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*** Bullshit: Trump said they would be doing a good job if they keep the number of deaths below 60,000, now that 200,000 have died he is claiming they did a good job. Bullshit he did not do a good job more than 150,000 American died because of Trump failures to act and Trump is putting more lives at risk daily. ***

Adrianna Rodriguez USA TODAY

The USA reached yet another dark milestone Tuesday: 200,000 coronavirus deaths. As states grapple with opening restaurants, small businesses and schools, cases are peaking in Montana, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data. Social distancing fatigue and contention over mask wearing threaten to compound COVID-19 cases and deaths as the year goes on.

In March, President Donald Trump said keeping the death toll at 100,000 to 200,000 people would indicate that his administration had “done a very good job.” As the number continued to climb, Trump sought to reshape the significance of the death tally. “If we didn’t do our job, it would be three and a half, two and a half, maybe 3 million people,” Trump said Friday, leaning on extreme projections of what could have happened if nothing were done to fight the pandemic. “We have done a phenomenal job with respect to COVID-19.”

COVID-19 deaths outpaced projections made as recently as May, when experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicted about 180,000 deaths by October. That model predicts 378,000 deaths by January. The USA reached 100,000 cases in May. More...

David Von Drehle

“The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run,” declared the self-destructive Captain Ahab, concerning his pursuit of Moby Dick. The elusive white whale of Republican politics is abortion rights. For nearly 50 years, over oceans of campaign speeches and seas of television ads, GOP candidates have promised to fill the Supreme Court with enough harpooners to slay the beast.

With the chance to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer of women’s rights, mere weeks before a presidential election, the Republican Ahabs are lowering boats and putting their backs into one more try. Four years ago, they used their Senate majority to preserve a 5-to-4 conservative advantage on the court by blocking President Barack Obama’s pick in the final year of his second term. Now they spy the chance to grab a 6-to-3 margin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) might want to flip ahead to the final chapters to see how this story ends. Or I could just tell him: Ahab is last seen being dragged by the whale into the fatal briny. One of three things could come of this. Cooler heads might prevail — but what’s the chance of that these days? The other two alternatives both bristle with disaster for the GOP. More...

Brakkton Booker at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NBA legend Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player and known for his elite competitiveness, is taking another big challenge: trying to make NASCAR more inclusive. The hoops icon announced on Monday that he and NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin have teamed up to form a new racing team. They've recruited Bubba Wallace to be its driver.

Wallace, the only Black driver at NASCAR's top level, became known to many outside the sport this summer when members of this then-racing team Richard Petty Motorsports discovered a noose hanging from a garage assigned to the driver at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The FBI investigated the matter as a possible hate crime but later announced it had been hanging in the garage since last October, well in advance of when Wallace was assigned to the garage. Investigators said they were no longer pursuing federal charges. More...

The president says his fellow Republicans have let him it down when it comes to investigating Obama and the Bidens.

President Donald Trump said Monday he was furious with Republicans in Washington for not doing enough to take up his unsubstantiated claims about former Obama administration officials and Hunter Biden. “Does anything happen? Nothing happens,” Trump said at an event in Dayton, Ohio. “I’m so angry at Republicans. I am. I’m so angry. I am so angry, but a lot of things are happening.”

For months, Trump has tried to spur sweeping investigations into President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden over insinuations about the FBI’s surveillance of Trump campaign associates that he’s dubbed “Obamagate.” Those calls had largely gone unheeded by Republicans who control the Senate until they nabbed a foothold recently after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee voted to authorize more than three dozen subpoenas and depositions to compel testimony from former FBI Director James Comey and others. More...

Alyse Stanley

The neural network Twitter uses to generate photo previews is a mysterious beast. When it debuted the smart cropping tool back in 2018, Twitter said the algorithm determines the most “salient” part of the picture, i.e. what your eyes are drawn to first, to use as a preview image, but what exactly that entails has been the subject of frequent speculation.

Faces are an obvious answer, of course, but what about smiling versus non-smiling faces? Or dimly lit versus brightly lit faces? I’ve seen plenty of informal experiments on my timeline where people try to figure out Twitter’s secret sauce, some have even leveraged the algorithm into an unwitting system for delivering punchlines, but the latest viral experiment exposes a very real problem: Twitter’s auto-crop tool appears to favor white faces over Black faces far too frequently.

Several Twitter users demonstrated as much over the weekend with images containing both a white person’s face and a Black person’s face. White faces showed up far more as previews, even when the pictures were controlled for size, background color, and other variables that could possibly be influencing the algorithm. One particularly viral Twitter thread used a picture of former President Barack Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell (already the subject of plenty of bad press for his callous response to the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) as an example. When the two were shown together in the same image, Twitter’s algorithm showed a preview of that dopey turtle grin time and time again, effectively saying that McConnell was the most “salient” part of the picture. More...

Yun Li

Financial stocks came under pressure on Monday amid a report that global banks moved allegedly illicit funds over the past two decades despite warnings from U.S. officials. Shares of Deutsche Bank dropped more than 7%, while JPMorgan fell 4.4%. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of New York Mellon all traded at least 3% lower. The sell-off was triggered by a new investigation by BuzzFeed and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that said the banks’ internal compliance officers flagged a total of more than $2 trillion in transactions between 1999 and 2017 as possible money laundering or other criminal activity. The report cited confidential documents submitted by banks to the U.S. government.

These leaked suspicious activity reports do not necessarily indicate wrongdoing, and they were just a tiny fraction of the reports filed with U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the report said. Deutsche Bank appears to have facilitated $1.3 trillion of suspicious money in the files, while JPMorgan disclosed $514 billion, the report found. Other banks mentioned in the investigation include HSBC Holdings, Standard Chartered and Bank of New York Mellon. HSBC fell more than 6%, touching a 25-year low. The broad market sell-off on Monday may also be contributing to the losses in JPMorgan and other banks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 800 points in morning trading. More...

Among those named in reports is Paul Manafort, former political strategist for Donald Trump
David Pegg

Thousands of documents detailing $2 trillion (£1.55tn) of potentially corrupt transactions that were washed through the US financial system have been leaked to an international group of investigative journalists. The leak focuses on more than 2,000 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the US government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Banks and other financial institutions file SARs when they believe a client is using their services for potential criminal activity. However, the filing of an SAR does not require the bank to cease doing business with the client in question.

The documents were provided to BuzzFeed News, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The documents are said to suggest major banks provided financial services to high-risk individuals from around the world, in some cases even after they had been placed under sanctions by the US government. According to the ICIJ the documents relate to more than $2tn of transactions dating from between 1999 and 2017.

One of those named in the SARs is Paul Manafort, a political strategist who led Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign for several months. He stepped down from the role after his consultancy work for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was exposed, and he was later convicted of fraud and tax evasion. According to the ICIJ, banks began flagging activity linked to Manafort as suspicious beginning in 2012. In 2017 JP Morgan Chase filed a report on wire transfers worth over $300m involving shell companies in Cyprus that had done business with Manafort. More...

CBS News

Washington — A person suspected of sending an envelope addressed to White House that contained the poison ricin has been arrested, the FBI said Sunday. CBS News has learned the suspect, a woman, was apprehended at the New York-Canada border and is believed to have been trying to enter the U.S. CBS News has also learned that the woman was carrying a gun. Her name wasn't released. More...

By Alta Spells and Hollie Silverman, CNN

(CNN) A Nebraska bar owner who was indicted by a grand jury last week in the fatal shooting of a Black protester has died by suicide, his attorney Stu Dornan announced during a news conference Sunday. "The family of Jake Gardner has asked Tom Monaghan and myself to share the news of his death today, at his own hand," Dornan said. Gardner, 38, was found dead inside a medical clinic outside of Portland, Oregon, Sunday afternoon, the Hillsboro Police Department said in a news release.

Gardner was indicted by a Douglas County, Nebraska, grand jury Wednesday on charges of manslaughter, the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, attempted first degree assault and terroristic threats. The charges stem from the May 30 shooting death of 22-year-old James Scurlock outside of Gardner's Omaha bar during protests related to the police killing of George Floyd, CNN previously reported. More...

CNN Digital Expansion DC Manu Raju
By Manu Raju, Senior Congressional Correspondent

Washington, DC (CNN) Senate Democrats, lacking votes to stop President Donald Trump's pick to fill the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat, are weighing an array of tactics to battle back -- ranging from bringing the chamber to a screeching halt this year to pushing legislation to expand the court if they win the majority in the fall. Democrats began discussing their options on Saturday, with senators all vowing a furious fight to keep the seat vacant until next year when a new Senate convenes and when Joe Biden may occupy the White House. And while no specific course of action was detailed, Democrats said they were united on this: They planned to engage in an all-out battle to stop the nomination in its tracks by pressuring four Republicans to break ranks.

"Mitch McConnell believes that this fight is over. What Mitch McConnell does not understand is this fight has just begun," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, speaking at a Ginsburg vigil on Saturday. First, Democrats want to stop the nomination, and they are considering taking unusual steps to bottle up all business in the Senate to drag out the proceedings as long as possible, senators said. Under the rules, which require the chamber to operate by unanimous consent, Democrats can object to routine business of the day and essentially ground the chamber to a halt. More...

"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," Ruth Bader Ginsburg told her granddaughter, Clara Spera, in the days before her death, NPR reported.
By Alicia Victoria Lozano

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the U.S. Supreme Court justice who broke gender barriers, told her granddaughter before she died that her wish was not to have her seat filled until a new president is elected. "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," Ginsburg told Clara Spera in the days before her death, NPR reported. Ginsburg died Friday at the age of 87. Her passing leaves a pivotal vacancy that could dramatically shape the nation's highest court for years to come. The scramble to fill her seat will be especially tense with less than two months until the presidential election. More...

Rumors find fertile ground in Oregon, a state already divided after months of protests – and are complicating emergency responses
Jason Wilson in Portland

Rumors find fertile ground in Oregon, a state already divided after months of protests – and are complicating emergency responses A charred vehicle is seen in the parking lot of the burned Oak Park Motel after the passage of the Santiam Fire in Gates, Oregon, on 10 September 10, 2020. A charred vehicle is seen in the parking lot of the burned Oak Park Motel after the passage of the Santiam Fire in Gates, Oregon, on 10 September 2020. Photograph: Kathryn Elsesser/AFP/Getty Images Photojournalist Nathan Howard was on assignment for a picture agency south-east of the fire-menaced foothill town of Estacada, Oregon, on Thursday afternoon when a man angrily approached him on a rural roadside.

The man insisted the photographer was a looter, Howard said, and despite his repeated attempts to identify himself as a journalist, the man began yelling and became so agitated that “it was like his eyes were popping out of his head”. The man eventually allowed Howard to get in his car and leave, but gave chase as Howard drove north. Then a second truck approached from the opposite direction, Howard said, and parked horizontally across the highway, blocking both lanes. A man climbed from the truck and pointed a loaded assault rifle at Howard through his car’s windshield, and again accused him of looting, his finger on the trigger.

“He was saying, ‘you’re a looter, you have to get out of here’”, Howard said in a telephone conversation, “and I was like, ‘you’re blocking the road, I can’t move’, and that conversation went on for three solid minutes.” Thursday’s highway standoff highlights the real life consequences of the wave of disinformation on social media about the cause of wildfires raging across the Pacific north-west. Many of the rumors baselessly claim that the fires were lit by political activists, either by the far-right group the Proud Boys or the leftist activists known as antifa. More...

By Annie Grayer and Marshall Cohen, CNN

CNN) A Michigan state judge on Friday dramatically expanded the window for when absentee ballots can arrive and get counted after Election Day.
Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that absentee ballots postmarked before Election Day can be counted if they arrive two weeks after the polls close. Previously, only ballots received by 8 p.m. on Election Day could be counted -- a policy that led to thousands of ballots getting rejected in the state's August primary.

The ruling was a victory for Democratic groups that brought the lawsuit, who have been arguing in Michigan and other battleground states that many late-arriving ballots should still be counted. But it could also inject uncertainty into the post-election process because ballots arriving long after Election Day could still get counted and shift the outcome. More...

By Kerry Flynn, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)Joe Rogan, reportedly the highest paid podcast host in the world, has apologized for spreading misinformation to his millions of listeners about the West Coast fires during a recent episode. "I need to make an apology and a retraction," Rogan said in a video posted on his Instagram on Friday. "I said something on the podcast with Douglas Murray about people getting arrested for lighting fires and I got duped. It's wrong. There was one guy who got arrested for lighting fires somewhere else and someone sent me something about people getting arrested for lighting fires in Portland. I said it without looking into it. It was very irresponsible."  More...

*** What the hell happened to let the people decide McConnell? McConnell you lied and stole Obama's Supreme Court pick you are a hypocrite and a thief. ***

By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed Friday night that Republicans will move to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. "Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise," McConnell said. "President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," McConnell added. More...

Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington surrounded by family. She was 87.

"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice."

Architect of the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation's highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign. More...

Despite the pandemic officials have placed tight restrictions on voting by mail, while students and minority groups face particular hurdles

Despite the pandemic officials have placed tight restrictions on voting by mail, while students and minority groups face particular hurdles. Cynthia Riley realized some voters might not wear face masks when she staffed Texas’s primary runoff elections in July. But she hadn’t predicted that her fellow election clerks and one of the judges in Plano, Texas, would refuse to don basic protective gear at the start of a 14-hour shift sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.

“I don’t have to wear a mask, and I’m not going to,” she remembers the Republican judge snapping at her. Riley, who has a chronic breathing problem, abandoned her post after maybe 30 minutes at the polls, though she didn’t do so thoughtlessly. She has worked elections since 2016, and she understands the difference the staff makes. “I just feel like it matters a lot who’s there,” she said. Things can happen, she said, if there aren’t clerks onsite who “are willing to open their mouth”.

coronavirus pandemic has threatened the democratic process ahead of the presidential election. But the situation is even more acute in Texas, where Republicans have long devised a tortuous system that actively disadvantages minority communities who would generally lean Democratic. Long lines, voter intimidation, voting machine malfunctions and other issues afflicted almost 278,000 Texans during the midterm election in 2018, according to the Texas Civil Rights Project. More...

The president attacked a Pulitzer Prize-winning project on slavery in the US and announced his ‘patriotic education’ plan
The Guardian
Staff and agencies

Donald Trump on Thursday launched an extraordinary attack on American education at a history conference in Washington DC, downplaying America’s historic legacy of slavery and claiming children have been subjected to “decades of leftwing indoctrination”. Speaking at what was dubbed the White House Conference on American History, the president intensified efforts to appeal to his core base of white voters with a historically revisionist speech, while blasting efforts to address systemic racism as divisive. The president specifically attacked the New York Times’ 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning endeavor that was published last year to cast a spotlight on the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship arriving in America.

The 1619 Project “warped” the American story, Trump said. The president said the project claimed the US was “founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom”. Trump said children should know “they are citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world”. He also used the appearance to announce plans to establish a commission to promote patriotic education, dubbed the 1776 Commission, that would be tasked with encouraging educators to teach students “about the miracle of American history”. Critics were swift to condemn Trump’s new “patriotic education” plan and his attacks on the 1619 Project, something he said the teaching of which was akin to “child abuse”, with journalists quickly asserting his claims as blatantly false. More...

By Celine Castronuovo

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates who worked with President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to collect information on political rivals, were charged Thursday with additional campaign finance crimes in connection with a company Parnas founded.

Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney general for the Southern District of New York, wrote in a letter to District Judge J. Paul Oetken that a grand jury brought forth an indictment Thursday charging Parnas and Fruman with “soliciting a foreign national to make donations and contributions in connection with federal and state elections,” as well as for “aiding and abetting the making of donations and contributions by a foreign national in connection with federal and state elections.”

The new charges come in addition to those brought in October 2019, in which the men, along with two other associates, were charged with conspiring to violate the ban on political donations and contributions by foreign nationals. Parnas and Fruman were previously charged with “conspiring to make contributions in connection with federal elections in the names of others, and with making false statements to and falsifying records to obstruct the administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”).” More...

NBC News

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray clarified that the bureau views Antifa as an ideology and not an organization. Video...

Nathan Bomey USA TODAY

An emboldened community of believers known as QAnon is spreading a baseless patchwork of conspiracy theories that are fooling Americans who are looking for simple answers in a time of intense political polarization, social isolation and economic turmoil. Experts call QAnon a "digital cult" because of its pseudo-religious qualities and an extreme belief system that enthrones President Donald Trump as a savior figure crusading against evil.

The core of QAnon is the false theory that Trump was elected to root out a secret child-sex trafficking ring run by Satanic, cannibalistic Democratic politicians and celebrities. Although it may sound absurd, it has nonetheless attracted devoted followers who have begun to perpetuate other theories that they suggest, imply or argue are somehow related to the main premise.

While many QAnon theories and content remain on fringe platforms like far-right message board 8kun, some have made their way into mainstream social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. On those platforms, the bogus or misleading material is gaining traction among people who have no idea they're dabbling in QAnon. More...

By Sandra Gonzalez and Brad Parks, CNN

(CNN) Jeremiah "Jerry" Harris, one of the students featured in Netflix's breakout docuseries "Cheer," has been arrested on a production of child pornography charge, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick. Harris is scheduled to appear in federal court in Chicago this afternoon, Fitzpatrick told CNN. A representative for Harris did not immediately return CNN's request for comment via email. Harris, 21, is accused of "enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself," according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The minor was 13 at the time, the complaint said. More...

The Conversation
Charlotte Hill, Jake Grumbach

Voter fraud is very rare, whether people vote in person or by mail. That much is clear from a large body of research. One of us is a political scientist at the University of Washington, and the other is a former elections commissioner who now studies voting laws. We can explain why voter fraud is so rare – especially for mail-in ballots, which have drawn both the interest and concern of many people this year.

The goal, of course, is to make sure that ballots received by mail are legitimate – that they are cast by registered voters, not by others lying about their identity, and that each voter casts only one ballot in a single election. The mail-in voting process has several built-in safeguards that together make it hard for one person to vote fraudulently, and even more difficult to commit voter fraud on a scale capable of swinging election outcomes.

1. Only valid voters can get a ballot in the mail
People don’t get ballots in the mail by accident. Some states mail them to all registered voters automatically – as in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Hawaii, which conduct all elections by mail even when there’s not a pandemic. These states mail ballots to eligible voters at the address where their registration form says they live. More...

By Jordain Carney

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 30 about the bureau's investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump campaign, according to Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “The day of reckoning is upon us. ... James Comey has agreed to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Graham told Fox News. “He will be respectfully treated but asked hard questions.”

Graham said the committee staff is still negotiating with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to try to get his testimony without a subpoena. Former special counsel Robert Mueller has declined to testify before the committee about his approximately two-year investigation, Graham added. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had pushed for Mueller to testify, arguing that if Republicans are going to probe the FBI’s Russia investigation and Mueller’s subsequent investigation, the former special counsel should be able to come and explain and defend his work to the committee. More...

*** Russia is once again actively interfering in our elections to elect Donald J. Trump. Trump is Russia’s man in the White House. ***

By Zachary Cohen, Geneva Sands and Alex Marquardt, CNN

Washington (CNN) FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that Russia has been "very active" in its efforts to influence US elections, with the primary goal being to "denigrate" Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray told lawmakers that Russia is primarily interfering through "malign foreign influence in an effort to hurt Biden's campaign" -- echoing the intelligence community's public assessment on Moscow's meddling efforts issued last month. Wray's comments come as President Donald Trump and several other top administration officials have recently attempted to play up the theory that China is meddling to get Biden elected, while downplaying well-founded reports that Russia is trying to help Trump win again, like it did in 2016.

Foreign election interference efforts differ from what was observed in 2016, when there was also an effort to target election infrastructure, Wray said. "We have not seen that second part yet this year or this cycle, but we certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020," he added. According to Wray, Russia is using social media, proxies, state media and online journals to sow "divisiveness and discord" and "primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment." Intelligence officials have said they have uncovered evidence that Russia is currently interfering in the election to hurt Biden's campaign. Separately, some evidence has already emerged about Moscow's efforts, including Facebook's announcement earlier this month that a troll group that was part of Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election is trying to target Americans again. More...

Steve Schmidt says “there’s nothing that frankly comes even close.”
By Ed Mazza

Longtime Republican strategist Steve Schmidt says President Donald Trump’s admission that he knowingly downplayed the coronavirus threat early in the pandemic has no other parallel in the nation’s history. “Bob Woodward induced a confession of the greatest lie in American history, bar none,” Schmidt said on MSNBC Wednesday. “There’s nothing that frankly comes even close.”

Later in the interview, he added: “It is a catastrophic leadership failure. But more than that, there’s no equivalent in the country’s history to it. It is the greatest malfeasance in the history of the United States.”  Schmidt, who quit the GOP in 2018 over its support for Trump, is one of the cofounders of The Lincoln Project, a group of “never Trump” conservatives working against the president’s reelection. More...

Facebook and Instagram said the Fox News host’s segment about COVID-19 contained false information.
By Josephine Harvey

Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s penchant for sharing misinformation about the coronavirus earned him a slap on the wrist from Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday ― and he didn’t take it well. A video of Carlson’s interview with Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan was published on his social media accounts Tuesday with the caption “Chinese whistle-blower to Tucker: This virus was made in a lab & I can prove it.”

Scientists who have studied the virus’ genetics have overwhelmingly concluded that it originated in wildlife and was not engineered in a lab. Twitter did not take action against Carlson’s post, but it did suspend Yan’s account. Facebook and Instagram hid the content behind a “false information” label. Viewers were advised that the video “repeats information about COVID-19 that independent fact-checkers say is false.” The segment can still be viewed after clicking past the warning.

In response, Carlson went on a lengthy tirade Wednesday night about how he had been “censored” by Facebook. He dedicated more than 15 minutes of his program to defending Yan’s claims and bashing the social media giant for supposedly bringing an end to free speech. More...

This might be one of the most painful silences in the network’s history.
By Ed Mazza

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got called out on live TV for spreading a conspiracy theory about billionaire philanthropist and activist George Soros, leading to several awkward breaks in the conversation. Speaking on “Outnumbered” on Fox News, Gingrich blamed violence in some cities on “George Soros-elected, left-wing, anti-police, pro-criminal district attorneys who refuse to keep people locked up.”

He invoked Soros’ name again moments later, when he slammed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris for supporting progressive district attorneys:  “Progressive district attorneys are anti-police, pro-criminal and overwhelmingly elected with George Soros’ money, and they’re a major cause of the violence we’re seeing because they keep putting the violent criminals back on the street,” Gingrich said. Several other members of the “Outnumbered” panel interjected to say Soros’ name doesn’t need the be part of the conversation, which led to this awkward exchange: More...

Jemima McEvoy Forbes Staff

Gov. Steve Sisolak, D-Nev., on Wednesday wrote a scathing letter to the White House, criticizing President Trump’s “contradictory and dismissive behavior” in hosting two campaign rallies in the state this weekend which packed together thousands of attendees with little-to-no social distancing measures in clear violation of state and federal directives. “I am respectfully requesting some clarity and explanation from the [White House’s Coronavirus] Task Force for myself and the millions of Nevadans I represent,” wrote the Democratic governor in a letter addressed to Vice President Mike Pence.

Both rallies—one outside at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, the other inside at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson—closely packed together thousands of the president’s supporters, the majority of whom were not wearing masks, and directly violated state and federal guidance.  Sisolak has limited in-person gatherings both indoors and outdoors to 50 people since May, a recommendation based on the White House’s guidelines for reopening.  “You can imagine my confusion and utter disbelief over the contradictory and dismissive behavior demonstrated by the president this past weekend when he held two mass gathering events ... in direct violation of our state’s emergency directives,” said Sisolak in the Wednesday letter. Sisolak also criticized Trump before the event for “taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger.”  More...

By Shant Shahrigian - New York Daily News

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani painted a grim picture of NYC’s future — attacking everyone from his successor Bill de Blasio to participants in the Black Lives Matter movement — in a divisive and racially charged speech in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. Harkening back to when he first ran for mayor in the late 1980s, Giuliani said, “Crime was way out of control ... You couldn’t walk at night.”We’re going in that direction right now, if we’re not already there,” he added.

Cast as a speech on restoring safety to a city reeling from a surge in violent crime, the event was light on policy and heavy on personal attacks. “It’s quite clear the worst mayor in the history of New York City is the present mayor,” said Giuliani, parroting recent remarks from President Trump, for whom he works as a personal attorney. “You listen to his ideas and his vicious attack on the police,” Giuliani continued. “People wonder why the police turned their back on him. [It’s] because he ran his campaign attacking them.” More...

Exclusive: Amy Dorris alleges Trump forced his tongue down her throat and groped her at 1997 US Open
by Lucy Osborne

A former model has come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her at the US Open tennis tournament more than two decades ago, in an alleged incident that left her feeling “sick” and “violated”. In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Amy Dorris alleged that Trump accosted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the tournament in New York on 5 September 1997. Dorris, who was 24 at the time, accuses Trump of forcing his tongue down her throat, assaulting her all over her body and holding her in a grip she was unable to escape from. More...

Giuliani's payroll company got a PPP loan from a Trump-friendly bank — but lists no employees. Was it fraud?
Roger Sollenberger

A payroll company owned by Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, took between $150,000 and $350,000 in taxpayer-backed emergency small business loans this spring. It's unclear what Giuliani did with the money. The loan reveals a previously unreported, 18-year-old company owned by Giuliani. A Salon investigation offers new insight into mechanisms of the former New York mayor and federal prosecutor's elaborate and purposefully obscure business, income and payment arrangements, which have reportedly been the subject of subpoenas from federal investigators in the Southern District of New York. Giuliani initially told Salon he was ignorant of the purpose of this company, which has handled payroll needs across more than 18 years and lists him as CEO. Financial experts tell Salon that one of two scenarios is likely true: Either Giuliani directly employs a number of people through this unknown company, and pays them substantial salaries, or the company misrepresented its finances to the government when it applied for the loan — which would likely constitute fraud, a felony. Independent journalist Wendy Siegelman appears to have been the first to report both the company and the loan. More...

For a year and a half, U.S. intelligence warned that Andriy Derkach was suspected of election interference. Yet Derkach—and his wild beliefs—kept drawing more Trumpist adherents.
The Daily Beast
Erin Banco, Sam Brodey, Spencer Ackerman, Asawin Suebsaeng

At the end of an elegant dinner in May 2019 in downtown Kyiv, Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach handed a thick packet of papers to a former senior U.S. official he’d known for years. The packet was unremarkable in its presentation, the papers clipped on the top and crunched in the corners. The packet bore no insignia, title, or index page, and did little in the way of intriguing the former U.S. official. It wasn’t until months later that the official read through the pages. What was more remarkable was that U.S. intelligence had, for over a month, warned that Derkach was a stalking horse for the Russian security services and their attempts to interfere in American politics. It was the first in a series of reports, beginning in the spring of 2019, naming Derkach as part of a broader push to upend the U.S. election once again.

Despite the odd nature of the handoff, the dinner was one of the earliest known attempts by Derkach, current and former officials say, to pass materials to Americans in an attempt to push the debunked conspiracy theories that the former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were complicit in the siphoning of millions of dollars from the Ukrainian people and that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 election. (The latter is “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services,” according to President Donald Trump’s former point person for the region, Fiona Hill.) More...

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) House Majority Whip James Clyburn on Thursday slammed Attorney General William Barr for comparing coronavirus lockdowns in the US to slavery, saying the comments are "the most ridiculous, tone-deaf, God-awful thing I've ever heard." "You know, I think that that statement by Mr. Barr was the most ridiculous, tone-deaf, God-awful thing I've ever heard," Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House and its highest ranking Black member, told CNN's John Berman on "New Day." "It is incredible that (the) chief law enforcement officer in this country would equate human bondage to expert advice to save lives. Slavery was not about saving lives, it was about devaluing lives."

Barr made the comparison during an event at Hillsdale College Wednesday after he was asked to explain the "constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during Covid-19." "You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history," Barr said as a round of applause came from the crowd. More...


Officers requested a "heat ray" weapon for possible use against protesters in a park next to the White House in June, a National Guard major has said. Military police allegedly asked the National Guard for the Active Denial System (ADS), which makes targets feel their skin is on fire. It happened before Lafayette Square was cleared of people protesting against the killing of black man George Floyd. The National Guard did not possess the heat ray and it was not used.

Law enforcement officers are instead believed to have used tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke grenades to clear the park on 1 June. At the time authorities said it was to tackle violent protesters who had thrown rocks at police and started fires. Reporters at the scene however said the demonstration had been peaceful. Park Police have denied using tear gas, saying that they instead fired "pepper balls" - projectiles with capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers heat - at protesters. Shortly after officers cleared the park, US President Donald Trump walked across the street from the White House for a photo opportunity outside a church. The clearance of the protesters to make way for Mr Trump drew heavy criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser called it "shameful".

CNN Tonight

During an event at Hillsdale College, Attorney General William Barr suggested that the calls for a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were the "greatest intrusion on civil liberties" in history "other than slavery." Source: CNN Video...

By Katelyn Polantz and Christina Carrega, CNN

(CNN) Attorney General William Barr suggested on Wednesday that the calls for a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were the "greatest intrusion on civil liberties" in history "other than slavery." The comments came minutes after he slammed the hundreds of Justice Department prosecutors working beneath him, equating them to preschoolers, in a defense of his own politically tuned decision making in the Trump administration. Addressing a Constitution Day celebration hosted by Hillsdale College, the event's host asked Barr to explain the "constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during Covid-19."

The question lead Barr into a four-minute response where he said state governors were using their executive powers to stifle citizens and businesses from going back to work. "You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history," Barr said as a round of applause came from the crowd. Covid-19 has taken a measurable toll on minorities, including Black people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In recent weeks, Barr has taken a much more aggressive stance defending Trump administration policies, including suggesting voting by mail is not safe, attacking the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and criticizing governors for their coronavirus response. More...

By Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) Federal officials looked into getting a heat ray that makes targets' skin feel like it's burning and amassed thousands of rounds of ammunition in preparation for clearing a peaceful protest in Lafayette Square in June, according to written House testimony from an Army National Guard major who was at the scene. Maj. Adam DeMarco described such preparations -- including officials' failure to acquire a loud announcement device for warning protesters to disperse -- in an August letter responding to follow-up questions after he testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources in June about federal officers' efforts earlier that month. DeMarco, who described himself as one of the senior National Guard officials on the scene, ran as a Democrat for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2018.

News of the contents of DeMarco's letter was first reported by NPR. In the letter, DeMarco wrote that the Defense Department's head military police officer for the National Capitol Region emailed him and others on the day of the protests asking if the DC National Guard had "a Long Range Acoustic Device," which can blast walls of sound at protesters, or "the Active Denial Systems," which feature "a directed energy beam that provides sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin."

DeMarco wrote that he responded saying that the DC National Guard had neither device, and that to his knowledge, no such acoustic device was used at Lafayette Square. When he looked into getting the acoustic device the next day, the DC National Guard told him "that they were no longer seeking" it.
Therefore, the US Park Service's "warnings to disperse" did not come from that system but from "a red and white megaphone" that DeMarco saw used, he wrote. He referenced in his in-person testimony that even 30 feet from the megaphone, the "warnings to disperse were barely audible and I was only able to discern several words" -- while the front line of the protesters was even further away from the warning. He also referenced a weapons transfer to the DC National Guard the afternoon of the protest that he later learned contained "approximately 7,000 rounds of ammunition." More...

Dina Temple-Raston

Hours before federal police officers cleared a crowded park near the White House with smoke and tear gas on June 1, the lead military police officer in the Department of Defense for the D.C. region asked if the D.C. National Guard had a kind of military heat ray that might be deployed against demonstrators in the nation's capital, according to one of the most senior National Guard officers on the scene.

In written responses to the House Committee on Natural Resources obtained by NPR, Major Adam DeMarco of the D.C. National Guard said he was copied on an email from the Provost Marshal of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region. He was looking for two things: a long range acoustic device, a kind of sound cannon known as an LRAD, and a device called the Active Denial System, or ADS.

The ADS was developed by the military some twenty years ago as a way to disperse crowds. There have been questions about whether it worked, or should be deployed in the first place. It uses millimeter wave technology to essentially heat the skin of people targeted by its invisible ray. More...

Attorney General William P. Barr was also said to have asked prosecutors to explore whether to bring charges against the mayor of Seattle for allowing a police-free protest zone.
By Katie Benner

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr told federal prosecutors in a call last week that they should consider charging rioters and others who had committed violent crimes at protests in recent months with sedition, according to two people familiar with the call. The highly unusual suggestion to charge people with insurrection against lawful authority alarmed some on the call, which included U.S. attorneys around the country, said the people, who described Mr. Barr’s comments on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

The attorney general has also asked prosecutors in the Justice Department’s civil rights division to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle for allowing some residents to establish a police-free protest zone near the city’s downtown for weeks this summer, according to two people briefed on those discussions. The directives are in keeping with Mr. Barr’s approach to prosecute crimes as aggressively as possible in cities where protests have given way to violence. But in suggesting possible prosecution of Ms. Durkan, a Democrat, Mr. Barr also took aim at an elected official whom President Trump has repeatedly attacked. More...

By Madeline Holcombe and Steve Almasy, CNN

CNN) Wildfires are raging along the West Coast, and with them authorities in Oregon said they are fighting rumors of political origins.
Multiple fires in Washington, Oregon and California have destroyed more than 4.7 million acres and killed at least 34 people. Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have been batting down conspiracy theories that Antifa extremists are setting fires and cutting down power lines, Clackamas County, Oregon, Sheriff Craig Roberts said Wednesday. "Each and every tip that comes in, we're following that to the end," Roberts said, but investigators typically find that the tipsters' information came "from a friend of a friend" who has no evidence.

In one case, Roberts said a group reported to be stashing gasoline cans in the forest to start fires was actually "Good Samaritans" helping move fuel for emergency workers. There are legitimate concerns around the fires, Roberts said. Fifteen people have been arrested in connection with looting in evacuation zones -- none with extremist ties, he said.. He also reiterated that it is illegal for individuals to set up their own armed checkpoints. "We do not want armed citizens inappropriately stopping people," he said. More...

Though Trump answered questions directly from voters in a recent town hall, Ingraham claimed he had been ambushed
Alex Henderson

After President Donald Trump answered questions from U.S. voters and moderator George Stephanopoulos at an ABC News townhall event in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, September 15, Trump supporters were quick to describe it as a gotcha event — including Fox News' Laura Ingraham, who considered the townhall an "ambush." But the following day on CNN, host John King found Ingraham's claim laughable and described Fox News as "state TV."

During the townhall, Trump answered questions on issues ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to racial justice. "On Fox News, Laura Ingraham called this an 'ambush' by ABC," King told reporter Josh Dawsey. "Yeah, ABC put the president of the United States, the leader of democracy, in a room with voters — where he had to answer questions from his citizens. I guess Fox News considers that an ambush. Does the Trump campaign think they should do more of this or, after last night, keep him away from voters?" More...

By Jim Acosta, Kevin Bohn and Kaitlan Collins, CNN

(CNN) Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo on Tuesday apologized to staffers for a rant in which he accused career government scientists of "sedition" and working to undermine President Donald Trump, multiple sources familiar with the situation told CNN. Caputo -- a fierce defender of the President who was appointed to his post as assistant secretary of public affairs for HHS not long after the coronavirus pandemic began -- mentioned a series of conspiracy theories in a Sunday live video on his personal Facebook page, including that there is a "resistance unit" against Trump inside the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caputo claimed that he thinks former Vice President Joe Biden will refuse to concede the election should Trump win, and political violence will ensue.

A source familiar with the matter said Caputo portrayed himself as a victim in his apology, but apologized for putting HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a bad light. Caputo's status at HHS is uncertain at this point and he was already treading on thin ice at the agency before the revelations about his comments on Facebook, a second source familiar with the situation said. It is unclear whether any action to move Caputo out of his current position is imminent, that source added, but discussions regarding Caputo's future are ongoing. The first source said Caputo did not bring up his future in the apology. A third source familiar with the situation said Caputo is dealing with potential health issues that could force him to step aside. Politico was first to report on Caputo's apology and The New York Times was first to report that he is considering a leave of absence.

A source close to the White House coronavirus task force said Azar has been unhappy for some time with Caputo as deputy secretary. The source close to the White House said Caputo, who is a longtime Trump political operative, was forced upon Azar and the latest controversy likely won't help his standing with the secretary. During his Sunday broadside, Caputo lambasted the CDC, baselessly claiming that scientists "deep in the bowels of the CDC have given up science and become political animals." The scientists "haven't gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops" to plot "how they're going to attack Donald Trump next," Caputo added. More...

CBS News

Michael Caputo, the head of communications for the Department of Health and Human Services, spoke in a Facebook video about his mental state and floated the idea that government scientists are plotting against President Trump. CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang joins CBSN with details. More...

By Leah Asmelash, CNN

(CNN) On Thursday, presidential candidate Joe Biden claimed that a Black man had invented the light bulb, not "a White guy named Edison." Biden was at a community meeting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the site of the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake. He was addressing the ways in which Black Americans are stripped from American history and aren't discussed in schools. The thing is, though, his facts were a little off. As far as we know, Edison did invent the light bulb, but a Black inventor named Lewis Latimer actually made it better and more accessible. Here's how it went down. More...

By Mark Morales, Eric Levenson, Elizabeth Joseph and Christina Carrega, CNN

(CNN) The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor and institute a series of police reforms to settle the family's wrongful death lawsuit. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Taylor's family and their attorneys announced the settlement in a joint press conference on Tuesday. Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was killed in her home by police on March 13. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to establish a housing credit program as an incentive for officers to live in the areas they serve; use social workers to provide support on certain police runs; and require commanders to review and approve search warrants before seeking judicial approval, among other changes.

"Justice for Breonna means that we will continue to save lives in her honor," said Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother. "No amount of money accomplishes that, but the police reform measures that we were able to get passed as a part of this settlement mean so much more to my family, our community, and to Breonna's legacy." Family attorney Benjamin Crump called the $12 million payout "historic" and said he believed it is one of the largest amounts ever paid out for a Black woman killed by police in the US. Mayor Fischer said the city is not admitting wrongdoing in the agreement. More...

By Christina Carrega, Mark Morales and Eric Levenson, CNN

(CNN) The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT killed by police six months ago. A source told CNN Tuesday the agreement was a multimillion dollar settlement. Taylor's family sued the city after Louisville Metro Police officers broke down the door to her apartment and fatally shot Taylor while executing a late-night, "no-knock" warrant in a narcotics investigation on March 13. The mayor of Louisville is expected to announce the settlement later Tuesday in a joint press conference with the Taylor family attorneys.

Attorney Sam Aguilar confirmed to CNN there is a settlement in the case. "The city's response in this case has been delayed and it's been frustrating, but the fact that they've been willing to sit down and talk significant reform was a step in the right direction and hopefully a turning point," he said. A CNN review of the shooting found that police believed Taylor was home alone when she was in fact accompanied by her boyfriend, who was legally armed. That miscalculation, along with the decision to press forward with a high-risk, forced-entry raid under questionable circumstances, contributed to the deadly outcome.

None of the three officers involved in the flawed raid has been charged with a crime. One officer, Brett Hankinson, was fired in late June for "wantonly and blindly" firing 10 rounds into her apartment, then-interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first Black person to hold the post and a Republican rising star, was made a special prosecutor in the case earlier this year, and the FBI has opened an investigation as well. The officers were not wearing body cameras, police said. More...

By Paul LeBlanc and Konstantin Toropin, CNN

(CNN) South Dakota's attorney general struck and killed a man while driving on Saturday night, a death that was discovered after he initially told police he had hit a deer, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said Monday. Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg had told the Hyde County Sheriff's Office that he was uninjured after hitting a deer on the highway at about 10:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, according to a release from the department of public safety. The body of 55-year-old Joseph Boever, a pedestrian, was discovered on Sunday morning. The DPS statement did not mention whether Ravnsborg stopped his vehicle after the incident. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said in a news conference Sunday that the South Dakota Highway Patrol will conduct an investigation of the collision, which will be overseen by Cabinet Secretary for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety Craig Price. More...

Source: Reuters/AP

Donald Trump repeats claims he earlier made online, boasting of winning the 'Bay of Pigs Award' – an honour that doesn't exist. Trump twice visited a Bay of Pigs museum in Miami in 2016, where he received 'a hand-painted Brigade 2506 shield', which his campaign insisted was the award in question. Trump made the claims while courting Latino voters in Nevada, a state where he trails rival Joe Biden in polls, and one where the  president failed to overcome Hillary Clinton  during the 2016 campaign. Trump boasts about getting 'Bay of Pigs Award' – which doesn't exist Video...

daily mail
By Harriet Alexander and Lauren Fruen and Matthew Wright For Dailymail.com

Footage has emerged showing the enormous police response to the shooting of two sheriffs deputies in Los Angeles and a man mocking the attack on the two officers. The video shows a convoy of patrol cars racing towards the scene, shortly before 7pm on Saturday night. Crowds of people looked on as, sirens blazing, officers raced to help their wounded colleagues, who had been ambushed and shot at close range in Compton, Los Angeles. The man narrates to the camera. 'Compton. N***** just aired the police out,' he says. That's crazy. Damn. It goes down in Compton.'

The smiling cameraman adds: 'It's going up. Somebody bust on their a**. Somebody bust on the police. Two sheriffs shot in the face. Two sheriffs shot in the face - they tripping. 'Somebody just ran up on the corner and bust on their a**, right through the window'. He then concludes, grinning: 'It's a wrap.' The two deputies, who have not been identified, are listed in a stable condition and a $100,000 reward has been offered to help track down the gunman as the manhunt intensifies. More...

By Tamar Lapin

A Georgia sheriff’s deputy was fired after being caught on video repeatedly punching a black man as he lay pinned to the ground, authorities said Sunday. The deputy, who wasn’t publicly identified, was canned for “excessive use of force,” the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The announcement came after a bystander video shared widely on social media showed two deputies on top of Roderick Walker — with one of them pummeling him.

Walker, 26, was arrested and beaten after deputies stopped the car he was riding in on Friday with his girlfriend, their five-month old child and his stepson — allegedly over a broken taillight, said his attorney, Shean Williams of The Cochran Firm in Atlanta. The deputies demanded Walker’s ID — then got upset and ordered him out of the car when he asked why they needed it, since he wasn’t driving, Williams said. Walker was arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers and battery. More...

By Jackie Salo

An Arizona cop is under investigation after he held a black man at gunpoint while searching for a white suspect, officials said. Tempe Police Officer Ronald Kerzaya was told when he responded to a report of a man with a gun at a hotel last week that the suspect was a white man wearing a black T-shirt and tan pants, news station KYMA reported. Minutes later, Kerzaya confronted a black employee exiting the building wearing a light grey shirt and black pants, the outlet reported. More...

Trump meanwhile promises to ‘put down’ leftwing protests and says US Marshals killing Portland suspect was ‘retribution’
Martin Pengelly

Roger Stone, whose 40-month prison sentence for lying to Congress and witness tampering in the Russia investigation was commuted by Donald Trump, has said Trump should seize total power and jail prominent figures including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg if he loses to Joe Biden in November. The long-time Republican strategist and dirty trickster, who has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, lied about contacts with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election regarding emails hacked from Democratic party accounts.

In turn, special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee suspected Trump lied when he said he could not recall discussing the leaks with Stone. Stone did not turn on Trump and had his sentence reduced on the recommendation of attorney general William Barr. But he still faced prison before Trump acted. His conviction stands. Both men were in Nevada on Saturday, Trump holding campaign events while Stone sought to raise money for himself. He outlined his advice to Trump should he lose in a call to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s Infowars online show, on Thursday. More...

*** Trump said he is downplaying the coronavirus that has killed over a 190,000 Americans because he did not want to cause panic. However, he has no problem causing panic by playing up the protest that have killed less than 25 people. ***

Analysis by Maeve Reston, CNN

(CNN) Taking the stage at a rally in Nevada Saturday night, President Donald Trump didn't hold back. He said his anger about a recent Democratic ad that highlighted his alleged comments disparaging dead American soldiers had freed him to take his campaign to the next level: "Now I can be really vicious," he said to roars of approval from the crowd of Trump supporters in Minden. The President, who has long relished his role as a divider who amasses power by creating a climate of fear, went on to describe his opponent, Joe Biden, as "shot" and a puppet of the radical left, before accusing Democrats of trying to "lock law-abiding Americans in their homes" during the pandemic as they fight God, guns and oil.

"At no time before has there been a clearer choice between two parties or two visions, two philosophies, two agendas for the future. There's never been anything like this," Trump said during the rally where he claimed he was "probably entitled" to a third term because he's been so poorly treated. "The Democrats are trying to rig this election, because it's the only way they're gonna win," he said. Trump's divisive tactics this weekend immediately erased the fleeting moment of unity that came Friday as the nation marked the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. At the 9/11 memorial service in New York City, the nation caught a glimpse of the spirit of bipartisanship that existed back in 2001 as it reeled from the terrorist attacks. Biden and Vice President Mike Pence exchanged an elbow bump as they passed one another, a rare moment of comity within a deeply polarized nation led by a President who continues to divide Americans and turn them against one another, even as the nation is gripped by crisis. More...

Reaffirming a more generous and expansive view of America could change the course of history.
By David Scharfenberg Globe Staff

Joe Biden, in the early stages of the Democratic nominating contest, looked like a man out of time. It wasn’t just the cringe-worthy moments — telling parents, at one point, that they should “have the record player on at night” to build their kids’ vocabulary. It was the naivete. Biden was pledging “a battle for the soul of the nation.” Fealty to the “idea” of America. Unity, comity, bipartisanship. And it all felt a little ridiculous.

President Obama’s encomiums to red and blue state America had done nothing to win over Mitch McConnell. Then Donald Trump’s election, and everything that came after, suggested we were shattered beyond repair. Biden’s ode to the American story felt hopelessly out of step. A treacly sideshow to the country’s brutal power struggle. But in the last few weeks, something has shifted. As the election draws near, Biden’s appeal to first principles feels more vital. More moving.

Not just because it speaks, in some elemental way, to the differences between the last two candidates standing for the most powerful office on earth. But because it speaks, in some larger way, to what comes next. For the last four years, we’ve been caught up in the daily anxieties of the Trump presidency. In the online and offline grotesqueries. Now, for the first time, we can see beyond them. We can contemplate where we’ll be when it’s all over. How we’ll think about ourselves. What will become of the American story. Yes, story may be used to eye-rolling effect in campaign season. But it is story, at bottom, that wins elections. That marches us into war. That puts kids in cages or puts them through college. More...

By Dave Goldiner - New York Daily News

Rudy Giuliani claimed ignorance Saturday about a Trump administration report that fingered one of the main sources of a failed smear campaign against Joe Biden as a longtime Russian intelligence agent. The Trump Treasury Department said Andriy Derkach, a major conduit of bogus dirt on Biden in Ukraine, has been on Russian premier Vladimir Putin’s payroll for a decade. But Giuliani insisted he knows nothing about the damning report.

"I (have never) seen any evidence that (Andriy Derkach) is or is not a Russian agent,' Giuliani told MSNBC. “So I don’t know anything about that.” Derkach has met with Giuliani at least three times and appeared twice on the former mayor’s YouTube show to peddle supposed scandals involving Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump and his Republican allies once hoped to gin up a damaging smear campaign about Biden using the information gleaned from Derkach and other dubious figures in the byzantine world of pro-Russian Ukraine politics. More...

Derkach was sanctioned this week by the U.S. Treasury Department for attempting to interfere in the upcoming U.S. elections by peddling conspiracies on Joe Biden.
Emily Shugerman - the daily beast

Faced with a U.S. Treasury Department report linking him to a Russian agent, Rudy Giuliani defended himself Saturday by claiming he had no idea that Ukrainian lawmaker and conspiracy-peddler Andriy Derkach was a foreign operative. In an interview Saturday on AM Joy, the president’s personal attorney refused to directly answer questions from interviewer Jonathan Capehart about how he could have been in the dark about Derkach’s political affiliations. “You’re a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, a former mayor of New York City, you have a national security firm,” Capehart said. “How could you not know that this person you were talking to was a known Russian agent?“

Giuliani responded by telling Capehart to “calm down,” and pivoted to a Trump team talking point about members of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team “wiping” their cell phones after investigating the president’s ties to Russia. According to the Treasury Department, Derkach was an “active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services.” The Director for the National Counterintelligence and Security Center cited Derkach in August as an example of Russian-backed interference in the 2020 election. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Derkach met with Giuliani in December of last year to push the conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election. According to the Treasury Department, the two have met at least twice since then, including for an interview for Giuliani's YouTube show about the Bidens. More...

Situation Room

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacts to President Donald Trump blasting the Democrats in a tweet claiming they want billions in "bailout money for blue states" as a condition to making a deal on a stimulus bill. Source: CNN. Video...

By Kelly Mena, Leslie Perrot and Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) Colorado's secretary of state filed a lawsuit on Saturday against the US Postal Service, embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and other USPS officials over a pre-election mailer that includes information she says will mislead voters in the state. The pre-election mailers, meant to inform Americans about voting by mail, advise voters to request a vote-by-mail ballot at least 15 days before Election Day and to return the official ballot at least seven days before. Those guidelines, however, don't align with Colorado's election policies.

"These false statements will confuse Colorado voters, likely causing otherwise-eligible voters to wrongly believe that they may not participate in the upcoming election. This attempt at voter suppression violates the United States Constitution and federal statutes and must be stopped immediately," the complaint from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and filed in Federal District Court states. The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order to stop delivery of mailers that have yet to be delivered. More...

By Donie O'Sullivan and Konstantin Toropin, CNN

New York (CNN Business) Authorities in Oregon are pleading with the public to only trust and share information verified by official sources about the unprecedented wildfires sweeping the state. The pleas come as law enforcement agencies described 911 dispatchers being overrun with calls about a false online rumor that "Antifa" members had been arrested for setting the fires — a claim promoted by the anonymous account behind the QAnon conspiracy theories. The incident highlights how online conspiracy theories, a sustained right-wing campaign to create increased fear of anti-fascist groups, and amplification of false claims by QAnon followers, have real consequences.

On Friday, the FBI responded, saying, "reports that extremists are setting wildfires in Oregon are untrue." "Rumors spread just like wildfire," the Douglas County Sheriff's Office warned in a Facebook post Thursday, adding that staff had been "overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires" in the area. That specific claim had been amplified by "Q" — the anonymous person or people behind QAnon — only 12 hours earlier. Early Thursday morning, "Q" posted a link to a tweet from Paul Joseph Romero Jr., a former US Senate candidate who lost his Republican primary in May, that falsely claimed the Douglas County Sheriff's Office had six Antifa "arsonists" in custody. Speaking to CNN Saturday, Romero claimed, "My original tweet is not 100% accurate, there is no question about that, but it is mostly accurate," and said he wanted to draw people's attention to his belief that arsonists are responsible for a lot of the fires. More...

By Nick Valencia and Kristen Holmes, CNN

(CNN) Trump-appointed communications officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services pushed to change language to weekly science reports released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so as not to undermine President Donald Trump's political message, according to a federal health official. Amid tension between the administration and the CDC, former Trump campaign official turned chief HHS spokesman Michael Caputo and his team had demanded to see reports out of the CDC before they are released, a senior administration official said. Officials within HHS had defended the demand, saying that CDC fell under the agency's umbrella and that all communications and public documents needed to be cleared at the top.

A federal official told CNN that in addition to reviewing reports, HHS political appointee Paul Alexander has regularly added his input -- often interpreted by CDC officials as political in nature -- to weekly scientific reports intended to track the ongoing coronavirus pandemic response. The development marks the latest example of political interference by administration appointees at the nation's health agencies. Politico first reported about the pressure being put on the CDC regarding these reports.

The source said some federal health officials at the CDC believe the interference to be an effort to change communications by the CDC's scientists so as not to contradict the President. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the significance of the virus, sometimes contradicting his own White House task force doctors. In a statement to CNN, Caputo defended the actions and praised Alexander. More...

Edward Helmore and agencies

Lighter winds and rising humidity overnight helped efforts to tackle massive wildfires in Oregon that have taken lives, destroyed property and burned a million acres. But state emergency management director Andrew Phelps said officials were “preparing for a mass fatality incident based on what we know and the numbers of structures that have been lost”. Governor Kate Brown said dozens were still missing and tens of thousands had been forced to flee their homes.

State officials did not release an exact death count but at least eight had been reported. Marion county sheriff Joe Kast said on Friday evening that searchers found two victims of the Beachie Creek fire near Salem. A one-year-old boy was killed in wildfires in Washington state as the toll for the whole west coast rose past 20. In Oregon, hundreds of firefighters were battling two large blazes that threatened to merge near the most populated part of the state, including suburbs of Portland.

Brown corrected a statement by the state Office of Emergency Management that said half a million people had been ordered to evacuate. More than 40,000 had been evacuated and about 500,000 had either been told to leave their homes or to prepare to do so, she said. Scores were missing in Jackson and Marion counties, Brown added. More...

Martin Pengelly in New York

A former Trump campaign official now spokesman for the US health department sought to change key reports on the coronavirus pandemic, in some cases “openly complaining” that they “would undermine the president’s optimistic messages about the outbreak”, according to internal emails seen by Politico. The official, Michael Caputo, told the website he was attempting to stymie “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

The news comes after reports that a whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security said he was told to stop making Donald Trump “look bad”, via reports on Russian election interference. It also comes as a new book by Bob Woodward details the president’s reasoning behind optimistic messaging about the coronavirus outbreak. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward in March, more than a month after telling him the virus was “deadly stuff”. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” More... *** Trump claims he did not want to start a panic about the coronavirus while he creates a panic with attacks about the protest. ***

By Daniel Funke
Oregon law enforcement does not have six ‘antifa arsonists’ in custody

Unfounded rumors about the cause of more than 100 fires on the West Coast continue to circulate on social media, but one post keeps coming up again and again. "Oregon is on fire!" said Paul Romero in a Sept. 9 tweet, which has been shared more than 10,000 times. "Pallet Company in Oregon City confirmed Antifa arsonist on camera. Douglas County Sheriff has 6 ANTIFA arsonists in custody." Romero is a former congressional candidate who ran to represent Oregon in the U.S. Senate this year. He lost the Republican primary election in May. Screenshots of Romero’s tweet have been shared dozens of times on Facebook, where they were flagged as part of the company’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Romero’s tweet is wrong — and there is no evidence that antifa, a broad coalition of left-wing activists, is to blame for the fires burning from California to Washington. Still, many users posted the tweet alongside screenshots of conversations with friends and family members about the wildfires, which have killed at least 20 people so far. Several said they suspected antifa activists were to blame. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has debunked the rumor that it arrested six antifa activists in connection with fires in the area, which is located south of Eugene, Ore.

By Julia Craven

In a reversal that would block hundreds of thousands of potential voters from Florida’s election rolls, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that all Floridians formerly incarcerated for felonies must fully pay outstanding fines, legal fees, and restitution before regaining their voting rights. On May 24, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle had thrown out the financial barrier to reenfranchisement, describing the fines as a “pay-to-vote system.” But the 6-4 decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stands to leave at least 774,000 people across Florida subject to a law evocative of Jim Crow–era policy.

In 2018, Florida voters passed a state constitutional amendment that would restore voting rights to people who had served their sentences for felony convictions, excluding murder and sexual offenses. The state legislature, however, followed that up with a law to restrict voting eligibility to those who had fully paid their fines and fees. Those who could not afford the expenses were barred from reinstatement.  A man who has never been eligible to vote is called up during a special court hearing aimed at restoring the right to vote under Florida's Amendment 4 in a Miami-Dade County courtroom in November. A man who has never been eligible to vote is called up during a special court hearing aimed at restoring the right to vote under Florida’s Amendment 4 in a Miami-Dade County courtroom in November. ZAK BENNETT/Getty Images In a reversal that would block hundreds of thousands of potential voters from Florida’s election rolls, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that all Floridians formerly incarcerated for felonies must fully pay outstanding fines, legal fees, and restitution before regaining their voting rights.

On May 24, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle had thrown out the financial barrier to reenfranchisement, describing the fines as a “pay-to-vote system.” But the 6-4 decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stands to leave at least 774,000 people across Florida subject to a law evocative of Jim Crow–era policy. In 2018, Florida voters passed a state constitutional amendment that would restore voting rights to people who had served their sentences for felony convictions, excluding murder and sexual offenses. The state legislature, however, followed that up with a law to restrict voting eligibility to those who had fully paid their fines and fees. Those who could not afford the expenses were barred from reinstatement. Ads by Teads “It really goes against the foundations of democracy that people should not have to pay for the right to vote,” said Julie Ebenstein, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU Voting Rights Project and the lead attorney on the case. “It’s hugely disappointing.” More...

By Kara Scannell, Evan Perez and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) Nora Dannehy, a top prosecutor working for US Attorney John Durham on the probe of the Russia investigation for Attorney General William Barr, has resigned, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Connecticut said. The Hartford Courant, which first reported Dannehy's departure, cited colleagues who told the newspaper that Dannehy was stepping down in part due to concerns of political pressure to deliver a report before the presidential election. CNN has not confirmed the reason for her decision, but a source familiar with the matter confirmed she was working on the Russia probe. Dannehy rejoined the office in March 2019. She had previously worked for nearly two decades for the office before leaving to become deputy attorney general for the state of Connecticut.

She returned to the US Attorney's Office in Hartford to work with Durham and the two have long been close, according to a former Justice Department colleague. Dannehy has a by-the-book and methodical reputation that dates back to her previous tenure in the office, and she isn't one to make sudden decisions, the former colleague says. "She's long had a very close working relationship with John Durham," a lawyer who has dealt with Dannehy for decades told CNN. "It would be extraordinary for her to have left her longtime colleague, unless there was a very good reason in her mind to do it." One lawyer familiar with Dannehy's work for Durham said her departure was puzzling. She had appeared committed to the investigation and "just worked like a dog on this." The decision was all the more surprising given her long history of working alongside Durham. "She is a consummate professional and has historically operated at the highest ethical standards," the lawyer added.

Status of Durham probe
Inside the Justice Department, some officials familiar have grown concerned that Barr's public comments on Durham's work, as well as President Donald Trump's repeated claims of what he expects to come from the probe, are damaging to the legitimacy of Durham's investigation and to the department. Trump hopes that Durham will discredit the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation into his 2016 campaign, and allies, including Barr, have questioned whether the Russians showed a preference for Trump in 2016. But the US intelligence assessment released last month threatens to undercut those goals, making clear the Russians are doubling down on their pro-Trump efforts to undermine Democratic nominee Joe Biden's 2020 campaign. More...

By Dan Berman and Caroline Kelly, CNN

Washington (CNN) Florida can bar ex-felons from voting if they owe court fines or fees associated with their convictions, even if they are unable to pay, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The 6-4 ruling by the full 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's ruling blocking the law.
The law, Chief Judge William Pryor wrote in the majority opinion, doesn't constitute a poll tax. Instead, "it promotes full rehabilitation of returning citizens and ensures full satisfaction of the punishment imposed for the crimes by which felons forfeited the right to vote."

"That criminal sentences often include financial obligations does not make this requirement a 'capricious or irrelevant factor,'" Pryor wrote. "Monetary provisions of a sentence are no less a part of the penalty that society imposes for a crime than terms of imprisonment. Indeed, some felons face substantial monetary penalties but little or no prison time." The ruling, issued less than two months before the presidential election, marks another chapter in the extensive court battle over the law in a state President Donald won in 2016 by less than 113,000 votes over Hillary Clinton, or 1.2% of the vote.
Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court said Florida can enforce the law while the legal case over its constitutionality plays out, meaning the rule would likely be in place for the November elections.

Friday's ruling overturns a decision from US District Court Robert Hinkle, who had said the Florida law, in respect to those people who are unable to pay, violates the Constitution. Hinkle called the state's procedure an "unconstitutional pay-to-vote system." Convicted felons in Florida had their voting rights restored with a constitutional amendment that passed in November 2018. Amendment 4, which allowed convicted felons who complete "all terms of sentence" the right to vote, passed with nearly 65% of the vote, exceeding the 60% threshold required. More...

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