Racism in America is an institutional “white man’s problem visited on people of color,” Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday, arguing that the way to attack the issue is to defeat President Donald Trump and hold him responsible for deepening the nation’s racial divide.
Taking aim at incendiary racial appeals by Trump, Biden said in an interview with a small group of reporters that a president’s words can “appeal to the worst damn instincts of human nature,” just as they can move markets or take a nation into war.
Biden is leading his Democratic challengers for the presidential nomination in almost all polls, largely because of the support of black voters. He has made appealing to them central to his candidacy and vowed to make maximizing black and Latino turnout an “overwhelming focus” of his effort. The interview, more than an hour long, focused largely on racial issues.
“White folks are the reason we have institutional racism,” Biden said. “There has always been racism in America. White supremacists have always existed, they still exist.” He added later that in his administration, it would “not be tolerated.”
By highlighting the nation’s racial tensions and placing blame on Trump, Biden is showing that he, too, is willing to make race a core campaign issue, but from the opposite perspective of the president. Turnout and enthusiasm among black voters will be critical for the Democratic nominee, notably to try to reclaim states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. He also emphasized a crossover appeal to both black voters and non-college-educated white voters.
To accentuate his appeal to black voters, Biden said that he will advertise in black publications and engage with cultural institutions like the black church, black fraternities and sororities, and historically black colleges.
“The bad news is I have a long record. The good news is I have a long record,” Biden said when asked about his enduring support among black voters. “People know me — at least they think they know me. I think after all this time, I think they have a sense of what my character is, who I am.”
“I’ve never, ever, ever in my entire life been in a circumstance where I’ve ever felt uncomfortable being in the black community,” he added, suggesting that his familiarity was not matched by many of his competitors.
While he did not specify to whom he was referring, Biden said he believes there are “assertions and assumptions” made about black voters that he believes are inaccurate, and he said that “a lot of people haven’t spent much time in the community.”
Without mentioning her by name, Biden also referenced California Sen. Kamala Harris’ attack on him during the first presidential debate on the issue of busing as a solution to school desegregation.
“All I know is I don’t think anybody in the community thinks I am — what’s the phrase?” Biden asked, paraphrasing Harris’ comment that “I know you’re not a racist, Joe.”
“I don’t think anyone thinks that about me,” Biden said.
Biden was also asked whether he would select a woman or person of color as his running mate should he become the nominee. He said that while he would “preferably” do so, he is ultimately seeking a partner on the ticket who is “simpatico with what I stand for and what I want to get done.”
“Whomever I pick would be preferably someone who was of color and who was of a different gender, but I’m not making that commitment until I know that the person I’m dealing with I can completely, thoroughly trust, is authentic, and is on the same page.”
Looking ahead to the next Democratic debate in Houston in September, he said that he understands why he has a target on his back but cautioned that Democrats “shouldn’t be forming a circular firing squad and shooting” because it only helps Trump.
Trump’s reelection campaign dismissed Biden’s accusation that Trump had inflamed racial tensions in the country.
“Having moved on from the Russia Hoax, Democrats are now employing the oldest play in the Democrat playbook: falsely accusing their opponent of racism, extending it even to the President’s supporters. Calling half the country racist is not a winning strategy,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director.
Biden also said that the Democratic field would narrow and allow for more meaningful exchanges. In the current crowded field, he said it’s difficult to have any meaningful debate at all, calling it a “non-debate debate.”
Biden, who has been attacked most forcefully by Harris, said that he believed “those who made the most direct attacks on one another haven’t really benefited much by it at the end of the day.”
Financial records related to U.S. President Donald Trump and three of his children that congressional Democrats have requested from Deutsche Bank AG include tax returns, the bank disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday.
Two committees in the U.S. House of Representatives subpoenaed Deutsche Bank in April to provide financial records belonging to the president and his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.
Deutsche Bank’s filing, in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, revealed that it had tax returns that it would need to hand over if it complied with the subpoenas, which the Trumps are seeking to block. It was not clear whose tax returns it had, because names were redacted from the filing.
A lawyer for the Trumps could not immediately be reached for comment. Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
The disclosure comes as Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are seeking to obtain Trump’s personal and business tax returns, which the president has refused to turn over, from the Treasury Department.
Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Trump’s real estate business. A 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.
The subpoenas on Deutsche Bank, issued by the House Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee, seek records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump and the three named children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities, including records of possible ties to foreign entities.
Deutsche Bank said in Tuesday’s filing that it also had tax returns for people who “may constitute ‘immediate family'” as defined by the subpoenas, without giving any names.
A lawyer for the Trumps last week urged the 2nd Circuit to block the bank from handing over the records, saying Congress did not have the authority to demand them. The court has not yet ruled on the case.
The Trumps are also seeking to block a separate subpoena served by the Financial Services Committee on Capital One Financial Corp seeks records related to the Trump Organization’s hotel business.
Capital One said in a court filing on Tuesday that it did not have any tax returns related to the subpoena.
The bank did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. 2nd Circuit judges had ordered both banks to disclose whether they had tax returns last week.
Before Trump, the custom for modern U.S. presidential candidates was to reveal their income tax returns during their campaigns.
With just a few months left before America starts taking its biggest-ever self-portrait, the U.S. Census Bureau is grappling with a host of concerns about the head count, including how to ensure that it is secure and accurate and the challenge of getting most people to answer questions online.
All of that is on top of the main attention-grabber of the 2020 census so far — a citizenship question that was nixed by the Supreme Court, dropped by the Trump administration, resuscitated briefly and then abandoned again.
Beginning early next year, residents from Utqiagvik, Alaska, the town formerly known as Barrow, to Key West, Florida, will be quizzed on their sex, age, race, the type of home they have and how they are related to everyone living with them.
At stake is the balance of political power in a deeply divided country, billions of dollars a year in federal funding and population data that will shape business decisions nationwide for years to come.
Costing as much as $15.6 billion, the once-a-decade census not only captures the United States at a given moment — in this case April 1, 2020, officially — but it is perhaps the only thing every U.S. household is legally required to participate in regardless of who lives there.
Counting some 330 million heads is the largest peacetime operation the federal government undertakes. The Census Bureau hires a half million workers, opens around 250 offices and mails out a multitude of forms in English and 12 other languages to more than 130 million households.
“The kind of scale we’re talking about to count this nation is massive, massive, massive,” Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Florida said recently.
A census has taken place in the U.S. every decade since 1790, and contentious legal fights about it are nothing new. But the Trump administration’s attempt to add the citizenship question triggered lawsuits that carried the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.
Opponents of the question said it would have discouraged participation by minorities, primarily Hispanics, who tend to support Democrats. The Republican administration argued that the question would have helped enforce the Voting Rights Act, a rationale that seemed “contrived” to Chief Justice John Roberts in his majority opinion.
President Donald Trump later said the question was needed to help draw congressional districts, even though the Constitution mandates districts based on total population, not the number of citizens.
After the administration abandoned the question, Trump directed federal agencies to compile the information in other ways. That ensured the controversy would continue and raised the possibility that it still might affect the count.
Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, a Trump appointee, acknowledged the challenge but vowed to conduct “the best census ever, one that is complete and accurate.”
Adriana Ibarra, a 43-year-old doctoral student from Mexico living in Memphis, Tennessee, under a temporary visa, said the chilling effect lingers. She said immigrants who are in the country illegally and others may shy away because they do not feel included in decisions made in their communities anyway.
“There’s a feeling that their voice, their vote, their presence does not substantially affect the situation or the course the country is taking,” she said.
The census determines which states gain congressional seats and which lose them. Election Data Services, a firm that consults on redistricting, estimates that Texas could gain as many as three seats and Florida two. Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon could add one each.
New York is expected to lose two seats. Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia are expected to lose one apiece. California and Minnesota could also lose seats, but if the citizenship question had been included, experts projected smaller gains in Florida, Texas and Arizona and a more likely loss in California.
The count is also used to map districts for state legislatures, city councils and school boards, and to determine the flow of federal money to state and local governments. George Washington University’s Andrew Reamer estimated that as much as $900 billion a year in federal funding is tied to the census in some way.
Reamer calculates that each person missed in the census would cost a state an average of nearly $1,100 a year under five Department of Health and Human Services programs, including Medicaid. The impact would be biggest in Vermont, at $2,300, and smallest in Utah, at roughly $500.
For the first time, the Census Bureau is relying in 2020 on most respondents answering questions via computer, tablet or smartphone. Respondents can also call a phone number to give their answers. Those who don’t respond will receive paper questionnaires in the mail.
If all those methods fail, the bureau will send out “enumerators” to knock on doors.
The agency intends to spread the word about its “internet first” approach. Census officials envision clergy asking churchgoers to take out their cellphones to answer questions before services and announcers nudging fans at baseball games.
Leaders of some minority groups worry that the reliance on the internet risks undercounting people less likely to be online: low-income households, immigrants, and elderly and rural residents. Other historically undercounted groups include Native Americans, renters and people whose primary language isn’t English. Owners of multiple homes are among the most likely to be double-counted.
Some experts say the online approach should have been tested more. The only end-to-end test was done in Providence, Rhode Island, last year after two other tests were scaled back to save money. The rate of people responding on their own was higher than expected at 52.3 percent, but the bureau is aiming for 60.5 percent in 2020.
Cybersecurity worries also persist. The Government Accountability Office added the census to its “high risk” list of federal programs two years ago. As recently as this past spring, the watchdog agency said a squeezed testing schedule increased the risk that systems would fail.
Dillingham promised to address those problems, and others have offered to help.
Facebook, which was used to spread misinformation during the 2016 election, is building a team to protect against census misinformation. Microsoft has agreed to audit security practices and provide the bureau with threat intelligence.
A lot is at stake for ordinary Americans — right down to the last house on the last block in every city and hamlet. Virtually every aspect of American life could be affected, a point Florida Rep. John Cortes made at a recent forum on the decennial census in Orlando.
“We have to focus on getting people to fill out the census so we can get the money,” said Cortes, a Democrat. “Without money, we get zero. Money is the honey.”
Державне агентство автомобільних доріг («Укравтодор») планує запустити в жовтні перші шість пунктів для автоматичного зважування вантажівок під Києвом, повідомив виконувач голови «Укравтодору» Славомір Новак в інтерв’ю агентству «Інтерфакс-України».
«У жовтні ми плануємо запустити в роботу перші шість пунктів Weight-in-Motion на під’їздах до Києва. Це пілотний проєкт, який ми фінансуємо за рахунок коштів міжнародних фінансових організацій. На його реалізацію ми отримали близько семи мільйонів євро від Міжнародного банку реконструкції та розвитку», – заявив Новак.
Він додав, що його мета – до кінця року підготувати програму зі встановлення до 100 пунктів WiM, насамперед на щойно відремонтованих дорогах України.
Новак прогнозує, що водії перевантажених вантажівок намагатимуться об’їжджати комплекси.
«І це вже питання до Нацполіції та інших служб – як цього не допустити. І у нас є повне взаєморозуміння з Нацполіцією в цьому питанні», – зазначив в.о. голови компанії.
Водночас, за словами Новака, щоб система WiM змогла повноцінно запрацювати на українських дорогах, потрібно внести зміни до законодавства, які дозволять «Укравтодору» в автоматичному режимі штрафувати перевантажені вантажівки.
WiM – інтелектуальна система вагового контролю. Вона встановлюється над дорогою і передбачає цілодобовий контроль, автоматичну фіксацію, максимальну автономність і мінімальне втручання людини. WiM розраховує габарити кожного автомобіля, фіксує номерні знаки, що дозволяє ідентифікувати вантажний автомобіль і його власника в державній базі даних.
Одночасно система датчиків фіксує швидкість, розміри авто, загальну масу, навантаження на вісь і колеса. У разі виявлення будь-яких порушень система автоматично формує штраф і відправляє водієві вимогу зупинитися.
Водій перевантаженої фури матиме прямувати до спеціального пункту для розвантаження. …
Native American representation in Congress made great strides with the 2018 election of two American women to Congress. Now, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma says it will send its own delegate to Congress, a move that will test both the tribe’s sovereignty and the willingness of the U.S. to meet its treaty promises.
Newly-elected Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., announced the decision on August 22, naming Cherokee Nation Vice President of Government Relations Kimberly Teehee as his choice to represent the tribe on Capitol Hill.
“As Native issues continue to rise to the forefront of the national dialogue, now is the time for Cherokee Nation to execute a provision in our treaties,” Hoskins said. “It’s a right negotiated by our ancestors in two treaties with the federal government and reaffirmed in the Treaty of 1866 and reflected in our Constitution.”
It was the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell that first gave the Cherokee “the right to send a deputy of their choice” to Congress.
Fifty years later, in December 1835, a breakaway faction of Cherokee tribe members met with U.S. officials in the Cherokee capital of New Enchota. Dissatisfied with the way their chief was handling negotiations with Washington, they signed a treaty giving up all land east of the Mississippi in exchange for $5 million.
That move led to the 1,900-kilometer “Trail of Tears,” the forced trek to Indian Territory — today, Oklahoma — by thousands of men, women and children, as many as a quarter of whom died of hunger, disease and exhaustion.
The Enchota Treaty states that the Cherokee “shall be entitled to a delegate in the House of Representatives of the United States whenever Congress shall make provision for the same.”
Long road ahead
The U.S. Constitution mandates that only members of states may serve in the House and Senate, but territories and properties “owned” or administered by the United States may send delegates, who have limited power: They may debate but not vote on the House floor, but may vote in committees on which they serve.
Today, six non-voting parties sit in Washington: A resident commissioner from Puerto Rico, and five individual delegates from the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But is Congress prepared to welcome a seventh delegate?
Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, said that the Cherokee claim would likely need the approval of the full House of Representatives, something that could take “a long time.”
“There’s a lot of questions that have to be answered,” Cole said in a town hall meeting that took place August 20 in Norman, Oklahoma. “Number one, I don’t know that the treaty still is valid. They’re basing it on something that is 185 years ago.”
Stacy L. Leeds, a Cherokee citizen, dean emeritus and professor of law at the University of Arkansas, expressed surprise at Cole’s remark.
“Many of these treaties have been upheld by the federal courts — two this last Supreme Court term alone, and the treaties that the Cherokees are talking about have been held to be in full force and in effect by federal courts within the last five years,” she said.
Leeds cited the example of the Mariana Islands, whose population of 55,000 is significantly smaller than that of the Cherokee Nation
“When the Mariana Islands seated non-voting delegates, that took congressional action, approval by the House and Senate,” she said. “A similar act of Congress would have to take place now. In terms of overall population, the Cherokee Nation is much larger and has a much longer diplomatic relationship with the United States.”
She sees no reason why the Senate, which historically approved these treaties, would fail to recognize them now.
‘Ready to defend’
Teehee is no stranger to Washington. She served as the first-ever senior policy advisor for Native American affairs in the White House Domestic Policy Council for three years under President Barack Obama. Earlier, she was senior advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives Native American Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Dale Kildee of Michigan.
Teehee said Hoskin’s nomination comes as a great honor.
“This is a historic moment for Cherokee Nation and our citizens,” she said. “A Cherokee Nation delegate to Congress is a negotiated right that our ancestors advocated for, and today, our tribal nation is … ready to defend all our constitutional and treaty rights.”
The U.S. government plans to launch a program in roughly one month that narrowly focuses on protecting voter registration databases and systems ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
These systems, which are widely used to validate the eligibility of voters before they cast ballots, were compromised in 2016 by Russian hackers seeking to collect information.
Intelligence officials are concerned that foreign hackers in 2020 not only will target the databases but attempt to manipulate, disrupt or destroy the data, according to current and former U.S. officials.
“We assess these systems as high risk,” said a senior U.S. official, because they are one of the few pieces of election technology regularly connected to the internet.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, a division of the Homeland Security Department, fears the databases could be targeted by ransomware, a type of virus that has crippled city computer networks across the United States, including recently in Texas, Baltimore and Atlanta.
“Recent history has shown that state and county governments and those who support them are targets for ransomware attacks,” said Christopher Krebs, CISA’s director. “That is why we are working alongside election officials and their private sector partners to help protect their databases and respond to possible ransomware attacks.”
Demands for payment
A ransomware attack typically locks an infected computer system until payment, usually in the form of cryptocurrency, is sent to the hacker.
The effort to counter ransomware-style cyberattacks aimed at the election runs parallel to a larger intelligence community directive to determine the most likely vectors of digital attack in the November 2020 election, according to current and former U.S. officials.
“It is imperative that states and municipalities limit the availability of information about electoral systems or administrative processes and secure their websites and databases that could be exploited,” the FBI said in a statement, supporting the Homeland Security initiative.
CISA’s program will reach out to state election officials to prepare for such a ransomware scenario. It will provide educational material, remote computer penetration testing, and vulnerability scans as well as a list of recommendations on how to prevent and recover from ransomware.
These guidelines, however, will not offer advice on whether a state should ultimately pay or refuse to pay ransom to a hacker if one of its systems is already infected.
“Our thought is we don’t want the states to have to be in that situation,” said a Homeland Security official. “We’re focused on preventing it from happening.”
Over the last two years, cyber criminals and nation state hacking groups have used ransomware to extort victims and create chaos. In one incident in 2017, which has since been attributed to Russian hackers, a ransomware virus was used to mask a data deletion technique, rendering victim computers totally unusable.
That attack, dubbed “NotPetya,” went on to damage global corporations, including FedEx and Maersk, which had offices in Ukraine where the malware first spread.
Threat ‘far from over’
The threat is concerning because of its potential impact on voting results, experts say.
“A pre-election undetected attack could tamper with voter lists, creating huge confusion and delays, disenfranchisement, and at large enough scale could compromise the validity of the election,” said John Sebes, chief technology officer of the ESET Institute, an election technology policy think tank.
The databases are also “particularly susceptible to this kind of attack because local jurisdictions and states actively add, remove, and change the data year-round,” said Maurice Turner, a senior technologist with the Center for Democracy and Technology. “If the malicious actor doesn’t provide the key, the data is lost forever unless the victim has a recent backup.”
Nationwide, the local governments that store and update voter registration data are typically ill-equipped to defend themselves against elite hackers.
State election officials told Reuters they have improved their cyber defenses since 2016, including in some cases preparing backups for voter registration databases in case of an attack. But there is no common standard for how often local governments should create backups, said a senior Homeland Security official.
“We have to remember that this threat to our democracy will not go away, and concern about ransomware attacks on voter registration databases is one clear example,” said Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos. “We’re sure the threat is far from over.”