Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

By KATHLEEN RONAYNE and WILL WEISSERT

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden has chosen California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. It’s a move that fulfills the wish of Democrats clamoring to see a woman of color on a major party’s presidential ticket for the first time in history.

The 55-year-old Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving as California’s attorney general.

Harris competed against Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination but left the race before voting began as she struggled to raise money.

One of Harris’ standout moments of her presidential campaign came at the expense of Biden, when she slammed his past opposition to school busing.

Harris joins Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of unprecedented national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the U.S., far more than the toll experienced in other countries.

Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse. Unrest, meanwhile, has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.

Trump’s uneven handling of the crises has given Biden an opening, and he enters the fall campaign in strong position against the president. In adding Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as health care and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.

Harris’ record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinized during the Democratic primary and turned off some liberals and younger Black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality. She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.

Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge

President Donald Trump joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches hoping to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown.

There was speculation the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences might call off their fall seasons.

The Mountain West did just that, postponing until spring.

Old Dominion canceled fall sports, too, and became the first school in the Football Bowl Subdivison to break from its league in doing so.

The rest of Conference USA is going forward with plans to play.

The powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season.

Trump abruptly escorted from briefing after shooting near WH

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted by a U.S. Secret Service agent out of the White House briefing room as he was beginning a coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon.

He returned minutes later, saying there was a “shooting” outside the White House that was “under control.”

Trump says, “There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital.”

He says the shots were fired by law enforcement, and he believes the individual who was shot was armed.

The shooting took place near 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Looters descend on downtown Chicago; more than 100 arrested

CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of looters descended on downtown Chicago early Monday following a police shooting on the city’s South Side, with vandals smashing the windows of dozens of businesses and making off with merchandise, cash machines and anything else they could carry, police said.

When police shot a man after he opened fire on officers Sunday afternoon, the incident apparently prompted a social media post hours later urging looters to converge on the business district, Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference.

Some 400 additional officers were dispatched to the area after the department spotted the post. Over the next several hours, police made more than 100 arrests and 13 officers were injured, including one who was struck in the head with a bottle, Brown said.

States on hook for billions under Trump’s unemployment plan

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Whether President Donald Trump has the constitutional authority to extend federal unemployment benefits by executive order remains unclear. Equally up in the air is whether states, which are necessary partners in Trump’s plan to bypass Congress, will sign on.

Trump announced an executive order Saturday that extends additional unemployment payments of $400 a week to help cushion the economic fallout of the pandemic. Congress had approved payments of $600 a week at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, but those benefits expired Aug. 1 and Congress has been unable to agree on an extension.

Many Republicans have expressed concern that a $600 weekly benefit, on top of existing state benefits, gives people an incentive to stay unemployed.

But under Trump’s plan, the $400 a week requires a state to commit to providing $100.

Many states are already facing budget crunches caused by the pandemic. Asked at a news conference how many governors had signed on to participate, Trump answered: “If they don’t, they don’t. That’s up to them.”

Trump expressed a different view on Sunday night, following a day of state officials questioning how they could afford even $100 per person in additional weekly payments. He told reporters as he returned to Washington that states could make application to have the federal government provide all or part of the $400 payments. Decisions would be made state by state, he said.

US intel: Russia acting against Biden; China opposes Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russians are believed to be working against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of the November election.

And U.S. officials assess that China prefers that President Donald Trump not win a second term and that Beijing has accelerated its criticism of the president.

That’s according to a rare public statement Friday from the country’s counterintelligence chief, William Evanina.

The statement is believed to be the most pointed declaration by the U.S. intelligence community linking the Kremlin to efforts to get Trump reelected — a sensitive subject for the president.

Last-ditch virus aid talks collapse; no help for jobless now

WASHINGTON (AP) — A last-ditch effort by Democrats to revive Capitol Hill talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money collapsed in disappointment Friday, making it increasingly likely that Washington gridlock will mean more hardship for millions of people who are losing enhanced jobless benefits and further damage for an economy pummeled by the still-raging coronavirus.

“It was a disappointing meeting,” declared top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, saying the White House had rejected an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to curb Democratic demands by about $1 trillion.

He urged the White House to “negotiate with Democrats and meet us in the middle. Don’t say it’s your way or no way.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “Unfortunately we did not make any progress today.”

Republicans said Pelosi was relying on budget maneuvers to curb costs and contended she has overplayed her hand.

Often an impasse in Washington is of little consequence for the public — not so this time.

It means longer and perhaps permanent expiration of a $600 per-week bonus pandemic jobless benefit that’s kept millions of people from falling into poverty.

It denies more than $100 billion to help schools reopen this fall.

It blocks additional funding for virus testing as cases are surging this summer.

And it denies billions of dollars to state and local governments considering furloughs as their revenue craters.

US adds 1.8 million jobs in a sign that hiring has weakened

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, a pullback from the gains of May and June and evidence that the resurgent coronavirus has weakened hiring and the economic rebound.

At any other time, hiring at that level would be seen as a blowout gain. But after employers shed a staggering 22 million jobs in March and April, much larger increases are needed to heal the job market.

The hiring of the past three months has recovered only 42% of the jobs lost to the pandemic-induced recession, according to the Labor Department’s jobs report released Friday.

And now, with much of the nation having paused or reversed plans to restore economic activity, many employers are still reluctant or unable to hire and consumers remain generally hesitant to shop, travel or eat out.

Until the health crisis is solved through a vaccine or an effective treatment, most experts say the economy will struggle to sustain any recovery.

Though the unemployment rate fell last month from 11.1% to 10.2%, that level still exceeds the highest rate during the 2008-2009 Great Recession.

Trump bans dealings with Chinese owners of TikTok, WeChat

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump has ordered a sweeping but unspecified ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of the consumer apps TikTok and WeChat, although it remains unclear if he has the legal authority to actually ban the apps from the U.S.

The order is the Trump administration’s latest salvo at China, following a lengthy trade war and targeted actions against other Chinese companies.

The twin executive orders — one for each app — take effect in 45 days.

They call on the Commerce Secretary to define the banned dealings by that time.

The orders’ wording is vague, but some experts say it appears intended to bar the popular apps from the Apple and Google app stores, which could effectively remove them from distribution in the U.S.

Trump, McConnell huddle; virus aid talks at risk of collapse

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump huddled at the White House Thursday with the Senate’s top Republican over a vital COVID-19 rescue package, but hopes on Capitol Hill for a deal were souring and there was increasing worry that GOP negotiations with Democrats might collapse.

The impasse in the negotiations is putting at risk more than $100 billion to help reopen schools, a fresh round of $1,200 direct payments to most people, and hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments to help them avoid furloughing workers and cutting services as tax revenues shrivel.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a key player in the troubled talks and possesses far more experience than Trump’s administration negotiating team, which is publicly frustrated by the inflexible tactics of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The Democratic duo has not yielded much ground from an unprecedented $3.5 trillion House-passed rescue package.

McConnell seemed to downplay the significance of the Trump meeting, telling a reporter merely that “we talked a little bit about everything.”