November 30, 2020

Fauci, Voter Registration, Immigration: Your Monday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

1. President Trump attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci as “a disaster” and said that people were “tired” of hearing about the coronavirus and wanted to be left alone.

In a call with campaign staff, Mr. Trump also called Dr. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, a “nice” guy, but said, “He’s been here for 500 years,” adding, “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy’s a disaster.”

The U.S. has seen more coronavirus cases — over 8 million — and more deaths — nearly 220,000 — than any other nation in the world. Dr. Fauci, in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, dismissed the president’s claim that the end of the pandemic was just around the corner.

Separately, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, was still in negotiations with the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, on an economic stimulus bill. But stocks fell as hopes that lawmakers would be able to pass a measure continued to wither.

Credit…Juan Diego Reyes for The New York Times

2. Republicans see cause for hope in voter registrations.

They are looking to jumps in registrations in three critical states — Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — and heavy turnout by those voters to help propel President Trump to a second term. But nationally, the president is trailing in the polls.

Florida opened up its polls for early voting today, with long lines, and Wisconsin kicks off its early period tomorrow. Both are considered must-win states for Mr. Trump. Other states to open at least some polling locations this week include Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia. Above, early voters in North Carolina last week.

Through Election Day, our daily live politics briefings will be updated around the clock on weekdays. Our poll tracker and our analysis of the voting readiness of seven battleground states will also be continuously refreshed with the latest news.


Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

3. The Supreme Court agreed to take on two of President Trump’s major immigration policies.

Lower courts had ruled that both policies — one requiring at least 60,000 asylum seekers to stay in Mexico, the other diverting $2.5 billion in Pentagon money for a border wall — were unlawful.

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But the Supreme Court allowed them to remain in effect pending the appeals. Above, a border wall under construction in Arizona.

The arguments in the two cases will not be heard until after the November election. Should Mr. Trump lose the election, a new administration could take steps to make the cases moot.

Credit…Pool photo by Andrew Harnik

4. The U.S. indicted Russian officers over major cyberattacks worldwide.

The six military intelligence officers were charged in connection with hacks on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and 2017 elections in France, as well as one aimed at destabilizing Ukraine that was blamed for billions of dollars in damage.

Justice Department prosecutors said the suspects were from the same Russian unit that had conducted one of the Kremlin’s major operations to interfere in the 2016 American election, the theft of Democratic emails. Above center, John Demers, assistant attorney general, announcing the indictments.

The Russian government is highly unlikely to hand the six officers over to be prosecuted. But the charges could restrict their travels, and they could be arrested if they enter a country willing to turn them over to the U.S.


Credit…Mark Abramson for The New York Times

5. Early data shows New York City schools are containing the coronavirus.

Nearly three weeks into the in-person school year, results confirmed only 18 positive Covid cases — 13 staff members and five students — out of 10,676 random tests.

Spikes in Brooklyn and Queens brought new shutdown restrictions that included the closure of more than 120 public schools as a precaution. Above, students outside a Brooklyn high school this month. But over all, the nation’s largest public school system is an unexpected bright spot, at least so far, and could serve as a model for the nation.

Elsewhere, countries across Europe announced new restrictions in an effort to halt a strong second wave of the virus, as the global tally of cases passed 40 million. Cases have been detected in nearly every country around the world, and at least 1.1 million people have died.


Credit…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

6. A wave of anger swept over France following the decapitation of a high school teacher.

The French police conducted dozens of raids targeting individuals associated with radical Islamists, and the government vowed to shut down Muslim aid organizations and expel foreign nationals showing signs of radicalism.

Samuel Paty, a teacher in a suburb north of Paris, was attacked in the street on Friday after showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class during a discussion about free speech. The suspect, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee, was shot dead by the police.

Thousands of people took to city streets across France over the weekend to demonstrate their horror at the killing. Above, a tribute to the teacher in Paris on Sunday.


Credit…Joel Angel Juarez for The New York Times

7. Some companies are clawing back business, while others consolidate.

CVS Health said it planned to hire 15,000 workers for expected increases in U.S. coronavirus and flu cases during the fall and winter months. More than 10,000 will be licensed pharmacy technicians.

In a milestone for the travel industry, Sunday was the first time since mid-March that more than a million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints. But U.S. airlines are still losing billions of dollars a month as they brace for much weaker demand this winter.

And ConocoPhillips’s $9.7 billion acquisition of Concho Resources of Texas appears to signal that consolidation in the business is accelerating. It is the largest oil deal announced since the pandemic forced the industry into its biggest tailspin in more than three decades.

Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

8. The killing of George Floyd sparked a racial reappraisal at Kappa Alpha, one of the nation’s largest and oldest college fraternities.

The fraternity has long faced criticism over its embrace of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, as its “spiritual founder.”

But after the Minneapolis killing, members of the Southwestern University chapter demanded that the fraternity drop its association with Lee and investigate the racial harms they said Kappa Alphas had inflicted.

Instead, the fraternity’s national organization suspended the chapter for its criticism. Above, the Southwestern frat house in Georgetown, Texas.


Credit…O’Neal L. Abel

9. Our critics rave about two new biographies.

“The Dead Are Arising” is not a tribute to Malcolm X (above, at a Harlem rally in 1962), nor an enshrinement of his achievements. But “nobody has written a more poetic account” of the Black activist’s life than Les Payne in this biography, our review of the book says.

“What Becomes a Legend Most” is Philip Gefter’s “wise and ebullient” new book on Richard Avedon, the fashion photographer. Writes our critic, Dwight Garner: Avedon “knew everyone and photographed everyone, and part of the pleasure of this biography lies in watching life’s rich pageant pass by.”


Credit…Dede Ahhmad

10. And finally, beware the ever-so-cute slow loris.

This small, nocturnal Asian primate has bright saucer eyes, a button nose and a plump, fuzzy body.

But the slow loris is also one of the world’s very few poisonous mammals. It packs a vicious bite, full of venom that rots the recipient’s flesh. A new study shows that its most frequent target is neither predator nor prey, but other slow lorises.

“If the killer bunnies on ‘Monty Python’ were a real animal, they would be slow lorises — but they would be attacking each other,” said the lead author of the research.

Have a warm and fuzzy night.


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