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.

The Rundown for August 13, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 5,197,000 and the nation’s death toll stands at 166,026, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… President Trump continued his push for the re-opening of schools yesterday with a call for additional funding, including additional money for schools that reopen in-person. Trump wants Congress to appropriate another $105 billion for schools while maintaining that schools that choose to open with online instruction only should not receive federal funding. Later in the day, Trump outlined eight recommendations for in-person school re-openings including advising schools to encourage frequent hand washing or sanitizing, maintain “high standards” of hygiene and ventilation, minimize large indoor gatherings, social distance around high-risk individuals, encourage the use of masks when social distancing is not possible, and liberally post instructions about hygiene and social distancing.

BIDEN, HARRIS MAKE JOINT APPEARANCE… Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris criticized the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday in their first joint appearance since Biden selected Harris as his running mate. Biden pledged to deliver a “comprehensive” virus response if elected. Harris noted that the U.S. leads the world with more than 5 million cases and more than 165,000 deaths as a result of Trump’s “failure to take it seriously from the start.”

DEMS SEEK REVERSAL OF USPS CHANGES… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 174 other Democrats in the chamber signed a letter yesterday demanding that new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reverse recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service that they claim would “disenfranchise voters” on November 3. DeJoy recently installed a series of cost-cutting measures that could disrupt mail delivery, including absentee and mail-in ballots, ahead of Election Day. The 63-year-old DeJoy was named Postmaster Master in June after having been a Trump donor and Republican fundraiser who owned a North Carolina supply-chain.

FEDERAL DEFICIT REACHES RECORD HIGHT… The federal deficit reached $2.8 trillion for the fiscal year 2020 yesterday, according to a Treasury Department report. The total follows a $63 billion deficit in July and a $864 billion deficit in June amid federal spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay of the federal tax deadline has contributed to the deficit discrepancies, as taxes the government should have received in April was pushed back to July.

DERECHO DESTROYS CROPS… Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said yesterday that the powerful derecho storm that tore through the Midwest earlier this week also destroyed more than 10 million acres of crops in her state. The destruction included 43 percent of the state’s corn and soybean yields. Some 300,000 Iowans remain without power and the storm has been blamed for the deaths of two people.

ENTERTAINMENT
SUMNER REDSTONE DIES
… Media mogul Sumner Redstone, whose holdings included Viacom, CBS, Paramount Pictures, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and Showtime, died at his Los Angeles home on Tuesday, his family confirmed yesterday. He was 97. Redstone’s entry to the entertainment business came through his father’s drive-in theater business and he became a major Hollywood power player in the mid-1980s. He was forced to step down as chairman of CBS and Viacom in early February 2016 amid pressure from shareholders and activists who questioned his mental capacity. Redstone’s legacy was tarnished in his later years amid corporate battles involving his family members and sordid allegations by former girlfriends.

R. KELLY ASSOCIATES CHARGED WITH WITNESS INTIMIDATION… Federal prosecutors have charged three associates of R. Kelly have been charged with intimidating or harassing women who claim the R&B singer sexually abused them. Kelly is in jail awaiting multiple trials in various cities on sexual-abuse charges. Prosecutors say a longtime friend of Kelly’s offered to pay a victim $500,000 to keep her from cooperating in Kelly’s prosecution and a manager and adviser of Kelly’s threatened to release sexually explicit photographs of a woman who sued the indicted singer. According to the indictment, 37-year-old Michael Williams of Valdosta, Georgia, traveled to Florida in June and set fire to an SUV parked outside a residence where one of Kelly’s victims was staying.

SPORTS
MLB SCORES
Chi. White Sox 7 – DETROIT 5
… Luis Robert gave the White Sox the lead for good with a bases-clearing double in the top of the fifth inning. Tim Anderson went 4-for-5 with a homer to lead off the game. Eloy Jimenez also went deep.

Arizona 13 – COLORADO 7… The Diamondbacks erupted to score eight runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 5-5 tie and put away the Rockies. Starling Marte had three hits, including a homer, and four RBIs. David Peralta knocked in three runs.

Oakland 8 – L.A. ANGELS 4… Robbie Grossman homered with a runner aboard and Matt Olson smacked a solo shot as the Athletics doubled up on the Angels. Ramon Laureano stroked a two-run single.

Chi. Cubs 7 – CLEVELAND 2… The Cubs downed the Indians to run their record to 12-3 in their best start since 1970. David Bote singled home two runs. Jason Heyward also knocked in two runs. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo smacked solo homers. Kyle Hendricks (3-1) allowed a run on seven hits over six innings.

Miami 14 – TORONTO 11 (10 innings)… The Marlins put away the Blue Jays after blowing an early 8-0 lead. Magneuris Sierra delivered a tie-breaking two run single in the top of the 10th inning and came around to score on Jesus Aguilar’s single. Brian Anderson belted a three-run homer in the first. Toronto piled up 18 hits and seven homers in the loss.

Kansas City 5 – CINCINNATI 4… The Royals took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning and held on to edge the Reds. Salvador Perez went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and three RBIs.

N.Y. YANKEES 6 – Atlanta 3… Clint Frazier went 3-for-4 with a bases-empty homer as the Yankees doubled up on the Braves to take both games of the series.

Baltimore 5 – PHILADELPHIA 4… The Orioles got home runs from Anthony Santander, and Chance Sisco in powering their way past the Phillies. Sisco also singled home two runs.

N.Y. METS 11 – Washington 6… The Mets scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning to erase a 3-0 deficit and broke the game open with a five-run sixth. Pete Alonso doubled home a run and homered with a runner aboard. Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith also went deep.

HOUSTON 5 – San Francisco 1… Martin Maldonado’s three-run homer capped a four-run bottom of the sixth inning that carried the Astros past the Giants. Zack Greinke limited San Francisco to a run on seven hits over 6-1/3 innings.

Minnesota 12 – MILWAUKEE 2… The Twins pounded out 15 hits in their thrashing of the Brewers. Byron Buxton drilled a pair of solo homers. Miguel Sano also went deep. Kenta Maeda (3-0) took a shutout into the sixth inning.

Tampa Bay 9 – BOSTON 5… Brandon Lowe and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo hit two-run homers, Willy Adames and Austin Meadows added solo shots, and the Rays downed the Red Sox for their fifth straight win. Blake Snell (1-0) pitched four-hit ball over five shutout innings.

TEXAS 7 – Seattle 4… The Rangers came from four runs down in the sixth inning to upend the Mariners. Todd Frazier ran home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning. Willie Calhoun had a couple of hits and knocked in three runs.

L.A. DODGERS 6 – San Diego 0… Tony Gonsolin and five relievers combined on a six-hitter as the Dodgers blanked the Rangers. Justin Turner connected for a three-run homer.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
Washington (Austin Voth, 0-0) is at the N.Y. Mets (David Peterson, 2-1)…
Philadelphia (Jake Arrieta, 1-1) hosts Baltimore (Tyler Eshelman, 0-0)…
Tampa Bay (Tyler Gasnow, 0-0) is at Boston (Kyle Hart, 0-0)…
Cincinnati (Anthony DeSclafani, 0-0) hosts Pittsburgh (Trevor Williams, 0-0)…
Milwaukee (Brett Anderson, 0-0) is at the Chi. Cubs (Yu Darvish, 2-1)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Julio Urias, 0-0) host San Diego (Chris Paddack, 2-1)

NBA SCORES
Indiana 108 – Houston 104
… The Pacers held off the Rockets despite resting starters Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren. Myles Turner led a balanced scoring attack with 18 points. James Harden’s 45 points and 17 rebounds weren’t enough for Houston.

Toronto 125 – Philadelphia 121… Kyle Lowry and Chris Boucher scored 19 points apiece to lead a balanced scoring attack and the Raptors topped the 76ers. Stanley Johnson scored a go-ahead bucket with 4.9 seconds left.

Oklahoma City 116 – Miami 115… The Thunder rallied from a 22-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge the Heat. Mike Muscala knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left.

L.A. Clippers 124 – Denver 111… The Clippers rallied past the Nuggets in the second half to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They got 27 points from Paul George and 26 from Kawhi Leonard. Denver holds the conference’s third seed.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE IN ORLANDO
Washington vs. Boston…
the L.A. Lakers vs. Sacramento…
Dallas vs. Phoenix…
Memphis vs. Milwaukee…
San Antonio vs. Utah…
Portland vs. Brooklyn…
New Orleans vs. Orlando

NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS FIRST-ROUND OPENER SCORES
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Boston 4 – Carolina 3
(2OT)… Patrice Bergeron found the net at 1:13 of the second overtime to lift the Bruins over the Hurricanes. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist. Brad Marchand assisted on two goals. Game 2 is today.

N.Y Islanders 4 – Washington 2… The Islanders came from two goals down to upend the Capitals. Josh Bailey scored a shorthanded goal 6:52 into the third period. Game 2 is tomorrow.

Philadelphia 2 – Montreal 1… Joel Farabee’s second-period goal proved to be the difference as the Flyers held off the Canadiens. Goalie Carter Hart made 27 saves. Game 2 is tomorrow.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Colorado 3 – Arizona 0
… Darcy Kuemper stopped all 37 shots at goal and the Avalanche blanked the Coyotes. Game 2 is tomorrow.

Vancouver 5 – St. Louis 2… Bo Horvat found the net twice as the Canucks skated past the Blues. Goalie Jacob Markstrom turned away 29 shots. Game 2 is tomorrow.

TODAY’S NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS FIRST-ROUND SCHEDULE
EASTERN CONFERENCE

Tampa Bay vs. Columbus in Game 2 with the Lightning leading 1-0…
Boston vs. Carolina for Game 2 with the Bruins leading 1-0….

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Vegas vs. Chicago for Game 2 with the Golden Knights leading 1-0…
Dallas vs. Calgary for Game 2 with the Flames leading 2-0