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

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The death toll from COVID-19 reached half a million people on Sunday.
  • Vice President Mike Pence said new outbreaks of the coronavirus may be arising because younger Americans aren’t abiding by federal guidance.

Pence said people “should wear masks whenever social distancing is not possible” and “wherever it is indicated by state or local authorities.”

  • A choir of more than 100 people performed without masks at an event in Texas at the First Baptist Church on Sunday that featured a speech by Vice President Mike Pence.

Nearly 2,200 people attended the “Celebrate Freedom Rally,” according to rally organizers. The venue capacity for the indoor event was close to 3,000 attendees, organizers say. Face masks at the event were “strongly encouraged,” with signs posted around the venue. According to reports, at least half of the crowd was wearing a face covering. 

Throughout the service, the members of the choir sang at full volume, behind an orchestra. Between songs, the choir members put their masks back on when they sat down.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday a nationwide mandate to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus is “definitely long overdue.”

The speaker called on President Trump to “be an example” to the U.S. and wear a face covering, saying “real men wear masks.”

  • Vice President Pence said the federal government would extend support for coronavirus testing in Texas as long as necessary amid a dangerous surge in new cases. U.S. health officials had originally moved to end supporting sites at the end of the month..
  • Florida Gov. DeSantis says his state’s rise in coronavirus cases is being “driven by a big increase over the last three weeks in individuals testing positive throughout the state of Florida in younger age groups.”
  • California Governor. Gavin Newsom ordered bars in several counties to close due to the spread of COVID-19, including Los Angeles County.

Newsom tweeted the order around Noon on Sunday, which also affects Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare counties.

The governor also recommended bars close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura counties.

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned Sunday that “the window is closing” to take action to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases across the southern United States continue “surging.”

In an interview with “Meet the Press,” Azar said that the country has “more tools than we had months ago” to fight the virus and the disease it causes, including new treatments and more personal protective equipment. But he stressed that America is facing a “very serious situation.”

  • A CBS News poll shows record numbers saying efforts against the outbreak are going badly (including new highs saying efforts are going very badly); President Trump receives his lowest marks for handling the pandemic since it began; and the outlook for the summer is grim. Twice as many expect the outbreak to worsen, rather than improve.

In addition to coronavirus concerns, overall, views of how things are generally going in the country are decidedly negative. Seventy-six percent of Americans say things are going badly compared to 56% who felt that way in December 2019.

  • Allegheny County, PA officials say they are banning on-site consumption of alcohol following a recent surge of new Coronavirus cases.

“For the first time since COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state, Allegheny County led the state in the number of new COVID-19 cases,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We’re going the wrong direction.”

  • The United Kingdom reported a weekly total of 6,820 coronavirus infections, that’s a decrease of 19.2% over last week and 80.9% since the week of April 19th.
  • Brazil tallied 38,693 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours and 1,109 additional deaths. The number of COVID19 infections stands at 1,313,667 and the death toll at 57,070 as of Saturday night, with no sign of policy changes by the Bolsonaro government.
  • The University of Tennessee will require students to have both flu and, when available,  COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday New York State’s lowest death toll and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Saturday, there were five deaths and 869 hospitalizations in New York State.

Of the 61,906 tests conducted in New York State Saturday, 616, or 0.99 percent, were positive.

  • Oklahoma (478), South Carolina (1,384), Louisiana (1,454),  North Carolina (1,576), Georgia (2,225), and Arizona (3,857) all set records for new coronavirus cases.

Protest/Race Relations News

  • Two street murals, one reading, “All Black Lives Matter” and the other “Abolish White Supremacy” were painted on two streets in Newark, NJ by artists with the support of the city.
  • The Mississippi state legislature — both the House and Senate — passed a bill on Sunday to change the state’s flag in a historic step toward removing the flag’s Confederate battle emblem.

The bill will now go to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who has said he would sign legislation that state lawmakers send him to remove the Confederate insignia. The legislation cleared the state House in a 91-23 vote and the state Senate with a 37-14 vote

  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Tweeted: “Today, Mississippi lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate symbol from its state flag.

We replaced the MS flag with the American flag at Liberty State Park last year due to its hateful imagery. We look forward to raising a new MS flag soon.”

Administration News

  • United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said.

Officials briefed on the matter said the assessment had been treated as a closely held secret but that the administration expanded briefings about it over the last week — including sharing information about it with the British government, whose forces were among those said to have been targeted.

In addition to saying he was never “briefed or told” about the intelligence report, Mr. Trump also cast doubt on the assessment’s credibility. He described the intelligence report as being about “so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians.” The report described bounties paid to Taliban militants by Russian military intelligence officers, not direct attacks. Mr. Trump also suggested that the developments could be a “hoax” and questioned whether The Times’s sources existed.

  • Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, said in a Twitter message on Sunday: “If reporting about Russian bounties on U.S. forces is true, the White House must explain: 1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? Was the info in the [Presidential Daily Briefing]? 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?”
  • Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.

Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total 26 deaths from 2018-2019.

  • British security officials have confirmed to Sky News that the reports about the Russian bounty plot are true.
  • The president Tweeted late Sunday night: “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP . Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!

Presidential Campaign

  • 5% of Americans say they feel things in America today, generally speaking, are going “very well” according to a new CBS poll.
  • Following pressure to disclose the number of minorities on their staffs, the campaigns for former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump released diversity statistics.

In a summary of staff data obtained by NBC News, the Biden campaign disclosed that 35 percent of the full-time staff and 36 percent of senior advisors are people of color.

After the Biden campaign revealed its numbers, the Trump campaign followed, announcing that 25 percent of its senior staff are people of color but declining to provide information for all full-time staff.

  • Fox News Senior Correspondent Charles Gasparino Tweeted: “BREAKING— (thread)GOP operatives are for the first time raising the possibility that @realDonaldTrump  could drop out of the race if his poll numbers don’t rebound. Over the weekend I spoke to a sample of major players; one described Trumps current psyche as “fragile.”

“I’m not convinced yet; he’s got time and he’s running against an opponent who is literally hiding in his basement. Plus the public isn’t focusing yet on just how left wing @JoeBiden has become, so much so, he can bring himself to denounce rioting.

“That said the speculation indicates how tense  GOP operatives are about Trump losing and the party losing the senate and having their entire agenda abolished in a leftist wave election. Again lots of time and Trump has endured a horrible couple of months but that’s the snap [shot]”

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

  • 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 – 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

  • Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams says she has not heard from Joe Biden’s presidential campaign as it starts its vetting process to pick a nominee for vice president: “I have said many times that if called I will answer, but I have not received any calls.”
  • Joe Biden’s search for a running mate has advanced to the next phase as his campaign conducts more extensive reviews of some prospects, including at least several African American women, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Among the candidates who have progressed to the point of more comprehensive vetting are: Sen. Kamala D. Harris, Rep. Val Demings, former national security adviser Susan E. Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, all of whom are black. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is white, is also in that group, as is New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is Latina.

  • Ukrainian officials on Saturday said they were offered $5 million in bribes to end a probe into energy company Burisma’s founder, but said there was no connection to former board member Hunter Biden whose father is running for the U.S. presidency.

Artem Sytnyk, head of Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau, said three people had been detained, including one current and former tax official, over the bribe offer.

  • Former President Obama will join Joe Biden for the first time in a virtual fundraiser on June 23, the former vice president announced Monday.

The campaign’s event plans to target tens of thousands of small-dollar donors. 

  • About 50 liberal groups have signed on to a letter warning presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that he could lose the November election to President Trump if he doesn’t adopt more progressive policing policies.

The letter urges Biden to adopt a 21-page policy proposal released by The Movement for Black Lives to promote reducing incarceration and scaling back police forces across the country.

The groups are also asking Biden to drop his recent proposal to add $300 million in funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which would hire and train additional police officers to patrol within the communities where they live.

  • Joe Biden is making a big play for Florida, putting President Trump on defense in his own backyard in a must-win state for the White House.

Trump won the perennial swing state in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton by a little more than 100,000 votes, but Biden’s campaign believes he can put it back in the Democratic column given the Obama-Biden ticket’s victories in 2008 and 2012.

  • Republican operatives are reportedly launching a super PAC to help encourage GOP voters to head for the ballot box in support of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

Axios reported Wednesday that Right Side PAC will include former officials from the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, including Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as President Trump’s communications director.

  • Former President Obama called on voters to elect his former Vice President Joe Biden in his celebration of the Supreme Court decision preserving the DACA program, which protects immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation and allows them to work and travel within the country legally, saying Biden will work hard to defend so-called “Dreamers.”

“We have to move forward and elect Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress that does its job, protects DREAMers, and finally creates a system that’s truly worthy of this nation of immigrants once and for all.”

  • Sen. Klobuchar announces she is withdrawing from consideration to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential choice: “I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign announced Thursday its first television ad buy of the general election, a $15 million, five-week blitz that will target six key battleground states that President Trump won in 2016: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona.

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

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.