Takeaways: Trump's town hall offered preview of debates

President Donald Trump talks with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos before a town hall at National Constitution Center, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Philadelphia.

In ‘law and order’ debate, data can be molded to suit

SALT LAKE CITY | President Donald Trump points to spiking crime and delivers stark statistics on murders and shootings as part of his “law and order” campaign emphasis that suggests cities are overrun with violence that only he can stop.

Several cities have seen a sobering surge in murders this summer, but those numbers are only a small snapshot of crime in the United States, and his strategy is highlighting how data can be easily molded to suit the moment.

At a televised town hall event Tuesday for undecided voters in Pennsylvania, Trump spoke about how he believed crime was soaring in cities after nationwide protests against police brutality. He has tried to link the violence to the protests, and is trying to leverage the violence to scare white, suburban voters and encourage them to back his reelection campaign.

Health official on leave amid political interference furor

WASHINGTON | A Trump health appointee is taking a leave of absence after allegations of political interference in the federal coronavirus response, followed by a personal video that warned of election violence and all but equated science with resistance.

Michael Caputo has decided to take 60 days “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

Fiercely loyal to President Donald Trump, Caputo had been serving as the department’s top spokesman, a post that usually is not overtly political. He was installed by the White House in April during a period of tense relations with the president’s health secretary, Alex Azar.

Reforms in Breonna Taylor case praised, scrutinized

LOUISVILLE, Ky. | A settlement between the family of Breonna Taylor and the city of Louisville could bring wide-ranging reforms to how police officers live and work, changes that would represent a rare outcome in a police misconduct lawsuit.

But some activists hoping for deep, lasting change fear reforms won’t be enough if not accompanied by community input and criminal charges against the officers involved in Taylor’s death. And a legal expert noted that even the most wide-ranging of reforms won’t succeed if the people entrusted with implementing them aren’t onboard.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer outlined what he described as “significant” reforms on Tuesday as part of an announcement that the city would pay $12 million to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.

The measures include giving officers housing credits to live in the neighborhoods they police; requiring that only high-ranking commanders approve search warrant requests; involving social workers to help resolve situations when necessary; and additional drug testing for officers.

Oops: Mike Pence missing from some Michigan ballots

LANSING, Mich. | President Donald Trump ... and “Spike?”

Local election clerks in Michigan downloading absentee ballots for residents overseas were given ballots that listed Trump’s Republican running mate as Jeremy Cohen, who is the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president, the Michigan secretary of state’s office said.

Vice President Mike Pence wasn’t on the ballot next to Trump. Cohen, whose nickname is “Spike,” is running with Jo Jorgensen.

Barbados seeks to drop Queen Elizabeth II as head

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico | Queen Elizabeth II has eight realms in the Caribbean, but Barbados no longer wants to be part of that kingdom.

The former British colony once known as “Little England” announced it plans to replace the monarch with its own head of state in time for next year’s 55th independence anniversary.

— From AP reports