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US Monthly Headline News October 2020 Page 1

Sonam Sheth

The Department of Justice (DOJ) made a significant change to a longstanding policy against election interference that would allow prosecutors to take steps that may alter the outcome of the election, ProPublica reported Wednesday. The non-interference policy has been in place for at least the last four decades, according to the report, and it prohibits prosecutors from taking overt steps to address election-related offenses in the run-up to an election to avoid changing the outcome of the race.

But an official in the DOJ's Public Integrity Section sent an email Friday saying that if a US attorney's office suspects postal workers or military employees engaged in election fraud, federal prosecutors can publicly take steps to investigate the matter before polls close, even if they affect the outcome, according to ProPublica.

The exception to the policy applies to cases where "the integrity of any component of the federal government is implicated by election offenses within the scope of the policy including but not limited to misconduct by federal officials or employees administering an aspect of the voting process through the United States Postal Service, the Department of Defense or any other federal department or agency." more...

By Carl Campanile and David Meyer

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remained hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday for the fourth straight day. The one-time presidential candidate has been at Morristown Medical Center since Saturday afternoon. Insiders told The Post that Christie is holding up, and has been taking phone calls. “He’s in good spirits and getting good care,” said a source familiar with his condition.

Christie, 58, has asthma, a respiratory condition that makes him more vulnerable to coronavirus complications, and is playing it safe, the source said. “The governor is doing fine. He’s just being cautious,” another insider said. “He’s been talking and texting with people all day. It’s Chris Christie!” The two-term former governor told the Star-Ledger on Monday he had received well wishes from Jordanian King Abdullah II. more...

By Amy Sherman

FBI director warned about white supremacist violence. At an NBC town hall in Miami, a woman asked former Vice President Joe Biden what he would do to stop white supremacist groups as president. "No. 1, the president's own FBI chief has said the greatest domestic threat to terrorism are white supremacists," Biden said. "And when you have a president saying to one particular group of white supremacists that, in fact, stand down but stand by, that is like a clarion call to get ready."

Biden was referring to President Donald Trump’s debate comments for the far-right Proud Boys group to "stand back and stand by." The next day Trump said he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were and that "they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work." We found that Biden is correct. FBI director Christopher Wray singled outwhite supremacists during a Sept. 17 House Homeland Security committee hearing. more...

By Donald J. Mihalek, opinion contributo

In April, Daniel J. Trammell attacked a postal service letter carrier while the letter carrier was simply delivering mail. The Postal Service employee suffered an injury to their neck. Earlier that same day, Trammell entered a post office, shouted at employees and threatened to shoot his letter carrier. This of course was not the first threat that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has dealt with. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the nation was on edge bracing for additional waves of attacks, which ultimately did come with the anthrax scare. This dangerous attack emanated through the mail, just seven days after 9/11. The USPS was the unwitting victim, with its law enforcement officers, postal police and postal inspectors having to handle a very dangerous incident.

Today our pandemic is seeing similar dynamics at play, exacerbated by funding debates in Congress, as postal police and Postal Service inspectors are again caught in its crossfire. The U.S. postal system is not only massive but it has been considered critical to our national security since its founding. Perhaps that is why the Founding Fathers included the postal system in the Constitution and originally listed the postmaster general as a Cabinet figure. It is also the reason the USPS has law enforcement agencies and an entire federal code dedicated to it — 18 U.S. Code Chapter 83. Despite being equipped with security, mail theft is on the rise as USPS employees face an increased threat of assaults and continued attacks. more...

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A mural dedicated to George Floyd, a Black man who died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck, has been defaced again. The large mural near the site where Floyd, handcuffed on the ground became motionless after he was held and begged to breath, has been vandalized with red paint. more...

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been released from a correctional facility Wednesday and has posted bail, which means that he’s the last of the four officers currently facing charges connected to the death of George Floyd to have been released from custody.

Chauvin, 44, was being held at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, where he had been also appearing in court remotely for all but the most recent hearing during which he and the other three officers charged — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — appeared in person. WCCO has learned that Chauvin left the facility at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday to be transferred to Hennepin County Jail in order to post bail.

Chauvin’s unconditional bail was set at $1.25 million, or $1 million with conditions; according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s roster, he was released on conditional bail. According to state court records, Chauvin posted a non-cash bond guaranteed by Allegheny Casualty. more...

Adam Payne

White House staff are "fearful" for their lives after President Trump left hospital despite still having the coronavirus, according to former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye. Growing numbers of White House staff and advisers to the president have already tested positive for the virus in the past week. However, Troye, an ex-member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force told Times radio in the UK on Tuesday that other White House staff she had spoken to were increasingly "scared" that they would catch the virus after Trump returned to White House not wearing a mask despite still having the illness.

Troye told Times Radio: "You know, for my White House colleagues, I know they're scared. "I've had conversations with some people that are still there. Their bodies may react differently to COVID. "COVID is a very unpredictable virus and people, you know, react to it in a very different way. I know that they're fearful and they're scared. And they've got to be, to a certain extent, embarrassed at what they're watching, because this is the President and the administration that they're currently supporting and working in."

Troye told host John Pienaar that some White House staff privately agreed with her strong, public criticism of how Trump has handled the pandemic, and that staff working for the president have told her it's "impossible to keep the President on message." more...

Jim Salter The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — A grand jury on Tuesday indicted the St. Louis couple who displayed guns while hundreds of racial injustice protesters marched on their private street. Al Watkins, an attorney for the couple, confirmed to The Associated Press the indictments against Mark McCloskey, 63, and Patricia McCloskey, 61. A spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner declined comment.

The McCloskeys, who are both attorneys, have become folk heroes among some conservatives. They argue that they were simply exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and were protected by Missouri’s castle doctrine law that allows the use of deadly force against intruders. The case has caught the attention of President Donald Trump, and Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has said he will pardon the couple if they are convicted. more...

The change is a significant escalation over its previous actions targeting QAnon and one of the broadest rules the social media giant has put in place in its history.
By Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny

Facebook said Tuesday that it is banning all QAnon accounts from its platforms, a significant escalation over its previous actions and one of the broadest rules the social media giant has put in place in its history. Facebook said the change is an update on the policy it created in August that initially only removed accounts related to the QAnon conspiracy theory that discussed violence, which resulted in the termination of 1,500 pages, groups and profiles. A company spokesperson said the enforcement, which started Tuesday, will “bring to parity what we’ve been doing on other pieces of policy with regard to militarized social movements,” such as militia and terror groups that repeatedly call for violence.

“Starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts for representing QAnon. We’re starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks,” Facebook wrote in a press release. “Our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports.” more...

By Eric Bradner, CNN

(CNN) Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden warned of the "cost of division" Tuesday in a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, delivering a call to turn past a moment he said is "neither good nor normal" and unify. In a speech that recalled Abraham Lincoln's famous address there, Biden pointed to racial division, economic inequality and doubt being cast by President Donald Trump on the effectiveness of masks and social distancing in combating the coronavirus pandemic. Reciting the opening words of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Biden said, "He taught us this: A house divided could not stand. That is a great and timeless truth. Today, once again, we're at a house divided. But that, my friends, can no longer be. We are facing too many crises, we have too much work to do, we have too bright a future to have it shipwrecked on the shores of anger and hate and division." "The country is in a dangerous place. Our trust in each other is ebbing. Hope seems elusive," he said in remarks that rarely mentioned Trump but frequently alluded to his presidency.

"Too many Americans seek not to overcome our divisions, but to deepen them," Biden said. "We must seek not to build walls, but bridges. We must seek not to have our fists clinched but our arms open. We have to seek not to tear each other apart. We have to seek to come together."
The speech underscored Biden's desire to offer a unifying message in the closing weeks of a presidential race that he leads. Polls have shown that he is leading among older and independent voters, groups that favored Trump in 2016, and that suburbanites and White women have tilted heavily in his direction compared to four years ago. In Gettysburg, his message was that he could end the chaos of Trump's presidency. more...

Leslie Josephs

Airline stocks and shares of Boeing tumbled Tuesday afternoon after President Donald Trump called off talks with Democrats for a national stimulus package until after the election, closing the main avenue for carriers battered by the pandemic to receive more aid.

American Airlines, United Airlines and other U.S. carriers began furloughing more than 32,000 workers last week. Airlines had agreed to not cut any jobs until after Oct. 1 under the terms of $25 billion in federal payroll support passed in March.

Carriers’ executives and labor unions were pleading for more aid in Washington in recent weeks. The proposal won bipartisan support but remained stuck as Democrats in Congress and the Trump administration failed to reach a national coronavirus package that could have included more aid. more...

President Donald Trump says he has instructed aides to stop negotiating on another round of COVID-19 relief until after the election

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump abandoned COVID-19 relief talks on Tuesday, saying they won't resume until after the election. The move came as the chairman of the Federal Reserve said that further fiscal intervention is needed to prevent the economy from spiraling downward. Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith" and said he's asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business," Trump tweeted.

Trump's move came immediately after he spoke with the top GOP leaders in Congress, who had been warily watching talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi. Many Senate Republicans had signaled they would not be willing to go along with any stimulus legislation that topped $1 trillion, and GOP aides had been privately dismissive of the prospects for a deal. Last week, the White House said it was backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and dangled the possibility of a COVID-19 relief bill of $1.6 trillion. But that offer was rejected by Pelosi.

Pelosi had spoken with Mnuchin earlier Tuesday. After Trump's tweets spiking the negotiations, Pelosi said Trump was “unwilling to crush the virus" and “refuses to give real help to poor children, the unemployed, and America's hard working families." Trump broke off talks after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned earlier Tuesday that the economic recovery remains fragile seven months into coronavirus pandemic without further economic stimulus. more...

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) President Donald Trump is no longer winning on his signature issue: the economy. In a CNN poll released Tuesday, Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were tied among registered voters at 49% apiece on the question of who would handle the economy better. Among likely voters, Biden gets 50%, compared with 48% for Trump, a statistical dead heat. It's not an anomaly either. The two candidates were essentially tied on the issue in the last CNN poll taken August 28 - September 1.

The findings represent a sharp drop in support for Trump in what had previously been his greatest strength. In May, 54% of registered voters said Trump would handle the economy better, compared with 42% for Biden.

The fact that Trump's lead over Biden on the economy has vanished underscores the fragile state of the recovery from the coronavirus recession. "People are still worried about evictions, foreclosures and small businesses going under," said Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments. "For an awful lot of people, there is still anxiety that the economy has not come all the way back and may not for some time." more...

By Ariane de Vogue and Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, lashed out on Monday at the religious liberty implications of the Supreme Court's 2015 decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage nationwide. Thomas wrote that the decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, "enables courts and governments to brand religious adherents who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as bigots, making their religious liberty concerns that much easier to dismiss."

Thomas' strong opinion came down on the first day of the court's new term, and reflects the fact that critics of the landmark opinion from five years ago that was penned by now retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, are still infuriated by its reasoning. They believe the court should have left the decision to the political arena and have long said that it will infringe upon the rights of those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage. Supporters of LGBTQ rights are fearful that the court is poised to continue a trend from last term, ruling in favor of religious conservatives in key cases. more...

By Brad Reed

Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway this week was shown on video cursing out her 15-year-old daughter, Claudia Conway, after she blamed the former Trump official for getting their family infected with COVID-19. In a video that Claudia Conway posted on her TikTok account, Kellyanne can be seen berating her daughter over her past TikTok videos in which she denounced President Donald Trump for being reckless about the disease. “You’ve caused so much disruption,” Conway tells her daughter. “You’ve lied about your own f*cking mother, about COVID!” “No, mom, it’s how I interpreted it,” she said. more...

*** Republicans are willing to kill off Americans to win the election. ***

A lower court had struck down the witness requirement for mail ballots, citing Covid-19.

In a victory for Republicans, the Supreme Court on Monday reinstated the witness requirement for South Carolina mail ballots after lower courts ruled that having that requirement created risk during the pandemic. In an order issued on Monday evening, the high court set aside a lower court ruling that suspended the witness requirement, effectively restoring the mandate while arguments in the case are ongoing, granting an exception for ballots cast before the stay and received within two days.

There were no noted dissents, while Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch would have granted a stay application in full, meaning ballots already submitted that did not have a witness signature would have been rejected. It is one of the first election-related cases that the Supreme Court has ruled on since the primaries and could suggest the justices will rein in lower courts that seek to alter the rules of an election, even if to expand access to voting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court “has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election,” Kavanaugh wrote defending the court’s orders, citing the so-called "Purcell Principle," in which the high court reinstated Arizona's voter-ID law, which had been struck down by an appellate court just before the 2006 midterms. (No other justices signed on publicly to Kavanuagh’s rationale.) more...

"We see it everywhere, where people are confronting one another and having arguments about not wearing masks," the district attorney said, adding it's unfortunate "this escalated" into a man's dying.
By Tim Fitzsimons

A 65-year-old man in the Buffalo, New York, area faces charges after an 80-year-old man who had confronted him about not wearing a coronavirus face mask died following the dispute. Donald Lewinski of West Seneca, New York, was arrested Monday and is to be arraigned Tuesday evening on a charge of criminally negligent homicide after he allegedly shoved Rocco Sapienza to the ground in a bar, authorities said. Lewinski was walking through Pamp's Red Zone Bar & Grill in West Seneca, about 10 miles southeast of Buffalo, on Sept. 26, when Sapienza confronted him about not wearing a mask, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said at a news conference Monday. Flynn said it appeared that the two men began to argue as soon as they crossed paths at the bar and not just over masks.

"Apparently, the victim didn't like the way the defendant was talking to some of the staff; also there was an incident beforehand that involved a young lady, and the victim didn't like the way the defendant spoke to the young lady," the prosecutor said. "These two were butting heads from minute one." Eventually, the two had had a dispute over Lewinski's not wearing a mask, the district attorney said. Security camera footage shows Sapienza "gets up from his bar stool. He walks around the corner; he confronts the gentleman who wasn't wearing his mask," Flynn said. "The defendant allegedly stood up from the bar stool and pushed him with two hands." The "hard" shove pushed Sapienza to the ground, the district attorney said. He had a seizure, lost consciousness and died from "blunt force trauma to the head" days later. more...

Marina Hyde

The president tells us he beat coronavirus like a man: the kind who takes all the best drugs and leaves everyone else exposed. A rare moment of unity in the US election, as Donald Trump marked his return to the White House by gasping along with his detractors. On Monday night, the president puffed up the front staircase of his residence, his face coated in several more gallons of paint than the front elevation of the building. “Don’t let it dominate your lives,” he panted of the virus, a bad case of which tends to dominate your death.

Yet there he was, this hideous kink in the arc of history, giving the most dangerous balcony performance since Michael Jackson had his baby crowdsurf off one. The American people are all Blanket now. As for the optics, “deranged balcony address” is certainly a look – but not one that tends to end well. How might this version turn out? Unfortunately, it’s not a question Trump’s attention span equips him to answer. His reference points for the form are the occasional three minutes of historical documentaries he’s forced to watch while searching his stomach-folds for the TV remote. It feels like he switches over to Fox News before discovering how a whole series of 20th-century balcony stories ended.

Still: don’t call him Wussolini. He beat this illness – which he still very much has – like a man. One of the really manly ones, who takes all the best drugs and leaves everyone else exposed and misled and unprotected. Even so, early reactions to the gasping spectacle suggest the move could only have backfired more if Trump had ascended the front steps via a hastily installed stairlift carrying a pack of adult diapers. Once he’d wheezed through the unpleasantries, all that remained was to remove his mask and set about infecting any remaining staff yet to be exposed to his droplets. Think of Trump as the 83rd Airborne, parachuting his deadly particles deep into butlers’ respiratory systems. He won’t give you a Purple Heart, but he might give you purple lungs. more...

*** Trump was projecting what he was going to do when he said the election would be rigged he is the one rigging the election. ***

Igor Derysh, Salon

President Trump's campaign is waging a behind-the-scenes effort to threaten low-profile county officials into ignoring election rules and sowing doubt in the mail voting process. Trump's campaign launched an "unusually aggressive" push on the local level, sending 100 county election officials in North Carolina "threatening letters" and "misinformation" to urge them to disregard a new rule that makes it easier for voters to fix mistakes on their mail ballots, according to the Associated Press. The warnings came after the state Board of Elections settled a lawsuit after ballots cast by Black voters in the state were disproportionately rejected.

The campaign also sent letters to more than 1,800 municipal clerks in states like Wisconsin and Georgia that raised questions about the security of mail voting, according to CNN. The campaign also threatened to sue officials in Pennsylvania for blocking "poll watchers" from observing election offices where people register to vote and apply for mail ballots, according to the AP.

Trump's team has repeatedly filed lawsuits in response to states easing access to mail ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic but such litigation has so far been unsuccessful. Trump has suggested that he aims to fight the expansions all the way to the Supreme Court as he hopes to add Amy Coney Barrett, his third conservative justice in four years, to the high court before November. Less visible has been the campaign's quiet efforts to undermine voting rules on the local level, where his team has bombarded officials with letters that have raised alarm among election experts. more...

November's coming. Are Democrats losing the battle over voter suppression?
Voting rights advocates warn that suppression efforts in the final weeks of the election threaten the voting blocks Democrats need most.

Democrats are running out of time to protect the voters they need the most. As Election Day nears, Democrats are scrambling to counter disinformation campaigns, complicated absentee ballot requirements and consolidated polling locations. All of which they say threaten the groups Joe Biden can't win without in November: Black and Latino voters. Efforts to shore up their votes involve a combination of lawsuits to prevent disenfranchisement and a messaging blitz to encourage voters to have a plan should they encounter trouble at the ballot box.

Since kicking off their campaign with Michelle Obama’s remarks at the national convention in August, Democrats have been deploying state party chairs, PAC leaders and high-profile Biden surrogates to send out a strong message. They’re encouraging voters to cast their mail-in ballots as soon as possible and be mindful of voter registration deadlines in their respective states. In the wake of Trump’s attacks on the U.S. Postal Service, they’ve shifted tactics, incorporating early and in-person options to their voter guidance. There's reason for concern. According to findings from a data leak first reported by the British Channel 4 news, in 2016, the Trump campaign targeted 3.5 million Black voters in a widespread, data-based form of voter suppression. And now voting rights advocates are girding for a repeat. more...

*** Trump was projecting what he was going to do when he said the election would be rigged he is the one rigging the election. ***

By Dahlia Lithwick

On a recent episode of Amicus, Dahlia Lithwick reconvened Rick Hasen, an election law professor at UC–Irvine, and Carol Anderson, the Charles Howard Candler professor of African American studies at Emory University, who had both joined her earlier this year for the Election Meltdown series, to discuss the latest threats to the November election, from Donald Trump to voter depression. A portion of their conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, is below.

Dahlia Lithwick: Rick, Election Meltdown was the title you chose for your book published Feb. 4. That was a million years ago. What did your election’s crystal ball fail to flag that has arisen since then? What is melting down today more intensively than anything you even anticipated?

Rick Hasen: No. 1: coronavirus, which even in the best of times would have made holding a successful election in the United States a challenge. It’s much more expensive to run elections in a pandemic, both in person and vote by mail, and one of the early things we talked about in our series was pockets of election administrator incompetence. Well, we’re full of pockets now because to ramp up the scale of mail and balloting is just really, really tough to do. In the best of circumstances, it takes years to roll it out. more...

Tom Porter

Footage of President Donald Trump returning to the White House on Monday after a three-day hospitalization with COVID-19 appeared to show him having difficulty breathing. Trump on Monday evening left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center despite being still infected with the coronavirus. Arriving at the White House in front of news cameras he climbed a set of stairs, removed his mask on the balcony, saluted the departing helicopter, and stepped into the building.

The sequence appeared designed to show that Trump has recovered and is back in business after the diagnosis that left him hospitalized for three days. But some medical experts pointed out that Trump appears far from well, commenting on his apparent struggle to breathe. Dr Ilan Schwartz, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, Canada, and expert in lung diseases, said Trump's breathing appeared abnormal. more...

Alana Wise

The eight-person Supreme Court on Monday sided with South Carolina to reinstate a mandate that absentee ballots require witness signatures, even as critics argue that the coronavirus puts an undue burden on voters to safely get a witness cosign on the ballots. The order will not apply to ballots already cast or those mailed in within the next two days, but will apply to ballots going forward for the Nov. 3 general election. "This Court has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election," Justice Brett Kavanaugh in explaining the court's decision. "By enjoining South Carolina's witness requirement shortly before the election, the District Court defied that principle and this Court's precedents." more...

By Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins and Jeff Zeleny, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump may be eagerly seeking a return to normal after three nights in the hospital. But the White House he arrived home to Monday with dramatic and reckless flourish has changed drastically since he was airlifted off the South Lawn at the end of last week. Instead of a bustling hive of pre-election activity, the West Wing has become a breeding ground for viral contagion. At least 11 of the President's aides or allies have either contracted the virus or -- in the case of his daughter Ivanka -- are working from home. Entire suites of offices sit vacant as Trump's aides work to isolate him in the residence and out of the West Wing.

A new aura of mistrust was settling in as several aides raised questions about whether they had been recklessly put in harm's way over the past week. Accusations of mismanagement -- directed mainly at White House chief of staff Mark Meadows -- have flown amid one of the gravest presidential crises in a generation. An absence of robust contact tracing efforts caused ripples of concern as testing and mask-wearing norms were being second-guessed. None of that anxiety was allayed when Trump arrived back to the White House Monday. His first act after striding up the South Portico steps was to rip off his mask and stuff it into his pocket -- even though he remains infected with coronavirus and could potentially infect those nearby. He was then seen going back out onto the balcony and re-entering so a camera crew could shoot his entrance. more...

HUNT COUNTY, Texas (CBSDFW) – Shaun David Lucas, the Wolfe City police officer allegedly connected to the shooting death of Jonathan Price was arrested and charged with murder.

But within hours of his arrest in Hunt County, Officer Lucas posted his $1 million bond. “This is the first step. This man is dangerous and should not be out on bond. The family was relieved to hear of his arrest and are looking forward to his conviction,” said Dallas attorney Lee Merritt. Price, 31, was shot and killed outside a Wolfe City gas station on Saturday.

Described as a “hometown hero”, “standup guy,” and “mentor who worked with children,” most who spoke out publicly about Price said they can’t see any reason why a police officer would shoot and kill him. But that’s exactly what happened on Saturday, after Price allegedly stepped in to help a woman out of a domestic violence situation. Things escalated between Price and her abuser, but had calmed down, according to witnesses by the time police arrived. more...

*** Biden was smart enough not to catch it by wearing a mask and social distancing. Trump and his people caught the virus because they were too dumb to wear masks and practice social distancing. We prefer the people that are smart enough to wear masks and practice social distancing, not the people too dumb to wear masks and practice social distancing in the middle of a pandemic. ***

By Katherine Fung

Erin Perrine, director of press communications for the Trump campaign, said Democratic nominee Joe Biden doesn't have "those firsthand experiences" fighting COVID-19 that President Donald Trump has. In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Perrine said that Trump "has experience as Commander-in-Chief. He has experience as a businessman. He has experience now fighting the coronavirus as an individual. Those firsthand experiences, Joe Biden, he doesn't have those."

"Those firsthand experiences are what are going to get President Trump four more years," she added. Trump tested positive for the virus Thursday and was hospitalized Friday at the Walter Reed Medical Center, where he remained as of Monday afternoon. A senior adviser to the campaign also echoed Perrine's comments that the president's personal encounter with coronavirus will make him better equipped than Biden to handle the nation's response to the outbreak. "He is going to be able to relate to those individuals who have been inflicted by coronavirus, who's lost a family member to coronavirus," Mercedes Schlapp told Fox News on Monday. more...

Jonathan Price, 31, had stepped in between a couple arguing at a gas station about an hour north of Dallas.
By Janelle Griffith

A former Hardin-Simmons University football player was shot and killed by police after he intervened in a fight between a man and a woman at a gas station in Texas, his family said. The man, Jonathan Price, 31, was shot Saturday night at a Kwik Check gas station on Santa Fe Street in Wolfe City, about 70 miles northeast of Dallas. In a statement posted Sunday to its Facebook page, the city said the officer involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Texas Rangers. The city didn't mention Price or identify the officer. It also didn't state where the shooting occurred.

The statement reflects "the lack of transparency in police investigations that we have all grown accustomed to," Lee Merritt, an attorney for Price's family, said Monday. The Texas Rangers, through spokesman Lonny Haschel, confirmed Monday that they were investigating the shooting at the request of Wolfe City police. Haschel declined to comment further. Price's family and their attorney said they want the Hunt County district attorney to indict the officer on murder charges and release surveillance video of the incident. more...

*** You have to wonder if the reason the White House is not doing contact tracing Rose Garden event is because Trump was the infector and chief. ***

By Brooke Seipel

The White House is not contact tracing guests and staff who attended a Rose Garden event for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite many viewing it as a possible spreader of the coronavirus, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The celebration, which took place 10 days ago, is viewed by some as the potential epicenter or "superspreader" of the White House's coronavirus outbreak because it has been followed by at least 11 attendees testing positive for COVID-19, including President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, adviser Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, at least three Republican senators and other White House staff. An unnamed White House official told the Times on Monday that officials were not contact tracing those connected to the event.

Contact tracing includes public health workers trying to stop COVID-19 transmission by reaching out to people who have tested positive for the disease and asking them to both self-isolate and provide a list of people they had contact with 48 hours before becoming sick, who will, in turn, also get a call. In this way, health officials are able to stop the potential spread of the virus before it can be passed on to someone else. more...

Amy Graff, SFGATE

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday the nomination of Martin J. Jenkins for associate justice of the California Supreme Court. Jenkins would be the first openly gay man and third African American man to serve on the state's highest court, potentially replacing one of the court's more conservative members with a former federal civil rights attorney who prosecuted cross burnings and police misconduct cases under President Ronald Reagan. Newsom described Jenkins as "a product and a protector of the California dream" and said he is a man of "inner strength, grace and passion." Jenkins accepted the governor's nomination and thanked the two African American men — Wiley Manuel and Allen Broussard — who served on the court before him. more...

By Alaa Elassar, CNN

(CNN) The Proud Boys hashtag, which members of the far-right group have been using, was trending Sunday after gay men on Twitter hijacked it and flooded the feed with photos of their loved ones and families and with memes. The Proud Boys recently made headlines by celebrating President Trump's reply at last week's debate, when he was asked to condemn White supremacists. The President instead used his allotted time to blame what he called "antifa and the left" for violence and to tell the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by."

But now the gay men of Twitter are making the group's hashtag known for entirely different reasons. Matt Dechaine, one of the men who pitched in with photos of himself and his husband in efforts to overtake the hashtag, said his goal was simply to spread joy. "Seeing the hashtag was so uplifting," Dechaine, who is from England, told CNN. "It feels like the movement for positive change for all is gathering momentum all the time and I'm glad to be a small part of it. By coming together rooted in respect and love for each other, the world can be so much better!" But Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, said he doesn't see what the men are trying to accomplish. more...

By Dakin Andone and Chuck Johnston, CNN

(CNN) Seven top aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have accused him of bribery, abuse of office and other potentially criminal offenses, according to a letter obtained Saturday by the Austin American-Statesman and television station KVUE. The letter, signed by the officials and dated Thursday, said it was a notice to Paxton's office that the aides had reported a "potential violation of law" by Paxton to the "appropriate law enforcement authority." "We have a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses," the letter says. Additional details on the allegations were not included, the Statesman reported. CNN has not obtained a copy of the letter. more...

Nick Penzenstadler, Kevin McCoy - USA TODAY

Judge Amy Coney Barrett knows she’s in for an ugly fight as the Senate handles her Supreme Court nomination. During a chat with Notre Dame undergrads last year, she called the process “brutal” and “toxic.” “People have a fundamental misunderstanding of the judicial role," Barrett said. "If you think the judge will be imposing their policy preferences, it leads to an all-in takedown.”

Her nomination to the Supreme Court follows a lecture tour over the past few years in which she addressed academics, lawyers, University of Notre Dame alumni and private audiences. Those talks offer some insight into Barrett’s judicial philosophy and her meteoric ascent from law school professor to Supreme Court nominee. Some of the events featured Barrett in buttoned-up legal discussions about the development of her legal philosophy of originalism, the view that judges must adhere closely to the written text of the Constitution and the plain meaning of language used in statutes at the time they were enacted. more...

The presidency, control of the Senate and even a quick confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett are all in doubt less than a month from the election.

On Sunday evening Sen. Lindsey Graham, like many Republicans in Washington, was simultaneously monitoring three political crises, all of which were made worse by the spread of coronavirus infections through the upper echelons of the Republican Party. First there was the president. His real condition was as much of a mystery to Graham as to everyone else. Graham said he hadn’t talked to Trump since Friday after the president’s positive Covid-19 test came back — “he was in good spirits” — but that he had just checked in with Jared Kushner earlier in the day to get an update.

Then there was the Supreme Court. The virus has forced six Republican senators — three who have tested positive for covid — into quarantine for at least two weeks. Two of them, Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, are on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Graham chairs. His plans to push through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett were now uncertain. Mitch McConnell said over the weekend that “our biggest enemy” in confirming Barrett before the election, and cementing a conservative 6-3 high court majority, is “the coronavirus, keeping everybody healthy and well and in place to do our job.” more...

By Jaclyn Peiser

At last week’s presidential debate, President Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and far-right groups like the Proud Boys, an organization that has been known to incite violence. The president’s comment telling the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” provided a boost to the group on social media, emboldening its members to use Trump’s words as a rallying cry. Two days later, amid rising outrage, Trump denounced the group.

But then actor and activist George Takei suggested a clever comeback — a way to drown out the hate on social media and replace it with something, well, gay. “What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys. I bet it would mess them up real bad. #ReclaimingMyShine,” Takei, who is gay, tweeted on Thursday. The call to action went viral over the weekend, with thousands adopting the hashtag and posting images and messages of love and support — all with the intent to take over a moniker linked to hate. more...

Nesrine Malik - the guardian

The president will not show humility, or respect for the 200,000 US dead. But the fatigue on his face is a testament to his limits. If the past few days in US politics were a dramatisation, one would think the plot was too unbelievable. A cast of characters meets to dishonour the last wish of a supreme court judge not to nominate her successor until after the presidential election. Mere days after her passing, they gather in the White House Rose Garden. They chat intimately, leaning into each other’s space to whisper. Others embrace and kiss in fond greeting. It all had the feel not of a political event but a ceremony of pure triumphalism.

Members of Donald Trump’s inner circle glided through the party to honour his supreme court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, with the ease and good cheer of a clique free of the restraints of public accountability or moral qualms. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was dead. They were going to force through their nominee. And the pandemic that ravaged the country beyond the pleasant vibes of the Rose Garden was not their concern.

But the plot had a twist. Since that day, President Trump and at least seven others at the event have tested positive for coronavirus. Trump and one other, Chris Christie, are in hospital. Other White House staff close to Donald Trump continue to report positive tests. The pandemic, for so long minimised and trivialised by Trump, had finally reached the most powerful man in the world.

We are not accustomed to Trump receiving any censure for his actions. His presidency so far has been a study in indifference – on the part of the Republican party and his wider supporters across the nation – towards any of his actions, no matter how immoral, dishonest, incompetent or even illegal. But there was something almost biblical about the hubris of that Rose Garden event – the pharaoh who believed he was a god flaunted his impunity, and was punished by pestilence. more...

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

(CNN) On Monday a short-handed Supreme Court, still reeling from the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will begin a new term in the shadow of a bitter confirmation fight that is set to take place weeks before the presidential election. The justices are still working remotely because of Covid-19 and telephonic arguments will be livestreamed. Although there are significant cases pending, the docket has been eclipsed by the furor over the future ideological direction of the court and its institutional reputation. Chief Justice John Roberts, who since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy has served as a swing vote in some cases, now stares down a future where he will play a less pivotal role at times with the possibility of five solid votes flanking his right. Roberts' goal of keeping the court out of the political fray will also grow more difficult as the public sees yet another judicial confirmation hearing roiled by politics, and a President who has suggested that his new nominee could decide the election. more...

QAnon supporters push baseless theory that Trump isn’t in the hospital

As Donald Trump fights to recover from the coronavirus, some social media users claim the president isn’t actually at a military hospital in Maryland. "He is not there! He is on AF1," says an Oct. 2 Facebook post. "AF1 Spotted today!!! But didn't he get Rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center??" wrote another Facebook user. "How can Trump Be In 2 Places at Once?!!! Is the World About to find out about Cl0nes?" another post asks. The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) more...

The Takata air bag inflator exploded
By Newser Editors and Wire Services

(Newser) – Another person has been killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator, bringing the worldwide death toll to at least 26. The latest death occurred Aug. 20 in Mesa, Arizona, in the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic, according to a statement released Saturday by Honda. It was the 17th death reported in the United States. Others have been reported in Malaysia and Australia. Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to moisture in the air. The explosion can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment. Honda said in a statement that it inspected the Civic in the Mesa crash on Wednesday, along with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and determined that the inflators in both the driver and passenger air bags had ruptured.  more...

*** What is wrong with the Trump republicans are they just stupid or do they believe you are? ***

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) A senior adviser to President Donald Trump's reelection campaign claimed that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden uses face masks as a "prop," two days after the President was hospitalized after contracting the coronavirus. Senior campaign adviser Jason Miller, when pressed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos about the rallies Trump has held in recent weeks where supporters are largely maskless and standing within six feet of one another in clear violations of federal health guidelines, said Sunday that Trump's team takes health guidelines meant to curb the spread of the deadly disease "very seriously."

"It's why we give everyone coming to rallies or events, we give them a mask. We check their temperature. You know, I would say that with regard to Joe Biden, I think too often he's used the mask as a prop," Miller said. "(Wearing a) mask is very important, but even if he's -- he could be 20, 30 feet away from the nearest person and still have the mask on." Trump, who has frequently mocked Biden's consistent use of a face mask, was hospitalized Friday afternoon, hours after he announced he had tested positive for Covid-19. Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden's campaign, stressed to CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday morning that the former vice president's campaign has adhered to guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year. more...

Joe Biden's lead has nearly doubled since Tuesday's debate with voters saying by a 2-to-1 margin that he has the better temperament to be president.
By Mark Murray

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s national lead over President Donald Trump nearly doubled after Tuesday’s presidential debate, with voters saying by a 2-to-1 margin that Biden has the better temperament to be president, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The poll was conducted in the two days after the unruly and insult-filled Sept. 29 debate, but before Trump tested positive for Covid-19 and was hospitalized Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The Democratic nominee is now ahead of Trump by 14 points among registered voters, 53 percent to 39 percent — up from his 8-point lead in the previous poll before the debate. That 14-point advantage represents Biden’s largest lead in the NBC News/WSJ poll during the entirety of the 2020 presidential campaign; his previous high was 11 points in July. more...

By Mili Godio

Three Minnesota GOP congressmen have come under fire for traveling aboard a Delta flight on Friday night following President Donald Trump's positive coronavirus diagnosis—and just two days after flying on Air Force One with the president and COVID-19 positive members of the Trump administration, according to the Star Tribune. U.S. Representatives Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer and Jim Hagedorn all reported that they tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday after traveling on the presidential aircraft to and from Trump's Duluth, Minnesota, rally on Wednesday. They traveled via Delta Airlines from Washington D.C. back home to Minnesota on Friday night. more...


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harvey Weinstein was charged Friday with the rapes of two more women and now faces 11 sexual assault counts involving five women in California as the former movie mogul serves prison time in New York, prosecutors said. Weinstein was charged with three new counts of rape and three new counts of forcible oral copulation involving two women, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

An amended criminal complaint alleges that Weinstein raped one woman at a hotel in Beverly Hills between September 2004 and September 2005, and raped another woman twice between November 2009 and November 2010, also at a Beverly Hills hotel. Weinstein spokesman Juda Engelmayer said in response to the charges that “Harvey Weinstein has always maintained that every one of his physical encounters throughout his entire life have been consensual. That hasn’t changed. At this moment we cannot comment on the additional charges until we learn more about them.” more...

By Donie O'Sullivan and Alaa Elassar, CNN

(CNN) The four progressive Democratic congresswomen known as "The Squad" expressed surprise on Friday night when Twitter posted about its policy against wishing harm or death to someone in light of President Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis. Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts have all spoken out about the threats they receive on social media and say Twitter isn't doing enough about it. Responding to media reporting Friday about people wishing death to the President, a verified account run by Twitter's spokespeople tweeted, "tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed."

"Seriously though, this is messed up. The death threats towards us should have been taking more seriously by [Twitter]," Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted in response. Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Pressley also tweeted suggesting Twitter had not taken threats made against them seriously. Members of The Squad have often been victims of brutal social media attacks, including posts that have expressed wishes for their deaths. A quick Twitter search of their names followed by "hang for treason" results in tweets from users calling for the deaths of the congresswomen. "I hope you both hang for TREASON!" one user tweeted in reference to Tlaib and Omar. more...

*** Donald J. Trump is Woodrow Wilson redux. ***
Doug Stanglin USA TODAY

Even a U.S. president couldn't avoid a pandemic that swept the world and infected millions. The year: 1919. The president: Woodrow Wilson. The disease dubbed "The Spanish flu" emerged in 1918 during the last months of World War I. Initially, the Wilson administration tried to play down the disease even as it spread worldwide. Presidential historian Tevi Troy, citing the administration's response to the pandemic, calls Wilson the worst U.S. president in terms of handling a disaster.

“The federal response to the influenza outbreak in 1918 can best be described as neglectful. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died without President Wilson saying anything or mobilizing nonmilitary components of the U.S. government to help the civilian population,” Troy writes in "Shall We Wake the President: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office."

He also blames Wilson for contributing to the pandemic by continuing the mobilization of troops “even as World War I was winding to a close.” In April 1919, however, Wilson himself contracted the illness shortly after arriving in Paris for the Big Four peace talks. Sarah Fling, a fellow writing for the White House Historical Association, notes that a number of members of the Wilson entourage had caught the flu during a transatlantic voyage in February 1919, including his daughter, Margaret, several members of the Secret Service, Wilson's stenographer, and his chief usher. more...

Aaron Walawalkar  

Twitter is facing a growing backlash in the wake of Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis as users accuse it of double standards in the way it polices those who wish death on others. The filmmaker Ava DuVernay and the former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman were among thousands of Twitter users accusing the platform of failing to protect women and minority users from abuse.

Many people have tweeted messages to wish the president well, including his election opponent, Joe Biden, while others have expressed the opposite sentiment. On Friday Twitter confirmed that users who wish death upon the president were violating its terms of use. Its abusive behaviour policy prohibits users from “wishing or hoping serious harm on a person or group of people”. “Tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed,” the company said in a tweet. It added that the breach would not “automatically mean suspension”. more...

By Dan Avery For Dailymail.com

A new report reveals that robots working in Amazon fulfillment centers are leading to more injuries among human employees - although the e-commerce giant claims the technology reduces incidents. Based on internal records from 150 warehouses, serious injuries were 50 percent higher at facilities with robots than those without, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting's news site, Reveal.

There were 14,000 serious injuries in 2019 - a spike of nearly 33 percent from 2015, and nearly double the industry average.  The overall injury rate for the 150 facilities was also almost double the industry standard, according to Reveal. Amazon insisted its numbers are inflated because it encourages workers to report even minor incidents. more...

News that the president has contracted coronavirus prompted alarm, confusion and schadenfreude among Trump supporters
Chris McGreal in St Joseph, Missouri

Sean Patterson is not worried that Donald Trump has been hospitalized with coronavirus because he believes what the president tells him. “It’s a hoax. There’s no pandemic. As Trump said, how many millions die of flu?” said the 56-year-old truck driver outside the early voting station in St Joseph, Missouri – a stronghold for the president. But then Patterson pauses and contemplates the possibility that Trump really does have Covid-19. “If he’s sick, then they planted it when they tested him. It’s what they did to me when I went to hospital for my heart beating too fast. Two weeks later I got a cold,” he said. “It’s political. I don’t trust the US government at all. Who are they to mandate personal safety? I listen to Trump.”

At the end of a tumultuous week even by the standards of one of the most turbulent presidencies of modern times, the disturbing if not entirely unpredictable news that the president has contracted coronavirus prompted alarm, confusion and schadenfreude in the heart of Trumpland. St Joseph, a former frontier city where the outlaw Jesse James met his bloody end, voted overwhelmingly for the president four years ago. The polls say Missouri will go his way again next month. But with Trump struggling in key swing states, the news he has fallen sick to Covid-19 jolted an election already battered days earlier by the most undignified presidential election debate in history.

Trump’s persistent interruptions and disruptions, including mocking Biden for wearing a mask in other situations, tested the faith of more than a few of his supporters. Now his contraction of coronavirus has raised further doubts after Trump repeatedly undermined medical advice as the Covid-19 death toll surged past 200,000. more...

By Manu Raju and Lauren Fox, CNN

(CNN) Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has tested positive for coronavirus after being exposed to someone with the virus earlier this week, according to his spokesman, making him the third GOP senator to test positive in 24 hours and threatening the quick confirmation prospects of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who sit on the Judiciary Committee, tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday -- just days after attending a White House event where President Donald Trump nominated Barrett. Multiple attendees of that event, including Trump, have tested positive in the week since the ceremony, which featured many people not wearing masks and not observing social distancing protocols.

Johnson did not attend the Barrett nomination ceremony — where several people appeared to have been exposed to the virus — because he was quarantining from a prior exposure, during which he twice tested negative for the virus, according to the spokesman. Unlike Democratic senators, Senate Republicans meet three times a week for lunch. And while they sit in a large room, they remove their masks to eat and to speak. Johnson, Lee and Tillis all attended Senate GOP lunches this week. If the three senators remain out this month, it would effectively prevent Barrett from being confirmed to the Supreme Court until they return, which could be after Election Day during a lame-duck session. A lame-duck confirmation is a situation that GOP leaders are eager to avoid in case they lose control of the chamber next month.

Indeed, Republicans are worried about getting enough votes to confirm a nominee in a lame-duck session after the election if they lose their majority -- and the White House -- and Democrats prepare to take power in January. The fear is that one or two GOP senators may break ranks after seeing the election results and citing the will of the voters. more...

By Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett graduated in 1994 with honors from Rhodes College in Memphis. But more than 1,500 alumni of the small liberal arts school have made it known they are not proud of their ties to the conservative lawyer and judge.

Barrett graduated magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in English. She was a member of the Honor Council and named the Student Hall of Fame. After her next stop at Notre Dame’s law school, Barrett built a career of “professional distinction and achievement,” said Rhodes President Marjorie Hass, in a statement issued after President Trump nominated Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The statement was dated Sept. 22. Soon after, Rhodes alumni Rob Marus and Katherine Morgan Breslin wrote a letter criticizing Barrett’s stances on abortion law, the LBGTQ community and the Affordable Care Act. Signed by 1,513 alumni and posted online, the letter says the alumni are “firmly and passionately opposed to her nomination,” declaring Barrett fails to represent their views and values. more...

The resolution, nevertheless, passed with nearly unanimous support.
Will Sommer

Seventeen Republican lawmakers declined on Friday to support a measure in the House of Representatives that condemned the pro-Trump QAnon movement as a “collection of unfounded conspiracy theories.” The resolution, which passed nearly unanimously, urged the FBI and intelligence agencies to focus on the threats from fringe conspiracy groups, which have grown in mass as the election has neared. All told, 371 members voted in favor of the resolution—including 225 Democrats and 146 Republicans—and 18 members voted against it. Of those 18, 17 were Republican and one was an independent: Rep. Justin Amash, a libertatrian from Michigan.

The resolution, which doesn’t carry any legal force, comes as Republican House nominee and Georgia QAnon believer Marjorie Taylor Greene is poised to win a seat in the chamber in November. The conspiracy theory, which the FBI considers a potential source of domestic terrorism, has allegedly inspired murders, a terrorist incident, and multiple child kidnappings. But President Donald Trump has praised its adherents, who believe he’s engaged in a shadow war against a pedophile-cannibal cabal of Satanists that controls the world. In August, Trump called them “people that love our country.” more...

Bill Chappell

A court released more than 20 hours of recorded grand jury proceedings in the Breonna Taylor case Friday – an extraordinary action that comes after a juror disputed Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's explanation for why no one was directly charged in Taylor's killing by Louisville police this spring. Ahead of a noon deadline, Cameron's office filed a redacted version of the recording with the court in which Social Security numbers and other personal information of people involved in the case were removed. Those edits removed three minutes and 50 seconds of material, according to a court filing. The recording is now posted online in 14 different audio files.

The audio promises to give a rare level of public access to more than two days of grand jury proceedings in a case that has fueled widespread protests over racial injustice and police use of deadly force against Black people and other minorities. It also could answer lingering questions about how prosecutors have handled the case. "I'm confident that once the public listens to the recordings, they will see that our team presented a thorough case to the Jefferson County Grand Jury," Cameron said in a statement. "Our presentation followed the facts and the evidence, and the Grand Jury was given a complete picture of the events surrounding Ms. Taylor's death on March 13." more...

By Jennifer Smith For Dailymail.com

Cops investigating Breonna Taylor's ex-boyfriend as part of a drugs probe were repeatedly told that she was not receiving suspicious packages for him at her home, but they still listed it in their search warrant and raided it. Taylor was shot and killed as three cops returned fire on her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who thought they were burglars during the March raid. The cops had broken down her door with a battering ram in the middle of the night as part of an investigation into her previous boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.

According to the cops, Taylor's apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, was crucial to the investigation so it was a warranted raid. They say that Glover was picking up packages at the property earlier in the year and then driving to a known 'drug house.' However a newly released report reveals that officers asked the postal service whether or not any suspicious packages were being sent to Taylor's home and were told no. They still insisted on raiding it, even though Taylor had been described as a 'soft target' beforehand. more...

A 24-year-old man accused in a string of shootings and vandalism targeting a family with a Black Lives Matter sign in their window told a judge, “I'm extremely regretful of what I did."
By Tim Fitzsimons and The Associated Press

A white man accused of firing shots into the home of a Black suburban Detroit family who put a Black Lives Matter sign in their window expressed regret and asked for forgiveness during a pre-trial court hearing Thursday. “I’m extremely regretful of what I did. I can say it’s not like me,” said Michael Frederick Jr., 24, as he appeared by video in Warren District Court for his arraignment. “I acted way out of character. This wasn’t about the color of anyone’s skin.”

Frederick was arrested Tuesday and faces charges that include ethnic intimidation, in connection to a string of crimes that targeted the home of Eddie and Candace Hall in the city of Warren, about 19 miles north of downtown Detroit. Over a period of a few days beginning Sept. 7, the Halls twice had shots fired at their home, a large rock hurled through the window, their tires slashed, and an anti-Black Lives Matter message and swastika scrawled on their truck. more...

By Ewan Palmer

A video showing the violent rhetoric frequently used by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes has reemerged after Donald Trump told the far-right group to "stand by" during the presidential date. McInnes launched the Proud Boys in 2016 but left the group in 2018 after fighting broke out between the group and antifa in New York following a speech he made at the Metropolitan Republican Club.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, McInnes told a crowd of his supporters that violence is a "really effective way to solve problems." The clip, an edited version of one that first appeared on social media a few years ago, lists other examples of McInnes actively promoting or encouraging violence on his podcast and other public appearances. In one segment, McInnes boasts about how the group's members "will kill you. That's the Proud Boys in a nutshell." He also directly states that he is calling for violence and adds that "violence solves everything."

"We need more violence from the Trump people, Trump supporters. Choke a m**********r, choke a b***h, choke a t****y, get your fingers around a windpipe," McInnes can be heard saying over a clip of the unrest which took place in New York in 2018. McInnes also tells listeners on his show to get a gun and "get ready to blow someone's f*****g head off." It is unclear in what context McInnes is making the remark. more...

By CBSLA Staff

FONTANA (CBSLA) — Lorenza Marrujo might be small — standing less than 5 feet tall — but on Monday night, the 67-year-old proved she can pack a punch. Lorenza Marrujo, 67, took down an intruder who first broke into her apartment and then her friend’s apartment at a Fontana complex for seniors. (CBSLA). According to police, Marrujo confronted an intruder after he broke into her Fontana apartment at a complex for seniors.

“As he was coming towards me, I said, ‘Back off’ right away,” Marrujo, who has had 26 years of martial arts training, said. The man listened and left her apartment, but he was not done for the night, breaking into the apartment of 81-year-old Elizabeth McCray’s — Marrujo’s friend and neighbor. “He grabbed me and he shake me,” McCray said. “And I went down on the floor.” Marrujo heard McCray’s screams and immediately went to help. “I squeezed myself between her and him,” Marrujo said. “I put mama on the side, and I jumped on him and I was punching him and everything, and I had the cane against his throat.” more...

Daniel CassadyForbes Staff

Six Republican senators backed an attempt by Democrats on Thursday to block the Trump administration from intervening in a Supreme Court case that could overturn the Affordable Care Act amid the beginnings of a contentious Supreme Court nomination process.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, and Alaskan senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski broke ranks and voted to block the U.S. Department of Justice from backing a lawsuit slated to be heard before the Supreme Court on November 10 that could scrap the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Five of the six senators are up for reelection this cycle, and face highly-competitive races, along with criticism from Democrats that, if they support Trump’s move to abolish the ACA, they don’t support their constituents with preexisting conditions.

Ernst, Gardner and McSally have supported efforts to repeal the ACA in the past and may be trying to distance themselves from the GOP, which has failed to provide an alternative to the ACA, despite constant attempts to overturn the healthcare law. Murkowski and Collins are the only two Republican senators who have said they wouldn’t vote to confirm Trump’s controversial nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, who has in the past been a vocal critic of Obamacare. more...

John Fritze USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning development that came hours after he confirmed one of his longest-serving aides with whom he had recently traveled also received a positive test result. The revelation had implications for the president's health, the administration's response to the pandemic and also the Nov. 3 election, during which Trump has leaned on states to reopen and has claimed that the nation is "turning the corner" on the virus.

"Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19," Trump tweeted early Friday morning. "We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" Former White House doctor Ronny Jackson told Fox News early Friday morning that Trump was asymptomatic and predicted the president would "weather this storm." "I will bet you that he does not develop symptoms, that he moves on and this does not become a big deal," Jackson said.

The president has often claimed the U.S. has the pandemic "under control," but his own positive test result – assuming it is accurate – is certain to raise questions about the reopening of schools and businesses when the virus could not be contained within the White House, arguably the most secure facility in the world. more...

By CBSLA Staff

WESTLAKE VILLAGE (CBSLA) — Rebecca Grossman, the co-founder of the famed Grossman Burn Foundation, was out on bail early Thursday after being arrested in connection with a suspected DUI crash that killed two young brothers in Westlake Village. Grossman, 57, was arrested after the Tuesday night crash and held on $2 million bail, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. Two young brothers were fatally struck in the crash – 11-year-old Mark Iskander and 9-year-old Jacob Iskander. The boys were walking with their family in a crosswalk at the intersection of Triunfo Canyon Road and Saddle Mountain Drive at about 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. One of the parents was able to snatch one of their children off a scooter, and push a stroller out of the way, but Mark and Jacob were fatally struck. more...

Trump's lies, failures and denials during a public health crisis meet the legal standard for second-degree murder

Two hundred and six thousand, six hundred and sixty-five people. That's 206,665 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents. As of this writing, that is the number of American lives lost in six months as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (The number will be larger by the time you read this.) A pandemic first described by the current United States president as a "Democrat hoax" and "like a flu" has now claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans — unnecessarily.  We now know, thanks to the extensive interviews of Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, that Donald Trump knew of the danger and lethality of COVID-19 as early as February of this year. Time and time again, the president has publicly downplayed the scope and severity of this pandemic, while acknowledging the harsh reality in private.

Scores of mental health professionals have described President Trump as "unfit for office" in large part because of his personality pathology that plays out in his presidential decision-making and behavior. As seen this week with the New York Times exposé on the president's taxes, Trump repeatedly acts as if he is above the law. But his cruelty has been front and center in several contexts, ranging from separating children at the border and putting them in cages to the daily deaths of Americans to the coronavirus. The mounting deaths due to COVID-19 are the scariest example of this president's core sadism. What was initially attributed to Trump's incompetence, inexperience, lack of intellectual curiosity and overall ignorance and naiveté can now be more clearly identified as something far more sinister: mass murder. more...

Story by Cynthia Fernandez of Spotlight PA

HARRISBURG — One day after President Donald Trump fanned manufactured fears of election fraud in Pennsylvania, Republicans in the state legislature pushed forward an effort to create an “election integrity” committee that Democrats characterized as a “stealth attack” on voting. The resolution would create a committee of five House lawmakers — three Republicans and two Democrats — to investigate and review the Nov. 3 election. The group would be empowered to subpoena “witnesses and documents” and initiate legal filings.

Democratic lawmakers, outnumbered in both chambers, called the resolution an overreach of power with a high potential for abuse. The committee could even attempt to “impound uncounted ballots,” House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D., Allegheny) claimed — potentially delaying the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. “To put it simply this is a dangerous threat to our democracy,” Dermody said in a statement. Rep. Garth Everett (R., Lycoming), who introduced the resolution, dismissed those concerns, saying Wednesday the intent of the measure was to review the election and make recommendations for improvements. more...

Jennifer Liu

Roughly 1.6 million Californians could soon begin to see months of unpaid unemployment benefits finally reach their bank accounts. Their arrival will be thanks to the state’s Employment Development Department’s task force initiative to comb through some 600,000 jobless claims that have been stuck in processing for 21 days or more. The EDD will also work to clear payments to another 1 million workers who received at least one benefit payment during the pandemic-induced recession, but due to various certification issues stopped receiving benefits without warning and have been waiting for months for the EDD to resolve eligibility and restore payments.

California’s task force report says outdated technology and staffing shortages are the biggest concerns slowing down benefits processing. Nearly 4.6 million Californians filed jobless claims between March and May — 2.4 million more workers compared to the peak unemployment level from the fallout of the Great Recession. An unprecedented wave of first-time jobless claims during the pandemic not only overwhelmed state computer systems, but it also created an opportune time for scammers to steal personal information and file false claims. The report notes “there is evidence that California may in fact be the victim of significant organized fraud.” Cybersecurity specialists were called in to investigate a suspicious spike of 120,000 new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims made daily on August 31 and September 1, for example. more...

By Kaelan Deese

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Tump's nominee to the Supreme Court, participated in a "mock" ruling exercise on the Affordable Care Act before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. Her position on the moot court over the Affordable Care Act, also called ObamaCare, mostly went against the Trump administration's stance, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Some Democratic critics have argued Barrett's conservative background and Catholic faith could compromise her decisions on the court bench. However, her mock ruling over the issue indicates contrary to those concerns. The mock trial over the Obamacare appeal lawsuit backed by Trump and Texas Republicans was conducted one week before the death of Ginsburg, whom Barrett has been nominated to replace. more...

By Kristen Holmes, Jeremy Herb and Pamela Brown, CNN

(CNN) State and local officials across the country are scrambling to respond to the potential for voter intimidation and violence on Election Day in the wake of President Donald Trump's calls during Tuesday's debate for his supporters to "go into the polls." Trump's comments have energized far-right groups and sparked new warnings from state election officials about the potential for voter intimidation and conflict that could create chaos on Election Day. It's one more factor threatening to disrupt an election that Trump has been claiming for months -- without evidence -- will be fraudulent if he is not declared the winner.

"I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it," Trump said when asked if he would tell his supporters to stay calm and not engage in civil unrest around the election. State officials are hitting back at the President over his remarks and engaging with local law enforcement and others who have authority to maintain order at voting locations to ensure they are prepared. more...

By Rebecca Beitsch and Maggie Miller

Election officials and voting rights experts are sounding the alarm over potential election chaos and voter intimidation in November after President Trump urged his supporters to monitor the polls on Election Day. During Tuesday night’s presidential debate, Trump issued a call to his base to go to polling stations and make sure ballots aren’t “manipulated.” “I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it,” Trump said in response to a question about whether he would hold off on declaring victory until after the results are certified and ask his supporters to remain calm.

“I hope it’s going to be a fair election, and if it’s a fair election, I am 100 percent on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that,” Trump added. His comments on the national stage follow similar remarks by his campaign. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, said in a video last week that he needs “every able-bodied man, woman to join [the] army for Trump’s election security operation.” “We need you to help us watch them,” he added. But if the president’s supporters comply with his request, they risk violating a host of state laws along with federal statutes rooted in a 19th century law designed to counter voter suppression tactics used by the KKK. more...


A federal judge ordered the Trump administration's blue-ribbon law enforcement commission on Thursday to cease its work and barred it from releasing a report until a series of legal requirements are met. The ruling from Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Bates brings a halt to the work of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice less than a month before its deadline to deliver a final report.

President Trump signed an executive order creating the commission last year to study the challenges confronting law enforcement and communities. Attorney General William Barr was tasked with putting the commission together and getting it off the ground. From almost the beginning, civil rights groups expressed concern about the commission, saying its composition and focus was pro-law enforcement and demonstrated a disdain for police reform efforts. One of the commission's working groups, critics noted, was titled "Respect for Law Enforcement." more...

By Ashley Killough, Ed Lavandera and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation Thursday limiting the amount of drop-off locations for mail-in ballots to one site per county. The move significantly affects the Democratic stronghold of Harris County, which is the state's largest county by population -- one of the most populous in the country -- and covers a massive area. It must now reduce its 11 drop-off locations down to one starting on Friday. Travis County, which includes the reliably Democratic city of Austin, must limit its four drop-off locations to one.

Other large counties -- like Tarrant, Dallas and El Paso County -- only had one drop-off location already in place. The Republican governor said in a statement the order was made to enhance ballot security. It also allows poll watchers to observe the in-person delivery of mail-in ballots by voters, but critics say it could severely limit access for many voters. "The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity of our elections," Abbott said. "As we work to preserve Texans' ability to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take extra care to strengthen ballot security protocols throughout the state. These enhanced security protocols will ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at illegal voting."

The decision has already drawn fire from Texas Democrats. The state's Democratic party chair, Gilberto Hinojosa, labeled it a "blatant voter suppression tactic" in a press release. The group Let America Vote also blasted the move. "The governor is making it harder for people to vote in the middle of a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 16,000 Texans," the group said in a statement. "It is a shameful, blatant act of voter suppression that will disproportionately impact the large number of Black and Latinx voters in Texas' biggest counties."

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Texas native Julian Castro similarly cast Abbott's proclamation as an effort to make voting "harder for fellow Texans." The Republican governor, he tweeted, "knows how angry Texans are with Trump's failure, (Republican Sen. John) Cornyn's failure and his own to keep Texans safe and our people working." more...

An Atlantic investigation reveals who they are and what they might do on Election Day.
Story by Mike Giglio

Stewart Rhodes was living his vision of the future. On television, American cities were burning, while on the internet, rumors warned that antifa bands were coming to terrorize the suburbs. Rhodes was driving around South Texas, getting ready for them. He answered his phone. “Let’s not fuck around,” he said. “We’ve descended into civil war.”

It was a Friday evening in June. Rhodes, 55, is a stocky man with a gray buzz cut, a wardrobe of tactical-casual attire, and a black eye patch. With him in his pickup were a pistol and a dusty black hat with the gold logo of the Oath Keepers, a militant group that has drawn in thousands of people from the military and law-enforcement communities.

Rhodes had been talking about civil war since he founded the Oath Keepers, in 2009. But now more people were listening. And whereas Rhodes had once cast himself as a revolutionary in waiting, he now saw his role as defending the president. He had put out a call for his followers to protect the country against what he was calling an “insurrection.” The unrest, he told me, was the latest attempt to undermine Donald Trump. more...

CBS News

American Airlines and United Airlines say they will start to furlough 32,000 employees after lawmakers and the White House failed to agree on a broad pandemic relief package that includes more federal aid for airlines. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said that if Washington comes up with a deal with $25 billion for airlines "over the next few days," the company will reverse 19,000 furloughs set to begin Thursday and recall the workers. United said the impasse forced it to furlough 13,000 workers. United said it told leaders in the Trump administration and Congress that if payroll aid is approved in the next few days, it too could undo the furloughs. more...

Louis Baudoin-Laarman, AFP USA

Social media posts shared thousands of times accuse former vice president Joe Biden of wearing an earpiece to receive instructions from his team during the first presidential debate. This is false; the campaign denied it, and photos allegedly capturing wires related to the earpiece in fact appear to picture a rosary and a crease in his shirt. “Joe Biden was wearing a wire, he was being fed information through an earpiece,” claims a September 29, 2020 Facebook post on the night of the first presidential debate.

Below, screenshots of the Cleveland, Ohio debate show dark areas on Biden’s left wrist and chest that the post identifies as microphone components. It claims these were used to feed responses to the Delaware politician, whom he considers too “incoherent” to be able to debate appropriately on his own.  Other users uploaded low-resolution videos of the same segment on Facebook, making similar claims.

The day of the debate, Trump’s communications director Tim Murtaugh published a statement in which he declared that Biden had refused to go through a pre-debate hearing device search. “Joe Biden’s handlers several days ago agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but today abruptly reversed themselves and declined,” Murtaugh said in the statement, which also claimed that Biden’s team had asked for multiple breaks during the debate, and that Barack Obama’s vice president refused to undergo a drug test.

“Of course he’s not wearing an earpiece and we never asked for breaks,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told a Washington Post reporter the same day in response to Murtaugh’s statement. Team Biden spokesman Andrew Bates confirmed Bedingfield’s statement in an email to AFP. more...

Associated Press

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – A Roman Catholic diocese in New York City’s suburbs has become the largest in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy to protect itself from a wave of lawsuits filed over past sexual abuse by clergy members. The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday. It is the eighth largest diocese or archdiocese in the U.S., serving more than 1.4 million Catholics on Long Island.

“The financial burden of the litigation has been severe and only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bishop John Barres, the spiritual leader of the diocese that serves 1.4 million Catholics on Long Island, said in a video posted on the diocese’s website. “Our goal is to make sure that all clergy sexual abuse survivors and not just a few who were first to file lawsuits are afforded just and equitable compensation.”

Barres said more than 200 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy members have been filed against the diocese since the 2019 passage of New York’s Child Victims Act, which suspended the statute of limitations to allow sex abuse victims to pursue decades-old allegations of abuse against clergy members, teachers and other adults. more...

Amy Coney Barrett in Washington on Thursday. St Joseph County Right to Life is considered an extreme anti-choice group by pro-choice activists in South Bend.
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington

Amy Coney Barrett, the supreme court nominee, signed off on an advertisement in 2006 that called for the overturning of Roe v Wade, and called the landmark abortion rights decision “barbaric” and a “raw exercise of judicial power”. The two-page ad, published by the St Joseph County Right to Life group, an extreme anti-choice organization in South Bend, Indiana, is the most striking evidence to have emerged to date of Barrett’s personal opposition to Roe v Wade. The Guardian first reported the existence of the advertisement, which Barrett has not disclosed in documents submitted to the Senate ahead of her confirmation hearing.

The first page of the ad, which is signed by Barrett and her husband, Jesse, states that life begins at “fertilization”. The ad, which the organization publishes every year to mark the anniversary of Roe v Wade, was signed by Barrett while she was working as a law professor at Notre Dame. On the second page of the two-page spread, the group condemns Roe and claims that “the majority of those abortions were performed for social reasons”. It also claims that an “increasing majority” of Americans are opposed to abortion as a “method of birth control”. “It’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v Wade and restore law that protects the lives of unborn children,” it states. more...

Barrett signed newspaper ad in 2006 sponsored by St Joseph County Right to Life, an extreme anti-choice group
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington

Amy Coney Barrett, the Trump administration’s supreme court nominee, publicly supported an organization in 2006 that has said life begins at fertilization. It has also said that the discarding of unused or frozen embryos created in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process ought to be criminalized, a view that is considered to be extreme even within the anti-abortion movement.

The revelation is likely to lead to new questions about how Barrett’s personal views on abortion may not only shape reproductive rights in the US for decades to come if she is confirmed by the Senate, but how her appointment could affect legal rights for women undergoing fertility treatment, as well as their doctors. more...

Brad Parscale’s arrest would have been an enormous scandal for a normal politician. In Trumpland, it was just another Sunday.
Molly Jong-Fast

The allegation that the president’s most recent campaign manager beat his wife hardly even made a ripple in the swirling sea of news upon which we now ride every day. But it should have, and the fact that it didn’t shows how steeped in misogyny Trumpworld is. more...

President Trump’s unwillingness to say he would abide by the result and his disinformation campaign about election fraud went beyond anything President Vladimir V. Putin could have imagined.
By David E. Sanger

President Trump’s angry insistence in the last minutes of Tuesday’s debate that there was no way the presidential election could be conducted without fraud amounted to an extraordinary declaration by a sitting American president that he would try to throw any outcome into the courts, Congress or the streets if he was not re-elected. His comments came after four years of debate about the possibility of foreign interference in the 2020 election and how to counter such disruptions. But they were a stark reminder that the most direct threat to the electoral process now comes from the president of the United States himself.

Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to say he would abide by the result, and his disinformation campaign about the integrity of the American electoral system, went beyond anything President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia could have imagined. All Mr. Putin has to do now is amplify the president’s message, which he has already begun to do. Everything Mr. Trump said in his face-off with Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, he had already delivered in recent weeks, in tweets and at rallies with his faithful. But he had never before put it all together in front of such a large audience as he did on Tuesday night. more...

H.R. McMaster’s warning represents perhaps his harshest public criticism of the president since he was ousted from the White House in 2018.

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Thursday that President Donald Trump is “aiding and abetting” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to sow doubt about the American electoral system. The stern warning from McMaster, who Trump handpicked to lead the White House National Security Council in 2017, came in an interview on MSNBC, after he was asked whether he agreed that the president posed the greatest threat to U.S. election integrity.

“I agree that he is aiding and abetting Putin’s efforts by not being direct about this, right? By not just calling out Putin for what he’s doing,” McMaster said. “You know, Putin gets away with, I mean, literally murder or attempted murder … because people don’t call him out on it,” he added. “And so they are able to continue with this kind of fire hose of falsehood, to sow these conspiracy theories. And we just can’t be our own worst enemies.”

McMaster was referring to the president’s complaints about mail-in balloting and claims of widespread voter fraud in the closing months of the general election campaign. Trump has repeatedly said Democrats are sending millions of “unsolicited” ballots to Americans and that the outcome of the election may not be known for months, if it is ever determined.

But only nine states are automatically mailing all voters ballots this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, and five of those states regularly mail every voter a ballot. Experts acknowledge there are some slightly higher fraud risks associated with mail-in voting compared with in-person voting, but only when proper security measures are not in place. more...

By Rebecca Klar

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Wednesday approving a task force to consider paying reparations for slavery. Newsom said the bipartisan support for the bill, which passed in the state Senate on a 33-3 vote last month, is “proving a paradigm that we hope will be resonant all across the United States.” The bill will require a commission study the lingering impact of slavery in the state and make recommendations to lawmakers by July 2023. The recommendations should include details on what form of compensation should be awarded as well as its recipients. more...

By George SkeltonCapitol Journal Columnist

OK, I’ve been wrong. President Trump convinced me even before his disgraceful debate performance. Everyone seeking to lead our country should publicly release their tax returns. Trump’s stunning case cries out for full tax disclosure by any presidential nominee of a major party. And my flip-flop was validated in Tuesday’s dark debate that was so painful to watch. For two decades, I’ve argued that pressuring presidential and gubernatorial wannabes to show voters their income tax returns amounted to an unjustified invasion of privacy. The needlessly nosy had no business peeping at which charities a candidate donated to and how much was given. For that matter, they didn’t need to know how much money the candidate made. Candidates for federal and state office already must fill out statements of economic interest that purport to show their investments. But these reports are so vague they’re essentially useless. They should be greatly strengthened, both in Washington and Sacramento. Politicians are very unlikely to do that, however. Trump’s tax avoidance is so egregious that it has turned me into a strong advocate of presidential and gubernatorial candidates’ releasing their returns. more...

"Any decent prosecutor" could make a "pretty viable" case, Nick Akerman, who investigated Nixon's tax returns, says
Roger Sollenberger

A former federal prosecutor during the Watergate investigation, which uncovered criminal activity that led to former President Richard Nixon's resignation, said the bombshell New York Times report on President Donald Trump's taxes suggests that he could ultimately face time behind bars along with his daughter, senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. "No question about it," Nick Akerman told CNN's Erin Burnett in a Monday interview. "And his daughter could go to jail, too. Tax evasion is a five-year felony. It's a pretty serious crime, and the more money that's stolen, the longer you go to jail."

Akerman, who investigated Nixon's taxes during the Watergate probe, said The Times report revealed that he was a "rookie amateur" compared to Trump. "What Nixon did was essentially backdate one deed for a gift of papers to the U.S. government. He basically created a phony deed," said Akerman, whose investigation prompted the political precedent of every major-party presidential candidate publicizing his or her tax returns — until Trump. The Times report, he said, laid out "a whole series of activities that could qualify as tax fraud — not tax avoidance." While the headline read, "Trump Tax Avoidance," Akerman said there is "a key difference" when it comes to fraud — a more serious crime.

Tax avoidance means trying to get the most deductions legally permissible under the tax code.  "Tax fraud is lying about what your income was," Akerman said. "Lying about what your deductions are." Akerman said the report suggested multiple instances of fraud —  the "most glaring" example being an allegation involving consultant  fees that Trump appears to have paid to Ivanka, but which he later wrote  off as a tax deduction. more...

By Jeffery Martin

Portions of the Mueller report that had been redacted by the U.S. Department of Justice must be published, according to a Wednesday ruling by a federal judge. The Mueller report includes the findings of an investigation that was spearheaded by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election. The investigation occurred in response to allegations that the campaign of Donald Trump had colluded with Russian government officials to increase its chances of winning the election. After receiving the initial report in March 2019, U.S. Attorney General William Barr redacted parts of the report, claiming that the concealed information was privileged. District of Columbia District Judge Reggie Walton announced in March that he would conduct an independent review of the complete Mueller report. more...

By April Siese

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese pushed back against a claim by President Trump that the "Portland sheriff" supports the president. Mr. Trump mentioned that the "Portland sheriff just came out today and said, 'I support President Trump'" during the first presidential debate on Tuesday night. "In tonight's presidential debate the President said the 'Portland Sheriff' supports him. As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him," Sheriff Mike Reese tweeted. The county Reese represents includes Portland, Oregon. The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office confirmed the tweet's accuracy to CBS News and said that it had been retweeted on the agency's account. more...

By Marshall Cohen

Washington (CNN) A federal judge in Montana rejected the Trump campaign's effort to stop an expansion of mail-in voting in the state. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee filed the lawsuit earlier this month after Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive allowing all counties in the state to switch to an essentially all-mail system for the 2020 election. But District Judge Dana Christensen ruled against Trump's campaign on Wednesday and rejected its request to block the new voting rules. In his ruling, the judge blasted the Trump-backed "fiction" that there is widespread voter fraud in US elections.

"This case requires the Court to separate fact from fiction," Christensen wrote. "... Central to some of the (Trump campaign's) claims is the contention that the upcoming election, both nationally and in Montana, will fall prey to widespread voter fraud. The evidence suggests, however, that this allegation, specifically in Montana, is a fiction." There is substantial evidence from election experts and others that "the use of mail ballots present no significant risk of fraud," added Christensen, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Barack Obama in 2011. more...

“In my 30 years of doing this work, I've never seen something this egregious,” one food bank director said.

The Agriculture Department last week began mandating that millions of boxes of surplus food for needy families include a letter from President Donald Trump claiming credit for the program. The USDA’s $4 billion Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 100 million boxes to those in need since May, with the aim of redirecting meat, dairy and produce that might normally go to restaurants and other food-service businesses. But organizations handing out the aid complain the program is now being used to bolster Trump’s image a month before a high-stakes election — and some even have refused to distribute them. “In my 30 years of doing this work, I've never seen something this egregious,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks. "These are federally purchased boxes.” more...

A self-proclaimed psychic has become the latest QAnon supporter to apparently be spurred to action by bizarre child-trafficking conspiracy theories and fringe legal ideas.
Will Sommer

A QAnon supporter in Utah has allegedly abducted her 6-year-old son in an incident marking the latest collision between the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, child custody disputes, and quack “sovereign citizen” legal theories. Emily Jolley, a self-proclaimed psychic and “mindfulness teacher,” is believed to have taken her son Terran on Sunday, according to the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake. Jolley does not have legal custody of her son, and allegedly abducted him during a once-a-month supervised visitation.

The whereabouts of Jolley and her son are unknown, and an Amber Alert issued for Terran is still active. It’s not clear why Jolley initially lost custody of her son. But this alleged kidnapping goes beyond a custody dispute. Instead, it’s the latest in a growing trend of QAnon supporters obsessed with child trafficking and fringe legal theories allegedly kidnapping or planning to kidnap their own children.

In August, The Daily Beast reported on a network of QAnon believers and bogus legal experts across the country who focus on mothers who have lost custody of their children. Convincing the women that their children have been funneled by Child Protective Services into the kind of sex-trafficking networks envisioned in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, they then tell the women to use ludicrous legal maneuvers borrowed from the anti-government “sovereign citizen” movement.

Sometimes, these custody fights turn criminal. In one case, a QAnon believer in Kentucky allegedly kidnapped her twin daughters, and was later found hiding out with a group of anti-government sovereign citizens. In another, a Colorado mother whose son had been taken to a foster home allegedly plotted an armed raid on the home with QAnon believers, who then used a nationwide network to hide her when she became a fugitive. more...

By Jackie Salo

A North Carolina teenage basketball player has died from a rare COVID-19 complication in which the virus attacked his brain, his family said. Chad Dorrill, 19, had been living off-campus and taking classes online at Appalachian State University in Boone when he became sick earlier this month with the virus, the college said Tuesday in a statement. “When he began feeling unwell earlier this month, his mother encouraged him to come home, quarantine, and be tested for COVID-19,” Chancellor Sheri Everts wrote to students. His uncle, David Dorrill, said that the teen tested positive Sept. 7 and quarantined for 10 days at home in Wallburg, the New York Times reported. But upon returning to college, he began to experience serious neurological issues, Dorril said. more...

By Natalie O'Neill

Shame of thrones! A North Carolina businessman is accused of fraudulently raking in more than $6 million in coronavirus relief aid for phony companies named after “Game of Thrones” characters and references, according to reports. Tristan Pan, 38, from Garner, N.C., allegedly submitted more than a dozen sham applications when he applied for a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan on behalf of his “businesses” — listed as Khaleesi LLC, The Night’s Watch LLC, and White Walker LLC, NBC reported. His fake firm White Walker— named after the icy humanoid featured on the hit HBO series —  along with another one of his businesses acquired $1.7 million after he submitted paperwork with false tax documents to a bank, the station reported, citing a federal indictment filed last week. more...

CBS News

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Tuesday that he never recommended murder charges against police officers for Breonna Taylor's death. The grand jury handed down no charges in connection with Taylor's death. "Ultimately our judgment is that the charge that we could prove at trial beyond a reasonable doubt was for wanton endangerment against Mr. Hankison," Cameron said in an exclusive interview with WDRB-TV. Former detective Brett Hankison faces three counts of wanton endangerment for shots fired into a neighbor's apartment. He pleaded not guilty on Monday.

The other two officers who fired the shots at Taylor including the one that killed her, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, were not indicted on any charges and remain on the force. Cameron said while some demanding accountability against the officers feel justice was not served, he says the facts won out. "I cannot fashion the facts in such a way to meet a narrative that in many ways had already been put out there before the facts had been put out there," he said. Taylor's family attorney Ben Crump said the upcoming release of the grand jury recordings is one small step toward justice. More...

By Jason Lemon

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called out Republicans by saying they've allowed their political party to be hijacked and transformed into a "cult." Pelosi's remarks came during a Wednesday morning interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe, in which she strongly criticized President Donald Trump and said GOP lawmakers in Congress were in lockstep with the White House. The top Democratic lawmaker referred to Trump as a "rogue president" but said she hopes some Republicans will "intervene." "One of my prayers is that the Republicans will take back their party," Pelosi said. "The country needs a strong Republican Party. It's done so much for our country, and to have it be hijacked as a cult at this time is really a sad thing for America." The speaker also said the GOP under Trump is giving "credence" to white supremacists. more...

CBS News

Philadelphia police are investigating the theft of an employee's laptop and encrypted USB flash drives from an election machine warehouse, the Philadelphia City Commissioner's office confirmed Wednesday. Officials said the stolen laptop did not contain any election materials and wasn't capable of programming any of the city's election machines. The city commissioner's office said the laptop's security features prevent unauthorized access and that the user account has already been disabled, according to CBS Philly. They added that they were "rechecking all of the seals on the already tested machines." "We are confident that this incident will not in any way compromise the integrity of the election," the city commissioner's office said in a statement. More...

Theron Mohamed

Warren Buffett may be feeling vindicated by the New York Times report this week that President Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017, and no income taxes in 10 of the preceding 15 years. Trump called out Buffett during a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in October 2016, claiming the billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO had carried forward past business losses to lower his federal income tax bill, just as Trump had done in the mid-1990s. "Many of her friends took bigger deductions," Trump countered when Clinton questioned his use of $916 million in net operating losses to lower his tax burden in the '90s. "Warren Buffett took a massive deduction." Trump also proclaimed at a rally in Arizona that month that Buffett had declared $873 million in losses, adding that he doubted the investor wrote them off instead of carrying them forward. Buffett responded by releasing the details of his 2015 tax return. He paid $1.8 million in federal income taxes that year, he said, representing about 16% of his adjusted gross income. More...

The satellite election office voting sites are not considered polling places.
By Quinn Scanlan

President Donald Trump falsely claimed Tuesday night that "poll watchers" were blocked from entering voting locations in Philadelphia, bringing back to the forefront the legal battle his campaign and the Republican National Committee have been waging in Pennsylvania since late June. While the president's claim, based on current law, was wrong, his statement at the first presidential debate got at what his campaign and the national Republican Party have alleged is illegal in the key battleground state -- that "poll watchers" aren't allowed to observe voting where absentee and mail ballots are being cast because those locations don't constitute polling places.

Having non-election officials observe polling places is "one of the mechanisms of transparency of our electoral system," one election expert told ABC News. But it's also a practice that raises concerns among voting rights advocates, because it has a history of being used to intimidate certain voters, especially voters of color. "I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that is what has to happen. I am urging them to do it. As you know, today there was a big problem. In Philadelphia, they went in to watch, they were -- they are called poll watchers. A very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They weren't allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad things," Trump said during the final minutes of the debate, hours after he tweeted a similar claim, alleging "corruption" was the reason.

But city officials asserted that no law was broken. "We're working on a plan now to make sure the polls are safe and secure," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, told ABC News on Wednesday, noting the plans are "certainly more intense" this election. "The president of the United States has requested supporters to go to polling places. I mean, that's never happened before." More...

Miles Parks

COVID-19 is still spreading across the U.S., but you would barely know it by how people are planning to vote this year. As the pandemic took hold in the spring, voting experts predicted a national shift toward mail or absentee voting: some experts predicted as many as 70% of all votes cast could be by mail, as was the case in Wisconsin's April primary.

But over the past few months, fears about the Postal Service's reliability as well as President Trump's constant railing against mail voting security have meant fewer and fewer people planning to use the method to vote — to the point that officials now worry there may be such a crush of people who want to vote on Election Day, it could lead to unsafe crowding and excessively long lines.

Both a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll and a Citizen Data poll found that just 35% of Americans now say they plan to vote by mail this fall. And half of all voters instead specifically plan to vote in-person on Election Day, according to the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. More...

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