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

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~25,861,000; deaths: ~860,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~6,108,000; deaths: ~186,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • 💻 COVID-19 Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNN

  • 🗳 How To Vote In The 2020 Election In Every State. Everything you need to know about mail-in and early in-person voting in every state in the age of COVID-19, including the first day you can cast your ballot in the 2020 election. (FiveThirtyEight / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

1/ The CDC directed states to prepare to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November, heightening concerns that the Trump administration is seeking to rush a vaccine before Election Day. Public health officials in all states and territories, as well as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, and San Antonio, were sent CDC guidance outlining scenarios for distributing two vaccine candidates — each requiring two doses a few weeks apart — at hospitals, mobile clinics, and other facilities. And, in a letter to state governors and health departments last week, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield asked state governors to waive permits for building vaccine distribution sites “that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.” Dr. Anthony Fauci and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn have both recently said that a vaccine could be available before clinical trials have been completed. “I believe that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year,” Fauci said, “we will feel comfortable that we do have a safe and effective vaccine.” Hahn added that an emergency authorization for a vaccine could be appropriate even before the vaccine has completed Phase 3 clinical trials. (New York Times / CNN / The Hill / NBC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

2/ The Trump administration backed out of a $646.7 million deal to buy ventilators after a congressional investigation found “evidence of fraud, waste and abuse” in the acquisition, which negotiated by White House trade advisor Peter Navarro. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has since opened a probe of all federal contracts negotiated by Navarro. (ProPublica / Washington Post / CNBC)

  • Congressional investigators uncovered more than $1 billion dollars in potential waste and fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program. The money went to companies that “double dipped” and received multiple in violation of the program’s rules, according to a preliminary analysis by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The report says there is a “high risk that PPP loans may have been diverted from small businesses truly in need to ineligible businesses or even to criminals.” The subcommittee found more than 10,000 loans in which the borrowers obtained more than one loan. Because the Trump administration decided to only audit loans for more than $2 million, only 65 of the loans would otherwise have been subject to additional review. More than 600 loans totaling nearly $100 million went to companies that are barred or suspended from doing business with the federal government. More than 350 loans worth roughly $200 million went to government contractors that had been flagged by the federal government for performance or integrity issues. More than 11,000 additional borrowers had other red flags of various types. (NBC News / Chicago Tribune)

3/ FEMA will no longer reimburse states for the cost of face masks and personal protective equipment in nonemergency settings. Under the new guidance, which goes into effect on Sept. 15., cloth face coverings and PPE for teachers, schools, public housing, and courthouses will no longer be eligible for the public assistance fund because they don’t meet FEMA’s definition of a “direct emergency protective measures.” The Department of Health and Human Services, however, said “schools in need will still receive cloth face masks” from HHS instead of FEMA. (NPR)

4/ The Department of Homeland Security withheld an intelligence bulletin warning of a Russian campaign to spread misinformation about Joe Biden’s mental health. In the draft July bulletin, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” analysts said with “high confidence” that “Russian malign influence actors are likely to continue denigrating presidential candidates through allegations of poor mental or physical health to influence the outcome of the 2020 election.” An hour after its submission, however, DHS Chief of Staff John Gountanis intervened, saying “Please hold on sending this one out until you have a chance to speak to [acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf].” The Biden campaign, meanwhile, accused Trump of blocking the release of the report, saying the Russian narrative “aligns with Trump’s own constantly backfiring attacks” that Biden is not mentally competent to be president. “And why would he do this?” a spokesperson for the Biden campaign said, “Because Russia and the Trump campaign are speaking from the same script of smears and lies.” Nearly two months later, the bulletin has not been circulated to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. (ABC News / NBC News / CNN / CNBC / Axios)

5/ Melania Trump “regularly” used a private email account while in the White House. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff said she corresponded multiple times per day with Melania through a private Trump Organization email account, iMessage, and Signal, an encrypted messaging app. Trump made the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private emails and server a major part of his 2016 campaign, calling it “worse than Watergate.” (Washington Post / Associated Press / Axios)

poll/ 8% of Americans said crime was a top priority for the country, compared with 30% who said it was the economy or jobs, and 16% who said it was healthcare. (Reuters)

poll/ 52% of voters view the Black Lives Matter movement favorably – a 9 percentage point drop since June. (Politico)

poll/ 28% of Biden supporters say they won’t accept a Trump victory as fair and accurate, while 19% of Trump’s supporters say they won’t accept a Biden victory as legitimate. (USA Today)

poll/ 57% of Democratic voters plan to cast their ballots before Election Day, either through the mail (28%), a drop box (11%), or voting early at a satellite location (18%). 66% of Republicans, meanwhile, plan to vote in-person on Election Day. (Grinnell College)

poll/ 36% of Americans expect the winner of the 2020 presidential election to be announced on election night. 24% expect the results announced within one or two days of Election Day, 14% think we’ll know in a week, and 13% think it will take a few weeks. (Axios)

  • A Democratic data and analytics firm warned of a “red mirage” on election night, where it’ll appear that Trump has won, but lose days later when mail ballots are counted. (Axios)

Editor’s note: Friendly reminder that polls should be thought of as directional evidence of a prevailing feeling. They’re inherently flawed, biased, and should never be used for prediction. Like the weather report, polls are a point-in-time temperature check. We’ve all been caught out in the rain on sunny day, right?

✏️ Notables.

  1. An internal Census Bureau document warned that cutting the 2020 census short increased the risk of “serious errors” in the national head count, which “may not be fixed.” Last month, the Trump administration forced the bureau to end all counting efforts a month sooner and prepare state population totals for Trump by the end of this year, as required by federal law. (NPR)

  2. Trump and his campaign accused the Drudge Report and a CNN analyst of spreading rumors that Trump had a “series of mini-strokes.” Yesterday, despite no media outlets reporting that Trump had a stroke, Trump tweeted an unprompted denial, calling the non-existent reports “FAKE NEWS.” The Drudge Report had led with the headline: “TRUMP DENIES MINI-STROKE SENT HIM TO HOSPITAL.” The Trump campaign also called for CNN to fire Joe Lockhart, saying he, too, had spread the rumor when he asked on Twitter if Trump had “a stroke which he is hiding from the American public.” Pence, meanwhile, told Fox News that he does not “recall” being told to be on “standby” in the event Trump “had to undergo a procedure that would have required him to be anesthetized” during his his sudden visit to Walter Reed Medical Center last November. The White House has never explained Trump’s visit to Walter Reed, describing it only as a “routine, planned interim checkup.” (Politico / Axios / Talking Points Memo)

  3. A Kenosha business owner accused Trump of using his burned camera shop for political gain. Tom Gram, the owner of a Rode’s Camera Shop, said he declined the White House’s request to be part of Trump’s tour of the damage. Instead, the former owner of the shop participated in the tour and praised Trump’s response to the demonstrations. (WTMJ-TV / The Hill)

  4. A former top Department of Homeland Security official accused the Trump administration of “throwing fuel on the fire” of domestic extremism in the United States. Elizabeth Neumann, who resigned in April, said right-wing extremist groups “borrowed from ISIS’s playbook and they learned how to radicalize people online.” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah, meanwhile, dismissed Neumann’s concerns as those of a “disgruntled employee.” (NPR)

  5. Federal prosecutors are reportedly preparing to charge a longtime GOP fundraiser in connection with efforts to influence the U.S. government on behalf of foreign interests. “Elliott Broidy is under scrutiny for his alleged role in a campaign to persuade high-level Trump administration officials to drop an investigation of Malaysian government corruption, as well as for his attempt to push for the extradition of an outspoken Chinese dissident back to his home country.” (Washington Post)

  6. Trump told Sarah Sanders to “go to North Korea and take one for the team” after Kim Jong-un appeared to wink at her during a summit in Singapore in June 2018. “We made direct eye contact and Kim nodded and appeared to wink at me,” the former White House press secretary wrote in her memoir. “I was stunned. I quickly looked down and continued taking notes.” When Sanders told Trump and John Kelly, then chief of staff, about the incident, Trump replied: “Kim Jong Un hit on you! He did! He fucking hit on you! […] That settles it. You’re going to North Korea and taking one for the team!” Sanders replied: “Sir, please stop.” (The Guardian)

  7. The federal debt is expected to exceed the size of the economy in 2021 as a result of the pandemic recession – a level not reached since the aftermath of World War II. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

  • 👑 Portrait of a president.

  • Trump’s interviews with friendly hosts can go awry even when they throw him a lifeline. “Trump’s ominous answer about anarchists and looters supposedly packing a commercial jet flying to Washington came in response to a fairly simple but unrelated question.” (Washington Post)

  • Trump says some really strange things. Republicans say no comment, again. Trump “said some startling things in an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News. To name a few: A plane ‘almost completely loaded with thugs’ wearing black uniforms had come to Washington last week to disrupt the Republican National Convention. The president’s opponent in the 2020 campaign, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was being controlled by ‘people that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows.’ Police officers like the one in Kenosha, Wis., who shot an unarmed Black man seven times last week — leaving him paralyzed from the waist down — have a hard time with pressure and so ‘they choke, just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot.’” (New York Times)