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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump took credit for popularizing Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S., in a wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal Thursday, saying: "I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous."

Driving the news: The president claimed that "nobody had ever heard" of the June 19 celebration before he planned a rally in Tulsa on that day. His campaign ultimately changed the date of the rally to June 20 after receiving pushback from African American leaders around the country.

Between the lines: 47 states, plus D.C., recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, but legislation to declare it a national holiday has repeatedly stalled in Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service.

  • The Trump administration put out statements on Juneteenth during each of his first three years, according to WSJ.
  • “Oh really? We put out a statement? The Trump White House put out a statement?” Trump said when presented with that information. “OK, oK. Good.”

The big picture: Trump told WSJ he believes that "there probably is some" systemic racism in United States," but that he thinks "it's very substantially less than it used to be."

  • Trump said he opposed renaming military assets named after Confederate generals who fought during the Civil War because he believes the names were a way to help unite the North and the South after the war.
  • Many military bases were named during a period that began in 1917 and stretched into the 1940s, more than 50 years after the end of the Civil War.
  • "And now you’re going to take them off? You're going to bring people apart," Trump said.
  • He explained that he does not regret sending a controversial tweet during the protests over the death of George Floyd in which he said, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" — a violent phrase with a racist history dating back to police brutality against African Americans in the 1960s.
  • Trump said the tweet was "a combination of both" a threat and a fact. Axios has reported that some of the president's most trusted aides were alarmed by his violent rhetoric and urged him to tone it down.

Go deeper: Trump calls coronavirus testing "overrated," says it "makes us look bad"

Go deeper

Sanders: "This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy"

Photo: BernieSanders.com

In an urgent appeal on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said President Trump presented "unique threats to our democracy" and detailed a plan to ensure the election results will be honored and that voters can cast their ballots safely.

Driving the news: When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump would not, and said: "We're going to have to see what happens."

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Mary Trump claims in lawsuit that the president and his siblings "swindled" her inheritance

Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump's niece filed a lawsuit on Thursday alleging that the president and other family members "swindled her" out of an inheritance worth tens of millions, per the suit filed with New York's Supreme Court.

The big picture: Mary Trump's lawsuit, filed two months after her memoir portrayed her uncle as a dangerous sociopath, references a massive 2018 New York Times investigation that found the Trump family reportedly engaged in dubious tax schemes, including outright fraud, in the 1990s.