10 things you need to know today: August 25, 2020

President Trump and Vice President Pence were officially nominated for re-election on Monday as the Republican National Convention kicked off. Trump made a surprise appearance at the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the crowd chanted “Four more years.” Trump responded: “If you want to really drive them crazy, you say 12 more years.” The night’s speakers framed the election as a choice between prosperity under Trump and chaos under his Democratic rival, Joe Biden. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) countered the Democrats’ call to fight racism. Haley said the United States is “a work in progress” but “not a racist country.” Donald Trump Jr. defended his father’s response to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 177,000 Americans, and accused Biden of being part of the “radical left wing.” [The New York Times, CNBC]

A circuit court judge ruled on Monday that Florida is violating the Constitution by requiring its public schools to open for in-person instruction, because doing so “arbitrarily disregards safety” and deprives school boards of the right to decide when to reopen classrooms based on local conditions. The ruling marked a victory for the American Federation of Teachers and an affiliate, the Florida Education Association, which sued Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran over the order last month. It was the first such challenge in the nation. If a district “chooses safety” by delaying bringing students back to campus, Judge Charles W. Dodson of the Leon County Circuit Court wrote, “it risks losing state funding, even though every student is being taught.” [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday called for “an immediate, full, and transparent investigation” into the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was shot by police officers on Sunday. Blake is in serious condition at a Milwaukee hospital. Cellphone video captured by a witness shows two officers with their guns drawn following Blake as he walks to an SUV, and when he opens the driver’s side door, shots are fired. Hundreds of protesters gathered on Sunday night to condemn the shooting and the Kenosha Police Department. Video showed police spraying tear gas at the protesters, and soon after Kenosha County declared an emergency curfew. [Kenosha News, Axios]

More than two dozen former Republican lawmakers on Monday endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president. The announcement by the “Republicans for Biden” group came on the day the GOP opened its national convention and formally nominated President Trump and Vice President Pence for re-election. The group backing Biden included former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and former Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. Biden, who served in the Senate before his eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, has touted his support from Republicans as a key part of the broad coalition he is trying to build during the campaign. “There are a lot of former Republican members of Congress who are unhappy with the direction of the party,” said Dent, who announced his support for Biden last week. He added: “They are concerned about this party becoming so Trumpian, frankly, driven by the power of one man.” [CNN]

Researchers in Hong Kong on Monday confirmed that a 33-year-old recovered coronavirus patient had been infected again. The man first contracted the virus in March, then tested positive again four and a half months later, apparently while traveling in Spain. The case was seen as an indication that the immunity recovered patients have against COVID-19 fades quicker than public health officials had hoped. Medical experts had suspected recovered patients could get sick again, but this was the first confirmed case of reinfection. The man had mild symptoms the first time and none the second. The research will have consequences for the coronavirus vaccines under development around the world. [The New York Times, STAT News]

Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned, Charité Hospital in Berlin said Monday after Navalny was transferred there from a Russian hospital. The German hospital said it could not be determined immediately what substance had poisoned Navalny, but it appeared to be a nerve inhibitor. Navalny began moaning in pain and lost consciousness during a flight from Siberia to Moscow, and his spokeswoman promptly said he was the latest in a series of prominent figures to be poisoned by Russian agents. Doctors in Germany said “there is no acute danger to his life,” although Navalny remained in a medically induced coma and “longer-term effects, especially to the nervous system,” were possible. [The Washington Post]

U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy told lawmakers on Monday that cost-cutting changes blamed for delivery delays would not cause mail-in ballots to go uncounted in November, when up to half of voters are expected to vote by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic. DeJoy has halted the changes until after the election, but he said during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the slowdown that he would resume some of the measures after the election. DeJoy defended his leadership, saying that he would resume a push to improve on-time deliveries that he halted after facing a backlash from critics who saw the slowdown as an extension of President Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting. Democrats released Postal Service documents showing an 8 percent slowdown in first-class mail. [Reuters]

TikTok on Monday filed a legal challenge against President Trump’s executive order banning the Chinese-owned video app starting in mid-September. Trump cited national security concerns, and he called for TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell its U.S. operations within 45 days or he would ban it in the United States using international emergency economic powers. TikTok says the order is “not rooted in bona fide national security concerns,” according to an excerpt of the court document the company revealed in a blog post. TikTok is in talks to sell its operations in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries to Microsoft, Twitter, or another U.S. company. TikTok said it had 91.9 million monthly active users in June, up from 26.7 million in February 2019. [The Washington Post]

Jerry Falwell Jr. told The Wall Street Journal late Monday that he had resigned as president of Liberty University, capping a confusing day in which he reportedly agreed to step down then changed his mind after the media reported that he was leaving. The turmoil came after a business partner of Falwell, one of the most influential figures in the American Christian conservative movement, came forward claiming he had a years-long relationship with Falwell’s wife, Becki, in which he had sex with her as the evangelical leader looked on. Falwell denied any involvement in the affair, which apparently started when the couple met the man, Giancarlo Granda, in 2012 when he was 20 and working as a pool attendant at a Miami Beach hotel. [The Wall Street Journal, USA Today]

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit the latest in a series of records on Monday as optimism about COVID-19 treatment boosted investor sentiment. The S&P 500 gained 1 percent, closing above 3,400 for the first time, and the Nasdaq, fueled by Big Tech’s ongoing tear, rose by 0.6 percent to close at an all-time high after retreating slightly from an intraday record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the only one of the three main U.S. indexes that has yet to fully erase its losses from a coronavirus-induced March nosedive, jumped by 1.4 percent to close at 28,308. Futures for all three of the indexes rose early Tuesday, suggesting the rally could continue. [MarketWatch, CNBC]

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