Today is September 11th
Biden/Harris Make Swing Through Florida
Democrat Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris flew into Miami with her husband only to eat Venezuelan Arepas and flew right back out.
Wishful thinking for Republicans, but Harris stayed a bit longer than that.
Harris flew into the Magic City to speak to various groups of minorities in Doral and Miami Gardens, and just so happened to stop by a Venezuelan restaurant to pick up some arepas before making her first campaign stop.
She was accompanied by disgraced Republican and CNN commentator Ana Navarro and state Senator Annette Taddeo (D) at the airport before moving on to her scheduled stops where she was joined by Democrat Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and other south Florida Democratic leaders hoping to potentially meet the next Vice President of the United States.
COVID Relief Failure
Legislators once again failed to come together for the greater good and could not pass much-needed funding legislation. Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republicans put the blame squarely on the heads of congressional Democrats while Rep. Wasserman Schultz and others blamed Republicans for not taking the matter seriously enough.
In the end, both parties are at fault, but congressional Democrats own this particular failure. All Democrats voted against the Senate measure. READ MORE
US Rep Kathy Castor @USRepKCastor – If President Trump truly meant what he said, he would call for Senate passage of the bipartisan Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act that passed the House in September of 2019 to make permanent the ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. #ProtectOurCoast
Rep. Val Demings @RepValDemings –Racism has been the ghost in the room, not just in one system but in all systems. Until we deal with inequality in health care, education, housing, lending, policing, and all things, we will never get where we need to be.
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch –Eligible unemployed Floridians can now receive addt’l help. But this benefit may not last long & Floridians still facing economic hardship need longer-term solutions. The Senate must pass the #HeroesAct that’ll extend addt’l $600 in federal unemployment benefits until January.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy –These reports continue to demonstrate just how much voters are unwisely kept in the dark by our government about election meddling and how this confusion only serves to destabilize trust in our democracy.
Mario Diaz-Balart @MarioDB –I’ve had multiple convos with the admin, joined several letters urging action, & my office has participated in the public hearings to highlight the significance of this issue for #FL. Food security is more important than ever & this is a result of bipartisan, bicameral efforts.
“COVID relief bill fails, Democrats and Republicans blame each other” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Senator Marco Rubio’s Thursday address pitting the hopes of those Americans counting on another legislative funding bill to help them get by during the pandemic, as the junior senator from Florida announced that another recovery bill would not come before the 2020 general election. “I want to tell you the difficult truth and that difficult truth is that Congress is not going to pass another COVID relief bill before the election,” said Rubio Most everyone here knows how bad it’s going to get over the next two months without more aid, so you ask why isn’t something going to pass?” Rubio casts blame on both political parties for the deadlock, but he specifically mentioned Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer as being at the core of the stalemate, accusing them of playing politics with the lives of Americans. “Well a part of it is because some Republicans oppose spending a lot more borrowed money, but the biggest reason why nothing is going to pass before the election is because speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer believe that doing nothing is going to make things really bad over the next few weeks and that trump and the Republicans will get blamed forward and that this will help them win the Senate in the White House in November,” said Rubio. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that “every Senate Democrat” had voted against the spending measure for simple hopeful political expediency.
“Rubio Warns of China’s Continued Threat” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) joined Fox Business News’ “Mornings with Maria” to discuss the threat that China poses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an issue that the Florida lawmaker has long commented on, and it has even resulted in him being sanctioned by China. In the interview, Rubio, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, discussed the risks that Chinese state-owned enterprises pose on the national security of the United States, clarifying that “Microsoft has worked for the Department of Defense, but we don’t own Microsoft, we don’t own AT&T, we don’t own Google or Amazon.” However, “in the case of these [Chinese] companies, they are structured like independent, but no company in China is independent, none, they are all under control of the government.” “Imagine, if you are one of these companies, just think a technology company, and you are now providing, like Huawei, service for broadband, rural service for 5G and so forth, that also happens to be strategically located near important American military installations, or you make these surveillance cameras that have been installed in military facilities, all of that creates opportunities for backdoors where China doesn’t have to send spies,” Rubio added.
“Sen. Paul says if a COVID vaccine is available, people should try it” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – As states continue to battle with the idea of fully opening up or leaving certain aspects closed, the conversation has now shifted to the idea of whether or not there should be a vaccine mandate if a vaccine should be created. With countries racing to create one and already setting up trials to combat the continued spread of the coronavirus, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) commented on how the United States should move forward if it should develop a vaccine. “No one disputes the medical miracle of vaccines,” expressed the Kentucky lawmaker before asserting that “if we have a vaccine that works, by all means let’s try to vaccinate everyone that’s willing to.” In the sunshine state, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) worked across the aisle. with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D), both members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, to pass their resolution supporting GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. In a statement released after the resolution was passed, Senator Rubio argued that “GAVI remains a leading organization in providing critical support to advance global health security by ensuring access to life-saving vaccines and immunizations.” The Senator admitted that he was “happy to see the Senate unanimously approved this bipartisan resolution commending GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, for their efforts to expand vaccines, especially for children in developing countries.”
“Book backs Buchanon’s anti-child sex doll ‘CREEPER’ bill” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – It’s hard to believe that individuals who are sexually attracted to children exist in this world, but they do, and the business of pedophilia is booming. People are actually profiting from the sexual exploitation of babies and are even selling sex dolls that resemble children. Words can’t describe how disturbing and sick this is. Florida State Senator Lauren Book (D), who authored a law — CREEPER Act – to outlaw lifelike child sex dolls in Florida is now backing Rep. Vern Buchanan’s effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to outlaw the disgusting dolls nationwide. Rep.Buchanan’s aptly named bill, CREEPER Act 2.0, is modeled after Book’s bill, which unanimously passed in the Florida Legislature in 2019. “These anatomically correct, lifelike silicone dolls are eerily similar to real human children made for the sole purpose of sexual gratification,” Book said in a statement. “Just as viewing child pornography lowers the inhibitions of child predators so too do these childlike sex dolls — putting children’s safety at risk.” Book then added “What happens when the doll is no longer enough? I support Congressman Buchanan’s CREEPER Act 2.0 to expand the ban on the sale and possession of childlike sex dolls throughout all 50 states — these dolls have no place in our communities.” “I have tremendous admiration for Ms. Book,” Buchanan said. “Nothing is more heinous than crimes against innocent and defenseless children.”
“Trump Announces Potential Supreme Court Nominees, Includes Cruz, Hawley And Cotton” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump on Wednesday unveiled a new slate of 20 potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, pledging to nominate one of those names listed if the opportunity arises to fill a third and possibly fourth vacancy if re-elected a second term. In the last-minute press conference Wednesday afternoon unveiling the names of his new judicial appointments, Trump called the nomination of a Supreme Court justice as “the most important decision an American president can make.” “Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American President can make,” Trump said in a brief remark from the Diplomatic Reception Room. “For this reason, candidates for President owe the American people a specific list of the individuals they consider for the United States Supreme Court.” “Over the next four years, America’s president will choose hundreds of federal judges and in all likelihood, one, two three and even four Supreme Court justices,” Trump added. “The outcome of these decisions will determine whether we hold fast to our nation’s founding principles or whether they are lost forever.” Trump called on his Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden to publicly release the list of names of the “extremely far-left” picks he would nominate, so the American voters can “properly make a decision as to how they will vote” in less than 60 days. “Joe Biden has refused to release his list, perhaps because he knows the names are so extremely far left that they could never withstand public scrutiny or receive acceptance,” Trump said. “He must release a list of justices for people to properly make a decision on how they will vote. It’s very important that he do so.”
“Biden Slams Trump Over Woodward Book Revelations: ‘He Knowingly And Willingly Lied’ About Coronavirus Threat” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden responded to new revelations from a forthcoming book by Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward, slamming President Trump for “knowingly and willingly lied” about the threat of coronavirus pandemic weeks before it ripped through the nation. “We’ve just learned from the Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward that the President admitted on tape in February that he knew that COVID-19 passes through the air,” Biden said at beginning of his speech during a campaign event in Warren, Michigan. “He knew how much more deadly it was than the flu. He knew and he purposefully downplayed it. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to our country. For months.” Biden devoted the majority of his campaign event focusing on attacking Trump instead of unveiling his “Buy American” economic plan, what the campaign billed the campaign event but didn’t publicize the location. During his remarks, the former Vice President accused Trump of purposely lying to the American public and blamed him for costing Americans lives as well as for the economic downturn. “While a deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job — on purpose. It was a life or death betrayal of the American people,” Biden said. “His failure to act not only cost lives – it sent our economy into a tailspin that cost millions more Americans their livelihoods. This is a recession created by Donald Trump’s negligence and unfitness for this job.” “It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction and a disgrace,” Biden continued. “He’s failed our economy and our country. But look, did you really expect anything different from this guy? From someone who called those of you and those who are serving in uniform, who have given their lives to the country losers and suckers?” Biden asked, referring to The Atlantic story that claims Trump had made disparaging remarks about members of the military.
“FL Democrats Hit Trump Hard Over Oil Drilling Moratorium Extension” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – As President Trump (R) receives a nomination for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, Democratic leadership is slamming the President over his decision to extend the moratorium on offshore drilling. Taking to social media to share her thoughts on the decision, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) argued that “after 4 years of torpedoing environmental protections & blocking legislation to protect our coasts, Trump is attempting a cynical election-year Hail Mary.” “Anybody who cares about climate change or protecting our coastal economies can see through this ruse,” she added. As well, Florida Rep. Kathy Castor (D) also joined the conversation, taking to Twitter to comment that “if President Trump truly meant what he said, he would call for Senate passage of the bipartisan Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act that passed the House in September of 2019 to make permanent the ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.” On Twitter, Castor also shared her response to President “Trump’s Election Year Epiphany on Offshore Drilling.” The Florida lawmaker expresses that “no one is fooled by an executive order that can be rescinded at any time, or by a President who has rolled back over 100 landmark clean water and clean air protections.”
“Sen. Scott Endorses Leo Valentin for Congress” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) announced today that he’s endorsing Dr. Leo Valentin (R) in his bid against Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) to represent the sunshine state’s 7th Congressional District. In his announcement, the former Florida Governor argued that Valentin’s background as a businessman and physician will help cut bureaucracy in Washington. The Florida lawmaker commented that is “proud to endorse Dr. Leo Valentin in the race for Florida’s 7thCongressional District,” saying that “Leo Valentin isn’t a career politician – he’s a physician and businessman.” Scott added that “we need more people like him in Washington who will fight to cut bureaucracy and red tape to make Washington work for Florida families,” asserting that Valentin “has my full support.” In response to the endorsement, Valentin expressed that he is “honored to have the support of Senator Rick Scott,” noting that “for too long, politicians have put the D.C. swamp ahead of Florida families.” Because of this, Valentin stressed that “Senator Scott knows what it takes to cut the red tape and put Florida families ahead of the D.C. swamp, and I look forward to serving alongside him.”
“Trump Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize by a member of the Norwegian Parliament who cited the president effort in playing a key rodle for brokering a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel. Christian Tybring-Gjedde, chairman of the Norwegian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and a four-term member of Norwegian Parliament submitted Trump name for nomination to the Nobel Committee. He is also a member of Norway’s conservative-leaning Progress Part. “For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,” Tybring-Gjedde said of Trump during an interview with Fox News. In the nomination letter to the Nobel Committee, Tybring-Gjedde said the Trump administration played an important role in brokering relations between the UAE and Israel. “As it is expected other Middle Eastern countries will follow in the footsteps of the UAE, this agreement could be a game-changer that will turn the Middle East into a region of cooperation and prosperity,” Tybring-Gjedde wrote in the nomination letter. Tybring-Gjedde cited Trump’s “key role in facilitating contact between conflicting parties and … creating new dynamics in other protracted conflicts, such as the Kashmir border dispute between India and Pakistan, and the conflict between North and South Korea, as well as dealing with the nuclear capabilities of North Korea.”
“Black legislators sound warning on Florida primary amendment” by Politico’s Gary Fineout – Florida Republican and Democratic leaders ramped up their rhetoric against a proposed constitutional amendment that would open state primary elections to all voters regardless of political party. Leading the charge on Tuesday were Black legislators, who said the adoption of Amendment 3 would diminish the political clout of Black and Hispanic voters by giving white candidates better odds of winning legislative seats now held by people of color. “Not only is this a bumpy road to falsely create moderation, it has a very, very consequential impact on minority communities,” said Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson. “If you’re for Amendment 3, you’re not for the minority community. Period.” The citizen initiative is being pushed by billionaire health care executive Mike Fernandez, who left the Republican Party after President Donald Trump‘s election. If passed by 60 percent of voters, Amendment 3 would allow all voters, including those who have no party affiliation, to cast ballots in Florida’s August primaries for state legislative seats and statewide posts such as governor. The top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to the November general election. The system would be similar to California‘s. It would not apply to federal races. The Republican Party of Florida, which has controlled the Legislature and governor’s mansion for 22 years, last week voted to oppose Amendment 3 and asked GOP leaders to speak out against the measure. Party Chair Joe Gruters, who has called the proposed amendment misleading, said Republicans are “moving ahead with plans to try to take it down.”
“Kamala Harris makes first pitch to key South Florida voting blocs” by Sun Sentinel’s Anthony Man – Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, excoriated President Donald Trump on Thursday over the revelation that he knew how devastating and deadly COVID-19 would be early this year, even as he publicly downplayed its significance and continued holding mass political rallies. As Joe Biden’s presidential campaign begins to ramp up its presence in Florida, Harris spent the day in Miami-Dade County, touching key Democratic constituencies and holding fundraising events. Hispanic voters were the focus in Doral, a center of the Venezuelan community, where Harris picked up arepas at the restaurant Amaize. Black voters were the focus in Miami Gardens, where Harris met with five community and political leaders at Florida Memorial University. Jewish voters were the focus in Aventura, where Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband, met with rabbis and Jewish politicians. In Miami Gardens, Harris tore into Trump running through the timetable of what he knew, based on interviews the president recorded with Bob Woodward, author of the new book “Rage.” “We’ve heard the conversation, it’s not like a narration of the conversation, we’ve heard it. [Trump] said that COVID was deadly stuff, said it is airborne,” Harris said. “This is the same man, Donald Trump, who for days, weeks, if not months thereafter, called it a hoax, dismissed the seriousness of it to the point that he suggested people should not wear masks.”
“A $2.7 billion Florida budget shortfall looms as coronavirus unleashes a tide of red ink” by Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s John Kennedy – Florida lawmakers approved a three-year financial outlook for the state Thursday that is its worst since the Great Recession, with a $2.7 billion budget shortfall looming next year which is certain to force cuts in schools, health care and social programs. The Florida Constitution requires that the Legislature formally adopt the three-year outlook annually. While Thursday’s action included no real discussion of what should happen next to bring revenue and spending into balance – which also is a constitutional mandate – the most obvious path forward includes spending reductions. The outlook amounts to a trail map filled with financial markers showing how the coronavirus sent Florida’s economy into an abyss. “The big driver is clearly the pandemic,” said Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, which prepared the 132-page outlook. The most jarring number is the $2.7 billion shortfall in the 2021-22 year, followed by forecasts that revenue comes up $1.9 billion short the next year and $1 billion under state needs in 2023-24. It sets up the Legislature for an extended period of bare-bones spending. And it also puts Gov. Ron DeSantis on course to seek re-election in 2022 with the state still awash in red ink from a COVID-19 crisis he is attempting the steer Florida through, based largely on directions from President Donald Trump.
“Woodward IDs Florida county targeted by Russians, a claim countered by local officials” by Politico’s Gary Fineout – A new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward contends that Russian hackers successfully penetrated the voter files of St. Lucie County in 2016, a claim election officials in the county previously denied in interviews with POLITICO and again on Thursday. The identity of two counties accessed by Russians during the last presidential election has been a mystery since special counsel Robert Mueller disclosed in 2019 that Russian hackers had penetrated voting registration systems in the battleground state. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in May 2019 briefed Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida’s congressional delegation about the Russian attack and disclosed that hackers had accessed files in two counties. No vote totals were affected, but federal officials asked that the names of the two counties be kept confidential. POLITICO last year identified Washington County in the Florida Panhandle as one of the two counties. A high-level official privately had identified St. Lucie as the second county. But St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker and her systems administrator, John Spradlin, told POLITICO in December 2019 that their system had not been infiltrated. “I would be the first guy to know about it. I’m the IT guy,” Spradlin said in an interview at a conference of state election supervisors held at a central Florida golf resort. Spradlin said federal officials had given the county no information to suggest that its systems had been penetrated during the 2016 election. “Nothing happened in 2016,” Spradlin said. St. Lucie — like other counties — had received a warning about phishing emails designed to mimic ones from a voter registration system vendor, he said. “All we knew about was the whole thing with those phishing emails,” said Spradlin. Any talk of Russians penetrating voter registration systems in St. Lucie “would be news to me,” he said in 2019.
“Florida allows bars to reopen at 50% capacity starting Monday” by Local 10’S Andrea Torres – State officials announced on Thursday night that bars in Florida will be allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy starting on Monday. But not in Miami-Dade or Broward counties yet. Halsey Beshears, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation secretary, made the announcement on Twitter. “In meetings with hundreds of owners of bars and breweries across the state, I’ve heard their stories of struggle, and I’ve observed their serious commitment to making health and safety a continuing priority in their businesses,” Beshears said in a statement. While local governments are allowed to adopt requirements that are stricter than the state’s requirements, bars will not be allowed to reopen in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the reopening plan by phases will be based on the data derived from testing. According to the Florida Department of Health, the state’s phase 1 took effect on May 4 and phase 2 on June 5. Miami-Dade and Broward counties’ recovery has been slower. According to the FDOH, phase 1 took effect on May 18 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Neither county is on phase 2. Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Wednesday bars and nightclubs in Miami-Dade will likely not be allowed to reopen until there is a coronavirus vaccine available. Nightclub owners in Miami Beach are asking Gimenez to reassess the situation.
“Why is Florida DEO asking some unemployment recipients to pay benefits back?” by WFLA’s Victoria Price – Throughout the pandemic, 8 On Your Side has chronicled countless Floridians fighting to be paid unemployment benefits. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has paid out more than $15 billion in state and federal funds since March. Now, it’s demanding some people pay it back. That includes Tiffany Kimmel, a single mom from Pinellas Park who says she’s lost a lot these last few months. First it was her job as an office manager, then it was her father. Now she’s on the verge of losing her unemployment benefits after receiving a notice of overpayment. “It doesn’t make any sense,” Kimmel said over Zoom. Kimmel learned she owed the state $1,100 when she applied for unemployment earlier this year. It was overpayment from a previous unemployment claim she collected on years ago. Not wanting benefits to be delayed or denied, Kimmel says she paid the debt in April. She collected unemployment for weeks only to recently be disqualified by that past overpayment she says. The DEO wants that money back. “Even though I had paid the balance off this year, it still didn’t matter,” Kimmel explained. “And now they’re saying I owe them $3,300.” Jamie Brown also believes she was issued a false overpayment notice. Hers was for more than a thousand dollars.
“Trump tears into Kamala Harris at campaign rally, claims she’s ‘further left’ than Bernie Sanders” by Fox News’ Morgan Phillips – President Trump argued to supporters in North Carolina on Tuesday night that Sen. Kamala Harris is “further left” than Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described Democratic socialist and a favorite of the progressive left. Ripping into the 2020 Democratic ticket, Trump said that his opponent Joe Biden had formed an “unholy alliance with the most extreme and dangerous elements of the radical left.” “You know who’s further left than crazy Bernie? Kamala,” the president continued. “She could never be the first woman president. That would be an insult to our country.” He added that he wanted to see a woman president — just not Harris. Trump added that Biden is a “nicer person but not smart.” He said that the left is running the Democratic Party, adding “you don’t want to be dealing with the left. These people are stone-cold crazy.” He told the crowd of North Carolinians, about half of whom wore masks, that “your state should be open,” to boisterous cheers. If Biden is elected, Trump said “the economy will collapse.” He claimed that the former vice president “wants to impose a $4 trillion dollar tax hike, ban American Energy, eliminate America’s borders, confiscate your guns, appoint pro-crime judges, destroy the suburbs, indoctrinate your children, and implement a ruinous shutdown of the entire U.S. economy.” Trump said that Biden supports cutting police funding and ending cash bail, referring to a criminal justice plan where Biden proposed ending the cash bail system. Earlier Tuesday, Biden was asked if he wants to “defund the police.” “I not only don’t want to defund the police I am the one calling for $300 million more in local policing, community policing,” Biden told a reporter. “The only person calling to defund the police is Donald Trump. Look at his budget he calls for cutting police funding for state and local help by $400 million.”
“AstraZeneca pauses coronavirus vaccine trial after unexplained illness in volunteer” by CNN’s Maggie Fox – Drug giant AstraZeneca said Tuesday it had paused global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. It’s a standard precaution in vaccine trials that is meant to ensure experimental vaccines don’t cause serious reactions among participants. “As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data,” the company said in a statement sent to CNN. The company is testing its vaccine, called the Oxford vaccine because it was developed with Britain’s University of Oxford, in the United States as well as the UK, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials,” the statement added. “In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” Earlier Tuesday, AstraZeneca joined eight other companies in signing a pledge promising they would not seek premature government approval for any coronavirus vaccine. They promised they would wait until they had adequate data showing any potential vaccine worked safely.
“New U.S. Coronavirus Cases Fall Below 25,000” by WSJ’s Allison Prang and David Hall – The U.S. reported fewer than 25,000 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily total in nearly 12 weeks, as Labor Day weekend came to a close. Many Americans are adjusting the routines that traditionally mark the back-to-school season and the unofficial end of summer, with some digging in for an extended time working from home, others contemplating a return to workplaces and many preparing for myriad models of in-person or remote education. But the return to school has already hit some snags. Coronavirus outbreaks on some college campuses have forced some students to return to online learning and are straining on-campus quarantine capacity. And public schools in Hartford, Conn., delayed their return to in-person and online learning after a ransomware virus caused an outage that affected several critical systems. New cases: California reported more than 2,000 new cases for Sept. 7, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Florida had more than 1,800 new cases, and new cases in Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina topped 1,000. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Twitter that his state saw improved case numbers this weekend. “But the real report card will be the coming two weeks,” he wrote. “Thanks to everyone who followed common sense distancing this Labor Day.”
“Peter Strzok book claims IG Horowitz changed report on Clinton email probe at last second” by Fox News’ Tyler Olson – Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, in his memoir released Tuesday, accused Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz of changing his report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation from a draft that largely was supportive of how Stzork handled himself to the more critical final product after the DOJ and possibly the White House had seen the draft. Strzok was fired from the bureau after being removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team over anti-Trump text messages sent from his work phone. Those messages, sent to bureau colleague Lisa Page, were a major topic of the nearly 600-page report, which said there was “no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations” but that Strzok’s actions “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.” Strzok made the accusation in his book, “Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump.” He said, in a chapter titled “Bait and Switch,” that a prior draft of the inspector general (IG) report did not include the part about his texts potentially creating an appearance that the investigation was biased. The Clinton email investigation was codenamed “Midyear Exam.” “In time I actually found myself looking forward to the public release of the IG’s report,” Strzok wrote. “By late May the IG had concluded in his draft report that there was no documentary or testimonial evidence of bias in Midyear Exam.”
“United Arab Emirates and Israel to sign normalization agreement at White House next week” by CNN’s Vivian Salama, Kylie Atwood and Zachary Cohen – The White House will host a signing ceremony between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to document a new normalization deal between the two Middle Eastern countries that was brokered by the US, several administration officials said on Tuesday. The ceremony, dubbed by the White House as the Abraham Accords, will be the first Middle East White House peace signing in 26 years, according to a senior administration official. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will likely lead the Israeli delegation, the official said, and Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed will lead the UAE delegation. It’s expected to be attended by world leaders from other countries in the region but the exact list of attendees is still in the works, an administration official said. White House officials hoped to schedule the ceremony around the anniversary of the Oslo Accords, an agreement brokered by then-President Bill Clinton and signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Negotiator Mahmoud Abbas on September 13, 1993, a second administration official said. Responding to the news, UAE ambassador to the US Yousuf al Otaiba said, “We look forward to the ceremony on 15th. This historic breakthrough will open a new chapter in opportunities and stability for the region. Now that annexation is off the table, we can work together on building upon this solid foundation of peace.” The Trump administration, an ally to both nations, has worked to bring the two sides together to achieve normalization, which would entail the establishment of political and economic ties for the first time in both countries’ histories.
“Millions of Students Head Back to School for a Year Like No Other” by WSJ’s Tawnell D. Hobbs – Many students are heading back to school this week, virtually and in person, with some campuses reopening to students for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit about six months ago. For some students in grades K to 12 who returned to in-person instruction on Tuesday, the first day started with a temperature check and new rules, which require masks and social distancing. Some buildings look different inside, with hallway floors marked with arrows for traffic flow and signs on walls reminding students to keep apart and wash hands. Visitors are being kept out of many schools, denying parents the time-honored tradition of walking their children to class on the first day. Many districts offered students the option to learn remotely or in-person, or a mix of both. But some districts are starting online only, including many of the largest, such as Chicago and Houston. Districts in virus hot spots more often delayed reopening until after Labor Day. “We are doing much better now than we were last spring,” said Curtis Jones Jr., superintendent of the Bibb County School District in Macon, Ga., that reopened only online Tuesday. The district had shut down three weeks early in the spring because of stress in the community over remote learning, including connectivity issues, parental pressure to close and teachers untrained in remote learning. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been pushing for schools to open for in-person learning as an option for families who want or need it. Some parents say they work full time and can’t help educate their children at home, while others are critical of remote learning after the method produced generally dismal results in the spring.
“McConnell accuses Democrats of playing ‘Goldilocks’ games with coronavirus relief” by Fox News’ Marisa Schultz – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday accused Democrats of playing “Goldilocks games” with coronavirus relief to struggling Americans by refusing to agree to any bill until it was just right. McConnell, R-Ky., made the remarks in the Senate after lawmakers returned from a summer recess without making any headway on legislation to help Americans reeling from the health crisis, joblessness and limited school reopenings. But McConnell tried to put the blame on Democrats for the impasse for rejecting piecemeal efforts. “The Democratic leaders have spent months playing these Goldilocks games,” McConnell said Tuesday. “They’ve complained about every single thing we put forward. But they’ve produced nothing of their own with any chance whatsoever of becoming law.” McConnell’s remarks came as he unveiled a scaled-back bill that the Senate is expected to vote on Thursday in a procedural motion. The legislation – expected to cost about $300 billion – has little chance of becoming law as Democrats panned it as “emaciated” compared with their $3 trillion proposal that passed the House in May. McConnell framed the debate as an opportunity to do something. “Senators will not be voting on whether this targeted package satisfies every one of their legislative hopes and dreams,” McConnell said. “That’s not what we will do in this chamber. We vote on whether to make laws, whether to forge a compromise, whether to do a lot of good for the country and keep arguing over the remaining differences later.” But Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., panned McConnell’s attempt as a “show vote” that does nothing in terms of forging compromise. He knocked Republicans for leaving town this summer and returning now with a partisan measure that is going nowhere.
“Trump visibly distressed over Atlantic story fallout from claims he disparaged the military” by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak – President Donald Trump was visibly distressed this weekend over the fallout that ensued from the story published in The Atlantic alleging that he privately disparaged the war dead. In several conversations since the story was published Thursday, Trump vigorously denied that he made the comments and touted what he’s done for the military. Two people who spoke with him said it was clearly a sign of how much the story had resonated with Trump — and his fear that it could hurt his support with the military. When the story first appeared on Thursday, Trump was outraged during his flight from Pennsylvania and demanded that aides begin denying it. That included sending his chief of staff Mark Meadows to the back of Air Force One to tell reporters it wasn’t true. His angered reaction prompted officials to mobilize the massive pushback effort that began Thursday night.
By the weekend, however, Trump appeared more deflated than outraged at the allegations lobbed against him, based on conversations he had. It was a relatively quiet weekend at the White House until Trump decided he wanted to hold a Labor Day news conference. Just as aides believed the story was quieting down, Trump accused top Pentagon military leaders of being beholden to defense contractors, an astonishing comment from the President as he’s trying to bolster support with those people. Trump had been privately upset that more of the top brass at the Pentagon had not defended him in the wake of The Atlantic’s story and some saw this as a response to that.
by WSJ’s John D. McKinnon – Three influential GOP senators introduced legislation Tuesday that would make social-media platforms more responsible for their online content, an initiative likely to face fierce resistance from Silicon Valley. The legislation takes aim at Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which gives online companies broad immunity from legal liability for user-generated content on their platforms. Its main provisions would narrow the scope of the companies’ latitude to police content by tightening standards for material that can be removed or restricted while still maintaining the protection. Companies would still be free to remove content that is considered lewd or harassing, for example. But the legislation would restrict the ability of companies to censor content that is considered “otherwise objectionable,” which critics say has given the companies too much latitude. Instead, content could only be removed under the law for more specific findings of unsuitability, such as being excessively violent. Republicans including President Trump contend that social-media platforms routinely censor conservative viewpoints—but not comparable opinions by liberals, which the industry has disputed. “Social media companies are routinely censoring content that to many, should be considered valid political speech,” one of the sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said. “This reform proposal addresses the concerns of those who feel like their political views are being unfairly suppressed.” In addition to Sen. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill is sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), the Commerce Committee chairman, and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), who’s a member of both panels.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump–In 2001, our Nation, united under God, made an unbreakable promise never to forget the nearly 3,000 innocent Americans who were senselessly killed on September 11th. On this sacred day — Patriot Day — we solemnly honor that commitment.
Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi –The sad state of America’s coronavirus response today is the result of President Trump’s failure to lead these past months and Mitch McConnell’s one-sided pause. We can’t waste a day. The Senate must pass the #HeroesAct or the situation will worsen.