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President Trump has entered his fourth day hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He could be discharged as early as today, according to his doctors, after a weekend of mixed messages from Trump’s team about his health status following his COVID-19 diagnosis last week.
On Saturday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reportedly told staff Trump’s vitals were “very concerning” and that “We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.” However, President Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, painted a much rosier picture of the president’s recovery, even as doctors shared that his oxygen levels dropped twice and that he had been on steroids that are usually reserved for critically ill patients. On Sunday, Conley acknowledged he misled reporters one day earlier about Trump being given oxygen.
Dr. Sean Conley: “So, I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had. I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”
Trump’s medical records show he received the powerful steroid dexamethasone along with the antiviral remdesivir and an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron that’s still in clinical trials. Doctors say President Trump may be the first person ever to receive all three drugs at once, and there is no data about the safety or efficacy of using the drugs in concert. Throughout the weekend, Trump tweeted out three video messages from his presidential suite at Walter Reed hospital.
President Donald Trump: “I came here, wasn’t feeling so well. I feel much better now. We’re working hard to get me all the way back.”
On Sunday, Trump broke his quarantine by briefly leaving the hospital to take a short drive for a photo op to wave at supporters. Trump appeared to wear just a cloth mask inside the hermetically sealed vehicle, putting the Secret Service agents who accompanied him at risk of infection.
Meanwhile, the number of prominent Republicans to get infected keeps growing. The list now includes first lady Melania Trump, Senators Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson, Trump adviser Hope Hicks, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been hospitalized. Trump’s personal assistant, Nicholas Luna, has also tested positive. Many of those infected attended ceremonies on September 26 at the White House for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Three journalists who cover the White House also have COVID-19. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House will no longer reveal the number or names of staffers who test positive for the coronavirus.
On Saturday, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin became the third Republican senator in recent days to announce he tested positive for COVID-19 after he had contact with an infected person earlier in the week. Despite this, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to move forward with Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Trump nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on October 12. Democrats have said virtual confirmation hearings would not be acceptable and are calling for a postponement.
In related news, the president of the University of Notre Dame, who attended Barrett’s nomination ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, announced Friday he tested positive for COVID-19. Barrett was previously a law professor at Notre Dame.
In immigration news, in Washington state, dozens of prisoners at the Northwest ICE Processing Center were tested for COVID-19 Friday after a guard became infected. This is a prisoner at the ICE jail, who was recently tested for COVID-19.
ICE prisoner: “Now because we’re in quarantine and everything, now they’re watching out for us. But before that, COs were coming in without masks, without gloves.”
In Chile, a now-viral video shows a police officer in Santiago chasing a 16-year-old boy during an anti-government protest, whom the officer then grabs and throws over the railing of a bridge into a river channel. The boy is seen floating face down, motionless in the dirty shallow water. He is reportedly at a hospital in stable condition. Chileans are preparing to vote on a referendum that could replace the country’s Pinochet-era constitution. Over 8,500 human rights violations have been attributed to Chilean police since the start of protests over inequality and privatization started a year ago.
In Azerbaijan, Armenian and Azeri forces exchanged heavy fire throughout the weekend as the war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh spilled into civilian areas. On Sunday, at least one resident of Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja, was killed, and four others injured, amid heavy rocket and mortar fire. The fighting has threatened to bring regional powers into conflict, with Turkey backing Azeri forces and Russia backing its military ally Armenia.
In Guatemala, over 3,500 members of a caravan that fled Honduras last week have now been deported. The Guatemalan government unleashed police and military to apprehend the asylum seekers as they arrived to regions close to the border with Mexico over the weekend.
Back in the U.S., Immigration and Customs Enforcement has installed billboards on highways across Pennsylvania with the faces of immigrants who, according to ICE, “pose a public safety threat” but are protected from being transferred to ICE custody by localities with sanctuary policies. BuzzFeed says the billboards are designed to help Trump gain support in a key swing state.
The historic, climate-fueled wildfires in California have killed at least 26 people and scorched over 4 million acres so far this year. Cooler weather and rain forecast for later in the week could help provide some relief to firefighters as they combat the blazes, including the still-raging Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties, which is now 26% contained.
Meanwhile, record heat in South America has triggered devastating wildfires in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilian Amazon is seeing its worst fires in a decade, and the wetlands of Brazil and Argentina are also seeing a dramatic loss of wildlife due to record-shattering blazes.
In voting news, an appeals court has overturned an extension on Georgia’s Election Day absentee ballot deadline. A judge previously extended the postmark deadline by three days. Voting rights advocates say the move will disenfranchise Georgians who face additional hurdles to voting during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, in Texas, voting rights groups are suing over Governor Greg Abbott’s order last week limiting absentee ballot drop-off locations to just one per county.
In other election news, South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison stood behind a plexiglass barrier as he debated Senator Lindsey Graham Saturday night.
Jaime Harrison: “It’s not just about me. It’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of, as well: my two boys, my wife, my grandmother. We need to make sure we are addressing the issue here in South Carolina. We have had 750,000 people unemployed here in South Carolina because of the COVID. We’ve had 3,000 people to die. We’ve had over 100,000 to be infected. Let’s take this issue seriously.”
A federal judge issued an order maintaining the U.S. Census Bureau must continue its counting efforts through October 31. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh called a tweet by the Census Bureau last week announcing it would end counting by today, in defiance of her order to extend it through the month, an “egregious violation.”
Kentucky’s attorney general has released 15 hours of audiotapes from grand jury proceedings into the death of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old African American Louisville resident who was shot to death last March inside her own home by officers executing a no-knock warrant. The tapes confirm that Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron did not ask jurors to consider homicide charges for the white police officers who fired 32 bullets into Taylor’s apartment, striking Taylor six times.
Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker testified he rushed out of bed and grabbed his handgun on the night of the fatal raid, fearing a home invasion after he heard loud and repeated banging on Taylor’s front door.
Kenneth Walker: “I was scared to death. So, she says that there’s another knock at the door. She’s yelling at the top of her lungs, and I am, too, at this point, 'Who is it?' No answer, no response, no anything.”
Over the weekend, a second anonymous member of the grand jury asked a judge to allow them to speak publicly about the case. Later in the broadcast, we’ll go to Kentucky for the latest on the police killing of Breonna Taylor.
In California, 17 people were arrested Friday during a protest outside Governor Gavin Newsom’s mansion over the June police killing of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa. Among the people arrested were Sean Monterrosa’s two sisters, Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa. The protest was held to mark the four-month anniversary of Sean Monterrosa’s killing as the family continues to demand justice. Sean Monterrosa was kneeling and had his hands up outside a Walgreens when a police officer in an unmarked car shot him five times through the windshield as police responded to a call of alleged looting during a Black Lives Matter protest in Vallejo.
In Los Angeles, Harvey Weinstein was charged Friday with three more counts of rape and other sexual crimes involving two women. Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York, now faces 11 counts of sexual assault in the state of California, where extradition proceedings have been put on hold due to the pandemic.