August 22, 2020

Week 197

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This was the longest weekly list, and it was simply exhausting. The Democrats held a very successful first virtual Democratic National Convention, while Trump spent the week advancing lies and conspiracy theories about voting to undermine the election. Polls continue to show he will lose by a wide margin.

In a break from tradition, both former First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama gave historic speeches, focused on warning the American people that Trump is a danger to our democracy, and is not capable of doing the job. The emotional speeches were a call to action, from the former first family who had largely has given Trump a chance to grow into the position. Barack in particular portrayed Trump as a grave threat. Meanwhile, nominee Joe Biden gave what was widely heralded as the best speech of his career, in a moving, emotional, optimistic speech of unity, promising light, hope, and competence.

This week, the U.S. Postal Service was front and center, as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy faced public outcry for the slowing mail, and Congressional hearings got underway. Trump tried to gaslight, suggesting the slowing mail was, ironically, a conspiracy theory by Democrats. This week a nearly 1,000 page shocking Senate Intelligence Committee report was released, revealing a deep connection between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Trump largely abandoned his so-called daily coronavirus briefings, instead holding campaign rallies and some Q&A sessions with the media. Dr. Deborah Birx has largely disappeared from the public, as Trump switched to a radiologist who frequently appeared on Fox News for advice and shares his point-of-view. College reopening, like K-12 openings the week before, got off to a rocky start, with outbreaks on several campuses — again a result of a patchwork strategy, with inadequate testing and few guidelines.

  1. On Wednesday, a CNN poll found disapproval on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus at a high of 58%, 38% approve. The poll also found 67% of Americans know someone who had the virus, up from 40% in early June.
  2. Nearly 7 in 10 said the U.S. response to the coronavirus made them embarrassed. On schools, 57% said schools in their area should not reopen for in-person learning, while 39% said they should reopen.
  3. About 8 in 10 Americans say they are at least somewhat angry about the way things are going in the country, with 51% very angry. Since 2008, the highest in the poll for very angry was 35% in 2008 and 2016.
  4. On Saturday, the Brookings Institute found turnover of Trump’s “A Team” is at 89%, the highest of any modern day president, with 40% of those positions turning over more than once.
  5. On Saturday, NBC News reported Trump is considering hosting a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in New York City in October, ahead of the November election.
  6. Aides say Trump sees a summit as an opportunity to look presidential, and showcase his negotiating skills — and would consider using the summit to sign a blueprint on a new nuclear arms control agreement.
  7. On Saturday, at his daily news conference at his Bedminster golf club when asked about the birther smear against Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, Trump said, “It’s not something we will be pursuing,” adding, “I don’t know about it. I read one quick article.”
  8. Trump added the author of the birtherism op-ed “happens to be a brilliant lawyer,” and said of Harris, “If she’s got a problem, you’d have thought that she would have been vetted by Sleepy Joe.” Trump declined to label it as false.
  9. Trump also called for college football to be played, saying, “I want college football to come back. These are strong, healthy, incredible people,” adding, “it’s sort of sad because I’d been fighting for football to come back.”
  10. Trump added of professional sports, “We’re trying to help the NFL, as long as they stand for our National Anthem,” and “I think what the NBA did was atrocious. I thought it was disgraceful the way they kneeled.”
  11. Asked about reports he would fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Trump said, “I consider firing everybody,” adding, “I wouldn’t say I’m thrilled with everybody, frankly, but overall I think we have a very good cabinet.”
  12. Trump also said he would “take a very good look at” a pardon for Edward Snowden, who sought asylum in Russia in 2013. Before he took office, Trump called Snowden a “traitor” and a “spy who should be executed.”
  13. Trump also said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is “a fantastic man,” and of removing sorting machines said, “I can’t tell you what he’s doing.” Trump falsely claimed, “Universal mail-in voting is going to be catastrophic.”
  14. Trump also falsely claimed, “You’re not gonna know [the election results] for months or for years. Because these [mail] ballots are all gonna lost, they’re gonna be gone.”
  15. Trump also claimed again, without any evidence, “We have a silent majority the likes of which nobody has seen,” adding, “there are thousands of boats in lakes, rivers, and oceans…it’s called ‘boaters for Trump.’”
  16. On Saturday, the NY Daily News Editorial Board, Trump’s former hometown paper, condemned Trump’s “cowardly smear of Kamala Harris,” calling him a “natural-born hater,” with “un-American character.”
  17. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “The honorable thing to do is drop the Mail-In Scam before it is too late! Absentee Ballots, like they have in Florida, are good!” This is a false distinction. The two are cast in the same way.
  18. On Saturday, celebrity singer Taylor Swift urged her followers to vote early, noting “Trump’s calculated dismantling of USPS” and tweeting, “He’s chosen to blatantly cheat and put millions of Americans’ lives at risk.”
  19. Later Saturday, NFL kicker Jay Feely tweeted a photo of himself with Trump at Bedminster golf course, adding, “Had the distinct honor to play golf today with @POTUS and be his partner!”
  20. Shortly after, Trump announced his brother Robert, 71, who he called “my best friend,” died. The cause of death was not revealed. Mary Trump revealed in her book that when her father died, Trump was at the movies.
  21. Later Saturday, Politico reported House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders are considering bringing House members back early from recess, set to end September 14, to address the Postal Service crisis.
  22. On Saturday, Politico reported the CDC’s chief of staff, Kyle McGowan, and the deputy chief of staff, Amanda Campbell, both resigned. The two had been part of the agency since the start of the Trump regime.
  23. On Saturday, violent clashes broke out in multiple cities including Portland, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and other cities, between far-right hate groups like Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter.
  24. On Saturday, Belarus state news agency Belta reported President Alexander Lukashenko said Putin pledged “comprehensive security assistance,” as post-election protests continued.
  25. On Sunday, NYT reported minutes after Lukashenko promised to stand up to protesters, which he called “rats,” “trash” and “bandits,” a record crowd of more than 200,000 protestors turned up in Minsk.
  26. Protestors came in response to a call for a “March for Freedom” by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the opposition candidate. Some came to protest that protestors in earlier rallies had been detained and tortured.
  27. On Sunday, Trump golfed at his Bedminster club, and sent a storm of retweets, including tweeting and then later retweeting a post by actor James Woods calling Trump the “last stand,” and adding “100% correct.”
  28. Trump also tweeted a truncated version of an interview by Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying, “If carefully done, according to the guidelines, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that (vote at polling place).”
  29. On Sunday, NSA Robert O’Brien told “Meet the Press” that Trump will not host a summit with Putin, saying, “We’ve rejected that.” Sources say the summit was Putin’s idea, and something Trump considered.
  30. On Sunday, Trump retweeted a post by a pro-Trump activist, saying, “Leave Democrat cities. Let them rot,” and the media and Democrats “activated this mental illness” which will get “more and more people hurt and killed.”
  31. On Sunday, NYT reported Nick Casselli, the head of a Philadelphia postal workers union, said since DeJoy took over, overtime was eliminated, causing back-up, and sorting machines removed, worsening delays.
  32. Philadelphia Rep. Brendan Boyle said his office received 345 complaints about the Postal Service in July, compared with 17 last July. Medical prescriptions, checks and mail-in ballots are not being delivered.
  33. Postal workers also said although mail-in voting has been common for two decades, recent changes have made it dramatically harder to keep up, and that customers are coming in every day to complain about the slowdown.
  34. While Trump’s war on the USPS is aimed at Democrats, some Republicans like Steve Daines of Montana, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine have rural constituents who rely on mail, and are also concerned.
  35. Experts noted in the month before Christmas each year, carriers deliver billions of pieces of mail and packages, so even if 150 million people voted by mail, that flow would have been manageable.
  36. On Sunday, CNN reported voters in North Carolina received an absentee ballot request form in the mail with a photo of Trump on it, as Trump says he opposes USPS funding because he is against mail-in ballots.
  37. The mailer was sent out by the North Carolina Republican Party. While it is common for campaigns and political parties to send voters information by mail, non-profit Real Facts NC said they had never seen anything like this.
  38. On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Trump’s push to delegitimize mail-in voting, telling “State of the Union” that on claims of widespread fraud, “There’s no evidence that there’s not either.”
  39. Pressed to explain the difference between mail-in and absentee ballots, he could not, instead falsely claiming mail-in voting would disenfranchise voters as “millions of ballots” could be sent to “empty mailboxes.”
  40. Asked about birtherism claims and if Harris is eligible, Meadows said, “Sure. And I think the President spoke to this yesterday. This is not something that we’re going to pursue,” and if she is eligible, “I do, yeah.”
  41. On Sunday, NYT reported under emergency coronavirus orders, the Trump regime is using hotel chains across the country to detain migrant children and families before expelling them.
  42. The order has created an unregulated shadow system of detention. Migrant children as young as one were put in hotels under the supervision of transportation workers who are not licensed to provide child care.
  43. The regime is using private corporation MVM Inc. More than 100,000 migrants have been expelled under the order, as it caused a surge in crossing as it eliminated legal consequences for repeat illegal attempts.
  44. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the Food and Drug Administration to permit oleandrin, a toxic botanical extract being touted by a major donor, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, as a treatment for the coronavirus.
  45. The extract is also being touted by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Lindell told Axios in a July meeting, Trump “basically said: ‘…The FDA should be approving it.’”
  46. On Sunday, Trump again expressed displeasure with Fox News, tweeting, “@FoxNews is not watchable during weekend afternoons. It is worse than Fake News @CNN,” and, “I strongly suggest turning your dial to @OANN.”
  47. Later Sunday, Pelosi called back Congress, saying, “Lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy are under threat from the President,” and “I am calling upon the House to return to session later this week.”
  48. Pelosi added House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney would be holding hearings starting Monday, August 24, and will request that both DeJoy and USPS Board of Governors Robert Duncan testify.
  49. Sen. Gary Peters, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, also started an investigation last week, and called on Chair Ron Johnson to call DeJoy and Duncan for a hearing.
  50. Axios reported the House was also expected to vote on USPS legislation on Saturday. Pelosi called on members to participate in a “Day of Action on Tuesday by appearing at a Post Office in their districts for a press event.”
  51. On Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delayed the election by four weeks, a move sought by the opposition party, after nine coronavirus cases were discovered. The country went 102 days without any new cases.
  52. On Monday, Trump opened an hour-long “Fox & Friends” interview, saying of his brother’s death, “If I had the number one show, if I had a big success, no matter what I did…he was right there,” and “he was my biggest fan.”
  53. Asked why he was “sabotaging” the Postal Service, Trump said, “No, I’m just making it good. This has been one of the disasters of the world, the way it’s been run. It’s been run horribly. And we’re going to make it good.”
  54. Asked about concerns he will not leave if he loses, Trump said, “I go by the election. Now with that being said, I have to tell you that if you go with this universal mail-in where you send millions of votes — in California, tens of millions of ballots being sent to everybody and their dogs.”
  55. Trump continued his false claim, saying, “Dogs are getting them, OK? People that have been dead for 25 years are getting them.”
  56. On Covid-19, Trump falsely claimed, “They have new flare-ups in Germany …we’ve done phenomenally on this thing.” Germany had 625 new cases Sunday, while the U.S. had more than 42,000.
  57. On Monday, Trump sowed more confusion on the election, tweeting, “Some states use “drop boxes” for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots. So who is going to “collect” the Ballots…?”
  58. Trump falsely claimed, “A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!” There was no evidence that ballot drop boxes are not secure.
  59. On Monday, Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Ted Lieu asked FBI Director Christopher Wray in a letter to open a criminal inquiry of DeJoy and the USPS Board of Governors, accusing them of purposefully slowing the mail to help Trump.
  60. Two House members, Reps. Anna Eshoo of California and Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, also called on their respective state attorneys general in letters to open criminal inquiries.
  61. On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and five other Democratic senators called on the USPS Board of Governors to cancel DeJoy’s recent policies or remove him if necessary.
  62. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “The U.S. Post Office (System) has been failing for many decades. We simply want to MAKE THE POST OFFICE GREAT AGAIN,” adding, “Dems don’t have a clue!
  63. On Monday, KHOU-11 in Houston, Texas reported Don White, 82, said USPS delays left him without his daily heart medication for week, and the package has been sitting at a north Houston processing facility for 10 days.
  64. Later Monday, speaking to reporters, Trump said “we’ll look at” oleandrin to treat Covid-19. Asked if he is urging the FDA to authorize its use, Trump said, “No, I haven’t,” adding, “I’ve heard of it, yes.”
  65. A medical ethnobotanist wrote the oleandrin plant is extremely toxic: “All parts of the plant are poisonous. If eaten, it causes cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heart rates, and can be lethal to both humans and animals.”
  66. On Monday, Dr. Deborah Birx said at a roundtable discussion hosted by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson that she wished the U.S. had gone into a stricter lockdown in March, more akin the national lockdown in Italy.
  67. Birx said of Italy, “People were interacting, people were out,” but said by taking simple steps like wearing masks, they “were able to drop the cases significantly, probably by more than 80%.
  68. Ask about her comment on CNN, Jared Kushner said the White House was “very forward-leaning” in March. Asked if he still thought with 170,000 dead the response was a “success story” as he said in April, he said, “yes.”
  69. On Monday, Politico reported that Trump has elevated Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist who has no expertise in infectious diseases or epidemiology, as the country passed 5.4 million cases and 170,000 deaths.
  70. Atlas shared Trump’s upbeat message that Covid-19 is not a big deal, and Americans should resume life as it was. He joins a tiny group of advisers each morning to chart the response, and help write Trump’s narratives.
  71. At a recent task force meeting, Atlas countered Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, claiming that science does not definitively support government mandates on wearing masks.
  72. Atlas came to Trump’s attention by appearing on Fox News. Past colleagues say Atlas has been interested in gaining power in GOP circles, and Trump is using Atlas for his academic credentials of attending Stanford University.
  73. Later Monday, at a speech in Minnesota, Trump falsely claimed, “You’ve seen what’s going on in New Zealand?…Big surge in New Zealand. It’s terrible. We don’t want that.” New Zealand reported 13 cases Tuesday.
  74. Trump lied, saying he built the “greatest economy in history, and with 170,000 Americans dead, said, “That’s God testing me. He said, ‘You know, you did it once.’ And I said, ‘Did I do a great job, God? I’m the only one that could do it.’’’
  75. Trump also continued to falsely claim that Joe Biden was in cognitive decline, and he will “change this country around” in “irreversible” ways, including taking away guns and letting criminals roam the streets.
  76. Trump also continued his false claims of widespread mail-in voting fraud, saying, “They want to send them out, and they want to just have millions of ballots,” adding, “They said ‘oh, we drop them in a lockbox.’”
  77. Trump next held a rally in Wisconsin. He called Biden “a Trojan Horse for socialism,” and said Biden “was a disaster on Swine Flu. He got a horrible rating in Gallup.” This is not a true statement.
  78. Trump also said he should get a redo of his first term, saying, “We are going to win four more years. And then after that we’ll go for another four years, because they spied on my campaign. We should get a redo of four years.”
  79. Trump added, “We have to win the election. We can’t play games,” and falsely claimed, “the only way we lose the election is if the election is rigged.” Polls showed Trump down in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  80. On Monday, WAPO reported as Democrats planned emergency hearings on the USPS, claiming “sabotage,” Republicans backed Trump, alleging the USPS was performing its mission, and calling it a “conspiracy theory.”
  81. Meadows told reporters, “a lot of the headlines are not indicative of what’s actually taking place,” echoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “It’s not an issue of money. They’ve got over $10 billion cash on hand.”
  82. On Monday, Trump also tweeted, “Why is Congress scheduled to meet (on Post Office) next Monday, during the Republican Convention,” rather than during the DNC, adding, “GET TOUGH REPUBLICANS!!”
  83. Trump also tweeted, “SAVE THE POST OFFICE!
  84. On Monday, Miles Taylor, former chief of staff for DHS Sec. Kjersten Nielsen, endorsed Biden in a scathing video, warning Trump is exploiting DHS “for his own political purposes and to fuel his own agenda.”
  85. Taylor added, “A lot of times the things he wanted to do not only were impossible but in many cases illegal,” but Trump did not want them to tell him that, because he said “he knew that he had ‘magical authorities.’”
  86. Taylor said Trump was “one of the most unfocused and undisciplined senior executives I’ve ever encountered” and that he was convinced that Trump was “ill-equipped” and “was actively doing damage to our security.”
  87. Asked about Taylor on Tuesday, Trump told reporters, “I never met him to the best of my knowledge…I never heard of him,” calling him a “lowlife.” A photo showed the two together, smiling, in the Oval Office.
  88. On Sunday, NBC News reported an Oklahoma State sorority house was put into quarantine, after 23 members tested positive for Covid-19. A “cluster” of cases was also reported at a fraternity at the University of North Carolina.
  89. On Monday, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced it would cancel in-person classes just one week after students returned to campus, after five clusters were discovered.
  90. The university confirmed 135 cases in the first week back, 130 of which were students. As of Monday afternoon, only four rooms of 73 rooms rooms in the quarantine dorm were available.
  91. On Tuesday, Notre Dame suspended in-person classes for two weeks after outbreaks of 146 cases following off campus parties. Michigan State University changed plans to go fully remote for the fall semester.
  92. On Monday, Politico reported Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a letter to FBI Director Wray that the bureau was prioritizing Trump-sought investigations.
  93. Wyden also said the FBI had improperly provided documents and other information to Republicans on his panel, sometimes not informing Democrats of their existence, a violation of congressional oversight norms.
  94. On Monday, WAPO reported the Trump regime finalized plans to allow drilling on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1.6 million-acre coastal plain, in the heart of one of the nation’s most iconic wild places.
  95. The move marks a major shift in reviving fossil fuel development in an area that has not been touched in three decades. Center for American Progress said drilling would result in the release of more than 4.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.
  96. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told reporters his department was following through on a 2017 budget bill, saying, “Trump’s leadership brought more than three decades of inaction to an end.”
  97. On Monday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denied Trump’s request to rehear the case against Trump in a 8-4 vote, allowing a group of hotel and restaurant owners to sue him for violating the Emoluments Clause.
  98. On Monday, Gallup poll found Trump’s approval ticked up slightly to 42%; however his approval on handling Covid-19 fell to 36%, for race relations 37%, for education 35%, foreign affairs 41%, and the economy 48%.
  99. On Monday, Democrats kicked off their virtual convention. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized Trump’s handling of Covid-19, saying, “Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it.”
  100. Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “The future of our democracy is at stake.” Several Republicans, including former Govs. John Kasich and Christine Whitman, business executive Meg Whitman, and former Rep. Susan Molinari spoke for Biden.
  101. As keynote speaker, Former First Lady Michelle Obama warned, “Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head.”
  102. Obama said, “He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us,” adding a line used by Trump on Covid-19 deaths, “It is what it is.” The phrase was used by several speakers at the convention.
  103. Obama added, “We’ve got to vote early, in person if we can. We’ve got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately and follow up to make sure they’re received.”
  104. Obama warned, “If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this election,” adding, “we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
  105. On Tuesday, as Michelle Obama’s speech was highly praised, even on Fox News, host Tucker Carlson said, “she is still a victim, she and everyone who looks like her, so shut up and accept her dominion over you.”
  106. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Obama, tweeting, “Somebody please explain” to her that Trump “would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama.”
  107. Trump also tweeted the false claim, “the response by the ObamaBiden team to the H1N1 Swine Flu was considered a weak and pathetic one,” and lied, “they got a free pass from the Corrupt Fake News Media!”
  108. Trump also tweeted, “The ObamaBiden Administration was the most corrupt in history,” lying, “they got caught SPYING ON MY CAMPAIGN…It’s called Treason,” and added, “Thanks for your very kind words Michelle!”
  109. Shortly after, in a clear diversionary tactic, at an event highlighting the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, Trump posthumously pardoned women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony.
  110. Trump again attacked Obama, saying, “she’s in over her head, and frankly, she should’ve made the speech live, which she didn’t do,” calling her speech “extremely divisive.” Obama frequently tops most admired lists.
  111. Trump again invoked suburbia, saying, “people coming in and forcing low-income housing down their throats,” adding, “if Cory Booker’s involved nothing good is gonna happen,” and “It’s very unfair to suburbia.”
  112. Trump said of the massive protests in Belarus, “I like seeing democracy. Democracy is a very important word. It doesn’t seem like it’s too much democracy there in Belarus.”
  113. The U.S. took no public stand on Belarus, while E.U. leaders on Wednesday said they would not recognize the results of the recent election, and would impose sanctions on those involved in electoral fraud.
  114. Shortly after, CNN reported according to historians, Trump’s pardon of Anthony undermines her wishes, saying she wore her conviction of being guilty of voting with pride.
  115. Later Tuesday, the Susan B. Anthony Museum issued a statement rejecting the pardon, and suggesting the best way to honor her would be taking a clear stance against voter suppression and advocating for human rights.
  116. On Tuesday, New Zealand PM Ardern rebutted Trump’s comments on Covid-19, calling them “patently wrong,” and adding, “New Zealand’s nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands.”
  117. On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its final, 996-page volume on Russian interference in the 2016 election, finding the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia posed a “grave counterintelligence threat.”
  118. The report found former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort worked with a Russian intelligence officer, Konstantin Kilimnik, on narratives “to undermine evidence Russia interfered,” including blaming Ukraine.
  119. Manafort was introduced to Trump by financier Tom Barrack, and then Ivanka wrote a note: ‘Daddy, Tom says we should get Paul.’ Ultimately, it was Manafort’s willingness to do the job for free that sealed the deal.
  120. The report found when Roger Stone received advance notice of the impending release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, he made at least two phone calls arranging for WikiLeaks to release stolen DNC emails.
  121. The report found Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Manafort, Donald Jr., and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower in 2016, had “significant connections” to the Kremlin.
  122. The information Veselnitskaya offered them was “part of a broader influence operation targeting the United States that was coordinated, at least in part with elements of the Russian government.”
  123. The report found “Moscow’s intent was to harm the Clinton Campaign…help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the U.S. democratic process.”
  124. GOP Sen. Marco Rubio claimed the Trump campaign had not colluded, while ranking member Mark Werner noted “a breathtaking level of contacts between Trump officials and Russian government operatives.”
  125. Though the report did not make a definitive conclusion about whether the Trump campaign criminally conspired with Russia to sway the election, it describes the campaign’s eagerness to exploit the Kremlin’s aid.
  126. On Tuesday, NBC News confirmed LA Times’ reporting from last week on the Senate Intelligence Committee making a criminal referral to the DOJ, and added Steve Bannon, Erik Prince, and Sam Clovis to those referred.
  127. On Tuesday, WAPO reported DeJoy will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday, his first chance to answer lawmakers’ questions on vote-by-mail issues.
  128. Democrats say DeJoy is taking steps to wreak havoc on the presidential election. Republicans claim it is cost cutting. The chair is Trump ally Ron Johnson. DeJoy has given more than $2 million to Trump since 2016.
  129. On Tuesday, CNBC reported according to a review of public documents, five of the six USPS board of governors, including Chairman Robert Duncan, have numerous close ties to the GOP and the Trump regime.
  130. Duncan is a director of American Crossroads, a Trump super PAC in the 2020 election. John Barger is a director of NanoLumens, which received a $1 million to $2 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.
  131. On Tuesday, WAPO reported at least 21 states planned to file lawsuits this week against the USPS and DeJoy, seeking to block service changes that they will impede states’ ability to run free and fair elections.
  132. The states argued the Postal Service broke the law by making operational changes without first seeking approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission, and that Congress has the power to regulate elections.
  133. A lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania against DeJoy, the USPS board of governors and Duncan was joined by California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, among others.
  134. A lawsuit brought by Washington named Trump and DeJoy, accusing Trump of infringing on states’ power to administer elections, and was joined by Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and others.
  135. On Tuesday, DeJoy suspended changes until after the election, saying, “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
  136. DeJoy added post offices hours would not change, sorting equipment and blue mail boxes would not be removed, all mail processing facilities would remain open, and overtime would be “approved as needed.”
  137. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters on mail-in voting, “It will end up being a rigged election or they will never come out with an outcome,” adding, “They’ll have to do it again, and nobody wants that.” Trump votes by mail.
  138. On Tuesday, the Trump campaign sued New Jersey over its mail-in ballot plan announced by Gov. Phil Murphy last Friday due to the pandemic, claiming universal vote-by-mail opens the election up for voter fraud.
  139. On Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 retraced its record high, nearly six months after its February 19 peak before the plunge due to Covid-19, and gaining back more than 50% from its low on March 23.
  140. On Tuesday, Atlantic Journal Constitution reported according to a White House report, Georgia leads the nation in the rate of new cases, as the state reopened K-12 schools to outbreaks, and colleges start to reopen.
  141. On Tuesday, far-right conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, who had been banned from every social media platform, won the GOP primary for a district that includes Mar-a-Lago. Trump tweeted his support.
  142. On Wednesday, after midnight, Trump tweeted, “Senate Intelligence Panel found absolutely no evidence of collusion. There was no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired,” citing the far-right Daily Caller. This is false.
  143. On Wednesday, the NYT Editorial Board wrote of the Senate report, “Case Closed,” saying, ““cooperation” or “collusion” or whatever. It was a plot against American democracy,” noting Trump is doing it again in 2020.
  144. The board added, “Whether or not it can be proved…the fact remains that neither he nor anyone else in his campaign alerted federal law-enforcement authorities, as any loyal American should have.”
  145. The board added, “It’s also a timely rebuke to the narrative that Attorney General William Barr has been hawking since before he took office early last year — that “Russiagate” is a “bogus” scandal.”
  146. On Friday, former CIA Director John Brennan said he was questioned by John Durham for eight hours in review of the Russia probe, but was told he is neither a subject nor a target of the probe.
  147. On Wednesday, Trump again attacked mail-in voting, tweeting, “IF YOU CAN PROTEST IN PERSON, YOU CAN VOTE IN PERSON!”
  148. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted to boycott Goodyear tires, after local reporting that Goodyear employees in Kansas were told in diversity training not to wear “Make America Great Again” attire.
  149. Goodyear listed “Black Lives Matter,” “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender pride” under acceptable, while “Blue Lives Matter,” “MAGA attire,” and “politically-affiliated slogans or material” were unacceptable.
  150. Trump tweeted, “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES — They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!” Shortly after, the stock price of Goodyear declined by 3.4%.
  151. Shortly after, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s Goodyear tweet, saying, “the reason he called for the boycott is ‘MAGA” is pretty much unanimous [synonymous] with ‘Blue Lives Matter.’”
  152. Asked if Trump will accept the election results if he does not win, McEnany said Trump “has always said he’ll see what happens and make a determination in the aftermath.”
  153. On Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more than 30 trade associations said in a letter to Congress and the Treasury that Trump’s executive action on payroll taxes is “unworkable.”
  154. On Wednesday, on a private call with state and local leaders, Dr. Birx recommended surge testing for large college campuses, as nine states remain in the ‘red zone’ and several universities saw outbreaks.
  155. On Wednesday, NYT reported the FDA put its emergency authorization for blood plasma as a Covid-19 treatment on hold, after health officials, including Fauci, said evidence of its effectiveness was too weak.
  156. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Schumer accused the White House in a letter of “concealing” its role in the USPS board selection of DeJoy in May, citing conversations that took place with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
  157. On Wednesday, Pelosi said she spoke to DeJoy, and he has no plans to reverse changes already made, saying his decision for a temporary pause was “wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked.”
  158. On Wednesday, photos emerged from around the country appearing to show mail sorting machines being disassembled, or already deconstructed into pieces, despite DeJoy’s pledge to halt removals until after the election.
  159. On Wednesday, Trump again complained about hearings, tweeting, “Why are Republicans allowing the Democrats to have ridiculous Post Office hearings on Saturday & Monday, just before and during our Convention.”
  160. Trump added McConnell is “Always playing right into their hands!” McConnell’s office said the hearing is Friday. He also said the Senate is unlikely to pass a bill that addresses the post office.
  161. Later Wednesday, Trump also tweeted, “@Amazon, and others…should be charged…much more per package.” WAPO reported Trump has complained about Amazon ripping off the Postal Service since he took office.
  162. On Wednesday, NBC News reported a person who visited a bar during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally tested positive for Covid-19. Although a crowd of 250,000 was anticipated, the actual crowd was said to be nearly 500,000.
  163. On Wednesday, at his daily briefing, Trump repeated the lie, “New Zealand, by the way, had a bad outbreak,” and said about colleges having to shut down, they are “causing tremendous depression for those places.”
  164. Trump claimed without evidence areas that shut down are “causing tremendous depression, suicide, drugs, alcohol, abuse…a lot of problems,” adding, “Probably far more…than is caused by the virus itself.”
  165. Asked about the boycott, Trump said Goodyear is “using their power over these people,” and “I would be very much in favor if people don’t want to buy there,” adding their workers will “be able to get a good job” elsewhere.
  166.  Asked about his support from QAnon, a viral conspiracy theory, Trump said, “I’ve heard these are people that love our country,” adding, “So I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.”
  167. A reporter explained QAnon believes Trump is saving the world from a satanic cult made up of pedophiles and cannibals connected to the Democratic Party, so-called deep-state actors and Hollywood celebrities.
  168. Trump did not question the validity of QAnon, instead musing, “Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?” Asked if he would support it, he said, “If I can help save the world from problems, I am willing to do it.”
  169. On Wednesday, Facebook announced it removed 790 QAnon groups and restricted another 1,950 groups, 440 pages, and 10,000 Instagram accounts, in its most sweeping action against the conspiracy theory.
  170. Facebook’s takedown came amid a record growth of QAnon groups. NYT gathered data finding a 200 to 300% growth in comments and shares of their posts in the past six months, as the group becomes more mainstream.
  171. Other social media platforms have also taken action: Twitter removed thousands of accounts and blocked trends and key phrases, Reddit banned some forums, TikTok banned hashtags, and YouTube took down content.
  172. On Thursday, NYT reported the GOP embrace of QAnon, a group the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat, goes far beyond Trump — who has winked and nodded to the conspiracy theory for three years.
  173. The Texas Republican Party recently used a variation of the QAnon catchphrase, “We Are the Storm,” which is instantly recognizable to its adherents, in emails, and on T-shirts, hats, and sweatshirts it sells.
  174. Trump praised Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia, and has retweeted followers of QAnon — a group whose followers have been charged with murder, domestic terrorism, and planned kidnapping — at least 201 times.
  175. The theory also believes Trump ran to save Americans from child-abusing devil-worshipers in the government and media, and his enemies are backed by Democrats who extract hormones from children’s blood.
  176. Some Republicans have spoken out: Sen. Ben Sasse called QAnon “nuts,” adding, “real leaders call conspiracy theories conspiracy theories,” and Rep. Liz Cheney called QAnon “dangerous lunacy” that has no place in politics.
  177. On Wednesday, former president Barack Obama gave a stark, emotional, historic DNC speech from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, warning our democracy was at risk in this election.
  178. In a searing critique, Obama said, “I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office…But he never did.”
  179. Obama added of Trump, “He’s shown no interest in putting in the work…no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”
  180. Obama added the president is elected by all the people, “So at minimum, we should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million of us,” regardless of “who we voted for.”
  181. Obama said Biden and Harris would not use the military “as political props to deploy against peaceful protesters,” and they understand “free press isn’t the ‘enemy’ but the way we hold officials accountable.”
  182. Obama said, “Democracy was never meant to be transactional” and called on an “active and informed citizenry…to embrace your own responsibility,” adding, “that’s what at stake right now. Our democracy.”
  183. Obama warned, “This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win,” and called on people to pour “all our efforts into these 76 days, and by voting like never before.”
  184. While also making the case for Biden and Harris, Obama closed out with what is at stake in this election, saying, “Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy.”
  185. As Obama was speaking, Trump tweeted, falsely claiming, “HE SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN, AND GOT CAUGHT!”
  187. On Wednesday, several Democratic women leaders spoke including Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Warren, and former Rep. Gabby Giffords. Harris accepted the nomination to become the first woman of color on a major party ticket.
  188. Harris said, “We’re at an inflection point,” saying, “The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone,” and of Trump, “I know a predator when I see one.”
  189. While Harris spoke, Trump tweeted, “DIDN’T SHE CALL HIM A RACIST??? DIDN’T SHE SAY HE WAS INCOMPETENT???” about her primary remarks on Biden. Harris had specifically said she did not think Biden was a racist.
  190. On Thursday, French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered an EU-led mediation of the Belarus election stand-off in concert with Russia.
  191. On Friday, Reuters reported the Trump regime will send Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegunto to visit Russia and Lithuania, where Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya took refuge, seeking a peaceful resolution.
  192. On Thursday, Alexei Navalny, the face of Russian opposition to Putin, fell ill on a flight bound for Moscow after drinking tea at an airport, suspected of being poisoned. This would mark the second time Navalny was poisoned.
  193. On Friday, Trump remained largely silent on Navalny’s poisoning, telling reporters, “We’re looking at it.” Biden issued a strong statement, calling it “unacceptable” and said Trump “continues to cozy up to Russia.”
  194. On Thursday, Trump again claimed without evidence that Twitter has anti-Republican bias, tweeting, “It’s never a real Twitter Trending. It’s Twitter Executive’s Choice. Only negative on Republican voices, especially mine!”
  195. On Thursday, asked about Obama’s DNC speech, Stephen Miller told reporters, “President Obama was one of the worst presidents, if not the worst president, in US history.”
  196. On Thursday, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York indicted Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, and three others for criminal charges that they defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors.
  197. Bannon, Brian Kolfage, and two others used a nonprofit called “We Build The Wall,” set up in Week 80, and raised more than $25 million. Bannon used a shell company to take more than $1 million in donations for themselves.
  198. Kolfage, a military veteran, raised $17 million in the first week, but GoFundMe threatened that the donations would be refunded if he could not identify a legitimate nonprofit to transfer funds to. At that point, Kolfage enlisted Bannon and Andrew Badolato.
  199. Prosecutors said Kolfage said on the website he would take no salary and all money raised would go toward the wall. Bannon said publicly they would be volunteers. The White House said, “This is not a White House matter.”
  200. Bannon was taken into custody Thursday morning by U.S. Postal Service agents from his boat off of Connecticut. The United States Postal Inspection Service assisted in the investigation.
  201. Bannon was arrested aboard a $35 million, 150-foot yacht owned by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who is accused of money laundering, bribery, and rape. Wengui also is a member of Mar-a-Lago.
  202. The website for “We Build The Wall” listed an endorsement and testimonial from Donald Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Corey Lewandowski. A spokesperson for Donald Jr. claimed he did not give his permission.
  203. Bannon was the seventh person connected to Trump or his 2016 campaign who has been charged with a crime, including Stone, Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos.
  204. Asked about the arrest in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters, “I feel very badly,” adding, “I haven’t been dealing with him for a very long period of time,” and claiming he knew nothing about We Build The Wall.
  205. Trump then contradicted himself, saying, “I don’t like that project,” adding, “I thought it was being done for showboating reasons,” and called paying for the border wall privately “inappropriate.”
  206. Trump had tweeted on July 12, “I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall…by a private group which raised money by ads.” The tweet came less than a month after Geoffrey Berman was fired by AG Barr.
  207. CNN reported that in 2019, Kris Kobach, both the general counsel and a board member for We Build The Wall, said three times that Trump was “enthusiastic” about the project and it carried his blessing.
  208. On Thursday, a federal judge threw out Trump’s challenge to Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s subpoena, saying Trump failed to show that the subpoena would pose an unfair burden. Trump’s attorneys said they would appeal.
  209. On Friday, the Second Circuit denied Trump’s emergency request for a stay order of the Vance’s subpoena, and set a rapid schedule for oral arguments, starting with a hearing on September 1.
  210. However, a previous agreement under which Vance agreed not to enforce the subpoena until seven days after the district court ruled expires next week, leaving a window in which he might enforce the subpoena.
  211. On Thursday, Fauci said on a panel, “I’m not pleased with how things are going,” saying public health officials are beginning to see a “disturbing” uptick in coronavirus cases in states like Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.
  212. Fauci added the U.S. will continue to see cases rise and fall unless the federal government and states pull together, saying, “That’s the thing that I’m concerned about because I believe we can, we have within our power.”
  213. On Thursday, three European countries saw their biggest jump in cases since the lockdown. The U.S. led the world with 5.5 million cases and 175,000 deaths, including more than 1,300 new deaths for a second day.
  214. On Thursday, the University of Kansas school newspaper urged the school not to reopen, after 87 tested positive. Georgia State’s quarterback said he was diagnosed with a heart condition linked to Covid-19, and won’t play.
  215. On Thursday, WAPO reported the Trump regime blocked the Food and Drug Administration from regulating a broad swath of laboratory tests, including ones for Covid-19, in a move strongly opposed by the agency.
  216. The move stunned public health experts and laboratories, happening in the midst of a pandemic, who warned it could result in unreliable tests hitting the market, and erroneous tests worsening the crisis.
  217. The regime said the decision, announced on the Health and Human Services website, was made for legal reasons, claiming the FDA does not have the authority to regulate tests that are laboratory-developed.
  218. On Thursday, WAPO although Trump has left vacant slots on dozens of boards and commissions and hundred of political appointments, he has been fixated on the Postal Service governing board since he took office.
  219. The board has 11 seats. Trump had a chance to start from scratch because of hold-ups led by Sen. Bernie Sanders years before. Trump was able to appoint four Republicans and two Democrats, giving the board a quorum.
  220. On Thursday, Level spoke to mail carriers in a major Northeast city. One carrier said, “We’re not allowed to talk about it at work. But we all know. He’s trying to mess with the collection of absentee ballots. Period.”
  221. Another said, “I know we have to remain neutral. But I’ve been a letter carrier for almost 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. We all know it’s politically motivated. We can’t work here and just pretend.”
  222. On Thursday, Motherboard reported shortly after DeJoy’s public statement Tuesday, the USPS emailed maintenance managers around the country to instruct them not to reconnect or reinstall any mail sorting machines.
  223. Later Thursday, Motherboard reported memos from USPS bureaucracy admonished employees not to speak to the press, and warned employees customers asking a lot of questions might be journalists.
  224. On Thursday, the Texas Tribune reported a postal workers’ union leader in San Antonio said that local Postal Service operations are experiencing major delays, and workers hid those when Rep. Joaquin Castro visited.
  225. Castro toured the facility, and noted six sorting machines were removed. Carlos Barrios, the union leader, said this is the first time he has seen sorting machines dismantled, and expressed concern about election mail.
  226. On Thursday, David Williams, former USPS IG and Vice Chair of the USPS Board of Governors, told the Congressional Progressive Caucus that Mnuchin and the White House were behind the slowdown in mail.
  227. Williams said he resigned “when it became clear to me that the administration was politicizing the Postal Service with the treasury secretary as the lead figure for the White House in that effort.”
  228. Williams said Trump was “determined that the Postal Service should inflict harm on Amazon delivery by sharply raising parcel shipping prices on everyone by 400% or more,” calling it attacking a “political foe.”
  229. Williams said Mnuchin also asked for pricing and volume discounts given to Amazon, UPS, and FedEx, saying the Post Office “replied to early demands from the Secretary explaining that his demands were illegal.”
  230. On Thursday, LA Times reported at a mail processing facility in Santa Clarita, workers discovered in July sorting machines had been disabled and padlocked. Of the 671 machines removed, 76 were in California.
  231. At a massive mail-sorting facility in South Los Angeles, workers fell so far behind that gnats and rodents were swarming around packages containing rotted food, and baby chicks and crickets were dead inside their boxes.
  232. On Thursday, NBC News reported Trump’s cabinet voted in a May 2018 Situation Room meeting to decide whether to separate migrant children, a month after then AG Jeff Sessions launched the “zero tolerance” policy.
  233. Stephen Miller led the meeting, saying, “If we don’t enforce this, it is the end of our country as we know it,” and was angry that then DHS Secretary Nielsen said there were not enough resources to implement it.
  234. Miller accused anyone at the meeting opposed to zero tolerance of being a lawbreaker and un-American, and called for a vote. Hands went up, except for Nielsen. She then signed a memo to implement the policy.
  235. On Thursday, 73 Republican national security officials and former Republican members of Congress issued a statement titled “Defending Democracy,” saying they will vote for Biden.
  236. They said, “Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President,” and has aligned with dictators.
  237. They added, it “is imperative that we stop Trump’s assault on our nation’s values and institutions and reinstate the moral foundations of our democracy,” and he “is dangerously unfit to serve another term.”
  238. On Thursday, historian Jon Meacham, who had never endorsed before, said he would endorse Biden and speak at the DNC, citing Trump “poses such a clear and present danger to the things we should value most.”
  239. On Thursday, as Biden was set to give his convention speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Trump held a rally in Biden’s childhood hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. It is rare to schedule a rally close to an opponent’s speech.
  240. Trump, who was down in polling in Pennsylvania, which he narrowly won in 2016, said Biden will “remind us that he was born in Scranton, but he left like 70 years ago,” adding, “he left, he abandoned Pennsylvania.”
  241. Trump did not share a plan for Covid-19, instead calling it a “horrible plague from China,” and bragging the stock market “just hit a new high” despite “all of the witch hunts, the phony witch hunts.”
  242. Trump said, “And me, we, we’re the wall between the American dream and total insanity, and the destruction of the greatest country in the history of the world” — and said of Democrats, “They’re coming to get you.”
  243. Trump repeated his lies about the election, saying Democrats are “trying to steal the election, and everybody knows that,” adding, “Because the only way they’re going to win is by a rigged election. I really believe that.”
  244. On Thursday, the last night of a highly successful virtual DNC as measured by fundraising, viewership, and engagement, Biden accepted his party’s nomination in what was widely praised as his best speech of his career.
  245. Biden said Trump “has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger, too much fear, too much division,” saying, “I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”
  246. Biden promised unity, and to lead all Americans, saying, “This is not a partisan moment, this must be an American moment,” and “This is a life-changing election that will determine America’s future.”
  247. Without mentioning Trump by name, Biden said, “He keeps waiting for a miracle…No miracle is coming,” and promised to “deal with” the coronavirus, and “take the muzzle off our experts.”
  248. Biden said he decided to run for president in 2017 after Charlottesville, and called for an “end of this chapter of American darkness…as love and hope and light join in the battle for the soul of the nation.”
  249. The speech was widely praised by Fox News hosts. Anchor Chris Wallace called it “enormously effective,” saying it “blew a hole” in Trump’s characterization of Biden. Anchor Bret Baier praised it as Biden’s best.
  250. On Thursday, during the DNC, Trump called in for an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. Although Trump had been live-tweeting the DNC, he lied, saying, I have watched some, not that much.”
  251. Trump lied about mail-in voting, saying, “They are sending out 51 million ballots to people that didn’t ask for them.” These are applications, not ballots. He claimed absentee ballots, which are the same, “are great.”
  252. Trump added, “This is going to be the greatest scam in history” and “the most fraudulent election in history,” lying that dead people would vote, and others more than once, saying, “It’s just a horrible, horrible thing.”
  253. Trump claimed on election day, “We’re going to have sheriffs and we’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have hopefully, US attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals.”
  254. Trump has no authority to deploy local law enforcement officials to monitor elections. Federal law prohibits intimidation at the polls, and makes it illegal for federal officer to be at the polls unless it is to repel U.S. enemies.
  255. A decree put in place against the RNC in 1982 barred off-duty police officers at the polls, after they targeted voters of color, expired in 2018. Civil rights experts said Trump’s tactic was from the Jim Crow playbook.
  256. On Friday, Denver Post reported Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold called Trump’s threat “indistinguishable from tactics used against Black voters in the Jim Crow South,” and said she will not allow it in her state.
  257. Griswold added, “Suppression tactics the President is suggesting cannot be tolerated in our nation, and I will not allow President Trump to send law enforcement to polling locations to intimidate voters.”
  258. On Friday, Politico reported in a leaked audio, Trump is heard in a 2017 meeting with civil rights leaders, saying he benefited from the low turnout of Black voters in 2016.
  259. Trump can be heard saying, “Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ’cause they liked me,” adding, “That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great.”
  260. On Friday, The Hill reported Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee quietly signed a bill into law that increases the punishment for being found guilty of a felony related to certain kinds of protests to losing the right to vote.
  261. On Friday, Gov. Cuomo told the “TODAY” show Trump’s claims on mail-in voting and fraud are “a setup,” saying Trump “is anticipating losing on Election Day, and then we’re going to hear him say ‘oh, there was fraud.’”
  262. On Friday, the Guardian reviewed a 524-page court filing by the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania court and found no evidence of fraud linked to dropboxes or mail-in ballots. The campaign alleged widespread fraud.
  263. The opposing attorney said, “The campaign has not provided any meaningful evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem in Pennsylvania or…any intentional misconduct,” calling it “hot air.”
  264. On Friday, Dejoy testified before the Senate virtually. He said twice that it was “an outrageous claim” that his efforts were to target the election, and switched to saying election mail can be treated as first-class.
  265. DeJoy said he would not restore sorting machines, vaguely suggesting the slowdown was caused by other issues. He also claimed he learned about removal of the machines and blue postal boxes when the public did.
  266. Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen asked if he did a study on how his moves would affect seniors and veterans, who rely on the USPS for medication and checks. He said no. Republicans expressed concern about this too.
  267. DeJoy claimed, “there has been no changes in any policies with regard to election mail for the 2020 election,” and said he has not spoken to Trump “about the Postal Service other than to congratulate me” on the position.
  268. DeJoy admitted he votes by mail, and breaking with Trump said, “I voted by mail for a number of years. The Postal Service will deliver every ballot and process every ballot in time that it receives.”
  269. On Friday, speaking at the conservative Council for National Policy, Trump repeated his rhetoric: “I’m the only thing standing between the American dream and total anarchy, madness and chaos, and that’s what it is.”
  270. Trump claimed he represented “the bright future, not the dark future that you saw last night and for the last four days.” Biden’s speech and most were optimistic, save for Trump’s actions and attack on our democracy.
  271. Trump took a swipe at Obama, saying, “President Obama, they say he was a great president,” bragging, “but you can’t be a great president when much of what he’s done we’ve undone.”
  272. Trump continued to attack mail-in voting, saying he heard “a theory” that if you do not have election results by the end of the year, “Crazy Nancy Pelosi would become president.”
  273. Trump appeared to be referring to Section One of the Constitution, which says the House of Representatives picks a president if electors do not vote by the inauguration date, which next year would be January 20, 2021.
  274. Trump also said, “think of it: They’re going to send out 51 million. It could be higher than that. Fifty-one million votes — no signature verification on many of them,” and again lied: “In some of them, harvesting is allowed.”
  275. On Friday, NYT reported Facebook is laying out contingency plans and walking through post-election scenarios, including in case Trump tries to use the platform to delegitimize the results of the election.
  276. Facebook is also preparing steps to take if Trump tries to wrongly claim on the platform that he won another four-year term, or tries to invalidate the results by saying the USPS lost mail-in ballots.
  277. On Friday, University of Iowa became the first Big Ten school to cut sports during the pandemic, including men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming, and men’s tennis, started in 1922, 1917, 1974 and 1939.
  278. On Friday, CNN reported South Dakota reported a spike to 193 daily coronavirus cases. Cases also popped up across state lines as Sturgis attendees returned home, including 7 in Nebraska and 15 in Minnesota.
  279. On Friday, the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement that the Trump regime “strongly opposes” a House bill to halt changes at the USPS until after the pandemic, and provide $25 billion to the agency.
  280. OMB said the bill would “impose burdensome new requirements on USPS that would make it even harder for USPS to deliver election mail,” and called $25 billion a “bailout,” and said Trump would veto it.
  281. The statement claimed the bill was an “overreaction to sensationalized media reports” that made “evidence-free accusations” about the USPS and its objectives — in what has become a GOP talking point.
  282. On Friday, Trump held a funeral for his brother Robert at the White House — something rarely done. The last time remains were brought to the White House was in 1963 after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
  283. On Friday, WSJ reported that of the $25 billion earmarked by Congress for federal agencies and states to spend on Covid-19 testing, only about 10 to 15% has been drawn down, according to HHS data.
  284. The seven-day average of tests was 709,347, down from 781,156 a month earlier, with declines in 21 states. Adm. Brett Giroir said some of the decrease was due to closures due to the hurricane and clearing backlogs.
  285. On Friday, WAPO reported two weeks after Trump’s attempt to bypass Congress on coronavirus relief by issuing executive orders, just one state, Arizona, had started sending the extra $300 to its residents.
  286. Thirteen states have been approved to give the enhanced payments, with Montana and Kentucky agreeing to kick-in $100. Other states have said they will apply. South Dakota turned down the jobless benefit.
  287. This week, weekly unemployment claims rose about 1 million again, after one week below, for the 21st time. The vast majority of the 28 million who were receiving the $600 weekly payment have gone for weeks without it.
  288. On evictions, Trump’s order instructed federal agencies to “consider” whether additional moratoriums were necessary. Census data showed with moratoriums expiring, 40 million could be evicted by year-end.
  289. On Friday, a California court ordered Trump to pay $44,100 to Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, for her legal fees related to the case on her nondisclosure agreement, which was found to be unenforceable.
  290. On Friday, American Media, parent of The National Enquirer, announced Trump ally David Pecker, who helped him arrange “catch and kill” deals ahead of 2016, was out as CEO. Pecker cooperated with the SDNY.
  291. On Saturday, as Trump prepared for the RNC and did not go golfing, he tweeted a series of incendiary and false claims that played on his messaging of law and order, with undertones of racism.
  292. Trump tweeted about a small protest where a few arrests were made, “Another bad night of Rioting in Portland, Oregon,” adding, “STOP THE RIOTS. Would bring in National Guard, end problem immediately. ASK!”
  293. Trump’s falsely claimed, “the Democrats took the word GOD out of the Pledge of Allegiance” at the DNC, adding, “Remember Evangelical Christians, and ALL, this is where they are coming from.”
  294. Trump attacked Biden for not holding the DNC in Milwaukee, tweeting, “Biden and the Democrats have greatly disrespected the Great State of Wisconsin.” Biden leads Trump in Wisconsin polls.
  295. Trump tweeted, “Why would Suburban Women vote for Biden and the Democrats when Democrat run cities are now rampant with crime…which could easily spread to the suburbs.”
  296. Trump lied, tweeting, “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies” to get approval for vaccines and therapeutics,” claiming it is to delay “until after November 3rd.”
  297. On Saturday, Pelosi responded to Trump’s tweet, tweeting, “The FDA must approve drugs or vaccines based on their safety and effectiveness — NOT political pressure from the White House.”
  298. On Saturday, Pelosi brought House members back from August recess to vote on a $25 billion rescue package for the USPS, saying Republicans will “be hearing from their constituents because this hits home.”
  299. Pelosi said, “We want the Postmaster General to undo the damage he has already done, put back the sorting machines and mailboxes he has already removed and prioritize official election mail as First-Class mail.”
  300. On Saturday, three California wildfires continued to escalate, now the second-largest fires in the state’s history. More than 100,000 were forced to flee, and at least six had died.
  301. Many of the fires began a week ago amid a heat wave and rare thunderstorms that produced 20,000 lightning strikes. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was reaching out to Canada and Australia for help.
  302. Trump blamed California for the wildfires and threatened to withhold federal funding, saying, “you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests …they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.”
  303. As the week came to a close, there were 23,015,658 worldwide cases and 800,720 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 5,638,633 cases (25.5%), 175,674 deaths (22.0%), and a mortality rate of 3.1%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, August 22, 2020

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon exits Manhattan federal court on Thursday, August 20, 2020 in New York. Bannon, 66, pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded donors to a $25 million campaign to build a border wall and was released on a five million dollar bond.