The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump visits a ventilator plant in a battleground state

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Breaking - Mnuchin says Congress must make key PPP change | Says there’s a ‘strong likelihood’ of another COVID-19 relief bill | Trump visits a ventilator plant in a battleground state | 2.4M more apply for unemployment | Trump withdraws from major arms treaty | Why the U.S. has the most reported cases | Fashion designer’s face mask operation started with a tweet to Cuomo | Legally Blonde 3 in the works



A battleground state and a ventilator manufacturing plant in one place. How convenient?:



Via The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau intends to wrap up count on Oct. 5 despite judge's order Top House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents New Yorkers report receiving ballots with wrong name, voter addresses MORE on Thursday will visit the 2020 battleground of Michigan as he seeks to contrast his handling of the pandemic with that of the state’s Democratic leaders.”

Where Trump is visiting: A Ford plant in Ypsilanti that is producing ventilators.

The ‘battleground state’ of it all: “Trump is sparing no expense in battling for Michigan, and has sought to turn Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) into a foil, urging on protests against her stay-at-home restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.” Trump won Michigan in 2016, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to win there since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Timing —Trump is now threatening to pull funding to Michigan: “On the eve of his trip, the president escalated the fight by threatening to withhold federal funding to the state over its plan to send applications to registered voters to vote by mail, a move Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) said was needed to ensure safe voting in the August and November elections during the pandemic. Trump charged that the step was illegal.”  

At 3:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump is speaking at the Ford plant. Livestream


Vice President Pence is visiting Atlanta tomorrow to meet with Gov. Brian Kemp (R).

New this a.m. — Beep, beep, backing up:

Via The New York Times’s David E. Sanger, President Trump is planning to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, a major arms control agreement. 

Has Trump done this before?: “The decision marks the third time he has renounced a major arms control treaty.”

Why this is important: “Trump’s decision, rumored for some time, is bound to further aggravate European allies, including those in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, who are also signatories to the treaty. They will remain in the accord, but have warned that, with Washington’s exit, Russia will almost certainly respond by cutting off their flights, too, which the allies use to monitor troop movements on their borders — especially important to the Baltic nations.”

It’s Thursday — we’re in the home stretch before the holiday weekend! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to  — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel  and  Facebook.

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Alright, so how do we get the economy back?:

The Hill is hosting an event today on “Advancing America’s Economy,” a national virtual summit to discuss a responsible reopening of the U.S. economy. 

Event livestream: It will run through 4:30 p.m. EDT. Tune in:


Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDemocrats unveil scaled-down .2T coronavirus relief package Households, businesses fall into financial holes as COVID aid dries up Centrist Democrats got their COVID bill, now they want a vote MORE

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFBI director casts doubt on concerns over mail-in voting fraud Democrats call for declassifying election threats after briefing by Trump officials It's time to upgrade benefits MORE (D-Va.)

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (D-Md.)

Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHillicon Valley: Oracle confirms deal with TikTok to be 'trusted technology provider' | QAnon spreads across globe, shadowing COVID-19 | VA hit by data breach impacting 46,000 veterans House approves bill to secure internet-connected federal devices against cyber threats House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE (R-Texas)

Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse passes legislation to boost election security research House Republicans investigating California secretary of state's contract with Biden-linked firm House Democrats' campaign arm releases ads hitting 10 Republicans on health care MORE (R-Ill.)

The full list of speakers


Mnuchin sees a ‘strong likelihood’ of another COVID-19 relief bill: “I think there is a strong likelihood we will need another bill but we just have $3 trillion we’re pumping into the economy,” Mnuchin said, adding that “we’re going to step back for a few weeks and think very clearly how we need to spend more money…” 

And said he spoke with House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAirline industry applauds Democrats for including aid in coronavirus relief package Democrats unveil scaled-down .2T coronavirus relief package Trump tax reveal roils presidential race MORE (D-Calif.) last week: “I spoke to the speaker last week. Really, our conversation was really more about the execution of the current CARES Act and was not focused on the next steps.”

He wouldn’t commit to testifying before the House’s coronavirus committee  

An infrastructure bill is on the table: “I’d say whether we do it as part of the coronavirus bill or we do it separately, that’s something that is on the president’s agenda,” Mnuchin told The Hill’s Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association -Trump enters debate week after NYT obtains his tax returns The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE.

Mnuchin estimated that PPP has saved about 50 million jobs: “... and I think by the time we get through this, it’ll be 60 million jobs,” Mnuchin said. “[The program] wasn’t perfect getting up and running but what’s important was we developed a program from scratch. We knew that if it took four months to get it up and running, it wasn’t going to help at all.” 

Mnuchin said Congress must make a key Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) change: "The eight weeks I wish I could do administratively. If I could we would already do it ... That's something we definitely want to fix. It doesn't cost us any more money and there is bipartisan support.” Context 


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 1,555,537 

Deaths in the U.S.: 93,558 

Breakdown of the numbers 

For context: This time last week, 1,393,890 Americans tested positive for the virus and 84,239 people had died.

Why the U.S. has the most reported coronavirus cases in the world:

Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan, “President Trump said Tuesday the fact that the United States has the most coronavirus cases in the world is a ‘badge of honor’ because it shows how much testing the country is doing.”  

Yes, but: “While there are many factors at play when comparing how countries have fared in the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts say Trump’s explanation left out a key factor: The U.S. has so many cases because it was initially slow to respond to the outbreak and ramp up testing and other containment tools.”


Via The New York Times’s Sharon Otterman, “Paterson, a low-income city of 150,000, has been a pioneer in creating a contact-tracing program to curb the spread of the coronavirus.” Details:


Annnnd another 2.4 million:

More than 2.4 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, according to data released by the Labor Department. 

Since March — ugh: “The new wave of applications brings the total number of initial unemployment claims since the week ending March 22 to 38.6 million.”  

For context: The U.S. is suffering the highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression.  

What to expect now: “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last week that unemployment could reach 25 percent — its peak during the Great Depression — by the end of June and could take until the end of 2021 to fully recover.”


Why don’t you just meet me in the middle?:

Via The Hill’s Olivia Beavers, “FBI Director Christopher Wray is sitting in an increasingly hot seat as Republicans and the White House press forward with investigations into what President Trump is calling ‘Obamagate.’ ” 

“Congressional Republicans are pressing Wray to provide more information after recently released FBI field notes showed officials debating how to handle the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The controversy over the notes contributed to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrJuan Williams: Trump's Supreme Court power grab Federal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Why a backdoor to encrypted data is detrimental to cybersecurity and data integrity MORE’s contentious decision to drop charges against Flynn, despite his guilty plea.”

Lol, 'burn the chair':

@RateMySkypeRoom has been commenting on lawmakers’ and pundits’ TV sets. Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHouse to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Swalwell calls for creation of presidential crimes commission to investigate Trump when he leaves office 'This already exists': Democrats seize on potential Trump executive order on preexisting conditions MORE’s (D-Calif.) home received a pretty high score, except for his chair.





Face masks, but make it fashion: 


During a March press conference, New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoMore than 20 states report coronavirus spikes as experts warn of fall, winter surge New York reports 1,000 daily new COVID-19 cases for first time since June Overnight Health Care: Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit | White House puts off action on surprise medical bills | Rising coronavirus cases spark fears of harsh winter MORE (D) begged local businesses to find a way to produce face masks. “If you can make them, we will give you the funding to do it,” Cuomo pleaded to locals. “I’m asking businesses to get creative.”

Fashion designer Christian Siriano answered the call by turning his Manhattan couture atelier into an assembly line for the all-too-critical face masks needed to care for coronavirus patients.

Over the past two months, Siriano and his team of seamstresses have distributed thousands of masks to health care workers. Now, as governors across the country cautiously reopen and hospitals brace for a second wave of infected patients, demand for Siriano’s masks looks unlikely to subside anytime soon.

How the donated masks are delivered: Two women from his team then load the sewn masks in their car and distribute them to local hospitals that are experiencing shortages. 

Tidbit — Siriano is now making brightly colored masks: “At first everything was white and gray because I felt like it was just important to make them as quickly as possible,” Siriano told The Hill, adding that “it feels different sewing something that’s fuchsia than something that’s gray.” 

More on the operation and how Siriano keeps him team safe: 


Oh mannn, this does sound like Veep:

I can’t get past the “peanut butter burger.”




This is great:


Read the full obituary


The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump is in Michigan this afternoon. Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C.

Noon: President Trump leaves for Detroit.

2:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a listening session with African American leaders in Ypsilanti, Mich. 

2:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the Situation Room. 

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump tours the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant.

6:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives at the White House.


Noon: The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is holding a hearing on protecting essential workers. Livestream 

3:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks at the Ford plant. Livestream


Today is National Strawberries and Cream Day.

You hear that, Bruiser Woods? Pack your orange Apple iBook!:

A third Legally Blonde film, with Reese Witherspoon, is in the works. Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor are reportedly writing the script.

See Witherspoon’s announcement — this is amazing

And because you made it this far, here’s a monkey drinking a juice box. I’m impressed it figured out the straw!: