What Now?! – July 14, 2020

“Senate Republicans and the Trump administration are working on their own proposal for a new round of pandemic relief with the last stimulus running dry and a resurgence of Covid-19 cases threatening a deeper recession,” Bloomberg reports.

“Negotiations with Democrats, who’ve already proposed an expansive $3.5 trillion plan, won’t begin until a GOP bill is complete… The Senate returns from a recess next week, and Congress then will have only a few weeks to bridge the wide gap between the two parties on how much to spend and where to spend it.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business that President Trump is considering giving additional federal funding to public school districts that fully reopen for the 2020-2021 school year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Said Kudlow: “The president has said that he’s willing to consider additional aid in order to help reopen the schools.”

Just last week, Trump threatened to withhold funding from schools that do not fully reopen.

Mick Mulvaney: “If lawmakers still see the need to run the presses, they need to realize that the current economic crisis is public-health driven. As such, using ordinary fiscal tools might not be particularly efficacious. Put another way, the fact that people aren’t going on vacation probably has more to do with fear of getting sick than it does with their economic condition. Giving people a check, or some financial incentive to travel, won’t solve their problem. Make people feel safe to go back on an airplane or cruise ship, and they will of their own accord.”

“Any stimulus should be directed at the root cause of our recession: dealing with Covid. I know it isn’t popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country.”

“U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson is seeking more information about the scope of President Trump’s executive order commuting the sentence of his longtime ally, Roger Stone,” USA Today reports.

“Jackson on Monday ordered parties to give her a copy of the executive order commuting Stone’s sentence and to clarify if the clemency also covers supervised release, which the political operative would have had to serve after his prison sentence.”

This story below seems to answer the Judge’s question:

Joyce White Vance: “Theoretically, even with commutation, if Stone violates the terms of his supervised release, the judge could be able to consider revoking it and return him to custody. An interesting possible implication of this being commutation, not pardon.”

David Frum says we have witnessed the “most conspicuous scandal in American history.”

“Although crucial details remain concealed, the core narrative has been visible from the start. An American private citizen worked with foreign spies to damage one presidential candidate and help the other. That president accepted the help. When caught, the private citizen lied. When the private citizen was punished, the president commuted his sentence.”

“Federal prosecutors told a judge Monday that Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite charged with helping the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein feed his craving for underage girls, tried to flee apprehension from FBI agents right before they arrested her earlier this month,” CNBC reports.

“Prosecutors revealed Maxwell’s effort as they argued that she is likely to flee the United States if granted bail of $5 million, or even more.”

Since Maxwell is white and rich, she is still alive. If she was black and poor, she would have been shot dead just like Breona Taylor.

“Los Angeles campuses will not reopen for classes on Aug. 18, and the nation’s second-largest school system will continue with online learning until further notice, because of the worsening coronavirus surge,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that travelers to New York from states with high rates of COVID-19 cases must provide authorities with contact information or face a $2,000 fine and a court summons, The Hill reports.

Said Cuomo: “We’re serious about enforcing quarantine.”

“Seventeen states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Monday, seeking to block a new rule that would revoke the visas of foreign students who take classes entirely online in the fall,” the New York Times reports.

“The rule, issued a week ago, would upend months of careful planning by colleges and universities, the lawsuit says, and could force many students to return to their home countries during the pandemic, where their ability to study would be severely compromised.”

Jane Mayer: “The secretive titan behind one of America’s largest poultry companies, who is also one of the President’s top donors, is ruthlessly leveraging the coronavirus crisis—and his vast fortune—to strip workers of protections.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda, a social conservative aligned with the nationalist Law and Justice party, appears to have narrowly beat center-left Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in Sunday’s election, Reuters reports.

President Trump retweeted a claim by game show host Chuck Woolery that the CDC, the media, the Democratic party, and “most” doctors are “lying” about the coronavirus.

Playbook: “In Florida, some 15,300 coronavirus cases were reported in the last day. Health experts are warning of a resurgence of the virus. Yet, the White House is spending its time slagging Anthony Fauci, slinging opposition research about his misjudgments or misstatements as he was trying to prepare the nation for the coronavirus.”

“A lot of White House aides shake their heads when they look at the president’s Twitter feed, or complain when he otherwise strays off message. But they’re focusing their energy on trying to railroad the nation’s popular infectious disease doctor in the middle of an active pandemic that has killed more than 130,000 Americans.”

First Read has the “indisputable” facts on the Russia investigation:

  1. Trump and his campaign asked for Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential race.
  2. Trump and his campaign got that help — in a contest decided by fewer than 80,000 votes in three states.
  3. Roger Stone lied about his contacts with Russian intelligence and WikiLeaks.
  4. The president commuted Stone’s prison sentence, despite White House aides disagreeing with the move.
  5. And Stone admitted his objective was protecting Trump.

“Yes, some of the liberal theories about Russia investigation never came to pass (Michael Cohen didn’t travel to Prague; that ‘pee tape’ appears to be fantasy).”

“And, yes, Mueller concluded that his investigation didn’t establish ‘that that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.’ (Though note he said ‘Russian government’ and not intermediaries like WikiLeaks.)”

“But what did happen was a bigger scandal — involving a foreign adversary — than we can remember for any recent administration or major presidential campaign.”

Andrew Weissmann, an attorney who played a leading role under Robert Mueller in the investigation of Russian election interference, will release a book in September about the special counsel’s near two-year examination of links between Donald Trump and Moscow, The Guardian reports.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that it’s unclear whether children can get and transmit COVID-19, the Houston Chronicle reports. That same day, Texas reported more than 550 COVID infections in children 9 and younger.

“President Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he’s fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions,” Axios reports.

Said one former White House official: “Meadows told me he was doing that. I don’t know if it ever worked.”

“This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he’s caught only one person, for a minor leak.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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