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TOP STORIES Friday, August 21

‌By Holly Thomas

RUSSIAN HOSPITAL BLOCKS TRANSFER OF AILING PUTIN FOE Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was in a coma in a Siberian hospital after drinking a cup of tea that his spokeswoman said she believed was laced with poison. The hospital refused to release Navalny, 44, as a private plane arrived from Germany to fly him out of the country. He was in intensive care and on an artificial lung ventilator, spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on social media. A fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, Navalny started feeling ill when returning to Moscow from Siberia. [Reuters]

BIDEN BRINGS THE FIRE Joe Biden officially accepted the Democratic nomination for president on the final night of the party’s virtual convention on Thursday. As he accepted the honor, Biden, who received a slew of compliments throughout the convention for his “decent,” unifying approach, promised to work hard for everyone, including people who didn’t vote for him. “While I’ll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president,” Biden said. “I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me.” He added that President Donald Trump has “cloaked America in darkness for much too long.” [HuffPost]‌

FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 2020 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION All four nights of the Democratic National Convention were dedicated, in part, to pushing back against different arguments the Trump campaign might deploy as the president attempts to climb out of the hole he had dug himself into. Monday’s appearance from former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, drew criticism because of Kasich’s history of fighting unions and working to restrict abortion rights. But Kasich was able to directly rebut another major Trump argument: that Joe Biden would be a feeble-minded tool of the more radical elements of his party. [HuffPost]‌

TRUMP COOKS UP WHACKY NEW BIRTHER SLAM Trump expanded his “birther” conspiracy lies to Biden, telling a crowd in Pennsylvania that Biden “wasn’t born” in the state because he moved to Delaware with his family when he was a child. “He’d say he was born here,” Trump told listeners in Scranton. “But he left when he was like 8, 9 or 10. So he left 68 years ago, he left — a long time ago. So I view it differently. He wasn’t born here. He abandoned Scranton!” [HuffPost]

FBI PROBES $300 MILLION MEDIA DEAL LINKED TO STEVE BANNON Steve Bannon’s fraud indictment linked to fundraising for Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall isn’t his only legal headache. The FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are also investigating a $300 million investment offering for a planned media company tied to Bannon and fugitive Chinese businessman Guo Wengui. Bannon was arrested Thursday aboard Guo’s luxury yacht after he was indicted for allegedly siphoning funds from a crowdfunding campaign known as “We Build the Wall” that raised more than $25 million. CNN’s chief legal analyst explains what’s so significant about Bannon’s arrest. [HuffPost]‌

TRUMP THREATENS TO SEND LAW ENFORCEMENT TO POLLING PLACES Trump said he planned to send law enforcement and U.S. attorneys to polling places around the country to protect against his unfounded claims there will be mass voter fraud during the November election. Trump made the comments on Fox News on Thursday night, his latest efforts to sow doubt as millions of Americans plan to vote by mail due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Poll-watching is a standard part of elections, but Democrats have expressed concern about the scale at which the GOP plans to do so. [HuffPost]‌

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