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

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~21,026,000; deaths: ~762,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~5,293,000; deaths: ~169,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University


1/ Trump’s top two officials at the Department of Homeland Security are illegally serving in their positions, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The independent watchdog agency reported to Congress that Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and his deputy Kenneth Cuccinelli are serving under an invalid order of succession under the Vacancies Reform Act. After the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April 2019, Kevin McAleenan took over and altered the order of succession for other officials to succeed him after his departure. GAO has referred the matter to the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security for further review and potential action. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios)

2/ Trump perpetuated a racist and false conspiracy theory that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be vice president because her parents were immigrants. The claim is false. Harris was born in California and is eligible to serve. Trump, nevertheless, continued: “I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements – I have no idea if that’s right.” Constitutional law experts say Harris’ parents are beside the point since the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to all people born in the U.S. And, Article II Section 1 of the Constitution says that to be eligible for the vice presidency and presidency, a candidate must be natural-born U.S. citizen, at least 35, and a resident of the United States for a minimum of 14 years. Trump appeared to be referring to a widely discredited op-ed that claims that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t grant birthright citizenship. Trump used a similar tactic to undermine the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s administration by claiming that Obama was born outside the United States. (New York Times / Associated Press)

3/ The U.S. Postal Service warned 46 states and D.C. that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted because of lags in mail delivery. States — including the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida — were warned that their long-standing deadlines for requesting, returning and counting ballots were “incongruous” with mail service and that voters who send ballots in close to those deadlines may become disenfranchised. In Pennsylvania, USPS warned that some ballots might not be delivered on time because the state’s deadlines are too tight for its “delivery standards.” The ballot warnings were reportedly planned before the appointment of Louis DeJoy as postmaster general, but issued at the end of July. (Washington Post / The Philadelphia Inquirer / CNN)

  • New Jersey’s election will – for the first time – be conducted mostly by mail to ensure voters’ and poll workers’ safety during the pandemic. New Jersey will send ballots to all active registered voters while also providing the option to vote in person. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Trump’s new postmaster general hasn’t met with state election officials. A bipartisan group of secretaries of state, who are responsible for running elections, requested to meet this week with Louis DeJoy, who was appointed to the job in May, but the meeting hasn’t been scheduled. Election officials are expected to begin sending out absentee ballots as soon as September. (NPR)

4/ The U.S. Postal Service proposed removing 20% of letter sorting machines before revising the plan weeks later to closer to 15%. As a result, about 502 machines will be taken out of service. In May, the USPS planned to remove 969 sorting machines for all types of letters and flat mail. 746 were delivery bar code sorters, which are used to sort letters, postcards, ballots, marketing mail, and other similarly sized pieces. A document distributed to union officials in mid-June, however, said 502 of those machines would be removed from facilities. Meanwhile, a grievance filed by the American Postal Workers Union says the USPS is decommissioning 10% of its mail-sorting machines, which have the capacity to collectively sort 21.4 million pieces of paper mail per hour. (Vice News / Washington Post)

  • The U.S. Postal Service removed some collection boxes from neighborhood streets in Oregon, citing “duplicate” boxes in the area. (The Oregonian)

  • Obama condemned Trump’s efforts to “actively kneecap” the USPS ahead of the November election, casting the moves as “unique to modern political history.” (Politico)

  • Trump and Melania requested a mail-in ballot for Florida’s primary election, despite repeatedly criticizing mail-in voting and falsely claiming that it leads to widespread voter fraud. Last week, Trump singled out Florida as an exception, tweeting that his supporters there should request an absentee ballot and vote by mail because the election system in the Republican-run battleground state is “Safe and Secure, Tried and True.” (USA Today / CNN)

5/ The internal watchdog at the U.S. Postal Service is reviewing recent policy changes and examining Louis DeJoy’s compliance with federal ethics rules. Last week, Democratic lawmakers asked the inspector general to launch an inquiry into DeJoy, including policy changes he’s made since taking over in June and whether DeJoy has “met all ethics requirements.” DeJoy still owns at least a $30 million equity stake in his former company, a USPS contractor. DeJoy also recently bought stock options for Amazon, another USPS competitor. (CNN)

6/ The CDC suggested that people who have recovered from COVID-19 can safely interact with others for three months. While the CDC still recommends physical distancing, mask-wearing, and other precautions, the agency’s updated guidance on quarantining states that people should quarantine if they’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, “excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months.” Further, people who have tested positive for the virus don’t need to be tested for up to three months as long as they don’t develop symptoms. (NBC News / New York Times)

  • The CDC asked four states and one city to draft plans for how they would distribute a coronavirus vaccine when limited doses become available. The Defense Department, meanwhile, will handle manufacturing logistics, including acquisition of raw material, establishing factories, and training workers. Trump also announced a collaboration with McKesson Corp to aid in vaccine distribution. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)

  • U.S. researchers will manufacture a strain of the coronavirus that could be used in human challenge trials of vaccines, in which healthy volunteers would be vaccinated and then intentionally infected with the virus. The work is preliminary and the trials would not replace large-scale, Phase 3 trials. (Reuters / Washington Post)

poll/ 71% of Americans see the coronavirus as a real threat, but 35% say they won’t get vaccinated against it once a vaccine becomes available, while 60% say they will get the vaccine. 71% of Democrats say they’ll get the vaccine, while only 48% of Republicans say the same. (NPR)

[Fox News] poll/ 49% of voters prefer Joe Biden, compared to 42% for Trump. In July, the same poll had Biden up over Trump by 8 percentage points, holding 49% support compared with Trump’s 41%. (Fox News / Politico)


Notables.

  1. Trump will deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn “because it is a great place,” Trump said. “It’s a place that makes me feel good, it makes the country feel good.” He added that it’s “very big, a very big lawn,” and would allow a “big group of people” to attend while maintaining social distancing. Nancy Pelosi called the decision “very wrong” and said the idea that Trump plans to “degrade once again the White House, as he has done over and over again, by saying he’s going to completely politicize it, is something that should be rejected right out of hand.” (New York Post)

  2. A former FBI lawyer agreed to plead guilty to altering an email that helped justify surveillance of Carter Page as part of the 2016 investigation into Russian interference in the election. Kevin Clinesmith plans to admit to one charge of altering an email to another official in 2017 that said Page wasn’t a previous government source, when he had been one. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press)

  3. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s grand investigation into Trump goes beyond investigating 2016 payments to Stormy Daniels. In a filing urging a U.S. district judge to reject Trump’s challenge to a subpoena seeking his tax filings, Vance wrote that Trump has had ample “notice” that “the investigation was not limited to Cohen’s 2016 payments.” (Bloomberg)

  4. Michael Cohen’s book alleges that Trump worked with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. In an excerpt released from the book, entitled “Disloyal, A Memoir,” Cohen claims that Trump worked to get close to Putin and “his coterie of corrupt billionaire oligarchs,” and that Trump lied when he told the American public he had no dealings in Russia. (NBC News)

  5. A federal appeals court panel unanimously overturned a lower-court order requiring Hillary Clinton to provide a sworn deposition about her use of a private email account and server during her four years as secretary of State. (Politico)

  6. Trump will visit his “very ill” younger brother in at a New York hospital before heading to his private golf resort in Bedminister, N.J. Robert Trump’s exact condition is unknown, but he was hospitalized in June in the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai hospital for more than a week. “I have a wonderful brother. We’ve had a great relationship for a long time. From Day 1. Long time. And he’s in the hospital right now,” Trump said. “Hopefully he’ll be all right but he’s having a hard time.” (ABC News / Washington Post)

  7. A White House correspondent asked Trump “do you regret at all the lying you’ve done to the American people?” Trump responded with “All the what?” before calling on another journalist, who asked a question about payroll tax. Trump has told more than 20,000 “false or misleading claims” over the course of his presidency. (The Guardian / Washington Post)


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