Trump Administration, Week 195: Friday, 9 October – Thursday, 15 October 2020 (Days 1,358-1,364)

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, 9 October 2020, Day 1,358:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 9 October 2020: White House Blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) From Mandating Masks on Public Transit, The New York Times, Friday, 9 October 2020:

  • The White House blocked the C.D.C. from requiring masks on public transit.

  • A Brooklyn judge declined a request to block Cuomo’s restrictions on houses of worship.

  • Trump plans an in-person event on Saturday at the White House, against medical advice.

  • Fauci says the White House hosted a ‘super spreader event.’

  • ‘Pandemic fatigue’ presents a challenge in areas scrambling to avert a second wave.

  • At a school attended by some of Amy Coney Barrett’s children, one teacher and two students have tested positive.

  • The White House raises its stimulus offer in scramble to revive talks.

  • The nation’s head of coronavirus testing says Nevada could face ‘penalties’ for discontinuing government-issued rapid tests at nursing homes.

  • Curbside pickup has lent a much-needed jolt to traditional retail.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Friday, 9 October 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci says White House had a superspreader event as Trump resumes public events, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Marisa Iati, Lateshia Beachum, Paulina Villegas, Hannah Denham, Hannah Knowles, and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 9 October 2020: “The White House had a superspreader event, Anthony S. Fauci — the nation’s top infectious-disease expert — said Friday, as the circle of infections in President Trump’s orbit widens, with many cases identified among attendees at a largely mask-free event in the Rose Garden late last month. Fauci’s comments came on the same day that an administration official said Trump will resume public events this weekend, beginning with an outdoor speech at the White House.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Trump said in a television interview broadcast Friday night that he had been retested for the coronavirus but offered only a vague summary of the result.
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates said the second debate between Biden and Trump, scheduled for Thursday in Miami, has been canceled, citing the fact that both Trump and Biden have made other plans for that evening.
  • The World Health Organization reported its highest daily tally of new coronavirus cases to date — 350,766 — as infections accelerate even while death rates decline in viral hot spots.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made a $1.8 trillion offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Friday in a renewed search for an economic relief deal, but agreement remained elusive as Pelosi said her terms still weren’t met.
  • The United States on Friday reported more than 57,000 new coronavirus cases, its highest single-day tally since early August, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
  • Iranian hospitals will no longer accept non-emergency patients, as the country’s coronavirus outbreak continues to overwhelm its health resources.
  • The World Food Program was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a recognition of the critical work the United Nations agency does to prevent hunger around the world, especially during the pandemic.

White House Blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) From Requiring Masks on Public Transportation, The New York Times, Sheila Kaplan, Friday, 9 October 2020: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials. The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s ‘quarantine powers’ and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it. The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes, trains, buses and subways, and in transit hubs such as airports, train stations and bus depots. A task force official said the decision to require masks should be left up to states and localities. The administration requires the task force to sign off on coronavirus-related policies.”

Election 2020 Updates: Saying ‘I Feel Strong,’ Trump Plans Rallies at White House and in Florida, The New York Times, Friday, 9 October 2020:

  • Trump says he is ‘medication free’ in an interview with Fox News.

  • Trump plans to hold a rally for thousands on the White House lawn Saturday, raising new concerns over possible virus spread.

  • Next week’s presidential debate has officially been canceled.

  • A federal judge blocks the Texas governor’s move to limit ballot drop-offs.

  • A legal group sues the Justice Department to obtain documents on voter fraud investigations.

  • In Minnesota, a mysterious ad for poll security guards alarms officials.

  • In an attempted replay of 2016, Trump pushes for a release of Hillary Clinton’s emails — and Pompeo accedes.

  • South Carolina Senate debate scuttled after Lindsey Graham refused to take a coronavirus test.

  • Biden’s standing among voters is rising despite Trump’s attacks. That is a big deal.

Continue reading Week 195, Friday, 9 October  – Thursday, 15 October 2020 (Days 1,358-1,364)

Election 2020: Thursday presidential debate canceled; Trump appears on conservative media, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Amy B Wang, Friday, 9 October 2020: “The Commission on Presidential Debates said there will not be a Thursday meeting between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, after disagreement about the format. Trump, who first reported testing positive for the coronavirus last Friday, spoke on camera on Fox News about his treatment, after earlier appearing on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. He is planning to resume public events, starting with an outdoor speech at the White House on Saturday and then a Monday-night rally in Florida.

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

Federal judge denies request to extend Florida voter registration, The Washington Post, Lori Rozsa, Friday, 9 October 2020: “A federal judge in Florida on Friday rejected a request to extend the deadline for voter registration after the state’s online system crashed, effectively blocking thousands of potential voters who tried to register from taking part in the general election. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the state ‘failed its citizens’ but that opening up registration again would create too much confusion because of the ‘already precarious — and perennially chaotic’ elections system. ‘Just shy of a month from election day, with earliest mail-in ballots beginning to be counted, Florida has done it again,’ Walker wrote. ‘In the final hours of Florida’s voter registration period, during an election year coinciding with a prolonged and incredibly damaging public health emergency, Florida’s voter registration website crashed, preventing thousands of potential voters from safely registering to vote before the midnight deadline.’ Evidence presented by the state paints ‘a disturbing picture of overworked elections staff, incomplete voter rolls, and election-day mayhem,’ he said, and adding more time for registration would just add to that burden. The ruling is expected to be appealed immediately to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Democrats Zero In on a President’s Fitness for Office as Election Looms. Pointing to President Trump as a cautionary tale, Democrats proposed naming a group of outside experts to advise Congress on when to invoke the 25th Amendment to forcibly revoke an impaired president’s powers. The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Friday, 9 October 2020: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi, amplifying questions about President Trump’s fitness for office less than a month before the election, introduced legislation on Friday that would create a standing bipartisan group of outside experts tasked with evaluating the president’s mental and physical health and advising Congress on whether the commander in chief’s powers should be forcibly removed under the 25th Amendment. The measure is certain to die at the end of the year, given that it would need a presidential signature to be enacted. But Democrats’ decision to promote it now — after the president’s coronavirus diagnosis and as Ms. Pelosi has suggested that his treatment might be affecting his judgment — was an unmistakable dig at the sitting president’s capacity to govern, just weeks before voters go to the polls. ‘A president’s fitness for office must be determined by science and facts,’ Ms. Pelosi said at a news conference on Capitol Hill, where she insisted that the bill, a version of which was introduced before Mr. Trump was hospitalized with the virus, had nothing to do with him. ‘This legislation applies to future presidents, but we are reminded of the necessity of action by the health of the current president.'” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduces bill to create a commission on presidential capacity under the 25th Amendment. Pelosi said that the measure is not intended specifically for Donald Trump, but she suggested he was the impetus for needing it. NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Friday, 9 October 2020: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced legislation Friday that would create a bipartisan commission to determine a sitting president’s ability to carry out the duties of the office. At a press conference unveiling the legislation with its original author, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Pelosi said the measure is not intended specifically for President Donald Trump, but she suggested he was the impetus for it. ‘This is not about President Trump. He will face the judgment of the voters, but he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents,’ she said. ‘This legislation applies to future presidents, but we are reminded of the necessity of action by the health of the current president.’ The idea for the legislation stems from the 25th Amendment, which provides procedures for transferring power to the vice president in case of the president’s death, incapacitation, removal or resignation. The amendment was ratified and approved in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One of its sections provides the vice president and the majority of either the Cabinet ‘or such other body as Congress may by law provide’ with a mechanism to transfer power from the president. The commission would consist of 16 members, chosen by both Democrats and Republicans, who are medical experts or former high-ranking executive branch officials such as former members of a president’s Cabinet. The 17th member, the chair, would be selected by the rest of the commission’s members.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi embraces bill on presidential succession and raises questions about Trump’s health, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Friday, 9 October 2020: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday backed the creation of a congressionally appointed commission that would determine whether a president is capable of performing his duties, insisting that it wasn’t specifically about President Trump while suggesting that his recent diagnosis was the motivation for it. Pelosi said Trump’s coronavirus infection has raised questions about presidential succession, which is governed by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Trump spent last weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, setting off a flurry of inquiries about whether Vice President Pence would assume authority, even temporarily.”

With the Election Less Than a Month Away, Trump Leans on Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a Lift, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Katie Benner, Lara James, and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 9 October 2020: “President Trump forced the State Department on Friday to commit to releasing at least some of Hillary Clinton’s emails before next month’s election, resurrecting a four-year-old issue in hopes that it would prove as helpful to his political prospects as it was when he defeated her in 2016…. Mr. Trump succeeded in compelling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to announce that he would make public the emails even as Attorney General William P. Barr resisted pressure from the president to prosecute Democrats like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., this year’s Democratic nominee.”

Trump’s Taxes: Trump Engineered a Sudden Windfall in 2016 as Campaign Funds Dwindled. Tax records expose more than $21 million in highly unusual payments from the Las Vegas hotel Donald Trump owns with Phil Ruffin, routed through other Trump companies and paid out in cash. The New York Times, Susanne Craig, Mike McIntire, and Russ Buettner, Friday, 9 October 2020: “Donald J. Trump needed money. His ‘self-funded’ presidential campaign was short on funds, and he was struggling to win over leery Republican donors. His golf courses and the hotel he would soon open in the Old Post Office in Washington were eating away at what cash he had left on hand, his tax records show. And in early 2016, Deutsche Bank, the last big lender still doing business with him, unexpectedly turned down his request for a loan. The funds, Mr. Trump had told his bankers, would help shore up his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. Some bankers feared the money would instead be diverted to his campaign. That January, Mr. Trump sold a lot of stock — $11.1 million worth. He sold another $11.8 million worth in February, and $7.5 million in March. In April, he sold $8.1 million more. And the president’s long-hidden tax records, obtained by The New York Times, also reveal this: how he engineered a sudden financial windfall — more than $21 million in what experts describe as highly unusual one-off payments from the Las Vegas hotel he owns with his friend the casino mogul Phil Ruffin. In previous articles on the tax records, The Times has reported that, in all but a few years since 2000, chronic business losses and aggressive accounting strategies have allowed Mr. Trump to largely avoid paying federal income taxes. And while the hundreds of millions of dollars earned from ‘The Apprentice’ and his attendant celebrity rescued his business career, those riches, together with the marketing power of the Trump brand, were ebbing when he announced his 2016 presidential run. The new findings, part of The Times’s continuing investigation, cast light on Mr. Trump’s financial maneuverings in that time of fiscal turmoil and unlikely political victory. Indeed, they may offer a hint to one of the enduring mysteries of his campaign: In its waning days, as his own giving had slowed to a trickle, Mr. Trump contributed $10 million, leaving many people wondering where the burst of cash had come from.”

Trump got a $21 million tax break for saving the forest outside his New York Mansion. Now the deal is under investigation. The Washington Post, Joshua Partlow, Jonathan O’Connell, and David A. Fahrenthold, Friday, 9 October 2020: “Five years ago, Donald Trump promised to preserve more than 150 acres of rolling woodlands in an exclusive swath of New York suburbia prized for its luxury homes and rural tranquility. In exchange for setting aside this land on his estate known as Seven Springs, Trump received a tax break of $21.1 million, according to court documents. The size of Trump’s tax windfall was set by a 2016 appraisal that valued Seven Springs at $56.5 million — more than double the value assessed by the three Westchester County towns that each contained a piece of the property. The valuation has now become a focal point of what could be one of the most consequential investigations facing President Trump as he heads into the election. New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is investigating whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of Seven Springs as part of the conservation easement on the property, according to filings in the case in August. The investigation also scrutinizes valuations, tax burdens and conservation easements at Trump’s holdings in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. Trump’s son Eric, who now helps run the Trump Organization, sat for a deposition in the case Monday.”

Trump lashes out at Attorney General William Barr for not delivering Russia investigation bombshells. Republican senators have been told not to expect any more indictments from U.S. Attorney John Durham before the election. Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Friday, 9 October 2020: “President Donald Trump lashed out at Attorney General William Barr on Friday after it was revealed that the U.S. attorney investigating the origins of the Russia probe is not expected to release any information related to his inquiry before the election. ‘If that’s the case, I’m very disappointed,’ Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. ‘I think it’s a terrible thing. And I’ll say it to [Barr’s] face.’ POLITICO first reported this week that Republican senators investigating similar matters have been told to not expect additional indictments or other disclosures from U.S. Attorney John Durham before the Nov. 3 presidential election.” See also, Attorney General William Barr tells Republicans the Durham report that is looking into the origins of the Russia investigation will not be released before the election, Axios, Alayna Treene, Friday, 9 October 2020: “Attorney General Bill Barr has begun telling top Republicans that the Justice Department’s sweeping review into the origins of the Russia investigation will not be released before the election, a senior White House official and a congressional aide briefed on the conversations tell Axios. Republicans had long hoped the report, led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, would be a bombshell containing revelations about what they allege were serious abuses by the Obama administration and intelligence community probing for connections between President Trump and Russia. ‘This is the nightmare scenario. Essentially, the year and a half of arguably the number one issue for the Republican base is virtually meaningless if this doesn’t happen before the election,’ a GOP congressional aide told Axios. Barr has made clear that they should not expect any further indictments or a comprehensive report before Nov. 3, our sources say.” See also, Trump pressures Justice Department to target Democrats and criticizes Attorney General William Barr, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Matt Zapotosky, Karoun Demirjian, and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 9 October 2020: “President Trump publicly pressured the Justice Department on Friday to move against his political adversaries and complained that Attorney General William P. Barr is not doing enough to deliver results of a probe into how the Obama administration investigated possible collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. The delayed report is ‘a disgrace,’ and Trump’s 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, should be jailed, Trump said in a rambling radio interview, one day after he argued on Twitter that his current Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, is a criminal who should be barred from running.”

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett initially failed to disclose on her Senate paperwork talks she gave on Roe v. Wade hosted by anti-abortion groups, CNN Politics, Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, Friday, 9 October 2020: “Judge Amy Coney Barrett initially failed to disclose two talks she gave in 2013 hosted by two anti-abortion student groups on paperwork provided to the Senate ahead of her confirmation hearing to become the next Supreme Court justice. Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, gave the talks — a lecture and a seminar — in 2013 in her capacity as a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. The seminar was co-sponsored by the school’s Right to Life club and constitutional studies minor, and the lecture was held by the law school’s Jus Vitae club. CNN’s KFile found advertisements for two lectures on social media and in a weekly Notre Dame faculty newsletter. Late on Friday night, hours after this story published, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a supplemental update to Barrett’s committee questionnaire that includes the lecture and seminar, as well as a paid advertisement she signed that criticized Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed support for Notre Dame’s ‘commitment to the right to life.’ The release came after CNN asked the White House about the advertisement earlier on Friday.”

Twitter Will Turn Off Some Features to Fight Election Misinformation. The platform is trying to address growing concern that falsehoods could lead to instability. Most of the changes will start on Oct. 20. The New York Times, Kate Conger, Friday, 9 October 2020: “Twitter took steps on Friday to slow the way information flows on its network, even changing some of its most basic features, as alarm grows that lies and calls for violence will sweep through social media in the weeks surrounding the presidential election. The changes will temporarily alter the look and feel of Twitter. The company will essentially give users a timeout, for example, before they can hit the button to retweet a post from another account. And if users try to share content that Twitter has flagged as false, a notice will warn them that they are about to share inaccurate information. Twitter also said it would add a label to claims about who won the election until it has been called by authoritative sources. The steps announced on Friday are the most dramatic in a series of moves made by social media companies in recent months to stem the flow of misinformation in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 election.” See also, With Election Day looming, Twitter imposes new limits on U.S. politicians, and on ordinary users, too, The Washington Post, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg, Friday, 9 October 2020: “Twitter will impose new warnings on politicians’ lies, restrict premature declarations of victory and block calls for polling violence or other disruptions, the company announced Friday as it rolled out wide-ranging changes designed to harden the platform against abuse related to the U.S. election Nov. 3. The moves also will temporarily alter the look and feel of Twitter, a service built on instantaneous conversation, quips and breaking news. Retweeting others, for example, will require an extra step designed to encourage users to add their own thoughts before posting. Recommendations and trends will get new curbs intended to prevent abuse.”

Justice Department cancels diversity training, including for immigration judges, San Francisco Chronicle, Tal Kopan, Friday, 9 October 2020: “The U.S. Justice Department has suspended all diversity and inclusion training and events for its employees, according to a memo obtained by The Chronicle, which would include judges in San Francisco and elsewhere hearing cases of immigrants seeking to avoid deportation.” See also, Justice Department Suspends All Diversity and Inclusion Training for Staff. The move was the latest effort by the Trump administration to eliminate any training that encourages workers to acknowledge that implicit racial and gender biases exist in the workplace. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Friday, 9 October 2020: “The Justice Department suspended all diversity and inclusion training for its employees and managers this week, complying with President Trump’s recent executive order to eliminate any training that suggests that implicit racial and gender biases exist in the workplace, according to a memo distributed to the department’s executive officers. The guidance, sent on Thursday to Justice Department leaders, seemingly goes further than the president’s executive order — which pertains only to diversity training — to include work-related programs, activities and events that touch on diversity. The memo, reviewed by The New York Times, said that managers must remove all diversity-related mandatory training requirements that have been assigned to employees from the department’s internal system, and they must suspend any related activities and events until materials can be approved by the Office of Personnel Management. The Justice Department, which has more than 115,000 employees, did not respond to a request for comment. The guidance was earlier reported by The San Francisco Chronicle.”


Saturday, 10 October 2020, Day 1,359:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 10 October 2020: White House Doctor Says Trump Is No Longer Contagious, The New York Times, Saturday, 10 October 2020:

  • Offering few details, the White House doctor says Trump is no longer contagious.

  • ‘It is disappearing,’ Trump said of the virus, addressing supporters from a White House balcony.

  • The world crosses an ominous milestone, recording more than 1 million new cases in three days.

  • Nancy Pelosi merely panned the White House’s $1.8 trillion relief offer, but Republicans revolted against it.

  • U.S. might reduce the time that travelers from abroad must quarantine.

  • U.S. Navy shuts down most places where people congregate at the Guantánamo base.

  • Texas Republicans protest G.O.P. governor’s coronavirus rules.

  • Trump’s ‘cure’ comment exaggerates known benefits of another Covid-19 therapy.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020 Updates: Trump Hosts White House Event After Hospitalization; Biden Speaks in Pennsylvania, The New York Times, Saturday, 10 October 2020:

  • Biden builds on his economic populist message and dodges questions on the Supreme Court.

  • Trump addresses supporters gathered at the White House in first public event since virus infection.

  • In a blow to Trump, a federal judge rejects an attempt to block drop boxes in Pennsylvania.

  • To keep Trump from challenging result, ‘We have to win overwhelmingly,’ Biden says in Nevada.

  • Cindy McCain praises Biden’s work with her husband in a new ad targeting moderates.

  • Chris Christie, who tested positive after close interactions with Trump, is released from the hospital.

  • The Texas governor is likely to appeal a court decision halting his attempt to limit drop boxes for mail ballots.

  • Trump, anxious to prove he is healthy, adds rallies in Pennsylvania and Iowa next week.

  • Nancy Pelosi merely panned the White House’s $1.8 trillion relief offer, but Republicans revolted against it.

  • Next week’s presidential debate has officially been canceled.

  • Trump and Biden are split on a distinctly 2020 issue: the masculinity of masks.

Trump’s Taxes: The Swamp That Trump Built. A businessman-president transplanted favor-seeking in Washington to his family’s hotels and resorts — and earned millions as a gatekeeper to his own administration. New York Times,  Nicholas Confessore, Karen Yourish, Steve Eder, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, Grace Ashford, Michael LaForgia, Kenneth P. Votel, Michael Rothfeld, and Larry Buchanan, Saturday, 10 October 2020: “Mr. Trump did not merely fail to end Washington’s insider culture of lobbying and favor-seeking. He reinvented it, turning his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway’s new back rooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign. As president-elect, he had pledged to step back from the Trump Organization and recuse himself from his private company’s operation. As president, he built a system of direct presidential influence-peddling unrivaled in modern American politics.  Federal tax-return data for Mr. Trump and his business empire, which was disclosed by The New York Times last month, showed that even as he leveraged his image as a successful businessman to win the presidency, large swaths of his real estate holdings were under financial stress, racking up losses over the preceding decades. But once Mr. Trump was in the White House, his family business discovered a lucrative new revenue stream: people who wanted something from the president. An investigation by The Times found over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration. Nearly a quarter of those patrons have not been previously reported.” See also, 7 Key Findings About Trump’s Reinvented Swamp, The New York Times, Saturday, 10 October 2020.

Federal judge in Pennsylvania dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit on voting, calling fraud claims ‘speculative,’ The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Saturday, 10 October 2020: “A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania seeking to block the use of drop boxes as receptacles for mail ballots, require ballot signatures to match voter registration records and allow nonresident poll watchers at polling places, ruling that the president’s claims of potential fraud were ‘speculative.’ In a sharply worded opinion issued Saturday morning, U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that the Trump campaign has no standing because of the lack of evidence of actual fraud.”

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Move to Limit Ballot Drop-Off Sites, The New York Times, Bryan Pietsch, Saturday, 10 October 2020: “A federal judge in Texas on Friday blocked Gov. Greg Abbott’s move to limit counties in the state to one ballot drop-off site each. ‘The public interest is not served’ by the governor’s order, Judge Robert Pitman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas said in granting a preliminary injunction against the order. The Texas League of United Latin American Citizens and other civil rights organizations had sued the governor over his order. The plaintiffs showed that the move ‘likely violates their fundamental right to vote,’ Judge Pitman said in his ruling, which the state is likely to appeal.”

Trump Makes His First Public Appearance Since Leaving Walter Reed Hospital, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 10 October 2020: “The White House had not made public the results of President Trump’s latest coronavirus test, which he claims he took on Friday. But Mr. Trump, eager to prove he had fully recovered a week after being hospitalized for Covid-19, appeared briefly on Saturday afternoon in front of hundreds of chanting supporters gathered at the White House…. Mr. Trump, who emerged wearing a white surgical mask, peeled it off as he began his remarks. His voice sounded strong and his aggressive message playing down the threat of the virus was unchanged. But the event that the White House had previewed as a huge ‘peaceful protest for law and order’ was uncharacteristically brief. White House officials said the president would speak for 30 minutes, but he kept his remarks to just 18 minutes in total. A typical Trump rally, in contrast, often runs for at least 90 minutes. A large bandage on top of his right hand was a reminder of the treatments and infusions he had received over the past week. And atypical for a president who usually keeps his crowds waiting, Mr. Trump started right on time…. In several phone calls last weekend from the presidential suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Mr. Trump shared an idea he was considering: When he left the hospital, he wanted to appear frail at first when people saw him, according to people with knowledge of the conversations. But underneath his button-down dress shirt, he would wear a Superman T-shirt, which he would reveal as a symbol of strength when he ripped open the top layer. He ultimately did not go ahead with the stunt.”


Sunday, 11 October 2020, Day 1,360:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 11 October 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci Calls Out Trump Campaign Ad That Used Him Without Permission, The New York Times, Sunday, 11 October 2020:

  • Fauci says his words were ‘taken out of context’ by the president’s campaign.

  • Trump claims he is now immune to the coronavirus and unable to spread it. Twitter labels his post misleading.

  • Regeneron’s C.E.O. says its promising Covid-19 treatment must be rationed.

  • Fines and summonses as New York City cracks down on its hot spots.

  • Even moderately excess weight may raise the risk of severe Covid-19.

  • Across much of Europe, the virus is running wild again.

  • Israeli military medics deploy to help virus patients.

  • In Nepal, where hospital beds are few, thousands of Covid-19 patients just stay home — until they can’t.

  • Despite derision from Senate Republicans, the White House hasn’t given up trying to make a relief deal.

  • Trump surrogates deflected questions about the coronavirus and the debate.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020 Updates: Jaime Harrison, Lindsey Graham’s Challenger in South Carolina, Raised More Money Last Quarter Than Any Senate Candidate in History, The New York Times, Sunday, 11 October 2020:

  • Jaime Harrison, who is challenging Senator Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, raised more money last quarter than any Senate candidate in history.

  • Eric Trump conceded that his father ‘lost a fortune,’ but dismissed questions about influence-peddling.

  • Trump, still recovering from Covid, plans a return to campaign rallies.

  • On the eve of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Democrats and Republicans make their cases.

  • Biden embraces Indigenous Peoples Day while Trump sticks to Columbus Day.

  • Amy Coney Barrett lays out her vision of the court in a copy of her opening statement released ahead of her confirmation hearings.

  • Fauci says his words were ‘taken out of context’ by the president’s campaign.

  • Biden and Harris are trying to balance their centrist line with what progressives want.

Election 2020: Biden Leads Trump in new Post-ABC News poll; Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett pledges in opening statement to ‘apply the law as written,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Jacqueline Alemany, and Paulina Firozi, Sunday, 11 October 2020: “Former vice president Joe Biden told attendees at a virtual fundraiser Sunday afternoon that the country is being ‘ripped apart’ by divisions and urged his supporters to vote, one day before confirmation hearings for Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett kick off on Capitol Hill. In her opening statement, released Sunday, Barrett pledged to ‘apply the law as written.’ President Trump, meanwhile, had no scheduled public events. Trump appeared Sunday morning on Fox News Channel for an interview with Maria Bartiromo, during which he claimed that he is not taking medication and has ‘a protective glow’ following his covid-19 diagnosis. Trump is also expected to hold a campaign rally Monday in Florida, while Biden holds events in Toledo and Cincinnati.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Biden leads Trump 54 percent to 42 percent among likely voters nationally, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
  • Both parties are increasingly focused on the pivotal — and potentially messy — role that Pennsylvania could play in deciding the outcome of the presidential race.
  • Starting Monday, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) will again be at the center of an explosive Supreme Court nomination battle — this time in an unprecedented role as a member of a presidential ticket.

General Mark Milley Says the Military Plays ‘No Role’ in Elections, NPR, Sunday, 11 October 2020: “As the presidential election looms, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells NPR’s Morning Edition that the military plays no role in politics, and that he has complete trust in America’s institutions to manage election disputes. ‘We have established a very long 240-year tradition of an apolitical military that does not get involved in domestic politics,’ Milley told NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Sunday. Milley’s comments represent the first time he has addressed the potential for a disputed election in depth in an on-the-record interview. ‘We, the U.S. military, we are sworn to obey the lawful orders of our civilian leadership,’ he said. ‘And we want to ensure that there is always civilian leadership, civilian control of the military, and we will obey the lawful orders of civilian control of the military.'”


Monday, 12 October 2020, Day 1,361:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 12 October 2020: Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson Halts Vaccine Trial Because of Sick Volunteer, The New York Times, Monday, 12 October 2020:

  • Johnson & Johnson pauses its coronavirus vaccine trial because of a volunteer’s ‘unexplained illness.’

  • University of Florida plans to offer many more in-person classes next semester.

  • At a campaign rally, Trump offers to give ‘a big fat kiss’ to attendees.

  • Britain’s prime minister is closing pubs and bars in Liverpool as he announces a tiered lockdown plan.

  • For the first time this season, a Southeastern Conference football game will be delayed.

  • The White House physician says Trump has tested negative, but experts warn about trusting the results.

  • Dr. Fauci says the Trump campaign is ‘harassing’ him.

  • Iran says it will fine people who break quarantine rules or don’t wear masks.

  • De Blasio pushed out an N.Y.C. virus crackdown plan. Cuomo overrode him. It led to mass confusion.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Monday, 12 October 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci says Trump is ‘asking for trouble’ by holding rallies with no physical distancing, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Marisa Iati, Siobhán O’Grady, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, Hannah Denham, Reis Thebault, and Darren Sands, Monday, 12 October 2020: “The nation’s top infectious-disease expert criticized the Trump campaign’s public health practices on Monday, saying in an interview that the president’s decision to resume large-scale rallies without adequate social distancing was ‘asking for trouble.’ In an interview hours before a maskless President Trump addressed a raucous and largely bare-faced crowd at a rally in Florida, Anthony S. Fauci told CNN that it is unwise for the president to stage a campaign event that puts people in close quarters without face coverings. ‘We know that that is asking for trouble, when you do that,’ Fauci said. The Florida rally was Trump’s first outside Washington since he was hospitalized for covid-19. The admonishment came the same day as the White House doctor’s release of a letter saying that Trump had recently tested negative for the novel coronavirus on ‘consecutive days,’ without specifying which days. But the White House still has not released information on the timing of Trump’s last negative coronavirus test before he tested positive.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

As Trump Flouts Safety Protocols, News Outlets Balk at Close Coverage, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Monday, 12 October 2020: “Major news organizations have become increasingly wary of sending journalists to travel with President Trump to White House events and campaign rallies, as the president and his aides continue to shun safety protocols after an outbreak of the coronavirus within their ranks. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are among the major outlets that have declined to assign reporters to travel with Mr. Trump as he returns to the trail this week, saying they do not have assurance that basic precautions will be taken to protect reporters’ health. Foremost among the flouters is Mr. Trump himself, who, despite recently contracting the virus and spending three nights in the hospital, has shown little willingness to change his habits: On Saturday, he said the virus would soon ‘disappear,’ and on the way to a rally in Florida on Monday, he boarded Air Force One — where reporters were seated in the cabin — without wearing a mask.”

Election 2020 Updates: Trump Boasts About Crowd’s Size in Florida as Dr. Anthony Fauci Warns Large Rallies Are ‘Asking for Trouble.’  California’s attorney general ordered the state’s Republican Party to stop setting up unofficial drop boxes for ballots. Georgia saw long lines and record turnout for the start of early voting. The New York Times, Monday, 12 October 2020:

  • His voice hoarse and his attacks familiar, Trump returns to the campaign trail in Florida.

  • Fauci cautions Trump against holding large rallies, warning it is ‘asking for trouble.’

  • Biden, asked about expanding the Supreme Court, says he is ‘not a fan’ of the idea.

  • Minnesota connects two dozen virus cases with campaign events, most of them visits by Trump.

  • California’s G.O.P. confirms it set up unofficial drop boxes. State election officials say they’re illegal.

  • As Trump courts their votes, an extraordinary government bailout is funneling aid money to farmers.

  • Voters flock to the polls as Georgia opens early voting.

  • A Michigan gun store says a visit by Eric Trump was canceled after a former employee was charged in a plot to kidnap the state’s governor.

  • Biden builds on his economic populist message and courts Trump voters in Ohio.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020: Trump returns to campaign trail as Biden kicks off week in battleground states, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and John Wagner, Monday, 12 October 2020: “President Trump on Monday returned to the campaign trail for the first time since his coronavirus diagnosis, staging a rally in Florida. Democratic nominee Joe Biden was in Ohio, another battleground state, as he kicked off a week of events in several states that Trump captured in 2016 but that Democrats argue they can win this year. Vice President Pence also campaigned in Ohio on Monday, while Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), remained in Washington to participate in a confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • In the homestretch of the 2020 campaign, there has been little good news for the incumbent. And that is showing up as an ominous turn for him in the polls as Biden consolidates support.
  • Where were you on election night 2016? The Washington Post wants to hear your story.
  • Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, said in a memo released by the White House that the president had tested negative for the virus ‘on consecutive days,’ using the Abbott rapid testing machine, and was no longer contagious.
  • Voters waited for as long as 10 hours on Georgia’s first day of early voting on Monday, raising questions about whether election officials were prepared for what is shaping up to be a historic early-voting season.
  • Barrett’s confirmation hearings this week offer Trump and Senate Republicans one of their final chances before the election to shift the fall agenda away from the pandemic and toward an issue they believe is more politically beneficial.
  • Biden leads Trump by 12 percentage points nationally, 54 percent to 42 percent, according to an average of national polls since Oct. 1. Biden’s margin is smaller in key states: eight points in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, seven in Michigan, and three in Arizona and Florida.

California Republican Party Admits It Placed Misleading Ballot Boxes Around the State, The New York Times, Glenn Thrush and Jennifer Medina, Monday, 12 October 2020: “The California Republican Party has admitted responsibility for placing more than 50 deceptively labeled ‘official’ drop boxes for mail-in ballots in Los Angeles, Fresno and Orange Counties — an action that state officials said was illegal and could lead to voter fraud. The dark gray metal boxes have been popping up over the past two weeks near churches, gun shops and Republican Party offices, mostly in conservative areas of a deep-blue state, affixed with a white paper label identifying them as either an ‘Official Ballot Drop off Box’ or a ‘Ballot Drop Box.’ To the average voter, they are virtually indistinguishable from drop-off sites sanctioned by the state, which are governed by strict regulations intended to prevent the partisan manipulation of ballots…. On Monday, California’s secretary of state, Alex Padilla, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent a cease-and-desist order to the state- and county-level Republican parties, ordering them to remove the boxes. They also urged voters who might have unknowingly dropped off their ballots in the receptacles to sign up with the state’s voter tracking website to ensure their vote is counted.” See also, California elections officials order Republicans to immediately remove unofficial ballot boxes, Los Angeles Times, John Myers and Stephanie Lai, Monday, 12 October 2020: “California’s attorney general and chief elections officer on Monday sent a cease-and-desist letter to Republican Party officials demanding that they immediately stop using private ballot collection containers marked as ‘official’ drop boxes, saying that the do-it-yourself containers that have appeared in several communities across the state are illegal. Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla also demanded that GOP officials provide by Thursday a list of all voters whose ballots have been collected using the boxes to ensure the documents were collected with permission. ‘Let me be clear, unofficial, unauthorized ballot drop boxes are not permitted by state law,’ Padilla said in an online event with reporters. ‘Political parties and campaigns can engage in get-out-the-vote efforts, but they cannot violate state law.'”

Votes and Vitality in Mind, Trump Addresses Rally in Florida, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 12 October 2020: “President Trump, eager to prove he is healthy and energetic despite his recent hospitalization for Covid-19, returned to the campaign trail on Monday night in Florida, speaking for just over an hour in a state that his advisers think he must win in November, but where voters were overwhelmingly repelled by his performance in the first general election debate. Mr. Trump, whose voice sounded hoarse and strained as he began to speak onstage at a hangar at Orlando Sanford International Airport, claimed he was fully recovered and therefore immune to the coronavirus — a claim for which there is no conclusive scientific backing. ‘I feel so powerful,’ said the president, who did not wear a mask while boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews before leaving Washington. ‘I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women. Just give you a big fat kiss.'”

Supreme Court Nomination: Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings: Highlights of Day 1, The New York Times, Monday, 12 October 2020:

  • ‘This is probably not about persuading each other.’ Senators began four days of contentious hearings.

  • Judge Barrett stressed her biography and the influence Justice Antonin Scalia had on her.

  • Republicans and Democrats competed to define Judge Barrett.

  • The coronavirus pandemic shaped the proceeding.

  • For Judiciary Committee Democrats, the Affordable Care Act was center stage.

  • Republicans attacked Democrats for ‘anti-Catholic’ stands they avoided.

  • Blumenthal called on Judge Barrett to recuse herself from any election-related cases.

  • Hirono evoked her own cancer fight to plead for an end to the hearing.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court confirmation hearing day one: Courts aren’t designed to ‘right every wrong’ in society, Barrett says in opening, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Seung Min Kim, Rachael Bade, Karoun Demirjian, and Ann E. Marimow, Monday, 12 October 2020: “Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett introduced herself to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday afternoon, vowing to apply the law ‘as written’ and telling lawmakers she believed courts were not ‘designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people,’ Barrett said in her opening statement. ‘The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.’ Earlier in the day, senators clashed over the nominee. Democrats stuck to a tight script, telling personal stories about constituents who benefited from the Affordable Care Act and warning that Barrett’s ascendance to the high court could spell the end for the landmark health-care law. Republicans called on Democrats to focus on what they said were Barrett’s exceptional qualifications for the job, not how she might rule on key cases. The hearings come 22 days before the election, with Senate Republicans intent on installing the conservative judge on the court. If confirmed, Barrett would replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Republicans defended their decision to move swiftly to confirm Barrett, saying the situation was different than 2016, when GOP lawmakers blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland.
  • Barrett is expected to pledge in her opening remarks that she will remove politics from her legal reasoning as a future justice, stressing that ‘policy decisions’ need to be made by Congress and the White House, not the courts.
  • A slight majority of American voters oppose holding confirmation hearings now, although opposition has eased since Trump announced his choice to replace Ginsburg, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
  • More than a dozen protesters calling on senators to reject Barrett’s confirmation were arrested Monday morning moments before the hearing began. About 8:45 a.m., anti-Barrett protesters were handcuffed and removed from the doorway of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where a sit-in was underway.
  • Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, echoed the health-care message of other Senate Democrats and warned that confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court would precipitate the demise of the Affordable Care Act.

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett promises to be apolitical as Democrats warn of threat to health care, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Seung Min Kim, and Derek Hawkins, Monday, 12 October 2020: “Democrats acknowledged there is little they can do to stop Barrett’s confirmation. So they seemed determined to use the hearings to portray Republicans as a threat to the Affordable Care Act and the nomination as a last-ditch effort to save Trump should next month’s election lead to litigation in the Supreme Court.” See also, Old grudges hang over first day of Barrett hearings, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Marianne Levine, Monday, 12 October 2020: “The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. But on Monday, it was also relitigating 2016. The opening session of Barrett’s confirmation hearings amounted to a wholesale revisiting of the events of four years ago, when Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s nominee — in addition to Democrats’ laser focus on health care as the top issue for the high court to consider…. Democrats have displayed a united front heading into the four-day slate of hearings, calling attention to the Trump administration’s efforts to get rid of the Affordable Care Act and what they see as Senate Republicans’ hypocrisy in seeking to confirm Barrett, 48, to the high court so close to the Nov. 3 election.”

Records show Trump’s children brought Secret Service money to the family hotels with their visits, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow, and Carol D. Leonnig, Monday, 12 October 2020: “Eric Trump took his Secret Service agents to Trump golf courses in Scotland, as he led transatlantic tours for paying customers. Donald Trump Jr. took his protectors to the Trump hotel in Vancouver, stopping over on hunting trips to Canada. And Ivanka Trump took her Secret Service detail to the Trump golf club in Bedminster, N.J., again and again — even after she asked other Americans to ‘please, please’ stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. On trips like these, Secret Service agents were there to protect Trump’s children. But, for the Trump family business, their visits also brought a hidden side benefit. Money. That’s because when Trump’s adult children visited Trump properties, Trump’s company charged the Secret Service for agents to come along. The president’s company billed the U.S. government hundreds, or thousands, of dollars for rooms agents used on each trip, as the agency sometimes booked multiple rooms or a multiroom rental cottage on the property.In this way, Trump’s adult children and their families have caused the U.S. government to spend at least $238,000 at Trump properties so far, according to Secret Service records obtained by The Washington Post.”

Trump Funnels Record Subsidies to Farmers Ahead of Election Day, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Monday, 12 October 2020: For the American farmers President Trump counts on for support, the government money is flowing faster than ever. Federal payments to farmers are projected to hit a record $46 billion this year as the White House funnels money to Mr. Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest ahead of Election Day. The gush of funds has accelerated in recent weeks as the president looks to help his core supporters who have been hit hard by the double whammy of his combative trade practices and the coronavirus pandemic.”


Tuesday, 13 October 2020, Day 1,362:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 13 October 2020: White House Embraces Covid-19 ‘Herd Immunity’ Declaration, The New York Times, Tuesday, 13 October 2020:

  • White House embraces a declaration from scientists that opposes lockdowns and relies on ‘herd immunity.’

  • New virus cases are trending upward in a majority of American states.

  • Eli Lilly antibody trial is paused because of potential safety concerns.

  • Virginia’s governor was also a possible target of an anti-government plot, the F.B.I. says.

  • Europe scrambles to halt a rising wave of virus cases with more refined travel restrictions and closures.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the coronavirus.

  • Facing a pandemic shortfall, an Ohio college cuts 18 majors.

  • Trump’s biggest fan in India, who cried when his idol contracted the virus, has died.

  • Can you watch English soccer in person? It might depend on how good the teams are.

  • After a 7-month wait, one tourist got Machu Picchu all to himself.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Tuesday, 13 October 2020: More than 20 states have set records for new coronavirus infections in recent days, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Jennifer Hassan, Lateshia Beachum, Brittany Shammas, Siobhán O’Grady, Hannah Denham, Jacqueline Dupree, Reis Thebault, and Darren Sands, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “States across the West and Midwest are reporting record numbers of new coronavirus cases, a worrying sign of rapid transmission that could signal the arrival of a long-feared cold-weather wave of infections. Since Saturday, more than 20 states have hit a new high in their seven-day average of reported case counts, and more than half of those states set records again Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are driving the surge, while states farther west — such as Colorado, Idaho and the Dakotas — have seen their cases rise steadily for weeks. For the first time since August, the country’s seven-day average of new cases topped 50,000. Experts are concerned that the rising numbers portend an even greater increase this winter, when drier conditions and more time spent indoors will help the virus spread. ‘Things will get better, but in all likelihood, things will get worse before they get better,’ Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) wrote on Twitter. ‘This virus is sneaky and cunning and won’t give up. It has a mind of its own.'”

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Scientists calling for the hastening of herd immunity have found an audience inside the White House and at least one state capitol but have appalled the country’s top infectious-disease experts.
  • On Tuesday, Eli Lilly and Co. paused a trial of its closely watched monoclonal antibody drug — the same class of medicine President Trump received and credited for his recovery — over safety concerns. The stoppage came one day after Johnson & Johnson halted late-stage trials of its vaccine as investigators probe whether a participant’s undisclosed illness may be linked to the drug.
  • Accused conspirators charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) also discussed ‘taking’ Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), an FBI agent testified at a court hearing Tuesday. The agent said coronavirus shutdown orders had come up in the group’s discussions.
  • JPMorgan Chase posted $29.1 billion in revenue in its third quarter, staying afloat despite the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy. On Tuesday, the CEO partially credited the fact that debit and credit card spending grew for the first time since widespread shutdowns began.
  • A second wave of coronavirus cases in Europe is prompting new restrictions in Britain and several other countries that hope to avoid a return to national shutdown measures.
  • A new report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal confirmed that a 25-year-old man from Reno, Nev., had the first known U.S. case of coronavirus reinfection. Meanwhile, an 89-year-old woman in the Netherlands died after being infected with the coronavirus for a second time, Dutch news outlets reported Monday. Her case marked the first confirmed death from a reinfection.

White House embraces a declaration from scientists that opposes lockdowns and relies on ‘herd immunity,’ The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine. Many experts say ‘herd immunity’ — the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it — is still very far-off. Leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that about 85 to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the coronavirus. On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give their names, cited an October 4 petition titled The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools.”

Election 2020 Updates: Biden Pitches to Older Americans, and Trump Attacks His Fitness, The New York Times, Tuesday, 13 October 2020:

  • Biden blasts Trump in South Florida, asking: ‘How many of you have been unable to hug your grandkids in the last seven months?’

  • Trump, trailing in key states, lashes out at Biden in Pennsylvania rally.

  • Long lines to vote early in Texas stem from increased turnout, glitches and elimination of straight-ticket voting.

  • Harris interrogates Barrett’s stances on health care and reproductive rights at Senate hearing.

  • McConnell faces uproar online after laughing off criticism during a debate about coronavirus relief.

  • Racist trolls Zoombombed a virtual campaign event held by Jahana Hayes, Connecticut’s first Black congresswoman.

  • Barrett refuses to say whether she would recuse herself from the Affordable Care Act case or an election dispute, if one arises.

  • The Supreme Court allows the Trump administration to shut down the census count ahead of schedule.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020: Trump begs for suburban women’s support while Biden appeals to older voters, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Paulina Firozi, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “President Trump on Tuesday lamented his souring support among suburban women voters, begging them during a Pennsylvania rally to like him as he ramps up travel following his return to the campaign trail. In Florida, Democratic nominee Joe Biden made his most direct appeal yet to older voters. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), faced off against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, as her confirmation hearing continues in Washington. Meanwhile, Vice President Pence made an appearance in Wisconsin.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Biden, who for weeks has avoided saying whether he supports expanding the Supreme Court, said Monday that he is ‘not a fan’ of the idea, which has gained steam in his party’s liberal wing.
  • Barrett repeatedly said that neither the president nor anyone else in the White House urged her to rule one way or another on any specific case, including those that might concern the 2020 presidential election.
  • An accidentally severed fiber-optic cable in Virginia effectively shut down most of the state’s online voter registration on its last day Tuesday, prompting voter advocates to file a lawsuit in federal court seeking an extension of the deadline.
  • Early voting in Texas began Tuesday with crowds of excited voters waiting in line for several hours to cast their ballot in some places, even as new legal developments threatened to restrict options for voting ahead of Election Day.
  • Biden leads Trump by 12 percentage points nationally, 54 percent to 42 percent, according to an average of national polls since Oct. 1. Biden’s margin is smaller in key states: eight points in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, seven in Michigan, and three in Arizona and Florida.

Biden says he’s ‘not a fan of court-packing,’ The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who for weeks has avoided saying whether he supports expanding the Supreme Court, said Monday that he is ‘not a fan’ of the idea that has gained steam in his party’s liberal wing….  Biden has faced growing questions from the news media about his position, and Republicans have criticized his refusal to take a public stance. His remarks went well beyond what he has said in recent weeks, showing his strong skepticism on a proposal that has divided the Democratic Party, even if not shutting the door entirely on the prospect of pursuing it as president. Biden added that President Trump ‘would love nothing better than to fight about whether or not I would in fact pack the court or not pack the court.’ He criticized Trump for trying to get Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to the high court so close to an election.”

Trump’s False Claims as He Resumes His Rallies after Hospitalization, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: In Florida, the president made a series of inaccurate claims about his election opponent, the coronavirus pandemic, the Nobel Peace Prize and Cuba, among other topics.”

Mail Balloting Is Fueling Historic Early Voting in the 2020 Election, The Wall Street Journal, Danny Dougherty and Chad Day, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “With only three weeks until Election Day, many states are already seeing historic levels of early voting as people cast their ballots through the mail in the middle of a pandemic. Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia have already received more early ballots than they did in the 2016 presidential election. Several other states have topped 2016 numbers for mail ballots returned, even as in-person early voting is opening up in much of the country. So far, 8.8 million people have voted by mail in the general election and 962,000 headed to polling places early to cast ballots, according to figures from 35 states and the District of Columbia compiled by the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. For comparison, more than 58 million early ballots were cast in 2016.”

Federal court of appeals rules Texans will only have one ballot drop box per county, CNN US, Madeline Holcombe, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “A late-night ruling Monday upheld Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive limiting only one ballot drop box location per county in the state. The ruling from a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals came a day before early voting begins in Texas Tuesday. Texas joined many other states that responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by expanding early voting days. But Texas is among the most restrictive states for mail-in voting, requiring voters to provide an excuse if they are under 65, and limiting the number of ballot dropboxes to one per county, even in counties with millions of residents.” See also, A federal court upheld the Texas governor’s order limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county, The New York Times, Daniel Victor, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “A federal appeals court reinstated restrictions late Monday night that would allow just a single ballot drop-off site per county in Texas, allowing Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to proceed over criticism that it would make voting more difficult and dangerous. The three-judge panel in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, all of whom were appointed by President Trump, reversed a lower court decision from Friday that had blocked the restrictions. The judges wrote that the order ‘does nothing to prevent Texans from mailing in their absentee ballots, as they have done in the past in election after election.’ It’s unclear if the decision will be the final word in the back-and-forth legal battle.”

Amy Coney Barrett Faces Questioning: Highlights of Day 2 of the Confirmation Hearings, The New York Times, Tuesday, 13 October 2020:

  • Barrett says she would not be ‘used as a pawn’ to decide potential election case, but refuses to say if she’d recuse herself.

  • Judge Barrett resists ‘female Scalia’ label, but embraces his legal philosophy.

  • Citing Justice Ginsburg, Judge Barrett deflects questions on overruling precedents.

  • Barrett insists her Catholic beliefs wouldn’t affect her rulings and says she anticipated her ‘faith would be caricatured.’

  • Judge Barrett defends her failure to submit documents she signed expressing anti-abortion position.

  • ‘We wept together’: Judge Barrett describes reaction to George Floyd video.

  • Harris interrogates Barrett’s stances on health care and reproductive rights at Senate hearing.

  • Judge Barrett uses ‘sexual preference’ to describe the L.G.B.T. community, and then apologizes.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court confirmation hearing day two: Barrett declines to call landmark abortion decision a ‘super-precedent,’ The Washington Post, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “Judge Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she has made ‘no commitment’ to the White House or senators on how she would rule on major cases on the Affordable Care Act, abortion and election disputes. ‘Judges can’t just wake up one day and say, “I have an agenda, I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion,” and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,’ Barrett told the committee. Barrett was pressed on the ACA — the court will consider the Obama-era health care law’s fate next month — as well as on abortion rights, gun control and same-sex marriage. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), has signaled that the committee will probably vote Oct. 22 on her nomination.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Barrett said Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, did not belong to the category of judicial rulings known as ‘super-precedents’ — decisions considered so fundamental that they cannot be overturned. ‘Roe is not a super-precedent,’ Barrett said, adding: ‘But that does not mean it should be overruled.’
  • Democrats cast Barrett as a conservative ideologue whose confirmation to the high court would threaten the ACA. Republicans tried to deflect the Democrats’ focus on health care and defended Barrett from the assumption that she would be an automatic vote to dismantle the landmark law. Under questioning, Barrett said, ‘I’m not on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act.’
  • Barrett declined to say whether presidents should commit to a peaceful transfer of power, saying she would not get drawn into political controversies. She did note the country’s history of ‘peaceful transfers of power. I think that is part of the genius of our Constitution and the good faith and goodwill of the American people, that we haven’t had a situation that has arisen,’ she said.
  • Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who had contracted the coronavirus, released a letter Tuesday from his physician saying he has been cleared to participate in person at the confirmation hearings. The letter says the senator has met the criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it makes no mention of whether Tillis has tested negative for the virus. Tillis spoke at the hearing without a mask.
  • A slight majority of American voters oppose holding confirmation hearings now, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, although opposition has eased since President Trump announced his choice to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month.

Amy Coney Barrett dodges abortion, healthcare, and election law questions, The Guardian, Daniel Strauss, published on Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “On the second day of hearings before the Senate judiciary committee, Democrats pressed the supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on healthcare, election law and abortion rights – and met with little success. Donald Trump’s third nominee for the highest court dodged questions on how she might rule on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA); whether she would recuse herself from any lawsuit about the presidential election; and whether she would vote to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v Wade, which made abortion legal. In lengthy speeches, Democrats maintained that Barrett’s nomination was effectively a herald of the overturning of that ruling and the ACA, known popularly as Obamacare. The California senator Kamala Harris, participating in the hearing remotely, argued that Barrett’s positions on key issues were clear. ‘I would suggest that we not pretend that we don’t know how this nominee views a women’s right to choose to make our own healthcare decisions,’ Harris said late in the hearings.” See also, Dahlia Lithwick: Amy Coney Barrett May Claim Neutrality, but Her Record Is ‘Extremely Conservative,’ Democracy Now!, published on Wednesday, 14 October 2020.

Supreme Court won’t revive congressional emoluments case against Trump, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to revive an attempt by Democratic members of Congress to sue President Trump over his private businesses accepting payments from foreign governments. Without comment, the justices let stand a decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to dismiss the lawsuit filed by 215 members of Congress. Their novel lawsuit sought to enforce the Constitution’s anti-corruption emoluments provision. A unanimous panel of the appeals court said the individual members did not have legal standing to take the president to court.”

Supreme Court says Trump administration can shut down census count now, despite fears of an undercount, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Tara Bahrampour, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 Census count now, concluding a contentious legal battle over the once-­in-a-decade household count despite fears of an undercount that would fall hardest on minority groups. The court put on hold a lower-court order that said the count should continue until the end of the month, because of delays brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The court did not provide a reason, which is common in disposing of the kind of emergency application filed by the administration. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice to note dissent. ‘The harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable,’ she wrote. ‘And respondents will suffer their lasting impact for at least the next 10 years.’ The census count has vast implications for American life, affecting the distribution of federal aid and the size of each state’s congressional delegation. Under President Trump, though, what has usually been a project for the nation’s bureaucrats took on a decidedly partisan tone.” See also, Supreme Court rules Trump administration can end census count early despite warnings that it would result in inaccurate data, The Guardian, Sam Levine, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “The US supreme court will allow the Trump administration to immediately end counting for the 2020 census, despite warnings that doing so would result in inaccurate data with severe consequences for the next decade. The ruling essentially cuts short counting every living American resident, scheduled to end on 31 October, by two weeks. The court did not offer any explanation for its order, which came after the Trump administration asked the justices to pause a lower court ruling extending the count while the case was appealed. Only Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she would have blocked the request to halt the proceedings. ‘Meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying, especially when the Government has failed to show why it could not bear the lesser cost of expending more resources to meet the deadline or continuing its prior efforts to seek an extension from Congress,’ Sotomayor wrote in her dissent.”

Trump Again Asks Supreme Court to Block Subpoena for His Tax Records, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “Personal lawyers for President Trump, seeking to appeal their case to the Supreme Court for the second time in less than a year, asked the justices on Tuesday to delay a ruling that would allow the Manhattan district attorney to obtain Mr. Trump’s financial records. In a 38-page ’emergency’ application, Mr. Trump’s legal team told the court that a Federal District Court judge was wrong to rule that the prosecutor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., had a legal right to subpoena the materials — and that an appeals court panel in New York was wrong to uphold that ruling this month.”

Unmasking’ investigation commissioned by Attorney General William Barr concludes without charges or any public report, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Shane Harris, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter. The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who left the department last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Trump at a moment when he is particularly upset at the Justice Department. The department has so far declined to release the results of Bash’s work, though people familiar with his findings say they would likely disappoint conservatives who have tried to paint the ‘unmasking’ of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.” See also, ‘Unmasking’ inquiry ordered by Attorney General William Barr finds no wrongdoing by Obama officials, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy, published on Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “A federal prosecutor handpicked by the attorney general, William Barr, to investigate whether Obama administration officials had mishandled classified intelligence relating to the Russia investigation has wrapped up his work without finding wrongdoing or considering charges, according to the Washington Post. The conclusion of an investigation by US attorney John Bash into the so-called ‘unmasking’ of names in intelligence reports by Obama officials was seen as a defeat for Donald Trump and Barr, who appeared to be fishing for damaging information that could be used against former vice-president Joe Biden.” See also, Justice Department ‘Unmasking’ Review Finds No Irregularities and Is Given to John Durham, U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Julian E. Barnes, published on Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “For years, President Trump has accused national security officials in the Obama administration of wrongdoing for making routine classified information requests called unmaskings, falsely portraying them as part of a plot to undermine him. ‘The big story is the “unmasking and surveillance” of people that took place during the Obama Administration,’ he posted on Twitter in 2017. But John Bash, a U.S. attorney appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to vet the issue, found no irregularities in those unmasking requests, which revealed that the president’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn had appeared in intelligence reports, according to two U.S. officials briefed on the matter. The Justice Department has portrayed Mr. Bash’s work as a review, not a criminal investigation. His findings were given to John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, who is conducting a criminal investigation into the roots of the Russia inquiry, the officials said.”

New study finds warming has killed half the coral on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It might never recover. The Washington Post, Darryl Fears, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “Half of the coral populations on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef — from ‘big mamas’ to the little baby coral they spawn — have been wiped out in the warming ocean, a new study says. Studying coral as if it were a residential demographic, and counting its abundance over 25 years starting in 1995, four Australian researchers determined that size didn’t matter when bleaching events, such as two that occurred in recent back-to-back years, strike the giant reef. ‘The decline occurred in both shallow and deeper water, and across virtually all species — but especially in branching and table-shaped corals,’ Terry Hughes, a professor at the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland and a co-author of the research paper, said in a statement Tuesday. ‘These were the worst affected by record breaking temperatures that triggered mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017.’ On some areas of the northern half of the reef, ‘the abundance of large colonies on the crest dropped’ by up to 98 percent, according to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. By contrast, there was a slight increase on the southern slope, about 25 percent. It’s a clear sign of rapid decline.’We expect this decline to continue’ because of warming caused by humans, Hughes said. ‘The only effective way to improve the outcome for coral reefs is global action on greenhouse gasses. If global temperatures rise to 3 or 4 [degrees Celsius], the reef will be unrecognizable, so there is no time to lose.'” See also, The Great Barrier Reef Has Lost Half Its Corals. Researchers in Australia blamed climate change for the loss, which they said could diminish critical habitats for fish and other marine life. The New York Times, Maria Cramer, Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “The Great Barrier Reef, one of the earth’s most precious habitats, lost half of its coral populations in the last quarter-century, a decline that researchers in Australia said would continue unless drastic action is taken to mitigate the effects of climate change. Researchers studied coral colonies along the length of the reef between 1995 and 2017 and found that almost every coral species had declined. Colony sizes were smaller; there were fewer ‘big mamas,’ or older large corals that produce baby corals; and there were fewer of those babies, which are vital to the reef’s future ability to breed.”

Justice Department Sues Ex-Aide Over Book About Melania Trump. The lawsuit was the third in recent months where the government has taken on a perceived foe of the White House. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 13 October 2020: “The Justice Department sued a onetime close friend and aide to the first lady, Melania Trump, on Tuesday to try to recoup the profits from a tell-all book that disclosed embarrassing details about her, the third lawsuit in recent months where the department has taken on a White House antagonist. The decision to file the lawsuit raised new questions about whether President Trump is using the powers of the Justice Department to settle personal scores that have little to do with the federal government. The aide, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, wrote in her book, ‘Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady,’ that Mrs. Trump was selfish and image-obsessed, had a strained relationship with her stepdaughter Ivanka Trump and was largely unfazed by her husband’s insults and lewd comments about women.”


Wednesday, 14 October 2020, Day 1,363:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 14 October 2020: As Virus Hits Rural U.S., Numbers May Be Small, but the Impact Is Not, The New York Times, Wednesday, 14 October 2020:

  • ‘A regional Covid storm,’ one governor says as cases spike in less populous states.

  • London will face tighter restrictions as Europe confronts a new spike in virus cases.

  • A college football icon tests positive while the N.C.A.A. suffers yet another game postponement.

  • Fauci takes issue with Trump’s end-of-year vaccine claims.

  • Little is known about immunity in a patient like Trump, scientists warn.

  • Cuomo warns local governments he could withhold state funds over virus restriction enforcement: ‘Hopefully that will motivate them.’

  • District size and support for Trump are the strongest predictors of school reopenings, research finds.

  • Barron Trump tested positive for the virus but has since tested negative, Melania Trump says.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 14 October 2020: Barron Trump also had Covid-19, but he has now tested negative along with first lady, she says, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Kim Bellware, Miriam Berger, Lateshia Beachum, Hannah Denham, Reis Thebault, Hannah Knowles, and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “President Trump’s youngest son, Barron, tested positive for the coronavirus about the same time as his parents but has since tested negative, the first lady disclosed Wednesday. ‘Luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms,’ Melania Trump wrote in an online post released by the White House. The first lady said she has also tested negative, and the president has tested negative according to his doctor. President Trump on Wednesday night pointed to Barron’s experience before urging students’ return to schools. His family’s recovery from the virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans has only emboldened his push for a nationwide return to normalcy.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that a new economic relief bill is unlikely before the election. The stock market closed in the red at the end of the day’s trading session as investors reacted.
  • Scientists pushing to allow the novel coronavirus to circulate freely among healthy young people until herd immunity is reached have found a receptive audience inside the White House. But top infectious-disease experts say the idea is unworkable and dangerous.
  • University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban is the highest-profile figure in college athletics to test positive for the coronavirus. The school announced his infection Wednesday.
  • U.S. coronavirus cases are rising again, seeding fears that an anticipated cold-weather surge in infections has arrived. Nine states are experiencing double-digit increases in the number of patients hospitalized because of coronavirus complications.
  • Citing a rapid resurgence of the virus, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a curfew to be imposed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the Paris region and other major urban centers. It will begin Oct. 17 and last at least four weeks.
  • Italy, Germany and Iran are also seeing surging infections.

As Coronavirus Spread, Reports of Trump Administration’s Private Briefings Fueled Sell-Off, The New York Times, Kate Kelly and Mark Mazzetti, Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “On the afternoon of Feb. 24, President Trump declared on Twitter that the coronavirus was ‘very much under control’ in the United States, one of numerous rosy statements that he and his advisers made at the time about the worsening epidemic. He even added an observation for investors: ‘Stock market starting to look very good to me!’ But hours earlier, senior members of the president’s economic team, privately addressing board members of the conservative Hoover Institution, were less confident. Tomas J. Philipson, a senior economic adviser to the president, told the group he could not yet estimate the effects of the virus on the American economy. To some in the group, the implication was that an outbreak could prove worse than Mr. Philipson and other Trump administration advisers were signaling in public at the time. The next day, board members — many of them Republican donors — got another taste of government uncertainty from Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council. Hours after he had boasted on CNBC that the virus was contained in the United States and ‘it’s pretty close to airtight,’ Mr. Kudlow delivered a more ambiguous private message. He asserted that the virus was ‘contained in the U.S., to date, but now we just don’t know,’ according to a document describing the sessions obtained by The New York Times. The document, written by a hedge fund consultant who attended the three-day gathering of Hoover’s board, was stark.What struck me,’ the consultant wrote, was that nearly every official he heard from raised the virus ‘as a point of concern, totally unprovoked.’ The consultant’s assessment quickly spread through parts of the investment world. U.S. stocks were already spiraling because of a warning from a federal public health official that the virus was likely to spread, but traders spotted the immediate significance: The president’s aides appeared to be giving wealthy party donors an early warning of a potentially impactful contagion at a time when Mr. Trump was publicly insisting that the threat was nonexistent.”

Election 2020 Updates: Biden Raises Record $383 Million in September, Giving Him Financial Edge Over Trump, The New York Times, Wednesday, 14 October 2020:

  • Biden raised $383 million in September, entering October with $432 million in the bank.
  • Iowa’s Supreme Court nullifies 70,000 absentee ballot requests, siding with the Trump campaign.
  • 5.2 million Americans with convictions can’t vote this year, and Black people are disproportionately affected.
  • North Carolina can extend its mail-in voting deadline, but must tighten its witness signature requirement for absentee ballots.
  • Trump goes on a meandering rant at his rally in Iowa.
  • New polls show Biden ahead in Georgia and a tight race in Ohio.
  • Questioned by Harris, Barrett calls climate change ‘a very contentious matter of public debate,’ raising some scientists’ concern.
  • The Massachusetts governor, a Republican, says he ‘may take a pass’ on voting for president rather than vote for Trump.
  • Biden did not meet with a Ukrainian energy executive, his campaign says.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020: Biden and Democrats raise record-busting $383 million in September as Trump seeks to shore up support in Iowa, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Paulina Firozi, Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that his campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $383 million in September, a massive sum that leaves him flush with cash in the final weeks of the election. His running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), questioned Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, at her confirmation hearings. Trump sought to shore up support in Iowa, holding a rally in a state he won comfortably four years ago, while Vice President Pence campaigned in Michigan, another Midwestern battleground state that was key to the Republican ticket’s electoral college win in 2016.Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • First lady Melania Trump on Wednesday revealed that her teenage son, Barron, had also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but that they both have now tested negative.
  • NBC said it will host a town-hall event with Trump in Miami on Thursday, setting up dueling events with Biden and the president on a night when the two nominees were set to meet for their second debate.
  • Less than three weeks before Election Day, Trump’s lack of a consistent and coherent closing argument is alarming some Republicans.
  • Barrett declined to share her legal views on abortion rights, voting rights and the Affordable Care Act during her final day of facing questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Biden leads Trump by 12 percentage points nationally, 54 percent to 42 percent, according to an average of national polls since Oct. 1. Biden’s margin is smaller in key states: eight points in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, seven in Michigan, and three in Arizona and Florida.

Supreme Court Nomination: Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings: Highlights From Day 3, The New York Times, Wednesday, 14 October 2020:

  • Graham praised Barrett for being ‘unashamedly pro-life,’ saying her confirmation will be a breakthrough for conservative women.

  • Barrett gave a seminar on severability, with an Obamacare subtext.

  • Klobuchar presses Barrett on potential election-related litigation, invoking her role in Bush v. Gore.

  • Barrett refused to discuss climate change, saying it is ‘a very contentious matter of public debate.’

  • Barrett’s advice for young women: ‘Make decisions. Be confident. Know what you want. And go get it.’

  • Graham, criticized for invoking ‘good old days of segregation,’ says he was being sarcastic.

  • Peppered with questions on Trump’s powers, Barrett offered no answers.

  • Barrett refused to answer question on Trump’s family separation policy at the border.

Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, confirmation hearing day three: Barrett declines to say whether it’s wrong to separate migrant children from parents, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Seung Min Kim, Ann E. Marimow, and Karoun Demirjian, Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “Judge Amy Coney Barrett faced the final day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday as Republicans fast-track her nomination to the Supreme Court. In her testimony, the conservative jurist declined to share her legal views on abortion rights, voting rights and the Affordable Care Act, seeking to separate her academic writings from how she might rule if confirmed. She also declined to say whether she thought it was wrong to separate migrant children from their parents to deter immigration to the United States. ‘That’s a matter of hot political debate in which I can’t express a view or be drawn into as a judge,’ Barrett said in response to a question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) The panel is expected to vote Oct. 22 as President Trump pressures the Senate to confirm Barrett before the Nov. 3 election.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) offered a full-throated defense of Barrett’s personal views, particularly her opposition to abortion. ‘This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who’s unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology,’ Graham told Barrett.
  • Barrett stated unequivocally that ‘no one is above the law’ — but she warned that the Supreme Court has no real recourse to ensure that people, including the president, obeyed its orders. Asked whether the president could pardon himself for a crime, Barrett was circumspect. ‘So far as I know, that question has never been litigated,’ she said.
  • Barrett said that she thinks two Supreme Court decisions outlawing racial discrimination were correctly decided but declined to say the same for other landmark opinions involving gay rights and access to contraceptives.
  • Pressed on climate change, Barrett told senators that her views are not relevant to the work she would do if confirmed to the Supreme Court. ‘I do not think I am competent to opine on what causes global warming or not,’ Barrett said. A climate change case, however, is on the Supreme Court’s docket.
  • Democrats continued to press Barrett on the Affordable Care Act, while Republicans tried to shift focus from health care to the judge’s résumé. Barrett told lawmakers on multiple occasions that she was not ‘hostile’ to the 2010 law, saying, ‘I am not here on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act.’
  • As Republicans seek to portray Democrats as anti-Catholic in Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Joe Biden’s campaign is making the former vice president’s Catholic faith a core part of his final pitch to voters. Recent TV ads from Biden’s campaign show him standing with Pope Francis, huddled with a Jesuit priest or bowing his head in prayer.

‘Look for Power in the Shadows’: Watch Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Shine Light on ‘Dark Money Operation’ Behind Republican Supreme Court Takeover, Common Dreams, Jake Johnson, Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse used his 30 minutes of allotted time during Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing not to ask questions of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett—who repeatedly dodged the straightforward questions of other lawmakers—but to deliver a detailed presentation on the sprawling ‘dark money operation’ fueling the right-wing takeover of the U.S. judicial system. Displaying a number of visuals and flow charts, the senator from Rhode Island traced the dizzying array of special interests and advocacy groups—from the Koch network to the Federalist Society to the Judicial Crisis Network to the Pacific Legal Foundation—coordinating and pouring money into the effort to confirm Barrett and other far-right, corporate-friendly judges committed to rolling back reproductive rights, voting rights, climate regulations, and more. After taking his Republican colleagues to task for orchestrating a ‘political ram-job’ to confirm Barrett less than a month before the November election while doing nothing about the coronavirus crisis, Whitehouse began deconstructing the process by which GOP judicial nominees are chosen, promoted, and ultimately placed on the court by conservative lawmakers. ‘There is a lot of hard-to-explain hypocrisy and rush taking place right now, and my experience around politics is that when you find hypocrisy in the daylight, look for power in the shadows…'”

Senator Mazie Hirono grills Amy Coney Barrett for describing sexual orientation as a ‘preference,’ The Washington Post, Teo Armus, Wednesday, 14 October 2020: “As Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett faced her second day of Senate confirmation hearings Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) grilled the judge on whether she would ‘vote to roll back hard-fought freedoms and protections for the LGBT community. I have no agenda,’ Barrett replied. ‘I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.’ That choice of words prompted swift pushback from some critics, who said that the phrase ‘sexual preference,’ as used by Barrett, suggested that same-sex attraction is simply a choice — one that can be changed under enough pressure. Among those raising concern was Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who accused the judge of using the phrase intentionally, instead of the more widely accepted ‘sexual orientation. It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice,’ the senator said in an exchange that swiftly went viral. ‘It is not. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person’s identity.’ Barrett was quick to apologize. ‘I certainly didn’t mean and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community,’ she said. Plenty of figures on the left — including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Barrett is hoping to replace on the high court — have also used the phrase, which was considered acceptable as recently as a decade or two ago. But in a heated, highly polarized confirmation process that has brought questions of religion and gender into the forefront, LGBT advocates and Supreme Court watchers said her word choice may have been more telling than it seemed. As Hirono pointed out, part of the court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges rested on the idea that ‘sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.’ Just weeks earlier, two justices had said they do not support that ruling, which made same-sex marriage the law of the land.”


Thursday, 15 October 2020, Day 1,364:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 15 October 2020: U.S. Is ‘Headed in the Wrong Direction’ as a 3rd Coronavirus Peak Nears, The New York Times, Thursday, 15 October 2020:

  • The U.S. has passed the 8-million mark for known infections.

  • Millions of Americans slipped into poverty as federal aid dried up.

  • Prisoners cannot be denied virus relief payments, a judge rules.

  • ‘Yes, I would take it.’ Biden says he is ready for a coronavirus vaccine.

  • Harris halts in-person campaigning after an aide tests positive for the coronavirus.

  • France extends virus rules to the entire country as new cases threaten to overwhelm hospitals.

  • More Swiss Guards test positive, raising concerns for pope’s health.

  • A disputed study finds that remdesivir, widely used to treat Covid-19, does not prevent deaths.

  • A college president steps down after a major outbreak on campus.

  • Quarantine U: College journalists file their reports.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 15 October 2020: Coronavirus live updates: New single-day cases in U.S. reach highest level since late July, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Jennifer Hassan, Siobhán O’Grady, Marisa Iati, Kim Bellware, Paulina Villegas, Hannah Denham, Jacqueline Dupree, and Meryl Kornfield, Tuesday, 15 October 2020: “The United States topped 62,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the country’s highest daily count since it reported more than 66,000 cases on July 31. Cases in the Midwest began to surge during October. On Thursday, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico and Colorado tallied new single-day highs for positive test results. Fourteen states exceeded their seven-day averages of new infections.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Two people involved with Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials announced Thursday. Neither person had contact with Biden or his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris, for at least two days before their diagnoses, according to the campaign, but Harris has nevertheless canceled all her travel through the weekend.
  • At least 216,522 fatalities in the United States have been attributed to the coronavirus since February, and more than 7.9 million cases have been reported.
  • Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug by Gilead Sciences, does not prevent deaths or shorten hospital stays for coronavirus patients, according to a World Health Organization study published Thursday.
  • Holding large family gatherings at Thanksgiving this year may be unwise, particularly if elderly relatives or out-of-state travel are involved, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, told ‘CBS Evening News’ on Wednesday. Fauci recommended Americans ‘bite the bullet’ and keep their distance, adding that he would heed his own advice: His three children will not be coming home for Thanksgiving because his age puts him at an elevated risk.
  • A hospital in Mumbai has delivered more than 700 babies from coronavirus-positive mothers, and its experience is playing a key role in the global search to understand exactly how the virus affects pregnant women and newborns.
  • University of Oxford scientists announced Thursday that they have developed a rapid antigen test for the coronavirus that they say can offer results in as little as five minutes.
  • Young, healthy people should prepare to wait until 2022 to get a coronavirus vaccine, a top scientist with the World Health Organization warned.
  • The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons closed the team facility and spent Thursday working remotely after a member of the coaching staff tested positive for the coronavirus. There was no immediate change to the status of their game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Inside the Fall of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): How the world’s greatest public health organization was brought to its knees by a virus, president Trump, and the capitulation of its own leaders, causing damage that could last much longer than the coronavirus,  ProPublica, James Bandler, Patricia Callahan, Sebastian Rotella, and Kirsten Berg, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “When the next history of the CDC is written, 2020 will emerge as perhaps the darkest chapter in its 74 years, rivaled only by its involvement in the infamous Tuskegee experiment, in which federal doctors withheld medicine from poor Black men with syphilis, then tracked their descent into blindness, insanity and death. With more than 216,000 people dead this year, most Americans know the low points of the current chapter already. A vaunted agency that was once the global gold standard of public health has, with breathtaking speed, become a target of anger, scorn and even pity. How could an agency that eradicated smallpox globally and wiped out polio in the United States have fallen so far? ProPublica obtained hundreds of emails and other internal government documents and interviewed more than 30 CDC employees, contractors and Trump administration officials who witnessed or were involved in key moments of the crisis. Although news organizations around the world have chronicled the CDC’s stumbles in real time, ProPublica’s reporting affords the most comprehensive inside look at the escalating tensions, paranoia and pained discussions that unfolded behind the walls of CDC’s Atlanta headquarters. And it sheds new light on the botched COVID-19 tests, the unprecedented political interference in public health policy, and the capitulations of some of the world’s top public health leaders.” See also, A Demoralized CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Grapples With White House Meddling and Its Own Mistakes. Trump advisers made line-by-line edits to official health guidance, altering language written by scientists on church choirs and social distancing. The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Stephanie Armour, and Betsy McKay, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “President Trump and his advisers have taken a more hands-on role than previously known in shaping Covid-19 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helping create a crisis of confidence in the nation’s top public-health agency. The changes the White House has sought—in many cases successfully—go beyond the agency’s public messaging. White House advisers have made line-by-line edits to official health guidance, altering language written by CDC scientists on church choirs, social distancing in bars and restaurants as well as internal summaries of public-health reports, according to interviews with current and former agency and administration officials and their emails. In one previously unreported Oval Office meeting, the president and top White House officials in May pressed CDC Director Robert Redfield to declare houses of worship essential and allow them to reopen. Later, they pushed to strip certain language from the guidance, current and former administration officials said. Both efforts were successful.”

Election 2020 Updates: Highlights and Key Moments From Trump and Biden Town Halls. President Trump all but admitted to owing $400 million, and skirted questions on his coronavirus response and on disavowing QAnon. Joe Biden expressed regret about the 1994 crime bill and said that before the election, he would come out with a clear stance on expanding the Supreme Court. The New York Times, Thursday, 15 October 2020:

  • Trump praised his own record and the state of the nation, while Biden took a different view.
  • Biden highlights transgender rights, saying, ‘There should be zero discrimination.’
  • Trump all but confirms he owes $400 million to creditors.
  • Biden walks a fine line on fracking and the environment.
  • Trump campaign and committees raised $247.8 million in September, trailing Biden’s haul.
  • Savannah Guthrie gets answers from Trump by setting a fast pace and following up.
  • In a first, Biden says he’ll have a clear stance on expanding the Supreme Court.
  • Biden says that elements of the 1994 crime bill were a ‘mistake.’
  • Trump again claims he would replace Obamacare without explaining how.
  • Trump refuses to disavow QAnon believers, then praises them for fighting pedophilia.
  • Biden says he’d take a coronavirus vaccine and that the U.S. should consider making it mandatory.
  • Trump declines to confirm if he took a coronavirus test before the first debate, as was required.
  • Biden’s town hall kicks off in Philadelphia.
  • NBC faces blowback, internally and externally, for holding its Trump event at the same time as Biden’s.

Election 2020: Trump again avoids answering question about when his last coronavirus test was before the first debate with Biden, and Biden signals he will state his position on possibly expanding the Supreme Court before the election, The Washington Post, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump both participated in town halls on a night when they had been scheduled to debate. Biden was in Philadelphia for a town hall hosted by ABC News, while President Trump’s Miami town hall was held by NBC News. Both took questions on coronavirus, with Trump being asked about his bout with the disease and again avoiding answering when his last test was before the first debate with Biden. Biden suggested he would potentially be open to making changes to the Supreme Court, and possibly expanding it, adding that he would state his position before the election.

Trump and Biden clash in distant dueling town halls, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Jenna Johnson, and Josh Dawsey, published on Thursday, 16 October 2020: “Separated by five states, two television news outlets and a deep trough of mutual animosity, President Trump and Democrat Joe Biden held dueling town halls Thursday that offered a jarring contrast of their opposing political styles and approaches to major issues like the coronavirus pandemic. The events — with Trump on NBC from Miami and Biden on ABC from Philadelphia — appeared to be broadcast from entirely different dimensions. The soft-spoken Biden leaned back in a white chair, relaxed and conversational as he hit upon notes of optimism and uplift. Trump’s appearance was heated and at times abrasive, with the candidate leaning forward as he defended his record and challenged the motivations of moderator Savannah Guthrie. In a rapid-fire 60 minutes, Trump doubted the effectiveness of wearing of masks to prevent viral spread, refused to denounce the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, repeatedly declined to say whether he was tested for the coronavirus before the last debate and battled with Guthrie, who pressed him with details and a mastery of the facts that some moderators have not possessed when sparring with him.”

As Trump’s Language Grows More Heated, Fears Rise of Political Violence. The plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan is only the latest in a growing list of election-related threats. Some experts say the president is emboldening extremists. The New York Times, Trip Gabriel, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Katie Benner, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “The arrest of more than a dozen right-wing extremists who are accused of targeting the governors of Michigan and Virginia is only the latest example of threats of violence, in some cases egged on by President Trump, that loom over the final weeks of a historically divisive race.”

Postal Service agrees to reverse service changes that slowed mail service nationwide, ABC News, Iris Samuels, Associated Press/Report for America, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “The U.S. Postal Service agreed Wednesday to reverse changes that slowed mail service nationwide, settling a lawsuit filed by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock during a pandemic that is expected to force many more people to vote by mail. The lawsuit filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the U.S. Postal Service on Sept. 9 argued changes implemented in June harmed access to mail services in Montana, resulting in delayed delivery of medical prescriptions, payments, and job applications, and impeding the ability of Montana residents to vote by mail. The postal service agreed to reverse all changes, which included reduced retail hours, removal of collection boxes and mail sorting machines, closure or consolidation of mail processing facilities, restriction of late or extra trips for timely mail delivery, and banning or restricting overtime. The agreement also requires the Postal Service to prioritize election mail. The settlement agreement was reached a day ahead of a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Great Falls. It applies to all states.”

Republican Senator Ben Sasse says Trump mistreats women, flirts with white supremacy, and secretly mocks evangelicals, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “Sen. Ben Sasse eviscerated President Trump during a phone call with constituents in which the Nebraska Republican accused the president of cozying up to dictators, mistreating women, flirting with white supremacists and irresponsibly handling the coronavirus pandemic. Sasse’s comments were disclosed by the Washington Examiner, which obtained an audio recording of the call, a campaign telephone townhall with Nebraska voters. Sasse’s spokesman verified that the reporting was accurate, but declined to answer more specific questions such as when the call happened.”

Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings. Highlights from Day 4. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Luke Broadwater, Thursday, 15 October 2020:

Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court confirmation hearing day four: ‘We have the votes,’ Mitch McConnell says of nomination, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Donna Cassata, and Karoun Demirjian, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “The Senate Judiciary Committee has formally set a panel vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court for Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Democrats protested the swift action less than three weeks before the Nov. 3 election but are powerless to stop it. ‘We have the votes,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters in Kentucky. He said the full Senate will begin debate on the nominee on Oct. 23. Later in the day, outside witnesses invited by Republicans and Democrats testified on the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings. The session ended midafternoon Thursday.

  • Senate Republicans are predicting clear sailing for Barrett after she concluded her confirmation testimony Wednesday. They say she will forge a new and prominent path as a conservative, religious woman who opposes abortion. ‘There is nothing wrong with confirming to the Supreme Court of the United States a devout Catholic, pro-life Christian,’ said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).
  • McConnell made it clear that Republicans will move expeditiously to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court. ‘We have the votes,’ McConnell told reporters in Kentucky. Republicans hold a 53-to-47 majority in the Senate. McConnell said that after the Oct. 22 committee vote, the full Senate would consider the nomination beginning Oct. 23.
  • Democrats’ slate of witnesses Thursday testified about the nominee’s potential impact on key decisions involving the Affordable Care Act, access to abortion and voting rights. The lineup tracked with the party’s strategy, which has been squarely focused on health care and what Democrats say is the threat that Barrett’s confirmation would pose to the future of abortion and the 2010 health-care law, with its coverage for those with preexisting medical conditions.
  • President Trump, whose administration is part of the legal fight to gut the ACA, has pressed for confirmation of Barrett before next month — when the nation chooses the next president and the Supreme Court will consider the case challenging the health-care law. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), mocking Trump, said an ‘orange cloud’ hangs over the nomination. Barrett has insisted she has no agenda and is not hostile to the law.

18 Hours of Questions, Few Answers: What We Learned About Amy Coney Barrett, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “Over two long days of questioning at her confirmation hearings this week, Judge Amy Coney Barrett took a particularly rigorous approach to the strategy used by all modern Supreme Court nominees: avoiding saying anything about issues that could turn into court cases and saying almost nothing about cases that courts have already decided. She would not say whether separating children from their parents to deter immigration was wrong, whether President Trump can delay the election or pardon himself, or even, in a series of particularly notable responses, whether climate change is real. Nor would she say whether a host of Supreme Court decisions, including ones on abortion and gay rights, were ripe for reconsideration. ‘Though past nominees have also avoided answering some of the senators’ questions, Barrett took this to a whole new level,’ said Paul M. Collins Jr., a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. ‘Having studied how forthcoming nominees have been since public confirmation hearings at which nominees testified began in 1939, I think Barrett will rank as among the least responsive nominees in American history.'”

8 Million Have Slipped Into Poverty Since May as Federal Aid Has Dried Up, The New York Times, Jason DeParle, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “After an ambitious expansion of the safety net in the spring saved millions of people from poverty, the aid is now largely exhausted and poverty has returned to levels higher than before the coronavirus crisis, two new studies have found. The number of poor people has grown by eight million since May, according to researchers at Columbia University, after falling by four million at the pandemic’s start as a result of a $2 trillion emergency package known as the Cares Act. Using a different definition of poverty, researchers from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame found that poverty has grown by six million people in the past three months, with circumstances worsening most for Black people and children.”

U.S. Jobless Claims Rose to 898,000 Last Week, The Wall Street Journal, Sarah Chaney and Gwynn Guilford, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since late August, with fresh layoffs adding to other signs the economic recovery is losing steam as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Claims increased to 898,000 last week, holding well above the pre-pandemic high point of 695,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. After declining from a peak of near 7 million in March, weekly claims have clocked in between 800,000 and 900,000 for more than a month as companies readjust their head counts.

Trump administration wants to exclude ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ from coronavirus safety grant, The Washington Post, Michael Laris, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “The Transportation Department said it will use a presidential memo calling for punishing ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ when deciding which cities should get money under a coronavirus grant program. The American Public Transportation Association said the declaration could undermine applicants for the pandemic safety grants from Seattle, Portland, Ore., or New York City, the first three jurisdictions the Trump administration has deemed to be ‘permitting anarchy.’ President Trump has criticized elected officials in those cities for their handling of protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in police custody, racial injustice and Trump administration policies. The move also comes as critics have slammed the Trump administration — and the Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao — for not executing policies needed to subdue the coronavirus. The pandemic has caused more than 217,000 deaths.”

YouTube Cracks Down on QAnon Conspiracy Theory, Citing Offline Violence. YouTube has played a bigger role in moving QAnon from the fringes to the mainstream than most platforms. The New York Times, Kevin Roose, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “YouTube on Thursday became the latest social media giant to take steps to stop QAnon, the sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory community whose online fantasies about a cabal of satanic pedophiles running the world have spilled over into offline violence. The company announced in a blog post that it was updating its hate-speech and harassment policies to prohibit ‘content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence.’ The new policy will prohibit content promoting QAnon, as well as related conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate, which falsely claims that top Democrats and Hollywood elites are running an underground sex-trafficking ring from the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant. Other social networks have also taken steps to curb the spread of QAnon, which has been linked to violence and vandalism. Last week, Facebook hardened its rules related to QAnon content and compared it to a ‘militarized social movement’ that was becoming increasingly violent. This week, several smaller platforms, including Pinterest, Etsy and Triller, also announced new restrictions on QAnon content.”

Exclusive: SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) Podcast Reveals Secret Recordings From Neo-Nazi White Supremacist Group, The Base, SPLC, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “The latest episode of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)’s podcast Sounds Like Hate published today with exclusive and never-before-heard recordings from a neo-Nazi white supremacist group, The Base. Titled Baseless, this three-part story takes listeners through 83 hours of secret recordings as 100 men apply for membership into The Base, revealing the group’s recruiting tactics, violent plots and efforts to avoid law enforcement. ‘We want things to accelerate, we want things to get worse in the United States,’ said Rinaldo Nazzaro, the leader of The Base in the recordings. ‘And from that point by virtue of the chaos that ensues, that would naturally present some opportunities for us … law and order starts breaking down, power vacuums start emerging…for those who are organized and ready, to take advantage of those.’ The analysis of these recordings used machine learning to find patterns in what was said. According to podcast producer and co-host Geraldine Moriba, ‘there’s nothing coded here. These are expressions of malcontentment with a real goal to destroy our nation. Little did I know when I agreed to investigate these stories the president would tell white supremacists to “stand back and stand by,” and they would be emboldened to the point of openly pursuing their accelerationist plans.'” See also, Secret tapes show neo-Nazi group The Base recruiting former members of the military. Twenty percent of the prospective recruits recorded said they were active-duty military or had formerly served in the military in some capacity. NBC News, Samantha Springer, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “Secret recordings of a militant neo-Nazi organization called The Base reveal that the group is recruiting people with military expertise in the U.S. and Canada to train in military operations and prepare to take advantage of what they believe is impending societal collapse. The audio recordings are from calls between the leader of The Base and more than 100 prospective recruits using the encrypted app Wire. The Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, which monitors hate groups, says that it obtained more than 80 hours of audio recorded starting in November 2018 and that the recordings are featured in a new three-part podcast titled ‘Baseless’ that is being released as part of the SPLC’s ‘Sounds Like Hate’ podcast series. According to the SPLC, a confidential source provided the recordings to the organization unsolicited, and it confirmed their authenticity with subject matter experts. The SPLC says the audio does not appear to have been edited.”

The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules, Here’s the Full List. The New York Times, Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, and Kendra Pierre-Louis, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “Over four years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife and toxic chemicals. While other administrations have emphasized cutting regulations, calling them burdensome to industries like coal, oil and gas, the scope of actions under Mr. Trump is ‘fundamentally different,’ said Hana V. Vizcarra, a staff attorney at Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program. In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law SchoolColumbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 70 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. Another 26 rollbacks are still in progress.”

White House was warned Rudy Giuliani was target of Russian intelligence operation to feed misinformation to Trump, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence, according to four former officials familiar with the matter. The warnings were based on multiple sources, including intercepted communications, that showed Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine, where he was gathering information that he thought would expose corrupt acts by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.” See also, Trump Said to Be Warned by Intelligence Agencies That Giuliani Was Conveying Russian Disinformation. Trump shrugged off the warning from the intelligence agencies, officials said. The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Eric Schmitt, and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 15 October 2020: “The intelligence agencies warned the White House late last year that Russian intelligence officers were using President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani as a conduit for disinformation aimed at undermining Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential run, according to four current and former American officials. The agencies imparted the warning months before disclosing publicly in August that Moscow was trying to interfere in the election by taking aim at Mr. Biden’s campaign, the officials said. Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani have promoted unsubstantiated claims about Mr. Biden that have aligned with Russian disinformation efforts, and Mr. Giuliani has met with a Ukrainian lawmaker whom American officials believe is a Russian agent. Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, presented the warning about Mr. Giuliani to Mr. Trump in December.”