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US agrees with Canada, Mexico to extend border restrictions into September amid coronavirus


Adam Shaw

The U.S. has agreed with Canada and Mexico to extend land border restrictions on non-essential travel into September amid continued fears about the coronavirus pandemic.


“We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Friday. “Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through September 21.”


The U.S. announced in March that it had agreed with its two neighbors to close its land borders to the north and south to all but essential travel as part of a broad range of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The agreement has been extended a number of times and was due to expire on Aug. 21.

“We already told the United States that we’re of the idea that it’s extended because of what we have along the strip on their side,” Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday, referring to a rise in cases near the U.S. border.

Essential cross-border workers such as health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still allowed to cross along the border. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S.

Americans who are returning to the U.S. are exempted from the closure at the U.S.-Canada border.


It is one of a number of travel-related restrictions that countries have taken in order to curb the spread of the virus. In the U.S., President Trump barred nationals from China, Iran, Brazil, the European Union and the U.K. from coming into the U.S.

The administration has also taken further action on illegal immigration and asylum-seekers, taking measures to quickly return them back to their home countries with minimal, if any, time in detention.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park to close ahead of planned pro-Confederacy rally


By Tal Axelrod

August 14, 2020 – 11:03 PM EDT

Getty Images By Tal Axelrod

Stone Mountain Park in Georgia will close Saturday ahead of a rally planned in defense of one of the nation’s largest Confederate monuments.

The City of Stone Mountain said in a statement Friday that it was closing the park in anticipation of at least two groups of counter-protesters converging at the site.

“Please know the City’s local law enforcement agency is managing the situation and has devised a plan for the protection of life and property,” the city said. “Resources are in place to respond to any disruption in peace during the event. Every effort is being made to ensure that any demonstrations conducted within the City’s limits are performed peacefully without incident.” 

Far-right protesters have announced plans to rally in front of the monument, a group that reportedly includes white supremacists and anti-government militia members.

Stone Mountain Park has been the focus of a flood of criticism in recent years over its massive depiction of Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Jefferson Davis, some of the Confederacy’s chief figures, on horseback with hats over their hearts. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has dubbed the monument “the Mount Rushmore of the Confederacy, only bigger.” 

Scrutiny over the park has been renewed amid the national conversation over systemic racism following the May police killing of George Floyd, with demonstrators across the country calling for the removal of monuments of Confederate figures and others with racist histories.


Swalwell calls for creation of presidential crimes commission to investigate Trump when he leaves office


August 14, 2020 – 08:35 PM EDT

Loading videohttps://content.jwplatform.com/players/0AVwhqSV-PeOwS3mh.html?isAMP=true By Brooke Seipel

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on Friday suggested that officials create a presidential crimes commission after President Trump leaves office to investigate his actions while serving as commander in chief.

“I don’t say this lightly: when we escape this Trump hell, America needs a Presidential Crimes Commission. It should be made up of independent prosecutors who look at those who enabled a corrupt president. Example 1: Sabotaging the mail to win an election. #SaveThePostOffice,” Swalwell tweeted. https://d-2806666393530104039.ampproject.net/2007302351001/frame.html

Swalwell’s tweet follows the United States Postal Service (USPS) announcing that 46 states are at risk of citizens not having their vote-by-mail ballot arrive in time to be counted in the November election as the agency faces delayed delivery, policy changes and a funding emergency during the coronavirus pandemic. 

As people worry about the health risks posed by voting in person during the pandemic, switching to mail-in-voting and initiatives by states to make it widespread has been a subject of debate. But Trump has cast doubt on the security of vote-by-mail, and has alleged without evidence that it will lead to election fraud. 

Trump’s opposition drew fierce criticism this week, especially from Democrats, when he said he did not want USPS funding in a coronavirus relief deal because it could fund vote-by-mail efforts. 

On Friday, however, Trump appeared to reverse and said he would approve USPS funding in a coronavirus bill if Democrats make other concessions. 

Swalwell has been a vocal critic of Trump and was a key player during the House’s impeachment inquiry into the president. 


Fauci says there is ‘no reason’ Americans can’t vote in person in November




By Brooke Singman | Fox News

Published August 14, 2020

Infectious disease expert says it’ll be safe to cast ballots in person if voters follow social distancing guidelines

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week there is “no reason” Americans can’t vote in person for the 2020 presidential election, so long as voters follow proper social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think if carefully done, according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case,” Fauci told ABC News this week. “If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing, and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why shouldn’t be able to do that.”


Fauci added that individuals who are “compromised physically or otherwise” and who are not interested in physically going to the polls on Election Day, can use mail-in voting.

But Fauci doubled-down, saying “there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to vote in person or otherwise.”

Fauci, in April, during the early stages of the pandemic, said he could not “guarantee” that it would be safe to physically vote.

“I hope so,” Fauci told CNN in April. “I can’t guarantee it.”

Fauci’s comments come amid the mail-in voting battle — with President Trump and Republicans for months warning that the practice would cause widespread voter fraud, and with Democrats saying the practice is a secure way to cast ballots.

The president and the Republican National Committee have filed lawsuits in several states to hit back against efforts by Democrats to overhaul voting laws in response to the pandemic.

Trump, during an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo this week, slammed universal mail-in voting, warning of “the greatest fraud in history.”


The president went on to say that “there is nothing wrong with getting out and voting” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“They voted in World War I and in World War II,” Trump said. “They should have voter ID because Democrats scammed the system.”

But Biden campaign Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates on Thursday called the practice safe.

“The President of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon,” said Bates, referring to the U.S. Postal Service, “cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years — a crisis so devastatingly worsened by his own failed leadership that we are now the hardest-hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Even Donald Trump’s own campaign has endorsed voting by mail and his own administration has conclusively refuted his wild-eyed conspiracy theories about the most secure form of voting,” Bates continued.

He added: “This is an assault on our democracy and economy by a desperate man who’s terrified that the American people will force him to confront what he’s done everything in his power to escape for months — responsibility for his own actions.”

Democrats, have been pushing back against the claims by Trump and the GOP for months, say that cases of actual voter fraud are limited and claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout to improve their chances of winning elections.