This week will very much be a Trump family affair, reflecting the degree to which the president has remade the GOP in his image since his hostile takeover of the party four years ago. The only living former Republican president, George W. Bush, will not speak. Nor is there any role for the party’s 2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, who voted earlier this year to convict Trump for abuse of power after the Senate impeachment trial. The pageantry that will unfold over the next four nights will underscore the ways that personalities now trump policy in the GOP.
Republicans decided not to adopt a new platform at their quadrennial convention, keeping the 2016 version. They blame the novel coronavirus, but the Democrats figured out how to enact their platform last week while maintaining social distance. This is the first time that Republicans have not passed a platform since the party formed in the 1850s.
The 168 members of the Republican National Committee voted on Sunday to pass a one-page resolution stating that the platform, if one had been written, “would have undoubtedly unanimously agreed to reassert the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration.”
There is irony that the GOP has voted to keep its 2016 platform because that document decried the “current administration” and “the president” at several points without naming Barack Obama. These are just a few of the awkward lines from the platform that the RNC has decided to keep in place until 2024:
- “The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations.”
- “The current Administration has exceeded its constitutional authority, brazenly and flagrantly violated the separation of powers, sought to divide America into groups and turn citizen against citizen.”
- “The current Administration has abandoned America’s friends and rewarded its enemies.”
- “The President has refused to defend or enforce laws he does not like, used executive orders to enact national policies in areas constitutionally reserved solely to Congress, made unconstitutional ‘recess’ appointments to Senate-confirmed positions, directed regulatory agencies to overstep their statutory authority, and failed to consult Congress regarding military action overseas.”
What would Trump try to accomplish if he wins a second term?
At 9 p.m. on Sunday, the president’s reelection campaign emailed reporters a list of 50 bullet points under the subject line: “President Trump’s 2nd Term Agenda: Fighting for You!” They are divided into these 10 categories: jobs, coronavirus, China, health care, education, drain the swamp, defend our police, end illegal immigration, innovate for the future and foreign policy. A news release said Trump will “further illuminate these plans during his acceptance speech Thursday” and will share “additional details” through “policy-focused speeches” on the campaign trail “over the coming weeks.”
The president promises, for example, to “create 10 million new jobs in 10 months,” and “create 1 million new small businesses,” as well as “bring back 1 million manufacturing jobs from China,” with no additional details on how. (I am old enough to remember when conservatives said government does not create jobs or businesses.) The document claims a coronavirus vaccine will be developed by the end of 2020, and America will “return to normal in 2021.” Other items on the agenda include generalities like “cut prescription drug prices” and “cover all pre-existing conditions.” In reality, Trump’s representatives are actively urging the Supreme Court to get rid of every provision of the Affordable Care Act, including coverage for preexisting conditions.
Some agenda items seem unachievable in the next four years, including a pledge to “Establish Permanent Manned Presence on The Moon.” Passing congressional term limits would require a constitutional amendment. Other bullets on the list illustrate how Trump seeks to continue inflaming the culture wars, including “bring violent extremist groups like Antifa to justice” and “prohibit American companies from replacing United States citizens with lower-cost foreign workers.” Some of the promises belie his own record over the past three-and-a-half years, such as pledges to “continue to lead” on protecting the air and water and “partner with other nations to clean up our plant’s oceans.”
The convention’s emphasis on the Trump children comes amid intense family drama.
Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry said in secretly recorded conversations with Mary Trump, the president’s niece, that he has “no principles” and “you can’t trust him.” Mary surreptitiously taped 15 hours of conversations in 2018 and 2019 with Maryanne. She provided The Washington Post with previously unreleased transcripts and audio excerpts that ran on the front page of Sunday’s newspaper. “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” said Barry, 83. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows responded by trashing the president’s sister and niece on ABC’s “This Week.” He noted that Barry did not attend her brother Robert’s private memorial service at the White House on Friday. Robert, the president’s brother, died at 71 on Aug. 15. “I’ve never met the judge,” Meadows said. “I was hoping to meet her there. She didn’t show up for her brother’s funeral.” Meadows also said Mary Trump leaked the tapes because she was “written out of a will” and “has an ax to grind.” He asked: “What family member tapes another family member for 15 hours secretly?”
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller noted on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, announced that he was supporting Trump’s campaign in 2016. “Sibling rivalries are nothing new in the world,” Miller said. “It’s been going on since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, when you get to the White House, you have family members who sometimes decide to voice their sibling rivalries or frustrations.”
Barry explained during one of the recorded conversations that she had a falling out with her brother after she asked for his help to get nominated to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. “She believed that help could come from his attorney: Roy Cohn, who had played an infamous role in the 1950s as chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) on the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations,” Michael Kranish reports. “Cohn was ‘like kissing buddies’ with Reagan, she said. ‘He had Roy Cohn call Reagan about needing to appoint a woman as a federal judge in New Jersey,’ Barry told Mary. ‘Because Reagan’s running for reelection, and he was desperate for the female vote.’ Then, she said, ‘I had the nomination,’ and Donald Trump never let Barry forget it.
“According to a recent documentary film, ‘Where’s My Roy Cohn?’ Cohn had been in regular touch with Reagan. Donald Trump met with Reagan at the White House on Aug. 4, 1983, according to presidential records. Reagan talked with Barry on Sept. 13, 1983, and nominated her the following day, according to Reagan’s daily diary. ‘He once tried to take credit for me,’ Barry said of her brother, quoting him as saying, ‘Where would you be without me?’ Barry said she told her brother: ‘You say that one more time and I will level you.’ She told Mary that it was ‘the only favor I ever asked for in my whole life.’ … ‘Donald is out for Donald, period,’ Barry said.”
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of the first lady who helped produce the 2017 presidential inauguration, taped Melania Trump making disparaging remarks about the president and his adult children, New York magazine contributor Yashar Ali reports. Wolkoff reportedly includes some of the embarrassing comments in her book that will come out next week, “Melania and Me.” He says some of the comments are about Ivanka Trump.
It also emerged over the weekend that a California court has ordered the president to pay $44,100 to the porn star who goes by Stormy Daniels to cover her legal fees stemming from a dispute over a nondisclosure agreement. The Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County ruled that Stephanie Clifford, which is her legal name, was the prevailing party in the dispute and therefore won the right to have her legal fees paid by Trump. Clifford contends that Trump had an affair with her that continued in the months after Melania Trump gave birth to Barron Trump. She says that Trump’s pseudonym, in the 2016 NDA, was “David Dennison.”
“The dispute involved a nondisclosure agreement Clifford signed in 2016 in exchange for a $130,000 payment from Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen. The agreement prevented Clifford from speaking about an affair she says she and Trump had from 2006 to 2007,” Jeanne Whalen reports. “Trump at one point said he knew nothing about the agreement or payment, which The Washington Post’s Fact Checker declared was ‘a lie.’ Cohen later said in court that he was reimbursed by the Trump Organization for the payment to Clifford, and that Trump knew about it.”
The Trumps are not alone. Families can be messy.
Joe Biden’s two living children, Hunter and Ashley, introduced their father last week at the Democratic National Convention. “Hunter Biden has been a participant in his father’s previous campaigns but has been almost entirely absent from this race,” Annie Linskey and Matt Viser noted. “In recent years he has struggled with substance abuse, had a relationship with his brother’s widow, settled a paternity case with an Arkansas woman, and married a California woman he’d met six days earlier. They have since had a child. He didn’t refer to those struggles Thursday, but said his dad has ‘the strongest shoulder you can ever lean on.’ Hunter Biden’s seat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president became the centerpiece of Trump’s impeachment hearings. The president asked the current Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens, despite no evidence of wrongdoing by either of them.”
Hunter Biden is central to an ongoing investigation in the Republican-controlled Senate over whether the former vice president assisted his son’s private business interests. Democrats have dismissed the probe as politically motivated and without merit. Ironically, the impeachment of the president may come up more during the Republican convention than it did last week, which was not at all. The only oblique reference to it came when former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who testified against Trump during the impeachment proceedings, appeared briefly in a video of national security veterans to endorse Biden. Among the speakers on the schedule for the Republican convention are Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, who was also part of the president’s defense team.
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who will speak at the Republican convention on Wednesday, told Trump in the Oval Office last night that she will leave the White House at the end of the month. Her husband, the conservative lawyer and Trump critic George Conway, announced that he will step back from his role on the Lincoln Project, the outside group devoted to attacking Trump from the right, and take a hiatus from Twitter. “We disagree about plenty, but we are united on what matters most: the kids,” she said in a statement. “This is completely my choice and my voice. In time, I will announce future plans. For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama.”
“Conway’s high school daughter had drawn attention for tweets about her parents and politics,” Ashley Parker reports. “On Sunday, however, she also tweeted that social media was ‘becoming way too much,’ so she had decided to take ‘a mental health break.’ … [Kellyanne] has been intimately involved in the convention planning. … She spent Saturday at the campaign headquarters … George Conway has written, among other things, that Trump is not mentally fit to be president. The president has voiced anger at times about George Conway’s comments, calling him ‘a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell.’”
Jerry Falwell Jr. is not scheduled to speak during this week’s convention. He got a prime-time slot four years ago in Cleveland. The early Trump endorser and surrogate, who offered critical early validation for evangelicals, has been suspended as president of Liberty University. He said Sunday he suffers depression, and has lost 60 pounds, because a former pool boy who had an affair with his wife has been threatening to go public unless he’s paid. “We were doing our best to respectfully unravel this ‘fatal attraction’ type situation to protect our family and the university,” Falwell said in a 1,200-word statement to the Washington Examiner. The man, who was 21 at the time, replied to the newspaper by saying “any allegation of extortion is falsely, defamatory and belied by clear documentary evidence.” He added: “The WHOLE truth will come out.”
Among those who will address the convention on Monday are St. Louis trial lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who made headlines in June when they stood outside their mansion and pointed guns at protesters marching past them. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently highlighted their history of litigiousness, including against family members. The McCloskeys were each charged last month with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. They deny wrongdoing.
Also on deck are Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), as well as Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the Parkland, Fla., shooting in 2018 and has advocated for school safety measures while defending gun rights. Trump is flying today to Charlotte, where the convention is officially being held.
Two producers from “The Apprentice,” Trump’s old reality TV show, have been planning the convention.
“Sadoux Kim, a longtime deputy to the ‘Apprentice’ creator Mark Burnett, is a lead consultant on the production. Mr. Kim once served as a Miss Universe judge when Mr. Trump owned the pageant. Chuck LaBella, a former NBC entertainment executive who helped produce ‘The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump,’ is also on the payroll,” the New York Times reports.
Trump will speak on the South Lawn. His wife will speak in the Rose Garden. Vice President Pence will speak from Fort McHenry in Maryland. “All of the sites are controlled by the federal government, which some ethics experts say would violate the Hatch Act, a Depression-era law that bans the use of public spaces for political activities,” the Times notes. “Some of Mr. Trump’s aides privately scoff at the Hatch Act and say they take pride in violating its regulations.”
More team coverage:
- Ben Terris profiles Tim Scott’s burden: “As the only Black GOP senator, he has walked a delicate line between schooling his colleagues — and the president — on matters of race and remaining silent. Has that helped his political future?”
- Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker: “Mike Pence hopes four years of subservience to Trump will lift his political future.”
- David Nakamura: “Trump obliterates lines between governing and campaigning in service of his reelection.”
- Glenn Kessler: “The absurd claim that Trump is the ‘most pro-gay president in American history.’”
- Eli Rosenberg: “The pandemic is creating a new crop of political candidates: unemployed workers.”
- Columnist E.J. Dionne Jr.: “The GOP convention will be no summer of love.”
Tune in for our special live show tonight from 8 p.m. Eastern until whenever the program wraps up. Anchored by Libby Casey, I will join my colleagues Karen Tumulty, Aaron Blake, Rhonda Colvin, Nicole Ellis, Joyce Koh and Hannah Jewell in previewing and analyzing the speeches. Watch on our home page or YouTube.
More on the elections
More than 534,000 mail ballots were rejected in this year’s primaries across 23 states.
Nearly a quarter were in key battlegrounds for the fall — illustrating how missed delivery deadlines, inadvertent mistakes and uneven enforcement of the rules could disenfranchise voters and affect the outcome of the presidential election. “The rates of rejection, which in some states exceeded those of other recent elections, could make a difference in the fall if the White House contest is decided by a close margin, as it was in 2016, when Donald Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by roughly 80,000 votes,” Elise Viebeck reports. “This year, according to a tally by The Post, election officials in those three states tossed out more than 60,480 ballots just during primaries, which saw significantly lower voter turnout than what is expected in the general election. The rejection figures include ballots that arrived too late to be counted or were invalidated for another reason, including voter error. … A large share of the rejected ballots tracked by The Post were in just two jurisdictions: California, which threw out more than 102,000, and New York City, which tossed more than 84,000. …
“Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) predicted that the number of rejected ballots in her state could double in November compared with this month’s primary, when 10,694 votes were disqualified. Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016. … Benson noted recently that Black, Brown and Asian American communities in the state see higher rates of ballot rejection.”
Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris pushed back on GOP attacks.
“In the Democratic duo’s first joint television interview, aired Sunday night on ABC, Biden reiterated his support for increasing funding to police departments — and noted that President Trump’s budget would cut grants to local law enforcement,” Annie Linskey reports. “Biden insisted that under his tax plan, only the wealthy would pay more. ‘I will raise taxes for anybody making over $400,000,’ he said. In a moment that delighted Republican ad-makers when an excerpt of the interview was released before the airing, Biden agreed that the country’s economy should be closed again if the infection rates spike and scientists advocate that move. ‘I would shut it down,’ Biden said. ‘I would listen to the scientists.’ …
“On Sunday, Biden’s campaign released new ads in Ohio and North Carolina focused on Trump’s call for a boycott of products made by Goodyear, a major tire company headquartered in Akron, Ohio, that has a major production plant in Fayetteville, N.C. … The ad shows Trump saying he would be ‘very much in favor’ of supporters boycotting the business. Over images of Trump, a narrator says: ‘A sitting president who is spinning out of control would risk American jobs to try to save his own.’ …
“The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee are planning a robust schedule of counterprograming … Each day, Democrats are prepared to release videos focused on what they view as Trump’s biggest failures and plan to contrast how the president has handled the moments versus how Biden would govern. Speakers will include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.”
More than two dozen former Republican members of Congress formally endorsed Biden.
The list of “Republicans for Biden” includes former senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire and John Warner of Virginia. Former House members on the list include Steve Bartlett of Texas, Bill Clinger of Pennsylvania, Tom Coleman of Missouri, Charles Djou of Hawaii, Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma, Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania, Bob Inglis of South Carolina, Jim Kolbe of Arizona, Steve Kuykendall of California, Ray LaHood of Illinois, Jim Leach of Iowa, Connie Morella of Maryland, Mike Parker of Mississippi, Jack Quinn of New York, Claudine Schneider of Rhode Island, Chris Shays of Connecticut, Peter Smith of Vermont, Alan Steelman of Texas, Bill Whitehurst of Virginia, Dick Zimmer of New Jersey and Jim Walsh of New York.
Quote of the day
“If you look at Joe Biden’s goals and Bernie Sanders’s goals, they’re not that different, from a 40,000-foot level,” Barack Obama told the New Yorker when asked how he interpreted Biden’s swerve to the left.
Trump announced the FDA will authorize the use of convalescent plasma.
“Trump announced Sunday that he had helped break through a regulatory ‘logjam’ to grant emergency authorization of convalescent plasma to treat covid-19, a ‘powerful therapy’ that he claimed ‘had an incredible rate of success,’ despite the fact that his own scientists are calling for more studies to definitively show it works,” Carolyn Johnson, Laurie McGinley, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim report. “The announcement, at a news conference where Trump was flanked by Food and Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, drew criticism from physicians and scientists, who said their statements misled the public by overstating the evidence behind a therapy that shows promise but still needs to be rigorously tested. … The Infectious Diseases Society of America released a statement noting that while there are ‘some positive signals that convalescent plasma can be helpful in treating individuals with covid-19,’ the society believed its benefits needed to be demonstrated in clinical trials that randomly assign patients to receive either plasma or a placebo before it is authorized for wider use. …
“An administration official … said that the announcement follows two weeks of ‘insane fights.’ The official said that Trump held more conversations on the issue Saturday. Some scientists at the National Institutes of Health have argued that the efficacy data wasn’t strong enough — but NIH does not control FDA decisions, the FDA pointed out last week. At least one individual who has been following the issue closely said he had expected the announcement to come from the FDA this week in any case, but closer to the middle of the week. At the briefing, Hahn struck a more measured tone than Trump, stating that convalescent therapy, in which the yellowish liquid portion of blood is taken from recovered patients and transfused into ill people, had met the standard for emergency authorization — a lower standard than full approval — and showed ‘promising efficacy.’ … While the treatment may have met the FDA’s standard for authorization — that it may be effective and appears safe — outside scientists said that administration officials who touted a 35-percent reduction in death risks to non-elderly patients who were breathing on their own were overstating the conclusions that could be drawn from suggestive studies without comparison groups.”
Trump has put extraordinary pressure on federal agencies to test and approve treatments and a vaccine against the coronavirus, which has killed at least 173,000 people in the United States. This announcement came a day after the president without evidence accused the FDA for political reasons of impeding enrollment in clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines and treatments. “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd.” He tagged Hahn in the tweet.
- Trump is considering bypassing standards to fast-track a U.K. vaccine ahead of the U.S. election. The vaccine, which is being developed in a partnership between AstraZeneca and Oxford University, would be given “emergency use authorization” in October, the Financial Times reports.
- The Trump administration tied billions in badly needed coronavirus medical funding to hospitals’ cooperation with TeleTracking Technologies, a private vendor that collected data for a new database that bypassed the CDC. The demand, aimed at hospitals in hot spots using a $100 billion fund passed by Congress with no preconditions, alarmed hospital administrators and some federal health officials, the Times reports.
- A federal judge in Washington state temporarily blocked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from enforcing a controversial rule directing states to give private schools a bigger share of federal coronavirus aid than Congress intended. The judge, Barbara Rothstein, slammed the department for arguing states wouldn’t suffer irreparable damage if forced to implement the rule. (Valerie Strauss)
China is claiming the dubious honor of the first nation to roll out an experimental coronavirus vaccine for public use.
“For those keeping score, that would put Beijing’s civilian rollout three weeks earlier than Russia’s, with neither vaccine having yet passed standard clinical trials,” Eva Dou reports. “Beijing health officials said Saturday they began dosing some medical workers and state-owned enterprise employees with an experimental covid-19 vaccine in late July under ‘urgent use’ protocols. Officials around the world have been debating how far they should suspend ordinary drug-development protocols to get covid-19 vaccines and treatments to market. Many governments declared early on that they would not cut corners in developing a vaccine, but they are proving amenable in practice to corner-cutting as the pandemic’s human and economic tolls mount. The Beijing announcement followed a diplomatic controversy last week, in which Papua New Guinea said it had turned back a group of Chinese miners who had received an experimental coronavirus vaccine.”
Researchers in Hong Kong reported the first confirmed case of reinfection.
“An apparently young and healthy patient had a second case of Covid-19 infection which was diagnosed 4.5 months after the first episode,” University of Hong Kong researchers said in a statement. “The report is of concern because it suggests that immunity to the coronavirus may last only a few months in some people. And it has implications for vaccines being developed for the virus,” per the Times. “The 33-year-old man had only mild symptoms the first time, and no symptoms this time around. The reinfection was discovered when he returned from a trip to Spain, the researchers said, and the virus they sequenced closely matched the strain circulating in Europe in July and August.”
Two Virginia brothers, ages 15 and 16, fell ill with covid-19 and spent more than a month in the hospital.
“Everybody keeps saying that what happened to us is a miracle, and I know that’s true. But another part of me is like: Really? You think I’m lucky? Because I don’t always feel lucky,” Matthew Graveson, 16, told our colleague Eli Saslow. “I thought kids weren’t supposed to get the virus as bad. I thought it wasn’t common for kids to infect other people and pass it on.” Matthew fell sick first, and a few days later his brother, Timothy, 15, showed signs. Their parents were allowed to visit for one hour a day. “There’s a whole month that I basically don’t remember,” Timothy said. The brothers survived, but now have “a lot to rebuild.” “Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy. It’s a miracle to be alive, but it would have been luckier not to get it,” Timothy said.
Debt, eviction, hunger: Millions are falling back into crisis as federal stimulus and safety nets vanish.
“For the week that ended July 21, the most recent numbers available, roughly 29 million U.S. adults — about 12.1 percent — said their household sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat the preceding seven days,” Hannah Denham and Taylor Telford report. “Nearly 15 million renters said they were behind on rent during the same period. Struggling people are raising rent money on GoFundMe and asking for help with groceries on Facebook Marketplace. In New Orleans, some have staged sit-ins in front of courthouses to block eviction hearings, with signs urging the local government to cancel rent: ‘You can’t wash your hands if you don’t have a sink.’
“Karin Smith, 52, of Jupiter, Fla., recently opened the two-bedroom townhouse she shares with her 13-year-old son to a fellow single mom with a daughter. They’re all facing eviction, much like the 22 million other Americans behind on their rent … Despite the federal moratorium that ended July 24, some landlords are raising rent, issuing late fees and initiating eviction proceedings earlier than the federal deadline, which requires 30 days notice for eviction. … Although Karin has a PhD in educational psychology, she hasn’t been able to find a job in her field, and a minimum wage position wouldn’t cover the rent. When Sept. 1 rolls around, she doesn’t know what the four of them — plus two cats and two dogs, most taken in from others who had been evicted — will do. Her son has been urging her to start selling household items to save up for a used mobile home. Karin said he’s been pressing her ever since he read that Walmart allows RVs to park in its lots for free. ‘Now I know why my great-grandmother never wanted to talk about the Spanish flu,’ she said. ‘When this is over, none of us will want to talk about it.’”
A coronavirus surge in Lebanon since the Beirut explosion is compounding the misery.
Lebanon was already plagued by compounding financial, economic and political crises. The jump in cases has been attributed in part to the mass panic that gripped Beirut in the aftermath of the blast. Tens of thousands of injured and traumatized residents surged onto the streets without giving any thought to wearing masks or social distancing. (Liz Sly)
- Thirteen people died in a stampede after police raided a nightclub in Peru for violating lockdown restrictions. Peru, which has one of the world’s highest coronavirus death rates per capita, enacted a nationwide nighttime curfew and a ban on large gatherings. (Antonia Farzan)
- New Zealand extended lockdown restrictions in Auckland, its largest city, as it continues to grapple with an outbreak whose source remains a mystery. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said over 100 confirmed infections have been linked to the new cluster so far. (Farzan)
- TikTok said it will file a legal challenge later today against the Trump administration’s order to ban the video app effective mid-September. (Rachel Lerman)
America is on fire
The California fires burned more than 1.1 million acres in nine days, making their footprint larger than Rhode Island.
“Californians are bracing for more lightning that could spark ferocious new blazes, as wildfires nearing record size continue to burn largely uncontained. In little more than a week, storms have set off hundreds of fires and given rise to the second- and third-largest blazes in California’s history,” Andrew Freedman and Hannah Knowles report. “The acreage burned in just nine days is unprecedented in a ‘single fire siege,’ said Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynnette Round. The fires have prompted the evacuation of more than 100,000 people and fouled the air quality across California and as far downwind as the Midwest. Thunderstorms are anticipated Sunday and Monday as moisture from what was once Hurricane Genevieve streams northeastward, where it will encounter intense August heat over central and northern California. The storms are expected to produce lightning strikes but little rain, which, given the extremely dry vegetation at the tail end of the summer dry season, is capable of touching off new fires.”
Marco and Laura threaten a wide area from Louisiana to Texas.
“The Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2020 just won’t let up, as the earliest L and M storms simultaneously spin towards the Gulf Coast on Monday. Some areas could be affected by both storms, resulting in ‘a prolonged period of hazardous weather,’ according to the National Hurricane Center,” per Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow. “First up is Tropical Storm Marco, which is nearing the coast of Louisiana, where tropical storm and storm-surge warnings are in effect. The storm has been weakening due to disruptive shear — a change in wind speed and direction with altitude. Meanwhile, about 1,000 miles to the southeast over Cuba, Tropical Storm Laura is completing its damaging journey from Puerto Rico, across Hispaniola and along the shores of Cuba. Computer models suggest Laura could tap the exceptionally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and intensify into a large and dangerous hurricane as it moves toward the Gulf Coast. The storm is forecast to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday in the zone between roughly New Orleans and Houston.”
Police officers in Kenosha, Wis., shot a Black man multiple times as he tried to get into his car.
The man, identified by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) as Jacob Blake, is in serious condition, according to the Kenosha Police Department, Jaclyn Peiser reports. “The shooting happened after 5 p.m., when officers responded to a domestic incident, police said. Witnesses told the Kenosha News that Blake was trying to break up a fight and that police first attempted to taser him. The video shows neighbors congregated outside as two police officers with their guns drawn followed Blake as he approached the car. As Blake opened the driver’s side door, an officer can be seen tugging at Blake’s white tank top before multiple shots ring out from the police. …
“Police have not commented on what led to the shooting. … As footage of Blake’s shooting spread on social media, a crowd of protesters gathered at the intersection where he was shot. Tensions quickly rose as more police officers arrived wearing riot gear and several police cars were damaged. A video shows one police officer being hit with a brick and collapsing to the ground. … Police soon arrived with riot gear and armed with rubber bullets, and eventually sprayed tear gas at the crowd.”
- Protesters chanting “Jacob Blake” set a police precinct on fire in Portland, Ore., prompting authorities to declare a riot and deploy tear gas. Police ordered demonstrators to clear the area, saying that rocks and glass bottles were thrown at officers, the AP reports.
- Police also clashed with protesters in Lafayette, La., after officers fatally shot Trayford Pellerin, a 31-year-old Black man, outside a convenience store. The protests came after the state ACLU called for an independent investigation into Pellerin’s death. Police said they were called to the store to respond to a “disturbance involving a person armed with a knife.” (CNN)
- Three officers were shot in Maryland’s Prince George’s County. “The officers are ‘going to be fine’ after being taken to a hospital, interim county police chief Hector Velez said Sunday night,” Katie Mettler and Martin Weil report. “The officers were responding to a call received at 6:34 p.m. about a home invasion in the 1300 block of Capital View Terrace in the Landover area. They arrived within minutes, Velez said, and the gunfire broke out ‘within seconds.’”
- Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a law that could strip some protesters of voting rights. “Protesters who camp out on state property, such as the activists who have demonstrated for months outside the state Capitol against racial injustice, could now face felony charges punishable by up to six years in prison. Convicted felons are automatically stripped of their voting rights in Tennessee,” Colby Itkowitz and Amy Gardner report. “The new law, which went into effect immediately, outraged civil rights groups, who say the move is Tennessee’s latest attempt to repress voting ahead of the November elections.”
- A police maneuver to end high-speed chases, called the precision immobilization technique, has killed 30 people since 2016. (Shaun Raviv and John Sullivan)
Social media speed read
This is Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot yesterday by Kenosha, Wis., police in front of his kids:
The Trump campaign announced Mary Ann Mendoza, who sits on the board of We Build the Wall, will be a convention speaker:
And Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had a politician’s take on NASA saying an asteroid will pass by Earth the day before the election:
Video of the day
John Oliver revisited one of Trump’s key 2016 promises: