President Donald Trump vowed Thursday that he would send law enforcement officers and U.S. attorneys to Election Day polls to prevent potential voter fraud, drawing swift rebukes from critics.
On late Thursday night, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that if the White House would “have an ability” to monitor the November 4 proceedings and avoid fraud, “We’re gonna have everything.”
“We’re gonna have sheriffs, and we’re gonna have law enforcement,” the president said. “And we’re going to have hopefully U.S. attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody and attorney generals.”
"We're gonna have everything. We're gonna have sheriffs and we're gonna have law enforcement and we're going to have hopefully U.S. Attorneys…" https://t.co/ejOPCaQEdk
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 21, 2020
The president also took the opportunity to continue his criticism of mail-in voting practices, groundlessly claiming that “anybody can sign” the ballots, singling out Nevada’s rules as an example.
“Nobody’s ever heard of anything like this,” Trump said.
“They may send them to all Democrat areas, not to the Republican areas as an example,” he continued. “Could be the other way too, but I doubt it.”
The announcement drew criticism from a range of critics, including academics, activists, and former federal officials.
“He’s sending law enforcement because it would be a crime to send the military,” tweeted Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. “But let’s be clear: this is an attack on America. This is the dictator’s playbook.”
“We’ve suspected this would happen and here it is. Anything to intimidate and stop people from voting,” tweeted Vanita Gupta, CEO of nonprofit civil rights group The Leadership Conference.
University of California-Irvine professor and election law expert Rick Hasen noted that “Trump has no authority over local law enforcement such as sheriffs, so as commander in chief he cannot be ordering local law enforcement officials to be poll watchers.”
However, county sheriffs have increasingly grown radicalized over the past several years and have increasingly integrated with Trump supporters on the far-right fringes of U.S. politics, according to researchers. Various police and sheriffs’ associations – which have a history of embracing right-wing, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim extremist agendas – have also announced their support for President Trump’s re-election efforts.
Trump’s threat to deploy law enforcement officers to the polls come amid increasing claims by the president and his allies that mail-in voting can open the doors to widespread fraud without presenting any supporting evidence.
The president has also questioned whether election results will be accurate due to mail-in voting and the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, Trump told supporters this week “the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”
The White House has also been unclear about whether the president would accept election results if he isn’t declared the winner. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to rule out whether the president would accept the results if he loses his re-election bid.
On Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden formally accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
“The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division,” Biden said during his acceptance speech. “If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light—not of the darkness.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.