Chain Gang Charlie is Back, Kind of
When Rep. Charlie Crist (D) was the Republican Governor of Florida, many, many moons ago, her pushed for felons to get their voting rights restored, and was a strict supporter of law enforcement and supported the adherence to state and federal law.
After all, Crist was first the top cop in the state before becoming governor.
Now Crist is a sitting member of the U.S. Congress and he thinks that current Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s call for an investigation into possible elections violations or crimes is “absurd.”
This stems from billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s offer to pay the debt of felons in Florida so they can vote this year.
Why not let the FBI look into the matter and sort things out? Isn’t this what Democrats always call for whenever it’s a Republican who is at the center of attention?
Let me remind you about the recent “fake” Russia collusion investigation and the Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
Democrats demanded that the FBI look into the possibility that crime(s) was committed by President Trump and anyone even remotely associated with him.
Can anyone say Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and General Mike Flynn? READ MORE
Charlie Chameleon Changes Colors, Again
He was first all about the Black Lives Matter movement and the “peaceful” protests transpired after the George Floyd murder, but now that polls show that most Americans do not support the rioting and Republicans running for congress surging because of the BLM and ANTIFA rioting, Crist is now denouncing the violence.
Conservative state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) has landed the Club for Growth’s Defender of Economic Award.
U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R) will be promoted today to Lt. Col in the U.S. Army National Guard. Waltz is a Green Beret.
Marco Rubio @marcorubio–As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one And at noon on Jan 20,2021 we will peacefully swear in the President
Congressman Greg Steube @RepGregSteube–Time after time, Dems have tried to disregard the Constitution and ignore the will of the American people to solidify their power and promote liberal judicial activism.
Rep. Lois Frankel @RepLoisFrankel–Republicans and @realDonaldTrump have spent the last 3.5 years trying to end protections for pre-existing conditions and take #healthcare away from 20 million Americans. They continue to #FailThePeople and put the health of millions of families at risk.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP-The over 330K people in #FL26 with pre-existing conditions know that the president’s executive order is a sham. The president is disingenuously claiming to want to protect people with pre-existing conditions, while fighting in court to dismantle the protections that already exist
US Rep Kathy Castor @USRepKCastor-The House just passed the bipartisan #CleanEconomyJobs & Innovation Act to bring us closer to solving the climate crisis by following science, putting $ back into the pockets of taxpayers &taking on enviro justice.
Rep. Brian Mast @RepBrianMast–In a reversal of their previous position, the Army Corps announced today that they won’t discharge from Lake O to the St. Lucie this week. This decision is the right one & it’s one I fought hard for this week! The Corps must not be allowed to poison us!
Jason Brodeur @jasonbrodeur– saw first-hand how hard businesses struggled to receive the aid they rightfully deserved. The fact that the Florida Democrats cashed in while real Floridians suffered is nothing short of a disgrace.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini @AnthonySabatini-Proud to receive the Defender of Economic Freedom award today from @ClubforGrowth for receiving a 94%—the highest score given in the Florida Legislature this year
“Crist calls Moody’s call to investigate Bloomberg “absurd”” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – In 2007, former Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist championed felon rights, convincing his Cabinet to ease restrictions on voting rights for certain felons who have paid their debt to society just as long as the state parole commission approved. Now Democrat Congressman Crist, who has broadened his support of felon’s voting rights, is calling for the restoration of voting rights of all felons, regardless of the crimes committed, Crist criticized Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s request to the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to donate $16 million convicted felons so that they can pay their existing fines and be able to vote. “I think it’s absurd,” said Rep. Crist of Moody’s request. An American citizen is trying to give the second chance to former felons who have paid their debt to society, and the attorney general of our state is trying to challenge that with some kind of investigation.” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) was the first Republican to call for an investigation into Bloomberg’s offer to felons, saying that the gesture could be unlawful. But shouldn’t elected officials to look into any possible tactics that cold compromise the election process, regardless of their political affiliation? Remember, both Republicans and Democrats are accusing each other of voter intimidation, voter fraud, and election tampering, so a compelling argument can be made to look into whether Bloomberg’s donation is legal, or not.
“Delaying Census Deadline is the Right Path for Floridians” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – We are now less than 50 days from November 3, when Floridians and others across the country will officially cast their votes in elections ranging from decisions on local ballot initiatives all the way to the President of the United States. Before that, however, is another deadline that will have a major, long-lasting impact on our state for the next ten years. On September 30, the Census is set to conclude its process of collecting responses before officials move on with enumerating and delivering their final results. As it has done to every other facet of our daily lives, though, the outbreak of COVID-19 has made usual Census procedures much more difficult, and Florida in particular continues to lag behind much of the rest of the U.S. Now, of course, a busy storm season is creating even more hurdles. If the Census collection deadline is not moved back, then it’s highly likely that Florida and dozens of other states will go undercounted. Potentially the most immediate concern associated with an undercount would be that Florida would lose hundreds of millions in federal funding. In fact, Congressional research shows that Florida stands to lose approximately $190 million every year if our state’s population is undercounted by just one percent. If our current low response rates hold, that number would only be multiplied.
“Biden Slams Trump’s Election Comment: ‘What Country Are We In?’” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden questioned President Trump’s response to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential election. When landed in Wilmington, Delaware Wednesday night after campaigning in North Carolina, Biden was asked about the president’s earlier remarks from his White House briefing. “What country are we in?” Biden quipped in his response. “I’m being facetious when I said what country are we in?” He added, “Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say.” At the White House coronavirus press briefing Wednesday after, Trump sidestep a question when asked “win, lose or draw” would he “commit here today for a peaceful transfer of all power after the election.” “We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump responded. When pressed by the Playboy reporter to “commit” citing the “rioting in many cities across this country,” Trump suggested if states got “rid of” unsolicited mail-in ballots then there would be no concern regarding a “very peaceful” transfers of power. “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer frankly,” Trump said. “There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control, you know it, and you know, who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.” The Biden’s campaign responded to Trump’s remark, saying the U.S. is “perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
“NRCC and DCCC Release ads in Heated District 26 Race” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – The race for Florida’s 26th Congressional district is heating up as both the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have released videos attacking Florida rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R) respectively. Thank God! This race was snoozefest up until now, so there is a good chance that this is just of the beginning of the expected political Molotov cocktail cage match we have been expecting. In the NRCC’s advertisement titled “Clouds,” the Florida lawmaker is slammed for creating “clouds of suspicion.” The advertisement alleges that rep. Mucarsel-Powell “pushed taxpayer-funded loans meant for small business, but somehow the Wallstreet traded company where her husband’s an executive snagged two loans worth $15 million.” On the contrary, the DCCC advertisement titled “Family,” takes political jabs at Mayor Gimenez’s tenure as Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Calling him “Corrupt Carlos,” the advertisement argues that he’s been involved in “shady deals and government contracts.” Moreover, the Mayor is accused of giving “millions to businesses with ties to his family.”
“Valentin’s new Spanish ad Takes Swipe at Democrat Murphy” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida rep. Stephanie Murphy (D), currently running a reelection campaign, has scored notable wins in recent weeks. Most recently, she was named as one of the most bipartisan members of the House, which was met with criticism from her Republican opponent Dr. Leo Valentin. This week, her Republican rival is taking more political jabs in Spanish advertisement called “Nuestro Dr. Leo Valentin.” In the advertisement, a distinction is made between Murphy’s progressive ideals and Valentin’s conservative response. In a statement regarding the advertisement’s release, Valentin argued that “Stephanie Murphy made millions by shipping jobs to China, and now she’s turning her back on our men and women in uniform, refusing to condemn the violent protests that threaten our communities.” Valentin added that “Floridians deserve better than Stephanie Murphy, and that’s why I’m running.” He concluded by citing that he’s “a doctor who helped Puerto Rico recover after natural disasters, and as a businessman, I know what it takes to get our economy working again.” Valentin has warned that. Murphy is a danger to the political process, and he’s called for her to denounce the rioting and looting that has swept across the country. ***The Floridian reported that “Murphy has yet to comment on whether or not she denounces the acts,” but Valentin points to her support of the Justice in Policing Act as veiled support to defund the police.
“DeSantis Announces FEMA Disaster Declaration” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting Floridians, Hurricane season only exacerbated the lives of Floridians and businesses. In turn, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) announced today the approval of a major disaster declaration for Hurricane Sally from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Included in the declaration is public assistance for all categories in Escambia County along with public assistance Category B (emergency protective measures) for the following counties – Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington. In a statement, Governor DeSantis explained that “this declaration adds all categories of public assistance for Escambia County, providing critical federal support for the long-term rebuilding. Efforts of this area following the severe damage and flooding that Sally. Left in its wake,” adding that “Northwest Floridians are resilient, and we will continue to work with our local and federal partners to ensure a full recovery from Hurricane Sally.” The declaration comes on the heels of Governor DeSantis activating the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The move is aimed to support small businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Sally.
“Floridians Are Frustrated With The Trade War” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida has always been a critical swing state during election years. This year is no exception, as voters are more energized than ever with so much at stake. Both President Trump and Vice President Biden have been campaigning heavily in Florida because they know the importance our state holds on the road to the White House. The strategy for each campaign appears to be one of playing to the margins. For President Trump’s campaign team, the goal is to “lose by less” in traditionally Democratic strongholds such as Miami-Dade County, while driving up voter turnout in the panhandle and securing the same counties which helped win Trump the presidency in 2016. Vice President Biden is working hard to increase turnout and win over suburban voters who may have voted for President Trump in 2016. He also stated that he plans to “work like the devil to secure every Latino and Hispanic vote,” which are key voting blocs to win in Florida as well. An issue that resonates with Florida voters and both candidates should take into consideration is the negative impact that tariffs have had on Florida’s economy. Florida taxpayers have paid over $1.5 billion in tariffs since the trade war with China began. Unfortunately for President Trump, many of these tariffs have been paid for by the same blue-collar farmers and manufacturers that he is hoping to carry him to victory on November 3rd – which means that the Florida Trump Victory team’s margin strategy could prove to be difficult.
“Florida Supreme Court rules against Parkland families” by Fox News’ Louis Casiano – Florida’s highest court on Thursday capped the amount a school board can be forced to pay the victims and families who filed lawsuits against the district at $300,000 following the 2018 Parkland mass shooting at a high school. The state Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the Broward County School Board that the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — which killed 17 students and staff members and injured 17 others — should be viewed as a single incident, the Miami Herald reported. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued each gunshot from alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz were separate incidents and that their clients should each receive $200,000. The justices disagreed, saying mass shootings should be viewed as one incident, thereby placing a limit on how much government agencies can be forced to pay under an under a state sovereign-immunity law, according to the newspaper. “The phrase ‘same incident or occurrence’ is most reasonably understood as referring to the criminal event as a whole, not to the smaller segments of time and action that make up the crime against each individual victim, because this is the way that we commonly talk about this type of tragic occurrence — as a single event with multiple victims,” the ruling said. “Additionally, this reading fits most naturally given the context of [a subsection of the law], which is designed to limit the state’s liability to a set amount for all claims arising out of an ‘incident or occurrence,’ after which all claimants must seek additional compensation from the Legislature.”
“‘Something’s in the water’: Florida Republicans see surge in voter registration” by Politico’s Marc Caputo and Gary Fineout – Republicans have closed the traditional voter registration gap with Democrats to an historically small margin in Florida, triggering a wave of Democratic apprehension in the nation’s biggest swing state. Top Florida Democrats and longtime activists have increasingly groused in private that they feel pressure from Joe Biden’s campaign to refrain from door-to-door canvassing or holding voter registration drives due to the potential spread of the coronavirus and fears of muddying his messaging on the pandemic. In the absence of such efforts, a concerted drive by President Donald Trump’s Florida campaign to register voters has helped cut the state’s long-standing Democratic advantage to fewer than 185,000 voters, a gap of just 1.3 percentage points, according to data from the Florida Division of Elections released this week. “It’s late in the game now,” said state Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Miami Democrat. “There’s been no pushback from us, meaning that for every 100 doors that Republicans have proverbially knocked on, it’s not like they pissed people off to the point where they’ve run to the Democratic Party because they’re pissed at the GOP. It’s shown to be effective.” In August, Republicans added a party record of almost 58,000 new voters — a 91 percent increase compared to August 2016, the Florida election data show. The number of new Republicans added in August is 41 percent more than the number of new Democrats who registered. Democratic registration, meanwhile, was 6 percent lower than the total racked up in August 2016.
“Trump focuses on law and order at Jacksonville, Florida, rally” by CBS News’ Kathryn Watson – President Trump rallied supporters in Jacksonville, Florida, Thursday night, as he aims to keep a state he won in 2016. Mr. Trump hit on familiar themes, including that former Vice President Joe Biden is weak on criminals. “Joe Biden is weak as hell,” the president said of his Democratic opponent, claiming Biden wants to eradicate prisons and thinks law enforcement are the enemy. Mr. Trump brought up Wednesday night’s shooting of two police officers in Louisville, Kentucky. A suspect is in custody and it’s believed the officers will make it. Protests erupted Wednesday night after no police were charged directly with the death of Breonna Taylor. “Law enforcement, let’s give them a hand, please,” the president said, followed by chants of “Back the blue.” The president said “Biden’s anti-police crusade must stop.” Biden has said he does not want to defund the police. CBS News Battleground Tracker poll has the state as a toss-up, giving Biden an edge over Mr. Trump, 48% to 46%. Mr. Trump recently changed his residency from New York to Florida. The president is on defense after he declined to say Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power. “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Mr. Trump said when asked by a reporter at a White House news conference whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany attempted to clean up that answer when asked about it on Thursday.
“Florida governor proposes college ‘bill of rights’ to party” by News Service of Florida – Gov. Ron DeSantis thinks students who attend Florida’s 12 state universities should be able to socialize without worrying about getting thrown out of school. To that end, DeSantis said Thursday he’s willing to consider a college students’ “bill of rights” that would preclude state universities from taking actions against students who are enjoying themselves. The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to questions about when he might issue the “bill of rights” or whether it would be done through an executive order. Trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Florida State University announced last week that it would suspend students who attend or host large gatherings on or off campus. Also, it said it would suspend students who test positive for COVID-19 but don’t isolate themselves. “I personally think it’s incredibly draconian that a student would get potentially expelled for going to a party,” DeSantis said Thursday. “That’s what college kids do.” After shutting down campuses in March as the pandemic hit the state, universities spent months working on plans to reopen for the fall semester and to try to prevent the spread of the virus. But schools such as Florida State have drawn attention as pictures of crowds of students at places such as pools and a football game have become public.
“Florida’s Puerto Rican voters courted heavily by Republicans and Democrats” by Fox News’ Robert Sherman – It’s no secret that when it comes to presidential elections in Florida, the Sunshine State is typically decided by the slimmest of margins — and heading into 2020, the numbers show that the margins are “oh-so-close” once again. A new poll this week from ABC News and The Washington Post shows both President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are neck and neck with registered voters: 47% for Trump and 48% for Biden. The results using “likely” voters give Trump a 51%-47% advantage over Biden. One group that both sides have been eyeing intently: Hispanic voters, particularly Puerto Ricans. A swiftly growing demographic, the University of Central Florida’s Puerto Rico Research Hub estimates that there are now over 1 million living in Florida heading into Election Day. “This is a particular sector of the population that you really need to get the state of Florida,” said Fernando Rivera, a professor of sociology at the university who also serves as director of the center. The aforementioned poll gave Biden a 52-39 advantage among registered Hispanic voters in Florida, with a margin of error of +/- 4.0%. For the sake of maintaining sample sizes, a “likely voter” statistic was not tabulated. When it comes to how Florida’s Puerto Rican voters specifically will swing, traditional thought suggests a significant tilt toward the Democrats. But, Rivera contends it’s not that simple. For many who’ve moved from the island to the mainland, it’s taken a few election cycles to get acclimated and to determine which party fits best. “In Puerto Rico, politics are not necessarily the Democrat-Republican divide as a lot of us are accustomed to here in the United States,” explained Rivera, adding that Puerto Rican politics typically would come down to what one believes the “status” of Puerto Rico should be — including statehood, commonwealth status, and independence.
“Florida Will Soon Allow Restaurants To Operate At Full Capacity, Gov. DeSantis Says” by Forbes’ Nicholas Reimann – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to lift restrictions on seating capacity at restaurants, making it the largest state to do so, the Republican said Thursday. Restaurants are currently allowed to operate at 50% capacity in Florida under an executive order from DeSantis. The restriction has stood unchanged since mid-May, despite a summer where Florida shattered national records in confirmed coronavirus cases. DeSantis did close bars amid the massive coronavirus spike, but they have since been allowed to reopen. Florida remains one of a handful of states, all with Republican governors, without a statewide mask-wearing mandate. DeSantis made the statement Thursday during a discussion with doctors and scientists, invited by the governor, who were critical of the use of masks to mitigate spread, in stark contrast with the scientific consensus. “I don’t think that the closure of restaurants has been particularly effective,” DeSantis said. “They’re not going to be able to be closed by locals anymore, and they’ll be able to operate at the capacity that they’re comfortable with.” The only states with a larger population than Florida are Texas and California. Restaurants in Texas have now been allowed to reopen at 75% capacity, after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had earlier rolled back capacities, while California allows different levels of capacity throughout the state, but at the best, no more than 50% of normal indoor seating. Indiana will move to 100% capacity at restaurants and bars starting Saturday. Indiana also has a statewide mask mandate.
“Florida $15 minimum wage amendment poised to pass despite opposition” by News 4 Jax’ Jake Stofan – Voters will decide whether or not to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2026 this November. Polls show the proposed constitutional amendment with strong support, but the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is fighting back. Amendment 2 would spike Florida’s $8.56 minimum wage to $10 on Sept. 30, 2021. Amendment supporter Bob Rackleff explained it would then increase by one dollar a year until hitting $15. “They have until 2026 to figure this out,” said Rackleff who also heads the Big Bend Voting Rights Project. But Vice President of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Geoff Luebkemann argues by nearly doubling the state’s minimum wage over the next six years, small businesses could be crippled. “It will cost folks jobs. It will decrease opportunity,” said Luebkemann. The association has launched an online calculator that shows how much more businesses with tipped employees can expect to pay if Amendment 2 passes. “In an industry with razor-thin margins, taking this kind of hit may remove the opportunity to be profitable at all,” said Luebkemann. Rackleff said the hospitality industry pushed the same message when voters approved a minimum wage hike in 2004. “And all the panicky things that were going to happen didn’t happen,” said Rackleff. There is one glaring difference between 2020 and 2004. In 2004 there wasn’t a global pandemic. “The timing couldn’t be worse with an industry already on its knees,” said Luebkemann. However, Rackleff contends more money in the pockets of low wage workers will translate to more spending.
“Unemployment claims in Florida down but economic ‘fog’ continues” by News Service of Florida – First-time unemployment claims were down slightly in Florida last week, as more businesses announce layoffs and extensions of worker furloughs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated 35,829 first-time jobless claims were filed in Florida during the week that ended Sept. 19, down from 37,265 the prior week. Nationally, 870,000 initial claims were filed last week, close to the four-week average of 878,250. The state numbers are well off a peak in April when more than 900,000 claims were filed during a two-week period as businesses shut down or dramatically scaled back to prevent the spread of the virus. Florida last week also announced its unemployment rate dropped from 11.4 percent in mid-July to 7.4 percent in mid-August. The August rate reflected an estimated 753,000 Floridians out of work. Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday it appears that while stock markets have “shrugged” off the pandemic’s effects, with giant companies being able to withstand the initial impacts of the crisis, that doesn’t reflect challenges faced on “Main Street.” “It seems to me that as you look to see what’s happened, particularly in areas that have done real draconian restrictions on people being able to do businesses, that the pandemic has been a boon for, like, Amazon, and some of these big companies, (but) it’s been really difficult on a lot of mom and pops,” DeSantis said during a state Cabinet meeting. “And you look at some of these places around the country, I mean, some of those will never come back. I mean, period.” DeSantis, who has said he won’t re-impose stringent restrictions on businesses that Florida saw earlier this year, described areas that imposed even stricter lockdowns as engaging in “self-immolation.”
“Source of Steele dossier was investigated by FBI for Russian contacts, Barr says” by Fox News’ Brooke Singman – The primary “source” of the anti-Trump dossier authored by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 for suspected contact with Russian intelligence officers, Fox News has learned. Attorney General Bill Barr penned a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Thursday responding to requests as part of the panel’s review into the origins of the Russia probe. “In connection with your Committee’s investigation of these matters and ongoing hearings, you have been asking us to accelerate this process and to provide any additional information relating to the reliability of the work of Christopher Steele and the so-called ‘Steele dossier,’ as long as its release would not compromise U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing criminal investigation,” Barr wrote. “A footnote in the Inspector General’s report contains information, which up till now has been classified and redacted, bearing on the reliability of the Steele dossier,” Barr wrote. “The FBI has declassified the relevant portion of the footnote, number 334, which states that ‘the Primary Sub-source was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 that assessed his or her contacts with suspected Russian intelligence officers.'” Barr added that at his request, the FBI has prepared a declassified summary of certain information from the counterintelligence investigation into the source, which he has shared with the committee. “I have consulted with Mr. Durham, who originally brought this information to my attention in the course of his investigation, and he has informed me that the disclosure of the information will not interfere with his criminal investigation,” Barr wrote, adding that he alerted Director of National Inteligence John Ratcliffe to “certain classified information in possession of the intelligence community” which “bears upon the FBI’s knowledge of the reliability of the dossier.”
“HHS spokesman Michael Caputo diagnosed with cancer” by CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi – Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services who recently began a two-month medical leave, has been diagnosed with a metastatic head and neck cancer, a spokesman for the Caputo family said Thursday. After undergoing surgery last week at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, doctors diagnosed Caputo with “squamous cell carcinoma, a metastatic head and neck cancer which originated in his throat,” the spokesman, David DiPietro, said in a statement. Caputo is currently resting at home in western New York with his family, where they will “decide next steps in Michael’s care and recovery,” DePietro said. Last week, HHS announced Caputo’s leave of absence from his post “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.” Caputo said in a statement last Wednesday that he planned to undergo “necessary screenings for a lymphatic issue discovered last week.” He said he initially thought he was losing weight for months from a new exercise and diet regimen. “Instead of taking the time to see my doctor, I failed to do so,” Caputo said, adding that he neglected during the pandemic to get the health care he long needed.
His temporary departure began a day after he apologized for a conspiracy theory-laden rant he made against career government scientists in which he accused them of “sedition” and working to undermine President Donald Trump.
“Republicans Push Ahead With Plans to Confirm Supreme Court Nominee” by WSJ’s Andrew Duehren – Senate Democrats conceded they have few tools to slow a Republican push to confirm President Trump’s expected nominee to the Supreme Court this year, as mourners gathered for a second day Thursday to honor the life of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The death of Justice Ginsburg, a pioneering legal luminary and de facto leader of the court’s liberal wing, has plunged the Senate into a deep political conflict in the weeks before the November election. Mr. Trump’s nominee will likely shift the court’s balance of power to the right, with possible implications on a range of policy questions, including health care and abortion. Republicans this week largely consolidated support for moving forward and confirming Mr. Trump’s nominee this year. They have brushed aside Democratic calls to leave the pick to the winner of the presidential race between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, which happened in 2016 when Republicans refused to consider President Obama’s pick to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia. Some Senate Republicans say a confirmation vote could be held by the end of October. On Saturday, Mr. Trump is expected to announce a woman to succeed Justice Ginsburg. White House aides expect Mr. Trump to pick U.S. Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, according to people familiar with the process. Some Republicans close to the White House are pushing for Judge Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, but her backers privately concede Judge Barrett is the likely pick.
“Fox News Poll: Tight race in Ohio, Biden tops Trump in Nevada and Pennsylvania” by Fox News’ Dana Blanton – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, according to Fox News statewide likely voter surveys. In each of the three states, majorities disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, pluralities say coronavirus is “not at all” under control, and Biden is the preferred choice when it comes to handling the virus. Plus, he’s favored over Trump to nominate the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. There are few undecided voters, and Biden’s support is 50 percent or better in each state. His advantage over Trump is outside the margin of error in Nevada and Pennsylvania, but not Ohio. Across the states, Biden’s edge comes mainly from women, nonwhites, voters under age 35, and those ages 65 and over. When it comes to handling coronavirus in particular, more seniors trust Biden to do a better job than Trump — in larger numbers than back his candidacy overall. About 9 in 10 of both Biden and Trump supporters in each state are extremely or very interested in the election. All interviews were completed after the September 18 death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Federal inmate executed after Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday” by CNN’s Jessica Schneider – Federal inmate Christopher Vialva was executed Thursday night in Terre Haute, Indiana, after the Supreme Court denied a request to stop the execution. His execution is the seventh federal execution since the Justice Department restarted the practice this summer after a 17-year hiatus. Thursday’s unsigned order from the Supreme Court was the Court’s second refusal to stop a federal execution this week. The Court denied the stay request of William LeCroy on Tuesday in an order that marked the first since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Vialva was convicted 20 years ago for the 1999 murders of two youth ministers in Fort Hood, Texas. At the time of the crime, Vialva was 19 years old, and critics note this will be the first time in nearly 70 years that the United States will execute a man for a crime he committed as a teenager.
“Democrats Prepare New Coronavirus Aid Proposal” by WSJ’s Natalie Andrews and Kristina Peterson – House Democrats are readying a new, scaled-down package of coronavirus aid that would include assistance to airlines, restaurants and small businesses, according to people familiar with the matter, but Republicans said the chances of a deal before Election Day remained slim. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) is aiming for a price tag of around $2.4 trillion, according to Democratic aides, in the range of what Mrs. Pelosi has said she would be willing to accept in negotiations. The White House has indicated it could support spending as much as $1.5 trillion, though many Senate Republicans have said they wouldn’t back that level of spending. “We want a bill passed and signed so that’s what our focus is, trying to get an agreement before we go home,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.). Mr. Hoyer said Democrats were focused on working to find a deal that both chambers could accept and was noncommittal on whether the House would vote on the legislation without an agreement with the White House. Almost immediately, centrist Democratic lawmakers began circulating a letter that would encourage leadership to hold a vote on the package, according to aides. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that he and Mrs. Pelosi had spoken repeatedly in recent days in a successful, separate effort to reach an agreement on keeping government funded until Dec. 11, and they also plan to keep the door open for coronavirus talks. “We’ve agreed to continue to have discussions” about coronavirus aid, Mr. Mnuchin said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. “I think there are areas of support. Let’s pass things that we agree on quickly and we can always come back.”
“DOJ orders Pennsylvania county to change ballot practices after ‘troubling’ findings” by Fox News’ Sam Dorman – The Justice Department sent a letter to a Pennsylvania county on Thursday, ordering it to change its practices after multiple military ballots were found discarded. The issue surfaced earlier in the day when the DOJ announced that it had recovered a small number of discarded ballots. While the Justice Department would not say where they had found the ballots, they did say there were nine recovered — seven of which were cast for President Trump, while the other two were sealed by Luzerne County before the FBI recovered them, In his letter to Luzerne County officials, U.S. attorney David Freed indicated that additional ballot materials were found in a dumpster. Freed said their investigation yielded “troubling” findings, including that the county allegedly improperly opened ballots. “Even though your staff has made some attempts to reconstitute certain of the improperly opened ballots, there is no guarantee that any of these votes will be counted in the general election. In addition, our investigation has revealed that all or nearly all envelopes received in the elections office were opened as a matter of course,” Freed’s letter read. “It was explained to investigators the envelopes used for official overseas, military, absentee and mail-in ballot requests are so similar, that the staff believed that adhering to the protocol of preserving envelopes unopened would cause them to miss such ballot requests. Our interviews further revealed that this issue was a problem in the primary election–therefore a known issue–and that the problem has not been corrected,” he added. “While the assigned investigators are continuing their work including reviewing additional discarded materials, it is imperative that the issues identified be corrected.”
“Mary Trump sues President and his siblings for fraud, calling it the family ‘way of life’” by CNN’s Erica Orden – Mary Trump, President Donald Trump’s niece, filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing the President and his siblings of committing fraud in order to deprive her of her interests in the family real-estate empire built by Fred Trump Sr. In the lawsuit, filed in New York state court against the President, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry and the estate of their late brother Robert Trump, Mary Trump asserts that for the Trumps, “fraud was not just the family business—it was a way of life.” The lawsuit accuses her two uncles and her aunt, a retired federal judge, of conspiring amongst themselves and with several other parties, including a trustee appointed to act on Mary’s behalf, to give her “a stack of fraudulent valuations” and force her to sign a settlement agreement that “fleeced her of tens of millions of dollars or more.” “Rather than protect Mary’s interests, they designed and carried out a complex scheme to siphon funds away from her interests, conceal their grift, and deceive her about the true value of what she had inherited,” the lawsuit says. An attorney for the President, who is being sued in his personal capacity, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Barry and for the estate of Robert Trump didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Many of the accusations in the lawsuit have been made previously by Mary Trump, including in her July book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
“Trump Says Discount Cards Will Soon Be Mailed to Seniors to Help Pay for Prescription Drugs” by WSJ’s Stephanie Armour and Andrew Restuccia – President Trump laid out his health-care vision on Thursday, pledging to send millions of senior citizens discount cards to help pay for the cost of prescription drugs without offering details on how the federal government would implement such a plan. “I will always take care of our wonderful senior citizens,” the president said during a speech in Charlotte, N.C. He said 33 million Medicare beneficiaries will soon receive a card in the mail that can be used to help pay for up to $200 in prescription drug costs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that would implement the plan, referred a request for comment seeking more details to the White House. A White House official said cards will be mailed out in the coming weeks and could be used to pay for the cost of prescription-drug copays. The cost of the cards—which would likely stretch into the billions of dollars—would come from savings made from a Medicare waiver program, the official said, adding that those costs would also be offset by a drug-pricing program. That proposed drug-pricing program, known as most-favored-nation pricing, would ensure that the U.S. doesn’t pay more for drugs in Medicare than other countries pay. Mr. Trump on Sept. 13 signed an executive order expanding the proposal to cover more drugs than an earlier version covered. That program hasn’t been launched yet. “This is stretching the demonstration authority much more than I’ve ever seen,” said Larry Levitt, an executive vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care research nonprofit, referring to the pilot program. Mr. Levitt said the president is promising to spend money the administration doesn’t yet have through the program.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump–One of the worst polls in 2016 was the @FoxNews Poll. They were so ridiculously wrong. Fox said they were going to change pollsters, but they didn’t. They totally over sample Democrats to a point that a child could see what is going on. Rasmussen, which was accurate, at 52%.
Chuck Schumer @SenSchumer–President Trump is lying to you about his “executive order.” Protections for pre-existing conditions are the law. The threat to these protections is from President Trump and the Republicans suing to end them.We’re fighting to stop it.