Tuesday morning news – September 22, 2020

McConnell: Plenty of time to confirm justice by Election Day » Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that there is more than enough time to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice before Election Day. 

MCCONNELL: History and precedent make that perfectly clear. 

The November 3rd election is 42 days away. McConnell noted that the Senate took just 33 days to confirm Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and only 19 days to confirm Justice John Paul Stevens.   

But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said given that Senate Republicans waited till after the 2016 election to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia…

SCHUMER: By every modicum of decency and honor, Leader McConnell and the Republican Senate Majority have no right to fill it. 

President Trump said Monday that he’ll announce his choice after the memorial service for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg at the end of this week. And over the weekend, he said his pick will be a woman. 

Speculation surrounding a nominee has centered on two federal judges, Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa. But Trump said he’s currently considering five candidates. 

U.S. hits Iran with new sanctions » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced new US sanctions against Iran. 

POMPEO: The president’s executive order announced today gives us a new and powerful tool to enforce the UN arms embargo and hold those who seek to evade UN sanctions accountable. 

That after the Trump administration over the weekend unilaterally declared that all UN penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal are back in place.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien explained that when the United States entered into the nuclear deal…

O’BRIEN: The Obama administration told the American people that the United States would always have the right to restore UN sanctions on Iran, even without the approval of other nations. That provision was key for obtaining the United States’ approval for the JCPOA. 

JCPOA is short for Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal title of the nuclear deal. 

A UN arms embargo on Iran will expire in October under the terms of the nuclear deal, but Pompeo and others insist the snapback of sanctions keeps that embargo in place.

On Monday, Pompeo announced the administration was hitting more than two dozen Iranian individuals and institutions with penalties. He also announced new sanctions against Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro regime. 

CDC retracts new coronavirus guidance » The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it made a mistake when it published new coronavirus guidance suggesting that 6 feet of social distance may not be enough indoors. WORLD’s Paul Butler reports. 

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: On Friday, the CDC posted the following statement on its website: It said “There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”

That raised concerns that restaurant dining, school classrooms, and other indoor settings where people may remove face coverings may not be safe. 

But on Monday, the agency said “a draft version of proposed changes” to its COVID-19 guidance “was posted in error.” 

It added that the “CDC is currently updating its recommendations” and will update the language once the process is complete. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler. 

DOJ announces $100M more to combat human trafficking » Attorney General William Barr Monday announced $100 million in federal grants to target human trafficking. 

Barr called trafficking “one of the top enforcement priorities of the [Justice] Department” and said “we’re on the forefront of this fight.”

BARR: And these grants are going to support state, local, and tribal jurisdictions, victim service providers task forces and key research initiatives. 

He made the announcement Monday in Atlanta with presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

In August, the Trump administration awarded $35 million in grants to organizations that provide safe housing for victims of human trafficking.

DOJ threatens “anarchist” cities with funding cuts » Also on Monday, the attorney general threatened the cities of New York, Seattle, and Portland with funding cuts. He accused them of “permitting violence and destruction of property” while failing to support the police and protect their citizens. 

President Trump penned a memo earlier this month that would allow the federal government to designate the cities as “anarchist jurisdictions.” That could cost them federal grant money.

Barr noted that New York cut its police department budget by $1 billion despite a rise in shootings over the past three months. He also cited Portland’s refusal to accept federal law enforcement support during violent protests and Seattle’s failure to quickly shut down the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in June.

Navalny demains Russia return ‘crucial piece of evidence’ in his poisoning » Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is demanding that Russia return what he called “a crucial piece of evidence” in his poisoning. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story. 

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: In a blog post Monday, Navalny said the Novichok nerve agent was found “in and on” his body. He added, “I demand that my clothes be carefully packed in a plastic bag and returned to me.” He said the clothes are “very important material evidence.”

The 44-year-old politician and corruption investigator is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic. Navalny fell ill on a domestic flight to Moscow last month. He was first brought to a hospital in Siberia. He was then transferred to German hospital where he is still recovering. 

Navalny also blasted Russian authorities for not launching a criminal probe into what happened to him.

He said “There is no criminal case in Russia, there is a ‘preliminary inquiry.” It looks as if I didn’t fall into a coma on a plane, but rather tripped in a supermarket and broke my leg.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, at the U.S. State Department in Washington. 

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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