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

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~18,161,000; deaths: ~691,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~4,469,000; deaths: ~156,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University


1/ Dr. Deborah Birx warned that the country is in a “new phase” of the coronavirus pandemic and that the current outbreak is “extraordinarily widespread.” Birx stressed that Americans need to follow public health recommendations, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. She added: “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. […] It’s into the rural as equal urban areas. […] To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus.” (CNN / New York Times / Axios)

  • The U.S. recorded more than 1.9 million new coronavirus infections in July – nearly 42% of the more than 4.5 million cases reported since the pandemic began and more than double the number documented in any other month. (New York Times)

  • The former head of the FDA warned that the country’s rate of coronavirus infections indicates “it’s going to be hard to keep the virus out.” (CBS News)

  • [Perspective] A coronavirus vaccine won’t change the world right away. “The declaration that a vaccine has been shown safe and effective will be a beginning, not the end. Deploying the vaccine to people in the United States and around the world will test and strain distribution networks, the supply chain, public trust and global cooperation. It will take months or, more likely, years to reach enough people to make the world safe.” (Washington Post)

  • [Public Records] Millions of dollars of Paycheck Protection Program loans went to China-backed businesses in critical sectors. According to a review of publicly available loan data, “$192 million to $419 million has gone to more than 125 companies that Chinese entities own or invest in. Many of the loans were quite sizable; at least 32 Chinese companies received loans worth more than $1 million, with those totaling as much as $180 million.” (New York Times)

  • [Public Records] A defense contractor was accused of misrepresenting its size in order to received a loan worth at least $2 million through the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. “A review of business data by Project on Government Oversight and the nonprofit Anti-Corruption Data Collective concluded that Atlantic Diving Supply was one of at least 27 PPP recipients estimated annual sales of more than $1 billion in 2019. Another 2,068 loan recipients cleared $100 million in sales last year, according to the analysis.” (Washington Post)

2/ Trump tweeted that Dr. Deborah Birx’s performance has been “pathetic.” Prior to Dr. Birx’s comment that the virus is in a “new phase,” and that it is “extraordinarily widespread,” Nancy Pelosi said Dr. Birx had been “too positive” about Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Trump then accused Dr. Birx of unfairly criticizing the administration’s response to the pandemic, saying she “took the bait & hit us.” Pelosi also said she does not have confidence in Dr. Birx, linking her to Trump’s disinformation about the virus spread of the coronavirus. “I think the president is spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee,” Pelosi said, “so I don’t have confidence there, no.” (CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico / Reuters / Daily Beast)

  • Trump rebuked Dr. Anthony Fauci, retweeting a video of Fauci explaining to a House subcommittee that the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it shut down a fraction of its economy in response to the pandemic. “Wrong!” Trump wrote. (Politico)

3/ Trump floated the possibility of using an executive order to impose a moratorium on evictions as talks on a new coronavirus relief plan have stalled in Congress. The two sides are trying to find a compromise between the $3.5 trillion Democratic plan and the $1 trillion package that Senate Republicans introduced last week. The Republican proposal did not include a federal moratorium on evictions. The White House is also exploring whether Trump can unilaterally extend enhanced unemployment insurance payments that were part of the March stimulus legislation that has since expired. Trump told reporters at the White House: “I have a lot of powers with respect to executive orders and we’re looking at that very seriously right now.” He didn’t specify those powers were, though. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Manhattan District Attorney’s office suggested that it’s investigating Trump and his company for bank and insurance fraud. Until now, Cyrus Vance’s inquiry had appeared focused on hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election to two women who said they had affairs with Trump. But, in a court filing Vance said Trump’s arguments that a subpoena for eight years of his personal and corporate tax records was too broad stemmed from “the false premise” that the probe was limited to hush-money payments. Vance told the judge that he was justified in demanding the financial records, citing public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.” The filing doesn’t say specifically what Vance is investigating, but instead quotes from an October opinion by a district judge in New York, who listed a number of publicly reported investigations that included allegations of “insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization.” (New York Times / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNN / Axios)

  • Deutsche Bank opened an internal investigation into a 2013 transaction between Trump’s personal banker and a company part-owned by Jared Kushner. In June 2013, the banker, Rosemary Vrablic, and two of her Deutsche Bank colleagues purchased a Park Avenue apartment for about $1.5 million from a company called Bergel 715 Associates. In 2011, Kushner introduced Vrablic to Donald Trump – a time when most mainstream banks refused to do business with Trump because of his history of defaults and bankruptcies. Vrablic and her superiors agreed to take Trump on as a client, despite defaulting on a Deutsche loan three years earlier. In an annual personal financial report, Kushner and Ivanka Trump reported that they had received $1 million to $5 million last year from Bergel 715. (New York Times)

  • Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner earned at least $36.2 million in outside income as they served in the White House last year. The Office of Government Ethics require administration officials to report the worth of assets and liabilities in ranges. The two advisers reported a minimum combined income that was at least $7 million higher than in 2018, when they reported making at least $29 million. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump threatened legal action after Nevada’s Legislature passed a bill to automatically send mail-in ballots to all active voters. Trump tweeted that lawmakers were “using Covid to steal the state” in an “illegal late night coup.” Trump also claimed without evidence that the “Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation.” House Majority Whip James Clyburn, meanwhile, said he believes Trump is “trying to put a cloud over the election” and has has no intention of “peacefully” transferring power if he loses in November. (Politico / Bloomberg / Axios / CBS News)

poll/ 52% of Americans believe Trump will not accept the results of November’s election if he loses. 55% of Trump supporters say they refuse to accept a narrow Trump loss if mail-in ballots contribute a Biden victory. (Yahoo News)


Notables.

  1. Homeland Security reassigned a senior official whose office compiled “intelligence reports” about journalists and protesters in Portland. Brian Murphy, the acting under secretary for intelligence and analysis, was reassigned after his office disseminated “open-source intelligence reports” containing Twitter posts of journalists, noting they had published leaked unclassified documents. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  2. Trump appointed his choice to fill the Pentagon’s top policy job to a temporary senior position in the same Defense Department office that does not require Senate approval. Anthony Tata confirmation hearing was canceled amid bipartisan opposition to the nomination. Tata’s role is essentially the deputy of the role he had been nominated for. (Politico / CNN / New York Times)

  3. Trump will allow Microsoft to pursue an acquisition of TikTok from its Chinese owner after he said he was planning to ban the social media app over concerns that it represents a national security risk. Trump also said that the U.S. should receive money in return for letting the deal happen. Trump indicated a deadline of Sept. 15, after which TikTok would be banned in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Reuters / CNBC)

  4. House Democrats subpoenaed four top aides to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accusing them of stonewalling their investigation into the firing of the State Department’s former inspector general earlier this year. Pompeo previously said he recommended that Trump fire Steve Linick as the State Department inspector general, citing leaks from Linick’s office and claiming that the internal watchdog was trying to undermine his department. At the time of his termination, Linick and office were investigating the Trump administration’s use of an emergency declaration to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)


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