NO DECISION SUNDAY ON BIG TEN RESTART: Presidents of universities in the Big Ten Conference were presented a comprehensive plan Sunday to conduct a fall football season, but a final decision is still to come (AP). A person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that the full Council of Presidents and Chancellors heard from all the subcommittees of the conference’s Return to Competition Task Force over 2-1/2 hours. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not making its return to competition plans public. The person said the meeting broke up without the presidents and chancellors voting and with no set plans for them to reconvene. Still, if they act quickly, Big Ten football could kick off as soon as the weekend of Oct. 17. The medical part of the presentation focused on what has changed since the conference postponed its entire fall sports season on Aug. 11 because of COVID-19 concerns and how football could be played safely. The emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, not available when university leaders decided to pull the plug on the season looms large. If the Big Ten can start by late October, an eight-game season and conference championship game in mid-December is still possible. That schedule could set up Big Ten teams to be part of the College Football Playoff.

 

DR. OSTERHOLM HAS OMINOUS WARNING: The director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota said Sunday that he agreed with Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, that Americans would need to “hunker down” in the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic (The Hill). “Looking forward, where we’re at right now, Tony and I are completely on the same page,” Michael Osterholm said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Number one is, we're now leveled off at about 40,000 cases a day, which if you think about that, that’s eight thousand more when the house was on fire back in March,” he said. “[A]s we get into the fall, we're going to see these numbers grow substantially. When the vaccine does become available, it won't be in any meaningful way until the beginning of next year, and then it's still going to take us months to vaccinate the population of just this country,” he added.

 

GOTTLIEB SAYS HEALTH OFFICIALS 'FAILED' WHITE HOUSE: As President Trump faces criticism for acknowledging to journalist Bob Woodward he deliberately downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in the early weeks of the pandemic, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday he believes federal health officials "failed" White House leadership in the early days of the outbreak by neglecting to identify where it was spreading (CBS News). "The White House leadership was failed by health officials," Gottlieb said on "Face the Nation." "We did not have a diagnostic in the field, so we couldn't screen for it. We should have. We should have started working on that in January. And we over-relied on a surveillance system that was built for flu and not for coronavirus without recognizing that it wasn't going to be as sensitive at detecting coronavirus spread as it was for flu because the two viruses spread very differently. Those were two critical failings."

 

TRUMP RALLY VIOLATES CDC, NEVADA COVID GUIDELINES: In open defiance of state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic health guidelines, President Donald Trump hosted his first indoor rally since June, telling a packed, nearly mask-less Nevada crowd that the nation was “making the last turn” in defeating the virus (AP). Eager to project a sense of normalcy in imagery, Trump soaked up the raucous cheers inside a warehouse Sunday night. Relatively few in the crowd wore masks, with a clear exception: Those in the stands directly behind Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings. Not since a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was blamed for a surge of coronavirus infections has he gathered supporters indoors. The pandemic had killed nearly 200,000 Americans and was still claiming 1,000 lives a day. “We are not shutting the country again. A shutdown would destroy the lives and dreams of millions Americans,” said Trump, before using his inflammatory moniker for the coronavirus. “We will very easy defeat the China virus.”

 

MANY TEACHERS LEAVING PROFESSION: With many teachers opting out of returning to the classroom because of the coronavirus, schools around the United States are scrambling to find replacements and, in some places, lowering certification requirements to help get substitutes in the door (IBJ). Several states have seen surges in educators filing for retirement or taking leaves of absence. The departures are straining staff in places that were dealing with shortages of teachers and substitutes even before the pandemic. Among those leaving is Kay Orzechowicz, an English teacher at northwest Indiana’s Griffith High School, who at 57 had hoped to teach for a few more years. But she felt her school’s leadership was not fully committed to ensuring proper social distancing and worried that not enough safety equipment would be provided for students and teachers. Add the technology requirements and the pressure to record classes on video, and Orzechowicz said it “just wasn’t what I signed up for when I became a teacher.” “Overall, there was just this utter disrespect for teachers and their lives,” she said. “We’re expected to be going back with so little.” When school leaders said teachers would be “going back in-person, full throttle, that’s when I said, ‘I’m not doing it. No.’”

 

WILDFIRES KILL 35 ON WEST COAST: Nearly all the dozens of people reported missing after a devastating blaze in southern Oregon have been accounted for, authorities said over the weekend as crews battled wildfires that have killed at least 35 from California to Washington state (AP). The flames up and down the West Coast have destroyed neighborhoods, leaving nothing but charred rubble and burned-out cars, forced tens of thousands to flee and cast a shroud of smoke that has given Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, some of the worst air quality in the world. The smoke filled the air with an acrid metallic smell like pennies and spread to nearby states. While making it difficult to breathe, it helped firefighters by blocking the sun and turning the weather cooler as they tried to get a handle on the blazes, which were slowing in some places.

 

PUTIN OPPONENT WAS POISONED: Specialist labs in France and Sweden have confirmed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, the German government said Monday (ABC News). A German military laboratory previously confirmed the substance in his samples. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has also received samples and is taking steps to have those tested at its reference laboratories. “Independently of the ongoing examinations by the OPCW, three laboratories have now confirmed independently of one another the proof of a nerve agent of the Novichok group as the cause of Mr. Navalny's poisoning,” Seibert said in a statement.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: On Sunday Indiana reported more than 1,200 COVID infections, but only one death. Could this be the new normal, where we accept more infections as long as mortality rates remain low? - Brian A. Howey



Presidential 2020

 

BIDEN LEADS IN AZ, MN IN CBS POLLS:  Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gained a small lead over President Trump in the battleground state of Arizona and holds a larger 9-point lead in Minnesota, according to a new poll. Biden is backed by 47 percent of likely voters in Arizona, compared with Trump’s 44 percent, according to a CBS News poll released Sunday. Biden’s 3-point lead is within the poll’s margin of error. In Minnesota, a state Trump narrowly lost in 2016, Biden is backed by 50 percent of likely voters, based on the poll. The survey found 41 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Trump.

 

BIDEN HOLDS SWING STATE LEADS IN NYT/SIENA POLLS: Democrat Joe Biden leads President Trump in a New York Times/Siena Poll 50-41% in Minnesota; Biden leads 46-42% in Nevada; Biden leads 45-42% in New Hampshire; Biden leads 48-43% in Wisconsin.

 

BLOOMBERG TO SPEND $100M IN FLA FOR BIDEN: Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and presidential candidate, announced Sunday that he planned to spend $100 million in Florida in the coming weeks to support Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential candidacy (New York Times). The pledge came as new polls showed a particularly tight race between Mr. Biden and President Trump in Florida, a key battleground state that carries 29 electoral votes. The announcement also followed criticism from within the Democratic Party — in spite of a huge $18 million transfer to the Democratic National Committee this spring — that Mr. Bloomberg had not delivered on his promise to put the full weight of his fortune behind the general-election effort to defeat Mr. Trump.

 

BIDEN ECONOMICS TEAM LEFT OF CENTER: Joe Biden is seeding his advisory boards and transition team with center-left economists and Black and Hispanic leaders as he prepares to confront income inequality and racial disparities exacerbated by the pandemic (Nichols, Axios). The Democratic nominee is signaling that if he wins in November, his administration may pivot away from the pro-Wall Street sentiment that pervades not just Trump's White House, but also permeated Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s administrations. Biden added two new co-chairs to his economic advisory council over the summer, sources tell Axios: William Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and chief economist to the AFL-CIO. Luis Ubiñas, an investor, former president of the Ford Foundation and former McKinsey partner. Biden has already put Big Business on notice that he’s serious about a progressive agenda, telling CNN's Jake Tapper last week that, if elected, on "day one," he would begin a push to increase the corporate tax rate to 28%, regardless of the unemployment rate.

 

TRUMP HEADS TO CALIFORNIA TODAY: When President Trump flies to California on Monday to assess the state’s raging forest fires, he will come face to face with the grim consequences of a reality he has stubbornly refused to accept: the devastating effects of a warming planet (New York Times). To the global scientific community, the acres of scorched earth and ash-filled skies across the American West are the tragic, but predictable, result of accelerating climate change. Nearly two years ago, federal government scientists concluded that greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels could triple the frequency of severe fires across the Western states.

 

NRA's INFLUENCE WANING: The National Rifle Association has spent $9.2 million on political expenditures this cycle, about one-sixth of the $54.4 million reported in 2016, according to Federal Election Commission data tracked by Open Secrets (Axios).

 

BIDEN SCHEDULE: On Monday, Joe Biden will deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on the ongoing wildfires in the west. Tuesday: Biden will hold a campaign event in Florida. Thursday: Biden will hold a town hall on CNN from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

 

Sunday Talk

 

PFIZER CEO EXPECTS VACCINE THIS YEAR: Pharmaceutical company Pfizer is preparing for the likelihood of regulators approving the coronavirus vaccine the company is producing before the end of the year, CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday. “I don't know if they have to wait until 2021,” Bourla said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” when asked about when the public will be able to get a coronavirus vaccine. “Because as I said, our studies, we have a good chance that we will know if the product works by the end of October. Then it’s the regulator's job to issue a license or not,” Bourla added.

 

WOODWARD RECOUNTS LAST CALL WITH TRUMP ON '60 MINUTES': On "60 Minutes," Scott Pelley narrated the remarkable story of Bob Woodward's last conversation with President Trump for "Rage," out tomorrow: The president's final call came too late. He asked Woodward to include the August peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. But "Rage" was already off to the press. Woodward took the opportunity to level with the president.  Bob Woodward: "And I said, 'It's a tough book. There are going to be things that you are not gonna like, judgments that I made.'" Audio of President Trump during Aug. 14 call with Woodward: "[I]t looks like I don't have it on this book, but we'll get you sometime later, I guess." Audio of Woodward: "It's tough, sir. Thank you very much." Woodward: "An hour and a half later, he tweeted out that the Bob Woodward book is gonna be fake."

 

CRUZ WOULDN'T ACCEPT SCOTUS NOMINATION: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Sunday that he wouldn’t accept a Supreme Court nomination after President Trump included his name on a list of potential nominees. The Texas senator told Fox News's “Sunday Morning Futures” that he would not be interested in joining the Supreme Court as a Trump nominee. “It is deeply honoring,” he told Maria Bartiromo when she asked if he wanted the job. “It's humbling to be included in the list. I'm grateful that the president has that confidence in me.” “But it's not the desire of my heart,” he added. “I want to be in the political fight. I want to be fighting to nominate and confirm three, four, five principled constitutionalist justices.” “I want to stay fighting right where I am in the U.S. Senate,” Cruz continued.

 

STRZOK BELIEVES TRUMP IS COMPROMISED BY RUSSIANS: Former FBI agent Peter Strzok told NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday that he still believes President Trump to be “compromised by the Russians.” “I believed at the time in 2016 and I continue to believe that Donald Trump is compromised by the Russians,” Strzok said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And when I say that I mean that they hold leverage over him that makes him incapable of placing the national interest, the national security ahead of his own.” “One of the largest ways that people in foreign governments gain leverage, certainly in the case of the president, is through financial entanglements,” he added. “And I think when you take a look at the Trump financial enterprise, particularly its relationship with Russian, with Russian monies and potentially those related to organized crime and other elements, that those interactions have placed him in a position where the Russians have leverage over him and are able to influence his actions.”

 

NAVARRO ACCUSES TAPPER OF 'CHERRY PICKING': Trump administration and campaign officials defended the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic after the revelation that he told Bob Woodward he was deliberately downplaying the threat of the virus in March. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro defended the administration in a heated interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, pointing to the president’s ban on some travel from China as part of its initial response. “Why wasn’t the president straightforward with the American people?” Tapper asked Navarro, prompting Navarro to accuse Tapper of “cherry-picking.” Navarro defended the president and pivoted toward the notion that “CNN is not honest with the American people.”

 

SEN. MERKLEY CITES CLIMATE CHANGE IN OREGON FIRES: Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said Sunday that President Trump blaming “forest management” for wildfires is “just a bid and devastating lie.” Merkley told ABC’s “This Week” that he disagreed with the president’s comments Saturday night attributing the fires to being primarily “about forest management.” “The president has said it's all about raking the forest,” the senator said. “It's just a -- a big and devastating lie.” “The Cascade snowpacks have gotten smaller,” he added. “Our forests have gotten drier. Our ocean has gotten warmer and more acidic. And this has been happening steadily over the last several decades.”

 

DEMINGS PUSHES FOR RELIEF BILL: Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) criticized a Republican-backed coronavirus stimulus bill on Sunday after Senate Democrats blocked the GOP legislation amid a stalemate between the parties. “We need to pass a meaningful bill. If the GOP is interested in helping American families the HEROES Act is sitting right there,” Demings said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to the Democratic-backed coronavirus relief bill the House passed.

 

McDANIEL DEFENDS TRUMP PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Sunday defended President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including his contradictory remarks on masks. McDaniel defended Trump’s earlier remarks casting doubt on the effectiveness of masks, noting that Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, advised against wearing them earlier in the pandemic. “I think 20/20 vision in hindsight is always perfect, but as a new pandemic hit our shores we were all being told by Dr. Fauci, the scientists that we shouldn’t wear masks,” McDaniel said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s a new virus … to say that he should have known then what we know now isn’t really fair.”

 

Congress

 

2 WEEKS AWAY FROM POTENTIAL SHUTDOWN: We're about two weeks away from a government shutdown, as Congress and the White House remain deadlocked in negotiations over another coronavirus relief bill, Alayna reports (Axios). Negotiations between House and Senate leadership and the White House over a continuing resolution are expected to begin in earnest next week when the House returns from recess. Remember this deadline: Midnight on Oct. 1. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insist there won’t be a shutdown.

 

HOUSE PREVIEW: The House returns from August recess on Monday, and leadership is expected to meet with the White House to discuss a continuing resolution to keep the government running (Axios). The House is also expected to vote on a series of bills, including H. Res. 908, which would formally condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19; and H.R. 2639, the Strength in Diversity Act. On Monday: The House Oversight and Reform subcommittee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Postal Service. Tuesday: The Senate Judiciary subcommittee will hold a hearing on whether Google has harmed competition in online advertising Thursday: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on global threats, with acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, FBI director Christopher Wray and Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

 

SENATE PREVIEW: The Senate is expected to consider the following nominees: Mark Scarsi, Stanley Blumenfeld and John Holcomb as judges for the Central District of California. Todd Robinson as a judge for the Southern District of California. David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn as judges for the Southern District of Illinois. Iain Johnston and Franklin Valderrama as judges for the Northern District of Illinois. On Monday: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will receive a closed briefing on global nuclear threats. Thursday: The House Ways and Means subcommittee meeting on enforcing the ban on imports produced by forced labor in China's Xinjiang region.

 

State

 

ISDH: SUNDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health said 1,249 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at the state laboratory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 105,804 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. A total of 3,214 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of one from the previous day. Another 224 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days. To date, 1,238,984 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 1,206,980 on Saturday. A total of 1,720,326 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

 

SPORTS: COACH REICH TAKES A KNEE - Frank Reich, the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, took a knee during the national anthem before the team’s Week One game at Jacksonville (WANE-TV). Every other member of the Colts stood with locked arms. Just before 1 p.m., the Colts released a statement, clarifying that they “were not protesting the flag, the anthem, or the men and women who wear the uniform.” The statement said “our intent is to bring attention to the issue of systemic racism and the injustice inherit therein. We also wanted to demonstrate a symbolic gesture of how we believe meaningful change happens.”

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump's schedule: Monday: Trump will receive a briefing on California wildfires. He will also participate in a Latinos for Trump Coalition Roundtable in Phoenix, Arizona. Tuesday: Trump will host officials from Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House to sign their deal normalizing relations. Wednesday: Trump will have a call with Jewish leaders. Later he will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and deliver remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee Battleground Dinner in Washington, D.C. Thursday: Trump will participate in a credentialing ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors to Washington, D.C. Friday: Trump will speak at rallies in Bemidji, Minnesota, and Mosinee, Wisconsin.

 

SPORTS: CUBS PITCHER THROWS NO-HITTER - From college walk-on to major league starter, Chicago Cubs right-hander Alec Mills had to earn most every break he got (AP). On the brink of big league history, he was happy to welcome this bit of luck: expecting to see two-time batting champion Christian Yelich in the on-deck circle, Mills looked over and saw his backup instead. “That kind of surprised me,” he said. This one surprised just about everyone. Mills cruised through baseball's second no-hitter this season in just the 15th start of his career, completing the gem in a 12-0 romp over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.