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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California to release up to 8,000 inmates to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in prisons

California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento in February. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on Friday plans to expedite the release of as many as 8,000 inmates as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Why it matters: The state's government is facing increased pressure from lawmakers and activists to limit the spread of the virus among California's prisoners and prison staff, Politico reports.

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 12,573,041 — Total deaths: 561,865 — Total recoveries — 6,915,740Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 3,213,902 — Total deaths: 134,420 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives"

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, posed in masks in a photo shared by the Carter Center on Saturday, pleading with Americans to "please wear a mask to save lives."

Why it matters: Face masks have morphed into a political issue, in part due to President Trump's reluctance to wear the coverings in public. Carter's announcement comes as dozens of states and municipalities are issuing face-mask mandates and rolling back their reopenings amid a spike in coronavirus cases.

Scoop: Don Jr. plans convention-week Biden book

Cover via Don Jr.

Donald Trump Jr., in quarantine since girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive for the coronavirus, says he's used the time to finish a book that he'll self-publish the week of the Republican convention, at the end of August.

What he's saying: Don Jr., whose controversial blasts connect with President Trump's base, told me in a phone interview that "Liberal Privilege" will be his effort to paint a picture of Joe Biden and his record that the press ignores.

Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on coronavirus in at least two months

Anthony Fauci with President Trump in May at the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Financial Times on Friday that he last saw President Trump in person at the White House on June 2 — and hasn't briefed the president on the coronavirus pandemic for at least two months.

Why it matters: His comments indicate that a rift may be growing between Trump and his top infection disease expert as the worst pandemic in a century surges in multiple states around the U.S.

Polls show Trump has fight on his hands in Kansas and Montana

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Public and private polling shows President Trump "not only trailing badly in swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin, but running closely with [Joe] Biden in traditionally conservative bastions like Kansas and Montana," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Trump won each of those states in 2016 by 20 points. If he's in dogfights there, his map is on fire.

Coalition of businesses urges Trump to keep DACA in place following SCOTUS ruling

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A collection of business executives including those of Apple, Facebook, Google and General Motors urged President Trump in a letter on Saturday to keep DACA in place following a recent Supreme Court ruling that deemed the administration's original attempt to shutter the program unconstitutional, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Approximately 800,000 young immigrants rely on DACA as their means to remain in the U.S. Business leaders argued in the letter that deporting DACA recipients would negatively impact the economy and the fight against the coronavirus.

USTR plans to impose tariffs on $1.3 billion of French handbags, cosmetics

Photo: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Image

The U.S. Trade Representative on Friday announced plans for a 25% tariff to be slapped on $1.3 billion worth of French goods, but the Trump administration intends to defer the tax collection for up to six months.

The state of play: U.S. trade officials acknowledge the move is retaliatory, serving as a response to the 3% French digital service tax that targets major U.S. internet companies, like Facebook and Amazon. The U.S. argues the French tax is an unfair way to collect revenue from companies that earn billions in foreign markets.

  • The duties will affect French handbags, cosmetics and soaps, per Politico.

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Romney calls Stone commutation "historic corruption"

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday tweeted a scathing response to President Trump's Friday night commutation of former associate Roger Stone's prison sentence, calling the move "[u]nprecedented, historic corruption."

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent Trump critic. He sent shockwaves through Washington after announcing he would vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial — becoming the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote for the president's removal from office. Now he is the first major GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump's Friday night call regarding Stone.

Army opens investigation into Fort Hood following death of Vanessa Guillen

A memorial to Guillen nearby Fort Hood. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

The U.S. Army ordered an independent review of Fort Hood following the murder of 20-year-old Spc. Vanessa Guillen, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced Friday.

The big picture: An alleged lack of urgency from Fort Hood staff in response to Guillen's disappearance has called the command's leadership and culture into question. Guillen's family says she faced sexual harassment while on the Texas base that she did not report for fear of retaliation.

8 hours ago - Health

We're losing the war on the coronavirus

Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

By any standard, no matter how you look at it, the U.S. is losing its war against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The pandemic is not an abstraction, and it is not something that’s simmering in the background. It is an ongoing emergency ravaging nearly the entire country, with a loss of life equivalent to a Sept. 11 every three days — for four months and counting.

What they're saying: Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump commuted the 40-month prison sentence of his longtime associate and confidante Roger Stone on Friday.

Why it matters: Stone, the seventh person to be convicted and sentenced for crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, will spend no time behind bars for obstructing justice, tampering with witnesses and making false statements to Congress.

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