W

October 31, 2020

Week 207

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

In the final full week heading into the election, the seeds of Trump’s bungled pandemic response came back to haunt him, with the twin challenges of record daily cases and hospitalizations in many states, along with the worst week for the stock market since March. Even as a new outbreak hit Vice President Mike Pence’s staffers, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows all but conceded the regime had thrown the white flag on any federal response, saying, “We are not going to control the pandemic.”

Trump barn-stormed battleground states, all of which were facing surges in cases, and continued to hold rallies with supporters packed together without face masks. Unthinkable. Polling showed nearly 6 in 10 Americans disapproved of Trump’s rallies, and evidence continued to come out that the rallies were leading to sickness and death.

This week Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, for the first time in 151 years without a single vote from the minority party, heading into a highly litigious election with Republicans and the Trump campaign bringing hundreds of lawsuits in an effort to suppress voting. Nevertheless, a record 90 million Americans had voted by the end of the week, two-thirds of the total 2016 vote, as the country braced for violence on Election Day.

  1. On Wednesday, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll found 3 in 4 voters are concerned about violence on Election Day. Just 1 in 4 are “very confident” there will be a peaceful transition if Joe Biden wins.
  2. Just 38% approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Also, 59% disapprove of his continuing to hold campaign rallies, while 64% approve of Biden’s decision not to hold large rallies.
  3. On Friday, a study by Stanford University found Trump campaign rallies held between June 20 and September 22 resulted in more than 30,000 coronavirus cases and 700 deaths.
  4. On Monday, Washington, D.C. artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg created a giant installation at RFK Stadium called “IN AMERICA How Could This Happen…” of over 200,000 white flags, representing coronavirus deaths.
  5. On Saturday, the State Department signed a non-binding declaration challenging the right to abortion, co-sponsored by Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda.
  6. The declaration was a rebuke to the United Nations human rights bodies that have sought to protect abortion access. Secretary Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar signed in a virtual ceremony.
  7. On Tuesday, in a letter signed by 20 former Republican U.S. attorneys, appointed by every GOP president from Eisenhower to Trump, they endorsed Biden, calling Trump “a threat to the rule of law in our country.”
  8. They cited Trump dictated to the Justice Department “its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making.”
  9. On Saturday, the Senate held a rare weekend session to advance the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, planning a vote on Monday which would be the closest to an election in history.
  10. Many of the same Senate Republicans did not advance then President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, who was nominated in March 2016, citing it was an election year.
  11. On Saturday, at a campaign rally in Miami, Obama mocked Trump, saying, “He likes to act tough and talk tough,” adding, but “when ‘60 Minutes’ and Lesley Stahl are too tough for you, you ain’t all that tough.”
  12. Obama added Trump’s behavior is “not normal”, and said of the pandemic, “Trump isn’t going to suddenly protect all of us” when he cannot protect himself. Obama did the event as a drive-in rally.
  13. On Saturday, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump repeated his lie that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic, which he has said on 37 of the last 55 days, as the U.S. reported a record of over 83,000 cases Friday.
  14. Trump complained about the media coverage, saying “all you hear about” on television news is “covid, covid, covid,” saying if a plane crashed with 500 people it would get no coverage (925 Americans died on Friday).
  15. Trump mocked Obama’s drive-in rally, while his supporters stood packed together, mostly without masks, saying, “People in cars. I don’t get it,” and adding, “There were so few cars. I’ve never seen an audience like this.”
  16. Trump added of polls, “You know, when I get them in my favor, I like them. When they come in my favor, I repeat them all the time. I say they’re great. When they’re not in my favor, I don’t discuss that.”
  17. Later Saturday, Trump held a rally in Waukesha, as Wisconsin reported record coronavirus infection rates, and 4,600 daily cases, with a crowd packed closely together and some wearing masks.
  18. At the rally, Trump displayed a giant ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag behind him, which had come to symbolize rejection of the “Black Lives Matter” movement in recent months.
  19. Trump launched into attacks on Biden as the crowd chanted “Lock him up,” claiming, “He’s against oil. He’s against oil, guns and God,” and citing a choice between a “Trump super recovery and a Biden depression.”
  20. Trump also repeatedly used Obama’s middle name, saying, “Barack Hussein Obama arrived to help Sleepy Joe because Sleepy Joe is only capable of doing one of these every three or four days.”
  21. Later Saturday, Trump held a rally in Ohio, another state experiencing a surge in Covid, in a packed setting with few wearing face masks. Trump lied on Covid, saying, “By the way, 99.9 percent is good and then you’re immune.”
  22. Trump floated the baseless claim Obama and Biden spied on his campaign, to which the crowd responded, “Lock them up!” He attacked Hunter Biden, saying of his alleged laptop surfacing, “it’s amazing the way God works.”
  23. On Saturday, an Ohio man told police that he was approached about helping in a scheme to arrest Republican Gov. Mike DeWine at his home and try him for “tyranny.”
  24. On Saturday, GOP House candidate Madison Cawthorn’s website accused a critic of going “to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” The comment was later removed.
  25. On Saturday, new daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 80,000 for the second day in a row, as hospitalizations surpassed 40,000 and the daily death tolls started to climb.
  26. In El Paso, Texas, where ICUs hit full capacity on Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott turned a convention center into “auxiliary medical units,” and asked HHS for an okay to temporarily use an army medical center.
  27. On Saturday, AP reported two staffers for Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler tested positive for coronavirus. Loeffler’s office said she was tested Friday after the discovery, and tested negative.
  28. Later Saturday, NYT reported Vice President Pence’s staff chief of staff Mark Short had tested positive for coronavirus. Bloomberg News reported Marty Obst, an adviser, also recently tested positive.
  29. Shortly after, the Times reported at least four members of Pence’s inner-circle had tested positive, raising new questions about safety protocols where staffers do not routinely wear masks.
  30. A press aide for Pence said although he was in close contact with Short, he would “maintain his schedule in accordance with the C.D.C. guidelines for essential personnel.” Pence and Second Lady Karen tested negative.
  31. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tried to hide the outbreak. The decision by Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force, to continue campaigning raised scrutiny on the regime’s handling of the pandemic.
  32. On Sunday, NSA Robert O’Brien defended Pence continuing to campaign, saying it follows CDC rules: “Essential workers going out and campaigning and voting are about as essential as things we can do as Americans.”
  33. On Sunday, Meadows shocked the nation, telling “State of the Union,” “We are not going to control the pandemic,” and “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas.”
  34. Pressed on why the regime was not getting the virus under control, Meadows said, “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu,” and “What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors.”
  35. Meadows acknowledged he tried to hide the Pence staff outbreak, saying, “Sharing personal information is not something that we should do…unless it’s the vice president or president or someone that’s very close to them.”
  36. Shortly after, Biden said in a statement, “This wasn’t a slip by Meadows,” but “a candid acknowledgment” that Trump’s strategy has been “to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it” the virus goes away.
  37. On Sunday, the Union Leader in New Hampshire endorsed Biden, the first time the conservative newspaper has endorsed a Democrat in over 100 years.
  38. On Sunday, the Senate voted 51–48 to limit debate on Barrett and set up a final confirmation vote Monday — an appointment that would impact abortion rights, immigration, gay marriage, Obamacare, and the election.
  39. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”
  40. On Sunday, an NYPD officer was suspended without pay after videos shared on social media showed him saying “Trump 2020” over the patrol vehicle speaker on Saturday night.
  41. On Sunday, WSJ reported HHS halted its plans to roll out a $250 million taxpayer funded ad campaign to “defeat despair, inspire hope” on the pandemic which included Santa performers being given a Covid vaccine.
  42. The plan, hatched by Michael Caputo, was to give the performers an early vaccine in exchange for promoting the benefits of the vaccine. The campaign, which would have been funded with taxpayer money, is under review.
  43. On Sunday, Trump held a rally in New Hampshire, at an outdoor airport venue, with a crowd packed together, few in masks, saying, “Biden is the shutdown candidate,” and “Democrats are the shutdown party.”
  44. Trump again complained about the media covering the pandemic, saying, “They keep talking about cases,” again lying, “You know why we talk about cases? It’s all we do is tests…We have the best tests.”
  45. Trump also lied, saying, “we’re rounding the turn. Even without the vaccines we’re rounding the turn.” Trump also made fun of Biden for doing social-distanced events, and Obama doing drive-in events.
  46. Shortly after, Trump held a rally at an orchard in Maine. He told supporters, of the media, “They have no idea and they’re not happy about it,” predicting a “red wave,” to which his supporters loudly booed reporters.
  47. On Sunday, NYT reported the president of Fox News and several anchors and hosts were advised to quarantine, after being exposed to someone on a private flight that tested positive.
  48. Anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum and co-hosts Dana Perino and Juan Williams will host their shows from home. The flight was returning from last week’s presidential debate.
  49. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired its interview of Trump. CNN Fact Check found Trump made at least 16 false or misleading claims, 10 of which were related to the pandemic.
  50. Anchor Lesley Stahl referenced Trump walking out, saying, “we had prepared to talk about the many issues and questions facing the president, but in what has become an all-too-public dust-up, the conversation was cut short.”
  51. Despite Trump pre-releasing part of the interview last week, 17.4 million tuned in, the show’s biggest audience in more than two years. The show averaged 10.3 million viewers.
  52. On Sunday, Axios reported if Trump wins, he plans to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
  53. On Sunday, more than 200,000 marched in Minsk, in the largest demonstration since protests started in August, pressing for the resignation of Belarus’s authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko.
  54. On Monday, Trump tweeted the lie, “Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST,” referring to “a Fake News Media Conspiracy,” and lying, “Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%,” and “Corrupt Media conspiracy.”
  55. On Monday, Jared Kushner told “Fox & Friends” that Black Americans have to “want to be successful” in order for Trump’s policies to help them “break out of the problems that they’re complaining about.”
  56. Kushner also said of the George Floyd protests, “You saw a lot of people who were just virtue-signaling,” claiming, “quite frankly that was doing more to polarize the country than it was to bring people forward.”
  57. On Monday, Trump tried to defend Meadows, telling reporters, “He follows me,” on the helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center, “I said, ‘You know what? I just tested positive.’ He didn’t care. He was in that helicopter.”
  58. WAPO reported Meadows slept near Trump at Walter Reed in an ICU bed and limited his communication to Trump, while having no contact with senior regime officials for days about Trump’s condition.
  59. On Monday, Roll Call reported three Interior agencies, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation, went without Senate-confirmed leaders Trump’s entire term.
  60. On Monday, the San Antonio Express-News reported Texas Gov. Abbott will deploy 1,000 Army National Guard troops to five major cities in the state for Election Day. Troops will be sent this weekend.
  61. On Monday, House committee leaders announced the Office of Special Counsel had opened an investigation into Pompeo for a possible Hatch Act violation in connection with his RNC address from Jerusalem.
  62. On Monday, Trump held three rallies in Pennsylvania, a must win state where he was polling behind, amid a surge in cases drawing public health concerns. Trump criticized Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus safety restrictions.
  63. Trump continued his baseless claims that the election was rigged against him, saying, “This is the guy that’s counting our ballots? It doesn’t work…So be vigilant and watch. We’re watching you, Gov. Wolf, very closely.”
  64. Trump also lied about a Pennsylvania court decision, saying, “‘No, you can’t have poll watchers.’ So he’s saying we can’t even watch as they count the ballots?” The ruling related to poll watchers at satellite offices.
  65. Trump also threatened voter intimidation, saying, “A lot of strange things happening in Philadelphia,” adding, “We’re watching you, Philadelphia. We’re watching at the highest level.”
  66. Trump lied that, “We’re rounding the turn” on the coronavirus, and continued to complain that the pandemic was getting too much attention, saying, “Covid, Covid, Covid. Covid,” and lied that “on Nov. 4, you won’t be hearing so much.”
  67. On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported three outbreaks and at least 23 cases related to Trump campaign rallies in September, including two held by Trump and one by Pence.
  68. The outbreaks included at least 16 cases and two hospitalizations from a Trump rally in Bemidji, four from a Trump rally in Duluth, and three from an event with Pence and Ivanka indoors at a hotel in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
  69. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 650 points over concerns in the rise of coronavirus cases, and Meadows’s comments indicating no federal government plan to combat the virus.
  70. On Monday, the Trump regime appealed in court to allow it to block several states from giving billions of dollars in emergency food stamps to the lowest-income Americans during the coronavirus crisis.
  71. On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with the GOP in a Wisconsin voting case, refusing to extend the deadline for absentee ballots received after Election Day. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the concurring opinion.
  72. Kavanaugh wrote deadlines were devised “to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after Election Day and potentially flip the results of an election.”
  73. Kavanaugh’s opinion set off alarms among civil rights and Democratic Party lawyers, who viewed it as giving credence to Trump’s baseless argument that any results after Nov. 3 could be riddled with fraud.
  74. Kavanaugh also parroted a false statement made by Trump, writing, “Those states also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.”
  75. Earlier Monday, Trump had tweeted, “Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd.” Twitter slapped a warning on the tweet, calling it misleading.
  76. Later Monday, the Senate voted to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court, eight days before the election, and after more than 60 million Americans had voted. The vote was 52–48 with only Sen. Susan Collins joining Democrats.
  77. This confirmation marked the first time in 151 years that a justice was confirmed without the support of a single member of the minority party.
  78. After the vote tally, all Republicans leaped from their desks and applauded except for Collins, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said she feared the hit the court and the Senate would take for proceeding as voters cast their ballots.
  79. Shortly after, looking to bolster his campaign, Trump hosted an unusual swearing-in ceremony for Barrett on the White House lawn, with Justice Clarence Thomas administering the oath and Republicans in attendance.
  80. Supreme Court justices are supposed to be apolitical. Barrett was only the second Supreme Court justice, after Thomas, to not receive a “Well Qualified” rating by an unanimous vote from the American Bar Association.
  81. Shortly after, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “You may win this vote…But you will never, never get your credibility back,” adding, “you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority.”
  82. There was talk of Biden expanding the court. Sen. Angus King added, “They expect that they’re going to be able to break the rules with impunity, and when the shoe maybe is on the other foot, nothing’s going to happen.”
  83. Shortly after, when asked if the Barrett nomination will cost Republicans seats in the upcoming election, McConnell told Fox News, “I think this nominee will be a political asset.”
  84. McConnell also adjourned the Senate until after the election, ensuring no coronavirus relief package would be passed, and said when the Senate returned on November 9, they would take up a Trump judicial pick.
  85. Shortly after the confirmation, the Mississippi attorney general petitioned the Supreme Court again to review the state’s 15-week abortion ban, a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
  86. On Monday, Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, used her Facebook page to amplify unsubstantiated claims of corruption by Biden, and asked her follower to share it.
  87. On Tuesday, U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack eliminated the “firewall” between journalists and management, saying it made it too hard to prohibit “biased reporting” and reporting of classified information.
  88. Pack, a Trump appointee and ally of Steve Bannon, said the decision was issued as a “final rule” and would therefore have no formal comment period, and took effect immediately.
  89. The rule came as five suspended USAGM executives sued Pack and the agency in early October, alleging leadership had systematically and intentionally violated the firewall. Pack had denied wrongdoing.
  90. On Tuesday, a federal judge denied the DOJ’s motion to substitute the U.S. government as defendant in a defamation lawsuit against Trump brought by E. Jean Carroll, saying Carroll “would be left with no remedy.”
  91. On Tuesday, NYT reported that according to his tax returns, when Trump’s investment in the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago failed, he defaulted on his loans, sued the banks, and largely avoided paying taxes.
  92. The majority of the money came from Deutsche Bank. Trump assured bank officials including Justin Kennedy, the son of retired Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, that the development was a guaranteed moneymaker.
  93. When Trump defaulted, he sued Deutsche and others in the deal, accusing them of igniting a financial crisis, and claiming the crisis constituted a “force majeure” and accused them of “predatory lending practices”
  94. Trump later settled, and though Deutsche vowed never to do business with him again, he was later introduced by Jared Kushner to Rosemary Vrablic, his personal wealth manager at the bank. The forgiven debt is part of the investigation by New York AG Letitia James.
  95. On Tuesday, a grand jury in Cleveland indicted Trump allies and far-right hoaxers Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman with felony charges for multi-state robocalls meant to intimidate Black voters.
  96. On Monday, AP reported Trump is eying hosting his election night party at Trump Hotel DC. The campaign sent fundraising emails in Trump’s name offering donors the chance to join Trump at his “favorite hotel.”
  97. Critics cited it as yet another instance of Trump using his office to personally profit. During his first four years, the Trump Hotel DC acted as an unofficial clubhouse for the Trump presidency.
  98. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump Org has received at least $8.1 million in revenue at its properties while Trump has been in office, including $2.5 million from the government and $5.6 million from campaign donors.
  99. On Tuesday, WAPO reported with the election one week ago, mail service continued to lag, leaving voters in the unprecedented position of having to navigate how to turn in their ballots in the final days.
  100. Federal court orders in New York, Pennsylvania, Montana, Washington state, and D.C. blocked Postal Service officials from implementing cost cutting measures, but the order has not restored service levels.
  101. Data provided to the court showed on-time first-class mail delivery for October 27 in: Philadelphia was 43.0%, Detroit 52.6%, Northern Ohio 56.0%, Lakeland (Wisconsin) 60.7%, and South Florida 62.9%.
  102. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters at the White House, “It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3 instead of counting ballots for two weeks.”
  103. Trump lied that counting ballots after Election Day “is totally inappropriate, and I don’t believe that’s by our laws.” PolitiFact rated this false: federal law allows states more than a month to finalize the count.
  104. On Tuesday, a Michigan judge struck down a directive from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson banning open carry within 100 feet of polling places on Election Day, said the directive was “inconsistent with the law.”
  105. On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Lansing, Michigan. A group of health-care workers denounced the rally amid record daily new coronavirus cases, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called it “a recipe for disaster.”
  106. Trump told the tightly packed, maskless crowd, “It’s a choice between a Trump boom or a Biden lockdown,” adding, “It’s a choice between our plan to kill the virus or Biden’s plan to kill the American dream.”
  107. Trump added, “Covid, covid, covid, covid, covid, covid cases — do you ever notice they use the word ‘cases’? Like Barron Trump has a case, sniffles, one Kleenex and he was better,” and lied the media would stop covering the pandemic on Nov. 4.
  108. Trump said of the pandemic, “We’re getting your husbands back to work,” and of Whitmer, “We got to get her going, I don’t know.” Trump again falsely claimed he once was voted Michigan’s “man of the year.”
  109. Trump called Whitmer “a disaster” and likened Michigan to “a prison,” as the crowd chanted, “Lock her up,” and said she should have thanked him for the FBI thwarting the plot to kidnap her.
  110. Trump also seemed to legitimize the kidnapping plot, saying, “I mean, we’ll have to see if it’s a problem. Right? People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t.”
  111. On Tuesday, ahead of a planned Trump rally in Omaha, Nebraska, Douglas County posted a record number of coronavirus cases for the fourth week in a row. Omaha’s mask mandate and coronavirus restrictions were waived.
  112. Later Tuesday, Trump held a rally at Eppley Airfield. As parking lots filled, supporters were directed to lots three miles away and took buses, where some waited more than four hours to listen to Trump speak.
  113. Trump said, in 2016, “you elected an outsider as president who finally put America first,” and “I’m not a politician.” He lied on Covid, saying, “We’re rounding that beautiful turn,” and a vaccine will help end it “a lot faster.”
  114. After he spoke to a packed together, mostly maskless crowd of 25,000 supporters, he flew away, but supporters were left waiting for buses back as temperatures dropped to nearly freezing.
  115. The buses could not navigate the jammed airport roads, leaving some supporters, including many elderly supporters, stranded for hours. Police scrambled to help those most at risk get warm.
  116. By the end of the night, 30 people needed medical attention. Seven supporters at the rally were taken to hospitals “with a variety of medical conditions.” The campaign placed the blame on road closures.
  117. On Tuesday, the White House science office sent out a press release, listing “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of Trump’s top accomplishments, even as the number of daily cases continued to reach new highs.
  118. On Wednesday, when asked about the document, Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN he did not write the document, and said, “I’m not going to quibble over semantics.”
  119. Asked about Pence going to Wisconsin amid record cases and hospitalizations, Gidley said he “has the best doctors” and “the American people have the right under the 1st amendment to peaceably assemble.”
  120. On Wednesday, Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House’s coronavirus testing czar, disputed Trump’s linking the rise in cases to more testing, telling the “Today” show the surge is “not just a function of testing.”
  121. Giroir added, “we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up, and we know that too because hospitalizations are going up.” He also acknowledged deaths were increasing.
  122. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th,” lying that there are “plenty of hospital rooms.”
  123. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the White House ended its investigation of the coronavirus outbreak at the Barrett reception early, without gathering helpful data to be used in D.C. and where guests returned to.
  124. CDC contact tracers set to conduct a multi-state investigation were told to stand down. The White House also called off efforts to sequence the genomes of virus samples from those infected.
  125. Sequencing would have revealed shared mutations linking cases in D.C. and other communities, and would have allowed the regime to know if the Pence staff outbreak was from infections at the reception recirculating.
  126. On Wednesday, the stock market continued to plunge for the third day, falling 680 points in the morning, as investors feared a rise in coronavirus cases would halt the economic recovery and the lack of stimulus.
  127. On Wednesday, Trump responded to the NYT story, tweeting, “As a developer long ago…I was able to make an appropriately great deal” on a tower, adding, “Doesn’t that make me a smart guy rather than a bad guy?”
  128. On Wednesday, CNBC reported David Correia, a business partner of Lev Parnas, was set to plead guilty for defrauding investors in “Fraud Guarantee.” Giuliani was paid $500k by Fraud Guarantee.
  129. On Wednesday, CNN reported on recorded conversations between Jared Kushner and Bob Woodward for his book. Kushner said Trump was “getting the country back from the doctors” in a “negotiated settlement.”
  130. Kushner bragged the U.S. was moving swiftly through the “panic phase” and “pain phase” of the pandemic and that the country was at the “beginning of the comeback phase” in time for Trump’s re-election.
  131. Kushner said, “The federal government should not own the testing…But the President also is very smart politically with the way he did that fight with the governors to basically say, no, no, no, no, I own the opening.”
  132. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a national mask mandate as coronavirus cases spiked. Russia’s rollout of an early vaccine had largely failed.
  133. On Wednesday, Germany and France announced partial lockdowns to curb the surge in the European region. Germany implemented a four-week shutdown of restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters, and other leisure.
  134. On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC, “If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s going to be a whole lot of pain in this country,” adding, “we are going in the wrong direction.”
  135. On Wednesday, the official Twitter account of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tweeted a video of Trump’s “historic feats,” that some experts likened to propaganda.
  136. On Wednesday, Trump complained about social media bias, tweeting, “Why isn’t Biden corruption trending number one on Twitter? Biggest world story, and nowhere to be found,” adding, “Disgraceful! Section 230.”
  137. On Wednesday, at Senate hearings, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said an FBI warning on hack-and-leak operations played a role in its decision to limit the reach of the New York Post story.
  138. On Wednesday, Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, revealed he wrote the “Anonymous” op-ed and book, tweeting, “Trump is a man without character. It’s why I wrote ‘A Warning.’’”
  139. On Wednesday, Trump and Kamala Harris both held rallies in Arizona. At Trump’s two rallies, supporters stood shoulder to shoulder and maskless, while Harris held a drive-in event that was social-distanced.
  140. Harris said at her rally that the coronavirus was “one of the greatest mass casualty events that we as a nation have experienced since World War II,” and that Trump “covered it up.”
  141. Trump said, “Normal life will fully resume. That’s what we want, right? Normal life. And next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country,” and lied that a vaccine would be coming shortly.
  142. Trump said of Taylor, “Turned out to be a low-level staffer, a sleazebag, who’s never worked in the White House,” and “I thought it might have been Hope Hicks, right next to me. I thought it might have been Jared.”
  143. Trump also complained about the lack of media coverage on the New York Post Hunter Biden story, saying, “We don’t have freedom of the press. It’s suppression of the press.”
  144. Trump also attacked Harris, saying, “Kamala. Kamala. You know, if you don’t pronounce her name exactly right, she gets very angry at you,” and claimed that when she gets angry she laughs.
  145. Trump also brought several GOP Senators on stage, as well as controversial British politician Nigel Farage, whom he called “one of the most powerful people in Europe.”
  146. On Wednesday, former GOP Arizona senator Jeff Flake said in an ad he is voting for Biden, telling his fellow conservatives, “This year the most conservative thing you can do is to put country over party.”
  147. On Wednesday, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said in a letter to Kavanaugh that his opinion was wrong and should be corrected after he incorrectly wrote VT had not changed its election rules due to the pandemic.
  148. Condos said to address the pandemic, all registered voters received a ballot and a prepaid envelope, and election officials were authorized to start processing the ballots in the 30 days before Election Day.
  149. Later, in a rare public correction by a justice, Kavanaugh corrected his opinion, as the court faced multiple appeals on voting access and mail-in ballots in the days ahead of the election.
  150. The update read: “Other States such as Vermont, by contrast, have decided not to make changes to their ordinary election-deadline rules, including to the election-day deadline for receipt of absentee ballots.”
  151. Condos said, “a one-word addition doesn’t go far enough.” Kavanaugh had asserted that some states had made changes, others had not, and the change did not address this fully.
  152. Later Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5–3 that North Carolina can count ballots received up to nine days after the election so long as it is postmarked by Election Day. Barrett did not take part in the decision.
  153. The Supreme Court also ruled unanimously to leave a Pennsylvania state Supreme Court decision in place allowing votes to be counted for three days after the election if postmarked. Barrett again did not take part.
  154. On Thursday, NYT reported Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed Trump to quash the investigation of state-owned Turkish bank Halkbank, which could also embroil his political party and family.
  155. Then U.S. Attorney for the SDNY Geoffrey Berman traveled to D.C. to meet with Attorney General William Barr in June 2019, where Barr pressed him to let the bank avoid an indictment by paying a fine and acknowledging wrongdoing.
  156. Berman said no, citing the bank could try to negotiate a settlement, but individuals, including some with ties to Erdogan, were believed to be part of a scheme that had helped finance Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
  157. Six months earlier, then acting AG Matthew Whitaker rejected a request by Berman to file criminal charges against the bank, shortly after Erdogan pressed Trump in November and December 2018 calls.
  158. Trump’s efforts to help Erdogan were especially troubling given economically isolating Iran was a centerpiece of his Middle East plan. Former White House officials feared Trump had an agenda of his own.
  159. After the clash between Trump and Erdogan over Syria, the U.S. proceeded with charges against the bank, but not individuals. Berman’s unwillingness to go along ultimately played a role in his dismissal.
  160. On Thursday, on “This Morning,” asked to clarify the regime’s position on CDC guidelines which Trump continued to violate, Meadows said he was following them, but that only a “number of” regime officials were as well.
  161. Meadows offered as proof, “I probably have used more Purell than any American here in the United States over the last 7–8 months,” even as he recently refused to speak to reporters with a mask on.
  162. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany appeared on “Fox & Friends” and was introduced as a “Trump 2020 campaign adviser” instead of by her role as an employee, a Hatch Act violation.
  163. McEnany railed against Facebook and Twitter for their “censorship” of the New York Post story, adding, “the media won’t report on it,” and ironically adding, “This is what happens in North Korea, not the United States.”
  164. McEnany also appeared during the week on other Fox News shows with the backdrop of the Trump campaign, blurring the lines between her position working for the government and his re-election campaign.
  165. Speaking later Thursday to reporters, McEnany reverted back to press secretary. In a statement she said she has the right to political speech while a government employee, saying she does so in “her personal capacity.”
  166. On Thursday, Trump tweeted of the Supreme Court ruling, “a 3 day extension for Pennsylvania is a disaster for our Nation, and for Pennsylvania itself. The Democrats are trying to steal this Election.”
  167. On Thursday, NYT reported facing a gap in must-win Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign tried to make voting harder using a three-pronged strategy that would effectively suppress the vote.
  168. Steps include trying to stop absentee vote counting before Election Day, pushing to limit how late mail-in ballots can be accepted, and intimidating early voters. Democrats and election officials say the effort is in full swing.
  169. On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported thousands of requested ballots in Butler County, Pennsylvania appear to be lost. County officials have asked the USPS to immediately investigate what happened.
  170. The Times also reported more than 300 lawsuits have been filed relating to limited voting relating to the pandemic by Republicans, affecting voting in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Nevada, Texas, and Michigan.
  171. On Thursday, NYT reported Republicans have also taken steps to try to suppress student votes, but despite these measures, students were expected to have a high turnout similar to when Obama ran in 2008.
  172. On Thursday, in a 2–1 decision in the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, judges ordered Minnesota that all mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day must be set aside for potential legal battles after the election.
  173. On Thursday, two GOP candidates and a Republican member of the Texas House asked the state Supreme Court to void drive-thru votes in mostly Democratic Harris County, putting more than 100,000 ballots at risk.
  174. On Thursday, NBC News reported a 64-page document disseminated to close Trump associates on Hunter Biden and business in China was produced by Typhoon Investigations, a fake intelligence firm.
  175. On Thursday, NBC News reported emails obtained show Pompeo mixed personal and official business once sworn in as secretary of state. The emails were turned over to NBC in response to a FOIA lawsuit.
  176. In an email to the State Department, Pompeo’s son Nick wrote, “We view this as a family endeavor.” He also asked if the software company where he worked could be involved in a coming “data hackathon” event.
  177. Pompeo’s wife Susan routinely gave instructions to State Department officials from her personal email account, including travel plans, restaurant reservations, the Madison Dinners, and maintenance requests.
  178. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump has attacked career civil servants over his term, the backbone of the federal government for more than a century, portraying them as the “deep state” trying to undermine him.
  179. Beyond high profile employees like Fauci, employees were banished to basement offices, denied promotions, and excluded from decision-making. Government service has been undermined, from routine to the pandemic.
  180. Over Trump’s four years, the Office of Special Counsel received 20,505 complaints from employees, a 36% jump from Obama’s first term, for whistleblowing, retaliation, and other improper treatment.
  181. On Thursday, AP reported the Wisconsin Republican Party said hackers stole $2.3 million that was being used to help Trump in the battleground state. The party noticed the suspicious activity on Oct. 22 and contacted the FBI.
  182. On Thursday, the Economist endorsed Biden, writing, “Donald Trump has desecrated the values that make America a beacon to the world.”
  183. On Thursday, Boston.com reported Trump supporters holding counter-protests to Black Lives Matter in Swampscott, Massachusetts flew Confederate flags, and some wore KKK robes and blackface.
  184. On Thursday, the FBI arrested two men, including Justen Watkins, 25, the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, a white supremacist group, as part of a continued crackdown on extremists in Michigan.
  185. On Friday, the FBI arrested self-proclaimed Proud Boy Anthony Raymond for allegedly sending an anonymous email to a local newspaper threatening to bomb a polling place in North Dakota.
  186. On Thursday, in an effort to appeal to voters in swing states Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the Trump regime stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves, allowing the resumption of hunting.
  187. On Thursday, a record-breaking 80 million voted early, more 58% of the 2016 total vote. Of states that report by party, 18.2 million registered Democrats, 11.5 million Republicans, and 8.8 million no party affiliation.
  188. On Thursday, the Michigan Court of Appeals declined Benson’s request to hear an appeal on guns at polling places, saying the state already has laws to handle it, writing, “Voter intimidation is — and remains — illegal.”
  189. On Thursday, Walmart removed guns and ammunition from the sales floors for the week, in an effort to avoid potential theft of firearms if stores are broken into amid social unrest. The move was reversed on Friday.
  190. On Thursday, after a crowded rally in Tampa, Florida, where Trump spoke for just under one hour in 87-degree heat, 17 supporters required medical attention, with a dozen being taken to the hospital.
  191. Biden held a drive-in rally in Tampa later in the day with nearly 300 cars, and ended the event early when it started to rain, saying, “I’m going to shorten this for you all. Get out of the rain!”
  192. On Thursday, the U.S. reported a record 88,521 daily cases, bringing the total to just under 9 million. The U.S. had just under one thousand deaths, bringing the total to 228,677.
  193. On Thursday, CNN reported Florida’s Covid-19 testing declined shortly after Dr. Scott Atlas joined Trump’s team and discouraged testing, falsely claiming, “The purpose of testing is to stop people from dying.”
  194. At an August news event, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used Atlas’s theory as a rationale to test less and reopen schools, saying, “we’re in agreement on focusing strategies in school on people who are symptomatic.”
  195. Testing dropped from 90,000 tests per day on July 18 to fewer than 48,000 tests per day in early September. During that time, positivity rates remained high, meaning spread was being missed.
  196. On Thursday, CNN reported Dr. Deborah Birx is no longer attending White House task force meetings to avoid the growing influence of Atlas, and is instead on the road to deliver her message directly to the American people.
  197. Since an August 10 run-in with Atlas, Birx has visited 40 states and logged more than 20,000 miles, as she tours the country by commercial air to advise small groups of state and local officials on combating transmission.
  198. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about his Minnesota rally, “We were planning for as many as 25,000 people…Now, the governor, at the last moment, will only allow the first 250 people to attend. Riots plus Omar = WIN!”
  199. On Friday, Trump tweeted lies on the coronavirus: “More Testing equals more Cases. We have best testing,” and “Deaths WAY DOWN,” as deaths started to rise, and “Hospitals have great additional capacity!”
  200. Trump also tweeted, “The @nytimes now admits that patients ill with Covid are getting better faster and at higher (much) percentages” which referred to the survival rate improving, but was misleading.
  201. Trump also tweeted of North Carolina decision, “This decision is CRAZY and so bad for our Country. Can you imagine what will happen during that nine day period. The Election should END on November 3rd.”
  202. Trump also tweeted, “The election should end on November 3, not weeks later!” adding, “this election is the most important election of our lifetime.”
  203. On Friday, early voting continued to hit new records, as 9 million Texas voters had voted early, more than the 2016 total. A total of 86 million had voted early, with several states nearing their 2016 total votes.
  204. On Friday, at a rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, Trump mocked Fox News host Laura Ingraham for wearing a mask, saying, “I can’t recognize you…I’ve never seen her in a mask….she’s being very politically correct.”
  205. Trump claimed doctors were trying to profit off Covid deaths, “You know our doctors get more money if somebody dies from Covid,” adding if there are multiple causes of death, “With us, when in doubt, choose Covid.”
  206. Trump also lied, saying there would be a vaccine in “just a number of weeks,” and lied, “Without it, we’re still rounding the corner. We have it. But without it, we round the corner.”
  207. Trump also said of a rally in Minnesota, where the crowd was limited to 250 people due to a surge in cases, that Minnesota leaders are “scamming us”
  208. On Friday, at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Trump said if Biden wins “there will be no heating in the winter, no air conditioning in the summer, and no electricity” and “no schools, no graduations, no weddings.”
  209. Trump also compared himself to Jesus, saying, “A friend of mine said, you know, you’re the most famous man in the world. I said, no, I’m not,” he said, “What are you talking about? Who’s more famous? I said, Jesus Christ.”
  210. On Friday, Trump spoke for just 21 minutes at his rally in Minnesota, his shortest rally, complaining, “I want to thank the thousands of people outside who were barred from entry by radical Democrats.”
  211. On Friday, Politico reported that Trump may keep campaigning after Election Day if ballots are being counted and the race has not been decided. The campaign said it would hold 14 rallies in the three final days.
  212. On Friday, the USPS announced a fact sheet of “extraordinary measures” to deliver ballots in time, including collecting mail on Sunday on some routes, and special lines and drive through to postmark ballots.
  213. On Friday, the U.S. surpassed 9 million coronavirus cases, with the last million cases from 8 million taking just 15 days. Cases were surging in every swing state ahead of the election.
  214. On Friday, the Dow Jones capped off its worst week since March, falling 6.5% over concerns over the pandemic worsening, and a lack of federal response to the virus or stimulus.
  215. On Friday, the U.S. reported 99,321 new cases, the fifth record in the past eight days. The U.S. is averaging 78,738 new cases every day, the highest seven-day average recorded yet and up nearly 25% from last week.
  216. Additionally, 17 states had reached record hospitalizations, particularly in the Midwest, including Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
  217. On Friday, the Biden campaign canceled a stop in Texas for Harris after dozens of pickup trucks, many with Trump flags, surrounded a Biden campaign bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin.
  218. Late Friday, the federal government released another installment of more than 1,000 pages of heavily redacted Mueller probe interviews under the FOIA to BuzzFeed and CNN that were previously withheld.
  219. In an interview with Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort after the Steele dossier was made public, he spoke to Trump about it, and Trump was generally upset that his victory was being undermined.
  220. Manafort believed the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting “may have been a setup” to “create questions about whether the Trump campaign was working with the Russian government.”
  221. Don McGahn said in 2017, Trump repeatedly asked him to tell Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein that Mueller had conflicts of interest and could not be special counsel. McGahn told investigators he “felt stuck and trapped.”
  222. Mike Rogers, the Navy admiral who headed the NSA, described Trump “venting” and saying something like the “Russia thing has got to go away,” and Trump saying something similar to “I have done nothing wrong.”
  223. Rick Gates said he brought Brad Parscale to New York to work with Trump’s pollster Tony Fabrizio, Kellyanne Conway, and Cambridge Analytica, which claimed to be able to conduct “psychological polling.”
  224. Early Saturday, just after midnight, Trump issued a presidential proclamation declaring Sunday as the “National Day of Remembrance for Americans Killed by Illegal Aliens.”
  225. On Saturday, state and federal authorities launched an investigation into a video by a state representative showing a pile up of mail, including ballots, “sitting for over a week” at heavily Democratic Miami Dade post office.
  226. On Saturday, CNN reported two federal judges increased oversight of the USPS to ensure ballots are delivered on time. Judge Emmet Sullivan held daily hearings for updates after ordering “extraordinary measures.”
  227. Judge Stanley Bastian ordered the USPS late Friday to report to him daily on their nightly sweeps for election mail in the Lakeland region of Wisconsin and in the Detroit area
  228. On Saturday, Trump held four rallies in must-win Pennsylvania. Trump baselessly sowed doubt about the election, saying, “very bad things can happen with ballots,” and encouraged supporters to be poll watchers.
  229. Trump added, “November 3rd is going to come and go and we’re not gonna know and you’re gonna have bedlam in our country.” Pennsylvania will start counting ballots in some counties on November 3 at 7 a.m.
  230. Trump repeated his false claim that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the coronavirus, and accused Biden of “betrayal and treachery,” drawing boos and a chant of “Lock him up.”
  231. Trump was unusually subdued in his speech, and after the teleprompter malfunctioned, drifted off prepared remarks to ramble about Hunter Biden, how unfairly the media treats him, and Biden wearing sunglasses.
  232. As the week came to a close, there were 45,778,961 worldwide cases and 1,191,774 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 9,070,166 cases (19.8%), 229,966 deaths (19.3%), and a mortality rate of 2.5%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind October 31, 2020

More than 200,000 small white flags were planted in front of RFK Stadium in honor of those who have died during the Covid19 pandemic today on October 28, 2020 in Washington DC.