Another civilian died this weekend amid nationwide protests against police brutality and armed counterprotests against property destruction in U.S. cities like Kenosha, Wisconsin, where two civilians were shot and killed last week. A man named Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was a member of a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer, was shot and killed Saturday in Portland, Oregon. The president retweeted Danielson’s name Sunday evening, and added, “Rest in peace, Jay!”
It’s unclear just yet how he died since “Video from the city shows sporadic fighting between the groups, with Trump supporters firing paintball pellets at opponents and using bear spray as counterprotesters threw things at the Trump caravan,” the Associated Press reports today.
Context: A “caravan of about 600 vehicles packed with Trump supporters drove through Portland and was met with counterprotesters” on Saturday evening, AP writes. “Skirmishes broke out between the groups and, about 15 minutes after the caravan left the city,” at about 9 p.m. local, that’s when Danielson was apparently shot. (The organizer of the caravan insisted to the Wall Street Journal that the man killed was not a member of the caravan.)
After the shooting, Trump shared a video of Saturday’s caravan on Twitter, and added, “GREAT PATRIOTS!”
Portland police have opened a homicide investigation; but so far they’ve said little else about the developing case.
“Our great National Guard could solve these problems in less than 1 hour,” the president tweeted early Sunday morning.
“We need to reset. The president needs to reset. I need to reset,” said Portland Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler in a news conference on Sunday. “This community needs to reset. And America needs to reset.”
Trump responded on Twitter by calling the mayor a “fool” and “wacky” and a “dummy.” In the news conference, Wheeler cited Trump’s history of divisiveness and denounced what he called the president’s “campaign of fear” ahead of the November election.
“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and the division,” Wheeler said. “[I]t’s you who have not found a way to say the names of black people killed by police officers, even as people in law enforcement have, and it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people. Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you’ve done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country. You’ve tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history, and now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create.”
For the record: It remains unclear whether Saturday’s shooting is related to the police-brutality protests and counterprotests. That didn’t stop Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf from telling ABC News’s This Week on Sunday that Oregon “local and state officials [are] not allowing law enforcement to do their job.” He added, “I believe all options continue to be on the table, specifically as we talk about Portland.”
Oregon Governor Kate Brown released a plan to send State Police to Portland, according to a statement from her office Sunday evening. And Portland’s police “ordered crowds to disperse from an area near a building housing offices including the police, or risk facing arrest,” Reuters reports today.
This afternoon, President Trump is meeting with his Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary Wolf.
Next up: POTUS plans to visit Kenosha, on Tuesday. That, AP reminds us, is a city “where tensions are still raw after police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in the back seven times, leaving him paralyzed.”
National Guard troops arrived to Kenosha on Sunday, and set up at the County Courthouse, which is where protesters clashed with police the week before, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Wisconsin’s Gov. Tony Evers has asked Trump to reconsider his Tuesday trip, writing in a letter on Sunday, “I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”
BTW: Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston speaks at noon ET for AUSA’s "An Army Discussion on Race, Part 3". Details here.
From Defense One
‘America First’ Enters Its Most Combustible Moment / William J. Burns: If the next 150 days turn out to be Trump’s final days in office, he could still wreak a lot of havoc on American foreign policy.
A New Era of Coronavirus Testing Is About to Begin // Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic: A newly authorized test promises to double America’s monthly testing capacity, thanks in part to a huge purchase by the Trump administration. Can the test deliver?
Will Trumpism Change Republican Foreign Policy Permanently? // Thomas Wright, The Atlantic: The president did not just challenge Republican orthodoxy. He also blew up its establishment.
Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. Send us tips from your community right here. And if you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1864, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman lured John Bell Hood's Confederate Army of Tennessee away from Atlanta and toward Sherman's men, who cut key rail lines from the south of the city. A vastly outnumbered Hood was then left with no choice but to withdraw from Atlanta.
Pentagon: We’ll cut one-third of the remaining U.S. force in Iraq. But no timeline was given on Friday for the putative cut to about 3,500 troops (Wall Street Journal).
Trump administration cancels in-person intelligence briefs to Congress. In an Aug 28 letter to top lawmakers, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said leaks were the reason his office will no longer send officials to testify to Congress, but will offer only written information. Critics were quick to note that written information can be leaked just as quickly as oral testimony, and accused Ratcliffe of trying to downplay Russia’s interference with past and upcoming elections. (Politico)
Defense One’s Patrick Tucker: “This of course would greatly slow down the process of asking follow ups or getting additional details, which is core to lawmakers’ job on these committees.”
Russian jet crosses B-52’s nose. The U.S. Air Force released video of an Su-27 Flanker that pulled up next to the B-52 over the Black Sea on Aug. 28, then zoomed across its nose, passing within 100 feet in a blatantly dangerous maneuver. The Hill: “The incident over the Black Sea occurred the same day that U.S. B-52’s flew over 30 NATO-member countries ‘to demonstrate NATO solidarity’” per a European Command statement.
That came one day after F-22s intercepted six Russian jets in international airspace off Alaska. (Air Force Magazine)
Deputy AG Rosenstein curtailed the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia ties, the New York Times reported Sunday. In 2017, career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators thought these ties “posed such a national security threat that they took the extraordinary step of opening an inquiry into them.” But then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein blocked their efforts.
Why this matters: “[A]s Mr. Trump seeks re-election, major questions about his approach to Russia remain unanswered,” the Times writes. “He has repeatedly shown an openness to Russia, an adversary that attacked American democracy in 2016, and he has refused to criticize or challenge the Kremlin’s increasing aggressions toward the West.”
Recall that the nearly 1,000-page bipartisan report by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released earlier this month “depicted extensive ties between Trump associates and Russia, identified a close associate of a former Trump campaign chairman as a Russian intelligence officer and outlined how allegations about Mr. Trump’s encounters with women during trips to Moscow could be used to compromise him. But the senators acknowledged they lacked access to the full picture, particularly any insight into Mr. Trump’s finances,” Read on, here.
Meanwhile, the House launched contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, says has refused to provide subpoenaed documents related to Pompeo’s “transparently political misuse” of State Department resources. More at The Hill.
Poll: Trump’s support is slipping among military members. “The latest Military Times poll shows a continued decline in active-duty service members’ views of President Donald Trump and a slight but significant preference for former Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming November election among troops surveyed,” Leo Shane writes for the Military Times. Conducted with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, the poll surveyed 1,018 active-duty troops in late July and early August and has a margin of error of up to 2 percent. Read more, here.
The seven-day average of daily COVID deaths dipped below 900 for the first time in two months. More than 6 million Americans have caught the coronavirus, and nearly 183,000 have died of its complications, according to the New York Times tracker.
Lastly today: Japan test-flies a manned flying car. The four-minute flight of Sky Drive’s SD-03, made Aug. 25 at the Toyota Test Field, was the country’s first-ever demonstration of a flying car. CNN has the story.