Jul 4, 2017

HBO behind the curtain: Alexandra Pelosi met Donald Trump

President Trump insisted on reading the passage of the Constitution that spells out the Electoral College. Ted Cruz bragged about being able to recite the Constitution by heart when he was in school. Dick Cheney invited the filmmaker, Alexandra Pelosi, over to his house.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell showed up for his taping at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and quipped to Nancy Pelosi's daughter: "Bet you never thought you'd be working in a place like this."
  • Tonight at 7 on HBO, from director Alexandra Pelosi, HBO Documentary Films presents ... "The Words That Built America" —passages of the Constitution read on-camera by ...
  • ... every living president (Trump, both Bushes, Carter, Bill Clinton, Obama), 50 senators (including McConnell and Schumer), three Supreme Court justices (Roberts, Kennedy, Breyer), six vice presidents (Pence, Biden, Cheney, Gore, Mondale, Quayle) and 11 House members (including Speaker Ryan, John Lewis and Leader Pelosi, the director's Mom). Plus Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger and more.

On top of that, Hollywood and media stars of both parties read the Declaration of Independence (Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hannity, Caitlyn Jenner, The Rock, Megyn Kelly, Rosie O'Donnell, Kid Rock, etc.), and grade-school students read the Bill of Rights. David McCullough narrates.

We've known Alexandra since she was an NBC producer on the George W. Bush campaign plane in 2000. This is her 11th collaboration with HBO, and she uses a disarming playfulness to gain the cooperation of Republicans, despite being the daughter of one of the nation's most famous Democrats.

She takes Axios readers behind the scenes:

  • Trump and Pence either didn't know her family connection, or chose to ignore it. Trump read first (more than one take; he wanted to get it right — it's the Constitution!), then Pence picked up where POTUS left off. As they crossed paths, Pelosi heard Pence tell Trump that her mom had just called for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — awkward! But neither of them mentioned it to her.
  • She took her sons, ages 9 and 10, to see Speaker Ryan, and they told him he was their favorite Speaker: "He has a certain vibe that's super-cool." Don't tell Grandma!
  • "A lot of [the senators] complained that they didn't know what the words [in the Constitution] meant. Let's face it: The words are dated. Not to Ted Cruz. To him, it's poetry. He just went for it."

See a preview clip.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 657,691 — Total deaths: 30,438 — Total recoveries: 139,263.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 119,748 — Total deaths: 1,991 — Total recoveries: 921.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. He signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to give businesses and U.S. workers financial relief.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Infant dies after testing positive for coronavirus in Chicago

Hospital staff working inside a COVID-19 screening tent in Chicago on March 26. Photo: Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An infant less than one year old died in Chicago, Illinois after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the state health department said on Saturday.

Why it matters: The death would mark the first reported infant mortality from COVID-19 in the U.S. The fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is highest among those over 85 years old, per the CDC.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — states that have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing.

The big picture: With 112,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

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