Florida’s 2024 Presidential Hopefuls
Democrats, mainstream media types, and those wacky Lincoln Project Republicans have been rejoicing that vice president Joe Biden was up by double-digits over President Donald Trump in all the public opinion polls, but now it appears as if those celebrations were a little too premature.
The latest average of polls in the 2020 presidential contest between Trump and Biden has the former vice president leading by only 6 percentage points.
Trump is trending up, Biden is not.
Regardless if Trump wins reelection, three Floridians are watching this race closer than most.
Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, are all waiting to see what happens with the upcoming Trump vs. Biden cage match, as all three men have presidential aspirations.
Remember, Rubio should have been the nominee in 2016. If it wasn’t for his support for the infamous Senate Gang of 8 immigration bill in 2013, Trump probably would not have run.
Back in 2015, then-candidate Trump called yours truly and over a 48-minute phone conversation said that he saw Rubio as the biggest threat and probably wouldn’t have jumped in the race if not for Rubio’s position on immigration.
DeSantis and Scott have told aides as far back as 2018 that they were both mulling over a run for president after Trump left office.
If all three men decide to run, who would you support?
Rubio? DeSantis? Scott?
Meanwhile, Trump is praising both DeSantis and Scott for their past and present efforts to keep Florida’s election process safe
“Nevada has ZERO infrastructure for Mail-In Voting. It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts,” stated Trump. “ It will take months, or years, to figure out. Florida has built a great infrastructure, over the years, with two great Republican Governors. Florida, send in your Ballots!” READ MORE
LIES, LIES, AND MORE LIES
This has gotten downright embarrassing for this Republican congressional candidate. Who is consulting her? Someone needs to tell her when to shut up. READ MORE
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***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 @SenRickScott–Republicans are trying to help American families and small businesses, while Democrats are just looking for another way to hustle more hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund their Liberal agenda.
Rep. Matt Gaetz @RepMattGaetz –America has a challenging history – but I cherish every bit of it. The intolerable moments in our history allow us to see that we have to be better versions of ourselves in the future.
Commissioner Nikki Fried @NikkiFriedFL –Yesterday, we launched our Be SMART Florida #COVID19 consumer awareness campaign. And in the past day, the message has been seen more than 50 million times by people like you! We’ll reopen our state and economy safer together, so spread the word and #BeSMARTFL!
“Trump praises Scott and DeSantis over Florida’s “great” election system” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – With Republican Absentee Ballots being turned in a record-low pace in Florida, President Donald Trump has tweeted a call to action for all Floridians: “Florida, send in your ballots!” The ask was made after the Trump Campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) file a lawsuit against the state of Nevada after it approved a mail-in ballot plan for all registered voters. The Democratic-controlled Nevada state legislature spent part of its weekend voting and passing a hyper-partisan election bill that would allow any registered Nevada voter to receive a mail-in ballot. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed the bill into law on Monday. “This bill will help prevent Nevadans from experiencing the long lines at polling locations they faced during the Primary election, which will protect their safety, safeguard their right to make their voices heard, and help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” tweeted Sisolak Trump, as expected, called out Nevada’s voting play, tweeting that the move would be “a corrupt disaster” if the courts do no intervene. “Nevada has ZERO infrastructure for Mail-In Voting. It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts,” stated Trump. “ It will take months, or years, to figure out. Florida has built a great infrastructure, over years, with two great Republican Governors. Florida, send in your Ballots!”
“Trump Says He’ll ‘Probably’ Deliver GOP Convention Acceptance Speech From White House” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump on Wednesday said 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 Wednesday morning. “If for some reason somebody had difficulty with it, I would — I could, you know, go someplace else.” Trump said delivering the speech from the White House as being “the easiest alternative,” adding that it would also be the least expensive for American taxpayers. “We’re thinking about doing it from the White House because there’s no movement,” Trump continued. “It’s easy and I think it’s a beautiful setting and we are thinking about that it’s certainly one of the alternatives. It would be the easiest from the standpoint of security. You know these, they move with a lot of people, it’s a very expensive operation militarily. And law enforcement-wise. The Secret Service is fantastic. But it’s a big deal.” He added: “I think it’s a great place and greatly representative of our nation. It would by far be the least expensive from the country’s standpoint because it really is it’s a big deal when you get up and move all of this apparatus.”
“Mucarsel-Powell plays race card in new ad” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), who is running for reelection after turning her district blue in the 2018 midterm election, has just released her first advertisement. Sharing the advertisement on Twitter, Mucarsel-Powell noted that she “came to America at age 14. And made my way from working in a donut shop to fighting for you in Congress.” She added that she has one message for voters when it comes to seeking a reelection bid. Her “message for Donald Trump: Don’t mess with my people.” In the advertisement, Mucarsel-Powell recounts her upbringing, saying that her journey to Congress is proof of “what’s possible in America.” She adds that “The truth is, right now, there’s a group of corrupt people in power trying to make that harder for all us,” which takes political jabs at not only the President but also Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and her Congressional opponent Mayor Carlos Jimenez (R). Outlining the financial effect that their decisions have had on Americans, Mucarsel-Powell made the distinction between herself and Republicans, arguing that she is “fighting every day for those who have a dream and the courage to pursue it.”
“Wasserman Schultz calls Trump an “incompetent megalomaniac” over COVID death toll remark” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – President Trump’s recent interview with Axios has drawn heavy criticism over the President’s responses and demeanor, which was called incompetent by mainstream media outlets and their pundits. Much of the interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, and much of the criticism has been in reference to a response the President gave when asked about the rising COVID death toll. Trump’s response? “It is what it is.” The President added, “but that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it.” In response to the President’s interview, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D) took to Twitter to share her disapproval of the President’s words, citing how disappointed she was. Sharing a CNN article on the President’s talk with Swan, the Florida lawmaker admitted that “only a defeated, incompetent megalomaniac incapable of compassion reacts to 1,000 funerals a day with ‘it is what it is.’”
“Controversy over public special ed during pandemic continues in South Florida” by Local 10’s Hatzel Vela and Andrea Torres – To slow the spread of the coronavirus, the school districts in Miami-Dade and Broward counties have decided to continue virtual education during the fall. The fear that distance learning may not be enough for students with special needs had fueled a controversy. Some parents believe their children need in-person instruction, one-on-one intervention and there need to be exceptions for special education services. Children who are usually receiving help from teachers and therapists are now having to rely on their parents. Speech therapy has turned into teletherapy. It’s a statewide dilemma. More than 13% of Florida’s public school students receive special education services, according to the U.S. Department of Education. On Wednesday, Broward’s Teacher Union was standing against the possibility that the district could start a pilot program on a volunteer basis at some of the Broward County public schools. “It’s too much of a risk factor when we have this disease out there that is so strong,” said Anna Fusco, the union’s president. A judge agreed Monday to expedite hearings for a lawsuit filed by Florida’s largest teacher’s union over the safety of the start of school.
“Florida father starts petition to push for in-person learning” by Fox 35 Orlando – As a petition to postpone a return to in-person learning gains more signatures in Florida, a Brevard County father has started a petition of his own to start school without delay. While MoveOn.org still needs to review the petition, Christopher Messina says he felt it was essential to gather support for those who plan to send their kids to school. He says some children do better learning in the classroom and want to see their friends. “What’s more important is the socialization and being with friends and dealing with all that. So it’s critically important that schools reopen and it’s disheartening to hear anyone trying to stand in the way of that.” Messina wanted to speak out after seeing our story air on FOX 35 News regarding a man who was concerned about COVID-19 spreading in schools and asking the governor to postpone in-person classes. Messina says everyone has a right to make their own choice, whether it’s a student or teacher. “What I find very disconcerting in general is the degree to which I’ve seen rational adults turn into panicked fear mongers. If he’s concerned, by all means, stay home. We’re having that discussion with teachers and administrators now. You no longer want to do your job, don’t do your job.”
“Florida inmate COVID-19 deaths up to 59 as outbreaks continue” by News Service of Florida – The number of Florida prison inmates who have died from COVID-19 increased to 59 on Wednesday, while corrections officials said they have taken additional steps to deal with outbreaks at two facilities. The number of inmates who have died was up from 54 in a Tuesday count. Meanwhile, the number of inmates who have tested positive statewide increased to 9,460 on Wednesday, up from 9,180 a day earlier, according to the Florida Department of Correction. The number of infected corrections workers increased to 1,866 on Wednesday, up from 1,810 on Tuesday. The department said Wednesday it has taken additional steps to try to stem the spread of the disease at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, which has had 777 inmates and 97 workers test positive. That came a day after the department made a similar announcement about addressing an outbreak at Florida Women’s Reception Center, a facility in Ocala that totaled 472 inmate cases and 31 worker cases on Wednesday.
“Pence tours pregnancy center, fires up GOP base in Florida” by Associated Press’ Tamara Lush – Vice President Mike Pence visited Florida’s Tampa Bay area on Wednesday, firing up the Republican party’s conservative base while touring a pregnancy center, speaking at a church and making an appearance before a packed ballroom. Pence’s visit highlighted his anti-abortion and conservative Christian stance, courting religious voters in part by seeking to frame Democrats as a threat to religious freedom. He made the trip with his daughter, Charlotte Pence Bond. He told about 200 people in the crowded ballroom at the Hilton in Clearwater that during this election, America is at a crossroads between “a society grounded in freedom” versus one grounded in “socialism.” “The choice we face is whether America will remain America,” he said. Florida GOP Congressman Gus Bilirakis spoke before the vice president came onstage, warning against votes in the fall for Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Pence came on and hammered Biden for his views on cutting funding for law enforcement, claiming that he said he would cut police funding. “We will always back the blue,” Pence said to raucous applause. “We’re not going to defund the police. Not now, not ever.”
“Florida has the second-most COVID-19 schemes in the country” by WFLA’s Kelsey Sunderland – Nationwide, schemers have used coronavirus fears to swindle nearly $100 million out of the pockets of Americans, and much of that money has come from Florida residents. In a new study about stimulus check schemes and shopping schemes related to COVID-19, analysts used data from the Federal Trade Commission to compare changes in the number of coronavirus-related scams and rank the states by the number of fraud complaints that have been reported. In July, 7,244 coronavirus-related fraud complaints were filed from Floridians to the FTC. That’s a 124% increase from the 3,240 FTC complaints received by Florida residents in March. The only state with more complaints is California with 10,938 complaints in July. In total, the FTC has receieved more than 150,000 coronavirus and stimulus check-related complaints this year. If you have been a victim of a coronavirus-related scam, file a complaint can be done through the FTC website.
“Coronavirus in Florida: Landlords hoping for state assistance as rent forgiveness continues” by Local 10’s Amy Viteri – So far, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended the moratorium on rent with each month that has passed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, landlords say they are getting no help paying their property bills. Now, a proposal from state lawmakers aims to provide support to everyone involved. Landlords throughout South Florida say the repeated extensions of governor DeSantis’ moratorium on evictions have left them behind. “I feel like hostage, because how come the government controls my property,” said landlord Arik Lev. “You let everybody live for free. With no supporting document. No burden of proof.” Lev says he has had trouble paying bills after months with no rental income at his Hollywood property. Frances Blissett is a landlord and real estate attorney who handles evictions. She said while tenants are receiving protection, no one is looking out for small landlords who rely on rental income to make ends meet. “Come November 1 we have taxes due, real estate taxes, what does the landlord do?” she asked. “Their tenants are getting the money, they’re getting unemployment, they’re getting stimulus, they’re getting tax returns, and they’re going out an buying furniture and not paying their rent.” A new proposal from State Senator Jason Pizzo aims to address the debts owners owe the banks. His pitch is a tri-party agreement with banks, landlords and tenants.
“Facebook removes Trump post over coronavirus misinformation rules; Twitter also clamps down” by Fox News’ Lucas Manfredi – Facebook and Twitter are both taking action after a video shared by President Trump they say contains misinformation about the coronavirus. “This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois told Fox News in a statement. In the removed video, the president told Fox & Friends that schools should remain open. “My view is that schools should be open,” Trump said. “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease.” He added that children have “much stronger immune systems” and “just don’t have a problem.” According to Facebook, this is the first time the social media platform has taken down a post from the president regarding misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. It was not immediately clear if all posts containing the video have been removed. The move comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced increased scrutiny to crack down on misinformation since the 2016 election, with a long list of companies that have threatened to pull advertising on the platform.
“Republican operatives are helping Kanye West get on general election ballots” by CNN’s Dan Merica and Jeff Zeleny – Republican operatives, some with ties to President Donald Trump, are actively helping Kanye West get on presidential general election ballots in states ranging from Vermont to Arkansas to Wisconsin. The effort is raising questions about whether Republicans are pushing for the rapper’s addition to the ballot as a way to potentially siphon voters from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Until Tuesday, West’s attempts to get his name on the ballot have only focused on states that are either dominated by Republicans or Democrats in presidential elections. But West’s expected addition to the ballot in Wisconsin means the rapper will likely be a choice for voters in a battleground state that is key to both Trump and Biden’s path to winning in November. “I like Kanye very much,” Trump said at the White House on Wednesday evening. “I have nothing to do with him being on the ballot. I’m not involved.” Democrats in Wisconsin and beyond called it a blatant attempt to appeal to young Black voters who may be unenthused about the Biden campaign. Any downturn in turnout for Biden among young black voters, a group the Trump campaign has tried to target in the race against the former vice president, could impact the outcome in states with traditionally narrow margins, like Wisconsin.
“Acting State Department Watchdog Resigns” by WSJ’s Courtney McBride – The acting State Department inspector general has resigned and plans to return to the private sector, stepping down as the agency’s internal watchdog as a congressional inquiry into President Trump’s May ouster of his predecessor gains steam. Stephen Akard, a former career foreign-service officer, was simultaneously leading the department’s Office of Foreign Missions, prompting criticism from congressional Democrats that he reported to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while also serving as an independent inspector general over the department and its officials. Diana Shaw, the deputy inspector general, will serve as the next acting inspector general. “He left to go back home,” Mr. Pompeo said Wednesday when asked about Mr. Akard’s departure. “This happens. I don’t have anything more to add to that.” Mr. Akard became acting inspector general in May after Mr. Trump fired Steve Linick on Mr. Pompeo’s recommendation. Mr. Pompeo has alleged Mr. Linick’s office was the source of leaks to the news media and claimed the internal watchdog was working to undermine the department. Mr. Linick has said that at the time of his termination, his office was examining the Trump administration’s 2019 use of an emergency declaration to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Sen. Rand Paul blasts GOP colleagues, says they should ‘apologize’ to Obama for past spending complaints” by Fox News’ Victor Garcia – Congressional Republicans should apologize to former President Barack Obama “for complaining that he was spending and borrowing too much,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told “Your World” Wednesday. “It’s funny that people say, ‘Well, Washington Republicans and Democrats never compromise and can’t get along.’ That’s actually the opposite of the truth,” Paul told host Neil Cavuto. “Republicans and Democrats compromise every day of the year to spend money we don’t have. “So we were already running a trillion dollars short just with our normal budgetary expenses for the year,” the senator went on. “We added three trillion [with the CARES Act]. Now they’re talking about another one to two trillion. We’re going to borrow $5 trillion in five months. I remember when conservatives complained about George W. Bush borrowing $5 trillion in eight years … [Obama] was a piker compared to their borrowing that they’re doing now.” Democratic leaders and White House officials are trying to finalize a so-called “Phase 4” emergency aid bill this week and hold a vote in Congress on it next week. Paul warned that the amount of spending involved in such legislation could have negative consequences for Republicans in November.
“A Russian ship’s cargo of dangerous ammonium nitrate was stranded in Beirut port for years” by CNN’s Katie Polglase – As Lebanon’s investigation into the devastating blast in Beirut continues, officials have pointed to a possible cause: A massive shipment of agricultural fertilizer that authorities say was stored in the port of Beirut without safety precautions for years — despite warnings by local officials. Documents newly reviewed by CNN reveal that a shipment of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut on a Russian-owned vessel in 2013. The ship, named the MV Rhosus, was destined for Mozambique — but stopped in Beirut due to financial difficulties that also created unrest with the ship’s Russian and Ukrainian crew. Once it arrived, the ship never left Beirut’s port, according Lebanon’s Director of Customs, Badri Daher, despite repeated warnings by him and others that the cargo was the equivalent of “a floating bomb.” “Due to the extreme danger posed by this stored items in unsuitable climate conditions, we reiterate our request to the Port Authorities to re-export the goods immediately to maintain the safety of the port and those working in it,” Daher’s predecessor, Chafic Merhi, wrote in a 2016 letter addressed to a judge involved in the case. Lebanese authorities have not named the MV Rhosus as the source of the substance that ultimately exploded in Beirut on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the devastating blast was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. He added that the substance had been stored for six years at the port warehouse without safety measures, “endangering the safety of citizens.”
“Appeals Court Allows Dakota Access Pipeline to Continue Operating” by WSJ’s Rebecca Elliott – A federal appeals court said the Dakota Access pipeline can continue carrying oil for now, a win for pipeline operator Energy Transfer LP ET 3.47% and North Dakota oil producers. The Wednesday decision by a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit effectively reverses a lower court’s order that the pipeline be emptied of crude by Aug. 5 and remain shut down while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes an environmental-impact statement of the conduit’s crossing under Lake Oahe, a review expected to take 13 months. Dakota Access has been carrying oil nearly 1,200 miles from North Dakota to Illinois since 2017. As of earlier this year, it transported nearly 40% of North Dakota’s oil, according to East Daley Capital Advisors Inc. But a federal judge ruled earlier this year that the Army Corps didn’t conduct a sufficient environmental review before granting the pipeline an easement to cross Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River. The appeals court said a lower court would consider arguments about whether the pipeline should be emptied, but said it didn’t find immediate cause to do so. Meanwhile, the appeals court will continue to review the pipeline and Army Corp’s contention that an additional environmental review isn’t required.
“Susan Rice on her Trump-supporting son: ‘I love him dearly’” by Fox News’ Morgan Phillips – Former UN Ambassador Susan Rice opened up about her right-leaning son in an interview Wednesday, saying blood is thicker than politics. “I have a 23-year-old son whom I love dearly, whose politics are very, very different from my own and from the rest of our family,” the former Obama administration cabinet member told NPR. “My son and I will have some robust disagreements over some matters of policy, not all. And yet, at the end of the day, you know, I love him dearly, and he loves me.” Rice, who served as ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 and as national security advisor from 2013 to 2017, has risen to the spotlight in recent days due to her reported spot on Joe Biden’s shortlist for potential vice presidential choices. Her son, John David Rice-Cameron, was president of the Stanford College Republicans and hosted events such as “Make Stanford Great Again.” His mother said she believes, for both her family and the country, in respecting those with differing political views and finding areas of agreement. And she said she and her son don’t disagree on everything.
“Twitter temporarily restricted Trump campaign’s ability to tweet over false Covid-19 claims” by CNN’s Rishi Iyengar and Donie O’Sullivan – Twitter said on Wednesday it had restricted President Donald Trump’s campaign from tweeting after its account shared a video containing false claims about the coronavirus. The tweet, a video of Trump’s interview with Fox News in which he said children are “almost immune” to the virus, “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on Covid-19 misinformation,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.” The account appeared to have the ability to tweet following Twitter’s statement, suggesting the campaign had complied with the order and removed the video. Twitter confirmed to CNN that the campaign’s account can tweet again. Just hours before, Facebook removed a post from Trump’s main page featuring the same interview for similar reasons. Courtney Parella, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, said the President was “stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus,” echoing the statement she shared after Facebook’s removal. Parella accused Silicon Valley of being biased against the President and said “social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.”
“Trump Campaign Raises $165 Million in July, $25 Million More Than Biden’s” by WSJ’s Ken Thomas – President Trump’s campaign hauled in more than $165 million in July in combined fundraising with the Republican National Committee, surpassing Joe Biden’s campaign team by about $25 million, ahead of the fall general election. Mr. Trump’s campaign said it had raised $1.1 billion since January 2019 but its cash advantage has been all but erased by the former vice president’s aggressive fundraising. The president’s team said it ended the month with more than $300 million in the bank while Mr. Biden’s campaign said it ended July with $294 million, increasing its savings by about $50 million during the month. Mr. Biden raised $140 million in July in combined fundraising with the Democratic National Committee, nearly matching his output during June. It offered the latest sign that Mr. Biden’s earlier fundraising struggles have been overcome despite his campaign’s reliance on online donations and virtual fundraisers during the pandemic. Mr. Biden and the DNC raised more money than the president and the Republican National Committee in May and June but the president has been helped by an earlier fundraising start. Mr. Trump began his re-election effort in January 2017. The Trump campaign said July’s totals eclipsed the total raised during any single month of 2016 and was the largest online fundraising month for his re-election campaign.
“Karen Bass faces down past as questions mount over Cuba, Scientology, Nation of Islam events” by Fox News’ Adam Shaw – Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., is tackling mounting questions about her past — on issues spanning her remarks about Cuba and Scientology as well as events affiliated with the Nation of Islam — amid renewed scrutiny due to her presence on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s VP shortlist. “I’m not a socialist. I’m not a communist. I’ve belonged to one party my entire life and that’s the Democratic Party and I’m a Christian,” Bass told NBC News in an interview published Monday. Bass is widely reported to be on Biden’s running mate shortlist, but as her odds and profile have risen in recent weeks, so has the media scrutiny into her past — particularly concerning her relationship with Cuba. Bass traveled to Cuba in 1973 with an organization called the Venceremos Brigade, a joint venture between the Castro regime and left-wing U.S. groups that organized trips for Americans to the country. During that trip, she went to see Fidel Castro speak and, in 2016, when the dictator died, she sparked controversy by referring to him as “commandante en jefe” (commander in chief) and calling his death a “great loss to the people of Cuba.”
“Federal judge pens scathing opinion on qualified immunity: ‘Let us waste no time in righting this wrong’” by CNN’s Jamie Ehrlich and Ariane de Vogue – A federal judge in Mississippi wrote a scathing opinion Tuesday urging the Supreme Court to revisit qualified immunity, a legal doctrine created nearly 40 years ago that the judge argues is shielding law enforcement and government officials from accountability. “Tragically, thousands have died at the hands of law enforcement over the years, and the death toll continues to rise,” Judge Carlton Reeves, of the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, wrote in an opinion that started with examples of cases including those of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor. “Countless more have suffered from other forms of abuse and misconduct by police.”
“Qualified immunity has served as a shield for these officers, protecting them from accountability,” Reeves added. In recent years, legal scholars, judges and justices on all sides of the ideological spectrum have criticized the legal doctrine known as qualified immunity, arguing that it is not grounded in the proper legal authorities and it too often shields officials from accountability. Under the doctrine, an officer will not be liable even if he violated the Constitution unless it was “clearly established” by prior cases that his conduct was unconstitutional.
“Progressive ‘Squad’ Member Rashida Tlaib Faces Test in Michigan Primary Rematch” by WSJ’s Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson – The staying power of “the squad,” the firebrand progressives who swept into the House two years ago, faced its biggest test Tuesday, when Michigan Democrats voted whether to renominate Rep. Rashida Tlaib for Congress. Amid slow vote counting, Ms. Tlaib had the lead in early results but it remained too close to call late Tuesday. Michigan voters also picked a set of candidates to vie in November for the seat being vacated by Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian who left the Republican Party last year after coming out in support of impeaching President Trump, among other races. As with other states, Michigan is bracing for record turnout as voters rely on mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to about 6,500 deaths in the state. The Michigan secretary of state’s office said about 1.5 million absentee ballots had been returned as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday—a record number. As a result, election results may be delayed by a day or two, the secretary of state previously said. Ms. Tlaib represents the state’s 13th Congressional District, a majority Black district that covers parts of Detroit and its suburbs.
“Dem Senator walks out of Ted Cruz’s Antifa hearing: ‘I don’t think you listen’” by Fox News’ Marisa Schultz – Tensions flared at a Senate hearing on Antifa when a top Democrat walked out of the room declaring she couldn’t sit through Sen. Ted Cruz’s rhetorical speeches any longer. The dustup occurred when Cruz, R-Texas, blasted Democrats for not condemning Antifa more directly for the violence and destruction that has taken hold in certain U.S. cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. But Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said Cruz just wasn’t listening during the more than three-hour hearing when Democrats said violence is not acceptable. “Sometimes I don’t think you listen,” Hirono told Cruz at the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing as he finished up with a nearly 10-minute speech. “So, how many times have I had to say that we all should be denouncing violent extremists of every stripe.” “Does that include Antifa?” said Cruz, who was chairing the hearing. “I have the time,” Hirono shot back. “…I hope this is the end of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, and that we don’t have to listen to any more of your rhetorical speeches,” Hirono concluded. “Thank you very much. I’m leaving.”
“Alexander Vindman in fiery op-ed upon military retirement: ‘I believe that in America, right matters’” by CNN’s Caroline Kelly – Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman stood by his decision to act as a key witness in President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry, vowing in a fiery Washington Post op-ed to reform a government he slammed as “reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled.” “At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment,” wrote Vindman, whose family fled to the US from the Soviet Union when he was a child. “Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents,” he continued later, adding, “There is another way.” In the op-ed that published Saturday upon retiring from the US Army after more than 21 years of military service, Vindman — “now a civilian” — recounted how he did not expect the course of events that stemmed from his decision to report concerns about Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with the Ukrainian President to other officials on the National Security Council. Vindman’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry ultimately prompted Trump to fire him as the top Ukraine expert on the council in February and his decision to retire from the Army.
“Justice Department Seeks as Much as $18.1 Billion From Purdue Pharma” by WSJ’s Sara Randazzo – The Justice Department is seeking as much as $18.1 billion from bankrupt opioid maker Purdue Pharma LP, new filings show, a demand that could disrupt the company’s monthslong effort to reach a settlement with states and local communities that accuse it of helping fuel the opioid crisis. The filings, made by the Justice Department in connection with Purdue’s bankruptcy case, also telegraph for the first time the nature and scope of yearslong criminal and civil investigations into the OxyContin maker. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Purdue’s marketing and distribution of opioids violated criminal statutes including anti-kickback laws, misbranding under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and conspiracy, according to the filings. On the civil side, they are looking at whether Purdue offered kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies to encourage them to prescribe and dispense more OxyContin, and whether the company transferred cash to hide money from creditors, the new filings show. Purdue said Tuesday that the company is in discussions to resolve criminal and civil investigations with the Justice Department and had no further comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.
“Kansas Republicans choose Rep. Marshall over firebrand Kobach for Senate seat” by Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly – Rep. Roger Marshall defeated controversial former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach Tuesday evening to win the Republican nomination for a Senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS. The win in the GOP primary means that Republican voters in the Sunflower State heeded their party’s advice by choosing the more moderate Marshall over the conservative firebrand Kobach. Republican leadership was concerned that a Kobach win would could ultimately flip the generally safe Senate seat to the Democrats in November’s general election. “Kansas Republicans knew what was at stake in this primary, and tonight’s results prove voters will reject any Democrat efforts to buy this seat,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said in a statement. “I’m more confident than ever Kansas will remain part of the Republican Senate Majority.” Besides besting Kobach, Marshall prevailed in a crowded GOP primary field with the backing of major farm, business and anti-abortion groups but without an endorsement from President Trump. Many Republicans’ fears about Kobach fueled ad campaigns that cost at least $15 million, with most of the spending by political action committees. Kobach is nationally known for advocating restrictive immigration policies and alienated independent and moderate GOP voters in losing the Kansas governor’s race in 2018.
“Lebanon explosion: Thousands injured across capital Beirut” by CNN’s Ghazi Balkiz, Tamara Qiblawi and Ben Wedeman – A massive explosion ripped through central Beirut on Tuesday, killing dozens of people, injuring thousands and blowing out windows in buildings across the city. The blast near Beirut’s port sent up a huge mushroom cloud-shaped shockwave, flipping cars and damaging distant buildings. It was felt as far as Cyprus, hundreds of miles away, and registered as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake in the Lebanese capital. Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, said that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years at a port warehouse without safety measures, “endangering the safety of citizens,” according to a statement. The Prime Minister called the storage of the material “unacceptable” and called for an investigation into the cause of the blast, with the results released within five days, the statement said. Lebanon’s General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said the “highly explosive material” had been confiscated years earlier and stored in the warehouse, just minutes’ walk from Beirut’s shopping and nightlife districts. Initial reports blamed the explosion on a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port, according to Lebanese state news agency NNA.
“Convalescent Plasma Reduced Death Rate Among Covid-19 Patients, Study Data Signals” by WSJ’s Amy Dockser Marcus – Hospitalized Covid-19 patients who received transfusions of blood plasma rich with antibodies from recovered patients reduced their mortality rate by about 50%, according to researchers running a large national study. The researchers presented their data analysis Saturday in a webinar for physicians interested in learning about so-called convalescent plasma, with data slides that were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The researchers said they saw signs that the treatment might be working in patients who received high levels of antibodies in plasma early in the course of their illness. They based their conclusions on an analysis of about 3,000 patients. Patients who at three days or less after diagnosis received plasma containing high levels of antibodies against the coronavirus had a mortality rate of 6.6% at seven days after the transfusion. That compared with a mortality rate of 13.3% for patients who got plasma with low levels of antibodies at four days or more after diagnosis. That indicates reduced mortality of about 50%, the researchers said. At 30 days after transfusion, the mortality rate was reduced by about 36%, investigators reported. The sharing of the data comes as the Food and Drug Administration is nearing a decision to authorize emergency use of convalescent plasma for treating people infected with the coronavirus. The FDA can’t comment on whether it would take such action, a spokeswoman said.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump–How can voters be sending in Ballots starting, in some cases, one month before the First Presidential Debate. Move the First Debate up. A debate, to me, is a Public Service. Joe Biden and I owe it to the American People!
Totally under control.
Anyone that wants a test can get a test.
I don’t take responsibility at all.
(That much is clear.)
Slow the testing down.
And now: “It is what it is.”
Americans are paying the price.