October 3, 2019

The impeachment polls don't seem to be going President Trump's way, especially among key groups like women, college-educated white voters, and independents, Politico reports. A USA Today/Ipsos poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and released Thursday, for example, shows Americans support the House voting to impeach Trump by a 45 percent to 38 percent margin, and they want the Senate to convict and remove him from office, 44 percent to 35 percent. FiveThirtyEight launched an impeachment poll tracker that, as of Thursday, has support for impeachment up 46.7 percent to 45.1 percent.

There's a large partisan spread in the polling — only 12 percent of Republicans back impeachment, according to FiveThirtyEight's composite. But it doesn't appear that Republicans actually think what Trump did was okay. In the USA Today/Ipsos poll, 17 percent of Republicans support impeachment but 30 percent of Republicans say the president asking Ukraine to look into Biden's behavior would be an abuse of power. Furthermore, 80 percent of Republicans agreed that presidents are subject to the same laws as all other citizens.

A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday found that only 40 percent of Republicans believe that Trump mentioned the possibility of Ukraine investigating Biden in his July 25 phone call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and 29 percent say Trump probably never mentioned it. Trump has publicly acknowledged asking Zelensky to investigate Biden, and according to the incomplete phone transcript released by the White House, Trump told him: "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."

"At the very least, it is clear from the readout that Trump discussed investigating Biden during the call," said Monmouth's Patrick Murray. That so many Republicans don't seem to know that, he told Politico, "told us how powerful partisan filters can be for just interpreting obvious facts."

The USA Today/Ipsos poll was conducted online among 1,006 adults and has a credibility interval of ±3.5 percentage points. Monmouth conducted its poll Sept. 23-29 among 1,161 adults, and its margin of error is ±2.9 points for the entire sample. Peter Weber

12:46 p.m.

The late Kobe Bryant is officially on his way to Springfield.

Bryant, the former Los Angeles Laker who was killed along with is daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in California in January, was selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday. He'll be inducted on Aug. 29 in a ceremony that will also be headlined by Bryant's contemporaries and fellow NBA legends, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

Bryant's wife, Vanessa, and oldest daughter, Natalia, appeared on ESPN on Saturday to talk about the significance of the achievement. Vanessa Bryant said she wished her husband was there to experience the moment, but it was nevertheless an "incredible accomplishment and honor" and the "peak" of his NBA career. "Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here," she said.

In addition to the three NBA superstars, all-time WNBA great Tamika Catchings will also be enshrined, as will Baylor University women's basketball head coach Kim Mulkey, Bentley University women's basketball head coach Barbara Stevens, four-time NCAA men's basketball coach of the year Eddie Sutton, and former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich. Tim O'Donnell

12:11 p.m.

Ford and General Motors, two longstanding titans of the American automobile industry, are working rapidly around the clock to produce potentially life-saving ventilators for patients suffering from the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, but there are two major issues that could render their attempts ineffective in the end, The Washington Post reports.

First, they may simply not have enough time. The companies are working fast, but they may not have started early enough. So, by the time they produce the necessary amount of ventilators, many places around the U.S. may have already experienced the peak of the pandemic, which is expected to come sometime in April. "Even though we are moving mountains ... and we are moving as fast as we can," said an auto executive involved with the process, "these herculean efforts might not be enough."

For example, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates the U.S. will need 32,000 ventilators by mid-April. Ford is aiming to get 1,500 out by the end of April, and GM thinks it will produce 10,000 per month by mid-May, meaning both companies would still fall short at the time of expected peak.

The other issue is that it's unclear if the ventilators will be sufficient. Intensive care specialists and ventilator experts told the Post that Ford's product is more geared toward ambulance and hospital transports than the ventilators they rely on in hospital to keep patients breathing for weeks. Dr. Matthew Aldrich, the medical director of critical care at the University off California at San Francisco, said his hospital normally vets their ventilators before making a purchase, and he hopes the same thing is being done to make sure Ford's and GM's are up to the task.

Still, Dr. Jeff Hirsch, the chief medical officer for GE health care, said even simplified ventilators have "the potential to be lifesaving." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

10:52 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is still in the running for the Democratic presidential nomination, but his competitor, former Vice President Joe Biden, has his sights set on the next step of his campaign.

Biden said Friday he informed Sanders he will begin the process of vetting potential cabinet and vice presidential candidates, telling donors at a virtual fundraising event that he plans on launching a committee to select a running mate sometime in mid-April. Former primary challengers like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are often mentioned as possibilities.

Biden has emerged as the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination after a slate of decisive primary victories, but he gave Sanders — whom he considers a friend — a heads up about the decision because he didn't "want him to think I'm being presumptuous." But Biden said the process takes time, so he wants to get a head start.

The former vice president also said he's asked his old boss, former President Barack Obama, for advice on cabinet selections, though he said the conversation was more focused on how to begin the process rather than any individual candidates. Read more at NBC News and Politico. Tim O'Donnell

8:45 a.m.

German officials appear quite displeased with the United States, as both countries search for supplies to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Berlin regional government said Friday the U.S. confiscated 200,000 FFP2 respirator masks (known as N95 masks in the U.S.) it ordered from a U.S. manufacturer based in China while they were in transit in Bangkok, Thailand. The masks reportedly never reached their destination.

Berlin Interior Minister Andreas Geisel called it an act of "modern piracy," arguing that "even in times of global crisis, methods from the Wild West should not become prevalent."

The Berlin government didn't provide many details about the incident, including when it happened, and U.S. and German officials didn't comment on the accusations. 3M, the manufacturer, said it "has no evidence to suggest" its products were seized. But one German federal official told The Wall Street Journal that "America's behavior since the crisis has been positively rabid when it comes to medical supplies."

France has also complained about the U.S. diverting shipments, and Germany officials previously accused the Trump administration of trying to convince a German company working on a COVID-19 vaccine to relocate stateside. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. Tim O'Donnell

8:00 a.m.

President Trump on Friday fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who informed Congress about the whistleblower complaint regarding Trump's communications with Ukraine that eventually led to his impeachment. The president said he "no longer" has the "fullest confidence" in Atkinson.

Democrats were not happy with the decision, especially considering it came as the novel coronavirus pandemic intensifies across the United States. "In the midst of a national emergency, it is unconscionable that the president is once again attempting to undermine the integrity of the intelligence community by firing yet another intelligence official simply for doing his job," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The Trump administration has already removed numerous officials from their posts involved with Trump's impeachment proceedings, including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a former National Security Council official, and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Others, like former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, resigned.

Atkinson won't be immediately removed — the statute for the intelligence community inspector general requires both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees be informed of a dismissal with 30 days notice, so there won't be an official change until next month. Read more at The Guardian and CNN. Tim O'Donnell

April 3, 2020

President Trump is admittedly not doing everything he can to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation for all Americans to wear cloth masks when in public around people, Trump announced at Friday's coronavirus task force press conference. Trump then repeatedly clarified that the recommendation is "voluntary," and declared that he won't be wearing a mask at all.

Americans are being asked to wear cloth masks when going outside around others. It'll add an extra layer of protection against transmitting COVID-19 even if someone who has the virus is asymptomatic, while saving medical-grade N95 masks for health care workers who desperately need them, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Friday. Los Angeles and New York City recently issued the same recommendation, and a Thursday report indicated the CDC's recommendation was coming.

When Trump was asked why he wouldn't wear a mask, he said he was "feeling fine," and then implied that it would be odd to be "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk" in a mask while meeting "presidents, prime ministers, dictators," and so on. It's unclear which world leaders would be dropping by the Oval Office given the current climate. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 3, 2020

It's time to take a break from the monotony of quarantine and enjoy all that nature has to offer — through technology.

Though coronavirus restrictions may prevent you from going to zoos, wildlife centers, or taking nature hikes, these three animal livestreams will help you get your fix.

1. Three baby eagles in Minnesota

(Screenshot/Minnesota DNR)

This is the first brood on this live-cam since 2017, and the three babies just hatched in late March. It's the perfect opportunity to get up close with our national bird, without any of the risk. Watch the nest here.

2. Bella the hummingbird's nest

(Screenshot/Explore)

Bella and her baby live in a nest in California on a front porch ficus. The owner of that porch graciously decided to share the beauty with the rest of us. Their speed and size can make them hard to spot in the wild, so check out the hummingbirds here.

3. Aquarium viewing at home

(Screenshot/Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Let's make shark week every week. Though closed due to coronavirus, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has several live cams available for viewing, including the rocky reef shark cam. Enjoy the beautiful rays and fish as you wait for a shark to pass by. Watch them swim around here. Taylor Watson

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