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 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 10,667,217 — Total deaths: 515,646 — Total recoveries — 5,464,367Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 2,685,806 — Total deaths: 128,061 — Total recoveries: 729,994 — Total tested: 32,827,359Map.
  3. Federal government: Trump says he still thinks coronavirus will "just disappear" at some point, supports another round of direct payments to Americans.
  4. Public health: Thanks to coronavirus, your home is now your gymFormer FDA chief says 500,000 Americans may be contracting coronavirus a day.
  5. States: Georgia and Arizona report record new coronavirus cases — California shuts down bars and indoor dining for most residents.
  6. 1 ⚽️ thing: 6 players test positive for coronavirus before MLS comeback tournament.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden outraises Trump again with record $141 million June haul

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden at Philadelphia City Hall in Pennsylvania in June. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party raised $141 million in June, his campaign announced on Wednesday night.

Why it matters: It's the most the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has raised in a month. It's also more than the record $131 million President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised last month.

House committee postpones hearing with top Pompeo aide over ousted inspector general

Brian Bulatao testifies in July 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Tomorrow's high-profile hearing in the Foreign Affairs Committee's investigation into the firing of State Department inspector general Steve Linick was postponed late on Wednesday by Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

Why it matters: Brian Bulatao, a top State Department official and close confidante of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's, has emerged as a central figure in Linick's removal. The agency watchdog was removed at Pompeo's request.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Judge lifts block on Trump book publisher, but upholds order on his niece

President Trump at the White House on June 26. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The injunction on a memoir about President Trump written by his niece was lifted on Wednesday by a judge in New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division, Second Department.

Driving the news: The judge ruled that publisher Simon & Schuster did not seem to be bound by the confidentiality agreement signed by the author, Mary Trump, of the book "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man," which was originally due for release on July 28. However, appeals court judge Alan Scheinkman upheld the restraining order against the president's niece.

Scoop: Twitter removes photo from Trump tweet after NYT copyright complaint

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter has removed a picture from a tweet by President Trump on Tuesday after it received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint from the New York Times, which owns the rights to the photo.

Why it matters: This is the second time in two weeks that Twitter has had to take down content from Trump's account due to a copyright violation.

Trump campaign, RNC say they raised record-breaking $131 million in June

President Trump at a MAGA rally on June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee announced on Wednesday they collectively raised $131 million in June.

Why it matters: The president's biggest re-election cash haul comes as several polls have shown former Vice President Joe Biden leading in battleground states, and as Republican satisfaction with the state of the country declines.

Senators' letter on USAGM purge promises funding review

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A bipartisan group of Senators on Wednesday wrote a letter to Michael Pack, the newly-confirmed CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), that they plan to review the agency's funding, after Pack abruptly fired the heads of five organizations funded by USAGM.

Why it matters: The sudden dismissal of all five heads last week prompted concerns amongst the senators about Pack's leadership and the future of the agency, which has aimed to promote American democratic values through unbiased journalism abroad.

McEnany: "Right decision" not to brief Trump on Russian bounty intelligence

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that the career CIA officer who chose not to verbally brief President Trump on the intelligence about alleged Russian bounties made "the right decision."

Driving the news: National security adviser Robert O'Brien told Fox News earlier Wednesday that "once the U.S. received raw intelligence on the Russian bounties, U.S. and coalition forces were made aware even though the intelligence wasn't verified."

Updated 8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Congress passes extension of Paycheck Protection Program

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate both unanimously voted to extend the application period for Paycheck Protection Program loans through Aug. 8, just hours before it was set to expire.

Why it matters: There's still over $130 billion in PPP funds available, which could help small businesses pay overhead and keep employees on payroll. It also could help independent contractors like Uber drivers.

10 hours ago - Podcasts

Deficits no longer matter

"How are you going to pay for it?" is one of the most popular questions in politics, whether it's about Medicare For All or a border wall. But Stephanie Kelton, an economist with rising influence in the Democratic Party, believes everyone should stop asking.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Kelton, who advised the Bernie Sanders campaign and who's now on a Biden campaign economic task-force.

6 players test positive for coronavirus before MLS comeback tournament

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Six FC Dallas players have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last four days after arriving in Orlando, Florida, the team and Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The league announced last month that it will return to action on July 8 with all 26 teams competing in a 54-game, 35-day, World Cup-style tournament at Disney World, Axios' Kendall Baker reports.

Richmond mayor orders removal of city's Confederate statues

A statue of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson towers over Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered Wednesday all Confederate statues in the city to be removed, effective immediately.

Driving the news: A crew at the traffic circle of Monument Avenue and Arthur Ashe Boulevard in Richmond has already begun the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, the Washington Post reports.

10 hours ago - Health

Trump says he still thinks coronavirus will "just disappear" at some point

President Trump told Fox Business in an interview Wednesday that he still believes the coronavirus will "at some point just sort of disappear," as he first claimed in February before the pandemic was declared.

Why it matters: The coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., which has already seen more than 2.6 million Americans test positive, is continuing to accelerate across the Sun Belt and has shown no signs of slowing down. Anthony Fauci testified Tuesday that he would "not be surprised" if the U.S. begins reporting as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.

Trump says he supports another round of direct payments to Americans

President Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday that he supports another round of direct stimulus payments as part of a potential phase four coronavirus relief package.

Why it matters: 19.5 million Americans remain on unemployment after initially applying, according to data from the Labor Department released last week.

Bolton says he would have briefed Trump on Russian bounty intelligence

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton told CBS News' "The Takeout" podcast" on Wednesday that he would have personally briefed President Trump if he saw intelligence that Russian officials offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops, but cautioned that Trump is simply not receptive to intelligence briefings.

Driving the news: "The purpose of the briefing process is to meet the particular needs of the president and present it to him in the way that best suits his desires," Bolton said. "The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is not receptive to one means or another. He's just not receptive to new facts."

12 hours ago - World

Top Democrat introduces amendment to sanction Putin for alleged Russian bounties

Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced an amendment on Wednesday that would require the Trump administration to impose asset freezing sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials involved in alleged bounties to Taliban-linked militants.

Why it matters: It's the first legislative proposal related to the controversy over the alleged Russian bounty scheme, which President Trump and other top officials have sought to downplay as unverified intelligence.

New bill stokes long-running encryption fight in Washington

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congress is gearing up for another run at passing encryption laws that proponents say will allow U.S. law enforcement to do its job and security experts say will make everyone’s communications less safe.

The big picture: As companies like Facebook and Apple encrypt more of their platforms by default, U.S. authorities fear the world is “going dark” on them. The consensus is stronger than ever among security experts, human rights advocates and the industry that weakening encryption hurts everyone.

13 hours ago - Health

Wisconsin senator: U.S. "overreacted" to coronavirus pandemic

Screenshot: Axios Events

The country "overreacted" in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told Axios' Mike Allen during a virtual event on Wednesday.

What Johnson's saying: "[I]n hindsight, I think we overreacted. We closed too much of our economy down, and I don't think we focused enough on what we needed to do: isolate the sick, quarantine them, protect the vulnerable."

Arizona reports record new coronavirus cases and deaths ahead of Pence visit

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Arizona reported more than 4,800 new coronavirus cases and 88 deaths on Wednesday, hours before Vice President Mike Pence is set to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: Arizona is seeing a massive surge in new cases and hospitalizations following Ducey's decision to reopen in May. On Monday, Ducey ordered bars, clubs, movie theaters, waterparks and gyms to close for 30 days in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Poll: A record number of Americans want more immigration

A mural painted by Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

For the first time, the number of Americans who want higher immigration levels has surpassed those who want them lowered, according to Gallup, which has tracked responses to the question since 1965.

The big picture: The Trump administration has temporarily cut off several major paths of immigration using coronavirus emergency powers. But the new survey, which went out before the Supreme Court DACA decision and new visa restrictions, found a record 34% of Americans actually want more immigration.

Scoop: Trump regrets Kushner advice on prison reform

Kushner and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows walk on the south lawn of the White House, June 23. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has told people in recent days that he regrets following some of son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's political advice — including supporting criminal justice reform — and will stick closer to his own instincts, three people with direct knowledge of the president's thinking tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: One person who spoke with the president interpreted his thinking this way: "No more of Jared's woke s***." Another said Trump has indicated that following Kushner's advice has harmed him politically.

Seattle police clear out CHOP zone after multiple shootings

Protesters in the CHOP zone on June 24. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Seattle police swept through the city's Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, or CHOP, Wednesday morning in riot gear and tactical vehicles in an attempt to vacate the area, the department tweeted.

Why it matters: Calls to shut down the protests have grown since four shootings in the area have resulted in multiple injuries and deaths, including one Monday that killed a 16-year-old boy and wounded a 14-year-old boy.

Gun violence groups team up on voting rights initiatives

Illustration: Sara Grillo/Axios

Gun violence groups March for Our Lives and Brady and Team Enough released an action plan Wednesday to help improve voter registration, mail-in and absentee voting and voter access within Black and Latinx communities across the country.

Why it matters: The partnership along with LeBron James' "More than a Vote" organization is connecting the surge who have supported the Black Lives Matter movement and protested police brutality in recent weeks with their messaging on voting laws and voter suppression.

House Democrats smooth over climate differences — for now

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Democrats' new climate blueprint may be a wish list, but for now it has succeeded in one big respect: Avoiding a major flare-up of intra-left tensions over policy.

Driving the news: A lot of groups cheered the nearly 550-page plan yesterday, while criticisms from the left flank of the green movement were real but rather muted.

16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump calls proposed Black Lives Matter sign in NYC a "symbol of hate"

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump attacked New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday for reallocating $1 billion from the NYPD's budget and ordering a large Black Lives Matter mural to be painted on Fifth Avenue, condemning it in a tweet as a "symbol of hate."

The big picture: It's yet another example of the president digging in on racial issues that explicitly appeal to his base, even as his poll numbers continue to spiral in the wrong direction months ahead of the election.

Oklahoma voters approve Medicaid expansion

The Oklahoma State Capitol. Photo: Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Oklahoma voters on Tuesday narrowly passed a ballot measure to expand Medicaid, making it the first state to do so during the coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Nearly 200,000 low-income adults could qualify for health insurance under the expansion, and that number could rise because of the recent surge in unemployment.

Big business plunges into police reform

Demonstrators clash with police officers during a protest in Aurora, Colorado, on June 27. Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Business Roundtable called on Congress in a statement Wednesday to pass a police reform bill before its August recess.

Why it matters: The announcement by Business Roundtable, made up of CEOs of America’s 193 largest companies, reflects the rising pressure on corporations — from values-centric employees, shareholders and customers — to take stands on controversial public issues they once would have avoided.

Fox News surges over broadcast networks in prime time

Screenshot: Fox News

Fox News Channel was the most-watched network in prime time, counting both broadcast and cable, for three out of four weeks in June, AP's David Bauder writes.

Why it matters: Before this month, that had never happened. Ever. June is traditionally a slow month for broadcast television, with the schedule crammed with reruns and game shows. And it has been a busy news stretch.

20 hours ago - Science

Trump vs. Biden: Senility becomes 2020 flashpoint

Photos: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Senility is becoming an overt line of attack for the first time in a modern U.S. presidential campaign.

Why it matters: As Americans live longer and work later into life and there's more awareness about the science of aging, we're also seeing politicians test the boundaries of electability. Biden is 77; Trump, now 74, already is the oldest person to assume the U.S. presidency.

The big divide over the next stimulus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As lawmakers turn their attention to another coronavirus stimulus package, Republicans and Democrats each say they’ve learned many lessons from the $2 trillion CARES Act. The problem is, they can’t agree on what those lessons were.

Why it matters: With just an 11-day window in late July to act, and without the market free-fall of March to motivate them, Congress may choke on a compromise package that many economists see as necessary to keep the economy upright.

20 hours ago - Health

Federal government weakened its march-in rights for coronavirus drugs

Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The federal government has watered down legal rights that could allow it to take over the rights of some potential coronavirus drugs, according to federal contracts obtained by consumer group Knowledge Ecology International and shared with Axios.

The big picture: The federal government has never used its so-called "march-in rights," but they're a theoretically powerful tool to intervene in cases where pharmaceutical companies charge high prices or don't produce enough of a product.

The numbers behind the jobs numbers don't look so hot

Reproduced from Homebase; Chart: Axios Visuals

Some private data the White House closely monitors has been pointing to an economic recovery that’s plateauing — and that could bolster the case for more stimulus this summer.

Driving the news: June's unemployment rate will be released tomorrow morning, but the official jobs numbers are practically dated the moment they flash on financial terminals. The White House watches other private data to get an earlier sense of what's happening — and that data suggests the recovery may be cooling off.

21 hours ago - Podcasts

The new stimulus fight

The first stimulus package was a lifeline for millions of Americans. The beginning of July means we've got just a few more weeks before all those benefits expire.

Why it matters: Unlike when the first bill passed in March, Congress is divided on whether people need another stimulus.

Updated Jul 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Federal judge rules against Trump asylum restrictions

President Trump visits the southern border fence in Otay Mesa, California, lastSeptember. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled against the Trump administration's third-country asylum rule late Tuesday.

Why it matters: Per Neal Katayal, a lawyer involved in the legal challenge, the District Court decision "invalidates" the transit ban.

Updated Jul 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Colorado: Hickenlooper wins Democratic Senate primary

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper won the state's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday evening, per AP.

Of note: Hickenlooper wasn't the only eye-catching win Tuesday night. Lauren Boebert (R) defeated the Trump-endorsed incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in the Republican primary for Colorado's third congressional district.

Scoop: Kushner changes top Trump campaign staff

Glassner in 2017. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP via Getty Images

Michael Glassner, the man who organizes President Trump's rallies, has been "reassigned," and Trump's 2016 Arizona chair Jeff DeWit will join the campaign as chief operating officer to oversee the final stretch to election day, three sources familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Driving the news: Jared Kushner engineered these moves. Glassner, a Trump campaign original dating back to 2015, has been told he will now be handling the campaign's various lawsuits, sources say.

New York Council agrees to cut $1B from NYPD budget

Protesters march in Manhattan in support of NYPD budget cuts and defunding the police, on June 29. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

The New York City Council agreed late Tuesday to reallocate $1 billion from the NYPD operating budget as part of the city's police reform efforts driven by nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

The big picture: For the 2020 fiscal year, the city spent $10.9 billion on its police department — the largest and most expensive police force in the country, per the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission.

Senate passes PPP extension through August

Mitch McConnell. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Senate passed legislation by unanimous consent Tuesday night extending the application period for the Paycheck Protection Program through August 8, just hours before the federal loan program was set to expire.

Yes, but: The House still needs to pass the Senate version of the relief bill, and President Trump will need to sign off. Prospects for either are uncertain. Approximately $130 billion in PPP funding remains available.

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