Donald Trump has gone one of his wild early morning tweeting and retweeting sprees. Among his targets this morning are Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker who Trump has trashed as a Republican-in-name-only over mail in ballots in the state.
The president of the United States is also unhappy about the polling figures being produced by Fox News.
But perhaps the most significant thing, and certainly very much targeted at firing up his base, the president seems to be trawling through the last week’s worth of tweets from the National Rifle Association of America and amplifying their attacks on Joe Biden. So far Trump has scrolled back as far as 17 September on their timeline.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and wife Jill visit Washington today to pay respects to supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the US Capitol this morning.
The Bidens will be hoping for a better reception than Donald Trump received yesterday, when he was booed and jeered.
The Washington Post has this to say today on the process going on behind Donald Trump’s upcoming supreme court pick, claiming that the process of inviting senators to meet with the nominee has already started. Seung Min Kim reports:
The White House has started its outreach to key senators who will play influential roles in the confirmation fight for President Trump’s yet-to-be-named nominee to the Supreme Court, a sign that the administration is preparing to move rapidly once the president reveals his pick Saturday afternoon.
White House officials have asked several members, both Democratic and Republican, of the Senate Judiciary Committee if they would like to meet personally with the nominee starting next week, according to two officials directly familiar with the invitations.
The administration has not disclosed the identity of the nominee in its outreach to senators, but Trump’s choice is widely believed to be Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
The courtesy one-on-one meetings between a Supreme Court nominee and senators are a traditional fixture of the confirmation process. Depending on the senator, the visits range from quick photo ops to lengthy, in-depth discussions about a nominee’s judicial philosophy.
The outreach to Democratic senators, in particular, shows the White House wants at least the semblance of a bipartisan process at the start of what will surely be a deeply contentious nomination fight. It’s unclear whether some Democratic senators would boycott a courtesy visit with the nominee, as most GOP senators did with Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016.
Federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing early
US District Judge Lucy Koh has been hearing a case in California over the plans to cut short the US census, and she delivered her ruling late last night. She has ordered the once-a-decade head count of every US resident to continue for another month through to the end of October, saying a shortened schedule likely would produce inaccurate results.
Civil rights groups and local governments had sued the Census Bureau, which was proposing to end the count at the end of September. Attorneys for the civil rights groups and local governments said the shortened schedule would undercount residents in minority and hard-to-count communities. Koh had also expressed concerns earlier in the hearings that a September deadline would make it harder to count people who had been displaced by California’s record-breaking wildfires.
Koh said inaccuracies produced from a shortened schedule would affect the distribution of federal funding and political representation, report the Associated Press. The census is used to determine how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed each year and how many congressional seats each state gets.
Government attorneys had argued that the census must finish by the end of September to meet a 31 December deadline for turning over numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets. Koh’s preliminary injunction suspends that end-of-the-year deadline, too.
The San Jose, California-based judge had previously issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down field operations until she made a ruling in the lawsuit. Attorneys for the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce, which oversees the agency, had said during the hearing they would likely appeal.
One of the pictures I posted earlier showed riot police surrounding a church in Louisville in what had developed into a stand-off. The Louisville Courier Journal has this on what happened there last night:
After a two-hour standoff outside a downtown Louisville church, police officers and protesters brokered a deal allowing demonstrators back on to the city streets.
The negotiations, which allowed the protesters to return to their cars without being arrested for violating a 9pm curfew, capped off another tense evening in Kentucky’s largest city.
The paper also reports that Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, made a brief appearance at the protests last night to visit a memorial to her daughter.
Palmer, who has not spoken publicly since Wednesday’s grand jury announcement, was wearing a black satin “Until Freedom” jacket over a white T-shirt with a picture of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the words “Mitch Bitch.”
The Taylor family are expected to give a press conference at 10:30am ET today.
Daniel Strauss in Washington has been looking at how the death of supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has upended Senate races just weeks before the election.
For Republicans, the battle for the Senate is an essential bid to cling to a hugely powerful body; for Democrats, wresting control of the chamber would be a hugely welcome – if previously unexpected – triumph.
In some races, the supreme court vacancy offers a chance for Democrats to rally their bases in states that increasingly lean left. In others, the vacancy gives Republican candidates the opportunity to remind voters who want the high court to tackle cases on abortion, deregulation, and overturning healthcare reform that senators can play a role.
“It should help red state enthusiasm in that it’ll remind people what’s at stake in this election,” said the Republican strategist Cam Savage, who added: “There will be places in the country where it benefits the Democrats.”
Appeal court hearing due today on releasing Trump tax returns to New York prosecutor
There’s a hearing today into whether Donald Trump needs to finally release his tax returns to a New York prosecutor.
The president’s lawyers argued in court papers filed yesterday that the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr is resorting to “speculation and innuendo” to justify his demands
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments after a district court judge last month rejected Trump’s renewed efforts to invalidate a subpoena issued to the president’s accounting firm.
Trump’s lawyers maintain that the subpoena was issued in bad faith and is overly broad. They argued that aside from acknowledging an inquiry into money paid to two women who alleged affairs with Trump, Vance’s office hasn’t specified why it needs eight years of the president’s corporate and personal tax returns.
Vance’s office argued in court papers earlier in the week that there’s “a mountainous record” of public allegations of misconduct to support its efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns, such as news reports alleging Trump or his companies inflated or minimized the value of assets for business and tax purposes.
“But this is all misdirection,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “(Vance) nowhere claims that his office is actually investigating any of the discredited, state, and recycled allegations of wrongdoing that are recounted in the press reports he has compiled.”
Trump has called Vance’s investigation “a fishing expedition” and “a continuation of the witch hunt the greatest witch hunt in history.”
In addition to arguing the subpoena was issued in bad faith and overly broad, the president’s lawyers also contend that the investigation might have been politically motivated and amounted to harassment.
Vance’s office declined to comment to the Associated Press on the latest Trump filing. A temporary restraining order remains in effect, preventing any tax records from being turned over at least until the latest appeal is decided. Trump has said he expects the case to return to the Supreme Court, making it unlikely the dispute will be resolved before the November election.
Even if Vance does get Trump’s tax records, those would be part of a confidential grand jury investigation and not automatically be made public.
Here are some of the pictures that have been coming through showing lasts nights protests across the US.
Donald Trump may have made ‘law-and-order’ a centerpiece of his campaign, but as Ankita Rao reports for us, what he says about crime in US cities is often at odds with the reality.
Big American cities are largely run by Democrats, with only few under Republican leadership, making comparisons almost impossible, and the increase in crime has hit Republican areas too.
But Trump’s “law-and-order” narrative is now successfully deepening political fissures in the country, without addressing the actual issue of community violence at time of a pandemic which has cost 200,000 American lives, an economic collapse that has killed millions of jobs and widespread civic unrest.
Crime in US cities has been steadily trending down in recent decades, even with prevalent mass shootings and gun violence. This year, however, is an anomaly. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, as cities such as New York and Chicago went under various types of lockdown, certain types of crime – murder and burglary – dropped precipitously. Then, as the summer started, things changed.
“What we’re seeing in the US is a lot of communities under significant stress related to Covid and the economy. Stress causes violence to get worse,” said Charles Ransford, the director of policy and science at Cure Violence, an international anti-violence organization which has been credited with driving down gun violence in Chicago by more than 30% in 2008 by treating is as a disease.
Elsewhere in the US, one person was hurt when a vehicle ran into a small crowd of people protesting police brutality in Los Angeles, authorities said.
The driver of a blue pickup truck got into an argument with demonstrators and struck the protester who was standing in the street as the driver tried to get away, police said in a statement. The protester was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Portland police again declared an unlawful assembly and tweeted that those who failed to leave could be subject to “arrest, citation, or the use of crowd control agents.”
A fire was set to the outside of a police union building late Thursday. Several photos and videos posted online showed flames erupting outside the doors of the Portland Police Association office. The fire was quickly extinguished.
Louisville State Rep Attica Scott arrested during Breonna Taylor justice protests in Louisville
Louisville Metro Police have confirmed to the Associated Press that at least 24 people were arrested in Louisville during the second night of protests over a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers on criminal charges directly related to the death of Breonna Taylor.
Among them, the Louisville Courier Journal reports, were high-profile Louisville Democratic state lawmaker Rep. Attica Scott and well-known Black activist Shameka Parrish-Wright. The paper says that Scott’s daughter, Ashanti Scott, was arrested alongside them. Olivia Krauth writes:
All three are charged with first-degree rioting — a felony — along with failure to disperse and unlawful assembly, both misdemeanors.
“The allegations are outrageous on their face,” said Ted Shouse, Parrish-Wright’s lawyer.
All but one of the 24 protesters arrested last night were arrested near the Louisville Free Public Library on York Street.
At about Louisville’s 9pm curfew, someone broke a window at the library and threw a flare into the building. Shouse said neither Parrish-Wright nor Scott had anything to do with damaging the library.
Fellow state Rep. Josie Raymond tweeted Thursday night calling for Scott and Parrish-Wright to be released, saying “If you arrest the loudest voices fighting racial injustice in Louisville, we have to believe you want to silence the fight against racial injustice.”
There were protests in many major US cities last night demanding justice for Breonna Taylor. Reporters for Associated Press spoke to people who were protesting in Kentucky.
“We’ve got to take it lying down that the law won’t protect us, that they can get away with killing us,” said Lavel White, a regular protester in downtown Louisville who is Black. He was drawn to a march Thursday night because he was devastated by a grand jury’s decision a day earlier not to charge the officers. “If we can’t get justice for Breonna Taylor, can we get justice for anybody?”
He said he was angry that police in riot gear were out in force when protesters had been peaceful as they streamed through the streets of downtown Louisville past a nighttime curfew.
Reginique Jones told reporters that she’ll keep pressing for increased police accountability and for a statewide ban on “no knock” warrants the kind issued in the Taylor case.
“I believe that we are going to get past this,” Jones said as she returned Thursday to the park in downtown Louisville that has been at the center of the protests. “We can still get some justice.”
Taylor’s family plan to speak later today in the park that’s become known locally as Injustice Square.
Here’s a reminder that yesterday Donald Trump again raised doubts about the legitimacy of the presidential election. Speaking to reporters before leaving for North Carolina, Trump said: ‘We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be.’
The US president has never provided any evidence for his claims about widespread fraud through unsolicited ballots, and voter fraud in the US is rare.
The FBI director, Christopher Wray, yesterday told the Senate homeland security committee: “We have not seen historically any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise.”
Good morning and welcome to Friday’s edition of our US politics live blog. Here’s a summary of what is up, and what we can expect to see today.
- There were protests in multiple major cities across the country last night. Hundreds are still chanting Breonna Taylor’s name and voicing their frustration over the grand jury’s decision not to charge officers for her death.
- Taylor’s family will be holding a press conference at 10.30 am, their first since the announcement of the grand jury’s decision. They will be joined by their lawyers, including attorney Benjamin Crump.
- Top Republicans dismissed Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to peaceful transfer – a refusal which he repeated for a second day.
- Florida’s attorney general requested an inquiry into Mike Bloomberg’s effort to pay off court fees and other fines so people with felony convictions can vote in the battleground state. The effort has so far raised $16m.
- Bernie Sanders accused Trump and Republicans of ‘sowing the seeds of chaos’ by ‘casting doubt’ on the election, and called for an election commission.
- There were 45,176 new cases of coronavirus reported in the US yesterday – that’s 17% up on a fortnight ago. There were 885 new Covid deaths.
- Trump was booed and jeered on his visit to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s casket.
- The president has got a busy day scheduled, he’s doing a Latinos for Trump Roundtable in Doral, Florida. Then he’s on to Atlanta to delivers remarks on “Black Economic Empowerment: The Platinum Plan”. After that he has another roundtable with supporters in Washington DC at the Trump International Hotel, and then on to an evening rally in Virginia.
- There’s also a federal appeals court hearing as Trump continues to fight to stop New York prosecutors getting his tax returns.
I’ll be here for the next couple of hours, and you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org