Pandemic raises far-right terror fears, 100 days to election and U.S. closes China consulate

John Lewis, civil rights giant, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge one last time.
An Alabama State Trooper salutes the casket carrying the late Rep. John Lewis, a pioneer of the civil rights movement who died July 17, after it was carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a horse-drawn carriage in Selma, Ala., on July 26, 2020.
An Alabama State Trooper salutes the casket carrying the late Rep. John Lewis after it was carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a horse-drawn carriage in Selma, Ala., on Sunday. Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

It's 100 days until the 2020 election, an American flag has been lowered in China for the last time and the country has bid farewell to a civil rights icon.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.


Jihadist plots used to be U.S. and Europe's biggest terrorist threat. Now it's the far right

The threat of terrorism — particularly from the far right — should be a major concern for governments on both sides of the Atlantic as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease, according to multiple experts and former law enforcement officials.

High unemployment levels due to the pandemic, poor economic prospects and the spread of disinformation through the internet and social media could accelerate radicalization, they said.

"We see an increasing percentage of plots and attacks in the United States shifting over the past couple of years from jihadist motivations, increasingly, to far-right activity," said Seth Jones, who directs the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

We apologize, this video has expired.

Hill Republicans begin jockeying for power in a possible post-Trump world

Amid a stalled fight in Congress over the future of a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package, a parallel battle has been coming into focus: a struggle for the future of the Republican Party.

Behind closed doors in both the House and Senate this week, Republican lawmakers saw their ire focused not on Democrats, but instead at each other, a product lawmakers and strategists say of President Donald Trump’s sinking poll numbers.

The confrontations revealed a party that appears to be looking past the dire outlook of November and on to the possibility of a leadership reshuffle in the winter.

“They’re dealing with a grim reality,” Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and former senior House aide, said of the outlook in congressional campaign committees.

A new NBC News/Marist poll doesn't bode well for the president.

Joe Biden leads Trump by 7 points in the key swing state of North Carolina, according to the new poll.

Voters also favored Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates and said by 2 to 1 that the state was right to balk at the Trump administration's Charlotte convention plans over concerns about coronavirus safety protocols.

And the pro-President Trump super PAC America First Action has been getting heavily outspent by its Democratic rivals, causing growing anxiety among Republicans.

They worry whether the group they’d hoped to be a primary attack dog against Biden can make up the lost ground with just 100 days left in the campaign.


U.S. lowers flag at consulate in China amid escalating tensions

After 35 years, the U.S. official presence in China's Chengdu ended on Monday with the lowering of the American flag over the consulate in the southwestern city.

China took over the premises of the consulate in retaliation for a U.S. order to close the Chinese consulate in Houston last week — capping months of escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The tit-for-tat closures of consulates comes as China and the U.S. clash on a range of issues, including trade, technology, security and human rights.

On Monday, a video message shared by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Chinese social media site Weibo bid farewell to the consulate in Chengdu, saying: "We will miss you forever."


John Lewis, civil rights giant, crosses Edmund Pettus Bridge one final time

Crowds watched solemnly Sunday as the body of Rep. John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge one final time,55 years after the civil rights icon marched for peace and was met with brutality in Selma, Alabama.

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., thanked Lewis’ family during a ceremony at the chapel for sharing the congressman with the public for so many years.

"Our nation is better off because of John Robert Lewis," she said. "My life is better, Selma is better, this nation and this world is better because of John Robert Lewis."


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Plus


THINK about it

Trump and the CDC are turning teachers into COVID-19's newest villains, Anne Lutz Fernandez, a high school English teacher, writes in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

By switching up her exercise and diet regularly, one woman supercharged her routine — and trimmed and toned her body. Check out how she did it.


Shopping

Should you buy a face shield? Here’s what medical experts say.


Quote of the day

"Everything just changed when I stepped my feet into this country."

Edafe Okporo, a Nigerian refugee who created New York City's first full-time shelter for asylum-seekers and refugees.


One cool thing

Buddhist monks at Thailand's Chak Daeng Temple have found a way to protect the environment and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

They are recycling plastic waste into polyester thread to make face masks to help fight coronavirus.

NBC News' Larissa Johnsson reports from Bangkok.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra