1/ Political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services repeatedly demanded that the CDC revise or delay weekly scientific reports on the coronavirus pandemic that they believed were unflattering to Trump. Officials characterized the effort by Michael Caputo and Paul Alexander as an attempt to intimidate the authors and water down the reports, which are written to update scientists and public health experts on trends in infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. In one email to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials, Alexander accused CDC scientists of trying to “hurt the president” with the reports, which he referred to as “hit pieces on the administration” because they didn’t align with Trump’s optimistic message about the outbreak. (Politico / New York Times)

  • 📌 Day 1329: 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)

  • House Democrats launched an investigation into how Trump appointees have pressured the CDC to change or delay scientific reports on coronavirus. (Politico)

  • [August] Trump demanded that the National Institutes of Health authorize the emergency use of plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to treat new ones. At the time, NIH had lingering concerns over its effectiveness. Four days later, however, the FDA approved plasma therapy. (New York Times)

2/ The top communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services baselessly accused career government scientists of forming a “resistance unit” for “sedition” against Trump. In a Facebook livestream, Michael Caputo claimed that “There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.” Caputo also encouraged his followers to buy ammunition, predicting that Trump would win the 2020 election and that Biden would refuse to concede. “And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” he said. “The drills that you’ve seen are nothing. If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.” The assistant secretary of public affairs at HHS also complained during the livestream that his “mental health has definitely failed.” Caputo later deleted his Twitter account after he suggested tear-gassing reporters. (New York Times / Axios / Bloomberg / The Hill / Talking Points Memo)

3/ In August, Trump told Bob Woodward “nothing more could have been done” about the coronavirus as the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 was surging. Woodward said Trump “possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives” in January, and that he was present “before the virus was on anyone’s radar” when National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told Trump on Jan. 28, that “This virus will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.” Trump, however, declined to share that information during his State of the Union address on Feb. 4, which 40 million people watched. Trump also privately told Woodward in February that he knew how deadly the virus was and in March he admitted that he was intentionally playing it down. (CBS News / CNN / NBC News / Axios)

4/ Trump held an indoor campaign rally in Nevada, in defiance of state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic health guidelines. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak accused Trump of “reckless and selfish actions” and called the rally “an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves.” During the event, Trump told the crowd that the U.S. was “making the last turn” when it comes to defeating the coronavirus. While masks were encouraged at the event, few people wore them. Later, Trump said he was not afraid of catching the coronavirus at his rallies, because “I’m on stage and it’s very far away.” (Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

  • Coronavirus cases are increasing in 11 states by 5% or more, based on weekly averages. Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are all seeing rising case counts. While cases in those 11 states are increasing, the overall daily average of new cases in the U.S. is declining. Over the past seven days, the country has reported an average of about 34,300 new cases per day, down more than 15% compared to a week ago. (CNBC)

  • Pence canceled plans to attend a fundraiser hosted by QAnon conspiracy theory supporters. Trump’s re-election campaign did not provide a reason or say whether the fundraiser might be held at a later time. (NBC News)

  • Trump’s ambassador to China will resign ahead of November’s presidential election. Pompeo announced on Twitter that Terry Branstad would be leaving the post after three years, but didn’t provide a reason for the departure. (NBC News)

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo relaunched his extravagant, taxpayer-funded “Madison Dinners” during the coronavirus pandemic. The dinners had been on pause since March because of the coronavirus, but they’re back, with a dinner scheduled for Monday and at least three others on the calendar in September and October. (NBC News / Kansas City Star)

5/ A federal judge temporarily blocked the U.S. Postal Service from sending a notice about the November elections to Colorado residents because the mailer “provides patently false information” about the state’s election policies. U.S. District Judge William Martinez granted an emergency request from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to halt the mailings because the pre-election mailers incorrectly advise voters to request a ballot at least 15 days before Election Day and to return the official ballot at least seven days before. The state already automatically mails ballots to voters. The judge said he was “deeply troubled” by the “false or misleading information” in the notices. USPS, however, asked the judge to reconsider the ruling, claiming the notices were accurate because they direct voters to check state rules. (CNN / Washington Post / Denver Post / Bloomberg)

  • Louis DeJoy gave Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee more than $600,000 after the U.S. Postmaster General job became available. DeJoy now holds the position. (Bloomberg)

  • Trump – again – suggested that North Carolinians illegally vote twice. Twitter labeled the tweet with a public interest notice because it violated the social media platform’s “Civic Integrity Policy.” (ABC News)

6/ Trump claimed – without evidence – that climate change has nothing to do with the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington. Trump also suggested that the record-breaking temperatures in California would cool down on their own after California’s secretary for natural resources urged him to not “put our head in the sand” and ignore climate change. Trump replied: “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch.” Trump, with a laugh, added: “I don’t think science knows, actually.” Trump largely blamed the wildfires on poor forest management practices and claimed that an unnamed European leader told him his country has “‘trees that are far more explosive than they have in California, and we don’t have any problem.’” (CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg / New York Times)

  • NOAA hired a longtime climate science denier as deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. David Legates will reports to Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the agency that is in charge of the federal government’s sprawling weather and climate prediction work. (NPR)

7/ The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General is investigating the circumstances of Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendations. The investigation is focused on events in February, when Trump’s Justice Department overruled its own prosecutors and reduced Stone’s sentencing recommendation. All four prosecutors quit the case as a result. (NBC News)

8/ Trump claimed that he received “the highly honored Bay of Pigs award,” which doesn’t exist. The Bay of Pigs was a failed attempt by the CIA and Cuban exiles to instigate the overthrow of Fidel Castro. In a tweet attacking Biden, Trump said Biden “spent 47 years in politics being terrible to Hispanics” and is now “relying on Castro lover Bernie Sanders to help him out.” He added: “Remember, Miami Cubans gave me the highly honored Bay of Pigs Award for all I have done for our great Cuban Population!” Trump did receive an endorsement in 2016 from the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, but that is not an award. (The Guardian / The Independent)


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