Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Time on Thursday that she does not believe police unions ought to be "reined in" to herald law enforcement reforms, adding that unions “know that there’s some things that have to change and want to be part of that conversation.”

Why it matters: Democratic lawmakers are grappling with the contradictory politics of seeking police reforms. Left-leaning politicians traditionally support public-sector unions, including those for police departments, but unions have largely been opposed to changes that reform advocates have called for.

Yes, but: Pelosi said she recently spoke with the head of a police union and the conversation "was very constructive in following up on the Justice In Policing Act” of 2020, Democrats' sweeping police reform bill.

  • She added that calls to reform law enforcement have gained momentum amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, because the idea is “more universally embraced.”
  • “The public sentiment is very clear,” Pelosi noted. “While we understand the need for public safety … we don’t want to have injustice and abuse of power by the police.”

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pushed back on Attorney General Bill Barr's assertion on CNN that there are not two systems of justice in America, arguing that he and President Trump "are spending full time in a different reality."

Why it matters: The question of whether there is "systemic racism" in policing and criminal justice is a clear, dividing line between Democrats and the Trump administration.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
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Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin: