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AOC and Bernie Sanders. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Some of Sen. Bernie Sanders' top campaign surrogates spoke to the New York Times about what it means that their former candidate, the leader of a massive grassroots movement, has endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Convincing progressives to support Biden is viewed as key to building the coalition needed to defeat President Trump in November.

  • Biden himself has acknowledged this reality, appearing on a livestream with Sanders on Monday to announce six task forces that the two former rivals will form to work toward compromise on big issues.
  • Biden also announced new policy positions on Medicare and student debt last week, but those steps alone may not be enough to draw in many of the voters that make up Sanders' energetic base.

What they're saying: Some of Sanders' most visible surrogates have declined to immediately throw their support behind Biden, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

  • Jayapal, co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, told the Times that Biden will have to "step up" to win support from progressives.
  • "This is a party that very much wants to be unified, but that will not be as easy as turning a switch and Bernie Sanders says vote for Joe Biden or Pramila Jayapal says vote for Joe Biden and everybody votes for Joe Biden," she said.
  • "We have the potential to move this country to unity and to move Democrats to unity. But it will require not only progressives saying, ‘OK, we’re ready.’ It will require Joe Biden stepping in and saying, ‘I welcome you and here’s what I’m doing to inspire you.’”

Ocasio-Cortez said in a previous interview with the Times that the Biden campaign has not reached out to solicit her support.

  • "There’s this talk about unity as this kind of vague, kumbaya, kind of term. Unity and unifying isn't a feeling, it's a process," she told the Times.
  • She added that the process of coalescing around a nominee "should be uncomfortable for everyone involved," and that "if Biden is only doing things he’s comfortable with, then it’s not enough."

The bottom line: “The progressive movement has never been about one individual," said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), another Sanders backer. "It is about issues.”

Go deeper: Biden and Sanders work toward truce on big issues

Go deeper

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has be charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

3 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

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