Obama Urges GOP Not To Fill Ginsburg’s SCOTUS Vacancy Until After the Election

Former President Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders urged Senate Republicans to refrain from filling the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat until after the presidential election in November. Obama immediately released a statement on Friday following announcements about Ginsburg’s death. The former president highlighted the contradiction in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) actions as he recalled his refusal to bring a vote to the Senate floor when he nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. Obama noted that at the time McConnell invented a principle: “The Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in.” “Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” Obama said. Now, Obama is challenging McConnell and Republican lawmakers to stand by the rule they ultimately created, noting that early voting has also begun in multiple states. “A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment,” he continued. “The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle. Obama added, “As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard.” As news of Ginsburg’s death began to circulate, Republican lawmakers immediately began making plans to replace the historic trailblazer. Soon after Ginsburg’s death was reported, McConnell announced there would be a vote on the Senate floor for one of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees to occupy the vacated seat. Like Obama, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and others have expressed disapproval of McConnell’s stance. As Biden mourned the loss of Ginsburg, he echoed Obama’s sentiments. He noted that McConnell refused to hold a vote for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee roughly 10 months before the 2016 presidential election. With only 45 days until the 2020 election, Biden also argued that the Supreme Court appointee should be selected by the next United States president — a decision that will ultimately be decided by the American public. “Let me be clear: Voters should pick the next president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider. This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That’s the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election’s only 46 days off.” He added, “I think the fastest justice ever confirmed was 47 days, and the average is closer to 70 days, and so we should do this with full consideration, and that is my hope and expectation of what will happen.” See Biden’s remarks below: Joe Biden struggles to read prepared remarks after passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg."The voters should pick the president & the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider."pic.twitter.com/Qinpv3Mlye — Breaking911 (@Breaking911) September 19, 2020 Despite stark criticism, McConnell vowed to hold a vote on the Senate floor for whoever Trump appoints. The president is reportedly expected to put forth a nominee to fill Ginsburg’s vacant seat soon, according to ABC News.

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Ginsburg’s ‘Most Fervent Wish’ Revealed After She Dies at Age of 87

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a “most fervent wish” prior to her death and Democratic lawmakers are now fighting to bring that dream to fruition. Shortly after Ginsburg’s death was reported, her granddaughter Clara Spera released a statement that revealed her grandmother’s dying wish. “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg said, according to Spears’ statement to Politico. Ginsburg’s request was revealed as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released a statement vowing to hold a vote on the Senate floor to replace the late Supreme Court trailblazer with one of President Donald Trump’s nominee. Democratic leaders immediately fired back at McConnell and Republican lawmakers reminding them of the principle they created in 2016 to block President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland from receiving a vote on the Senate floor. With 10 months until the 2016 presidential election, McConnell criticized Obama. The lawmaker said Obama was making the nomination “in order to politicize it for purposes of the election.” The Senate leader charged that the next president should select the Supreme Court nominee: “The American people are perfectly capable of having their say on this issue, so let’s give them a voice. Let’s let the American people decide. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be.” Now, with just 45 days left until the 2020 presidential election, McConnell is contradicting his own principle and attempting to do what he refused to do under Obama’s leadership in 2016. If Senate Republicans succeed they will have a chance to tighten their control with a 6-3 majority giving them more power to rule against laws and policies such as Obamacare. Now, Democratic leaders and lawmakers are looking to honor Ginsburg’s wish with McConnell’s principle in mind.

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Trump Admin Announces TikTok and WeChat Will Be Banned From US App Stores

President Donald Trump’s administration confirmed plans to ban the mobile applications TikTok and WeChat from United States’ mobile app stores. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross took to Twitter a statement on Friday as he announced that both TikTok and WeChat, both owned by developers in China, would be banned from all mobile app stores starting Sunday, September 20. “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” Ross tweeted. At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations. — Sec. Wilbur Ross (@SecretaryRoss) September 18, 2020 TikTok users who already have the app will still be able to use it. However, they will be unable to install updates without the app being accessible through mobile app stores, according to ABC News. In light of recently confirmed developments, TikTok released a statement to express its disapproval of Trump’s decision n response to the forthcoming ban. “We’ve already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security,” TikTok said. It continued, “We will continue to challenge the executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.” NEW: TikTok says it will challenge the U.S. gov imposed ban this morning, calls it “unjust” pic.twitter.com/qGI3P8syO7 — Alex Heath (@alexeheath) September 18, 2020 The president’s decision to take aim at TikTok came shortly after it was reported that TikTok users trolled his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., in June. At the time, Trump’s campaign team was led to believe that more than 1 million of the president’s supporters had requested tickets to the rally. However, it was later revealed that a substantial number of TikTokers users had signed up for tickets through Trump’s campaign website with no intent on attending the rally. TikTok has already confirmed that it will be challenging the administration’s decision to ban the app.

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Biden Calls on Trump To ‘Step Down’ Due To Pandemic Response

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called from President Donald Trump to step down from his position due to his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden appeared for a presidential town hall held in Moosic, Pa., Thursday evening where he was asked how he would be able to change the narrative being communicated about the severity of the coronavirus. For months, Trump has downplayed the pandemic and even admitted to doing so. However, many of his supporters continue to dismiss the dangers associated with coronavirus transmission. Biden expressed concern about the president’s stance and how it has impacted the United States’ handling of the coronavirus. “This is all about one thing, the stock market. He doesn’t want to see anything happen,” Biden said. “It’s all about his reelection. It should be about the American people, and they’re in trouble.” Biden went on to reiterate Dr. Robert Redfield’s stance on the importance of masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director suggested that masks actually could offer more protection against the coronavirus than a vaccine would, as previously reported on IJR. See Biden’s remarks below: 'This president should step down': Joe Biden lays into Donald Trump's failed response to the pandemic. #BidenTownHall pic.twitter.com/v0LJyGlVfv — PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) September 18, 2020 He also noted that honesty and sternness are the best policies when dealing with the American public. The former vice president went on to suggest Trump “step down” over his handling of the coronavirus. “You’ve got to level with the American people — shoot from the shoulder. There’s not been a time they’ve not been able to step up. The president should step down,” Biden said. Biden’s presidential town hall comes a week after Trump found himself at the center of scrutiny for his recorded conversations with journalist Bob Woodward. The president not only admitted that he preferred to downplay the pandemic but he also confirmed he was well aware of how the virus differed from the seasonal flu due to airborne transmission. The United States has reported more than 6.8 million coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

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NYC Mayor Announces School Reopening Delayed Again Amid Pandemic

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has announced school reopening in the Big Apple will be delayed for grades K-12. On Thursday, De Blasio, with New York City Public Schools, outlined phased reopening plans for schools. The gradual process will take place over the course of the next two weeks beginning. The announcement confirmed that in-person school will be delayed until October 1 for students in grades 8-12. The reopening of K-5 and K-8 schools will be delayed by one additional week and currently have a tentative return date of Sept. 29. In-person learning for blended learning students will be phased-in across the next two weeks:🔹 Sep 21: 3-K, pre-K, D75🔹 Sep 29: K-5 and K-8 Schools🔹 Oct 1: Middle and High Schools, Secondary Schools, Transfer, Adult Ed, Evening Schools, Alternate Learning Centers — NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) September 17, 2020 During his press conference Thursday morning, De Blasio noted that the decision came after weeks of deliberation about physically returning to classes. Although the Democratic mayor acknowledged that progress has been made, he made clear that there is still room for improvement. “They acknowledged progress has been made but more had to be done to make sure that things would be as strong as they needed to be,” de Blasio said. While he admitted that there is no form of education that can suffice for in-person learning, he insisted public health must be prioritized. “Nothing replaces in-person learning. We believed from day one we could ensure health and safety first but also ensure the best quality education,” de Blasio said. See de Blasio’s remarks below: [embedded content] He added, “Everyone here at this table has devoted a lot of our lives to proving the power of public education to uplift every young person, knowing they will be our future. It has to be fair and equal.” De Blasio’s decision to postpone the reopening of schools comes months after New York state was ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, New York City was initially declared the epicenter for coronavirus in the United States. Although the state has made drastic improvements slowing the spread of coronavirus, statewide, there are still concerns about what the upcoming fall season will bring amid the ongoing pandemic. As of Thursday morning, New York has reported nearly 480,000 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. With a total of 33,156 lives lost, New York also has the highest COVID death toll.

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Mark Meadows Weighs in on Barr Comparing COVID-19 Lockdown to Slavery

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows weighed in on Attorney General William Barr’s comparison of the coronavirus lockdown to slavery. On Thursday, Meadows spoke with reporters on the driveway to the White House’s West Wing where he was asked about Barr’s remarks and whether or not he agreed with the sentiment. “Attorney General Barr, last night, said that lockdowns instituted by governors across the country is the worst violation of civil liberties in history except for slavery,” a reporter said, and asked, “Do you feel that way?” Meadows opted to focus on Barr’s arguments about protecting individual and civil liberties as he expressed concern about the lockdown’s impact on those liberties. “Well, when we look at lockdowns, when you look at individual liberties and who we are as a nation, a nation of freedom, many times when we give up those civil liberties, and I’m one that believes those simple liberties are inherent,” Meadows said. He added, “They’re enshrined by our constitution, and we need to protect those because when bad things happen, we sometimes, not always, but sometimes start to take away the liberties that are enshrined in our and are part of our constitutional rights, and make us different as Americans than many other countries.” See Meadows’ remarks below: The reporter went on to ask Meadows about other times civil liberties have been abused in American history, like internment camps. “But the worst in history? I mean Japanese internment camps?,” the reporter asked. Meadows admitted that he believes civil liberties have been “trampled on” due to the coronavirus lockdown. But, he ultimately distanced from Barr’s remarks as he conceded that he would not have made that type of analogy. “Yeah I’m not familiar with the quote,” Meadows said. “Obviously, we’ve got a number of times where civil liberties have been trampled on, and certainly when we start to look down at forced confinement, those are tough. To compare them with the Japanese internment camp, I don’t know that he made that analogy, I certainly wouldn’t.” Meadows remarks came just hours after Barr’s remarks at a Constitution Day event. At the time, the attorney general participated in a Q and A session as part of the event. At the event, he expressed concern about the coronavirus lockdown as he described it as an “intrusion on civil liberties” comparable to house arrest and slavery. “You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest,” Barr said. “Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

Continue Reading Mark Meadows Weighs in on Barr Comparing COVID-19 Lockdown to Slavery

CDC Director Pushes Back Against Trump’s Contradiction on Masks

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pushed back against President Donald Trump contradicting his remarks about the effectiveness of masks. Shortly after the president’s press briefing on Wednesday, Redfield took to Twitter with remarks doubling down on his previous assertion despite the president insisting he was “confused” by the line of questioning during the Senate hearing. “I 100% believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a #COVID19 vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life,” Redfield tweeted. He continued, “The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and being careful about crowds. #COVID19“ I 100% believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a #COVID19 vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life. — Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) September 16, 2020 The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and being careful about crowds. #COVID19 — Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) September 16, 2020 The back and forth between Redfield and Trump centers on the statement the top infectious disease expert made under oath during the Senate Committee on Appropriations, as previously reported on IJR. Redfield grabbed headlines when he said a face mask “is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.” When Trump was asked about Redfield’s remarks on the effectiveness of masks, he said, “It’s not more effective by any means than a vaccine.” He continued, “And I called him about that. I believe that if you ask him, he would probably say that he didn’t understand the question.” Donald Trump really thinks he knows more about public health than the director of the CDC. This is the second time he’s tried to correct different parts of Director Redfield’s testimony during this press briefing. Tragicomical. pic.twitter.com/vXm0JZCvBK — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2020 Despite Trump’s claims, Redfield has repeatedly appealed to the American public to embrace mask-wearing to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. As of Thursday morning, there are more than 6.8 million coronavirus cases in the United States and a death toll over 201,000.

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Seattle Mayor Reacts to Barr’s Reported Suggestion That She Be Charged For Handling of Protesters

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) shared her reaction to a report indicating Attorney General William Barr asked federal prosecutors to consider bringing charges against her for her handling of protesters. On Wednesday, Durkan took to Twitter with a statement sounding off about a report published by The New York Times which detailed Barr’s alleged actions to hold her accountable for the autonomous zone established in Seattle amid the protests following the death of George Floyd. As she described the report as “chilling,” she also expressed concern that Barr’s alleged actions appear to be an attempt to “subvert the law and use the [Justice Department (DOJ)] for political purposes.” This report is chilling and the latest abuse of power from the Trump administration. This is not a story about me. It’s about the how this President and his Attorney General are willing to subvert the law and use the DOJ for political purposes.https://t.co/vPJJwuB5az — Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) September 17, 2020 Durkan went on to express concern about Barr’s alleged usage of the Department of Justice. According to Durkan, a weaponized DOJ does not reflect a “democracy,” but rather a “tyranny.” “The DOJ cannot become a political weapon operated at the behest of the President to target those who have spoken out against his actions. That is an act of tyranny, not of democracy,” She added, “I will continue to fight for what I believe is right, and I will not be distracted by these threats from meeting the challenges facing our great city: a pandemic, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and a civil rights reckoning.” As a former U.S. Attorney, I took an oath of office to protect the Constitution. The DOJ cannot become a political weapon operated at the behest of the President to target those who have spoken out against his actions. That is an act of tyranny, not of democracy. — Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) September 17, 2020 I will continue to fight for what I believe is right, and I will not be distracted by these threats from meeting the challenges facing our great city: a pandemic, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and a civil rights reckoning. — Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) September 17, 2020 Durkan’s latest remarks follow ongoing criticism from President Donald Trump over her handling of the protests in Seattle. The president previously took to Twitter with a series of tweets blasting Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) handling of the intensifying protests. Both Durkan and Inslee fired back at the president to defend their handling of the civil unrest in Seattle. At the time, Durkan’s office also released a statement in support of Seattle’s “long tradition of peaceful protest and advocacy for progressive change.” “Seattle has a long tradition of peaceful protest and advocacy for progressive change, and Mayor Durkan strongly supports those rights. Mayor Durkan will continue to listen to leaders in Seattle’s Black community.  She is working hard to translate the calls for change into real, tangible systemic changes to policing and all the other systems needed for strong and healthy communities.” Despite the president’s criticism, Inslee and Durkan ultimately moved in to dismantle the autonomous zone.

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‘How To Quarantine Successfully’: Obama Encourages Americans To Take up a Plan To Vote

Former President Barack Obama is encouraging young Americans to consider coming up with a plan to cast their vote as he expressed concern about misinformation circulating in an effort to “confuse and mislead” people about the upcoming election. In a video released on Wednesday, Obama praised young people for becoming experts on quarantining. “Over the last few months, I’ve learned a thing or two from young people about how to quarantine successfully,” Obama said as he went on to note a few of the things he has learned from young TikTokers. After the light-hearted banter, Obama went on to discuss the upcoming election as he stressed the importance of planning to vote in the upcoming election. “Since you’ve given me so much lately, and so much hope over the years, I want to return the favor and help you make a plan in the upcoming election,” Obama said. He added, “You know the stakes. For your lives, for your futures, your planet… Because young people have always been the ones to make change in this country, making change this fall is once again going to depend on you.” Obama went on to note the importance of taking public health into consideration when preparing to vote. “Since we’re still dealing with a pandemic, we’ve got to approach voting just like we do everything else these days,” he said. See Obama’s remarks below: Over the last few months, I've learned a thing or two from the young people in our country. I figured I would return the favor by sharing with you how to make a plan to vote in this upcoming election.Get registered and vote early: https://t.co/Q5BUeMaOB5Video: @attn pic.twitter.com/CNqjS7Dmxo — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 16, 2020 Obama went through the required steps to vote as he explained the voting methods currently available. He also urged young voters to pay close attention to deadlines and laws in their states. According to the former president, the goal by some is to make voters “cynical” while trying to convince people that their vote does not matter. “They’re trying to make you cynical,” Obama said in the video. “They’re trying to get you to believe that your vote doesn’t matter. Do not let them do that.” Obama emphasized the importance of America’s democracy as he urged voters to cast their ballots as early as possible. He said, “Our democracy is a precious thing, and it’s up to all of us to protect it,” and encouraged young voters to vote as early as they can.

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Woodward Lambastes Trump Downplaying COVID-19: ‘A Monumental, Catastrophic’ Failure

Journalist Bob Woodward lambasted President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic deeming his response a  “monumental, catastrophic leadership failure.” Woodward appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday where he discussed the audio of Trump’s remarks regarding the pandemic. According to Woodward, Trump’s downplaying of the virus to reduce panic likely hindered the United States’ handling the public health crisis. He also shared his take on Trump’s stance. “If he’d been honest and shared the truth in some form, we would be in a completely different position now,” Woodward said. “It is a monumental, catastrophic leadership failure.” Woodward also recalled the January 28 meeting in the Oval Office when Trump received intelligence warning him about the potential severity of the virus. He also reiterated that Trump was well aware of the specificity of the threat the virus posed including the possibility of airborne transmission. “I think it’s one of the most historic moments in the Oval Office when a crisis is laid out, and the president doesn’t level with the American people,” Woodward said. He added, “And it’s absolutely tragic. It’s tragic for Donald Trump, for the country, for the 190,000 plus people who have died.” See Woodward’s remarks below: [embedded content] Woodward’s latest remarks follow the media firestorm surrounding the release of his recorded conversations with Trump. The clips captured Trump admitting that he downplayed the pandemic to refrain from inciting panic, as previously reported on IJR. However, Trump has been criticized for doing so. Some of his supporters have also taken a similar stance often downplaying the virus while placing an emphasis on misinformation. In fact, Trump some supporters have even questioned the existence of the coronavirus altogether. Just hours before the president’s campaign rally in Michigan where he ignored science and coronavirus mitigation guidelines, several of his supporters weighed in with their take on the coronavirus downplaying and dismissing the severity of it. See the clip of Trump’s supporters below: [embedded content] More than 6.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic as the death toll continues to rise.

Continue Reading Woodward Lambastes Trump Downplaying COVID-19: ‘A Monumental, Catastrophic’ Failure

Biden Fires Back at Trump’s Remarks About Him Not Instituting a National Mask Mandate

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden fired back at President Donald Trump’s remarks about him not instituting a national mask mandate. When Trump participated in a presidential town hall on Tuesday night, he attempted to blame Biden for the United States not having a national mask mandate amid the coronavirus pandemic. A swing voter said, “Wearing masks has proven to lessen the spread of COVID. Why don’t you support a mandate for national mask-wearing and why don’t you wear a mask more often?” Trump quickly insisted that he does wear a mask when he has to and when visiting hospitals. Then, he took aim at Biden and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris. “They said at the Democrat Convention… they’re going to do a national mandate, they never did it,” Trump explained to host George Stephanopoulos. “Because they’re checked out, they never did it.” The President attempts to blame Joe Biden for not implementing a national mask mandate pic.twitter.com/nq9J6cVFoR — Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 16, 2020 Biden quickly took to Twitter to remind Trump that he is currently the president of the United States as the former vice president urged his supporters to pitch in to his campaign to help him be elected. As he shared the clip of Trump’s remarks, he tweeted, “To be clear: I am not currently president. But if you chip in now, we can change that in November.” To be clear: I am not currently president. But if you chip in now, we can change that in November: https://t.co/eFS4tDfHEx https://t.co/ciqFcIGLHB — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 16, 2020 Since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending the use of face coverings, Trump and Biden have expressed opposing views on the prioritization of masks. While Biden has repeatedly stressed the importance of mask-wearing, Trump has pushed back. In August, Biden and Harris participated in a briefing with health experts in Wilmington, Delaware, where they called for a three-month national mask mandate. “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum. Every governor should mandate mandatory mask-wearing,” Biden said, adding, “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives.” Trump, on the other hand, opposed calls for a federal mandate insisting the decision would be left up to the governors. The president also claimed people should still be allowed to have their freedom despite the ongoing pandemic. “We will continue to urge Americans to wear masks when they cannot social distance, but we do not need to bring the full weight of the federal government down on law-abiding Americans to accomplish this goal,” the president said in August. He added, “Americans must have their freedoms, and I trust the American people.” As of Wednesday morning, the United States has reported over 6.7 million positive coronavirus cases. Although total case numbers continue to rise and the death toll has topped 200,000, there is still no national mask mandate. The U.S. though has been on a downward trend in daily news cases since a surge in July.

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Woodward: Travel Restriction on China in January Was Not Trump’s Idea

Investigative Journalist Bob Woodward pushed back against President Donald Trump’s claim that he faced opposition from public health experts when he restricted travel from China at the beginning of the pandemic. Woodward touched on the portion of his new book “Rage” where it details what really led to Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China. During an appearance on NBC’s “The Today Show,” co-host Savannah Guthrie offered a contrast of Trump’s claims about the initial travel restriction on China in comparison to the timeline of events detailed in Woodward’s book. Guthrie noted that, according to Woodward, the restrictive policy was recommended to the president in January by some of the Trump administration’s top health experts. Woodward noted that the claim Trump has relied upon as a defense to support his early pandemic response differs drastically from what actually happened. “It is very different and it is essential to the understanding,” he said. See Woodward’s remarks below: [embedded content] Woodward went on to further explain the details of the travel ban including the flaw in it that, subsequently, contributed to New York state’s alarming coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of the pandemic. “It’s not that President Trump banned travel, people coming from China to the United States,” Woodward said, adding, “He restricted it, and as we now know, there were some problems and lots of people from China instead of coming to the United States went to Europe and then came into John F. Kennedy airport in New York.” He added, “And that’s why there was such a firestorm of a virus in New York City at that time.” When Guthrie asked about Woodward’s account of the travel restriction again, he doubled down on his stance. She asked, “Just to put a fine point on it, your book shows that it wasn’t the president up against the world but that his advisors actually said, ‘You should do this’ and he said okay.'” Woodward said, “Yes, absolutely.” Woodward’s remarks about Europe echo New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) recent argument about the strain of coronavirus that spread throughout his state. During one of his previous press briefings, Cuomo slammed Trump and blamed him for the spread of coronavirus in New York due to his failure to place restrictions on European travel, as previously reported on IJR. “It was not the China virus. It was the European virus that came to New York. They missed it. They missed it. The China virus went to Europe. It got on a plane. It went to Europe. They never even thought of the possibility and then three million Europeans got on the plane and came to New York.” “The China virus got on a plane and went to Europe,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The European virus came to New York.”“This nation loses more people per day to COVID than any nation on the globe. You know who did that? Donald Trump’s incompetence.”#Truth 🔥pic.twitter.com/yuu06EWm8D — Truth Matters (@TruthsOverTrump) September 8, 2020 The United States has reported more than 6.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases, as of Monday morning. As the death toll approaches 200,000, New York state still has the highest COVID death rate due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus at the onset of the pandemic.

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Trump on Why He’s Not Concerned About COVID at Rallies: ‘I’m on a Stage’

President Donald Trump explained why he believes there is a decreased possibility of him contracting the coronavirus at one of his rallies. The president conducted a brief interview with the “Las Vegas: Review Journal” on Sunday prior to taking the stage for his campaign rally. Reporter Debra J. Saunders asked Trump if he was at all concerned about the possibility of catching the virus at a rally.  “Aren’t you concerned about COVID though in an enclosed room?” Saunders asked. Trump said, “No I’m not concerned.” It has been noted that social distancing was practically non-existent at the rally and very few attendees wore masks, as previously reported on IJR. However, the president made it clear he was not concerned about possibly becoming ill. Saunders went on to express concern about rally-goers’ chances of contracting the virus as she asked, “What about people here?” Trump avoided answering the question, specifically, as he countered saying, “I’m more concerned about how close you are, to be honest. Because you know why? I’m on a stage, and it’s very far away.” He added, “And so I’m not at all concerned.” See Trump’s remarks below: [embedded content] The president’s remarks on Sunday came after a long week of criticism following the release of audio clips that confirmed he was well aware of the severity of the coronavirus. Trump verbally admitted that he “likes” to downplay the airborne virus to decrease the possibility of people panicking. During his press briefing on Wednesday, he also admitted that he may have misled the public in his efforts to reduce panic. “The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country, and I don’t want people to be frightened,” Trump said. “I don’t want to create panic, as you say, and certainly, I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.” As of Monday afternoon, the United States has confirmed more than 6.7 million coronavirus cases, nationwide. The death toll is now approaching 200,000.

Continue Reading Trump on Why He’s Not Concerned About COVID at Rallies: ‘I’m on a Stage’

Mnuchin Says It Is Not ‘the Time To Worry’ About Deficit as Pandemic Continues

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin admitted that he believes lawmakers should not view the country’s financial deficit or the Fed’s balance sheets as a deterrent that prohibits the passing of the next coronavirus relief package. Appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, Mnuchin said, “Now is not the time to worry about shrinking the deficit or shrinking the Fed balance sheet.” “There was a time where the Fed was shrinking the balance sheet and coming back to normal. The good news is that gave them a lot of room to increase the balance sheet, which they did,” he added. Mnuchin contributed the sizable stimulus and the Federal Reserve’s implemented measures that enabled the economy to survive despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. He added, “And I think both the monetary policy working with fiscal policy and what we were able to get done in an unprecedented way with Congress is the reason why the economy is doing better.” See Mnuchin’s remarks below: [embedded content] Mnuchin went on to explain the positive economic impacts of the previous $3 trillion-dollar coronavirus bill that was passed. “I think had we not passed the three trillion-dollar deal and had the Fed not acted in the way they’ve done, including the various different 13(3) facilities we’ve worked on together, I think you’d see a very very different economic scenario right now,” Mnuchin said. Mnuchin’s latest remarks follow Democratic and Republican lawmakers’ impasse regarding the latest coronavirus relief package. Although Democratic lawmakers have proposed another $3 trillion package, Republican lawmakers balked at the amount of the bill and countered with a $1 trillion bill. Despite proposed efforts on both sides, lawmakers have not been able to reach an agreement so a bill has stalled due to various differences regarding enhanced unemployment benefits, individual stimulus checks, United States Postal Service funding, and more.

Continue Reading Mnuchin Says It Is Not ‘the Time To Worry’ About Deficit as Pandemic Continues

Only Trump Rally Attendees Captured on TV Standing Behind POTUS Were Mandated To Wear Masks: Report

A new report has confirmed only a specific group of President Donald Trump’s supporters were mandated to wear masks at his recent campaign rally. According to a report released by the Associated Press, Trump’s rally defied the state of Nevada’s coronavirus mitigation guides due to the size of the gathering and lack of masks worn by rally-goers. The report also revealed that only the rally-goers who were captured on television sitting directly behind Trump were mandated to wear masks. However, the vast majority of attendees who were not seen on television did not wear masks. The Associated Press reported: “In open defiance of state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic health guidelines, President Donald Trump on Sunday hosted his first indoor rally since June, telling a packed, nearly mask-less Nevada crowd that the nation was ‘making the last turn’ in defeating the virus. Eager to project a sense of normalcy in imagery, Trump soaked up the raucous cheers inside a warehouse. Relatively few in the crowd wore masks, with one clear exception: Those in the stands directly behind Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings.” Photos and footage from the Henderson, Nevada, rally also appear to support the claims detailed in the report and they didn't even put them on until Trump was on stage.before & after: pic.twitter.com/Br7Rj7DXvm — Doug Landry (@dougblandry) September 14, 2020 Trump’s packed rally tonight. No social distancing and few masks pic.twitter.com/Pn9ihBRjHl — Emily Goodin (@Emilylgoodin) September 14, 2020 Trump’s rally came shortly after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) expressed concern about the event. The Democratic governor took to Twitter with a string of tweets slamming Trump and as he deemed his actions “dangerous” and “irresponsible.” “At a time when Nevada is focused on getting our economy back on track and protecting public health, the President’s actions this weekend are shameful, dangerous, and irresponsible,” Sisolak tweeted. At a time when Nevada is focused on getting our economy back on track and protecting public health, the President’s actions this weekend are shameful, dangerous and irresponsible. — Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020 The United States has reported more than 6.7 million coronavirus cases, nationwide, since the beginning of the pandemic.

Continue Reading Only Trump Rally Attendees Captured on TV Standing Behind POTUS Were Mandated To Wear Masks: Report

Bob Woodward Says Trump ‘Knew That This Was a Pandemic Coming’ in Late-January

Journalist Bob Woodward revealed President Donald Trump was well aware of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic was coming before he began taking the necessary steps to mitigate the spread of the virus. During an exclusive “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley, Woodward recalled Trump telling him when he first received intelligence about the coronavirus. “On January 28th of this year, before the virus was on anyone’s radar, the national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, told the president, ‘This virus will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,'” Woodward said on Sunday. When asked about Trump’s reaction to the warning, Woodward claimed the president asked questions that suggested he had a difference in opinion regarding the severity of the virus. Woodward later added, “It was a stunning moment in the Trump presidency and, I think, in American history. Because he then went on to publicly dismiss the virus. And he knew that this was a pandemic coming.” When clarifying that “this is January 28th,” Woodward told Pelley, “Yes.” See Woodward’s remarks below: Bob Woodward says that on January 28, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told President Trump that coronavirus “will be the biggest national security threat” of his presidency. https://t.co/TdjOvN9Nwy pic.twitter.com/O2UI0ErlcV — 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 13, 2020 Woodward’s latest interview follows the release of audio that confirmed the president was aware of how deadly the virus could be. The released audio also captured the president suggesting that he prefers to downplay the virus to not cause panic, as previously reported on IJR. Based on the audio clip, Trump not only knew the pandemic was coming, but on February 7, he also noted specific details about the severity of it and how it differs from the seasonal flu. Even then, Trump admitted that he was aware of the airborne transmission of the coronavirus. “It goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don’t have to touch things,” Trump told Woodward in February. He continued, “But the air… You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.” Hear the audio below: In new tapes, President Trump admits to Bob Woodward he concealed critical details he knew about the coronavirus. "I wanted to always play it down." https://t.co/eICaAx70mY pic.twitter.com/zXNOZtIBx7 — CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 9, 2020 Additionally, on Monday, Woodward argued how history will be written. “The president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February,” Woodward said during a “Today” show interview. “The president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives. Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February.” @realBobWoodward tells @SavannahGuthrie. pic.twitter.com/YaQslLKyHA — TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 14, 2020 As of Monday morning, the United States has reported more than 6.7 million coronavirus cases, nationwide. The death toll is over 198,000 and there are more than 3.9 reported recoveries.

Continue Reading Bob Woodward Says Trump ‘Knew That This Was a Pandemic Coming’ in Late-January

Bob Woodward Pressed on Why He Sat on Trump Audio Clips About COVID-19

Journalist Bob Woodward is being grilled for sitting on the audio clips of President Donald Trump admitting to downplaying the coronavirus pandemic. The investigative journalist appeared on “The Today Show” on Monday where he discussed his new book “Rage,” which offers an in-depth look at Trump’s presidency. “The biggest revelation, by far, from this book is that the president told you way back on February 7 that this coronavirus was airborne, that it was five times more deadly than the flu,” said host Savannah Guthrie. “As you well know, you’ve been criticized for not releasing that information until now.” Guthrie also noted that not only has the president criticized Woodward but also commentators have reiterated the fact that as nearly 200,000 Americans died of coronavirus, he did not come forward with the information he had. When asked why he withheld the information, Woodward attempted to justify his actions insisting. “Because in February, I thought it was all about China because the president had told me about a discussion with Chinese President Xi,” Woodward said. See their exchange below: Why didn’t you publish this information until now? –@SavannahGuthrie asks @realBobWoodward about his book that reveals President Trump downplayed the coronavirus to the American public. pic.twitter.com/udYPnonSd7 — TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 14, 2020 Not deterred, Guthrie went on to highlight the contradictions in Trump’s rhetoric as she questioned why that, alone, was not enough for Woodward to release the information. She noted the timeline that followed Trump’s remarks on February 7 where he admitted the coronavirus is five times worse than the seasonal flu due to the possibility of airborne transmission. Despite being aware of that, Trump spent the weeks that followed publicly insisting that coronavirus was no different than the flu and that it would go away. “If there was any suggestion I had that that was about the United States, I would have, of course, published it,” Woodward said. “I think I have a public health and public safety responsibility.” As states across the country continue to combat the coronavirus, Trump has appeared to continue to downplay the severity of it. On Sunday, the president was criticized for holding a fully-indoor campaign rally in Nevada, as IJR reported. As the fall season approaches, the United States currently has more than 6.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases.

Continue Reading Bob Woodward Pressed on Why He Sat on Trump Audio Clips About COVID-19

Trump Accuses Biden of Wanting To ‘Appease Domestic Terrorists’

President Donald Trump accused Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of wanting to “appease domestic terrorists” as he stated his election case to his base in Nevada. Trump held his first, fully-indoor rally in nearly three months, defying Nevada coronavirus guidelines on Sunday evening. During the rally, he attacked Biden on a number of issues including the riots amid protests and demonstrations’ call for an end to police brutality and racial injustice. The president painted a picture of an embattled America if Biden is elected president as he highlighted his own support of law enforcement. “Biden wants to appease domestic terrorists and my plan is to arrest domestic terrorists,” Trump said to his enthusiastic crowd of supporters, adding, “And we also believe that if you murder a police officer, you should receive the death penalty.” See Trump’s remarks below: [embedded content] Trump went on to stoke more concerns about the future of the United States under a Biden administration. He later added, “If Biden wins, China wins. the mob wins. If Biden wins, the mob wins. If Biden wins, the rioters, and anarchists… Look, you see what’s going on? The arsonists and flag burners. How about the flag burning? I would love to have a law. This is so sad what’s going on.” President Trump: "If Biden wins — the rioters, and anarchists… the arsonists, the flag burners… This is so sad what's going on." pic.twitter.com/HKMMccHXsD — The Hill (@thehill) September 14, 2020 Trump’s latest remarks follow ongoing claims about Democrats’ policies and their most recent police reform proposal. Although the Democratic bill clearly indicates that defunding the police focuses on reallocating funds to other non-policing forms of public safety and community support, Trump has likened the initiative to being more along the lines of the abolition of police. However, that is not the case. In fact, just days ago, Biden tackled the issues Trump mentioned. Not only did he condemn Antifa, he also disavowed the violence on both sides and challenged Trump to do the same, as previously reported on IJR. “I condemned it across the board. The president still hasn’t condemned the far right folks coming out and protesting and using violence,” Biden said. Trump still has yet to condemn violence on both sides.

Continue Reading Trump Accuses Biden of Wanting To ‘Appease Domestic Terrorists’

GOP Senator Calls for DOJ Watchdog To Investigate Records Showing Mueller’s Team ‘Wiped’ Phones

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is calling for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general to investigate records that suggest then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team erased some cell phone records. In a letter addressed to DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, Johnson, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, expressed concern about what the possible lack of transparency may suggest amid the latest developments. The lawmaker wrote in a letter on Friday, “According to recent reports, cell phones belonging to ‘multiple people on then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team were ‘wiped’ for various reasons during [the Russia investigation].'” “These reports are troubling and raise concerns about record retention and transparency,” he continued. “Therefore, I respectfully request that your office open an investigation into this matter to determine what, why, and how information was wiped, whether any wrongdoing occurred, and who these devices belonged to.” Johnson also expressed concern about the timing of the occurrence since the phone records appear to have been removed “before the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) could review the devices,” accordingto one article. The letter came shortly after the release of documents by the Justice Department that suggest information was wiped from “at least 15 phones.” Newly released DOJ records show that multiple top members of Mueller's investigative team claimed to have "accidentally wiped" at least 15 (!) phones used during the anti-Trump investigation after the DOJ OIG asked for the devies to be handed over. https://t.co/VVUnfZVolm pic.twitter.com/p50PnoCBse — Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 10, 2020 According to the 87-page document, there were multiple claims to support the erasing of the devices including forgotten passcodes, device misplacement, and hardware issues as a result of screen damage. The report indicates that messages, screenshots of conversations, apps, voicemails, note reminders, and more were all removed from several devices. He also inquired about whether or not the department took measures to further investigate if the phones had been wiped, if the phones had text message capabilities, and if the department has the capability to retrieve the information from the phones. Johnson asked to receive a response by September 18.

Continue Reading GOP Senator Calls for DOJ Watchdog To Investigate Records Showing Mueller’s Team ‘Wiped’ Phones

DHS Pushes Back Against House Democrats’ Call for Chad Wolf To Testify

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its rejection of House Democrats’ call for acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to appear before a security oversight panel following the release of a whistleblower complaint. On Friday, Assistant DHS Secretary Beth Spivey responded to House Democrats’ subpoena in a letter addressed to Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). The subpoena came after the whistleblower allegations that “top political appointees in DHS repeatedly instructed career officials to modify intelligence assessments to suit President Donald Trump’s agenda by downplaying Russia’s efforts to interfere in US elections and the threat posed by White supremacists,” as CNN reports. Despite Democratic leaders’ argument that Wolf’s appearance is necessary, Spivey insisted the “arguments in your [Thompson’s] letter are without merit ” as she reiterated that the government agency offered for senior official Ken Cuccinelli to testify instead. “I had written to you on September 8, 2020 that it would be contrary to standard practice for the Acting Secretary, as the President’s selection (and announced at the time as the President’s future nominee) to be Secretary of Homeland Security, to testify before the Committee on Homeland Security on a subject matter unrelated to his nomination while that nomination was pending,” Spivey wrote. She went on to not that President Donald Trump just officially nominated Wolf on September 10. Spivey also noted that as “acting” DHS secretary, it is not customary for someone in Wolf’s position to testify until after he is officially confirmed. The letter added, “From that moment onward, the Acting Secretary became unavailable to testify before Congress on matters unrelated to his nomination and will regain the ability to do so when the Senate completes the confirmation process.” Kevin Lamarque/Reuters “This Presidential nomination obviates any concern that the Acting Secretary’s declining to testify at the Worldwide Threats hearing was premature, conjectural or speculative,” the letter adds. Spivey also reiterated that Wolf has a right to “abstain from testifying” as she described some of the issues House Democrats have raised concerns about as “unrelated” to the nomination. “Second, the right of a President’s nominee to abstain from testifying on matters unrelated to his or her nomination while such a nomination is pending is an unwritten rule honored by Chairmen from both sides of the aisle for many decades,” the letter reads. Thompson fired back with critical remarks in response to the DHS’s letter and Wolf’s refusal to testify. “Nineteen years after the attacks of 9/11, we continue to face grave threats to the homeland. From the coronavirus pandemic to the rise of right-wing extremism to ongoing election interference, there are urgent threats requiring our attention,” the Mississippi Democratic lawmaker said. He added, “Mr. Wolf’s refusal to testify – thereby evading congressional oversight at this critical time – is especially troubling given the serious matters facing the Department and the Nation.” 

Continue Reading DHS Pushes Back Against House Democrats’ Call for Chad Wolf To Testify

CDC Finds Dining Out Is Among the Riskiest Activities That Can Contribute To COVID-19 Spread

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that dining out could be one of the riskiest activities contributing to the spread of the coronavirus. The public health institute released a report on Thursday explaining why dining is such a high risk citing the removal of masks to eat and drink while patronizing restaurants. CDC officials conducted interviews with more than 300 people who experienced coronavirus-related symptoms, roughly half tested positive for COVID-19. Out of all the tests administered, approximately half returned with positive results. “Eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the report states. It continued, “Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities.” The latest study comes as the United States braces for the fall and winter months which are projected to be particularly challenging with the existence of COVID-19. Over the summer, most states that shut down during the spring entered some form of phased reopening. Now, many restaurants across the country have also resumed business operations in some capacity. Like the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci and many other public health experts are warning Americans to remain vigilant in adhering to mitigation guidelines to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. Todd Rice, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, also echoed similar sentiments as he stressed the importance of being particularly careful about adhering to mitigation guidelines. “If people are going to eat out, they need to be thoughtful about how they’re going to do it,” Rice told NBC News, adding, “Even if I’m sitting at a table and the food hasn’t arrived yet, I still wear a mask. I won’t sit at a table that’s next to somebody else.”

Continue Reading CDC Finds Dining Out Is Among the Riskiest Activities That Can Contribute To COVID-19 Spread