Wednesday's politics & policy stories

Linda Tripp, whistleblower in Bill Clinton impeachment, dies

Linda Tripp going to court in 1998. Photo: Karin Cooper/Getty Images

Linda Tripp, a key figure in President Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment, died at the age of 70 on Wednesday, her son Ryan Tripp confirmed to the Washington Post.

The big picture: While a Pentagon employee, Tripp secretly recorded conversations she had with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, wherein Lewinsky discussed her sexual relationship with Clinton. Tripp later provided testimony in exchange for immunity from wiretapping charges.

Cuomo issues executive order to allow New Yorkers to vote absentee in primary

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Wednesday for all New Yorkers to vote by absentee ballot in the state primary election on June 23, calling it "totally nonsensical" that voters in other states have gone out to the polls.

The big picture: Wisconsin closed its polls Tuesday night after a last-minute state Supreme Court ruling against extending the absentee deadline, forcing voters to show up in-person despite the recommendation to socially distance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler liquidates stocks after uproar over coronavirus sell-off

Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Photo: Madnel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher are liquidating their stock portfolio and moving holdings into exchange traded funds (ETFs) after coming under fire for purchasing and selling roughly $1.4 million in stock just before the market crashed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Loeffler, who faces a competitive reelection fight in November, is one of several senators under fire for selling shares shortly after a private briefing on the coronavirus — sparking accusations of insider trading.

Read Joe Biden's 800-word statement on Bernie Sanders

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden released a lengthy statement on Wednesday commending the progressive movement built by Bernie Sanders, who has officially suspended his campaign for president.

Why it matters: The end of the Sanders campaign means that Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Biden, who is seeking to win over Sanders' loyal supporters in the fight to defeat President Trump, was glowing in his praise for his last remaining challenger's campaign, which he said "changed the dialogue in America."

What they're saying: Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign comes to a close

Bernie Sanders. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign Wednesday, making former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.

The big picture: Sanders received an outpouring of support from former candidates and Democratic lawmakers following his exit.

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

Addressing his supporters via livestream after suspending his campaign, Bernie Sanders congratulated Joe Biden on his presumptive victory in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary while making clear that his fight for progressive ideas will not end with his candidacy.

What he's saying: "While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that 'the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.' The fight for justice is what our campaign has been about. The fight for justice is what our movement remains about."

Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.

Trump's moves against federal watchdogs signal "deep state" war

The socially distanced briefing room yesterday. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In the last week, President Trump fired an inspector general tied to impeachment, castigated another he felt was critical of the virus response, and sidelined a third meant to guard against wasteful spending of the trillions in coronavirus aid, AP writes.

Why it matters: Trump's moves against the watchdogs are a signal and reveal how he plans to govern in the final nine months of this term. Conservative allies of the president are targeting IGs across government, telling him this is a position that the "deep state" uses to undercut him.

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrowApr 8, 2020 - Health

Wisconsin may be the start of the 2020 election wars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wisconsin voters braving lines in face masks — after a last-minute Supreme Court ruling against extending the absentee deadline — could foreshadow a nationwide legal struggle over how to conduct elections during the coronavirus outbreak, election experts say.

Why it matters: "It's a harbinger of what's to come in the next skirmishes in the voting wars" from now through November, Richard Hasen, a professor and national election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told Axios.

California expects delivery of over 200 million masks

Michael Straumietis delivers donated masks to the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California on April 7. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 150 million N95 masks and over 50 million surgical masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks," he said Tuesday on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show.

The big picture: States, hospitals and the federal government are trying to make existing medical supplies last while they desperately try to find more equipment.

Go deeperArrowApr 8, 2020 - Health

Wisconsin won't be declaring a winner tonight

A Wisconsin poll worker wearing PPE guides people through a line outside of a polling place. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9pm ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13 due to a back-and-forth on absentee voting amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers attempted to delay the state's election in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in polling places. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned his order Monday and said the election must be held on Tuesday as originally scheduled.

Trump hits WHO on coronavirus: "They should've known"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump claimed at a press briefing on Tuesday that the World Health Organization "probably" knew about the dangers of the novel coronavirus pandemic months before the agency sounded the alarm.

The big picture: The WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30 — 9 days after the CDC confirmed the first case in the U.S. and 10 days after South Korea announced its first case. Chinese officials told the WHO's China office about cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 31.

Go deeperArrowApr 8, 2020 - Health

Trump rails against mail-in voting, as more states expand options amid outbreak

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump cast doubt on the reliability of mail-in voting for the 2020 election at a White House briefing on Tuesday, calling it "very dangerous" and "corrupt," without offering evidence.

Why it matters: Several states have elected to expand mail-in voting for 2020 primaries as more than 300 million Americans in nearly all states are being asked to stay home to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Key coronavirus task force working from home after member tests positive

Pence and Supply Chain Task Force lead Navy Rear Adm. John Polowczyk. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The coronavirus Supply Chain Resilience Task Force, which operates under Vice President Mike Pence, has begun working from home after a "partner" of the unit tested positive for COVID-19, NBC News reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The task force manages the acquisition, distribution and shipments of vital coronavirus supplies and equipment. Members of the group were alerted of the new work-from-home policy Monday night via email. They had been meeting in the FEMA Conference Center war room.

Apr 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy