10 things you need to know today: August 26, 2020

First lady Melania Trump ended the second night of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday with a speech praising her husband as someone who “demands action and gets results.” She also offered condolences to the victims of the coronavirus pandemic. In two of the night’s pre-recorded segments, President Trump watched as several people participated in a naturalization ceremony at the White House, and Nicholas Sandmann, the Kentucky high school student who sued media outlets for their coverage of his confrontation with a Native American activist at the Lincoln Memorial, claimed that he was the victim of “cancel culture.” Two of Trump’s children, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump, also spoke. Eric Trump hit a common convention theme, calling Democrats “radical.” [CNBC, The New York Times]

Two people were killed and another was injured on Tuesday night as shots were fired during a third night of protests in Wisconsin over the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by white police officers. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) declared a state of emergency. Blake, 29, is paralyzed from the waist down, his father said Tuesday. Doctors could not immediately say whether the injury was permanent. Blake’s attorney said it was doubtful the injured man would walk again, although his father remained hopeful. “After some of the swelling goes down, anything could happen,” Justin Blake said. The protests started after a video went viral showing officers following Blake around his SUV and shooting him in front of his three young sons. [NBC News, Chicago Tribune]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo broke with decades of protocol and made an appearance at the Republican National Convention in a speech recorded during a diplomatic visit to Israel. Pompeo touted President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy as a big success, and called for Americans to “stay the course.” Critics, including House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), say Pompeo is violating a longstanding norm that separates U.S. diplomats from political advocacy. In a letter to the State Department, Castro said he is investigating whether Pompeo’s appearance is illegal, because it may have violated department policy against Senate-confirmed appointees attending political party conventions. The State Department argues Pompeo is appearing in a personal capacity. [The New York Times, The Washington Post]

The president of the United Nations Security Council, Indonesia, on Tuesday dismissed a U.S. effort to trigger the revival of U.N. sanctions against Iran. Indonesia said the council was “not in the position to take further action” because there was no consensus among the 15 members. Thirteen of the council members on Friday expressed opposition to the move by the United States, which argues that the sanctions must be resumed because Iran has violated its landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, although President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement. The U.S. says it can trigger the enforcement process because it is named as a participant in the Security Council resolution enshrining the deal, but Russia and Iran say the U.S. action is illegal. [Reuters]

Hurricane Laura intensified as it pushed across the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and was expected to hit the upper Texas or Southwest Louisiana coasts late Wednesday or early Thursday as a major hurricane. Laura was upgraded from a tropical storm on Tuesday and on Wednesday was forecast to become a Category 4 hurricane as its top sustained winds increased to 110 miles per hour. A storm surge warning was issued for San Luis Pass, Texas, east to the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana, meaning forecasters expected life-threatening storm surge within 36 hours. A hurricane warning is in effect for much of the area, including Galveston, areas near Houston, and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Authorities urged nearly 600,000 people to evacuate coastal areas. [Weather.com, The Associated Press]

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced on Tuesday that he has accepted the resignation of Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R), after he “admitted to conduct in the workplace that did not live up to our high expectations.” Clarkson admitted to sending inappropriate text messages to the personal phone of a junior state employee. ProPublica and the Anchorage Daily News report that Clarkson sent more than 550 text messages to the unnamed woman, inviting her to his home at least 18 times and regularly using the kiss emoji. In his resignation letter, obtained by NBC News, Clarkson apologized for his “errors in judgment” and said when the woman “eventually expressed her discomfort to me, I immediately respected her wishes and ceased communicating with her by text.” [NBC News]

The Justice Department on Tuesday charged Teva Pharmaceutical Industries with conspiring with rivals to raise generic-drug prices. The move came after Teva refused a proposed settlement under which it would have had to pay a criminal penalty and admit wrongdoing, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The Justice Department investigated after Teva was accused of working with other pharmaceutical companies to push up prices of generics, including a widely used drug for patients with high cholesterol. “Today’s charge reaffirms that no company is too big to be prosecuted for its role in conspiracies that led to substantially higher prices for generic drugs relied on by millions of Americans,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said. [Reuters]

Louisville police on Tuesday arrested 64 people during what organizers described as a “massive demonstration” over the death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot in her home during a raid related to a drug suspect who didn’t live there. The demonstration marked the end of a four-day event called BreonnaCon, which was arranged by the New York-based social justice group Until Freedom. The same group organized a July sit-in at Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s house that led to 87 arrests. Louisville Metro Police Department Interim Chief Robert Schroeder said at a news briefing that the people arrested Tuesday were charged with obstructing a roadway and disorderly conduct after they tried to pass a line of police officers who were trying to keep protesters from blocking a road on the protest route. [USA Today]

The Republican Party on Tuesday abruptly canceled a speaking appearance by a woman after she encouraged Twitter followers to read an anti-Semitic QAnon conspiracy theory. The rejected would-be speaker, Mary Ann Mendoza, is an “angel mom,” a term that advocates for restrictive immigration policies use to refer to someone whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants. Mendoza has attended numerous White House events on immigration restrictions. On Tuesday, Mendoza promoted an anti-Semitic Twitter thread from a QAnon supporter claiming that in 1773 a Jewish goldsmith tried to rally other businessmen to pool their money to “gain control of the wealth, natural resources, and manpower of the entire world.” Mendoza apologized and deleted the thread, although she tweeted something similar in 2018. [The Washington Post]

July new-home sales jumped by 13.9 percent, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The gains far exceeded analysts’ expectations. Sales also rose sharply in May and June. July’s increase lifted sales of new homes in the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 901,000, the best since 2006. The National Association of Realtors reported last week that sales of existing homes surged by a record 24.7 percent in July. Home sales dropped sharply in March and April as most Americans stayed home due to coronavirus lockdowns, but the market bounced back as mortgage rates, with 30-year fixed-rate loans falling below 3 percent for the first time in nearly 50 years. Low inventory of existing homes helped lift new home sales by steering buyers into that market. [The Associated Press]



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