October 26, 2021

Biden will visit Kenosha to ‘bring Americans together to heal’ amid protests – as it happened

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Summary

From me and Joan E Greve:

  • Joe Biden announced plans to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, tomorrow, as protests continue over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The Democratic presidential nominee said he hoped to be a “positive influence” to help bring the community together, after Trump visited the city yesterday and called for “law and order”. Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will also meet with Blake’s father and other members of his family.
  • Biden called the closure of US schools a “national emergency” in a speech delivered in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden argued schools would be safely open now “if President Trump and his administration had done their jobs” in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Trump traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war. Although it was an official White House event, the president couldn’t resist getting in a dig against his Democratic opponent. After mentioning he traveled to North Carolina with a 97-year-old veteran, Trump said of the man, “He’s 100% sharp. I know a 78-year-old that’s not so sharp, but he’s 97, and he’s 100%.”
  • The president suggested, while in North Carolina, that voters should commit fraud by voting twice – once by mail and once in person. Trump, who has been sowing misinformation about voting, suggested that voters “test” for fraud by breaking the law and attempting to cast two ballots, in response to a question about whether he’s confident in the mail-in voting system.
  • Attorney general William Barr, in an interview with CNN, parroted many of the president’s false claims about mail-in voting, policing and leftwing violence. Barr claimed that foreign countries could interfere in elections with counterfeit ballots but said he did not have evidence to prove it; rather, he was basing his assertion “on logic”. On policing, Barr defied logic and denied that police discrimination against Black Americans amounted to racism.
  • Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, the German government announced. The US National Security Council condemned the poisoning of Navalny, a fervent critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, but Trump has not yet addressed the news.
  • The moderators of the presidential debates were announced. Fox News’ Chris Wallace, C-Span’s Steve Scully and NBC News’ Kristen Welker will moderate the three presidential debates, and USA Today’s Susan Page will moderate the vice-presidential debate.

Updated

A Bay Area police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of a Black man in a Walmart store in April.

The district attorney in California’s Alameda county announced the charge against officer Jason Fletcher, 49, in the killing Steven Taylor, 33. Responding to a call about a possible shoplifter with a baseball bat at a Walmart, Fletcher fired first his taser and then his pistol at Taylor, killing him.

Prosecutors said Taylor posed no immediate threat to Fletcher and was stumbling after the officer shot him with a taser.

My colleague Sam Levin reported earlier that Taylor may have been experiencing a mental health crisis when he was apprehended:


Lee Merritt, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said Taylor was going through a mental health crisis on Saturday afternoon, and that he has previously suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar depression. “He was shot after he had become completely helpless and no longer represented a threat,” Merritt told the Guardian on Monday.

Merritt said he wasn’t sure yet whether police shot Taylor with a Taser or bullet after he was already down, and that an autopsy was under way.

Merritt also alleged that the officers provided insufficient care once Taylor was shot. “Their job, according to standard operating procedures, was to get Mr Taylor help. He had been seriously wounded and was suffering from a mental health crisis. They had to treat him quickly. They did the opposite and exacerbated his injuries,” Merritt said.

Updated

Trump suggested people should vote twice, which would be illegal

Donald Trump told voters in North Carolina they should vote twice, once by mail and once in person, even though doing so would be illegal.

The president was in Wilmington, North Carolina, for an event today. Asked whether he has confidence in the mail-in voting system, the president suggested voters break the law.

“Let them send it [their mail-in ballot] in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said. “So that’s the way it is. And that’s what they should do.”

The Lead CNN
(@TheLeadCNN)

President Trump appears to encourage people to vote twice, in person and by mail, which could lead to voter fraud @JDiamond1 reports @PamelaBrownCNN pic.twitter.com/xEN0gOb3Fu

September 2, 2020

Trump made similar comments during the lead-up to the 2016 election. Even as he sows mistrust in the voting system, falsely insisting that it is rife with fraud, the president in this case is himself encouraging voter fraud.

Updated

A Fox News poll finds that voters in Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin favor Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

Trump won all three states in 2016. The survey of likely voters, taken after the party conventions, found Biden ahead by nine points in Arizona, four points in North Carolina, and eight points in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, as protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake continue, likely voters preferred Biden over Trump on criminal justice and policing – 47% to 43%. In Arizona, more voters trusted Biden than Trump to handle coronavirus, by 17 points. Overall, Biden drew more support from women and suburban voters.

Updated

Tom McCarthy

Eighty-one American winners of Nobel prizes in the fields of chemistry, medicine and physics have endorsed Joe Biden for president, based on the candidate’s support for science.

An open letter signed by the laureates asserts that the United States is at a unique historical crossroads demanding that leaders “appreciate the value of science”. The Biden campaign released the letter on Wednesday.

The letter from the Nobel laureates endorses Biden with three sentences:


At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy. During his long record of public service, Joe Biden has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to experts, his understanding of the value of international collaboration in research, and his respect for the contribution that immigrants make to the intellectual life of our country. As American citizens and as scientists, we wholeheartedly endorse Joe Biden for President.

The letter does not make explicit reference to the coronavirus pandemic or to the climate emergency, but it does single out an issue outside the expertise of the signatories: immigration.

Biden respects “the contribution that immigrants make to the intellectual life of our country”, the letter says.

In July, the Donald Trump administration advanced a plan to deport foreign students in the United States whose classes had moved online owing to the pandemic, but the plan was soon shelved.

Biden to meet with members of Jacob Blake’s family

During a visit to Kenosha tomorrow, Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will meet with Jacob Blake’s father and other members of his family, a Biden campaign official confirmed to the Guardian.

The Bidens are scheduled to hold a community meeting in Kenosha “to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face”.

The trip follows one made by Donald Trump despite objections from local officials and leaders, including Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers. Evers told Trump in a letter, “your presence will only hinder our healing”.

Biden told reporters today, “What we want to do is – we’ve got to heal. We’ve got to put things together. Bring people together.”

Jacob Blake, 29, has been left paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, his family said. His shooting fueled further protests against racial injustice in the city and around the country.

Updated

In a CNN interview, William Barr, the attorney general, echoed Donald Trump’s misinformation about mail-in voting and denied racism in policing – but on both counts came up short when asked to provide evidence to back up his claims.

Kaitlan Collins
(@kaitlancollins)

Attorney General Barr says he doesn’t have evidence that foreign countries could successfully interfere in the election with fake ballots. He says he’s “basing it on logic.”

Wolf: Pardon? 

Barr: “Logic.” pic.twitter.com/FzzIRL2PrK

September 2, 2020

On policing, Barr defied logic in denying that police discrimination against Black Americans amounted to racism.

“I think there are some situations when statistics would suggest they are treated differently, but I don’t think that’s necessarily racism,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

He added: “There appears to be a phenomenon in the country where African-Americans feel that they’re treated, when they’re stopped by police, frequently, as suspects before they are treated as citizens. I don’t think that that necessarily reflects some deep-seated racism.”

Updated

Report: CDC tells states expect vaccine by November and expedite distribution sites

Health officials across the country have been notified that they should expect a coronavirus vaccine available to health workers in high-risk groups by November, and the Trump administration is asking states to speed up approvals for vaccine distribution sites before the November election.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed health officials that “limited Covid-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020”, the New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, CDC director Robert Redfield wrote to state governors, asking them to ready distribution sites. “CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities, and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by Nov. 1, 2020,” Redfield wrote, McClatchy reported.

The ambitious timeline, which asks officials to prepare for the vaccine to arrive just in time for the November elections, has raised concerns that the Trump administration has politicized the vaccine development process, and that the president is seeking to rush a vaccine before election day.

The government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, said he is “cautiously optimistic” for a vaccine by the end of this year, but added that he “will not be satisfied regarding the release of a vaccine unless we know that it is safe and effective”.

But Trump has been playing up confidence that a vaccine will be available soon. As the CDC began notifying health officials of the possibility last week, Trump told supporters during his Republican national convention speech, “We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner.”

Healthcare workers, national security employees and other high-risk groups would receive the first round of vaccines, per guidance from the CDC.

Updated

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe Biden announced plans to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, tomorrow, as protests continue over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The Democratic nominee said he hoped to be a “positive influence” to help bring the community together, after Trump visited the city yesterday and called for “law and order.”
  • Biden called the closure of US schools a “national emergency” in a speech delivered in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden argued schools would be safely open now “if President Trump and his administration had done their jobs” in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Trump traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Although it was an official White House event, the president couldn’t resist getting in a dig against his Democratic opponent. After mentioning he traveled to North Carolina with a 97-year-old World War II veteran, Trump said of the man, “He’s 100% sharp. I know a 78-year-old that’s not so sharp, but he’s 97, and he’s 100%.”
  • Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, the German government announced. The National Security Council condemned the poisoning of Navalny, a fervent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Trump has not yet addressed the news.
  • The moderators of the presidential debates were announced. Fox News’ Chris Wallace, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully and NBC News’ Kristen Welker will moderate the three presidential debates, and USA Today’s Susan Page will moderate the vice-presidential debate.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Here is the video of House speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to apologize for her recent indoor visit to a San Francisco salon, in violation of the city’s coronavirus-related guidelines, and accusing the salon’s employees of “setting [her] up”:

Marc Caputo
(@MarcACaputo)

Taking a page from Marion Barry, Pelosi goes with the salon-set-me-up defense

pic.twitter.com/gKtEh7BEh8

September 2, 2020

“I think that this salon owes me an apology, for setting me up,” Pelosi said during an event on reopening schools in San Francisco.

“I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I’ve been to over the years many times when they said we’re able to accommodate people one person at a time,” the Democratic speaker added.

A video from inside the salon appeared to show Pelosi not wearing a face mask after she had her hair washed.

“I don’t wear a mask when I’m washing my hair. Do you wear a mask when you’re washing your hair? I always wear a mask,” Pelosi told reporters.

The speaker has repeatedly criticized Trump for not wearing a mask during his recent campaign events, despite evidence that masks help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Trump tweeted earlier today about the salon incident, saying, “Crazy Nancy Pelosi is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!”

The Republican chairman of the Senate homeland security committee condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, after the German government announced the Kremlin critic appears to have been poisoned with a nerve agent.

Ron Johnson, a Republican of Wisconsin, said the US “must hold Russia accountable” in light of Navalny’s poisoning.

Senator Ron Johnson
(@SenRonJohnson)

I would suggest an appropriate response to this assassination attempt would include the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. We must hold Russia accountable.

September 2, 2020

“This outrageous assassination attempt and violation of the international chemical weapons ban should not be rewarded with an expansion of Putin’s malign influence in Europe,” Johnson said.

“I would suggest an appropriate response to this assassination attempt would include the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.”

Trump has not yet addressed the German government’s announcement, although his National Security Council issued a statement on the matter. Democratic lawmakers criticized the president’s silence on the issue.

Elizabeth Warren
(@SenWarren)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the same substance as other Putin critics. Trump says nothing. His silence & weakness speak volumes. It’s clear he can’t stand up to Putin or support democratic values. https://t.co/lg7FRB25vF

September 2, 2020

House speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the outcry over her recent indoor visit to a San Francisco hair salon, an apparent violation of city guidelines aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus.

Footage from inside the salon showed the speaker with her face mask off shortly after her hair was washed.

Pelosi’s office said she took the word of a salon employee about the necessary precautions, but that employee was incorrect about the city’s newly released guidelines.

The Democratic speaker described the incident as a “set-up,” and she demanded an apology from the salon.

Tal Kopan
(@TalKopan)

Pelosi addresses Monday’s salon incident:

“I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I’ve been to…many times…It was a set up, and I take responsibility for falling for a setup.”

“I think that this salon owes me an apology, for setting me up”

September 2, 2020

Nazia Parveen

Nancy Pelosi has been photographed in a San Francisco hair salon without a face covering, breaking the city’s coronavirus prevention rules.

Security camera footage, which was obtained by Fox News, shows the Democratic House speaker without a mask on her face as she walked through the salon.

Salons in San Francisco have been closed during the coronavirus pandemic, with limited outdoor operations beginning only on Tuesday. The footage, showing Pelosi walking through the eSalon with a face mask around her neck, was filmed during an appointment on Monday.

Pelosi has regularly told US citizens to wear masks and follow the guidelines intended to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The salon’s owner, Erica Kious, said one of her hairstylists who rented a chair at the business had opened it especially for Pelosi’s appointment.

“It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work,” Kious told Fox News.

A spokesman for Pelosi, Drew Hammill, responded that the Californian congresswoman had not realised she was breaking her home city’s virus prevention rules.

“This business offered for the speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business,” he said, adding: “The speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”

The National Security Council condemned the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, after the German government announced he appeared to have been poisoned by a nerve agent.

NSC
(@WHNSC)

(1 of 3) “The United States is deeply troubled by the results released today. Alexei Navalny’s poisoning is completely reprehensible. Russia has used the chemical nerve agent Novichok in the past.

September 2, 2020

“The United States is deeply troubled by the results released today. Alexei Navalny’s poisoning is completely reprehensible,” NSC spokesperson John Ullyot said.

“Russia has used the chemical nerve agent Novichok in the past. We will work with allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable, wherever the evidence leads, and restrict funds for their malign activities.

“The Russian people have a right to express their views peacefully without fear of retribution of any kind, and certainly not with chemical agents.”

Trump, who has received criticism from Democrats for being “subservient” to Russia, has not yet addressed the latest news on the poisoning.

Another post-convention national poll shows Joe Biden still has a double-digit lead over Trump, despite a worrying poll from the swing state of Pennsylvania released early today.

According to the Quinnipiac University poll, Biden leads Trump by 10 points among likely voters in the country, 52%-42%.

That may reassure Democrats, despite the Monmouth University poll released today that showed Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania has narrowed to 4 points among the swing state’s registered voters.

Although the individual results in swing states will matter more than Biden’s national advantage in November, election experts say it will be virtually mathematically impossible for Trump to pull off an Electoral College win if he loses the popular vote by double digits.

As NBC News’ Steve Kornacki pointed out, the RealClearPolitics national polling average has now returned to almost the exact same point it was at a month ago.

Steve Kornacki
(@SteveKornacki)

With Quinnipiac factored in, the RCP average is now Biden +7.5 Exactly a month ago, on August 2, it was Biden +7.4.

September 2, 2020

Updated

Trump’s speech in North Carolina is an official White House event, but that did not stop the president from mocking his election opponent.

Aaron Rupar
(@atrupar)

Trump recognizes a World War 2 veteran but diminishes the moment by taking a gratuitous shot at Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/dUsIwTtDf6

September 2, 2020

While designating Wilmington an official World War II Heritage City, the president noted he traveled to North Carolina with Hershel “Woody” Williams, a 97-year-old veteran of World War II.

“He’s 100% sharp,” Trump said of Williams. “I know a 78-year-old that’s not so sharp, but he’s 97, and he’s 100%.” The line was a clear reference to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who is 78.

Many Democrats have previously criticized Trump for using White House events to launch political attacks against his opponent, but those comments have clearly not changed the president’s behavior.

Trump speaks in North Carolina

Trump is now delivering remarks in Wilmington, North Carolina, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Speaking in front of a battleship, the USS North Carolina, Trump declared Wilmington to be “our nation’s very first World War II heritage city.”

Donald Trump speaks at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Donald Trump speaks at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, North Carolina. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

House oversight committee subpoenas postmaster general

The Democratic-led House oversight committee has subpoenaed postmaster general Louis DeJoy for documents related to recent delays in mail delivery.

Oversight Committee
(@OversightDems)

BREAKING: Chair @RepMaloney subpoenas PMG Louis #DeJoy for docs he is withholding from Congress on widespread #postalservice delays. pic.twitter.com/vtP6ar9T4q

September 2, 2020

Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney announced plans earlier this week to subpoena DeJoy after he failed to voluntarily hand over the materials requested by the panel.

DeJoy argued his testimony before the committee last week should have satisfied all the lawmakers’ questions about operational changes at the US Postal Service, but Maloney said his answers were insufficient.

Democrats have expressed fear that the delays could impact voting by mail in November’s presidential election, as Trump has simultaneously spread baseless claims that mailed-in ballots will be highly vulnerable to fraud. In reality, voter fraud is very rare.

This post originally appeared on and written by:
Maanvi Singh (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (earlier)
The Guardian 2020-09-03 00:45:00

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