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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 129,947. Tuesday, 130,306. Wednesday, 131,480. Thursday, 132,309. Friday, 133,291.
In a pair of decisions on the final day of its term, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West’s presidential run: ‘He is always going to be for us’Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He ‘deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this’Trump says Biden has been ‘brainwashed’: ‘He’s been taken over by the radical left’MORE must turn over his financial records to a Manhattan grand jury but the court said Congresss subpoenas for those documents, which the president tried to block, head back to lower courts.
The upshot is that voters are unlikely to learn more before Election Day about the presidents opaque business operations, but the court rejected Trumps claim that hes exempt from cooperating (The Hill).
The justices ruled in a 7-2 decision that the Manhattan district attorney can gain access to eight years of Trumps financial documents, including his personal and corporate tax returns. But in another 7-2 ruling, the justices tossed questions about subpoenas issued for similar records by three House committees to lower courts. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote both majority opinions and the dissenters in both rulings were Justices Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasOVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for ‘correction’ to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in ‘Sharpiegate’ incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribeClarence Thomas’s wife criticized her town’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner: reportThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump wins by losing in the Supreme CourtMORE and Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for ‘correction’ to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in ‘Sharpiegate’ incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribeThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump wins by losing in the Supreme CourtIn rueful praise of Elena Kagan: The ‘Little Sisters’ rulingMORE.
Although the presidents White House spokeswoman argued the decisions were a victory for the president, Trump appeared to think otherwise. He fumed on Twitter about political prosecution by the Supreme Court and agitated about an investigation by New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, who is probing payouts through Trumps former personal attorney to two women with whom Trump allegedly had affairs and sought to silence ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has denied having affairs with the women but admitted the payments.
Its a pure witch hunt, a hoax, Trump said on Thursday, a political witch hunt.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSupreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in CongressPelosi on Baltimore’s Columbus statue: ‘If the community doesn’t want the statue, the statue shouldn’t be there’Pelosi says House won’t cave to Senate on worker COVID-19 protectionsMORE (D-Calif.) said the decisions were not good news for the president and she praised the court for supporting Congresss oversight role. But Democrats conceded the justices ruling posed a delay in House investigations in an election year. Pelosi said the House would pursue all subpoena challenges related to Trumps finances through the lower courts. “The Supreme Court today upheld a fundamental tenet of our democracy that no one is above the law,” she said.
CNBC: Trump rages at the Supreme Court over the tax records case.
The Washington Post analysis: The Supreme Court issued a unanimous and biting rebuke of one of Trumps absolute claims. Roberts reminded the president and his legal team: We have twice denied absolute immunity claims by Presidents in cases involving allegations of serious misconduct.
Peter Baker, The New York Times: A conservative court and Trumps own appointees declare their independence.
The Hill: Five takeaways from the Supreme Courts rulings on Trumps tax returns.
The Hill: Trump calls New York City a hellhole after the court rulings.
The Washington Post analysis: The long political fight over Trumps tax returns is likely to be over. Trump may have won.
NBC News analysis: The Supreme Court rejects Trump again. This time its personal.
The Hill: Separately on Thursday, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that a large swath of Oklahoma belongs to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The decision could upend the state’s authority over much of the land and restrict it from taxing or prosecuting tribal members on the reservation.
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At 35,000 people, our safety & security teams work to keep our platforms safe 24/7. A recent EU report found we remove more reported hate speech than other major platforms. But any hate speech is too much theres more work to do.
LEADING THE DAY
CORONAVIRUS: The presidents top infectious disease expert told The Hill on Thursday that regions of the country experiencing the worst COVID-19 infection rates should pause business reopenings and figure out how and why the disease is spreading.
Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Fauci says hard-hit states should be ‘pausing’ reopening | Florida records record number of coronavirus deaths | Redfield says keeping schools closed poses greater health threat to children than reopeningFauci: Partisanship in US has made it harder to suppress coronavirusAzar points to ‘individual responsibility’ as answer to mounting outbreaksMORE, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stopped short of repeating his Wednesday statement that the worst-hit parts of the country should reimpose shutdowns.
“I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process, looking at what did not work well and try to mitigate that,” Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said during a virtual event hosted by The Hill. “I don’t think we need to go back to an extreme of shutting down (The Hill).
As Fauci was speaking, evidence piled up that some states experiencing the most dire outbreaks this week, including Florida, Texas, Arizona and South Carolina, opted to reopen for business early and without waiting long enough to meet the recommended federal public health benchmarks (The New York Times).
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who also spoke with The Hill at Thursdays event, dismissed that idea. He said the outbreaks were not the result of decisions by state governments to allow businesses to open, but the result of peoples decisions to not wear masks and not practice social distancing as precautions against spread of the coronavirus.
“We don’t believe it’s about the fact of reopening in terms of a legal or regulatory structure,” Azar said. “It’s rather, how are we behaving within that context? Are we practicing appropriate social distancing, are we wearing facial coverings, especially in circumstances where we can’t social distance?” (The Hill).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, whose agency was pummeled by Trump this week over what the president says are excessively tough voluntary federal guidelines for the safe reopening of schools, said on Thursday that children are better off if they get back to classrooms and instruction, one way or another.
Speaking at the same event organized by The Hill, Redfield said the CDC next week will clarify rather than replace previous guidance first issued in May and amended in June and frowned on by Trump.
“I’m of the point of view as a public health leader in this nation, that having the schools actually closed is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen,” Redfield said.
The New York Times: The United States hit another single-day record on Thursday for new coronavirus cases, its sixth in 10 days.
> Sunshine State: The COVID-19 contagion in Florida has broken infection records and set a new record for fatalities on Wednesday (The Hill). The situation looks bad enough to prompt conservatives to rethink a massive indoor Republican National Convention next month in Jacksonville, Fla. Yet, Disney World reopens on Saturday.
Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisSources say DeSantis undercutting fundraising for Republican National Convention because of personal dispute: reportOvernight Health Care: Fauci says hard-hit states should be ‘pausing’ reopening | Florida records record number of coronavirus deaths | Redfield says keeping schools closed poses greater health threat to children than reopeningFlorida records record number of coronavirus deathsMORE (R) wants schools to reopen for in-person classes and he told parents on Thursday that if they think theyre safe to visit Home Depot, their children are safe to attend school (Business Insider).
Disney World believes tourists are ready for theme parks again, and the location near Orlando began selling tickets and hotel bookings on Thursday for the first time in months. Disney World reopens this weekend to hundreds if not thousands of tourists with children, all of whom are assured by corporate representatives that the make-believe mecca to Minnie and Mickey will be safe (WESH2 TV).
The world is changing around us, but we strongly believe that we can open safely and responsibly, Josh DAmaro, Disneys theme park chairman, told The New York Times
. For those that might have questions or concerns, when they see how we are operating and the aggressive protocols that we have put in place, they will understand.
This is our new normal. Our new reality, he continued. COVID is here, and we have a responsibility to figure out the best approach to safely operate in this new normal.
> Arizona: Republican Gov. Doug Ducey urged people in his state to voluntarily stay home because of the dramatic rise in coronavirus infections. He instituted a restaurant dining restriction of 50 percent of seating capacity indoors, but critics say the governor is not doing enough to halt the spread of COVID-19. Dozens of Arizona school board members on Thursday urged the governor in writing to delay until October the reopening of schools, which he had set for Aug. 17 (Arizona Central). Ducey suggested to reporters that the start of the new school year will depend on the trajectory of the contagion, but he was not specific. “It’s going to happen when it’s safe,” he said.
> Community spread: U.S. medical centers have reported that more than 5,000 cases of COVID-19 were likely contracted by patients in facilities while seeking care for other conditions, adding to the spread of the coronavirus (The Wall Street Journal, subscription).
> Masks: Starbucks announced Thursday that beginning July 15 it will require all customers to wear facial coverings while visiting any of its 9,000 U.S. locations. Customers who do not want to wear masks will be allowed to use Starbucks drive-thrus or use curbside pickup and delivery services. The Starbucks policy may supersede local ordinances in states and cities that do not require mask wearing in public (The New York Times). Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that beginning on Friday, the state will require all residents to wear masks in public for 30 days, citing an “explosion” of cases of COVID-19 (The Hill).
> Taxpayer rescue?: After some vigorous lobbying, the U.S. Catholic Church received at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed funds aimed at corornavirus relief, with many millions of dollars going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups. The churchs haul may have reached or even exceeded $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. governments pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
2020 POLITICS: Pennsylvania was the center of the political universe on Thursday as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says Biden has been ‘brainwashed’: ‘He’s been taken over by the radical left’Trump says he’ll wear mask during upcoming trip to Walter ReedLatino group ‘Mi Familia Vota’ launches M voter turnout campaign targeting swing statesMOREand Vice President Pence made appearances in the eastern half of the commonwealth with less than four months until Election Day.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, appeared in Dunmore, Pa., which neighbors Scranton Bidens birthplace to unveil his $700 billion jobs plan and issue a stinging rebuke of the presidents economic policies. The former VP struck a populist tone during the address, according to The Hills Jonathan Easley, saying that he would crack down on Wall Street and corporations he said have benefited at the expense of average workers.
When we spend taxpayers money, when the federal government spends taxpayers money, we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs, Biden said at a metal works plant, adding that its time that corporate American pays their fair share of taxes (The Washington Post).
The speech represented the first major part of a four-part agenda to revive the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Pence headlined three events in the Keystone State: a luncheon with supporters outside Lancaster, Pa., and two events in the Philadelphia area, including one with the Fraternal Order of Police. The events come as Biden has seen his lead increase over Trump in the battleground state. According to the latest RealClearPolitics average, the former vice president leads by 6.5 percentage points.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Campaigning in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden and Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump says he’ll wear mask during upcoming trip to Walter ReedTrump to visit Georgia next weekJill Biden promises if Biden’s elected ‘no more Betsy DeVos’MORE clash over how to fix America.
Marc Thiessen, The Washington Post: An interview with President Trump: The real hate is the hate from the other side.
The New York Times: Trump is selling white grievance. The suburbs arent buying it.
While the pair were on the ground on Thursday, the president will make his return to the campaign trail on Saturday night in New Hampshire three weeks after he headlined a debacle-riddled rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20.
The rally will feature multiple changes, including one major one: It will be outside. The campaign is also stepping up its push to hold a safe event, including plans to provide hand sanitizer and masks to all attendees, as well as check temperature upon entrance. The campaign is encouraging attendees to wear masks, stopping short of a mandate to do so. The event is expected to start at 8 p.m.
NBC News: Trump camp eyes course correction for rallies: We can’t have a repeat of Tulsa.
> Convention prep: With the Democratic National Convention almost a month away, officials are trying to iron out how to make the biggest splash with a gathering that will be largely virtual.
While convention planners told delegates not to attend the convention because of COVID-19 concerns, they are sorting out everything from how delegations will vote to how principal speakers will give speeches without roaring crowds, according to The Hills Amie Parnes.
Its a clusterf—, said one ally to Joe Biden who is familiar with some of the discussions. It will all come together Im sure but there arent many answers right now.
However, convention questions are a bipartisan issue these days as Republicans wonder who is actually going to show up to their event in Jacksonville, and whether it will be held inside or outside.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse chairman asks CDC director to testify on reopening schools during pandemicSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump’s convention amid coronavirus uptickPelosi says House won’t cave to Senate on worker COVID-19 protectionsMORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday while in Kentucky that convention planning has been thrown for a loop as there remain many unknowns about how it will take place, calling it a challenging situation.
Well have to wait and see how things look in late August to determine whether or not you can safely convene that many people,” McConnell, 78, said when asked if he would be in attendance.
According to a McConnell spokesperson earlier this week, McConnell has “every intention” of attending. On Thursday, a sixth Republican Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump’s convention amid coronavirus uptickSixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican conventionBollier raises .7 million in second quarter in Kansas Senate raceMORE(Kan.), 84 indicated that he will not attend (The Hill).
The Washington Post: Republicans weigh holding a convention outdoors.
The New York Times: DeSantis is said to quietly hinder fundraising for Trump convention.
Tim Alberta, Politico Magazine: Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinWill Congress finally address toxic ‘forever chemicals?’Overnight Defense: Trump’s move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd’s death ‘a national tragedy’Democrats blast Trump’s use of military against protestsMOREs (D-Mich.) reluctant war with Donald Trump.
> Senate fight: Republican senators are brushing off signs they may not hold the majority after the November elections. While some agree its a fight and the situation appears bleak this month, others are upbeat, despite sagging polls and strong Democratic fundraising totals (The Hill).
The Washington Post: Trump who? Senate GOP candidates in tight races avoid any mention of the president in campaign ads.
The Hill: Democrats hope for tidal moment in Georgia with two Senate seats in play.
Trumps America Is slipping away, by Ronald Brownstein, senior editor, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3gCSXJg
What Beijing lost with its border clash blunder, by Sadanand Dhume, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/2ZYnFpu
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Strengthening policies against hateExpanding voter interference policiesLaunching new Voting Information Center
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WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets on Monday at noon for a pro forma session and returns to legislative business on July 20.
The Senate meets on Monday at 5:30 p.m. for a pro forma session.
The president flies from Washington to Miami to receive a briefing about counter narcotics operations by personnel at U.S. Southern Command at 12:35 p.m. Trump will speak there at 1:40 p.m. before traveling to Doral, Fla., to the Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center for a roundtable discussion about U.S. help for the Venezuelan people. Trump will travel from Doral to a private residence at Hillsboro Beach, Fla., for a roundtable campaign fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. The president will fly back to Washington and return to the White House before 10 p.m. On Saturday, Trump will fly to New Hampshire to headline an outdoor reelection rally in Portsmouth. The president says he will this weekend visit soldiers and clinicians at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, adding he will wear a mask while inside the hospital (The Hill).
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Economic indicators: U.S. jobless claims filed during the week that ended July 4 numbered 1.3 million, down from 1.427 million the week before as states juggle reopenings and possible closings. The number of applications for help under the expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program also jumped, rising by 42,000 to more than 1 million claims (The Hill). Bed Bath & Beyond announced this week that it will permanently close 200 of its stores within the next two years (The Hill). Harley-Davidson announced on Thursday it will cut 700 jobs (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Wells Fargo will shed thousands of jobs beginning in 2020 (Bloomberg Law). Kitchenware chain Sur la Table filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late on Wednesday and plans to close half of its 120 stores while it puts the 50-year-old business up for sale (CNN).
International: Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon was found dead on Thursday, a day after he left his daughter a will-like message and was accused of sexual harassment on the job. According to police, his body was found in northern Seoul more than seven hours after authorities launched a massive search effort in South Korea. No cause of death was given (The Associated Press). In the United Kingdom, members of Prime Minister Boris Johnsons cabinet warn the government is not ready to implement Brexit (The Guardian).
Emissions: Environmentalists are sounding the alarm over the number of companies that aren’t reporting pollution levels to the federal government during the pandemic. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently informed lawmakers that 300 facilities nationwide decided to take advantage of a new agency policy waiving a requirement to keep track of how much pollution companies discharge into bodies of water. Green groups say that while 300 is a small percentage of the facilities regulated by the Clean Water Act, the lack of monitoring poses long-term health and environmental risks, particularly since the reporting exemption won’t be lifted until Aug. 31 (The Hill).
And finally A big round of applause for all the Morning Report Quiz masters who knew their stuff about former President George W. Bush (marking his birthday this week).
Heres a list of those who went 4/4 this week: Ki Harvey, Patrick Kavanagh, Kathy Dobe-Call, Donna Nackers,John Donato, Randall S. Patrick, Tim Burrack, Phil Kirstein, Daniel Bachhuber, Candi Cee, Elspeth Fehn, and Mike Roberts.
They knew that Big Time was not among the nicknames Bush used for Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump takes on CDC over schoolsKarl Rove says Trump is ‘behind’ in presidential raceKarl Rove: The days of ‘lock ’em up and throw away the key’ are long goneMORE, his longtime top adviser. Big Time was one of his pet names for former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Bush had two chiefs of staff during his time in the White House (Andrew Card and Joshua Bolten two fewer than Trump has had in four years).
In 2000, Bush jokingly lamented that his decision to sign off on a trade of Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox during his tenure as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers was his biggest mistake in life.
Finally, Bush handed former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump takes on CDC over schoolsBudowsky: Biden-Duckworth would be America’s teamDemocrats debate Biden effort to expand map against TrumpMORE a cough drop during former President George H.W. Bushs funeral, much to the joy of the internet (We also embraced those Quizzers who answered Altoid, because a cough drop and a mint are pretty darn similar).
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