Friday morning news – September 11, 2020


Trump clashes with reporters over book excerpt controversy » President Trump clashed with reporters at the White House Thursday over excerpts from a forthcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward. 

KARL: Why did you lie to the American people and why should we trust what you have to say now?
TRUMP: That’s a terrible question and the phraseology. I didn’t lie. What I said was we have to be calm, we can’t be panicked. 

ABC’s Jonathan Karl heard there, referring to excerpts published Wednesday. 

CNN and the Washington Post reported the president called the coronavirus “deadly stuff” in February before it began sweeping through the United States even as he downplayed it in public.  

Trump said he tried to avoid causing a frenzy and wanted to show confidence and strength.

His Democratic rival Joe Biden pounced on the report. 

BIDEN: He knew how dangerous it was, and while this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose! 

President Trump fired back, saying Biden originally criticized his decision to restrict travel to China in January. 

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, weighed in on Wednesday, saying he does not believe the president misled the public. Fauci said he “he didn’t see any discrepancies” between what he discussed with him privately “and what [Trump] ultimately” told the public.

Court rules Trump can’t exclude people from district drawings » A panel of three federal judges on Thursday blocked an order from President Trump that would exclude people in the country illegally from the 2020 census count used to redraw congressional districts.

The federal judges in New York, in granting an injunction, said the order violated laws governing the census process. 

The headcount is conducted every 10 years. It provides the data used for apportionment, determining how many seats in Congress each state receives. 

The judges said that those in the country illegally qualify to be counted in the states they reside. 

The Trump administration is likely to appeal the decision directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jobless claims hold steady » The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits remained stuck at just under 900,000 last week. WORLD’s Kristen Favin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The latest figures released by the Labor Department Thursday coincide with other recent evidence that the job market’s improvement may be slowing after solid gains in the spring and summer. 

The number of new unemployment claims remained at 884,000—unchanged from the week before. 

Hiring has slowed since June, and a rising number of laid-off workers now say they regard their job loss as permanent. And the employment website Indeed.com reports that job postings have leveled off within the past month.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Senate Democrats scuttle GOP relief bill » The latest jobless numbers arrived as Congress remained deadlocked on more economic relief. 

Senate Democrats on Thursday scuttled a scaled-back GOP coronavirus rescue package. 

The $500 billion measure focused on school aid, jobless benefits, and help for small businesses. That maximized Republican support even as it alienated Democrats.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “completely inadequate.”  

SCHUMER: It does not help renters keep a roof over their heads or American families put food on the table. It shortchanges healthcare and education. 

Schumer said the Senate bill proved Republicans aren’t serious about addressing America’s economic problems. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it’s Democrats who are choosing not to act. 

MCCONNELL: Democrats are all or piecemeal bills when they concern their own reelection, but when it comes to bipartisan aid for kids, jobs, and schools, Democrats say it’s either their entire wishlist, all of it, or nobody gets a dime. 

The 52-47 vote fell well short of what was needed to overcome a filibuster and seems likely to end hopes for coronavirus relief before the November election.

California fire slams same region devastated by 2018 Camp Fire » In Northern California, stiff winds whipped a raging wildfire into a monster that incinerated houses and killed at least three people.

The Bear Fire also critically burned several people. And it has damaged or completely consumed hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and other buildings. 

The fire is raging in the same region devastated nearly two years ago by the deadliest fire in state history. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters…

HONEA: Our community is unfortunately becoming accustomed to this. I certainly hoped after that after the Camp Fire that I wouldn’t be back up here talking to you about a wildland fire of this magnitude. 

About 20,000 people were under evacuation orders or warnings in Butte and two other counties. 

Another California fire raging along the Oregon border killed one person and consumed at least 150 homes.

Numerous wildfires are also burning in Oregon and Washington state.

Fire breaks out at Beirut port » Meantime in Beirut, smoke billowed in Lebanon’s capital again on Thursday a little more than a month after a historic explosion at the port. 

AUDIO: [SOUND OF SIREN]

Firefighters and ambulances rushed to the scene, and army helicopters helped fight the blaze. 

The Lebanese army said the fire erupted at a warehouse storing oil and tires in the duty-free zone, but the cause remained unclear. The city is still reeling after nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded on Aug. 4th, killing nearly 200 people and wounding thousands.


(Will Lester/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP) A firefighter puts out a hot spot along Highway 38 northwest of Forrest Falls, Calif., as the El Dorado Fire continues to burn Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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