1/ More than 1 million people have died from the coronavirus worldwide in less than nine months — a figure that is almost certainly an undercount. With more than 200,000 deaths, the U.S. leads the global death toll, followed by Brazil at 142,000, and India at 95,500. The director general of the World Health Organization said the 1 million COVID-19 deaths marked a “difficult moment for the world,” urging countries to “bridge national boundaries” to fight back against the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, said that Florida’s move to reopen all bars and restaurants was “very concerning.” (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / The Guardian / New York Times / BuzzFeed News)

2/ Top White House officials pressured the CDC this summer to play down the risk of the coronavirus to children as the Trump administration pushed to reopen schools this fall. One member of Pence’s staff said she was repeatedly asked by Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, to get the CDC to produce reports and charts showing a decline in coronavirus cases among young people that would better support Trump’s claims that COVID-19 poses little danger to children and that schools should reopen. As part of the effort to circumvent the CDC, White House officials also tried to find alternate data showing that the pandemic was weakening and posed little danger to children. Olivia Troye, one of Pence’s top aides on the task force, said she regretted being “complicit” in the effort and called the situation a “nightmare.” (New York Times / CNN / The Hill)

3/ The Trump administration’s distribution of new coronavirus rapid tests have been plagued by confusion and a lack of planning. Health officials in several states haven’t been included in the distribution of the tests, leading to confusion about which nursing homes will receive them until the night before a shipment arrives. The lack of federal planning also has left states with no standardized way to capture results from the fast, cheap, and easy to use tests and include them in daily counts. As a result, as the rapid tests become more widely distributed, the data being used to guide the nation’s coronavirus response is becoming more inaccurate. (Washington Post)

4/ House Democrats released a new $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief proposal that includes funding for schools, small businesses, restaurants, airline workers, and more. The bill is $200 billion smaller than the Democrats’ most recent proposal, and down from the $3.4 trillion measure passed by the House in May. It also earmarks $75 billion in funding for coronavirus testing, contact tracing, and isolation measures “with special attention to the disparities facing communities of color.” It includes a second round of $1,200 payments per taxpayer and $500 per dependent, while extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through January 2021. It also comes with $436 billion to help state, local, territorial, and tribal governments pay first responders and health workers. (CNN / CNBC / Bloomberg / Axios / The Hill / ABC News)

5/ Biden and Harris released their 2019 tax returns. Biden’s return shows that he and his wife paid $299,346 in federal income taxes on a taxable income of $944,737 last year. Harris and her husband reported $3.1 million in taxable income and paid more than $1 million in federal taxes. Trump, a billionaire, paid $750 in income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Axios)

  • 👑 Portrait of a President: How “The Apprentice” rescued Trump. Over 16 years, Trump earned $197 million from the “The Apprentice,” plus an additional $230 million from the licensing and multilevel marketing deals, which helped cover the losses of the real estate and casino projects that made up his business “empire.” “$8,768,330 paid to him by ACN, a multilevel marketing company that was accused of taking advantage of vulnerable investors; $50,000 from the Lifetime channel for a “juicy nighttime soap” that never materialized; $5,026 in net income from a short-lived mortgage business; and $15,286,244 from licensing his name to a line of mattresses. [… There was $500,000 to pitch Double Stuf Oreos, another half-million to sell Domino’s Pizza and $850,000 to push laundry detergent.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / The Guardian)

  • Michael Cohen: Trump’s “biggest fear” is a “massive tax bill, fraud penalties, fines, and possibly even tax fraud.” “Donald Trump’s financial records are the Rosetta stone for understanding the depth of his corruption and crimes,” Cohen said. “The more it is unraveled, the more he will unravel. It’s the reason he’s fought so hard to keep it under wraps.” (Yahoo News)

poll/ 20% of voters said they believed the winner of the presidential election will be called on election night, while 66% said they expect it to happen sometime later. (Politico)

poll/ Biden leads Trump 54% to 45% among likely Pennsylvania voters, and 54% to 44% among registered PA voters. 53% of registered voters in PA approve of how Trump has managed the economy, but 57% disapprove of how he’s handled the coronavirus outbreak. Trump’s overall approval rating among registered voters in the state sits at 43% positive and 55% negative, with 49% saying they disapprove “strongly.” (Washington Post)

poll/ Biden leads Trump 49% to 40% among likely Pennsylvania voters. 51% of PA voters said they trusted Biden more to pick the next Supreme Court justice, compared to 44% who said that about Trump. (New York Times)


✏️ Notables.

  1. Michael Flynn’s defense lawyer met with Trump and asked that he not issue a pardon. Sidney Powell, Flynn’s lawyer, told Judge Emmet Sullivan that “I never discussed this case with the president until recently when I asked him not to issue a pardon and gave him a general update of the status of the litigation.” Trump previously said that he would consider a pardon for Flynn, which would end the criminal case. (Reuters / CNBC / Politico)

  2. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will end the 2020 Census on Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling that allows the count to continue until Oct. 31. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh said she was “disturbed” that “despite the court’s order,” Census supervisors have told field workers to wrap up data collection early. Judge Koh set a Tuesday deadline for the Commerce Department to produce the administrative record of the decision-making behind Ross’ announcement. She also threatened to hold government lawyers in contempt of court if the deadline isn’t met. (Bloomberg / CNN / NBC News)

  3. Trump allegedly called evangelical pastors “hustlers” in a 2015 conversation with Michael Cohen after reading an article about an Atlanta-based megachurch pastor trying to raise $60 million to buy a private jet. Trump reportedly told Cohen that the pastor was “full of shit,” but was delighted by the “scam.” (The Atlantic)


Become a member.

Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.
Learn more