Trump Administration, Week 186: Friday, 7 August – Thursday, 13 August 2020 (Days 1,295-1,301)


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, 7 August 2020, Day 1,295:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 7 August 2020: Trump Vows to Issue Executive Orders if Coronavirus Relief Talks Collapse, The New York Times, Friday, 7 August 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 7 August 2020: U.S. Added 1.8 Million Jobs in July, The New York Times, Friday, 7 August 2020:

  • U.S. employers added 1.8 million jobs in July despite a coronavirus surge.
  • Wealthy families are throwing a lifeline to distressed businesses.
  • Canada outlines its response to the new U.S. aluminum tariff.
  • An expert on economic calamities sees ‘very, very dangerous territory.’
  • Wall Street is held back by China tensions and gridlock in Washington.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 7 August 2020: Coronavirus relief package talks stall; Trump might use executive actions to bypass Congress, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, Siobhán O’Grady, Kim Bellware, Hamza Shaban, Marisa Iati, and Meryl Kornfield, Thursday, 7 August 2020: “Talks regarding a coronavius relief package collapsed on Capitol Hill on Friday, and White House officials said they will recommend that President Trump move ahead without Congress to try and address unemployment benefits, eviction rules, and student loan relief. ‘The president would like us to make a deal, but unfortunately we did not make any progress today,’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said after he and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). ‘At this point we are going to recommend to the president that over the weekend we move forward with some executive actions,’ Mnuchin said.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 186, Friday, 7 August – Thursday, 13 August 2020 (Days 1,295-1,301)

Negotiators fail to reach deal in coronavirus relief talks, Politico, Marianne Levine, John Bresnahan, and Anita Kumar, Friday, 7 August 2020: “Last-ditch negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package failed to yield a deal Friday, ending talks for now and leaving bitter feelings among White House officials and Democratic leaders. As the negotiations collapsed, President Donald Trump vowed again that he would issue a series of controversial executive orders in response to the breakdown…. Clinching an agreement was never going to be easy. From the start, the White House and Democratic leaders were trillions of dollars apart, with Democrats pushing for the $3 trillion HEROES Act and the White House aiming to stay at $1 trillion. Senate Republicans also were divided on their own opening offer, with hard-line conservatives opposing additional federal spending. Pelosi and Schumer said Friday that they were willing to cut down their ask by $1 trillion if the White House increased their offer by $1 trillion, a move administration officials rejected.”

New York governor Andrew Cuomo says schools can reopen for in-person classes, NBC News, Joe Murphy and Corky Siemaszko, Friday, 7 August 2020: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave New York schools the green light Friday to reopen classrooms in the fall. Cuomo’s announcement ended weeks of speculation about whether New York would follow others in delaying in-person education — and as the number of new coronavirus cases continued to tick down in a state that was once the nation’s pandemic hot spot. ‘We are probably in the best situation in the country right now,’ Cuomo said on a call with reporters. ‘If anybody can open schools, we can open schools and that’s true for every region in the state.’ But Cuomo’s announcement is not likely to be the last word on this contentious issue. There continues to be stiff opposition from  teachers and parents to resuming in-class education, especially in New York City which has the nation’s biggest public school system with more than 1.1 million students. ‘If the teachers don’t come back, then you can’t really open the schools,’ Cuomo said. ‘If the parents don’t send their students, then you’re not really opening the schools.’ Cuomo’s directive leaves it up to local politicians and superintendents to decide whether and how to reopen.”

Covid-19 Pandemic Triggers Wave of Long-Term Unemployment. Numbers of people unemployed between 15 and 26 weeks rose to record high in July. The Wall Street Journal, Eric Morath and Danny Dougherty, Friday, 7 August 2020: “An increasing number of workers were unemployed for more than three months in July, a signal that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have a lasting economic impact on many people. The number who were unemployed between 15 and 26 weeks rose by a seasonally adjusted 4.6 million to 6.5 million people last month, according to the Labor Department. The July reading is the highest on record for the category in data going back to 1948, and it is nearly double the prior peak, set in 2009 at the end of the last recession. It is an ominous signal that even as overall hiring improves, millions of workers are facing the prospect of being out of a job for a long time.”

U.S. unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent in July. That’s down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April, but it is still far above pre-coronavirus levels. Politico, Friday, 7 August 2020: “The unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent in July, the Labor Department reported Friday. That’s down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April, but still far above the 3.5 percent rate in February before the coronavirus pandemic led to mass economic shutdowns across the country. The economy also added 1.8 million jobs in July, the department said, a slowdown from a 4.8 million gain in June. The number of unemployed is up by 10.6 million since February.”

‘Shameful’: Biden slams Trump for saying he would ‘hurt God’ if elected, Politico, Quint Forgey, Friday, 7 August 2020: “Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his faith Thursday in the face of fresh attacks from President Donald Trump, who declared the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is ‘against the Bible’ and claimed he would ‘hurt God’ if elected to the White House. ‘Like so many people, my faith has been the bedrock foundation of my life: it’s provided me comfort in moments of loss and tragedy, it’s kept me grounded and humbled in times of triumph and joy,’ Biden said in a statement. ‘And in this moment of darkness for our country — of pain, of division, and of sickness for so many Americans — my faith has been a guiding light for me and a constant reminder of the fundamental dignity and humanity that God has bestowed upon all of us.’ A devout Catholic, Biden has recited Scripture on the 2020 campaign trail and is known to carry rosary beads in his pocket. ‘Faith sees best in the dark,’ he says frequently in public remarks, quoting the Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard. Biden also has spoken and written at length about how his faith helped him grieve the deaths of his wife and 1-year-old daughter after a car accident in 1972, as well as the death of his son Beau in 2015 due to brain cancer. But in a radio interview Thursday with television personality Geraldo Rivera, Trump said of Biden: ‘He’s against the Bible. Essentially against religion. But against the Bible.’ The president repeated his claims when addressing supporters in Cleveland hours later. ‘He’s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns, destroy your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything. Hurt the Bible, hurt God. He’s against God,’ Trump said. Biden said in his statement late Thursday that Trump’s ‘shameful’ comments were ‘beneath the office he holds’ and ‘beneath the dignity the American people so rightly expect and deserve from their leaders.'”

Senior U.S. intelligence official William Evanina says Russia is trying to ‘denigrate’ Biden while China prefers ‘unpredictable’ Trump not be reelected, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Ellen Nakashima, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 7 August 2020: “Russia is ‘using a range of measures’ to interfere in the 2020 election and has enlisted a pro-Russian lawmaker from Ukraine — who has met with President Trump’s personal lawyer — ‘to undermine former vice president [Joe] Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party,’ a top U.S. intelligence official said in a statement Friday. The remarks by William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, were some of the most detailed to date about foreign interference in the presidential race and come after earlier criticism from Democratic lawmakers that Evanina had not shared with the public some of the alarming intelligence he gave them in classified briefings. Evanina also said that the government of China does not want Trump to win reelection in November, seeing the incumbent as ‘unpredictable.’ Evanina described China’s efforts to date as largely rhetorical and aimed at shaping policy and criticizing the Trump administration for actions Beijing sees as harmful to its long-term strategic interests. By contrast, Evanina described Russia as actively engaged in efforts that are reminiscent of the Kremlin’s attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. ‘We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former vice president Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia establishment,’ Evanina said. He noted that a Ukrainian lawmaker who has been in contact with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, is part of a Russian disinformation effort.” See also, Intelligence community’s top election security official says China and Iran don’t want trump to win reelection, and Russia is working against Biden, CNN Politics, Alex Marquardt, Evan Perez, Zachary Cohen, and Veronica Stracqualursi, Friday, 7 August 2020: “The US intelligence community’s top election security official said in a statement Friday that China ‘prefers’ an outcome where President Donald Trump is not reelected in November and Russia is working to ‘denigrate’ former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House bid.” See also, Russia Is Working to Damage Joe Biden’s White House Bid, U.S. Intelligence Agencies Say, The Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz, Friday, 7 August 2020: “The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Russia has undertaken a broad effort to damage Democratic Joe Biden’s bid for the presidency, while China prefers that President Trump not win re-election, a senior intelligence official said Friday. Iran is also seeking to undermine U.S. democratic institutions and President Trump, and to divide the country ahead of the November contest, Bill Evanina, who runs the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, wrote in a brief public report.” See also, Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Friday, 7 August 2020: “Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump. At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election. But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.”

Sensitive to claims of bias, Facebook relaxed misinformation rules for conservative pages, NBC News, Olivia Solon, Friday, 7 August 2020: “Facebook has allowed conservative news outlets and personalities to repeatedly spread false information without facing any of the company’s stated penalties, according to leaked materials reviewed by NBC News. According to internal discussions from the last six months, Facebook has relaxed its rules so that conservative pages, including those run by Breitbart, former Fox News personalities Diamond and Silk, the nonprofit media outlet PragerU and the pundit Charlie Kirk, were not penalized for violations of the company’s misinformation policies.”

Trump issues orders banning TikTok and WeChat from operating in 45 days if they are not sold by Chinese parent companies, CNN Politics, Nikki Carvajal and Caroline Kelly, Friday, 7 August 2020: “President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders that would ban the social media app TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US in 45 days if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies. The orders, which use similar language, do not state that a certain amount of money from the sale needs to be sent to the US Treasury Department, which the President has been insisting on for several days. The order regarding TikTok prohibits after 45 days ‘any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd.,’ the Chinese company that owns the social media platform. The move turns up the pressure on negotiations over the popular video app’s future through a potential sale. The dramatic back and forth began when Trump said last Friday night that he would ban TikTok from operating in the United States using emergency economic powers or an executive order…. Thursday’s order alleges that TikTok ‘automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,’ such as location data and browsing and search histories, which ‘threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.'”

House can sue to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with subpoena, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Spencer S. Hsu, Friday 7 August 2020: “House Democrats can sue to force President Trump’s former White House counsel Donald McGahn to comply with a congressional subpoena, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. In a 7-2 decision, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed Congress’s oversight powers and said the House has a long-standing right to compel government officials to testify and produce documents. The ruling came in one of a set of historic clashes between the White House and Democratic lawmakers. The ‘effective functioning of the Legislative Branch critically depends on the legislative prerogative to obtain information, and constitutional structure and historical practice support judicial enforcement of congressional subpoenas when necessary,’ Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote for the majority. The decision is a legal victory for House Democrats, but the ruling does not mean that McGahn will immediately appear on Capitol Hill. The court sent the case back to the initial three-judge panel, which had ruled against the House, to consider McGahn’s other challenges to the subpoena. The timeline makes it unlikely that the case will be resolved before Congress adjourns in January and the subpoena expires.” See also,  House Judiciary Committee Can Sue to Force Testimony From Former White House Counsel Don McGahn, The New York Times, Hailey Fuchs, Friday, 7 August 2020: “The House Judiciary Committee can sue to force the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II to testify before Congress, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in a 7-to-2 decision that enforcement of congressional subpoenas was crucial to its oversight duties over the executive branch and remanded to a panel of judges other issues Mr. McGahn raised in the case. Mr. McGahn is unlikely to appear before Congress ahead of the election, but the decision endorsed strong congressional oversight powers and Congress’s ability to take the White House to court if an administration fails to comply with its subpoenas.”

Postal Service overhauls leadership as Democrats press for investigation of mail delays. Lawmakers want the inspector general to examine Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s cost-cutting measures and investments. The Washington Post, Jacob Bogage, Friday, 7 August 2020: “Postmaster General Louis DeJoy unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s mail service, displacing the two top executives overseeing day-to-day operations, according to a reorganization memo released Friday. The shake-up came as congressional Democrats called for an investigation of DeJoy and the cost-cutting measures that have slowed mail delivery and ensnared ballots in recent primary elections. Twenty-three postal executives were reassigned or displaced, the new organizational chart shows. Analysts say the structure centralizes power around DeJoy, a former logistics executive and major ally of President Trump, and de-emphasizes decades of institutional postal knowledge. All told, 33 staffers included in the old postal hierarchy either kept their jobs or were reassigned in the restructuring, with five more staffers joining the leadership from other roles. The reshuffling threatens to heighten tensions between postal officials and lawmakers, who are troubled by delivery delays — the Postal Service banned employees from working overtime and making extra trips to deliver mail — and wary of the Trump administration’s influence on the Postal Service as the coronavirus pandemic rages and November’s election draws near. It also adds another layer to DeJoy’s disputes with Democratic leaders, who have pushed him to rescind the cost-cutting directives that have caused days-long backlogs and steady the Postal Service in the run-up to the election. DeJoy clashed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a meeting on the issue earlier this week.” See also, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Announces a Substantial Reorganization of the Postal Service Amid Scrutiny Over Mail Ballots, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 7 August 2020: “The Postal Service on Friday announced a substantial reorganization meant to increase efficiency as Democratic lawmakers demanded an inquiry into whether changes by President Trump’s postal officials could threaten the effective use of mail-in ballots for the November election. Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general and a major donor to Mr. Trump’s campaigns, was named to oversee the service in May. On Friday, he shifted top personnel, including some decades-long veterans of the Postal Service, and made changes to its organizational structure…. The changes come at a time of heightened scrutiny for Mr. DeJoy, as critics charge that changes to overtime policies and other previous actions threaten to slow delivery of ballots when millions of people are expected to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are anecdotal reports around the country of slow mail delivery, and in New York City, thousands of ballots in a Democratic primary were invalidated in part because the post office had not delivered some of them in time.”

E. Jean Carroll, Who Accused Trump of Rape, Can Go Forward With Suit. A judge rejected President Trump’s bid to delay a defamation suit by Ms. Carroll, pointing to the recent Supreme Court ruling over his tax returns. The New York Times, Nicole Hong, Friday, 7 August 2020: “A New York judge has rejected President Trump’s bid to temporarily halt proceedings in a lawsuit filed against him by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of rape, a ruling that allows the case to move forward in the months before the presidential election. The decision was a victory for Ms. Carroll, who sued Mr. Trump last November for defamation after he called her a liar and said he had never met her. She published a memoir last summer that accused Mr. Trump of attacking her in a department store dressing room in Manhattan in the 1990s. Lawyers for Mr. Trump had sought to put the lawsuit on hold while an appeals court is deciding whether to dismiss a similar lawsuit filed against Mr. Trump by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on ‘The Apprentice’ who has accused him of sexually assaulting her. In their bid for a delay, the lawyers also said the Constitution gave a sitting president immunity against civil lawsuits in state court. On Thursday, Justice Verna L. Saunders in New York rejected their arguments, pointing to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that concluded Mr. Trump could not block a subpoena for his tax returns by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The Supreme Court ruling determined that the president did not possess absolute immunity against state criminal subpoenas.”

U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones. Anomaly Six has ties to military and intelligence agencies and draws location data from more than 500 apps with hundreds of millions of users. The Wall Street Journal, Byron Tau, Friday, 7 August 2020: “A small U.S. company with ties to the U.S. defense and intelligence communities has embedded its software in numerous mobile apps, allowing it to track the movements of hundreds of millions of mobile phones world-wide, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Anomaly Six LLC a Virginia-based company founded by two U.S. military veterans with a background in intelligence, said in marketing material it is able to draw location data from more than 500 mobile applications, in part through its own software development kit, or SDK, that is embedded directly in some of the apps. An SDK allows the company to obtain the phone’s location if consumers have allowed the app containing the software to access the phone’s GPS coordinates. App publishers often allow third-party companies, for a fee, to insert SDKs into their apps. The SDK maker then sells the consumer data harvested from the app, and the app publisher gets a chunk of revenue. But consumers have no way to know whether SDKs are embedded in apps; most privacy policies don’t disclose that information. Anomaly Six says it embeds its own SDK in some apps, and in other cases gets location data from other partners.”


Saturday, 8 August 2020, Day 1,296:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 8 August 2020: U.S. Surpasses 5 Million Cases, The New York Times, Saturday, 8 August 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant coronavirus updates for Saturday, 8 August 2020: California surpasses 10,000 deaths as Trump signs economic relief orders, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins and Marisa Iati, Saturday, 8 August 2020: “California on Friday became the third U.S. state to report more than 10,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, offering a stark reminder of the pandemic’s mounting human toll as President Trump announced several executive actions meant to provide economic relief to hurting Americans. The measures, one of which aims to offer $400 in weekly unemployment aid, came after the White House failed to reach an agreement with congressional Democrats. The benefit could affect nearly 3,000 people without work in California, where the unemployment rate in June stood at about 15 percent. At least 10,189 people have died of the virus in California, and daily deaths have steadily increased since early July, according to The Washington Post’s tracking. Only New York and New Jersey have reported more deaths since outbreaks began there, with 29,821 and 15,869, respectively.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Trump’s executive actions sought to circumvent Congress’s constitutionally mandated power to legislate tax and spending policy. The president acknowledged that he could face legal challenges, but he predicted that courts would uphold the measures.
  • Tens of thousands of motorcyclists converged on Sturgis, S.D., for a massive annual motorcycle rally, which marks one of the pandemic era’s biggest public events. The gathering was expected to draw a quarter-million people, sparking worries among health experts and locals that it could result in a burst of coronavirus infections.
  • Dozens of members of Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., watched his news conference Friday in apparent violation of the state’s coronavirus restrictions. Trump claimed that their attendance was a ‘peaceful protest’ of the media and was therefore exempt from New Jersey guidelines.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, Saturday, 8 August 2020: “President Trump on Saturday attempted to bypass Congress and make dramatic changes to tax and spending policy, signing executive actions that challenge the boundaries of power that separate the White House and Capitol Hill…. But there were instant questions about whether Trump’s actions were as ironclad as he made them out to be. A leading national expert on unemployment benefits said one of the actions would not increase federal unemployment benefits at all. Instead, the expert said it would instead create a new program that could take ‘months’ to set up. And Trump’s directive to halt evictions primarily calls for federal agencies to ‘consider’ if they should be stopped. Trump also mischaracterized the legal stature of the measures, referring to them as ‘bills.’ Congress writes and votes on bills, not the White House. The documents Trump signed on Saturday were a combination of memorandums and an executive order.” See also, Sidestepping Congress, Trump Signs Executive Measures for Pandemic Relief, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Emily Cochrane, and Jim Tankersley, Saturday, 8 August 2020: “President Trump took executive action on Saturday to circumvent Congress and try to extend an array of federal pandemic relief, resorting to a legally dubious set of edicts whose impact was unclear, as negotiations over an economic recovery package appeared on the brink of collapse. It was not clear what authority Mr. Trump had to act on his own on the measures or what immediate effect, if any, they would have, given that Congress controls federal spending. But his decision to sign the measures — billed as a federal eviction ban, a payroll tax suspension, and relief for student borrowers and $400 a week for the unemployed — reflected the failure of two weeks of talks between White House officials and top congressional Democrats to strike a deal on a broad relief plan as crucial benefits have expired with no resolution in sight. Mr. Trump’s move also illustrated the heightened concern of a president staring down re-election in the middle of a historic recession and a pandemic, and determined to show voters that he was doing something to address the crises. But despite Mr. Trump’s assertions on Saturday that his actions ‘will take care of this entire situation,’ the orders also leave a number of critical bipartisan funding proposals unaddressed, including providing assistance to small businesses, billions of dollars to schools ahead of the new school year, aid to states and cities and a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans.”

The lost days of summer: How Trump fell short in containing the virus, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey, and Robert Costa, Saturday, 8 August 2020: “As the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows is responsible for coordinating the vast executive branch, including its coronavirus response. But in closed-door meetings, he has revealed his skepticism of the two physicians guiding the anti-pandemic effort, Deborah Birx and Anthony S. Fauci, routinely questioning their expertise, according to senior administration officials and other people briefed on the internal discussions. Meadows no longer holds a daily 8 a.m. meeting that includes health professionals to discuss the raging pandemic. Instead, aides said, he huddles in the mornings with a half-dozen politically oriented aides — and when the virus comes up, their focus is more on how to convince the public that President Trump has the crisis under control, rather than on methodically planning ways to contain it. During coronavirus meetings, Meadows has repeatedly questioned the scientific consensus that wearing masks helps contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials said. He has regularly raised with Fauci and others a range of issues on which he thinks Fauci has been wrong, and he personally monitors the infectious-disease expert’s media appearances. When he catches Fauci sounding out of sync with Trump, the chief of staff admonishes the doctor to ‘stay on message,’ officials said — and he has impressed upon Fauci, Birx and other public health professionals that they should not opine on restrictions or make policy in the media.”

Trump aides are exploring executive actions to curb voting by mail, Politico, Anita Kumar, Saturday, 8 August 2020: “This past spring, President Donald Trump began a full-fledged assault on voting by mail, tweeting, retweeting and railing about massive fraud and rigged elections with scant evidence. Then the Republican apparatus got to work backing up the president. In the weeks since, Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have taken to the courts dozens of times as part of a $20 million effort to challenge voting rules, including filing their own lawsuits in several battleground states, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Nevada. And around the time Trump started musing about delaying the election last week, aides and outside advisers began scrambling to ponder possible executive actions he could take to curb mail-in voting — everything from directing the postal service to not deliver certain ballots to stopping local officials from counting them after Election Day.”

Inside Trump’s Battles With U.S. Intelligence Agencies. Last year, intelligence officials gathered to write a classified report on Russia’s interest in the 2020 election. An investigation from the magazine uncovered what happened next. The New York Times Magazine, Robert Draper, Saturday, 8 August 2020: “In early July of last year, the first draft of a classified document known as a National Intelligence Estimate circulated among key members of the agencies making up the U.S. intelligence community. N.I.E.s are intended to be that community’s most authoritative class of top-secret document, reflecting its consensus judgment on national-security matters ranging from Iran’s nuclear capabilities to global terrorism. The draft of the July 2019 N.I.E. ran to about 15 pages, with another 10 pages of appendices and source notes. According to multiple officials who saw it, the document discussed Russia’s ongoing efforts to influence U.S. elections: the 2020 presidential contest and 2024’s as well. It was compiled by a working group consisting of about a dozen senior analysts, led by Christopher Bort, a veteran national intelligence officer with nearly four decades of experience, principally focused on Russia and Eurasia. The N.I.E. began by enumerating the authors’ ‘key judgments.’ Key Judgment 2 was that in the 2020 election, Russia favored the current president: Donald Trump. The intelligence provided to the N.I.E.’s authors indicated that in the lead-up to 2020, Russia worked in support of the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as well. But Bort explained to his colleagues, according to notes taken by one participant in the process, that this reflected not a genuine preference for Sanders but rather an effort ‘to weaken that party and ultimately help the current U.S. president.’ To allay any speculation that Putin’s interest in Trump had cooled, Key Judgment 2 was substantiated by current information from a highly sensitive foreign source described by someone who read the N.I.E. as ‘100 percent reliable.’… Yet Trump never accepted this and often actively disputed it, judging officials who expressed such a view to be disloyal. As a former senior adviser to Trump, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told me, ‘You couldn’t have any conversation about Russia and the election without the president assuming you were calling his election into question. Everyone in the White House knew that, and so you just didn’t talk about that with him.’ According to this former adviser, both John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, who were Trump’s national security adviser and acting chief of staff in 2019, went to considerable lengths to keep the subject of Russian election interference off the president’s agenda.” See also, Trump, Russia, and an Intelligence Document: Key Moments. Officials told The New York Times Magazine that the draft of a classified document reporting that Russia favored President Trump in the 2020 election was changed to soften its assessment. The New York Times, Alan Yuhas, Saturday, 8 August 2020: “A little more than a year ago, American intelligence agencies drafted a classified document reporting that the Russian government favored President Trump in the 2020 presidential election, a finding that fit with their consensus that the Kremlin tried to help him in 2016. The director of national intelligence was asked to modify the assessment — he did not — and not long afterward, Mr. Trump declared the director was out. Soon after the new acting director arrived, an intelligence official changed the document, softening the claim that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia wanted Mr. Trump to win, according to an article published on Saturday by The New York Times Magazine. The investigation includes details not previously reported about the fears of officials in U.S. intelligence agencies under the Trump administration, who described struggling to brief the president without provoking his anger or losing their jobs.”


Sunday, 9 August 2020, Day 1,297:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates on Sunday, 9 August 2020: At Least 97,000 Children in the U.S. Tested Positive in the Last 2 Weeks of July, The New York Times, Sunday, 9 August 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 9 August 2020: U.S. coronavirus infections surpass 5 million, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Marisa Iati, and Jacqueline Dupree, Sunday, 9 August 2020: “The number of reported coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 5 million on Sunday, double the number since the end of June, as the Midwest grappled with new spikes and states across the South and the West fought to contain surges. The 5 million mark comes just 17 days after the U.S. total exceeded 4 million, according to The Washington Post’s tracking. The previous million cases were also reported in about a two-week span. Reported U.S. cases have doubled since late June, peaking on July 17 with a staggering 76,491 cases in a single day. The United States leads the world with a quarter of all global infections. Brazil and India follow, with 3 million and 2.1 million reported infections, respectively.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Top congressional Democrats on Sunday criticized President Trump’s new executive actions as weak and unworkable, while Trump administration officials defended the president’s moves and said they were necessary because Democrats wouldn’t compromise on a broad coronavirus relief package.
  • cluster of coronavirus cases has emerged at a Georgia high school that drew national attention last week after students posted pictures and videos of their peers walking without masks in tightly packed hallways, according to a letter sent to parents over the weekend.
  • The United States tallied 50,002 coronavirus cases and 579 deaths on Sunday after five straight days of death tolls greater than 1,000, according to The Post’s tracking. The single-day death totals in Arkansas and Nevada set records, and new deaths were higher than current seven-day averages in Louisiana, Minnesota, Washington and West Virginia.
  • New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) reported Sunday that his state, which was hit hard early in the pandemic, logged its lowest positivity rate yet: 0.78 percent. Of 65,812 test results submitted to the state Saturday, the governor said, 515 were positive.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump’s Orders on Coronavirus Relief Create Confusion, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Alan Rappeport, and Like Broadwater, Sunday, 9 August 2020: “Trump’s attempt to circumvent Congress to provide coronavirus relief in the absence of a broad agreement resulted in confusion and uncertainty on Sunday for tens of millions of unemployed Americans and countless businesses seeking aid after critical benefits lapsed. As negotiations with congressional Democrats remained at an impasse, administration officials were on the defensive a day after the president’s legally questionable executive actions, at times contradicting one another as they sought to explain how the measures would work and how quickly Americans could see any form of relief. In a series of television appearances on Sunday, they insisted that Americans would receive the aid promised by Mr. Trump, including a $400 weekly supplement to unemployment checks. But that funding will be contingent on agreement from state officials, who are already struggling amid budget shortfalls caused by the economic crisis, and the siphoning of aid from a federal fund for disaster relief in the middle of what is expected to be an active hurricane season.” See also, Breaking down the executive actions Trump signed on coronavirus relief, CNN Politics, Kristen Holmes, Zachary B. Wolf, Tami Luhby, Katie Lobosco, and Kevin Bohn, Sunday, 9 August 2020: “With stimulus talks stalled, President Donald Trump announced he would go around Congress to deliver aid to Americans affected by the pandemic. But a close read of the actual text of executive actions he signed Saturday suggests that even if they are deemed constitutional, they will not quickly deliver the aid Trump promised. They may not deliver much at all.”

Trump walks out of news conference after reporter asks him about Veterans Choice lie he has told more than 150 times, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale, Sunday, 9 August 2020: “President Donald Trump abruptly ended a Saturday news conference after a reporter challenged him on a lie about veterans health care he has told more than 150 times. Trump, speaking at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, had claimed again that he is the one who got the Veterans Choice program passed — adding, ‘They’ve been trying to get that passed for decades and decades and decades and no president’s ever been able to do it, and we got it done.’ In fact, former President Barack Obama signed the Choice program into law in 2014. The law, which allowed eligible veterans to be covered by the government for care provided by doctors outside the VA system, was a bipartisan initiative spearheaded by two senators Trump has repeatedly criticized, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the late John McCain of Arizona.”


Monday, 10 August 2020, Day 1,298:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 10 August 2020: Trump’s Order on Coronavirus Relief Alarms Governors as Stimulus Talks Stall, The New York Times, Monday, 10 August 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 10 August 2020: Trump’s Proposals Confuse States and Businesses, The New York Times, Monday, 10 August 2020:

  • Trump’s plan to bolster unemployment pay has states bewildered.
  • Employers are confused about how to handle the ‘payroll tax holiday.’
  • Americans are souring on the job market, a Fed survey shows.
  • Stocks inch higher, bringing Wall Street closer to a record.
  • The latest: Simon says rent collection is up, and Saudi Aramco’s profit plummets.

Some significant updates in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 10 August 2020: Trump dismisses coronavirus cases in children and says they’re a ‘tiny fraction’ of deaths, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Brittany Shammas, Hannah Knowles, Kim Bellware, Hamza Shaban, Reis Thebault, and Meryl Kornfield, Monday, 10 August 2020: “Despite a study that found nearly 100,000 children were infected with the coronavirus in the final two weeks of July, President Trump on Monday reiterated the false claim that children are essentially immune to the virus, and that schools should reopen for in-person instruction in the fall. ‘I think, for the most part, they don’t get very sick,’ Trump said of children. ‘… It’s also a case where there’s a tiny fraction of death, tiny fraction, and they get better very quickly.’

Here are some significant developments:
  • President Trump suddenly exited his coronavirus briefing amid reports that the Secret Service shot a person outside the White House grounds. Secret Service confirmed that a shooting involving a U.S. Secret Service officer occurred at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • White House officials have been circulating a proposal that would give U.S. border authorities the extraordinary ability to block U.S. citizens and permanent residents from entering the country from Mexico if they are suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus.
  • College football players, including Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, spoke forcefully in favor of saving the fall season, even as momentum seemed to tilt toward cancellation, and urging players to unionize. President Trump tweeted Monday afternoon: ‘Play College Football!’
  • After one Georgia high school reopened with in-person instruction, viral photos showed hallways packed with maskless students. Now North Paulding High School is temporarily reverting to virtual instruction while the school is cleaned, after six students and three teachers tested positive.
  • California’s director of public health abruptly resigned Sunday night, a week after the state announced that an error with its electronic lab reporting system caused an undercount in newly reported coronavirus cases.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Is Caught Between Scientists and Trump. Many medical experts, including members of his won staff, worry about whether Dr. Hahn has the fortitude and political savvy to protect the scientific integrity of the F.D.A. from Mr, Trump. The New York Times, Sheila Kaplan, Monday, 10 August 2020: “As the coronavirus surged across the Sunbelt, President Trump told a crowd gathered at the White House on July 4 that 99 percent of virus cases are ‘totally harmless.’ The next morning on CNN, the host Dana Bash asked Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and one of the nation’s most powerful health officials: ‘Is the president wrong?’ Dr. Hahn, an oncologist and former hospital executive, certainly understood the deadly toll of the virus, and the danger posed by the president’s false statements. But he ducked the journalist’s question. ‘I’m not going to get into who’s right and who’s wrong,’ he said. The exchange illustrates the predicament that Dr. Hahn and other doctors face working for a president who often disregards scientific evidence. But as head of the agency that will decide what treatments are approved for Covid-19 and whether a new vaccine is safe enough to be given to millions of Americans, Dr. Hahn may be pressured like no one else.”

Governors Say Trump’s Order on Pandemic Relief Could Wreck State Budgets, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Emily Cochrane, Sarah Mervosh, and Alan Rappeport, Monday, 10 August 2020: “Governors across the United States struggled on Monday with how to make good on President Trump’s order that their economically battered states deliver billions more in unemployment benefits to jobless residents. Democrats were harshly critical of Mr. Trump’s order, which he signed on Saturday night after talks with Congress on a broad new pandemic aid package collapsed. But even Republican governors said the order could put a serious strain on their budgets and worried it would take weeks for tens of millions of unemployed Americans to begin seeing the benefit.” See also, Nation’s governors raise concerns about implementing Trump executive moves and call on Congress to act, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Tony Romm, and Jeff Stein, Monday, 10 August 2020: “The nation’s governors raised concerns on a bipartisan basis Monday about implementing President Trump’s new executive action aimed at extending enhanced unemployment insurance, and called on Congress to act instead.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Is Making Sure Migrant Children Don’t Have COVID-19 and Then Expelling Them to ‘prevent the Spread’ of COVID-19, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, Dara Lind and Lomi Kriel, Monday, 10 August 2020: “Since March, the Trump administration has pushed thousands of migrant children back to their home countries without legal screenings or protection, citing the risk that they could be carrying COVID-19 into the United States. But by the time the children are boarded on planes home, they’ve already been tested for the virus — and proven not to have it. Court documents, and information given by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to congressional staff last week, reveal that the Trump administration has agreed to test every child in its custody before sending them back to their home countries under the expulsion policy. ICE’s comprehensive testing appears to undermine the rationale for the mass expulsion policy: that it is necessary to ‘prevent the introduction’ of COVID-19 into the United States. The Trump administration has argued that, because of the pandemic, it must circumvent protections built into immigration law for migrant children, which dictate they should be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services (and ultimately to sponsors in the U.S.) and given a chance to seek asylum. Administration officials have said that they can’t risk that infected children would spread COVID-19 through the system. Yet even after children test negative for the virus, they aren’t being allowed to access the usual protections.”

Judge balks at White House’s executive privilege claim over Ukraine emails, Politico, Josh Gerstein, Monday, 10 August 2020: “A federal judge has rebuffed the Trump administration’s attempt to invoke executive privilege to withhold a batch of emails about a hold President Donald Trump put on U.S. aid to Ukraine in 2019. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Monday that the government had failed to make a convincing showing that the 21 messages between White House aide Robert Blair and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey were eligible for protection under legal privileges protecting the development of presidential advice or decisions made by other government officials. The messages are considered key evidence about the event that triggered Trump’s impeachment by the House last year: his decision to halt aid to Ukraine in what critics and even some administration officials said was an attempt to pressure that country to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.”

Environmental Protection Agency to Lift Obama-Era Controls on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Monday, 10 August 2020: “The Trump administration is expected in the coming days to lift Obama-era controls on the release of methane, a powerful climate-warming gas that is emitted from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells. The new rule on methane pollution, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, has been expected for months, and will be made public before Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke anonymously to avoid publicly pre-empting the official announcement. The rollback of the methane rule is the latest move in the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to weaken environmental standards, which has continued unabated during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the E.P.A. weakened rules on the release of toxic chemicals from coal-fired power plants, loosened curbs on climate-warming tailpipe pollution and opted not to strengthen a regulation on industrial soot emissions that have been linked to respiratory diseases, including Covid-19. In July, President Trump unilaterally weakened one of the nation’s bedrock conservation laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, limiting public review of federal infrastructure projects in an effort to speed up the permitting process for freeways, power plants and pipelines.” See also, Environmental Protection Agency to Rescind Methane Regulations for Oil and Gas, The Wall Street Journal, Timothy Puko, Monday, 10 August 2020: “The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to adopt new rules that would rescind regulations for methane-gas emissions, including ending requirements that oil-and-gas producers have systems and procedures to detect methane leaks in their systems, senior administration officials said. The rule changes will apply to wells drilled since 2016 and going forward, and remove the largest pipelines, storage sites and other parts of the transmission system from EPA oversight of smog and greenhouse-gas emissions. The changes also ease reporting requirements for the industry and, for some facilities, how often a plant must check for leaks of other pollutants, the officials said.”

Trump claims he would not have called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deaths despite tweeting in 2014 that Obama should resign for allowing one doctor who tested positive for Ebola to enter the U.S., Axios, Monday, 10 August 2020: “President Trump claimed at a press briefing Monday that he would not have called for President Obama to resign if 160,000 Americans had died on his watch, despite tweeting in 2014 that Obama should resign for allowing a doctor who tested positive for Ebola to enter the U.S. Only one person — who contracted the disease in Libera before traveling to the U.S. — died from Ebola in 2014. The U.S. currently leads the world in total confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.”


Tuesday, 11 August 2020, Day 1,299:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 11 August 2020: Governor Warns Texas Has Too Many Cases to Reopen, The New York Times, Tuesday, 11 August 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 11 August 2020: Tesla Announces 5-for-1 Stock Split, The New York Times, Tuesday, 11 August 2020:

  • Tesla’s board approves a 5-for-1 split in its soaring stock.
  • Stocks reverse early gains as Big Tech shares sink.
  • Russian economy shrank 8.5 percent in second quarter.
  • The pandemic tests the leadership style of Goldman Sachs’s chief executive.
  • Airline stocks are jumping after a pick up in travel.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Tuesday, 11 August 2020: Florida and Georgia report highest single-day death tolls since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Jennifer Hassan, Kim Bellware, Brittany Shammas, Miriam Berger, Hamza Shaban, Meryl Kornfield, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Coronavirus-related deaths in the United States topped 1,300 on Tuesday, with Florida and Georgia recording their highest single-day death tolls since the start of the pandemic.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

‘A Smoking Gun’: Infectious Coronavirus Retrieved From Hospital Air, The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Tuesday 11 August 2020: “Skeptics of the notion that the coronavirus spreads through the air — including many expert advisers to the World Health Organization — have held out for one missing piece of evidence: proof that floating respiratory droplets called aerosols contain live virus, and not just fragments of genetic material. Now a team of virologists and aerosol scientists has produced exactly that: confirmation of infectious virus in the air. ‘This is what people have been clamoring for,’ said Linsey Marr, an expert in airborne spread of viruses who was not involved in the work. ‘It’s unambiguous evidence that there is infectious virus in aerosols.’ A research team at the University of Florida succeeded in isolating live virus from aerosols collected at a distance of seven to 16 feet from patients hospitalized with Covid-19 — farther than the six feet recommended in social distancing guidelines. The findings, posted online last week, have not yet been vetted by peer review, but have already caused something of a stir among scientists. ‘If this isn’t a smoking gun, then I don’t know what is,’ Dr. Marr tweeted last week.”

Trump’s senior aides acknowledged on Tuesday that they are providing less financial assistance for the unemployed than Trump initially advertised amid mounting blowback from state officials of both partiesThe Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Tony Romm, and Erica Werner, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “On Saturday, Trump approved an executive action that he claimed would provide an additional $400 per week in expanded unemployment benefits for Americans who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. By Tuesday, senior White House officials were saying publicly that the maneuver only guarantees an extra $300 per week for unemployed Americans — with states not required to add anything to their existing state benefit programs to qualify for the federal benefit.”

Covid-19 Data Reporting System Gets Off to a Rocky Start. New data system run by Health and Human Services faces delays and quality-control issues. The Wall Street Journal, Robbie Whelan, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Public release of hospital data about the coronavirus pandemic has slowed to a crawl, one month after the federal government ordered states to report it directly to the Department of Health and Human Services and bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key indicators, such as estimates of the portion of inpatient beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, are lagging by a week or more, making it harder for citizens and local officials to get a handle on how the pandemic is progressing and for agencies to allocate supplies of antiviral drugs and personal protective equipment, public-health experts say. The decision to switch data reporting in the middle of a public-health crisis was reckless, researchers and former public-health officials say.”

Senator Kamala Harris Is Biden’s Choice for Vice President, The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Katie Glueck, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. selected Senator Kamala Harris of California as his vice-presidential running mate on Tuesday, embracing a former rival who sharply criticized him in the Democratic primaries but emerged after ending her campaign as a vocal supporter of Mr. Biden’s and a prominent advocate of racial-justice legislation after the killing of George Floyd in late May. Ms. Harris, 55, is the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party, and only the fourth woman in U.S. history to be chosen for a presidential ticket. She brings to the race a far more vigorous campaign style than Mr. Biden’s, including a gift for capturing moments of raw political electricity on the debate stage and elsewhere, and a personal identity and family story that many find inspiring.” See also, Joe Biden names Senator Kamala D. Harris as his running mate, The Washington Post, Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday picked Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate, a historic decision that elevates the first Black woman and first Asian American woman to run for vice president on a major-party ticket at a moment when the country is grappling with its racial past and future. Biden’s announcement, made in a text and tweet, aligns him with a former presidential rival whose most electric campaign performance came when she criticized his record on school integration during a debate.”

Ilhan Omar Wins House Primary in Minnesota. Ms. Omar, a member of the “Squad” of progressive women of color elected to the House two years ago, topped a well-funded challenger in a victory for the left. The New York Times, Astead W. Herndon, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota fended off a well-funded primary challenger on Tuesday, ensuring a clean sweep of re-election fights for the group of first-term Democratic congresswomen of color known as the Squad and sending a message to Washington about the staying power of the party’s new progressive voices. Ms. Omar, who made history in 2018 by becoming the first Somali-American to be elected to Congress, as well as the first naturalized citizen of African birth and the first woman of color from Minnesota to do so, secured the victory after spending her first two years in the Washington spotlight.” See also, Representative Ilhan Omar vanquishes her primary challenger, the latest victory for liberals, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday soundly defeated a well-funded primary challenger, the latest in a series of victories for liberals looking to secure their foothold in Congress and move the Democratic Party further left.”

QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, with Georgia primary victory, is poised to bring far-right conspiracy theory to Congress, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Rachael Bade, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Congressional Republicans came a step closer Tuesday to welcoming into their ranks a promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose adherents believe President Trump is battling a cabal of ‘deep state’ saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has endorsed the baseless theory and made a slew of other racist remarks on video, won a Republican primary runoff in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, according to the Associated Press. Her victory, in a northwestern swath of the state that has favored Republicans by wide margins, sets her up to become QAnon’s first devotee in Congress.” See also, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon Supporter, Wins House Primary in Georgia, The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg, Astead W, Herndon, and Nick Corassaniti, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “Conspiracy theorists won a major victory on Tuesday as a Republican supporter of the convoluted pro-Trump movement QAnon triumphed in her House primary runoff election in Georgia, all but ensuring that she will represent a deep-red district in Congress. The ascension of Marjorie Taylor Greene, who embraces a conspiracy theory that the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorism threat, came as six states held primary and runoff elections on Tuesday.” See also, Trump and House Republicans embrace candidate who has made racist statements, drawing attention to party’s tolerance of bigotry, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade and Isaac Stanley-Becker, published on Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “Trump and Republican leaders’ embrace of a House candidate who has made racist statements and espoused the QAnon conspiracy theory is again highlighting the party’s willingness to tolerate extreme and bigoted positions. Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Marjorie Taylor Greenewho won her Georgia primary Tuesday evening, was a ‘future Republican Star,’ who was ‘strong on everything and never gives up — a real WINNER!’ The office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — who ignored multiple pleas from his members to wade into the primary to stop Greene — has said that he will seat her on congressional committees.” See also, Trump congratulates QAnon Conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene on her Republican runoff victory, Axios, Fadel Allassan, published on Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia’s deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff. Why it matters: The president’s approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios’ Jacob Knutson. What he’s saying: ‘Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!’ Trump tweeted.”

Supreme Court Won’t Ease Oregon’s Referendum Rules During the Pandemic. The court’s order in effect blocked a ballot measure intended to address partisan gerrymandering. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked an injunction easing Oregon’s requirements for placing a referendum on partisan gerrymandering on the November ballot. Citing the coronavirus pandemic, a federal trial judge had lowered the number of signatures required and extended the deadline for gathering them. The Supreme Court’s brief order was unsigned and gave no reasons, which is typical when the court acts on emergency applications. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have let the injunction stand. The Supreme Court’s order effectively stopped an effort to allow Oregonians to vote on a measure requiring an independent commission to draw voting districts instead of the State Legislature. The Supreme Court has issued at least five other orders in disputes over voting in the last several months, and a theme that runs through them is an impatience with federal judges who make changes to state election procedures, especially when the election is looming.” See also, Supreme Court blocks Oregon group from collecting signatures online for ballot initiative, CNN Politics, Jessica Schneider and Ariane de Vogue, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “The Supreme Court has blocked a lower court ruling that would have made it easier for a group promoting redistricting reform in Oregon to collect signatures in the midst of the pandemic. The court’s move is the latest example of the justices ruling against plaintiffs who have asked the court to relax ballot rules because of the coronavirus. The Supreme Court turned down a similar request from a group out of Idaho in late July. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented from the order.”

Watchdog Says State Department Failed to Limit Civilian Deaths From Saudi Arms Sales. The inspector general also found the State Department avoided congressional review by dividing sales of controversial arms into smaller packages. The New York Times, Edward Wong and Michael LaForgia, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “The State Department inspector general issued a report on Tuesday criticizing the agency as failing to take proper measures to reduce civilian deaths from American-made bombs used by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the catastrophic Yemen war. The report, released 14 months after Congress asked the inspector general to start an investigation into the agency’s role in arms sales, ‘found that the department did not fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer’ of precision-guided bombs to the Gulf Arab nations. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed the $8.1 billion sale of those munitions, mostly made by Raytheon, despite a two-year bipartisan congressional hold on the proposed transfer of the arms, comprising 22 packages. Mr. Pompeo did that by declaring an ’emergency’ in May 2019 over Iran’s activities in the region. The move infuriated Democratic lawmakers, who asked the inspector general at the time, Steve A. Linick, to open an investigation. In addressing the issue of civilian casualties, which is at the heart of the intense political debate in Washington over the arms sales, the report indicates the investigation was much broader than previously known. The investigation was the first internal administration inquiry into the impact of the weapons exports. In May, The New York Times published the results of its own investigation into how the Trump administration had contributed to civilian casualties in Yemen with the sales. The report also highlighted how the State Department appeared to be doing an end run around the congressional notification process on arms sales.”

Trump says Americans will have to learn Chinese if Biden wins but offers little condemnation of Beijing, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “In a pair of interviews on Tuesday, President Donald Trump railed against his competitor for being weak on China — but stopped short himself of condemning China’s repression of its Uyghur ethnic minority or its crackdown on political freedoms in Hong Kong. ‘China will own the United States if this election is lost by Donald Trump,’ Trump, referring to himself in the third person, told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. ‘If I don’t win the election, China will own the United States. You’re going to have to learn to speak Chinese, you want to know the truth.’ His remark was the latest escalation in a contest with former Vice President Joe Biden over who can sound toughest on China, a battle that has become a central facet of the presidential campaign.”

Big Ten and Pac-12 postpone college football season due to coronavirus concerns, CNBC, Jabari Young, Tuesday, 11 August 2020: “The first powerhouse conference in college football has decided to postpone its season due to Covid-19. The Big Ten said Tuesday the postponement affects all sports scheduled for the fall season as concerns about the pandemic continue to plague the U.S. along with fears of a second wave of Covid-19. The Big Ten conference includes schools such as Ohio State University, University of Michigan and Northwestern University. The Big Ten said in a statement Tuesday that it will consider playing the fall sports in the spring instead. About an hour after the Big Ten’s announcement, the Pac-12 called a news conference to say its fall sports season would be postponed until the spring.”


Wednesday, 12 August 2020, Day 1,300:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 12 August 2020: U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Reflects Sun Belt Outbreaks, The New York Times, Wednesday, 12 August 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 12 August 2020: Disney to Allow Virus Testing at Florida Resort, The New York Times, Wednesday, 12 August 2020:

  • Disney will allow virus testing at its Florida resort.
  • Lyft’s revenue falls 61 percent as customers take fewer rides.
  • The U.S. deficit ballooned to $2.8 trillion in July, but the monthly gap fell.
  • Want the economy to rebound? Wear a mask, Federal Reserve official says.
  • Tencent says Trump’s order against WeChat won’t affect its other U.S. business.
  • Britain’s recession is worse than in Europe and North America.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some  significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 12 August 2020: S&P 500 nearly breaks all-time record, despite pandemic’s hit on U.S. economy, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Jennifer Hassan, Miriam Berger, Lateshia Beachum, Derek Hawkins, Brittany Shammas, Hamza Shaban, Reis Thebault, and Marisa Iati, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “The Standard & Poor’s 500 nearly broke its all-time record on Wednesday, falling 5.8 points short — about two-tenths of a percent — of matching the record close from February.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Health Experts Warn About Perils of New Virus Data Collection System. An administration shift is putting a burden on hospitals and undercutting the integrity of data on the pandemic, current and former members of a federal advisory panel said. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, published on Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “Nearly three dozen current and former members of a federal health advisory committee, including nine appointed or reappointed by the health secretary, Alex M. Azar II, are warning that the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database is placing an undue burden on hospitals and will have ‘serious consequences on data integrity.’ The advisers, all current or former members of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, issued their warning in a previously unpublished letter shared with The New York Times. The letter was made public as both hospital officials and independent data experts around the country were reporting kinks in the new system, which critics say is undermining the government’s ability to understand the course of the pandemic. The Covid Tracking Project, a respected and widely used resource, identified ‘major problems’ with the new Department of Health and Human Services system in late July, and reported this week that ‘the federal data continue to be unreliable.’ The concern grows out of an order, issued last month by Mr. Azar, for hospitals to send daily reports about virus cases to a private vendor that transmits them to a central database in Washington instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which had previously housed the data. The information, including patient and hospital bed counts, helps guide the government’s response to the pandemic, informing critical health care decisions like how to allocate scarce supplies, including ventilators or the drug Remdesivir, approved as a treatment for Covid-19 patients.”

‘This is no longer a debate’: Florida sheriff bans deputies and visitors from wearing masks, The Washington Post, Tim Elfrink, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “On Tuesday, as Florida set a daily record for covid-19 deaths, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods prohibited his deputies from wearing masks at work. His order, which also applies to visitors to the sheriff’s office, carves out an exception for officers in some locations, including hospitals, and when dealing with people who are high-risk or suspected of having the novel coronavirus. In an email to the sheriff’s department shared with The Washington Post, Woods disputed the idea that masks are a consensus approach to battling the pandemic. ‘We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t,’ Woods wrote in the email, which was first reported by the Ocala Star-Banner. A majority of epidemiologists and other health experts say face masks and social distancing are key to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has ravaged Florida. The state, which has recorded more than 542,000 cases and more than 8,600 deaths, added 277 more deaths on Tuesday; Marion County also set a record for daily deaths on Tuesday, with 13.”

1,193 Quarantined for Covid. Is This a Successful School Reopening? A suburban Atlanta county opened its schools amid controversy and a growing case count, previewing a difficult national back-to-school season. The New York Times, Richard Fausset, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “While many of the nation’s largest school systems have opted in recent weeks to start the academic year online, other districts have forged ahead with reopening. In Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana and elsewhere, some schools, mainly in suburban and rural areas, have been open for almost two weeks. Their experience reveals the perils of returning to classrooms in places where the coronavirus has hardly been tamed. Students and teachers have immediately tested positive, sending others into two-week quarantines and creating whiplash for schools that were eager to open, only to have to consider closing again right away.”

Biden formally introduces Harris as the Democratic ticket goes after Trump, The Washington Post, Annie Linskey and Matt Viser, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “Joe Biden and Kamala D. Harris opened a new front in the presidential campaign on Wednesday, forcefully prosecuting their case against President Trump and attempting to showcase a much different vision for the country as the Democratic ticket appeared together for the first time. In what were perhaps the most crisp and focused speeches either has given during the presidential campaign, the new running mates defined how they will pursue the general election: with a sharp focus on what they cast as Trump’s inadequacies, an embrace of the power of women, a call to action on climate change and a defense of the protesters who have filled America’s streets in recent months.”

Biden and Harris Make First Appearance as Running Mates as Trump and Allies Launch Attacks, The New York Times, Thursday, 12 August 2020:

  • Biden and Harris, rivals turned running mates, stood united against Trump in first appearance together.
  • Trump called her ‘nasty.’ Tucker Carlson mangled her name. Attacks on Harris quickly got personal.
  • Biden’s record-breaking day: ActBlue processes $30 million after Harris pick.
  • Kanye West, who is pursuing a spot on the 2020 ballot, met with Jared Kushner.
  • Wall Street and Silicon Valley see Harris as a good pick.
  • Harris is strong on environmental justice, climate activists say.
  • A House candidate in Connecticut who was arrested Monday holds a slim lead.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump calls Kamala Harris ‘the kind of opponent everyone dreams of,’ Politico, Quint Forgey, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning cast California Sen. Kamala Harris as a dream opponent, pointing to her lackluster showing in the 2020 Democratic primary as his campaign searches for effective lines of attack against the presumptive vice presidential nominee. ‘.@KamalaHarris started strong in the Democrat Primaries, and finished weak, ultimately fleeing the race with almost zero support,’ Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘That’s the kind of opponent everyone dreams of!’ The president made similar remarks at a White House news conference Tuesday, where he said Harris ‘did very poorly’ in her party’s nominating contest, and repeatedly referred to her treatment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious Senate confirmation process as ‘nasty.’ Trump has previously employed that same descriptor to criticize other female political rivals and perceived enemies, including former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the late former first lady Barbara Bush, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. ‘She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing,’ Trump told reporters of Harris, adding that he thought she ‘was the meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate.'” See also, Kamala Harris Crystallizes Trump’s View of Women: They’re ‘Nasty’ or They’re Housewives, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “In the hours since Senator Kamala Harris joined the Democratic presidential ticket, President Trump has responded by sorting women into two categories: the good ‘suburban housewife’ he believes will vote for him, and nasty women who have not shown him or his political allies a sufficient amount of respect. After Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, announced on Tuesday that Ms. Harris would be his running mate, Mr. Trump wasted no time sorting her into the ‘nasty’ camp, a category occupied by the last woman to run against him on a Democratic ticket…. Attacks soon followed. On Wednesday morning, after his allies on Fox News had spent the evening comparing Ms. Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian descent, to unethical ‘time-share salesmen’ and ‘payday lenders,’ Mr. Trump crowed that the American ‘suburban housewife’ — a label used by the president to play into white racist fears about neighborhood integration efforts — would be on his side in November.” See also, Tucker Carlson’s mangling of Kamala Harris’s name was all about disrespect, The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan, Wednesday, 12 August 2020.

Trump Donated to Kamala Harris in 2011 and 2013, Bloomberg, Ryan Teague Beckwith, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “Donald Trump donated to Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris in 2011 and 2013. Trump called Harris the ‘meanest’ and ‘most horrible’ senator when asked about her joining the Joe Biden ticket on Tuesday. Yet he gave donations of $5,000 on Sept. 26, 2011, and $1,000 on Feb. 20, 2013, to Harris’s re-election campaign for California attorney general, according to state campaign finance records. A Harris spokesman told the Sacramento Bee that she donated the $6,000 to a nonprofit that advocates for Central Americans in 2015. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, also gave $2,000 to Harris on June 3, 2014, campaign finance records show.”

Quoting ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni strikes down Trump administration rollback of historic law protecting birds, The Washington Post, Darryl Fears, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “A federal judge in New York has invalidated rule changes by the Trump administration that allowed individuals and corporations to kill scores of birds as long as they could prove they did not intentionally set out to do so. In a blistering ruling that cited Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni ripped the administration’s interpretation of ‘takings’ and ‘killings’ of birds under the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act as applying only if the animals are specifically targeted. Tuesday’s ruling was the latest legal setback for the Trump administration as it has systematically tried to weaken or nullify scores of federal environmental protections. In her decision, Caproni said the administration had gone too far. ‘There is nothing in the text of the MBTA that suggests that in order to fall within its prohibition, activity must be directed specifically at birds,’ wrote Caproni, who was nominated to the Southern District of New York by President Obama in 2012. ‘Nor does the statute prohibit only intentionally killing migratory birds. And it certainly does not say that only ‘some’ kills are prohibited.’ The changes made by the Trump administration largely benefited oil companies, which have paid most of the fines for violating the act, according to an analysis by the National Audubon Society.”

U.S. Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson Asked State Department Auditors to Delete Claims of Racially and Sexually Inappropriate Comments He Made Toward Employees at the U.S. Embassy in London From Their Report on Him, The New York Times, Lara Jakes and Mark Landler, Wednesday, 12 August 2020: “The American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, urged State Department investigators against publicly reporting allegations that he made sexually or racially inappropriate comments to embassy staff, according to a report released on Wednesday. The report, the product of a routine inspection of the U.S. diplomatic mission to Britain that was conducted over a three-month period in the fall, recommended that officials at the State Department’s headquarters review Mr. Johnson’s conduct. But the senior diplomat overseeing European issues in Washington indicated he would not open a new investigation of the findings and said Mr. Johnson has since watched a video about workplace harassment and could receive additional training to prevent violations of employees’ civil rights. It was not clear if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or other top leaders would demand an additional inquiry amid a groundswell from American diplomats who are women or people of color and say they have been sidelined at a department that promotes equal rights and civil liberties around the world. The final report from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General said that staff at the American Embassy in London had reported being subject to ‘inappropriate or insensitive comments’ by Mr. Johnson on topics that may have included references to ‘religion, sex, or color.’ It did not provide specific examples of his remarks.”


Thursday, 13 August 2020, Day 1,301:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 13 August 2020: California Becomes the First State to Report 600,000 Coronavirus Cases, The New York Times, Thursday, 13 August 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 13 August 2020: Mortgage Finance Giants to Charge More for Refinancing, The New York Times, Thursday, 13 August 2020:

  • Refinancing your home loan just got more expensive.
  • The economy is in for a rough spell. Or maybe not. Depends on who’s talking.
  • 963,000 filed state unemployment claims last week, but layoffs remained high.
  • In an industry dependent on gathering crowds, no sign of a return to work.
  • Stocks fall with Washington at an impasse as unemployment claims remain high.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday, 13 August 2020: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield says U.S. was ‘unprepared’ for ‘greatest public health crisis in a century, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Jennifer Hassan, Kim Bellware, Siobhán O’Grady, Derek Hawkins, Lateshia Beachum, Hamza Shaban, Meryl Kornfield, and Marisa Iati, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “Years of underinvestment in public health infrastructure left the United States ‘unprepared’ for the coronavirus pandemic — the country’s greatest public health crisis in 100 years — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said during an interview with WebMD on Wednesday. At least 163,000 people in the U.S. have died of covid-19 as of mid-August.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

NYC covid-19 death toll rivals fatality rate during 1918 flu epidemic, researchers say, The Washington Post, Brady Dennis, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “The increase in deaths in New York City during the early months of the covid-19 pandemic rivals the death toll there at the peak of the 1918 flu pandemic, according to an analysis published Thursday. The comparison, published online in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, found that the number of deaths from all causes was roughly equal during the two peak months of the flu epidemic and the first 61 days of the current outbreak. The H1N1 flu pandemic eventually killed 50 million people a century ago, about 675,000 of them in the United States. The current pandemic has claimed at least 748,000 lives worldwide, about 163,000 of them in the United States, according to a tally kept by The Washington Post. ‘For anyone who doesn’t understand the magnitude of what we’re living through, this pandemic is comparable in its effect on mortality to what everyone agrees is the previous worst pandemic,’ said Jeremy S. Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who led the team that conducted the data review.”

Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President. President Trump falsely suggested that Kamala Harris, who was born in California, does not meet citizenship requirements. Earlier, he indicated he was opposed to giving the post office more money, which he acknowledged it needed for mail-in voting, but then later walked back that statement. The New York Times, Thursday, 13 August 2020:

  • Trump falsely suggests Kamala Harris, who was born in California, does not meet citizenship requirements.
  • Trump walks back his earlier remark that ‘you can’t have’ mail-in voting without post office funding.
  • A Supreme Court order helps mail-in voting in Rhode Island.
  • Trump, who has ignored health experts throughout the pandemic, accuses Biden of being ‘anti-scientific.’
  • Kushner says his meeting with Kanye West was ‘about policy.’
  • Biden calls for nationwide mask mandates, as Pence underscores Trump’s support for the police.
  • How is Harris helping Biden? She’s adding some sizzle, and bringing in cash.
  • Trump, who has said Democrats tried to ‘spy’ on him in 2016, suggests Barr isn’t doing enough to investigate.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump promotes false claim that Harris might not be a natural-born U.S. citizen, The Washington Post, Salvador Rizzo, Thursday, 13 August 2020: ‘It’s an open question, and one I think [Sen. Kamala D.] Harris should answer so the American people know for sure she is eligible.’ — Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis, in comments to ABC News, Aug. 13, 2020. ‘I heard it today that [Harris] doesn’t meet the requirements. And, by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that’s right. I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out.’ — President Trump, in remarks to reporters, Aug. 13, 2020. A legal adviser and spokesperson for President Trump’s reelection campaign questioned the citizenship of Sen. Kamala D. Harris, a California native and the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president. Later in the day, Trump said Harris possibly ‘doesn’t meet the requirements’ to serve as vice president. Harris’s citizenship is not under any serious question, legal experts told us.” See also, Trump questions the American-ness of another non-White candidate, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “The notion that politicians whose parents are immigrants can’t serve in high office has racist roots. But it’s one President Trump can’t resist, first with former president Barack Obama, and now he’s indulging it with Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.). Almost immediately after Biden announced Harris as his running mate, a theory picked up steam on the right that Harris can’t serve as vice president because her parents were born abroad. A conservative law professor wrote in a Newsweek opinion piece that this poses a ‘challenge to Harris’ constitutional eligibility.’ Harris’s mother is from India and her father from Jamaica. Harris was born in Oakland, Calif. She is a natural-born citizen, which means she meets the requirements to be president or vice president. But similar to the last non-White person on a presidential ticket, she faces baseless theories that she’s ineligible.” See also, Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory About Kamala Harris, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “President Trump on Thursday encouraged a racist conspiracy theory that is rampant among some of his followers: that Senator Kamala Harris, the presumptive Democratic vice-presidential nominee born in California, was not eligible for the vice presidency or presidency because her parents were immigrants. That assertion is false. Ms. Harris is eligible to serve. Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters on Thursday, nevertheless pushed forward with the attack, reminiscent of the lie he perpetrated for years that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya. ‘I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,’ Mr. Trump said of Ms. Harris. ‘I have no idea if that’s right,’ he added. ‘I would have thought, I would have assumed, that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president.'”

Trump Makes Clear His Opposition to More Money to Support Voting by Mail, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Hailey Fuchs, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “President Trump stirred new questions on Thursday about whether he would seek to hold up new money to the Postal Service to impede mail-in voting this fall in the middle of the pandemic. Repeating the unfounded claim that the election could be riddled with fraud if mail ballots were widely used, he made clear that he opposed Democratic demands for additional funding for both the post office and election security measures because of his opposition to mail-in voting. Still, he left open the possibility that he could come to a deal as part of a larger negotiation over a new round of economic stimulus.” See more, Trump opposes election aid for states and Postal Service bailout, threatening November 3 vote, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and Paul Kane, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “President Trump on Thursday said he opposes both election aid for states and an emergency bailout for the U.S. Postal Service because he wants to restrict how many Americans can vote by mail, putting at risk the nation’s ability to administer the Nov. 3 elections. Trump has been attacking mail balloting and the integrity of the vote for months, but his latest broadside makes explicit his intent to stand in the way of urgently needed money to help state and local officials administer elections during the coronavirus pandemic. With nearly 180 million Americans eligible to vote by mailthe president’s actions could usher in widespread delays, long lines and voter disenfranchisement this fall, voting rights advocates said. Trump said his purpose is to prevent Democrats from expanding mail-balloting, which he has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, would invite widespread fraud. The president has also previously admitted that he believes mail voting would allow more Democrats to cast ballots and hurt Republican candidates, including himself.” See also, Trump Just Admitted He’s Sabotaging the USPS to Screw Up the Election, Vice, Cameron Joseph and Paul Blest, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “President Donald Trump said the quiet part out loud, admitting he’s intentionally withholding money from the U.S. Postal Service to undermine its ability to handle mail-in voting in the 2020 election. ‘They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,’ Trump said on Fox Business Thursday morning of the states that are implementing universal mail-in voting ahead of the November election. ‘But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.’ The comments make clear why Trump and congressional Republicans have steadfastly refused to grant the Post Office money in the latest round of negotiations over coronavirus stimulus. Trump has long attacked mail voting as fraud-prone even though there’s little evidence that’s true — and he sees slowdowns at the Post Office as a way to screw up mail voting.”

Supreme Court won’t block eased rules for Rhode Island absentee ballots, CNN Politics, Jessica Schneider, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “The Supreme Court will not intervene in a legal fight concerning absentee ballots in Rhode Island, meaning the state’s order removing a requirement that absentee ballots must be signed by two witnesses or a notary public will stand. Thursday’s order is a loss for the Republican National Committee, which had asked the court to step in after lower courts ruled to uphold the new absentee ballot rules. The witness requirement was eliminated at the height of the pandemic, and applied to absentee ballots during the state’s rescheduled presidential primary on June 2. The order was unsigned. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have granted the RNC’s request for a stay.” See also, Supreme Court Lets Rhode Island Make Voting by Mail Easier Amid Coronavirus PandemicThe New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request from Republicans to block a trial judge’s ruling making it easier for voters in Rhode Island to cast absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. The judge’s ruling suspended a requirement that voters using mailed ballots fill them out in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. The Supreme Court’s unsigned order included an explanation, which is unusual when its acts on emergency applications. The case differed from similar ones in which state officials had opposed changes to state laws ordered by federal judges, the order said. ‘Here the state election officials support the challenged decree,’ the order said, ‘and no state official has expressed opposition.’ The order added that Rhode Island’s last election was conducted without the witness requirement, meaning that instituting a change now could confuse voters. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch dissented. The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request from Republicans to block a trial judge’s ruling making it easier for voters in Rhode Island to cast absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. The judge’s ruling suspended a requirement that voters using mailed ballots fill them out in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. The Supreme Court’s unsigned order included an explanation, which is unusual when its acts on emergency applications. The case differed from similar ones in which state officials had opposed changes to state laws ordered by federal judges, the order said. ‘Here the state election officials support the challenged decree,’ the order said, ‘and no state official has expressed opposition.’ The order added that Rhode Island’s last election was conducted without the witness requirement, meaning that instituting a change now could confuse voters. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch dissented.”

Trump Administration Eliminates Major Climate-Change Methane Rule, Even as Leaks Are Worsening. The weakening of Obama-era efforts to fight climate change amounts to a gift to many oil companies. Researchers warn that the decision ignores science. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “The Trump administration formally weakened a major climate-change regulation on Thursday — effectively freeing oil and gas companies from the need to detect and repair methane leaks — even as new research shows that far more of the potent greenhouse gas is seeping into the atmosphere than previously known. The rollback of the last major Obama-era climate rule is a gift to many beleaguered oil and gas companies, which have seen profits collapse from the Covid-19 pandemic. But it comes as scientists say that the need to rein in methane leaks at fossil fuel wells nationwide has become far more urgent, and new studies indicate that the scale of methane pollution could be driving the planet toward a climate crisis faster than expected.”

Michael Cohen book claims Trump colluded with Russia and will ‘never leave office peacefully,’ NBC News, Doha Madani and Tom Winter, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “In an upcoming book, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, alleges that Trump worked with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. Among many other accusations, Cohen alleges that Trump worked to get close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and ‘his coterie of corrupt billionaire oligarchs,’ according to an excerpt released Thursday from the book, entitled ‘Disloyal, A Memoir.’ Cohen claims that Trump lied when he told the American public he had no dealings in Russia, because Cohen personally oversaw Trump’s efforts to secure a major real estate deal in Moscow during the campaign. ‘Trump had colluded with the Russians, but not in the sophisticated ways imagined by his detractors. I also knew that the Mueller investigation was not a witch-hunt,’ Cohen wrote, although he did not provide specifics about the alleged collusion in the excerpt. ‘Trump had cheated in the election, with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything — and I mean anything — to “win” has always been his business model and way of life.'” See also, In Tell-All Foreword, Cohen Promises Sordid Tales Trump ‘Does Not Want You to Read,’ The New York Times, Annie Karni, Thursday, 13 August 2020: “Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s onetime lawyer and fixer, released the foreword of his upcoming jailhouse tell-all on Thursday, posting to his website an introduction in which he promised stories involving the president and everything from ‘golden showers in a sex club in Vegas, to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union.’ In the foreword to his memoir, ‘Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump,’ Mr. Cohen claims that he had unique access to Mr. Trump, a man with ‘no true friends,’ who trusted Mr. Cohen so much that his cellphone contacts were synced with his own. ‘I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man,’ Mr. Cohen writes, claiming he has gained from those experiences a singular understanding of the president.”