Tom Steyer defended his billionaire status at the 5th Democratic debate Wednesday following months of attacks over using wealth to bankroll his campaign.

THE WASHINGTON POST'S ASHLEY PARKER: "You have spent over $300 million of your own money in support of your political goals. How do you respond to critics who see you as the embodiment of a special interest?"

STEYER: "What I've done over the last decade, is to put together coalitions of ordinary Americans to take on unchecked corporate power... Over the last decade, with the help of the American people, we have taken on and beaten the oil companies. We have taken on and beaten the tobacco companies. We have taken on and beaten utilities."

The big picture: Much of the 2020 Democratic field is rejecting large-dollar donations and focusing on grassroots fundraising. Steyer, who's vowed to use $100 million of his own money in the race, has faced accusations of buying his way to success. He launched his campaign in July.

  • Billionaires are facing increasing backlash from Democrats. Both Steyer and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also a billionaire and is expected to make a decision this week on whether he'll enter the Democratic race, have felt some of the heat.

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Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Roger Stone arriving at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, according to two senior administration officials. Stone in February was sentenced to 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

Why it matters: The controversial move brings an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars. He had been scheduled to report to prison on July 14.

Updated 10 hours ago - Health

Which states have set single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: COVID Tracking Project and state health department data compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti and Naema Ahmed/Axios

13 states this week surpassed records set just last week for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health department data. 16 states in total reported new highs.

The big picture: The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't just due to increased testing — particularly where the number of cases has grown fastest over the last month, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 12,389,660 — Total deaths: 557,279 — Total recoveries — 6,830,596Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 3,169,611 — Total deaths: 133,885 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,856,341Map.
  3. Public health: The reality of the coronavirus bites.
  4. Trade: Trump says he's no longer considering phase-two trade deal with China because the pandemic damaged the two countries' relationship.
  5. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.