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Welcome to The Hills Morning Report. It is Thursday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 162,938.Tuesday, 163,465. Wednesday, 164,537. Thursday, 166,027.
Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probesOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs ‘third rail’ of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to ‘suburban housewife’Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally: ‘We are in a battle for the soul of our nation’MOREand Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCandidates on Biden’s VP list were asked what they thought Trump would nickname them as part of process: reportBass on filling Harris’s Senate spot: ‘I’ll keep all my options open’Election security advocates see strong ally in HarrisMORE (D-Calif.) made their first joint appearance as the Democratic ticket on Wednesday, attacking President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong UnOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs ‘third rail’ of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to ‘suburban housewife’Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ rally: ‘We are in a battle for the soul of our nation’MOREs leadership with arguments about why they should steer the country through multiple crises beginning in January.
Introducing his newly minted running mate, Biden heaped praise on the California Democrat and celebrated the historic possibility of electing the first vice president of color. Biden championed Harriss qualifications, arguing she is the right candidate to join him and is ready to tackle a role he himself held for eight years.
She knows how to govern, how to make the hard calls, and shes ready to do the job on day one,” Biden said.
Biden and Harris used the event to tear into Trumps handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a bruised and battered economy, and the racial tensions that have been intensified in recent months. As The Hills Jonathan Easley notes, the two anchored their attacks to the third anniversary of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Its the event Biden has said prompted him to mount his third campaign for the presidency.
The presidents mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and were experiencing a moral reckoning with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conscience to the streets of our country, Harris said. America is crying out for leadership.
“[Trump] inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden, Harris tear into Trump in first joint appearanceThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Biden, Harris’s first day as running matesIt’s Harris and we’re not surprisedMORE and Joe Biden. And then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground,” Harris added.
The Associated Press: Biden, Harris lash Trump in introduction of historic VP pick.
The Hill: Biden hits back after Trump’s attacks on Harris.
Throughout the event in Wilmington, Del., the outsize role of the coronavirus pandemic was laid bare. In normal times, the unveiling of a running mate has been marked by a massive rally, followed by the subsequent criss-crossing to events across key battleground states and the partys conventions.
None of that was (or will be) the case, as Biden and Harris appeared in the gymnasium of Alexis I. duPont High School wearing masks and practiced social distancing throughout the event, which took place without a crowd. The Democratic pair then took part in a virtual fundraiser.
The Harris announcement also proved to be a financial winner: the Biden campaign raised $26 million in its first day, according to the former vice president.
The New York Times: Biden and Harriss incident-free, audience-free debut.
John F. Harris, Politico founding editor: The epic blandness of the Joe Biden campaign.
With the Democratic ticket off and running, Republicans are grappling with how best to attack Harris, with the first 24 hours serving as a prime example as Trump allies were unable to come up with a cohesive message against the presumptive vice presidential nominee. As Brett Samuels documents, the Trump campaign derided her as weak on crime, yet also played up her self-described role as a top cop when she served as California’s attorney general.
On Tuesday, Trump labeled Harris as nasty for her questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughBiden hits back after Trump’s attacks on HarrisTrump and allies grapple with how to target HarrisJoe Biden played it safeMORE, even as the campaign worries such rhetoric could turn off the suburban voters Trump needs to secure a second term in office.
Trump is really unlike Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden, Harris make first public appearance as running mates Trump campaign spox rips GOP congressman over rejection of QAnon conspiracyBiden hits back after Trump’s attacks on HarrisMORE, who he successfully branded from day one as a crook he has not been able to brand Biden in the same way, said Alex Conant, a former top adviser to Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddlingDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald TrumpLincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ireMORE (R-Fla.). He risks having the same problem with Harris in part because she doesnt fit into an obvious box.
The Washington Post: Extraordinarily nasty: Trump hurls one of his favorite insults at a new target in Kamala Harris.
The Hill and The Wall Street Journal: Biden asked potential VP candidates what they thought Trump would nickname them.
The Associated Press: Radical or moderate? Trump paints Democratic ticket as both.
NPR: One tough question for DOJ if Biden is elected: Whether to prosecute Trump.
The Hill: Harris climate agenda stresses need for justice.
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Explore our new Voting Information Center now.
LEADING THE DAY
CONGRESS: Negotiations on a massive coronavirus relief package remained at a stalemate on Wednesday, with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs ‘third rail’ of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to ‘suburban housewife’Bass on filling Harris’s Senate spot: ‘I’ll keep all my options open’Win by QAnon believer creates new headaches for House GOPMORE(D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOcasio-Cortez’s 2nd grade teacher tells her ‘you’ve got this’ ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in MassachusettsLawmakers push Trump to restore full funding for National Guards responding to pandemicMORE(D-N.Y.) charging that White House negotiators have no interest in meeting them halfway to reach an accord.
Early Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs ‘third rail’ of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to ‘suburban housewife’US Chamber asks Treasury to clear up ‘serious concerns’ about payroll tax deferralPelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemateMOREtold Fox Business that the two Democratic leaders are unwilling to compromise, pointing to their repeated need for nearly $1 trillion in funding for state and local governments.
Our view is let’s spend a little over $1 trillion on areas of the economy that are going to be very impactful now that we can agree on,” Mnuchin said. “If we need to do more, we’ll come back and do more and work together.
The remarks prompted a rebuke from Pelosi and Schumer hours later, with the pair saying in a statement that Mnuchin pushed for a new meeting on an aid package but showed no willingness to move off the administrations negotiating position. They added that any deal needs to be in the ballpark of $2 trillion a figure Republicans remain reluctant to approach.
An overture was made by Secretary Mnuchin to meet and he made clear that his televised comments from earlier today still stand: the White House is not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package, Pelosi and Schumer said. Democrats have compromised. We have again made clear to the Administration that we are willing to resume negotiations once they start to take this process seriously (The Hill).
Adding to the rhetoric, the president panned Pelosi and Schumer for wanting ridiculous items in the bill, including funds for mail-in voting in November.
Nancy and Chuck havent provided anything, Trump said. They dont want to give anything.
The Washington Post: Mnuchins latest overture to Pelosi goes nowhere, and relief talks stall again.
The Associated Press:Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsPelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemateOvernight Health Care: Democrats say White House isn’t budging in coronavirus relief stalemate | Top Fed official says quick reopenings damaged recovery from coronavirus | Nearly three dozen health experts object to HHS coronavirus databaseDemocrats say White House isn’t budging in coronavirus relief stalemateMORE moves from deal breaker to deal-maker?
As The Hills Jordain Carney writes, lawmakers are barreling toward a rocky September. With no deal in sight, the perfect storm of legislative matters looms as coronavirus relief discussions could collide with a push to avoid a government shutdown only weeks before the general election.
Lawmakers are already discussing trying to merge coronavirus funding and a continuing resolution just weeks before Election Day, with Pelosi saying that they want a COVID-19 deal before the funding deadline, Sept. 30, but there’s no end in sight for the stalemate between the two sides.
The Hill: Pelosi says COVID-19 aid can’t wait until September: People will die.
Greg Ip, The Wall Street Journal: Checks and balances erode as Trump flexes power of the purse.
The Associated Press: U.S. budget deficit climbs to record $2.81 trillion.
Politico: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probesDemocrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddlingHillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook’s Sandberg backs Harris as VP pickMORE (R-Wis.) says committee Republicans are blocking James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probesRepublicans set sights on FBI chief as Russia probe investigations ramp upThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Speculation over Biden’s running mate announcementMORE, John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probesThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Speculation over Biden’s running mate announcementTrump slams former intelligence officials to explain ‘reluctance to embrace’ agenciesMORE subpoenas.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
CORONAVIRUS: Trump, eager to nudge schools to open this fall for classroom rather than online instruction, on Wednesday unveiled basic hygiene and other precautions suggested to U.S. schools in the form of formal guidance meant to increase precautions against the transmission of the coronavirus.
At a Wednesday event at the White House, Trump said, Virtual is not as good as being there. Virtual is just not the same thing (Reuters). He continued during an evening press briefing, asserting that children are short-changed with virtual learning: When you sit alone in a basement looking at a computer, your brain starts to wither away.
The New York Times: 1,193 people have been quarantined in Georgia because students returned to schools with COVID-19 infections, setting off chains of precautionary events. Also in Tennessee, Mississippi and Indiana, for example, suburban and rural schools opened their doors weeks ago.
The Associated Press: School boards are at the heart of the coronavirus-reopening debate in schools.
The Associated Press: At one university in North Carolina, police recently broke up an off-campus student party with 400 people. It was one of 20 parties at which the university police intervened because young people did not heed rules and precautions against COVID-19 transmission.
> Treatments: Companies are rushing to test drugs that deliver antibodies to fight COVID-19 without having to train the immune system to make them. These drugs, given through an IV, are believed to last for a month or more. They could give quick, temporary immunity to people at high risk of infection, such as health workers and housemates of someone with the coronavirus. If they prove effective and if a vaccine doesnt materialize or fails to work as hoped, the drugs might eventually be considered for wider use, perhaps for teachers or other groups (The Associated Press).
> Dental health during the pandemic: The World Health Organization, in newly released interim guidance on Wednesday, recommended that people delay routine, nonessential dental care until coronavirus transmission rates in patients communities are reduced or until national or local officials suggest otherwise. The guidance prompted a rebuttal from the American Dental Association (The Washington Post).
> Bars and restaurants: Eating out. Drinking out. Family gatherings. During the pandemic, these simple pleasures have proved to be dangerous. Data from states and cities shows that many community outbreaks of the coronavirus this summer have centered on restaurants and bars. The clusters seen in data from Louisiana, Maryland, Colorado and other states as well as major cities are worrisome to health officials because many restaurant and bar employees across the country are in their 20s and can carry the virus home and possibly seed household transmissions, which have soared in recent weeks through the Sun Belt and the West. There are no simple answers or solutions for patrons, owners, employees and communities (The New York Times).
> Dog dies from COVID-19: An 8-year-old dog that tested positive for the coronavirus in North Carolina, according to laboratory tests, died this month after suffering respiratory distress. A member of the household had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and subsequently tested negative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there is currently no evidence that pets play a significant role in transmission of the virus (ABC News).
> Sports: The Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled on Sept. 5, decided to move ahead with some social distancing precautions at Churchill Downs because of the coronavirus and will limit spectators to fewer than 23,000 (USA Today). Augusta National Golf Club announced on Wednesday that The Masters, set to take place Nov. 12-15, will be held without fans (The Associated Press). The Washington Football Team will play the 2020 football season without fans at FedEx Field. The well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedEx Field to start the season, owner Dan Snyder said on Wednesday (Yahoo Sports). The Dallas Cowboys plan to play all their home games this season in front of fans, owner Jerry Jones said on Wednesday (NBC Sports).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to share The Hills reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
The pandemic has made clear that college students are customers, by Megan McArdle, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3fSGCA2
Hong Kong still has many ways to resist, by Joshua Wong, opinion contributor, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3gRqwYx
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How Facebook is preparing for the US 2020 election
Launched new Voting Information CenterMore than tripled our safety and security teams to 35,000 peopleImplemented 5-step political ad verificationProviding greater political ad transparency
Learn about these efforts and more.
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at 2 p.m. on Friday in a pro forma session. Pelosi will appear on MSNBCs Morning Joe at 8:25 a.m. She will also hold her weekly press conference at 10:45 a.m.
The Senate will convene at 11 a.m.
The president has no public events scheduled.
Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTurkey’s search for oil may spill over into conflict with GreeceThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Biden, Harris’s first day as running matesWatchdog: Trump’s UK envoy made inappropriate remarks on religion, race, sexMORE is today in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he meets with Prime Minister Janez Jansa. At midday, the secretary and Foreign Minister Anze Logar expect to sign a 5G joint declaration and hold a press conference. Pompeo will participate in an afternoon meeting about energy issues, followed by a working lunch with Slovenian President Borut Pahor. From Ljubljana, the secretary will continue his travels this week to Vienna, Austria, and Warsaw, Poland before returning to Washington.
Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 8. Although unemployment has eased, the U.S. labor market is still struggling.
TODAY at 1 p.m.: The Hill Virtually Live hosts Breaking Through: U.S. Businesses Powered By Global Exports. Rep. Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Biden, Harris’s first day as running matesThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-PenceOn The Money: McConnell says it’s time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year highMORE (D-Wash.), co-chairman of the congressional U.S.-China Working Group; former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; and others will join a conversation moderated by The Hill’s Steve Clemons. RSVP: https://bit.ly/3kjRWZl
Hill.TVs Rising program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.
Trade: U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be ‘huge mistake’Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White HouseMORE late Wednesday announced the Trump administration will leave U.S. tariffs unchanged at 15 percent on Airbus aircraft, and maintain 25 percent tariffs on other European goods, despite moves by the European Union to resolve a 16-year-old dispute over aircraft subsidies. The administration ignored calls from European Union officials and rejected an appeal this week from U.S. lawmakers to drop tariffs on food, wine and spirits from the EU, but did not add tariffs to vodka, gin and beer, as it had threatened (Reuters). U.S. Wine Trade Alliance President Ben Aneff did not mince words in a stern statement of objection released on Wednesday. This decision highlights serious questions about how the USTR is currently damaging small, mom-and-pop restaurants and wine businesses throughout our nation, at the height of the worst pandemic in a century, Aneff said. The USTR also owes Boeing an explanation. The agency continues to deal out more punishment to small, unrelated U.S. businesses than to Airbus, the recipient of the illegal subsidies at the heart of this dispute.
Courts: Federal prosecutors charged three men on Wednesday with threatening and intimidating women who have accused Grammy Award-winning artist R. Kelly of sexual misconduct. Among those charged are an adviser of Kelly who threatened to release sexually-explicit pictures of a woman who filed suit against the musician, and a friend who offered $500,000 to a victim to not cooperate with prosecutors (The Associated Press and The Hill).
Administration: Six former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from both parties are calling for a reset at the EPA in an open letter published on Wednesday (The Hill). One of Trumps pet peeves is a federal regulation affecting water conservation through showerheads. The administration is moving ahead to eliminate some Department of Energy appliance standards, including for showerheads (The Associated Press). … Following the November election, Trump is considering replacing Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump reportedly considering replacing Esper after election | FBI, Air Force investigating after helicopter shot at in Virginia | Watchdog says UK envoy made inappropriate comments on religion, race, sexTrump eyes replacing Esper after election: reportsOvernight Defense: Esper confirms plans to drop below 5,000 troops in Afghanistan | State Department says it’s cleared of wrongdoing in emergency arms sales before investigation’s releaseMORE, who has challenged the presidents inclinations more than once, according to sources in multiple news outlets on Wednesday (Reuters). Pompeo, during a speech on Wednesday to the Czech Senate, said China poses a threat to the West that is in some ways worse than that posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Whats happening now isnt Cold War 2.0, he said. The secretary said in his remarks that China is a more significant danger to Czech democracy than Russia. The secretary appeared with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babi (pictured below) (Politico).
And finally Its Thursday, which means its time for this weeks Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by the 2020 presidential tickets, were eager for some smart guesses about vice presidential running mates.
Email your responses to email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org, and please add Quiz to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.
In what year did a Democratic presidential nominee choose and campaign with a vice presidential running mate for just 18 days?
Which presidential nominee surprised everyone and irritated many during his partys convention by announcing his VP pick was a Maryland governor?
- Michael Dukakis
- Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probesDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald TrumpTrump slams ‘rogue’ Sasse after criticism of executive actionsMORE
- Robert Dole
- Richard Nixon
According to accounts published by former President Obamas 2008 campaign strategists, which of these politicians interviewed to be the former Illinois senators presidential running mate in addition to then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.)?
- Evan Bayh, Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-PenceThree pros and three cons to Biden picking HarrisHillary Clinton roasts NYT’s Maureen Dowd over columnMORE
- John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOcasio-Cortez’s 2nd grade teacher tells her ‘you’ve got this’ ahead of DNC speech Ron Johnson subpoenas documents from FBI director as part of Russia origins probeThe Memo: Biden faces balancing actMORE, Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom linePolls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super TuesdaySanders poised for big Super TuesdayMORE
- Ted Kennedy, John LewisJohn LewisMore than 50 Confederate monuments have been removed since Floyd’s death: reportTrump rips Bill Maher as ‘exhausted, gaunt and weak’Trump’s personality is as much a problem as his performance MORE
- Bill Richardson, Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier mealsOVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling billMORE
Harris on Tuesday made history as Bidens pick, but not as the first woman chosen to be a VP nominee of a major U.S. political party. Who was the first?
- Ann Richards
- Phyllis Schlafly
- Shirley Chisholm
- Geraldine Ferraro