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

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~27,629,000; deaths: ~899,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~6,335,000; deaths: ~190,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

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

  • 🗳 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/ Top Trump appointees at the Department of Homeland Security repeatedly tried to “censor or manipulate” reports on Russia’s interference in the U.S. elections because it “made the President look bad.” According to a whistleblower report filed by former senior DHS official Brian Murphy and released by the House Intelligence Committee, Murphy said that on at least two occasions Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf “instructed” him that an “intelligence notification” about Russian disinformation efforts should be “held” and that he should “instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran.” Murphy also said that Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Ken Cuccinelli directed senior career officials at DHS to change intelligence assessments to make the threat of white supremacy “appear less severe” and include information on “left-wing” groups. Murphy was removed from his position at DHS and assigned to a management role in July. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / ABC News / Politico)

2/ Trump privately admitted weeks before the first confirmed U.S. COVID-19 death that he knew the coronavirus “is deadly stuff […] more deadly” than the flu, but he “wanted to always play it down” because “I don’t want to create a panic.” In a series of recorded interviews with journalist Bob Woodward in early February and March, Trump acknowledged the “deadly” nature of the coronavirus, saying it’s “pretty amazing” that “you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” while publicly insisting that the virus was “going to disappear” and that “everything is working out.” More than 189,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. In total, Woodward conducted 18 on-the-record interviews with Trump between last December and July for his new book, “Rage.” Biden, meanwhile, slammed Trump, saying “he knew how deadly it was,” “purposely played it down,” and “knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.” (Washington Post / CNN / NPR / NBC News / Politico / Politico / New York Times / New York Times / Axios)

3/ Dr. Anthony Fauci said it’s “unlikely” a coronavirus vaccine will be ready before the November election but that a vaccine by “the end of the year” is more likely. Trump, however, claimed that a vaccine could be ready by Election Day, telling reporters “maybe even before November 1st. We think we can probably have it some time during the month of October.” Despite Trump’s pressure on health officials to speed up the vaccine timeline, nine drug companies pledged not to seek regulatory approval before the safety and efficacy of their experimental coronavirus vaccines have been established in Phase 3 clinical trials. The FDA also previously said it would authorize a coronavirus vaccine so long as it is safe and at least 50% effective, but commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn recently said the agency is prepared to bypass the full federal approval process in order to make a vaccine available as soon as possible. Trump, however, claimed that the “results that are shockingly good,” despite results from the trials, which typically take years to complete, not expected until October. Results will also be reviewed by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent group of medical experts who observe patient safety and treatment data. Meanwhile, clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has been put on hold due to “potentially unexplained illness.” (CNBC / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Washington Post / STAT / NBC News / USA Today)

  • The U.S. Agency for International Development will shut down its coronavirus task force. (Politico)

  • The White House ordered airports to end COVID-19 screening of passengers on inbound international flights. (Yahoo News)

  • More police officers have died from COVID-19 this year than have been killed on patrol. At least 101 officers have died from Covid-19, while at least 82 have died by other means. (CNN)

4/ A top aide at the Department of Health and Human Services is trying to prevent Dr. Anthony Fauci from speaking about the risks that coronavirus poses to children. Emails show Paul Alexander — a senior adviser to Michael Caputo, HHS’s assistant secretary for public affairs — attempting to dictate what the government’s top infectious disease expert should say during media interviews as recently as this week. Alexander specifically told Fauci’s press team that he should not promote mask-wearing by children. Fauci, however, said he had not seen the emails and that his staff had not instructed him to minimize the risk coronavirus poses to children or the need for kids to wear masks, saying “No one tells me what I can say and cannot say. I speak on scientific evidence.” (Politico)

5/ Trump claimed that he’s “taking the high road” by not meeting with top Democrats to discuss the next coronavirus relief package. House Democrats and the White House have made no progress on a potential deal as tens of millions of Americans remain on unemployment and the U.S. death toll approaches 190,000. “I don’t need to meet with them to be turned down,” Trump told reporters. “They don’t want to make a deal because they think if the country does as badly as possible […] that’s good for the Democrats.” He added: “I am taking the high road. I’m taking the high road by not seeing them.” The Senate, meanwhile, returned from its August recess with no indication of progress on a relief package, making a bipartisan compromise before the election unlikely. (Axios / Politico)

6/ The Justice Department will represent Trump in a defamation suit brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. The DOJ – an independent federal law enforcement agency – argued that the Justice Department can replace Trump’s private legal team with government lawyers – who are funded by taxpayer money – because Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Carroll. For now, the case will move from the state court in New York to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Last month, a New York judge ruled that the lawsuit could proceed, potentially opening the door to Trump being deposed. Carroll is also seeking a DNA sample to compare to a dress she claims she was wearing at the time of the alleged attack. Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, defended the Justice Department’s involvement in the lawsuit, saying it is “not particularly unusual” for the DOJ to step in when an elected government official is sued civilly in court. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post / NBC News)

  • 📌 Day 1019: E. Jean Carroll filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump, saying he lied when he denied her claims that he had raped her in the dressing room of an upscale department store in the 1990s. After the writer and advice columnist came forward with the allegation in June, Trump denied raping Carroll, said he had “never met that person in my life,” and accused her of “totally lying” because she was “not my type.” (New York Times / Politico / CNN / BuzzFeed News)

7/ Postmaster General Louis DeJoy pressured employees at his former company to make donations to Republican candidates and then reimbursed them through bonuses. While it’s legal to encourage employees to make donations, federal campaign finance law bars reimbursing them for those contributions, known as a straw-donor scheme used to skirt contribution limits. According to employees familiar with New Breed Logistics’ financial and payroll systems, DeJoy pressured employees to write checks and attend fundraisers for Republicans at his mansion beside a country club in North Carolina. DeJoy would then instruct payroll employees to give bonus payments to those staffers to help defray the cost of their contributions. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • The House Oversight and Reform Committee will investigate allegations that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asked employees to donate to political candidates and then reimbursed them through bonuses. Committee chair Carolyn Maloney said that DeJoy may have lied to the panel under oath and urged the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service to immediately suspend DeJoy, whom she said “they never should have hired in the first place.” Trump, meanwhile, said he’s open to an investigation of DeJoy’s fundraising, saying his postmaster general, should lose his job “if something can be proven that he did something wrong.” (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times)

  • The chairman of the USPS Board of Governors is also a director of Mitch McConnell’s $130 million super PAC. (HuffPost)

8/ White House officials talked to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie about taking over the Pentagon if Trump decides to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Trump and Esper have repeatedly clashed over a variety of issues both publicly and privately in the last several months. Two senior administration officials said Trump discussed the position directly with Wilkie at the White House last month, and two other senior administration officials said Wilkie had senior-level discussions with the White House about becoming Trump’s next defense secretary. The conversations included the possibility of naming Wilkie acting defense secretary if Trump fires Esper. Another official, however, said there are currently “no plans to replace Secretary Esper.” (NBC News)

  • Trump accused the U.S. military of waging wars to boost the profits of defense manufacturing companies. “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me – the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,” Trump told reporters. The remarks come after it was reported that Trump disparaged American troops as “suckers” and “losers” for dying in battle. (CNN / Politico / New York Times)

  • The Trump administration tax cut for military service members must be repaid in 2021. Effective this month, the Defense Department will temporarily defer the 6.2% Social Security tax withholding for all DOD service members who make less than $8,666.66 per month in basic pay. (NBC News)

  • More than 2,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq this month. (NBC News)

9/ Michael Cohen claimed that Trump is an authoritarian, racist sexual predator who “loved Putin.” According to his new book, “Disloyal: A Memoir,” Cohen alleges that Trump made “overt and covert attempts to get Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.” Cohen also alleges that Trump praised Putin because he assumed he would lose the election and wanted to make sure he could borrow money from Russian sources in the future. Cohen describes Trump as “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man” who was also well aware of the hush-money payoff to Stormy Daniels during the campaign. The memoir also describes Trump’s “hatred and contempt” of Obama. After Obama’s inauguration, Trump hired a man to play a “Faux-Bama” for a video in which Trump “ritualistically belittled the first Black president and then fired him.” Cohen also ties Jerry Falwell Jr.’s 2016 presidential endorsement of Trump to Cohen’s role in keeping “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” of the Falwells from becoming public. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Reuters / NBC News / NBC News)

poll/ 77% of youth voters in 13 battleground states “definitely” plan to vote in the November elections – a 7-point increase since July. (The Hill)


✏️ Notables.

  1. A federal judge ordered the Census Bureau to temporarily stop following a revised plan to finish the 2020 census at the end of September. The temporary restraining order stops the Census Bureau from winding down operations until a court hearing is held on Sept. 17 after a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups demanded that the bureau restore its previous plan for finishing the census at the end of October. (NBC News)

  2. Three draft reports from the Department of Homeland Security all rank the threat from white supremacists as the deadliest domestic terror threat facing the U.S. – above the danger from foreign terrorist groups. (Politico)

  3. The White House directed federal agencies to cancel racial sensitivity trainings, calling it “divisive” and “un-American.” In a two-page memo, Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought instructed federal agencies to identify contracts related to training sessions involving “white privilege” or “critical race theory,” and to do everything possible to cancel those contracts. The memo also tells all federal agencies to identify and cancel cancel contracts that involve teaching that America is an “inherently racist or evil country.” (Washington Post)

  4. Trump instructed the Department of Education to investigate the use of the New York Times’ “1619 Project” in public school curriculum. The Pulitzer-Prize winning project aims to reframe American history “by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States’] national narrative.” Trump tweeted that the “Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!” (CNN)

  5. A Norwegian lawmaker nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Middle East. Christian Tybring-Gjedde was one of two Norwegian lawmakers who nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for efforts to bring reconciliation between North and South Korea. (Associated Press / Vox)

  6. Pence will attend a fundraiser next week hosted by supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory. The baseless conspiracy theory posits that Trump is waging a campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. (Associated Press)


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