Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is funding ads aimed at disrupting North Carolina's Democratic Senate primary, AP reports.

Why it matters: The seat currently held by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is a primary target for Democrats in 2020 as they aim to flip the Senate. The McConnell-backed ads are aimed to support state Sen. Erica Smith at the expense of former state Sen Cal Cunningham, who has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

  • Cunningham's campaign has also greatly outraised Smith's thus far.

The state of play: An FEC filing this week shows the Faith and Power PAC, which ran ads that backed Smith and argued Cunningham was too moderate on gun control and LGBT issues, received all of its $2.95 million from the Senate Leadership Fund.

  • Before the filing confirmed the source of Faith and Power's cash, North Carolina Democrats already believed that Republicans had backed the ads to drive Cunningham to spend more money.
  • A spokesperson for the Tillis campaign told AP that the senator knew nothing about Faith and Power except what was said in news reports.

The other side: Cunningham created his own ad accusing Republicans of "meddling" in the primary even before the revelation in the FEC filing.

Worth noting: North Carolina Senate races have a history of getting expensive. More than $121 million was spent during the 2014 Senate race between Kay Hagan and Tillis — mostly by outside groups.

Go deeper: These Senate seats are up for election in 2020

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Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 13,258,016 — Total deaths: 576,752 — Total recoveries — 7,366,845Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 3,416,222 — Total deaths: 136,319 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Politics: Biden welcomes Trump wearing mask in public but warns "it’s not enough"
  4. Public health: Four former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk — CDC director: U.S. could get coronavirus "under control" in 4–8 weeks if all wear masks.

Bank CEOs brace for worsening economic scenario

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wells Fargo swung to its first loss since the financial crisis — while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported significantly lower profits from a year earlier — as the banks set aside billions of dollars more in the second quarter for loans that may go bad.

Why it matters: The cumulative $28 billion in loan loss provisions that banks have so far announced they’re reserving serves as a signal they’re preparing for a colossal wave of loan defaults as the economy slogs through a coronavirus-driven downturn.

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Moderna's vaccine spurred immune system response to coronavirus

Moderna's stock rose 16% after hours on this news. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Healthy volunteers who took Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate appeared to generate an immune system response to the virus, and there were "no trial-limiting safety concerns," according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Why it matters: The phase one trial is still small and does not definitively determine how effective the vaccine is. But Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, which is running the trial, told the Wall Street Journal that these data make it "pretty clear that this vaccine is capable of inducing quite good [levels] of neutralizing antibodies."