• 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~25,584,000; deaths: ~853,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~6,065,000; deaths: ~185,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • 💻 COVID-19 Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / USA Today

  • 🗳 How To Vote In The 2020 Election In Every State. Everything you need to know about mail-in and early in-person voting in every state in the age of COVID-19, including the first day you can cast your ballot in the 2020 election. (FiveThirtyEight / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

1/ Trump compared police officers who shoot unarmed people to golfers who “choke” while putting. While discussing the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by an officer, with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Trump said sometimes an officer “makes a mistake” or “chokes” under pressure, “Just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot putt.” Ingraham interjected and redirected Trump: “You’re not comparing it to golf, because of course that’s what the media would say.” Trump responded: “No, I’m saying people choke. People choke. And people are bad people. […] You have some bad people, and they choke. […] People choke under those circumstances, and they make a bad decision.” (Politico / The Guardian / USA Today / The Hill / Business Insider)

2/ Trump defended the Kenosha gunman charged with murdering two people and claimed that the 17-year-old acted in self-defense. Trump suggested that video he had seen showed Kyle Rittenhouse “trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like” and that protesters “very violently attacked him. I guess he was in very big trouble.” Trump added: “He probably would have been killed.” Video of Rittenhouse at the protests showed him carrying an assault rifle and telling someone on the phone: “I just killed somebody.” Rittenhouse has been charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree homicide and one count of attempted homicide. (Reuters / Politico / CBS News / USA Today / NPR / CNN)

  • Trump visited Kenosha despite objections from Wisconsin’ governor and Kenosha’s mayor, where he blamed “anti-police and anti-American riots” for the property damaged during the civil unrest that followed the the shooting of Jacob Blake. “You have anarchists and you have the looters and you have the rioters. You have all types. You have agitators,” Trump said. (USA Today / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ Trump spread a baseless conspiracy theory that “people that are in the dark shadows” are “controlling the streets” in Kenosha and other cities, and manipulating Biden’s campaign. When Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked “What does that mean,” saying the statement “sounds like conspiracy theory,” Trump claimed “We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.” Trump declined to elaborate, but claimed the matter was “under investigation right now” because “a lot of the people were on the plane to do big damage.” Trump provided no evidence for his claims. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / New York Times / ABC News)

4/ Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said Attorney General William Barr is “working on” conspiracy charges against leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. During an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, Wolf said charging antifascists and leaders of the BLM movement with conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act statute is “something that I have talked to [Attorney General William Barr] personally about.” He added: “I know that they are working on it.” RICO is a federal law that focuses on acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization and was used to take down organized crime in the U.S. Wolf said Barr was “targeting and investigating the heads of those organizations” as well as those who are “paying for those individuals to move across the country.” (Daily Beast)

  • Trump called companies supporting the Black Lives Matter movement “weak” and that they’re led by “weak people.” Trump added that he considered the movement’s name “so discriminatory.” (Bloomberg)

5/ Trump denied that his unscheduled visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last November was because he had “suffered a series of mini-strokes.” No media outlets have reported that Trump had a series of mini-strokes. Trump, however, tweeted that it “Never happened to THIS candidate – FAKE NEWS.” Hours later, Trump’s physician issued an official statement saying Trump has not had a stroke, mini-stroke or heart-related emergencies. (@realDonaldTrump / The Guardian / CNBC / Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 1033: Trump made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to “begin portions of his routine annual physical exam” that included a “quick exam and labs,” according to the White House.

  • 📌 Day 1219: Trump hasn’t completed his annual 2020 physical after claiming six months ago that he had started the process. The White House declined to explain why.

6/ Pence was put on “standby to take over the powers of the presidency temporarily” if Trump needed to be anesthetized during an unscheduled hospital visit last November. Trump’s visit did not follow the protocol of a routine presidential medical exam, and the White House has claimed that Trump had undergone a “quick exam and labs” as part of his annual physical out of anticipation of a “very busy 2020.”(CNN)

7/ A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the release of Trump’s tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Oral arguments for Trump’s appeal were set for Sept. 25. Even if Cyrus Vance is allowed to enforce the subpoena for eight years of Trump’s financial records, grand jury secrecy laws would prevent the documents from becoming public. Trump, meanwhile, complained that “the deck was clearly stacked against” him, and said he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene if necessary. (Washington Post / Axios / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Reuters)

poll/ 52% of Americans say they will vote early, of which 19% say they will vote early in person and 33% say they will vote by mail. 33% say they will vote in person on Election Day, while 11% say they might not vote at all. (NBC News)

✏️ Notables.

  1. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis investigation found that over $1 billion in emergency coronavirus aid relief went to companies who “double dipped” and received multiple Paycheck Protection Program loans. The Subcommittee found over 10,000 loans where the borrower obtained more than one loan, and over 600 loans for nearly $100 million went to companies that had been suspended from doing business with the federal government. (NBC News)

  2. The National Institutes of Health said “there are insufficient data to recommend” the use of convalescent plasma for hospitalized coronavirus patients. The FDA granted emergency authorization for convalescent plasma one day before the Republican National Convention, where Trump referred to the therapy as having the potential to “save thousands of lives.” (Bloomberg / NIH)

  3. The Trump administration will not join the global effort to develop, manufacture, and distribute a coronavirus vaccine because the World Health Organization is involved. More than 170 countries are participating in the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility to speed vaccine development, secure doses for all countries, and distribute them to high-risk populations. The White House not wanting to work with the WHO effectively eliminates the chance to secure doses from a pool of vaccine candidates. WHO officials, meanwhile, have said countries can pursue multiple strategies and sign bilateral deals directly with drugmakers while also joining COVAX. (Washington Post)

  4. The Department of Health and Human Services is bidding out a $250 million contract to a consulting firm to “defeat despair and inspire hope” about the coronavirus pandemic. An internal HHS document outlines that the winning firm will need to “share best practices for businesses to operate in the new normal and instill confidence to return to work and restart the economy.” (Politico)

  5. Twitter deleted a post spreading false information that attempted to minimize COVID-19 deaths. Trump had retweeted the post, made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, which suggested that the CDC had “quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6%” of reported deaths — or about 9,000 — actually died from COVID.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, debunked the theory promoted by Trump, saying that the “180,000-plus deaths are real deaths from COVID-19. Let (there) not be any confusion about that.” (Washington Post / CNN / CNBC)

  6. Facebook took down 13 fake accounts and two pages associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency – the same group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election. The IRA had created a fake new site, called Peace Data, and recruited U.S. journalists to write articles targeting left-leaning readers on topics such as racial justice, the Biden-Harris campaign and Trump’s policies. Facebook took action after being warned by the FBI about the Russian effort. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

  7. Attorney General William Barr issued new rules restricting the use of government surveillance on elected officials and political campaigns. FBI agents will now be required to get permission from the attorney general before submitting applications to FISA courts to surveil elected official, a political candidate, or any of their staff, official advisers or informal advisers. The new policies add to earlier restrictions imposed by Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray after the DOJ inspector general concluded that the FBI had misused the process for getting authority to eavesdrop on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Trump has repeatedly called the investigation into Russia’s efforts to help his 2016 campaign a “witch hunt.” (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Axios / NBC News)

  8. Attorney General William Barr removed the head of a Justice Department office that ensures the legality of federal counter-terrorism and counterintelligence activities. Barr hasn’t explained the removal of deputy assistant attorney general Brad Wiegmann, who was in charge of the office of law and policy in the national security section of the justice department until he was reassigned two weeks ago. Wiegmann, a 23-year career public servant – not a political appointee – will be replaced by a cyber-crimes prosecutor and political appointee, who has very little relevant experience. Kellen Dwyer made headlines in November 2018 when he accidentally revealed that federal charges had been secretly filed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (ABC News / The Guardian)

  9. The EPA relaxed rules meant to keep lead, selenium and arsenic, and other pollution out of rivers and streams. Scaling back how coal-fired power plants dispose of wastewater is meant to extend the life of aging plants by making them more competitive with cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. (New York Times)