1/ The Justice Department opened a criminal investigation and issued grand jury subpoenas to John Bolton’s publisher and literary agent. The department convened a grand jury after failing to stop publication of “The Room Where It Happened” this summer to investigate whether Bolton unlawfully disclosed classified information. The subpoenas, to Simon & Schuster and Javelin, requested all communications with Trump’s former national security adviser. Bolton, however, didn’t receive a subpoena. In the book, which was released in June, Bolton painted a picture of an out-of-control president consumed by his own re-election. Trump, meanwhile, has tweeted that he wants Bolton prosecuted, claiming he “broke the law” and “should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information.” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Axios)

2/ A federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf is likely unlawfully serving as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Judge Paula Xinis also temporarily barred the Trump administration from enforcing Wolf’s new asylum restrictions on members of two immigration advocacy groups. Judge Xinis said former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin MacAleenan’s appointment was “invalid under the agency’s applicable order of succession, and so he lacked the authority to amend the order of succession to ensure Wolf’s installation as Acting Secretary.” He added that “by extension, because Wolf filled the role of Acting Secretary without authority, he promulgated the challenged rules also ‘in excess of […] authority,’ and not ‘in accordance with the law.’” (CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1303: 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)

3/ The White House trade adviser refused to testify to Congress about a canceled ventilator contract that would have wasted $504 million. Peter Navarro was called to testify before the House Oversight subcommittee on economic and consumer policy on Wednesday, but the hearing has been canceled after the White House declined to make Navarro available for testimony. (NBC News)

  • 📌 Day 1322: 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)

  • The Department of Homeland Security will not make officials available for a House Intelligence Committee investigation into the department’s response to protests in Portland. (Washington Post)

4/ The Trump administration’s top health spokesperson apologized to staffers for accusing career federal scientists of “sedition” and working to undermine Trump. Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of health for public affairs, and top adviser Paul Alexander also repeatedly tried to revise, delay, or scuttle key CDC scientific bulletins to paint the administration’s pandemic response in a more positive light. Caputo, who is reportedly considering a leave of absence to address physical health problems, said he regretted having embarrassed HHS Secretary Alex Azar and the Health and Human Services department. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, called on Azar to resign following reports that Caputo and Alexander interfered in the weekly scientific reports from the CDC. Schumer said that the department has “become subservient to the president’s daily whims” and that Azar has been “almost entirely silent about the chaos and mismanagement in his own agency.” (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1334: 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)

5/ Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will stay in session until lawmakers and the White House agree on another coronavirus stimulus package. The House is scheduled to adjourn on Oct. 2 until after the election. “We are committed to staying here until we have an agreement,” Pelosi said. “We are optimistic that the White House at least will understand that we have to do something.” (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

6/ Jared Kushner claimed that the tapes of Trump privately admitting to downplaying the threat of the coronavirus in March are an example of him being “very forthcoming with the American people” about the dangers of COVID-19. Journalist Bob Woodward, however, said Monday that Trump “possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives” in January, but didn’t share the information in his State of the Union address, which 40 million people watched. [Editor’s note: Jared Kushner is a dipshit.](TODAY / NBC News)

  • 📌 Day 1329: 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)

7/ The company that hosted Trump’s indoor rally in Nevada was fined $3,000 for violating the state’s restrictions on large gatherings. Sunday’s rally was held at a facility owned by Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, Nevada, where thousands of Trump supporters — most of whom were not wearing masks — gathered to hear Trump speak. A senior public information officer for the city of Henderson said a compliance officer “observed six violations of the directives and the City’s Business Operations Division has issued a Business License Notice of Violation to Xtreme Manufacturing and assessed a penalty of $3,000.” The company has a month to respond to the notice and either dispute or pay the penalty. (CNN)

  • A Trump campaign ad calls on people people to “support our troops,” but uses stock photos of Russian-made fighter jets and Russian models dressed as soldiers. (Politico)

8/ Pro-Trump teenagers are being paid by a conservative nonprofit to cast doubt about the integrity of the election and play down the threat from COVID-19 on on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The messages were posted at the direction of Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Turning Point USA, and meant to evade rules put in place following the 2016 presidential campaign by social media companies to limit disinformation. In response to questions, Twitter suspended at least 20 accounts involved in the activity for “platform manipulation and spam.” Facebook, meanwhile, removed a number of accounts as part of an ongoing investigation. (Washington Post)

9/ The Trump administration issued a broad new travel advisory warning against travel to China and Hong Kong, citing a risk of “arbitrary detention” and “arbitrary enforcement of local laws” in order to compel cooperation with investigations, pressure family members to return to China from abroad, influence civil disputes, and “gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.” It also warns that U.S. travelers may be “subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process,” and that those traveling to or visiting China may be detained “without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime.” A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry criticized the advisory and said the U.S. should “fully respect the facts and should not engage in unwarranted political manipulation” when issuing such advisories. (Associated Press / The Hill)

  • The World Trade Organization ruled that tariffs imposed in 2018 by the U.S. on Chinese goods violated international trading rules. Since March 2018, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $400 billion in Chinese exports. (CNBC / Bloomberg)

poll/ 71% of Americans believe they have more in common with one another than many people think, including 74% of Democrats, 78% of Republicans and 66% of Independents. (Politico)

poll/ Favorability toward the U.S. in the UK, Canada, France, Japan, and Australia is the lowest it has been in at least two decades. Of the 13 nations surveyed, 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. (Pew Research Center / CNN)


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