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Suspect in Portland shooting killed, Trump denies calling U.S. soldiers 'losers' and suspensions for Rochester police

Scientists express skepticism over CDC's Nov. 1 vaccine target.
Image: Portland fatal shooting
Police walk past evidence markers at the scene where a man suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland, Ore., last week was killed as investigators moved in to arrest him on Thursday. Ted Warren / AP

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The suspect in the fatal Portland shooting was killed by officers during his attempted arrest. President Donald Trump denies a new report that he called fallen soldiers "losers." And seven police officers have been suspended after the details of the death of a Black man in Rochester, New York became known.

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


Man who admitted fatal shooting of right-wing activist in Portland killed by officers during arrest

A suspect who earlier appeared to admit shooting dead a man who had been part of a pro-Trump caravan in Portland, Oregon, last weekend was himself killed during an attempted arrest on Thursday, officials said.

Michael Forest Reinoehl was fatally shot in Olympia, Washington, as a federal task force tried to detain him, a U.S. Marshals spokesperson said.

Reinoehl was a suspect in the killing of Aaron "Jay" Danielson, 39, the marshals service confirmed.

The shooting in Portland occurred after skirmishes between protesters and the pro-Trump caravan in the Oregon city.

Earlier Thursday, VICE News published part of an interview with a man who said he was Reinoehl in which he said he acted in self-defense.

In the same interview, the man who identified himself as Reinoehl said "I am 100 percent anti-fascist. I am not a member of Antifa. I'm not a member of anything." Antifa is a loosely organized network of groups that use direct action to confront far-right and fascist groups.


Trump denies report claiming he called dead U.S. service members 'losers' and 'suckers

The White House denied a report Thursday that President Trump called dead American service members "losers" and "suckers."

"Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," Trump told aides after he scrapped a visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 to honor the dead service members, according to the report in The Atlantic magazine, which cited four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion.

Trump, on the same trip, later referred to the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives in the Battle of Belleau Wood in France as "suckers" for getting killed, the magazine reported.

"What animal would say such a thing?" Trump said Thursday night as he returned from a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. "We can refute it. We have other people that will refute it."

The comments, which are in stark contrast with the president's public persona as a champion of the military and a fighter for veterans, are likely to have repercussions on the campaign trail.

Meantime, at the rally in Pennsylvania Trump doubled down on his call for supporters to vote twice.


'I want to see the data': Scientists express skepticism over Nov. 1 vaccine target

Successfully rolling out a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 1 will rely on clinical trials conducted at unprecedented speed, coupled with public release of research that shows it is both safe and effective, experts say.

Reaction to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's letter to states to prepare for "large-scale" distribution of the vaccine in November — specifically, two days before the presidential election — triggered swift concern that political pressure could override commitments to safety.

"I want the physician scientists and not the political leadership to make these decisions," said Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. "If it’s made from the Oval Office, there’s going to be a lot of skepticism."

As the global effort to find a COVID vaccine continues, the U.S. has already begun to scale down its engagement with the World Health Organization.

The State Department said in a statement Thursday that includes "recalling the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) detailees from WHO headquarters, regional offices, and country offices, and reassigning these experts."

Meantime, as Labor Day weekend approaches, lots of travelers are heading to COVID-19 hot spots such as Florida.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, reminded people on NBC's "Today" earlier this week to be careful over the 3-day weekend so the country can avoid the surge in cases that happened after Fourth of July and Memorial Day.

"Wear a mask. Keep social distancing. Avoid crowds," Fauci said on NBC's "Today." "You don't want to be someone who's propagating the outbreak. You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."


7 Rochester officers suspended in case of Daniel Prude, who died after police restraint

Seven police officers involved in the response to a call in which a Black man was put in a hood and later died have been suspended, the mayor of Rochester, New York, announced Thursday.

Mayor Lovely Warren said at a news conference that the officers involved in the response to the man, Daniel Prude, were suspended with pay "against the advice of counsel."

Warren indicated that she might be in for a fight with the local police union over the suspensions.

"I understand that the union may sue me for taking these officers off our streets. They should feel free to do so."


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One fun thing

It may be the last weekend of the summer, but "Tenet" the first big blockbuster of the season has just been released in theaters after months of COVID-19 delays.

Still, moviegoers say they are mixed about whether they feel comfortable returning to theaters.

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Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

Have a safe and healthy Labor Day weekend!

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

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Thanks, Petra