The Guardian’s global coverage of the coronavirus continues now on this blog, and will take in all the latest developments in the White House and the US.
at 9.33pm EDT
From me and Joanna Walters:
- Mike Pence is expected to debate Kamala Harris tomorrow, as planned. Despite Pence being in contact with Donald Trump and others who have tested positive for Covid-19, the White House physician has given him the go-ahead to resume normal activity, contradicting CDC guidelines to quarantine for two weeks after exposure to the virus.
- Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, is the latest person in the president’s orbit to test positive for Covid-19. The immigration hardliner who has espoused white nationalist views said he will quarantine following his diagnosis. His wife Katie Miller, who is the press secretary to Mike Pence, contracted the coronavirus earlier this year.
- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a speech on the historic fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Biden expressed concern that America is so divided it’s in a “dangerous place” but not irretrievable. He also called on Americans to follow the “scientific recommendations” for how to protect themselves against coronavirus, including wearing a mask and social distancing, in his campaign speech this afternoon.
- Speaking to reporters on Tuesday evening, he said the next presidential debate should be cancelled if Donald Trump remains positive for Covid-19 by then. He will be “guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic and what the docs say is the right thing to do”, he said.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the White House is “in complete disarray” after Trump abruptly crushed talks between Democrats and Republicans on a fresh coronavirus economic relief bill. News that negotiations failed triggered an immediate stock market selloff. Pelosi accused Trump of “putting himself first at the expense of the country”.
- The White House will reportedly bow to Federal Drug Administration standards on the correct process for approving any safe and effective US vaccine against coronavirus. The FDA said it will require at least two months of safety data before considering authorizing a coronavirus vaccine, thwarting Trump’s attempts to deliver a vaccine by election day.
at 9.21pm EDT
Stephen Miller, the top Trump adviser who has tested positive for Covid-19, was among the most ardent defenders of the administration’s policy too separate children from parents.
The immigration hardliner who has publicly espoused racist and white nationalist ideas that migration and amnesty for immigrants would “decimate” the US, was a key player in the president’s decision to ratchet up zero-tolerance policies that resulted in at least 5,400 children being separated from their parents.
at 9.22pm EDT
US attorneys along the border with Mexico were told in 2018 by top Trump administration officials to prosecute undocumented immigrants who crossed the border, even if it meant separating them from their children who were barely more than infants.
A draft report summarizing a two-year inquiry into Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy reviewed by the New York Times recounts that Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general, told prosecutors in a conference call, “We need to take away children.”
Rod Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, on a later call added that it did not matter how young the children were, and said that government lawyers shouldn’t have refused to prosecute two cases involving very young kids.
From the New York Times:
The draft report also documented other revelations that had not previously been known:
- Government prosecutors reacted with alarm at the separation of children from their parents during a secret 2017 pilot program along the Mexican border in Texas. “We have now heard of us taking breastfeeding defendant moms away from their infants,” one government prosecutor wrote to his superiors. “I did not believe this until I looked at the duty log.”
- Border Patrol officers missed serious felony cases because they were stretched too thin by the zero-tolerance policy requiring them to detain and prosecute all of the misdemeanor illegal entry cases. One Texas prosecutor warned top Justice Department officials in 2018 that “sex offenders were released” as a result.
- Senior Justice Department officials viewed the welfare of the children as the responsibility of other agencies and their duty as tracking the parents. “I just don’t see that as a D.O.J. equity,” Mr. Rosenstein told the inspector general.
- The failure to inform the U.S. Marshals Service before announcing the zero-tolerance policy led to serious overcrowding and budget overruns. The marshals were forced to cut back on serving warrants in other cases, saying that “when you take away manpower, you can’t make a safe arrest.”
at 8.20pm EDT
Joe Biden said if Trump remains covid-positive by the next presidential debate, they should cancel the event.
“I’m not sure what President Trump is all about now. I don’t know what his status is. I’m looking forward to being able to debate him, but I just hope all the protocols are followed,” Biden said, speaking to journalists Hagerstown, Maryland.
But if Trump still had Covid-19, “we shouldn’t have a debate”, Biden said. “Too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem, so I will be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic and what the docs say is the right thing to do.”
So far, Biden has been testing negative for the virus, despite having interacted with Trump during the first presidential debate last Tuesday – when the president may have been infectious.
at 8.21pm EDT
Mike Pence, who is scheduled to debate Kamala Harris tomorrow, “does not need to quarantine”, per White House physician Jesse Schonau.
The CDC recommend that people who have been exposed with anyone who has the virus quarantine for at least two weeks regardless of whether they test negative. Contradicting that recommendation, Schonau said in a memo that Pence is “encouraged to go about his normal activities”.
The commission organizing the debates have allowed Pence to participate without a plexiglass barrier to contain potentially contagious droplets, but Harris and the debate moderator will be allowed to erect barriers to protect themselves.
at 8.21pm EDT
Stephen Miller tests positive for Covid-19
Stephen Miller, a top aide to Donald Trump, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Over the last 5 days I have been working remotely and self-isolating, testing negative every day through yesterday. Today, I tested positive for Covid-19 and am in quarantine,” Miller said in a statement.
More than a dozen White House officials and others in the president’s orbit have now tested positive for the virus, according to counts by multiple news organizations. Earlier this year, Miller’s wife, Katie Miller – who is Mike Pence’s press secretary – contracted the virus.
Who is in the White House Covid-19 cluster?