JUICE – Florida Politics’ Juicy Read -8.11.20 – COVID Deaths in Florida Way Down- China Sanctions Rubio – FL Schools Open Up During Pandemic – More…
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JUICE – Florida Politics’ Juicy Read -8.11.20 – COVID Deaths in Florida Way Down- China Sanctions Rubio – FL Schools Open Up During Pandemic – More…

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The COVID Bug 

 The second wave of COVID-19 cases in Florida seems to have been calmed since the spike first began in late June.

Florida reported 4,200 new cases this past Monday and only 4 deaths, a significant drop from the previously reported daily positive cases.

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Rep. Ted Deutch (D) acknowledged the drop in cases, saying that the report was “good news” and reminded Floridians that their actions reflect the trends the virus makes.

Today’s 4,247 new COVID-19 cases in FL is lowest since 6/23.

 “Staying home is safest, avoid gatherings, and wear a mask when you can’t keep distance between yourself and others,” stated Deutch.

This metric could bolster Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, desire to reopen school across the state. Gov. DeSantis recently stated that there was a “lower risk” of catching COVID-19 “than seasonal Influenza.” 

“ Parents know what is best for their kids and it’s important for them to have a choice this school year.”- Gov. Ron DeSantis 

Florida’s Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is also all about opening schools and is asking Floridians to follow his department’s lead.

Meanwhile, Russia says that they are the world’s first COVID vaccine, but are we really going to trust Putin after they have tried to co-opt our election system, and continue to spy on Americans? Nope.

Election Update

Early voting is in full swing but turnout is low, at least it is in South Florida. We could see a big crush of voters heading to the polls on Election Day as many Floridians are holding on to their absentee ballots and waiting to turn them in. My orthopedic surgeon is one of those AB voters that will instead opt to vote in-person.

 

 

 

***Your morning JUICE is also sponsored by Fran Flynn. Fran Flynn is a Republican running for Congress in Florida’s 22nd congressional district. She’s Pro-Trump, Pro-Gun, Pro-Life.***

 

Rick Scott @SenRickScottMost players want to play. We fans want to watch. University presidents and conferences should ABSOLUTELY NOT cancel college football this year. Athletics play a hugely important role in our national psyche. The schools and the conferences can figure out how to do this safely.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP –And still no statewide mask order…Florida desperately needs leadership to get this under control; older Floridians, students & our community deserve better. We need a comprehensive testing & tracing plan, and to put in place the precautions that will slow this down.

Congressman Ross Spano @RepRossSpano- The brave men and women of this country deserve the resources necessary to defend our country and to support their families. I am proud to have voted yes in both 2019 and 2020 for pay raises for our troops–the largest increase in a decade.

US Rep. Al Lawson Jr @RepAlLawsonJrWith schools reopening, our first priority must be the health & safety of students, staff and their families. I led a letter to Gov. Desantis expressing concern over the mandate to reopen physical school locations during the pandemic. Districts should decide how to safely reopen.

Rep. Michael Waltz @RepMichaelWaltz –#China controls more than 80% of minerals we rely on for our electronics, energy & military and has threatened to cut off all access to them. This is why I joined my colleagues in the House to introduce legislation to finally bring our mineral supply chain home.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy -As our country battles an invisible enemy, it is our duty to help protect our fellow citizens and reduce the spread of the virus by wearing a mask. This is a patriotic gesture that will help us save lives. #MaskUp

Rep. Matt Gaetz @RepMattGaetz –@SpeakerPelosi s holding the future and well-being of the American people hostage so she can massively expand government programs.

Rep. Carlos G Smith @CarlosGSmith– I’m simply disgusted by the repeatedly homophobic attacks on my friend & colleague @ShevrinJones from so-called “Democrats”. First the coded “family values” message often deployed against LGBTQ candidates. Now this. Let’s just donate to his campaign

Commissioner Nikki Fried @NikkiFriedFLHardships caused by #COVID19, have resulted in countless American children relying on nutritional assistance during the pandemic. Today, I wrote Florida’s congressional delegation on the need for programs like universal free school meals and P-EBT, which are keeping kids fed.

 

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

 

“Trump Narrows GOP Nomination Speech Sites To White House And Gettysburg” by The Floridian –  President Trump announced Monday he plans to deliver his acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention (RNC) from either one of two locations — the White House or the battlefield at Gettysburg. “We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations – The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C. We will announce the decision soon!” Trump tweeted. The coronavirus pandemic upended both the RNC and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) plans to hold a large in-person event, forcing both to conduct virtual events. Trump last month abruptly canceled the three-day ceremonial events scheduled in Jacksonville, Florida amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the Sunshine state. Trump last week mentioned the White House he’ll “probably” deliver his speech accepting the Republican nomination live from the White House. “I’ll probably do mine live from the White House,” Trump said during a “Fox & Friends” interview last Wednesday. “If for some reason somebody had difficulty with it, I would — I could, you know, go someplace else.”

“Sens. Cruz, Markey Twitter Feud On Coronavirus Payouts: ‘We Have A Magic Money Tree — We Should Use It!’” by Floridian’s Mona Salama – Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ed Markey (D-MA) clashed on a twitter feud Monday regarding over the Democrat Massachusetts senator’s proposal to “give every person” $2,000 monthly payments to all Americans in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. “Give every person in our country $2000/month for the duration of the pandemic, $2000/month for 3 months after that, and $2000/month retroactive to March,” Markey tweeted Monday afternoon. In May, Markey introduced a bill with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) dubbed the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act to provide $2,000 in monthly payments during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the coronavirus pandemic. “A single check is not sufficient for households that are struggling during this health and economic crisis. Americans need more than just one payment,” Markey said when introducing this legislation in May. “Providing recurring monthly payments is the most direct and efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most vulnerable in this crisis, particularly low-income families, immigrant communities, and our gig and service workers.”

“China Sanctions Rubio and Cruz Among Others” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Last month, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) was banned from entering China, and now the country has sanctioned the Florida lawmaker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) among others. The sanctions are a response to the United States’ decision to sanction 11 officials and allies in Hong Kong that have made an effort to curtail political freedoms. Zhao Lijian, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, commented that “in response to those wrong US behaviours, China has decided to impose sanctions on individuals who have behaved egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues.” In his statement, Lijian added “that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs that no external forces can interfere in,” noting that “China urges the US to recognize the situation and correct its wrongdoings, and not to go further and further on the wrong path.” In response to the sanctions, Senator Rubio took to Twitter, commenting that “last month China banned me” and “today they sanctioned me.” In turn, “I don’t want to be paranoid but I am starting to think they don’t like me.”

“Bilirakis Announces Veteran Housing Expansion Program” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) announced the passage of the Ryan Kules Specially Adaptative Housing Improvement Act. The Act aims to improve and expand the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing Grant Program. Because of limitations in the current program, the Florida lawmaker was moved to ensure that veterans receive the financial help that they need in response to the dedicated service they have given to the country. Ryan Kules, the Wounded Warrior Project Director of Combat Stress Recovery, commented that “this law will reduce financial stress for families like mine who use or need the Specially Adapted Housing benefit,” adding that “it will provide more peace of mind, freedom, and comfort in” the homes of veterans. Providing some insight as to why the legislation moved forward, Bilirakis commented, “when I heard of the challenges Ryan faced when he wanted to buy a new home to accommodate his growing family, because he could not use the SAH benefit a second time due to program limitations, I knew something needed to be done.” In turn, “many of these young and severely wounded warriors are returning home in their early twenties,” and “as they mature and their circumstances change through marriage, the birth of additional children, etc,” these veterans “need a benefit that changes with them so that they can fully enjoy their lives.”

“China Sanctions Florida Senator Marco Rubio, 5 Other Lawmakers” by CBS Miami – Florida’s US Senator Marco Rubio was one of a handful of lawmakers that have been sanctioned by China for “behaving badly on Hong Kong-related issues.” The action is the latest in escalating tensions between the two countries and a back-and forth in sanctions. The US on Friday sanctioned Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam as well as 10 other Chinese and Hong Kong officials for their role in crackdowns on political freedom in the region — the latest measure taken by the Trump administration in response to China’s imposition of a controversial national security law on Hong Kong. “The US action (Friday) was a blatant interference in Hong Kong’s affairs and in China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday. “It was in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.” Along with Rubio, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey were also sanctioned by Beijing. Rubio tweeted Monday morning, “Last month #China banned me. Today they sanctioned me. I don’t want to be paranoid but I am starting to think they don’t like me.” After the sanctions were announced, Hawley tweeted, China “is sanctioning me in retaliation for speaking out against #ChineseCommunistParty and defending America’s interests. Retaliate all you want. I’m not backing down”

“Florida homeowner utilized Second Amendment right when he killed intruder: sheriff” by Fox News’ Robert Gearty – A homeowner was “utilizing his Second Amendment right to protect himself and his family” when he shot dead a man who broke into his home with a gun, a Florida sheriff said. The homeowner acted in self-defense when he killed Ronald Fleet, 55, in Land O’Lakes Saturday afternoon, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said. “Any loss of life is tragic, but the victim was utilizing his Second Amendment right to protect himself and his family from the fear of Ronald, who was carrying a gun and kicking in the door,” Nocco said, according to Fox 13 Tampa. “I can’t imagine the fear they were going through.” A member of the homeowner’s family was Fleet’s estranged wife, Nocco said, according to reports. He said the woman was divorcing Fleet, who went to the home enraged that the homeowner was supporting her during the litigation. Fleet kicked in the door and then retreated when he fired his gun at the homeowner and the homeowner fired back, Nocco said. Fleet was killed when he forced his way into the home a second time, the sheriff said. He said Fleet was carrying a .380 caliber handgun and discharged one round. Fleet had a prior arrest for domestic battery in 2011, WFLA-TV reported.

“Some Florida schools start as new coronavirus cases drop” by Associated Press – Students began returning to some Florida college campuses on Monday and some public school classrooms in rural districts opened with new safety precautions in place as the state reported the fewest new daily cases of covid-19 in more than a month. Classes for new students started Monday at Stetson University. Students moved into dormitories over the weekend at the DeLand campus as well as at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. In Orange County, home to one of the nation’s largest school districts, public school students started the school year on Monday with two weeks of online learning. At the end of the month, they will get to choose between continuing with the virtual learning or going to in-person classes. In about a half-dozen rural counties, schools welcomed back students for in-person instruction. Physical distancing was encouraged, school buses had assigned seating and students were encouraged to get their temperatures taken before going to school. Mask-wearing was recommended but optional in most of the counties, and water fountains were disabled. Robert Brown, a grandfather of five and foster father of another child, had mixed emotions about students returning to school. Brown lives in Hamilton County, located in North Florida on the Georgia border, and he was quite aware of news reports of students at Georgia schools contracting the virus after recent reopenings.

“In Florida, a coronavirus showdown as DeSantis rejects Tampa-area schools plan” by Politico’s Andrew Atterbury – Gov. Ron DeSantis took a hard line on school reopenings Monday, standing firm against Florida’s third-largest school district in a showdown over classroom instruction and Covid-19. DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Monday traveled to Hillsborough County to reiterate their case for re-opening schools just days after they rejected a plan from the county school district to hold online-only classes for its 223,300 students during the first four weeks of the fall semester slated to begin Aug. 24. The potential educational benefits of in-person instruction outweigh the health risks of opening schools during the pandemic, DeSantis said at a Monday roundtable held at Winthrop College Prep Academy in Riverview. “Some of this stuff is just not debatable anymore,” DeSantis said. “We’re going in a good direction in this area and that’s just the reality.” Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, last month submitted a plan to reopen classrooms, but backtracked after local doctors warned that school closures were likely to ensue. The county revised its plan to limit classes to online instruction, but Corcoran on Friday rejected that approach, saying it denies parents the option of sending their children back to school.

“Florida ports seek federal relief after losing $23B during coronavirus pandemic” by WFLA’s Kelsey Sunderland – Florida’s tourism industry has taken a substantial hit since the coronavirus pandemic hit the state in its peak season. An analysis from transportation and economic analysis firm Martin Associates found Florida ports lost an estimated 169,000 jobs. The loss of cargo and cruise activity at Florida seaports is estimated at almost $23 billion. Now the Florida Ports Council is asking Congress for federal funds in order to be able to sustain. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Ports Council CEO Doug Wheeler urged that the upcoming relief package include at least $1.5 billion for seaports and $2 billion for maritime businesses. “Whether moving over a hundred million tons of cargo annually or millions of cruise passengers, Florida’s seaports generate and support a vast array of commerce and are the international gateways for goods shipped in and out of the state,” Wheeler said. “We urge Congress to pass legislation to provide the maritime sector the same relief that has been offered to other industries during COVID-19, and to close the gap in current federal emergency assistance that has left critical links in the maritime supply chain isolated, impacting Florida jobs and the state-wide economy.” As a whole, Florida tourism revenue was a fraction of last year’s, with a 10.7 percent decrease from 2019 in the first quarter of 2020. The rapid spread of coronavirus across the Sunshine State halted a nine-year streak of increased amounts of travelers, which was at 131.4 million in 2019.

“DeSantis again nixes need for Florida Legislature to convene special session” by The Center Square’s John Haughey – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis predicted Monday the COVID-19 pandemic will “loom … over every budget and policy debate” during the 2021 legislative session. What the governor didn’t say is there will be a special legislative session after state economists meet Friday to update revenue forecasts that likely will fall short of those built into the $92.2 billion fiscal year 2021. Democrats and a smattering of Republicans argue a special session is needed to rehash the state’s spending plan, citing the state constitution, which mandates any “deficit in the General Revenue Fund in excess of 1.5 percent … must be resolved by the Legislature.” DeSantis maintains the $12 billion Florida received from the $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act will provide $4.6 billion for budget stabilization. Combined with the approximately $8.5 billion in reserves, he said Florida should have enough money to plug deficits. “We are using intelligently the CARES Act money in a way that I think will keep us whole,” DeSantis said Monday on Tallahassee’s WFLA radio, dismissing the need for a special session. “So,” he continued, “as we go into the legislative session, from a budget perspective, I think we’ll probably be OK for this fiscal year. I think the question is, is how robust is the recovery from the coronavirus shutdown? And if it’s robust, that gives us more options. If it’s not, then we may have to make some more tough decisions.”

 

 

 

 

 “Carmen Best, Seattle’s top cop, emails resignation notice to officers: report” by Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche – Carmen Best, the Seattle police chief, emailed her resignation notice to police officers in the department late Monday hours after the City Council made good on its promise to approve sweeping proposals that would cut about 100 officers and slash the department’s budget. Best’s email, which was obtained by Jason Rantz, a radio host in the city, said that her retirement will be effective Sept. 2. “I wanted you to hear this from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own,” she wrote. “This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time.” She thanked Mayor Jenny Durkan for her “her continuous support” and said that the department is “truly the best police department in the country, and please trust me when I say, the vast majority of the people in Seattle support you and appreciate you.” Durkan and Best have urged the council to slow down its discussions about police budgets, saying the issue could be taken up in earnest when the 2021 city budget is considered. They also said any layoffs would disproportionately target newer officers, often hired from minority communities, and would inevitably lead to lawsuits. Brandi Kruse, a reporter for Q13 Fox, tweeted that there is a press conference set for 11 a.m. Tuesday. She said two sources told her that the announcement is imminent.

“Republicans ask Supreme Court to intervene in Rhode Island case involving witness requirements for absentee ballots” by Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz and Devan Cole – The Republican National Committee has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a case about absentee ballots in Rhode Island, where a recent legal battle in federal court eliminated the state’s requirement that two witnesses, or a notary public, must sign absentee ballots for them to count. In a ruling last week, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reinstate the witness requirement. The requirement was nixed as part of an agreement between the Democratic-run state government and a group of voters who brought a lawsuit, asking for the rule to be waived during the pandemic. Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, a Democrat, praised the ruling last week, saying it was “a victory for voting rights.” Election experts say that witness requirements would disenfranchise voters during the Covid-19 pandemic, where people are reluctant to even invite family into their homes. The Republican Party argued in its filing to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who will review the request, that the pandemic won’t prevent voters from getting signatures from others. “Rhode Island gives voters nearly a month to find two witnesses or one notary. That task is not unusually difficult— certainly no more difficult than getting a photo ID,” the party’s filing stated.

“Federal Government Sent Workers Nearly $250 Billion in $600-a-Week Jobless Aid” by WSJ’s Eric Mortath – The federal government spent nearly $250 billion on extra $600-a-week unemployment benefits from early April to the end of July, the Labor Department said, as millions of workers were laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic. Workers who permanently lost their jobs, were furloughed or had their hours cut were able to tap $600 in federal unemployment benefits on top of the amount they qualified for from the state, under a relief law Congress passed and President Trump signed in March. The benefits expired on July 31. Mr. Trump on Saturday signed an executive order that would replace the larger payments with $300 a week in enhanced unemployment benefits, and called on states to provide another $100 a week. The White House remained deadlocked Monday over a broader pandemic relief deal with Democratic lawmakers, who said the president’s moves over the weekend were an unconstitutional breach of congressional spending powers. Individuals tapping regular state programs, the largest source of benefits, at the beginning of August saw weekly payments decline to near the $332 average weekly payment made under those programs in the past year. Self-employed and gig workers—who don’t usually qualify for unemployment assistance—saw a steeper decline in payments.

“Squad member Omar in primary spotlight as 5 states hold contests Tuesday” by Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser – Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin hold primaries on Tuesday, with a Georgia holding a Republican primary runoff in the state’s 14th Congressional District. But the race grabbing the most national attention is in Minnesota, where Rep. Ilhan Omar – known from coast to coast as one of the four members of the group of progressive first-term congresswomen of color known as “The Squad” — is facing a Democratic primary challenge from a candidate who’s vastly outraised the incumbent. The firebrand freshman lawmaker quickly became a nationally known politician two years ago as one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress — and for her outspoken criticism of President Trump. But the attention surrounding the Somali born progressive lawmaker – and her Twitter feed – have made her a target of Republicans and even some fellow Democrats. And Omar’s no stranger to controversy, apologizing early in her congressional tenure for making comments viewed as anti-Semitic. Omar has the backing of some of the biggest names in politics – such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, progressive leader Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – whom she joined on the campaign trail when the populist champion was running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among high-profile Latinos participating in Democratic convention” by CNN’s Arlette Saenz – Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, the progressive first-term lawmaker, is one of several high-profile Latinos slated to participate in the Democratic National Convention next week. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will also have roles in next week’s event, Democratic officials tell CNN. While the exact schedule is still being finalized, the lineup comes as the party seeks to highlight the diversity of its members and supporters as Joe Biden officially becomes its presidential nominee. Ocasio-Cortez, an early endorser of Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, will be part of a segment nominating the senator from Vermont at the convention on Tuesday night, the officials said, and she also will be featured in a video airing on Wednesday. The congresswoman’s participation further highlights the Biden campaign’s efforts to bring the progressive wing of the party into the fold. After Sanders ended his 2020 run, Ocasio-Cortez served as a co-chair of a climate change task force between supporters of the Sanders and Biden campaigns, one of several unity commissions the two teams developed. Lujan Grisham and Cortez Masto, who were among the early names mentioned as possible contenders for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, will have individual speaking slots at the convention along with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who endorsed Biden during the primaries.

“Joe Biden Weighs VP Pick After Search Committee Wraps Up” by WSJ’s Tarini Parti and Ken Thomas – Joe Biden’s allies have been told to expect an announcement midweek revealing his choice of running mate, according to a person familiar with the process, and multiple people said his search committee has finished its work. Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has been considering a group that includes California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, Rep. Karen Bass (D., Calif.), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Mr. Biden’s decision as he challenges President Trump has been closely watched and could play a major role in the Democratic Party’s leadership for years to come. The woman Mr. Biden chooses would be well-positioned to succeed the 77-year-old former vice president as the head of the party. If Mr. Biden wins the November election, his running mate would become the nation’s first woman to serve as vice president. People familiar with the process said the four-member search committee wrapped up its vetting of the candidates. The committee included former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D., Del.) and Cynthia Hogan, a former Apple Inc. vice president and Biden counsel. Mr. Biden spent the weekend at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., but returned to his Wilmington residence to appear at a fundraiser on Monday afternoon. He didn’t address his vice presidential search during the virtual event.

“Trump abruptly escorted out of White House press briefing, returns to say there was a ‘shooting’ outside” by Fox News’ Alex Pappas – President Trump on Monday was abruptly escorted away from the White House briefing room just a few minutes after taking the podium for a press briefing, but quickly returned to tell reporters, “There was a shooting outside of the White House.” Describing what he knew about the situation, the president said it “seems” an armed person was shot by Secret Service and had been taken to the hospital. The Secret Service provided details of the shooting in a tweet late Monday. A 51-year-old male allegedly approached a Uniformed Division officer who was standing at his post on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House. The man told the agent he had a weapon and, while he approached, took off in a sprint and “in a drawing motion, withdrew an object from his clothing,” the statement read. “The suspect then crouched into a shooter’s stance as if about to fire a weapon,” the statement read. At that point, the agent fired his weapon and struck the subject in the torso. That intersection is right outside the White House grounds. The Secret Service said in a tweet that a male subject and a USSS officer were both transported to a local hospital. “At no time during this incident was the White House complex breached or were any protectees in danger,” the agency said, adding the investigation is ongoing. A law enforcement source told Fox News it appears the wounds to the suspect in the officer-involved shooting are not fatal. There was a brief, joint press conference late Monday night with the Secret Service and the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department that stressed that the investigation was in its early stages. City police will play a supporting role.

“Stalled stimulus talks could mean thousands of furloughs and halt US immigration system” by CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez – The federal agency responsible for granting citizenship, providing immigration benefits and processing visa applications could furlough two-thirds of its workforce at the end of the month after negotiations over the next stimulus package stalled. US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, told Congress in May that it expected to furlough the majority of its workforce amid a budget shortfall. The agency asked for $1.2 billion. But the expected vehicle for the funds would be the next coronavirus relief bill, which is now at a standstill. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump announced he would take executive actions to deliver aid to Americans affected by the pandemic after Democrats and the White House were unable to reach an agreement on a stimulus bill. With no imminent legislation in sight and a stalemate in Congress over the stimulus, the likelihood additional funds will go to USCIS has all but diminished. Furloughs, if they happen, could bring the immigration system to a halt. “There’s currently no plan B,” a congressional aide told CNN, adding that the next likely opportunity to shore up funding is in September through appropriations legislation unless a Covid package comes together. “The question is whether (USCIS will) delay furloughs and give us that opportunity,” the aide said.

“U.S. National Security Adviser Says China Targeting 2020 Election” by WSJ’s Dustin Volz – National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that Chinese hackers were targeting U.S. election infrastructure in the lead up to the Nov. 3 presidential election, making a new claim about the level of Beijing’s activity in the election. “China, like Russia, like Iran—they’ve engaged in cyberattacks and phishing and that sort of thing with respect to our election infrastructure, with respect to websites,” Mr. O’Brien said during an interview on CBS. Mr. O’Brien also said China was “absolutely trying to access secretary of state websites,” and the goal is “to see the president lose.” Mr. O’Brien’s comments were met with skepticism by other officials familiar with the matter. While China has an active interest in the election, the U.S. doesn’t currently have intelligence showing that Beijing is directly trying to hack election-related systems, the officials said. What Mr. O’Brien described, if true, would resemble Russian activity during the 2016 campaign and hasn’t previously been asserted publicly by the U.S. government. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence referred a request for comment to the National Security Council, which declined to comment. China has denied that it targets the U.S. with cyberattacks. On Friday, Bill Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, released a public statement saying that the U.S. intelligence community had assessed that Russia is engaged in a broad effort to damage Democrat Joe Biden’s bid for the presidency by trying to influence public debate and perception.

President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrumpJohn Bolton, one of the dumbest people I’ve met in government and sadly, I’ve met plenty, states often that I respected, and even trusted, Vladimir Putin of Russia more than those in our Intelligence Agencies. While of course that is not true, if the first people you met from….

Adam Schiff @RepAdamSchiff –Donald Trump has never deterred Russia from interfering in U.S. elections. Far from it. The sum total of Trump’s words and actions has only encouraged Russian meddling in our elections. Insecure, unscrupulous and transactional, Trump is Putin’s ideal American president.

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Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist. Diverse New Media, Corp. publishes Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at www.brownpeople.org Email him at [email protected]