Sunday's politics & policy stories

Jul 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.

Trump campaign "strongly" encourages face masks at outdoor rally

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Trump campaign will be providing face masks and hand sanitizer for all attendees at an upcoming rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

  • The campaign said in an email on Sunday that attendees are "strongly encouraged" to wear the masks.

Why it matters: The campaign's first coronavirus-era rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was notable for its lack of masks.

John Bolton muses on how Trump spends his Oval Office time

Former national security adviser John Bolton said comparing the amount of time President Trump spends in the Oval Office with how often he listens to cable news networks would be a "very interesting statistic."

Why it matters: Trump is known for valuing what is circulating on cable television networks, particularly Fox News. He has long been focused on how the media portrays him and his decisions.

Former Trump official Tom Bossert: face masks “are not enough”

Former Homeland Security adviser Thomas Bossert. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former President Trump Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert sounded the alarm on the rapid spike in the spread of the coronavirus in a series of tweets Sunday, saying that "Masks are important, but not enough."

Why it matters: It's a different tone than much of the Trump administration, as cases are spiking in a number of states around the country. Trump baselessly claimed during his Independence Day remarks that 99% of coronavirus cases "are totally harmless."

Sen. Duckworth: "We should listen to the argument" on removing Washington statues

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that "we should listen to the argument" for removing George Washington statues.

Why it matters: Statues of Confederate soldiers and historical figures who were slave owners have been a flashpoint in the protests against racism and police brutality. President Trump has taken to defending the monuments — a stance highlighted by his Mount Rushmore speech on Friday.

Susan Rice: Trump "picks Putin over our troops”

Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former national security adviser Susan Rice says President Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin following news that Russia allegedly offered bounties for those who targeted American soldiers in Afghanistan.

Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday: "In everything [Trump's] done since, from dismissing the intelligence and standing up for Putin at Helsinki, to inviting him back into the G7 against the objections of our long-standing allies, to unilaterally withdrawing a third of our troops from Germany, all these steps benefit Putin."

Michael Cohen spotted at restaurant while serving home sentence

Michael Cohen. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

The New York Post spotted Michael Cohen, who was released from federal prison in May to serve his sentence at home because of the pandemic, dining out Thursday night on the Upper East Side.

The intrigue: The president's former fixer lingered at a sidewalk table at Le Bilboquet, a French restaurant around the corner from his Park Avenue apartment.

Reality check on Kanye 2020

Rapper Kanye West is loving the frenzy he touched off during fireworks, and he's retweeting every story about him running for president, from the Philippine Star to Reuters.

  • Reality check: Kanye announced last year that he'd run in 2024. The hurdles to getting on enough ballots for Nov. 3 (121 days) are beyond formidable, and the date is late. (Shhh! Don't tell Twitter!)

As ABC's Terry Moran put it on the "This Week" roundtable: "These are serious times. ... We have two old men running for office. America is a tomorrow country. I think the person who better defines what tomorrow looks like is going to win. My hunch is that's not gonna be Kanye. ... His videos will be great, I'm sure."

Why Biden could go big

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

"Biden finds himself in landslide territory. ... Trump’s flailing has made a Democratic Senate majority possible," The Economist writes:

At least 2 dead and 8 injured in South Carolina nightclub shooting

At least two people were killed and eight others injured in a shooting at a nightclub in Greenville, South Carolina, according to multiple reports.

  • What's new: There are no suspects in custody in relation to the shooting and investigators are still on the scene. The eight surviving victims are in "various conditions," the Greenville County Sheriff's Office told CNN.

What he's saying: "Everything is turned over. There are a few chairs in there, food on the floor, some bottles busted. You can tell somebody left in a hurry. There are some pretty large amounts of blood," Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis said per WYFF.

Protesters toss Columbus statue into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Piazza near Little Italy on April 9, 2015, in Baltimore. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Protesters in Baltimore on Saturday toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus and tossed it into the city's Inner Harbor, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Why it matters: It's the latest monument toppled by demonstrators during the protests against racism and police brutality. Statues of Confederate soldiers and slave owners have been a flashpoint in the protests.

Protester dies after car drives through closed highway in Seattle

Protesters gather on Interstate 5 on June 23 in Seattle, Washington. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

One person is dead and another is in serious condition after a car drove onto a closed freeway in Seattle early Saturday and into people protesting police brutality, AP reports.

  • "Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died Saturday evening at Harborview Medical Center, spokesperson Susan Gregg said."

Where it stands: The suspect, Dawit Kelete of Seattle, fled the scene after hitting the protesters and was later put in custody after another protester chased him for about a mile. He was charged with two counts of vehicular assault. Officials told AP they did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but the driver was not impaired.

Trump's failing culture wars

Data: Google; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

President Trump built his political brand by stoking the nation's culture wars, but search data is showing us how much harder it's been for him to replicate that success while running against another white man in his 70s — and while there's a coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Google Trends data shows Trump's "Sleepy Joe" name-calling isn't generating nearly the buzz "Crooked Hillary" (or "Little Marco") did in 2016. Base voters who relished doubting President Obama's birth certificate aren't questioning Biden's.