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.

All politics & policy stories

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

K-12 students throughout the southern region of the U.S. are returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in crowded halls, quarantines and chaos.

The big picture: Students across the country are gearing up to hit the books once again while managing social distancing and mask mandates. Districts and communities are taking a variety of approaches, some of which include hybrid online, at-home class models or schooling-from-home.

Wolf Blitzer marks 15 years in "The Situation Room"

Wolf Blitzer on the White House beat in 1993, along with NBC's Brian Williams, CBS' Rita Braver and ABC's Brit Hume. Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images H

Aug. 8, 2005 — "The Situation Room's" debut on CNN wherein the host first said: "I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in The Situation Room, where news and information from around the world arrive in one place simultaneously!"

The state of play: When the pandemic took off in the U.S. in March, Blitzer started working 7 days a week for 60+ days, until he took a Sunday off. Then he continued 7 days a week until he took a few days off.

Oprah Winfrey demands justice for Breonna Taylor in series of billboard buys

"O, The Oprah Magazine" bought 26 billboard slots across Louisville, Kentucky, this week calling for the arrest of officers responsible for Breonna Taylor's death, the publication said.

What' they're saying: "Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged," the billboards — one for every year of Taylor's' life — read.

6 hours ago - World

Trump and Macron talk over aid for Lebanon after massive blast

Photo: Ludovic Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that he and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke over the phone to discuss sending immediate aid to Lebanon following a massive explosion in Beirut this week that killed more than 100 people and injured thousands.

What he's saying: "Had a lengthy discussion this morning with President Macron of France concerning numerous subjects, but in particular the catastrophic event which took place in Beirut, Lebanon..." Trump tweeted.

Joe Arpaio loses Maricopa County sheriff's race in second failed comeback

Joe Arpaio attending a rally in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Cal

Joe Arpaio lost the Republican primary on Friday in his bid for the Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff’s post that he previously held for 24 years before being voted out in 2016, AP reports.

Why it matters: It was Arpaio's second attempt to return to politics. He tried and failed to run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, after President Trump in 2017 pardoned his conviction of criminal contempt of court.

Warren and Clinton to speak on same night of Democratic convention

(Photos: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton both are slated to speak on the Wednesday of the Democratic convention — Aug. 19 — four sources familiar with the planning told Axios.

Why it matters: That's the same night Joe Biden's running mate (to be revealed next week) will address the nation. Clinton and Warren represent two of the most influential wise-women of Democratic politics with the potential to turn out millions of establishment and progressive voters in November.

Trump considering order on pre-existing condition protections, which already exist

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday he will pursue an executive order requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, something that is already law.

Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act already requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is currently arguing in a case before the Supreme Court to strike down that very law — including its pre-existing condition protections.

Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim watson/Getty Images

President Trump, speaking from a podium at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Friday announced that he is prepared to issue executive orders suspending payroll taxes and extending enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of 2020, and halting student loan interest and payments indefinitely.

Why it matters: The impending orders come after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon. But Trump said he remains committed to striking a deal with Congress on a broader stimulus package before signing the orders.

Trump: "We are going a different way" on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim Watsonn/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that his administration is "going a different way" with coronavirus aid after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again, suggesting he will use an executive order to address stimulus spending.

What he's saying: "Pelosi and Schumer only interested in Bailout Money for poorly run Democrat cities and states. Nothing to do with China Virus! Want one trillion dollars. No interest. We are going a different way!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's swift, sweeping China offensive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's rhetoric on China has tended to run hotter than his actions — until now.

Why it matters: Even at the height of Trump's trade war, his administration never hit China as hard, as fast, and on as many fronts as it is right now.

Liberty University's Jerry Falwell Jr. agrees to “indefinite leave of absence”

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. in 2019. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jerry Falwell Jr. will take an “indefinite leave of absence” from his roles as president and chancellor of Liberty University after posting a photo of himself with unzipped pants and an arm around a woman on social media, according to the school.

The state of play: The picture, which has since been deleted, drew backlash and charges of hypocrisy from conservative political figures because the university's honor code strictly prohibits students from having "sexual relations outside of a biblically-ordained marriage," and recommends they dress with“appropriateness” and “modesty."

White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (L) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speak to the media on Capitol Hill. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Trump should sign executive orders unilaterally addressing coronavirus stimulus spending after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again on Friday.

Why it matters: Friday was viewed as a self-imposed deadline to negotiate a new relief bill. But after an intense week of negotiations on Capitol Hill, White House and Democratic leadership failed to reach a deal on delivering much needed aid to Americans and businesses.

Counterintelligence chief: Russia aiming to “denigrate” Biden ahead of election

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, before Congress in 2018. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before the November election.

Why it matters: Evanina warned that some Kremlin-linked actors are trying to support President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television, while others are spreading false claims about corruption to undermine Biden and the Democratic Party.

Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus

Surgeon General Jerome Adams the American Red Cross National Headquarters on July 30. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Friday stressed the importance of Americans getting flu vaccines for the next influenza season, noting that the country has "been backsliding in terms of vaccine confidence over the last several years."

Why it matters: A bad flu season could put even more strain on the country's health system resources, which are especially limited in domestic coronavirus epicenters like Florida and California.

Aug 7, 2020 - Health

Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Cuomo on July 23 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all school districts across the state can choose to reopen for in-person learning because it has so far maintained low enough coronavirus transmission rates.

Why it matters: It’s another sign that the state, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, has — at least for now — successfully curbed the spread of the virus even as infections have surged elsewhere around the country.

Updated Aug 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Right-wing media defanged

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

Appeals court allows House Democrats to continue lawsuit for Don McGahn testimony

Don McGahn in an October 2018 Cabinet meeting. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A D.C. appeals court on Friday allowed House Democrats to continue their case for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn before the House Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The ruling has broader implications beyond this specific instance, agreeing that Congress has the standing to sue to enforce subpoenas against executive branch officials even if the White House refuses to comply.

Pelosi, Schumer say July jobs report underscores need for next coronavirus stimulus

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer argued Friday that July's jobs report showcased the urgent need for Congress to pass another coronavirus stimulus.

The state of play: Congressional Democrats and Republicans remain miles apart on stimulus talks as the August recess looms. Schumer and Pelosi have argued for another massive package while Republicans eye a more pared-back solution — and President Trump has threatened executive action amid the logjam.

Fauci refuses to comment on mail-in voting as public health measure, citing Trump discord

Fauci testifying in front of Congress. Photo: Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci declined to tell the Washington Post on Friday if mail-in voting should be used as a public health measure amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying his statement would "almost certainly ... be used as a soundbite."

Why it matters: Fauci said he didn't want the media to set up another confrontation between him and President Trump, but it highlights how government medical experts have often found themselves in politically contentious situations when dealing with issues like reopening schools, mask mandates or the upcoming election.

There's little consensus on TikTok's specific national security threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok has become a Rorschach test for how U.S. politicians view China, with little consensus on the specifics of its threat to homeland security.

The big picture: Much of what D.C. fears about TikTok is fear itself, and that's reflected in President Trump's executive order to ban the app by Sept. 20 if it's not sold by parent company ByteDance — alongside another focused on Chinese messaging app WeChat and its parent company Tencent.

U.S. sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam

Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department on Friday placed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, following months of tension as she has allowed continued overreach by Beijing to subvert Hong Kong's autonomy.

Why it matters: It's the toughest sanction yet imposed on China for its destruction of Hong Kong’s relatively free political system.

Trump's TikTok and WeChat actions ratchet up the pressure on China

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump escalated his campaign to claw apart the Chinese and American tech worlds Thursday evening, issuing executive orders that threaten to ban both TikTok and massive global messaging app WeChat.

The big picture: Trump's orders come against a backdrop of heightening tension with China, the steady unfolding of a hard "decoupling" between the world's two largest economies, and the Trump campaign's effort to wave a "tough on China" banner.

Trump floats executive action even if stimulus deal is reached

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The White House is finalizing a series of executive orders addressing key coronavirus stimulus priorities if negotiations with Congress fall apart, and it's leaving the door open for President Trump to use them even if a deal is reached that doesn't encompass all of his priorities, two administration officials tell Axios.

What we’re hearing: “I wouldn't be surprised that, if something gets left off the table, we’d be like ‘we can take this executive action too and be able to win on it anyway,’” one official said.

Aug 7, 2020 - Technology

TikTok responds to Trump executive order: "We are shocked"

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

TikTok said Friday that it was "shocked" by President Trump's executive order that will ban Americans from dealing with ByteDance, its China-based owner, in 45 days.

Why it matters: TikTok argued that Trump's move "risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth."

George W. Bush's new book to include his portraits of immigrants

The book includes Bush's portraits of Annika Sörenstam and Gilbert Tuhabonye. Courtesy Crown and George W. Bush Presidential Center

President George W. Bush will be out with a new book, "Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants," on March 2 that includes his paintings of 43 Americans who "exemplify ... our proud history as a nation of immigrants."

What they're saying: The president writes in the introduction, "While I recognize that immigration can be an emotional issue, I reject the premise that it is a partisan issue. It is perhaps the most American of issues, and it should be one that unites us."

Media warned to watch stereotypes when covering Biden's female running mate

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Looking ahead to Joe Biden's announcement of a female running mate, a group of women leaders sent a letter Friday to top news executives to warn them against "stereotypes and tropes" in coverage.

What they're saying: "Our country — and your newsrooms — have learned a lot since the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests for racial equality that his death spurred," the letter says.

Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Aug 7, 2020 - Health

Trump signs order requiring purchases of U.S.-made drugs

President Trump's new executive order has loopholes. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that would require the federal government to buy "essential medicines" and certain medical supplies from American manufacturing plants.

The big picture: Similar to Trump's recent executive orders that target drug prices, it's unclear how much this policy would change the drug and device supply chain, and there are several loopholes.

Right-wing media defanged as anti-Biden storylines disintegrate

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

Biden clarifies comments on African American and Latino communities

Joe Biden delivering a speech in Delaware in July. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden explained on Twitter Thursday night what he "meant" by earlier comments suggesting that "the African American community is a monolith."

What they're saying: "Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things," Biden remarked in an interview hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association for Black Journalists, Politico reports.

Updated Aug 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests negative for coronavirus after positive result

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) tested negative for the coronavirus after initially testing positive earlier Thursday, his office announced.

Why it matters: 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol.

Milwaukee police chief demoted over response to George Floyd protests

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales was demoted on Thursday after an oversight board questioned his reported orders for officers to use tear gas and pepper spray against protesters demonstrating over the police killing of George Floyd, AP reports.

Why it matters: Police departments across the U.S. have faced increased scrutiny over how they respond to protests in the aftermath of Floyd's death. Many police chiefs have left their jobs as pressure for law enforcement to reform mounts, AP writes. The Justice Department sent federal agents to combat a "surge of violent crime" in U.S. cities, including Milwaukee, starting last month.

Bill Hagerty wins Republican Senate nomination in Tennessee primary

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty speaking at CPAC in 2019. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty won the Tennessee Republican Senate primary on Thursday evening, beating out surgeon Manny Sethi for GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander's seat, who announced his retirement in late 2018, AP reports.

Why it matters: Though the race narrowed in July, Hagerty — who received President Trump's endorsement in 2019 — stuck close to the president's messaging and touted his Tennessee roots.

More politics & policy stories