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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GOP worries Trump has only weeks to sharpen coronavirus response

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans are increasingly concerned not only about President Trump’s daily briefings but also his broader plan to ease the nation out of the virus crisis and back to work. This concern is acute — and spreading. 

Why it matters: Trump can easily address the briefing worries by doing fewer, but the lackluster bounce-back planning is what worries Republicans most. 

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,612,646 — Total deaths: 96,787 — Total recoveries: 361,377Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 466,299 — Total deaths: 16,686 — Total recoveries: 26,522Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Republicans are getting worried about President Trump's daily briefings and his eventual plan to restart the economy.
  4. Business latest: The auto industry is sharing detailed return-to-work guidelines on how to shield employees from the coronavirus.
  5. Public health latest: The U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health order.
  6. Timeline: How the U.S. fell behind
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

All the states that have delayed their primary elections

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

Georgia's primary election will be postponed until June 9, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Thursday, after the state initially moved its primary to May.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while over 40 states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Local media asks Congress for more relief

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The United States' biggest media trade groups, representing thousands of publishers and broadcasters, asked Congress on Thursday to provide extensive relief to local news outlets in its next stimulus bill.

Why it matters: While the $2 trillion rescue package that already passed covers small businesses, including some news companies, advocates argue it's not enough to cover the long-lasting damages coronavirus will have on the news business' models and products.

Bernie Sanders' campaign will cover staff health care through October

Bernie Sanders. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/ Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders' newly suspended presidential campaign will let former staffers keep their health insurance benefits through October, a campaign official told Axios.

Why it matters: The move will prevent Sanders' 2020 team from losing insurance amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also draws a stark contrast between Sanders and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, whose staffers sued after he reneged on the promise to pay through November, even if he was not the nominee.

The race to change how America votes

Data: RepresentUs and NCSL; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

With in-person elections on Nov. 3 the hope but no longer a certainty, states are racing to chip away age-old barriers to alternatives in time for the general election.

Why it matters: State laws and political calculations remain formidable obstacles to expanding voting options. And the price tag for changes could top $2 billion.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.

U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health order

Photo: Jinitzail Hernández/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The U.S. has expelled more than 6,000 migrants using new powers enabling the federal government to almost immediately turn back border-crossers under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emergency public health order that went into effect March 21, according to new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.

The big picture: The order has drastically lowered the number of immigrants in CBP custody to fewer than 100, the agency's acting commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters on Thursday. The number of people coming into the U.S. overall has plummeted due to coronavirus-related travel bans in place at both the northern and southern borders.

Trump plans second coronavirus task force focused on the economy

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy, which has been battered by the coronavirus, two administration officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: There is growing energy within the West Wing to start easing people back to work by May 1. But some public health officials, including those on the coronavirus task force, have warned against doing so, raising concerns about reopening America too soon.

Trump administration wants immigrant sponsors to provide bank information

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to require people who apply to sponsor immigrant family members to give the government their bank account information, according to a notice in the Federal Register.

Why it matters: Last year, President Trump told agencies to find ways to enforce sponsors' legal financial responsibility for immigrants — including paying the government back if the immigrants use certain public benefits.

Biden and Sanders work toward truce on big issues

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden isn’t about to become Bernie Sanders, but he’s signaling that there’s potential for more common ground on issues such as health care, student debt, climate change and more in the weeks ahead.

What to watch: As Biden courts Sanders' endorsement, their teams will hold policy discussions in the next few weeks with the expectation that Biden will incorporate some elements of Sanders' agenda, a person familiar with those plans tells Axios.

Some Trump aides eye May 1 start to coronavirus reopening

President Trump was flanked at yesterday's briefing by HHS Secretary Alex Azar (far left), Vice President Pence and Deborah Birx. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump's aides, encouraged by virus data showing fewer deaths than once projected, are working behind the scenes to deliver on his vow to reopen America "sooner rather than later."

What to watch: A senior White House official said there’s a lot of internal energy pushing for May 1, because that's the end of the White House's "30 Days to Slow the Spread."

Bipartisan group of senators demands explanation from Trump on IG firing

Sen. Chuck Grassley on Capitol Hill in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent President Trump a letter on Wednesday asking for a "detailed written explanation" on why he fired Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general.

What they're saying: "Congress intended that inspectors general only be removed when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing or failure to perform the duties of the office, and not for reasons unrelated to their performance, to help preserve IG independence," states the letter, signed by eight senators.

U.S. nearly empties medical supplies stockpile to fight coronavirus

The ICU of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown, Maryland, April 8. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government is in the process of deploying 90% of its stockpiled medical equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Health and Human Services spokesperson Katie McKeogh told Axios Wednesday night.

Why it matters: These shipments aren't enough to meet current demands from states, who are bracing for staggered surges in hospital resource demand through May.

Go deeperArrowApr 9, 2020 - Health

Sanders reveals talks with Biden on beating Trump, but no endorsement yet

A screenshot of Sen. Bernie Sanders on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." Photo: CBS/Twitter

Sen. Bernie Sanders told "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in an interview airing Wednesday night that he's in talks with his former 2020 rival Joe Biden on working together to beat President Trump. But he stopped short of endorsing him.

Why it matters: Now that Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign, Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Some of Sanders' loyal supporters have said they don't trust Biden and may not vote for him. "I hope to be able to work with Joe to move him in a more progressive direction," Sanders told CBS host Stephen Colbert. Biden earlier Wednesday praised the progressive movement built by Sanders.

Go deeper: Sanders: "While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from the interview and more context.

Fauci pushes back on coronavirus death toll conspiracy theories

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Wednesday called conspiracy theories suggesting the novel coronavirus death toll is inflated because sick people are dying with the virus — not because of it — "nothing but distractions."

What they're saying: Fauci said at the White House press briefing, "You will always have conspiracy theories when you have very challenging public health crises. They are nothing but distractions."

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