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White House says it didn't clear Navarro op-ed that attacked Fauci

The White House said Wednesday that a USA Today op-ed by economic adviser Peter Navarro attacking Anthony Fauci "didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes."

Why it matters: In a normal administration, Navarro's actions would almost certainly result in his dismissal — but the White House did not immediately indicate any disciplinary action against him. It also further obscures the administration's support of Fauci, days after it put out a statement listing the times he was "wrong on things" in the coronavirus pandemic's early days.


The state of play: In the uncleared op-ed, Navarro wrote that Fauci "has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on."

  • "So when you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution," he concluded.
  • Navarro, an economist, has no formal medical education or training.

What they're saying: "The Peter Navarro op-ed didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone. @realDonaldTrump values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration," tweeted White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah.

The big picture: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied earlier this week that the administration had released "opposition research" on Fauci.

  • She instead painted the statement on Fauci's mistakes as "a direct answer to what was a direct question" for a Washington Post piece, even though the administration forwarded that document to other outlets.
  • Fauci said last week that he has not briefed President Trump on the coronavirus in at least two months and that he last saw the president in person at the White House on June 2.

2020 early voting has already reached 61% of 2016's total turnout

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Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

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The Federal Reserve said on Friday it would again lower the minimum loan size for its pandemic-era small business program.

Details: Businesses and nonprofits will be able to borrow a minimum of $100,000 from the facility, down from $250,000 — a move that might attract smaller businesses that don't need as hefty of a loan. Since the program launched earlier this year, the minimum loan size has been reduced twice.

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Why it matters: The auto industry is on the cusp of historic technological changes and the next president — as well as the next Congress — could have an extraordinary influence on how the future of transportation plays out.

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New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

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The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

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Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.

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