Trump Administration, Week 189: Friday, 28 August – Thursday, 3 September 2020 (Days 1,316-1,322)


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, 28 August 2020, Day 1,316:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 28 August 2020: California Moves Toward Easing Coronavirus Restrictions on Business, The New York Times, Friday, 28 August 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 28 August 2020: Britain’s Central Bank Could Cut Rates Below Zero, Chief Says, The New York Times, Friday, 28 August 2020:

  • Bank of England chief says negative rates are possible in the U.K.

  • Workers will have to pay any deferred payroll taxes by April.

  • Dow erases 2020 losses as S&P 500 gains for a 7th day.

  • Investigators found $62 million in alleged P.P.P. fraud. They say there’s more.

  • The latest: MGM and Coca-Cola to cut jobs.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Friday, 28 August 2020: First presumed U.S. case of coronavirus reinfection is reported in Nevada, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Abigail Hauslohner, Lateshia Beachum, Derek Hawkins, Hannah Denham, Miriam Berger, Hannah Knowles, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 28 August 2020: “A 25-year-old Reno man is the first reported coronavirus patient to be reinfected in the United States, scientists say. Unlike the world’s first presumed case of reinfection in Hong Kong, this patient developed more severe symptoms when he got sick in late May after a mild case in April, according to the newly released study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. Scientists with the medical school at the University of Nevada at Reno and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory used advanced testing that sequenced the genetic strains, finding they were distinct between the infections.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The Secret Service is coping with coronavirus cases in the aftermath of President Trump’s insistence on traveling and holding campaign-style events amid the pandemic.
  • Groups representing nearly every public health department called Friday for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reverse ‘haphazard’ changes the agency recently made to its public testing advice.
  • The outbreak that swept through New York City this spring left a crippling financial crisis in its wake, and local leaders warn they may have to make huge cuts to government services unless the city can close a nearly $8 billion revenue gap.
  • The Food and Drug Administration’s chief spokeswoman, who has been in the job less than two weeks, was removed from her role as of noon Friday, part of continued fallout from a White House news conference featuring inaccurate claims that convalescent plasma dramatically reduced mortality for patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
  • MGM Resorts notified 18,000 furloughed workers — roughly one-fifth of its U.S. workforce — that their jobs have been cut for now, the casino giant confirmed.
  • The University of Notre Dame plans to resume in-person teaching next week after school officials determined that the threat of a wider outbreak of coronavirus cases in the campus community is receding. And the University of Virginia said it has resolved to teach undergraduates face to face after Labor Day.
  • The coronavirus death toll in the United States has surpassed 178,000, while more than 5.8 million cases have been reported.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 189, Friday, 28 August – Thursday, 3 September 2020 (Days 1,316-1,322)

Trump Characterizes the General Election as a Crusade for Law and Order, The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, published on Thursday, 27 August 2020: “President Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for a second term on Thursday, joining a general-election contest against Joseph R. Biden Jr. that he and his party cast this week as a crusade against left-wing ideology and violent social disorder, fought against the backdrop of a virus that Republicans largely described as a temporary handicap on the economy. In a 70-minute speech on the South Lawn of the White House, Mr. Trump repeatedly misrepresented his own record on the coronavirus, part of a broader attempt to minimize his lapses in office and turn a harsh light toward his opponent, Mr. Biden, a moderate Democrat. The president also accused his rival and Democrats of failing to take on rioters, though Mr. Biden has condemned recent acts of violence, and of harboring designs to restructure the American economic system along socialist lines. Mr. Trump, by contrast, adopted the role of a defender of traditional American values and an unbending ally of the police.” See also, Trump Stomps on the Rules, but the Pandemic Isn’t as Easily Trampled, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Jonathan Martin, Friday, 28 August 2020: “President Trump made a dramatic entrance from the South Portico to deliver a searing attack on Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his party, seeking to transform the 2020 race from a referendum on his presidency and handling of the coronavirus pandemic into a choice between two starkly different visions of America. He did this in front of the place he called ‘our beautiful and majestic White House’ as TRUMP-PENCE signage filled the screens flanking the stage, the presidential seal affixed to his lectern. The South Lawn speech was the final demolition of the boundaries between governance and campaigning in a week full of such eroding. ‘The fact is we’re here and they’re not,’ he declared in a scene that tried to project an alternate reality that the continuing pandemic was under control and would soon be history. The mostly maskless crowd, which broke into occasional ‘four more years’ chants, was estimated at 1,500 — a gathering magnitudes larger than health officials have recommended. But the virus wasn’t the theme of the evening. Mr. Biden was.” See also, Republican convention spins alternate reality with torrent of falsehoods aimed at rebooting Trump’s flagging campaign, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Friday, 28 August 2020: “For more than 10 hours this week, President Trump and his allies used the unfiltered platform of a national political convention to paint a portrait of two Americas that do not exist. In one — a misrepresentation of life under Trump — the coronavirus has been conquered by presidential leadership, the economy is at its pre-pandemic levels, troops are returning home, and the president is an empathetic figure who supports immigration and would never stoke the nation’s racial grievances. In the other — a hypothetical preview of a Joe Biden presidency that mischaracterizes many of his proposals — police are defunded, taxes are increased, infanticide is legal, suburbs are abolished and cities burn as violence spreads nationwide…. While all political confabs involve some level of spin and revisionism, the Republican National Convention this year has stood out for its brazen defiance of facts, ethical guidelines and tradition, according to experts on propaganda and misinformation. While Trump, a former reality television star, has long trafficked in mistruths and innuendo, the broad cast of characters who took up his tactics during prime-time speeches underscores how his brand of politicking has taken root in the GOP.” See also, Republican National Convention 2020: Trump Promises to Heal Nation and Attacks Joe Biden on Jobs and Crime, The Wall Street Journal, Michael C. Bender and Alex Leary, published on Thursday, 27 August 2020: “Trump accepted his party’s presidential nomination Thursday, asking Americans to look past months of hardship wrought by compounding crises across the country and vowing to use a second term to mend public health, revive the economy and restore law and order to ‘Democrat-run cities throughout America.'” See also, Fact check: Trump makes more than 20 false or misleading claims in accepting presidential nomination, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale, Maggie Fox, Andrew Kaczynski, Caroline Kelly, Katie Lobosco, Tami Luhby, Holmes Lybrand, Paul P. Murphy, Alex Rogers, Tara Subramaniam, and Meagan Vazquez, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Donald Trump is a serial liar and he serially lied during his speech accepting the Republican nomination. CNN counted more than 20 false, exaggerated or misleading claims from Trump on Thursday night. That’s in addition to a number of falsehoods from other speakers. Trump’s dishonesty touched on a range of topics, from the economy to his administration’s performance during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of Trump’s most egregious false claims were directed at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.” See also, Fact-checking Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, and Meg Kelly, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Trump ended the Republican National Convention on Thursday with a tidal wave of tall tales, false claims and revisionist history.” See also, Nearly every claim Trump made about Biden’s positions was false, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 28 August 2020: “President Trump isn’t running against Joe Biden, not really. The former vice president may occupy the Democratic Party line on the presidential ballot, but it isn’t Biden that Trump’s rhetoric describes. Trump is instead running against a straw man whom he describes as a Trojan horse for socialists and communists. Trump is running against someone who holds positions that aren’t held by Biden himself — and if Trump convinces enough Americans that Biden and that straw man are one and the same, he might just win more votes. In his speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination, Trump outlined a series of positions that he claimed are held by Biden but that, overwhelmingly, are not. It is, of course, not a new political tactic to stretch reality to cast your opponent in a negative light, but it is unusual to simply fabricate an opponent out of whole cloth.” See also, For Four Days, the Republican National Convention Constructed a False Image of the U.S. Beyond the Pandemic Where Trump Had Moved Quickly and Effectively to Crush the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Linda Qiu and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 28 August 2020: “For four days, the Republican National Convention projected the image of a nation that had beaten the coronavirus, with maskless supporters packed close together and free to carry on with their lives thanks to the quick, powerful and effective response of President Trump, who crushed a pandemic when it reached American shores. The truth is another story. With more than 180,000 Americans dead and the economy still mired in recession, no issue threatens Mr. Trump’s re-election like the coronavirus. To make the post-pandemic imagery stick, speaker after speaker — especially the president — had to paint a narrative that rewrote history and was resplendent with distortions, exaggerations and outright falsehoods.” See also, Few masks, little distancing: Trump celebrates at crowded White House party largely devoid of coronavirus precautions, The Washington Post, David Nakamura and Josh Dawsey, published on Thursday, 27 August 2020: “President Trump celebrated his renomination Thursday with a crowded party at the White House that offered a jarring contrast with a nation that is still widely shut down over fears of the coronavirus pandemic whose spread remains uncontrolled. More than 1,500 supporters poured onto the South Lawn for his formal acceptance speech to cap the Republican National Convention, and most were not wearing masks, even though they were seated closely together in white folding chairs.” See also, Trump, defiant and dark as ever, claims Biden would destroy America, CNN Politics, Stephen Collinson, Friday, 28 August 2020: “President Donald Trump’s demagogic convention speech played out before a spectacular but norm-crushing White House backdrop in a potential super spreader viral event. It explained why Democrats warn he must be driven from power at all costs — and why he may win a second term anyway. After a GOP gathering that amounted to one of the most sustained displays of propagandizing in the modern history of Western democracy, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of a nation on the cusp of a takeover by ‘violent anarchists’ who would exploit a ‘weak’ Joe Biden to destroy America. He claimed that Democrats view this country as a ‘depraved’ and ‘wicked’ country that must be punished for its ‘sins.’ In accepting the Republican nomination, Trump turned his back on the crowd and surveyed the executive mansion, stretching out his arms in a gesture that exemplified his vision of ultimate, unaccountable presidential power. ‘The fact is, we’re here and they are not,’ he said. After two weeks of dueling conventions, the choice before voters in November could not be more clear — or more certain to deepen the national estrangement that may hobble the next presidency, no matter who wins. The two sides in the election are not just feuding over what America’s future should look like, they are operating from vastly different understandings of the meaning of the republic itself.” See also, The quiet part Trump doesn’t dare say out loud: To make his argument for re-election, he can’t admit that he’s in power right now, and the hellscape he projects on his opponent’s election is already here, NBC News, Jonathan Allen, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Donald Trump’s silent confession lay tightly wrapped inside the trappings of the White House, a fireworks show on the National Mall and a long speech in which he accepted the Republican Party’s nomination and congratulated himself for a job well done. It’s the quiet part he won’t dare say out loud: as of now, he’s in control here. ‘In a new term as president, we will again build the greatest economy in history — quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes and record prosperity!’ Trump said Thursday night from the South Lawn of the White House…. It’s not clear what he is waiting for. He has the power now that he says he needs to make the country ‘great again — again,’ as Vice President Mike Pence put it earlier this week. At the end of a week of dizzying contradictions spun by speakers at the Republican convention, the most brazen was Trump’s implicit assertion that he is responsible for everything good that has happened during his time in office and that others — Democratic mayors, China and ‘the deep state’ high on the list — are to blame for all of the country’s problems.” See also, Trump Attacks Biden as He Accepts Republican Nomination, The New York Times, Thursday, 27 August 2020:

Trump escalates rhetoric on unrest in cities, looking for a campaign advantage, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Trump threatened Friday to invoke the Insurrection Act in American cities and told supporters in New Hampshire they must vote for him to ‘save democracy from the mob,’ an escalation of his campaign rhetoric against demonstrators in the streets.”
The F-Word: No Other Way to Describe Trump’s Fascism 2.0. If Trump’s lengthy rap sheet of lies, threats, obstruction, and incitement doesn’t add up to fascism, then what would? The Nation, Mark Green and Ralph Nader, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Since the defeat of fascism in World War II, it’s been bad form in America to call a political opponent a fascist—or even a liar. But given Donald Trump’s career of long cons, his cult convention, his recent suggestions about changing Election Day, and his persistent efforts to sabotage the Postal Service, it’s now naive not to. Trump is openly seeking to win reelection by getting within cheating distance of the popular vote—and then hoping that some combination of state voter ID laws, discarded mail-in ballots, dark-money super PACs, foreign interference, and the Electoral College will again make the loser the winner. He is essentially attempting an unconstitutional putsch from within government to hang on to power. (See Xi and Putin, and Hitler in the 1930s.) MAGA Republicans, however, are in the grip of a ‘believing is seeing’ content bias that protects their self-esteem and home team at the expense of obvious facts. Swayed by Trump’s cunning ability to use populist rhetoric to camouflage plutocratic policies, this credulous cohort denies all evidence of illegality, incompetence, disinformation, and epic narcissism, blissfully repeating the excuse du jour whenever he’s exposed for some outrage (it was a ‘joke,’ ‘the Clintons were worse,’ ‘so what?,’ ‘fake news!’). But such a one-by-one-by-one approach is akin to seeing only the dots of a pointillist painting while missing the big picture.”


March on Washington 2020: Protesters Hope to Rekindle Spirit of 1963, The New York Times, Michael Wines and Aishvarya Kavi, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Hours after President Trump stood on the South Lawn of the White House to rail against what he called agitators bent on destroying ‘the American way of life,’ thousands of Americans streamed to the Lincoln Memorial, not a mile away, on Friday to deliver what frequently seemed to be a direct reply. The march was devised in part to build on the passion for racial justice that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summoned when he delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ address on that same spot 57 years ago. From the lectern at the base of the memorial, civil rights advocates and Black ministers often cast Mr. Trump as the prime obstacle to their goal, and voting to remove him as the first step toward a solution.” See also, March on Washington: Al Sharpton bemoans ‘broken promises’ as thousands march in D.C., The Washington Post Patricia Sullivan, Lori Aratani, Dana Hedgpeth, Emily Davies, Lola Fadulu, Marissa J. Lang, Meagan Flynn, Julie Zauzmer, Justin George, Teddy Amenabar, Kyle Swenson, Jessica Contrera, Katie Mettler, Peter Jamison, Michelle Boorstein, Michael Brice-Saddler, Samantha Schmidt, Tom Jackman, Justin Wm. Moyer, Rebecca Tan, Clarence Williams, and Fredrick Kunkle, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Thousands of protesters gathered Friday at the Lincoln Memorial to call for overall criminal justice restructuring and racial equality while honoring the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ address from the same location. Planning began in June after the funeral of George Floyd. Organizers said they wanted to highlight the civil rights issues of today and bring well-known speakers to address the crowd while also mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus with strict safety protocols. The march — dubbed the ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’ Commitment March on Washington — began with speeches from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which was followed by a coordinated march to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park

Here are some significant developments:
  • As the Rev. Al Sharpton took the podium, an area kept socially distanced since 7 a.m. became crowded with protesters who held up their phones to record his speech.
  • Martin Luther King III followed his young daughter by saying that while this march marks the anniversary of his father’s famous American Dream, ‘We must never forget the American nightmare.’
  • The memory of late civil rights icon John Lewis loomed large, his influence palpable in almost every corner of the demonstration. It was rare for a speech to end without an ode to the late congressman or a reference to his iconic quote about ‘good trouble.’
  • Joined by other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which bans police officers from using chokeholds and no-knock warrants. The bill has already passed the House.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Race and the U.S.: Facebook Says It Should Have Taken Down Kenosha Guard Page, The New York Times, Friday, 28 August 2020:

A Kenosha Militia Facebook Event Asking Attendees to Bring Weapons Was Reported 455 Times. Moderators Said It Didn’t Violate Any Rules. BuzzFeed News, Ryan Mac, Friday, 28 August 2020: “In a companywide meeting on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that a militia page advocating for followers to bring weapons to an upcoming protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, remained on the platform because of ‘an operational mistake.’ The page and an associated event inspired widespread criticism of the company after a 17-year-old suspect allegedly shot and killed two protesters Tuesday night. The event associated with the Kenosha Guard page, however, was flagged to Facebook at least 455 times after its creation, according to an internal report viewed by BuzzFeed News, and had been cleared by four moderators, all of whom deemed it ‘non-violating.’ The page and event were eventually removed from the platform on Wednesday — several hours after the shooting.”

Google greenlights ads with ‘blatant disinformation’ about voting by mail, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Friday, 28 August 2020: “Google has declined to remove ads from a shadowy group echoing President Trump’s misleading claim that there is a meaningful difference between voting by mail and absentee voting. Google took five days to reach its decision to leave the ads in place, alarming voting rights advocates as well as researchers in the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design and Engineering department who had alerted Google to the ads last week. ‘This is active and blatant disinformation,’ said Himanshu Zade, a doctoral student in the department. ‘I don’t think there’s any question that it’s a misleading narrative.’ The ads ‘stand to promote confusion for the public at a time when clarity is needed,’ said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. ‘And so it is deeply troubling.'”

House Panel Moves to Hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Contempt of Congress, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Friday, 28 August 2020: “The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced on Friday that it would move to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt of Congress for defying its subpoenas related to the State Department’s participation in Senate Republicans’ investigation targeting the Bidens. The move, announced on Friday by Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the panel, would amount to a rare and stinging rebuke of the nation’s top diplomat, who has drawn criticism for flouting norms of diplomatic custom in pursuit of President Trump’s political interests and his own ambitions. Mr. Engel said he had sought records from Mr. Pompeo regarding “his transparently political misuse of department resources,” including in his recent address to the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem, but had been stonewalled in an ‘unprecedented record of obstruction and defiance.’ The chairman said he had been told that receiving the records was contingent upon his committee agreeing to investigate the Bidens. ‘He has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the Constitution provides to prevent government corruption,’ Mr. Engel said of Mr. Pompeo. ‘He seems to think the office he holds, the department he runs, the personnel he oversees and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit.'”

Secretly recorded audio of Trump’s sister prompts new call for investigation into his admission to Penn, The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Friday, 28 August 2020: “A professor at the University of Pennsylvania has renewed a request to investigate how President Trump was admitted to the school in 1966, citing what he called ‘new evidence’ on secretly recorded tapes in which Trump’s sister says a friend took his entrance exam. The professor, Eric W. Orts, is one of six faculty members who asked Penn’s provost earlier this summer to launch an investigation into how Trump transferred into the school. He noted that the president’s niece, Mary Trump, wrote in her book published in July that the president paid someone to take his SATs.”


Saturday, 29 August 2020, Day 1,317:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 29 August 2020: California Surpasses 700,000 Coronavirus Cases Even as Its Outbreak Slows, The New York Times, Saturday, 29 August 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 29 August 2020: Infections rise to more than 1,000 on University of Alabama campus, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Saturday, 29 August 2020: “Coronavirus infections are rising sharply at the University of Alabama, where school officials have reported more than 1,000 cases since classes began Aug. 19. The university announced Friday that 481 students on its flagship campus in Tuscaloosa tested positive this week, bringing the total number of infections reported there in the past two weeks to 1,043. The university has also reported more than 150 cases among students at its Birmingham campus and 10 at its Huntsville location.

Here are some other significant developments:
  • A new bill in the California legislature would protect people from eviction until 2021 if they face financial hardship because of the pandemic. As long as tenants pay a quarter of their rent between now and January, their landlords will be barred from kicking them out, the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Groups representing nearly every public health department called Friday for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reverse ‘haphazard’ changes the agency recently made to its public testing advice.
  • The Food and Drug Administration’s chief spokeswoman, who has been in the job less than two weeks, was removed from that role as of noon Friday, part of continued fallout from a White House news conference featuring inaccurate claims that convalescent plasma dramatically reduced mortality for patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be.The usual diagnostic tests may simply be too sensitive and too slow to contain the spread of the virus.The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Saturday, 29 August 2020: “Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus. Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time. But researchers say the solution is not to test less, or to skip testing people without symptoms, as recently suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instead, new data underscore the need for more widespread use of rapid tests, even if they are less sensitive. ‘The decision not to test asymptomatic people is just really backward,’ said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, referring to the C.D.C. recommendation. ‘In fact, we should be ramping up testing of all different people,’ he said, ‘but we have to do it through whole different mechanisms.'”

No More In-Person Election Briefings for Congress, Intelligence Chief Says,The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Julian E. Barnes, Saturday, 29 August 2020: “The nation’s top intelligence officials moved on Saturday to tighten control over the flow of sensitive intelligence about foreign threats to November’s election, telling Congress that they would no longer provide in-person briefings about election security and would rely solely on written updates instead. Representatives from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence informed the House and Senate Intelligence Committees of the policy change by telephone on Friday and followed up with a batch of letters to congressional leaders on Saturday. In the letters, the chief of the intelligence office, John L. Ratcliffe, framed the move as an attempt to ‘ensure clarity and consistency’ in intelligence agencies’ interactions with Congress and to crack down on leaks that have infuriated some intelligence officials…. But coming just 10 weeks before Election Day, the change drew complaints from lawmakers in both parties who worried the move would block their ability to question and test intelligence assessments from the executive branch at a time when they are crucial to ensuring that foreign powers do not undermine the results. Intelligence agencies have revealed that Russia is again trying to bolster the campaign of President Trump, who has insisted he is actually ‘the last person Russia wants to see in office’ and consistently attacked the intelligence agencies during his tenure. Democrats, who fear Mr. Trump’s appointees have moved to color intelligence assessments for his political benefit, were particularly furious. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called the new policy ‘shameful’ and said intelligence officials had also canceled briefings with committees and the full House on election security threats already scheduled for September at the request of Mr. Ratcliffe’s office. They vowed to try to force their reinstatement.”

Arkansas sheriff resigns over racist rant in leaked recording,NBC News, Nicole Acevedo, Saturday, 29 August 2020: “An Arkansas sheriff resigned Friday after coming under fire over a leaked racist recording. Sheriff Todd Wright of Arkansas County, about 85 miles southeast of Little Rock, resigned effective immediately on Friday during a public meeting on the incident at the county’s Quorum Court, which is its governing legislative body. The meeting, which was recorded live and posted on Facebook, was held after a local news outlet, the Pine Bluff Commercial, identified Wright as the man heard in a five-minute audio recording delivering a racist rant. According to the local outlet, Wright is heard on the recording, which has been widely shared on social media, becoming upset that a woman he was with spoke to a Black person in a store. Throughout the recording, the woman refers to the man as ‘Todd.’ The man in the recording uses a racial slur against Black people about nine times.”

Michael Moore warns that Donald Trump is on course to repeat 2016 win. Film-maker says enthusiasm for Trump in swing states is ‘off the charts’ and urges everyone to commit to geting 100 people to vote.The Guardian, Edward Helmore, Saturday, 29 August 2020: “The documentary film-maker Michael Moore has warned that Donald Trump appears to have such momentum in some battleground states that liberals risk a repeat of 2016 when so many wrote off Trump only to see him grab the White House. ‘Sorry to have to provide the reality check again,’ he said. Moore, who was one of few political observers to predict Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, said that ‘enthusiasm for Trump is off the charts’ in key areas compared with the Democratic party nominee, Joe Biden. ‘Are you ready for a Trump victory? Are you mentally prepared to be outsmarted by Trump again? Do you find comfort in your certainty that there is no way Trump can win? Are you content with the trust you’ve placed in the DNC [Democratic National Committee] to pull this off?’ Moore posted on Facebook late on Friday. Moore identified opinion polling in battleground states such as Minnesota and Michigan to make a case that the sitting president is running alongside or ahead of his rival. ‘The Biden campaign just announced he’ll be visiting a number of states – but not Michigan. Sound familiar?’ Moore wrote, presumably indicating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 race when she made the error of avoiding some states that then swung to Trump. ‘I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much,’ he later added.”

C.I.A. Uncensors Memoir of F.B.I. Agent Ali Soufan Who Protested Torture of Terrorists. Nine years after the C.I.A. blacked out parts of Ali Soufan’s book, the agency has finally allowed a more complete version of his story to be published.The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Carol Rosenberg, Saturday, 29 August 2020: “After a group of Qaeda suspects was captured in September 2002, the C.I.A. flew Ali Soufan, an experienced F.B.I. counterterrorism agent, to Afghanistan to help interrogate them. But when he arrived, C.I.A. officials abruptly sent word to keep him from the two most significant new detainees. Mr. Soufan had made enemies for opposing the C.I.A.’s abusive interrogation of its first prized prisoner, Abu Zubaydah. He eventually won permission to question the two detainees after all, but when he sought to tell the world about those sessions in his 2011 memoir, the C.I.A. censored much of his account as classified. Nine years later, and after a lawsuit, the C.I.A. has relented. W.W. Norton will republish his book next month under the revised title ‘The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror After 9/11.’ Its restored sections add new details to the history of the United States’ early post-Sept. 11 fight against Al Qaeda. The lesson of the release, Mr. Soufan said in an interview, is ‘if you fight for the truth hard enough, eventually you will win.'”

Conservative Republican Student Group at Arizona State University Is Raising Money for Kenosha Shooter who killed two protesters and injured another,Slate, Daniel Politi, Saturday, 29 Aubust 2020: “A Republican student group at Arizona State University is raising money for the 17-year-old gunman who fatally shot two protesters and injured another in Kenosha, Wisconsin. College Republicans United said that half of all funds they raise during the semester will go toward Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense. The group, which is not part of the main ASU College Republicans, described the accused murderer as a ‘community volunteer’ and a ‘citizen who attempted to help in a city of chaos.’ In a tweet on Thursday announcing the fundraising plan, College Republicans United tweeted that Rittenhouse ‘does not deserve to have his entire life destroyed because of the actions of violent anarchists during a lawless riot.'”


Sunday, 30 August 2020, Day 1,318:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 30 August 2020: U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 6 Million, The New York Times, Sunday, 30 August 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Food and Drug Administration is willing to fast track coronavirus vaccine before phase three trials end, CNBC, Sarah O’Brien, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “The chief of the Food and Drug Administration is prepared to bypass the full federal approval process in order to make a Covid-19 vaccine available as soon as possible, according to an interview in the Financial Times. Insisting that the move would not be due to pressure from the Trump administration to fast track a vaccine, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told the newspaper that an emergency authorization could be appropriate before phase three clinical trials are completed if the benefits outweigh the risks…. Hahn’s comments come a week after the FDA granted emergency authorization of convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients, despite concerns among some health officials that data from clinical trials was too weak to support widespread application of the treatment. That announcement came a day after President Donald Trump accused the FDA, without any evidence, of trying to hurt him politically by dragging its feet in approving new coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Hahn told the FT he wouldn’t rush a vaccine solely to please Trump.”

U.S. Will Revive Global Virus-Hunting Effort Ended Last Year by the Trump Administration. A federal agency is resurrecting a version of Predict, a scientific network that for a decade watched for new pathogens dangerous to humans. Joe Biden has also vowed to fund the effort. The New York Times, Donald G. McNeil Jr. and Thomas Kaplan, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “A worldwide virus-hunting program allowed to expire last year by the Trump administration, just before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, will have a second life — whatever the outcome of the presidential election. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised that, if elected, he will restore the program, called Predict, which searched for dangerous new animal viruses in bat caves, camel pens, wet markets and wildlife-smuggling routes around the globe. The expiration of Predict just weeks before the advent of the pandemic prompted wide criticism among scientists, who noted that the coronavirus is exactly the sort of catastrophic animal virus the program was designed to head off.”

Justice Department Never Fully Examined Trump’s Personal and Business Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say. Former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein maneuvered to keep investigators from completing an inquiry into whether the president’s personal and financial links to Russia posed a national security threat. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia. The special counsel who finished the investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, secured three dozen indictments and convictions of some top Trump advisers, and he produced a report that outlined Russia’s wide-ranging operations to help get Mr. Trump elected and the president’s efforts to impede the inquiry. But law enforcement officials never fully investigated Mr. Trump’s own relationship with Russia, even though some career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators thought his ties posed such a national security threat that they took the extraordinary step of opening an inquiry into them. Within days, the former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere. A bipartisan report by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released this month came the closest to an examination of the president’s links to Russia. Senators depicted extensive ties between Trump associates and Russia, identified a close associate of a former Trump campaign chairman as a Russian intelligence officer and outlined how allegations about Mr. Trump’s encounters with women during trips to Moscow could be used to compromise him. But the senators acknowledged they lacked access to the full picture, particularly any insight into Mr. Trump’s finances.”

Shift on Election Briefings Could Create an Information Gap for Voters. The elimination of in-person election security briefings to Congress could leave the public with a diminished understanding of the threats facing the election as it enters a critical phase. The New York Times, David E. Sanger and Julian E. Barnes, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “The decision by the nation’s top intelligence official to halt classified, in-person briefings to Congress about foreign interference in a presidential election that is just nine weeks away exposes the fundamental tension about who needs to know this information: just the president, or the voters whose election infrastructure, and minds, are the target of the hacking? The intelligence agencies are built to funnel a stream of secret findings to the president, his staff and the military to inform their actions. President Trump has made it abundantly clear that he does not believe the overwhelming evidence, detailed in thousands of pages of investigative reports by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee and indictments of Russian intelligence officers by his own Justice Department, that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election, and is at it again. One of the bitter lessons of the last election is that intelligence about hacking into voter registration systems and the spreading of disinformation must be handled in a very different way. Those defending against misinformation include state and city election officials; Facebook, Twitter and Google; and voters themselves, who need to know who is generating or amplifying the messages they see running across their screens.”

As clashes between armed groups and leftist protesters turn deadly, police face complaints of tolerating vigilantes, The Washington Post, Joshua Partlow and Isaac Stanley-Becker, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “In a video recorded shortly before two people were fatally shot last week in Kenosha, Wis., the accused gunman — Kyle Rittenhouse, 17 — circulates among a group of gun-wielding men who claim to be guarding a service station amid protests against police brutality. Although it is well past curfew, police passing in an armored vehicle offer the group bottles of water and some friendly encouragement, saying over a loudspeaker: ‘We appreciate you guys. We really do.’ As protesters march against racism and police violence in cities and towns across the nation, they are being confronted by groups of armed civilians who claim to be assisting and showing support for police battered and overwhelmed by the protests. The confrontations have left at least three people dead in recent days: In addition to the two protesters killed Tuesday in Kenosha, a man thought to be associated with a far-right group called Patriot Prayer was fatally shot late Saturday in Portland, Ore.”

Trump praises right-wing supporters and assails only the anti-racism demonstrators, NBC News, Allan Smith, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “Donald Trump on Sunday praised a pro-Trump caravan of activists whose presence appeared to contribute to violent clashes Saturday in Portland, Oregon. The day after a man was shot and killed in confrontations between Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters in Portland, he assailed only the anti-racism demonstrators. In a tweet, Trump shared a video of the pro-Trump caravan driving into Portland and labeled its members ‘GREAT PATRIOTS!’ In another tweet, he referred to protesters in Washington, D.C., as ‘Disgraceful Anarchists’ and said, ‘We are watching them closely.’ ‘The big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected after 95 days of watching and incompetent Mayor admit that he has no idea what he is doing,’ Trump said in one tweet. ‘The people of Portland won’t put up with no safety any longer. The Mayor is a FOOL. Bring in the National Guard!'” See also, As the Mayor of Portland Called for Calm and Collaboration After a Fatal Shooting on Saturday, Trump stoked the tension with a barrage of messages on Twitter, The New York Times, Mike Baker, Thomas Kaplan, and Shane Goldmacher, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “A fatal shooting in Portland, Ore., over the weekend led President Trump to unleash a torrent of tweets and attacks on Sunday, capping a volatile week of street violence that is becoming a major theme in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign. On Saturday, a man affiliated with a right-wing group was shot and killed as a large caravan of supporters of Mr. Trump drove through downtown Portland, where nightly protests have unfolded for three consecutive months. No suspect has been publicly identified and the victim’s name has not been released…. Mr. Trump on Sunday morning posted or reposted a barrage of tweets about the clashes in Portland, with many of them assailing the city’s Democratic mayor, Ted Wheeler. The president retweeted a video showing his supporters shooting paintballs and using pepper spray on crowds in Portland before the fatal shooting. Mr. Trump wrote that ‘the big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected,’ a remarkable instance of a president seeming to support confrontation rather than calming a volatile situation.” See also, ‘Great Patriots!’: Trump lavishes praise on supporters amid deadly clashes with social justice protesters, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Matt Viser, and Robert Klembo, Sunday, 30 August 2020.

Trump Embraces Fringe Theories on Protests and the Coronavirus. In a Twitter barrage, the president advanced conspiracy theories claiming that protests are an organized coup and that the virus death toll is inflated. He also reposted a call to imprison New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “Trump unleashed an especially intense barrage of Twitter messages over the weekend, embracing fringe conspiracy theories claiming that the coronavirus death toll has been exaggerated and that street protests are actually an organized coup d’état against him. In a concentrated predawn burst, the president posted or reposted 89 messages between 5:49 a.m. and 8:04 a.m. on Sunday on top of 18 the night before, many of them inflammatory comments or assertions about violent clashes in Portland, Ore., where a man wearing the hat of a far-right, pro-Trump group was shot and killed Saturday after a large group of Mr. Trump’s supporters traveled through the streets. He resumed on Sunday night. In the blast of social media messages, Mr. Trump also embraced a call to imprison Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, threatened to send federal forces against demonstrators outside the White House, attacked CNN and NPR, embraced a supporter charged with murder, mocked his challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and repeatedly assailed the mayor of Portland, even posting the mayor’s office telephone number so that supporters could call demanding his resignation. One of the most incendiary messages was a retweet of a program from the One America News Network, a pro-Trump channel that advances extreme theories and that the president has turned to when he feels that Fox News has not been supportive enough. The message he retweeted Saturday night promoted a segment accusing demonstrators of secretly plotting Mr. Trump’s downfall. ‘According to the mainstream media, the riots & extreme violence are completely unorganized,’ the tweet said. ‘However, it appears this coup attempt is led by a well funded network of anarchists trying to take down the President.’ Accompanying it was an image of a promo for a segment titled ‘America Under Siege: The Attempt to Overthrow President Trump.'”

Trump offered FBI director job to John Kelly and asked for Kelly’s loyalty, Axios, Jonathan Swan, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “The day after President Trump fired FBI boss James Comey, the president phoned John Kelly, who was then secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and offered him Comey’s job, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael Schmidt reports in his forthcoming book, ‘Donald Trump v. The United States.’ But the president added something else — if he became FBI director, Trump told him, Kelly needed to be loyal to him, and only him.’ ‘Kelly immediately realized the problem with Trump’s request for loyalty, and he pushed back on the president’s demand,’ Schmidt writes. ‘Kelly said that he would be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, but he refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump.’ This previously unreported conversation sheds additional light on the president’s mindset when he fired Comey. Special counsel Robert Mueller never learned of this information because the president’s lawyers limited the scope of his team’s two-hour interview with Kelly. ‘In addition to illustrating how Trump viewed the role and independence of senior officials who work for him, the president’s demand for loyalty tracked with Comey’s experience with Trump,’ Schmidt writes. Schmidt reports that ‘throughout Kelly’s time working directly with Trump, Kelly was repeatedly struck by how Trump failed to understand how those who worked for him — like Kelly and other top former generals — had interest in being loyal not to him, but to the institutions of American democracy.'”

Leaked McGahn memo reveals alarms about Kushner’s security clearance, Axios, Johathan Swan, Sunday, 30 August 2020: “On Feb. 23, 2018, White House counsel Don McGahn sent a two-page memo to Chief of Staff John Kelly arguing that Jared Kushner’s security clearance needed to be downgraded, the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt reports in his forthcoming book, ‘Donald Trump v. The United States.’ Schmidt reports directly from the confidential McGahn memo for the first time, describing how Kelly had serious concerns about granting Kushner a top-secret clearance in response to a briefing he had received related to the routine FBI investigation into Kushner’s background.”


Monday, 31 August 2020: Day 1,319:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 31 August 2020: The Midwest Sees a Spike as Covid-19 Cases Decline elsewhere, The New York Times, Monday, 31 August 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Monday, 31 August 2020: Confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases pass 6 million amid rise in Midwest, The Washington Post, Antinia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Lateshia Beachum, Brittany Shammas, Hannah Knowles, Adam Taylor, Hamza Shaban, and Meryl Kornfield, Monday, 31 August 2020: “The United States has reported more than 6 million known coronavirus cases, the latest milestone in a summer of shattered records for new infections. The country’s known cases have more than tripled since June 1 as the pandemic accelerated beyond the East Coast, and over the past week infections have trended upward in parts of the Midwest, including Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas. There are at least 180,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn told the Financial Times that the agency would be open to granting emergency approval for a vaccine before final large-scale trials are complete.
  • At the very moment the United States needed its public health infrastructure the most, many local health departments had all but crumbled.
  • Wall Street bagged its best August in more than 30 years on Monday, a month that saw the three major U.S. indexes notch new highs as investors looked past the pandemic and kept focus on positive economic markers.
  • Iowa averaged about 500 cases a day until last week, when daily totals rose to more than 1,000 cases for several days straight. Outbreaks at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are probably major contributing factors, epidemiologists say.
  • One of President Trump’s top medical advisers — Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution — is urging the White House to embrace a controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy to combat the pandemic.
  • India surpassed Mexico to become the third-hardest-hit country in the world by total number of coronavirus deaths, behind only the United States and Brazil.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Scott Atlas, new Trump pandemic adviser, pushes controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy, worrying public health officials, The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 31 August 2020: “One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions. The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing. The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House in August as a pandemic adviser. He has advocated that the United States adopt the model Sweden has used to respond to the virus outbreak, according to these officials, which relies on lifting restrictions so healthy people can build immunity to the disease rather than limiting social and business interactions to prevent the virus from spreading. Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been heavily criticized by public health officials and infectious-disease experts as reckless — the country’s infection and death rates are among the world’s highest. It also hasn’t escaped the deep economic problems resulting from the pandemic. But Sweden’s approach has gained support among some conservatives who argue that social distancing restrictions are crushing the economy and infringing on people’s liberties. That this approach is even being discussed in the White House is drawing concern from experts inside and outside the government who note that a herd immunity strategy could lead to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lost American lives.”

How Trump Sowed Covid Supply Chaos. ‘Try Getting It Yourselves.’ A landmark move by the Trump administration left states to secure medical equipment themselves, causing problems that still haven’t abated. The Wall Street Journal, Michael C. Bender and Rebecca Ballhaus, Monday, 31 August 2020: “Sergio Melgar, the chief financial officer for the largest health-care system in central Massachusetts, was about to run out of medical-grade N95 masks. A Chinese company poised to replenish the supply wanted the money upfront. It was after midnight on March 20, too late to arrange a wire transfer. So Mr. Melgar took out his own credit card and authorized a $100,000 charge. ‘If I don’t do this,’ he recalls thinking, ‘we will run out.’ Days earlier, as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic was becoming clear in the U.S., stoking panic about shortages of medical supplies, the Trump administration signaled to states they shouldn’t expect the federal government to meet their medical-supply needs. In a March 16 conference call, President Trump told governors that the federal government would try to help, but that for ‘respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment—try getting it yourselves.’ What followed, say hospital administrators and state officials, was a nationwide free-for-all in which medical providers tried to get needed supplies any way they could, a situation that made it harder to protect health-care workers, treat infected patients and slow the spread of the virus. There was a sense, said Eric Dickson, chief executive of UMass Memorial Health Care and Mr. Melgar’s boss, that ‘we were all alone. There was nobody coming, there was no help coming. You were going to have to manage this on your own.'”

In June senior Trump administration officials privately warned seven states about dangerous coronavirus outbreaks that put them in the highest risk ‘red zone’ while publicly dismissing concerns about a second wave of Covid-19, Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Monday, 31 August 2020: “The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released eight weeks of previously confidential reports obtained from the White House coronavirus task force that Democrats said showed the administration acting over the summer to willfully cover up public health risks for political gain. ‘Rather than being straight with the American people and creating a national plan to fix the problem, the president and his enablers kept these alarming reports private,’ Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the subcommittee’s chair, said in a statement. ‘As a result of the president’s failures, more than 58,000 additional Americans have died since the Task Force first started issuing private warnings, and many of the Task Force’s recommendations still have not been implemented.'”

Twitter deletes claim minimizing coronavirus death toll, which Trump retweeted, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas and Meryl Kornfield, Monday, 31 August 2020: “After President Trump retweeted a claim that discounted the coronavirus death toll in the United States over the weekend, Twitter took down the post that spread false information. The tweet was originally posted by ‘Mel Q,’ a follower of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon, which posits that the president is battling a cabal of Satan-worshiping child sex traffickers. It was copied from a Facebook post and claimed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had ‘quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6%’ of reported deaths — or about 9,000 — ‘actually died from Covid.’ The rest were people who ‘had 2-3 other serious illnesses,’ said the tweet, which has since been replaced with a message saying it ‘is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.’ A Twitter spokesperson said the tweet violated the company’s coronavirus misinformation policy. The claim appears to be a reference to the CDC’s Wednesday update to its death data and resources page, which noted that in 6 percent of reported deaths, covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, ‘was the only cause mentioned.’ However, that does not mean only 6 percent of reported deaths are attributed to the virus — it means 94 percent of people had at least one additional factor contributing to their deaths. In addition, the information is no secret addendum: It’s been on the CDC site since at least May.” See also, Twitter removes QAnon supporter’s false claim about coronavirus death statistics that Trump had retweeted, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale and Jamie Bumbrecht, Monday, 31 August 2020.

A House Oversight subcommittee opens an investigation of White House trade advisor Peter Navarro after abrupt cancellation of ventilator contract, CNBC, Will Feuer, Monday, 31 August 2020: “A House Oversight subcommittee has opened a probe of all federal contracts negotiated by White House trade advisor Peter Navarro after the Trump administration abruptly canceled the bulk of a $646 million ventilator contract with Royal Philips, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., told CNBC on Monday. Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, said the panel is looking into Navarro as part of an ongoing investigation into contracts awarded by the Trump administration related to the coronavirus pandemic.” See also, Tactics of fiery White House trade adviser Peter Navarro draw new scrutiny as some of his pandemic moves unravel. Peter Navarro has faced an internal investigation into his treatment of colleagues, and now two of his coronavirus-related actions are under internal scrutiny. The Washington Post, David J. Lynch, Carol D. Leonnig, Jeff Stein, and Josh Dawsey, published on Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “Amid the Trump administration’s troubled response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior White House aide Peter Navarro has refashioned himself as a powerful government purchasing chief, operating far beyond his original role as an adviser on trade policy. But U.S. officials say the abrasive figure’s shortcomings as a manager could influence how well prepared the United States is for a second wave of coronavirus infections expected this fall. Navarro’s harsh manner and disregard for protocol have alienated numerous colleagues, corporate executives and prominent Republicans. In a previously undisclosed incident, the White House Counsel’s Office in 2018 investigated Navarro’s behavior in response to repeated complaints and found he routinely had been verbally abusive toward others. Navarro narrowly avoided losing his job, but the abuse has continued as the White House has grappled with the pandemic, multiple administration officials said.”

Live Politics Updates for Monday, 31 August 2020: Trump Defends 17-Year-Old Supporter Accused of Killing Two, The New York Times, Monday, 31 August 2020:

  • ‘Rioting is not protesting,’ Biden says, as he calls for racial justice and condemns Trump.

  • Harry Belafonte denounces a Trump aide’s doctored clip of him: ‘Please vote them out.’

  • The police identified the man who was shot and killed in Portland and said no arrests have been made.

  • A series of primaries in Massachusetts could be a bellwether for the Democratic Party.

  • States will soon begin sending ballots by mail, and voters are advised not to procrastinate.

  • The House oversight committee plans to subpoena documents about mail delays from the postmaster general.

Election 2020: Trump declines to condemn accused shooter, and Biden says Trump has fomented violence, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and John Wagner, Monday, 31 August 2020: “Joe Biden argued that no one thinks President Trump can address the violence that has emerged in American cities during social justice demonstrations because ‘for years he has fomented it,’ as the Democratic nominee delivered remarks in Pittsburgh on Monday on a subject that Trump has tried to make a focal point of his reelection bid. Trump held a late afternoon news conference on Monday, where he condemned liberal protesters but defended his supporters who have engaged in violence, including a 17-year-old charged with homicide after a shooting that left two people dead in Kenosha, Wis., last week. The president is planning a Tuesday visit to Kenosha, which is experiencing unrest after the police shooting that paralyzed Jacob Blake. The White House said Trump plans to make the trip despite opposition from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and other Democrats who argue that Trump could worsen tensions.

Here are a few of the significant developments in this article:

‘Now is not the time for divisiveness’: Wisconsin governor Tony Evers urges Trump not to visit Kenosha, The Washington Post, Jaclyn Peiser, Monday, 31 August 2020: “In a week of escalating conflict after a Kenosha, Wis., police officer shot Jacob Blake in the back, the city faced looting, arson and a shooting at a protest that left two men dead and another seriously injured. Now, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) says he worries that President Trump’s planned trip to Kenosha this week will inflame those tensions again. In a Sunday letter, Evers urged Trump to cancel the trip. ‘I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing,’ Evers wrote. ‘I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.'”

Trump Fans Strife as Unrest Roils the U.S. Trump plans to visit Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, unwelcome by officials in a state pivotal to the election, to condemn what he calls ‘left-wing mobs.’ The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 31 August 2020: “President Trump has been throwing accelerant on the fire of the nation’s social unrest rather than trying to put it out, seeking confrontation rather than calm at a volatile moment his advisers hope will help salvage his campaign for a second term. Other presidents in times of tumult tried to settle down communities convulsed by racial and cultural divisions, but Mr. Trump has encouraged one side against another. He has threatened to deploy federal forces, condoned freelance actions by his own armed supporters, conflated peaceful protesters with violent rioters and used the strife to undercut his political opponents. He plans to fly Tuesday to Kenosha, Wis., uninvited and unwelcome by local authorities in a state pivotal to the November election, to condemn what he calls ‘left-wing mobs’ that are ‘marauding through our cities.’ In his goal to cement his desired image as a ‘law-and-order president,’ he will meet with the police and tour businesses damaged by rioting. As of Monday evening, however, Mr. Trump had no plans to meet with the family of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man shot in the back seven times in front of his children, prompting the latest uproar. For that matter, the president has yet to even speak Mr. Blake’s name in public, much less comment on his case other than to say, when questioned, that the shooting captured on video ‘was not a good sight.'”

Biden says Trump can’t stop violence he has ‘fomented’ for years, NBC News, Adam Edelman and Allan Smith, Monday, 31 August 2020: “Joe Biden on Monday criticized President Donald Trump as having ‘long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country’ and argued the president ‘can’t stop the violence’ that has arisen in cities across the United States ‘because for years he has fomented it.’ In a speech in Pittsburgh — his first in months outside the area near his Wilmington, Delaware, home — Biden responded to Trump’s accusations that he would be soft on crime and said the president has been ‘incapable of telling us the truth, incapable of facing the facts. Incapable of healing. He may believe mouthing the words law and order makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows you how weak he is,’ the Democratic presidential nominee said. ‘Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?'” See also, Biden condemns violence and asks if Americans ‘really feel safe under Donald Trump,’ CNN Politics, Eric Bradner, Monday, 31 August 2020: “Democratic nominee Joe Biden declared Monday that President Donald Trump has made America a more dangerous place — blaming Trump for fomenting racial unrest and sidestepping responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis. ‘Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?’ Biden asked repeatedly in a speech in Pittsburgh. The speech opened a new phase of the 2020 election, with both parties’ national conventions now completed and Biden beginning to travel to swing states. In his first major campaign event after last week’s Republican convention, the former vice president delivered a forceful response to Trump and his allies’ racially charged claims that the looting and property damage that has taken place amid protests over racial injustice in some cities would spread to the suburbs if Biden is elected in November.” See also, Biden Confronts Trump on Safety: ‘Trump Can’t Stop the Violence,’ The New York Times, Katie Glueck, Monday, 31 August 2020: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday issued a forceful rebuttal to President Trump’s claim that the former vice president would preside over a nation overwhelmed by disorder and lawlessness, asserting that it was Mr. Trump who had made the country unsafe through his erratic and incendiary governing style. Mr. Biden condemned the violence that has occasionally erupted amid largely peaceful protests over racial injustice, and noted that the chaos was occurring on the president’s watch. He said Mr. Trump had made things worse by stoking division amid a national outcry over racism and police brutality. ‘Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?’ he said. ‘We need justice in America. We need safety in America. We’re facing multiple crises — crises that, under Donald Trump, have kept multiplying.'” See also, Biden calls Trump ‘a toxic presence’ who is encouraging violence in America, The Washington Post, Matt Viser, Ashley Parker, and Chelsea Janes, Monday, 31 August 2020: “Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Monday as a threat to the safety of all Americans, saying he was a ‘toxic presence’ who has encouraged violence in the nation’s streets even as he has faltered in handling the coronavirus pandemic. The direct repudiation of Trump came as Biden and the president launched into a caustic debate over violent protests that have escalated across the country in recent days, thrusting the presidential campaign into a new and more combustible phase centered on which man represents the biggest danger to America.”

A Long History of Trump’s Language That Incites and Demonizes. Trump has employed provocative and sometimes incendiary words and images to focus attention on demonstrations and away from the human and economic costs of the pandemic. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Monday, 31 August 2020: “President Trump has seized on the response in the streets to police brutality against Black men and women to bolster his re-election campaign, employing provocative and sometimes incendiary language and images to incite his followers, demonize his opponents or both. He has sought to conflate all protesters with the small minority of people who have looted stores, started fires and engaged in violence against police officers. He has blamed street unrest on Democratic mayors and governors and even former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his fall challenger. He has also repeatedly threatened to deploy federal forces. And especially since a man affiliated with a right-wing group was shot and killed in Portland, Ore., on Saturday night, he has seemed to encourage freelance action by his own supporters who have showed up as well in places like Kenosha, Wis., eager to counter the protesters and sometimes engaging in violence themselves. Mr. Trump’s approach, intended to divert attention from the human and economic costs of the pandemic, is consistent with a career of combative politics that play to racial animosities, going back to his time in business. Since becoming president, he has seemed to equate white supremacists marching to preserve a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 to the people who demonstrated against them. And in 2018, during the midterm congressional campaign, he repeatedly warned that caravans of would-be immigrants heading to the southern border posed a national threat, a topic he quickly dropped after the elections. [In this article] is a breakdown of how Mr. Trump has sought to fuel partisan passions to his benefit during the summer of unrest touched off by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other similar episodes that followed.”

The House Oversight Committee is set to subpoena Postmaster General Louis DeJoy amid clash over Postal Service. Democrats say the postmaster general’s operational changes will undermine mail-in voting in the 2020 election. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Monday, 31 August 2020: “The House Oversight Committee is preparing to issue a subpoena for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, accusing him of ignoring the panel’s demand for documents related to Postal Service mail delays and contacts with White House officials or the Trump campaign. Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) indicated Monday that DeJoy had refused to comply with a request for documents she issued during his testimony to the committee last week, when she first made her subpoena threat. The panel is seeking details on changes to USPS overtime policy, sorting machines and general delays in mail service, which they warn will undermine mail-in voting across the country. President Donald Trump has long railed against the Postal Service and mail-in voting, though DeJoy has rejected charges he’s acting at Trump’s behest.” See also, House Oversight Committee Prepares to Subpoena Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Paul Ziobro, Monday, 31 August 2020: “The House Oversight Committee announced plans to subpoena Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for documents related to mail delays, even as the U.S. Postal Service committed to providing weekly status updates on service levels.”

Trump administration rolls back Obama-era rule aimed at limiting toxic wastewater from Coal plants. Power plant discharge ranks as the largest source of toxic water pollution in the United States. The Washington Post, Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Monday, 31 August 2020: The Trump administration on Monday weakened a 2015 regulation that would have forced coal plants to treat wastewater with more modern, effective methods in order to curb toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury from contaminating lakes, rivers and streams near their facilities…. The new rule pushes the final deadline for compliance to 2025, and it exempts several dozen plants from stricter water pollution limits entirely, on the grounds that they will be retired between now and 2028. Environmental groups swiftly condemned the changes, calling them a gift to the power industry and a shortsighted decision focused only on potential costs to companies, rather than on the benefits to wildlife and to people living near coal plants. They argued that the Obama administration’s rule was based on years of peer-reviewed studies, input from health experts and a mountain of public comments — and that stricter oversight is needed, given the amount of pollution generated by the plants. ‘The Trump administration is once again jeopardizing people’s health to give coal power industry lobbyists what they want,’ Thom Cmar, an attorney with the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, said in a statement Monday. ‘The Trump administration’s rollback will be responsible for hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants contaminating sources of drinking water, lakes, rivers and streams every year.'” See also, E.P.A. Relaxes Rules Limiting Toxic Waste From Coal Plants. The agency weakened Obama-era rules meant to keep metals and other pollution out of rivers and streams, saving industry tens of millions of dollars. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Monday, 31 August 2020: “The Trump administration on Monday relaxed strict Obama-era standards for how coal-fired power plants dispose of wastewater laced with dangerous pollutants like lead, selenium and arsenic, a move environmental groups said would leave rivers and streams vulnerable to toxic contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency regulation scaled back the types of wastewater treatment technologies that utilities must install to protect rivers and other waterways. It also pushed back compliance dates and exempted some power plants from taking any action at all. The change is one of several the Trump administration has pushed to try to rescue a coal industry in steep decline, extending the life of aging coal-fired power plants and trying to make them more competitive with cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. The move came days after President Trump’s son Eric described his father as a champion of coal miners who ‘will fight for you.'”

Sea level rise from ice sheets tracks worst-case climate change scenario, Phys.Org, University of Leeds, Monday, 31 August 2020: “Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica whose melting rates are rapidly increasing have raised the global sea level by 1.8cm since the 1990s, and are matching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case climate warming scenarios. According to a new study from the University of Leeds and the Danish Meteorological Institute, if these rates continue, the ice sheets are expected to raise sea levels by a further 17cm and expose an additional 16 million people to annual coastal flooding by the end of the century…. ‘Although we anticipated the ice sheets would lose increasing amounts of ice in response to the warming of the oceans and atmosphere, the rate at which they are melting has accelerated faster than we could have imagined,’ said Dr. Tom Slater, lead author of the study and climate researcher at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds. ‘The melting is overtaking the  we use to guide us, and we are in danger of being unprepared for the risks posed by  rise.'”

Voice of America Journalists Say New CEO Michael Pack Endangers the Personal Security of Reporters and Harms U.S. Aims, NPR, David Folkenflik, Monday, 31 August 2020: “A group of veteran journalists for the Voice of America delivered a letter of protest Monday denouncing their parent agency’s new CEO, Michael Pack, and alleging Pack’s remarks in a recent interview prove he has a damaging agenda for the international broadcasters he oversees. Pack’s comments and decisions ‘endanger the personal security of VOA reporters at home and abroad, as well as threatening to harm U.S. national security objectives,’ the letter to VOA Acting Director Elez Biberaj read. The protest was triggered by Pack’s interview with the conservative and pro-Trump website The Federalist but came after a long line of sweeping changes and purges at the federally funded networks overseen by Pack, an appointee of President Trump. During the half-hour conversation, Pack joked with The Federalist’s host, senior editor Chris Bedford, about deporting his own employees and forcing them to adopt unsafe workplace practices that could expose them to COVID-19. Pack said the agency was ripe for espionage and possibly rife with spies.”

Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Denies Michael Flynn’s Bid to End Case and Renews Fight Over Donald McGahn subpoena, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Monday, 31 August 2020: “A Federal District Court judge may go forward with his plans to scrutinize the Justice Department’s request to drop the prosecution of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, a full appeals court ruled on Monday. A three-judge panel on the court had earlier ordered the judge to end the case immediately. Separately, a panel on that same court ruled for a second time that the House cannot sue Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s former White House counsel, for defying a subpoena. The full court already reversed one such ruling by that same panel on different grounds, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would ‘immediately’ ask the full body for another do-over.” See also, Setback for Michael Flynn as appeals court denies request to toss his case immediately, NBC News, Pete Williams, Monday, 31 August 2020: “A federal appeals court Monday rejected an effort by former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn to have his criminal case thrown out immediately. By a vote of 8-2, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected Flynn’s motion for an order that would have directed the judge who handled the case to dismiss it. That sort of extraordinary order is available only when there’s no other option, the court said. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has yet to rule on whether to grant the government’s motion, made in May, to dismiss the case. Once the judge rules, Flynn would have the option of launching an appeal if he loses, the appeals court said.” See also, A federal appeals court dismisses House lawsuit seeking to enforce a subpoena of former White House counsel Donald McGahn, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Ann E. Marimow, Monday, 31 August 2020: “A federal appeals court dismissed a House lawsuit Monday seeking to force President Trump’s former White House counsel Donald McGahn to comply with a congressional subpoena, saying that Congress has not passed a law expressly authorizing it to sue to enforce its subpoenas. The divided 2-to-1 ruling dealt a blow to congressional oversight powers and came three weeks after the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed that Congress had standing to sue — that is, it had shown that the Trump administration’s refusal to allow McGahn to testify harmed the House’s long-standing right to compel testimony from government officials.”


Tuesday, 1 September 2020, Day 1,320:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 1 September 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) Halts Evictions, Citing Covid-19 Risks, The New York Times, Tuesday, 1 September 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Tuesday, 1 September 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci debunks coronavirus death misinformation promoted by Trump, The Washington Post, Antonis Noori Farzan, Jennifer Hassan, Lateshia Beachum, Adam Taylor, Hannah Knowles Brittany Shammas, Hamza Shaban, Reis Thebault, and Paulina Firozi, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “White House coronavirus adviser Anthony S. Fauci on Tuesday refuted online misinformation amplified by President Trump that the virus’s death toll has been vastly overstated in the United States. The U.S. has reported more than 6 million coronavirus cases and over 180,000 deaths.

Here are a few of the significant developments in this article:
  • The Trump administration said it will not join a global effort to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine, a decision that could shape the course of the pandemic.
  • The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a four-month halt on eviction proceedings against cash-strapped renters, invoking federal public-health laws out of a concern that a homelessness crisis could worsen the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he would delay the start of school by nearly two weeks amid pressure from teachers and principals, who feared there was not enough time to ensure that schools were safe.
  • World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has urged people to continue taking steps to prevent the vulnerable from contracting the novel coronavirus, while condemning those who dismiss the loss of life among the elderly.
  • Students in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus first spread, returned to school Tuesday. France pushed forward with the reopening of schools, sending more than 12 million students back for mandatory in-person classes, even after the country reported a sharp rise in cases.
  • Uber will soon require some passengers to take a selfie with their masks on before a ride, verifying that they are wearing a face covering to protect themselves and drivers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A Panel of Experts Sees No Data Favoring Trump-Touted Plasma Therapy, Bloomberg, Michelle Fay Cortez, Robert Langreth, and Anna Edney, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “A panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health undercut an emergency authorization issued just days ago by U.S. regulators, saying there’s not enough evidence to recommend use of convalescent plasma for hospitalized coronavirus patients. In an escalation of a dispute between federal agencies, the NIH advisers said an analysis of a study showed “no difference in 7-day survival overall” among those who received plasma containing high amounts of antibodies. The statement contradicts inflated claims made at an unusual Sunday night press conference at the White House a week ago, where Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and President Donald Trump said convalescent plasma could cut deaths from coronavirus by 35%.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci debunks theories of low CDC (Centers for Disease Control) coronavirus death toll: ‘There are 180,000-plus deaths’ in the U.S., CNBC, Noah Higgins-Dunn, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci debunked online theories promoted by President Donald Trump that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its guidance for tallying coronavirus deaths, showing a fraction of total Covid-19 fatalities. On Sunday, Twitter removed a post retweeted by Trump that claimed the CDC had ‘quietly’ updated its guidance to indicate only 6% of the country’s coronavirus death toll — roughly 9,000 deaths —  was actually caused by the virus, according to a CNN report. The tweet said the remaining 94% had ‘other serious illnesses.’ Fauci told the ABC program ‘Good Morning America’ on Tuesday that the CDC guidance, last updated on Aug. 26, indicates that of the people who have died from the virus, ‘a certain percentage of them had nothing else but just Covid.’ However, people with underlying illnesses also die from Covid-19, he said. ‘That does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of Covid didn’t die of Covid-19. They did,’ Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the program. ‘So the numbers you’ve been hearing — there are 180,000-plus deaths — are real deaths from Covid-19. Let (there) not be any confusion about that. It’s not 9,000 deaths from Covid-19, it’s 180-plus-thousand deaths,’ Fauci said. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics told CNBC in a statement that death certificates list all possible causes or conditions that lead to a person’s death, and there may be more than one listed.”

The Trump Administration Is Backing Out of a $647 Million Ventilator Deal After ProPublica Investigated the Price, Pro Publica, Patricia Callahan and Sebastian Rotella, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “The federal government is backing out of a controversial $646.7 million deal to buy ventilators from Royal Philips N.V., acting before the company had delivered a third of the order. The deal has been the focus of several ProPublica stories since March. That reporting prompted a congressional investigation that last month found ‘evidence of fraud, waste and abuse’ in the acquisition of the Philips ventilators. This week, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy announced it is expanding its probe to look at other coronavirus-related deals negotiated by Peter Navarro, the president’s trade adviser, who served as the point man on the Philips deal. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversaw the Philips contract, confirmed that the deal is the subject of an internal investigation and legal review.”  

U.S. says it won’t join WHO-linked effort to develop and distribute coronavirus vaccine, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “The Trump administration said it will not join a global effort to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine, in part because the World Health Organization is involved, a decision that could shape the course of the pandemic and the country’s role in health diplomacy. More than 170 countries are in talks to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility, which aims to speed vaccine development, secure doses for all countries and distribute them to the most high-risk segment of each population. The plan, which is co-led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the vaccine alliance, was of interest to some members of the Trump administration and is backed by traditional U.S. allies, including Japan, Germany and the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union.”

Congressional investigation finds over $1 billion in coronavirus aid fraud. ‘The wealthy and well-connected were showered with our tax dollars and fraudsters took advantage of the program’s troubling lack of transparency,’ a government waste watchdog concluded. NBC News, Ben Popken, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Over $1 billion in emergency coronavirus aid relief went to companies that ‘double dipped’ and received multiple Paycheck Protection Program loans in violation of the program’s rules, according to a preliminary analysis released Tuesday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Congressional investigators identified multiple areas of potential waste and fraud in the program, often referred to as PPP, which was part of the $2 trillion CARES Act. The program offered qualifying small businesses up to $10 million in emergency and forgivable loans to shore up their payrolls and meet basic expenses due to business impacts from the coronavirus and lockdown periods. The program gave loans to nearly 4.9 million small businesses for a total of $521 billion. As designed, the program still has $133 million in untapped funds.”

Trump compares police officers who commit acts of brutality to golfers who ‘choke’ and miss a 3-foot putt, Politico, Quint Forgey, Tuesday, 1 September 2020; “Donald Trump on Monday likened police officers who commit acts of brutality to golfers who ‘choke’ and miss a 3-foot putt, resisting the real-time efforts of a conservative cable news ally to steer him away from the comparison. The remarks from the president came in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, during which Trump lamented how law enforcement officers are ‘under siege’ in the United States amid new scrutiny of racial injustice in policing. ‘They can do 10,000 great acts, which is what they do, and one bad apple or a choker — you know, a choker. They choke,’ Trump said, apparently making reference to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis.” See also, Trump arrives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with Attorney General Bill Barr as he pushes law-and-order message, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Donald Trump arrived in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday with his attorney general, Bill Barr, in tow. Trump is pushing a ‘law and order’ message as he campaigns for re-election. On his way to the Wisconsin city, which has seen protests over a police shooting of an African American man, he tweeted that he would ‘thank law enforcement and the national guard for a job well done. The violence stopped six days ago, the moment the guard entered the picture. Thank you!’… Before his visit, the president defended a teenager who shot two anti-racism protesters dead in the city last week. He also compared the actions of a white Kenosha police officer who fired seven shots at a black man, hitting him four times in the back, to a golfer choking on a putt.” See also, Trump Visits Kenosha, Offering Support for Police With Little Mention of the Shooting of Jacob Blake, The New York Times, John Eligon, Julie Bosman, and Peter Baker, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Trump ventured into ground zero of the nation’s roiling debate over race and justice on Tuesday to stand in defense of the police and to reject calls for changes in law enforcement that have generated months of social unrest across the United States. Traveling to Kenosha, Wis., over the objections of the governor and mayor who feared his presence would further inflame tensions, Mr. Trump offered support to law enforcement officers and toured shops damaged by rioting that followed last week’s shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was struck seven times in the back by a white police officer. Mr. Trump never mentioned Mr. Blake’s name nor spoke with his family, brushing past the shooting and calling attention instead to the street violence that he blamed on liberal politicians. He expressed more empathy for police officers, saying that they have a ‘tough job’ and that occasionally some simply ‘choke’ when put under ‘tremendous pressure’ in carrying out their duties.” See also, Fact Check: Trump’s False and Misleading Statements About Protests and Violence, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Tuesday, 1 September 2020. See also, Trump blames ‘far-left politicians’ for violence in wake of police shooting on visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Robert Kiemko, and Mark Guarino, Tuesday, 1 September 2020.

Live Election Updates: As Trump Visits Kenosha, Hundreds Gather Where Jacob Blake Was Shot, The New York Times, Tuesday, 1 September 2020:

  • Trump is greeted by protesters and supporters as he visits Wisconsin.

  • In a rebuke of Trump’s Kenosha visit, hundreds gather at the corner where Jacob Blake was shot.

  • In Kenosha, Trump focuses on unrest, not racism or police violence.

  • Fact Check: President Trump took undue credit for the relative calm that has settled in Kenosha.

  • Trump compares officers who shoot people to golfers who ‘choke’ and floats baseless ‘dark shadows’ theory about Biden.

  • A Postal Service watchdog found that more than 1 million primary ballots were mailed late.

  • Biden is expected to shatter records with more than $300 million raised in August.

  • Trump has won another delay in turning over his tax returns.

  • A poll finds people who consume conservative media are less likely to wear masks.

Donald Trump’s Incitements to Violence Have Crossed an Alarming Threshold. Faced with the prospect of losing power, Trump has gone beyond mere scaremongering and resorted to fomenting unrest from the White House. The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “In December, 2016, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, two political scientists at Harvard, published an opinion piece in the Times that posed the question ‘Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?’ Relying on a set of criteria for anti-democratic leaders created by Juan José Linz, a Spanish expert on totalitarianism, which includes the incitement of violence for political purposes, the two scholars determined that Trump ‘tests positive.’ During that year’s Presidential campaign, they reminded readers, Trump had incited violence by encouraging his supporters to rough up protesters at his rallies. In their Times piece, and at greater length in their book, ‘How Democracies Die,’ from 2018, Levitsky and Ziblatt developed the theme that Trump had authoritarian inclinations—and they also emphasized the fact that he took over the Presidency during a period of intense political polarization, when other right-wing extremists were already questioning the legitimacy of their political opponents. While American democracy wasn’t in imminent danger of collapsing, they wrote, ‘We must be vigilant. The warning signs are real.’ Right now, those signs couldn’t be flashing any brighter. Over the weekend, Trump cheered on a caravan of his supporters that confronted groups of Black Lives Matters demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, the site of months of ongoing protests, some of which have turned violent. In the clashes that ensued, one person—Aaron (Jay) Danielson, a supporter of the far-right group Patriot Prayer—was shot and killed. Not content with fanning the flames in Portland, Trump retweeted a message that was supportive of Kyle Rittenhouse, the seventeen-year-old Illinois teen-ager who shot three protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week, killing two of them. Then, at a press conference on Monday, Trump defended Rittenhouse, suggesting that he had acted in self-defense…. By cheering on the members of the Portland caravan—“great patriots,” he called them on Twitter—and defending Rittenhouse, despite the fact that he has been charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, the President has crossed a threshold. Faced with the prospect of losing an election, and power, he has gone beyond mere scaremongering and resorted to fomenting violent unrest from the White House.”

Facebook and Twitter Say Russians Are Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation. The companies said the F.B.I. had warned them that the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency set up a network of fake user accounts and a website. The New York Times, Sheera Frendel and Julian E Barnes, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “The Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election is at it again, using a network of fake accounts and a website set up to look like a left-wing news site, Facebook and Twitter said on Tuesday. The disinformation campaign by the Kremlin-backed group, known as the Internet Research Agency, is the first public evidence that the agency is trying to repeat its efforts from four years ago and push voters away from the Democratic presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr., to help President Trump. Intelligence agencies have warned for months that Russia and other countries were actively trying to disrupt the November election, and that Russian intelligence agencies were feeding conspiracy theories designed to alienate Americans by laundering them through fringe sites and social media. Now Facebook and Twitter are offering evidence of this meddling, even as the White House in recent weeks has sought to more tightly control the flow of information about foreign threats to November’s election and downplay Russian interference. The Trump administration’s top intelligence official as recently as Sunday has tried to suggest that China is a graver risk than Moscow.” See also, Facebook says Russian internet trolls hired U.S. journalists to push their news website, NBC News, Kevin Collier and Ken Dilanian, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Some of Russia’s most notorious internet trolls have launched a news website that hired real-life journalism freelancers — including Americans — to contribute, Facebook said Tuesday. The site, called Peace Data, launched this year with coverage focused largely on the environment and corporate and political corruption. Facebook learned through a tip from the FBI that people formerly associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency, which created a number of influential Twitter and Facebook personas to inflame political tensions in the 2016 election, ran Peace Data and has taken down its known affiliated accounts. It had yet to gain a serious following, said Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of cybersecurity policy.” See also, Facebook takes down Russian operation that recruited U.S. journalists, amid rising concerns about election misinformation, The Washington Post, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Facebook removed a network of fake accounts and pages created by Russian operatives who had recruited U.S. journalists to write articles critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris, in an apparent bid to undermine their support among liberal voters. Facebook said it caught the network of 13 fake accounts and two pages early, before it had a chance to build a large audience — an action that the company said was evidence of its growing effectiveness at targeting foreign disinformation operations ahead of the 2020 election. The takedown emerged as a result of a tip from the FBI and was one of a dozen operations tied to the Russian Internet Research Agency or individuals affiliated with it that Facebook has disrupted since the last presidential election, when IRA-backed pages amassed millions of views on the platform. The pages had about 14,000 followers.”

Trump blames people in ‘dark shadows’ for protest violence and cites mysterious plane full of ‘thugs’ in black, The Washington Post, Katie Shepherd, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “As the nation grapples with volatile protests, President Trump on Monday night claimed in a Fox News interview that ‘people that are in the dark shadows’ are ‘controlling the streets’ and manipulating his Democratic opponent Joe Biden to sow chaos. When host Laura Ingraham suggested the claim ‘sounds like conspiracy theory,’ Trump doubled down, launching into a tale of a plane that allegedly flew from an unnamed city to Washington, D.C., this weekend loaded with ‘thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear.’ The strange exchange prompted head-scratching from prominent Trump critics and produced few clear answers about what precisely Trump was referring to. The president declined to elaborate to Ingraham, saying the case was ‘under investigation,’ and the White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late on Monday.” See also, Trump Says Some Really Strange Things. Republicans Say No Comment, Again. The New York Times, Mark Leibovich, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Even by the whiplash standards of a Trump news cycle, the president said some startling things in an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News on Monday night. To name a few: A plane ‘almost completely loaded with thugs’ wearing black uniforms had come to Washington last week to disrupt the Republican National Convention. The president’s opponent in the 2020 campaign, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was being controlled by ‘people that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows.’ Police officers like the one in Kenosha, Wis., who shot an unarmed Black man seven times last week — leaving him paralyzed from the waist down — have a hard time with pressure and so ‘they choke, just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot.’ It has become customary when reporting on President Trump to point out the obvious. These would all be rather astonishing claims coming from any other president or major candidate for the office. But they were hardly astonishing enough for any leading House or Senate Republicans to have anything to say about it. None cared to comment, at least not the dozen or so The New York Times tried to reach on Tuesday.” See also, Trump Spread Multiple Conspiracy Theories on Monday. Here Are Their Roots. The New York Times, Davey Alba and Ben Decker, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “In a wide-ranging interview with the Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday night, President Trump spread multiple conspiracy theories about the protests that have erupted across the nation. Many of his unfounded claims can be traced back to narratives that have been swirling online for months.”

Trump Wins Another Delay in Turning Over His Tax Returns, The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “President Trump on Tuesday won another delay in the long-running legal battle over whether he must turn over eight years of tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which subpoenaed them a year ago in a criminal investigation focused on Mr. Trump, his business and his associates. In a brief order, a federal appeals court in New York said it would temporarily block a grand jury subpoena issued by the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat, while it considers Mr. Trump’s arguments that the request was ‘wildly overbroad’ and politically motivated. The ruling is the latest development in the president’s aggressive effort to keep his tax returns and other financial records out of the hands of prosecutors, Congress and others — a dispute that has reached the United States Supreme Court once and is likely to end up there again.” See also, Appeals Court Temporarily Blocks Prosecutors’ Subpoena of Trump Tax Returns, The Wall Street Journal, Corinne Ramey, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Manhattan prosecutors can’t obtain President Trump’s tax returns during a pending appeal, a three-judge panel ruled Tuesday, handing a temporary win to Mr. Trump in his bid to shield financial documents from a criminal investigation. The ruling, from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, is the latest development in a yearlong fight between Mr. Trump and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is conducting a financial investigation into the president and his company.”

Melania Trump used private email accounts while in the White House, says former colleague and friend, The Washington Post, Jada Yuan, Tuesday, 1 September 2020: “Melania Trump regularly used a private Trump Organization email account, an email from a domain, iMessage and the encrypted messaging app Signal while in the White House, according to her former senior adviser and close friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who says she corresponded multiple times a day with the first lady. ‘Melania and I both didn’t use White House emails,’ says Winston Wolkoff, in an interview with The Washington Post, upon the publication of her tell-all memoir, ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady.'” See also, Melania Trump Reportedly Used Her Private Email for Government Business. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who served as Mrs. Trump’s senior adviser, told The Washington Post that the first lady also used encrypted messaging apps like Signal to conduct government business. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “Melania Trump used a personal email account and encrypted messaging apps like Signal to conduct government business, a former friend and associate of the first lady told The Washington Post. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who served as Mrs. Trump’s senior adviser and had previously been a close friend, told the newspaper in an interview that the two women did not use official White House email accounts when they communicated frequently about official topics.”


Wednesday, 2 September 2020, Day 1,321:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 2 September 2020: With 1,000 Student Infections, University of South Carolina Urges Vigilance, The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 September 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Wednesday, 2 September 2020: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells states to plan for coronavirus vaccine as early as November 1, raising concerns of political pressure, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Paulina Villegas, Hannah Denham, Miriam Berger, Darren Sands, Paulina Firozi, Reis Thebault, and Lena H. Sun, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told public health officials in all 50 states and the U.S. territories to plan to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to health-care workers and other high-priority groups as early as Nov. 1, according to CDC guidance. The timeline for possible early distribution has raised concerns that the Food and Drug Administration is rushing to approve a vaccine before Election Day.

Here are a few of the significant developments in this article:
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to criticism of her trip to a San Francisco hair salon — which was not cleared to reopen for indoor service and where she appeared momentarily maskless. Her defense: ‘It was a setup.’
  • By the end of 2020, the amount of debt owed by the United States will amount to 98 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, the highest level since the end of World War II, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said.
  • Cheap, widely available steroid drugs reduced the number of deaths in the sickest patients with covid-19, according to three newly published clinical trials.
  • A Minnesota biker who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has died of covid-19 — the first fatality from the virus traced to the 10-day event that drew more than 400,000 people to South Dakota. His is among at least 260 cases in 11 states tied directly to the event.
  • study out of Iceland found that coronavirus antibodies lasted for at least four months, which could be good news for vaccine development efforts.

Dr. Scott Atlas, a New Coronavirus Adviser, Roils the White House With Unorthodox Ideas, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Michael D. Shear, and Jim Tankersley, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “Dr. Scott W. Atlas has argued that the science of mask wearing is uncertain, that children cannot pass on the coronavirus and that the role of the government is not to stamp out the virus but to protect its most vulnerable citizens as Covid-19 takes its course. Ideas like these, both ideologically freighted and scientifically disputed, have propelled the radiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution into President Trump’s White House, where he is pushing to reshape the administration’s response to the pandemic. Mr. Trump has embraced Dr. Atlas, as has Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, even as he upsets the balance of power within the White House coronavirus task force with ideas that top government doctors and scientists like Anthony S. Fauci, Deborah L. Birx and Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, find misguided — even dangerous — according to people familiar with the task force’s deliberations. That might be the point. ‘I think Trump clearly does not like the advice he was receiving from the people who are the experts — Fauci, Birx, etc. — so he has slowly shifted from their advice to somebody who tells him what he wants to hear,’ said Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease expert at Emory University who is close to Dr. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.”

2020 Election Updates: Trump Encourages People in North Carolina to Vote Twice, Which Is Illegal, The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 September 2020:

  • Trump, who has railed against voter fraud, suggests that people vote twice.

  • Post-convention polls show Biden’s national lead tightening.

  • Biden faults Trump over reopening schools: ‘Mr. President, where are you?’

  • Joe Biden will meet with Jacob Blake’s family in Kenosha on Thursday, his campaign says.

  • Trump and Biden will both visit Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11.

  • Biden and Trump release dueling ads on public safety in swing states.

  • Biden shatters fund-raising records with a $364.5 million haul in August.

Election 2020 Live Updates: Biden says schools would be opening safely if Trump had done his job, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday that schools would be opening safely — instead of faced with a ‘national emergency’ — if President Trump had done his job handling the coronavirus pandemic. Biden’s remarks in Wilmington, Del., came shortly before Trump staged an event in the battleground state of North Carolina to commemorate World War II and tout his support for the military. Earlier Wednesday, Biden announced a record-breaking fundraising haul for August and said he will travel Thursday to Kenosha, Wis. which has experienced unrest in the wake of the police shooting of a Black man. President Trump visited the city Tuesday, reinforcing his law-and-order message.

Here are a few of the significant developments in this article:

Trump Moves to Cut Federal Funding From Democratic Cities. Trump directed officials to identify ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ and move to withhold funds as he tries to build his campaign around the unrest that has accompanied racial justice protests. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Jesse McKinley, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “President Trump has directed federal officials to find ways to cut funding to a string of cities controlled by Democrats, citing violence amid protests against systemic racism in policing, a move that threatens billions of dollars for many of the country’s largest urban hubs as the president makes the unrest a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. Mr. Trump laid out the directive in a memo, released Wednesday, to Russell T. Vought, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Attorney General William P. Barr. It accuses state and local officials of abdicating their duties. ‘Anarchy has recently beset some of our states and cities,’ Mr. Trump wrote in the memo, mentioning a few cities specifically: Portland, Ore.; Washington; Seattle; and the president’s birth city, New York. ‘My administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.’ With polls showing him trailing his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Trump has tried to shift the public’s attention away from his administration’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic and to what he depicts as out-of-control crime in New York and other cities. He has seized on an uptick in crime and has tried to blame it on local Democratic leaders.” See also, Trump floats pulling federal money from ‘anarchist’ cities. He takes aim at places that he said are not letting police enforce laws. Politico, Matthew Choi, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “President Donald Trump ordered a review of cities’ treatment of law enforcement Wednesday, potentially holding back federal funds if the administration finds a jurisdiction ‘disempowers’ or ‘defunds’ its police department. In a memorandum released Wednesday, Trump directed the White House Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance for federal agencies on curtailing funds to areas the memo calls ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ within the next 30 days. The memo also directs Attorney General William Barr to publish on the Department of Justice website a list of jurisdictions that have ‘permitted violence and the destruction of property.’ Federal agencies will also receive guidance on reporting on federal funds they distribute to several Democrat-led cities. The memo specifically calls out Seattle; Portland, Ore.; New York; and Washington, D.C., for investigation.”

Department of Homeland Security withheld July intelligence bulletin calling out Russian attack on Biden’s mental health, ABC News, Josh Margolin, Lucien Bruggeman, Will Steakin, and Jonathan Karl, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “In early July the Department of Homeland Security withheld publication of an intelligence bulletin warning law enforcement agencies of a Russian scheme to promote ‘allegations about the poor mental health’ of former Vice President Joe Biden, according to internal emails and a draft of the document obtained by ABC News. The draft bulletin, titled ‘Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,’ was submitted to the agency’s legislative and public affairs office for review on July 7. The analysis was not meant for public consumption, but it was set to be distributed to federal, state and local law enforcement partners two days later, on July 9, the emails show.” See also, Homeland Security Blocked Warnings of Russian Campaign Against Biden. The department’s leaders declined to publish a memo describing Russian attempts to question Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s health, prompting new scrutiny of political influence at the department. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “The Department of Homeland Security has declined to publish a July 9 intelligence document that warns of Russian attempts to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s mental health, prompting new scrutiny of political influence at the department. The intelligence bulletin, titled ‘Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of U.S. Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,’ was drafted to inform state and local law enforcement officials that Russian state media agencies were posting ‘allegations about the poor mental health of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,’ ABC News first reported on Wednesday. But before the bulletin was distributed, senior Homeland Security officials intervened to halt publication, department officials confirmed.”

Federal Appeals Court Rules Guantánamo Detainees Are Not Entitled to Due Process, The New York Times, Carol Rosenberg, Wednesday, 2 September 2020: “A federal appeals court panel has ruled for the first time that prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are not entitled to due process, adopting a George W. Bush-era view of detainee rights that could affect the eventual trial of the men charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The 3-to-0 decision issued on Friday by Judge Neomi Rao at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the indefinite detention of Abdulsalam Al Hela, 52, who argued for release by saying that the evidence against him relied on anonymous hearsay and that he never joined or supported Al Qaeda or any other terrorist group.”


Thursday, 3 September 2020, Day 1,322:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 3 September 2020: Moncef Slaoui, the Chief Adviser for the White House Vaccine Program, Casts Doubt on Coronavirus Vaccine by Election Day, The New York Times, Thursday, 3 September 2020:

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 3 September 2020: Tech Stock Selloff Wipes Out a Week of Gains, The New York Times, Thursday, 3 September 2020:

  • Stocks tumble, led by tech, a day after record highs.

  • Wall Street has been on an extraordinary rally since the depths of March.

  • A hedge fund manager is accused of securities fraud related to the Neiman Marcus bankruptcy.

  • The Justice Dept. plans to file antitrust charges against Google in the coming weeks.

  • New state unemployment claims remained high in the latest weekly tally.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday, 3 September 2020: Coronavirus vaccine project chief Moncef Slaoui says he would quit if there were political interference, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Paulina Villegas, Miriam Berger, Lena H. Sun, Hannah Denham, Meryl Kornfield, and Paulina Firozi, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “The chief scientific adviser for the administration’s effort to accelerate production of a coronavirus vaccine said he would quit if there was political interference in the process. The remarks by Moncef Slaoui, who co-leads President Trump’s ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ come amid reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told officials in all 50 states and the U.S. territories to prepare for vaccine distribution for high-priority groups as early as Nov. 1. That deadline — two days before the presidential election — has fueled concerns of political pressure to fast track vaccine approval ahead of Election Day. In a separate interview, Slaoui said it was ‘possible but very unlikely’ that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready to distribute by the end of October or early November.

Here are some significant developments:

Some 881,000 people claimed jobless benefits last week as labor market continues to reel from pandemic, The Washington Post, Eli Rosenberg, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “More than 800,000 new claims for unemployment insurance were filed last week — a sign of the coronavirus pandemic’s continued pressure on the labor market, more than five months in. The Labor Department changed its methodology in calculating the overall jobless claims number to make the data more reliable, by taking into account seasonal swings. Under that metric, 881,000 applications were processed last week. In the unadjusted metric, state unemployment claims were around 833,000 — a slight rise from the previous week. An additional 759,000 people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the program for self-employed and gig workers, an increase of about 150,000 from the previous week. All told, 29 million people were receiving some form of unemployment insurance as of mid-August — an increase of 2 million from the previous week — as the number of people who remain jobless or are joining the ranks of the unemployed outnumber those going back to work full time.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rips emaciated Republican coronavirus relief plan. As Senate Republicans eye a narrow aid package, the Democratic leader is urging his caucus to remain united in opposition. Politico, Marianne Levine, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer derided Senate Republicans’ new coronavirus relief proposal in a letter to Democratic colleagues Thursday, signaling the difficult challenge of reaching a deal in the coming weeks. The Senate is set to return from its summer recess next week, with no clear path forward on a coronavirus relief package. Schumer’s letter, provided first to POLITICO, comes as talks between the White House and Democratic leaders have been stalled for weeks. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are working to craft a narrower relief bill and eyeing a potential floor vote when the Senate is back.”

Trump mocks Biden for wearing a mask: ‘Did you ever see a man that likes a mask as much as him?’ CNN Politics, Paul LeBlanc, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Trump on Thursday mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing a face mask even as the US continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases, with more than 6 million infections. Speaking to a largely mask-less crowd in Pennsylvania, Trump asked his supporters if they know ‘a man that likes a mask as much’ as Biden. ‘It gives him a feeling of security,’ the President said. ‘If I was a psychiatrist, I’d say this guy has some big issues.’ Trump’s comments, which came the day after the US topped 185,000 deaths from Covid-19, run counter to the advice of public health experts, who have emphasized the importance of face coverings amid the country’s reopening, given that people without symptoms could unknowingly transmit the virus. Masks are primarily to prevent people who have the virus from infecting others.” See also, Trump spins rumors about his own health into new attack on Biden. At packed-in Pennsylvania campaign event, Trump also mocked the Democratic nominee for wearing a mask. Politico, Matthew Choi, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Donald Trump on Thursday parlayed rumors over his health into another hit on Joe Biden, spinning a highly scrutinized visit to Walter Reed hospital last year into an attack on his Democratic presidential rival during a campaign event. Speaking at an airport hangar to a packed-in crowd in Latrobe, Pa., Trump claimed journalists had spread rumors of the president having ‘mini-strokes’ because ‘they want to try and get me to be on Biden’s physical level.’ It was an echo of Trump’s repeated attacks on Biden’s health and mental capability throughout the campaign. Trump’s lengthy defense of his visit to Walter Reed was also reminiscent of his 17-minute explanation at a Tulsa rally in June of his halting descent down a ramp at a West Point graduation ceremony. Trump’s allusion to his hospital visit wasn’t the only attack he leveled on Biden’s acuity. He also mocked the Democratic nominee for wearing a mask during campaign events and observing social distancing measures.”

Trump said Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers.’ Trump has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic. The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, Thursday, 3 September 2020: When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that ‘the helicopter couldn’t fly’ and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true. Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, ‘Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.’ In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as ‘suckers’ for getting killed. Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, ‘Who were the good guys in this war?’ He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.” See also, Trump said U.S. soldiers injured and killed in war were ‘losers,’ The Atlantic magazine reports, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Alex Horton, and Carol D. Leonnig, published on Friday, 4 September 2020: “President Trump called U.S. soldiers injured or killed in war “losers,” questioned the country’s reverence for them and expressed confusion over why anyone would choose to serve, according to a new report that the White House has called ‘patently false.’ The report, published late Thursday by the Atlantic, cites four unnamed people with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s comments. It says Trump disparaged the military service of the late former president George H.W. Bush, objected to wounded veterans being involved in a military parade, and canceled a visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 because he didn’t care about honoring those killed in war. The White House released a sharply worded statement defending Trump — who has insulted POWs, traded barbs with grieving families of the dead and said before he was president that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was his own ‘personal Vietnam’ — against accusations that he doesn’t respect the military.” See also, Report: Trump disparaged US war dead as ‘losers,’ and ‘suckers,’ Associated Press, James Laporta, published on Friday, 4 September 2020: “A new report details multiple instances of President Donald Trump making disparaging remarks about members of the U.S. military who have been captured or killed, including referring to the American war dead at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France in 2018 as ‘losers’ and ‘suckers.’ Trump said Thursday that the story is ‘totally false.’ The allegations were first reported in The Atlantic. A senior Defense Department official with firsthand knowledge of events and a senior U.S. Marine Corps officer who was told about Trump’s comments confirmed some of the remarks to The Associated Press, including the 2018 cemetery comments. The defense officials said Trump made the comments as he begged off visiting the cemetery outside Paris during a meeting following his presidential daily briefing on the morning of Nov. 10, 2018.”

Seven Rochester, New York, police officers suspended after video shows hood placed on head of Black man who later died, The Washington Post, Tim Craig, Jessica Wolfrom, Jaclyn Peiser, and Aileen Gallagher, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Seven [Rochester] police officers have been suspended after the release of a video from March showing a hood being placed on the head of a Black man in police custody who later died, roiling the nation and leading to finger-pointing among local officials. On Thursday, amid mounting questions about why it took five months for the circumstances of Daniel T. Prude’s death to become public, the graphic video with Prude’s last words went viral, once again forcing Americans to ask whether tactics used by police are too extreme. With protests and outrage building here and nationwide, the city’s mayor apologized Thursday and rebuked the city’s police chief, who she claimed did not disclose to her the circumstances of the death of Prude, who officials said was having a mental breakdown at the time of his arrest. ‘Mr. Daniel Prude was failed by our police, our mental health system, our society and me,’ Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren (D) said at a news conference Thursday. ‘And for that, I apologize to the Prude family and all of our community.'” See also, 7 Police Officers Suspended as a Black Man’s Suffocation Roils Rochester. Daniel Prude, who was having a psychotic episode, died after police officers placed a mesh hood over his head in March. The New York Times, Sarah Maslin Nir, Michael Wilson, Troy Closson, and Jesse McKinley, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Seven Rochester police officers were suspended on Thursday in the suffocation of a Black man as he was being detained in March, although the mayor and senior state officials faced escalating questions about why more than five months passed before action was taken. The man, Daniel Prude, who was having a psychotic episode, was handcuffed by officers after he ran into the street naked in the middle of the cold night and told at least one passer-by that he had the coronavirus. Mr. Prude began spitting, and the officers responded by pulling a mesh hood over his head, according to police body camera footage. When he tried to rise, the officers forced Mr. Prude face down on the ground, one of them pushing his head to the pavement, the video footage showed. Mr. Prude was held down by the police for two minutes, and had to be resuscitated. He died a week later at the hospital. His death did not receive widespread attention until Wednesday, when his family released raw police videos of the encounter, which they just obtained through an open records request. The scene — a Black man, handcuffed and sitting in a street, wearing nothing but a white hood — seemed a shocking combination of physical helplessness and racist imagery from another era.”

After Trump’s remarks, election officials warn that trying to vote twice is a crime and could undermine the system, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Matt Zapotosky, and Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “A chorus of election officials, legal analysts and social media companies on Thursday rushed to condemn and counter President Trump’s suggestion this week that his supporters attempt to vote more than once, warning that doing so could constitute a crime and expressing fear that he was undermining the election system. The pushback included pointed statements from an array of federal and local officials as well as direction action from Facebook and Twitter to attempt to limit the spread of the president’s misinformation. Trump had urged supporters during an official White House event in North Carolina on Wednesday to send in a ballot through the mail and then attempt to cast another one at polling sites on Election Day in an effort to test the system. He has stated repeatedly that universal mail-in voting would lead to rampant fraud, despite evidence to the contrary.” See also, Voting Twice? Trump Creates a New Headache for Election Officials. They say he is sowing confusion about systems that already have robust checks against fraud. The New York Times, Stephanie Saul and Nick Corasaniti, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “By encouraging North Carolina voters to test the integrity of the elections system by casting both mail and in-person ballots, and repeating some of the same claims in a series of tweets and a speech on Thursday, President Trump seemed to mimic a cynical slogan originating in 20th Century machine politics: Vote early and often. Indeed, Mr. Trump’s repeated statements suggesting that the nation’s elections system is riddled with fraud fit a historical pattern — politicians in the Jim Crow South, for example, spread the myth of widespread voter fraud to encourage tighter restrictions on voting. His comments have now created a new headache for state election officials, who are already dealing with the formidable task of holding an election during a pandemic. They insist that the type of double voting once suspected of tipping elections in big cities is virtually impossible today, citing robust systems to prevent a person from voting twice.”

How Trump Is Using Westchester County, New York, to Stir up Suburban Fears. In an appeal to racism among white voters, the president says that Democrats tried to ruin Westchester County, N.Y., through fair housing policies. The New York Times, Ed Shanahan, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “President Trump on Monday asserted that his Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., wants to ‘destroy’ the ‘American dream’ by filling the suburbs with low-income housing projects. The poster child for his bleak vision? Westchester County, N.Y., one of the wealthiest areas in the United States. It was at least the third time in recent weeks that Mr. Trump had cited Westchester as a bellwether of his unfounded doomsday scenario that Democrats are bent on unleashing a torrent of violence and crime on America’s suburbs via housing policies meant to reduce segregation. ‘Westchester was ground zero, OK, for what they were trying to do,’ he said on Monday, in an interview on Fox News with Laura Ingraham, referring to Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats. ‘They were trying to destroy the suburban, beautiful place. The American dream, really. They want low-income housing, and with that comes a lot of other problems, including crime.’ In an apparent, and continuing, bid to stoke racist fear among white voters, the president has focused on a rule that was adopted under President Barack Obama with the goal of erasing racial housing inequity in the suburbs. Mr. Trump scrapped the rule in July. Mr. Biden has vowed to revive it. And while Westchester, a New York City suburb where Mr. Trump’s company owns property, has been a key battleground in the fight to desegregate suburbs, it’s not because of the Obama-era rule the president has fixated on, nor is there evidence for his dire vision of what it would bring.”

Election 2020: Biden meets Blake family in visit to Kenosha; Trump holds rally in Pennsylvania, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden held a community meeting in Kenosha, Wis., after meeting at the Milwaukee airport with relatives of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times by police in August. Blake joined the conversation by phone, Biden said. President Trump held a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, another key battleground state. Speaking to the crowd at an airport hangar in Latrobe, Trump dismissed questions about his health. The travel comes two months before Election Day. Trump and the White House also sought Thursday to clarify comments he made during his trip to North Carolina on Wednesday, when he suggested that those who vote by mail vote again in person. Trump said Thursday that he was merely suggesting that voters follow up to ensure that mail-in ballots are counted. The White House said he was not advocating breaking the law.

Here are some significant developments:

Biden, in Kenosha, Makes the Case for Healing and Unity, Not Division, The New York Times, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Katie Glueck, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Drawing a sharp contrast with President TrumpJoseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday aligned himself strongly and sympathetically with protesters of racial injustice and with Black voters during an afternoon of raw interactions with people still grappling with the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Two days after Mr. Trump traveled to Kenosha to focus attention on street violence and disorder, Mr. Biden sought to strike a drastically different tone, as he repudiated the president’s divisive approach to matters of racial injustice and civil unrest and offered an alternative vision focused on national unity.” See also, Biden, in Kenosha, vows that America will address racism and ‘original sin’ of slavery, The Washington Post, Matt Viser and Dan Simmons, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden thrust his campaign into the roiling national debate over police violence and racial justice on Thursday as he traveled to Kenosha, Wis., and pointedly embraced the nation’s racial reckoning, vowing improvements if elected president. During an emotional meeting held in a church not far from looted downtown buildings, Biden made some of his most direct comments yet on the subject of race, growing introspective at times and speaking barely above a whisper. He said the shock over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, and the shooting that paralyzed Jacob Blake in Kenosha on Aug. 23, has provided the first window in generations for the nation to address centuries-old problems. ‘We’re finally now getting to the point where we’re going to address the original sin in this country . . . slavery, and all the vestiges of it,’ Biden said. “I can’t guarantee you everything gets solved in four years. But I can guarantee you one thing, it will be a whole heck of a lot better, we’ll move a lot further down the road.'”

‘The United States is in crisis’: Report tracks thousands of summer protests, most nonviolent, The Washington Post, Tim Craig, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “About 93 percent of the racial-justice protests that swept the United States this summer remained peaceful and nondestructive, according to a report released Thursday, with the violence and property damage that has dominated political discourse constituting only a minute portion of the thousands of demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd in May. The report, produced by the nonprofit Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, also concluded that an escalation in the government response to protests and a sharp uptick in extremist activity means the United States faces a growing risk of ‘political violence and instability’ ahead of the 2020 election.”

Democratic senators ask the Trump administration for sanctions over election interference from Russia and other countries, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Thursday, 3 September 2020: “Democratic senators asked the Trump administration Thursday to immediately impose sanctions on individuals and agencies acting on behalf of Russia and other countries that seek to interfere with this year’s U.S. election. In making the formal request to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, 11 senators cited a recent intelligence finding that Russia is using several measures ‘to denigrate former Vice President [Joe] Biden’ and other Democrats in advance of the election. ‘Congress has mandated a broad range of sanctions tools, and it is long past time for the administration to send a direct message to President [Vladimir] Putin: the U.S. will respond immediately and forcefully to continuing election interference,’ said the letter, written by Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and co-signed by 10 others, including Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.).”






During the day on Saturday, I’ll post stories that were published on Friday. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened rather than on speculation and prognostication, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I do include opinion pieces and analysis when I think they are appropriate.