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John Cornyn, Ted Cruz doubt Trump would use Hurricane Harvey funds for border wall; Cornyn says he’d oppose it

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U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Friday he would oppose any effort to redirect Hurricane Harvey relief funds to pay for a border wall — a move that he and fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz agreed was unlikely to happen.

There were reports Thursday that the Trump administration was considering using some of the $13.9 billion in disaster relief money that Congress approved for Texas and other states to construct Trump’s long-sought border barrier. Friday marked the 21st day of a federal government shutdown over Trump’s demands for border wall dollars.

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“I will oppose any reprogramming of Harvey disaster funds,” Cornyn told reporters after a joint appearance with Cruz in Austin. “We worked very hard to make sure that the victims of Hurricane Harvey — their concerns are addressed and Texas is able to rebuild. And I think we are all together on that.”

Cruz, who spoke with reporters alongside Cornyn, said he did not believe the Trump administration “is going to do anything to reduce the funding for Hurricane Harvey relief.” Cornyn said he agreed.

“I think some of these reports are overstated,” Cruz said. “I don’t think we’re going to see that money jeopardized in any way.”

Cruz and Cornyn appeared together at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 2019 Policy Orientation a day after joining Trump for a visit to McAllen, where he continued to make the case for a border wall amid the shutdown.

Disclosure: The Texas Public Policy Foundation has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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COVID-19

As coronavirus spikes break new records Dr. Fauci reveals Trump doesn’t even speak to him anymore

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President Donald Trump tried to claim the mantle of a "wartime president," battling the "unseen enemy," but as it turns out one of the people who could best help him with the coronavirus battle is who's really "unseen."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and probably the most respected public health expert on the government's payroll, reveals the President of the United States no longer talks to him.

In fact, Trump hasn't talked to Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in over a month – and hasn't been able to update Trump in at least two.

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Instagram to block all content promoting LGBT ‘conversion therapy’

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Instagram said on Friday it would block content that promotes so-called conversion therapy, which aims to alter a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, as pressure to ban the practice grows.

The social media giant announced earlier this year it would no longer allow adverts for conversion therapy services, which can range from counseling and "praying away the gay" to electric shocks and sexual violence.

"We don't allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity," Tara Hopkins, Instagram's public policy director for Europe, Middle East and Africa said in an emailed statement.

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Trump campaign headquarters in Virginia shut down for COVID-19 after staffers pressured against wearing face masks

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President Donald Trump's campaign office, located in northern Virginia just outside of Washington, was forced to shut down after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Politico reported Friday that for a week cleaners were brought into the headquarters to scrub surfaces, disinfect equipment and try and stave off the coronavirus from hitting the campaign more than it already has.

While in Tulsa, Oklahoma, eight members of Trump's advance team contracted the coronavirus, including Secret Service agents. While in Arizona the following week, more of Trump's Secret Service got the virus. To make matters worse, when Trump headed to South Dakota for a Fourth of July celebration, his son's girlfriend, who also works on the campaign, contracted the virus.

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