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Wake Up To Politics - September 15, 2020

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Election Day is 49 days away. The first presidential debate is 14 days away. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

Trump Administration

President Donald Trump will host leaders from Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates at the White House today to sign a historic peace accord between the three nations. After negotiations brokered by Trump and his aides, Bahrain and the UAE will become the third and fourth Arab nations to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in the state’s history.

The deal further isolates the Palestinians within the Middle East, and constitutes a major victory for Trump ahead of the 2020 election. After successfully pushing both Bahrain and the UAE to normalize ties with Israel, Trump has emphasized his peacemaking credentials on the campaign trail, especially after receiving a pair of Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

This will be the first signing of a peace agreement between Israel and an Arab state since 1994, when Bill Clinton brokered a deal between the leaders of Israel and Jordan. The details of the accords being signed today have yet to be publicly released, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had suspended a plan to annex parts of the West Bank as part of the negotiations with the UAE.

More Trump Administration news:

  • The Hill:A Maryland judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing new asylum restrictions challenged by 20 state attorneys general and ruled that acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Chad Wolf is likely serving in his role unlawfully.”

Campaign 2020

Climate change was the driving issue on the campaign trail Monday, as both President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden addressed the wildfires raging throughout the West. Trump traveled to California to survey damage from the fires and receive a briefing from state officials. But he bucked against expert opinion when he denied the impact of climate change on extreme natural disasters.

As California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot presented about rising temperatures in the state, Trump interjected: “It will start getting cooler, you just watch,” he claimed. Crowfoot responded that science disagrees with him. “I don’t think science knows,” the president shot back.

Meanwhile, in Delaware, Biden spoke about the fires too but said that the “undeniable, accelerating, punishing reality” of climate change was a driving factor behind them. He also laid the blame squarely at Trump’s feet, calling him a “climate arsonist” who had mishandled the wildfires and other disaster events.

More campaign news:

  • Fox News: “The Trump campaign is set to release a mid-eight-figure ad buy Tuesday touting the economy during President Trump's first term after a recent emphasis on ‘law and order’ messaging, saying the economy is the ‘defining issue’ of the 2020 presidential race.”
  • Washington Post: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is privately expressing concerns about Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, and is urging Biden’s team to intensify its focus on pocketbook issues and appeals to liberal voters.”


A top political appointee at the Cabinet department overseeing coronavirus response leveled a series of false claims and conspiracy theories against career government scientists. Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign aide turned Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, made the comments in a Facebook Live event on his personal page, which was first reported by the New York Times on Monday.

During the livestream, Caputo accused CDC scientists of engaging in “sedition” and harboring a “resistance unit” to undermine the Trump presidency. He also urged supporters of the president to prepare for an armed insurrection from left-wing activists. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he told his followers.

Caputo has already had a rocky tenure at HHS; Politico reported last week that he and his deputy have made controversial changes to CDC reports to make them more amenable to President Trump’s messaging. House Democrats launched an investigation on Monday into Caputo’s actions.

More coronavirus news:

  • New York Times: “Case numbers surged in the Northeast this spring. They spiked early this summer in the South and the West. And now, even as parts of the country experience rapid improvement, reports of new infections have soared in the Midwest.”

One More Thing

Could there be life on Venus? “Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of neighboring Venus: hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet,” the Associated Press reports.

“Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile spotted in the thick Venusian clouds the chemical signature of phosphine, a noxious gas that on Earth is only associated with life, according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature Astronomy.”


All times Eastern.

President Donald Trump will participate in the “Abraham Accords” signing ceremony at 12 p.m., formalizing the peace agreements between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Later, the president will participate in a working lunch at 12:45 p.m. with the three leaders on hand: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani of Bahrain, and Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates.

The president will then travel to Philadelphia. He will participate in an ABC News town hall, which will be anchored by George Stephanopolous and feature questions from undecided voters, at the National Constitution Center at 5:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Zanesville, Ohio. He will host a “Workers for Trump” campaign event at the Muskingum County Fairgrounds at 11 a.m.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. The chamber will consider four district judge nominations: Mark Scarsi (Central District of California), Stanley Blumenfeld (Central District of California), John Holcomb (Central District of California), and Todd Wallace Robinson (Southern District of California).

The Senate will vote to confirm Scarsi at 10:30 a.m., Blumenfeld at 2:15 p.m., and Holcomb at 5:15 p.m. Senators will also meet for their weekly caucus meetings from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The House will convene at 9 a.m. and consider H.R. 2639, the Strength in Diversity Act of 2020.

The Supreme Court is on summer recess.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will travel to Florida. He will hold a roundtable with veterans in Tampa at 1:30 p.m. and a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee at 6:30 p.m.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will meet with emergency service personnel for an assessment of the wildfires in Fresno, California, and travel to Las Vegas to attend a community conversation on the impact of COVID-19 on working families in the Latino community.

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