2020 Election Live Updates: Trump Called the Coronavirus ‘Deadly’ in Private While Minimizing Its Risks in Public, Book Reveals

Gun News

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump acknowledged to the journalist Bob Woodward that he had knowingly played down the coronavirus earlier this year even though he was aware it was “deadly” and vastly more serious than the seasonal flu.

“This is deadly stuff,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Woodward on Feb. 7 in one of a series of interviews he conducted with the president for his upcoming book, “Rage.” The Washington Post and CNN were given advance copies of the book and published details on Wednesday. CNN also provided audio of some of Mr. Trump’s exchanges with Mr. Woodward.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

That was a vastly different story than Mr. Trump was telling the public. In early March the president was suggesting on Twitter that the virus was less deadly than the flu.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, excoriated the president over the report. “He knew and purposely played it down,” Mr. Biden said during a speech in Warren, Mich., Wednesday afternoon. “Worse, he lied to the American people.”

Mr. Trump did not deny the report in remarks at the White House later Wednesday. “The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country,” he said, taking credit for imposing a travel ban on China. He said that he was trying to “show confidence” with his public statements and rejected the suggestion that publicly minimizing the threat of the virus had cost lives.

He acknowledged speaking with Mr. Woodward, whose regular books on presidential administrations have a propensity for making news. “I gave him some quotes, and frankly, we’ll see how the book turned out,” Mr. Trump said. “I have no idea.”

According to the book, the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, warned the president on Jan. 28 that the coronavirus represented the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency, CNN reported, but Mr. Trump later said he did not remember the warning.

At the White House press briefing on Wednesday, shortly after the book’s contents were made public in press reports, the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, claimed that the president, who intentionally misled the public about the virus, had not lied.




White House Press Secretary Claims Trump “Never Lied” to Public on Coronavirus

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, defended President Trump when asked whether he knowingly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, as reported in a new book.

“The president has never lied to the American public on Covid. The president’s been very — the president was expressing calm, and his actions reflect that.” “Did President Trump intentionally mislead the American people about the threat of Covid?” “Absolutely not. This president, at a time when you’re facing insurmountable challenges, it’s important to express confidence. It’s important to express calm —” “— is playing it down, is that expressing calm? It seems dishonest.” “So this president does what leaders do — good leaders — it’s stay calm and resolute at a time when you face an insurmountable challenge. That’s what this president has done.” “I think the bottom line here is that the president by his own admission — in private, on the record — acknowledged the depth of this crisis, and yet told the American people something very different. How is that at its core not an abject betrayal of the public trust?” “The president has always been clear-eyed with the American people. He was always clear-eyed about the lives we could lose — again from this podium, he acknowledged that this was serious back in March, that 100,000, 200,000 lives could be lost.”

Video player loading
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, defended President Trump when asked whether he knowingly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, as reported in a new book.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

“This president does what leaders do, good leaders,” she said, saying “The President has never lied to the American public on Covid.”

But in public, Mr. Trump repeatedly claimed early on that the virus would disappear. On Jan. 22, asked by a CNBC reporter whether there were “worries about a pandemic,” the president replied: “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

On Feb. 10 he was predicting that by April, “when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” And on Feb. 26, at a White House news conference, commenting on the country’s first reported cases, he said: “We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”

But by mid-March he was claiming publicly that “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” By then, experts said, the nation had already fallen behind on the steps it needed to take to combat the virus, from ramping up testing capability to distributing protective gear to health care workers.

Elsewhere in the book, according to CNN, the former defense secretary, Gen. James Mattis, is quoted calling Mr. Trump “dangerous” and “unfit.” He said he discussed with the former director of the office of national intelligence, Dan Coats, whether there should be “collective action” to speak out publicly against Mr. Trump. And Mr. Woodward includes an anecdote about Mr. Trump being heard in a meeting saying, “My fucking generals are a bunch of pussies” who care more about alliances than trade deals.




Biden Accuses Trump of Lying to the Public About Coronavirus Threat

Joseph R. Biden Jr. accused President Trump of lying to Americans about the dangers of coronavirus, citing a forthcoming book by the journalist Bob Woodward.

On the day that we hit 190,000 dead in the United States because of Covid-19, we just learned from the Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward that the president of the United States has admitted on tape in February, he knew about Covid-19, that passed through the air. He knew how deadly it was. It was much more deadly than the flu. He knew, and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months. It was a life-and-death betrayal of the American people. Experts say that if it acted just one week sooner, 36,000 people would have been saved. If he acted two weeks sooner, back in March, 54,000 lives would have been spared in March and April alone. This is my schedule. On the back on the schedule there’s always a black box. You can’t really see it. The press may be able to. It says daily U.S. updates. Troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan: 6,922, not over 6,000 — 6,922 because every one of those women and men left behind an entire group of people who relied on them. U.S. troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan: 53,188 — not over 53,000. U.S. Covid-infected military, excuse me, U.S. Covid-infected in America: 6,344,700. U.S. Covid deaths: 1,189,506. Military Covid-infected: 118,984. Military Covid deaths: 6,114. Folks, every one of these lives matter. Every one of these lives left somebody behind grieving. We can’t ever forget them.

Video player loading
Joseph R. Biden Jr. accused President Trump of lying to Americans about the dangers of coronavirus, citing a forthcoming book by the journalist Bob Woodward.CreditCredit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

WARREN, Mich. — Joseph R. Biden Jr., taking on President Trump over protecting American jobs, announced plans on Wednesday to change the tax code to discourage moving jobs overseas and to reward companies for investing in domestic production.

But before sketching out his plan, during a speech in the critical battleground state of Michigan, he took aim at Mr. Trump over new revelations from a forthcoming book by the journalist Bob Woodward that the president knowingly minimized the risks of the coronavirus to the American public.

“He had the information,” Mr. Biden said, accusing Mr. Trump of lying to the public. “He knew how dangerous it was. And while this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose. It was a life-and-death betrayal of the American people.”

“It’s beyond despicable,” Mr. Biden added, detailing the crises the nation faces as a result of the pandemic that go far beyond the staggering public health costs. “It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace.”

During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Mr. Biden used even sharper language to criticize Mr. Trump’s contradictory message about the gravity of the pandemic.

“It was all about making sure the stock market didn’t come down, that his wealthy friends didn’t lose any money,” Mr. Biden said. “He waved a white flag. He walked away. He didn’t do a damn thing. Think about it. Think about what he did not do. It’s almost criminal.”

In his speech, Mr. Biden ripped into the president’s record on the economy, suggesting that Mr. Trump has not kept his promises to American workers about a range of issues, lashing his record on matters from job creation to keeping work in the United States rather than overseas.

“He’s failed our economy and our country,” he said.

Mr. Biden also promised to take a series of executive actions to ensure the purchase of American goods in the federal procurement process.

As part of the new plans, Mr. Biden would create a tax penalty aimed at American companies that move jobs to other countries, known as offshoring. Mr. Biden has already proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, from 21 percent. The penalty would apply to “profits of any production by a United States company overseas for sales back to the United States,” bumping up the tax rate to nearly 31 percent on those profits.

Mr. Biden would also create a tax credit for companies that make domestic investments, such as revitalizing closed manufacturing plants, upgrading facilities or bringing back production from overseas.

“Make it in Michigan, make it in America, invest in our communities and the workers in places like Warren,” Mr. Biden said. “That’s what this is about.”

Mr. Biden gave his speech in Warren, a city in Macomb County — a place associated with white working-class voters who traditionally voted Democratic but embraced Ronald Reagan and, later, Mr. Trump. He has intensified his efforts in recent months to unveil more populist policies aimed at boosting American workers.

Thomas Kaplan reported from Warren, and Katie Glueck from New York.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump revealed a list of 20 people he will consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he wins a second term, reviving an election-year gimmick that he used during the 2016 campaign to win support among conservatives.

Mr. Trump’s new list includes three conservative Republican senators: Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. (Mr. Hawley immediately took himself out of consideration, writing on Twitter that “as I told the President, Missourians elected me to fight for them in the Senate, and I have no interest in the high court.”) It also includes lawyers who work at the White House and the Justice Department, former solicitors general, and state and federal judges around the country.

“Should there be another vacancy on the Supreme Court during my presidency, my nominee will come from the names I have shared with the American public,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he will consider the remaining names from a similar list he released during the previous election.

Mr. Trump challenged Joseph R. Biden Jr. to release a similar list of names and accused him of failing to do so because of the “extreme” ideology that would be represented by his choices.

Minutes after he was named to the list, Senator Cotton wrote on Twitter that “It’s time for Roe v. Wade to go,” weighing in directly on abortion rights, an issue that past nominees to the court have often tried to finesse.

Speaking to reporters from the Diplomatic Reception Room in the White House, Mr. Trump predicted that the next president might have the opportunity to nominate “one, two, three and even four” justices.

He said that a Democratic president would stack the court with a “radical left movement” that would be bad for the country.

During his four years in office, Mr. Trump has successfully secured the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — and more than 200 other federal judges, significantly shifting the judiciary to the right.

In addition to the senators, Mr. Trump’s new list includes: Daniel Cameron, the attorney general of Kentucky; Paul Clement and Noel Francisco, who both served as United States solicitor general; Kate Comerford Todd, a deputy counsel in the White House; Christopher Landau, the ambassador to Mexico; and several federal and state judges.

Credit…Allison Farrand for The New York Times

With just eight weeks to go until Election Day, and early voting starting well before then, voters continue to disapprove of President Trump’s coronavirus response and believe that Joseph R. Biden Jr. would do a better job handling the pandemic, according to a new poll from Monmouth University.

Only 37 percent of registered voters say Mr. Trump has done a good job handling the virus, and 56 percent say he has done a bad job. More broadly, only 27 percent say the country is heading in the right direction.

Forty-four percent say they are confident or somewhat confident that Mr. Trump can put the country “on the road to recovery” from the pandemic, and 56 percent say they are not confident. The numbers are reversed for Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee: 53 percent of voters say they are confident in his ability to put the country on the road to recovery, and 45 percent say they are not confident.

A wide partisan gap persists on the question of whether officials are lifting restrictions too quickly or not quickly enough, but over all, 58 percent of registered voters said states were moving too fast.

“Labor Day generally serves as a marker for returning to a more normal flow of life,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a news release. “That’s not happening this year and could be leading to an increase in anxiety levels.”

The poll, conducted from Sept. 3 to Sept. 8, surveyed 867 voters and has a margin of error of roughly plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Top officials with the Department of Homeland Security directed agency analysts to play down the threat of violent white supremacy and of Russian election interference, according to a whistle-blower complaint filed by a top intelligence official with the department.

Brian Murphy, the former head of the intelligence branch of the Homeland Security Department, said in a whistle-blower complaint filed on Tuesday that he had been directed by Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the department, to stop producing assessments on Russian interference. The department’s second-highest-ranked official, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, also ordered him to modify intelligence assessments to make the threat of white supremacy “appear less severe” and include information on violent “left-wing” groups, according to the complaint, which was released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Murphy, who was removed from his post in August after his office compiled intelligence reports on protesters and journalists in Portland, Ore., asserted in the complaint that he was retaliated against for raising concerns to superiors and cooperating with the department’s inspector general. He asked the inspector general to investigate.

“The protected disclosures that prompted the retaliatory personnel actions at issue primarily focused on the compilation of intelligence reports and threat assessments that conflicted with policy objectives set forth by the White House and senior Department of Homeland Security” officials, Mr. Murphy’s lawyers wrote in the 24-page complaint. CNN first reported the existence of the complaint and the details about its contents.

The department has stalled for nearly a year in releasing an implementation plan on combating white supremacy and other forms of domestic terrorism. Hours before the release of the complaint, Mr. Wolf highlighted the threat of “white supremacists extremists or anarchists extremists” in an annual address summarizing the work of the department. He said the department would release a blueprint to combat the threats this week, although it was not clear if it would be made public.

House Intelligence Committee Democrats said on Wednesday that the Murphy complaint detailed violations of law and abuses of authority that put “our nation and its security at grave risk.”

“We will get to the bottom of this, expose any and all misconduct or corruption to the American people, and put a stop to the politicization of intelligence,” Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the committee’s chairman, said in an accompanying statement.

Credit…Pool photo by Greg Nash

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, took issue on Wednesday with President Trump’s suggestion that a coronavirus vaccine would be available by Election Day, as he repeatedly sought to reassure senators and the public that a vaccine would not be made available to the public unless it was safe and effective.

“Certainly to try to predict whether it happens on a particular week before or after a particular date in early November is well beyond anything that any scientist right now could tell you and be confident they know what they are saying,” Dr. Collins told the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions at a hearing on the effort to find a vaccine.

Dr. Collins is the latest leading medical expert to throw cold water on Mr. Trump’s prediction. Last Thursday, the chief adviser for the White House vaccine program, Moncef Slaoui, said it was “extremely unlikely but not impossible” that a vaccine could be available by the end of October. And on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said the same thing, saying that it was more likely that a vaccine could be ready by the end of the year.

Wednesday’s hearing came amid growing concern over whether Americans would be reluctant to take a coronavirus vaccine, and whether the president would apply political pressure on his administration to quickly approve one to give him a boost in his re-election bid against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

On Tuesday, a group of drug companies competing with one another to develop vaccines pledged that they would not release any vaccines that did not follow rigorous efficacy and safety standards, and a leading vaccine developer, AstraZeneca, suspended its large-scale clinical trial of a vaccine candidate after a patient experienced a severe adverse reaction.

Democrats on the panel grilled both Dr. Collins and Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, on the effect of Mr. Trump’s overly rosy statements about the prospect of the vaccine, and whether they would erode trust in the development process. Dr. Collins demurred, however, as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachussetts, asked him point blank whether Mr. Trump’s misinformation would discourage people from taking the vaccine and hurt the effort to distribute it.

“I’m not sure I know the answer to that question,” Dr. Collins said, adding, “I just hope Americans will choose to take the information they need from scientists and not from politicians.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

An aviation company in Nevada on Wednesday withdrew its invitation to President Trump to hold a 5,000-person rally at its airport hangar, the first of two campaign events planned for this weekend that officials said would have violated Nevada’s coronavirus restrictions.

The company, Hangar 9 L.L.C., had planned to host Mr. Trump on Saturday at its hangar at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, but was told on Tuesday by airport officials that the event would have violated the terms of its lease, according to a letter sent by the airport authority.

The lease stipulates that the company must comply with all applicable state laws and directives, which means it has to follow a statewide order signed in May by Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people, airport officials said.

“Given the above, you are hereby advised that you may not proceed with the proposed gathering,” Tina Iftiger, a senior vice president and chief commercial officer of the airport, wrote.

Claude R. Cognian, a representative of Hangar 9, told airport officials on Wednesday that the company could not risk losing the lease for its hangar and would stand down, according to correspondence obtained by The New York Times.

“Then this leaves us with no other option than to communicate to President Trump and his campaign that we cannot help him/them and we are withdrawing the offer to use the hangar,” he wrote.

The Trump campaign had been scheduled to hold a similar rally on Sunday at a private jet charter company based at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, but an airport spokesman said that the authorities must approve any events on the property and that they had never received a request from the organizers.

The charter company that had been listed as the host of the event, Cirrus Aviation, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Trump, who lost Nevada by less than three percentage points in 2016, still plans to travel to the state this weekend, according to representatives of his campaign. They accused Democrats of short-circuiting the rallies.

“Democrats are trying to keep President Trump from speaking to voters because they know the enthusiasm behind his re-election campaign cannot be matched by Joe Biden,” Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Sisolak said that the governor’s office had no involvement or communication with the event organizers or potential hosts of the two events, which the Trump campaign had been promoting. She noted that the White House’s coronavirus task force had recommended limits on gatherings in Nevada.

Mr. Trump has been broadly criticized by public health authorities for defying guidelines meant to stop the transmission of the virus. He held a large indoor rally in June in Tulsa, Okla., and has recently been holding outdoor rallies at airport hangars: At one in North Carolina this week, he spoke before a large crowd and did not wear a mask, despite pleas from some local Republican officials that he follow the state’s guidelines.

Credit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

Two national political conventions and days of protests and unrest following a police shooting in Kenosha, Wis., have done little to change the contours of the presidential campaign in that state, according to a Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday.

The new poll, of 688 likely Wisconsin voters, found that 47 percent planned to vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr. and 43 percent for President Trump, which is within the poll’s margin of error. That represented a slight tightening from earlier Marquette polls: One in early August showed Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump, 49 percent to 44 percent. The new survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

“Despite all those real-world events, there is very little change in this poll,” Charles Franklin, Marquette’s poll director, said in a video accompanying the release.

The poll was made public as Wisconsin, a swing state that helped elect Mr. Trump in 2016, became the center of the campaign in recent days. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden traveled to Kenosha after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, led to days of protests, and a 17-year-old white man was arrested on charges of killing two protesters. The new poll was conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, so it did not fully reflect the impact of their visits.

A majority — 54 percent — of respondents said that they disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of protests, while only 36 percent said they approved, the poll found. And 56 percent said that they disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. But Mr. Trump is still viewed favorably on the economy: Fifty-two percent said that they approved of his handling of it.

A new poll of another key battleground state, Pennsylvania, showed Mr. Biden in the lead there. The NBC News/Marist poll found Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump among likely voters by 53 percent to 44 percent.

Mr. Biden’s lead there was due in part to strong support from suburban voters — which were key to Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016 — and voters with college degrees, according to the poll of 771 likely Pennsylvania voters, which was conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7. Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump among suburban voters by nearly 20 percentage points.

Among independents, Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump 57 percent to 35 percent. The two are tied with white voters, but Mr. Biden has a commanding lead among nonwhite voters, 75 percent to 19 percent. Mr. Biden also leads among women, 59 percent to 38 percent.

The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee and their shared committees reported raising over $210 million in the month of August, a large amount that was nonetheless dwarfed by what Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised in the same time frame.

And officials declined to say how much cash they have in the bank, which is a key marker of what they can spend on going forward.

Mr. Biden and affiliated Democratic committees reported raising $364.5 million in August. They also have not yet said how much they have in cash on hand.

The momentum for Mr. Biden’s campaign in fund-raising and the polls came as a once-seemingly insurmountable cash advantage for Mr. Trump’s campaign has evaporated.

Ad Watch

Usually, presidential campaign TV advertising aims to influence voters in battleground states. But in the Trump era, more ads are targeting a far narrower audience: Washington’s chattering class and President Trump, America’s cable news watcher-in-chief.

On Wednesday morning, the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Joseph R. Biden Jr. bought TV airtime in Washington to debut an ad touting report last week in The Atlantic that Mr. Trump privately referred to American soldiers killed in combat as “losers” and “suckers.”

Since The Atlantic’s story broke last Thursday, the Biden campaign has done whatever it can to give it oxygen. Mr. Biden addressed it in a speech on Friday and brought it up again during a Labor Day event. His campaign has sent fund-raising emails soliciting donations off the president’s comments and circulated other news outlets’ reporting confirming the gist of the original report.

Now, six days after it first popped, the Biden campaign is trying to keep the story in Washington’s bloodstream.

The 60-second ad opens with black-and-white footage of soldiers and a reminder that 1,800 Marines died at the battle of Belleau Wood in World War I.

“But when Donald Trump was asked to pay his respects, he said, ‘Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,’” the ad intones, with an on-screen graphic citing The Atlantic’s reporting.

The ad goes on to cite Mr. Trump’s remarks calling Senator John McCain “a loser” and his wondering aloud “what was in it for” those buried at Arlington National Cemetery, before stating, “Donald Trump inherited everything, sacrificed nothing, scoffs at the valor of those who gave it all for America.”

Mr. Trump did in fact call Mr. McCain a “loser” and said of Mr. McCain during a July 2015 campaign stop in Iowa: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Mr. Trump and his top White House aides have denied The Atlantic report, but the thrust of it has been confirmed by several competing news organizations, including Fox News, and no current senior military officer has refuted it.

So far, just once: in Washington during the 6 a.m. hour of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, an hour at which Mr. Trump is known to be channel surfing. A Democratic National Committee official said the ad would also air in Arizona, Florida, Maine, North Carolina and Virginia.

Every day that the presidential campaign is about Mr. Trump and not Mr. Biden is a good one for the Biden campaign. Mr. Trump’s remarks about America’s veterans have been Topic A in Washington for nearly a week now, and the Biden campaign is happy to keep the conversation going.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Attorney General William P. Barr said on Wednesday that the White House had asked the Justice Department to intervene in defending the president against a woman’s accusations that he defamed her.

“This was a normal application of the law,” Mr. Barr said Wednesday at a news conference in Chicago, making his first comment on the proposed intervention. “The law is clear. It is done frequently. And the little tempest that is going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”

The Justice Department would use taxpayers’ money for Mr. Trump’s representation in the case, replacing his personal lawyers. The move also could lead to the suit’s dismissal, under a law called the Westfall Act.

The plaintiff, the author E. Jean Carroll, accused Mr. Trump of having raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. He said she was a liar and that he did not know her, although the two appeared in a photograph of a 1987 party along with her ex-husband. He also said she was “not my type.” Ms. Carroll sued him in November 2019 for making defamatory statements about her.

The White House memorandum, arguing that Mr. Trump had acted in his official capacity as president when he denied Ms. Carroll’s accusation, cited the Westfall Act, which would remove Mr. Trump as the defendant and substitute the government. Since the government has sovereign immunity and cannot be sued for defamation, the case could be dismissed.

The Justice Department maintains that the complaint meets the necessary standards to substitute the government. If Lewis A. Kaplan, the U.S. District Court judge in New York assigned to the case, agrees, he could dismiss the case, which was transferred from a New York State Court.

The department’s motion to take control of the defense came as Mr. Trump’s private lawyers were facing a deadline to appeal an order compelling a deposition and a DNA sample to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress Ms. Carroll was wearing at the time.

In portraying the Justice Department’s intervention as unremarkable, Mr. Barr did not say why it took more than 10 months to step in. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers had tried to put the lawsuit on hold, but a judge ruled last month that it could proceed.

Credit…Paul Ratje/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Texas’ procedure for reviewing — and in some cases rejecting — mail-in ballots was unconstitutional and ordered the state to change its process before Election Day.

The state’s process for verifying signatures on mail-in ballots “plainly violates certain voters’ constitutional rights,” the judge, Orlando L. Garcia of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, wrote in his ruling, describing it as “inherently fraught with error with no recourse for voters.”

“In light of the fundamental importance of the right to vote, Texas’ existing process for rejecting mail-in ballots due to alleged signature mismatching fails to guarantee basic fairness,” Judge Garcia wrote.

In a lawsuit filed last year, two voters said that their mail-in ballots were arbitrarily rejected because Texas officials did not believe the signatures on the voters’ ballot envelopes matched those on their applications. The lawsuit claimed that the state’s procedures, including failure to give “meaningful pre-rejection notice” to voters, violated the Fourteenth Amendment.

In his ruling, Judge Garcia ordered the Texas secretary of state to notify local election officials within 10 days that it was unconstitutional to reject a voter’s mail-in ballot because of a perceived signature mismatch if the voter is not first informed of the mismatch and given an opportunity to address the issue.

The judge also ordered the secretary to advise local election officials of new requirements for rejecting mail-in ballots because of perceived signature mismatches, including for informing voters.

Texas currently allows voters to request a mail-in ballot if they are 65 or older, disabled, planning to be out of their county during the election, or in jail but otherwise eligible to vote. The Supreme Court ruled in June that it would not require Texas to let all eligible voters vote by mail.

Benjamin L. Ginsberg is one of the top election lawyers in the nation, the go-to attorney for Republicans in nearly every major election law battle over the past 38 years — most famously, the Florida recount in 2000 in the disputed presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Mr. Ginsberg won that one. His reputation as an expert in this (often deliberately) complicated field of law crosses party lines.

Which makes an op-ed that Mr. Ginsberg wrote in The Washington Post striking. Mr. Ginsberg — who perhaps not coincidentally has the freedom that comes from having just retired from his law firm — flatly disputed President Trump’s assertions that mail-in voting is “very dangerous” and that “there is tremendous fraud involved and tremendous illegality.”

“The lack of evidence renders these claims unsustainable,” Mr. Ginsberg wrote. “The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged.”

These are “painful conclusions for me to reach,” Mr. Ginsberg said, noting his own work in a catalog of redistricting and voter recount cases on behalf of his party, and that he served as the counsel to the Republican National Committee and to four of the past six Republican presidential nominees.

“The president’s rhetoric has put my party in the position of a firefighter who deliberately sets fires to look like a hero putting them out,” he wrote. “Republicans need to take a hard look before advocating laws that actually do limit the franchise of otherwise qualified voters. Calling elections ‘fraudulent’ and results ‘rigged’ with almost nonexistent evidence is antithetical to being the ‘rule of law’ party.”

How significant is this? Well, imagine if Jerry Brown, the former Democratic governor of California and longtime environmental warrior, wrote an op-ed for The Sacramento Bee arguing that global warming doesn’t exist.

Source link

Articles You May Like

Opinion | Two gun-friendly senators focus on gun safety
NRA slams Democrat-led bill that would restrict magazine capacity: ‘Blatantly violates’ US Constitution
NRA and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine should support gun licensing
Firearm curbs eyed won’t deter criminal activity
Gun Violence in the United States


  1. 128861 330510 I discovered your weblog site on google and check some of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the really good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading much more from you later on! 615333

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *