Report: U.S. prison population drops 8% amid pandemic

FILE – This July 15, 2020, file photo shows the entrance to the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:45 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

As the pandemic continues in the U.S., a recent assessment reported around 100,000 people have been released from state and federal prisons. The number of those released between March and June marked an overall decrease of 8%.

This 8% drop over four months came in stark contrast to last year, when the overall population dropped by just over 2%.

States who cut the largest numbers of prisoners loose included California at around 7,800, Florida at around 5,500, and Pennsylvania at around 2,800.

Overall, 17,400 federal prisoners have been released.

FILE – This July 9, 2020, file photo shows a correctional officer closing the main gate at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. California is giving more than 100,000 state inmates earlier release dates in its latest response to the pandemic, building on earlier steps that together could free nearly 10% of prisoners as Gov. Gavin Newsom responds to intensifying pressure from advocates, lawmakers and federal judges. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The analysis claimed the decrease in population was not the result of efforts to release vulnerable prisoners or to manage the spread of the coronavirus within facilities. The decrease reportedly occurred because many prisons have stopped accepting new prisoners from county jails in a bid to stop bringing in more infected people.

Court closures have halted the flow of sentencing, while parole officers are also sending fewer people back to prison for low-level violations.

California, however, has seen a push to decrease its prison population to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Governor Gavin Newsom recently ordered the release of up to 8,000 people by the end of August. This will follow the more than 7,800 inmates who were released earlier this year.

According to recent reports, more than 57,000 prisoners have tested positive across the U.S., while 651 have died from COVID-19. Meanwhile, more than 12,000 prison staff members have been infected and 46 have died.

MORE NEWS: Press Secy. McEnany Discusses White House Deregulation Agenda, Reopening Schools

Original Article

Report: U.S. prison population drops 8% amid pandemic

FILE – This July 15, 2020, file photo shows the entrance to the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:45 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

As the pandemic continues in the U.S., a recent assessment reported around 100,000 people have been released from state and federal prisons. The number of those released between March and June marked an overall decrease of 8%.

This 8% drop over four months came in stark contrast to last year, when the overall population dropped by just over 2%.

States who cut the largest numbers of prisoners loose included California at around 7,800, Florida at around 5,500, and Pennsylvania at around 2,800.

Overall, 17,400 federal prisoners have been released.

FILE – This July 9, 2020, file photo shows a correctional officer closing the main gate at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. California is giving more than 100,000 state inmates earlier release dates in its latest response to the pandemic, building on earlier steps that together could free nearly 10% of prisoners as Gov. Gavin Newsom responds to intensifying pressure from advocates, lawmakers and federal judges. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The analysis claimed the decrease in population was not the result of efforts to release vulnerable prisoners or to manage the spread of the coronavirus within facilities. The decrease reportedly occurred because many prisons have stopped accepting new prisoners from county jails in a bid to stop bringing in more infected people.

Court closures have halted the flow of sentencing, while parole officers are also sending fewer people back to prison for low-level violations.

California, however, has seen a push to decrease its prison population to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Governor Gavin Newsom recently ordered the release of up to 8,000 people by the end of August. This will follow the more than 7,800 inmates who were released earlier this year.

According to recent reports, more than 57,000 prisoners have tested positive across the U.S., while 651 have died from COVID-19. Meanwhile, more than 12,000 prison staff members have been infected and 46 have died.

MORE NEWS: Press Secy. McEnany Discusses White House Deregulation Agenda, Reopening Schools

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Zuckerberg criticizes Trump administration’s handling of coronavirus during live chat with Fauci

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Mark Zuckerberg criticizes US coronavirus response

The Facebook CEO criticized the Trump Administration's response to the coronavirus during a discussion with Anthony Fauci.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a live chat with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday that some outbreaks of coronavirus were “avoidable” and criticized the administration for “calling into question” whether people should wear masks.

“You know, I was certainly sympathetic early on when it was clear that there would be some outbreaks no matter how well we handle this,” Zuckerberg told the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

“But now that we’re here in July, I just think that it was avoidable and it’s really disappointing that we still don’t have adequate testing, that the credibility of the top scientists like yourself and the CDC is being undermined, and that until recently, parts of the administration were calling into question whether people should even follow basic best practices like wearing masks,” the Facebook founder continued.

FAUCI SAYS WHITE HOUSE ATTEMPTS TO DISCREDIT HIM 'BIZARRE'

Fauci responded by praising New York for its “measured” opening, though noting the state at one point had 50 percent of the hospitalizations and deaths in the country, and said that in other regions, surges in coronavirus are “really quite disturbing.”

Fauci said that as a nation generally, “we never really went down to baseline” before reopening. “We plateaued around 20,000 new cases per day.”

Fauci added that he was calling for another round of lockdowns, but a “regroup” to approach reopening “in a more measured way.”

FAUCI LANDS ON COVER OF INSTYLE MAGAZINE, TALKS RELATIONSHIP WITH TRUMP

The comments come as some White House advisers have gone after Fauci himself. In a blistering op-ed for USA Today, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro tore into Dr. Fauci, saying he’s been “wrong about everything.”

“Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on,” Navarro wrote.

Navarro began by saying that Fauci “fought against” Trump’s “courageous decision” in late January to suspend flights from China as the novel coronavirus began to spread, arguing that that decision “might well have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives.”

He continued: “When I warned in late January in a memo of a possibly deadly pandemic, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was telling our news media not to worry.”

The administration distanced itself from Navarro’s op-ed, with Trump saying he has a “very good relationship” with the infectious disease expert.

Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, said on Twitter that the piece “didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone.”

Original Article

White House working closely with Canada, U.K. amid reports Russia is stealing COVID-19 vaccine data

FILE – In this March 16, 2020, file photo, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:00 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany commented on allegations that Russia is trying steal coronavirus vaccine data. She confirmed the Trump administration is aware of the allegations and acknowledged Russian intelligence agencies are believed to be behind the effort.

She warned pharmaceutical companies and scientists to be on high alert for suspicious cyberactivity.

The secretary added the White House is closely working with the U.K. and Canada, who have also reportedly been targeted by Moscow.

“We worked very closely with our allies to ensure that we would take measures to keep that information safe, and we continue to do so,” said McEnany. “We’re aware of those activities.”

The Russian government has denied it is involved in the scheme.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Meanwhile, the press secretary also announced Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is showing promising results. According to a new study, the vaccine trials have produced “a positive and neutral immune response” among dozens of people.

McEnany claimed the results were comparable to what was seen in recovered patients.

Researchers believe the vaccine led patients to produce antibodies that can neutralize the virus.

“The bottom line is that so far, we are seeing exactly what you would hope to see in a vaccine,” explained McEnany. “The Moderna vaccine in particular is expected to reach phase three by late July with 30,000 participants.”

Recent reports suggested Moderna’s phase three will mostly target vulnerable communities, including older adults and those with underlying health issues.

FILE – In this July 6, 2020, file photo, a ventilator helps a COVID-19 patient breath inside the Coronavirus Unit in a Houston hospital. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Later that same day, the Trump administration restored information on COVID-19 hospitalizations to the CDC after it disappeared from its website on Wednesday.

The move followed the White House’s decision to redirect where hospitals send data on the availability of hospital beds and intensive care units from the Centers for Disease Control to the Department of Health and Human Services. This prompted objections by health officials, who saw this as a way to sideline the CDC.

According to HHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Michael Caputo, the CDC was directed to make the data available again, though it will no longer be updated.

He added the new databases will “provide more powerful insight.”

Additionally, the director of the CDC reaffirmed “no one is taking access or data away” from them.

RELATED: U.S., U.K., Canada Allege Hacking Group Backed By Russia Is Trying To Steal Intel On COVID-19 Vaccine

Original Article

Pompeo: UN, mainstream media ignore human rights abuses by foreign regimes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Constitution Center about the Commission on Unalienable Rights, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Philadelphia. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:15 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on the UN to investigate human rights abuses around the world. On Thursday, he claimed mainland China, Venezuela’s Maduro regime and the Putin regime in Russia have committed grave crimes against their citizens.

He added the international community has largely ignored such abuses.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council does the bidding of dictators and averts its gaze from the worst human rights offences of our times,” he said.

The secretary reiterated he stands with freedom loving people around the world.

“Indeed, our own commitment to unalienable rights at home has proved a beacon of hope for men and women abroad pursuing their own liberties. Our promotion of rights may be possible to achieve through diplomatic tools, but it from time to time will certainly not be. Our declaration is not a license for foreign adventurism, nor does it direct such.” – Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State

Pompeo also slammed the mainstream media for ignoring the violations of human rights abroad and amplifying anti-American sentiments instead.

MORE NEWS: Secy. Pompeo: Action Is Warranted Against China

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer angers GOP lawmakers after using statewide emergency alert system for message on masks

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Republican lawmakers in Michigan are planning to introduce bills to limit what the state’s emergency alert system sends after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a statewide alert to cell phones urging residents to wear masks.

Sen. Peter Lucido and Rep. Bradley Slagh will introduce legislation next week to restrict the emergency alert system to time-sensitive emergencies or natural disasters, according to local reports.

“This is an overt abuse of a service designed to alert people of legitimate emergencies — the governor has gone beyond the scope and intent of the law and is now somewhere over the rainbow and approaching Oz,” Lucido said in a statement, according to MLive.

TRUMP CALL TO REOPEN SCHOOLS DRAWS PUSHBACK FROM WHITMER

On Monday afternoon a text alert informed Michigan cell phone users of Whitmer’s executive order to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. It also said that businesses must refuse service to those who do not wear a face covering.

Previously, Whitmer’s administration has used the emergency alert system to notify residents when her stay-at-home order went into effect in March.

The state’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirley said in a Tuesday statement that he encouraged people to wear masks in public and to avoid altercations over wearing a mask.

“No citizen should challenge another regarding the wearing of a mask,” he said. “There is no reason to risk your health or your life over the debate of wearing masks in public.”

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A security guard was shot and killed in Flint, Mich ear.lier this year when he told the gunman’s daughter she needed to wear a mask inside a Family Dollar.

As of Thursday, 38 states have instituted a statewide mask requirement.

Original Article

White House working closely with Canada, U.K. amid reports Russia is stealing COVID-19 vaccine data

FILE – In this March 16, 2020, file photo, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:00 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany commented on allegations that Russia is trying steal coronavirus vaccine data. She confirmed the Trump administration is aware of the allegations and acknowledged Russian intelligence agencies are believed to be behind the effort.

She warned pharmaceutical companies and scientists to be on high alert for suspicious cyberactivity.

The secretary added the White House is closely working with the U.K. and Canada, who have also reportedly been targeted by Moscow.

“We worked very closely with our allies to ensure that we would take measures to keep that information safe, and we continue to do so,” said McEnany. “We’re aware of those activities.”

The Russian government has denied it is involved in the scheme.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Meanwhile, the press secretary also announced Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is showing promising results. According to a new study, the vaccine trials have produced “a positive and neutral immune response” among dozens of people.

McEnany claimed the results were comparable to what was seen in recovered patients.

Researchers believe the vaccine led patients to produce antibodies that can neutralize the virus.

“The bottom line is that so far, we are seeing exactly what you would hope to see in a vaccine,” explained McEnany. “The Moderna vaccine in particular is expected to reach phase three by late July with 30,000 participants.”

Recent reports suggested Moderna’s phase three will mostly target vulnerable communities, including older adults and those with underlying health issues.

FILE – In this July 6, 2020, file photo, a ventilator helps a COVID-19 patient breath inside the Coronavirus Unit in a Houston hospital. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Later that same day, the Trump administration restored information on COVID-19 hospitalizations to the CDC after it disappeared from its website on Wednesday.

The move followed the White House’s decision to redirect where hospitals send data on the availability of hospital beds and intensive care units from the Centers for Disease Control to the Department of Health and Human Services. This prompted objections by health officials, who saw this as a way to sideline the CDC.

According to HHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Michael Caputo, the CDC was directed to make the data available again, though it will no longer be updated.

He added the new databases will “provide more powerful insight.”

Additionally, the director of the CDC reaffirmed “no one is taking access or data away” from them.

RELATED: U.S., U.K., Canada Allege Hacking Group Backed By Russia Is Trying To Steal Intel On COVID-19 Vaccine

Original Article

Pompeo declares American way of life ‘is under attack,’ hits NYT’s ‘Marxist’ 1619 project in fiery speech

closePompeo: If we're going to fight for freedoms abroad we need to protect them at homeVideo

Pompeo: If we're going to fight for freedoms abroad we need to protect them at home

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the American way of life is “under attack” and accused the New York Times of promoting “Marxist” ideology with its controversial "1619 Project" in a speech on Thursday.

Pompeo made the remarks as he unveiled a new draft report by the Commission on Unalienable Rights. He said that while America had sometimes strayed from its founding principles, those very principles gave it a standard to judge its failings and a political framework to move towards equality. He cited examples such as Brown vs Board of Education and the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.

POMPEO LAUNCHES COMMISSION TO GROUND FOREIGN POLICY IN US FOUNDING PRINCIPLES

“Yet today the very core of what it means to be an American, indeed the American way of life itself, under attack,” Pompeo said. “Instead of seeking to improve America, too many leading voices promulgate hatred of our founding principles.”

Pompeo was referring to some of the protests and riots that have taken place since the death of George Floyd. Those protests have led to a number of groups calling for statues and monuments of figures in America’s history — including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and others — to be removed.

He also called out the New York Times’ “1619 Project.” According to the Times, it “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”

“The New York Times’ 1619 project, so named for the year the first slaves were transported to America, wants you to believe that our county was founded for human bondage, they want you to believe that America’s institutions continue to reflect the country’s acceptance of slavery at our founding, they want you to believe the Marxist ideology that America is only the oppressors and the oppressed,” he said.

“The Chinese Communist Party must be gleeful when they see the New York Times spout this ideology,” he said.

He went on to say that those who are pulling down statues and desecrating monuments have a “dark vision of America’s birth.”

Rep. Andy Biggs says Trump's critics are trying to sow division with complaints over Mount Rushmore eventVideo

“I reject it, it's a disturbed reading of America’s history, it is a slander of our great people, nothing could be further from the truth of our finding,” he said.

He spoke at the issuing of the report by the Commission on Unalienable Rights — set up last year and composed of academics, philosophers, activists, Republicans, Democrats and independents.

The commission is chaired by Harvard Law School professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon. It was set up to review the role of human rights in American foreign policy.

DHS ACCUSES PORTLAND OFFICIALS OF ENABLING 'MOB,' POSTS TIMELINE OF DAMAGE BY 'VIOLENT ANARCHISTS'

The State Department said last year that the commission was not created to outline new principles or to make policy, but to ground policy in existing principles. The commission came amid concerns from some conservatives that talk of rights has focused less on fundamental rights, like those set out in the Declaration of Independence, and more about certain economic or social rights.

This, in turn, has been taken advantage of by countries like Russia, Iran and China who some claim have used that to lead bodies like the U.N. astray. The U.S. left the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2018 over concerns about its membership — which includes a number of countries with abysmal human rights records.

“Some countries, while not rejecting those principles outright, dispute that internationally recognized human rights are “universal, indivisible and interdependent and international institutions and overuse of rights language with a dampening effect on compromise and democratic decision-making,” the report says.

It also notes that there have been efforts in the past by foreign actors with poor human rights records to use discord within the U.S. to undermine the cause of unalienable rights.

“Just as the Soviet Union did in 1948, China, Iran, and Russia have been quick to charge that our country’s domestic failures destroy its standing to defend universal human rights today,” the report says. “There can be no moral equivalence, however, between rights-respecting countries that fall short in progress toward their ideals, and countries that regularly and massively trample on their citizens’ human rights.”

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But certain human rights groups have accused the commission of undermining international efforts for human rights and expressed concern that a focus on religious liberty could be used “as a cloak” to attack human rights.

“From day one, the Trump-Pence administration has been retreating from and undermining the global framework for human rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948,” Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy said in a statement. “As was clear from the start, Secretary Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights was designed to challenge the international consensus with a narrow view of human rights, that among other things would leave LGBTQ people even more vulnerable to violence and discrimination.”

Fox News’ Rich Edson contributed to this report.

Original Article

GOP senators complain to IRS about ‘glitches’ still preventing people from getting coronavirus payments

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Georgia’s two senators sent a letter Thursday to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Retting to complain about “glitches” at the tax-collecting agency that have prevented people from receiving their coronavirus-related stimulus checks.

Sens. David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, said they have fielded complaints from constituents about “glitches in the Internal Revenue Service’s processes” when people apply for the Economic Impact Payments that were part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March.

The Republican lawmakers specifically point to constituents never receiving their money despite being told they were eligible for the payments and having supplied the IRS with direct deposit information. Others have complained that when they try to input their direct deposit information in the “Need More Information” tool online, they receive an error message.

HOUSE PASSES $484B CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY RELIEF BILL

Their constituents “are understandably frustrated that there is no viable way to follow up to receive an update on the status of their payment,” the senators wrote in their letter. “We urge you to take steps to continue to improve your online tool to ensure that eligible individuals can promptly receive their payments or create additional outlets for them to receive information on the status of their payments.”

Coronavirus stimulus stalls on Capitol Hill as lawmakers likely to recess before passing new aid billVideo

They added: “Considering today is the extended tax filing deadline, which will bring another wave of inquiries, we expect the IRS to develop an innovative plan to reduce the size of the backlog as soon as possible, since resuming operations at the current pace is unacceptable.”

The tax filing deadline was extended from April 15 to July 15 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The global public health crisis has wreaked havoc on the United States’ economy – putting millions of people out of work and throwing financial markets into flux as states continue to struggle with reopening amid a surge of new COVID-19 cases.

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The U.S. coronavirus pandemic is now in month five, with infections hitting records in Florida, Texas and California, causing state and local authorities to again shut down parts of their economies.

Florida considered new US coronavirus epicenterVideo

The trillions of dollars in economic support passed in April to keep Americans and businesses afloat is now mostly running out. Enhanced unemployment benefits expire at the end of the month unless Congress acts, and at this point many consumers are upward of 90 days past due on debts that would be in collections if it wasn’t for government and bank-sponsored forbearance programs.

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump says Biden would ‘abolish the suburbs’ and replace it with ‘socialist nightmare’

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President Trump on Thursday once again shifted the focus away from his planned remarks on White House deregulation efforts to go after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his recent policy proposals that the president argues would “totally destroy the beautiful suburbs.”

While making remarks ostensibly about rolling back federal regulations on infrastructure projects, Trump veered off topic to malign the proposals put forth by a task force set up by Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“The American dream would be quickly snuffed out and replaced by a socialist nightmare,” Trump said of Biden and Sanders’ so-called “unity platform.” “The end result will be to totally destroy the beautiful suburbs.”

Biden and Sanders released last week the wide-ranging set of recommendations that, while laying out a progressive road map for the former vice president, does falls short of the ambitious plans pushed by Sanders and other candidates during the Democratic primaries.

BIDEN LEADS IN NEW SWING STATE POLL BUT MAJORITY SAY 'SECRET TRUMP VOTERS' COULD TILT ELECTION

The health care task force spotlights ways to expand coverage by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, which was Biden’s position during the primaries, rather than pushing for a single-payer "Medicare-for-all" health care system, a signature policy goal for Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts that was notably absent from the document.

But the climate change task force — co-chaired by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and former Secretary of State John Kerry — calls for a faster timetable to achieve net-zero carbon emissions than Biden has previously advocated for, instead of the Ocasio-Cortez-championed Green New Deal to overhaul environmental policy, which also was not included in the recommendations.

Democrats eye suburbs in attempt to turn Texas blueVideo

On criminal justice reform — which has been in the spotlight the past two months in the wake of national racial unrest following the death of George Floyd — the proposals included a series of police reforms such as banning chokeholds, ending racial profiling and letting abuse victims pursue civil litigation.

Trump has criticized much of suggestions made by Biden and Sanders in their platform, but in recent weeks he has taken to blasting his Democratic rival for an Obama-era housing rule meant to address racial segregation. The president has claimed that the rule would eliminate single family homes in suburban America and “abolish the suburbs.”

“Suburbia will be no longer as we know it,” Trump said. “They’re going watch it go to hell. Not while I am here.”

TRUMP CAMPAIGN REJECTS CLAIMS TIKTOK, KIDS SABOTAGED RALLY ATTENDANCE

The president’s focus on suburban America comes as he sees his support in those areas dwindling.

In 2016, Trump won suburban areas overall by four percentage points. But recent polling indicates that many of those in the suburbs who voted for him in 2016 – particularly white women – have soured on his message. If the polling is correct, this would be a carryover from the 2018 midterms when suburban voters helped Democrats regain control of the House.

Will Trump campaign shift strategy after campaign manager shakeup?Video

Trump’s attacks on Biden also come as his campaign looks to reboot following a drop in his poll numbers – the president is now down 8.6 points to Biden, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls – and a major staff shake-up on Wednesday.

Trump’s campaign announced Wednesday night that it was replacing campaign manager Brad Parscale with veteran GOP operative Bill Stepien. The move announced Wednesday night came days after an article in The Washington Post portrayed Parscale as self-promoting and aloof, noting that he was featured prominently in an early Trump campaign ad — and that staffers complained he often took calls by his swimming pool at home.

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"I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager," Trump wrote on Facebook. "Brad Parscale, who has been with me for a very long time and has led our tremendous digital and data strategies, will remain in that role, while being a Senior Advisor to the campaign."

President Trump attacks Joe Biden over police fundingVideo

Trump added: "Both were heavily involved in our historic 2016 win, and I look forward to having a big and very important second win together.

Two top campaign officials clarified to Fox News that "there are not two campaign managers," and that Stepien will have total executive control.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Democrats advance bill to remove Confederate symbols from national parks

The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is the only Confederate monument left on on Monument Avenue, Friday July 10, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:30 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

The House Appropriations Committee has advanced a new bill, which includes a provision to target Confederate symbols in national parks across the U.S.

Last week, House Democrats passed the fiscal 2021 bill for the Interior Department along party lines. It would require the National Park Service to take action against Confederate monuments, statues and plaques.

“The bill includes language directing the architect of the Capitol to remove statues or busts on the U.S. Capitol that represent figures who participated in Confederate army, as well as the statues of individuals with unambiguous records of racial intolerance,” explained Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). “They have no place in the greatest legislative institution in the world.”

Additionally, the bill would ban the NPS from using funds in the bill to purchase or display the Confederate flag, unless used in a historical context. The measure would also require the Interior secretary to submit an inventory of the assets that have Confederate names to Congress.

“We must recognize and confront the horror of institutional slavery and those who fought to preserve it,” stated Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). “These painful symbols of support insinuate slavery, treason and racism, and have no place in our country.”

A Black Lives Matter billboard is seen next to a Confederate flag in Pittsboro, N.C., Thursday, July 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

President Trump has openly criticized the removal of monuments around the country.

He has recommended 10 years in prison for anyone who defaces national monuments. The president also promised that no military bases named after Confederate generals would be renamed.

“I just think it is freedom of speech,” he said. “Whether it is the Confederate flag, Black Lives Matter, or anything else you want to talk about: it’s freedom of speech.”

The Confederate statue located in the Circle at the University of Mississippi is lowered to the ground as part of the process to move it to the Confederate Soldiers Cemetery on campus in Oxford, Miss. Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Bruce Newman)

This came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of Confederate portraits in the Capitol and Confederate statues displayed in the Capitol complex.

Moreover, this is not the Democrats’ first attempt to remove Confederate symbols. In 2015, a similar amendment was drafted to ban Confederate flags from national cemeteries. The idea was shot down, as Republicans controlled the House at the time.

The bill is currently awaiting a vote on the House floor next week, where the Democrats have the majority. However, the Republican led Senate, where the bill is likely to be revised, may come out against the monument provision.

MORE NEWS: President Trump: Display Of Confederate Banner Is Freedom Of Speech

Original Article

WHO taps ex-PM who blasted US withdrawal to lead coronavirus inquiry, as Pompeo warns of whitewash

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Thousands of nurses head to Florida hot zone amid coronavirus pandemic

The World Health Organization has appointed former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who criticized the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO as “foolish,” to lead the embattled agency’s probe into the coronavirus pandemic — as the Trump administration says it fears a “whitewashed” investigation.

Clark, who was PM from 1999 to 2008 and later headed the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), was announced last week as the co-chair of WHO’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) along with former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Clark was tipped as a top contender for the role of U.N. Secretary-General in 2016.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION URGES UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO STATE CORONAVIRUS ORIGINATED IN CHINA

But in an interview in April with WION, she criticized the U.S. decision to leave the body, a move made over concerns WHO was too close to Beijing, as "foolish."

“To withdraw funding from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic is clearly foolish," she said in an interview, flagged by journalist Sara Carter. "About 15 percent of the WHO's budget comes from the United States of America and actually the biggest share of that funding goes to very important programs, like the eradication of polio."

She also appeared to knock the U.S. for its demand that a U.N. Security Council resolution on the virus explicitly include a mention of the Chinese origins of the virus.

"If you, as a major country with a veto power on the Security Council, enter the room with the attitude that you are determined to have in the resolution a name for the virus which is not the scientific name but the name of the place where the virus came from, then you know you don't really want a resolution, you're just entering a blame game."

This week, in an interview with CBS News, she said it was "very distressing" that the U.S. had left, and said she hoped that the U.S. would reenter the organization.

"I don't think these decisions are forever, and I very much hope we'll see the U.S. back in there, playing the role that it's traditionally played," she said.

Clark has raised concerns from U.N. critics over past comments she has made in relation to the virus. In March, she tweeted about Cuba’s response:

"#Cuba is known globally for its willingness to send health professional teams to the most challenging emergencies. Full marks to it for sending personnel to #Covid_19 – stricken #Italy”

For that, she attracted the ire of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based watchdog: “Helen Clark has an attraction to Communist dictatorships. Here she is showering praise on Cuba's Communist regime for sending doctors abroad.”

It’s also accused her of being too close to China as well as WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. But in remarks in May, Clark was critical of the Chinese response and said it took seven days after Chinese officials determined the virus was a “huge threat” to warn their people.

“In that seven days, millions began traveling for the Lunar New Year and in Wuhan…there were thousands of people at mass events, so this is pretty disturbing," she said on Global Americans.

WHO official backtracks after claiming asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is 'very rare'Video

“If you want to be a great power that is respected, and fear doesn’t bring respect, then you have to be upfront as utterly transparent with the international community," she said.

She also expressed concern about countries allowing Huawei access to their systems, saying it appeared to be approved on cost, rather than for security reasons. But she also stood by her decision as prime minister to make New Zealand the first country to sign a free trade deal with China.

“To those who criticize efforts to bring China into the international rules-based trading order, I would ask, well what’s the alternative?" she asked. "To have them operating out there outside the multilateral rules framework? That’s really unthinkable.”

The U.S. announced in May that it would withdraw from the World Health Organization over the WHO's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump has cited WHO officials' praise of Chinese "transparency," its dismissal of warnings about the virus from Taiwan, and its repetition of Chinese claims that COVID-19 could not be spread from person-to-person. Trump has also pointed to opposition from WHO officials to his decision to place a travel ban on China in the initial days of the crisis.

"Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities," he said, announcing the move. "Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted across the globe."

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On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that he was not hopeful for the upcoming investigation, particularly given the Chinese government's lack of transparency in the past.

“This is a regime that failed to disclose information they had about a virus that’s now killed over 100,000 Americans, hundreds of thousands across the world, cost the global economy trillions and trillions of dollars, and now is allowing the World Health Organization to go in to conduct what I am confident will be a completely, completely whitewashed investigation,” he said.

Original Article

Miami mayor mulls another city lockdown

Cynthia Jackson works at a drive-up site as she receives an application for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a one-time benefit to help with one month’s rent offered by Miami-Dade County, during the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:08 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

The mayor of Miami has said he’s considering another citywide lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the city and state. On Thursday, Francis Suarez announced he’s set to meet with hospital officials and business leaders on Friday to discuss the possibility of another shutdown.

The mayor noted hospitals in the city are at 95% capacity and claimed that will only last about another four weeks.

He called out the 18 to 34-year-old age group, which has seen the highest percentage of positive tests.

“What we’re starting to see now is that age group going back to the home and infecting everybody else in the home, which is particularly worrisome in multigenerational households,” stated Suarez.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, speaks during a roundtable discussion with Miami-Dade County mayors during the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, July 14, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Miami has more than 69,000 active cases, making it the highest of any Florida county.

On the same day, the state announced nearly 14,000 new cases and 156 deaths.

MORE NEWS: Ga. Gov. Kemp Blocks Local Face Mask Mandates

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Press Secy. McEnany discusses White House deregulation agenda, reopening schools

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:00 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany kicked off Thursday’s briefing by saying President Trump took swift action to roll back burdens and regulations that were imposed during the Obama administration.

She claimed the president’s deregulation agenda lowers costs for every citizen. She noted these burdens fall disproportionately on low income Americans.

The secretary also warned what could happen if children are kept within their homes for too long amid school closures.

McEnany confirmed President Trump wants American schools to reopen fully this fall.

“The president has said he wants schools to open,” she said. “I was just in the Oval Office talking to him about this.”

She went on to say the science stands behind the administration’s goal.

“The science is very clear on this,” she explained. “For instance, you look at the Journal of the American Medical Association pediatric study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America, that said the risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu.”

McEnany concluded by saying the U.S. is “leading the world in testing” and reiterated the White House is doing everything it can to get information about the virus out to the public.

RELATED: Private Schools Begin Preparations For Reopening In Fall

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McEnany hits back at Hogan after Maryland governor slams Trump over coronavirus

closeMaryland Gov. Hogan says Trump left state vulnerable to the pandemic, WH calls comments ‘striking’Video

Maryland Gov. Hogan says Trump left state vulnerable to the pandemic, WH calls comments ‘striking’

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says Trump left the state vulnerable to the pandemic, in a Washington Post op-ed; White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says the comments are a ‘revisionist history’ by the state’s leader.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany slammed Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s remarks in a Washington Post op-ed about President Trump’s shortcomings during the coronavirus pandemic, calling it “revisionist history” and pointing to the governor's past praise of Trump.

“It's really striking, his comments, especially when you compare them to his past comments,” said the press secretary during a briefing Thursday.

“This is revisionist history by Governor Hogan and it stands in stark contrast to what he said on March 19 where he praised the great communication that the president has had with governors,” McEnany added, noting that Hogan has in the past praisedTrump’s coronavirus response. In April, Hogan praised the administration's guidelines for reopening.

In an attempt to smooth things over with the president he's not been afraid to criticize, Hogan in April wrote a letter to Trump praising "the continued coordination” between the federal and state governments.

MARYLAND GOV. WALKS BACK TRUMP CRITICISM OVER CORONAVIRUS TESTING

But the Republican leader detailed in his op-ed having to buy half a million coronavirus tests from the South Korean government in a deal brokered in part by his wife, a native to the country. He said he hid them from the federal government to avoid them being seized for use in another state, as was the case with 3 million N95 masks stockpiled in Massachusetts.

“This should not have been necessary,” Hogan wrote. “Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death.”

GOV. HOGAN RESPONDS TO CRITICISM FROM TRUMP OVER TESTING

Meanwhile, Hogan said that at a dinner in early February with President Trump, Trump said he didn’t like dealing with South Korean President Moon Jae In and called the South Koreans “terrible people.”

“While other countries were racing ahead with well-coordinated testing regimes, the Trump administration bungled the effort,” Hogan continued. He said tests early on were fraught with “inaccuracies and onerous regulations.”

“Meanwhile, instead of listening to his own public health experts, the president was talking and tweeting like a man more concerned about boosting the stock market or his reelection plans,” the governor wrote.

In late March, the Republican governor called Trump’s claim that testing was widely available “just not true.” When Trump vowed to reopen the country by Easter, Hogan said that would be “very harmful” and Maryland “would obviously not do that.”

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But Hogan later walked back that criticism. "I can tell you, I chair the nation's governors and the administration's doing a great job of communicating with all of us, and I think they've been stepping up and doing a much better job," Hogan told Fox News' Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum in early May.

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Kaine says Obama White House didn’t do enough to punish Russia over 2016 election meddling

closeFox News Flash top headlines for July 16Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for July 16

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., indicated Thursday that the Obama administration didn't do enough to punish Russia for Moscow's attempt to meddle in the 2016 election.

"When you detect an incoming attack, you have to take affirmative steps to make the attacker pay a price," Kaine told MSNBC while discussing the potential for similar interference in the 2020 race. "The Obama administration didn't do that in 2016, even though they were aware of the attack. They didn't make Russia pay a price,"

Kaine was the running mate of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who was defeated by Republican Donald Trump. Clinton has repeatedly cited Russia's actions as one of the causes of her defeat.

President Trump has repeatedly criticized his predecessor's stance toward malevolent Russian activities, asserting at one point last year that Obama did "NOTHING, and had no intention of doing anything!"

RUSSIA HACKERS BEHIND CYBERATTACKS ON CORONAVIRUS VACCINE DEVELOPERS: US, UK, CANADA INTEL

The Obama Justice Department probed Russian meddling in an investigation that carried over into Trump's first term and eventually concluded that Moscow attempted to influence U.S. elections, though no evidence was found that the Trump campaign had collaborated with Russian officials.

"What we were trying to do was let people know that this had taken place, so that if you started seeing some effect on the election, if you were trying to measure why this was happening and how you should consume the information that was being leaked, that you might want to take this into account," Obama told reporters in 2016.

“And that was exactly how we should have handled it," he added. Days later, the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats in connection with cyber-attacks during the campaign.

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On Thursday, Kaine told MSNBC the U.S. "did make Russia pay a price in 2018 and that has a way of deterring attacks to some degree."

Trump has repeatedly maintained he has been tougher on Russia than any of his predecessors. In March 2018, the U.S. expelled 60 Russian diplomats and ordered Moscow to close its Seattle consulate in response to the poisoning of a former spy and his daugher in the U.K.

Additional sanctions were imposed that August.

Original Article

New Trump campaign manager vows to ‘expose’ Joe Biden, as Parscale transfers power

closeWho is Bill Stepien, Trump's new 2020 campaign manager?Video

Who is Bill Stepien, Trump's new 2020 campaign manager?

President Trump replaces Brad Parscale with former Chris Christie aide Bill Stepien; Peter Doocy reports.

President Trump’s outgoing reelection campaign manager and his successor met Thursday with staffers at the campaign’s headquarters in Arlington, Va., for a transfer-of-power type of ceremony.

Hours later new campaign manager Bill Stepien said the person he replaced – Brad Parscale – "will remain heavily involved."

PARSCALE REMOVAL 'SHOCKED' TRUMP CAMPAIGN STAFFERS

And in a message to Trump campaign staffers, Stepien wrote "our goal is clear – to win each day we have left until election day."

Stepien also vowed to "expose" Democratic challenger Joe Biden, who he charged was "a hapless tool of the extreme left."

Stepien's statement and the earlier all-hands-on-deck gathering came hours after the president on Wednesday evening removed Parscale as campaign manager and replaced him with Stepien, who had been serving as deputy campaign manager.

Parscale was “emotional, but heartfelt” in handing the campaign over to Stepien, two senior campaign officials told Fox News. They added that Stepien encouraged everyone to “ignore the media-driven narrative” that the president was losing to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Another campaign official – who also asked for anonymity to speak more freely – said Stepien gave a “very uplifting and inspiring speech, making sure the campaign is focused every minute on thinking about ways to persuade voters to the voting booth. That is the focus.”

The official added that the meeting “gives us the direction that we need to get us through these last 109 days” until November’s presidential election.

Parscale, who ran digital operations for the president’s 2016 presidential campaign and was promoted to Trump’s campaign manager for the 2020 cycle, is expected to shift back to his previous role. Two top campaign officials told Fox News that Parscale will serve as a senior adviser focusing entirely on the campaign’s digital operation and data collection.

Demoted Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale (left) and newly-named manager Bill Stepien (Reuters, AP)

Demoted Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale (left) and newly-named manager Bill Stepien (Reuters, AP)

“Brad’s going to focus on one thing, Bill is going to focus on the other, but both are working toward victory," Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley said Thursday on "America's Newsroom."

Following Thursday’s meeting, Parscale tweeted “Romans 12:14: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” The Bible verse centers on Paul the Apostle’s teachings to Christians to resist striking back at those who are being hurtful toward you.

Speculation has swirled for weeks about Parscale’s future, as Trump has fallen behind the former vice president in nearly all national and many key battleground state public opinion polls.

Stepien, in his statement, slammed the surveys.

"The same media polls that had the world convinced that Hillary Clinton would be elected in 2016 are trying the same trick again in 2020. It won't work," he stressed.

TRUMP DOWN 15 POINTS TO BIDEN IN LATEST NATIONAL POLL

The campaign shakeup came nearly a month after Trump struggled to fill seats at his rally in Tulsa, Okla.

The campaign had touted in the days before the rally – which was the president’s first and only large-scale rally since the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation in March – that 1 million people had signed up for tickets. But the large crowds never materialized and portions of the Tulsa arena’s upper deck were empty as Trump spoke.

Last week the campaign abruptly canceled the second rally, which was supposed to have been held in New Hampshire. The campaign pointed to severe storms that were forecast but never materialized. Some Republican sources say concerns about attendance at the rally were also a factor in the event’s postponement.

The president’s campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) have also been slightly outraised each of the past two months by Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). But the Trump campaign and the RNC – which had a combined $295 million in their coffers as of the end of last month – retained a large cash-on-hand advantage over Biden and the DNC.

On Thursday, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillion announced that as of July 1 the former vice president’s team and the DNC “have $242 million cash on hand. That means we’ve made a $100 million dent in his COH in three months – and we did it thanks to the power of our grassroots."

Trump announced his campaign shake-up in a statement on social media.

“I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager,” the president said in a statement. “Brad Parscale, who has been with me for a very long time and has led our tremendous digital and data strategies, will remain in that role, while being a Senior Adviser to the campaign.”

REPUBLICANS SCALE BACK PLANS FOR JACKSONVILLE CONVENTION

The shake-up follows a similar one less than a month ago, when Michael Glassner, organizer of the president’s rallies, was reassigned, and Jeff DeWit, who served as Arizona chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, joined the 2020 staff as chief operating officer.

Stepien has a long resume in campaign politics. He’s a veteran of President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s 2008 White House bid, and the campaign of 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain. Stepien also managed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial victories before falling out of good graces with the governor due to the Bridgegate scandal. Stepien also served as national field director for Trump during the 2016 general election.

A GOP operative close to the Trump campaign and to Stepien told Fox News that “Bill’s MO is to keep under the radar and keep his head down and stay focused on the job. So if anything, all the attention he’s gotten probably makes him a little uncomfortable. … he knows his role is to be the guy behind the guy.”

Contrasting Stepien with Parscale, the operative said: “I don’t think you’re going to see Bill Stepien going up on stage at a Trump rally and throwing out hats.”

A Trump campaign official described Stepien as “a no-nonsense, very straight shooter.”

The official predicted that Stepien will be focused on mail-in and absentee ballot fights in the states across the country, while also noting that the focus of the campaign moving forward will be “ensuring we are able to get out the vote.”

WHO IS BILL STEPIEN? FOX NEWS TAKES A CLOSER LOOK

The question going forward is when Stepien will make changes at the campaign – and how extensive those changes would be.

A major campaign shake-up in the general election for Trump is hardly unprecedented. In 2016, Trump had three campaign managers: Corey Lewandowski, who ran Trump’s primary campaign and was removed ahead of the conventions; Paul Manafort, who ran Trump’s campaign during the convention and then was removed, and is now currently serving jail time for charges stemming from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation; and Kellyanne Conway, who led the campaign through the general election to Trump’s victory.

Original Article

Kudlow: We’re not going to take away unemployment benefits

FILE – In this May 8, 2020, file photo White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks during an interview on the unemployment numbers caused by the coronavirus, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:25 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has stated the administration will not cut unemployment benefits. His remarks come amid rising concerns about extending jobless benefits when the nation’s COVID expansion expires at the end of the month.

According to the latest jobs report, 1.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week.

Kudlow has suggested putting a limit on how much unemployment money an individual receives, rather than taking away benefits altogether.

“We’re not going to take away unemployment benefits,” he explained. “I think what we’ll do is a more prudent cap, perhaps 70% to 75% of the wage, so we create incentives to work, not disincentives.”

Earlier this week, the White House unveiled its “Find Something New” initiative, which aims to connect Americans with potential job or training opportunities.

MORE NEWS: Md. Officials Uncover $500M Unemployment Insurance Scam

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Ga. Gov. Kemp blocks local face mask mandates

FILE – In this Dec. 4, 2019, file photo, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp takes questions from the media at the Georgia state Capitol in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Elijah Nouvelage, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:45 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

Georgia’s governor has issued an order to prevent local leaders from issuing mandatory face mask regulations. Brian Kemp made the announcement Wednesday and discussed the state’s surge in new coronavirus cases.

According to Kemp, the order is meant to stop counties from implementing rules of their own, which can be more restrictive than statewide policy. He wants to encourage residents to wear masks voluntarily without mandating them.

The move came after at least 15 local governments issued such restrictions, despite Kemp’s earlier order saying they did not have the power to do so.

Local leaders have since slammed the new decision. They believe it will only further the spread of the coronavirus. However, the governor has insisted the state will still keep up its efforts to combat the virus.

Kemp has extended other coronavirus related measures and placed a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people through the end of the month. While counties cannot order the use of face coverings on public properties, private businesses will still be allowed to require face masks to enter.

MORE NEWS: Gov. Wolf Issues New Restrictions Amid Rise In Pa. COVID-19 Cases

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Congress debates decriminalization of psychedelics in Washington, D.C.

FILE – In this May 6, 2020, file photo a man walks across Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:25 PM PT — Thursday, July 16, 2020

Congress has paused the discussion on coronavirus aid and unemployment relief in order to debate the legal practice of using psychedelic drugs. During their session on Wednesday, lawmakers discussed Initiative 81.

The amendment would make hallucinogenic drugs a low priority for law enforcement within Washington, D.C. It would allow residents to use psychedelics under the condition a doctor recommended it for them only for medical purposes.

Advocates have argued using these kinds of drugs helps treat mental health, but others have demanded that district residents should ultimately be the ones to decide.

“If the district residents want to make mushrooms a lower priority and focus limited law enforcement resources on other issues, that is their prerogative. Congress has allowed jurisdictions in California and Colorado to exercise their sovereign right to set policy on mushrooms. The District of Columbia too should be allowed to use their local funds to support their local needs and their priorities.” – Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)

The initiative, which was proposed by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), was ultimately withdrawn. According to Harris, it’s a new issue to the committee and the fight for psychedelics is not over.

MORE NEWS: President Trump Touts Strides In Combating Drug Trafficking With SOUTHCOM

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