Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 21, 2020

Republicans push to quickly fill Ginsburg's seat, Schitt's Creek and Watchmen win big at the Emmys, and more


Republicans push to quickly fill Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat

Senate Republican leaders on Sunday rushed to prepare for confirmation hearings as quickly as possible after President Trump announces who he is nominating to fill the seat left vacant with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Sunday became the second Republican to say she would not support confirming a new justice before the November election. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the first to say she would oppose a vote before Election Day. It would take four Republicans breaking ranks to make it impossible to move forward with the new nominee's confirmation. Democratic leaders, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, accused Republicans of hypocrisy for pushing for a confirmation just 44 days before the election after refusing to hold hearings on former President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland months earlier in an election year.


Schitt's Creek, Watchmen win big at Emmys

Schitt's Creek and Watchmen won big at Sunday's 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, held without a live audience due to the coronavirus pandemic. Schitt's Creek set a record with nine comedy Emmys, including best comedy series. The stars swept the acting awards for the show's sixth and final season. Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy won best actress and actor in a comedy series. Levy's son, show creator Daniel Levy, and Annie Murphy won for best supporting actor and actress. Daniel Levy also won for writing and directing, the latter shared with Andrew Cividino. Regina King led Watchmen's big night, picking up her fourth Emmy as outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II took the supporting actor award, and the show won for Outstanding Limited Series. Succession also won the top drama prize of outstanding drama series and its star, Jeremy Strong, took the lead drama actor trophy.


Belarus protests continue for sixth straight weekend

More than 100,000 protesters marched in Minsk on Sunday in the sixth straight weekend of demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko. Many walked in a miles-long column chanting "go away." Videos shared by local media showed security forces pulling protesters off the streets in simultaneous marches in other cities. The country erupted in turmoil last month when longtime strongarm leader Lukashenko claimed to have won a landslide re-election victory after a vote the opposition called fraudulent. Lukashenko, supported by Russia, has shown no sign he plans to quit. The European Union has said it would impose sanctions on Belarus over the allegations of election fraud and human rights abuses.


Suspect arrested over ricin-poisoned envelope addressed to Trump

A woman suspected of sending an envelope addressed to President Trump that contained the poison ricin was arrested trying to enter the U.S. from Canada, a U.S. law enforcement official said Sunday. The suspect reportedly had a gun. Law enforcement officials intercepted the package last week, and authorities were investigating the possibility that it was sent from Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it could not immediately confirm or deny any reports of arrests. The RCMP had confirmed a day earlier that it was working with FBI investigators on the matter. Investigators also are looking into similar packages that were mailed to addresses in Texas, possibly tied to the same sender.


Trump expected to detail plans on 'snapback' Iran sanctions

President Trump is expected to issue an executive order on Monday spelling out how the United States plans to punish businesses and individuals that violate sanctions on Iran. The Trump administration declared that "snapback" multilateral sanctions against Tehran were back in place due to violation of Iran's landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers. Traditional U.S. allies in Europe have vowed to ignore the U.S. claim the sanctions were back in effect. The foreign ministers of France, Britain, and Germany said in a joint statement on Sunday that the U.S. forfeited its right to influence sanctions when Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal two years ago. No one disputes that Iran has violated some of its commitments under the deal, although it was in compliance until the U.S. imposed some sanctions in 2018.


Tropical Storm Beta threatens Texas, Louisiana with flooding

Tropical Storm Beta continued to approach the Texas coast early Monday, threatening to flood parts of Texas and Louisiana. The slow-moving storm could bring up to a foot of rain to some areas through Thursday, with isolated spots getting up to 20 inches, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters said they expected the storm, with top sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, to move ashore Monday night. Parts of Texas and Louisiana are under tropical storm and storm surge warnings. Beta is the third named storm in the Gulf of Mexico in less than a month, and the 23rd of this hurricane season. This is just the second season to exhaust the alphabetical list of storm names set before the season. The first year that happened was 2005, when there were a record 27 named storms.


Biden has $141 million cash lead over Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee entered September with $466 million in the bank, a cash advantage of $141 million over President Trump and the Republican National Committee, with $325 million, according to campaign finance reports released late Sunday. In the spring, Trump and the RNC had a $187 million lead over Biden and the DNC. In August alone, the joint Biden-DNC committee brought in a record $364.5 million while the Trump-RNC committee raised $210 million. The Biden campaign alone raised $212 million and spent $130.3 million; the Trump campaign raised $61.7 million, spent $61.2 million, and added about $900,000 in debt. Biden has a lead of about 6.5 percentage points over Trump in averages of national polls.


ByteDance stresses that it will still control TikTok Global

China's ByteDance on Monday disputed "groundless rumors" about its partnership with Oracle and Walmart to establish a subsidiary that will run its operations in the United States. ByteDance emphasized that it would control 80 percent of TikTok Global, while Oracle would own 12.5 percent and Walmart 7.5 percent. U.S. supporters of the deal have said that the Oracle and Walmart stakes give Americans a majority stake in TikTok Global because U.S. investors also own 41 percent of ByteDance. The Beijing-based company also rejected President Trump's assertion that it would pay $5 billion to establish an education fund dedicated to teaching U.S. students "the real history of our country." ByteDance said the $5 billion is not a special fee but an estimate of the U.S. taxes it would pay over several years if TikTok Global does well.


Judge blocks Trump order to pull WeChat from app stores

A federal judge in California on Sunday temporarily blocked the Trump administration's effort to ban downloads of Chinese-owned WeChat. The Commerce Department had planned to start forcing Apple and Google to yank WeChat from their app stores by Sunday night due to national security concerns. U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said WeChat users who filed a lawsuit "have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs favor." Beeler said in her order that the Trump administration's plans "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government's significant interest in national security, especially given the lack of substitute channels for communication." The Justice Department had urged Beeler not to block the ban, and made no immediate comment after the ruling.


DeChambeau wins U.S. Open, overtaking Wolff in final round

Bryson DeChambeau won the U.S. Open on Sunday with a 3-under-par 67, becoming only the third golfer to finish under par in the six U.S. Opens played at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York. DeChambeau started the day 2 shots behind Matthew Wolff and wound up winning by 6 shots. Wolff was gunning to become the first player since Francis Ouimet in 1913 to win the tournament in his debut, but fell behind DeChambeau early on the final day, shooting a 75. DeChambeau's first major win was widely seen as a validation of his efforts to blast his drives longer and longer. DeChambeau telegraphed his strategy before the tournament started, saying he would go for the longest drives he could. "Even if I hit in the rough," he said on Tuesday, "I still feel like I can make birdies out there."


Vatican slams Israel for attacking funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
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Biden reverses some Trump restrictions on Cuba
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