What Now?! – August 2, 2020

President Trump publicly rebuked Dr. Anthony Fauci, forcefully rejecting the nation’s top infectious disease expert’s testimony on why the U.S. has experienced a renewed surge in coronavirus cases, Politico reports.

“Wrong!” Trump wrote in a retweet of a video where Fauci explained to a House subcommittee that the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it only shut down a fraction of its economy amid the pandemic.

Said Trump: “We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases.”

My brain breaks every time he says this. And of course, he is wrong and Fauci is right.

Look at how many people showed up for the latest Trump rally.

At said rally, he tossed this word salad out there: “Well, we’re going to be doing a healthcare plan. We’re going to be doing a very inclusive healthcare plan. I’ll be signing it sometime very soon…. It might be — it might be Sunday, but it’s — it’s going to be very soon.”

“We’re also doing a full immigration plan. We’re going to take care of a lot things that, for 25 years, they’ve been trying to get an immigration plan. We’re going to be doing merit-based immigration. I’m sure you’d be happy to hear that. But it’s merit-based. It’s very powerfully merit-based. It’s going to be very inclusive. It’s going to cover just about everything that most people would have said couldn’t happen, and we’ll be releasing that over the next couple of weeks.” — President Trump, in remarks in Florida.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) has tested positive for COVID-19 after a week in Washington, D.C., that included a hearing with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who also tested positive in recent days, the Arizona Republic reports.

Grijalva is asymptomatic and in self-quarantine at his residence in the Washington area.

“Nearly 30 million workers are set to lose $600 in enhanced weekly unemployment benefits that have kept much of the economy afloat these past four months during the coronavirus pandemic, as top lawmakers in Congress and the White House remain at an impasse over how and whether to extend the benefits,” the Washington Post reports.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top House Democrats admonished the country’s top counterintelligence official during a closed-door election security briefing Friday, accusing him of keeping Americans in the dark about the details of Russia’s continued interference in the 2020 campaign,” Politico reports.

“Pelosi hinted at the conflict upon emerging from the briefing Friday morning, saying she thought the administration was ‘withholding’ evidence of foreign election meddling. Multiple sources who attended the briefing told Politico that both Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) chastised William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, for issuing a statement last week warning the public of election interference by China, Russia, and Iran. Democrats have described the statement as so vague as to be ‘almost meaningless.’”

President Trump said he doesn’t think that Herman Cain, who died this week after being hospitalized with the coronavirus, caught the virus when he attended the president’s Tulsa rally last month, The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “No, I don’t think he did.”

A senior Department of Homeland Security official whose office compiled “intelligence reports” about journalists and protesters in Portland has been removed from his job, the Washington Post reports.

“Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner earned at least $36.2 million as they served in the White House last year, reporting a boost in income from some companies they own that hold residential and commercial properties,” the New York Times reports.

“President Trump’s daughter and her husband, who serve as top advisers to him, reported a minimum combined income that was at least $7 million higher than in 2018, when they reported making at least $29 million.”

Michael Gerson: “In Trump’s approach to politics, all is flexible, all is negotiable, except the driving instinct of us vs. them. And it is not just a coincidence that the us is overwhelmingly White. Trump’s most consistent, defining goal has been the preservation of white supremacy against growing diversity. As we now see fully, he holds out the promise of a suburban, segregated promised land.”

“Those who dismiss this criticism as ‘playing the race card’ must ignore Trump’s constant employment of the racism card. Those who dismiss these concerns as ‘identity politics’ must somehow overlook the White identity politics that drives his public appeal. Trump’s approach is apostasy from the American ideal. It is the kind of thing that can lead to the breaking of nations.”

The CDC is forecasting that the total American death toll from COVID-19 could hit 182,000 by the fourth week of August, Yahoo News reports.

“The new projection, which has not yet been publicly released, contradicts the more optimistic portrait that President Trump and others in his administration have painted about the pandemic.”

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Friday they were “extremely alarmed” by assertions that the American ambassador in Brazil had signaled to Brazilian officials they could help get President Trump re-elected by changing their trade policies, the New York Times reports.

Axios: “James Murdoch filed a letter of resignation from the board of News Corp., on Friday in light of disagreements over editorial content published by the company-owned news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and New York Post.”

Jonathan Chait: “It was widely assumed that Robert Mueller’s investigation would uncover what, if anything, lay at the bottom of the bizarre and sometimes creepy level of deference Donald Trump extends to Russia. Mueller found some clues, the largest of which was a campaign negotiation to give Trump rights to a Moscow building project that stood to hand him hundreds of millions of dollars in profit at zero risk, and the secrecy of which gave Russia blackmail leverage over Trump.”

“But Mueller never uncovered the full extent of Trump’s financial ties to Moscow. ‘Neither Mueller nor the Southern District prosecutors sought out Trump’s financial records or obtained his tax returns,’ Jeffrey Toobin reports. The mystery of Trump’s solicitousness to Putin remains unresolved. And he continues to give reasons for suspicion.”

“President Trump will require Beijing-based Bytedance to sell its ownership in TikTok, the popular video-sharing app that U.S. officials have deemed a national security risk,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “U.S. officials have been concerned that TikTok could pass on the data it collects from Americans streaming videos to China’s authoritarian government.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok.

“Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season,” ESPN reports.

White supremacist David Duke has been permanently banned from Twitter for violating the platform’s rules on hate speech, CNET reports. Good. He should be banned from all human society.

“The White House on Friday condemned Hong Kong’s decision to postpone September legislative elections by a year because of the coronavirus, denouncing the action a day after President Trump floated the idea of delaying the U.S. presidential election in November,” the Washington Post reports.

Kayleigh McEnany said from the White House podium that the postponement “undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity, and this is only the most recent in a growing list of broken promises by Beijing.”

NPR reviews Jeffrey Toobin’s True Crimes and Misdemeanors:

“This 450-page work is more than a journalist emptying his notebook of all his interviews and insights. It is more than a legal expert analyzing how the best work of talented and committed lawyers could be frustrated by governmental rules and rivalries within the executive and legislative powers in our federal system.”

“Perhaps its highest function is as a condensation of the best evidence against the presidency and character of Donald Trump, a summation offered up much as a prosecutor would do in seeking to sway a jury.”

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

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