Politics & Policy

Why it matters: While Democrats fight to convince voters that they should be the ones tasked with taking down President Trump, the current administration is powering ahead on efforts to restrict immigration, unleash business and reshape the U.S. role in the world.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 20,284,882 — Total deaths: 741,126— Total recoveries: 12,585,473Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 5,141,208 — Total deaths: 164,537 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.
  7. World: Anthony Fauci "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe

Virginia man who drove into Black Lives Matter protesters jailed for 6 years

Photo: Henrico County Police

An "admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan" has been sentenced to six years in prison for driving his vehicle into Black Lives Matter protesters in Richmond, Virginia, and faces more charges before grand jury next month, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The big picture: Harry H. Rogers, 36, of Virginia, received the maximum penalty for "six misdemeanors, including assault, destruction of property and hit-and-run charges" over the June 7 incident after a judge in Henrico County District Court convicted him on Monday, the New York Times notes. The judge ruled the attack was not a hate crime because "the victims were white," WTVR-TV reported. Rogers' three outstanding felony charges are for alleged attempted malicious wounding, AP reports.

Biden running mate news triggers "best grassroots fundraising day ever"

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris hug during a March campaign rally in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

More than $10.8 million was donated in four hours after Sen. Kamala Harris was announced as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate Tuesday, the Democrats' main donation-processing platform ActBlue said, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: Biden is lagging behind in fundraising to President Trump, whose campaign and the Republican National Committee out-raised that of the Democrats' last month. But Biden's announcement triggered his campaign's "best fund-raising hour," his deputy digital director, Clarke Humphrey tweeted, adding it was the campaign's "best grassroots fundraising day ever." ActBlue took $2.3 million in donations during the same hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday, "suggesting a bump as large as $8.5 million" for Biden, the Times notes.

Go deeper: Political world reacts to Biden tapping Kamala Harris as running mate

Trump rules out socially distanced rallies: "You can't have empty seats"

The upper section is partially empty as President Trump speaks during his June campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday he'd love to hold campaign rallies, but he "can't because of the covid. ... you can’t have people sitting next to each other."

Why it matters: Trump is known for electrifying crowds at rallies, connecting with his most loyal supporters on a massive scale. But Trump stressed to Hewitt and in a separate radio interview earlier Tuesday that it wouldn't work. "You can’t have empty seats," Trump told with Fox News Radio.

Ilhan Omar wins Minnesota primary

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) won the Democratic primary against lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux on Tuesday evening, AP reports.

Why it matters: The race is one that's played out across the U.S. as progressives continue to sweep party nominations. Omar's win officially means all four progressive members of "The Squad" have won their primary elections.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

25 face felony charges after downtown Chicago hit by looters

Police officers inspect a damaged Best Buy in Chicago that was looted and vandalized. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Local police officers are seeking felony charges in 25 cases following the arrest of 100 people in the wake of widespread looting and property damage in Chicago on Monday, per the Washington Post.

Driving the news: Law enforcement said the event involving hundreds of people was a coordinated response after an officer shot a suspect Sunday evening, according to CBS Chicago.

Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia's 14th district runoff

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images

Gun-rights activist Marjorie Taylor Greene defeated physician John Cowan in a runoff election for the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District on Tuesday, AP reports.

Why it matters: Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who has been condemned by GOP leaders for making multiple offensive remarks about Black people, Jews and Muslims in Facebook videos, is likely to win a seat in the House come November.

Trump says Kamala Harris was "extraordinarily nasty" to Brett Kavanaugh

In his first public comments since Joe Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, President Trump said Harris was "the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful" of any senator during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings.

Why it matters: Harris, a former prosecutor who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, elevated her national profile significantly after grilling Kavanaugh in September 2018 about allegations of sexual assault. The highly contentious hearings ultimately did not stop Kavanaugh from getting confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Voters cast ballots in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Vermont

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Primary elections are being held on Tuesday in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The big picture: Georgia and Wisconsin both struggled to hold primaries during the coronavirus pandemic, but are doing so again — testing their voting systems ahead of the general election. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is facing a strong challenger as she fights for her political career. In Georgia, a Republican primary runoff pits a QAnon supporter against a hardline conservative.

8 hours ago - Health

Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine

A volunteer in Moderna's vaccine clinical trial receives a shot. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.

Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective. The federal government also appears to own some of the patent rights associated with Moderna's vaccine.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Political world reacts to Biden tapping Kamala Harris as running mate

Sen. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden at a campaign event in March. Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Democrats from across the party — including some of the women on Joe Biden's vice-presidential shortlist — are championing his historic appointment of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.

What they're saying: "Joe Biden nailed this decision," former President Barack Obama wrote in a lengthy statement. "By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president."

"Joe Biden nailed this decision": Obama praises Kamala Harris VP pick

Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama released a statement Tuesday celebrating Joe Biden's selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate and calling it a reflection of Biden's "own judgment and character."

Why it matters: Obama recognized Harris's talent early on, in 2013 famously calling her "brilliant," "dedicated" and "tough." He and former First Lady Michelle Obama remain two of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party and are scheduled to headline two nights of next week's Democratic National Convention, where Harris will also give an address.

NYT: Murder rates across 20 U.S. cities spiked from May to June

Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

The murder rate across 20 major U.S. cities at the end of June was 37% higher on average than in late May, the New York Times reports, citing a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The big picture: Massive unemployment, backlogs in the courts and limited access to social services caused by COVID-19 lockdowns contributed to the spike in violence.

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as running mate

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate.

Why it matters: It's a historic pick. Harris is both the first Black woman and first Asian American woman to be named to a major-party U.S. presidential ticket, and potentially the first woman vice president if Biden defeats President Trump.

Elijah McClain's family sues Aurora police and paramedics

People marching in the street to protest the death of Elijah McClain on July 25, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The family of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died in 2019 after officers put him in a chokehold and paramedics injected him with ketamine in suburban Denver, sued police and medical officials on Tuesday in federal court, AP reports.

Why it matters: Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd's killing have prompted a nationwide reckoning, resulting in renewed criticism of Aurora police officers over McClain’s death.

McSally: GOP would "never get the Senate back" if D.C. and Puerto Rico were states

Sen. Martha McSally on May 6 in Washington, DC. Photo: Shawn Thew via Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz) told NBC News that if Democrats take the Senate and grant statehood to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, Republicans would "never get the Senate back again."

Why it matters: McSally is facing a challenge from astronaut Mark Kelly in a competitive race that many believe could determine the balance of the Senate. "This is just the implications of this seat, the implications of this vote," McSally said after claiming that Democrats would get four new senators with D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood.

13 of Biden's former rivals to appear together at Democratic convention

Democratic presidential candidates at the primary debate in Charleston, SC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a show of unity at the Democratic National Convention, 13 of Joe Biden's former 2020 challengers will appear via video to talk about the party's vision for the country and how they'll work with Biden to get it done.

Why it matters: Coalescing around Biden and his eventual running mate will help Democrats head into the general election against President Trump with a united front — unlike what they did in 2016.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
13 hours ago - Science

SpaceX and ULA pull in huge defense contracts

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes flight. Photo: SpaceX

The Space Force's announcement last week that United Launch Alliance and SpaceX will launch expensive spy satellites and other military payloads brings a long and often fierce battle for government funds to an end — at least for now.

Why it matters: This type of government money — particularly in light of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic — is key for space companies that often work on thin margins.

IG report: Saudi arms sales were legal but didn't weigh civilian casualties

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acted legally when he bypassed Congress to approve $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but failed to "fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties" that resulted from the deal, according to a report by the State Department inspector general.

Why it matters: The 2019 sale drew bipartisan ire among lawmakers, who worried it could lead to a pattern of the administration using "emergency declarations" to circumvent Congress to approve weapons deals. The report comes two months after former Inspector General Steve Linick testified that he was pressured by a top Pompeo aide to drop the investigation.

Expert: Policy for autonomous vehicle industry is "like the Wild West"

Joann Muller (R) and Selika Josiah Talbott (L). Photo: Axios screenshot

A lack of federal policy has hampered the autonomous car industry's transparency with communities where the vehicles are tested, American University professor Selika Josiah Talbott said during a virtual Axios event on Tuesday.

What she's saying: "We need guidelines. Right now, it's like the Wild West. We need bumpers in place so we don't have rogue actions testing vehicles on the roadway and possibly causing harm to the general public," Talbott said.

Historian Douglas Brinkley: Trump speech at Gettysburg "would be a terrible blunder"

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Historian Douglas Brinkley told Axios that the idea of President Trump giving his convention acceptance speech at the Gettysburg battlefield would be "a terrible blunder," calling it "deeply cheesy and inappropriate."

Why it matters: Brinkley, CNN's presidential historian and a professor at Rice University, said that choosing Gettysburg would be less about living up to the ideals of equality and freedom that Abraham Lincoln espoused in the Gettysburg Address — and more of a tactical decision to help him get an edge in November.

Trump says men may be "insulted" by Biden picking a woman for VP

Photos: Mark Makela/Getty Images; Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump suggested Tuesday that some men feel "insulted" by Joe Biden's promise to choose a woman as his running mate, telling Fox Sports Radio that the former vice president has "roped himself into a certain group of people.”

Why it matters: The comments come as Biden's campaign is expected to announce his pick imminently, drawing a close to a slow, deliberative process that has highlighted the fundamental differences between his campaign and Trump's re-election effort.

National Governors Association leaders express concern over Trump's unemployment order

President Trump at a press briefing on Aug. 10. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's executive action calling on states to provide 25% of an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits poses "significant administrative burdens and costs," according to a bipartisan letter from the leaders of the National Governors Association.

Why it matters: Many states have had their budgets decimated by the coronavirus pandemic and cannot afford pitching in an $100 extra per unemployed resident. Several state unemployment offices told Axios that they don't even know how the program works, and that any changes to state unemployment systems would take weeks to implement.

17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

NBC News plans virtual coverage for 2020 conventions

Photo: NBC News

NBC News and MSNBC are doubling down on digital and remote TV coverage of this year's conventions in an effort to bring as much information to voters as possible, while acclimating to the virtual nature of this year's events.

The big picture: The remote nature of the convention presents enormous challenges, but "this forced transition for the conventions will mean the plans for the next four years might become more creative," says Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet the Press and NBC News’ Political Director.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
17 hours ago - Energy & Environment

The Democratic fight to shape Biden's climate policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Left-wing climate activists don't want Joe Biden getting advice from people with credentials they don't like — and they're increasingly going public with their campaign.

Why it matters: Nobody is confusing Biden with President Trump, and his climate platform goes much further than anything contemplated in the Obama years.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sports stadiums may become voting sites amid pandemic

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Dormant sports stadiums have been repurposed in a variety of ways during the pandemic, and with the national election fast approaching, some are being converted into voting locations.

Driving the news: More Than A Vote, the voting rights organization launched by LeBron James and other Black athletes like Patrick Mahomes and Sloane Stephens, has established a bipartisan arena voting advisory group.

Democrats announce full list of convention speakers

Barack and Michelle Obama at a 2017 Obama Foundation event. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will headline two nights of the Democratic National Convention, according to a full list of speakers released by the party on Tuesday.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev: It signals how much the Democratic Party is still the party of Barack Obama — and how strongly Biden’s team feels the Obamas can validate his vice presidential choice and energize the party’s base.

18 hours ago - Sports

Trump on the NBA: "The way they bowed to China is a disgrace"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump criticized the NBA's ties to China during a Fox Sports Radio interview on Tuesday, saying, "The way they catered to China, the way they bowed to China, is a disgrace."

Why it matters: China is one of the biggest international markets for the NBA, and its attempts to balance those business interests alongside criticism of the Chinese Communist Party's human rights abuses has been a flashpoint for the league in recent months.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump trounces Biden in campaign site traffic, thanks to far-right outlets

Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Traffic to President Trump's presidential campaign website is more than 4x greater than traffic to Joe Biden's presidential campaign website, thanks in large part to traffic referrals from right-wing outlets like The Gateway Pundit and Citizen Free Press, according to data from SimilarWeb.

Why it matters: The data speaks to the enormous role the far-right web plays in promoting the president's ideas and his re-election campaign.

21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: New Trump ad doubles down on radical left frame for Biden

Combination images of President Trump and Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images/Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump campaign launches a new ad Tuesday in five early-voting states that hits Joe Biden on taxes and immigration, redoubling a strategy to paint the Democratic nominee as a tool of the radical left.

Driving the news: "In His Own Words" will be a "high seven figure" spend running in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, a senior campaign official tells Axios.

Seattle police chief to retire after council votes for department cuts

A "Defund the Police" march in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 5. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced her retirement Tuesday, effective Sept 2., a day after the city's council voted to cut the police budget.

Why it matters: Best is Seattle's first Black police chief, AP notes. The council voted to reduce the $409 million annual police budget by $3.5 million for the rest of the year, cut about 100 officers' jobs from the 1,400-strong department and invest $17 million in "community public safety programs," Reuters reports. The one council member to vote against the changes said the action "does not do enough to defund the police," per AP.

Updated Aug 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump whisked out of press briefing after shooting outside White House

President Trump was escorted out of a coronavirus press briefing by a Secret Service agent on Monday evening after law enforcement reportedly shot an armed suspect outside of the White House.

What's new: The 51-year-old suspect approached a uniformed Secret Service officer on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the White House, and said he had a weapon, the agency alleged in a statement late Monday. He "ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew the object from his clothing."

Liberty University appoints acting president as Falwell placed on indefinite leave

Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. during July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Liberty University said in a statement Monday that Jerry Prevo would become its acting president after Jerry Falwell Jr. "agreed to an indefinite leave of absence."

Driving the news: The school announced Friday that Falwell was stepping away from the roles of university president and chancellor after fallout from the Trump ally posting a photo of himself with unzipped pants and an arm around a woman on social media.

AOC to speak at Democratic convention

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during an April a press conference in Queens, New York City. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will speak at the Democratic convention next week ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders' appearance on the Tuesday night, CNN first reported and Axios has confirmed

Why it matters: Her involvement is a strategic decision to energize young progressives without tying former Vice President Joe Biden too closely or directly with her agenda.

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