House holds moment of silence for John Lewis
The House has just held a moment of silence in honor of the late congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, who died on Friday.
About 100 lawmakers gathered on the floor to honor their former colleague, and they broke into applause as the moment of silence ended.
It was a rather emotional moment, with the House clerk actually getting choked up as she read the resolution in honor of Lewis.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi also appeared to be holding back tears as she presided over the moment of silence, referring to Lewis as â€œthe conscience of the Congress.â€
Moments ago in the Oval Office, Trump spoke about the widely criticized actions taken by federal law enforcement officers against peaceful protesters in Portland, Oregon.
The president applauded the federal agents, saying they had done a â€œfantastic jobâ€ in Portland.
Asked whether he would send more federal agents to other cities, Trump replied, â€œWeâ€™re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you.â€ That comment comes as one report indicates the department of homeland security intends to send 150 federal agents to Chicago.
He disparaged the protesters in Portland as â€œanarchists,â€ claiming lawmakers there are afraid of the demonstrators.
â€œThese are anarchists; these are not protesters,â€ Trump said. â€œThese are people that hate our country, and weâ€™re not going to let it go forward.â€
He went on to paint a picture of a country â€œgoing to hellâ€ because of the recent protests against racism and police brutality.
â€œThis is worse than Afghanistan, by far,â€ Trump said. â€œThis is worse than anything anyone has ever seen. All run by the same liberal Democrats. And you know what? If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell.â€
DHS to send 150 federal agents to Chicago – report
The department of homeland security reportedly intends to send 150 federal agents to Chicago, a development that will likely intensify activistsâ€™ concerns about Trump attempting to circumvent local Democratic leaders to crack down on recent protests against racism and police brutality.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to Chicago this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities.
The Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, according to sources familiar with the matter, though a specific plan on what the agents will be doing had not been made public.
Activists in Portland, Oregon, have expressed severe alarm over reports of federal agents using unmarked vehicles to detain peaceful protesters, and they have warned the administration may attempt to expand the strategy to other cities.
Unsurprisingly, Trump explained his decision to resume the White House coronavirus briefings by pointing to his â€œrecordâ€ ratings from the briefings.
â€œI was doing them, and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television, and thereâ€™s never been anything like it,â€ Trump said, according to the White House pool report.
â€œItâ€™s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines and the therapeutics,â€ Trump added, even though he was frequently criticized for making false or misleading claims during the briefings.
The president said the briefings would â€œprobablyâ€ start tomorrow. â€œIâ€™ll do it at 5 oâ€™clock like we were doing,â€ Trump said. â€œWe had a good slot. A lot of people were watching.â€
Trump to resume coronavirus briefings tomorrow
Trump told reporters he would resume holding coronavirus briefings starting at 5 pm ET tomorrow.
The president held daily White House briefings at the start of the coronavirus crisis, but he suspended them amid widespread criticism of the many false or misleading statements he made during the briefings.
Perhaps most famously, Trump suggested Americans could protect themselves from coronavirus by ingesting disinfectants, a false and dangerous claim that led public health officials to issue warnings against doing so.
However, one of Trumpâ€™s senior advisers, Kellyanne Conway, argued last week that resuming the briefings could help the president improve his falling polling numbers.
â€œThe president had a 51% approval rating … when he was doing the daily briefings,â€ Conway told Fox News. â€œThey donâ€™t need to be two hours long. … But he can provide information to Americans because nobody does that quite like President Trump.â€
Trump unexpectedly called reporters in to the Oval Office for an update on the discussions about Senate Republicansâ€™ coronavirus relief bill.
The president said the discussions were going well, and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin added that he and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows would brief Republicans on the talks tomorrow.
â€œAnd then we will also be reaching out to the Democrats to begin our discussions,â€ Mnuchin said, according to the White House pool report.
Mnuchin did not provide many specifics about the Republican bill, but he said the administration wanted to ensure Americans do not make more money staying home than going to work, indicating Republicans are looking at curtailing additional unemployment benefits, which are set to expire at the end of this month.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy similarly said, â€œWe donâ€™t think any federal money should be spent [if] it gives you a disincentive to work; we want to make sure we have incentives to keep going.â€
Democrats have called for continuing additional unemployment benefits, noting that tens of millions of Americans remain out of work because of the pandemic.
â€œWeâ€™re never going to have our economy come back unless we recognize that we must put money in the pockets of the American people,â€ House speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this month.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has released a statement criticizing the Republican coronavirus relief bill as inadequate.
In a â€œDear Colleagueâ€ letter to the Senate Democratic caucus, Schumer specifically questioned majority leader Mitch McConnellâ€™s decision to craft the bill â€œbehind the closed doors of his office.â€
â€œThis one-party approach to this legislation is the same approach that delayed the passage of the CARES Act and the subsequent interim emergency relief legislation, failed on policing reform, and it wonâ€™t work this time around either,â€ Schumer said.
â€œUnfortunately, by all accounts the Senate Republicans are drafting legislation that comes up short in a number of vital areas, such as extending unemployment benefits or funding for rental assistance, hazard premium pay for frontline workers, or investments in communities of color being ravaged by the virus, and many other necessary provisions. Democrats will need to fight hard for these important provisions.â€
Schumer closed the letter by calling for a â€œa bipartisan, bicameral processâ€ to draft a relief bill that can pass both chambers with widespread support, as the past coronavirus relief bills did.
The Democratic Party of Georgia has released its list of five finalists to be nominated to succeed John Lewis in the House of Representatives.
The five finalists are:
- Park Cannon, a member of the Georgia House.
- Andre Dickens, a member of the Atlanta city council.
- Robert Franklin, the former president of Morehouse College.
- Nikema Williams, a member of the Georgia Senate.
- James â€œMajorâ€ Woodall, the state president of the Georgia NAACP.
â€œThe nominating committee fully considered all of the applicants and, following a robust discussion, reached a consensus on its recommendations,â€ nominating committee member Jason Carter said in a statement released by the state party.
The statement noted that the list of finalists would be discussed at a meeting of the partyâ€™s executive committee later today.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has arrived at the White House for a meeting with Trump, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The group is expected to discuss Senate Republicansâ€™ latest coronavirus relief proposal, which is expected to cost about $1 trillion.
That is far less than the $3 trillion included in House Democratsâ€™ Heroes Act, which passed the House in May but has not been taken up in the Senate.
According to reports over the weekend, Trump is trying to zero out the proposed funding for coronavirus testing and contact tracing efforts in the Republican bill.
The president has repeatedly (and incorrectly) claimed that the countryâ€™s recent surge in coronavirus cases is due to the expansion of testing in many states.
A coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University appears to be safe and prompts an immune response, lifting hopes about the possibly distribution of a vaccine in the coming months.
The university published the findings from its most recent trials of the vaccine in the medical journal the Lancet. The Oxford team reported no early safety concerns from the vaccine and said it produced a strong immune response.
â€œThe vaccine provoked a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination (white blood cells that can attack cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus), and an antibody response within 28 days (antibodies are able to neutralise the virus so that it cannot infect cells when initially contracted),â€ the university said in a statement about the findings.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the US governmentâ€™s top infectious disease expert, has said he thinks it is likely a vaccine will be developed by early next year, but Trump has suggested (without much basis) that a vaccine could be developed even faster.
Good morning. This is Joan Greve in Washington, taking over for Martin Belam.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, congressman John Lewisâ€™ hometown paper, is honoring the late civil rights icon with a 12-page spread this morning.
Lewis was born in Alabama, but he spent most of his adult life in Atlanta and represented the city in the House for 33 years before his death on Friday.
The special section in todayâ€™s newspaper to commemorate his death recalls his civil rights work, his involvement in local politics and his long career in Congress.
Democratic Party to nominate someone to contest John Lewis’ congress seat today
Rep. John Lewis is irreplaceable, and his loss will be felt keenly for many years to come. However, the Democratic party have to get on with the job of selecting someone who will stand to potentially take his seat in the November elections.
The Democratic Party of Georgia says it had received 131 applications for the ballot spot for the 5th Congressional District, which includes parts of Atlanta, by its Sunday evening deadline
A special seven-member committee including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Jason Carter will choose between three to five candidates from the applicant pool by noon today.
The partyâ€™s executive committee will then pick a nominee based on the special committeeâ€™s recommendations by 4pm.
Bottoms has already tweeted this morning about the memory of both John Lewis and her aunt Ruby Doris Smith Robinson.
Nancy Pelosi has been on Morning Joe this morning, and had short shrift for the idea that Donald Trump might somehow hang on to office in the White House in the event the election result is disputed in November. Yesterday on Fox the president refused to confirm that he would leave.
Pelosi then went on to suggest that the White House would have to be fumigated after Trump left.
She has also this morning announced a moment of silence in honour of the late Rep. John Lewis