The Past 24 Hours or So – Presidential Campaign News

Read Time: 3 Minutes

  • On Monday, Trump Tweeted: “Sorry to inform the Do Nothing Democrats, but I am getting VERY GOOD internal Polling Numbers. Just like 2016, the @nytimes Polls are Fake! The @FoxNews Polls are a JOKE! Do you think they will apologize to me & their subscribers AGAIN when I WIN? People want LAW, ORDER & SAFETY!”
  • President Trump’s reelection campaign is suing Pennsylvania’s secretary of state and 67 county election boards in an effort to change how mail-in ballots are sent and counted.
  • The Atlanta Hawks basketball team announced on Monday that its home venue, the State Farm Arena, will be transformed into the “largest-ever voting precinct” in the state of Georgia later this year.

“We are proud to partner with Fulton County to give all registered Fulton County residents the ability to vote early at our home,” the team tweeted on Monday afternoon.

  • In a sweeping decision that took more than three years to come out, a panel of federal judges on Monday reinstated limits on early voting and a requirement that voters be Wisconsin residents for at least a month before an election.

The three judges also banned most voters from having absentee ballots emailed or faxed to them and told a lower court to continue to tweak the system the state uses to provide voting credentials to those who have the most difficulty getting photo IDs.

A lower court judge struck down many of Wisconsin’s election laws in 2016 because he found they disproportionately affected the ability of minorities to vote. But the appeals judges concluded GOP lawmakers wrote the laws to help their party, and not specifically to discriminate against anyone based on race.

  • Joe Biden said Tuesday he will not hold presidential campaign rallies during the coronavirus pandemic, an extraordinary declaration that stands in stark contrast with Donald Trump who has already held large campaign gatherings.
  • A measure requiring presidential campaigns to report any attempts by foreign entities interfering in U.S. elections was stripped by Senate Republicans as a condition of passing the National Defense Authorization Act. 
  • Hundreds of former members of the George W. Bush administration have formed a super PAC to support former Vice President Joe Biden, saying they are alarmed by President Trump’s conduct in office.

The group, dubbed “43 Alumni for Joe Biden,” officially launched Wednesday.

  • Joe Biden has added a handful of campaign aides who worked in the White House during the Obama administration.

The campaign brought on four former staffers who worked under Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett, Axios reported Tuesday. Three of the four joined the campaign in late May as senior advisers, while the other joined the former vice president’s transition team late this month.

All four new hires are people of color, underscoring the Biden campaign’s effort to inject more diversity into its upper ranks.

  • Joe Biden and the Democratic Party outraised Trump and the Republicans for the second straight month in June, announcing a record haul of $141 million hours after Trump’s campaign trumpeted his own $131 million total.
  • President Trump will hold an in-person fundraiser with wealthy donors in Florida next week to raise money for his campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC), according to an invitation obtained by The Washington Post.

Tickets for the event, which is being held in Hillsboro Beach, Fla., are reportedly listed at $580,600 per couple. Trump Campaign manager Brad Parscale and RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel are among the hosts listed on the event invitation.

  • President Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter, billionaire Peter Thiel, has told friends and associates that he plans to sit out this year’s presidential campaign because he thinks reelection is increasingly a long-shot.
  • United States president Donald Trump’s re-election bid will pick up speed this weekend with Trump 2020 the primary sponsor of Corey LaJoie’s car for NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • Joe Biden said on Wednesday that his party has assembled a group of 600 lawyers and thousands of other people to prepare for possible “chicanery” ahead of November’s election.

Sources:  ABC News, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

The Past 24 Hours or So – Presidential Campaign News

Read Time: 2 Minutes

  • President Trump’s disapproval rating has soared to an all-time high, the latest sign that Americans’ dissatisfaction with the president’s handling of national crises is mounting. At least 58 percent of Americans disapprove of the job he’s doing in the White House.
  • The Supreme Court declined Friday to force Texas officials to offer mail-in ballots to all voters in the state because of the threat of the coronavirus, not just those over 65.
  • A look at six core battleground states shows the RealClearPolitics average of polls Biden leading Trump by 6 points or more in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The race is much closer in North Carolina and Arizona. Trump won all six states in 2016.
  • Trump’s campaign is spending money defending Iowa and Ohio, two states that weren’t on anyone’s radar at the beginning of the cycle. Biden has pulled even with Trump in both states, despite not allocating many resources there.
  • President Trump Tweeted: “Corrupt Joe Biden said yesterday that we have over “120 million” people dead of Coronavirus!” in reference to the former VP mispeaking. Biden immediately corrected himself. 
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden bashed President Trump for not sanctioning Russia after the New York Times reported that he was allegedly briefed on American intelligence findings that Russian military operatives reportedly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan, including US troops, amid peace talks.

“Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” Biden said.

The newspaper’s reporting resulted in a renewed push among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to sanction Russia.  

Biden said he was “outraged” by the Times report and said that Trump’s “entire presence has been a gift to Putin.”

  • The Rolling Stones are taking “further steps” to prevent Donald Trump from using their music at his rallies after the president’s campaign ignored the previous cease-and-desist letters. “This could be the last time Trump uses any Jagger/ Richards songs on his campaigns,” the band’s rep said in a statement.

In a statement Saturday, the band announced that their legal team and performing rights organization BMI sent another warning to Trump’s campaign that, if the president continued to use the band’s music, he could face a lawsuit.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

The Past 24 Hours or So – Presidential Campaign News

Read Time: 2 Minutes

Presidential Campaign

  • Carly Fiorina, the former 2016 Republican presidential candidate and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said in an interview published Thursday that she intends to vote for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this November.
  • President Trump targeted former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina for saying she would vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, rejoicing in her 2016 defeat and claiming he had “no complaints” about her decision.

“Failed presidential candidate (thank you President Trump!), Carly Fiorina, said she will be voting for Corrupt Joe Biden,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “She lost so badly to me, twice in one campaign, that she should be voting for Joe. No complaints!!!”

  • Joe Biden holds substantial leads over President Trump in several battleground states ahead of the 2020 election, according to a New York Times-Siena College survey released Thursday.

The poll showed the former vice president leading Trump by at least 6 points in North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, states that are considered critical to winning the election in November. Trump won each of those states in 2016.

  • Speaker Pelosi said that the ideal situation for Democrats would be to win the presidential election by a wide margin that would make it more difficult for President Trump to question the legitimacy or suggest fraud, adding while she believes Trump will accept the 2020 election results we should, “be prepared for everything.”
  • President Trump traveled to the battleground state of Wisconsin on Thursday, touring a shipyard in Marinette and highlighting his efforts to bring back manufacturing jobs and to invest in the U.S. military.

Trump toured the Fincantieri Marinette Marine on Thursday afternoon and viewed a model of a Navy ship being built there. He used his remarks, delivered outdoors, to highlight a federal contract worth up to $5.5 billion that was awarded to the shipyard to build the U.S. Navy Frigate FFG(X).

  • Joe Biden attacked President Trump on Thursday for his legal efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it’s cruel, it’s heartless, it’s callous and it’s all because in my view he can’t abide the thought of letting stand one of President Obama’s greatest achievements, the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said in a speech in Lancaster, Pa.

“I cannot comprehend the cruelty that’s driving him to inflict this pain on the very people he’s supposed to serve,” he said.

  • President Trump’s allies are urging him to change his tone and key figures in the campaign’s orbit are pointing fingers over who is to blame for the president’s spiraling poll numbers with just over four months to go until Election Day. 

There is frustration in Trump World over the president’s lack of discipline and his confrontational tone during a time of high anxiety over the coronavirus and civil unrest around the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • More than a million Americans who had died received COVID-19 stimulus payments totaling $1.4 billion, a government watchdog said in a report to Congress released Thursday.

The finding is part of a sweeping review of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Government Accountability Office, an independent nonpartisan congressional agency. The report paints a clearer picture of what critics called a muddled rollout by the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department of more than 160 million payments worth $269 billion.

  • Eighteen members of a North Texas family tested positive for coronavirus after they had gathered for a surprise birthday party in late May.

One relative, who unknowingly had already been infected with the novel virus, attended the party and interacted with several family members. 

The party’s host was the one who had initially contracted coronavirus, spreading it to each of the seven other family members who attended. Those eight people then spread the virus to 10 other relatives in the family, including young children and relatives in their 80s.

  • Nearly 25 million Americans may have contracted the coronavirus, a figure ten times higher than the number of confirmed cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

In a briefing with reporters Thursday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said surveys of blood samples taken from around the country suggest that millions of Americans may have contracted the virus either without knowing it or with only minimal symptoms.

  • Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state will pause its efforts to reopen the economy as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections spikes and hospitals begin to fill. Abbott has been warning of a mounting catastrophe for days, as new cases rise precipitously, but said businesses that are already allowed to operate under the current reopening phase can remain open.
  • Houston’s Texas Medical Center, considered the largest medical complex in the world, reached 100 percent ICU occupancy Thursday, as Texas continues to cope with a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Disney announced on Thursday that it is postponing its planned phased July 17 reopening of two of its Disneyland theme parks in California as local officials reconsider guidelines due to a massive spike in new coronavirus cases.

The move comes after thousands of Disneyland workers penned a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom saying they are “not yet convinced it is safe” to reopen the parks.

  • A Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners public comment session went viral after residents denounced mandatory masking laws as “devil’s laws” that would “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door.”

The phrase “Parks & Rec” began trending on Twitter as users compared the footage to wacky town hall scenes from the NBC sitcom.

  • Hospitalizations for the coronavirus in New York state fell below 1,000 for the first time since March 18 as the state continues to blunt the spread of the virus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is crediting residents’ strict adherence to social distancing and other health measures with helping to flatten the curve.
  • Officials who have served under presidents of both parties signed on to an open letter warning that the coronavirus pandemic threatens the future of liberal democracy. 

The letter states that some democratically elected governments are “fighting the pandemic by amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance without regard to legal constraints.” 

“Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere,” states the open letter, from the Stockholm-based think tank IDEA.

The letter is signed by officials from across the globe, including former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and H.R. McMaster, a past national security adviser under President Trump.

  • The White House has indicated that President Trump will not be quarantining for the required 14 days when he visits New Jersey this weekend despite holding campaign rallies in Arizona and Oklahoma, states where coronavirus cases have been spiking.
  • Guy Phillips, a Republican city council member in Scottsdale, AZ took the microphone while attending an anti-mask rally and said “I can’t breathe” twice — the words George Floyd said before his death in Minneapolis police custody. Phillips then tore his face covering off and declared the mask mandate “insanity.”
  • The United States on Wednesday reported a record 36,880 new coronavirus cases more than two months after its previous record for daily infections, a signal that the country is struggling to contain the pandemic.
  • The White House coronavirus task force will hold a press briefing on Friday, marking the first time the group has spoken on camera to the public in roughly two months.
  • Rep. Maxine Waters took aim at President Trump, saying he is more concerned with protecting Confederate monuments than halting the spread of the coronavirus.

In a lengthy statement issued by the congresswoman’s press office, Waters excoriated the president, calling him “an incompetent and heartless man who is more focused on saving statues of slaveholders, Confederate generals, and racists, than protecting the health of living and breathing Americans.”

  • A new study shared by the CDC found that pregnant women with coronavirus were more likely to visit emergency rooms and be placed on mechanical ventilators than nonpregnant women who contracted COVID-19.
  • Rick Bright — a whistleblower who led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and says he was ousted from the role for breaking with Trump officials on the handling of coronavirus — says he is still being retaliated against by top Trump officials even though he is in a new role, alleging they are actively trying to discredit him and prevent him from being successful.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has issued a new rule requiring public schools to share more coronavirus relief funds with private schools than federal law currently mandates. Opponents say the change “diverts valuable resources intended for low-income students to serve private school students, regardless of wealth.”
  • A Government Accountability Office report reveals the CDC has shared incomplete and inconsistent data on the amount of coronavirus testing occurring nationwide, which has significantly hampered efforts to track infections and help states make informed decisions on reopening.
  • Several staffers on President Trump’s reelection campaign have reportedly entered quarantine this week after interacting with colleagues who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the president’s Tulsa, Oklahoma rally last weekend.
  • Amsterdam announced on Thursday that it would ban vacation rentals including those on the home-sharing site Airbnb in three areas that make up the central old town.
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Thursday that the current coronavirus picture, both globally and in the US, is “more bleak” than he would have expected.

“It’s possible to ramp up testing for a new pathogen very, very fast,” he said. “In fact a number of countries did that extremely well in this case and the technology keeps getting better there. The US in particular hasn’t had the leadership messages or coordination that you would have expected.”

“The range of behaviors in the US right now, some people being very conservative in what they do, and some people ignoring the epidemic, is huge,” Gates said.

“Some people almost feel like it’s a political thing which is unfortunate,” he added, something he says he didn’t expect in America.

“The governor of North Dakota, a friend of mine, had to say ‘please don’t be mean to people wearing a mask’ which kind of blows the mind.”

  • The White House coronavirus task force has been tracking COVID-19 rates around the country and monitoring spikes of new infections in Texas, Arizona and Missouri — even as President Trump declares that the danger posed by the ongoing pandemic is receding.
  • The Trump administration on Thursday night argued in a legal brief filed to the Supreme Court that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be invalidated. 

The legal filing, while expected, makes official the Trump administration’s position in the Supreme Court against the health law months ahead of the election, at a time when Democrats are hammering President Trump over his position on health care.  

Overturning the ACA would take away health coverage for about 20 million people, and the stakes are even higher given the effects of the current pandemic.

  • The U.S. on Thursday broke its record for most new coronavirus cases reported in a day as the concerns over a second wave of the pandemic continue to mount.

As numbers spike across the South, 40,401 new cases were reported on Thursday.

  • Missouri (553), Nevada (497), Alabama (1,142), and Texas (5,996) all posted record daily highs on Thursday.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said that if he’s elected president in November that he would make it required for people in the country to wear masks, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to spike nationwide.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

The Past 24 Hours or So – Trump Administration News

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Administration News

  • A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a judge to grant the Department of Justice’s unusual move to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals approved Flynn’s petition to intervene in the case after a district court judge had tapped an outside counsel to argue against the DOJ’s move.

  • President Trump welcomed Polish President Andrzej Duda to the White House on Wednesday, the first visit of a foreign head of state since March during the coronavirus pandemic.

Duda’s visit to Washington is viewed as highly unusual given its proximity to the Polish presidential election.

  • President Trump said Wednesday, following a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House, that the United States will likely move some of the troops being shifted out of Germany into Poland.

“They’ll be paying for the sending of additional troops, and we’ll probably be moving them from Germany to Poland,” Trump told reporters.

  • President Trump celebrated a federal judge’s decision upholding an administration plan requiring hospitals and health insurers disclose rates that are normally hidden from patients.

“BIG VICTORY for patients. Federal court UPHOLDS hospital price transparency,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Patients deserve to know the price of care BEFORE they enter the hospital. Because of my action, they will. This may very well be bigger than healthcare itself.”

  • Attorney General William Barr will testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month as Democrats on the panel seek to investigate his decision to fire a top prosecutor in Manhattan who had been investigating Trump allies.
  • Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s national security adviser, equated Chinese President Xi Jinping to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on Wednesday in an aggressive speech that lambasted China for what he described as a malevolent role in world affairs.
  • Tomas Philipson, the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers is departing the administration at the end of June, according to a White House official — leaving the president with one fewer senior economist in the middle of a recession.
  • On June 2, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill to punish China for undermining Hong Kong’s independence.

Two weeks later, he turned around and blocked it — at the request of the White House.

  • President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order intended to improve the child welfare system, seeking to strengthen foster care and adoption programs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The order aims to improve transparency and oversight and increase collaboration between public, private and faith-based groups that focus on child welfare.

  • The United States imposed sanctions on five Iranian ship captains who delivered oil to Venezuela, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Washington’s backing for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.
  • American Special Operations forces used a specially designed secret missile to kill the head of a Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Khaled al-Aruri, this month.

A modified Hellfire missile, designed to limit civilian casualties, carried an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it hurled about 100 pounds of metal through the top of Mr. al-Aruri’s car. If the high-velocity projectile did not kill him, the missile’s other feature almost certainly did: six long blades tucked inside, which deployed seconds before impact to slice up anything in its path.

House Judiciary Committee

  • Aaron Zelinsky, one of four prosecutors who withdrew from the Roger Stone case when the Justice Department recommended a lesser sentence for Stone because of his ties to President Trump, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

Zelinsky said the department’s intervention in the sentencing recommendation was “unprecedented.” “Roger Stone was treated differently because of politics,” he told lawmakers. Zelinsky appeared via live video, saying he had to testify remotely to avoid risk of infection with the coronavirus.

When pressed by lawmakers on the consequences he and the fellow prosecutors assigned to Stone’s case could face for pushing back on efforts to lessen the sentencing recommendation, Zelinsky said they were informed “we could be fired if we didn’t go along.”

Zelinsky didn’t name the official who told him that the Stone decision was politicized. Instead, Zelinsky just said it was a “supervisor.” When pressed by Rep. Jim Jordan as to who it was, Zelinsky replied, “So the supervisor for the questions you’re asking is the supervisor of the fraud and public corruption” unit in the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office.” Adding, “His name is J.P. Cooney.”

Zelinsky also added that other officials were party to the discussions. “At the time in the office, there was a first assistant, there was a criminal chief — they were all involved in these discussions,” Zelinsky said. He later named the first assistant as Alessio Evangelista.

  • Rep. Sylvia Garcia asked Zelinsky whether AG Barr had abandoned the rule of law. She cited another withdrawn prosecutor from the Stone case, Jonathan Kravis, who wrote a Washington Post op-ed last month saying of his 10-year tenure in the DOJ, “I left a job I loved because I believed the department had abandoned its responsibility to do justice in one of my cases, United States v. Roger Stone.”

Garcia asked Zelinsky whether he agreed with that statement, and Zelinsky was direct. “I do.”

  • Former deputy attorney general Donald Ayer who served in the George H.W. Bush administration began his testimony Wednesday with some particularly stinging remarks.

“I am here because I believe that William Barr poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law and to public trust in it,” Ayer said. “That is because he does not believe in its core principle that no person is above the law. Instead, since taking office, he has worked to advance his lifelong conviction that the president should hold virtually autocratic powers.”

He added later, “I think we’re on the way to something far worse than Watergate, where you had a problem of public distrust, because it’s becoming very transparent that many things are being done essentially for reasons that are completely unrelated to the merits of the case.”

Presidential Campaign

  • Mark Cuban told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he will vote for Joe Biden over President Trump in November, arguing that Trump “only wants to run a campaign” while Biden “wants to run a country.”
  • Some Black progressives are calling for Joe Biden to pick Sen. Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, even as the Biden campaign faces pressure to select a woman of color. 

Progressives making the case for Warren say her experience and policy ideas make her the best choice.

  • A number of high-profile Democrats are set to hold events for the party’s presidential candidate, Joe Biden, in the coming weeks as the race against President Trump heats up. 

Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton; former South Bend, IN., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Andrew Yang; former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke will all be headlining events.

  • Joe Biden has widened his lead over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin and narrowly leads the president in Ohio, according to a pair of polls out Wednesday from two key swing states in the Midwest.
  • President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are running neck and neck in Ohio, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll survey of the state released Wednesday.

Biden holds a statistically insignificant 1-point lead over Trump in the Buckeye State, garnering 46 percent of the vote to the president’s 45 percent. That’s well within the poll’s 2.9-point margin of error, suggesting that Ohio could still swing either way.

  • Democrats will hold a largely virtual convention in August to nominate Joe Biden as their presidential candidate, the party said, with Biden giving his acceptance speech in person in Milwaukee, but state delegations staying home.
  • President Trump’s reelection campaign is suing the largest Democratic super PAC for running an ad that it says misrepresents the president’s remarks about the coronavirus.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, alleges that Priorities USA, the main super PAC backing former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid, “knowingly and intentionally” manipulated audio clips of Trump to make it seem as if the president had called the coronavirus a “hoax” and downplayed the threat posed by the pandemic.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

In The Know About Joe

Read Time: 3 Minutes

  • In a jab at Donald Trump, Biden said, “You know, Barack and I never went down to the bunker. They tell me it had cobwebs from lack of use during our 8 years. Never actually seen the bunker. I called up Barack, he said he’s never seen it either.”
  • Joe Biden says there’s “no more excuses” and if lawmakers have the time to confirm President Trump’s court nominees, they have time to immediately pass legislation to address police brutality, outlaw chokeholds, limit the transfer of “weapons of war” to police departments, and create a new oversight and accountability model for police, adding of Trump: “I just wished he’d open [the bible] once in a while instead of brandishing it.”
  • Joe Biden does not support some calls to “defund the police,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign said Monday.

Biden backs advocates’ calls to increase spending on social programs separate from local police budgets, but he also wants more funding for police reforms such as body cameras and training on community policing approaches, campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.

“Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” Bates said. “He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain.”

The campaign’s comment came as President Donald Trump and his campaign sought to tie Biden to calls to “defund the police,” which have emerged in recent days at protests over police brutality and the killing of George Floyd

  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign launched a get out the vote initiative geared toward LGBTQ voters on Monday, an initiative that was announced as Pride Month is under way. 

The campaign said the program, known as Out for Biden, is being led by a steering committee that includes Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David, Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), along with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the first openly gay member of the Senate.

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) is among the women under consideration to be former Vice President Biden’s running mate, according to a new report. 

Politico reported on Monday that Bottoms, along with Florida Rep. Val Demings (D), are under consideration for the Democratic ticket.

  • Joe Biden’s presidential campaign raised $3.5 million in a fundraiser co-hosted with Sen. Kamala Harris, a top contender to be the former vice president’s running mate this November.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said systemic racism exists “across the board,” including in policing, in an interview with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell.

“Absolutely,” Biden said, asked whether there is systemic racism within law enforcement.

“It’s not just in law enforcement, it’s across the board. It’s in housing, it’s in education, and it’s in everything we do. It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s serious,”

  • Biden wrote in an op-ed: “I’m proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country. Every single police department should have the money they need to institute real reforms”
  • Also, in the op-ed, Biden said, “Donald Trump’s hate-filled, conspiracy-laden rhetoric is inflaming the racial divides in our country—but just fixing the way the president talks won’t cut it. We need to root out systemic racism and ensure Black Americans have a real shot to get ahead.”
  • Joe Biden on Wednesday night had a blunt warning about President Trump and the lengths he would take to limit access to ballots in November, sharply escalating his rhetoric about his Republican rival five months before voters head to the polls.

“This president is going to try to steal this election,” Biden said in an interview on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” Biden said of ensuring that the voting process is fair: “It’s my greatest concern, my single greatest concern.”

  • Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday called for action to combat gun violence while marking the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida: “Our places of worship have been attacked, Hispanics have been targeted in places like El Paso, the death toll from mass shootings continues to mount, and LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately targeted by violence.”

Say It Ain’t Joe

  • Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Friday he would pledge to recognize the Armenian genocide if elected president. President Trump and past U.S. presidents have chosen to sidestep the issue.

“If elected, I pledge to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and will make universal human rights a top priority,” Biden said on Twitter.

  • Joe Biden’s allies are concerned that the former vice president’s campaign will not be able to compete with President Trump’s fundraising juggernaut, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy. 

“It’s our biggest problem right now in the general election,” one aide acknowledged.  

A New York Time analysis found that the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee have a $187 million advantage over the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

  • Presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden is mostly watching from the sidelines as fellow Democrats in Congress and at the state level clash with President Trump over the federal government’s response to the coronavirus.

With the election just a little more than six months away, the Democrats making headlines almost every day are Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and governors such as Andrew Cuomo of New York.

In past presidential campaigns, the presumptive nominee — whether Democrat or Republican — has quickly become the party’s standard-bearer, taking the lead in staking out policy positions.

But Biden has taken a different approach during the pandemic.

“For the most part, he’s been silent,” said Steve Jarding, a Democratic strategist. “The burden has fallen on the Speaker and Leader Schumer.”

“My guess is the Biden folks are thinking that if he says anything it’s political and he doesn’t want to politicize the pandemic.”

  • Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement are calling on former Vice President Joe Biden to remove Larry Summers from his panel of economic advisers. The move marks the first big demand the progressive groups have made of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. 

The two groups were part of a slate of organizations who sent Biden a list of demands they want to see him adopt ahead of the general election. The organizations claim that Summers is unfit to carry out progressive issues.

  • A former neighbor of Joe Biden’s accuser Tara Reade has come forward to corroborate her sexual assault account, saying Reade discussed the allegations in detail in the mid-1990s. Biden has not addressed the accusations, but a campaign spokesperson says they are false. In addition to the denial from Biden’s campaign, other former Senate staffers have emerged to cast doubt on Reade’s accusations.
  • Progressive Caucus co-chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Monday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president, showing further unification of the Democratic Party ahead of the general election.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House bid, becoming the latest prominent Democrat to officially lend her support to the party’s presumptive nominee.
  • Hillary Clinton endorsed Joe Biden’s bid for the White House on Tuesday, making her the latest party leader to throw her support behind the presumptive Democratic nominee.

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of State announced her support for the former vice president during a virtual town hall event focusing on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on women.

  • Former senior aides to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign are launching a new super PAC aimed at rallying progressives behind former Vice President Joe Biden in his battle against President Trump in November.

The group, which will be called Future to Believe In, will be led by Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to the Sanders 2020 campaign.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday he would return to Obama-era policies of engagement with Cuba and reverse the Trump administration’s sanctions if he wins the White House race in November.

“In large part, I would go back,” Biden said in an interview with a CBS affiliate in Miami. “I’d still insist they keep the commitments they said they would make when we, in fact, set the policy in place.”

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he hopes to have potential running mates vetted by July, a sign that a final selection may not come until later in the summer

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  • Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has reached a deal with Sen. Bernie Sanders that will allow the progressive former White House hopeful to keep hundreds of delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer to increase party unity and give his supporters a say at the nominating convention.
  • Top Democrats are defending former Vice President Joe Biden against allegations made by Tara Reade, a former aide who says the then-senator sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Two powerful Democratic women — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a former rival to Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Stacey Abrams, a top candidate to be Biden’s running mate — have come to Biden’s defense, saying that women have the right to be heard but that they do not believe Reade’s allegations against Biden.

“I know Joe Biden, and I think he’s telling the truth and this did not happen,” Abrams said on CNN.

The Biden campaign has denied the allegations, although Biden has not addressed the matter himself.

  • Joe Biden’s campaign is discussing how to get the former vice president out of the basement where he’s been holed up since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s team is taking a baby-steps approach so far, according to sources familiar with the discussions. 

But the need to change things up is growing more urgent, especially now that President Trump is signaling he intends to return to the road months ahead of the fall presidential campaign.

  • Joe Biden denied sexual assault allegations made by a former staffer. “This is an open book. There’s nothing for me to hide, nothing at all,” the US Democratic presidential candidate said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The allegations were made by his former staffer Tara Reade. During the appearance, he called for the release of any potential records related to the allegations.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/22

  • Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said that the evidence presented in the impeachment proceedings against President Trump is “overwhelming” and that it is sufficient “to justify about three or four articles of impeachment.” 
  • Trump called into on Fox & Friends and spoke for fifty-three minutes.
  • President Trump repeated his debunked claim that Ukraine is connected to a hacked Democratic server from the 2016 election one day after a former Russia expert in his administration, Fiona Hill, chastised Republicans for giving air in the impeachment hearings to conspiracy theories that Ukraine, and not Russia, was behind it. “A lot of it had to do, they say with Ukraine. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company,” Trump said of Crowdstrike. 

NOTE: Crowdstrike is the US company hired to investigate the hack of Democratic servers.

  • Trump says he likes Nikki Haley but will stick with Mike Pence as his running mate in 2020. “He’s my guy, he’s my friend.”
  • In a flub that some may see as a Freudian slip, when referring to Ukraine undertaking investigations in exchange for a White House visit, Trump said, “”I do want always corruption.”
  • President Trump said he would like a full Senate trial if the House votes to impeach him.
  • Trump condemns former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch for purportedly refusing to hang up his picture in her office. “This ambassador that everyone says is so wonderful, she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy. This was not an angel, this woman, okay? And there were a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like.” He also complained that Republicans didn’t attack her enough during impeachment hearings and said they only refused to do so because of her gender.
  • Trump blames White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for her husband’s criticisms of his presidency. “She must’ve  done a number on him,” Trump said, referring to the Conways. “She must’ve done some bad things to him, because that man’s crazy.”
  • Trump takes sole credit for China not turning Hong Kong into a nuclear wasteland. “If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would’ve been obliterated in 14 minutes,” the president claimed, before adding, “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi.”
  • President Trump suggested that he might veto legislation designed to support anti-government protesters in Hong Kong — despite its near unanimous support in the House and Senate — to pave the way for a trade deal with China. The president said that he was balancing competing priorities in the U.S.-China relationship. “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi, he’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible gu. I’d like to see them work it out, ok?” the president said. “I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that I want to do, but we are also in the process of making one of the largest trade deals in history. And if we could do that it would be great.”
  • The CEO of Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz told Time he is ready to give evidence to U.S. federal prosecutors probing the business dealings of President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. “I will with a high likelihood be invited to testify in this case,” Andriy Kobolyev said, adding that he “would be willing to come and testify” if he were summoned. Naftogaz is reportedly connected to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two men who allegedly worked with Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Parnas and Fruman allegedly tried to use their political connections to replace the leadership at Naftogaz, which resisted the two men’s efforts for a gas deal.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hand-delivered a plan to the Saudi royal family to help the crown prince get away with ordering the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a bombshell new report. Citing a senior Saudi source, Middle East Eye reported Monday evening that Pompeo devised a plot to help shield Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”) from the fallout following the highly publicized murder of Khashoggi, who was brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2.