First Thing: Senate trumps Mueller with its Russian collusion report – The Guardian

Good morning. More than a year after the messy conclusion of the Mueller investigation, the US senate intelligence committee has released its 1,000-page bipartisan report into the stunning array of links between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Among the explosive details is the bald assertion that a Russian national who worked with the president’s campaign was in fact a career spy. The senate panel identifies Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime associate of the then-Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, as an officer of the GRU, and cites evidence – some of it redacted – linking him to the hacking of Democratic party emails.

Joe Biden is now officially the Democratic presidential nominee

Democratic national convention day two: Ocasio-Cortez & Jill Biden among speakers – watch in full

Joe Biden began his quest for the US presidency in 1987. More than 30 years later, he is at last the Democratic nominee, after an unprecedented virtual roll-call vote at the second night of the party’s Covid-era convention. There was no disguising the former vice president’s long history, with video endorsements from the likes of Jimmy Carter – who recalled Biden backing his 1976 presidential bid – and Bill Clinton, who left the White House two decades ago and is still three years Biden’s junior.

Activist Ady Barkan delivers powerful speech on protecting US healthcare – video

There were also nods to the party’s future, however. The progressive activist Ady Barkan – who has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) – gave a powerful speech demanding access to quality healthcare for all Americans, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised Bernie Sanders for his “historic grassroots campaign”.

  • Amid complaints from activists over the paucity of Latino speakers at this year’s convention, the former presidential candidate Julián Castro has warned that Democrats risk “a potential slide of Latino support”.

  • A St Louis couple pictured pointing guns at BLM protesters will speak at the Republican convention next week, alongside Nick Sandmann, a student whose confrontation with a Native American activist in Washington DC went viral last year.

The USPS chief pauses his cost-cutting until after the election

USPS employee Brandis Neal delivers mail in Houston.

USPS employee Brandis Neal delivers mail in Houston. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

Donald Trump’s postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has said he will suspend his cost-cutting measures at the USPS, after days of outcry over the president’s apparent attempts to sabotage mail-in voting at the presidential election. In a statement, DeJoy said he was postponing the changes until after November, to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail”.

Meanwhile, Louisiana’s top election official has come up with a new wheeze for restricting mail-in voting during the pandemic. Despite the region’s lack of consistent access to Covid-19 testing, the Republican secretary of state Kyle Ardoin has proposed that anyone requesting a mail-in ballot must first produce a positive test for the coronavirus.

Poor countries need a more ambitious Covid debt relief plan

Mourners at a funeral in Bolivia: ‘This is worse than the financial crisis of 2008 and for Latin America worse than the debt crisis of the 1980s.’

Mourners at a funeral in Bolivia: ‘This is worse than the financial crisis of 2008 and for Latin America worse than the debt crisis of the 1980s.’ Photograph: David Mercado/Reuters

The head of the World Bank has told the Guardian the Covid-19 recession is fast becoming a depression in poorer regions and that rich countries must go further on debt relief. “As the crisis hit, inequality has become very distinct,” said David Malpass.

The stimulus in advanced countries has been targeted on advanced countries, to the extent that a major inequality problem has gotten worse. The recessions are even worse in the developing world than they are in advanced economies.

As the global number of confirmed Covid-19 cases exceeds 22 million, a leading expert in infectious diseases has suggested an increasingly common mutation of the virus may be more infectious than previous versions – but also less deadly.

In other news…

Flames consume the shores of Lake Berryessa in Napa, California.

Flames consume the shores of Lake Berryessa in Napa, California. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
  • California’s governor has declared a state of emergency as the state battles dozens of wildfires during a historic heatwave, with blazes raging across several counties including Sonoma, San Mateo, Napa, Butte, Nevada and Monterey.

  • Justin Trudeau has prorogued the Canadian parliament, suspending government business for more than a month, amid the pandemic and an ethics scandal over the prime minister’s links to the development organisation WE Charity.

  • Prosecutors pursued financial crimes at Purdue Pharma, the maker of the controversial opioid OxyContin, as early as 2006, according to a government memorandum seen by the Guardian, which cites evidence of wire fraud and money laundering by the company’s executives.

Great reads

Fame: ‘We were dancing on cars in the epicentre of porn and filth!’

Fame: ‘We were dancing on cars in the epicentre of porn and filth!’ Photograph: United Archives GmbH/Alamy

An oral history of Fame, 40 years on

Four decades since its release, and three weeks after the death of the director Alan Parker, the cast and crew of his most enduring hit reveal to Catherine Shoard their memories of making his portrait of young, ambitious performers in New York: “Fifty kids in a room dancing and watching each other. In between takes it was pretty wild.”

Have we just seen the world’s highest temperature yet?

A weather station in California’s Death Valley reached a temperature of 129.9F (54.4C) on Sunday afternoon, which could turn out to be the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth. We may be distracted by politics and the pandemic, writes Bob Henson, but this is a major moment for the climate.

Opinion: the world is still in a state of climate denial

It is two years since the first school strike for the climate. In that time, millions have marched for environmental justice, the European parliament has declared a climate emergency and world leaders have warned of an “existential crisis”. Yet when it comes to real action, says Greta Thunberg, we are still in a state of denial.

The climate and ecological crisis has never once been treated as a crisis. The gap between what we need to do and what’s actually being done is widening by the minute. Effectively, we have lost another two crucial years to political inaction.

Last Thing: chocolate snow falls on Switzerland

A Lindt & Sprüngli worker at one of the company’s Swiss chocolate factories.

A Lindt & Sprüngli worker at one of the company’s Swiss chocolate factories. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

A malfunctioning ventilation system at a Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate factory in the Swiss town of Olten caused a “snow” of fine cocoa powder to fall on the surrounding area, leaving a light dusting of chocolate on at least one nearby car. The company has offered to pay for the cleaning.

Sign up

Sign up for the US morning briefing

First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.


All Breaking News