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 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:15 p.m. ET: 21,261,598 — Total deaths: 767,054— Total recoveries: 13,284,647Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:15 p.m. ET: 5,324,930 — Total deaths: 168,703 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes — Patients grow more open with their health data during pandemic.
  4. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  5. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  6. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

New York to reopen museums, gyms, bowling alleys

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

New York will allow museums, gyms and bowling alleys across the state to reopen with capacity restrictions, mandated face coverings and social distancing requirements starting August 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

Why it matters: The decision marks a significant turning point for the state, which was seen as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the spring. Since, case levels have steadily declined following intense social distancing and lockdown measures.

Romney rebukes Trump on mail-in voting

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Greg Nash/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney said on Friday that he's unaware of "any evidence that voting by mail would increase voter fraud," countering repeated claims from President Trump that mail-in voting will lead to rampant fraud.

What he's saying: "My biggest concern, frankly, with regards to voting fraud has been that there would be some kind of hacking of our voting electronic systems, and that voting machines or tabulating equipment would be hacked," Romney said in an interview with the Sutherland Institute.

Kamala Harris and the political rise of America's Indian community

Vice presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Democrats next week formally nominate the daughter of an Indian immigrant to be vice president, it'll be perhaps the biggest leap yet in the Indian American community's rapid ascent into a powerful political force.

Why it matters: Indian Americans are one of the fastest-growing, wealthiest and most educated demographic groups in the U.S. Politicians work harder every year to woo them. And in Kamala Harris, they'll be represented in a major-party presidential campaign for the first time.

President Trump's suburbs

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.

President Trump cast an outdated vision of "the 'suburban housewife'" as he swiped this week at Joe Biden's newly minted running mate Kamala Harris — building on his months-long play to drive a wedge through battleground-state suburbs by reframing white voters' expectations.

The big picture: As he struggles to find an attack that will stick against the Biden campaign, Trump for a while now has been stoking fears of lawless cities and an end to what he's called the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream.” It’s a playbook from the ‘70s and ‘80s — but the suburbs have changed a lot since then.

Report: USPS alerts 46 states of possible mail-in ballot delivery delays

A postal vehicle in front of a United State Postal Service facility in Chicago on Aug. 13. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service alerted 46 states and Washington, D.C., that it cannot ensure ballots sent by mail in the general election will arrive in time to be counted, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Why it matters: The written warnings, issued at the end of July, indicate that USPS believes it may not be able to manage the sudden surge in mail-in voting due to the coronavirus, "adding another layer of uncertainty ahead of the high-stakes presidential contest," the Post writes.

"He needs to cheat to win": Dems condemn Trump's USPS attacks

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump on Friday of using "sabotage tactics" in his latest attacks on the U.S. Postal Service and mail-in voting, and threatening the integrity of the 2020 election, they wrote in a letter.

The big picture: Trump this week vowed to block additional funding for the USPS in the next coronavirus stimulus package, linking the agency to his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud.

New Jersey to send ballots to all active registered voters

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in January. Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) told CNN on Friday that the state will conduct its general election mostly by mail as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

Why it matters: Murphy's announcement comes as President Trump has spent the last several months attacking mail-in voting as a practice he claims — without strong evidence — is susceptible to voter fraud.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.

Former FBI advisor expected to plead guilty for falsifying email in Trump campaign probe

President Trump briefs reporters on August 14. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kevin Clinesmith, who gave legal support to the FBI as it investigated ties between President Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia, is expected to plead guilty to falsifying a key document in the agency's probe, the New York Times reports, citing court documents made public on Friday.

Why it matters: The charging documents do not show any evidence that Clinesmith's actions were part of a broad conspiracy to undermine the president, per the Times.

23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump refuses to answer question on whether he supports QAnon conspiracy theory

President Trump on Friday refused to answer a direct question on whether or not he supports the QAnon conspiracy theory during a press briefing.

Why it matters: Trump congratulated Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who vocally supports the conspiracy theory, on her victory in a House primary runoff earlier this week — illustrating how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within his party.

Postal workers' union endorses Biden

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The National Association of Letter Carriers, the union representing roughly 300,000 current and former postal workers, on Friday endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, calling him "a fierce ally and defender of the U.S. Postal Service," reports NBC News.

Why it matters: The endorsement comes as President Trump has vowed to block additional funding for the USPS in the next coronavirus stimulus package, linking it to his continued baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud.

Trump brands Woodward book as "FAKE" despite reportedly sitting for 17 interviews

Photos: Michael Kovac/Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump lashed out at journalist Bob Woodward's upcoming book "Rage," calling it "FAKE" in a pair of Friday tweets.

Why it matters: Trump participated extensively in Woodward's research for the book, sitting for 17 interviews at the White House, Mar-a-Lago and over the phone between December 2019 and late July 2020, CNN reported.

Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light

Photo: Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

"Tribute in Light," the iconic twin beams of light meant to represent the World Trade Center's towers, won't shine on September 11 this year after organizers expressed concern for the health of workers who would set up the display, per the AP.

What's happening: The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is organizing an alternative display as well as prerecorded remarks from victims' families in lieu of its traditional in-person ceremonies.

Biden and Harris sign documents to receive Democratic nomination

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris on Friday signed the required documents to receive the Democratic nomination for president and vice president at next week's convention.

Why it matters: The pair is officially one step closer to becoming the ticket to take on President Trump and Vice President Pence.

Obama: Americans could be "collateral damage" in Trump's war on mail-in voting

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

Trump plans to visit his hospitalized brother, Robert, in New York

President Trump briefs reporters on August 13. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Robert Trump, the president's younger brother, is currently hospitalized in New York, and President Trump plans to visit him, White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed to Axios on Friday.

The big picture: Robert Trump is "very ill," according to ABC News, which first reported his hospitalization. He was previously in an intensive care unit for over a week in June. "Hopefully he’ll be alright, but … he’s having a hard time," President Trump said at a press briefing.

GAO finds Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible for top DHS roles

Photo: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and his acting deputy Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible to be serving in their positions, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) decided in a report released Friday.

Why it matters: While the finding has no immediate power, it could be important evidence in litigation over policies enacted under Wolf and Cuccinelli's leadership, said America's Voice's Ur Jaddou, who served as chief counsel to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under President Obama.

Kushner says Trump didn't promote false Kamala Harris birtherism theory

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told "CBS This Morning" on Friday that he does not believe President Trump promoted a baseless claim that Sen. Kamala Harris is ineligible to be vice president.

Driving the news: During a press briefing on Thursday, Trump did not question the veracity of a Newsweek op-ed that inaccurately claimed Harris may be ineligible for the office due to her parents' naturalization status at the time of her birth. Harris is an American citizen and was born in Oakland, Calif.

Climate change isn't a top issue for 2020 voters

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Climate isn't top of mind for the electorate in the 2020 presidential race, but Pew Research Center polling also signals how the topic is likely to surface in the months ahead.

Why it matters: Joe Biden has tethered his proposed low-carbon energy and infrastructure investments to his wider economic recovery message.

Aug 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Dodger Stadium to become a voting center in November

Photo: Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Dodger Stadium will become a voting center in November, with more teams expected to make dormant arenas and stadiums available soon, AP reports.

How it works: Any registered voter in Los Angeles County will be able to visit the stadium over a five-day period. Parking will be free.

Survey: Fears grow about Social Security’s future

Data: AARP survey of 1,441 U.S. adults conducted July 14–27, 2020 a ±3.4% margin of error at the 95% confidence level; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Younger Americans are increasingly concerned that Social Security won't be enough to wholly fall back on once they retire, according to a survey conducted by AARP — in honor of today's 85th anniversary of the program — given first to Axios.

Why it matters: Young people's concerns about financial insecurity once they're on a restricted income are rising — and that generation is worried the program, which currently pays out to 65 million beneficiaries, won't be enough to sustain them.

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Doubts over fair election results

SurveyMonkey poll of 2,847 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11–12, 2020 with ±3% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

One in four Americans is worried their ballot won't be accurately counted this year, and four in 10 worry mail-in voting could yield less reliable results, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

The big picture: Partisan identification is a massive driver of distrust in both categories — and the stakes are huge this year.

Exclusive: Biden signals fall strategy with new COVID-19 ads

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Gety Images

Joe Biden's campaign is doubling down on its criticism of President Trump's mishandling of the coronavirus, launching two new 30-second ads today on the heels of Biden's own call for an outdoor mask mandate.

Why it matters: With Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, now in place to amplify and augment the message, the campaign is signaling it will hit Trump on the pandemic every day until Nov. 3.

Aug 14, 2020 - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf tells Axios co-founder Mike Allen why he "would be concerned" about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in office.

Catch the full interview on Monday, August 17 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.

USPS tells Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered on time

Containers of mail-in ballots in Reading, Pa., on June 3. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service told Pennsylvania officials in a July letter that "there is a significant risk" that mail-in ballots may not be delivered on time for the November election because the state’s election deadlines are "incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards," according to a Thursday court filing.

Why it matters: The letter comes as President Trump has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting and vowed that he will block demands to fund mail-in voting and the USPS, claiming without evidence that the ballots produce widespread voter fraud.

Trump receives mail-in ballot in Florida

President Trump. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Palm Beach County election officials sent President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump their mail-in ballots on Wednesday for Florida’s Aug. 18 primary election.

Why it matters: Both Trump and his wife voted by mail in the presidential primary in March, according to records cited by AP. Trump continues to baselessly sow distrust in the mail-in voting process by claiming it leads to fraud with no evidence as November's general election inches closer. He also vowed to block stimulus funding to make implementing mail-in voting more difficult.

What Kamala Harris as VP could mean for Silicon Valley

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Stringer

Tuesday, Joe Biden announced Calif. Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate for November’s presidential election, which is likely great news for Silicon Valley and friends.

The big picture: Harris is not only from California, but she spent some of her earliest years in politics in San Francisco. And her ties to the tech industry run deep.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.

DOJ claims Yale discriminates against Asian and white applicants

Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Thursday accused Yale University of violating federal civil rights law by discriminating against Asian American and white undergraduate hopefuls.

Why it matters: The claim is an extension of the Trump administration's efforts to challenge race-based admissions policies at elite universities, and comes after a two-year investigation in response to complaints from students about the application process at some schools.

Austin to cut $150 million from police budget

Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

The Austin City Council unanimously moved to cut its police department budget by $150 million on Thursday, The Texas Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Austin is the first of Texas's four largest cities to slash its police funding, per the Tribune. The cut is also one of the biggest percentage decreases in the U.S. this year.

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