Crooked Media - What A Day: Mail to the Chief

Monday, August 17, 2020

-Joey B in conversation with Cardi B (who did not stop calling him "Biden")

Only a few days after President Trump announced that he intends to starve the U.S. Postal Service of funding for voter-suppression purposes, Democrats in Congress are...urgently doing something about it? It’s a DNC-week miracle, Charlie Brown. 

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will call the House back from its summer recess early for a vote on legislation to block election-sabotaging changes at the Postal Service. That vote could happen as early as Saturday. The House Oversight and Reform Committee scheduled an emergency hearing for next Monday (the first day of the GOP convention, natch) and Postmaster/Ratfucker General Louis DeJoy has agreed to testify, surely shaken to his core by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s suggestion to have him “stamped, returned to sender, and removed from his position” if he refused. What a time to be reluctantly alive.
  • In addition to legislation in Congress, the attorneys general of at least six states are considering possible lawsuits against the Trump administration to block it from reducing mail service before the election. A group of mail-in voters whose ranks include New York congressional candidate Mondaire Jones has already sued. And the USPS inspector general has agreed to review DeJoy’s policies and potential federal ethics violations, in response to a request from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and other Democrats. 
  • The Biden campaign has been working on its own response. After investigating DeJoy’s changes at the Postal Service, Biden advisors have concluded that not only could those changes (if allowed to stand) disenfranchise an untold number of voters through mail delays, Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting could also persuade people that their ballots wouldn’t be counted, and discourage them from voting at all. To combat that second scheme, the Biden team plans to invest heavily in voter education, to ensure voters a) understand that Trump is full of shit and b) know to request and return their ballots as early as humanly possible.

Facing widespread public backlash to the destruction of a beloved government service, the White House is trying to backpedal. Sort of.

  • On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows suggested that the Trump administration was open to providing funding to the USPS as part of a larger stimulus package. Meadows also pledged that no mail-sorting machines would be decommissioned between now and the election, while falsely denying that they were already being removed under a new policy, so take all of this with a spoonful of salt. The Postal Service has also promised to quit stealing mailboxes off the street for the time being, and Trump is out here tweeting “SAVE THE POST OFFICE!” for the benefit of anyone who got hit in the head with a rock over the weekend, or something.
  • Even while pretending to back down on mail sabotage, Trump signaled the next frontier of his voter suppression efforts: “Some states use ‘drop boxes’ for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots. So who is going to “collect” the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!” Leaving aside the fact that mail-in ballots and absentee ballots are one and the same (we’re so tired), this is bad. Ballot drop boxes are one of the best ways for voters in many states to circumvent Trump’s man-made mail delays, and the Trump campaign has already gone to court to try to block Pennsylvania from using them in November.

Democratic lawmakers and state officials are doing what they can to reverse Trump’s damage to the post office, but court fights are slow and the Senate is...the Senate. The most important work falls to us: No matter what schemes Trump trots out, we can and must make sure that every last voter is kept informed and has a detailed plan for voting safely. We’ve got 78 days.

The Democratic National Convention starts TODAY, and we’re streaming the whole thing live each night this week. We’ll be doing groupthreads with some of the hosts and staff here at Crooked, join us each night starting at 6pm PT/9pm ET → 

The 2020 Democratic National Convention starts in about an hour, if you’ve opened this email in a timely manner. The mostly virtual Dem-fest will run from 9pm to 11pm EST all week, with Joe Biden accepting the party’s nomination on Thursday. Tonight’s theme is “We the People,” and the lineup will be headlined by Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders, with other speakers including former Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). A new wave of polling found that Biden still has a significant lead over President Trump heading into the convention, though the race has tightened a bit since last month. 

Bipartisan leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence notified the Justice Department last year that several individuals close to Trump potentially lied to lawmakers during the committee’s Russia investigation. Those individuals included Donald Trump, Jr., and Jared Kushner, whose accounts of meeting up with a Russian lawyer before the election were contradicted by Trump’s former campaign advisor Rick Gates during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Senate panel said those two knuckleheads might have presented misleading testimony, but accused three others—including Steve Bannon—of potentially lying outright to congressional investigators (a felony). It’s unclear if the Justice Department took any action on the referrals, but it sure has brought zero charges.

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The FDA has authorized a new, inexpensive saliva test for COVID-19 for emergency use, which could be a game-changer for making testing widely and easily accessible.

New research has found encouraging evidence that immune responses to the coronavirus confer long-lasting immunity, even in people who had only mild cases. 

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule that would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, a day before it was set to take effect. 

Michael Bloomberg reportedly plans to put $60 million towards boosting Democratic House candidates. 

. . . . . .

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