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A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.
The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.
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- Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 31,759,233 — Total deaths: 973,904 Total recoveries: 21,811,742 — Map.
- U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 6,939,645 — Total deaths: 201,861 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,616,779 — Map.
- Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
- Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
- Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
- Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
- Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
President Trump repeatedly refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden, saying at a press briefing: "We're going to have to see what happens."
The big picture: Trump has baselessly claimed on a number of occasions that the only way he will lose the election is if it's "rigged," claiming — without evidence — that mail-in ballots will result in widespread fraud. Earlier on Wednesday, the president said he wants to quickly confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the election.
The U.S. no longer recognizes Aleksandr Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus, the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
Why it matters: Lukashenko has clung to power with the support of Russia amid seven weeks of protests that have followed a blatantly rigged election. Fresh protests broke out Wednesday evening in Minsk after it emerged that Lukashenko had held a secret inauguration ceremony.
President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.
Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.
A judge on Wednesday ordered Eric Trump to comply with a subpoena to testify before the presidential election in a New York probe into the Trump family business.
The state of play: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) last month said her office had filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to an investigation into whether President Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.
Silicon Valley venture capitalists are no longer content with investing in startups and then eventually handing them off. Instead, many are now forming SPACs, or blank-check acquisition companies, to ride tech unicorns into the public markets themselves.
Axios Re:Cap digs into this trend with the co-founders of a new tech SPAC called Reinvent Technology Partners: Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock, and Mark Pincus, the founder and former CEO of Zynga.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is issuing an executive order that seeks to eliminate sales of new gasoline-powered cars in his state by 2035, a move the White House said President Trump "won't stand for."
Why it matters: California is the largest auto market in the U.S., and transportation is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the state and nationwide.
CDC Director Robert Redfield said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that preliminary data shows that over 90% of Americans remain susceptible to COVID-19 — meaning they have not yet been exposed to the coronavirus.
Why it matters: The U.S. surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths this week — the most recorded in the world — and over 6.8 million Americans have contracted the virus so far.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.
A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.
Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.
A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.
Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."
House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled sweeping legislation aimed at preventing presidential abuse and corruption, strengthening transparency and accountability, and protecting elections from foreign interference.
Why it matters: While the bill has practically no chance of becoming law while Trump is in office and Republicans hold the Senate, it's a pre-election message from Democrats on how they plan to govern should Trump lose in November. It also gives Democratic members an anti-corruption platform to run on in the weeks before the election.
When the dust finally clears from the fight over TikTok, whoever winds up running the burgeoning short-video-sharing service is likely to face a world of trouble trying to manage speech on it.
Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.
Major climate news arrived on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would aim for "carbon neutrality" by 2060 and a CO2 emissions peak before 2030.
Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So its success or failure at reining in planet-warming gases affects everyone's future.
In addition to keeping out the coronavirus, the NBA bubble has also delivered a stellar on-court product, with crisp, entertaining play night in and night out.
Why it matters: General managers, athletic trainers and league officials believe the lack of travel is a driving force behind the high quality of play — an observation that could lead to scheduling changes for next season and beyond.
Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), on Wednesday released an interim report on their probe into Joe Biden and his son's dealings in Ukraine.
Why it matters: The report's rushed release ahead of the presidential election is certainly timed to damage Biden, amplifying bipartisan concern that the investigation was meant to target the former vice president's electoral chances.
The pandemic has caught up with high-wage jobs.
The big picture: Early on, the pandemic walloped hiring across the wage spectrum and in every sector. Now, states have opened up, and the lower-wage retail and restaurant jobs have slowly come back — but higher-paying jobs are lagging behind.
The Food and Drug Administration plans to toughen the requirements for a coronavirus vaccine emergency authorization, which would make it more difficult for one to be ready by the election, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Why it matters: Public skepticism of an eventual vaccine keeps increasing as President Trump keeps making promises that are at odds with members of his own administration.
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump's vow to name her replacement to the Supreme Court before November's election are amplifying Wall Street's worries about major volatility and market losses ahead of and even after the election.
The big picture: The 2020 election is the most expensive event risk on record, per Bloomberg — with insurance bets on implied volatility six times their normal level, according to JPMorgan analysts. And it could take days or even weeks to count the record number of mail-in ballots and declare a winner.
Ipsos and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics are out with an interactive U.S. map that goes down to the county level to track changes in public sentiment that could decide the presidential election.
How it works: The 2020 Political Atlas tracks President Trump's approval ratings, interest around the coronavirus, what's dominating social media and other measures, with polling updated daily — enhancing UVA's "Crystal Ball."
President Trump announced late Tuesday that the White House attempt to halt federal agencies' anti-racism training would be expanded to block federal contractors from "promoting radical ideologies that divide Americans by race or sex."
Why it matters: The executive order appears to give the government the ability to cancel contracts if anti-racist or diversity trainings focused on sexual identity or gender are organized. The memo applies to executive departments and agencies, the U.S. military, federal contractors and federal grant recipients.
The House on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 359-57.
Why it matters: The bill's passage comes shortly after House Democrats and the Trump administration struck an agreement on the short-term legislation, averting the threat of a government shutdown when funding expires in eight days.