The Rundown for September 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 6,894,586 and the nation’s death toll stands at 200,724, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising against traditional trick-or-treating this year, calling it a higher risk activity. The agency is also discouraging “trunk-or-treat” events, where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots; crowded costume parties held indoors; and visiting indoor haunted houses, where people may crowd together and scream.

TOPICS CHOSEN FOR PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE… Moderator Chris Wallace has selected the topics for next Tuesday’s first 2020 presidential debate. The event will air live from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland. Wallace announced that topics will include: The Trump and Biden Records; The Supreme Court; Covid-19; The Economy; Race and Violence in our Cities; and The Integrity of the Election. Critics complained that climate change wasn’t included in the discussion.

CIA ASSESSES PUTIN BEHIND BIDEN DISINFORMATION… The Washington Post reported yesterday that a top-secret CIA assessment has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably directing” a disinformation campaign designed to damage Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The report, later confirmed by NBC News, cited two unnamed sources who reviewed the assessment. The highly classified report builds upon intelligence gathered by the FBI and the NSA. It was published internally at the end of August.

REPUBLICANS HAVE VOTE TO FILL SUPREME COURT SEAT… Republicans appear to have the votes they need to support filling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Yesterday, Utah Senator Mitt Romney and his Republican colleague from Colorado, Corey Gardner, announced they would vote to fill the seat. President Trump vowed yesterday that he will announce his nominee on Saturday.

HOUSE PASSES FUNDING BILL… The House voted 359-57 last night to pass a stopgap funding bill that keeps the government running through December 11. The legislation faces another shutdown threat in eight days if it fails in the Senate. The bill had been held up by questions about federal farm assistance until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached agreement with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Republicans.

ENTERTAINMENT
JOHN LENNON KILLER APOLOGIZES
… The man who fatally shot John Lennon 40 years ago has apologized to the late Beatle’s widow, Yoko Ono. 65—year-old Mark Chapman was convicted of shooting Lennon four times outside his New York Manhattan apartment in 1980. He was denied parole for the eleventh time following a hearing last month. Chapman said at the hearing that he killed Lennon for “glory” and was deserving of the death penalty.

FOUR SEASONS SINGER DIES… Tommy DeVito, a member of the 1960s doo-wop group Four Seasons, has died from COVID-19 complications. He was 92. DeVito, along with bandmates Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi, were best known for the song “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Their story of growing up in New Jersey, complete with drug issues and run-ins with the mafia, inspired the 2005 Broadway hit, “Jersey Boys.”

SPORTS
NBA PLAYOFFS SCORE

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Denver 114 – L.A. Lakers 106… The Nuggets built an 18-point lead after three quarters and cruised past the Lakers to pull within 2-1 in the series. Jamal Murray pumped in 28 points. Jerami Grant added 26 points. Nikola Jokic finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds. Game 4 is tomorrow.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Boston vs. Miami in Game 4 with the Heat leading 2-1

MLB SCORES
ATLANTA 11 – Miami 1… The Braves rolled past the Marlins to clinch their third straight NL East title. Marcell Ozuna went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and five RBIs. Freddie Freeman, Oscar Albies and Dansby Swanson also went deep.

CLEVELAND 5 – Chi. White Sox 3 (10 innings)… Jose Ramirez connected for a three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Indians outlasted the White Sox to clinch a playoff spot. Cesar Hernandez added a solo shot for Cleveland.

PITTSBURGH 3 – Chi. Cubs 2… Jacob Stallings smacked a game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Pirates sunk the Cubs. Despite the loss, Chicago clinched a playoff spot after Philadelphia dropped both games of a doubleheader.

WASHINGTON 5 – Philadelphia 1… Austin Voth (1-5) allowed just a run on three hits in going the distance and the Nationals took the opener of the doubleheader. Brock Holt doubled home two runs during a four-run bottom of the third inning.

WASHINGTON 8 – Philadelphia 7… Yadiel Hernandez belted a walkoff two-run homer in the bottom of the eight inning to give the Nationals a sweep of the twinbill. Juan Soto cracked a three-run blast.

N.Y. Yankees 12 – TORONTO 1… The Yankees pounded out 15 hits in their pounding of the Blue Jays. Aaron Hicks tripled home a run and stroked a two-run single. Gerrit Cole (7-3) surrendered a run on five hits over seven innings.

Milwaukee 3 – CINCINNATI 2… Eric Sogard’s double in the top of the seventh inning scored Jedd Gyorko with a tie-breaking run and the Brewers made it stand in edging the Reds. Tyrone Taylor homered with the bases empty.

N.Y. METS 5 – Tampa Bay 2… The Mets got home runs from Robinson Cano, Pete Alonso and Guillermo Heredia in preventing the Rays from clinching the AL East title. Seth Lugo (3-3) gave up a run on four hits over 6-1/3 innings.

BOSTON 8 – Baltimore 3… Christian Vazquez belted a three-run homer to lead the Red Sox past the Orioles. Nick Pivetta (1-0) held Baltimore to a run on four hits over five innings.

MINNESOTA 5 – Detroit 4 (10 innings)… Max Kepler came through with a game-tying solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning and added a game-winning RBI single in the 10th to send the Twins past the Tigers. Byron Buxton and Mitch Garver also homered for Minnesota.

St. Louis 5 – KANSAS CITY 0… Cardinals starter Austin Gober (1-1) pitched four-hit ball over six innings and three relievers completed the shutout of the Royals. Dylan Carlson went 3-for-4 with a two-run double.

ARIZONA 7 – Texas 0… Caleb Smith and reliever Riley Smith combined on a six-hitter and the Diamondbacks blanked the Rangers. Carson Kelly cracked a three-run homer.

Houston 6 – SEATTLE 1… Maldonado’s three-run homer capped a five-run top of the sixth inning that carried the Astros past the Mariners. Michael Brantley sparked the uprising with a leadoff homer.

L.A. Angels 4 – SAN DIEGO 2… Angels starter Griffin Canning (2-3) limited the Padres to a run on two hits and struck out 10 over six innings. Max Stassi went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and three RBIs.

L.A. DODGERS 7 – Oakland 2… Corey Seager singled home a run and homered as the Dodgers cruised past the Athletics. Max Muncy added a two-run blast. AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor hit solo homers.

SAN FRANCISCO 5 – Colorado 2… Pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a tie-breaking homer and Brandon Belt added a pinch-hit two-run double as the Giants put away the Mariners. Austin Slater homered to lead off the first.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
the L.A. Angels (Jaime Barria, 1-0) are at San Diego (Mike Clevinger, 3-2)…
Washington (Erick Fedde, 2-3) hosts Philadelphia (Zach Eflin, 3-2)…
Texas (Wes Benjamin, 1-1) is at Arizona (Alex Young, 2-4)…
Cleveland (Shane Bieber, 8-1) hosts the Chi. White Sox (Lucas Giolito, 4-3)…
the N.Y. Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka, 3-2) are at Toronto (Robbie Ray, 2-5)…
Seattle (Nick Margevicius, 1-3) hosts Houston (Zack Greinke, 3-2)…
Milwaukee (Adrian Houser, 1-5) is at Cincinnati (Trevor Bauer, 4-4)…
Pittsburgh (Trevor Williams, 1-8) hosts the Chi. Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, 6-4)…
Tampa Bay (Tyler Glasnow, 4-1) is at the N.Y. Mets (Michael Wacha, 1-3)…
Atlanta (Max Fried, 7-0) hosts Miami (Sixto Sanchez, 3-2)…
Baltimore (Dean Kremer, 1-0) is at Boston (Nathan Eovaldi, 3-2)…
Minnesota (Kenta Maeda, 5-1) hosts Detroit (Casey Mize, 0-2)…
St. Louis (Carlos Martinez, 0-2) is at Kansas City (Danny Duffy, 3-4)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Julio Urias, 3-0) host Oakland (Sean Manaea, 4-3)…
Colorado (Ryan Castellani, 1-3) is at San Francisco (TBD)

TODAY’S NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
Tampa Bay vs. Dallas in Game 3 with the series tied 1-1

NOTRE DAME HALTS FOOTBALL… Notre Dame announced yesterday that it is pausing all football-related activities after seven players tested positive for coronavirus out of the 94 tests performed Monday. 13 Fighting Irish players now are in isolation. Saturday’s game against Wake Forest has been postponed and schools are trying to reschedule the game for October 3.

The Roundup for July 21, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 140,905 and the death toll stands at 3,829,920, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Florida’s largest teacher’s union yesterday filed a lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis and several others in his administration over their efforts to fully reopen schools. The suit filed by the Florida Education Association claims the administration is violating the state constitution in failing to make public schools “safe and secure”… A study published yesterday in the medical journal The Lancet found that a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University, its partner AstraZeneca and two other groups has produced a strong immune response in an early-stage human trial… President Trump appeared to reverse course yesterday by tweeting a photo of himself wearing a face mask and referring to mask-wearing as “patriotic.” The president had steadfastly remained mask-free for the nearly three months since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing masks in public.

TRUMP TO SEND FEDERAL AGENTS TO MORE CITIES… President Trump announced yesterday that will send federal law enforcement agents to more U.S. cities this week to quell ongoing protests targeting racism and police brutality. A federal crackdown has begun in Portland, Oregon, where unidentified agents have clashed with protesters and rounded them up in unmarked vehicles. State and local leaders in Oregon, as well as members of Congress, have called for Trump to remove the secret police forces.

SUPREME COURT DENIES DEMS IN SEARCH FOR TRUMP TAXES… The Supreme Court yesterday denied a request from congressional Democrats to issue a ruling that would expedite their efforts to obtain President Trump’s tax records. Democrats asked the High Court to finalize its ruling earlier this month that sent the case back to a lower court. The denial means the case won’t reach the lower court any sooner than August 3. Democratic lawmakers have been seeking the records since last year, when Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified that he’d manipulated the value of the president’s assets for personal gain.

DEM CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS WARN FBI ABOUT RUSSIAN INFLUENCE… Politico reported yesterday that Democratic congressional leaders are demanding a briefing on foreign efforts to target members of Congress as part of an influence campaign. In a letter they sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Democrats express concerns that an investigation led by Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson “has become a vehicle for ‘laundering’ a foreign influence campaign to damage Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, according to two people familiar with the demand.” The letter was signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner.

SUSPECTED SHOOTER AT JUDGE’S HOUSE FOUND DEAD… Authorities confirmed yesterday that the man suspected in the fatal shooting of a federal judge’s 20-year-old son and the wounding of her husband at their North Brunswick Township, New Jersey, home on Sunday afternoon has been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The suspect, Roy Den Hollander, represented himself as an “anti-feminist” and “men’s rights” attorney. Investigators say he had posted taunts and insults about U.S. District Judge Esther Salas on his website. Judge Salas was in the basement at the time of the shootings and was not injured. Her husband, 63-year-old Mark Anderl, was listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

ENTERTAINMENT
FOX NEWS PERSONALITIES NAMED IN HARASSMENT SUIT
… Two women are alleging they were sexually harassed by men they worked with on the set of Fox News. Anchors Ed Henry, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Howard Kurtz, along with contributor Gianno Caldwell, were named in a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court. Former Fox News staffer Jennifer Eckhart and one frequent on-air guest Cathy Areu claim they were harassed individually by Henry, who was fired at Fox earlier this month following a complaint about “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace.” Eckhart, who claims Henry violently raped her, is suing him and the network for violating sex trafficking laws and human rights laws and gender-motivated violence. Areu says she was harassed by the other defendants and cites violations of human rights laws and gender-motivated violence in her suit.

DENZEL WASHINGTON, JULIA ROBERTS REUNITE… Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts have signed on to star in the upcoming Netflix family drama “Leave the World Behind.” Roberts plays the mother of a family that rents a house over a long weekend gone terribly wrong. Washington portrays the home owner. The story is based on the upcoming Rumaan Alam novel. Washington and Roberts previously worked together in the 1993 legal thriller “The Pelican Brief.”

SPORTS
DR. FAUCI GETS FIRST-PITCH HONORS
… The Washington Nationals announced yesterday that Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw the first pitch when major league baseball opens its 2020 regular season on Thursday night. The Nationals host the New York Yankees in the season opener. Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a hard-rooting Nationals fan who has been wearing a face mask with the team’s logo throughout the pandemic. The team says it is honoring him as “a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career.”