Sunday's top stories

Aug 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Why Biden's VP pick matters to Team Trump

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mark Ralston/AFP and Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

After pausing their multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to review their strategy, the Trump campaign plans to launch new ads on Monday depicting Joe Biden as a puppet "controlled by the radical left," according to two senior campaign officials.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign's most recent internal polls show the "puppet of the left" attack on Biden is beginning to resonate with voters, per two sources briefed on the polling. And it sets the campaign up to attack Biden's vice presidential selection.

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How Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death could upend America's health care system.

Joe Biden's painstaking path to the VP choice

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden's process for selecting a running mate highlights a fundamental difference between his campaign and the president's re-election effort: Biden is deliberative, while President Trump goes with his gut.

Why it matters: The way Biden is searching for a vice president suggests a careful and methodical approach, the opposite of Trump's style. But it also reveals a strong fear of the consequences of making the wrong choice.

Trump demands death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber

President Trump talks to the press on July 31 in Washington, D.C. Photo Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump on Sunday called for the federal government to seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, after a federal appeals court tossed his sentence this week.

The big picture: The Trump administration has rebooted federal executions after a nearly two-decade lapse. The Justice Department scheduled two more executions on Friday.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Updated Aug 2, 2020 - Science

Two NASA astronauts return to Earth after historic SpaceX mission

The Crew Dragon capsule ahead of landing in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are safely back on Earth after a historic flight to and from the International Space Station provided by SpaceX.

Why it matters: The landing marks the end of SpaceX's first crewed trip to the space station for NASA and the beginning of the space agency's next phase in exploration, one marked by partnerships with private companies.

Aug 2, 2020 - Health

Birx: U.S. has entered new phase of coronavirus pandemic

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said Sunday on CNN that the U.S. has shifted into a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic, as infections have spread further into rural areas than in March and April.

Why it matters: Coronavirus infections in rural communities have surpassed the number of cases in big cities — and areas in the U.S. with fewer coronavirus testing sites were predominately rural as of May.

Aug 2, 2020 - Health

Top HHS official: "We need to move on" from hydroxychloroquine

Trump administration testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday there is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is an “effective” coronavirus treatment.

Why it matters: President Trump has continued to advertise the antimalarial drug as a treatment for the virus, despite health officials' objections.

Preview: “Axios on HBO” interviews President Trump

In the next episode of “Axios on HBO,” President Trump discusses his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming election and much more with national political correspondent Jonathan Swan.

Catch the full interview on Monday, Aug. 3, at 11pm ET/PT on all HBO platforms.

Rep. Clyburn: Trump won't leave White House if he loses the election

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Sunday he believes Trump is "trying to put a cloud over the election" because he doesn't plan to leave office if he loses.

The big picture: Clyburn told "CNN's State of the Union" that "the American people had better wake up" to Trump, who he said has taken on strongman tactics. Clyburn compared Trump to Mussolini and said Russian President Vladimir Putin is akin to Hitler.

What a Microsoft deal to buy TikTok would look like

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump, who said Friday night that he'll ban TikTok, may allow Microsoft to buy the app's U.S. operations if there's "complete separation" from the original Beijing-based company, Republican sources tell Axios.

What's new: Conversations with Republicans over the weekend suggest a possible blueprint for making the proposed Microsoft deal palatable to the White House.

White House, Democrats no closer to reaching coronavirus stimulus deal

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the standoff on the next coronavirus stimulus package to ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

Why it matters: Enhanced unemployment insurance expired for tens of millions of Americans on July 31, while those in talks to secure the next coronavirus stimulus package have made it clear that a deal is a long way off.

Aug 2, 2020 - Technology

Facebook hate-speech boycott had little effect on revenue

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The high-profile Facebook ad boycotts that began in June and ramped up in July, pressuring the social network to act more forcefully against hate speech, have so far not put much of a dent in Facebook's top or bottom lines.

Driving the news: Facebook beat Wall Street revenue expectations for the second quarter, and it said that the growth of its ad business during the first three weeks in July was roughly the same as it was last year during the same timespan.

Aug 2, 2020 - Health

Stigma surrounding coronavirus could stifle response in Africa

A field hospital in Machakos, Kenya, on July 28, . Photo: Simon Maina/AFP

Arbitrary and sometimes harsh quarantine rules and a lack of information about the coronavirus have contributed to a culture of stigma around the virus in parts of Africa, which is approaching 1 million cases, AP reports.

Why it matters: Coronavirus patients were being treated “just like the way, early on in the HIV epidemic, patients were being treated,” Salim Abdool Karim, chair of South Africa’s COVID-19 ministerial advisory committee, told the World Health Organization last month. That's hampering nations' abilities to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Aug 2, 2020 - Health

Young people drive rise in coronavirus cases in Europe

People attend a rave in boats in Berlin's Kreuzberg district on May 31. Photo: David Gannon/AFP

A sudden surge in new cases in parts of Europe is jeopardizing the continent's progress in containing the coronavirus, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Young people are going to bars and ignoring social-distancing rules, as authorities decry what they view as a lack of concern for older generations to whom the virus poses more risk, WSJ writes.

What a day at school looks like in a pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Millions of kids are about to head back to school, but students, teachers, administrators and parents still don't have a clear picture of how it's going to work.

The big picture: Even the best-laid plans for in-person classes will likely be full of holes because the coronavirus will make even the simplest, most intuitive routines extremely difficult — or impossible. And schools will be trying to figure out new structures basically on the fly, with everyone's health on the line.

Trump says Fauci is "wrong" about coronavirus cases surge

President Trump and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci during an April daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump called out Anthony Fauci Saturday in a comment retweeting a video of the NIAID director explaining why coronavirus cases have been surging in the U.S.

Driving the news: In the video of Friday's testimony, Fauci explained that while European countries shut 95% of their economies, the U.S. "functionally shut down only about 50%." Trump responded, "Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000.