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US Monthly Headline News August 2020 Page 2

‘Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city tonight from the evil thugs?’ asked the Facebook group
By Russell Brandom

The killing of two protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday night may have emerged in response to a Facebook event posted by a self-described militia, which referred to the event as a “call to arms.” The event was also promoted by Infowars, which posted a screenshot of the Facebook event listing. The listing is no longer publicly accessible but, reached on Facebook, the Kenosha Guard account confirmed to The Verge that the screenshots were authentic. The group’s Facebook page has also been taken down, but it boasted more than 3,000 members as of this morning.

A Facebook representative said they could not comment at this time, citing an ongoing investigation. However, the platform confirmed to The Verge that the Kenosha Guard page had been removed for violating the platform’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, which was expanded to include militia groups earlier this month. Facebook also confirmed that the August 25th event listing was in violation of platform policies.

By Christina Maxouris, Alisha Ebrahimji and Eric Levenson, CNN

(CNN) Two people were killed and a third was seriously wounded in a shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, late Tuesday during the third night of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, police said. Officers responded to reports of multiple gunshot victims around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Kenosha Police Department said in a news release early Wednesday. The person injured was taken to the hospital with "serious, but non-life threatening injuries," police said. An investigation into the shooting is ongoing and the names and ages of the victims are still being determined, according to the release.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told The New York Times his office is investigating whether the shooting resulted from a conflict between demonstrators and a group of men with weapons who were protecting businesses. CNN has reached out to the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office. The protests come days after police shot Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, multiple times as he tried to enter an SUV with his children in the vehicle. Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who represents the family, said police shot Blake after he had tried to break up an argument between two women. Police have not provided any information on what led up to the shooting.

By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com

Five of the Louisville police officers involved in the controversial raid that left Breonna Taylor dead also participated in a botched raid in 2018 that left a family 'traumatized,' it has been revealed. Mario Daugherty, his girlfriend Ashlea Burr, and their two children, then ages 13 and 14, were at home when cops burst through their door and fired flash bangs on a search warrant, according to Vice News. According to the search warrant, officers had received a complaint that marijuana was being grown and sold out of Daugherty's house.

The raid recovered only a small amount of marijuana, however, and no evidence of intent to sell. According to Daughtery's attorney, the individuals named in the search warrant were previous residents who lived there before him. Daugherty was never charged. At least five of the officers involved in the raid would go on to take part in Breonna Taylor's case, according to Vice. Officers Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, Mike Campbell, Mike Nobles were present for the execution of the raid on Taylor's home, and Joshua Jaynes requested the search warrant.

Hankison has since been fired. His termination letter says he 'displayed an extreme indifference to human life' during the raid on Taylor's home. Daugherty sued the city in October 2019, calling attention to 'no-knock' police raid tactics. Although the warrant used to search his home was not a no-knock, bodycam video of the raid shows that police burst through the front door with a battering ram as they simultaneously shouted 'Police! Search warrant!' 'It was just so loud and it just caught everybody off guard nobody knew what was really going on,' Daugherty told WHAS-TV in June. 'I thought I was actually ready to be killed that day.'

N'dea Yancey-Bragg, Jordan Culver, Grace Hauck, USA TODAY

The police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, sparked another night of protests in Wisconsin and around the country. Hundreds of protesters ignored the mobilization of the Wisconsin National Guard and an emergency curfew on Monday night to again protest at the Kenosha County Courthouse. Blake was shot in the back multiple times Sunday by Kenosha Police Department officers responding to a domestic violence call, according to Ben Crump, the attorney representing Blake’s family. Police have released little information about what led to the shooting and haven’t said why officers approached Blake.

Day 2 of protests:Wisconsin protesters rally for second night against 'shocking and outrageous' police shooting of Jacob Blake Graphic video circulating on social media shows Blake walking toward a car, followed by an officer who has a weapon drawn. Blake opens the car door and reaches into the vehicle, and an officer tugs on his shirt. At least seven gunshots can be heard, followed by a car horn. Two officers can be seen in the video near the car; it is unclear what happened before the video was recorded. Crump said Blake’s three sons were in the car when Blake was shot. Blake's father told the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday his son is paralyzed from the waist down and he was told his son was shot eight times. Crump confirmed Blake's condition in a Twitter post Tuesday.

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) Buildings and cars in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were set ablaze Monday night amid protests reignited by the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake. Blake, a Black man, was shot multiple times in the back Sunday evening as he tried to enter an SUV through the driver's side door. In the vehicle were his 3-, 5- and 8-year-old children. Following the shooting, police said officers rendered aid before the injured man was flown to a hospital in Milwaukee. He remained in intensive care late Monday, his attorney said.

Enraged demonstrators poured onto the streets after video of the shooting began circulating on social media, showing an officer grabbing on to the man's tank top. Seven shots are heard, followed by the sustained sound of a car horn. Two Wisconsin police officers have since been placed on administrative leave, and the police union has urged the public to withhold judgment until "all the facts are known."

The shooting comes after several months of nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality and calling for justice in the killings of other Black Americans at the hands of police, including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, whose death was also captured on camera and sparked hundreds of protests from coast to coast. "If we don't have the systematic reform that this moment in America is crying out for, then we are going to continue to see hashtag after hashtag, protest after protest, and cities burning all across America," Blake's attorney, Ben Crump, said Monday.
Several businesses were on fire late Monday in Kenosha after demonstrators defied the 8 p.m. curfew authorities had set. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced National Guard members would also respond to the city to help "protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely."

Staff members at the funeral home in Detroit discovered the woman was still breathing
By Rachel DeSantis

A 20-year-old woman who had been declared dead by authorities was discovered to be actually still alive after being transported to a funeral home over the weekend. The woman was found unresponsive and not breathing at a home in Southfield, Michigan, early Saturday, the Southfield Fire Department said in a statement to NBC affiliate WDIV. Responding paramedics performed CPR and attempted other “life-reviving methods” for half an hour before medical readings determined “at that time that she did not have signs of life,” the statement said.

At that point — based on real-time medical data such as heartbeat and breathing — the woman was declared dead via phone by an emergency room doctor at a nearby hospital, Bill Mullan, a spokesperson for the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office, tells PEOPLE. Sending the medical data, known as telemetry, is standard operating procedure, he says.

Once the woman was declared dead, the Southfield Fire Department contacted the medical examiner’s office. The forensic pathologist on duty determined that, based on what the emergency room physician said and the woman’s previous medical history, her body should be released to her family and did not need to undergo further forensic examination, Mullan says.

Donald Trump has threatened to send in poll watchers to monitor voting on 3 November, but is the party capable of such a threat?
Ed Pilkington

“Warning” the posters stated in big red letters. “This area is being patrolled by the National Ballot Security Task Force. It is a crime to falsify a ballot.” There was no such task force in existence – it was the fictionalised creation of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Top conservative strategists built it from scratch, inventing a private vigilante squad of 200 off-duty police officers and private security guards. They carried visible firearms, wore armbands bearing the name of the “Task Force”, and were equipped with official-looking walkie-talkies. The year was 1981, and a bitter race for the New Jersey governor’s seat was approaching. Republican organizers publicly claimed their plan would combat widespread Democratic cheating at the polls. In fact, they had a more sinister intention: suppress the vote in Democratic strongholds where African American and Latino voters were in the majority and the election might be tilted in favor of Republican Tom Kean.

So up went the posters in New Jersey’s majority-Black inner city precincts. As Rutgers University historian Mark Krasovic recorded, Black voters waiting in line were asked for their registration cards by the “officers”, then turned away. Some Latino voters were chased from the polling stations by the daunting patrolmen. Kean won the election by all of 1,800 votes. The 1981 “Task Force” amounted to one of the most egregious examples of election intimidation in America’s long history of voter suppression, but had a positive outcome. In the wake of those chilling events, the RNC was sued by the national and state Democratic parties. The case was settled out of court in 1982 at which point the RNC agreed to what was known as a consent decree.

By Susan Svrluga, Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Michelle Boorstein

Jerry Falwell Jr. has agreed to resign as president of Liberty University on Monday, according to a school official. The move came after a series of personal scandals rocked the evangelical university he has led since 2007. Opposition to his presidency had been growing but came to a dramatic head after two new reports about a young man Falwell and his wife befriended at a Florida pool, went into business with and who allegedly was sexually connected to the couple. One report painted Falwell as the victim of an obsessive affair; the other as an eager participant manipulating a naive young man.

Falwell had been placed on paid leave Aug. 7 after he posted a provocative picture of himself and his wife’s assistant on social media. Both had their zippers partially down and Falwell was holding a dark beverage he joked was nonalcoholic and “just a prop.” Drinking or being around alcohol as well as sexual promiscuity are banned for students under Liberty’s personal code of conduct. Liberty board members had said in a statement Friday that they were investigating.

By Jason Lemon

A spokesperson for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden rejected an endorsement from alt-right figure Richard Spencer late Sunday evening, calling the white nationalist's views "absolutely repugnant." "When Joe Biden says we are in a battle for the soul of our nation against vile forces of hate who have come crawling out from under rocks, you are the epitome of what he means. What you stand for is absolutely repugnant. Your support is 10,000% percent unwelcome here," Andrew Bates, the director of rapid response for Biden's campaign, tweeted. Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign for further comment, but it did not respond by the time of publication. Spencer, 42, previously backed Trump in the 2016 election. But he tweeted an endorsement of Biden on Sunday. "I plan to vote for Biden and a straight democratic ticket. It's not based on 'accelerationism' or anything like that; the liberals are clearly more competent people," he wrote.

Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York state’s attorney general is investigating whether U.S. President Donald Trump improperly manipulated the value of his assets to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits, and accused his son Eric of being uncooperative in the probe. The disclosure was made in a filing on Monday with a New York state court in Manhattan, where Attorney General Letitia James wants the Trump Organization, Eric Trump and others to comply with subpoenas her office issued. James’ lawyers said the subpoenas were issued as part of her “ongoing confidential civil investigation into potential fraud or illegality.” They said there has been no determination regarding whether any laws were broken. Lawyers for the Trump Organization and Eric Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Alta Spells and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

(CNN) Two Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officers are on leave Monday as state authorities investigate why a Black man was shot as he entered an SUV.
Among the witnesses to the Sunday evening shooting were the man's three sons, attorney Ben Crump and American Civil Liberties Union said. The man, identified by Wisconsin's governor as Jacob Blake, is in serious condition and fighting for his life. Crump posted a short video of the shooting, garnering almost 700,000 views and sparking protests that led county officials to institute a curfew until 7 a.m. (6 a.m. ET) Monday. Protesters overnight broke windows and sprayed graffiti at a Kenosha County administrative building and torched vehicles at a nearby auto dealership, according to CNN affiliate WISN.

A fire was started at a county courthouse, and officers in tactical gear formed a line to protect a public safety building, the station reported. Kenosha is about 40 minutes south of Milwaukee. The shooting came as demonstrators continue to decry police violence in American cities, including the encounters that killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The night before Blake's shooting, protests erupted in Lafayette, Louisiana, after police killed a Black man -- Trayford Pellerin, 31 -- outside a convenience store. Kenosha officers were called to a domestic incident about 5:11 p.m., police said. The shooting unfolded on a residential street packed with apartment buildings, a block from a city golf course. The Lake Michigan shoreline lies about a mile east.

“Anybody can give. I’m not ashamed. If you can give a dollar, five dollars, if you can fast a meal and give what that would be,” the Republican senator said
By Peter Wade

Arizona Republican Senator Martha McSally is asking supporters to “fast a meal” and pass along the savings to her campaign. According to an Arizona CBS local affiliate, McSally made the callous pitch at a recent event in northern Arizona. “We’re doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out,” McSally said in an audio recording obtained by Arizona’s Family. “But it takes resources. So, anybody can give, I’m not ashamed to ask, to invest. If you can give a dollar, five dollars, if you can fast a meal and give what that would be.”

By Paul P. Murphy and Marshall Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) During his testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee on Monday, USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy denied that he was responsible for cutting overtime pay across the US Postal Service. "I did not direct the cutback on hours at any of our postal offices, and finally I did not direct the elimination or any cutback in overtime," DeJoy said in his opening statement to lawmakers, adding, "I did, however, suspend these practices to remove any misperceptions about our commitment to delivering the nation's election mail." Facts First: Though he may have suspended them, Dejoy's effort to declaim his role in the restrictions is a highly misleading attempt to draw a narrow distinction. A July 10 internal memo directed to all USPS employees did not explicitly state that overtime was ending. But it did create specific conditions that, union officials tells CNN, directly led to a significant majority of overtime opportunities being eliminated and prevented.  

CNN obtained the July 10 memo from federal court filings in a lawsuit filed by a group of Democratic candidates in New York federal court against DeJoy and the USPS. While the memo does not bear DeJoy's signature, or mention his name, it's unclear how it could have been implemented without his knowledge or approval. As postmaster general, DeJoy is the chief executive over the entire USPS. Mail carriers are now required to return to their base on time, even if they have not finished their route -- leading to the drops in overtime that union officials say have occurred. As explained by an August 21 statement by the USPS, the July 10 memo also included the mandate that "extra trips" would be "authorized or accepted" and that carriers must "return on time." Responding to DeJoy's comments on Monday, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein told CNN that DeJoy's policy changes were responsible for the mail slowdowns . "Regardless of the back and forth in today's hearing, it's an indisputable fact mail postal customers have witnessed a degrading and slowing of mail service since Postmaster General Louis DeJoy instituted changes in mid-July," Dimondstein said. "This slowdown is directly due to changes in the transportation of mail and an overall reduction in work hours."

Joseph Menn

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Russian government-supported organizations are playing a small but increasing role amplifying conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon, raising concerns of interference in the November U.S. election. Academics who study QAnon said there were no signs Russia had a hand in the early days of the movement, which launched in 2017 with anonymous web postings amplified by YouTube videos. But as QAnon gained adherents and took on new topics, with President Donald Trump as the constant hero waging a misunderstood battle, social media accounts controlled by a key Kremlin ally joined in. In 2019 the Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll factory” indicted by Robert Mueller in his election interference prosecution, sent a high volume of tweets tagged with #QAnon and the movement slogan #WWG1WGA, short for Where We Go One, We Go All, said Melanie Smith, head of analysis at social media analysis firm Graphika. The company dissects propaganda campaigns and plans to publish an analysis of QAnon this week.

More recently, Russian government-backed media RT.com and Sputnik have stepped up coverage of QAnon, which began with a false proclamation Hillary Clinton would be arrested for an undetermined reason and now includes theories about child trafficking by Hollywood elites, the novel coronavirus and more. Academics who study QAnon said there were no signs Russia had a hand in the early days of the movement, which launched in 2017 with anonymous web postings amplified by YouTube videos. But as QAnon gained adherents and took on new topics, with President Donald Trump as the constant hero waging a misunderstood battle, social media accounts controlled by a key Kremlin ally joined in.

In 2019 the Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll factory” indicted by Robert Mueller in his election interference prosecution, sent a high volume of tweets tagged with #QAnon and the movement slogan #WWG1WGA, short for Where We Go One, We Go All, said Melanie Smith, head of analysis at social media analysis firm Graphika. The company dissects propaganda campaigns and plans to publish an analysis of QAnon this week. More recently, Russian government-backed media RT.com and Sputnik have stepped up coverage of QAnon, which began with a false proclamation Hillary Clinton would be arrested for an undetermined reason and now includes theories about child trafficking by Hollywood elites, the novel coronavirus and more.

By Mark Zandi for CNN Business Perspectives

We're coming up on six months since Covid-19 turned the world upside down. We are adjusting, but few things feel normal. Certainly not in our daily lives. Most of us are wearing masks and social distancing, while our favorite sports teams play in empty stadiums and arenas. Our work lives are hardly typical, either. Lots of us are unemployed, and many of us fortunate to have jobs continue to work from home. How far from normal are we? And how much progress are we making toward whatever "normal" will mean in the future? These are tough questions, but CNN Business and Moody's Analytics have teamed up to take a crack at answering them with regard to the economy.

The US economy remains far from normal. That's the bottom line. Based on the Back-to-Normal Index that we constructed, the US economy was operating at only 78% of normal as of August 19. "Normal" for our purpose is the economy as it stood prior to when the pandemic struck in early March. Economic activity nationwide is down by almost one-fourth from its pre-pandemic level — far from normal. As bad as that is, it is substantially better than the darkest days of the pandemic in mid-April, when we were unsure how contagious or virulent the virus was. Nonessential businesses in much of the country were shut down, and most of us were sheltering in place. Our Back-to-Normal index hit its nadir of just 59% on April 17.

The economy rallied between mid-April and mid-June as businesses reopened, but it is clear they opened too quickly and reignited the virus. The economy has gone more-or-less sideways ever since. It's not difficult to connect the dots between the pandemic and the economy's performance. Some states had to backtrack on reopenings, and businesses and households everywhere have turned more skittish. The chart below shows how our Back-to-Normal Index stalled this summer, around the same time that coronavirus cases were surging.

Jemima McEvoy

A former pool attendant turned business partner of Jerry Falwell Jr. claims he engaged in a years-long sexual relationship with the recently departed Liberty University president and his wife, stoking renewed controversy surrounding the leading Christian conservative figurehead and President Trump ally.

In a Reuters report published Monday, Giancarlo Granda, who says he met the Falwells at age 20 while working as a pool attendant in a Miami Beach hotel, detailed a years-long relationship with the couple that involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell Jr. watched. “Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda, now 29-years-old, told Reuters, describing sexual encounters in hotels in Miami and New York, and at the couple’s Virginia home, “multiple times per year.” Granda provided emails, text messages and other evidence to support his claims.

After Reuters reached out to the Falwells about the claims, Jerry Falwell Jr. sent a 1,200-word statement to the Washington Examiner in which he said his wife had an engaged in an “inappropriate personal relationship” with Granda which he had used to try and extort money, but made no mention of his own involvement. Granda’s connection to the Falwells made news in 2018 when Buzzfeed reported the details of a business they all launched together, which ended in a falling out and lawsuit in which Granda claimed he’d been wrongly cut out. On Friday, Liberty University’s board of trustees said it had not yet made a decision “whether or not to retain Falwell as president” after he was put on “indefinite leave” on August 7.

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he wished the league had "listened earlier" to Colin Kaepernick when he began protesting during the National Anthem back in 2016. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since he sparked controversy by sitting, then kneeling, during the National Anthem before several games to protest the police shootings of Black men and other social injustices faced by the Black community. Appearing on Emmanuel Acho's 'Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,' Goodell was asked how he would apologize to Kaepernick. "Well the first thing I'd say is I wish we had listened earlier, Kap, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to," said Goodell. "We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue. I wish we had the benefit of that. We never did."

Meg Jones Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Kenosha police shot a man Sunday evening, setting off unrest in the city after a video appeared to show the officer firing several shots at close range into the man's back. The shooting victim has been identified as Jacob Blake, a Black man, by Wisconsin officials. He was in serious condition at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee as of early Monday morning. The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation said early Monday that the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave. Police had been called to a domestic incident in the 2800 block of 40th Street at 5:11 p.m. where the shooting later occurred.

Officers provided immediate aid to the shooting victim, Kenosha police reported, and he was taken by Flight for Life to Froedtert. “Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight," Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. "While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country."

Jordan Culver USA TODAY

California's ongoing historic wildfires have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, and police said looters are taking advantage of the empty houses. In one case, a looter took advantage of an unoccupied car. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart on Sunday told reporters that a California firefighter's marked vehicle was burglarized. During a separate press conference, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), Battalion Chief Mark Brunton called the incident "sickening" and said the firefighter's wallet was stolen and his bank account was "drained" while he was at work directing firefighting crews in the area. "That's the extent these people have gone," Brunton said. "Again, this is why we've asked for people to evacuate. The sheriff's department has done a fantastic job in trying to wrangle this, but again, this is what we have as a result."  

The phrase "under God" is still regularly recited by members of the Democratic party.
Dan Evon

A rumor circulated on social media during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in August 2020 alleging that the DNC had omitted the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. The following text (also shown in the above-displayed meme), for instance, was copied and pasted to multiple accounts on Facebook:

   The fact that the DNC omitted “under God” from the pledge of allegiance on a national platform should worry every believer!  

This statement is misleading at best. The DNC did not omit “under God” from the pledge, nor did they forbid its use. In fact, during every recitation of the pledge before each night’s events — the 2020 DNC lasted four nights — the phrase “under God” was included. Here, for example, is a video of Cedric Richmond Jr., the son of Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., reciting the pledge (and saying “under God”) during the final night of the DNC.

H.P. Lovecraft was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He was also one of its most racist.
By Aja Romano

His work saturates modern horror and literary fiction. He has directly influenced countless writers of modern horror, from Stephen King to Junji Ito to Guillermo del Toro. His monsters — and the men who encounter their cosmic evil — have left imprints everywhere from Alien designer H.R. Giger to the otherworldly tentacle monsters of Stranger Things to True Detective’s Rust Cohle. There’s a prehistoric sea cucumber named after his most famous creation, Cthulhu. Yet H.P. Lovecraft and his works of literary horror are long overdue for a cultural reckoning — because Lovecraft may have been one of the 20th century’s most influential writers, but he was also one of its most gallingly racist.

Lovecraft leaves no room for a debate about separating the artist from their art. He injected many of his most famous and beloved stories with overt racist metaphors and frequent blunt literal racism. For the past decade or so, as the extent of his racism has become more widely known and acknowledged, horror and fantasy writers whose landscapes are saturated with Lovecraft’s influence have been trying to figure out what to do about him. Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel Lovecraft Country was one of the first attempts at an answer. By centering Black characters who were often the metaphorical villains of Lovecraft’s stories, the book allows for a new layer of meaning to map onto Lovecraft’s old fears.

By Kelly Mena, CNN

(CNN) Maryanne Trump Barry called her brother President Donald Trump "cruel" and appeared to confirm her niece Mary Trump's previous allegations that he had a friend take his SATs to get into college, according to transcripts and audio excerpts obtained exclusively by the Washington Post. The Post obtained the previously unreleased transcripts and audio from Mary Trump, author of a recent bombshell book about the President and one of his most outspoken critics. Mary Trump, who has said that Donald Trump is unfit to be president and has voiced support for his rival Joe Biden, revealed to the Post that she had secretly taped 15 hours of face-to-face conversations with Barry in 2018 and 2019.

Among the some of the more critical comments made by Barry was commenting on how her younger 74-year-old brother operated as president. "His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God," she said, according to the Post. "I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit." Barry, a retired federal appellate judge, the Post noted, has never spoken publicly about disagreements with President Donald Trump, but the audio seems to tell a different story of discord and a rift that began when she asked her brother for a favor in the 1980s, which she claims Trump has frequently used to try to take credit for her success. Barry also said at one point to her niece, "It's the phoniness of it all. It's the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel," according to the audio scripts and recordings.

By Katie Shepherd

PORTLAND, Ore. — On Saturday afternoon, a large crowd of more than 100 far-right activists, including Proud Boys and armed militia members, descended on Portland, Ore., staging a “Back the Blue” rally in front of the Justice Center that houses the downtown police precinct. Hundreds of antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters gathered to oppose the far-right crowd. People in the far-right crowd came armed with paintball guns, metal rods, aluminum bats, fireworks, pepper spray, rifles and handguns. Some people in the opposing left-leaning crowd brought rocks, fireworks and bottles filled with chemical solutions. Both crowds sported shields and helmets.

The two groups sparred for more than two hours, as people exchanged blows, fired paintballs at each other and blasted chemicals indiscriminately into the crowd. People lobbed fireworks back and forth. At least one person was hit in the abdomen with a device that flashed and exploded, causing bleeding. The rally followed a much smaller right-wing event last week that ended with gunfire. On Wednesday, Portland police arrested and seized a gun from 27-year-old Skylor Noel Jernigan, a far-right activist who has frequently rallied against antifascists in the city in recent years. Many of the same people came out again Saturday, including Alan Swinney, who brandished a gun and pointed it at the opposing crowd.

As the brawls unfolded, Portland police officers remained at a distance. They made several announcements over loudspeakers, encouraging the crowds to “self-monitor for criminal activity,” even as people beat others with sticks, and at least two right-wing activists brandished handguns. “Each skirmish appeared to involve willing participants and the events were not enduring in time, so officers were not deployed to intervene,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.

By - AFP

A Facebook post shared tens of thousands of times claims the United States Postal Service advises customers "never to send cash in the mail," and implies that voting by mail would also be unsafe. The claim about sending cash is partly false; a USPS spokesman said that the mailing of cash is not prohibited and can be insured, but using checks or money orders is safer because these methods are traceable. "The Post Office advises never send cash in the mail. It's not secure. Vote by mail?" reads an August 16, 2020 post shared 10,000 times on Facebook.

By Ciara O'Rourke

A collage of three images being shared on Facebook suggest that former President Barack Obama was caught acting inappropriately with a child. But that’s not the case, and such claims feed into a bigger, unfounded conspiracy pushed by QAnon that he and other powerful people are part of a global child sex-trafficking ring. One of the photos shows a child who appears to be bound and gagged with tape. Obama is not in this picture. Another shows a grid of smaller shots of Obama and the actor George Clooney on a boat with a child. The words, "exposing herself" and an arrow have been scribbled in red on top of one of the images. The third shows Obama with his arms wrapped around a young child who is smiling while seated on his lap. This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) We rate this post Pants on Fire.

Heard on Weekend Edition Saturday

An extraordinarily high number of ballots — more than 550,000 — have been rejected in this year's presidential primaries, according to a new analysis by NPR. That's far more than the 318,728 ballots rejected in the 2016 general election and has raised alarms about what might happen in November when tens of millions of more voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail, many for the first time. Election experts said first-time absentee voters are much more likely to make the kinds of mistakes that lead to rejected ballots. Studies also show that voters of color and young voters are more likely than others to have their ballots not count.

Most absentee or mail-in ballots are rejected because required signatures are missing or don't match the one on record, or because the ballot arrives too late. "If something goes wrong with any of this, that's a problem writ large, but it's also going to be one that hits some populations of the United States a bit harder than others, potentially disenfranchises different groups of folks at higher rates," said Rob Griffin of the Democracy Fund, which is conducting a sweeping survey of the 2020 electorate with researchers at UCLA.

David Ignatius

As Democrats accelerate their drive to defeat President Trump in November, they have a potent new weapon in a report by a Republican-led Senate committee that chronicles the “grave counterintelligence threat” posed by the extensive contacts between Trump’s former campaign chairman and a Russian intelligence operative. The final volume of the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation arrives late in the game. Still, it offers the detailed accounting of how Russian spies worked with the Trump team that former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III should have given the country last year. It offers raw material for the wide-ranging impeachment inquiry that the House of Representatives should have conducted.

Here at last is hard evidence — certified by GOP committee leaders and published this week — that shreds Trump’s false claims of a Russia “hoax” or “witch hunt.” Let us never hear that glib dismissal of fact again. From now on, the simple answer to Trump is: “That’s not what Senate Republicans found.” The document is 952 pages, stuffed with obscure names and details, and few will read much of it. But as someone who has spent four years examining arcane aspects of this story, I can summarize the findings that make the report so powerful.

The most important is that Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman for much of 2016, had repeated secret contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, bluntly described in the report as a “Russian intelligence officer.” Manafort had worked with Kilimnik since 2004, and shared detailed, sensitive information with him before, during and after the campaign. We knew that Manafort had worked with Kilimnik, but the scope of their interactions, as laid out in the report, is astonishing. In page after page, the report describes how Manafort communicated secretly with Kilimnik, shared internal Trump campaign data with him, discussed plans that would advance Russia’s interests in Ukraine and took other questionable actions.

“Cooperation” or “collusion” or whatever. It was a plot against American democracy.
By The New York Times Editorial Board

From the start, the Trump-Russia story has been both eye-glazingly complex and extraordinarily simple. Who is Oleg Deripaska? What’s the G.R.U. again? Who owed what to whom? The sheer number of crisscrossing characters and interlocking pieces of evidence — the phone calls, the emails, the texts, the clandestine international meet-ups — has bamboozled even those who spend their days teasing it all apart. It’s no wonder average Americans tuned out long ago.

A bipartisan report released Tuesday by the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee cuts through the chaff. The simplicity of the scheme has always been staring us in the face: Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign sought and maintained close contacts with Russian government officials who were helping him get elected. The Trump campaign accepted their offers of help. The campaign secretly provided Russian officials with key polling data. The campaign coordinated the timing of the release of stolen information to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The Senate committee’s report isn’t telling this story for the first time, of course. (Was it only a year ago that Robert Mueller testified before Congress about his own damning, comprehensive investigation?) But it is the first to do so with the assent of Senate Republicans, who have mostly ignored the gravity of the Trump camp’s actions or actively worked to cast doubt about the demonstrable facts in the case.

Washington Post Editorial Board

IT’S WORTH wondering what the impact might have been had the Senate Intelligence Committee’s final report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election appeared six months ago, before the report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the twisted account of it provided by Attorney General William P. Barr. On their own terms, the Senate’s findings, released Tuesday after a bipartisan investigation, are explosive: that then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort “formed a close and lasting relationship” with “a Russian intelligence officer,” with whom he shared inside information from the president’s campaign and collaborated to concoct a false narrative that Ukraine, and not Russia, was behind the election interference.

Further, the Senate report states that the Trump campaign “sought to maximize” the impact of leaks of Democratic documents by WikiLeaks, knowing the original source was the Russian military intelligence agency, GRU. The campaign’s intermediary was Roger Stone, whose prison sentence for lying about his involvement and tampering with witnesses was commuted last month by Mr. Trump; the president, the committee “assesses,” lied when he said he never talked to Mr. Stone about WikiLeaks.

Then there is what the Senate investigators glimpsed but could not nail down. The report cites “fragmentary” evidence that Mr. Manafort’s Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik “may have been connected to the GRU’s hack and leak operation,” and two pieces of information linking the campaign chairman himself. The full truth is unknown in part because Mr. Manafort chose to incur an extended prison sentence rather than tell prosecutors the truth about his relationship with the Russian spy.

The bipartisan report provides new details on Trump’s conversations with Roger Stone and the activities of the president’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
By Ken Dilanian

The Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday, totaling nearly 1,000 pages, was the product of more than 200 witness interviews and nearly a million documents. It's the only bipartisan account of how the Trump campaign embraced Russia’s intelligence operation in 2016 designed to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump. Much of the report covers old ground, albeit with more detail than ever before. But there are some important new revelations. Here are some of them:

Trump’s campaign chairman was consorting with a Russia spy
The report says — in a first — that Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate of then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was a “Russian intelligence officer.” It also says Manafort was meeting regularly and sharing information with Kilimnik, including internal Trump campaign polling data. But because the men used encrypted communications, and because Manafort never truly cooperated with investigators, the committee was unable to determine exactly what the pair were up to. The report says there is information, blacked out in the document, suggesting both Kilimnik and Manafort may have had some link to the Russian operation to steal and leak Democratic emails. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough for Mueller to bring charges. That fact pattern alone led the committee to label Manafort, who is serving prison time for unrelated offenses, a "grave counterintelligence threat.” Whether he actually “colluded” with the 2016 Russian intelligence operation may never be determined.

Trump almost certainly talked to Roger Stone about Wikileaks
The committee — including some key Trump allies — determined that Trump knew his campaign was communicating about Wikileaks, even though he told Mueller he didn’t recall that. Trump, in written responses to the special counsel’s office, stated: "I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with [Stone], nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign." Trump further claimed that he had "no recollection of the specifics of any conversations I had with Mr. Stone between June 1, 2016 and November 8, 2016."

His reign saw the company entangled in a campaign-finance scandal that sent President Donald Trump's personal lawyer to jail.
By The Associated Press

David Pecker is stepping down as CEO of the National Enquirer's parent, ending a reign that saw the company entangled in a campaign-finance scandal that sent President Donald Trump's personal lawyer to jail. Pecker's company, American Media Inc., is being taken over by Accelerate360, a logistics firm based in Smyrna, Georgia, whose recent efforts include the delivery of millions of facemasks and units of hand sanitizer. Accelerate did not disclose the terms of the deal in its announcement Friday. But it said the combined entity would be headed by Accelerate CEO David Parry.

Chris Scardino, an 18-year veteran of American Media, was named president of A360 Media, the New York-based unit that will house American Media's former titles, which also include Us Weekly, Life & Style and OK! Pecker will serve as an “executive advisor” to the company's A360 Media division, Accelerate said. Under Pecker, the National Enquirer for years buried potentially embarrassing stories about Trump and other favored celebrities by buying the rights to them and never publishing. The practice was known as “catch-and-kill.”

A study by the left-leaning advocacy group Avaaz found that health misinformation has spiked during the pandemic
By Elizabeth Dwoskin

As the coronavirus pandemic has raged across the United States, misinformation about vaccines and other health topics has been viewed an estimated 3.8 billion times on Facebook — four times more than authoritative content from institutions such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a study by the left-leaning global human rights group Avaaz.

The group also found that Facebook pages promulgating misleading health information got even more traffic during the pandemic than at other times — reaching a one-year peak in April — despite Facebook’s policy of removing dangerous coronavirus-related misinformation and reducing the spread of other questionable health claims. In addition, the group found, articles that had been identified as misleading by Facebook’s own network of independent third-party fact-checkers were inconsistently labeled, with the vast majority, 84 percent, of the posts in Avaaz’s sample not including a warning label from fact-checkers.

The report, which interpreted data from Facebook’s own reported metrics, adds fuel to critics’ arguments that major technology companies cannot control the spread of harmful misinformation on their platforms, and in many cases amplify it. “In the midst of a global health crisis and presidential election cycle, this report is useful because it adds to a growing list of evidence showing how the majority of problematic content is missed by tech companies’ moderation systems, and therefore further amplified” by their algorithms, said Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital Forensics Initiative at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, whose research has also used Facebook’s reporting metrics tool, called CrowdTangle.

Heard on All Things Considered

NPR's Sarah McCammon speaks with internet disinformation researcher Nina Jankowicz about her argument that "Facebook groups are destroying America."

Despite repeated talk of structural racism, Black Lives Matter activists want Democrats to "close the gap between symbolism and substance."

Joe Biden gave the floor to George Floyd's brothers and Eric Garner’s mother on the first night of his convention. On the third night, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke the words “Black lives matter,” and Kamala Harris bemoaned the damage done by “structural racism.” The embrace of the movement against racial injustice was a dramatic shift from the party's last convention four years ago and did not go unnoticed by Black Lives Matter activists. But its leaders viewed the gestures as mostly lip service, without a real commitment to policy change: They want Biden to commit to defund the police and to crack down on misconduct by law enforcement.

“It’s been unfortunate to not see the Democratic Party fully align themselves with the powerful work this movement has been doing," said Patrisse Cullors, who helped found the BLM movement in 2013 after the killing of Trayvon Martin. The disappointment underscores the persistent divide between Biden's campaign and many BLM activists, even as they present a united front to oust President Donald Trump. It also showcases the careful line Democrats are attempting to walk: While the BLM movement has gone mainstream, most Americans tell pollsters they don’t support withholding money for police.

Biden is trying to straddle the demands of the movement without alienating swing voters. He spoke about the “stain of racism” in his nomination address without offering policy prescriptions. Though Biden likely stands to benefit politically from the seismic shift in support for Black Lives Matter, he kept the most activist element of the movement at bay during the four-day convention — even as he highlighted Republican politicians supporting him for president.

Laurel Wamsley at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The former police officer known as the Golden State Killer was sentenced Friday to spend the rest of his life in prison. Joseph James DeAngelo, now 74, admitted to committing more than a dozen murders in the 1970s and '80s after investigators identified him as a suspect using public genealogy websites to trace his DNA. DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges. He also admitted to dozens more murders and rapes that were beyond the statute of limitations, The Associated Press reports.

The life sentence without possibility of parole was announced in Sacramento County Superior Court. Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton noted the courage and strength of victims who came forward to share their stories of the agony they endured. "Over four decades — that's a long time to wait for justice to be served — finally we have arrived at that day," Becton said. "The day when those who have waited so very long will hear that Joseph DeAngelo will now serve the rest of his life behind bars."

There’s no question that a lot of Americans believe in Donald Trump’s world, but if they could, they’d like to live in Joe Biden’s.
Chris Truax Opinion columnist

American political conventions are an odd tradition. In theory, they are about formulating policies and choosing candidates. But it’s been 68 years since a party risked not choosing a presidential candidate on the first ballot and probably longer than that since anyone really cared what a party had placed in its official platform.

Instead, political conventions are an opportunity for political parties to publicly work out a version of their ideal selves and display it to the nation. In one sense, all the speeches, including the nominee’s, are just so much hot air. But in another, who gets speaking time at these conventions and what the nominee has to say gives you real insight into how these candidates view themselves and the country, and how they hope to govern.

The Democratic convention was a cavalcade of inclusiveness featuring speakers ranging from democratic socialists to conservative Republicans. One of the highlights of the last night featured a speech from a young boy Joe Biden had met on the campaign trail and had coached with his stuttering. This was meant to illustrate Biden’s belief in paying it forward.

It was quite an effective bit of oratory and one couldn’t shake the feeling Brayden Harrington may well dust this clip off and play it at another political convention in 2060. We don’t know the full lineup for the Republican convention, but the word is that it's going to feature those two gun-waving lawyers from St. Louis.

By Rex Huppke Chicago Tribune

I had been told Joe Biden was incapable of completing a sentence, that he was a doddering old man holed up in his basement and also an unstoppable, raging leftist who would unleash terror on America’s suburbs. I never put much stock in any of that, and on Thursday night, as the Democratic National Convention wrapped up, the former vice president drove a stake through the heart of President Donald Trump’s “Sleepy Joe” and “Slow Joe” attacks.

Biden will never be a grand orator. And when it comes to convention speeches, or most political speeches, for that matter, you can take the promises and soaring rhetoric with a grain of salt. But Biden did precisely what he needed to do Thursday night, speaking without an audience in our coronavirus-altered world. Passionately, clearly and forcefully, he said things we aren’t used to hearing.

One member of the elections commission said it was ironic that Democrats didn't make it easier for candidates to file.

CHICAGO — Rapper Kanye West will not appear on the 2020 presidential ballot in Wisconsin after state election officials Thursday ruled his attorneys submitted the needed petition signatures too late. West’s effort to get on the Wisconsin ballot was challenged because his documents were filed one to two minutes after the 5 p.m. deadline on Aug. 5. “When you’re late, you're late,” Commissioner Julie Glancey said during a 2½ hour hearing at which the panel voted 5-1 against West. “We’ve knocked people off the ballot for being one signature short. If we are holding their feet to the fire on the number of signatures, we need to hold their feet to the fire on the time they file."

Wisconsin is a swing state critical to President Donald Trump’s reelection fight and a place where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by less than 30,000 votes. Some political observers saw West as a potential spoiler who could pull Black voters from Joe Biden in November, but a recent poll POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed West getting a mere 2 percent support overall among registered voters and Black voters. So far, West has qualified to be on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont. One elections commissioner in Wisconsin said it was ironic that Democrats “have spent billions of dollars” to make it easier for constituents to vote, but weren't interested in making it easier for candidates to file, as well.

By Mark Morales, CNN

(CNN) Mossimo Giannulli was sentenced to five months in prison on Friday for his role in the college admissions scandal, just a few hours before his wife, the famed actress Lori Loughlin, was expected to learn her own fate. Giannulli, a fashion designer, also faces 2 years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and 250 hours of community service, according to the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. "I deeply regret the harm that my actions have caused my daughters, my wife," said Giannulli, who wore a suit and tie during his virtual sentencing hearing. He added: "I'm ready to accept the consequences and move forward with the lessons I've learned from this experience." Friday's sentencings will bring an end to the saga for Giannulli and Loughlin, who became the face of the college admissions scandal and is arguably the parent with the highest profile who admitted to paying the scheme's mastermind, William Rick Singer, $500,000 to get both their daughters into the University of Southern California.

QAnon conspiracy theorist Tommy Gelati loves to talk. Just not about this.
Will Sommer, William Bredderman

Trash-talking QAnon conspiracy theorist Tommy Gelati has a long list of celebrities he thinks belong in prison—or who might secretly be there already. Using a verified Twitter account with more than 230,000 followers and a hugely popular podcast, Gelati, who goes by the alias “Tommy G” online, has whipped up QAnon conspiracy theory mobs against celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and companies like online furniture store Wayfair. He promises that prominent figures in the Democratic Party and Hollywood will soon be arrested in a wave of that mass detention QAnon believers call “The Storm.”

He’s claimed that top celebrities torture children for “adrenochrome,” a substance conspiracy theorists believe contains magical life-giving powers. After Tom Hanks contracted the coronavirus, Gelati began speculating that Hanks’s recent haircut proved that he was secretly hosting Saturday Night Live from prison. But what’s less clear to his audience is that Gelati himself served nearly two years in a federal prison after engineering a sensational bank robbery with a crew dubbed the “College Boy Robbers.” Now, his online rise highlights how anyone can reinvent themselves and find success in an era where conspiracy theories run rampant. Gelati didn’t respond to requests for comment. But in a Twitter video posted after this article was published, he acknowledged his bank robbery conviction and vowed to “shut down” The Daily Beast.

Beguiled by far-right conspiracy theories that foster care was a front for child sex-trafficking, Cyndie Abcug allegedly planned to kidnap her son. Then she went on the run.
Will Sommer

Part Two of a Two-Part Series. Cyndie Abcug had a gun, a QAnon conspiracy theorist for a bodyguard, and a conviction that “deep state” cabal agents had abducted her 7-year-old son. Abcug, 50, also had a plan, according to a police report: an armed assault on a Colorado foster home to “free” her son. Abcug’s 15-year-old daughter had tipped off sheriff’s deputies to the alleged scheme, fearful that people would be hurt in what Abcug purportedly called the “raid.” Soon, there would be an arrest warrant with Abcug’s name on it. The motley assortment of conspiracy theorists surrounding Abcug convinced her it was time to flee her suburban Denver home and go on the run. And there was only one man they thought could help them: QAnon YouTube star Field McConnell. And so, in September 2019, Abcug embarked on a months-long, peripatetic journey of more than 5,500 miles through the heart of the American conspiracy-theorist underground.

In Part One of this two-part series, The Daily Beast reported on the clandestine hub of QAnon believers orbiting around McConnell, a former airline pilot who’s reinvented himself as a QAnon YouTuber with an organization called the Children’s Crusade. McConnell and his allies in “E-Clause,” a fringe law group that deploys bizarre legal tactics reminiscent of far-right “sovereign citizen” groups, have focused on Abcug and other mothers who have lost custody of their children. In rambling YouTube videos, McConnell and his associates turn these mothers and their children into cause célèbre victims of the supposed deep state—while collecting donations and views along the way.

Michelle Mark

The Phoenix Police Department released body camera footage showing the arrest of a 28-year-old man who died after being restrained for several minutes on the surface of a blazing hot roadway. Ramon Lopez was pronounced dead on the morning of August 4, shortly after he scuffled with three Phoenix officers during an arrest. The police department said in a statement that the officers were initially called to the scene by a woman who called 911 to report "a suspicious man making obscene gestures and looking into cars" and "holding his private parts."

Police said when the officers approached the man, Lopez, he fled. He entered a convenience store and stole a drink, then threw the drink on the officer chasing him, according to police. Surveillance and body camera footage showed the officer approaching the convenience store door, before Lopez could be seen bolting out and being chased by the officer. Eventually, the officer caught up with Lopez and they both fell to the ground on the asphalt.

Rowaida Abdelaziz, HuffPost

Newly revealed body camera footage released on Wednesday captured the final moments of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr., a Black Muslim man, before he was killed by Phoenix police in 2017. The graphic nine-minute video shows 43-year-old Muhaymin pinned down by several Phoenix police officers, with at least one officer placing his knee on Muhaymin’s back and neck. Although the transcript was previously reported, this is the first time the public is seeing raw footage of an officer mocking Muhaymin’s faith.

Muhaymin’s death, which is eerily similar to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, took place in January 2017, but is now being revisited in the wake anti-racism protests and national outrage over the targeting of Black people by law enforcement. Advocates and Muhaymin’s family said that three years after his murder, they are still waiting for justice. To date, none of the officers involved in Muhaymin’s death ― identified as Oswald Grenier, Jason Hobel, Ronaldo Canilao, David Head, Susan Heimbigner, Kevin McGowan, James Clark, Dennis Leroux, Ryan Nielsen and supervisor Steven Wong ― have been arrested or charged. All of the officers are still employed by the Phoenix Police Department


Kirsten Dunst wants answers! The "Bring It On" star reacted to her baffling inclusion in Kanye West's campaign materials after the presidential hopeful debuted a bizarre poster on Twitter to promote his #2020Vision. The controversial collage featured pictures of celebrities, activists and other figure along with the rapper's ubiquitous election slogan. Dunst and Vogue editor Anna Wintour were among those included in the promo, but according to PEOPLE magazine, the use of their images was never approved. In response, the actress tweeted West, "What's the message here, and why am I apart [sic] of it?"

Guardian News

Barack Obama delivered a powerful message calling for voters to protect American democracy during the third night of the Democratic national convention. The former president argued that Donald Trump’s potential re-election posed an existential threat to the country’s democratic values and institutions, and he implored voters to 'embrace your own responsibility as citizens' before November’s election.

The Lead

Miles Taylor speaks with Jake Tapper about his experience with President Trump. Source: CNN

By Laura J. Nelson, Maya Lau

Six weeks ago, U.S. Postal Service workers in the high desert town of Tehachapi, Calif., began to notice crates of mail sitting in the post office in the early morning that should have been shipped out for delivery the night before. At a mail processing facility in Santa Clarita in July, workers discovered that their automated sorting machines had been disabled and padlocked. And inside a massive mail-sorting facility in South Los Angeles, workers fell so far behind processing packages that by early August, gnats and rodents were swarming around containers of rotted fruit and meat, and baby chicks were dead inside their boxes. Accounts of conditions from employees at California mail facilities provide a glimpse of what some say are the consequences of widespread cutbacks in staffing and equipment recently imposed by the postal service. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, responding to a national outcry over service disruptions and fears of voter disenfranchisement, said this week he would suspend many planned changes until after the election. But postal workers say significant damage has already been done, including the removal of mail-sorting machines, which may not be replaced.

While the long-term effect of the cuts on U.S. mail service is unclear, the evidence of serious disruptions appears to be mounting, according to postal employees interviewed by The Times as well as customers, lawmakers and union leaders. Until this week, the postal service was implementing a sweeping plan to remove 671 mail-sorting machines, or about 10% of its total, from facilities across the U.S. — including 76 in California. Officials also slashed overtime pay and imposed a new policy that could delay outgoing mail. The cuts have had a ripple effect in California, snarling the operation of one of the biggest mail-processing facilities in the country and delaying the delivery of prescriptions, rent payments and unemployment checks. Some people have complained of going days without receiving any mail at all.

At least five high-speed mail-sorting machines have been removed from a processing plant in Sacramento, said Omar Gonzalez, the Western regional coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union. Additionally, two of the machines have been removed in Santa Ana and six in San Diego, Gonzalez said. Processing plants serve more than 1,000 California post offices, some of which deliver to far-flung, rural addresses that could be faced with high delivery costs if serviced by private mail carriers. Inside one sprawling facility at Florence and Central avenues in Los Angeles, which serves 92 L.A.-area post offices, seven delivery bar code sorters were removed in June, leaving three, Gonzalez said. Each of those machines, which would handle mail-in ballots, can process up to 35,000 pieces of mail per hour. “A lot of the machinery has already been gutted. Some of it has been dismantled and relocated or trashed,” Gonzalez said. “Although we welcome the news of the suspension of these changes, it’s just that — a suspension. The attacks and undermining of our operations will resume, maybe at the worst possible time, in December, our peak season.”

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

It is a favorite game in politics to take the most extreme member of the other party and then paint the entire party as extreme. However, when many candidates and officials plus the head of the party evidence nuttiness, it is fair to label the party as such. That’s where the Republican Party is now. At a White House briefing on Wednesday, there was this exchange:

   Reporter: QAnon believes you are secretly saving the world from this cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Are you behind that?
   President Trump: Is that supposed to be a bad thing? We are actually. We are saving the world.

QAnon believers, Trump says, are just a bunch of people who “love their country.” Actually, the FBI, in May 2019, said the conspiracy theory is a domestic terrorist threat pushing baseless allegations such as Pizzagate: “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.” In a written statement, Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, responded to President Trump’s remarks, saying that, “not only is our president refusing to take responsibility for his failed leadership that has cost over 170,000 American lives and tens of millions of jobs — he is again giving voice to violence.” Bates continued: “After calling neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville ‘fine people’ and tear-gassing peaceful protesters following the murder of George Floyd, Donald Trump just sought to legitimize a conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a domestic terrorism threat.” But you’ll hear no objections from Republicans. Also on Wednesday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush tweeted that, “nut jobs, racists [and] haters have no place in either Party.” Perhaps he confused the GOP with a mainstream party.

The USPS: Carrying your mail and carrying out justice.
By Nicole Narea

The US Postal Service is out to deliver justice against former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. It may not have come as a shock that Bannon, often described as a grifter, was allegedly caught up in a scheme to defraud donors to a crowdfunding campaign that promised to construct a wall on the US-Mexico border. But it was a surprise to some that the USPS, the same agency that President Donald Trump has tried to cripple ahead of an expected surge of mail-in ballots in November, carried out his arrest on a $28 million megayacht called Lady May off the coast of Connecticut Thursday morning: These aren’t your everyday mail carriers:

They are part and parcel of an elite police unit known as the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), which has been fighting crime since the mail fraud statute was enacted in 1872. There are about 1,200 such postal inspectors who carry weapons, make arrests, execute federal search warrants, and serve subpoenas. They have even inspired a CBS series, “The Inspectors.” All agents must complete a 16-week training program that covers firearms, physical fitness, and defensive tactics. In 2019, they made 5,759 arrests and 4,995 convictions related to postal crimes, according to USPS. “They say, ‘Oh, you’re a lot like the FBI.’ And I like to tell them, ‘No, the FBI is a lot like us,’” one USPIS agent says in a recruiting video:

In a letter released hours before Joe Biden is set to deliver his nomination acceptance speech, over 70 senior officials called President Trump “unfit to lead” and outlined their support for his opponent.
By David E. Sanger

Four years after 50 of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials warned that Donald J. Trump “would be the most reckless president in American history,” they are back with a new letter, declaring his presidency worse than they had imagined and urging voters to support former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The new letter, released just hours before Mr. Biden formally accepts the nomination, lays out a 10-point indictment of Mr. Trump’s actions, accusing him of undermining the rule of law, aligning himself with dictators and engaging “in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as president.”

They also accused him of “spreading misinformation” and “undermining public health experts,” making him “unfit to lead during a national crisis.” “When we wrote in 2016, we were warning against a vote for Donald Trump, but many of the signatories were not ready to embrace his opponent,” Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, noted John Bellinger, a former legal adviser at the State Department and National Security Council who was among the authors of the past and current letters. “This is different: Each of the signatories has said he or she will vote for Biden. Signatories are now even more concerned about Trump, and have fewer concerns about Biden.” For the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Biden has invited a series of Republicans to speak, most notably Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Democrats are betting that these cross-aisle endorsements may bring over moderate Republicans who may have supported Mr. Trump four years ago, but are struggling with whether they can vote for a Democrat.

“While some of us hold policy positions that differ from those of Joe Biden and his party, the time to debate those policy differences will come later,” the new letter says. “For now, it is imperative that we stop Trump’s assault on our nation’s values and institutions and reinstate the moral foundations of our democracy.”

By Erica Orden and Kara Scannell, CNN

(CNN) New York federal prosecutors on Thursday charged President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon and three others with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fundraising campaign purportedly aimed at supporting Trump's border wall. Bannon, 66, was arrested on a boat Thursday off the Eastern coast of Connecticut according to a law enforcement official. He will make his initial court appearance in New York later Thursday, according to the US attorney's office. Bill Burck, an attorney for Bannon, declined to comment. The four men are indicted for allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to an online crowdfunding campaign called We Build the Wall for personal expenses, among other things.

Bannon and another defendant, Brian Kolfage, promised donors that the campaign, which ultimately raised more than $25 million, was "a volunteer organization" and that "100% of the funds raised...will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose," according to the indictment unsealed Thursday. But instead, according to prosecutors, Bannon, through a non-profit under his control, used more than $1 million from We Build the Wall to "secretly" pay Kolfage and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bannon's personal expenses. And Kolfage, according to the charges, used more than $350,000 of the donations for his personal use.

By Jessica Schneider and Rebekah Riess, CNN

(CNN) The state of Michigan and other defendants have reached a $600 million settlement in the Flint water crisis lawsuit that will provide hundreds of millions in payments to city residents. The settlement will establish a court-monitored victims compensation fund that will provide the direct payments to Flint residents. Nearly 80% of the money will go to those who were younger than 18 at the time of the crisis, according to a news release from the interim co-lead class counsel for victims of the water crisis.

Residents in Flint raised concern about the water more than half a decade ago, often foisting jugs with discolored water at local leaders. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency said it had found dangerous levels of lead -- which can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves -- in the water flowing into residents' homes. "This partial settlement is the result of 5 years of litigation and 18 months of court supervised negotiations. Interim Co-lead Counsel will continue to pursue claims against the remaining defendants on behalf of certain residents and local businesses in the City of Flint harmed by the water crisis," the release states.

By Marshall Cohen and Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) Embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reversed course Tuesday, saying that all changes being made to the Postal Service would be suspended until after the November 3 election, just as 20 Democratic states announced plans to file federal lawsuits. DeJoy said that some of the deferred decisions mean that retail hours at post offices will not change, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain in place and no mail processing facilities will be closed. At least 20 Democratic attorneys general across the country are launching a multi-pronged legal effort to push back on the recent changes that disrupted mail delivery across the country and triggered accusations that Trump and his appointees are trying to undermine mail-in voting.

The Democratic attorneys general plan to argue that DeJoy is illegally changing mail procedures ahead of the 2020 election as the Post Office braces for an unusually high number of mail-in ballots as voters look to avoid casting ballots at polling centers where they could potentially contract the coronavirus. DeJoy "acted outside of his authority to implement changes to the postal system, and did not follow the proper procedures under federal law," according to a statement from Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The USPS and DeJoy have maintained that the changes are intended to improve the agency's dire financial situation. DeJoy also rejects accusations that he made these changes at Trump's behest.

At least two lawsuits are being filed Tuesday. One led by Washington state will be joined by Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Another group of state Democratic attorneys general are filing a similar lawsuit in a Pennsylvania federal court. These states include California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maine and North Carolina. The lawsuit led by Washington state makes liberal use of Trump's words and tweets against mail-in voting and connects them to the DeJoy's actions, saying the President has attacked mail-in voting more than 70 times "without supporting evidence."

Bipartisan intelligence panel says that Russian who worked on Trump’s 2016 bid was career spy, amid a stunning range of contacts
Luke Harding and Julian Borger

A report by the Senate intelligence committee provides a treasure trove of new details about Donald Trump’s relationship with Moscow, and says that a Russian national who worked closely with Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 was a career intelligence officer. The bipartisan report runs to nearly 1,000 pages and goes further than last year’s investigation into Russian election interference by special prosecutor Robert Mueller. It lays out a stunning web of contacts between Trump, his top election aides and Russian government officials, in the months leading up to the 2016 election. The Senate panel identifies Konstantin Kilimnik as a Russian intelligence officer employed by the GRU, the military intelligence agency behind the 2018 poisoning of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. It cites evidence – some of it redacted – linking Kilimnik to the GRU’s hacking and dumping of Democratic party emails.

Kilimnik worked for over a decade in Ukraine with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager. In 2016 Manafort met with Kilimnik, discussed how Trump might beat Hillary Clinton, and gave the Russian spy internal polling data. The committee said it couldn’t “reliably determine” why Manafort handed over this information, or what exactly Kilimnik did with it. It describes Manafort’s willingness to pass on confidential material to alleged Moscow agents as a “grave counterintelligence threat”. The report dubs Kilimnik part of “a cadre of individuals ostensibly operating outside of the Russian government but who nonetheless implement Kremlin-directed influence operations”. It adds that key oligarchs including Oleg Deripaska fund these operations, together with the Kremlin.

The investigation found that Kilimnik tweets under the pseudonym Petro Baranenko (@PBaranenko). The account regularly propagates Moscow’s line on international issues, such as the conflict in Ukraine and the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. The fact that a Republican-controlled Senate panel established a direct connection between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence makes it harder for Trump and his supporters to allege that the investigation into possible collusion was a “witch-hunt” or “hoax” as the president has repeatedly claimed, in the remaining three months before the election. The Republican-controlled Senate panel said it was hampered in its search for the truth by the fact that Kilimnik and Manafort kept their communications secret. They used burner phones, encrypted chat services, and frequently changed email accounts. They also messaged via a shared email draft.

The committee is dismissive of the dossier by the ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele, which alleged that the Kremlin had been cultivating Donald Trump for at least five years, but stops short of offering an opinion on whether the allegations within it are true. That dossier contained an allegation that Russia spied on Trump during a visit to Moscow in November 2013 and filmed him in his private suite at the Ritz-Carlton hotel with two prostitutes. Trump strenuously denies the claim. However, the Senate report offers the most compelling account yet of what went on inside the hotel. It alleges that a suspected Russian intelligence officer is stationed permanently in the building and presides over a “network” of security cameras, some of them hidden inside guest rooms. The officer’s agency is redacted, but is likely to be the FSB, the spy agency Vladimir Putin headed, in charge of counter-intelligence.

Since taking office in June, DeJoy has executed sweeping changes at the struggling USPS, leading to delays in mail delivery – and fears mail-in ballots won’t arrive on time
The Guardian

About a month ago, a United States Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier named Mark arrived at his post office in central Pennsylvania and got some shocking news from his station manager. Mark and his coworkers were told they would have to depart the office for deliveries a few hours earlier each day, even if that meant leaving behind much of the day’s mail. In the weeks that followed, higher-ups at the station instructed carriers to abandon hundreds of pieces of mail in order to depart a mere 10 or 20 minutes earlier. As the days went on, the excess mail started to pile up, and now Mark estimates there are thousands of undelivered letters and packages sitting in his station.

“The supervisors are cracking the whip, making sure we leave,” Mark told the Guardian. “Meanwhile carriers are walking by and saying, ‘Look at all this fucking mail we’re walking past, it’s just sitting there.’” When Mark and his coworkers confronted the station manager he said he was only following orders from the new USPS postmaster general, Louis DeJoy. Since taking office in June, DeJoy has executed sweeping changes at the struggling US Postal Service, shaking up agency leadership and rolling out policies that have led to delays in mail delivery. These changes, which DeJoy has said are designed to cut down on labor costs, have angered advocates and Democratic politicians, who have accused him of trying to tamper with the election just weeks before millions of Americans start casting their ballots through the mail.

Taylor Nicole Rogers

The coronavirus pandemic wasn't the only thing that disrupted the Las Vegas area's primary election in June. Following guidance from state authorities, the county mailed ballots to all of its 1.3 million registered voters in the Las Vegas area, but 223,000 were never delivered, according to a new report authored by the conservative nonprofit Public Interest Legal Foundation and confirmed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Although the report attributed the undeliverable ballots to outdated voter rolls, the problem alludes to ones other counties could face if they pursue mail-only voting in the November presidential election.

"These numbers show how vote by mail fails. New proponents of mail balloting don't often understand how it actually works," Public Interest Legal Foundation President J. Christian Adams said in a statement. "States like Oregon and Washington spent many years building their mail voting systems and are notably aggressive with voter list maintenance efforts. Pride in their own systems does not somehow transfer across state lines. Nevada, New York, and others are not and will not be ready for November."

David Shepardson, Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General is investigating reports of service disruptions and other issues raised by lawmakers, a spokeswoman for Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Friday. “We have learned that the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General is investigating all aspects of our request from August 7th and that they’ve already requested documents as part of the review,” spokeswoman Saloni Sharma said. A spokeswoman for U.S. Postal Service Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb said the office is “in receipt of the congressional request and are conducting a body of work to address concerns raised,” but declined to comment further.

The Aug. 7 letter from a number of U.S. lawmakers asked for “a thorough audit of all operational changes put in place in recent weeks to determine the rationale behind these changes, if any analyses of their impact were conducted before implementation, their effect on the quality of mail delivery, and how it will impact services needed for the 2020 election.”

“This announcement is pure politics — a signal once again that the Trump administration will take extraordinary steps to protect white privilege," a former DOJ official said.
By Kimmy Yam

The Justice Department’s latest accusation that Yale University discriminated against Asian American and white students is an attempt to pit marginalized students against each other, using Asian Americans as the conduit, experts say. Several Asian American activists and scholars criticized the DOJ’s letter sent to the Ivy League institution on Thursday, in which the feds claimed the school “rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit.” Critics say that in lumping white students with those of Asian descent, the administration is using Asian Americans as a pawn to dismantle affirmative action.

“This announcement is pure politics — a signal once again that the Trump administration will take extraordinary steps to protect white privilege and resort to unfounded racial attacks, right on the heels of Kamala Harris, a Black and Asian American woman, joining the top of the Democratic ticket,” Anurima Bhargava, who served as chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division at DOJ during the Obama administration. In the letter, which followed a similar case involving fellow Ivy League institution Harvard University, Eric S. Dreiband, assistant attorney general, claimed the university is far less likely to admit Asian American and white applicants with similar academic backgrounds compared to Black and Latinx students.

Some conservatives were quick to spread conspiracy theories when Joe Biden announced his VP pick.
By Rebecca Heilweil

Within hours of Joe Biden announcing that he had selected Kamala Harris as his presidential running mate, conspiracy theories as well as racist and sexist misinformation about her proliferated online. Much of this harassing dialogue recycled or built on earlier false claims spread about Harris. And the actions social media has already taken — or avoided — are stoking anxieties about the role of misinformation in the campaign to come.

On QAnon and other right-wing Facebook pages, memes compared Harris to Rachel Dolezal and wrongly claimed she was not African American. On Twitter, a post with 20,000 “likes” pointed out that Harris’s sister takes hydroxychloroquine, without the context that she uses the medication for lupus, not Covid-19. And countless posts questioned her eligibility to run for vice president, a problem that was exacerbated by a controversial Newsweek op-ed pushing the same baseless question. On Thursday, President Trump, who infamously promoted the racist birther conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama, amplified the claims about Harris’s eligibility.

Birtherism 2.0, explained

“I heard today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump told reporters, referencing the article’s author as “very highly qualified, very talented lawyer.” In response to a follow-up question on the topic, the president concluded, “I don’t know about it. I just heard about it. I’ll take a look.”

The recent spike in misinformation highlights how quickly old conspiracy theories get recycled on social media when a new context presents itself, and how powerless platforms seem to be to stop it. At the same time, the renewed onslaught of fake news about Kamala Harris yet again highlights how Trump and his campaign are eager to use misinformation to their advantage as they find ways to attack the Biden-Harris ticket. And as the Newsweek op-ed made clear, some media outlets are willing to participate.

By Ellie Kaufman

(CNN) The US Postal Service is warning states that voters risk not getting their ballots back to election offices in time because of lags in mail delivery, according to letters reviewed by CNN, adding a new level of uncertainty to the coming presidential election and leaving states to ascertain how to adjust. Multiple states received communications from the USPS general counsel outlining standard mail delivery times and prices leading up to the November election and warning secretaries of state that election laws established by the states would not necessarily guarantee that mail-in ballots will be received in time to be counted.

The letters predate President Donald Trump's most recent attacks on mail-in voting, including on Thursday when he said he opposed giving billions in funding to the postal service because doing so would allow increased mail-in voting. The changes are a result of previously planned cost-cutting measures, put in place partly as a reaction to the President's extensive criticism of the US Postal Service as a money loser that does not charge enough for its services, combined with the coronavirus pandemic. Union officials have been warning that newly implemented measures would affect mail-in voting in November.

The popularity of voting by mail has exploded during the pandemic and it's expected that Democratic voters plan to take advantage of expanded mail-in voting access more than Republicans. News of the letters comes a little less than two weeks after the US Postal Service definitively said in a statement that it had the capacity to handle the added volume of mail-in voting anticipated in November. CNN has now confirmed letters were sent to 14 states -- Washington, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, Maine, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, Minnesota, Maryland, Florida and Utah. The Washington Post reported 46 states and Washington, DC, all received similar warnings.

"Certain deadlines concerning mail-in ballots, particularly with respect to new residents who register to vote shortly before Election Day, appear to be incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards," USPS General Counsel Thomas Marshall wrote to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. "This mismatch creates a significant risk that some ballots will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them."

By Max Greenwood

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign pulled in $48 million in the 48 hours after he named Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate. The massive two-day fundraising total is the latest sign of the campaign’s growing fundraising strength ahead of the Democratic National Convention next week, when Biden will formally accept his party’s presidential nomination. The $48 million fundraising haul was first reported on Thursday by Reuters. On Wednesday, in Biden and Harris's first appearance together as running mates, Biden revealed that his campaign had seen its best single day of grassroots fundraising in the hours after he announced that the California senator would join him on the presidential ticket in November. His campaign later said that it had raised $26 million in the 24 hours after Biden announced his vice presidential pick.

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) Colorado's top elections official on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of lying about vote by mail as the President continues to baselessly assert that mail-in voting is wrought with fraud and abuse. "President Trump is lying about vote by mail. He is lying about mail ballots," Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, told CNN's Erin Burnett on "OutFront." "Colorado has a very clean history of running great elections with vote by mail. We have safeguards in place to make sure we would catch any type of double voting including signature verification, rules about ballot collection and a lot of other safeguards." Earlier Thursday, the President said on Fox Business that he opposes much-needed funding for the United States Postal Service because he doesn't want to see it used for mail-in voting this November. Trump has railed against mail-in voting for months amid efforts to expand it during the coronavirus pandemic.

Griswold said on CNN that the President's comments amounted to "voter suppression because mail ballots are the best way to vote during a pandemic." "To force Americans into the choice of risking their lives to cast a ballot is a measure to decrease turnout in November," she said. "We should all be very alarmed at where the President is going." She argued that vote by mail is "like wearing a mask" because it's "the way we can save Americans' lives." "Americans shouldn't have to choose between risking their life and casting a ballot," she said.

QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Trump is exposing Dem/Hollywood pedophiles, will get its first member of Congress. “The Daily Show” host breaks down why that’s truly bananas.
Marlow Stern

On Wednesday night, Trevor Noah took aim at Marjorie Taylor Greene, a woman who recently won a Georgia Republican primary and will surely be elected to Congress in her deep red 14th District. “Congress is about to get a lot crazier,” offered Noah. Greene, 46, has a long history of racism and pushing conspiracy theories. She’s recently called the Jewish businessman George Soros a “Nazi”; compared the elections of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to Congress to “an Islamic invasion”; said minorities find themselves unemployed because they are “lazy”; accused the Democratic Party of keeping Black people in “a modern-day form of slavery”; and said Black people should be “proud” of Confederate monuments. Greene has also been endorsed by a number of prominent white supremacists.

On top of all that, Greene is an adherent of QAnon—a wild conspiracy theory alleging that an anonymous secret agent named “Q” is dropping insider information revealing that Hollywood and Democratic Party elites (Hillary Clinton, Oprah, etc.) are operating an underground child sex-trafficking ring and that President Donald Trump is waging a one-man war on them. “That’s right: A QAnon conspiracy theorist is about to become a member of Congress,” Noah explained. “And if you’re wondering, what’s QAnon? Well, it’s a movement that believes that Hollywood and the Democratic Party are actually a secret worldwide child sex-trafficking ring whose members harvest the blood of children for its life-extending properties, and that the only person protecting the world from this evil is Donald Trump.”

A group of Pennsylvania voters are asking state officials to extend the counting deadline beyond Election Day.
By Dennis Romero

The U.S. Postal Service says it's unlikely there will be enough time to request, complete and return mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania to be counted for the Nov. 3 presidential election. Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president of the agency warned in a July 29 letter to State Secretary Kathy Boockvar of "a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them." The letter was revealed Thursday in a filing that's part of an ongoing lawsuit by a group of Pennsylvania voters who want state officials to extend the counting deadline beyond Election Day as a result of anticipated U.S. Postal Service delays for mail-in ballots.

The USPS did not immediately respond to request for comment Thursday night. State officials, including Boockvar, said in the filing Thursday that the plaintiffs were correct in claiming that there will be mail delays; state officials now say the deadline to receive mail-in ballots should be extended three days beyond Nov. 3 so long as there's not evidence a ballot was mailed after Election Day. The Postal Service sent a similar letter and warning to Washington's secretary of state, Kim Wyman, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported Monday.

The concerns about mail delays and whether votes sent via the Postal Service will be counted come amid a political battle over providing funding for the agency so it can gear up to handle the extra volume. Pennsylvania last year passed a law that allows all its voters to vote by mail. Social distancing because of the pandemic has inspired officials coast-to-coast to limit polling places and encourage citizens to use the mailbox.

Rachel Treisman,  Elissa Nadworny

The Department of Justice accused Yale University of violating federal civil rights law by illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process. Those are the findings of a two-year investigation conducted in response to a complaint by a coalition of Asian American groups. The Justice Department notified university officials in a letter on Thursday. "The Department of Justice found Yale discriminates based on race and national origin in its undergraduate admissions process, and that race is the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year," the department said in a release. It went on to say that "for the great majority of applicants," Asian American and white prospective students have 1/10 to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials.

In a statement provided to NPR, a Yale spokesperson said that the university "categorically denies this allegation." "At Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants," the statement said. "We take into consideration a multitude of factors, including their academic achievement, interests, demonstrated leadership, background, success in taking maximum advantage of their secondary school and community resources, and the likelihood that they will contribute to the Yale community and the world."

Barbara Sprunt

A late-night tweet from Kanye West this week strengthened the impression that establishment Republicans are helping the musician and fashion designer in his quest to get on the ballot in some states as a third-party candidate for president. "I'm willing to do a live interview with the New York Time[s] about my meeting with Jared where we discussed Dr. Claude Anderson's book Powernomics," the post reads. "Jared" is Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser.

The New York Times reported that Kushner and West met privately last weekend in Colorado. Neither the White House nor West's camp responded to NPR's requests for comment. Kushner addressed the meeting himself during a White House press briefing Thursday afternoon, noting that he's been friends with West for about a decade. "We both happened to be in Colorado and so we got together and we had a great discussion about a lot of things," Kushner said. "He has some great ideas for what he'd like to see happen in the country and that's why he has the candidacy that he's been doing. But again, there's a lot of issues that the president's championed that he admires and it was just great to have a friendly discussion."

Randall Lane Forbes Staff

Exclusive new details on the ongoing conversations between the rap-and-sneaker mogul and “my boy,” the president’s son-in-law, just as his spoiler campaign heats up. As Kanye West’s bizarre presidential campaign has moved from Twitter sideshow to potential spoiler—the billionaire rapper this week released a website and campaign platform as he moves to get on the ballot in pivotal states—those around him increasingly worry about his mental health issues. And specifically whether one consigliere is trying to exploit them. According to multiple sources, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner has been speaking with West regularly since his July 4 tweet declaring that he was running for president.

While Republican operatives rush to try get him on ballots across the country, the New York Times reported earlier today that Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, met with West last weekend in Telluride, Colorado. The connection goes much further. West has been telling associates that he and Kushner speak “almost daily.” Forbes spoke with four people who have direct access to either West or Kushner, including two with direct knowledge of their conversations.

One thing that particularly upsets those close to the Yeezy sneaker mogul, who is openly bipolar, is his apparent delusion about his chances of winning: When I pointed out to West last week during an interview that he won’t be on enough ballots to win, and thus seemed intent on running a spoiler campaign designed to hurt presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, he responded, “I’m not going to argue with you.” But a few hours after the story appeared, West responded with a change of heart: “THE GOAL IS TO WIN,” he blared in a tweet that was liked more than 260,000 times.

The video appears to show an officer telling his dog "good boy" while it bites a man kneeling on the ground.
By Tim Stelloh

The Salt Lake City Police Department suspended its K9 program on Wednesday, one day after the release of an officer’s body-camera footage that showed his dog appearing to repeatedly bite a Black man kneeling on the ground with his hands up. In a statement, the department said it was enlisting outside experts to conduct a thorough review of the program’s policies and procedures while various investigations examine the April 24 incident that left Jeffrey Ryans, 36, with severe injuries that his lawyers said may require amputation. The K9 officer involved in the encounter, Nickolas Pearce, was placed on administrative leave while the city’s civilian review board and internal affairs investigators investigate, the department said.

“I am disturbed by what I saw in that video, frustrated by how the situation was handled, and am committed to working to ensure neither happen again,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall tweeted Wednesday. Lawyers for Ryans, a train engineer, said in an interview Wednesday that he was getting ready to go to work early that morning when officers arrived at his wife’s home, where he was staying. In disturbing body-camera footage first published by the Salt Lake City Tribune and obtained by NBC News, the officers can be seen talking with Ryans, who’s standing in the home's backyard. “I’m just going to work,” he says. One officer asks how they can get to the yard; another appears to say Ryans is going jump the fence. Pearce then appears to walk to the other side of the house, where he approaches Ryans and says, “Get on the ground or you’re going to get bit.”

By John Bowden

The president's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met recently with hip hop artist Kanye West as the latter has stepped up his efforts to be on the November ballot as part of an independent bid for the White House. Kushner recently met with West while traveling with his wife and fellow White House aide Ivanka Trump in Colorado as part of a camping trip, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill. West, who was a vocal supporter of President Trump before throwing his hat into the 2020 ring, tweeted about the meeting following an inquiry from the Times, writing: "I’m willing to do a live interview with the New York Time about my meeting with Jared where we discussed Dr Claude Anderson’s book Powernomics."

The president's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met recently with hip hop artist Kanye West as the latter has stepped up his efforts to be on the November ballot as part of an independent bid for the White House. Kushner recently met with West while traveling with his wife and fellow White House aide Ivanka Trump in Colorado as part of a camping trip, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

West, who was a vocal supporter of President Trump before throwing his hat into the 2020 ring, tweeted about the meeting following an inquiry from the Times, writing: "I’m willing to do a live interview with the New York Time about my meeting with Jared where we discussed Dr Claude Anderson’s book Powernomics." According to its publisher, "PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America" offers "a five-year plan to make Black America a prosperous and empowered race that is self-sufficient and competitive as a group." The meeting will likely further speculation that Republican political operatives are assisting West's bid, which he first announced last month, in an effort to handicap presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The rapper mounting a quixotic bid for the White House drew just 2 percent support in a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Rapper and former Donald Trump supporter Kanye West is running for president with the backing of a handful of GOP operatives who are betting he can pull Black voters from former Vice President Joe Biden. But Democrats aren’t sweating West at this point — and Republicans don’t view him as a boon to their cause, either. For good reason: In a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, West garnered 2 percent support overall among registered voters, 7 points behind the “no opinion” option. His support among African American voters is just as meager — 2 percent — and Biden’s 9-point national lead over Trump is unmoved with or without West on the ballot.

“I think a lot of people of color view Kanye’s bid for the presidency as a quixotic one, and they don’t see him as being legitimate for the office. It’s more of yet another Kanye publicity stunt,” said Ron Christie, a Black Republican strategist and former aide to Dick Cheney. "Democrats traditionally get 90-plus percent of the black vote. I think a lot of people are going to look at Kanye and just say, ‘I don’t think so.’”

The POLITICO/Morning Consult findings help explain why strategists from both parties said in interviews that they don’t see him as a factor in the race, at least not yet. West has successfully filed paperwork as a third-party candidate in fewer than a dozen states and Republicans in battleground states such as Wisconsin and Ohio have organized to get him on the ballot.

If elected, the senator would be the nation’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president.
By Adam Edelman and Deepa Shivaram

Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris, the prominent senator from California whose political career has included many barrier-breaking moments, as his running mate, his campaign announced on Tuesday. The decision comes more than a year after Harris, who was also a 2020 Democratic candidate, clashed with Biden over racial issues during the first primary debate. If elected, she would be the nation’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president. Picking Harris, who is 55, provides the ticket with some generational diversity. Biden, 77, would be the oldest president-elect in U.S. history. The announcement from Biden caps weeks of speculation and is Biden’s biggest decision to date as the presumptive Democratic nominee, a detail Biden himself noted in his announcement.

"You make a lot of important decisions as president. But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021," Biden wrote in an email from his campaign to supporters. "I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person," he wrote. "I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they’ve lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus." "This president says he 'doesn’t want to be distracted by it.' He doesn’t understand that taking care of the people of this nation — all the people — isn’t a distraction — it’s the job," Biden continued. "Kamala understands that. I need someone who understands that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. And that if we’re going to get through these crises — we need to come together and unite for a better America. Kamala gets that."

A lawyer for the teens said the officers drew their weapons after the teens were assaulted by a man with a knife.
By Tim Stelloh

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Monday that he has “concerns” about an encounter captured on cellphone video last week that shows deputies detaining at gunpoint Black teens who, according to their lawyer, had been assaulted by a man with a knife. The lawyer, Robert Brown, said that bystanders called authorities after three teens, at least two of whom are Black, were harassed and assaulted by the man. “After having been attacked with a knife, minutes later, they experienced numerous police officers pointing guns at them,” Brown said in a statement. “So two life-and-death situations in a matter of minutes.”

In a brief statement on the department’s Facebook page, Villanueva said that investigators are looking into the incident, which occurred Friday near a Buffalo Wild Wings in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles. “A call for service was received as a felony assault, and the deputies detained those that were allegedly involved,” he said. Villanueva added that he has “concerns about the tactics employed” in a video of the encounter posted on Instagram.

By Tami Luhby

Police gather outside BLM activist home without warrant From cereal startups to fast-food chains, everyone wants to cash… CNN logo Coronavirus has already dealt a blow to Social Security's finances. Trump's payroll tax holiday could make it worse. President Donald Trump's executive action deferring, and possibly forgiving, payroll taxes could leave Social Security and Medicare on even shakier ground. The entitlement programs' finances have long been troubled. And the crush of coronavirus-induced layoffs has only deepened the problem by slashing the amount of payroll tax revenue going into their trust funds.A big fan of payroll tax cuts, Trump signed an executive action Saturday deferring the employee portion of payroll taxes -- 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare -- for workers making less than $100,000 a year through the rest of 2020.

If he's reelected, Trump said, he plans to forgive the taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll taxes. "I'm going to make them all permanent," he said. Otherwise, presumably, workers would have to pay the taxes at the end of the year. Trump sought to include the controversial measure -- which won't do anything to help the unemployed -- in the latest coronavirus relief package currently being hashed out on Capitol Hill. Republican senators have refused to do so, so the President is taking matters into his own executive hands, saying it has wide support.

Tim Mak

The attorney general of New York took action Thursday to dissolve the National Rifle Association following an 18-month investigation that found evidence the powerful gun rights group is "fraught with fraud and abuse." Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period. The suit alleges that top NRA executives misused charitable funds for personal gain, awarded contracts to friends and family members, and provided contracts to former employees to ensure loyalty.

Seeking to dissolve the NRA is the most aggressive sanction James could have sought against the not-for-profit organization, which James has jurisdiction over because it is registered in New York. James has a wide range of authorities relating to nonprofits in the state, including the authority to force organizations to cease operations or dissolve. The NRA is all but certain to contest it. The NRA said in a statement that the legal action was political, calling it a "baseless premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend... we not only will not shrink from this fight – we will confront it and prevail."

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Moderna, one of the companies working on a treatment for Covid-19, said Wednesday that it's on track to finish enrollment for a phase 3 study of its vaccine by the end of September. The biotech, which has received funding from the United States' Operation Warp Speed program, also said it had about $400 million of customer deposits for a potential supply of its mRNA-1273 vaccine. Moderna made the announcement in its earnings release Wednesday morning. The company posted a loss that was smaller than expected but revenue that topped forecasts.

Gupta to Moderna exec: What's the likelihood vaccine works? 02:59 Shares of Moderna (MRNA) fell about 4% on the news, but the stock has soared nearly 300% this year on hopes that it will be able to develop a successful coronavirus vaccine. The company has also come under scrutiny from some investors as several insiders have sold stock as it has surged. People have also been closely watching to see what drug companies plan to charge for treatments after biotech Gilead Sciences (GILD) revealed in June that its remdesivir drug would cost $520 a vial, or $3,120 for a five-day course of six vials, for people covered by private heath insurance plans. But Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel vowed during a conference call with analysts that its vaccine would be affordable.

The Guardian

The Census Bureau will end its efforts to count every living person in the US a month earlier than expected, a move that will probably lead to an undercount of communities of color, poorer Americans and other hard-to-count groups. Such an undercount would be catastrophic for those communities. The numbers from the census, which happens every 10 years, are used to determine how nearly $1.5tn in federal funds get allocated and how electoral districts are drawn for the next decade. The bureau will shorten the deadline to respond to the census by a month and will end counting on 30 September, it announced on Monday. In April, the agency said it needed until 31 October to finish the count and asked Congress to give it a four-month extension of the 31 December deadline to produce data because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monday’s announcement came after the bureau quietly removed references to the 31 October deadline from its website and offered no explanation for the reversal and the decision to cut back on the timeline. The abrupt reversal comes as Trump has shown renewed interest in using the census for partisan gain, and the decision to drop the additional follow-up appears to be an effort to produce data that disadvantages minority groups to use for the next decade. After unsuccessfully trying to add a citizenship question to the census, Trump ordered the Census Bureau last month not to count undocumented immigrants in the tally it uses to determine how districts are drawn. The order, already being challenged in court, is probably unconstitutional. The US constitution specifically requires the census to count all “persons”.

The shortened deadline will also curtail a critical census operation called non-response follow-up (NRFU), when bureau employees knock on doors to follow up with people who have not responded to the census. Experts and census advocates are deeply worried about curtailing the operation, noting that NRFU is one of the most important ways the bureau ensures traditionally hard-to-count groups get included in the census. “If you reduce your efforts, the most likely populations you’re not going to count are the hard-to-count,” said John Thompson, the director of the Census Bureau from 2013 to 2017.

Carrie Johnson

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates defended a sensitive Justice Department investigation into onetime Trump aide Michael Flynn on Wednesday, telling lawmakers Flynn was essentially "neutering" American sanctions and undercutting the Obama administration by "making nice" with a foreign adversary after Russia's unprecedented attack on the 2016 election. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Yates said Flynn's lies to the FBI were "absolutely material to a legitimate investigation" — contradicting the rationale the Justice Department has now offered in seeking to dismiss the case.

Yates, who was a prosecutor for nearly 30 years, said the effort to drop a prosecution against a defendant who twice pleaded guilty was "highly irregular."  "If Gen. Flynn didn't think he was doing anything problematic, then he wouldn't have needed to do anything to cover it," Yates said of Flynn's false statements about his conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late 2016. Flynn told Vice President Pence and then FBI investigators he hadn't asked Kislyak to press his government not to escalate its retaliation against punitive steps the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama was taking. Actually, documents later proved, Flynn had.

ABC News

Data collection for the 2020 Census will end Sept. 30, raising concerns about undercounting.

Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis confirms the state's unemployment system was broken by design
Matthew Chapman

In an interview with CBS4 Miami's Jim DeFede, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) admitted that Florida Republicans, led by his predecessor, deliberately crippled the state's unemployment system so that fewer out-of-work people would apply for benefits. "Do you believe that the system was in part put together the way it was to discourage people from being able to collect unemployment?" asked DeFede. I think that was the animating philosophy," said DeSantis. "I mean having studied how it was internally constructed, I think the goal was for whoever designed, it was, 'Let's put as many kind of pointless roadblocks along the way, so people just say, oh, the hell with it, I'm not going to do that.' And, you know, for me, let's decide on what the benefit is and let's get it out as efficiently as possible. You know, we shouldn't necessarily do these roadblocks to do it. So we have cleared a lot of those."

Source: As credited

Federal judge Esther Salas has released an emotional video message in which she describes the day her son was killed and husband shot in an apparent targeted shooting. Holding back tears at times, Salas described how 20-year-old Daniel was shot by Roy Den Hollander, who was posing as a FedEx driver, in what police believed to have been a targeted attack at their home in New Jersey on 19 July. Hollander was later found dead by suicide.

Kevin Seifert ESPN Staff Writer

A group including actor and former WWE star Dwayne Johnson has agreed to purchase the XFL for about $15 million, according to a news release issued Monday morning. The XFL declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 13 and has been seeking a buyer for the past three months, marketing itself as a made-for-TV product that could transition as early as 2021 to a bubble concept during the coronavirus pandemic.

by: FOX8 Digital Desk

The US Department of Agriculture has put out a health alert for frozen taquitos and chimichangas that may contain plastic. The items could pose a choking hazard. Multiple types of beef and chicken taquitos and chimichangas are included in the alert. It covers ready-to-eat products containing diced green chilies recalled by the producer, Sun Valley Foods.

Blake Montgomery

The Republican Party plans to bar journalists from attending the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where party members will nominate President Donald Trump to stand in the November election, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. It would be the first convention without reporters. A convention spokesperson told the paper the change arose in response to coronavirus restrictions: “We are planning for all of the Charlotte activities to be closed press: Friday, August 21 – Monday, 24th given the health restrictions and limitations in place in the state.

Virus to close GOP convention doors by Frank E. Lockwood

WASHINGTON -- When Republicans renominate Donald Trump for president in Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 24, journalists won't be on hand to witness it, a convention spokesperson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this week. Reporters also will be kept from the room when the Republican National Committee meets to conduct official party business. he spokesperson couldn't say whether C-SPAN, the nonprofit public service network, would be allowed to air the proceedings.

"[W]e are planning for all of the Charlotte activities to be closed press: Friday, August 21 – Monday, 24th given the health restrictions and limitations in place in the state," the convention spokesperson said in an email. "We are happy to let you know if this changes, but we are working within the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events." Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of delegates at the Republican National Convention had already been lowered from 2,550 to 336. Alternate delegates have been disinvited. Media seating has been eliminated.

Barring a last-minute change, this will be the first Republican presidential nominating convention in history where reporters are not admitted. Trump has had a sometimes-contentious relationship with journalists, branding them "the enemy of the American people" and labeling their stories "fake news." The Republican Party's nominating convention was originally set for Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, but the final three days were temporarily shifted to Jacksonville, Fla., after North Carolina leaders refused to waive covid-19-related crowd limitations.

The president’s long campaign against the Postal Service is intersecting with his assault on mail-in voting amid concerns that he has politicized oversight of the agency.
By Michael D. Shear, Hailey Fuchs and Kenneth P. Vogel

WASHINGTON — Welcome to the next election battleground: the post office. President Trump’s yearslong assault on the Postal Service and his increasingly dire warnings about the dangers of voting by mail are colliding as the presidential campaign enters its final months. The result has been to generate new concerns about how he could influence an election conducted during a pandemic in which greater-than-ever numbers of voters will submit their ballots by mail.

In tweet after all-caps tweet, Mr. Trump has warned that allowing people to vote by mail will result in a “CORRUPT ELECTION” that will “LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY” and become the “SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES.” He has predicted that children will steal ballots out of mailboxes. On Thursday, he dangled the idea of delaying the election instead.

Members of Congress and state officials in both parties rejected the president’s suggestion and his claim that mail-in ballots would result in widespread fraud. But they are warning that a huge wave of ballots could overwhelm mail carriers unless the Postal Service, in financial difficulty for years, receives emergency funding that Republicans are blocking during negotiations over another pandemic relief bill.

At the same time, the mail system is being undercut in ways set in motion by Mr. Trump. Fueled by animus for Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and surrounded by advisers who have long called for privatizing the post office, Mr. Trump and his appointees have begun taking cost-cutting steps that appear to have led to slower and less reliable delivery.

Rite Aid deployed facial recognition systems in hundreds of U.S. stores

In the hearts of New York and metro Los Angeles, Rite Aid installed facial recognition technology in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods, Reuters found. Among the technology the U.S. retailer used: a state-of-the-art system from a company with links to China and its authoritarian government. Over about eight years, the American drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp quietly added facial recognition systems to 200 stores across the United States, in one of the largest rollouts of such technology among retailers in the country, a Reuters investigation found. In the hearts of New York and metro Los Angeles, Rite Aid deployed the technology in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods, according to a Reuters analysis. And for more than a year, the retailer used state-of-the-art facial recognition technology from a company with links to China and its authoritarian government.

In telephone and email exchanges with Reuters since February, Rite Aid confirmed the existence and breadth of its facial recognition program. The retailer defended the technology’s use, saying it had nothing to do with race and was intended to deter theft and protect staff and customers from violence. Reuters found no evidence that Rite Aid’s data was sent to China. Last week, however, after Reuters sent its findings to the retailer, Rite Aid said it had quit using its facial recognition software. It later said all the cameras had been turned off. “This decision was in part based on a larger industry conversation,” the company told Reuters in a statement, adding that “other large technology companies seem to be scaling back or rethinking their efforts around facial recognition given increasing uncertainty around the technology’s utility.”

Devin Nunes declines to say whether he received foreign information meant to damage Biden
By Manu Raju and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, declined to say at a closed-door meeting this week whether he had received foreign information meant to damage former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a transcript released by the committee on Thursday. The information in question pertained to packets reportedly sent to GOP members of Congress, including Nunes, by Ukranian lawmaker Andrii Derkach -- who has worked closely with President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani played a key role in the effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to publicly announce an investigation into the former vice president, an effort that led to the President's impeachment and subsequent acquittal.

But facing questioning from Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Nunes declined to respond. "I guess I would request an explanation from the ranking member why he is just not prepared to respond to a simple question whether he has received materials that have been called into question that seem designed to denigrate a former vice president of the United States, but, at a minimum, to share them with the rest of the committee," Maloney said.

The exchange came during a committee meeting on Wednesday where the panel voted along party lines to allow all House members to view classified intelligence Democratic leaders provided to the FBI that warns about a foreign "disinformation" campaign targeting the 2020 presidential election. A committee source told CNN that the Democrats on the panel came in possession of a DHL receipt in December 2019 showing that a package had been mailed to Republicans on the committee. Democrats believed this package pertained to a foreign disinformation campaign targeting Biden.

FBI Director Christopher Wray Says A Majority of Domestic Terrorism Cases are Motivated by White Supremacist Violence
By Alexandra Hutzler

FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the bureau has made "about the same number" of domestic terrorism arrests as international terrorism arrests so far this year and that a majority of domestic cases are motivated by white supremacy.Wray was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about congressional oversight of the FBI. Wray's hearing was considered a preview of what former special counsel Robert Mueller is likely to face when he appears before lawmakers on Wednesday to answer questions on the Russia probe.

The FBI director told lawmakers that he considered "homegrown violent extremists" to be the greatest threat to the United States. Wray clarified that those extremists are inspired by foreign jihadist organizations. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin immediately challenged Wray, pointing to an FBI/DHS intelligence report from May 2017 which found that white supremacists were responsible for more homicides from 2000 to 2016 than any other domestic extremist movement.

"We live in a world where the neo-Nazis and white supremacists are taking lives in many places," Durbin said. "The reason I raise this is because there is a concern that this is not being taken as seriously as it should be as one of the real threats in our country." Wray defended the FBI's handling of domestic terrorism cases, saying that the agency takes the issue "extremely seriously" and are "aggressively pursuing it." He added that so far this year the FBI has already made more domestic terrorism arrests than in 2018.

By Donie O'Sullivan and Josh Campbell, CNN Business

(CNN Business) Three people were charged on Friday for their alleged involvement in a massive Twitter hack earlier this month that took over the accounts of prominent users like Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Elon Musk and used them to promote a bitcoin scam. The individuals included Mason Sheppard, a 19-year-old from the United Kingdom who went by the moniker "Chaewon" online, Nima Fazeli, a 22-year-old from Orlando, Florida who went by the alias "Rolex," as well as a minor, according to a statement from United States Attorney David Anderson. The minor, 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark, was arrested on Friday morning in Tampa after an investigation conducted by federal and state investigators, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement Friday. The statement alleged Clark was the "mastermind."

Warren said his office was handling the prosecution because Florida law allows greater flexibility than federal law to charge a minor as an adult in a case like this. CNN is attempting to identify the lawyers representing the individuals. "There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence," Anderson said in a statement. "Today's charging announcement demonstrates that the elation of nefarious hacking into a secure environment for fun or profit will be short-lived.

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