The Rundown for September 18, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 6,674,411 and the nation’s death toll stands at 197,633, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Trump administration in April scrapped a U.S. Postal Service plan to distribute 650 million masks, enough for five per American household. USPS leaders had even drafted a press release but the White House cancelled the effort. Instead, the Department of Health and Human Services distributed 650 million reusable cotton masks to critical industries, healthcare facilities, schools and community organizations.

CHAD WOLF DEFIES SUBPOENA… Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf defied a House Homeland Security Committee subpoena yesterday and didn’t appear at a House hearing on threats to the U.S. homeland. Instead, Wolf attended a meeting with Senate Homeland Security Committee staff regarding his nomination to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The committee subpoenaed Wolf last week amid whistleblower allegations that he urged department officials to alter intelligence.

SECRET SERVICE COSTLY… President Trump’s private hotels have charged the Secret Service $1.1 million, including $188,000 accrued during the pandemic, since Trump has been in office, according to a Washington Post report. These costs largely cover housing agents as they follow the president and his family wherever they go. This spring, Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, club billed the Secret Service $21,800 for 29 nights while the club was closed to guests due to the coronavirus. Trump didn’t visit the club during this time but his daughter, Ivanka, visited in April for Passover. Some Secret Service rentals have lasted for months, with one former administration official saying the agency would rent for half a year just in case the president decided to go somewhere with little notice. The Secret Service paid rent for at least 200 days at Bedminster in which the president wasn’t there.

PARNAS, CORREIA CHARGED… Lev Parnas and David Correia, former associates of Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have been charged with conspiring to defraud investors via an insurance company titled “Fraud Guarantee.” The two, who were at the heart of President Trump’s impeachment scandal, allegedly misrepresented themselves to financial partners and embezzled the money invested in Fraud Guarantee for their own personal use and for political donations. Prosecutors say they duped investors out of more than $2 million between 2012 and 2019.

PENCE STAFFER TO VOTE BIDEN… Vice President Mike Pence’s former homeland security and counterrorismm adviser has vowed to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden after her experience working in the Trump administration. Olivia Troye, a lifetime Republican who who advised Pence for two years before leaving his COVID-19 task force last month, says Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic showed a “flat out disregard for human life” since he concerns himself only with the economy and re-election. Troye sympathized with Pence, saying he was in “an impossible situation with the president.”

FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS USPS CHANGES… A federal judge yesterday blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide and threatened mail-in voting. Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima, Washington, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the changes, calling them “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election. A coalition of 14 state attorneys general sued USPS last month, claiming that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy broke the law when he implemented policy changes that disrupted mail delivery across the country.

TRUMP SEEKS ‘PATRIOTIC’ EDUCATION… President Trump announced plans yesterday to create a commission to promote “patriotic education” and develop a “pro-American curriculum.” The move was immediately derided as politically motivated since the federal government has no jurisdiction over school curriculum. In making the announcement, Trump complained about the “twisted web of lies” being taught in U.S. classrooms about systemic racism in America, calling it “a form of child abuse.”

FBI DIRECTOR SAYS RUSSIA IS INTERFERING… FBI Director Christopher Wray warned members of the House Homeland Security Committee yesterday that Russia is actively interfering in the upcoming U.S. presidential election by spreading misinformation about Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Wray described Russian efforts as a “steady drumbeat of misinformation.” Wray said the FBI found similarities in Russian behavior against the backdrop of the 2016 election. President Trump and Russia deny that Moscow’s involvement affected the outcome in 2016.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘CHEER’ STAR ARRESTED
… Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris, who stars in the Netflix reality show “Cheer,” was arrested yesterday on allegations he asked for and received sexually explicit photos and videos of a minor. The 21-year-old Harris faces a single count of producing child pornography. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois said Harris admitted to asking a 13-year-old boy to send him nude images between December 2018 and March 2020. Investigators were tipped off to the alleged crimes after the mother of the minor said she found the explicit photos on her child’s cellphone and confronted him about it. She said her son’s Snapchat account also contained explicit photos and videos of Harris.

KATEY SAGAL LANDS ABC DRAMA… Katey Sagal has signed on to star in a new ABC drama loosely based on the life of activist Erin Brockovich. The network announced yesterday that it has ordered “Rebel” straight to series for 2021. The show follows Annie “Rebel” Bello, a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. The ensemble cast will also include John Corbett, James Lesure, Lex Scott Davis, Tamala Jones, Ariela Barer, Kevin Zegers, Sam Palladio and Andy Garcia.

SPORTS
MLB SCORES

Tampa Bay 3 – BALTIMORE 1
… The Rays came up with two runs in the top of the inning and held off the Orioles in the doubleheader opener. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s infield grounder scored Randy Arozarena with the tie-breaking run.

Tampa Bay 10 – BALTIMORE 6… The Rays slugged their way past the Orioles to sweep the twinbill and clinch an American League playoff spot. Willy Adams blasted a three-run homer. Joey Wendle homered with a runner aboard. Hunter Renfroe also went deep.

Boston 5 – MIAMI 3… Rafael Devers’ three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning proved to be decisive in the Red Sox’ win over the Marlins. Kevin Plawecki singled home Tampa Bay’s first two runs. Nathan Eovaldi (3-2) pitched two-hit ball over five shutout innings.

CHI. WHITE SOX 4 – Minnesota 3… The White Sox fought their way past the Twins to clinch an AL playoff spot. Eloy Jimenez doubled home Yolmer Sanchez with the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Edwin Encarnacion smacked a solo homer.

San Francisco 6 – SEATTLE 4… The Giants overcame a 4-1 sixth-inning deficit to get past the Mariners. Wilmer Flores cracked a go-ahead two-run double in the top of the seventh inning. Darin Ruf homered with the bases empty.

L.A. ANGELS 7 – Arizona 3… Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer and Mike Trout knocked in two runs as the Angels topped the Diamondbacks. David Fletcher had three hits and scored a run.

N.Y. Mets 10 – PHILADELPHIA 6… Brandon Nimmo legged out a two-run triple and his solo homer sparked a four-run top of the ninth inning as the Mets defeated the Phillies. New York also got homers from Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso.

PITTSBURGH 5 – St. Louis 1… Pirates starter Steven Brault (1-3) limited the Cardinals to a run on two hits in his first career complete game. Gregory Polanco belted a three-run homer.

N.Y. YANKEES 10 – Toronto 7… Brett Gardner and DJ LeMahieu homered on consecutive pitches in the first inning and the Yankees put the game away with a seven-run bottom of the fourth inning. Luke Voit, Giancarlo Stanton, Greyber Torres and Gary Sanchez also went deep.

Cleveland 10 – DETROIT 3… Jose Ramirez went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and four RBIs in leading the Indians past the Tigers. Cleveland starter Shane Bieber (8-1) took a shutout into the eighth inning.

HOUSTON 2 – Texas 1… Kyle Tucker’s two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning provided all the offense the Astros needed in edging the Rangers. Framber Valdez held Texas to a run on four hits over 6-1/3 innings and struck out 11.

L.A. Dodgers 9 – COLORADO 3… Corey Seager homered with the bases empty and doubled home a run as the Dodgers cruised past the Rockies. Will Smith delivered a two-run double.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
St. Louis (Carlos Martinez, 0-2; Daniel Ponce de Leon, 0-3) is at Pittsburgh (Trevor Williams, 1-7; Chad Kuhl, 1-2) for a doubleheader…
Toronto (Robbie Ray, 2-4; Ross Stripling, 3-3) hosts Philadelphia (TBD, TBD) for a doubleheader…
Washington (TBD, TBD) is at Miami (TBD, TBD) for a doubleheader…
Detroit (Michael Fulmer, 0-2) hosts Cleveland (Zach Plesac, 3-2)…
Atlanta (Max Fried, 6-0) is at the N.Y. Mets (Steven Matz, 0-4)…
Cincinnati (TBD) hosts the Chi. White Sox (Jonathan Steiver, 0-0)…
the N.Y. Yankees (TBD) are at Boston (Martin Perez 3-4)…
Baltimore (Alex Cobb, 1-4) hosts Tampa Bay (Tyler Glasnow, 3-1)…
Arizona (Zac Gallen, 1-2) is at Houston (Zack Greinke, 3-2)…
Colorado (Ryan Castellani, 1-2) hosts the L.A. Dodgers (TBD)…
Kansas City (Danny Duffy, 3-3) is at Milwaukee (Adrian Houser, 1-5)…
the Chi. Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, 5-4) host Minnesota (Rich Hill, 2-1)…
Texas (Wes Benjamin, 1-0) is at the L.A. Angels (Jaime Barria, 0-0)
Seattle (Yusei Kikuchi, 2-3) hosts San Diego (Chris Paddack, 3-4)…
San Francisco (Logan Webb, 2-3) is at Oakland (Chris Bassit, 4-2)

NBA PLAYOFF SCORE (in Orlando)…
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Miami 106 – Boston 101
… The Heat bombed the Celtics 37-17 in the third quarter to erase a 13-point halftime lead and held on to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Goran Dragic scored 25 points to lead all scorers. Bam Adebayo led the third-quarter surge and finished with 21 points. Game 3 is tomorrow.

TODAY’S NBA PLAYOFF SCHEDULE (in Orlando)…
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

the L.A. Lakers vs. Denver in Game 1

NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCORE
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
(in Toronto)
Tampa Bay 2 – N.Y. Islanders 1 (OT)… Anthony Cirelli found the net with 6:42 left in overtime and the Lightning eliminated the Islanders in six games and advance to take on Dallas in the Stanley Cup Finals beginning tomorrow. Victor Hedman scored a tying goal in the first period. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves.

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