Trump’s efforts to project normalcy run into reality as virus courses through the White House, the Capitol and the Pentagon.

President Trump’s efforts to project normalcy after being hospitalized with Covid-19 a month before Election Day ran into a major stumbling block on Tuesday: the reality on the ground in Washington, where the coronavirus outbreak has upended the federal government.

  • The White House, the leading coronavirus hot spot in the nation’s capital, resembled a ghost town, with its most famous inhabitant convalescing in the residence, as a number of advisers and other officials stayed home, either because they had contracted the coronavirus or had been near people who did, including the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who announced on Monday that she had tested positive.

  • The Capitol, a beehive workplace for 535 legislators and thousands of staff, was eerily empty on Tuesday after Senate leaders agreed to adjourn for two weeks beginning Monday, even as Republicans are trying to fast-track Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. More than 40 senators, along with more than a dozen congressional aides and reporters, have been tested for the coronavirus since late last week, officials said on Tuesday. Three Republican senators — Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — have tested positive in recent days.

  • Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with several of the Pentagon’s most senior uniformed leaders, was quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus, a Defense Department official said on Tuesday. The official said almost the entirety of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff, are quarantining after Adm. Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested positive for coronavirus.

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House rebuffs GOP lawmaker’s effort to remove references to Democrats in Capitol

The House on Tuesday tabled a resolution offered by conservative Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertRep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert ‘disregarding public health guidance’ on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies MORE (R-Texas) calling on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAirline industry applauds Democrats for including aid in coronavirus relief package Democrats unveil scaled-down .2T coronavirus relief package Trump tax reveal roils presidential race MORE (D-Calif.) to remove any references in the lower chamber to political parties that supported slavery or the Confederacy, including the Democratic Party.

The chamber tabled the measure in a 223-176 vote. Gohmert offered the resolution after the Democratic-controlled House voted in July to remove statues of people who served the Confederacy or otherwise worked to defend slavery from the Capitol.

Critics of removing the Confederate statues, including Gohmert, argued that lawmakers were attempting to erase history by doing away with the symbols.

“Due to parliamentary issues, I am re-introducing my Privileged Resolution and urging my Democratic colleagues to rid the House wing of the U.S. Capitol of any item that names, symbolizes or mentions their own political party because of its past support for slavery and the Confederacy,” Gohmert said in a statement reintroducing the resolution on Thursday.

“Though I personally believe we need to learn from history including the good, the bad and the ugly, the Democratic Party has initiated this purging but needs assistance to avoid unparalleled hypocrisy. So, it is time for Democrats to account for, be washed of, and rid our Capitol of the sins of their party’s past.”

The resolution — which was co-sponsored by GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Jody HiceJody Brownlow HicePelosi must go — the House is in dire need of new leadership House Republicans investigating California secretary of state’s contract with Biden-linked firm GOP lawmakers want answers from Disney on Mulan, China MORE (Ga.), Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith WeberOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Cheney asks DOJ to probe environmental groups | Kudlow: ‘No sector worse hurt than energy’ during pandemic | Trump pledges ‘no politics’ in Pebble Mine review Cheney asks DOJ to probe environmental groups  GOP’s Gohmert introduces resolution that would ban the Democratic Party MORE (Texas), Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisCongressman who denounced mask wearing overseeing the trial of a drug to treat COVID-19 Pelosi must go — the House is in dire need of new leadership Ukraine language in GOP platform underscores Trump tensions MORE (Md.), Rick CrawfordRick CrawfordLWCF modernization: Restoring the promise Republicans score procedural victory on Democrats’ infrastructure bill The case for renewed US engagement in Latin America MORE (Ark.), and Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanHouse Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports Bipartisan bill introduced to require TSA to take temperature checks House Republicans urge White House to support TSA giving travelers temperature checks MORE (S.C.) — points to the Democratic Party supporting the institution of slavery during the time of

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Campus Notebook: Unattended gun in Capitol bathroom need not concern the public, Capitol Police argued

“Plaintiff’s disclosure to the CQ Roll Call reporter also did not address a matter of public concern because it could not be ‘fairly considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community,’” Scindian wrote. Scindian also argued Breiterman was not protected by the First Amendment because she spoke to the reporter in her official capacity.

Scindian said the photo — of an unattended firearm in a public building with some of the most integral individuals in the nation’s government — was not something the public need be concerned about. She argued, in part, that because the gun was found in a restricted area within the Capitol complex, the incident should be kept within the department and concealed from public consumption.

“The information Plaintiff provided to the reporter concerned an internal Department matter that did not implicate public interest,” Scindian wrote. “The gun that was discovered in a CVC bathroom on January 29, 2015 was located in a restricted area of the facility. Only authorized personnel would have access to that area. The gun was quickly recovered by USCP officials and its owner was identified in short order.”

Roy Gutterman, a Syracuse University professor who specializes in First Amendment law, disagrees with the department’s contention.

“I can’t imagine a clearer case of a matter of public interest than finding a gun in a Capitol Hill bathroom, whether it’s a visitors center or a secured hallway,” Gutterman said. “You can’t get any clearer than that as far as a matter of public interest.”

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Ohio House holds first House Bill 6 repeal hearing: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings

Talking it out: The Ohio House held its first hearing on Thursday for legislation that would repeal House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout bill that’s the center of a federal corruption probe. As Jeremy Pelzer reports, The Ohio House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight heard testimony from sponsors of bills to repeal House Bill 6. GOP members rejected an attempt from committee Democrats to send the Republican-backed repeal bill to the floor.

New top doc: Dr. Joan Duwve, currently director of public health for South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, will be the new director of the Ohio Department of Health, DeWine announced on Thursday. A former family physician and Ohio native, she previously worked for several Indiana governors and the Indiana University public-health school in Indianapolis. Per Tobias, Duwve is Ohio’s first permanent health director since Dr. Amy Acton resigned in June amid intensifying public criticism and harassment.

I’ll pass: Asked Thursday, DeWine avoided directly addressing the revelations from Wednesday that Republican President Donald Trump told Washington Post editor Bob Woodward on tape that he wanted to downplay the severity of coronavirus despite knowing the dangers, Seth Richardson reports. The recordings of Trump caused an uproar amongst his detractors, including Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown who – as the Columbus Dispatch’s Darrel Rowland points out is taking a bigger role in Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign – said Trump was gaslighting the public.

Summit rises: Summit County, which had been orange in last week’s coronavirus risk map, is now red, Laura Hancock reports. It joins five other counties in Level 3.

Jumping into the fray: The Trump campaign has intervened in several lawsuits over Ohio’s elections procedures, including on Thursday in a federal lawsuit challenging Ohio’s one ballot drop-box per county rule. Per John Caniglia, lawyers with Jones Day said in a court filing: “The Republican committees have a substantial interest in preventing changes to the ‘competitive environment’ at this late hour.” A judge set a Sept. 23 court hearing in the case.

Get your flu shot: DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted got poked on live TV with a flu vaccination in an attempt to spur others to get shots too. Meantime, the state reported 1,121 new coronavirus cases, higher than the 21-day average of 1,052.

Latest unemployment numbers: Both initial and continued unemployment claims fell again in Ohio last week, reports Jeremy Pelzer. For the week of Aug. 30 through Sept. 5, 17,983 Ohioans filed initial jobless claims, while 325,515 submitted continued claims.

Nay to ‘Ye: The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled against Kanye West in his effort to sue his way onto the Ohio ballot as an independent presidential candidate, Jeremy Pelzer reports. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose was justified when he rejected West’s candidate paperwork due to a signature mismatch by West’s running mate, justices unanimously ruled. Republican operatives have been trying to get West onto the ballot in Ohio and other

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New Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp lays out his agenda: Capitol Letter

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Measuring Cupp: Jeremy Pelzer has a profile of Bob Cupp, the quiet but experienced new Ohio House speaker. Included is what’s on Cupp’s priority list through the end of the year (potentially repealing House Bill 6, passing a long-sought education-funding reform bill) and what’s not (Gov. Mike DeWine’s gun-reform package).

Mail time: More than 1 million Ohioans have requested absentee ballots by mail, a figure that’s already approaching the total 1.2 million mail-in votes cast for the November 2016 election, Andrew Tobias reports. Six counties — Athens, Lucas, Portage, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne, have already exceeded their 2016 totals. Five more counties, Franklin, Hamilton, Lorain, Sandusky and Wood, were at 90% or more of their 2016 totals.

Return to sender: In his capacity as top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan on Tuesday sent its Democratic chairman, Jerry Nadler of New York, a letter seeking a hearing “to examine the civil unrest caused by left-wing violent extremists in Democrat-run cities.” The letter he sent with several other Judiciary Committee Republicans also accused Nadler of minimizing “the violence in Democrat-run cities, calling the radical leftist group Antifa an ‘imaginary thing’ and Antifa violence a ‘myth that’s only being spread in Washington, D.C.’”

SWAT arrest: Columbus Police SWAT and the U.S. Marshals showed up to Assistant House Minority Leader Kristin Boggs’ property Wednesday to arrest her nanny for obstruction and the nanny’s boyfriend for the killing of a man in May. Boggs said she hired the childcare provider in the spring to help when the pandemic hit, Laura Hancock reports.

Coronavirus relief: As far as Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is concerned, a coronavirus relief bill that Republicans plan to bring up for a Senate vote on Thursday is dead in the water because it would replace a $600 weekly federal unemployment supplement that expired in July with a $300 weekly payment that expires in December, reports Sabrina Eaton. Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman told reporters he’ll back the package even though it doesn’t contain everything on his wish list.

Wednesday numbers: The state tallied 973 new coronavirus cases and 26 deaths on Wednesday, Hancock reports. The total of new cases was less than the 21-day rolling average, though deaths were higher.

Shifting concerns: Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof said Tuesday he’s “frustrated” by how Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus goals have shifted since March. “I think the administration has now shifted to trying to get to zero infections across the state, which is unattainable,” Obhof told Medina County commissioners, according to Carl Hunnell of the Richland Source. The Medina Republican also said while “it’s probably a pretty good idea to wear a mask,” he personally doesn’t “believe any level of government has the ability to tell you to do that.”

Bets are on: Ohio’s 11 casinos and racinos set an August record with $172 million in gambling revenue. This marks the fourth monthly record this year – every month the gambling houses have been open

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