The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - In Rose Garden, Trump launches anti-Biden screed

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 135,205. Tuesday, 135,615. Wednesday, 136,466.

President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE on Tuesday used a steamy Rose Garden event to assail former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE as his political opposite on everything from China trade to illegal immigration and from taxes to energy.


Rambling on and off a teleprompter, Trump riffed for an hour in front of journalists sweltering in the 90-degree heat. He glanced at his notes, skewered policies Biden supports and scanned the famous expanse of green where summer insects buzzed around his face.


“We could go on for days,” Trump said during a lengthy pitch for reelection during an event billed as a White House news conference (he fielded three questions). “There's probably never been a time when candidates are so different,” he added (The Hill). 


The Washington Post: Trump uses Rose Garden event for campaign-like attack on Biden.


Early on Tuesday, Biden, who leads Trump in key polls and whose campaign has been outraising the incumbent, rolled out the second part of his economic plan: a $2 trillion proposal to combat climate change that includes a goal to set a 100 percent clean energy standard by 2035. 


According to The Hill’s Jonathan Easley, Biden’s approach seeks to correct racial economic disparities. Speaking from a gym in Wilmington, Del., the former VP argued that communities of color have been especially victimized by corporate polluters, saying they have taken on “environmental and health burdens but shared none of the profits.” 


The New York Times: Biden announces $2 trillion climate plan.


The president will visit Georgia today, venturing to a 2020 battleground state where he has a narrow edge over Biden, according to the RealClearPolitics average.


Biden is ahead in a number of states Trump carried four years ago and holds a 9-point lead nationally, according to the latest RCP average. But the president dismissed a question about whether he’s an “underdog,” arguing his campaign’s internal polls show him in fine shape to win. He predicted a “silent majority” of voters would give him a second term and reject Biden and his policies as too liberal.


We won a race where it was the same thing: 2016,” Trump said, recalling the naysayers who were surprised when narrow margins in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan helped him win the Electoral College while Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE captured the popular vote. “I think that the enthusiasm now is greater, and maybe far greater, than it was in 2016” the president added.


Adding to the president’s issues are decisions by states to institute a second wave of shutdowns in response to the spread of COVID-19. As Niall Stanage writes in his latest memo, shutdowns in California, Texas and Florida will have a significant economic impact, which could prove to be politically crushing for Trump as he banks on an economic rebound in the fall to propel him to reelection. The White House encouraged the president’s trade adviser to attack in an Op-Ed the expertise of the president’s leading infectious disease adviser, a sign the president is rattled by his slide with voters during the pandemic. 


The New York Times: U.S. and China drift toward a cold war. Trump said on Tuesday he has not spoken recently with President Xi Jinping and has “no plans” to do so.


South China Morning Post: Trump signs Hong Kong Autonomy Act and ends the city’s preferential trade status. China, in reaction, vows retaliatory sanctions (Reuters).


The Associated Press: Trump signs bill, order rebuking China, and slams Biden.


The Hill: Trump, U.S. officials praise United Kingdom ban on China’s Huawei after pressure campaign.


Fox News: Trump vows to sign a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order, which he called a “big merit-based immigration action.”


The Hill: Trump stirs controversy with race remarks defending “white people” during media interviews on Tuesday.






CORONAVIRUS & CONGRESS: Regions around the country continued on Tuesday to struggle with rising COVID-19 caseloads and concerns about surges in patient hospitalizations. In Florida, for example, the state hit a one-day record in deaths (The Hill). In Arizona, officials reported 4,273 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday and an all-time high in hospitalizations (The Associated Press).


To slow the spread of COVID-19, officials in Philadelphia are expected to announce that large public events will not be permitted through the end of February (The Philadelphia Inquirer). … Hawaii extended its quarantine order until Sept. 1 (USA Today).New York added to its list another four states from which visitors must self-isolate for two weeks. It removed Delaware, bringing the total to 22 states (The Hill).


Oklahoma and Nevada are reporting record numbers of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.


During a time in which reliable data are essential for researchers and clinicians, the White House on Tuesday began to move the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is part of the Health and Human Services Department, out of the loop as the recipient of COVID-19 case information. Instead, the administration wants governors to deploy the National Guard to enter hospitals to collect disease information (The Washington Post)


Perhaps the most upbeat development on Tuesday were some favorable preliminary results from at least one vaccine clinical trial (The Associated Press). Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Journalist Zaid Jilani describes removal of animal rights ad that criticizes Fauci Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there was “good news” to reveal this week. The experimental vaccine, developed by Fauci’s colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will start its most important step around July 27: a 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the coronavirus. Trump on Tuesday said, “We’re doing very well on the vaccines … many of which are looking really good.


> Young people: Smoking and vaping render teens and young adults more vulnerable to the coronavirus, according to a new University of California study (New York Post).


> Testing takes too long: A dramatic slowdown in testing turnaround times is undermining the U.S. response to the coronavirus. Quest Diagnostics, one of the major companies processing tests for COVID-19, said Monday that its average turnaround time for results is now at least seven days. That means by the time people receive test information, it is too late to quickly alert their contacts if results are positive (The Hill).


> Masks: The United States could control the spread of COVID-19 in one or two months if everyone would wear a mask, said CDC Director Robert Redfield (CNBC). He said he believes Trump and Vice President Pence should wear face coverings in public to set examples. Pence has donned masks regularly at recent events, while the president has done so once, last Saturday (The Hill).





> Congress & next stimulus measure: Lawmakers are laying down markers as they prepare for negotiations on another massive coronavirus relief package ahead of Congress’s return next week.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally House to act on debt ceiling next week MORE (R-Ky.) said on Monday that he is having ongoing discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election MORE on the next package and predicted that the Senate GOP conference will be brought into the mix next week (The Hill). 


According to CNN, the GOP proposal is expected to include $1.3 trillion in relief, with McConnell again reiterating that liability protection for businesses, schools and hospitals will be included in any proposal, calling it a “must” for any final bill. The proposed liability period would last from December 2019 until December 2024. 


“It must have, must, no bill will pass the Senate without, liability protection for everyone related to the coronavirus,” McConnell said. “Nobody should have to face an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic that we already have related to the coronavirus.”


The Hill: GOP coronavirus proposal takes shape.


In response, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) said that Senate Democrats will take part in negotiations only if House Democrats have a seat at the table (Politico). 


Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans caught in California's recall trap Raise the debt limit while starting to fix the budget   'Justice for J6' organizer calls on demonstrators to respect law enforcement MORE (D-Calif.) indicated on Tuesday that she is prepared to delay the House’s planned August recess if additional time is needed to reach a deal on the next phase of legislative action regarding COVID-19. 


“We absolutely have to. We also have to come to an agreement. The timetable is the timetable of the American people,” Pelosi told CNN. After they return to work on Monday, lawmakers will have three weeks to put a bill on the president’s desk before they are scheduled to leave for the month-long August recess (The Hill). 


Bloomberg News: McConnell says GOP will pitch its own stimulus plan next week.  


The Associated Press: Trump team eyes school funds boost in next virus aid bill.


The Hill: Joseph Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel.





> Protests: House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Tuesday that protesters should be more diligent when choosing which historical monuments to challenge. He defended the records of George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant, two historical leaders whose monuments have been targeted by racial justice protests. 


However, the No. 3 House Democrat railed against other historical figures, including John C. Calhoun, arguing that they do not deserve "a place of honor" among American heroes.


Clyburn made the comments in an interview with The Hill’s Rafael Bernal, the first installment of “Reflections,” a series of digital interviews being conducted by The Hill on systemic racism and implicit bias in the United States.


CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Former Attorney General (AG) Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE lost his bid for a second life in the Senate on Tuesday night, falling in the Alabama GOP primary runoff to Tommy Tuberville after the president’s repeated body blows crippled his chances of winning the nomination.


Sessions faced a steep uphill climb to win back the Senate seat he occupied for two decades after his recusal from Russia investigation, which he continued to stand behind on Tuesday night while addressing supporters.


“I followed the law,’’ Sessions said. “And I saved the president’s bacon in the process.’’


With 100 percent of the vote counted, Tuberville won 60.7 percent to just 39.3 percent for the former AG. The loss also marked the unceremonious end of a political career only four years after it hit its apex with Trump’s 2016 victory when Sessions became the first lawmaker to support his campaign, turning into one of his most influential backers. 


Shortly after the race was called, Trump danced on Sessions’s political grave in a celebratory tweet, noting that Tuberville “WON big.”


The result also left Tuberville, a political neophyte, to take on Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November. Jones is the most vulnerable Senate Democrat up for reelection this fall (The Hill).


The New York Times: Sessions pays the price for incurring Trump’s wrath, losing Alabama Senate race.


The Hill: Sessions defends recusal: “I leave elected office with my integrity intact.”


The Alabama contest was the most noteworthy result on Tuesday night, which also featured contests in Texas and Maine. In the Senate Democratic runoff in the Lone Star State, M.J. Hegar locked down the party’s nod to take on Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime MORE (R-Texas) in November, defeating longtime state Sen. Royce West by a 5-point margin as of early this morning (The Hill). 


Texas also featured a number of key GOP congressional runoffs, headlined by victories for Ronny Jackson and former Rep. Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Texas) in the state’s 13th and 17th Congressional Districts, respectively. However, the 23rd Congressional District remains uncalled in a mini-proxy battle as Tony Gonzales, endorsed by the president, is neck-and-neck with Raul Reyes, endorsed by Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant More than 10,000 migrants await processing under bridge in Texas Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State MORE (R-Texas). As of early this morning, the two were separated by only seven votes after more than 24,000 ballots were counted. 


In Maine, Democrat Sara Gideon officially nabbed the right to take on Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R) in less than four months (The Hill).


The Hill: Mark Kelly raises $12.8 million for Senate bid against Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Senate passes infrastructure bill, budget resolution; Cuomo resigns Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up GOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster MORE (R-Ariz.).





> Convention: Republicans should plan to pack more lightweight togs in preparation for the party’s national convention in Jacksonville, Fla., next month, as most of the event will take place outdoors.


The New York Times reported Tuesday that Republicans are planning to move three nights of the quadrennial confab from an indoor arena to outdoor stadiums, including the final night, when the president is slated to accept the Republican nomination.


The Associated Press: Rep. Steve WatkinsSteven (Steve) Charles WatkinsOn The Trail: GOP's tyranny of the minority House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Republicans hold on to competitive Kansas House seat MORE (R-Kan.) charged with 3 felonies, including illegal voting.

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Need some good news about COVID-19? Here are six reasons for optimism, Joseph G. Allen, opinion contributor, The Washington Post.


A grand bargain to reopen public schools, by William A. Galston, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. 



The House meets for a pro forma session on Thursday at noon and returns to legislative business on Monday.  


The Senate meets on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for a pro forma session.


The president receives a briefing at 11 a.m. about law enforcement and stopping crime. Trump will fly to Atlanta to deliver remarks at 3:10 p.m. about infrastructure investments and later returns to Washington.


The IRS deadline for receipt of federal tax returns is today at midnight. The deadline was extended from April 15 to accommodate upheaval from the coronavirus.


Economic indicator: A report on U.S. industrial production in June will be released at 9:15 a.m.


INVITATION: The Hill Virtually Live talks with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group America needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries MORE at 11 a.m. about “New Threats, New Defense: The Future of National Security.” Interviewer: Editor-in-Chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackAl Eisele, founding editor of The Hill, dies at 85 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Tensions rise as U.S. waits for Derek Chauvin verdict Key Democrat says traveler fees should fund infrastructure projects MORE. RSVP HERE. 


Citizens Against Government Waste, joined virtually by GOP lawmakers at 10 a.m., releases the annual “Congressional Pig Book,” which details wasteful earmarks from fiscal 2020. Last year’s edition is HERE. Information for 2020 is HERE.   


The Hill’s Coronavirus Report has updates and exclusive video interviews with policymakers emailed each day. Sign up HERE!


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube


➔ Courts: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgTo infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? Justice Ginsburg's parting gift? Court's ruling on Texas law doesn't threaten Roe — but Democrats' overreaction might MORE, 87, was hospitalized on Monday night at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore with fever and chills and was being treated on Tuesday for a possible infection. She also underwent a procedure "to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August," court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg added (The Hill). "The Justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment," Arberg said. Trump on Tuesday said he had not been aware of Ginsburg’s hospitalization until questioned by a reporter. “That’s too bad,” he said. “I wish her the best.” … Federal judges on Monday blocked controversial abortion restrictions in Georgia and Tennessee, a pair of key victories for abortion rights advocates after a flurry of "heartbeat bans" swept state legislatures last year. The bills — passed in Georgia in spring 2019 and in Tennessee last month — would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy (CNN).


Student visas: The Trump administration, pressured by university and state lawsuits, on Tuesday rescinded a policy that would have stripped visas from international students who study in the United States through online course work during the pandemic. The now-jettisoned policy, announced last week, was to be administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and would have forced many international students to leave the country (The Hill). 


International: The United Kingdom and France issued mask mandates on Tuesday as both countries seek to curb any potential rise of COVID-19 infections. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that all Britons must wear face coverings in shops and grocery stores starting July 24 (BBC). French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronStructure of Notre Dame Cathedral secured, ready for restoration French ambassador: Australia made a 'huge mistake' canceling submarine contract Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake MORE ordered his countrymen to do the same in enclosed spaces beginning in August (France 24). … Tokyo is expected to raise it’s coronavirus alert level to its highest point today after a recent spike in confirmed cases, with those figures exceeding 200 in four of six days. The highest alert level means that “coronavirus infections are likely spreading” (Reuters).


Capital punishment: The federal government executed inmate Daniel Lewis Lee on Tuesday morning in Indiana, resuming executions after a hiatus of 17 years following a 5-4 Supreme Court decision allowing the procedure (The Hill)


➔ Civil rights: Meatpacking plant workers, many of whom are Black and Latino, are accusing employers of civil rights violations while seeking workplace protections. The approach faces an uphill legal battle and follows unsuccessful lawsuits against meat and poultry companies during the pandemic (The Hill).





And finally … he just felt lucky. 


A man in suburban Detroit was given the wrong lottery ticket. But there was no mistake about the result: a $2 million winner. 


The Michigan Lottery on Tuesday said a 57-year-old man stopped at a gas station in Eastpointe, Mich., to put air in a tire. He needed change for the air machine and also asked for a $10 Lucky 7′s scratch-off ticket.


“The clerk handed me the $20 ticket by mistake. He offered to exchange it for me but something told me to keep it. I am sure glad I did!” the man said in a statement released by the Lottery. 


The name of the winner wasn’t released. He opted to take a lump sum of about $1.3 million instead of $2 million spread over years, the Lottery said (The Associated Press).