Photo: Mandel Ngan / Getty

As a response to the opioid epidemic, Attorney General Jeff Sessions "strongly encouraged" U.S. attorneys to pursue the death penalty in applicable drug-related cases in a memo sent on Wednesday morning, saying "we cannot continue with business as usual."

Why it matters: President Trump has repeatedly suggested that drug dealers receive the death penalty, as a way to confront the U.S. opioid epidemic and "general drug crisis."

Thanks mostly to a 1994 law signed by then-President Bill Clinton during the crack cocaine epidemic, prosecutors can legally pursue the death penalty for:

  • Leaders of illegal drug enterprises that either make $20 million a year or involved a large quantity of illegal drugs.
  • Certain racketeering cases that involve murder.
  • When someone was murdered as part of a drug trafficking enterprise.
  • When a firearm was used and killed someone during drug trafficking.
  • Attempting, assisting with, or allowing the murder of a law enforcement official, juror or witness in a case involving a large drug trafficking conspiracies, even if such killing is not seen through.

Go deeper

Former Afghanistan commander Stanley McChrystal endorses Joe Biden

Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president on MSNBC Thursday.

Why it matters: McChrystal came under fire in 2010 during the Obama administration after a Rolling Stone article quoted him as mocking some top civilian officials — including Biden. The general apologized to Biden but was ultimately pushed to resign.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
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The holiday shopping season will now begin in October

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Amazon's decision to move its Prime Day to Oct. 13–14 this year will pull the whole holiday shopping season forward by more than a month and help make online retail bigger than ever, as more families shop electronically and jostle to get presents purchased ahead of December holidays.

Why it matters: The reality of the coronavirus pandemic pushing people toward e-commerce combined with the pull of Amazon Prime Day and the Christmas shopping season this year are setting up a bonanza for retailers — but only those with the ability to offer steep discounts, delivery and an attractive online platform.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:45 a.m. ET: 34,010,539 — Total deaths: 1,014,958 — Total recoveries: 23,662,200Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:45 a.m. ET: 7,234,257 — Total deaths: 206,963 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Alarming vaccine skepticism. Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.