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Trump's Biggest Whoppers

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10 things you need to know today:

1. Pence, Harris spar over pandemic response, taxes in debate

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) clashed on Wednesday over President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic in their only debate before the November election. Harris called Trump's response to the pandemic, which has killed 212,000 in the U.S., "the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country." Pence said Trump had led "the greatest national mobilization since World War II." Pence said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would raise taxes "on day one." Harris said Biden would raise taxes only on people making more than $400,000 a year. The candidates also had tense but respectful exchanges over climate change and the Supreme Court, contrasting Trump's chaotic debate with Biden last week. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]


2. Trump returns to Oval Office as he continues coronavirus recovery

President Trump is continuing to recover well from COVID-19, his doctor said Wednesday. "The president this morning says 'I feel great!'" presidential physician Sean Conley wrote in a brief memo released by the White House. Trump appeared in a video saying his coronavirus infection was a "blessing from God" because it educated him about the experimental drugs used to treat him, adding that he hopes to make them available to everyone. Trump spent the weekend at Walter Reed Medical Center, where he received aggressive treatment for his coronavirus infection before returning to the White House. Trump remained out of the public eye but reportedly went to the Oval Office for at least part of the day on Wednesday, USA Today reported. [USA Today, CNN]


3. Appeals court says Trump must give tax records to prosecutors

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that President Trump's accountant must hand over his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan will send the matter the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in July that sitting presidents are not immune from state prosecution. Trump's lawyers argued that District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s subpoena for Trump's financial records was too broad, and politically motivated. Vance's team is looking into alleged hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to two women — porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal — who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump. Prosecutors said they needed the records to investigate reports of "extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization." [The Associated Press]


4. 2 British ISIS militants charged over Westerners' murders

Two men have been charged in federal court for their alleged involvement in the Islamic State's videotaped beheadings of American journalists and aid workers, including James Foley and Kayla Mueller, six years ago. The defendants, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were being flown to the U.S. from Iraq on Wednesday. Kotey and Elsheikh had pushed to be prosecuted in Britain, where they were raised and radicalized, and were likely to face less harsh punishment. The men were part of a group of four English-speaking British ISIS militants often referred to as the "Beatles." "If you have American blood in your veins or American blood on your hands, you will face American justice," said John Demers, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's national security division, on Wednesday. [The Washington Post]


5. Trump slumps in his favorite poll

President Trump continued to decline in polls following his performance in the first presidential debate and his coronavirus diagnosis. Rasmussen Reports said in its weekly White House Watch survey that Trump trailed his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, by 12 percentage points, with Biden supported by 52 percent of likely voters and Trump backed by 40 percent. Four percent favored someone else, and four percent were undecided. Last week, Biden moved from a 1 percentage point lead to an eight point lead following Trump's nomination of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Biden has now exceeded 50 percent in the poll, long a favorite of Trump's, for two straight weeks. [Rasmussen Reports]


6. Hurricane Delta expected to strengthen as it nears Louisiana

Hurricane Delta headed into the Gulf of Mexico on course for Louisiana after hitting the Cancun area on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday. After briefly strengthening into a powerful Category 4 storm on Tuesday, Delta left Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane with top sustained winds of about 100 miles per hour. Forecasters predicted that Delta could strengthen into a major hurricane again as it crosses the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before reaching the U.S. Gulf Coast on Friday. The governors of Alabama and Louisiana have declared states of emergency. Several coastal areas vulnerable to flooding started mandatory evacuations on Wednesday. College football officials moved Saturday's game between Louisiana State and the University of Missouri from Baton Rouge to Columbia, Missouri. [The New York Times, National Hurricane Center]


7. Lawyer for Texas officer charged with murder says shooting was legal

The attorney for white Texas police officer Shaun Lucas, who was charged with murder for fatally shooting a Black man last weekend, said Wednesday that Lucas fired his weapon "in accordance with Texas law." Lucas, 22, shot the victim, Jonathan Price, outside a convenience store after responding to a call about a fight. Price reportedly had tried to break up the dispute. Lucas, who had been on the Wolfe City police force for less than six months, tried to arrest Price, and Tased him when he walked away, then shot him. The Texas Rangers charged Lucas with murder late Monday. "The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable," officials said. Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Price's family, said the charge against Lucas was just "step one" toward justice. [USA Today]


8. Ex-police officer charged in George Floyd killing released on bail

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's killing, was released from prison Wednesday on a $1 million conditional bond. Chauvin was fired from the force and later charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter after he kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. He was held in a state prison, but posted a non-cash $1 million bond to be released with conditions, including agreeing not to contact Floyd's family or work in law enforcement or security again. His lawyers have argued Floyd's death was related to health conditions and drug use, which the county medical examiner and Floyd's family have disputed. Chauvin's trial will begin in March. [CBS Minnesota]


9. Two women share chemistry Nobel for 1st time

On Wednesday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and American biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna, the first two women to share the honor. Charpentier and Doudna won "for the development of a method for genome editing," the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors, in 2012. "Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants, and microorganisms with extremely high precision," the academy explained. "This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies, and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true." The Nobel Prize announcements continue Thursday with the revelation of the winner of this year's award for literature. [Nobel Committee, The Associated Press]


10. Facebook blocks new political ads through Election Day

Facebook said Wednesday that it would block all political ads through Election Day as it steps up efforts to avoid being used to spread disinformation to influence the vote. "[W]hile ads are an important way to express voice, we plan to temporarily stop running all social issue, electoral, or political ads in the U.S. ... to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse," Guy Rosen, the company's vice president of integrity, said in a blog post. The move marked a shift from Facebook's traditional resistance to policing political ads. Last month, the social network said it would block new ads in the campaign's final week, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg said no other changes were planned despite rising warnings that Facebook was being used to influence the election with disinformation. [Politico]

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Here's what we actually learned about Kamala Harris' and Mike Pence's policies from their #VPDebateUS_Election_2020_General.png Our takeaways on coronavirus, taxes, climate change, SCOTUS, abortion, racial justice and policing:
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A wave of bad poll numbers continued crashing down on Trump yesterday. They fall into two buckets: those that are bad for the president, and those that are horrible.
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President Trump required personnel at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to sign non-disclosure agreements last year before they could be involved with treating him, according to four people familiar with the process.
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[Trump campain manager Ted] Stepien statement:
“Here are the facts: President Trump will have posted multiple negative tests prior to the debate, so there is no need for this unilateral declaration.“
“We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”
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.@MorganWallen has been dropped from performing on “Saturday Night Live” (@nbcsnl) after breaking the show’s COVID-19 protocols. The country singer was shown on TikTok socializing maskless at a crowded Alabama bar and house party last weekend.
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