As President Trump continued to try to sow doubts about the election with his latest assault on mail-in balloting, the postmaster general announced on Tuesday that he would suspend cost-cutting initiatives at the Postal Service until after November.
The announcement by the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, came amid growing pressure from lawmakers, state attorneys general and civil rights groups, who have warned that the changes being made could disenfranchise Americans casting ballots by mail to avoid long lines during the pandemic. And it came as several states moved forward Tuesday with plans to sue the Trump administration over the election-year changes at the Postal Service.
“There are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic,” Mr. DeJoy said in a statement.
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
Mr. DeJoy vowed that retail hours at the post office would not change, that no mail processing facilities would be closed and that overtime would continue to be approved.
His announcement came as the attorney general of Washington State, Bob Ferguson, said he would lead a coalition of states filing a lawsuit in federal court charging that the changes could undermine the general election in November. Other states, including California, Pennsylvania, and New York, also said that they planned to file or join lawsuits.
“For partisan gain, President Trump is attempting to destroy a critical institution that is essential for millions of Americans,” Mr. Ferguson said in a statement. “We rely on the Postal Service for our Social Security benefits, prescriptions — and exercising our right to vote.”
In remarks from the White House that offered little substance or detail, Mr. Trump floated the idea that the November election might need to be redone should Americans rely on a system that would let everyone vote by mail.
The president does not have the authority to reschedule a federal election. The date is set by federal law, and changing it would require legislation passed by Congress.
Referring to universal mail-in voting, which will be available to 44 million voters in nine states and Washington, D.C. come November, he said, “Universal is going to be a disaster, the likes of which our country has never seen. It will end up being a rigged election or they will never come out with an outcome. They’ll have to do it again, and nobody wants that, and I don’t want that.”
But numerous studies have shown that voting fraud is exceedingly rare. A panel that Mr. Trump established to investigate election corruption was disbanded after it found no real evidence of fraud.
In a sign of the severity of the backlash to changes at the Postal Service, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had summoned lawmakers back from summer recess to vote on legislation put forth by House Democrats that would revoke policy changes until Jan. 1, 2021, or the end of the pandemic, as well as include $25 billion in funding for the beleaguered agency.
Mr. DeJoy is still expected to face tough questioning about the changes at two congressional hearings in the coming days, including a virtual Senate hearing on Friday and a House oversight committee hearing on Monday.
The opening night of the Democratic National Convention might well go down as a strange digital artifact of an election year defined by pandemic-induced weirdness.
But there were no major technical glitches during the first few hours of the first-ever virtual party gathering — and Michelle Obama’s comprehensive takedown of President Trump left Democrats feeling relatively fired up and ready to go, albeit from their couches, ahead of Day 2.
The most-watched moment on Tuesday might come from one of the shortest time slots: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s minute or so of speaking time to praise her chosen primary candidate, Bernie Sanders.
Jill Biden, the nominee’s wife and an educator, will have a much more expansive role, as will Bill Clinton. But his second-day speaking slot speaks to a diminished influence in a party now defined by Joseph R. Biden Jr., former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who will address the convention on Wednesday. John Legend is scheduled to perform.
Tuesday’s events will again run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time. There are several ways to watch:
The Times will stream the full convention every day, accompanied by chat-based live analysis from our reporters and real-time highlights from the speeches. Download our iOS or Android app and turn on notifications to be alerted when our live analysis starts.
The official livestream will be here. It will also be available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch.
ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News will air the convention from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. each night. C-SPAN, CNN, MSNBC and PBS will cover the full two hours each night.
Here’s more information on how to stream the convention on various platforms.
Who’s speaking tonight:
Jill Biden, Mr. Biden’s wife and the former second lady
Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady
Former President Bill Clinton
John Kerry, the former secretary of state and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York
Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general
Casting aside her reluctance to engage in political combat, Michelle Obama delivered an impassioned keynote address to cap off the first night of the Democratic convention and offered a withering assessment of President Trump, accusing him of creating “chaos,” sowing “division” and governing “with a total and utter lack of empathy.”
Mrs. Obama, the former first lady, spoke emphatically into the camera and gave a scathing, point-by-point analysis of Mr. Trump’s presidency in an urgent summons for Democratic voters to cast ballots in any way they could, even if it meant waiting in long lines to do so.
She began by questioning the very legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s election in 2016, pointing out that he had lost the popular tally by “three million votes.”
She went on to attack the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and said that the strong economy Mr. Trump inherited from her husband four years ago was “in shambles.” She also said Mr. Trump’s divisive approach on race relations had emboldened “torch-bearing white supremacists,” and ripped him for a lack of “leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness.”
Mrs. Obama began all of this by declaring, “You know, I hate politics.”
Then she dove right in.
“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” Mrs. Obama said, offering a potent closing argument to a packed online program that seemed, at times, like an overpopulated Zoom call.
“He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head,” she said. “He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”
“It is what it is,” she added, appearing to quote Mr. Trump, who uttered the same sentence earlier this month when speaking of the 150,000 American coronavirus deaths and was criticized as callous for it.
President Trump returned fire at several of his political foes — including the former first lady Michelle Obama and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York — after they issued a stinging indictment of his leadership during the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
Facing an onslaught of criticism that his failure to contain the coronavirus had left more than 170,000 Americans dead and millions unemployed, the president took to Twitter, often his preferred medium for sparring, to fight back.
Most extraordinary was his engagement with Mrs. Obama, who used her headlining speech to question his temperament for the office and urged Americans to vote for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “like our lives depend on it.”
“Somebody please explain to @MichelleObama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama,” Mr. Trump, who has generally avoided engaging with Mrs. Obama, tweeted.
He then alluded to Mr. Obama’s decision to wait until April to endorse his onetime running mate. “Biden was merely an afterthought, a good reason for that very late & unenthusiastic endorsement.”
Somebody please explain to @MichelleObama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama. Biden was merely an afterthought, a good reason for that very late & unenthusiastic endorsement…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2020
The president also took aim at Mr. Cuomo, who had used his convention speech to decry the Trump administration’s “dysfunctional and incompetent” response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Mr. Trump called Mr. Cuomo “a horrible Governor” on Twitter and suggested that he was responsible for rising crime, criticized him for taking on the National Rifle Association and charged that he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in New York nursing homes.
The president also lashed out at former Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, a Republican who endorsed Mr. Biden in a video at the convention. Mr. Kasich, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016, said he was putting his country ahead of his party in the video.
“John Kasich did a bad job in Ohio, ran for President and was easy to beat, and now went to the other side desperate for relevance,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
The first night of the Democratic National Convention was, to put it mildly, weird. How else can we describe one of the biggest events in American politics turned into a glorified Zoom meeting?
But surreal as it was, the virtual convention included several powerful moments — some reminiscent of normal times, and others reflective of the tremendous abnormality of these times.
Bernie Sanders gave Biden a full-throated endorsement.
Despite his disagreements with Mr. Biden on policy, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the runner-up in the Democratic primary, gave a forceful endorsement of his former rival.
Mr. Biden is much more moderate than the progressive wing of the party would like, Mr. Sanders acknowledged, but “if Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy,” he said. “This election is about preserving our democracy.”
A Covid-19 victim’s daughter denounced Trump.
In one of the most personal and emotional speeches of the night, a woman whose father died from the coronavirus blamed Mr. Trump for his death.
The woman, Kristin Urquiza, said her father — Mark Anthony Urquiza, a 65-year-old who she said had no underlying health problems — had voted for Mr. Trump and went out one day because he believed the president’s claim that the pandemic was under control. He died soon after, she said, isolated from his family.
Her father’s “only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump,” she added, “and for that he paid with his life.”
George Floyd’s family led a moment of silence.
One of the most powerful moments of the night was one of the most understated: a short montage of Americans, eyes closed and heads down, observing a moment of silence for Black people killed by the police.
The family of George Floyd, whose killing by the Minneapolis police set off a national uprising over systemic racism, prefaced the moment of silence by listing the names of just a few of the victims.
“George should be alive today,” Mr. Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. Eric Garner should be alive today. Stephon Clark, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland — they should all be alive today.”
Times commenters were watching the first virtual convention too:
I cried. Without the crowd it was better. it felt personal. Without cameras panning around a cavernous stadium, no din drowning out carefully chosen words. People connected with us, instead of standing at the podium delivering a speech. We got to sit a foot away from Michelle Obama, talking to us like she was in the room. God I miss her. Trump is all about the crowd, he needs the adulation validation. Tonight felt intimate, in keeping with the times.
— Judy O’Rourke, San Diego
Hundreds of commenters have shared their thoughts about the first night of the D.N.C. Join in the conversation here.
WASHINGTON — President Trump will travel to the border city of Yuma, Ariz., this afternoon to tout his efforts to drastically limit immigration and to attack Joseph R. Biden Jr. on the second day of the Democratic convention.
Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign said the event, is intended to focus on Mr. Biden’s “failures on immigration and border security.”
That message is already at the center of Mr. Trump’s criticisms of Mr. Biden and Senator Kamala Harris of California, his running mate.
On Monday, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that Mr. Biden supports allowing anyone to enter the United States, telling supporters in Mankato, Minn., that Mr. Biden has “pledged to allow virtually unlimited immigration during a global pandemic spreading the virus, overwhelming our health care system and displacing millions of American job seekers.”
Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric helped him win in 2016 and has remained at the core of his presidency. He has blocked asylum seekers and refugees, attempted to end a program protecting young immigrants and cut back on opportunities for foreigners to work and study in the U.S.
While courts have blocked some of his most extreme efforts, the president and his top aides have succeeded in changing many regulations and policies.
Ahead of Mr. Trump’s speech in Yuma, a coalition of more than 100 pro-immigration organizations plans to release on Tuesday an “action plan” of recommendations on how a Biden presidency could roll back Mr. Trump’s policies and improve the nation’s system of immigration.
The report, obtained by The Times, lists 10 broad action items, including decriminalizing immigration, protecting immigrant children and families, phasing out immigration jails and restoring the “right to seek and receive protection from persecution” at the border.
“We need a vision,” said Tyler Moran, the executive director of the Immigration Hub and one of the effort’s leaders. “It really is a road map that we think a new administration can take.”
The report’s more specific recommendations include a moratorium on deportations pending a comprehensive review of immigration enforcement; reinstatement and expansion of the DACA program for young immigrants; the repeal of “Muslim, African, refugee and other travel bans”; a White House “Office of New Americans”; and the suspension of criminal prosecutions for migration-related offenses.
On the way to Arizona, the president is scheduled to make a brief stop in Iowa to hear from emergency officials about damage from last week’s derecho wind storm.
Modern political conventions, deprived of the who-will-win-the-nomination drama of earlier smoke-filled eras, have always been television events. But the Democratic National Convention that began to unfold Monday night proved to be a very different kind of show, The Times’s chief television critic, James Poniewozik, noted. He wrote:
On cable news, there were no pundit panels jawboning all day on location. There was no location, really — most of the convention took place in a Milwaukee of the mind. (Sadly, without virtual fried cheese curds.) There were no floor interviews with delegates for also-ran candidates. No placards. No funny hats. And above all, no cheering, hooting crowds.
Instead, the teleconvention kept a few standards (like the Bruce Springsteen-soundtracked montage) and borrowed from a grab bag of other TV formats, from talk show to cable news to reality-TV reunion special. And it was all hosted for the night by the actress Eva Longoria from the floor of a cable-news-like studio, a kind of ersatz DNCNN. “We had hoped to gather in one place,” she said early on.
The very reason they couldn’t was linked to a key political theme of the night: the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Trump administration’s handling of it. This meant that, more than usual, the medium was the message.
The program’s very existence was a kind of political argument: If this doesn’t look normal, it’s because none of this is normal right now. President Trump, the presentation said visually, had broken normality; the Democrats, with an assortment of appeals both to Republicans and to their own party’s left, promised to restore it.
Some viewers on social media said the show looked like a telethon, and it often did, from the stories of hardship to the heart-tugging sea-to-shining-sea musical numbers. (These included Leon Bridges on a rooftop and Maggie Rogers on a Maine shore.)
But why do you hold a telethon? For disasters and diseases. For emergencies.
A report released Tuesday by a Republican-controlled Senate panel that spent three years investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference laid out an extensive web of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russian government officials and other Russians, including some with ties to the country’s intelligence services.
The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, totaling nearly 1,000 pages, provided a bipartisan Senate imprimatur for an extraordinary set of facts: The Russian government undertook an extensive campaign to try to sabotage the 2016 American election to help Mr. Trump become president, and some members of Mr. Trump’s circle of advisers were open to the help from an American adversary.
The report drew to a close one of the highest-profile congressional inquiries in recent memory, one that the president and his allies have long tried to discredit as part of a “witch hunt” designed to undermine the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s stunning election nearly four years ago.
Like the investigation led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who released his findings in April 2019, the Senate report did not conclude that the Trump campaign engaged in a coordinated conspiracy with the Russian government — a fact that Republicans seized on to argue that there was “no collusion.”
But the report showed extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin — including a longstanding associate of the onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, whom the report identifies as a “Russian intelligence officer.”
The Senate report said that the unusual nature of the Trump campaign — staffed by Mr. Trump’s longtime associates, friends and other businessmen with no government experience — “presented attractive targets for foreign influence, creating notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities.”
The first night of the virtual Democratic convention was carefully orchestrated. But with several speakers addressing the convention live, some pre-roll was captured behind the scenes.
One video posted late Monday night revealed a private moment between Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and his wife, before Mr. Sanders gave his speech at the Hen of the Wood restaurant in Burlington.
I still don’t know why they insisted on so many speeches being live — especially when Michelle Obama’s keynote and several other appearances were pre-taped — but it gave us this wonderful bit of Bernie Sanders that came through via satellite. pic.twitter.com/RrJ8yzmbPg
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 18, 2020
As the camera rolls, Mr. Sanders’s wife Jane and a staffer appear to delicately brush a speck off his suit jacket. He settles his hands onto the lectern, with his characteristic wide-armed grip.
“Are my hands showing when I’m up here?” he asks. He is informed that they are.
“Is that a terrible thing to have my hands showing?” He is informed that it is.
“Well,” Jane Sanders says, waiting a beat. “It’s not terrible. But what’s been good” — she waves her arms — “is you gesture.”
He assents, smooths a wisp of hair.
“You probably should get off the screen,” he says eventually, shooing her away. She jokes that she is going to give the speech. It makes him smile.
Remember to stand up straight, she says. Enough! He says, hunching.
A staffer counts down the seconds until he is live. He mutters something, rehearsing his opening.
15 seconds! 10! 5 seconds!
He takes a breath, and begins.
Ady Barkan, the progressive activist who became a champion for single-payer health care after receiving a diagnosis of the neurodegenerative disease A.L.S., is speaking tonight at the Democratic National Convention.
In an email conversation this week, Mr. Barkan discussed the prospects for single-payer health care in a moderate Democratic administration and his group Be A Hero’s push to flip the Senate. The exchange has been edited and condensed.
NYT: What will be your message to the Democratic Party, particularly as it relates to health care?
Barkan: I support Medicare for All and Joe Biden obviously doesn’t. Many Democratic voters agree with me, as evidenced by the overwhelming support in the exit polls during the primaries. And the pandemic and depression have proven how dangerous it is to tie insurance to employment. But we obviously have work to do to convince Democratic leadership to shift perspective on this.
NYT: Do you worry that the party will embrace you but reject the policies you advocate for?
Barkan: I definitely don’t want to be co-opted! I see my role, and the role of the progressive movement, as trying to get more and better Democrats elected, then pushing hard to get them to promote justice and equity.
I hope we can leverage our power in the House to pass strong legislation pressure the Senate to act, including by getting rid of the filibuster, and put transformative bills on President Biden’s desk.
NYT: Some progressives worry that the energy and money that has fueled some progressive victories in the last four years will dry up if President Trump is defeated. Do you?
Barkan: That is a critical concern. But I am hopeful that the progressive movement is much more powerful and sophisticated than we were when Obama took office. We saw that without movement energy then, not nearly enough was accomplished. Climate change, immigration reform, workers rights, gun control, even a public option health insurance — none of this happened, because of the filibuster and because the progressive movement didn’t pressure Obama to act quickly.
I don’t think we will make the same mistake. The movement for Black lives, for example, understands that it is Democratic mayors and city councils that are funding and protecting the police state. Everyone understands that President Biden will need to be pushed to be the transformative president America needs.
This year’s election could eventually determine whether Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court or codified by Congress.
Normally, stakes that high would make abortion a primary focus of the campaign. But normally, the country would not be experiencing a pandemic, a recession and a civil rights movement all at once.
On Night 1 of the Democratic National Convention, the sum total of the attention abortion received was the second it took Kamala Harris to say “reproductive justice” in a video montage.
Anti-abortion groups hope to keep Americans voting Republican despite anger at leaders’ handling of the coronavirus, race and the economy. Abortion rights groups say the issues are all linked. Both sides are clamoring simply to be heard.
There is no playbook for this: If you are an activist whose life’s work hinges on the attention and decisions of an overwhelmed electorate, what do you do?
WILMINGTON, Del. — Jill Biden, the former second lady of the United States who taught English at a community college throughout her time in the administration, is headed back to the classroom to give her convention speech on Tuesday.
Dr. Biden is expected to speak live from Brandywine High School in Wilmington, a spokesman said. She taught English at the school in the early 1990s and will be speaking from Room 232, her former classroom, Dr. Biden said on Twitter.
Dr. Biden was once a reluctant political spouse, but this campaign season she emerged as one of her husband’s most prolific and powerful surrogates, maintaining public campaign schedules at a pace that sometimes surpassed Mr. Biden’s during the in-person days on the trail early this year, and serving as a critical adviser on the most significant matters of the campaign.
WASHINGTON — Hoping to appeal to female voters, President Trump said on Tuesday that he would posthumously pardon Susan B. Anthony, the women’s suffragist who was arrested in 1872 after voting illegally and assessed a $100 fine.
The pardon came on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
“She was never pardoned. Did you know that? She was never pardoned,” Mr. Trump said. “What took so long?”
Mr. Trump had teased the pardon as he traveled on Air Force One on Monday, telling reporters he was going to erase the conviction of someone “very, very important.”
Many of Mr. Trump’s other pardons and grants of clemency have been of people whose cases resonate with him or allies, like his longtime political adviser, Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted on several charges stemming from the investigation into possible conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment or assault and who has often made degrading comments about women, is facing a deep gender gap in his campaign against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. On Tuesday, surrounded by several female supporters, Mr. Trump declared that “women dominate the United States” and complained that the coronavirus had darkened the economic picture for women.
A female Democratic official in New York — the state where Ms. Anthony was arrested — greeted the news of her pardon with the immediate demand that it be rescinded.
“She was proud of her arrest to draw attention to the cause for women’s rights, and never paid her fine,” New York’s lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, wrote on Twitter. “Let her Rest In Peace, @realDonaldTrump.”
The Trump campaign has started using an advertising firm linked to MyPillow, a company whose chief executive is a donor to and ally of the president, to buy some of its television airtime.
The firm, LifeBrands, bought broadcast airtime for the Trump campaign in Florida and in North Carolina this week, during the Democratic National Convention, according to officials at Medium Buying, a Republican ad-buying firm.
A Trump campaign spokesman declined to comment, and it was unclear how LifeBrands came to be working for the campaign.
But the chief executive of MyPillow, Mike Lindell, is an ally and donor who has repeatedly popped up during the Trump administration. Most recently, Mr. Lindell met with the president at the White House in July and evangelized about oleandrin, an unproven treatment, as a therapeutic for the coronavirus.
Mr. Lindell’s boosterism for the drug — and Mr. Trump’s hope for a quick cure for the coronavirus — has alarmed some White House officials.