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Trump campaign knew voter fraud claims were baseless soon after election loss, says report – as it happened

Trump campaign knew voter fraud claims were baseless soon after election loss, says report – as it happened thumbnail

Evening summary

We are wrapping up another day of US politics coverage. Here are today’s highlights:

  • The Biden administration is facing public criticism from powerful Democrats about its continued use of a Trump-era border policy, Title 42, which denies migrants at the US border the ability to seek asylum. Senator Chuck Schumer, among others, have spoken out against the Biden administration’s use of Title 42, in the context of a still-unfolding scandal about US Border Patrol treatment of Haitian migrants.
  • Kamala Harris expressed her support for a “thorough investigation” of the treatment of Haitian immigrants at the US-Mexican border. The vice-president said the footage of US border patrol agents confronting Haitian immigrants on horseback and potentially using whips on them was “horrible”. “Human beings should never be treated that way,” Harris said. “And I’m deeply troubled about it.”
  • Adam Schiff said the select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection is “going straight to subpoenas where we think we’re dealing with recalcitrant witnesses.” The Democratic congressman told reporters that he expects some of the panel’s requests to be complied with, but he added, “Where we do meet resistance, we intend to push back hard and fast.”
  • Newly released court documents show that the Trump campaign knew its allegations against Dominion Voting Systems were baseless within weeks of the 2020 election. The New York Times reports that the former president’s campaign drafted an internal memo on November 19 that debunked election conspiracy theories involving Dominion and its voting machines. And yet, Trump’s legal team continued to pedal the false allegations against Dominion.
  • Congressional Democrats are facing multiple crises as they attempt to advance Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Intraparty divisions remain over both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, while lawmakers are trying to simultaneously suspend the debt ceiling and extend government funding past the end of the month. Republicans remain adamant that they will not assist in any effort to increase the debt ceiling, even though Democrats helped them do just that during Donald Trump’s presidency.
  • Biden addressed the UN general assembly and outlined his approach to foreign policy. As the US president receives criticism for his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and weathers France’s outrage over a nuclear submarine deal with Australia, Biden promised “a new era of relentless diplomacy”. “US military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first,” Biden said.
  • In response to the ongoing criticism of Facebook’s role in vaccine misinformation, racist rhetoric, lies about the 2020 election and other crises, Mark Zuckerberg signed off on a plan to insert positive information about the company intoFacebook users’ news’ feeds, the New York Times reported.
  • Meanwhile, US medical staff at the front lines of the country’s 1,900 Covid-19 deaths a day, the most since March, are speaking out about the “heart-wrenching, soul-crushing” effects of witnessing the deaths of unvaccinated people amid widespread misinformation.

‘Heart-wrenching, soul-crushing’: US COVID-19 deaths are topping 1,900 a day

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have climbed to an average of more than 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus is preying largely on a distinct group: 71 million unvaccinated Americans, the Associated Press reports.

The increasingly lethal turn has filled hospitals, complicated the start of the school year, delayed the return to offices and demoralized health care workers.

“It is devastating,” said Dr. Dena Hubbard, a pediatrician in the Kansas City, Missouri, area who has cared for babies delivered prematurely by cesarean section in a last-ditch effort to save their mothers, some of whom died. For health workers, the deaths, combined with misinformation and disbelief about the virus, have been “heart-wrenching, soul-crushing.”

Trans youth in Texas show up to testify against third round of anti-trans bills

For The 19th, Orion Rummler reports from Texas on the emotional toll of having to advocate against multiple rounds of anti-trans legislation at the state level.

“Some of the things they say about trans children, it’s heartbreaking,” one Texan said.

Kate Sosin
(@shoeleatherkate)

“Doing this work is hard. Have your therapist on speed dial, hard.”

Trans youth in Texas are fighting off a third round of anti-trans bills this year.

As @i_oriion reports, the cost of that fight, is taking a toll. https://t.co/3Ujmdx09u3

September 21, 2021

The people showing up to testify at the capitol during marathon sessions are not necessarily representative of trans Texans and their families overall, Rummler reported.

White parents of trans kids are typically the face of the debate over anti-trans legislation, Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, told The 19th: “It paints a picture of who the harm is hitting that doesn’t get at the data.”

‘Project Amplify’: Facebook reportedly using news feed to boost pro-Facebook stories

When a plan to use Facebook’s news feed to show users positive content about the company was discussed at a January internal meeting, several Facebook executives were “shocked,” the New York Times reported.

Mark Zuckerberg signed off on the policy last month, according to the Times, part of what reporters characterized as a broader shift within Facebook to apologize less when faced with evidence of the platform’s role in vaccine misinformation, racist rhetoric, and other democratic crises.

The New York Times
(@nytimes)

Facebook is using its News Feed, the social network’s most important digital real estate, to show people positive stories about itself as part of a new initiative approved by Mark Zuckerberg and code-named Project Amplify. https://t.co/iDrzvwenWu

September 21, 2021

The effort also reportedly focused on cutting down on internal leaks from within the company.

Brian Stelter
(@brianstelter)

It leaked. https://t.co/Fg8vuvtAsy pic.twitter.com/bGqpdlLxQO

September 21, 2021

Updated

Gabby Petito confirmed dead of homicide as search for fiance continues

The FBI says a county coroner has confirmed that human remains found in remote northern Wyoming along the border of Grand Teton national park are those of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, who disappeared while on a cross-country road trip with a fiance who is now being sought by authorities in Florida.

The Teton county coroner, Brent Blue, determined her manner of death was homicide, but did not disclose a cause of death pending final autopsy results, officials said Tuesday.

FBI Denver
(@FBIDenver)

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999. Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results. pic.twitter.com/JoHenMZ9UU

September 21, 2021

The national attention to Petito’s disappearance and death has prompted broader conversations about the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered women, particularly indigenous women.

‘Chaotic’ scene as White House aides block questions to Biden about border policies

Boris Johnson took questions from British reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Joe Biden, but White House aides shut down American reporters’ attempts to ask the president about the US border. The government’s treatment of Haitian migrants at the border has sparked broad condemnation this week.

Andrew Restuccia
(@AndrewRestuccia)

A chaotic scene in the Oval Office today as Boris Johnson unexpectedly took questions from British reporters, and White House aides shouted over American reporters as we tried to ask Biden questions https://t.co/2wus2ilX0F

September 21, 2021

Seung Min Kim
(@seungminkim)

Not good, folks https://t.co/9mN15mZL9y

September 21, 2021

Biden did attempt to answer a reporter’s question, but his answer was “undecipherable,” CBS News reports.

CBS News
(@CBSNews)

CBS News’ @EdOkeefe reports that during Pres. Biden’s bilateral meeting with British PM Boris Johnson, U.S. press questions about the southern border were shouted down by White House aides. The president’s answer was undecipherable. pic.twitter.com/MeXVTcFEBX

September 21, 2021

Update: a CBS News reporter tweeted that part of the president’s answer was decipherable once they played the tape back later: “Violence is not justified.”

Ed O’Keefe
(@edokeefe)

UPDATE: We have played back the tape and part of the president’s answer is decipherable. I asked for his response to the situation on the southern border and he says in part, “Violence is not justified.”

He is wearing a mask and there is shouting so nothing else is decipherable

September 21, 2021

Updated

Democrats speak out about Biden administration’s use of Trump border policy

Powerful Democratic lawmakers have been speaking out about the Biden administration’s treatment of Haitian migrants at the border, and prominent celebrities are also highlighting the policy and calling for the Biden administration to change course.

Hamed Aleaziz
(@Haleaziz)

Notable seeing Schumer come out so strongly against Title 42 — and framing it as a Trump policy Biden has chosen to continue. https://t.co/jWCjEcsSeh

September 21, 2021

Chuck Schumer
(@SenSchumer)

The horrible treatment of these innocent Haitian people—who have come to the border fleeing violence and natural disaster—must stop immediately.

The Admin must stop these expulsions and end this Title 42 policy at our southern border.

September 21, 2021

Democrats from Texas and Oregon have also been highlighting the policy, which BuzzFeed News immigration reporter Hamed Aleaziz wrote had not previously generated a broad public discussion.

“Title 42 has been a policy that hasn’t produced outrage/protest on a wide scale,” Aleaziz wrote on Tuesday. “Biden rarely talks about it and his administration discusses it as an unfortunate necessity. Schumer, in this clip, is framing it as a choice.”

Ron Wyden
(@RonWyden)

As the son of parents who fled Nazi Germany to find refuge in America, I know the importance of our country remaining a safe and humane haven. Haitian refugees deserve far better than a knee-jerk Title 42 response.

September 21, 2021

Julián Castro
(@JulianCastro)

Asylum is a fundamental human right that the U.S. has suspended for 18 months now.

Title 42 has allowed people fleeing desperate situations to be summarily deported without due process.

The admin must reverse course or we risk allowing Trump’s policies to become the default.

September 21, 2021

Other prominent Americans, including filmmaker Ava Duvernay, also put a spotlight on Title 42.

Ava DuVernay
(@ava)

“Haiti — the only nation on Earth to free itself from the shackles of slavery and that continues to pay the price for that act — as the entire world regards it with untold scorn and shame.” – @SonofBaldwin@JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris must end Title 42 deportations. pic.twitter.com/kxCXwsY0nu

September 21, 2021

The Associated Press has more background on the policy and its history:

The Associated Press
(@AP)

The Biden administration is relying on a contested Trump-era policy – based on a public health law known as Title 42 – as it disperses thousands of Haitian migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Here’s a look at the law and the controversy surrounding it. https://t.co/KV7F4J1Z6q

September 20, 2021

Updated

After ‘horrible’ border images, Democrats press administration to end use of Title 42

The White House is facing sharp condemnation from Democrats for its handling of the influx of Haitian migrants at the U.S. southern border, after images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics went viral this week, the Associated Press reports.

In response, Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling on the Biden administration to end its use of a pandemic-era authority to deport migrants without giving them an opportunity to seek asylum in the United States.

The provision in question, known as Title 42, was put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020 to justify restrictive immigration policies in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But the Biden administration has used Title 42 to justify the deportation of Haitian migrants who in recent days have set up an encampment in and around the small city of Del Rio, Texas. The provision gives federal health officials powers during a pandemic to take extraordinary measures to limit transmission of an infectious disease.

A federal judge late last week ruled the regulation was improper and gave the government two weeks before its use was to be halted, but the Biden administration on Monday appealed the decision. Shortly after the judge’s decision on Friday, Homeland Security officials formed a plan to begin immediately turning the groups of Haitian migrants around, working against the clock.

“The Biden administration pushing back on this stay of expulsions is another example of broken promises to treat migrants with respect and humanity when they reach our borders to exercise their fundamental right to asylum,” said Karla Marisol Vargas, senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project and co-counsel on the litigation.

darlene superville
(@dsupervilleap)

“Mayorkas said he was “horrified” by the images that have spread widely on social media. Some of the mounted agents use their horses to forcibly move and block the migrants, seeming to herd them like animals, and taunt them in at least one instance.”https://t.co/S1znUuxrYN

September 21, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke out earlier on Tuesday, saying the photos of the Border Patrol agents’ treatment of migrants left her deeply troubled, and that “Human beings should never be treated that way.”

Reflecting the urgency of the political problem for the administration, Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas also said Tuesday the images “horrified” him, a seeming shift in tone from a day earlier, when he and others were more sanguine about the situation at the border.

Abortion clinics north of Texas flooded with patients after severe state ban

“The journey from Texas – whose surface area is almost 270,000 square miles – to other states poses its own challenge. For many, the trip will be impossible. For others, it will be harrowing,” Shefali Luthra reports for The 19th.

Emily Ramshaw
(@eramshaw)

Abortion clinics in states north of Texas report seeing **double** the number of patients than before Texas’ abortion ban — and phones “ringing off the hook.” https://t.co/QuM0iYfFB1 via @19thnews@shefalil

September 17, 2021

“One minor, who was raped by a family member, traveled eight hours from Galveston to Oklahoma to get an abortion,” according to the DOJ briefing. “Another patient facing violence at the hands of her husband is ‘discreetly attempting to leave Texas without her husband finding out,’ and is ‘desperate’ and ‘selling personal items’ to scrape together the funds needed for an out-of-state abortion.”

Read the full story here:

New poll shows Biden’s approval rate has dropped to 31% in Iowa

Nearly two-thirds of Iowa adults disapprove of Biden’s job as president, according to a new Des Moines Register poll. Biden’s support is now lower than Trump’s worst results in the same poll, the newspaper reported, and his handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has the lowest approval of the issues surveyed.

Josh Kraushaar
(@HotlineJosh)

Yikes: Biden approval in IOWA down to 31 percent, with 62 percent disapproving, in new Des Moines Register poll.

Obama carried Iowa 2x in his presidential campaigns. https://t.co/UxQre4NAuR

September 21, 2021

The mid-September poll surveyed 805 Iowa adults, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, according to the Des Moines Register.

Activision Blizzard confirms SEC investigation into sexual misconduct allegations

This is Lois Beckett, picking up our live US politics coverage from our West Coast bureau in Los Angeles.

Activision Blizzard has confirmed an investigation by US regulators following allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination at one of the world’s most high-profile video game companies.

The California-based company said on Tuesday that it was complying with a recent Securities and Exchange Commission subpoena sent to current and former employees and executives and the company itself on “employment matters and related issues”.

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Lois Beckett, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Congressional Democrats are facing multiple crises as they attempt to advance Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Intraparty divisions remain over both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, while lawmakers are trying to simultaneously suspend the debt ceiling and extend government funding past the end of the month. Republicans remain adamant that they will not assist in any effort to increase the debt ceiling, even though Democrats helped them do just that during Donald Trump’s presidency.
  • Biden addressed the UN general assembly and outlined his approach to foreign policy. As the US president receives criticism for his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and weathers France’s outrage over a nuclear submarine deal with Australia, Biden promised “a new era of relentless diplomacy”. “US military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first,” Biden said.
  • Kamala Harris expressed her support for a “thorough investigation” of the treatment of Haitian immigrants at the US-Mexican border. The vice-president said the footage of US border patrol agents confronting Haitian immigrants on horseback and potentially using whips on them was “horrible”. “Human beings should never be treated that way,” Harris said. “And I’m deeply troubled about it.”
  • Adam Schiff said the select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection is “going straight to subpoenas where we think we’re dealing with recalcitrant witnesses.” The Democratic congressman told reporters that he expects some of the panel’s requests to be complied with, but he added, “Where we do meet resistance, we intend to push back hard and fast.”
  • Newly released court documents show that the Trump campaign knew its allegations against Dominion Voting Systems were baseless within weeks of the 2020 election. The New York Times reports that the former president’s campaign drafted an internal memo on November 19 that debunked election conspiracy theories involving Dominion and its voting machines. And yet, Trump’s legal team continued to pedal the false allegations against Dominion.

Lois will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid spoke with House majority leader Steny Hoyer about the dust-up over Iron Dome funding in Democrats’ government spending bill, per Walla News.

Hoyer reportedly told Lapid that the funding hold-up was “technical” and Democratic leaders remain committed to getting the money approved soon.

Barak Ravid
(@BarakRavid)

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid spoke to House majority leader Steny Hoyer about the hold up in the voting on the Iron Dome funding

September 21, 2021

House Democrats have reportedly stripped $1bn in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system from their government spending bill, after progressives expressed criticism of the provision.

Axios reports:


There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel. …

The funding has been a key priority for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), but its supporters ultimately caved after several progressive members like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) threatened to vote against the short-term funding bill, which also includes language to raise the debt ceiling.

‘The Iron Dome will be included in the final, bipartisan and bicameral fiscal year 2022 Defense bill,’ said a House Appropriations committee spokesperson.

Some House Democrats have criticized their progressive colleagues for targeting the Iron Dome spending, arguing that the technology has helped protect civilian lives.

“Whatever your views on the Israeli-[Palestinian] conflict, using a system that just saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives as a political chit is problematic,” Democratic congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said on Twitter.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin
(@RepSlotkin)

Iron Dome is a purely *defensive* system — it protects civilians when hundreds of rockets are shot at population centers. Whatever your views on the Israeli-Pal conflict, using a system that just saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives as a political chit is problematic. (2/5)

September 21, 2021

Justin Trudeau went into Monday’s federal election with one of the world’s highest Covid-19 vaccination rates, billions spent on pandemic aid and the hope that he could convert the earned goodwill into a majority government.

He fell short of that aim: after a 36-day campaign and a C$610m election, the makeup of parliament remained largely unchanged, with the Liberals holding roughly 158 seats – short of the 170 needed for a majority.

The Liberals received a smaller share of the popular vote than any other winning party in the country’s history – suggesting the prime minister’s popularity is waning, despite his party’s electoral advantages. And while the math in parliament remained largely the same, three of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers didn’t win re-election.

Trudeau will be forced to navigate a parliament that he needs to woo in order to survive. But it may yet give him the rare opportunity to pass sweeping, legacy-defining legislation.

When he called the election in mid August, Trudeau was asked about his future as party leader if the Liberals once again fell short of majority government. Trudeau declined to answer, but said that more work was required on crucial issues such as child-care and housing, adding that he is “nowhere near done yet”.

Joe Biden spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today after his country’s snap election, the White House said.

According to the White House’s readout of the conversation, Biden congratulated Trudeau on securing another term as prime minister.

“The two leaders underscored the strong and deep friendship between the United States and Canada, and discussed their shared commitment to strengthening the resilience and competitiveness of the U.S. and Canadian economies and coordinating on COVID-19 pandemic response,” the White House said.

“The President expressed to Prime Minister Trudeau his desire to continue working closely and deepening collaboration with Canada – one of our nation’s top partners.”

Although Trudeau was able to stay in office, his Liberal party did not meet its goal of securing a majority of parliament seats, meaning the prime minister will still need to work with other parties to advance his agenda.

Vice-President Kamala Harris met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before his afternoon sit-down with Joe Biden at the White House.

“As you will discuss with the president, the relationship between our two countries is a long and enduring one, one that we value,” Harris told Johnson.

The prime minister added, “It’s a great honor and privilege for me to be here, to meet you for the first time.”

Tim Perry
(@tperry518)

NOW: @VP Kamala Harris greets British PM Boris Johnson from her ceremonial office. Harris says she looks forward to the US and UK’s “long-standing” transatlantic relationship. pic.twitter.com/phRGXHUrxx

September 21, 2021

Joe Biden will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this afternoon, hours after the US president addressed the UN general assembly.

Johnson shared a photo of himself boarding an Amtrak train from New York to Washington for the bilateral meeting.

The prime minister’s choice of transportation will likely delight “Amtrak Joe”.

Boris Johnson
(@BorisJohnson)

September 21, 2021

Read More

Migrants continue to cross into US as Kamala Harris criticises treatment by border patrol – video thumbnail

Migrants continue to cross into US as Kamala Harris criticises treatment by border patrol – video

Gabby Petito: coroner confirms death by homicide as search for fiance continues thumbnail

Gabby Petito: coroner confirms death by homicide as search for fiance continues