10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2020

Trump and Biden criticize each other over response to violence, an appeals court rejects call to drop Michael Flynn's case, and more

Biden in Pennsylvania
(Image credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Trump, Biden clash over protests, violence

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday continued to trade criticism over violent clashes surrounding protests against racial injustice in Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Biden said in a speech that Trump is a "toxic presence." He condemned looting and arson, saying they were crimes, not protests. Trump accused Biden of refusing to repudiate leftist protesters, although Biden had said the day before that he condemned violence, "whether on the left or the right." Trump also defended Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Trump supporter accused of fatally shooting two people and wounding another in Kenosha. Trump, who is visiting Kenosha on Tuesday despite local officials' request that he stay away, said Rittenhouse fired while "trying to get away" from protesters. "He probably would've been killed," Trump said.

The Washington Post

2. Appeals court denies DOJ push to end Flynn case

A federal appeals court on Monday rejected the request by the Justice Department and Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, to drop the case against him for lying under oath to the FBI about his communications with Russia's ambassador before Trump's inauguration. Flynn twice pleaded guilty, but Attorney General William Barr this year moved to stop pursuing the case. The appeals court's 8-2 decision restores the power of the original judge, Emmet Sullivan, to determine whether to keep the politically charged case alive. Sullivan had asked an independent lawyer to argue against dismissing the case. Previously, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had sided with Flynn, 2-1.

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3. Oregon sends state police to help curb Portland violence

Oregon authorities dispatched state police on Monday to help calm violent clashes between protesters demanding racial justice and armed right-wing groups that have countered them. Gov. Kate Brown (D) blamed the violence on a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer, one of whose supporters was fatally shot over the weekend. "I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets," she said. Protests have continued nightly in Portland since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes. President Trump blamed the turmoil on Portland's Democratic mayor. "If this joke of a mayor doesn't clean it up, we will go in and do it for them!" Trump tweeted Monday.


4. Adviser reportedly pushes White House to adopt herd immunity strategy

A top health adviser to President Trump, Scott Atlas, has pushed the White House to adopt a controversial "herd immunity" strategy toward fighting the coronavirus pandemic, alarming public officials. The approach, which has been used by Sweden, involves protecting people in vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, while letting the virus spread to others at lower risk, resulting in "herd immunity" to the virus. Atlas, who is a neuroradiologist and not an infectious disease expert, reportedly meets with Trump nearly every day. Public health experts warn that using the herd immunity approach could result in 2.13 million deaths in the United States before 65 percent of the population is infected and the country reaches herd immunity.

The Washington Post

5. India accuses China of violating border peace agreement

India on Monday accused China of making "provocative military movements" on the two nuclear powers' disputed border in violation of a recent peace agreement. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes with Chinese forces in June before the two countries reached a peace agreement. China denied doing anything to upset the status quo, saying its border troops had "always strictly observed the Line of Actual Control and have never crossed the line." Delhi said its soldiers "pre-empted" Chinese advances on Aug. 29 and "undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions." Analysts said the public nature of the announcement suggested that the peace had been broken.

BBC News The New York Times

6. Coronavirus cases and complications rise among children

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 have increased faster among children and teens than among the general population, according to data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics from May 21 to Aug. 20. Data collection varied among the states, with some separating young babies and teens while others lumped them together, but the general rise in exposure and complications from COVID-19 was similar across the country. In May, 5 percent of the nation's cases were children; in August the figure rose to 9 percent, and the number suffering serious complications has risen, too, said Dr. Sean O'Leary, vice chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on infectious diseases. "Yes, it's less severe in children than adults, but it's not completely benign," O'Leary said.

The New York Times

7. Biden has a 6-point lead over Trump among active-duty troops in poll

Active-duty military members favor Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to President Trump 43 to 37 percent, a poll from Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University has found. That's a major shift from where Trump stood in 2016, when he had a 41-21 lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump's overall support among those active-duty troops has fallen as well, with just 38 percent having a favorable view of him, per the poll. That matches his lowest approval ever recorded among active-duty troops, which was found in late 2019. Nearly half of those respondents — 49.9 percent — viewed Trump unfavorably, and 42 percent said they "strongly disapprove" of Trump's time in office.

Military Times

8. Liberty University plans investigation of Falwell's tenure

Liberty University on Monday announced an investigation into the tenure of Jerry Falwell Jr., the former president of the evangelical Christian school who was ousted last week over a sex scandal. Liberty's board said the independent investigation would look into a broad range of issues, including financial, real estate, and legal matters. The board said in a statement that it was committed to looking into "all facets" of the school's operations to find out "the consequences that have flowed from a lack of spiritual stewardship by our former president." Calls for an inquiry mounted after Falwell agreed last week to step down from the leadership position he had held since 2007.

The Associated Press

9. Amazon gets FAA approval for its drones to deliver packages

Amazon has received federal approval to use its fleet of Prime Air drones to deliver packages to customers, the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday. The approval gives the online retail giant broad privileges to "safely and efficiently" use small drones to carry packages "beyond the visual line of sight" of operators. Now that it has the FAA certification, Amazon will start testing customer deliveries. Amazon said it isn't ready to widely deploy the drones, but the certification "is an important step forward for Prime Air" allowing the company to continue refining the technology, which it started testing in 2013 with a goal of shortening delivery times for many items to 30 minutes or less.

The New York Times CNBC

10. Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson Jr. dies at 78

Legendary basketball coach John Thompson Jr. has died at 78. Thompson's death was confirmed by his family on Monday, who in a statement said, "Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on, but most importantly, off the basketball court." His cause of death was not disclosed. Thompson served as coach at Georgetown University for nearly three decades after playing for the Boston Celtics for two seasons, and he became the first Black basketball head coach to win the NCAA National Championship in 1984. In 1999, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He retired with a 596-239 record. "For us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend," Thompson's family said.


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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.