Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, repeatedly shook hands and kissed cheeks at the president’s event in North Carolina today, raising concerns about the Trump team’s coronavirus safety protocols. Meadows was not wearing a mask:
Wisconsin officials have deployed the national guard to Kenosha amid protests over police violence surrounding footage that appeared to show an officer shooting an unarmed man in the back seven times, reportedly in front of his three children.
The shooting of Jacob Blake in the city of 40 miles south of Milwaukee has reignited national outrage over police abuses against Black Americans. Tony Evers, the state’s Democratic governor, said 125 members of the National Guard would be in Kenosha by these evening, tasked with “guarding infrastructure and making sure our firefighters and others involved are protected”. County authorities also said there would be an 8pm curfew in the region, raising concerns about a potential clampdown on protests.
The civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said Blake’s three young sons had been in the car. Crump, who has represented the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, said on Twitter, “They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!”
Jerry Falwell Jr, a powerful evangelical leader and a close Trump ally, has agreed to resign as president and chancellor of Liberty University, according to multiple reports.
The resignation news comes after Falwell was suspended as head of the conservative evangelical university after he shared a photo of himself with his pants unzipped while aboard a yacht. That photo from Falwell, who is one of the most influential voices on on the religious right in the US, appeared to conflict with Liberty University’s strict dress code, which forbids skirts shorter than two inches above the knees and bars male students from sporting shorts in class.
Over the weekend, Falwell attracted additional controversy when he released a statement alleging his wife’s ex-lover tried to blackmail them by contacting the media with “false claims” about their relationship.
Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, will address the Republican National Convention in pre-taped remarks from Jerusalem this week, violating a longstanding tradition that the country’s top diplomat avoid partisan politics, CNN has confirmed:
Pompeo’s speech comes one month after he sent a cable to state department employees stating that “presidential and political appointees and career SES (Senior Executive Service) are subject to significant restrictions on their political activity; they may not engage in any partisan political activity in concert with a partisan campaign, political party, or partisan political group, even on personal time and outside of the federal workplace”, CNN noted.
Michael Steele, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, has joined the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump GOP group that has been pouring money into ads targeting the president:
The news comes one day after George Conway, the husband to top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, announced he was stepping down from the Lincoln Project.
“I get my role as a former national chairman. I get it, but I’m an American. I get my role as a former party leader. I’m still an American,” Steele said in an interview today. “These things matter to me more than aligning myself with a party that has clearly decided it would rather be sycophantic than principled.”
More from our past coverage of the Lincoln Project:
Hi all – Sam Levin in Los Angeles here, continuing our live coverage on this busy Monday.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be regularly tested for coronavirus as they do more in-person campaign events in the final weeks before the election, the campaign has announced.
“For the entirety of this outbreak, Joe Biden has lived his values, modeling and strongly encouraging responsible behavior to keep Americans safe while proposing the kind of desperately needed national strategy for defeating this pandemic that Donald Trump still has not provided,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “This announcement is another step demonstrating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s commitment to turn the page on Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement during the worst public health crisis in 100 years.”
Reporters following Biden’s campaign have had their temperatures taken, worn masks and have faced questions about symptoms, Bloomberg noted.
On Sunday, Biden’s deputy campaign manager said he had not yet been tested:
That’s it from me for now. I will be back tonight to cover the first night of the Republican National Convention.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Trump formally received the Republican nomination for president. Addressing the few hundred delegates who gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, to renominate him, the president said Democrats are “using Covid” to try to rig the election, even though there is no evidence of that.
- Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, testified before the House oversight committee. Shortly before the hearing adjourned, Democratic congresswoman Katie Porter grilled DeJoy on basic details of the US Postal Service, such as the cost of a postcard stamp. DeJoy said he did not know how much it cost to mail a postcard. “I’ll submit that I know very little about postage stamps,” DeJoy said.
- The attorney general of New York asked a court to enforce a subpoena against the Trump Organization, in an investigation into whether the president’s business overvalued certain assets for favorable loan terms.
- California Governor Gavin Newsom described the wildfires raging across the state as “historic.” California currently has 7,002 fires burning across more than 1.4 million acres. For the latest updates on the wildfires, follow the Guardian’s live blog.
- Joe Biden called for an investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake, an African American man who appears to have been shot in the back several times by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
My west coast colleague, Sam Levin, will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Progressive groups are already seeking to capitalize on the postmaster general’s failure to answer basic questions about the US Postal Service.
Democratic congresswoman Katie Porter asked Louis DeJoy if he knew how much it costs to a mail a postcard. He did not.
“I’ll submit that I know very little about postage stamps,” DeJoy said.
After the uncomfortable exchange, the progressive group Public Citizen tweeted a video of Porter’s questioning.
“The Postmaster General does not know the cost of mailing a postcard,” Public Citizen said in the tweet. “You can literally google it.”
The House hearing with the postmaster general has now adjourned, wrapping up about six hours of questioning over recent operational changes at the US Postal Service.
Surprisingly, some of the newsiest moments of the hearing came as it was nearing its conclusion, with Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Katie Porter grilling Louis DeJoy on his handling of USPS.
Ocasio-Cortez pushed DeJoy to commit to handing over his calendars to the House oversight committee, which the postmaster general refused to agree to.
Porter put DeJoy on the spot by posing basic questions about the postal service, asking him how much a postcard stamp costs and how many people voted by mail in the last election.
DeJoy was unable to answer. “I’ll submit that I know very little about postage stamps,” the postmaster general said.
Porter told DeJoy, “I’m concerned about your understanding of this agency.”
The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports:
Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, admitted Monday that he did not know how much it cost to send a postcard in the United States.
DeJoy was asked about the postage by Rep. Katie Porter, a California Democrat, who had warned the postmaster general he should come to the hearing having done his homework.
“I don’t know, ma’am,” said DeJoy, who had no prior experience working at USPS before he was selected to be the agency’s top official. “I don’t.”
It costs 35 cents to send a postcard in the United States – information easily available on the USPS website.
Asked how much it would cost to send a greeting card, DeJoy said, “I’ll submit that I know very little about postage stamps.”
Porter then quizzed DeJoy on the weight limit for priority mail, which he correctly said was 70 lbs. He was unable to tell Porter the starting rate for priority mail. DeJoy also said he was unable to say how many people voted by mail in the last election.
The exchange came at the end of a lengthy hearing on Monday during which DeJoy was repeatedly pressed over delays with mail delivery, which could complicate mail-in voting for the November elections.
“I’m glad you know the price of a stamp, but I’m concerned about your understanding of this agency,” Porter said. “I’m concerned about it because you started taking very decisive action when you became postmaster general.”
This is Joan Greve in Washington, taking over for Jessica Glenza.
Speaking to MSNBC moments ago, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans were apathetic about passing another coronavirus relief bill.
Pelosi insisted Democrats were working to keep the pressure on their Republican colleagues to try to get another relief bill passed after negotiations with the White House stalled.
“We have kept the pressure on,” Pelosi said. “They have been receiving overwhelming advocacy from the American people. … They just simply don’t seem to care.”
Negotiations between congressional Democratic leadership and the White House came to a halt earlier this month, after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the overall cost of the relief package.
Today’s news was dominated by President Trump’s formal nomination for another term in office by Republican party delegates.
Trump gave a long, unscripted speech in North Carolina after the formal nomination. In it, he sought to sew doubt in the legitimacy of the presidential election in November.
Here’s a bit more detail on what happened today…
- Trump said Democrats are “using Covid” to try to rig the election, a claim for which there is no evidence. He also criticized mail-in voting and made a series of other claims…
- He lauded his work to lower prescription drug prices (experts described Trump’s order as “mostly symbolic”); said his administration worked to protect people with “pre-existing conditions” (actually, his administration is working to overturn those protections through a lawsuit against “Obamacare”); and criticized governors’ preparedness for Covid-19 (the Trump administration’s decision not to oversee logistics was widely blamed with causing competition amongst states).
- New York State Attorney General asked a court to enforce a subpoena against the Trump Organization, in an investigation into whether the president’s business overvalued certain assets for favorable loan terms.
- A poll from the AP found just 31% of Americans approve of Trump’s leadership during the pandemic.
- And, one fun thing, Showtime released a trailer for its new miniseries The Comey Rule, based on the memoirs of former FBI director James Comey.
Postmaster general Louis DeJoy continued to defend his leadership at the United States Postal Service amid questioning from Congressional Democrats about nationwide delays in mail service.
DeJoy is a major Republican donor without postal service experience who took over as postmaster general in June. Since he took up the post, Americans have experienced mail delays and mail volumes have fallen.
“While we have had temporary service declines, which should not have happened, we are fixing this,” DeJoy told the chair of the committee, New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney, when pressed on newly obtained documents. DeJoy also said the postal service has the capacity to deliver mail-in ballots this fall, and delivering them in a timely way is a priority for the agency.
DeJoy also but distanced himself from the decisions to remove street mail boxes and mail facility sorting machines. He said again he would not restore the equipment, even after he announced earlier this month he was pausing changes until after the election.
“I did not direct the removal of blue collection boxes or mail processing equipment,” he said.
DeJoy offered few details on what analyses, if any, USPS had done before implementing a program to try and get trucks to run on time. He also did not explain exactly what the agency was doing to facilitate that. While DeJoy noted mail volume was declining, he also offered no details on who made the decision to move sorting machines or the justification for doing so.
Read the original article at The Guardian