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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Elijah McClain's family sues Aurora police and paramedics

People marching in the street to protest the death of Elijah McClain on July 25, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The family of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died in 2019 after officers put him in a chokehold and paramedics injected him with ketamine in suburban Denver, sued police and medical officials on Tuesday in federal court, AP reports.

Why it matters: Black Lives Matter protests sparked by George Floyd's killing have prompted a nationwide reckoning, resulting in renewed criticism of Aurora police officers over McClain’s death.

McSally: GOP would "never get the Senate back" if D.C. and Puerto Rico were states

Sen. Martha McSally on May 6 in Washington, DC. Photo: Shawn Thew via Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz) told NBC News that if Democrats take the Senate and grant statehood to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, Republicans would "never get the Senate back again."

Why it matters: McSally is facing a challenge from astronaut Mark Kelly in a competitive race that many believe could determine the balance of the Senate. "This is just the implications of this seat, the implications of this vote," McSally said after claiming that Democrats would get four new senators with D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood.

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 20,158,258 — Total deaths: 738,063 — Total recoveries: 12,388,686Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,116,791 — Total deaths: 164,137 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. States: Florida reports another daily record for deaths State testing plans fall short of demand.
  4. Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to COVID-19.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. 🏈 Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season due to coronavirus.

13 of Biden's former rivals to appear together at Democratic convention

Democratic presidential candidates at the primary debate in Charleston, SC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a show of unity at the Democratic National Convention, 13 of Joe Biden's former 2020 challengers will appear via video to talk about the party's vision for the country and how they'll work with Biden to get it done.

Why it matters: Coalescing around Biden and his eventual running mate will help Democrats head into the general election against President Trump with a united front — unlike what they did in 2016.

3 hours ago - Science

SpaceX and ULA pull in huge defense contracts

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes flight. Photo: SpaceX

The Space Force's announcement last week that United Launch Alliance and SpaceX will launch expensive spy satellites and other military payloads brings a long and often fierce battle for government funds to an end — at least for now.

Why it matters: This type of government money — particularly in light of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic — is key for space companies that often work on thin margins.

IG report: Saudi arms sales were legal but didn't weigh civilian casualties

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acted legally when he bypassed Congress to approve $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but failed to "fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties" that resulted from the deal, according to a report by the State Department inspector general.

Why it matters: The 2019 sale drew bipartisan ire among lawmakers, who worried it could lead to a pattern of the administration using "emergency declarations" to circumvent Congress to approve weapons deals. The report comes two months after former Inspector General Steve Linick testified that he was pressured by a top Pompeo aide to drop the investigation.

Expert: Policy for autonomous vehicle industry is "like the Wild West"

Joann Muller (R) and Selika Josiah Talbott (L). Photo: Axios screenshot

A lack of federal policy has hampered the autonomous car industry's transparency with communities where the vehicles are tested, American University professor Selika Josiah Talbott said during a virtual Axios event on Tuesday.

What she's saying: "We need guidelines. Right now, it's like the Wild West. We need bumpers in place so we don't have rogue actions testing vehicles on the roadway and possibly causing harm to the general public," Talbott said.

Historian Douglas Brinkley: Trump speech at Gettysburg "would be a terrible blunder"

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Historian Douglas Brinkley told Axios that the idea of President Trump giving his convention acceptance speech at the Gettysburg battlefield would be "a terrible blunder," calling it "deeply cheesy and inappropriate."

Why it matters: Brinkley, CNN's presidential historian and a professor at Rice University, said that choosing Gettysburg would be less about living up to the ideals of equality and freedom that Abraham Lincoln espoused in the Gettysburg Address — and more of a tactical decision to help him get an edge in November.

Trump says men may be "insulted" by Biden picking a woman for VP

Photos: Mark Makela/Getty Images; Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump suggested Tuesday that some men feel "insulted" by Joe Biden's promise to choose a woman as his running mate, telling Fox Sports Radio that the former vice president has "roped himself into a certain group of people.”

Why it matters: The comments come as Biden's campaign is expected to announce his pick imminently, drawing a close to a slow, deliberative process that has highlighted the fundamental differences between his campaign and Trump's re-election effort.

National Governors Association leaders express concern over Trump's unemployment order

President Trump at a press briefing on Aug. 10. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's executive action calling on states to provide 25% of an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits poses "significant administrative burdens and costs," according to a bipartisan letter from the leaders of the National Governors Association.

Why it matters: Many states have had their budgets decimated by the coronavirus pandemic and cannot afford pitching in an $100 extra per unemployed resident. Several state unemployment offices told Axios that they don't even know how the program works, and that any changes to state unemployment systems would take weeks to implement.

NBC News plans virtual coverage for 2020 conventions

Photo: NBC News

NBC News and MSNBC are doubling down on digital and remote TV coverage of this year's conventions in an effort to bring as much information to voters as possible, while acclimating to the virtual nature of this year's events.

The big picture: The remote nature of the convention presents enormous challenges, but "this forced transition for the conventions will mean the plans for the next four years might become more creative," says Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet the Press and NBC News’ Political Director.

The Democratic fight to shape Biden's climate policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Left-wing climate activists don't want Joe Biden getting advice from people with credentials they don't like — and they're increasingly going public with their campaign.

Why it matters: Nobody is confusing Biden with President Trump, and his climate platform goes much further than anything contemplated in the Obama years.

Sports stadiums may become voting sites amid pandemic

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Dormant sports stadiums have been repurposed in a variety of ways during the pandemic, and with the national election fast approaching, some are being converted into voting locations.

Driving the news: More Than A Vote, the voting rights organization launched by LeBron James and other Black athletes like Patrick Mahomes and Sloane Stephens, has established a bipartisan arena voting advisory group.

Democrats announce full list of convention speakers

Barack and Michelle Obama at a 2017 Obama Foundation event. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will headline two nights of the Democratic National Convention, according to a full list of speakers released by the party on Tuesday.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev: It signals how much the Democratic Party is still the party of Barack Obama — and how strongly Biden’s team feels the Obamas can validate his vice presidential choice and energize the party’s base.

7 hours ago - Sports

Trump on the NBA: "The way they bowed to China is a disgrace"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump criticized the NBA's ties to China during a Fox Sports Radio interview on Tuesday, saying, "The way they catered to China, the way they bowed to China, is a disgrace."

Why it matters: China is one of the biggest international markets for the NBA, and its attempts to balance those business interests alongside criticism of the Chinese Communist Party's human rights abuses has been a flashpoint for the league in recent months.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Trump trounces Biden in campaign site traffic, thanks to far-right outlets

Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Traffic to President Trump's presidential campaign website is more than 4x greater than traffic to Joe Biden's presidential campaign website, thanks in large part to traffic referrals from right-wing outlets like The Gateway Pundit and Citizen Free Press, according to data from SimilarWeb.

Why it matters: The data speaks to the enormous role the far-right web plays in promoting the president's ideas and his re-election campaign.

First look: New Trump ad doubles down on radical left frame for Biden

Combination images of President Trump and Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images/Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump campaign launches a new ad Tuesday in five early-voting states that hits Joe Biden on taxes and immigration, redoubling a strategy to paint the Democratic nominee as a tool of the radical left.

Driving the news: "In His Own Words" will be a "high seven figure" spend running in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, a senior campaign official tells Axios.

Seattle police chief to resign as council votes for department cuts

A "Defund the Police" march in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 5. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has written a resignation letter, effective Sept 2., as the city's council voted to cut the police budget Monday night, KING-TV first reported.

Why it matters: Best is Seattle's first Black police chief, AP notes. The council voted to reduce the $409 million annual police budget by $3.5 million for the rest of the year, cut about 100 officers' jobs from the 1,400-strong department and invest $17 million in "community public safety programs," Reuters reports. The one council member to vote against the changes said the action "does not do enough to defund the police," per AP.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump whisked out of press briefing after shooting outside White House

President Trump was escorted out of a coronavirus press briefing by a Secret Service agent on Monday evening after law enforcement reportedly shot an armed suspect outside of the White House.

What's new: The 51-year-old suspect approached a uniformed Secret Service officer on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the White House, and said he had a weapon, the agency alleged in a statement late Monday. He "ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew the object from his clothing."

Liberty University appoints acting president as Falwell placed on indefinite leave

Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. during July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Liberty University said in a statement Monday that Jerry Prevo would become its acting president after Jerry Falwell Jr. "agreed to an indefinite leave of absence."

Driving the news: The school announced Friday that Falwell was stepping away from the roles of university president and chancellor after fallout from the Trump ally posting a photo of himself with unzipped pants and an arm around a woman on social media.

AOC to speak at Democratic convention

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during an April a press conference in Queens, New York City. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will speak at the Democratic convention next week ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders' appearance on the Tuesday night, CNN first reported and Axios has confirmed

Why it matters: Her involvement is a strategic decision to energize young progressives without tying former Vice President Joe Biden too closely or directly with her agenda.

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