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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

September 01, 2020 - 8:04 PM

Trump visits Kenosha, calls violence 'domestic terrorism'

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — President Donald Trump stood at the epicenter of the latest eruption over racial injustice Tuesday and came down squarely on the side of law enforcement, blaming “domestic terror” for the violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and making no nod to the underlying cause of anger and protests — the shooting of yet another Black man by police.

Trump declared the violence “anti-American." He did not mention Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed after being shot in the back seven times by an officer last week in Kenosha.

Soon after arriving in the city, a visit made over the objections of state and local leaders, Trump toured the charred remains of a block besieged by violence and fire. With the scent of smoke still in the air, he spoke to the owners of a century-old store that had been destroyed and continued to link the violence to the Democrats, blaming those in charge of Kenosha and Wisconsin while raising apocalyptic warnings if their party should capture the White House.

“These are not acts of peaceful protest but, really, domestic terror,” said Trump. And he condemned Democratic officials for not immediately accepting his offer of federal enforcement assistance, claiming, “They just don’t want us to come."

The city has been the scene of protests since the Aug. 23 shooting of Blake, who was shot as he tried to get into a car while police were trying to arrest him. Protests have been concentrated in a small area of Kenosha. While there were more than 30 fires set in the first three nights, the situation has calmed since then.

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump misstates what happened in Kenosha

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is not waiting for a trial to sort out what happened on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where prosecutors say a 17-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle fatally shot two men on a night of protest and violence. He’s giving an account at odds with the authorities who charged Kyle Rittenhouse with homicide.

In remarks surrounding and during his trip Tuesday to Kenosha, Trump also falsely claimed credit for National Guard deployments that he actually did not authorize. Wisconsin's Democratic governor did.

TRUMP, asked if was going to condemn the actions of Rittenhouse: “We’re looking at all of it. And that was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them, I guess; it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been — I — he probably would have been killed.” — news conference Monday before travelling to Kenosha on Tuesday.

THE FACTS: His implication that Rittenhouse only shot the men after he tripped and they attacked him is wrong. The first fatal shooting happened before Rittenhouse ran away and fell.

Trump did not say whom he meant by “they” — the two men he shot or others in pursuit of him. But he spoke in defence of someone who opposed racial-justice protesters, who authorities say was illegally carrying a semi-automatic rifle and who prosecutors accuse of committing intentional homicide.

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Markey defeats Kennedy III in Massachusetts’ Senate primary

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey defeated U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, harnessing support from progressive leaders to overcome a challenge from a younger rival who is a member of America’s most famous political family.

Markey appealed to voters in this deeply Democratic state by positioning himself as aligned with the liberal wing of the party. He teamed up with a leading progressive, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on the Green New Deal — and at one point labeled Kennedy “a progressive in name only.”

That helped Markey overcome the enduring power of the Kennedy name in Massachusetts. The 39-year-old congressman sought to cast the 74-year-old Markey as someone out of touch after spending decades in Congress, first in the House before moving to the Senate.

In the waning weeks of the campaign, Kennedy leaned into his family’s long political legacy in Massachusetts. His pedigree includes former President John F. Kennedy; former U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, his grandfather; and former U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, who held a Senate seat in Massachusetts for nearly half a century until his death in 2009.

Markey countered by leaning into his own family story — growing up in the working class city of Malden with a father who drove a truck for the Hood Milk company.

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Large antibody study offers hope for virus vaccine efforts

Antibodies that people make to fight the new coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly as some earlier reports suggested, scientists have found.

Tuesday’s report, from tests on more than 30,000 people in Iceland, is the most extensive work yet on the immune system’s response to the virus over time, and is good news for efforts to develop vaccines.

If a vaccine can spur production of long-lasting antibodies as natural infection seems to do, it gives hope that “immunity to this unpredictable and highly contagious virus may not be fleeting,” scientists from Harvard University and the U.S. National Institutes of Health wrote in a commentary published with the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One of the big mysteries of the pandemic is whether having had the coronavirus helps protect against future infection, and for how long. Some smaller studies previously suggested that antibodies may disappear quickly and that some people with few or no symptoms may not make many at all.

The new study was done by Reykjavik-based deCODE Genetics, a subsidiary of the U.S. biotech company Amgen, with several hospitals, universities and health officials in Iceland. The country tested 15% of its population since late February, when its first COVID-19 cases were detected, giving a solid base for comparisons.

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Mnuchin says Trump still wants virus deal with Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pressed by Democrats to quickly negotiate a new coronavirus relief package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday the administration remains willing to work on a bipartisan agreement to help small businesses, the unemployed, children and schools. Democratic leaders in Congress are holding it up with hardened positions, he said.

“Let's move forward on a bipartisan basis on points we can agree upon," Mnuchin urged at a hearing by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. “The president and I want to move forward."

Mnuchin made the case that the economy's recovery has strengthened in recent weeks, citing improved consumer spending, growth in manufacturing and a rebounding housing market. It's the failure of some states to reopen activity that is holding back the economy, he said.

But Democrats insisted that dire economic conditions persist for many. “Millions of Americans are now facing eviction, debt and hunger," said the panel's chairman, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. “As the pandemic drags on, states, cities and businesses are warning that more layoffs may be coming."

The subcommittee's Democratic staff, meanwhile, said it has identified lapses pointing to possible fraud and abuse in a signature piece of the administration's relief effort, the $660 billion-plus small business loan program — including more than $1 billion awarded to businesses that received multiple loans.

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Drilling, mines, other projects hastened by Trump order

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration is seeking to fast track environmental reviews of dozens of major energy and infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, including oil and gas drilling, hazardous fuel pipelines, wind farms and highway projects in multiple states, according to documents provided to The Associated Press.

The plan to speed up project approvals comes after President Donald Trump in June ordered the Interior Department and other agencies to scale back environmental reviews under special powers he has during the coronavirus emergency.

More than 60 projects targeted for expedited environmental reviews were detailed in an attachment to a July 15 letter from Assistant Interior Secretary Katherine MacGregor to White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow.

The letter, obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity through a freedom of information lawsuit, does not specify how the review process would be hastened. It says the specified energy, environmental and natural resource projects “are within the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to perform or advance.”

Included on Interior's list are oil and gas industry proposals such as the 5,000-well Converse gas field in Wyoming, the Jordan Cove liquified natural gas terminal in Oregon, and the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline in Virginia.

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Trump spins baseless tale of ‘thugs’ flying to protests

CHICAGO (AP) — President Donald Trump is recycling a baseless conspiracy theory to claim that recent protests have been orchestrated by powerful people in “dark shadows” intent on undermining his reelection prospects.

The claims first took root on Facebook and Twitter earlier this year after racial justice protests swelled across the country following the deaths of Black Americans in police custody. Thousands of social media users shared posts suggesting a covert network was co-ordinating the protests and rioters were descending on communities across the country.

Trump appeared to amplify those unfounded conspiracy theories in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham that aired Monday night, suggesting that protests in Washington during the Republican National Convention were orchestrated by unspecified forces.

“We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend. And in the plane, it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that,” said Trump, adding that the matter is under investigation.

When asked by reporters Tuesday for additional details on his assertion, Trump said someone else witnessed the activity and he would have to check to see if that person was willing to speak with news media.

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Lawyer: Plea offer tried to link Breonna Taylor to drug ring

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A lawyer for Breonna Taylor's family said prosecutors offered a plea deal to an accused drug trafficker that would have forced him to implicate Taylor in criminal activity after her killing by police had pushed her name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race.

Louisville's top prosecutor said the document was not an attempt to smear Taylor but was part of preliminary plea negotiations with a man charged with illegal drug trafficking.

Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar posted a photo on social media Monday that he said was a plea offer to Jamarcus Glover from prosecutors. The photo of the document appeared to show Taylor listed as a “co-defendant” in illegal activities leading up to April 22, weeks after her death.

“Why would they put her name on there?” Aguiar said in a statement sent to news media. “It’s outrageous.”

Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said that document was a “draft that was part of pre-indictment plea negotiations.”

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Book: Pence told 'to be on standby' for Trump hospital visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new book is reviving questions about President Donald Trump's unscheduled visit to Walter Reed military hospital last fall with the revelation that “word went out” for Vice-President Mike Pence to stand by to temporarily assume presidential powers if Trump had to receive anesthesia for a medical procedure.

Pence said in an interview Tuesday evening that he doesn't recall being told to be on “standby.”

The White House has said the president's November 2019 visit, which raised questions at the time about Trump's health, was part of his routine annual physical, and that the president wanted to get a head start on what typically is an hours-long, head-to-toe exam because he'd be busy this year with campaigning. Trump tweeted Tuesday night that the reason for the visit “was to complete my yearly physical.”

A president's routine medical checkup typically is announced ahead of time.

The White House provided no other details at the time. His White House doctor said in a statement Tuesday the president “remains healthy” and “fit to execute the duties of the presidency.”

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Zoom stock surges, market value tops Boeing, Starbucks

NEW YORK (AP) — A Zoom call has become an integral part of daily life during the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Wall Street acknowledged as much by boosting the videoconferencing company's market value above that of more established companies such as Citigroup, Boeing and Starbucks.

Zoom shares rose 40.8% to $457.69, pushing its market value to more than $129 billion, after the company reported explosive growth during the second quarter as more people paid for subscriptions, giving them more control over virtual meetings. Zoom's revenue more than quadrupled from the same time last year to $663.5 million and profits blew past Wall Street forecasts.

At the current level, Zoom's market value exceeds the combined value of two storied automakers, General Motors and Ford, and is more than double the aggregate value of the nation's four biggest airlines.

The company is one of the key beneficiaries of the virus pandemic as more people log on to its videoconferencing service to work from home.

In a show of confidence, Zoom raised its revenue projection for its fiscal year ending in January to nearly $2.4 billion, up from roughly $1.8 billion that the San Jose, California, company predicted in early June. The forecast is now more than double the $910 million revenue that Zoom had anticipated as it began its fiscal year.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
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