10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2020

President Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, praising police and calling outbursts of violence and arson in the city “domestic terror.” Trump did not address the police shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, that touched off angry protests last week, and he accused “far-left politicians” of unfairly pushing the “destructive message” that police are racist. Trump, who has declined to condemn a 17-year-old Trump supporter charged with fatally shooting two people, visited Kenosha over the objections of local leaders who feared he would fan tensions. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Trump had “failed to protect America,” and was using the chaos to energize his supporters. “Violence isn’t a problem in Donald Trump’s eyes,” Biden said. “It’s a political strategy.” [The Associated Press, NBC News]

Facebook said Tuesday it removed a network of accounts affiliated with an independent news website called Peace Data that was aimed at left-wing voters and run by people formerly associated with the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll group that tried to influence the 2016 election. The case confirms that “Russian actors are trying to target the 2020 elections and public debate in the U.S., and they’re trying to be creative about it,” Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher told NBC News. Gleicher said this more “subtle” Russian influence campaign didn’t get “a lot of attention” before Facebook discovered it, making it largely ineffective. A lead investigator said it appeared intended “to divide Democratic voters, the same way the IRA tried in 2016.” [NBC News, CNN]

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Tuesday announced a deal to avoid a potential teachers’ strike that will delay the start of in-person classes by 10 days in the nation’s largest school district. Classes now will start Sept. 21, allowing more time “for our educators and staff to get ready under these unprecedented circumstances,” de Blasio said. The United Federation of Teachers had threatened the first teachers’ strike in the city in a half century as educators warned they would not be ready to open safely on Sept. 10, as previously planned. There now will be a “three-day transitional period” starting Sept. 16, during which remote instruction will begin. When classes resume in person, New York City schools will use a blended learning plan with students alternating days at school. [The New York Times]

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a House subcommittee on Tuesday that the White House and lawmakers should be able to reach a “bipartisan agreement” to provide a new round of spending to ease the burdens individuals, businesses, and local governments are shouldering in the coronavirus crisis. “We will continue to work with the Senate and House on a bipartisan basis for a phase four relief package,” Mnuchin testified to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Mnuchin said he hoped the package would include money for schools and child care, as well as vaccines. Talks on the new stimulus stalled in early August, with Democrats pressing for $2.4 trillion, while Senate Republicans approved $1 trillion. Democrats reportedly have offered to lower their goal to $2.2 trillion. [CNN, The Associated Press]

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it would not join the more than 170 countries considering participating in the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, aiming to quickly develop a coronavirus vaccine and distribute it to the most vulnerable populations. The Trump administration’s decision to stay out was partly due to the World Health Organization’s leadership in the effort. The U.S. has withdrawn from and criticized the WHO, accusing it of contributing to the coronavirus’ spread. White House spokesperson Judd Deere said the U.S. would work with other countries in its vaccine development efforts, “but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.” The White House is confident the U.S. will win the global race to produce a vaccine. [The Washington Post]

Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenny Walker, has filed a lawsuit against Louisville police, accusing them of misconduct in the no-knock raid and shooting that killed Taylor in her apartment. Walker’s attorney said that evidence indicated that police officers, not his client, fired the shot that wounded a Louisville police sergeant. “We know police are firing wildly from various angles,” attorney Steve Romines told The Louisville Courier Journal. Walker, licensed to carry a concealed firearm, said he thought robbers were breaking in and fired a warning shot. One of the officers involved has since been dismissed, accused of firing indiscriminately into the apartment, and two others have been reassigned to administrative duty. The warrant involved a drug suspect who didn’t live at Taylor’s residence. [USA Today]

Zoom shares jumped by 40.8 percent on Tuesday after the videoconferencing company reported explosive second quarter growth. Businesses, schools, and individuals have rushed to use Zoom for online work and play during the coronavirus. As a result, the company reported that its revenue quadrupled in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, reaching $663.5 million. Tuesday’s stock surge lifted Zoom’s market value to $129 billion, surpassing that of long-established companies such as Citigroup, Boeing, and Starbucks. After the big second quarter, Zoom raised its revenue projection for its current fiscal year to $2.4 billion from $1.8 billion in June. [The Associated Press]

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued an order blocking evictions of renters from their homes. The policy was intended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. It covers all of the 43 million residential renters, provided they meet income eligibility requirements. It applies to individuals expecting to make under $99,000 this year, or joint income tax filers making $198,000 or less. The order remains in effect through the end of the year. To take advantage of the protection, renters must file sworn declarations asserting that they would be left homeless if evicted, or forced into a “shared living setting” because they have no other housing option. They also must attest to having made a good faith effort to obtain any government rent or other housing assistance they might qualify for. [Reuters]

Sen. Edward Markey won his Democratic primary on Tuesday, beating challenger Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III. Markey, 74, won about 54 percent of the vote against the 39-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy in the first election loss for the Kennedy family political dynasty ever in Massachusetts. Markey embraced the Green New Deal and brought together a coalition of younger and more liberal Democrats, showing the strength of the progressive left in the state. “Tonight’s victory is a tribute to those young people,” he said, promising that “the age of incrementalism is over.” Kennedy had hoped to attract young voters and hesitated to trade on his legacy, which some allies believed was a mistake. He conceded, thanking his supporters and calling Markey a “good man.” [The New York Times]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily blocked Manhattan prosecutors from obtaining President Trump’s tax returns, the latest in a series of delays Trump has won. The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, subpoenaed eight years of Trump’s returns and other financial records a year ago as part of a criminal investigation into Trump and his business. The court said it was temporarily blocking the grand jury subpoena while it considers arguments by Trump’s lawyers that the request was politically motivated and “wildly overbroad.” Trump has aggressively fought efforts by prosecutors and Congress to force him to hand over his tax returns. The latest ruling means that even if prosecutors ultimately succeed in getting access to the records they won’t receive them for at least another month. [The New York Times]



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