Monday morning news – September 21, 2020

Trump to announce nominee, two GOP senators say he should wait » President Trump told supporters over the weekend that he will soon announce his pick to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

TRUMP: I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman. 

Two women are believed to be the top candidates. The first is 48-year-old Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. She is a former clerk to the late high court Justice Antonin Scalia. The other is Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.

However, two Republican senators say they oppose filling the vacant Supreme Court seat before voters have had their say. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins of Maine—both say the winner of the November 3rd election should name Ginsburg’s replacement. 

It would take four GOP defections, though, to block a Senate confirmation. And that assumes no Democrats side with Republicans. 

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that the Democrats in her chamber may try to block Trump from replacing Ginsburg. She told ABC’s This Week

PELOSI: Well, we have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now. 

When asked if the House would consider impeaching President Trump a second time in an effort to stop the Senate from confirming a new justice, Pelosi said she wouldn’t rule anything out. 

The House has no formal say in presidential nominations. That’s a role the Constitution assigns to the Senate.

Bobcat Fire doubles in size northeast of Los Angeles » Wildfires continue to burn along the West Coast. In Southern California over the weekend, wind-driven flames incinerated homes, and destroyed a nature center in a famed wildlife sanctuary.

Fires have consumed more than 150 square miles in the San Gabriel mountains northeast of Los Angeles. The Bobcat Fire started Sept. 6th and has already doubled in size over the last week—becoming one of the biggest wildfires ever in LA County.

Meantime, 200 miles to the north, Cal Fire Captain Leithan Dryden watched helplessly as flames consumed his own house—just 17 days after moving into it.

DRYDEN: In doing what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years, I’ve been in the fire service, and it’s hard to be able to watch your own home burn, let alone other people’s homes burn and their possessions. But it really hits home when it’s your own house. 

But there is some good news in the Pacific Northwest, where rain over the past couple days has helped firefighters battling 29 blazes across Oregon and Washington.

Tropical Storm Beta heads for Texas coast » Yet another storm is heading for the Gulf Coast. 

Tropical Storm Beta is expected to officially make landfall along the Texas coast late tonight or tomorrow morning. 

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry told reporters Sunday that the storm primarily threatens those who live right along the coast. 

HENRY: The coastal surge, combined with the freshwater rain, combined with the inability for those waters to recede are our greatest concerns. 

But Henry said the good news right now is that officials do not see Beta as a life-threatening storm. 

While it could bring up to 20 inches of rain to some areas of Texas and Louisiana over several days —it’s no longer expected to reach hurricane strength. 

And Beta is not expected to cause catastrophic flooding. Hurricane Harvey, by comparison, dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston in 2017.

Trump approves TikTok partnership with Oracle, Walmart » President Trump has given his blessing to a proposed deal to keep the popular video-sharing app TikTok up and running in the United States.

The Trump administration had flagged TikTok as a national security risk over fears the app’s Chinese owner could be passing users’ personal information to the Chinese government. 

The administration threatened to ban the app as of yesterday. But the president over the weekend gave his blessing to a new partnership between TikTok and U.S. tech giant Oracle, as well as Walmart. Together they would form a new company. 

TRUMP: They’ll be hiring at least 25,000 people. It will most likely be incorporated in Texas. It will be a brand new company. 

The deal would make Oracle responsible for hosting all TikTok’s U.S. user data and securing computer systems. Walmart said it will provide its e-commerce, fulfillment, payments and other services to the new company.

TikTok said Oracle and Walmart could acquire up to a cumulative 20 percent stake in the new company before an initial public offering of stock.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) A San Bernardino County Fire Department member keeps an eye on a flareup from the Bobcat Fire on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Valyermo, Calif. 

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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