In our news wrap Thursday, as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. top 4 million, another 1.4 million Americans have filed for unemployment. But Senate Republicans say they have a tentative agreement with the White House for a new aid package in response to the crisis. Also, a federal judge in New York ordered that Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, be released from prison again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed a big new casualty, this time a political one.
President Trump announced late today that he is giving up on his hopes for a full-scale Republican National Convention next month in Jacksonville, Florida.
President Donald Trump:
The timing for this event is not right. It's just not right, with what's happened recently, the flare-up in Florida, to have a big convention. It's not the right time.
It's really something that, for me, I have to protect the America people. That's what I have always done. That's what I always will do. That's what I'm about.
The president said the GOP will still hold some convention-related events in North Carolina.
His announcement comes one month before the convention is due to begin, and on a day when the pandemic's human toll showed in big new numbers. The nation has now exceeded four million infections, as the resurgence builds. And another 1.4 million Americans have filed for jobless benefits, as layoffs increase again.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans say the White House has tentatively agreed to a framework pandemic aid package worth $1 trillion. They have not made it public, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that it continues extra jobless benefits, but at a reduced level.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
We also intend to continue some temporary federal supplement to unemployment insurance, while fixing the obvious craziness of paying people more to remain out of the work force.
Small business owners across the country have explained how this dynamic is slowing rehiring and recovery.
Republicans also want a legal liability shield for businesses and schools and money to help schools to reopen. But the White House dropped a demand for a payroll tax cut.
Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the proposals and the delays.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:
Even after all this time, it appears the Republican legislative response to COVID is un-unified, un-serious, unsatisfactory. The Republican disarray and dithering has serious, potentially deadly consequences.
Democrats want $3.5 trillion in relief, including big new sums for state and local aid.
A federal judge in New York today ordered that Michael Cohen, who is President Trump's former personal attorney, be released from prison again. He had been furloughed in May, then jailed again this month. The judge ruled that it was retaliation for his plans to publish a tell-all book. Cohen was convicted of campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.
The inspector general for the U.S. Justice Department will review the actions of federal agents against protesters in Portland, Oregon, and in Washington, D.C. That announcement follows President Trump's vow to send agents into more cities to deal with violent crime. We will take a closer look at this after the news summary.
The U.S. House of Representatives witnessed a dramatic denunciation of sexism today. Progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York had accused conservative Republican Ted Yoho of Florida of berating her with a slur on Monday. She charged that it is part of a deep, longstanding disrespect for women.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D- N.Y.:
This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that.
Yoho is retiring in January. He had addressed the issue yesterday, and voiced regret.
Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.:
I rise to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York. It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.
I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family, and my country.
Today, Yoho accused Ocasio-Cortez of inflating the incident, and said — quote — "I'm not going to apologize for something I didn't say."
President Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone today. It was their sixth call since March. The White House said they talked COVID-19 and arms control, among other things. There was no mention of allegations that Russia offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The U.S. is now accusing Chinese scientists with secret military ties of stealing research. The Justice Department charged four Chinese today with visa fraud, including one holed up at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. Yesterday, the U.S. ordered Beijing's consulate in Houston to close over alleged data theft.
The Chinese also launched an ambitious new mission to Mars today. A Long March 5 rocket soared skyward from Hainan Island. It carried a Mars orbiter and a rover that's meant to land on the planet. A new U.S. rover is set to launch for Mars next week.
On Wall Street, stocks slumped on news of rising layoffs and unemployment claims. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 353 points to close at 26652. The Nasdaq fell 244 points, more than 2 percent, and the S&P 500 slipped 40 points.
And Major League Baseball returns tonight, after the pandemic delayed the season's start. There will be just 60 games in ballparks, without fans. First up tonight, the world champion Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the first pitch.
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