Presented by Facebook
Welcome to The Hills Morning Report. It is Friday (thankfully). 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. Friday, 167,242.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be countedMichael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraudTrump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primaryMORE waded into the waters of birtherism once again on Thursday as he questioned whether Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy KalingDemocrats hammer Trump for entertaining false birther theory about HarrisHillicon Valley: ‘Fortnite’ owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizationsMORE(D-Calif.) is eligible to serve as vice president or president (she is), incurring a barrage of criticism from Democrats.
The presidents comments came in response to a reporter during a press conference on Thursday night. As The Hills Brett Samuels notes, Trump referred to a recent column by John Eastman, a conservative attorney, who called into question the citizenship status of Harris’s immigrant parents. Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., making her a natural-born citizen and eligible to be president or vice president (Politifact).
I just heard that. I heard it today, that she doesnt meet the requirements, Trump said. And by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, talented lawyer.
I have no idea if thats right. I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president, Trump continued. I dont know about it. I just heard about it.
The Eastman column was retweeted by Jenna Ellis, a Trump campaign adviser, who falsely asserted that Harriss eligibility is an open question.
Harris is the first woman of color to be named to the presidential ticket of a major political party. Democrats and some Trump critics were quick to hammer the president for peddling misinformation on live TV about the senator.
“Donald Trump was the national leader of the grotesque, racist birther movement with respect to President Obama and has sought to fuel racism and tear our nation apart on every single day of his presidency,” said Andrew Bates, a Biden spokesman. “So its unsurprising, but no less abhorrent, that as Trump makes a fool of himself straining to distract the American people from the horrific toll of his failed coronavirus response that his campaign and their allies would resort to wretched, demonstrably false lies in their pathetic desperation.”
Trumps remarks came shortly after he launched an offensive against the Democratic ticket, accusing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy KalingTrump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawnUS seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuelMORE of politicizing the pandemic with his call to require Americans to wear masks outdoors to curb coronavirus transmissions.
As Niall Stanage writes in his latest memo, while Trump is in the early stages of taking aim at Harris, there are major political pitfalls for the GOP as he does. The president’s standing among female voters of all ages has eroded during his term. Name-calling and false innuendo tied to race and gender potentially hurt the presidents appeal among suburban female voters, who helped him win in key battleground states in 2016.
Reuters: Biden campaign raises $48 million in 48 hours after naming Kamala Harris as VP choice.
The Washington Post: With early momentum, Harris to focus on connecting with minorities, activists, women in swing states.
Meanwhile, the president also returned to a controversy he is intent on stirring about mail-in voting, which he maintains without evidence leads to widespread voter fraud. After saying earlier in the day that he would oppose giving the U.S. Postal Service more funding ahead of the election, Trump told reporters a few hours later that he would not veto a bill that increases Postal Service funding ahead of Election Day.
“Sure. A separate thing. I would do it, he said. But one of the reasons the post office needs that much money is to have all these millions of ballots coming in from nowhere.
However, the president added that he is not prepared to direct the postmaster general to reverse some policies Democrats have criticized as undermining the reliability of the Postal Service (The Hill).
> Conventions: The president revealed on Thursday that he will deliver his acceptance speech to delegates participating in the Republican National Convention from the White House lawn.
Trump announced his decision in an interview with the New York Post. He had weighed an address from Gettysburg, Pa., after canceling an in-person convention that was to be held in Jacksonville, Fla., because of Floridas high infection rate with the coronavirus.
The four-day virtual GOP event will also include a featured speech by Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottWhy Americans must defeat Biden’s tax increase pledgeDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald TrumpLobbyists see wins, losses in GOP coronavirus billMORE (S.C.), the only Black Republican senator, Bloomberg News reported. Honoring the Great American Story is the convention theme.
Politico: Trumps prime-time convention plan: A D.C. ballroom and government backdrops. The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, an ornate federal building, will serve as a central hub for speeches and staff. The unusual arrangement is already drawing ethical concerns that federal resources will be used for campaign events and that administration officials will violate the law by campaigning for the president on government property. The presidents flagship hotel, already a gathering spot for Republicans, is a short walk from the Mellon Auditorium. Trump and Vice PresidentMike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Trump threatens Postal Service funding l Biden proposes national mask mandate l Democratic convention takes shapeBiden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: pollPence on debating Harris: ‘I can’t wait’MORE, who are not constrained by the Hatch Act, are expected to deliver their campaign speeches on federal property during the GOP convention.
On the Democratic side, former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Trump threatens Postal Service funding l Biden proposes national mask mandate l Democratic convention takes shapeBloomberg to speak at Democratic conventionEverytown on the NRA lawsuit: ‘Come November, we’re going to make sure they’re out of power, too’MOREwas added to the packed slate of speakers (The Hill). The news angered some progressive activists who dont believe a billionaire should address the party, according to CNN.
Fox News: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be countedSenate leaves until September without coronavirus relief dealGloria Steinem: Selection of Kamala Harris recognizes that ‘black women … are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party’ MORE suggests she’s willing to serve in a Biden administration: I’m ready to help any way I can.
The New York Times: How Biden chose Harris: A search that forged new stars, friends and rivalries.
New York Post: Trump says a spike in violent crime, high taxes could help him win New York in 2020 election. Were putting New York in play, he said during an interview with The Post. Trump lost New York by 22 points in 2016.
A MESSAGE FROM FACEBOOK
Facebook launches new Voting Information Center
Facebook is building the largest voter information effort in US history, starting with the new Voting Information Center, where you can find the latest resources about voting in the 2020 election. Our goal is to help register 4 million voters.
Explore our new Voting Information Center now.
LEADING THE DAY
ADMINISTRATION: Trump announced a breakthrough Middle East agreement on Thursday, telling reporters that Israel and the United Arab Emirates would establish full normalization of relations and that in exchange Israel would forgo for now declaring sovereignty over occupied West Bank territory (The New York Times and The Associated Press).
The Hill: Five takeaways from the Israel-UAE agreement.
The president, speaking in the Oval Office, called the agreement, which is expected to be signed in Washington in several weeks, the most important diplomatic breakthrough in 40 years.
He heaped credit on son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey Kushner5 takeaways from Israel and UAE opening diplomatic tiesKushner says he met with Kanye West for ‘general discussion’ about policyThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden, Harris make first public appearance as running mates MORE, a senior adviser, who told reporters that under the terms of the accord, Muslims will be welcome in Israel.
Trump asserted that other countries would join a pact that solidifies opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East (Reuters).
The president discounted Palestinian objections that the UAE was selling out, telling reporters, I think they very much want to be part of what were doing. I think the Palestinians will follow.
On the other side, some Israeli settlers and their political allies expressed disappointment that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE would forfeit his plan to claim sovereignty over West Bank territory. Trump says it is more than taking it off the table, they agreed not to do it, while Netanyahu says its still on the table, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer by profession, said, its not off the table permanently (Haaretz).
The Associated Press: Iran, Turkey lash out at UAE over agreement with Israel.
The Hill: White House national economic adviser Robert OBrien says Trump should be a front-runner for the Nobel Peace Prize. Its not the first time the president and his team have mentioned their interest in winning a prize bestowed on former President Obama in 2009 for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.”
CONGRESS: Negotiations toward a coronavirus relief package are at a standstill as White House and Democratic negotiators remain trillions apart on an overall price tag and the Senate officially adjourned for the month long August recess on Thursday.
Its been a full week since Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta’s mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief dealFederal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizationsMORE, White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta’s mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief dealPelosi: COVID talks will resume when GOP offers TMORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of ‘critically needed mail’Trump says he’d sign bill funding USPS but won’t seek changes to help mail votingOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats ‘can’t have universal mail-in voting’MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIn the next relief package Congress must fund universal COVID testing Ocasio-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 MassachusettsMORE (D-N.Y.) last met to haggle in person over another massive COVID-19 relief deal, but recent days have been filled by a public back-and-forth between the two sides.
On Thursday, the remarks escalated as Pelosi told reporters that talks will resume only when Republicans come to the table with an offer of at least $2 trillion a number Mnuchin and Meadows have dismissed.
The House in May passed a $3.4 trillion relief measure, and Republicans entered into negotiations with Democrats with a spending ceiling of $1 trillion. For Democrats, accepting less than $2 trillion would appear to be caving on priorities included in Mays Heroes Act, including assistance for schools, city and state budgets and for election security in November. Those are not items on the GOP wish list.
When they’re ready to do that, we’ll sit down, Pelosi said during her weekly press conference in the Capitol (The Hill).
We are miles apart in our values, Pelosi said. Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn. That isn’t the case. This is very far apart.”
As Pelosi spoke, Meadows addressed reporters at the White House briefing room, saying that the White House offered Democrats reasonable alternatives in short-term bills to extend unemployment insurance that recently expired and on other items. In the meantime, he pointed to executive actions released over the weekend.
The president has been very clear for us to be aggressive and forward-leaning to make sure that they get protected, and yet what were seeing is politics as usual from Democrats on Capitol Hill, Meadows said (The Washington Post).
At the moment, GOP negotiators are open to a deal between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion, which Meadows told Senate Republicans during a conference call on Thursday, according to CNN.
The impasse has led to an increasingly likely outcome: That any coronavirus relief package will have to wait until September as Democrats and the GOP have other pressing matters to attend to in the coming weeks. Namely, the Democratic National Convention, which starts virtually on Monday, and the Republican National Convention that starts a week later.
The Senate is not expected to return until Sept. 8 without a deal in the interim. Negotiators are also not expected to meet in person in the near future, with Pelosi indicating that she will return to San Francisco and address next weeks Democratic National Convention from there (The Washington Post).
The Hill: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal.
The Associated Press: For Americans waiting on virus aid, no new relief in sight.
More in Congress: With talks stalled, Schumer is set to throw his support behind the RESTAURANTS Act — a $120 billion grant program for independent restaurants — this morning, becoming the first of the big four congressional leaders to do so. Thus far, a bipartisan group of 27 senators and 177 House members co-sponsor the bill, which would be separate from the Paycheck Protection Program. I am proud to stand with the Independent Restaurant Coalition and support the RESTAURANTS Act to give restaurants the relief they need to weather this crisis so they can eventually fully reopen and bring back to work millions of workers who have lost their jobs, Schumer said in a statement. Restaurants cant wait.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
CORONAVIRUS: Five months into a pandemic that is out of control in many parts of the world, Americans, U.S. governors and the president are still debating masks worn indoors and outside to protect against COVID-19 spread.
On Thursday, Biden and Harris called for a nationwide mask mandate for outdoor activities, and the president, who has the authority to make that happen, responded that wearing face coverings is up to governors and individuals, not the federal government (The Hill and NPR).
The former vice president said on Thursday that every governor should require masks for the next three months, arguing the simple and inexpensive precaution would save more than 40,000 lives in that period. Biden cited unnamed public health experts for the estimate.
Every single American should be wearing a mask when theyre outside for the next three months, Biden said. Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing (Reuters).
Trump, during an evening press briefing on Thursday, said we will continue to urge Americans to wear masks when they cant socially distance, adding, We want to have a certain freedom. Thats what were about.
The president challenged Bidens recommendation for a mandate, saying, I trust the American people and Joe doesnt.
The Associated Press: Trump and Biden trade barbs over masks.
In Georgia, Gov.Brian KempBrian KempGeorgia governor says reopening schools ‘went real well’US surpasses 5 million coronavirus casesMatt Lieberman faces calls to drop out of Georgia Senate race over ‘racist and discriminatory’ tropes in 2018 bookMORE(R) fanned the mask controversy in his state by announcing he dropped a lawsuit filed in July challenging Atlantas mandate for masks, promising to issue an executive order on Saturday that will effectively allow cities to keep their mandates on the books but will only allow them to enforce such requirements on government property, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Meanwhile, the United States notched more than 1,500 new deaths caused by COVID-19 on Wednesday, marking the deadliest day in this country since the end of May (CNBC).
> Vaccines: Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told The Hills Reid Wilson in an interview that he is skeptical that a Russian vaccine will prove to be safe and he promises to protect U.S. vaccine development efforts from political interference.
Harris can only hurt Biden, by Bradley A. Blakeman, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/30US4a8
Lose the nasty words, Mr. President it does you no good, New York Post editorial board. https://bit.ly/2PRo60d
Israel-UAE deal clears annexation muddle. But not for everyone, by diplomatic reporter Noa Landau, Haaretz analysis. https://bit.ly/30UvUF1
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!
A MESSAGE FROM FACEBOOK
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. in a pro forma session.
The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session. The full Senate is scheduled to meet next on Sept. 8.
The president departs the White House this afternoon for Bedminster, N.J. He will speak to the City of New York Police Benevolent Association there at 5 p.m.
Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo says he and Pentagon warned Russia against bounties on US troops in AfghanistanUS blocking private charter flights to CubaChina’s Confucius Institute designated as a foreign mission of BeijingMORE Is in Vienna, Austria, participating in a business roundtable this morning with Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel and with representatives of Austrian companies. Later, Pompeo participates in the launch of U.S.-Austria Friendship Tram with Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig and meets with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen. At midday, the secretary lays a wreath at the Holocaust Memorial with Austrian leaders of faith communities and then meets with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, with whom he will share a working lunch. This afternoon, Pompeo talks with the news media along with the Austrian foreign minister and later meets with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. Later today, the secretary meets with staff and families of the U.S. Missions in Vienna, then sits down this afternoon in Vienna with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. The secretary attends a working dinner tonight with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Pompeo will continue his travels this week to Warsaw, Poland, before returning to Washington.
Economic indicator: The U.S. Census Bureau reports at 8:30 a.m. on U.S. retail sales in July.
INVITATION: The Hill has a new virtual 2020 Conventions Hub! Be part of digital events and get the latest news about the Democratic and Republican national conventions. The Hill dives into The Big Questions Morning Briefings daily during the conventions with pollsters, party leaders and campaign veterans moderated by The Hills editors.
- JOIN IN to talk about the latest political developments shaping the country. RSVP now for The Big QuestionsDNC and RNCmorning virtual briefings each convention day at 11 a.m. EDT, featuring political analysts and editors who discuss up-to-the-minute trends and 2020 election developments. Reminder dates: Democratic National Convention, Aug. 17-20; Republican National Convention, Aug. 24-27.
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.
International: Lebanon: The FBI is joining the investigation into the causes of the deadly blasts in Beirut on Aug. 4, according to State Department officials (The Hill). Russia is using an intelligence hacking tool codenamed Drovorub to try to break into Linux-based computers commonly used across computer server infrastructure, including in national security systems, the Defense Department and by the U.S. defense industrial base, according to a report by the National Security Agency and the FBI released on Thursday. The NSA and FBI connected Drovorub to a specific Russian intelligence team, the 85th Main Special Service Center, military unit 26165. The particular unit is associated with the same hackers who broke into the Democratic National Committee in 2016 (Reuters).
U.S. economy: The S&P 500, an index that tracks the country’s largest publicly traded companies, has all but erased its pandemic losses and is poised to break a new record. The market’s performance is earning praise from Trump, although the yawning disconnect between ebullient market returns and the deep economic pain many Americans are feeling could be a setback for the president (The Hill). Weekly jobless claims fell below 1 million last week, but remain high, according to Thursdays government report (The Associated Press). White House acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Tyler Goodspeed told Bloomberg News that the drop in claims last week was encouraging but the U.S. economy has a long way to go. The United States has hit a fiscal cliff with jobs, economic recovery hanging in the balance (Reuters).
Sports: No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic (pictured below), who tested positive for COVID-19 in June, said on Thursday that he will compete in the U.S. Open tennis tournament after initially saying he might skip it (The Associated Press). After not playing for more than two weeks, the St. Louis Cardinals are set to take the field once again for a doubleheader on the road Saturday against the Chicago White Sox. The ballclub has not played since July 30 as they have had 10 players and eight staff members test positive for COVID-19 (ESPN).
And finally Bravo to this weeks Morning Report Quiz winners!
These puzzle masters googled or guessed correctly when we posed trivia questions about vice presidential running mates: Mary Anne McEnery, John Donato, Donna Minter, Dylan Dombroski, Terry Pflaumer, Phil Kirstein, Donna Nackers, Candi Cee, Mike Ferrell, Joe Glauber, Patrick Kavanagh, Daniel Bachhuber, Scott King, Mike Roberts, Stuart Babendir, Jack Barshay,Shaun Donnelly, Luther Berg, RJ Agostinelli, Pam Manges, Peter J. Stewart and Joseph Albert.
They knew that in 1972, Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern chose at the last possible minute then-Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri to be his vice presidential running mate (pictured below). The McGovern-Eagleton ticket lasted just 18 days. McGovern discovered that Eagleton had been treated for mental illness, including with electroshock therapy, but had not disclosed the information at the outset.
GOP presidential nominee Richard Nixon surprised everyone and irritated many during his partys convention in 1968 by announcing Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew was his choice to be his running mate.
In addition to then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), former President Obamas campaign strategists interviewedEvan Bayh of Indiana and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate leaves until September without coronavirus relief dealThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearanceThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-PenceMOREof Virginia as potential running mates in 2008.
Harris on Tuesday made history as Bidens pick, but not because of her gender. The first woman chosen to be a VP nominee of a major U.S. political party was Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.