Instant Library - Jul-Sep 2020
USA / Ukraine - Rapper Kanye West files for Oklahoma presidential ballot / Biden selects Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate / Trump accepts nomination at RNC convention / Anti-Trump messages projected on Trump hotel / Biden: Trump virus response keeps hurting economy / Woodward book spotlights Trump's response to virus / Biden signals support for Puerto Rican statehood / Trump undeterred by Russian threats to US election / Republican Sen. John McCain's widow endorses Biden
Story No.: G13206
Date: 09/23/2020 12:00 AM
Rapper Kanye West files for Oklahoma presidential ballot
ASSOCIATED PRESS, POOL
New York, 13 December 2016
1. President-elect Donald Trump exiting elevator with rapper Kanye West,
Washington, 11 October 2018
2. Kanye West and President Donald Trump at the White House
Biden selects Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate
Iowa City, Iowa - 10 April 2019
3. Kamala Harris speaking to a crowd in Iowa City
Des Moines, Iowa - 3 July 2019
4. Kamala Harris talking to reporters at a July 4th picnic in Iowa
Trump accepts nomination at RNC convention
Charlotte, North Carolina - 24 August 2020
5. Wide of introduction of President Trump UPSOUND:
"Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the President of the United States, and our nominee, Donald J. Trump"
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Trump, US President
"(Crowd: Four more years, four more years, four more years, etc!)
You want to really drive them crazy? You say 12 more years.
Anti-Trump messages projected on Trump hotel
Washington, DC - 25 August 2020
7. Front of Trump Hotel, with messages projected on it reading "Trump has no plan," "Chaos," "Nothing will change because Trump won't change," and other anti-Trump messages
Biden: Trump virus response keeps hurting economy
Wilmington, Delaware - 4 September 2020
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Joe Biden, (D) Presidential Nominee:
"I talk to a lot of real working people. Ask them, they feel like they're being left behind, ask them how they feel about the economy coming back. You'll find they don't feel it."
Woodward book spotlights Trump's response to virus
ARCHIVE: Washington - 11 September 2018
9. Copies of the Bob Woodward book "Fear" on display inside a bookstore
ARCHIVE: Washington - 29 April 2017
10. Journalist Bob Woodward sits at the head table during the White House Correspondents' Dinner
Biden signals support for Puerto Rican statehood
Kissimmee, Florida - 15 September 2020
11. SOUNDBITE: (English) Joe Biden, (D) Presidential Nominee:
" I happen to believe statehood would be the most effective means of ensuring that residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally, with equal representation at the federal level.
Trump undeterred by Russian threats to US election
ASSOCIATED PRESS, POOL
Raleigh, North Carolina - 3 September 2020
12. Various, mail-in ballots being prepared
Washington - 17 September 2020
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Christopher Wray, FBI Director:
"The intelligence community's consensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our elections."
Republican Sen. John McCain's widow endorses Biden
ARCHIVE: Kyiv, Ukraine - 31 March 2019
14. Mid, Cindy McCain (dark winter jacket) speaking to a woman of the International Republican Institute, visiting a polling station in the Ukraine
Rap superstar Kanye West has qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the filing deadline.
But confusion remains over whether he's actually running.
A representative for West filed the necessary paperwork and paid the $35,000 filing on July 15th which was the deadline for a spot on the state's Nov. 3rd presidential ballot, said Oklahoma Board of Elections spokeswoman Misha Mohr. He was one of three independent presidential candidates to pay the filing fee prior to the deadline, she added. The others were concert pianist Jade Simmons and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Brock Pierce.
The filing came a day after New York Magazine's “Intelligencer” quoted West adviser Steve Kramer saying “he's out" and noting that the staff he had hired were disappointed.
However, TMZ reported that the West campaign had filed a “Statement of Organization” Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, stating that a Kanye 2020 committee would serve as principal campaign committee for a West candidacy.
West has already missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several states, and it’s unclear if he is willing or able to collect enough signatures required to qualify in others.
West, who is married to reality television star Kim Kardashian West, initially announced his candidacy on July 4th. Days later, he told Forbes magazine that he, who once praised President Donald Trump and said the two share “dragon energy,” was “taking the red hat off” - a reference to Trump’s trademark red “Make America Great Again” cap.
West, who said that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, told the magazine that he planned to model his White House on the fictional land in “Black Panther” if he won the presidency, adding “Let’s get back to Wakanda.”
Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on August 11th, making history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket and acknowledging the vital role Black voters will play in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump.
In choosing Harris, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.
Harris joins Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of unprecedented national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the U.S., far more than the toll experienced in other countries. Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse. Unrest, meanwhile, has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.
Trump’s uneven handling of the crises has given Biden an opening, and he enters the fall campaign in strong position against the president. In adding Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as health care and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.
Harris’ record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinized during the Democratic primary and turned off some liberals and younger Black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality. She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.
Biden, who spent eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president, has spent months weighing who would fill that same role in his White House. He pledged in March to select a woman as his vice president, easing frustration among Democrats that the presidential race would center on two white men in their 70s.
Biden’s search was expansive, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive, Florida Rep. Val Demings, whose impeachment prosecution of Trump won plaudits, California Rep. Karen Bass, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose passionate response to unrest in her city garnered national attention.
A woman has never served as president or vice president in the United States. Two women have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Their party lost in the general election.
The Republican Party formally nominated President Donald Trump for a second term in the White House on August 24th, one of the first acts of a GOP convention that has been dramatically scaled down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump has sought to minimize the toll of the pandemic, but its impact was evident as proceedings began in Charlotte. Instead of the thousands of people who were expected to converge on this city for a week-long extravaganza, just 336 delegates participated in a roll-call vote from a Charlotte Convention Center ballroom.
The GOP convention is a crucial moment for Trump, who is trailing in national and battleground state polls and under intense pressure to turn the race around. Just 23% think the country is heading in the right direction, while 75% think it's on the wrong path, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Many of the usual trappings of a convention were present on Monday, including signs designating each state and gift bags with Republican swag. But chairs on the ballroom floor were arranged with lots of space between them and convention organizers told participants to wear masks, though adherence to the rule was uneven.
Anti-Trump messages were projected on the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC as the Republican National Convention was underway on August 25th.
The messages included "Trump has no plan," "nothing will change because Trump won't change," and "it is what it is."
President Trump made that comment during a recent interview when asked about the number of people in the United States in the United States killed by the coronavirus.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said the country has not seen enough economic recovery since the coronavirus outbreak began months ago.
He blasted President Donald Trump for downplaying COVID-19, saying that it will continue to kill Americans and ravage the economy.
U.S. unemployment dropped sharply in August to a still-high 8.4% from 10.2%, with about half the 22 million jobs lost to the coronavirus outbreak recovered so far, the government said on September 4th in one of the last major economic reports before Election Day.
Employers added 1.4 million jobs last month, the Labor Department said, down from 1.7 million in July and the fewest since hiring resumed in May.
But the economy has recovered barely half the 22 million jobs that vanished when the pandemic paralyzed the nation in early spring.
Biden also accused of being out of touch with ordinary Americans, caring instead about his wealthy friends and donors.
"Families teeter on the brink of hunger and homelessness, and our president calls that success, what does that say about what he values?" Biden said Friday.
Try as he might to change the subject, US President Donald Trump can't escape the coronavirus.
In newly released interviews from journalist Bob Woodward's forthcoming book "Rage," Trump privately acknowledged the severity of the pandemic even as he played it down in public.
Excerpts of the book were published September 9th by The Washington Post and CNN, which also aired audio of some of the interviews.
Woodward, who is most famously known for helping break open the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, has chronicled the happening of most American presidents since then.
Two years ago Woodward released a different book, "Fear", that depicted a chaotic White House environment under the Trump administration.
After its release the president complained that he was not actively involved in the book and agreed to at least nine private interviews with Woodward which were used for his latest novel "Rage."
"This is a case where Trump himself wanted to shape the narrative, and while the book isn't out yet at least, the early headlines aren't very kind to him," said Jonathan Lemire, a White House reporter for the Associated Press.
Lemire added that other former presidents, like George W. Bush and Barak Obama, who agreed to have Woodward write a book about their administrations were also displeased with the final products.
"But this is different," Lemire said. "Trump himself is far more conscious or frankly, obsessed with the media coverage he receives than any of his predecessors. We see that every day on Twitter. He often delves into media critique."
In taped conversations released along with the excerpts, Trump insisted he didn't want to create "panic." But his comments also raised fresh questions about how he has managed the defining crisis of his presidency, one that has killed about 190,000 Americans so far, with no end in sight.
Trump's team would much rather center the November vote around the economy, cracking down on protests spawned by racial injustice, and the president's promise that he could appoint more conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
"They're comfortable fighting on anything else except for the pandemic because public opinion polls show the Americans don't think the president has done a very good job," Lemire said. "And by his comments, his own words, these are not anonymous sources. These are not administration officials on background. His own words caught on tape are again highlighting the pandemic, put it at the national... center of the national discourse, and raising all sorts of further concerns about how, frankly, he has handled the largest health crisis this nation has faced in a century."
After details of the book were released, Democrats have condemned Trump's actions of downplaying the coronavirus early on, with the Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer calling the president "the biggest threat to the American people."
And now, Trump's own words are redirecting attention to his handling of the pandemic when he can least afford it - less than two months before Election Day.
"Because this... revelation is about COVID-19, it is possible this will be damaging to him. This will hurt his electoral challenge... chances. It certainly can't help," Lemire said. "But it remains to be seen whether or not this is a mortal blow to his reelection bid or whether we're simply talking about something else in 72 hours."
Joe Biden expressed his strongest support yet for Puerto Rican statehood on September 15th, though he says the decision must be made by residents of the island.
Biden said at a Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff event in Kissimmee, Florida, that he believes statehood “would be the most effective means of ensuring that residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally.”
But Biden emphasized that “the people of Puerto Rico must decide, and the United States federal government must respect and act on that.”
Biden had previously declined to take a position on the issue.
During the last referendum on statehood, an overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans voted in favor of becoming a state.
Biden’s remarks came as part of a broader effort to appeal to Latinos in Florida and particularly Puerto Ricans, which make up one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in central Florida.
Democrats have expressed concerns that Biden may be slipping in the state, particularly with influential Latino voters.
With less than 50 days to go until the U.S. elections, President Donald Trump has been steadfast in dismissing concerns of foreign interference in the November ballot.
Trump insists that the expected huge number of postal ballots Americans will use are a much bigger concern, telling reporters September 16th that "much of the stuff coming out about foreign countries turned out to be untrue."
But testifying on Capitol Hill on September 17th, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that Russia has been "very active" in its efforts to influence US elections, with the primary goal being to "denigrate" Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Wray told lawmakers that Russia is primarily interfering through malign foreign influence in an effort to hurt Biden's campaign -- echoing the intelligence community's public assessment on Moscow's meddling efforts issued last month.
Wray's comments come as President Donald Trump and several other top administration officials have recently attempted to play up the theory that China is meddling to get Biden elected, while downplaying well-founded reports that Russia is trying to help Trump win again, like it did in 2016.
Intelligence officials have said they have uncovered evidence that Russia is currently interfering in the election to hurt Biden's campaign. Separately, some evidence has already emerged about Moscow's efforts, including Facebook's announcement earlier this month that a troll group that was part of Russia's attempt to interfere in the 2016 election is trying to target Americans again.
Independent Senator Angus King, a co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a congressional Commission that studied cyber security, worries about the continued attempts by Russia to affect American presidential races.
"What bothers me is that I don't think they were doing it for fun (attack the 2016 race)," he said. "It worries me that they were practicing, that they were learning and that this election could be the test case."
While there is consensus on Russian attempts to attack the US elections, what is not clear is their end goal.
"We would put Russian intelligence and squarely at the top of the of the risk score here," Sandra Joyce, the Senior Vice President and Head of Global Intelligence for the private security fire FireEye. "There's really no end to what they are capable of doing if they decide to go ahead and do it. "
Graham Brookie, the Director and Managing Editor of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council says there is evidence Russians have continued to experiment in both the 2016 and 2018 elections.
The Senior Vice President and Director of Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jim Lewis, says it is clear that at least two state opponents have decided to disrupt the American election.
"The Chinese studied what the Russians did," Lewis told the Associated Press, but they don't agree with the Russians on what the best outcome in 2020 will be. "You've got two competing hostile powers, one of whom is quite good and one of whom is learning quickly. "
While the intelligence community has assessed that China and Iran prefer Trump to lose in November, officials have offered no indication, to date, that either country is acting on that preference in the same way as Russia, according to public statements issued by the intelligence community and sources familiar with the underlying evidence.
The same GRU military intelligence unit, known as Fancy Bear, that Microsoft identifies as being behind the current election-related activity also broke into voter registration databases in at least three states in 2016, though there is no evidence it tried to interfere with voting.
During the Cyberspace Solarium Commission investigation, King said he spoke to many local election officials. "In my view they are over confident," he said, adding "I'm worried there is still a vulnerability there."
FireEye's Joyce warns her company has found active measures "on the part of multiple nation states," to collect information about local election officials.
Cindy McCain, the widow of the late U.S. Senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, is endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for president in a rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain's family since he disparaged the Republican Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign.
Cindy McCain is citing the decades long friendship between her family and Biden's and their bond as the parents of children serving in the military.
Her backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with Trump.
It also could give Biden a boost in Arizona, a crucial swing state that McCain represented in Congress for 35 years.