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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Trump says he wants 9 justices in case Supreme Court must decide 2020 election

President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Judge orders Eric Trump to testify in New York probe before election

Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

A judge on Wednesday ordered Eric Trump to comply with a subpoena to testify before the presidential election in a New York probe into the Trump family business.

The state of play: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) last month said her office had filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to an investigation into whether President Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 31,717,955 — Total deaths: 973,014 Total recoveries: 21,795,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 6,913,046 — Total deaths: 201,319 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Fauci clashes with Rand Paul at COVID hearing: "You're not listening" — FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  6. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

People hurt in the Kenosha protests are suing Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four people affected by the violence during the Kenosha, Wisc., protests in August are suing Facebook, charging that the social media company enabled violence to take hold there.

Driving the news: As BuzzFeed News reports, the allegations against Facebook focus on its failure to remove an event titled “Armed Citizens to Protect our Lives and Property,” created by the self-described militia group the Kenosha Guard. The page was filled with violent comments including posts celebrating the deaths at the protests.

Director of Harvard Center for Ethics on the public good vs. privatization

Axios' Felix Salmon (left) and Director of Harvard University's Center for Ethics Danielle Allen. Photo: Axios

A defining component of America's future will be how individuals prioritize the public good against the urge to privatize, Director of Harvard University's Center for Ethics Danielle Allen said Wednesday during a virtual Axios event.

The big picture: “The value of public good — which are government-funded services for the benefit or well-being of the general public — has come into focus throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Access to health care, government data and federal economic relief have played major roles in sustaining America.

CIA launches new high-tech lab

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

In a bid to attract and retain top tech talent, the CIA has announced the formation of CIA Labs, a new venture designed to encourage innovation in "artificial intelligence, data analytics, biotechnology, advanced materials, and high-performance quantum computing,” among other areas, per MIT Technology Review.

How it works: Formed in part because of concerns over a talent drain to the private sector in Silicon Valley, CIA Labs will allow employees to patent their own inventions and keep 15% of the proceeds derived from them, with a maximum salary bump of $150,000 per annum.

Jayapal: Paycheck Recovery Act could be "automatic stabilizer" in crises

Axios' Felix Salmon (left) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal. Photo: Axios

The Paycheck Recovery Act could serve as an "automatic stabilizer" in future unemployment crises like the coronavirus pandemic by offering direct grants to affected businesses, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), said Wednesday at an Axios virtual event.

The big picture: Under Jayapal's proposal, which has bipartisan support and is under consideration in the House Financial Services Committee, the federal government would subsidize the benefits and salaries of qualified workers if unemployment hits 7% or higher. The intent is to limit the number of people filing jobless claims.

In photos: Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at Supreme Court

The late Justice Ginsburg will lie in repose for two days. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at 87, will lie in repose on Wednesday and Thursday outside the Supreme Court for Americans to pay their respects.

What's happening: The eight justices and former Justice Anthony Kennedy wore masks to attend a private ceremony. Some of Ginsburg's former clerks were pallbearers and carried her casket to the court's Great Hall.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Official says White House political appointees "commandeered" Bolton book review

John Bolton's book "The Room Where it Happened." Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."

House Democrats unveil sweeping reforms package to curtail presidential abuses

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled sweeping legislation aimed at preventing presidential abuse and corruption, strengthening transparency and accountability, and protecting elections from foreign interference.

Why it matters: While the bill has practically no chance of becoming law while Trump is in office and Republicans hold the Senate, it's a pre-election message from Democrats on how they plan to govern should Trump lose in November. It also gives Democratic members an anti-corruption platform to run on in the weeks before the election.

Senate Republicans release report on Biden-Ukraine investigation with rehashed information

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), on Wednesday released an interim report on their probe into Joe Biden and his son's dealings in Ukraine.

Why it matters: The report's rushed release ahead of the presidential election is certainly timed to damage Biden, amplifying bipartisan concern that the investigation was meant to target the former vice president's electoral chances.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
10 hours ago - Health

The FDA plans to toughen coronavirus vaccine standards

President Trump and FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn. Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration plans to toughen the requirements for a coronavirus vaccine emergency authorization, which would make it more difficult for one to be ready by the election, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Public skepticism of an eventual vaccine keeps increasing as President Trump keeps making promises that are at odds with members of his own administration.

Alexei Navalny released from hospital after one month

Photo: Celestino Arce/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Russian activist Alexei Navalny was released from a German hospital on Wednesday after 32 days of treatment for Novichok poisoning, per the AP.

Why it matters: It is widely suspected that Russian state operatives took part in poisoning Navalny while on a domestic flight. Novichok is a Soviet-era poison often attributed to Russian security services, and Navalny is one of President Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critics.

  • Navalny was kept in a medically induced coma for two weeks after being poisoned. Doctors say it is too soon to know if he will face any long-term side effects from the nerve agent.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
11 hours ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street fears meltdown over election and Supreme Court

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump's vow to name her replacement to the Supreme Court before November's election are amplifying Wall Street's worries about major volatility and market losses ahead of and even after the election.

The big picture: The 2020 election is the most expensive event risk on record, per Bloomberg — with insurance bets on implied volatility six times their normal level, according to JPMorgan analysts. And it could take days or even weeks to count the record number of mail-in ballots and declare a winner.

Election clues county by county

Ipsos and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics are out with an interactive U.S. map that goes down to the county level to track changes in public sentiment that could decide the presidential election.

How it works: The 2020 Political Atlas tracks President Trump's approval ratings, interest around the coronavirus, what's dominating social media and other measures, with polling updated daily — enhancing UVA's "Crystal Ball."

Trump pushes to expand ban against anti-racism training to federal contractors

Trump speaking at Moon Township, Penns., on Sept. 22. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced late Tuesday that the White House attempt to halt federal agencies' anti-racism training would be expanded to block federal contractors from "promoting radical ideologies that divide Americans by race or sex."

Why it matters: The executive order appears to give the government the ability to cancel contracts if anti-racist or diversity trainings focused on sexual identity or gender are organized. The memo applies to executive departments and agencies, the U.S. military, federal contractors and federal grant recipients.

Louisville declares state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday "due to the potential for civil unrest" ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

17 hours ago - World

H.R. McMaster: Trump "making it easy" for Putin on U.S. election misinformation

Former National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster in Washington, D.C., in 2018. Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

H.R. McMaster told CNN Tuesday evening President Trump and other U.S. leaders are "making it easy" for Russian President Vladimir Putin to peddle conspiracy theories on the U.S. election and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

What he's saying: "It's just wrong ... it's really important for leaders to be responsible about this because, really, as you know Putin doesn't create these divisions in our society, he doesn't create these doubts, he magnifies them," Trump's former national security adviser told CNN's Jake Tapper.

19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump attacks Ilhan Omar: "How did you do where you came from?"

President Trump said Tuesday at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) should not be "telling us how to run our country" because she was not born in the U.S.

Why it matters: Omar was born in and fled Somalia and gained asylum in the U.S. before becoming a citizen. Trump in 2019 said legislators, including Omar, should "go back" and fix their own countries before attempting to shape American government.

Michelle Obama: "Don't listen to people" who say voting is "rigged"

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour

Former first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday urged people to vote in spite of conspiracy theories and disinformation "about the validity of our election process," per CNN.

Between the lines: Officials are sounding the alarm about the heightened potential for disinformation in an unusual election year. That comes as President Trump has stoked fears of election fraud, telling "Axios on HBO" in August that "lots of things can happen" with voting by mail if the presidential race isn't decided on election night.

19 hours ago - World

Trump's former Russia adviser: Other countries "pity" divided U.S.

Fiona Hill speaks during the CITIZEN by CNN 2020 Conference on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for CNN

Former top White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill said Tuesday the "bungled handling of COVID," race relations, "political polarization" and the "spectacles that we're presenting" have eroded the United States' world standing.

What she’s saying: "We are increasingly seen as an object of pity, including by our allies, because they are so shocked by what's happening internally, how we're [eating] ourselves alive with our divisions," Hill told CNN's Jim Sciutto at the Citizen by CNN 2020 conference.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House Democrats and Trump admin strike deal to avert government shutdown

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 359-57.

Why it matters: The bill's passage comes shortly after House Democrats and the Trump administration struck an agreement on the short-term legislation, averting the threat of a government shutdown when funding expires in eight days.

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