future in the armed forces ‘will forever be limited’ due to political retaliation by the President and his allies, his lawyer told CNN Wednesday. Vindman has endured a ‘campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation’ spearheaded by the President following his testimony in the impeachment inquiry last year, according to his attorney, Amb. David Pressman who is a partner at Jenner & Block.”

Trump Pushed the CIA to Give Intelligence to Kremlin While Taking No Action Against Russia Arming the Taliban, Just Security, Ryan Goodman, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Why would the Russian government think it could get away with paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers? One answer to that question may be the extraordinary response that Moscow received when the Trump administration learned of a precursor to the bounty operation. From mid-2017 and into 2018, Pentagon officials became increasingly confident in intelligence reports that the Kremlin was arming the Taliban, which posed a significant threat to American and coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan. President Trump’s actions in the face of the Russia-Taliban arms program likely signaled a weak US resolve in the eyes of Putin and Russian military intelligence. Three dimensions of Trump’s response are described in detail in this article, based on interviews with several former Trump administration officials who spoke to Just Security on the record. First, President Trump decided not to confront Putin about supplying arms to the terrorist group. Second, during the very times in which U.S. military officials publicly raised concerns about the program’s threat to US forces, Trump undercut them. He embraced Putin, overtly and repeatedly, including at the historic summit in Helsinki. Third, behind the scenes, Trump directed the CIA to share intelligence information on counterterrorism with the Kremlin despite no discernible reward, former intelligence officials who served in the Trump administration told Just Security.”

Voting rights of some felons in Florida in question after appeals court ruling, The Washington Post, Lori Rozsa, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Voting rights advocates scrambled this week to understand the impact of an appeals court decision blocking some Florida felons’ eligibility to participate in elections — a blow to efforts to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people in the state. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta last week halted a judge’s order from May that had cleared the way for hundreds of thousands of felons in the state to register to vote. The lower court judge had found that a state law requiring them to pay fines and fees first amounted to an unconstitutional voting tax if they are unable to afford it. The appeals court has scheduled a hearing on the issue for Aug. 18 — the same day as Florida’s primary election. It’s unclear if the court will decide the issue in time for the November presidential election, or if the court’s eventual ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Tammy Duckworth Confronts Nativist Smears From Tucker Carlson.  Ms. Duckworth, an Illinois senator who is Thai-American and lost both legs fighting in Iraq, has been the target of two nights of attacks from the Fox News host; some were amplified by President Trump. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Wednesday, 8 July 2020: “Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a Thai-American Democrat who lost both of her legs fighting in the Iraq war and is now a potential vice-presidential nominee, was targeted with nativist smears for the second night in a row on Tuesday by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. Mr. Carlson, whose broadsides have been amplified on Twitter by President Trump, attacked Ms. Duckworth in his monologue for suggesting during a Sunday interview on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that it was worth discussing the value of removing monuments of George Washington, the nation’s slave-owning first president. On Tuesday night Mr. Carlson labeled both Ms. Duckworth, who was born in Thailand to a Thai mother of Chinese descent and a white American veteran father, and the Somali-born Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, ‘vandals’ who hate the United States because they have called attention to its historical racism and inequities.”


Thursday, 9 July 2020, Day 1,267:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 9 July 2020: U.S. Hits Another Record for New Coronavirus Cases: 59,880 Cases on Thursday, The New York Times, Thursday, 9 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 9 July 2020: 1.3 Million Workers Filed New State Unemployment Claims Last Week, The New York Times, Thursday, 9 July 2020:

  • Starbucks will require customers to wear face masks in U.S. stores.
  • Texas, a recent virus hot spot, shows a jump in jobless claims.
  • The Federal Reserve’s plan to save Main Street shows its flaws.
  • 1.3 million workers filed new state unemployment claims last week.
  • Pandemic relief programs near their end. Then what?
  • Sur La Table joins a growing list of bankrupt retailers.
  • U.S. airlines suspend flights to Hong Kong after coronavirus test announcement.
  • Stocks fall as Wall Street’s focus returns to economic risks.
  • Here’s what else is happening.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 9 July 2020: As coronavirus hospitalizations climb, Trump sidelines health advisers, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Lateshia Beachum, Miriam Berger, Hannah Knowles, Meryl Kornfield, Michael Brice-Saddler, Kareem Copeland, Felicia Sonmez, and Antonia Noori Farzan, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Coronavirus patients are pouring into hospitals in hot spots such as Florida, Arizona, California and Texas, and virus hospitalizations are setting records almost daily in those states. The influx is straining intensive care units, which are expanding to add new beds and installing special airflow systems to reduce the spread within the hospitals. But as the pandemic rages in new epicenters in the United States, the Trump administration is increasingly sidelining its own health experts in pivotal decisions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is coming under intense pressure from President Trump and his allies, who are downplaying the dangers in a bid to revive the economy ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

World Health Organization (WHO) says airborne transmission of coronavirus in restaurants, gyms, and other closed spaces can’t be ruled out, CNBC, Will Feuer, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The World Health Organization published new guidance Thursday, saying it can’t rule out the possibility that the coronavirus can be transmitted through air particles in closed spaces indoors, including in gyms and restaurants. The WHO previously acknowledged that the virus may become airborne in certain environments, such as during ‘medical procedures that generate aerosols.’ The new guidance recognizes some research that suggests the virus may be able to spread through particles in the air in ‘indoor crowded spaces.’ It cited ‘choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes’ as possible areas of airborne transmission. ‘In these events, short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out,’ the United Nations health agency’s new guidance said.  The WHO said in its guidance that while early evidence suggests the possibility of airborne transmission in such environments, spread by droplets and surfaces could also explain transmission in those cases.”

How Coronavirus Cases Have Risen Since States Reopened, The New York Times, Lazaro Gamio, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The current surge in coronavirus cases in the United States is being driven by states that were among the first to reopen their economies, decisions that epidemiologists warned could lead to a wave of infections.”

Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says there will be no revised school guidelines despite Trump’s push to revise them, CNN Politics, Kristen Holmes and Naomi Thomas, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not revise its guidelines for reopening schools despite calls from President Donald Trump and the White House to do so, agency Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Thursday. Instead, additional reference documents will be provided, Redfield told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’ As anxious parents and educators across the country hand wring over how to safely bring children back to the classroom, the discord between Trump and his top health advisers over appropriate precautions has added another layer of uncertainty. The President, against the advice of some of the nation’s top health officials, has repeatedly called for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge across the country.”

Supreme Court Rules Trump Cannot Block Release of Financial Records, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The Supreme Court cleared the way on Thursday for prosecutors in New York to seek President Trump’s financial records in a stunning defeat for Mr. Trump and a major statement on the scope and limits of presidential power. The decision in the case said Mr. Trump had no absolute right to block release of the papers and would take its place with landmark rulings that required President Richard M. Nixon to turn over tapes of Oval Office conversations and that forced President Bill Clinton to provide evidence in a sexual harassment suit. ‘No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,’ Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. He added that Mr. Trump might still raise objections to the scope and relevance of the subpoena requesting the records. In a separate decision, the court ruled that Congress could not, at least for now, see many of the same records. It said the case should be returned to lower courts to examine whether Congress should narrow the parameters of the information it sought, meaning that the practical effect of the two decisions is that the records will not be made public before the elections this fall. The chief justice wrote the majority opinions in both cases, and both were decided by 7-to-2 votes. The court’s four-member liberal wing voted with him, as did Mr. Trump’s two appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented in both cases.” See also, Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may pursue Trump’s financial records, but it denies Congress access for now, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Trump’s bold claims of immunity from local law enforcement and congressional investigators, delivering a nuanced and likely landmark lesson on the separation of powers and limits of presidential authority. In one of two lopsided 7-to-2 rulings, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected Trump’s argument that he did not have to comply with a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and said Vance had authority to pursue the president’s personal and business financial records. In the other, the court said the restrictions the president proposed on congressional demands for private, nonprivileged information ‘risk seriously impeding Congress in carrying out its responsibilities.’ Still, the court put a hold on the congressional subpoenas, suggesting overreach on the part of the lawmakers. The court sent the cases back to lower courts, where, the justices said, Trump also could challenge the specifics of Vance’s inquiry. On the whole, the rulings were a disappointment for those who hoped to see the president’s long-withheld financial records before November’s election. But perhaps the court’s more lasting message came in the first sentence of Trump v. Vance: ‘In our judicial system, the public has a right to every man’s evidence,’ Roberts wrote, citing an ancient maxim. ‘Since the earliest days of the Republic, “every man” has included the President of the United States.'” See also, Read the Supreme Court’s opinion: Trump v. Vance, The Washington Post, Thursday, 9 July 2020.  See also, Supreme Court Paves the Way for N.Y. Prosecutor to View Trump Taxes. Trump subpoena cases sent back to lower courts, likely delaying any possible release of records until after the presidential election. The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The Supreme Court paved the way for a New York prosecutor to enforce a subpoena for President Trump’s financial and tax records, but issued a mixed decision in a related case involving subpoenas from Congress. The decisions—both on 7-2 votes on Thursday—send the cases back to lower courts, where Mr. Trump can raise additional objections to the subpoenas. The rulings put off, likely until after the November election, any ability to see Mr. Trump’s financial records. But the justices also have accelerated a criminal investigation into hush-money payments to women who claim to have had affairs with Mr. Trump because New York prosecutors now can move forward without waiting for the president to leave office. The decisions reaffirmed the court’s longstanding principle that the rule of law applies to everyone. But the justices recognized the role the president plays and sought to set rules that give him room to lead the nation, while also respecting the prerogatives of lawmakers and law-enforcement officials. In the New York case, the court rejected Mr. Trump’s overarching claim that as president, he enjoys absolute immunity from the disclosure of information sought by prosecutors.”

Supreme Court Rules Large Swath of Oklahoma Is Indian Reservation. The 5-4 decision could reshape criminal justice in eastern Oklahoma by preventing state authorities from prosecuting Native Americans. The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Jack Healy, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that much of eastern Oklahoma falls within an Indian reservation, a decision that could reshape the criminal-justice system by preventing state authorities from prosecuting offenses there that involve Native Americans. The 5-to-4 decision, potentially one of the most consequential legal victories for Native Americans in decades, could have far-reaching implications for the people who live across what is now deemed ‘Indian Country’ by the high court. The lands include much of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second-biggest city. The case was steeped in the United States government’s long history of brutal removals and broken treaties with Indigenous tribes, and grappled with whether lands of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation had remained a reservation after Oklahoma became a state. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, a Westerner who has sided with tribes in previous cases and joined the court’s more liberal members, said that Congress had granted the Creek a reservation, and that the United States needed to abide by its promises. ‘Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law,’ Justice Gorsuch wrote. ‘Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.’ Muscogee leaders hailed the decision as a hard-fought victory that clarified the status of their lands. The tribe said it would work with state and federal law enforcement authorities to coordinate public safety within the reservation.” See also, Supreme Court says much of eastern Oklahoma remains Indian land, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The Supreme Court said Thursday that a large swath of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation, a decision with potential implications for nearly 2 million residents and one of the most significant victories for tribal rights in years. The land at issue contains much of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city. The question for the court was whether Congress officially eliminated the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation when Oklahoma became a state in 1907. In a 5-to-4 decision invoking the country’s long history of mistreating Native Americans, the court said ‘we hold the government to its word’ and the land Congress promised to the Creek Nation is still Indian land. ‘If Congress wishes to withdraw its promises, it must say so. Unlawful acts, performed long enough and with sufficient vigor, are never enough to amend the law,’ wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who was joined by the court’s liberal justices.”

Another 1.3 million people applied for new jobless benefits last week as the pandemic’s toll on the economy continued, The Washington Post, Eli Rosenberg, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Another 1.3 million people filed for unemployment for the first time last week, a slight decrease from the week before, as novel coronavirus cases and closures surged around the country, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor. The numbers of new unemployment filings have remained above a million each week since the pandemic began in mid-March. That number has averaged about 1.4 million the past four weeks.” See also, Unemployment claims are falling. But 1.3 million still applied for assistance last week, CNN Business, Anneken Tappe and Tami Luhby, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Millions of American jobs have come back since the great lockdown in March and April, but millions of workers still need government benefits to make ends meet. Another 1.3 million people filed first-time claims for unemployment aid on a seasonally-adjusted basis last week, according to the Department of Labor. That’s down 99,000 claims from the prior week’s revised level.”

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirms he was briefed on intelligence about Russian payments to the Taliban, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed Thursday that he had been briefed on information regarding Russian payments to the Taliban, seemingly acknowledging that Russia’s support for the militant group in Afghanistan is not a ‘hoax,’ as President Donald Trump has claimed. However, Esper also made clear that he has not seen intelligence that corroborates claims that American troops were killed as a result of the ‘bounty’ payments, walking a delicate line between acknowledging a well-known threat and potentially clashing with the President. Esper’s comments came during a long-awaited appearance before the House Armed Services Committee, where lawmakers had their first opportunity to ask the defense secretary and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley about their knowledge of intelligence on Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for killing US troops in Afghanistan. It was clear that both men attempted to carefully navigate questions from lawmakers, but Esper admitted exercising particular caution while addressing inquiries about whether he had been briefed on the matter and when.” See also, Congress Presses Military Leaders on Suspected Russian Bounties.Two House hearings grappled with a C.I.A. assessment that Russia offered payments to kill American troops in Afghanistan — and White House inaction on the months-old judgment. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The top American military officer delivered the Pentagon’s strongest public expression of concern to date on Thursday about the C.I.A.’s assessment that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants for killing American troops, even as former top intelligence and military leaders questioned the Trump administration’s inaction. The current and former officials testified at a pair of House hearings as lawmakers grappled with the continuing fallout from the disclosure of the intelligence assessment. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper testified in front of the Armed Services Committee, and former national security officials before the Foreign Affairs Committee. ‘If in fact there’s bounties, I am an outraged general,’ said General Milley, who served three tours in Afghanistan. ‘If, in fact, there’s bounties directed by the government of Russia or any of their institutions to kill American soldiers, that’s a big deal. That’s a real big deal.’ He also said that while the government so far lacks proof that any Russian bounties caused specific military casualties, ‘we are still looking. We’re not done,’ he continued. ‘We’re going to run this thing to ground.'”

New York City closes down stretch of Fifth Avenue at Trump Tower to paint Black Lives Matter mural. When the Black Lives Matter mural was announced, Trump called it a ‘symbol of hate.’ NBC News, Ben Kesslen and Phil Helsel, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “New York City on Thursday shut down a block of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower to paint a Black Lives Matter mural. The mural, between 56th and 57th streets, was called a ‘symbol of hate’ by President Donald Trump, who said it would be ‘denigrating’ Fifth Avenue, known for expensive apartments and luxury shopping. City workers closed the street Thursday morning, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton, joined in and helped paint, NBC New York reported. Trump in a phone interview with Fox News commentator and frequent defender Sean Hannity on Thursday night seemed to suggest de Blasio was being ungrateful for federal assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic. The president said ‘I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio’ and he mentioned things like ventilators, masks and hospital help. ‘I got that man everything, I spoke to him many times,’ Trump told Hannity. ‘He couldn’t have been nicer — and then he throws a big “Black Lives Matter” sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue.'”

General Mark A. Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Calls for ‘Hard Look’ at Renaming Bases Honoring Confederates. He told a House hearing that ‘there is no place in our armed forces for manifestations or symbols of racism, bias or discrimination.’ The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The top military official in the United States called on Thursday for taking “a hard look” at changing the names of Army bases honoring Confederate officers who had fought against the Union during the Civil War, disagreeing with President Trump and further exposing a divide between the military and the president. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Mr. Trump’s senior military adviser, told a House hearing that the base names had become an issue of ‘divisiveness.’ Ten Army bases that honor Confederate generals who fought to defend the slaveholding South have been the focus of a growing movement for change. ‘There is no place in our armed forces for manifestations or symbols of racism, bias or discrimination,’ General Milley said. ‘The Confederacy, the American Civil War, was fought, and it was an act of rebellion,’ he said. ‘It was an act of treason, at the time, against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution. Those officers turned their back on their oath.’ General Milley had warned White House officials this month that he planned to give his unvarnished opinion to Congress if the base issue came up, an administration official said. But his assessment was nonetheless likely to anger the president, who has made clear his disdain for both the waves of demonstrations for racial justice that swept the country last month and the calls to rename the Confederate bases.” See also, General Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Confederates committed ‘treason.’ He backs a review of Army bases named after those who fought against the Union. Politico, Connor O’Brien, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Thursday condemned Confederate leaders as traitors and said he supports a review of Army bases named after those who fought against the Union, a viewpoint that puts him at odds with the commander in chief. Pressed by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) about the 10 Army installations named for Confederate leaders, Milley told the House Armed Services Committee that the military needs ‘to take a hard look at the symbology’ of the Civil War — such as base names, display of the Confederate battle flag and statues — as well as improve in other areas such as ‘the substance of promotions.’ ‘The American Civil War … was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution — and those officers turned their backs on their oath,’ Milley said. ‘Now, some have a different view of that. Some think it’s heritage. Others think it’s hate.'”

Geoffrey S. Berman, Top Manhattan Prosecutor Ousted by Trump, Details His Firing, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Benjamin Weiser, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Geoffrey S. Berman, whom President Trump abruptly dismissed last month as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, told lawmakers on Thursday that Attorney General William P. Barr tried unsuccessfully to pressure him to resign voluntarily, warning that being fired could ruin his career. Testifying privately before the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Berman recounted being summoned with no warning in June to a meeting with Mr. Barr at the Pierre Hotel in New York. The attorney general asked him to step down and offered him prominent government posts if he would do so. Mr. Berman said he rebuffed Mr. Barr time and again during what he described as a tense, 45-minute discussion, telling him he would not resign and he did not want to be fired. Mr. Barr repeatedly tried to change Mr. Berman’s mind, he testified, warning ‘that getting fired from my job would not be good for my résumé or future job prospects. I told the attorney general that there were important investigations in the office that I wanted to see through to completion,’ Mr. Berman told the committee members.” See also, Geoffrey Berman, ousted U.S. attorney who investigated Trump associates, says Attorney General William Barr pushed him to resign and take another job, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Ellen Nakashima, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Attorney General William P. Barr repeatedly pressured then-U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman to resign last month and take another job — including as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission — to clear the way for President Trump to install a political ally as the leader of the powerful federal prosecutors’ office in Manhattan. Berman, who testified privately before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, described in a written statement the unusual sequence of events that led to his departure June 20.”

Inspector General Says NOAA Officials Feared Firings After Trump’s Inaccurate Claim That Hurricane Dorian Would Hit Alabama, The New York Times, Christopher Flavelle and Lisa Friedman, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration felt that his job and the jobs of others would be in jeopardy if the agency did not rebuke forecasters who contradicted President Trump’s inaccurate claim last year about the path of Hurricane Dorian, a government report found. The inspector general’s report examined the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s insistence that Hurricane Dorian was headed toward Alabama, which National Weather Service forecasters in Alabama contradicted. It found a politicized process that investigators described as having ‘significant flaws’ in which late-night demands from White House led to urgent intercontinental telephone calls, text messages and emails that culminated in a controversial NOAA statement criticizing the forecasters. The inspector general, Peggy E. Gustafson, placed blame largely with top aides to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross Jr., whose agency oversees NOAA, and who were tasked with coordinating the Sept. 6 unsigned statement suggesting that the president was right, and that Alabama forecasters had acted improperly by suggesting otherwise. She called that statement ‘contrary to the apolitical mission’ of the science agency and described it as ‘the end result of events triggered by an external demand placed on Secretary Ross — specifically, a request from the White House to, in Secretary Ross’s words, “close the gap” between President Trump’s statement and the NWS Birmingham tweet.’ She did not find ‘credible evidence’ that top Commerce Department officials explicitly threatened to fire Neil Jacobs, then the acting administrator of NOAA. But Dr. Jacobs told investigators that he ‘definitely felt like … jobs were on the line’ if he refused to counter his own weather forecasters.” See also, Investigation rebukes Commerce Department for siding with Trump over forecasters during Hurricane Dorian. Report confirms Commerce officials responded to orders from the White House. The Washington Post, Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The Commerce Department inspector general issued a delayed and harshly critical report laying out how political pressure originating from the White House resulted in the issuance of a poorly crafted and unsigned National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) statement on Sept. 6, 2019. That statement backed President Trump’s erroneous claims that Hurricane Dorian was likely to severely impact Alabama and criticized the agency’s own meteorologists. That statement, the inspector general found, damaged NOAA’s reputation for issuing apolitical guidance and eroded public trust in an agency tasked with protecting life and property. The report, however, contains no recommendations for punishing officials or major changes to department policies and procedures.”

Lawsuits Aim to Block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s New Sexual Misconduct Rules, The New York Times, Erica L. Green, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “Students, women’s rights and education groups are suing to block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s campus sexual assault rules from taking effect next month, with plaintiffs as young as 10 joining arguments that the rules will harm students and burden institutions. Last week, seven students joined a lawsuit the National Women’s Law Center filed against the Education Department, outlining how the new rules, which bolster the rights of the accused and relieve schools of some liability, stand to derail their cases or deter them from pursuing them altogether.”

6 Takeaways From the Biden-Sanders Joint Task Force Proposals. Signature progressive programs like ‘Medicare for all’ and the Green New Deal did not make it into the recommendations. But Senator Bernie Sanders’s allies pushed some policies to the left. The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Lisa Friedman, Dana Goldstein, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Margot Sanger-Katz, and Jim Tankersley, Thursday, 9 July 2020: “The new policy recommendations for Joseph R. Biden Jr., crafted jointly by allies of Mr. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, are the clearest sign yet that the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party are trying to unite far more than they did in 2016. But the ideas put forth on Wednesday are also indications that progressives succeeded in pushing some proposals leftward, influencing Mr. Biden’s policy platform as he prepares to accept his party’s nomination for president next month.”