• 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~17,422,000; deaths: ~676,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~4,543,000; deaths: ~153,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University


1/ Nearly 30 million Americans are set to lose $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits after talks between Congress and the White House stalled. The $600 weekly benefit for unemployed Americans from March’s CARES Act is set to expire at midnight and Democrats want a full extension of the benefit into next year, while Senate Republicans argue the benefit is a disincentive to return to work. At a news conference at the White House, Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, accused Democrats of playing “politics as usual” while at the opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said administration officials “do not understand the gravity of the situation.” Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will continue negotiations Saturday with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Pelosi. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico / Axios)

2/ Dr. Anthony Fauci told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis he is “cautiously optimistic” that a “safe and effective” coronavirus vaccine will be available to the public by the end of 2020, but warned that “one can never guarantee the safety or effectiveness unless you do the trial.” Fauci said that the Trump administration’s decision to leave coronavirus shutdown decisions to the states created a patchwork of policies that essentially imposed restrictions on about half of the country, and that “There were some states that did it very well, and there were some states did not.” Fauci also contradicted Trump’s past statements that the coronavirus would eventually vanish, saying “I do not believe it would disappear because it’s such a highly transmissible virus.” Fauci testified alongside Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, and Adm. Brett Giroir, the Trump administration testing czar. Giroir told Congress the U.S. “cannot test our way out of this or any other pandemic” and that “testing does not replace personal responsibility,” such as wearing a mask or washing hands. Redfield, meanwhile, testified that he was not consulted or given advance warning that the Trump administration was going to direct hospitals to stop reporting data to the CDC. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Politico / The Guardian / NBC News)

3/ Trump defended his suggestion that the U.S. should delay the November election. During a press conference that was supposed to be about the coronavirus, Trump – again – baselessly attacked the mail-in voting process. “You’re sending out hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots. Hundreds of millions,” he said. “Where are they going? Who are they being sent to?” trump – again – falsely claimed that mail-in voting and absentee ballots lead to more voter fraud, vastly overstated the number of ballots that would be needed, and continued sow doubt about the election process in general. “I don’t want to see a crooked election,” he said. “This will be the most rigged election in history if that happens.” There is no evidence that mail ballots increase electoral fraud and several anti-fraud protections are built into the process. (New York Times)

  • The White House condemned Hong Kong’s decision to delay legislative elections a day after Trump suggested that the United States postpone its own election in November. Kayleigh McEnany condemned Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s decision to delay legislative elections, saying the “action undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity.” (Politico / The Hill)

  • The U.S. Postal Service is experiencing days-long backlogs of mail following changes implemented by Trump fundraiser-turned-postmaster general Louis DeJoy. The new policies have resulted in at least a two-day delay in parts of the country. (Washington Post)

4/ The Department of Homeland Security compiled “intelligence reports” about American journalists covering protests in Portland. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis distributed three Open Source Intelligence Reports to federal law enforcement agencies and others that included descriptions of the tweets by a New York Times journalist and the editor in chief of Lawfare and noted that they had published leaked, unclassified documents about DHS operations in Portland. A DHS spokesperson said in a statement that after he learned about the practice, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf directed the OIA to “immediately discontinue collecting information involving members of the press” and that in no way does Wolf “condone this practice and he has immediately ordered an inquiry into the matter.” (Washington Post / The Independent)

5/ Trump threatened to send the National Guard to Portland to clear out protesters, which he described as a “beehive of terrorists.” The first protest in Portland since the federal agencies agreed to pull back their officers, however, was a peaceful affair and passed without major incident or intervention by the police. On Wednesday, Gov. Kate Brown said that “Trump’s troops” were behaving like an occupying army in Portland and provoking unrest with heavy-handed tactics. Trump, meanwhile, claimed that Portland was rife with professional agitators and anarchists and that “many should be arrested.” He also claimed that Brown and Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, “don’t know what they’re doing,” and complained that it’s “not our job to go clean out the cities, it’s supposed to be done by local law enforcement.” (The Independent / The Guardian / The Oregonian / Washington Post)


Notables.

  1. The White House said Trump still supports his nominee for the Pentagon’s top policy job despite the Senate Armed Services Committee canceling Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata’s confirmation hearing amid “serious questions” about his fitness for the post. Tata once tweeted that Obama was a “terrorist leader.” (Politico)

  2. Trump was sued – again – for blocking people on Twitter. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued Trump in federal court in New York — the same court that ruled in May 2018 that Trump cannot block people from using his account because he uses it to announce policy updates. That decision was backed by a federal appeals court in July 2019. (Politico)

  3. Trump will order China’s Bytedance Ltd. to divest its ownership of TikTok, a popular video-sharing app that U.S. officials have deemed a national security risk. Earlier this month, Trump said he was considering banning TikTok as a way of retaliating against China for its handling of the coronavirus. Microsoft, meanwhile, is said to be in talks to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

  4. Trump’s campaign canceled a series of ad spending as it undergoes “a review and fine-tuning of the campaign’s strategy” less than 100 days before Election Day. The moves comes after Brad Parscale was demoted and Bill Stepien was promoted to campaign manager a little more than two weeks ago. (CNN / NBC News)

  5. The government dropped its effort to silence Michael Cohen and will no longer demand that Trump’s former personal lawyer not speak with the media before his book is released. Cohen was released from prison in May amid coronavirus fears in prisons, only to be re-imprisoned earlier this month because he refused to sign a form banning him from publishing the book or communicating with the media or public. (Associated Press)

  6. The FBI reportedly hid at least three copies of key Russia investigation documents in remote locations throughout the Bureau in the event that Trump tried to interfere in its investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.(CNN)


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