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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Wednesday tweets to "hold up" unspecified funding to Michigan and Nevada after both states rolled out plans to expand voting-by-mail options amid the coronavirus pandemic. He appeared to be walk back the threat in a press availability later in the day.

The state of play: The White House did not provide any specifics to Axios on what kind of funding could be cut — and it's unclear whether the president has the power to alter or withhold any appropriated funds to states without congressional approval.

  • Trump has been a vocal opponent of expanded mail-in voting, claiming without evidence that it leads to fraud and "doesn't work out well for Republicans." In today's tweets, he argued that the two states' decisions could amount to "voter fraud" and "[cheating] in elections."
  • The president also tagged his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Treasury and budget officials in the tweets.
  • Worth noting: Last week's special House election in California was held primarily by mail — and was the first time a Republican flipped a Democratic seat in the state since 1998.

What's happening: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced this week that the state would send absentee voter applications to every voter by mail — not ballots, as Trump claimed. She also pointed out that several Republican-led states offered the same option.

  • Nevada is holding an all-mail primary election on June 9 by mailing all active voters absentee ballots. Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who spearheaded the plan, is the sole statewide elected Republican in the state.

The big picture: States around the country have opted to expand voting-by-mail or the use of absentee ballots so voters don't have to risk their health by voting in-person.

  • A new study found that Wisconsin counties which had higher numbers of in-person voting per voting location during its primary earlier this year had a higher rate of positive COVID-19 tests two to three weeks after the election compared to counties with relatively fewer in-person voters.

Go deeper: Coronavirus spikes vote-by-mail counts in Virginia municipal elections

Go deeper

Iowa closes bars, nightclubs in 6 counties due to coronavirus spikes among young people

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Thursday ordered all bars, nightclubs and breweries to close in six counties across the state after a spike in positive coronavirus cases, specifically among young adults, the Des Moines Register reports.

The state of play: The order will remain in effect until at least Sept. 5, and counties containing major universities were specifically targeted. Restaurants in the affected counties will also be ordered to stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m.

Trump admin to buy 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests from Abbott

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and President Trump on Aug. 27. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration plans to purchase 150 million rapid coronavirus tests from Abbott Laboratories, the White House announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Abbott said Wednesday it plans to make 50 million of the $5 coronavirus tests by the start of October. COVID-19 testing, which is essential to tracking the spread of the virus, declined across the U.S. this month.

Pelosi says stimulus talks will resume when White House agrees to $2.2 trillion

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters on Aug. 27. Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after a 25-minute phone call with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Thursday that the two sides remain at a "tragic impasse" over a coronavirus relief package.

The state of play: Democrats are willing to agree to a $2.2 trillion stimulus deal — $1.2 trillion less than the HEROES Act that the House passed in May, Pelosi said. She called on the Trump administration to meet them in the middle, and she said talks would not resume unless they do so.