Trump Administration, Week 183: Friday, 17 July – Thursday, 23 July 2020 (Days 1,274-1,280)



Participants at a gathering in Williamstown, MA, on Friday, 17 July, calling for a name change for Williamstown’s Colonial Village and for a law to address a racist covenant. Section ‘f’ of the ‘Protective Covenants and Restrictions’ written when the Colonial Village neighborhood off Main Street (Route 2) was developed in 1939 reads: ‘No persons of any race other than the white race shall use or occupy any buildings or any lot, except that this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of a different race domiciled with an owner or tenant.’ See ‘On the Books, Unenforceable; Restrictive Covenant an Echo of Williamstown’s Racist Legacy’ by Stephen Dravis in iBerkshires. See also, Representative John Barrett Answers Williamstown Residents’ Call for Law to Address Racist Covenant by Stephen Dravis in iBerkshires.


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.


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Friday, 17 July 2020, Day 1,274:


John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80. Images of his beating at Selma shocked the nation and led to swift passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He was later called the conscience of the Congress. The New York Times, Katharine Q. Seelye, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Representative John Lewis, a son of sharecroppers and an apostle of nonviolence who was bloodied at Selma and across the Jim Crow South in the historic struggle for racial equality, and who then carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress, died on Friday. He was 80. His death was confirmed in a statement by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, announced on Dec. 29 that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and vowed to fight it with the same passion with which he had battled racial injustice. ‘I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,’ he said. On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, Mr. Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. More than a half-century later, after the killing in May of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody in Minneapolis, Mr. Lewis welcomed the resulting global demonstrations against police killings of Black people and, more broadly, against systemic racism in many corners of society. He saw those protests as a continuation of his life’s work, though his illness had left him to watch from the sidelines.” See also, John Lewis’s Legacy and America’s Redemption. The civil-rights leader, who died Friday, acknowledged the darkest chapters of the country’s history, yet he insisted that change is always possible. The New Yorker, David Remnick, published on Saturday, 18 July 2020: “John Robert Lewis was born in 1940 near the Black Belt town of Troy, Alabama. His parents were sharecroppers, and he grew up spending Sundays with a great-grandfather who was born into slavery, and hearing about the lynchings of Black men and women that were still a commonplace in the region. When Lewis was a few months old, the manager of a chicken farm named Jesse Thornton was lynched about twenty miles down the road, in the town of Luverne. His offense was referring to a police officer by his first name, not as ‘Mister.’ A mob pursued Thornton, stoned and shot him, then dumped his body in a swamp; it was found, a week later, surrounded by vultures. These stories, and the realities of Jim Crow-era segregation, prompted Lewis to become an American dissident. Steeped in the teachings of his church and the radio sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr., he left home for Nashville, to study theology and the tactics of nonviolent resistance. King teased him as ‘the boy from Troy,’ the youngest face at the forefront of the movement. In a long career as an activist, Lewis was arrested forty-five times and beaten repeatedly by the police and by white supremacists, most famously in Selma, on March 7, 1965—Bloody Sunday—when he helped lead six hundred people marching for voting rights. After they had peacefully crossed a bridge, Alabama troopers attacked, using tear gas, clubs, and bullwhips. Within moments of their charge, Lewis lay unconscious, his skull fractured. He later said, ‘I thought I was going to die.’… Too often in this country, seeming progress is derailed, reversed, or overwhelmed. Bloody Sunday led directly to the passage of the Voting Rights Act––and yet suppressing the Black vote is a pillar of today’s Republican Party strategy. The election of the first African-American President was followed by a bigot running for election, and now reëlection, on a platform of racism and resentment.” See also, John Lewis, front-line civil rights leader and eminence of Capitol Hill, dies at 80, The Washington Post, Laurence I. Barrett, Friday, 17 July 2020: “John Lewis, a civil rights leader who preached nonviolence while enduring beatings and jailings during seminal front-line confrontations of the 1960s and later spent more than three decades in Congress defending the crucial gains he had helped achieve for people of color, has died. He was 80….  Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, announced his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 29 and said he planned to continue working amid treatment. ‘I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,’ he said in a statement. ‘I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.'”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 17 July 2020: U.S. Reports More Than 70,000 New Coronavirus Cases for the Second Time, The New York Times, Friday, 17 July 2020:

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 17 July 2020: Lowe’s and Home Depot to Require Customers to Wear Masks, The New York Times, Friday, 17 July 2020:

  • Home Depot and Lowe’s join other retailers with mask mandates.
  • Steven Mnuchin says Congress should consider forgiving some small loans.
  • More stimulus should go to the hardest hit, the Treasury secretary says.
  • Waiting for the world to go back to the beach.
  • Two former Federal Reserve chairs push for more economic relief.
  • Wall Street notches its third weekly gain in a row.
  • Watch: White House officials testify on small-business aid.
  • British Airways retires its fleet of Boeing 747s, ending an era.
  • Airbnb was like a family. Then the layoffs started.

Continue reading Week 183, Friday, 17 July – Thursday, 23 July 2020 (Days 1,274-1,280)

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 17 July 2020: Top nine brick-and-mortar retailers now require coronavirus masks in U.S. stores, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Teo Armus, Rick Noack, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, Derek Hawkins, Hannah Denham, and Adam Taylor, Friday, 17 July 2020: “The nine largest brick-and-mortar retail companies, which the National Retail Federation ranks based on global sales, have adopted new policies to require customers to wear masks inside U.S. stores. Costco began enforcing masks on May 4, but two months passed before other top retailers followed suit. Walmart, Inc. seemed to have triggered a corporate landslide this week with its announcement on Wednesday that masks would be required in its namesake stores and Sam’s Club locations. Seven more of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. announced similar policies within two days: KrogerCVS HealthWalgreensTargetAlbertsons Companies (which owns Safeway, Tom Thumb, and Acme, among other brands). Lowe’s and Home Depot both announced mask requirements Friday.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The number of new infections reported each day is reaching dizzying new heights. On Friday, the daily U.S. caseload topped 75,000, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
  • Covid-19 deaths in the United States have begun to rise again. In some of the worst-hit states, especially across the South and the West, new death records are being set daily. Public health specialists say the numbers are almost certain to continue to climb.
  • The character assault by some top White House advisers on Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, has produced a chilling effect among the government scientists and public health professionals laboring to end the pandemic.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday announced new guidelines that will bar schools in 32 hot-spot counties from reopening in the fall unless they meet strict standards for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said Friday the state’s schools must resume in-person instruction.
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) blasted Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp (R), for suing to block her city’s mask ordinance, accusing him of ‘putting politics over people.’
  • An unpublished report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force suggests that nearly 20 hard-hit states should enact tougher public health measures.
  • President Trump faces rising disapproval and widespread distrust on coronavirus, according to a new Post-ABC poll.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Rancor between scientists and Trump allies threatens pandemic response as coronavirus cases surge, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Laurie McGinley, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Friday, 17 July 2020: “This week’s remarkable character assault by some top White House advisers on Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, signified President Trump’s hostility toward medical expertise and has produced a chilling effect among the government scientists and public health professionals laboring to end the pandemic, according to administration officials and health experts. As novel coronavirus cases surge out of control coast to coast, the open rancor between the scientific community and a White House determined above all to resuscitate the economy and secure a second term for Trump threatens to further undermine the U.S. response, which already lags behind those of many other developed nations. A chorus of voices — including Fauci; Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and even Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff during the start of the pandemic — has been speaking out publicly and with increasing urgency about the crisis in ways that contradict or undermine Trump. Some of them have sharply criticized testing capacities and efficiencies, suggested that everyone wear masks and warned of the virus spread worsening.”

It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now Covid-19 deaths are, too. The Washington Post, Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, Friday, 17 July 2020: “For weeks this summer, it was a seeming paradox of the coronavirus pandemic: cases in the United States were rising but deaths were falling. To the Trump administration, this was evidence that its strategy for combating covid-19 was working. To medical experts, it was only a matter of time before the trajectory changed. And now it has. Nationwide, deaths have begun to rise again. In some of the worst-hit states, especially across the South and the West, new death records are being set daily. As a virus-scarred summer wears on, public health specialists say the numbers are almost certain to continue to climb.” See also, After the Recent Surge in Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Are Now Rising Too, The New York Times, Lauren Leatherby, Friday, 17 July 2020: “The reopening and relaxing of social distancing restrictions in some states may be contributing to the first noticeable nationwide increase in coronavirus fatalities since April, when the pandemic initially peaked. The number of cases in late June surged higher than during the outbreak’s first peak. At this same time, daily Covid-19 fatalities decreased slightly, leading President Trump to proclaim that deaths were ‘way down.’ But that divergence may have come to an end last week, when the average number of new deaths per day began steadily rising again. Public health experts have pointed to a few factors that help explain why the death count was initially flat. Treatment has improved and young people, who are less likely to die from Covid-19, make up a larger share of new cases. Additionally, more widespread testing means cases are caught sooner, on average. That means that the lag between diagnosis and death would be longer than in March, when tests were in critically short supply. That lag may have come to an end last week, as the number of new deaths began to rise. Many of the states that reopened early are the ones seeing the biggest increases, while New York, the country’s hardest-hit city, has seen a 64 percent drop since June 1.”

Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee say the White House is blocking CDC director Robert Redfield from appearing before Congress, Politico, Bianca Quinlantan, Friday, 17 July 2020: “The White House is blocking CDC officials from testifying next week at a hearing on reopening schools, the House Education and Labor Committee told POLITICO on Friday. Separately, the CDC confirmed that more guidance for opening schools won’t be released until later this month. Committee Chair Bobby Scott had invited CDC Director Robert Redfield, or a designee, to testify before the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee on July 23 at a hearing on safely reopening schools. The chair asked Redfield to discuss the immediate needs of K-12 public schools as many districts look to reopen in the fall. Aides, speaking on background, said the committee was told that Redfield would not appear, at the direction of the White House. The White House and CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.” See also, White House blocks CDC from testifying next week on reopening schools, CNN Politics, Jim Acosta, Friday, 17 July 2020: “The White House is blocking US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials from the agency from testifying before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on reopening schools next week, just as the debate over sending children back to classrooms has flared up across the US.”

Federal Agents Unleash Militarized Crackdown on Portland, The New York Times, Sergio Olmos, Mike Baker, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Federal agents dressed in camouflage and tactical gear have taken to the streets of Portland, unleashing tear gas, bloodying protesters and pulling some people into unmarked vans in what Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon has called ‘a blatant abuse of power.’ The extraordinary use of federal force in recent days, billed as an attempt to tamp down persistent unrest and protect government property, has infuriated local leaders who say the agents have stoked tensions. ‘This is an attack on our democracy,’ Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland said. The strife in Portland, which has had 50 consecutive days of protests, reflects the growing fault lines in law enforcement as President Trump threatens an assertive federal role in how cities manage a wave of national unrest after George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police. One Portland demonstrator, Mark Pettibone, 29, said he had been part of the protests before four people in camouflage jumped out of an unmarked van around 2 a.m. Wednesday. They had no obvious markings or identification, he said, and he had no idea who they were. ‘One of the officers said, “It’s OK, it’s OK,” and just grabbed me and threw me into the van,’ Mr. Pettibone said. ‘Another officer pulled my beanie down so I couldn’t see.’ Mr. Pettibone said that he was terrified — protesters in the city have in the past clashed with far-right militia groups also wearing camouflage and tactical gear — and that at no point was he told why he was arrested or detained, or what agency the officers were with. He said he was held for about two hours before being released. ‘It felt like I was being hunted for no reason,’ Mr. Pettibone said. ‘It feels like fascism.'” See also, ‘It was like being preyed upon’: Portland protesters say federal officers in unmarked vans are detaining them, The Washington Post, Katie Shepherd and Mark Berman, Friday, 17 July 2020. See also, Are the Actions of Federal Agents in Portland, Oregon, Legal? The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 17 July 2020: “The Department of Homeland Security’s deployment of federal agents to Portland, Ore., has shown the broad legal authority an agency created to protect the United States from national security threats has to crack down on American citizens. After President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to send personnel to protect monuments, statues and federal property during continuing protests against racism and police brutality, the Department of Homeland Security formed ‘rapid deployment teams.’ Those are made up of officers from Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard and Immigration and Customs Enforcement who back up the Federal Protective Service, which is already responsible for protecting federal property. Videos showing federal agents using tear gas on protesters and complaints that federal agents lacking insignia are pulling people from the streets have raised questions over the legal authority that homeland security officials have to crack down on citizens. In Portland, federal agents have acted against the expressed opposition of the local authorities.” See also, What the Heck Are Federal Law Enforcement Officers Doing in Portland? Law Fare, Steve Vladeck, Friday, 17 June 2020: “Today marks the 50th straight day of protests in Portland, Oregon—which have been ongoing since shortly after the May 25 murder of George Floyd. The protests have been largely peaceful, but there have been several well-documented episodes of violence, vandalism and property damage. In the past few days, however, the protests have been met with what appears to be a significant federal law enforcement response—the contours of (and legal authorities for) which are, at best, unclear. By all appearances, there are now at least 100 federal law enforcement officers on the ground in Portland. But media reports suggest that many of those officers (a) are not wearing identifiable uniforms or other insignia, (b) are not driving marked law enforcement vehicles, and (c) are not identifying themselves either publicly or even to those whom they have detained and arrested. Making matters worse, local authorities—from the mayor to the sheriff to the governor—have repeatedly insisted not only that they don’t want federal assistance but that the federal response is aggravating the situation on the ground. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, in contrast, has repeatedly taken to Twitter to claim that local authorities are refusing to restore order—albeit with only vague references to which federal laws are not being enforced (and repeated allusions to ‘graffiti’ and other property damage by ‘violent anarchists’).”

Pentagon Sidesteps Trump to Ban the Confederate Flag, The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Friday, 17 July 2020: “The Pentagon, without once mentioning the word ‘Confederate,’ announced a policy on Friday that essentially banned displays of the Confederate flag on military installations around the world. In a carefully worded memo that Defense Department officials said they hoped would avoid igniting another defense of the flag from President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper issued guidance that listed the types of flags that could be displayed on military installations — in barracks, on cars and on signs. According to the guidance, appropriate flags include those of American states and territories, military services and other countries that are allies of the United States. The guidance never specifically says that Confederate flags are banned, but they do not fit in any of the approved categories — and any such flags are prohibited.” See also, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper effectively bans Confederate flags from military bases while rejecting ‘divisive symbols,’ The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper effectively banned displays of the Confederate battle flag on U.S. military installations, saying in a memo Friday that the ‘flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.’ The memo does not explicitly mention Confederate banners but states that the American flag is the ‘principal flag we are authorized and encouraged to display.’ Esper chose not to name any specific, prohibited flag ‘to ensure the departmentwide policy would be apolitical and withstand potential free speech political challenges but that the services are still free to act on other flags,’ according to a defense official familiar with the secretary’s decision.” See also, Defense Secretary Mark Esper Bars Troops From Flying the Confederate Flag, The Wall Street Journal, Nancy A. Youssef, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday effectively banned troops from flying the Confederate flag, bypassing President Trump’s expressed reluctance to call for such a move. The defense chief’s two-page memo to the military makes no mention of the Confederate flag. Rather, it specifies 10 other kinds of flags that troops are authorized to fly, including the American flag, POW/MIA flag and ‘presidentially-appointed Senate-confirmed civilian flags.’ ‘With this change in policy, we will further improve the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the force in defense of our great Nation,’ the memo read.”

Trump properties have made over $17 million from the campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) since 2016, CNBC, Brian Schwartz, Friday, 17 July 2020: “President Donald Trump’s properties have made over $17 million from the Trump campaign and his joint fundraising committees since 2016. That includes close to $400,000 recently paid by Trump Victory, Trump’s joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee, to the Trump Hotel Collection. The payments to the president’s business came in the second quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic was spreading. The payments were largely for the RNC donor retreat at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort in early March, just before the end of the first quarter, according to a Republican official familiar with the matter.”

Biden’s School Plan Draws Clear Contrast with Trump’s, The New York Times, Katie Glueck, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday released his plan for reopening classrooms amid the coronavirus crisis, emphasizing both deference to local decision-making and federal assistance to schools, and setting up yet another sharp contrast with President Trump, who has insisted that schools should rapidly resume in-person classes. Also Friday, Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, indicated that he had begun receiving intelligence briefings, and issued a stark warning about foreign interference in the election based on the reports he was receiving, naming Russia and China specifically as two actors engaged in meddling.” See also, Biden urges flexible school openings, The Washington Post, Matt Viser, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Joe Biden on Friday released a new plan on how public schools should approach reopening this school year, contrasting sharply with President Trump’s message that every school in the nation should reopen completely or risk having its funding cut. Biden urged caution, saying that each district should make its own decisions based on local conditions, and that schools in areas with high infection rates should not reopen too soon. He also called on Congress to pass new emergency funding to help the schools. ‘If we do this wrong, we will put lives at risk and set our economy and our country back,’ the Biden campaign wrote in a plan released Friday afternoon.”

Jamaal Bowman ousts longtime incumbent Eliot Engel in New York Democratic primary, CNN Politics, Gregory Krieg and Kate Sullivan, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman has defeated Rep. Eliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs chairman, in a hotly contested New York Democratic primary, CNN projected Friday. Bowman’s victory is an extraordinary rebuke to the Democratic Party establishment both in New York and on Capitol Hill — and reason for new optimism among progressives in the wake of Sens. Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warren’s failed presidential primary bids.” See also, Progressive Jamaal Bowman Is Projected to Defeat Longtime Representative Eliot Engel in the Democratic Primary for New York’s 16th Congressional District, NPR, Elena Moore, Friday, 17 July 2020: “Challenger Jamaal Bowman has defeated longtime U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel in the Democratic primary for New York’s 16th Congressional District, The Associated Press projects. The victory by the education advocate and former middle school principal is a win for New York’s progressive movement, coming two years after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez topped another longtime Democrat in a neighboring district. And Bowman’s victory reflects a surge in support in recent weeks for some younger, more diverse progressive candidates.”


Saturday, 18 July 2020, Day 1,275:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 18 July, 2020: Trump Administration Aims to Block New Funding for Coronavirus Testing and Tracing, The New York Times, Saturday, 18 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Coronavirus. The roots of the nation’s current inability to control the pandemic can be traced to mid-April, when the White House embraced overly rosy projections to proclaim victory and move on. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Noah Weiland, Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman, and David E. Sanger, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “Each morning at 8 as the coronavirus crisis was raging in April, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, convened a small group of aides to steer the administration through what had become a public health, economic and political disaster. Seated around Mr. Meadows’s conference table and on a couch in his office down the hall from the Oval Office, they saw their immediate role as practical problem solvers. Produce more ventilators. Find more personal protective equipment. Provide more testing. But their ultimate goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic from the White House to the states. They referred to this as ‘state authority handoff,’ and it was at the heart of what would become at once a catastrophic policy blunder and an attempt to escape blame for a crisis that had engulfed the country — perhaps one of the greatest failures of presidential leadership in generations. Over a critical period beginning in mid-April, President Trump and his team convinced themselves that the outbreak was fading, that they had given state governments all the resources they needed to contain its remaining embers and that it was time to ease up on the lockdown. In doing so, he was ignoring warnings that the numbers would continue to drop only if social distancing was kept in place, rushing instead to restart the economy and tend to his battered re-election hopes.” See also, Inside the Failure: 5 Takeaways on Trump’s effort to Shift Responsibility, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “President Trump and his top aides decided to shift primary responsibility for the coronavirus response to the states during a critical period of weeks in mid-April, eagerly seizing on overly optimistic predictions that the pandemic was fading so the president could reopen the economy and focus on his re-election, a New York Times investigation found. The investigation revealed that critical decisions about the handling of the virus during that crucial period were made not by the better known coronavirus task force, but by a small group of White House aides who convened each morning in the office of Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff…. Despite warnings from state officials and other public health experts, Mr. Trump stuck to a deliberate strategy by pushing responsibility onto the states almost immediately after introducing reopening guidelines. Then he quickly undermined the guidelines by urging Democratic governors to ‘liberate’ their states from those very restrictions. Interviews with more than two dozen senior administration officials, state and local health officials, and a review of emails and documents, show how a critical period in mid-April set the nation on a course to a new surge, with the United States logging more than 65,000 new cases of the virus each day.”

Trump administration pushing to block new money for coronavirus testing and contact tracing and the CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief bill, The Washington Post, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “The Trump administration is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, people involved in the talks said Saturday. The administration is also trying to block billions of dollars that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions more for the Pentagon and State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad, the people said. The administration’s posture has angered some GOP senators, the officials said, and some lawmakers are trying to push back and ensure that the money stays in the bill. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal confidential deliberations, cautioned that the talks were fluid and the numbers were in flux.” See also, Trump Administration Balks at Funding for Testing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) in Virus Relief Bill. Senate Republicans were infuriated after the Trump administration objected to provisions in a draft proposal, including allocating $25 billion to testing and contact tracing. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “The Trump administration has balked at providing billions of dollars to fund coronavirus testing and shore up federal health agencies as the virus surges across the country, complicating efforts to reach agreement on the next round of pandemic aid. Senate Republicans had drafted a proposal that would allocate $25 billion in grants to states for conducting testing and contact tracing, as well as about $10 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and about $15 billion for the National Institutes of Health, according to a person familiar with the tentative plans, who cautioned that the final dollar figures remained in flux. They had also proposed providing $5.5 billion to the State Department and $20 billion to the Pentagon to help counter the virus outbreak and potentially distribute a vaccine at home and abroad. But in talks over the weekend, administration officials instead pushed to zero out the funding for testing and for the nation’s top health agencies, and to cut the Pentagon funding to $5 billion, according to another person familiar with the discussions. The people asked for anonymity to disclose private details of the talks, which were first reported by The Washington Post.”

Large Study Finds Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “In the heated debate over reopening schools, one burning question has been whether and how efficiently children can spread the virus to others. A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do. The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned.”

Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) Memo Says Federal Agents Deployed in Portland Didn’t Have Proper Training, The New York Times, Sergio Olmos, Mike Baker, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “The federal agents facing a growing backlash for their militarized approach to weeks of unrest in Portland were not specifically trained in riot control or mass demonstrations, an internal Department of Homeland Security memo warned this week. The message, dated Thursday, was prepared by the agency for Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, as he arrived in Portland to view the scene in person, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The New York Times. It listed federal buildings in the city and issues officers faced in protecting them. The memo, seemingly anticipating future encounters with protesters in other cities as the department follows President Trump’s guidance to crack down on unrest, warns: ‘Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies.’ The tactical agents deployed by Homeland Security include officials from a group known as BORTAC, the Border Patrol’s equivalent of a S.W.A.T. team, a highly trained group that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations, as opposed to protesters in cities.” See also, White anti-mask protesters jeered a black pastor demanding Tulsa race massacre reparations, The Washington Post, DeNeen L. Brown, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “A group of white anti-mask demonstrators jeered a black pastor outside Tulsa’s City Hall this week as he demanded reparations for the 1921 race massacre. The confrontation took place Wednesday as the Rev. Robert Turner delivered his weekly message about the need for reparations for one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. A group of white people protesting Tulsa’s new mask ordinance swarmed him, poured water on him and grabbed at his bullhorn. A video shows the group shouting, ‘USA! USA! USA!’ as Turner began his sermon explaining the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which left as many as 300 black people dead and leveled a 40-square block area of the all-black community of Greenwood. On Monday, Tulsa broke ground in its search for suspected mass graves from the century-old massacre.”

Death of John Lewis Fuels Movement to Rename Edmund Pettus Bridge. The bridge became a flash point on March 7, 1965, as protesters, led by Mr. Lewis and other civil rights leaders, were stopped and beaten by state troopers as they marched to Alabama’s capital. The New York Times, Allyson Waller, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “The death of Representative John Lewis on Friday has renewed interest in a campaign to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the site of a turning point in the fight for civil rights. Named after a former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader, the bridge became the focus of national attention on March 7, 1965, when Alabama state troopers beat demonstrators who were marching for Black voting rights in what became known as Bloody Sunday. Mr. Lewis, who was then the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, helped lead the march and sustained a cracked skull after a state trooper beat him to the ground with a nightstick. Mr. Lewis returned to Selma every year to commemorate the anniversary of the march, whose destination was the state capital in Montgomery. An online petition created last month to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Mr. Lewis has garnered over 400,000 signatures, including that of the director Ava DuVernay, whose Oscar-nominated film ‘Selma’ recreated the Bloody Sunday confrontation.”

Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan pay tribute to John Lewis using the photo of a different black congressman, Elijah Cummings, who died in October, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “Like many of their colleagues, GOP Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) posted tributes to Rep. John Lewis on Saturday and aimed to include photos of themselves with the civil rights icon who died Friday. Rubio even made the image his Twitter profile picture. There was just one problem. The photos they each posted were of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who died in October. ‘It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with John Lewis a genuine & historic American hero,’ Rubio tweeted with the photo of himself and Cummings. ‘It was an honor to have served alongside John for a small portion of his impressive career of service, and to have joined him at the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a years-long effort of the congressman,’ Sullivan wrote on Facebook with the photo of himself and Cummings outside the museum. The response on Twitter was a mix of anger and ridicule, with many users posting photos of various white Republican congressmen and labeling them Rubio, whose blunder happened first. Others chided the senators for the faux pas of mixing up two people of color, especially given that they had interacted with both of them in person.” See also, 2 Republican Senators, Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan, Post Photos of Elijah Cummings in John Lewis Tributes, The New York Times, Christina Morales, Saturday, 18 July 2020: “Like thousands of other Americans, Senators Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan took to social media on Saturday to mourn the death of Representative John Lewis, a venerated figure of the civil rights movement. ‘It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with John Lewis a genuine & historic American hero,’ Mr. Rubio said in a tweet on Saturday afternoon. ‘May the Lord grant him eternal peace.’ Except the photo Mr. Rubio posted was not of Mr. Lewis, but of another congressman: Representative Elijah E. Cummings, who died in October. Mr. Rubio also used the photo of himself with Mr. Cummings as his Twitter profile picture for a brief time. Mr. Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, also memorialized Mr. Lewis with a photo of Mr. Cummings. In the picture he posted to his Facebook account, Mr. Sullivan is standing beside Mr. Cummings in front of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.”


Sunday, 19 July 2020, Day 1,277:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 19 July 2020: Despite Masks’ Proven Value, Some U.S. Leaders Avoid Mandates, The New York Times, Sunday, 19 July 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 19 July 2020: State and local officials warn they lack key resources to confront surge in coronavirus cases, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Felicia Sonmez, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations climb, state and local officials nationwide are sounding the alarm, warning that they are missing key resources to confront the surge. They are weighing new restrictions and complaining of persistent backlogs in the mass-testing systems considered key to tracking and containing the virus, as the Trump administration seeks to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing and billions more that Republican lawmakers want to give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Labs in some places are taking a week or longer to provide test results, and health experts say such wait times render tests near-useless in controlling the virus’s rampant spread. ‘The national testing scene is a complete disgrace,’ Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said Sunday on NBC News’s ‘Meet the Press,’ adding that tests sent to out-of-state private labs were taking as long as nine days to return results.

Here are some other significant developments:
  • The United States’ seven-day average for new daily coronavirus cases has now increased for 41 straight days; on Sunday, that average was about 66,300. The country reported 518 new deaths in a day, the highest Sunday tally since the end of May. Four states — Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina — on Sunday set records for new known infections, while 14 states broke records for their average new cases.
  • Endangered GOP senators are under pressure as the Senate considers new virus measures. They face particular scrutiny over the impending expiration of an additional $600 per week in unemployment insurance by July 31, as 20 million to 30 million people remain out of work.
  • Six months after the coronavirus appeared in the United States, the nation’s ineffective response has shocked observers worldwide.
  • Worldwide, coronavirus-related deaths have surpassed 600,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. In the United States, deaths have started to rise in many states after declining nationally, with eight states on Sunday reporting a seven-day average in daily new fatalities more than 40 percent higher than a week ago.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

The crisis that shocked the world: the response of the Trump administration to the coronavirus, The Washington Post, Joel Achenbach, William Wan, Karin Brulliard, and Chelsea Janes, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “Six months after the coronavirus appeared in America, the nation has failed spectacularly to contain it. The country’s ineffective response has shocked observers around the planet. Many countries have rigorously driven infection rates nearly to zero. In the United States, coronavirus transmission is out of control. The national response is fragmented, shot through with political rancor and culture-war divisiveness. Testing shortcomings that revealed themselves in March have become acute in July, with week-long waits for results leaving the country blind to real-time virus spread and rendering contact tracing nearly irrelevant.”

Trump defends bungled handling of coronavirus with falsehoods and dubious claims on ‘Fox News Sunday’ with Chris Wallace, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that the rising number of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus ‘is what it is,’ defended his fumbled management of the pandemic with a barrage of dubious and false claims, and revealed his lack of understanding about the fundamental science of how the virus spreads and infects people. Making one of his biggest media appearances in months — an hour-long, sit-down interview with ‘Fox News Sunday’ anchor Chris Wallace — Trump was visibly rattled and at times hostile as he struggled to answer for his administration’s failure to contain the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 137,000 lives in the United States. On a range of other topics, including the racial justice movement and the Confederate flag, the president positioned himself firmly outside the political mainstream. And Trump suggested he might not accept the results of November’s general election should he lose because he predicted without evidence that ‘mail-in voting is going to rig the election.’ In a season of remarkable public appearances by [Trump], the Wallace interview was still extraordinary, in part because of the volley of false claims by Trump and aggressive, real-time fact-checking by his questioner.” See also, Fox News’s Chris Wallace just exposed Trump as very few have, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Monday, 20 July 2020: “One of the greatest frustrations President Trump’s foes have is how infrequently he’s called out — in person — on his bizarre theories and his 20,000 falsehoods and misleading claims. While journalists fact-check Trump relentlessly, there are relatively few instances in which he has received pushback to his face, in part because it takes a certain deftness and, arguably in even larger part, because he submits to so few interviews outside the Fox News and conservative media bubble. (There have been a handful of examples, including NBC’s Peter Alexander on multiple occasions.) On Sunday, though, Trump was exposed in a way he simply hasn’t been — and by a Fox News host to boot. Trump’s interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace was a painful affair from start to finish. Wallace is always a good and tough interviewer, unlike the Fox opinion hosts Trump frequents, and he is always prepared, but this was on another level. The interview wasn’t overly adversarial; Wallace was perfectly willing to talk about the things Trump was interested in and to play ball when Trump responded in relatively good faith. It wasn’t slanted; instead it merely raised the very factual counterpoints dealt with frequently in coverage of Trump. And it wasn’t rushed, which meant that Wallace could dig into the points Trump was making without fear of neglecting other topics he wanted to touch on.” See also, Trump Leans Into False Virus Claims in Combative Fox News Interview. Trump grew agitated as he was fact-checked on polling, race relations and the coronavirus response by Chris Wallace of Fox News. The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “An agitated President Trump offered a string of combative and often dubious assertions in an interview aired Sunday, defending his handling of the coronavirus with misleading evidence, attacking his own health experts, disputing polls showing him trailing in his re-election race and defending people who display the Confederate flag as victims of ‘cancel culture.’ The president’s remarks, delivered in an interview on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ amounted to a contentious potpourri more commonly found on his Twitter feed and at his political rallies. The difference this time was a vigorous attempt by the host, Chris Wallace, to fact-check him, leading to several clashes between the two on matters ranging from the coronavirus response to whether Mr. Trump would accept the results of the election should he lose.” See also, Some People ‘Have the Sniffles’: Trump Downplays the Severity of the Coronavirus in an Interview with Chris Wallace on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ NPR, Domenkco Montanaro, Sunday, 19 July 2020. See also, Trump says he is not ready to commit to election results if he loses in November, Boston Globe, Aamer Madhani, Colleen Long, and Will Weissert | The Associated Press, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “Donald Trump is refusing to publicly commit to accepting the results of the upcoming White House election, recalling a similar threat he made weeks before the 2016 vote, as he scoffs at polls showing him lagging behind Democrat Joe Biden. Trump says it’s too early to make such an ironclad guarantee. ‘I have to see. Look … I have to see,’ Trump told moderator Chris Wallace during a wide-ranging interview on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.’ The Biden campaign responded: ‘The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.'”

Amid a Deadly Virus and Crippled Economy, One Form of Aid Has Proved Reliable: Food Stamps. In the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, more than six million people joined a program the Trump administration tried to cut. The New York Times, Jason DeParle, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “More than six million people enrolled in food stamps in the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented expansion that is likely to continue as more jobless people deplete their savings and billions in unemployment aid expires this month. From February to May, the program grew by 17 percent, about three times faster than in any previous three months, according to state data collected by The New York Times. Its rapid expansion is a testament to both the hardship imposed by the pandemic and the importance of a program that until recently drew conservative attack. Among the 42 states for which The Times collected data, caseloads grew in all but one. The rolls have surged across Appalachian hamlets, urban cores like Miami and Detroit, and white-picket-fence suburbs outside Atlanta and Houston, rising faster in rich counties than in poor ones, as the downturn caused by the virus claimed the restaurant, cleaning and gig economy jobs that support the affluent.”

Oregon Sues Federal Government for Grabbing Protesters in Unmarked Vehicles, Slate, Daniel Politi, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “The mayor of Portland, Oregon, blasted the Trump administration Sunday for the way federal agents have been responding to the protests that have engulfed the city over the past weeks. ‘The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent,’ Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, said on CNN. ‘People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars, apparently. They are being denied probable cause. And they are denied due process. They don’t even know who’s pulling them into the vans. The people aren’t identifying themselves. And, as far as I can see, this is completely unconstitutional.’ The mayor criticized the Trump administration’s tactics as Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum late Friday sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Marshals Service in federal court as part of an effort to obtain a court order that would prevent federal agents from arresting people in Portland. Demonstrations against systemic racism have continued nightly in Portland since police killed George Floyd on May 25. Videos from the protests have shown agents arresting protesters and putting them in unmarked SUVs. Rosenblum is seeking a temporary restraining order to ‘immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians.'” See also, Oregon attorney general sues federal agencies for allegedly violating protesters’ civil rights, The Washington Post, Emily Gillespie and Rachel Siegel, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “The Oregon attorney general filed a lawsuit late Friday night alleging that the federal government had violated Oregonians’ civil rights by seizing and detaining them without probable cause during protests against police brutality in the past week. The legal action comes after days of intensifying clashes between the Trump administration and Portland officials, who have accused federal agencies of heavy-handed tactics that inflame unrest and threaten citizens. Department of Homeland Security agents have swarmed the city in recent days, arguing that they are needed to restore order after nearly two months of demonstrations. But local officials, including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D), have implored the agency to step down, with the mayor calling the police force President Trump’s ‘personal army’ and suggesting its tactics are only making things worse. The federal government is ‘overstepping their powers and injuring or threatening peaceful protesters on the streets of Downtown Portland,’ according to a release from the Oregon Department of Justice Friday.”

House Democrats call for Inspector General investigation into use of federal agents in Portland, Axios, Rashaan Auesh, Monday, 20 July 2020: “The chairs of the House Oversight, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees on Sunday called on the inspectors general of the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to open an investigation into the Trump administration’s use of federal agents against protesters in Portland, Oregon. The House Democrats say the agencies ‘appear to have increasingly abused emergency authorities to justify the use of force against Americans exercising their right to peaceful assembly,’ pointing to reports of unidentified federal agents arbitrarily detaining protesters in unmarked vans…. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Sunday called the reported actions of federal law enforcement ‘abhorrent’ and ‘unconstitutional.’ Trump faced similar criticisms over the excessive use of force when federal troops cleared peaceful protesters outside of the White House so that he could walk to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op.”

The Essential and Enduring Strength of John Lewis, The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb, Sunday, 19 July 2020:”By the time John Lewis made his exit from this realm, on Friday, his life had been bound so tightly and for so long to the mythos of the movement for democracy in America that it was difficult to separate him from it. For this reason, a friend who texted me ‘John Lewis is gone, what are we going to do now?’ was not only reacting to grief but expressing a real and common sentiment. Lewis, who spoke at the March on Washington, chaired the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and served seventeen terms in Congress, representing Georgia’s Fifth District, succumbed to pancreatic cancer, a ruthless and efficient plague whose diagnosis is fatal around ninety-five per cent of the time. When he revealed his condition, last December, hope persisted despite those odds, in part because, for many people, the thought of confronting the reactionary, racist, and antidemocratic realities of the Trump era without one of the nation’s most potent symbols of decency was too difficult to countenance. Those contrasts were not merely hypothetical. In 2017, when President Trump announced that he would attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Lewis said that he would not. The then White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, seemed to accuse Lewis of failing to show proper respect for the movement. Months earlier, Trump had attacked the Fifth District as ‘crime-infested’ and suggested that the blame lay with Lewis. I wrote at the time that Trump’s disdain for Lewis betrayed a theme: having never grasped the concept of sacrifice, the President is contemptuous of people whose lives have been defined by it. No criticism that Lewis issued about Trump was as strong an indictment as the simple facts of his life: born to Alabama sharecroppers, stalwart of SNCC, leader, exemplar of humility.”

Whistle-Blower Says Top State Department Officials Enabled Misconduct by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. A newly public copy of the whistle-blower’s complaint says that top officials who were protecting the secretary of state blocked the whistle-blower from addressing the issue internally. The New York Times, Edward Wong, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “A State Department employee who reported witnessing misconduct by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as hearing ‘numerous firsthand accounts’ of such behavior was blocked from further addressing the issue by top department officials who were protecting Mr. Pompeo, according to a newly public copy of the employee’s whistle-blower complaint. The heavily redacted version of the complaint indicates that top officials enabled misconduct by Mr. Pompeo even after the whistle-blower made the concerns known internally — an alleged circle of complicity that was not previously known. After encountering resistance from the department’s executive and legal offices, the whistle-blower filed the complaint with the agency’s Office of the Inspector General, which apparently prompted an investigation into misuse of taxpayer resources by Mr. Pompeo and his wife, Susan. Details of the inquiry into the Pompeos, coming amid a cloud of accusations that critics say shows a pattern of abuse of taxpayer money, have emerged gradually since May, when congressional aides told journalists about it. The inquiry was one of at least two investigations that the inspector general, Steve A. Linick, was conducting into Mr. Pompeo’s actions at the department when President Trump abruptly fired Mr. Linick in May, at the urging of Mr. Pompeo. Mr. Linick, known to be cautious and nonpartisan, had served as inspector general since 2013 and ran an office of hundreds that investigated fraud and waste at the State Department. Three congressional committees are investigating Mr. Pompeo’s role in the firing of Mr. Linick. Critics say Mr. Pompeo, a Trump loyalist, appears to have prodded the president to fire Mr. Linick out of retribution and to avoid accountability. Mr. Pompeo has admitted he knew about at least one of Mr. Linick’s investigations — a nearly completed inquiry into whether Mr. Pompeo acted illegally last year in declaring an emergency to bypass Congress to push through $8.1 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

Democrats demand expansion of voting rights in memory of John Lewis, The Washington Post, Cat Zakrzewski and Haisten Willis, Sunday, 19 July 2020: “Democratic lawmakers said Sunday that they don’t want tweets or condolences to honor civil rights icon John Lewis. They want policymakers to get to work to honor the Georgia congressman’s legacy. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House majority whip, urged President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pass legislation that would expand voting rights in Lewis’s name. ‘It should be the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020,’ Clyburn said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘That’s the way to do it. Words may be powerful, but deeds are lasting.'”


Monday, 20 July 2020, Day 1,277:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates on Monday, 20 July 2020: Republicans Begin New Relief Talks as Hopes Fade for Rapid Recovery, The New York Times, Monday, 20 July 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates on Monday, 20 July 2020: Stocks Erase 2020 Losses as Tech Shares Rally, The New York Times, Monday, 20 July 2020:

  • Tech stocks pull Wall Street into positive territory for 2020 as lawmakers debate pandemic aid.
  • Congressional Republicans and the White House are still debating the next aid bill.
  • Chinese companies are using a contentious labor program for Uighurs to satisfy demand for P.P.E.
  • Google’s virus-tracing apps can allow it to track some users’ locations.
  • The Fed’s bond-buying program draws congressional scrutiny.
  • Delta and United are stepping up safety measures to reassure travelers.
  • Chevron will acquire Noble Energy for $5 billion.
  • Warner Bros. backs off its Aug. 12 release date for ‘Tenet.’
  • Volkswagen begins sales of its crucial electric model.
  • Chief executives gird for a long period of economic pain.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 20 July 2020: Trump embraces face masks as U.S. breaks coronavirus case records, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Brittany Shammas, Hannah Knowles, John Wagner, Taylor Telford, Lateshia Beachum, Reis Thebault, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Monday, 20 July 2020: “President Trump, who has publicly downplayed the importance of face coverings, called mask-wearing ‘Patriotic’ on Monday as more states have mandated face masks amid surging coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths across the country. ‘We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,’ he tweeted, using a phrase many have worried encourages racist targeting of Asians in the pandemic. ‘There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!’ Six months after the virus reached the United States, it continues to disrupt virtually every aspect of daily life — with the country regularly breaking its records for single-day cases — and local leaders are pondering new stay-at-home orders.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Three Coronavirus Vaccine Developers Report Promising Initial Results, The New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick, Monday, 20 July 2020: “The race for a vaccine against the coronavirus intensified on Monday as three competing laboratories released promising results from early trials in humans. Now comes the hard part: proving that any of the vaccines protects against the virus, and establishing how much immunity they provide — and for how long. ‘What this means is that each of these vaccines is worth taking all the way through to a Phase III study,’ said Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, a vaccine researcher at the Baylor College of Medicine. ‘That is it. All it means is worth pursuing.’ Phase III trials test how well a drug works. Two of the vaccine developers — the first, a partnership between Oxford University and the British-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca; the second, the Chinese company CanSino Biologics — published their early results as peer-reviewed studies in The Lancet, a British medical journal. A joint venture between the drug giant Pfizer and the German company BioNTech shared results online before peer review, and invited comparisons to the biotech company Moderna, which uses a similar technology and released early results last week. All the developers that released results on Monday said their vaccines had produced strong immune responses with only minor side effects.”

Florida teachers union sues over return to in-person classes as debate over school during the pandemic intensifies, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Monday, 20 July 2020: “Florida’s largest teachers union sued top state officials Monday over an order mandating a return of in-person schooling, drawing the courts into an increasingly politicized nationwide debate over when and how kids can return to class amid the coronavirus pandemic. The suit from the Florida Education Association asked a judge to stop Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran from requiring the return of in-person schooling without first reducing class sizes and ensuring that educators have adequate protective supplies. The move came as confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus are increasing in many states, including Florida, raising fears in some quarters that a return to brick-and-mortar schools in the fall could put students and teachers at risk and exacerbate the spread of the virus. Others argue that reopening schools is a critical step in a return to normalcy.”

Trump Threatens to Send Federal Law Enforcement Forces to More Cities. As federal agents patrol Portland and head to Chicago, Democrats call the president’s plan ‘an American crisis,’ barely 100 days before the election. The New York Times, Peter Baer, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Monica Davey, Monday, 20 July 2020: “President Trump plans to deploy federal law enforcement to Chicago and threatened on Monday to send agents to other major cities — all controlled by Democrats. Governors and other officials reacted angrily to the president’s move, calling it an election-year ploy as they squared off over crime, civil liberties and local control that has spread from Portland, Ore., across the country. With camouflage-clad agents already sweeping through the streets of Portland, more units were poised to head to Chicago, and Mr. Trump suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and other urban centers. Governors and other officials compared his actions to authoritarianism and vowed to pursue legislation or lawsuits to stop him. The president cast the confrontation in overtly political terms as he seeks an issue that would gain traction with voters at a time when many of his own supporters have soured on his leadership amid a deadly pandemic and economic collapse. Trailing badly in the polls with just over 100 days until the election in November, Mr. Trump assailed the ‘liberal Democrats’ running American cities and tied the issue to his presumptive fall opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. ‘I’m going to do something — that, I can tell you,’ Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. ‘Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these — Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.’ The president portrayed the nation’s cities as out of control. ‘Look at what’s going on — all run by Democrats, all run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by radical left,’ Mr. Trump said. He added: ‘If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell. And we’re not going to let it go to hell.'” See also, Trump signals he will send federal agents to major cities, The Hill, Brett Samuels, Monday, 20 July 2020: “President Trump on Monday signaled he may order federal agents to be deployed to Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and other major cities as he threatens to crack down further on unrest across the country.” See also, Trump expected to send new federal force to Chicago this week to battle violence, but plan’s full scope is a question mark, Chicago Tribune, Gregory Pratt and Jeremy Gorner, Monday, 20 July 2020: “Chicago may see an influx of federal agents as soon as this week as President Donald Trump readies to make good on repeated pledges he would try to tamp down violence here, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for example, is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to the city this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned.”

A Navy Veteran Had a Question for the Federal Officers in Portland. They Beat Him in Response. The veteran said he wanted to ask the officers whether they felt their actions violated the Constitution. Video shows them tear-gassing him and smashing his hand with baton blows. New York Times, John Ismay, Monday, 20 July 2020: “Christopher J. David had largely ignored the protests in downtown Portland, Ore., but when he saw videos of unidentified federal agents grabbing protesters off the street and throwing them into rented minivans, he felt compelled to act. Mr. David, a Navy veteran, said that federal agents’ use of violent tactics against protesters, without the support of the mayor, the governor or local law enforcement, was a violation of the oaths that agents take to support, uphold and defend the Constitution. And so, on Saturday, he took a bus downtown to ask the officers how they squared their actions with that oath. Instead of getting an answer, Mr. David was beaten with a baton by one federal officer as another doused him with pepper spray, according to video footage of the encounter. After he walked away from the confrontation, Mr. David was taken to a nearby hospital, where a specialist said his right hand was broken and would require surgery to install pins, screws and plates. He declined pain medication.” See also, A Navy vet asked federal officers in Portland to remember their oaths. Then they broke his hand. The Washington Post, Marissa J. Lang, Monday, 20 July 2020: “He came to the protest with a question. He left with two broken bones in a confrontation with federal officers that went viral. Christopher David had watched in horror as videos surfaced of federal officers in camouflage throwing protesters into unmarked vans in Portland. The 53-year-old Portland resident had heard the stories: protesters injured, gassed, sprayed with chemicals that tugged at their nostrils and burned their eyes. David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, said he wanted to know what the officers involved thought of the oath they had sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. So, he said, on Saturday evening, he headed to downtown Portland to ask them.” See also, ‘Feds Stay Clear, Moms Are Here’: Portland Mothers Form Human Shield to Protect Protesters from Federal Agents, Common Dreams, Julia Conley, Monday, 21 July 2020: “Angered over the arrival of federal agents in Portland, Oregon, where racial justice protests have been ongoing for nearly two months, dozens of mothers from across the city joined demonstrators over the weekend to form a ‘Wall of Moms.’ The human shield was formed by the mothers to protect hundreds of demonstrators assembling in the city who in the past week have faced attacks and arrests from federal agents under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security. Those units arrived last week, uninvited by city and state officials, and agents have been filmed pulling protesters into unmarked vehicles as well as tear-gassing crowds. ‘We will protect protestors without the use of violence,’ organizers wrote on a Facebook event page for the first Wall of Moms protest, which took place Saturday night. ‘We will shine a light on the unjust narrative being thrown around…protestors are being stripped of their rights.'” See also, Federal agents in unmarked cars and a ‘wall of moms’: Some of what’s happening in Portland, Oregon, USA Today, Ryan W. Miller, Monday, 20 July 2020: “Weeks of protests and the presence of federal authorities in Portland have brought the Oregon city into the national spotlight as tensions rise amid call for racial justice and changes to policing. The city has seen nightly protests for nearly two months following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd was a Black man who died as a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, and his death sparked a national movement and protests to address systemic racism. In Portland, a city where protests are not uncommon, demonstrators and police have clashed for weeks with protesters lighting fires and law enforcement firing tear gas and other munitions. Heightening tensions during the protest is the presence of federal law enforcement agents. Video shared on social media from last week showed what appear to be federal officers in unmarked cars arresting people without explanation, prompting outcry and lawsuits.”

Trump consults Bush torture lawyer John Yoo on how to skirt law and rule by decree, The Guardian, Julian Borger, Monday, 20 July 2020: “The Trump administration has been consulting the former government lawyer who wrote the legal justification for waterboarding on how the president might try to rule by decree.”

Son of Esther Salas, US District Judge in New Jersey, is killed, and her husband is shot and injured, Associated Press, Monday, 20 July 2020: “A gunman shot and killed the 20-year-old son of a federal judge in New Jersey and shot and injured her husband Sunday at the family home, the state’s chief district judge said. The shootings occurred at the North Brunswick home of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and killed her son, Daniel, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson told The Associated Press. Her husband, defense lawyer Mark Anderl, was injured, Wolfson said. The gunman posed as a delivery driver, according to a judiciary official who wasn’t authorized to comment and spoke anonymously to the AP. They said Salas was in the basement at the time and wasn’t injured and her husband is recovering from surgery.” See also, ‘Men’s rights’ lawyer Roy Den Hollander eyed in shooting of New Jersey judge’s family, Associated Press, Maryclaire Dale, Michael Balsamo, and Michael R. Sisak, published on Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “A self-described “anti-feminist” lawyer found dead in the Catskills of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound is the prime suspect in the shooting of a federal judge’s family in New Jersey, the FBI said Monday. Roy Den Hollander, who received media attention including appearances on Fox News and Comedy Central for lawsuits challenging perceived infringements of ‘men’s rights,’ was found dead Monday in Sullivan County, New York, two officials with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press. The FBI said Den Hollander was the ‘primary subject in the attack’ and confirmed he had been pronounced dead but provided no other details. Found among his personal effects was information about another judge, New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, a state court spokesperson said. A day earlier, a gunman posing as a FedEx delivery person went to the North Brunswick, New Jersey, home of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and started shooting, wounding her husband, the defense lawyer Mark Anderl, and killing her son, Daniel Anderl. Salas was at home but in another part of the house and was unharmed, said the officials, who could not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Den Hollander was involved in a lawsuit, filed in 2015, that was being heard by Salas involving a woman who wanted to register for the men-only military draft. In writings posted online, Den Hollander derided the judge as having traded on her Hispanic heritage to get ahead. A package addressed to Salas was found along with Den Hollander’s body, the officials said.” See also, ‘Anti-Feminist’ Lawyer Roy Den Hollander Is Suspect in Killing of Son of Federal judge in New Jersey, The New York Times, Nicole Hong, William K. Rashbaum, and Mihir Zaveri, Monday, 20 July 2020: “Roy Den Hollander was a self-described ‘anti-feminist’ lawyer who flooded the courts with seemingly frivolous lawsuits that sought to eliminate women’s studies programs and prohibit nightclubs from holding ‘ladies’ nights.’ In one of his most recent cases, he openly seethed against a federal judge in New Jersey, Esther Salas, whom he described in a self-published, 1,700-page book as ‘a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.’  Mr. Den Hollander left the case, in which he challenged the male-only United States military draft, last summer, telling a lawyer who replaced him that he had terminal cancer. On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Den Hollander showed up at Judge Salas’s home in North Brunswick, N.J., and fired multiple gunshots, killing the judge’s son and seriously wounding her husband, who is a criminal defense lawyer, investigators said. The judge, who was in the basement at the time, was not injured. The New York State Police found Mr. Den Hollander’s body near Liberty, N.Y. — about a two-hour drive from the judge’s home — after he shot himself in an apparent suicide, officials said. The startling sequence of events was a reminder of the dangers encountered by judges, who typically do not receive special security outside the courthouse unless they face specific threats. Judge Salas worked in one of the busiest courthouses in the country, overseeing dozens of cases at a time involving a wide range of defendants and litigants….  Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, [Roy Den Hollander] filed a lawsuit in Manhattan accusing several prominent news reporters of conspiring together in violation of federal racketeering law to disseminate ‘misleading news reports’ about President Trump.”

St. Louis couple charged for pulling and waving guns during a racial injustice protest outside their mansion, Associated Press, Jim Salter, Monday, 20 July 2020: “St. Louis’ top prosecutor on Monday charged a husband and wife with felony unlawful use of a weapon for displaying guns during a racial injustice protest outside their mansion. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are white, are both personal injury attorneys in their 60s. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner told The Associated Press that their actions risked creating a violent situation during an otherwise nonviolent protest last month. ‘It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis,’ Gardner said. An attorney for the couple, Joel Schwartz, in a statement called the decision to charge ‘disheartening as I unequivocally believe no crime was committed.'”


Tuesday, 21 July 2020, Day 1,278:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 21 July 2020: Trump, in a Departure, Says Virus Will Get Worse, The New York Times, Tuesday, 21 July 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 21 July 2020: Steep Losses Continue for United Airlines, The New York Times, Tuesday, 21 July 2020:

  • United Airlines revenue dropped by nearly 90 percent in the second quarter.
  • President Trump’s hot-button Fed pick moves closer to confirmation.
  • Walmart will close on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Stocks edge higher after E.U. leaders seal stimulus pact.
  • The F.A.A. moves the Boeing 737 Max one step closer to flying again.
  • The chief executive of Tapestry has resigned, citing ‘personal reasons.’
  • The owner of Men’s Wearhouse plans to close up to 500 stores.
  • Coke’s revenue plummeted 28% in the second quarter.
  • EBay sells its classified ad unit to Adevinta for $9.2 billion.
  • The latest: Snap’s pandemic surge levels off.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 21 July 2020: U.S. reports more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a day for the first time since early June, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Miriam Berger, Taylor Telford, Reis Thebault, Michael Brice-Saddler, Felicia Sonmez, and Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “The United States recorded more than 1,000 deaths Tuesday, for the first time since June 2 when 1,052 fatalities were reported. The average number of daily deaths has been rising for most of July, according to data compiled and analyzed by The Washington Post, and Tuesday’s milestone undercuts President Trump’s claim of a fast-falling mortality rate. Trump on Tuesday struck a more pessimistic tone than usual about the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, while maintaining that progress is being made toward a vaccine and therapeutics. ‘It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,’ he told reporters at a coronavirus briefing held at the White House. ‘Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.’

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Study Shows Coronavirus Infections Are Much Higher Than Reported Cases in Parts of the U.S. Data from antibody tests in 10 different cities and states indicate that many people with no symptoms may be spreading the virus. The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “The number of people infected with the coronavirus in different parts of the United States was anywhere from two to 13 times higher than the reported rates for those regions, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings suggest that large numbers of people who did not have symptoms or did not seek medical care may have kept the virus circulating in their communities. The study indicates that even the hardest-hit area in the study — New York City, where nearly one in four people has been exposed to the virus — is nowhere near achieving herd immunity, the level of exposure at which the virus would stop spreading in a particular city or region. Experts believe 60 percent of people in an area would need to have been exposed to the coronavirus to reach herd immunity. The analysis, based on antibody tests, is the largest of its kind to date; a study of a subset of cities and states was released last month.” See also, CDC study finds most people in the United States are still highly susceptible to the coronavirus, The Washington Post, Laurie McGinley, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “Only a small proportion of people in many parts of the United States had antibodies to the novel coronavirus as of this spring, indicating most of the population remains highly susceptible to the pathogen, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency also reported the number of actual coronavirus infections is probably far higher — by two to 13 times — than reported cases. The higher estimate is based on the study on antibodies, which indicates who has had the virus in the past. Currently, the cumulative number of reported cases in the United States stands at 3.8 million. The new data appeared Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine and on the CDC website. The information about antibodies was derived from blood samples drawn from 10 geographic regions, including New York, Utah, Washington state and South Florida. The samples were collected in discrete periods in two rounds — one in early spring and the other several weeks later, ending in early June. For two sites, only the earlier results were available.”

Former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden says most states fail to report data key to controlling the coronavirus pandemic. Not a single state reports on the turnaround time of diagnostic covid-19 tests. The Washington Post, Lena H. Sun, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “Six months after the first coronavirus case appeared in the United States, most states are failing to report critical information needed to track and control the resurgence of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a former top Obama administration health official. The analysis is the first comprehensive review of covid-19 data that all 50 states and the District are using to make decisions about policies on mask-wearing and opening schools and businesses. In the absence of a national strategy to fight the pandemic, states have had to develop their own metrics for tracking and controlling covid-19. But with few common standards, the data are inconsistent and incomplete, according to the report released by Resolve to Save Lives, a New York nonprofit led by former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden. Some essential information that would show response effectiveness is not being reported at all. Only two states report data on how quickly contact tracers were able to interview people who test positive to learn about their potential contacts. Not a single state reports on the turnaround time of diagnostic tests, the analysis found. Week-long waits for results hobble efforts to track real-time virus spread and make contact tracing almost irrelevant.”

Trump, in a Shift, Endorses Masks and Says the Coronavirus Will Get Worse, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Trump acknowledged on Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic was growing more severe in the United States and endorsed mask wearing in a shift after weeks of playing down the seriousness of the crisis that has killed more than 140,000 Americans. Rather than just ’embers’ of the virus, as he has repeatedly characterized recent outbreaks afflicting much of the country, Mr. Trump conceded that there were now ‘big fires,’ particularly in Florida and elsewhere across the South and West. He vowed to press a ‘relentless’ campaign to curb the spread without offering any new specific plans for how to do so.”

Trump signs memo to omit undocumented immigrants from census apportionment count, NBC News, Dartunorro Clark, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Donald Trump signed a memo Tuesday that aims to bar undocumented immigrants living in the country from being included in the census for purposes of deciding how many members of Congress are apportioned to each state. Trump said in the memo that it will be the ‘policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status under the Immigration and Nationality Act.’… It was not immediately clear how undocumented immigrants would be identified. The census questionnaire, which was distributed in March, did not require respondents to indicate whether they or others in their households are citizens…. Trump’s order is likely to prompt legal challenges from Democratic-controlled states that brought the lawsuit challenging the citizenship question. Opponents argued that a citizenship question would discourage all immigrants from responding and jeopardize the constitutionally mandated count. The memo directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, to provide the president with data about the number of people who are undocumented so that when census officials present the president with the final count, the president can exclude them from the population totals used to determine how many House seats each state will have.” See also, Trump Seeks to Stop Counting Unauthorized Immigrants in Drawing House Districts. Critics described the move as unconstitutional and a transparent attempt to help Republicans. The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Peter Baker, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Trump directed the federal government on Tuesday not to count undocumented immigrants when allocating the nation’s House districts, a move that critics called a transparent political ploy to help Republicans in violation of the Constitution. The president’s directive would exclude millions of people when determining how many House seats each state should have based on the once-a-decade census, reversing the longstanding policy of counting everyone regardless of citizenship or legal status. The effect would likely shift several seats from Democratic states to Republican states. The action directly conflicts with the traditional consensus interpretation of the Constitution  and will almost surely be challenged in court, potentially delaying its effect if not blocking its enactment altogether. But it fit into Mr. Trump’s efforts to curb both legal and illegal immigration at a time when he is anxiously trying to galvanize his political base heading into a fall election season trailing his Democratic opponent. ‘I think the Donald Trump view is: I can look like I’m trying to do something by stoking anti-immigrant fervor, and if I lose in court then, I just stoke anti-court fervor too,’ Joshua A. Geltzer, the director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown, said in an interview. ‘It should be legally impossible as well as practically difficult to do.'” See also, With No Final Say, Trump Wants to Change Who Counts for Dividing up Congress’ Seats, NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Trump released a memorandum Tuesday that calls for an unprecedented change to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country — the exclusion of unauthorized immigrants from the numbers used to divide up seats in Congress among the states. The memo instructs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Commerce Department, to include in the legally required report of census results to the president ‘information permitting the President, to the extent practicable’ to leave out the number of immigrants living in the U.S. without authorization from the apportionment count. But the move by the president, who does not have final authority over the census, is more likely to spur legal challenges and political spectacle in the last months before this year’s presidential election than a transformation of the once-a-decade head count, which has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.” See also, Trump administration seeks to bar undocumented immigrants from a portion of the 2020 Census, The Washington Post, Tara Bahrampour, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday in support of barring undocumented immigrants from being counted for congressional apportionment next year. Doing so, he said, would represent a ‘better understanding of the Constitution’ than the way apportionment has been implemented for over two centuries…. Democratic lawmakers blasted it, and groups that successfully challenged the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the census said they will sue over it. ‘Today’s memorandum will end up in the dustbin of history as yet another exemplar of Donald Trump’s disturbing embrace of white nationalism,’ Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said in a statement. ‘MALDEF will be in court to stop this latest example of blatantly unconstitutional executive action by a failed presidency.'” See also, Trump Moves to Exclude Unauthorized Immigrants From Counts for Congressional Seats. Civil-rights groups decry Trump’s order as unconstitutional and vow to bring legal challenges. The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Restuccia and Paul Overberg, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Trump signed a memo Tuesday meant to exclude unauthorized immigrants from being taken into account when the government divides up congressional seats, a move that civil-rights groups swiftly vowed to challenge in court. The census, which the Constitution requires to be conducted nationwide every 10 years, counts every person living in the U.S., whether they are a citizen or not. Census data determines how federal resources are distributed to states and localities, as well as how congressional districts are drawn. Noncitizens are counted when determining how to apportion the 435 House seats among states. But in his new memo Mr. Trump said it is the policy of the U.S. to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the apportionment process. Democratic lawmakers and outside groups quickly criticized the move as violating the Constitution.” See also, The breathtaking unconstitutionality of Trump’s new census policy, Vox, Ian Millhiser, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “The 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides that ‘representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.’ This text is unambiguous. With a narrow exception for some Native Americans, all persons within the United States must be counted in the decennial census. And all persons must be counted when representation is allocated to states in the House of Representatives. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, President Trump released an extraordinary memorandum suggesting that he gets to decide who counts as a ‘person’ — and that undocumented immigrants do not qualify.”

Trump’s Warm Words for Ghislaine Maxwell: ‘I Just Wish Her Well.’ Trump’s comments about Ms. Maxwell, who is charged with luring girls into Jeffrey Epstein’s orbit, drew new attention to Mr. Trump’s friendship with Mr. Epstein. New York Times, Ed Shanahan, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Trump’s return to the White House podium on Tuesday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic took an unusual detour when he offered warm words for Ghislaine Maxwell, who is facing federal charges of helping Jeffrey Epstein recruit, groom and sexually abuse girls. Mr. Trump’s comment about Ms. Maxwell, who was arrested in New Hampshire this month and is being held without bail in a federal jail in Brooklyn, came in response to a reporter’s question about whether he expected her to go public with the names of powerful men who have been accused in lawsuits of taking part in the sex-trafficking ring that Mr. Epstein allegedly ran. ‘I don’t know,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘I haven’t really been following it too much. I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,’ the president continued, referring to the Florida town where his Mar-a-Lago resort is and where Mr. Epstein had a home. ‘But I wish her well, whatever it is.’… The remarks renewed attention on Mr. Trump’s ties to Mr. Epstein, who was arrested almost exactly a year before Ms. Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s longtime companion. Mr. Epstein was charged in a federal indictment with sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of girls and women at his mansion in Manhattan and elsewhere, including at his Palm Beach estate. A month after his arrest, Mr. Epstein, 66, hanged himself in his cell at the federal jail in Manhattan where he was awaiting trial. Federal prosecutors said after his death that they would continue to investigate his associates.” See also, Trump says of Jeffrey Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell: ‘I wish her well,’ The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that he knew Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and said he wished her well. Maxwell was arrested in early July on charges that she aided Epstein in his years-long sexual exploitation and abuse of underage girls. Last week, a federal judge denied her bail.  Epstein and Maxwell socialized with the super-elite, listing among their friends former president Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew and Trump. Trump and first lady Melania Trump are pictured with one or both of them on multiple occasions. The president was asked about Maxwell during a news briefing on the coronavirus and what he thought about the possibility that she could work with authorities to turn over names of powerful men who also sexually abused underage girls.”

On the Steps of the Capitol on Monday, Republican Representative Ted Yoho called Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘disgusting’ and a ‘fucking bitch,’ The Hill, Mike Lillis, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “Tensions flared on Capitol Hill this week when a Republican lawmaker challenged Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on issues of crime and policing in an unusual — and decidedly personal — confrontation on the Capitol steps. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) was coming down the steps on the east side of the Capitol on Monday, having just voted, when he approached Ocasio-Cortez, who was ascending into the building to cast a vote of her own. In a brief but heated exchange, which was overheard by a reporter, Yoho told Ocasio-Cortez she was “disgusting” for recently suggesting that poverty and unemployment are driving a spike in crime in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘You are out of your freaking mind,’ Yoho told her. Ocasio-Cortez shot back, telling Yoho he was being ‘rude.’ The two then parted ways. Ocasio-Cortez headed into the building, while Yoho, joined by Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), began descending toward the House office buildings. A few steps down, Yoho offered a parting thought to no one in particular. ‘Fucking bitch,’ he said. Ocasio-Cortez, a liberal firebrand and social media sensation, is no stranger to attacks from the right. But shortly after the exchange, she said it was the first time since she arrived in Congress that another lawmaker has challenged her so aggressively. ‘That kind of confrontation hasn’t ever happened to me — ever,’ she said. ‘I’ve never had that kind of abrupt, disgusting kind of disrespect levied at me.'” See also, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Embraces a Republican Representative’s Insult, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term New Yorker who is a favorite of the progressive left and a frequent target of President Trump and Republicans, said on Tuesday that she had been the victim of ‘virulent harassment’ by a Republican congressman who referred to her with a pair of expletives on the steps of the Capitol. In a confrontation on Monday outside the Capitol reported by The Hill newspaper, Representative Ted Yoho of Florida approached Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and told her she was ‘disgusting’ for suggesting that poverty and unemployment were driving a rise in crime in New York City. After a brief and tense exchange, the newspaper said, Mr. Yoho walked away from Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, uttering a pair of expletives. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, confirmed the exchange on Twitter on Tuesday, though a spokesman for Mr. Yoho later denied that the congressman had called her any names, saying he had instead used a barnyard epithet to describe what he thought of her policies. But Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who arrived on Capitol Hill in 2019 with an outsize profile — a Hispanic progressive who is the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress — and has frequently been a target of derision by white Republican men, sought to turn the insult to her advantage. ‘I never spoke to Rep. Yoho before he decided to accost me on the steps of the nation’s Capitol yesterday,’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote. ‘Believe it or not, I usually get along fine w/ my GOP colleagues. We know how to check our legislative sparring at the committee door. But hey, “b*tches” get stuff done.'”

Twitter bans 7,000 QAnon accounts and limits 150,000 others as part of broad crackdown, NBC News, Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “Twitter announced Tuesday that it has begun taking sweeping actions to limit the reach of QAnon content, banning many of the conspiracy theory’s followers because of problems with harassment and misinformation. Twitter will stop recommending accounts and content related to QAnon … and it will take steps to limit circulation of content in features like trends and search. The action will affect about 150,000 accounts, said a spokesperson, who asked to remain unnamed because of concerns about the targeted harassment of social media employees. The Twitter spokesperson also said the company had taken down more than 7,000 QAnon accounts in the last couple weeks for breaking its rules against platform manipulation, spam or ban evasion.” See also, Twitter Takedown Targets QAnon Accounts, The New York Times, Kate Conger, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “Twitter said Tuesday evening that it had removed thousands of accounts that spread messages about the conspiracy theories known as QAnon, saying their messages could lead to harm and violated Twitter policy. Twitter said it would also block trends related to the loose network of QAnon conspiracy theories from appearing in its trending topics and search, and would not allow users to post links affiliated with the theories on its platform. It was the first time that a social media service took sweeping action to remove content affiliated with QAnon, which has become increasingly popular on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.”

New Emails Show How Energy Industry Moved Fast to Undo Curbs on Methane. The messages, made public in a lawsuit, suggest the E.P.A. rescinded a requirement on methane at the behest of an executive just weeks after President Trump took office. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “Not long after President Trump’s inauguration, the head of a fossil fuels industry group requested a call with the president’s transition team. The subject: Barack Obama’s requirement that oil and gas companies begin collecting data on their releases of methane. That outreach, by Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, appeared to quickly yield the desired results. Three weeks after that email, the E.P.A. officially withdrew the reporting requirement — and effectively blocked the compilation of data that would allow for new regulations to control methane, a powerful climate-warming gas. The emails are included in hundreds of pages of E.P.A. staff correspondence and interviews recently made public in a lawsuit that 15 states have brought against the agency over the regulation of methane. Led by Massachusetts and New York, the states say the documents prove that fossil fuel industry players, working with allies in the early days of Mr. Trump’s E.P.A., engineered the repeal of the methane reporting requirements with no internal analysis, then created the rationale for the decision after the fact. That repeal, the states assert, illegally delayed the development of additional regulations to reduce methane emissions that the administration did not want. If the states succeed, a judge could, as early as this summer, order the federal government to impose restrictions on thousands of oil and gas wells, storage facilities and pipelines across the United States. Just last week, a federal court, restoring an Obama-era regulation, struck down a Bureau of Land Management effort to weaken restrictions on methane gas releases from drilling on public lands.”

Senate Kills Broad Curbs on Military Gear for Police, Thwarting Push to Demilitarize, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “The Senate on Tuesday rejected a bipartisan bid to bar the Pentagon from transferring a wide range of military-grade weaponry to local police departments, effectively killing the last remaining initiative before Congress this year to address the excessive use of force in law enforcement. With policing overhaul legislation stalled on Capitol Hill, the measure, which lawmakers sought to attach to the must-pass annual defense bill, was a last-ditch attempt to begin to demilitarize law enforcement after a nationwide uproar to address racial discrimination and distrust between the police and the communities they serve. But despite the outcry in favor of sweeping changes, lawmakers declined to place limitations on some of the most controversial military-grade equipment provided to local police departments, rejecting a proposal by Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, to prohibit such items as tear gas, grenades and bayonets. The vote, 51 to 44, which failed to reach the required 60-vote threshold to pass, underscored how fraught and often fruitless attempts to rein in the program have become, allowing such matériel to flow to law enforcement in America’s cities and towns with few restrictions.”

Oregon Attorney General Presses for Immediate Restraining Order Against Federal Officers, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Dirk VanderHart, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “The State of Oregon is pressing a judge to immediately stop federal officers from anonymously snatching Portland protesters off city streets, arguing those actions are illegal and could increase protesters’ chances of being kidnapped by non-federal entities. As a lawsuit demanding an end to the highly controversial tactics plays out, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a motion for a temporary restraining order Monday. If a federal judge agrees, federal authorities could be immediately hamstrung in enforcing a directive that President Trump has indicated he may expand to other cities.”

U.S. Homeland Security confirms three units sent paramilitary officers to Portland, Reuters, Mark Hosenball, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection arm confirmed on Tuesday it has deployed officers from three paramilitary-style units to join a federal crackdown on protests against police violence in Portland, Oregon. ‘We have agents and officers from our special operations groups deployed,’ a CBP official said in an email. The official did not respond to questions about the number of officers deployed. Multiple videos posted online showed camouflage-clad officers without clear identification badges using force and unmarked vehicles to transport arrested protesters, tactics that civil-rights advocates said could violate protesters’ right to free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. President Donald Trump, who has been sliding in opinion polls as he seeks re-election, has vowed to also send federal agents to cities including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, which critics said would amount to a use of federal power for political ends.

As Trump Pushes Into Portland, His Campaign Ads Turn Darker, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Nick Corasaniti, and Annie Karni, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “As President Trump deploys federal agents to Portland, Ore., and threatens to dispatch more to other cities, his re-election campaign is spending millions of dollars on several ominous television ads that promote fear and dovetail with his political message of ‘law and order.’ The influx of agents in Portland has led to scenes of confrontations and chaos that Mr. Trump and his White House aides have pointed to as they try to burnish a false narrative about Democratic elected officials allowing dangerous protesters to create widespread bedlam. The Trump campaign is driving home that message with a new ad that tries to tie its dark portrayal of Democratic-led cities to Mr. Trump’s main rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr. — with exaggerated images intended to persuade viewers that lawless anarchy would prevail if Mr. Biden won the presidency. The ad simulates a break-in at the home of an older woman and ends with her being attacked while she waits on hold for a 911 call, as shadowy, dark intruders flicker in the background.”

House Passes Defense Bill After Trump Issues Formal Veto Threat. Trump threatens to reject policy bill over his opposition to renaming military bases honoring the Confederacy. The Wall Street Journal, Lindsay Wise, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “The House overwhelmingly passed an annual defense policy bill hours after President Trump issued a formal veto threat that cited his opposition to renaming military bases honoring the Confederacy. Mr. Trump’s threat came shortly before Republicans joined Democrats Tuesday in the House to approve the bill, which authorizes $740 billion in fiscal year 2021 for the Defense Department and Energy Department’s national security programs. That includes a 3% pay raise for troops, funds for military house upgrades, and $1 billion for coronavirus response. The vote was 295-125, more than the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a potential veto. The National Defense Authorization Act contains language requiring the Defense Department to change the names of all bases named for leaders of the Confederacy within one year and prohibiting the public display of the Confederate flag on military installations. A Senate version of the massive defense bill, which is expected to pass later this week, includes language, championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), requiring that the base names be changed within three years.”

In Early 2018 Trump Asked Woody Johnson, the N.F.L. Owner, Trump Donor, and Ambassador to Britain, to Get the British Open for Him, The New York Times, Mark Landler, Lara Jakes, and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “The American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, told multiple colleagues in February 2018 that President Trump had asked him to see if the British government could help steer the world-famous and lucrative British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, according to three people with knowledge of the episode. The ambassador’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, advised him not to do it, warning that it would be an unethical use of the presidency for private gain, these people said. But Mr. Johnson apparently felt pressured to try. A few weeks later, he raised the idea of Turnberry playing host to the Open with the secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell.” See also, In Early 2018 Trump asked the US ambassador to the UK to request the British Open be held at a Trump resort in Scotland, The New York Times reports, Business Insider, Lauren Frias, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Donald Trump reportedly asked the US ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2018 to find out if it was possible for the British Open to be hosted at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, The New York Times reported. The request would violate a federal conflict-of-interest law which bars the president from using his political influence for personal gain. In the case of the golf tournament, the British and Scottish governments would likely have to pay security and hosting costs, which would ultimately benefit Trump. Johnson asked the secretary of state of Scotland David Mundell if the British Open could be moved to a Trump resort, three sources familiar with the situation told The Times. None of the next four British Opens are scheduled to take place at the Turnberry resort, according to The Times report.”

Trump says ‘the game is over for me’ if he sees a player kneel during the national anthem, CBS News, Caitlin O’Kane, Tuesday, 21 July 2020: “President Trump said in a tweet Tuesday he is looking forward to watching sports but suggested he would stop watching a game if he sees a player taking a knee during the national anthem. ‘Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!’ he tweeted.”


Wednesday, 22 July 2020, Day 1,279:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 22 July 2020: Spike in U.S. Cases Far Outpaces Testing Expansion, The New York Times, Wednesday, 22 July 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 22 July 2020: Tesla Reaches a Milestone With Another Quarterly Profit, The New York Times, Wednesday, 22 July 2020:

  • Tesla earned $104 million in the second quarter, surprising analysts.
  • Elon Musk stands to get a $2 billion stock award — his second big payday this year.
  • Tesla could join the S&P 500, and give its soaring stock price another jolt.
  • Tesla is building a fourth factory, in Texas.
  • Microsoft revenue rose 13 percent despite the pandemic.
  • U.S. employment has declined sharply, a new report shows.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 22 July 2020: Texas reports a record number of daily coronavirus deaths, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Kim Bellware, John Wagner, Taylor Telford, Hannah Knowles, Meryl Kornfield, Michael Brice-Saddler, and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “U.S. states and territories on Wednesday reported more than 1,100 new deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, marking the first time since May 29 that the country exceeded that number, according to Washington Post tracking. The tally was led by Texas, which reported a record 197 new deaths Wednesday. Deaths from the virus have continued to climb upward since June, a troubling trend that gives credence to experts who expected an increase in fatalities following the recent surge in infections. With cases, hospitalizations and deaths mounting in many areas, governors in Ohio, Indiana and Minnesota on Wednesday joined the growing momentum for mandating face coverings statewide. More than 30 states now require people to wear masks as top health officials and federal leaders, including once-skeptical President Trump, tout their effectiveness.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

U.S. hospitals scramble to adopt new Health and Human Services (HHS) coronavirus data system, and some states see ‘data blackout,’ CNBC, Will Feuer, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “HHS abruptly instructed all hospitals last week to stop reporting coronavirus data to the CDC, rerouting it to a new portal run by HHS. Hospitals had two days to comply, and HHS tied it to the distribution of remdesivir, a vital drug used to treat Covid-19. The abrupt change left many state officials and hospitals, especially smaller and rural ones, in the lurch.”

Pfizer Gets $1.95 Billion to Produce Coronavirus Vaccine by Year’s End, The New York Times, Noah Welland, Denise Grady, and David E. Sanger, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “As nations around the world race to lock up coronavirus vaccines even before they are ready, the Trump administration on Wednesday made one of the largest investments yet, announcing a nearly $2 billion contract with Pfizer and a German biotechnology company for 100 million doses by December. The contract is part of what the White House calls the Warp Speed project, an effort to drastically shorten the time it would take to manufacture and distribute a working vaccine. So far, the United States has put money into more than a half dozen efforts, hoping to build manufacturing ability for an eventual breakthrough. Europe has a parallel effort underway. Germany recently took a 23 percent stake in a German firm, CureVac, that President Trump once tried to lure to American shores in hopes that its vaccine, if successful, would be distributed in the United States first. A European-led fund-raising effort in May brought $8 billion in pledges from the world’s governments, philanthropists and leaders for coronavirus vaccine research, even with the United States sitting out the conference.”

Trump announces ‘surge’ of federal officers to Chicago as he campaigns on ‘law and order’ mantle, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “Donald Trump said Wednesday he will “surge” federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and other American cities, despite resistance from local leaders, as he adopts a hardline ‘law and order’ mantle ahead of November’s election. In making the move, Trump is wading further into an effort to portray Democrats as weak on crime and unable to protect the citizens of places where they are in charge. He has ordered federal agents to tamp down on protests in Portland, Oregon, leading to chaotic tableaux and reports of unmarked vehicles snatching people off the streets. And he has warned he may order federal officers into other states and cities he deems insufficiently policed, even if governors and mayors in those places don’t ask for help…. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, tweeted on Tuesday evening: ‘Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.’ Earlier in the day, she said she would ‘welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship.’ And New Mexico Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich tweeted after being informed the operation was expanding to Albuquerque that federal law enforcement wasn’t welcome. ‘Given the mess it created in Portland, I let him know in no uncertain terms that this isn’t the kind of “help” that Albuquerque needs,’ he wrote on Twitter.” See also, Painting Bleak Portrait of Urban Crime, Trump Sends More Agents to Chicago and Other Cities, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “President Trump announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department would send hundreds of additional federal agents into cities to confront a rise in shootings and other violence, escalating his dark rhetoric about urban crime and bashing local elected officials who have been wary of intervention by his administration. Mr. Trump, who has sought to make ‘law and order’ a campaign theme and has denounced ‘Democrat-run cities’ as he seeks re-election, recounted anecdotes and statistics about a recent spate of gun violence in places like Chicago, while blaming local politicians for crime and criticizing the progressive ‘defund the police’ slogan…. The announcement comes amid heightened scrutiny on interventions by federal law enforcement officials in urban areas amid protests prompted by the police killing in May of George Floyd in Minneapolis — including the deployment of Department of Homeland Security agents in camouflage uniforms to confront protesters in Portland, Ore., in the name of protecting federal buildings from vandalism…. While there is nothing unusual about federal agents teaming up with local police on task forces to investigate gang violence or drug trafficking networks, the Trump administration’s recent efforts — pegged to Mr. Trump trying to make political hay of bashing Democratic elected officials, and coming against the backdrop of the disputed intervention in Portland — have strained federal and local relations.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Is Prepared to Arrest Federal Agents. After Trump said he would send agents to more cities, Philly’s district attorney lays out how he might criminally charge federal officers. Bloomberg CityLab, Brentin Mock, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “After numerous reports and lawsuits in Portland regarding un-badged and un-uniformed federal officers arresting, beating, and detaining people in unmarked vehicles, the Trump administration’s response is that they’re going to do it even more, and in more cities. Saying that his federal agents are doing a ‘fantastic job,’ Trump has suggested that he will also deploy agents in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Milwaukee to do the same. In one of those cities, the city prosecutor has already preemptively warned Trump’s police forces what he will do if they bring the same tactics to Philadelphia: ‘My dad volunteered and served in World War II to fight fascism, like most of my uncles, so we would not have an American president brutalizing and kidnapping Americans for exercising their constitutional rights and trying to make America a better place, which is what patriots do,’ said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in a statement. ‘Anyone, including federal law enforcement, who unlawfully assaults and kidnaps people will face criminal charges from my office.'”

Right-Wing Media Stars Amplify Trump’s ‘Law and Order’ Campaign Message, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “To his legions of listeners, Rush Limbaugh calls the demonstrators in Portland, Ore., ‘anarchists’ who ‘hate Americans and America.’ He recently made an ominous prediction: ‘I can see secession coming.’ On Fox News, Sean Hannity describes the scene in Portland as ‘a literal disaster area — and, yeah, it looks like a war zone.’ On Wednesday, Breitbart News — which features a ‘Riot Crackdown’ page on its website — published an article declaring, ‘Now would be a real good time to do whatever is necessary to obtain a permit to legally carry a handgun.’ Right-wing outlets and conservative media stars have seized on the weekslong protests in Portland as a rallying cry for law and order, instructing their followers to fear for their safety and blaming Democratic leaders for failing to restore peace. Their commentary — beamed out daily to millions — has increasingly mirrored the fear-laced messaging of President Trump and his re-election campaign, which has warned that a Joseph R. Biden Jr. presidency would usher in chaos and routine violence in the streets. With the November election looming, Mr. Trump has pledged to send forces to Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and other major cities. Conservative pundits, typically no fans of an overreaching government, have thrown their full support behind federal agents who have used militarized tactics like firing tear gas at protesters and have pulled some demonstrators into unmarked vans since being deployed to Portland in recent days. In fact, the scenes broadcast by channels like Fox News and One America News send a misleading portrait of the city, where daily life has been relatively calm outside of a small area downtown.”

A new Trump campaign ad depicting a police officer being attacked by protesters is actually a 2014 photo of pro-democracy protests in Ukraine, Business Insider, Mia Jankowicz, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign released a new Facebook ad with an image of a group of protesters attacking a police officer alongside the words ‘public safety vs chaos & violence.’ But that photo is actually from a pro-democracy protest in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2014. The photographer, Mstyslav Chernov, confirmed to Business Insider that it is his photo from six years ago. Trump has sent federal law-enforcement officers to quell protests in Portland, Oregon, and threatened to send more to other cities led by Democrats. The Trump campaign has seized on the protests in the US as a key campaign issue. Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, has described the Portland protesters as ‘violent anarchists.’ A source close to Facebook told Business Insider that the company does not plan to remove the ad.”

Congress Sends Landmark Conservation Bill to Trump, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “The nation’s conservation community achieved a longstanding goal Wednesday when the House passed and sent to President Trump a measure that for the first time guarantees maximum annual funding for the premiere federal program to acquire and preserve land for public use. Fueled by election-year politics, the legislation was easily approved on a bipartisan 310-to-107 vote. It would allocate $900 million each year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund while also providing up to $9.5 billion over five years to begin clearing up a mounting maintenance backlog at national parks. Conservation leaders hailed the measure as a landmark achievement. They said it would protect and expand access to public lands at a time when Americans are gaining in appreciation for outdoor activities because of the pandemic, while providing tens of thousands of jobs in tourism-dependent communities that have seen their economies suffer because of reduced travel.”

Environmentalists ask the Supreme Court to stop funding border wall construction, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “Environmentalists are making a last-ditch effort at the Supreme Court to stop the continued construction of parts of President Trump’s border wall. The Sierra Club asked the justices to undo their decision from a year ago that allowed construction, now that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the administration’s use of funds for the wall is unlawful. Without the Supreme Court’s action, say lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the Trump administration could simply run out the clock.”

Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as 1 in US hotels and is then expelling them, Associated Press, Nomaan Merchant, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “The Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as 1 in hotels, sometimes for weeks, before deporting them to their home countries under policies that have effectively shut down the nation’s asylum system during the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. A private contractor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is taking children to three Hampton Inn & Suites hotels in Arizona and at the Texas-Mexico border, where they are typically detained for several days, the records show. The hotels have been used nearly 200 times, while more than 10,000 beds for children sit empty at government shelters. Federal anti-trafficking laws and a two-decade-old court settlement that governs the treatment of migrant children require that most kids be sent to the shelters for eventual placement with family sponsors. But President Donald Trump’s administration is now immediately expelling people seeking asylum in the U.S., relying on a public health declaration to set aside those rules.”

House Votes to Remove Confederate Statues From U.S. Capitol, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “The House voted on Wednesday to banish from the Capitol statues of Confederate figures and leaders who pushed white supremacist agendas, part of a broader effort to remove historical symbols of racism and oppression from public spaces. The bipartisan vote, 305 to 113, came amid a national discussion about racism and justice that has led to the toppling of Confederate statues across the country and left lawmakers scrutinizing how their predecessors are honored in their own halls. Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month ordered that the portraits of four speakers who served the Confederacy be removed from the ornate hall just outside the House chamber…. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, is unlikely to allow the bill to receive a vote in the Senate, calling the move ‘clearly a bridge too far’ and an attempt to ‘airbrush the Capitol.'”

U.S. Orders China to Close Houston Consulate, Citing Efforts to Steal Trade Secrets, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, and Steven Lee Myers, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “The United States has abruptly ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, accusing diplomats of aiding economic espionage and the attempted theft of scientific research as the Trump administration sharply escalates its moves against China. China vowed to retaliate, calling the action illegal. Hours after the administration issued its order on Tuesday, consulate employees burned papers in open metal barrels in a courtyard of the Houston building, prompting police officers and firefighters to rush to the area. The move comes as President Trump’s campaign strategists, anxious about his failures on the pandemic, are pushing a comprehensive anti-China message in an appeal to Mr. Trump’s supporters.”

Robert Wood ‘Woody’ Johnson, NFL owner and Trump ambassador to UK, sparks watchdog inquiry over allegations of racist and sexist remarks and push to promote Trump Business, CNN Politics, Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood, and Nicole Gaouette, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “The billionaire NFL owner who serves as President Donald Trump‘s ambassador to the United Kingdom was investigated by the State Department watchdog after allegations that he made racist and sexist comments to staff and sought to use his government position to benefit the President’s personal business in the UK, multiple sources told CNN. Robert Wood ‘Woody’ Johnson, the top envoy since August 2017 to one of the United States’ most important allies, made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month, according to exclusive new information shared with CNN by three sources and a diplomat familiar with the complaints to the State Department inspector general. His comments about women’s looks have been ‘cringeworthy,’ a source with knowledge of the situation said, and two sources said it was a struggle to get him on board for an event for International Women’s Day. ‘He’s said some pretty sexist, racist,’ things, the diplomat with knowledge of the complaints made to the IG said of Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune and one of the owners of the New York Jets. Asked about the specific allegations reported by CNN, Johnson did not deny them. He called it an ‘honor of a lifetime’ to serve as ambassador and ‘to lead the talented, diverse team of the U.S. Mission to the United Kingdom.’ Johnson called the team ‘the best in diplomacy’ adding, ‘I greatly value the extraordinary work that each and every member of the team does to strengthen and deepen our vital alliance.'”

Four former presidents of the D.C. Bar Association call for an investigation of Attorney General William Barr, Politico, Betsy Woodruff Swan, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “Four former presidents of the D.C. Bar Association have signed a letter calling on the group to investigate whether Attorney General William Barr has violated its rules. The District of Columbia Bar authorizes lawyers to practice in the city and has the power to punish them for breaking its rules and to revoke their law licenses. The complaint argues that Barr has broken Washington’s ethics rules by being dishonest and violating his oath to uphold the Constitution, along with other charges. And it highlights four episodes in Barr’s time as attorney general to make the case: his characterization of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s 2016 election interference, his criticism of an inspector general report on the Russia probe, his criticism of FBI officials in a TV interview, and his role in the disbursement of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, outside the White House. A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment. ‘Mr. Barr’s client is the United States, and not the president,’ the letter says. ‘Yet, Mr. Barr has consistently made decisions and taken action to serve the personal and political self-interests of President Donald Trump, rather than the interest of the United States.'”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Upbraids Republican Representative Ted Yoho After He Denies Vulgarly Insulting Her, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez forcefully rejected a Republican colleague’s words of contrition on Wednesday after he declined to apologize for referring to her with a vulgar and sexist expletive, denying he had uttered the words. Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, appeared on the House floor on Wednesday to express regret for injecting ‘strife’ into Congress and being ‘abrupt’ in a confrontation this week with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York. ‘I rise today to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York,’ Mr. Yoho said. ‘It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.’ But a short time later, he added, ‘The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Mr. Yoho on Twitter after his speech, saying that he was refusing to take responsibility for his actions. ‘I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept,’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote. She said Mr. Yoho was lying when he described their interaction as a ‘conversation.’ ‘It was verbal assault,’ she wrote. ‘This is not an apology.'”

Trump attended a fundraiser without a mask. The city sent an investigator to inspect his hotel. The Washington Post, Fenit Nirappil and Julie Zauzmer, Wednesday, 22 July 2020: “The president’s maskless appearance at the Trump International Hotel this week — in apparent defiance of D.C. coronavirus regulations — caught the attention of local authorities, who inspected the hotel on Wednesday to check for compliance with city rules. The investigator found no violations at the time of the visit, but the agency pledged to continue monitoring the hotel. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) this spring ordered people to cover their faces while in the lobbies and common areas of hotels and to maintain six feet of distance from others, in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. But President Trump did not wear a mask while greeting GOP congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn on Monday at his downtown Washington hotel, according to video of their interaction. Nor did multiple guests standing near one another in the lobby, the video shows.”


Thursday, 23 July 2020, Day 1,280:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 23 July 2020: Global Coronavirus Cases Surge, Stinging Even Places That Seemed to Have Tamed It, The New York Times, Thursday, 23 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 23 July 2020: About 30 Million workers Are Collecting Jobless Benefits, The New York Times, Thursday, 23 July 2020:

  • Roughly one in five workers are collecting unemployment benefits.
  • The Mint has a plea for Americans: Change in your coins.
  • AMC postpones the reopening of its theaters to mid-August.
  • AT&T reports customer defections as Americans cut back in the pandemic.
  • A slide in big technology shares drags Wall Street lower.
  • Twitter’s user count surged but its revenue fell in the second quarter.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 23 July 2020: U.S. coronavirus cases double in just six weeks, to 4 million, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Kim Bellware, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, Hannah Denham, Adam Taylor, Marisa Iati, Hannah Knowles, and Meryl Kornfield, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “The United States has reached a grim milestone of 4 million coronavirus cases, doubling the total number of infections in just six weeks as deaths and hospitalizations continue a sharp rise in many states. Positivity rates are at alarming levels in numerous states, hospitalizations are soaring, and for the third straight day on Thursday, more than 1,000 new coronavirus deaths were reported, according to Washington Post tracking. The rolling seven-day average of infections has doubled in less than a month, reaching more than 66,000 new cases per day Wednesday. The U.S. death toll now exceeds 141,000.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Nearly 75% of detainees at US immigration facility in Virginia have coronavirus, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Nearly 75% of detainees in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in a Virginia facility have contracted Covid-19, raising alarm among immigration lawyers and advocates who repeatedly warned of deteriorating conditions. Nearly a month ago, there were 49 cases at the ICE detention center in Farmville, Virginia, which holds adult males. Now, of the 360 immigrants in custody at the center, there are 268 confirmed cases of coronavirus currently under isolation or monitoring, according to agency statistics.”

Trump Abruptly Cancels Republican Convention in Florida: ‘It’s Not the Right Time,’ The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Patricia Mazzei, and Annie Karni, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Bowing to threats posed by the coronavirus, President Trump reversed course on Thursday and canceled the portion of the Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Fla., just weeks after he moved the event from North Carolina because state officials wanted the party to take health precautions there. The surprise announcement threw one of the tent-pole moments of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort into limbo, with the president describing in vague terms how the Republicans would hold his renomination in North Carolina and do ‘other things with tele-rallies and online.’ It was an ill-defined sketch of an August week that Mr. Trump once envisioned drawing huge crowds and energizing his struggling bid for a second term. While Mr. Trump has spent weeks urging Florida and other states to reopen their economies and return to life as normal, virus cases have surged in Jacksonville and across the region. The president had insisted on moving ahead with the event until Thursday, talking up the big party that Republicans would hold in Jacksonville even with the dangers of large gatherings and some G.O.P. leaders saying they would not attend.” See also, Trump cancels Republican national convention, his latest reversal as coronavirus spreads, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, and Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “President Trump on Thursday abruptly canceled the Republican National Convention celebrations scheduled for next month in Jacksonville, Fla., making the latest in a series of head-snapping reversals in the face of a nationwide pandemic that continues to spread out of control. Trump has for months instructed his advisers to find a way to stage a loud, boisterous and packed convention celebration, after North Carolina officials said they could not guarantee such an event in Charlotte. Advisers scoured the country for a new location to host a multi-night televised spectacle, settling on Jacksonville, where the mayor and Florida’s governor are Trump’s allies. The president’s ambition, however, ran headlong into a massive spike in coronavirus cases in Florida, growing local opposition and enormous logistical hurdles. At one point, convention planners announced they would administer daily coronavirus tests to thousands of delegates, donors and members of the media to help reduce the viral risk. That plan was later scrapped to move large portions of the celebrations to an outdoor venue.”

Despite Trump claim, 13 states say some orders for coronavirus supplies are still unfilled, ABC News, Olivia Rubin, Katherine Faulders, Soo Rin Kim, and Laura Romero, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “During his first coronavirus press briefing in nearly three months, President Donald Trump said his administration had filled every single request it has received from the nation’s governors for supplies to battle the coronavirus. But contrary to Trump’s claim, officials in 13 states told ABC News they still have requests pending for critical equipment as the virus spreads through much of the country.”

Sinclair gives ‘Plandemic’ conspiracy theorists a platform to spread their lies about Dr. Fauci and the coronavirus, Media Matters, Zachary Pleat, Alex Kaplan, and Pam Vogel, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Baseless conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, found a platform on the new episode of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s America This Week. The episode is available for streaming on Sinclair-owned or -operated television station websites and is set to air on dozens of Sinclair stations over the weekend. Toward the end of his show, host Eric Bolling interviewed Judy Mikovits of the conspiracy theory video Plandemic and her attorney Larry Klayman about their plans to sue Fauci. He introduced the prerecorded interview by referring to her as ‘an expert in virology’ who previously ‘worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci.’ Mikovits gained notoriety after she made multiple false and misleading claims about the coronavirus and public health in Plandemic. Mikovits argued that mandatory coronavirus vaccines will ‘kill millions as they already have with their vaccines,’ and falsely claimed that ‘flu vaccines increase the odds by 36% of getting COVID-19′ and are part of a plot against what filmmaker Mikki Willis called ‘natural remedies’ for the virus. Mikovits also asserted that it’s ‘insanity’ to close beaches because somehow the sand and ‘healing microbes in the ocean’ will actually help treat the virus. She also touted antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus, despite multiple studies casting doubt on its efficacy, and she and the film pushed the false claim that the death count from COVID-19 is being inflated. The news magazine Science also reported that Mikovits made false claims about Fauci and her own credentials in the film, and explained that she made false claims about face masks and Ebola. At the end of May, Mikovits also defended a bogus bleach product as a treatment for COVID-19. YouTube, Facebook, and multiple other platforms have removed Plandemic from their sites for containing potentially harmful misinformation about COVID-19. But Bolling did not present any of this information, all widely available since early May, to Sinclair’s audience. Instead, Bolling gave Mikovits and Klayman — who has peddled various conspiracy theories of his own in past decades — free rein to make baseless accusations against Fauci, such as that he ‘manufactured the coronaviruses’ and shipped them to Wuhan, China.”

‘I Am Someone’s Daughter;’ Ocasio-Cortez Condemn’s Republican Representative Ted Yoho’s Sexist Remarks, The New York Times, By The Associated Press, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “In a speech on the House floor, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, addressed the remarks made by Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida.” See also, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) House Floor Speech Transcript on Remarks by Representative Ted Yoho, Rev, Thursday, 23 July 2020.  See also, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Delivers a Lesson in Decency on the House Floor, The New Yorker, David Remnick, published on Friday, 24 July 2020: “One could be forgiven for thinking that rhetorical dynamism long ago vanished from the hallways and chambers of the United States Congress…. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term Democrat from New York, provided a rare exception Thursday afternoon as she stepped to the microphone in the House chamber to make a hash of Ted Yoho, a veterinarian, Tea Party member, and veteran Republican from Florida. The story began earlier this week, when Yoho reportedly approached Ocasio-Cortez on the Capitol steps to inform her that she was, among other things, ‘disgusting’ and ‘out of your freaking mind.’ His analysis was directed at her (hardly novel) public statements that poverty and unemployment are root causes of the recent spike in crime rates in New York. On matters of criminal-justice reform, Yoho is of a decidedly conservative bent. Not long ago, he voted against making lynching a federal hate crime, saying that such a law would be a regrettable instance of federal ‘overreach.’ According to a reporter for The Hill, Yoho did not cease in his expressive disdain for Ocasio-Cortez even as she walked away. Once he believed her to be out of hearing range, Yoho reportedly described his colleague as a ‘fucking bitch.’…On Wednesday, once the news of the encounter had circulated, Yoho delivered a statement that could best be described as the sort of non-apology apology that begins, ‘I am sorry if you understood me to be saying. . . .’…. The video of Ocasio-Cortez’s speech is available online, of course; it should be studied for its measured cadence, its artful construction, and its refusal of ugliness…. The politics of our moment are dominated by a bully of miserable character, a President who has failed to contain a pandemic through sheer indifference, who has fabricated a reëlection campaign based on bigotry and the deliberate inflammation of division. His language is abusive, his attitude toward women disdainful. Trump is all about himself: his needs, his ego, his self-preservation. Along the way he has created a Republican Party in his own image. Imitators like Ted Yoho slavishly follow his lead. On the House floor Thursday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exemplified a different sort of character. She defended not only herself; she defended principle and countless women. And all in just a few short minutes on the floor of the House of Representatives.” See also, The New York Times has a misogyny problem, too, Press Watch, Dan Froomkin, published on Friday, 24 July 2020: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes some people very uncomfortable, and apparently that includes some editors and reporters at the New York Times. So rather than report on how Ocasio-Cortez’s riveting, viral speech on the House floor on Thursday was a signal moment in the fight against abusive sexism, Times congressional reporters Luke Broadwater and Catie Edmondson filed a story full of sexist double standards and embraced the framing of her critics by casting her as a rule-breaker trying to ‘amplify her brand.'” See also, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Unleashes a Viral Condemnation of Sexism in Congress. After a Republican lawmaker referred to Representative Ocasio-Cortez using a sexist vulgarity, she took to the House floor to denounce the abuse faced by women in Congress and across the nation. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Catie Edmondson, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Ever since Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to Congress as the youngest woman elected to the House, she has upended traditions, harnessing the power of social media and challenging leaders, including President Trump, who are 50 years her senior. On Thursday, she had her most norm-shattering moment yet when she took to the House floor to read into the Congressional Record a sexist vulgarity that Representative Ted Yoho, a Florida Republican, had used to refer to her. ‘In front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote: A fucking bitch,’ she said, punching each syllable in the vulgarity. ‘These are the words Representative Yoho levied against a congresswoman.’ Then Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who excels at using her detractors to amplify her own political brand, invited a group of Democratic women in the House to come forward to express solidarity with her. One by one, they shared their own stories of harassment and mistreatment by men, including in Congress. More even than the profanity uttered on the House floor, where language is carefully regulated, what unfolded over the next hour was a remarkable moment of cultural upheaval on Capitol Hill. ‘It happens every day in this country,’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. ‘It happened here on the steps of our nation’s Capitol.’ And then, in an unmistakable shot at Mr. Trump, she added, ‘It happens when individuals who hold the highest office in this land admit to hurting women and using this language against all of us.'” See also, Representative Ocasio-Cortez dismisses Representative Yoho’s apology and says his remarks are excuses for confrontation, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Paul Kane, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “House Democrats rallied around a high-profile congresswoman Thursday in an extraordinary denunciation of sexism…. Surrounded by Democratic colleagues, Rep. Alexandria ­Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a favorite target of Trump and other Republicans since her arrival in the Capitol, excoriated Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) during remarks on the House floor. She dismissed what she called a non-apology for a confrontation between them on the Capitol steps this week and decried Yoho’s reported use of a sexist slur as part of a pattern of inexcusable behavior by men.”

Senators Rip Interior Secretary David Bernhardt for Refusing to Wear Mask in Meeting With Tribal Leaders. ‘This type of cavalier and callous indifference for human safety is unacceptable,’ said Democratic Senators Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, and Elizabeth Warren. HuffPost, Jennifer Bendery, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Senators on Thursday condemned Interior Secretary David Bernhardt for refusing to wear a mask in a recent meeting with tribal leaders and urged him to immediately issue guidance to employees on when to wear masks based on public health guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. In a letter, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) cite reports that Bernhardt would not wear a mask in a July 9 meeting with the Klamath Tribes of Oregon. The senators also said they’ve heard on-the-ground reports of Bureau of Land Management employees, who are part of the Interior Department, ignoring Oregon’s mask mandates in outdoor settings where people cannot stay six feet apart. ‘We are concerned this blatant disregard for the public health is happening across the agency in other states,’ the senators said. ‘This type of cavalier and callous indifference for human safety is unacceptable, especially from those in positions of leadership.'”

Rise in Weekly Unemployment Claims Points to Faltering Jobs Recovery, The Wall Street Journal, Eric Morath, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Filings for weekly unemployment benefits rose for the first time in nearly four months as some states rolled back reopenings because of the coronavirus pandemic, a sign the jobs recovery could be faltering.”

Federal Agents Envelop Portland Protest, and City’s Mayor, in Tear Gas. Mayor Ted Wheeler denounced federal agents for an ‘egregious overreaction,’ and official reviews were started in Washington, D.C. The New York Times, Mike Baker, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was left coughing and wincing in the middle of his own city on Wednesday night after federal officers deployed tear gas into a crowd of protesters that Mr. Wheeler had joined outside the federal courthouse. Mr. Wheeler, who scrambled to put on goggles while denouncing what he called the “urban warfare” tactic of the federal agents in Oregon, said that he was outraged by the use of tear gas and that it only made protesters more angry. ‘I’m not going to lie — it stings; it’s hard to breathe,’ Mr. Wheeler said. ‘And I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.'” See also, Portland’s mayor tear-gassed by US agents as protest rages, Associated Press, Gillian Flaccus, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “The mayor of Portland, Oregon was tear-gassed by U.S. government agents as he stood outside a federal courthouse during another night of protests against the presence of federal police sent by President Donald Trump to quell the city’s ongoing unrest. Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, appeared slightly dazed and coughed and said Wednesday night it was the first time he’d been tear-gassed. He put on a pair of goggles someone handed him and drank water but did not leave his spot at the front of the protest and continued to take tear gas as the demonstration raged — with protesters lighting a large fire between protective fencing and the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse amid the pop-pop-pop sounds of the federal agents deploying tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd.” See also, Two government watchdogs have opened investigations into the conduct of US agents in Portland and in DC, Associated Press, Eric Tucker and Colleen Long, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Two government watchdogs said Thursday that they had opened investigations into the conduct of federal agents responding to unrest in Portland, Oregon, following abuse of power allegations by members of Congress, local officials and the public. The Justice Department watchdog said that it would investigate use of force allegations in Portland, while its counterpart at the Department of Homeland Security said it would examine whether officers from the agency improperly detained and transported protesters in the city last week. The Justice Department is also examining the training and instruction provided to the federal agents who responded last month to protest activity at Lafayette Square, near the White House. Among the questions being studied are whether the agents followed department guidelines on the use of chemical agents and less lethal munitions and whether they followed identification requirements.”

Trump Administration Is Sending Tactical Team to Seattle, Expanding Presence Beyond Portland, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Adam Goldman, and Mike Baker, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “The Trump administration, which has pledged to use the full force of the government to protect federal property, expanded that effort on Thursday by sending a team of tactical border officers to stand by for duty in Seattle. The Special Response Team being deployed is similar to the tactical teams currently operating in Portland, Ore., where local officials have vehemently objected to their efforts to subdue street protests. Seattle officials have also said they do not want federal agents sent to target protesters. Agents from the Special Response Team, operated under U.S. Customs and Border Protection, are typically deployed for intense law enforcement operations, similar to the agency’s BORTAC group that has operated in Portland.”

Washington Nationals and New York Yankees take a knee before the anthem in Opening Day ceremony, The Washington Post, Roman Stubbs, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “The black cloth was long enough to stretch from right field to home plate and out to left field, and each member of the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees grabbed a hold of the fabric before Thursday night’s season opener. A video message on the center field scoreboard had just played from the Players Alliance, a group of current and former black players that formed after George Floyd died while in police custody in May, and as players held on to the cloth, they took a knee or dropped to both knees during a moment of silence. A few seconds later, each member of the Nationals and Yankees stood for the national anthem. No player took a knee, ending speculation that players might choose to do so as the country’s racial reckoning continues. Instead, they demonstrated in other ways. Some wore ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirts during pregame warmups, and many had the slogan affixed to a small patch on their game uniforms.”

Trump Moves to Roll Back Obama Program Addressing Housing Discrimination. The move coincides with efforts by the president’s re-election campaign to shore up support among white suburban voters. The New York Times, Hailey Fuchs, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “The Trump administration moved on Thursday to eliminate an Obama-era program intended to combat racial segregation in suburban housing, saying it amounted to federal overreach into local communities. The rule, introduced in 2015, requires cities and towns to identify patterns of discrimination, implement corrective plans and report results. The administration’s decision to complete a process of rescinding it culminates a yearslong campaign to gut the rule by conservative critics and members of the administration who claimed it overburdened communities with complicated regulations. A new rule, which removes the Obama administration’s requirements for localities, will become effective 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The move comes as President Trump’s re-election campaign contends with waning support among white suburban voters, particularly suburban women. The decision to eliminate the rule echoes the president’s recent efforts to appeal to white grievances as he seeks to maintain support in suburbs.” See also, Trump tries to win over ‘Suburban Housewives’ with repeal of anti-segregation housing rule, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “President Trump moved Thursday to repeal a fair housing rule that he claimed would lead to “destruction” of the country’s suburbs, continuing an aggressive push that coincides with his campaign’s attempt to paint Democrats as angry mobs on the brink of upturning peaceful, mostly white neighborhoods. Trump had telegraphed the Housing and Urban Development Department’s move against the Obama-administration rule in recent tweets and comments that made thinly veiled appeals to a key electoral constituency that has drifted away from him over the past four years: suburban white voters.”

Judge Orders Michael Cohen Released, Citing ‘Retaliation’ Over Tell-All Book. A judge agreed that federal officials had returned Michael D. Cohen to prison because he wanted to publish a book this fall about President Trump. The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “When Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s one-time lawyer and fixer, met with probation officers this month to complete paperwork that would have let him serve the balance of his prison term at home, he found a catch. Mr. Cohen was already out on furlough because of the coronavirus. But to remain at home, he was asked to sign a document that would have barred him from publishing a book during the rest of his sentence. Mr. Cohen balked because he was, in fact, writing a book — a tell-all memoir about his former boss, the president. The officers sent him back to prison. On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that the decision to return Mr. Cohen to custody amounted to retaliation by the government and ordered him to be released again into home confinement. Mr. Cohen is expected back in his Manhattan apartment on Friday.” See also, Judge orders release of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen by Friday and says book publication ban was retaliation for not agreeing not to publish a book about Trump, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release from prison of President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen by Friday afternoon. The judge found that Cohen was sent back to prison in retaliation for not agreeing not to publish a book about Trump while on furlough from prison. Cohen plans to publish that book, which will be critical of Trump, before the 2020 presidential election.”

Ghislaine Maxwell to appeal judge’s order unsealing records in civil case, ABC News, James Hill, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “As Ghislaine Maxwell sits in a federal detention center in Brooklyn, New York, facing allegations that she conspired with the late Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse three minor girls, her attorney is vowing an emergency appeal of a federal judge’s decision Thursday to make public a cache of sealed court documents from a civil lawsuit against Maxwell that was settled three years ago. Citing ‘great concerns’ about Maxwell’s ability to get a fair trial if the records are released, Maxwell’s lawyer, Laura Menninger, asked for a delay of two weeks to file an appeal of the ruling. The judge gave her one week.”

‘Person, woman, man, camera, TV’: Trump insists cognitive test was difficult, The Guardian, Helen Sullivan, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Donald Trump, the president of the United States, has insisted that a cognitive test he took recently was ‘difficult,’ using the example of a question in which the patient is asked to remember and repeat five words. ‘Person, woman, man, camera, TV,’ Trump explained, saying that listing the words in order was worth ‘extra points,’ and that he found the task easy. ‘They said nobody gets it in order, it’s actually not that easy. But for me it was easy. And that’s not an easy question,’ he told Fox News medical analyst and New York University professor of medicine Marc K Siegel…. Trump has repeatedly referred to the cognitive test in recent interviews.” See also, ‘Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.’ Didn’t Mean What Trump Hoped It Did.The president said on Fox News that he had to remember those words as part of a test that he said demonstrated his mental acuity. But the test, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, is meant to detect signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 23 July 2020: “Presidents and those who would be president often boast of their qualifications — their education, their experience, their achievements. And then there is President Trump, who is boasting about his dementia test. Even for a president who has rewritten the political rule book so many times before, the spectacle of a commander in chief repeatedly touting his performance on a cognitive examination to prove that he has not lost a step paves new ground in the history of campaigns for the highest office in the land. Rather than dispensing with the issue, Mr. Trump drew new ridicule this week when he declared it nothing short of ‘amazing’ that he did so well on a test that, among other things, required him to identify an elephant. To demonstrate just how hard he said the test really was, he went on television to recite, over and over, the words that he had been asked to remember in the right order: ‘Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.’ Cable television played the president’s performance on a virtual loop on Thursday, and those five words trended online. A group of anti-Trump Republicans instantly produced an online ad mocking the president. T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and other clothing with ‘Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.’ emblazoned on them were quickly offered for sale. They have in effect become the haiku of the 2020 campaign.”