The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus bill

 

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of Monday morning, 140,534.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE and Republicans on Capitol Hill are not on the same page as the Senate returns today with a commitment to write, pass and enact by August a pricey new piece of legislation to respond to the coronavirus and the recession. 

There are big differences, even within the administration, about Trump’s favored payroll tax cut, which Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Trump says he'd sign bill funding USPS but won't seek changes to help mail voting On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' MORE (D-Calif.) says is a no-go with her colleagues in the House. Without a payroll tax cut, Trump said during a contentious back-and-forth with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceOvernight Defense: Appeals court rules male-only draft is constitutional | Pentagon dismisses 'unserious' post-election debate Chris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Pentagon dismisses 'unserious' debate over potential military involvement in any post-election dispute MORE on “Fox News Sunday,” he might not sign another stimulus measure, which is expected to carry a price tag between $1 trillion favored by Republicans and $3 trillion already passed by the House (The Hill).

Analysts in both parties have complained that cutting payroll taxes during this recession is not well-targeted and benefits people who still have paychecks rather than helping the tens of millions of people who are unemployed (CNBC). 

GOP House and Senate leaders will meet at the White House this morning to discuss some of the knots in which they find themselves (CNBC). 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal MORE (R-Ky.) and Pelosi have said they believe they'll be able to reach a deal, but each has dismissed pillars of the opposing party’s approach (The Hill). 

The Washington Post: Swing-state incumbent senators chafing at what Trump, party leaders want in bill. 

Trump has been saying for months that he wants to cut payroll taxes, which GOP senators don’t favor and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE warns will never get past a blockade among Democrats in the House (The Washington Post). Inside the administration, Trump economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE scoffs at Mnuchin’s resistance and wants the president to stay the course on tax cutting (Yahoo Finance).

The White House and GOP senators are also not in sync on funding specific to fight the coronavirus. The Washington Post reports the president’s team doesn’t want to approve additional spending for COVID-19 testing and tracing by states and also opposes more resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some GOP senators vehemently disagree and argue that states and the CDC need more funding, not less.

Will there be new federal checks sent to qualifying Americans, akin to the $1,200 direct payouts enacted in March? We do support another round of economic impact payments,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on July 9 during an interview with CNBC. “As soon as the Senate gets back, we’re going to sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats and it will be our priority that between the 20th and the end of the month, we’re going to pass the next legislation.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyQAnon-supporting congressional candidate embraced 9/11 conspiracy theory Win by QAnon believer creates new headaches for House GOP GOP leaders go into attack mode against Harris MORE (R-Calif.) said on Sunday on Fox News he wants to include in a stimulus measure COVID-19 liability protection for businesses, an approach to cutting off China from the U.S. supply chain, an end to the federal $600 per month increase for unemployment payments (which expires by law this month and which Pelosi says must be extended or the House will work into August to get it). McCarthy also said federal support for child care options in the pending measure would help reopen the economy. 

Politico: Battle over COVID-19 aid consumes Congress’s final sprint to recess.

NBC News: Who got Paycheck Protection Program loans? Check out the interactive map that shows recipients by zip code and the amount of federal support they received.

> Criminal justice waiting game: House Democrats are increasingly indicating that they are prepared to wait another year to move on criminal justice legislation, allowing the party to message on the issue heading into the 2020 elections and hold out for bigger things next year. 

The Hill’s Mike Lillis writes that while Democratic leaders would have liked to pass an overhaul of racial justice legislation this summer following George Floyd’s death, the Senate GOP forced the party to make a decision: Accept a more narrow bill, or wait it out, and many have decided the latter option is the only choice. 

“Rather than coming up with a piece of the police reform act ... we should really push this over until after the election and move something that is much more powerful," said Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushLawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks States scramble as low census response rates threaten political power Illinois lawmaker says Trump wants to instigate a race war MORE (D-Ill.). “We don't want to make a mockery of this moment. We don't want to see something passed into law that is weak, watered down and whitewashed.” 

One legislative issue that will be at the forefront in the coming weeks is the annual defense bill, but its future is in the air as the president once again raised the possibility of vetoing the bill on Sunday. Speaking to Wallace, Trump said that he “might” veto the National Defense Authorization Act over the provision to rename military installations that are named after Confederate figures. 

“I might,” Trump said. After Wallace said that the military is for the change, Trump responded: “I don’t care what the military says. I do — I’m supposed to make the decision.”

The Hill: Democrats raise alarm about new U.S. human rights priorities. 

NBC News: The leadership of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee after November is shaping up into a tough battle among ambitious Democrats (if their party holds the majority), with at least three lawmakers eager to succeed New York’s Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Trump reportedly considering replacing Esper after election | FBI, Air Force investigating after helicopter shot at in Virginia | Watchdog says UK envoy made inappropriate comments on religion, race, sex Watchdog: Trump's UK envoy made inappropriate remarks on religion, race, sex Allegations roil progressive insurgent's House bid MORE, who on Friday was officially defeated in his primary race. Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanSherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel Castro launches bid for House Foreign Affairs gavel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus bill MORE of California has seniority, Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits Chamber of Commerce, banking industry groups call on Senate to pass corporate diversity bill Sherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel MORE of New York was first to announce he’d challenge his colleagues for the chairmanship and Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroLawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks This week: Congress set for bipartisan coronavirus talks as clock ticks Sherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel MORE of Texas is expected to jump in. Pelosi is expected to stay neutral as the jockeying continues.  

Finally, Capitol Hill lost one of its larger-than-life figures. Rep. John LewisJohn LewisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance More than 50 Confederate monuments have been removed since Floyd's death: report Trump rips Bill Maher as 'exhausted, gaunt and weak' MORE (D-Ga.) died Friday night at age 80 from pancreatic cancer and the political world spent the weekend in mourning, trading proposals to honor the achievements of the lifelong civil rights activist. 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and others called for the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where Lewis and many others were beaten on “Bloody Sunday” in 1965, to be renamed for the longtime Georgia congressman. Pettus was a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader. 

“I think you ought to take a nice picture of that bridge with Pettus’s name on it, put it in a museum somewhere dedicated to the Confederacy and then rename that bridge and repaint it, redecorate it the John R. Lewis Bridge," Clyburn told NBC's "Meet The Press” (The Hill).  

As of Sunday night, Lewis’s funeral arrangements were still being made. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, services are expected to take place in Washington, Atlanta and Troy, Ala., his birthplace. 

Paul Kane: John Lewis harnessed his history to become a moral compass for Republicans and Democrats. 

The Hill: Clyburn says if Trump wants to honor Lewis, he should sign a bill to restore the Voting Rights Act. 

CBS “This Morning”: Gayle KingGayle KingThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus bill Minneapolis police union says members have been 'scapegoated by political leaders' Fox News, CBS morning show hosts return to broadcast studios MORE interviews Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Gloria Steinem: Selection of Kamala Harris recognizes that 'black women ... are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party' MORE today about the life and legacy of Lewis, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. 

 

 

 

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LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: The news of the coronavirus in the United States is back to the future: Infections, hospitalizations feel like a rewind to the dire crisis period in March; Trump on Sunday again downplayed the pandemic, while governors bicker over basic questions, including mask-wearing, testing and the wisdom of state-by-state rather than national decision making to battle the contagion. 

The United States is seeing surges of COVID-19 in at least 38 states. On Friday, the number of confirmed new cases across the country was an eye-popping 77,000 in a single 24-hour period.

The president, during the “Fox News Sunday” interview with Wallace, described recent spikes in coronavirus cases as “burning embers” or “flames” and insisted record-setting cases of confirmed infections in Florida, Trump’s state of residence, would be “under control.” He also incorrectly repeated that a U.S. increase in COVID-19 testing is why surges in new infections were recorded this month, especially in the South and West.  

“We'll put out the flames. And we'll put out in some cases just burning embers. We also have burning embers. We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame-like, but it's going to be under control,” Trump said (The Hill).

The president, who has been advised by Republican allies to modify his public approach to pandemic response because it is costing him in recent polls, called Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci defends voting by mail if 'you don't want to take the chance' in person Museum unveils new Fauci bobbleheads after previous edition sells out Marlee Matlin: 'Unfathomable' that White House doesn't have sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “a little bit of an alarmist” (The Hill). Fauci, a respected virologist and clinician who calls a White House official’s effort to attack him in a recent op-ed “bizarre,” has warned that states and the federal government “need to get better control over things.”  

Senate Republicans are also raising alarms about the rapidly growing caseloads of infected people, reports The Hill’s Jordain Carney

The New York Times: Trump leans into false virus claims during combative Fox News interview.

Why is COVID-19 so efficient in spreading so rapidly? The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports that young people are increasingly behind the spread of the virus, calling into question the safety of schools and universities and the challenges for multi-generational families who live under the same roof. 

Stand alone bars and watering holes located in restaurants are increasingly seen by public health experts as significant sources of indoor spread of COVID-19. Texas, Arizona and Florida have already taken action to close them. But governors in many other hard-hit states, especially in the South, are resisting action. 

"I'm not at any point considering closing the economy back down," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said this week. That is not a recommendation being made by the public health community, although slowed reopenings are recommended in some regions. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said White House response coordinator Deborah Birx pointed to closing bars as a beneficial approach. In Georgia, though, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is suing the city of Atlanta to stop business restrictions and a mask order (The Hill).

 

 

The Hill: GOP Govs. Greg Abbott in Texas and Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisMarlee Matlin: 'Unfathomable' that White House doesn't have sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Florida sheriff bans deputies from wearing masks after refusing to enforce order DeSantis rules out 2024 White House run: 'Total garbage' MORE in Florida have split over their responses to a massive surge in coronavirus cases in their respective states. Both have been supportive of Trump, but they have headed in different directions, with different results. Florida is now the epicenter of the U.S. crisis. 

Rep. Donna ShalalaDonna Edna ShalalaExclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Fred Upton says it is 'tragic' to see Americans reject masks, social distancing; Russia claims it will approve COVID-19 vaccine by mid-August The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic; Oxford, AstraZeneca report positive dual immunity results from early vaccine trial MORE (D-Fla.), who served for eight years as secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, is sharply critical of DeSantis and Trump and says the infection rate has reached an uncontrolled point where the Sunshine State should issue new stay-at-home orders, however painful that is economically. "The real thing we need to do is we need to close down again," Shalala said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. "I said four months ago, if we don't do this right, we're going to have to close down again. That's our worst nightmare. And we're going to have to do that in Florida" (The Hill).

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) warned on Sunday that his state is on a precipice. “We are at the point where we could become Florida, you know,” DeWine said. “Where you look at our numbers today versus where Florida was a month ago, we have very similar numbers,” he continued. “While we did a great job early on in Ohio, we're now headed in the wrong direction, and frankly, I'm very, very concerned about that,” he added. “So, we're going to move ahead with more orders from us this week” (The Hill). DeWine has not issued a mask mandate in Ohio.

NBC News: State-by-state guide to mask requirements.

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins says masks should not be optional for people who want to protect themselves. He describes the political divide over face coverings as difficult to fathom (NBC News). 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) says masks should not be political (The Associated Press). Asked during an interview with ABC’s “This Week” about Trump’s public messaging about face coverings, he said, “I’m a Republican governor. Democrat governors have all we’ve put in mask mandates based upon the circumstances of our state,” Hutchinson said. “It’s not popular. It’s not something we want to do. It’s not the first lever we pull. But it is one that, when the data says it’s necessary, we do it.”

The debate about national leadership during the pandemic will not go away, especially as the coronavirus worsens and the November elections draw closer. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) says he blames Trump (The Hill), while The New York Times reports that White House officials strategized from the beginning how to toss to the states public health and economic risks as a way to avert blame.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: The president declined to publicly commit to accept the election results in November if he loses to former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Trump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn US seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuel MORE, marking the second straight election in which he’s done so.  

During his rollicking interview with Wallace, Trump said multiple times, “I have to see.” The comments come as national and state polls consistently show the president trailing Biden by significant margins, including in some swing states.

“I have to see. Look ... I have to see,” Trump said. “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time, either.” 

Hours before the interview aired, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that Biden leads Trump by a 15-point margin with registered voters, an advantage that has grown significantly in recent months. The former VP led the same poll by 10 points in May, and by a slim 2-point margin in March. 

On issues, Biden is 20 points ahead of Trump (54 percent to 34 percent) when it comes to the candidate voters “trust” to handle the coronavirus pandemic, 25 points (58 percent to 33 percent) on race relations, and Biden has a 9-point lead on crime and safety (details HERE). Trump is essentially tied with the former vice president when voters are asked about the economy. 

Commenting on the president’s decision against accepting the 2020 results, the Biden campaign said, “The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House” (The Associated Press).

The Hill: Trump says Fox News polls 'among the worst' after latest shows him trailing Biden.

The New York Times: As Trump ignores virus crisis, Republicans start to contradict him.

NBC News: States reject tens of thousands of mail ballots in this year's primaries, setting off alarm bells for November. 

 

 

> Rose Garden: With political rallies on the outs for most of 2020, Trump is turning to an iconic outdoor setting as his venue of choice to get his political message out less than four months before Election Day. 

On Thursday, the president held a garden event to tout his moves to roll back regulations that heavily featured attacks against Biden. As Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant write, Trump’s decision to turn the Rose Garden into a political rallying ground breaks with decades of practice by past presidents.

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Muted conventions may scramble 2020 race.

The New York Times: Why Trump’s attacks on Chief Justice John Roberts aren’t working with some conservatives.

The Washington Post: Biden to speak to the nation’s largest Muslim American PAC. 

> Morning Report exclusive: The National Republican Senatorial Committee posted $35.6 million in the second fundraising quarter and $14 million in June, outraising its counterpart at the Senate Democratic campaign arm and setting committee records for both periods of time in the process (The Hill). 

Despite the committee’s success, Democratic candidates massively outraised Senate GOP incumbents and candidates in the second quarter. As Max Greenwood reported last week, in the 15 most competitive contests, the Democratic candidate outraised the Republican in 13 of them. 

> Economy: As part of his Biden-centric attacks, the president is stepping up his rhetoric against the presumptive Democratic nominee on the economy as his advantage on the issue has eroded in recent months. 

As The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda reports, the economy has been one issue Trump has consistently received highest marks for, but the coronavirus pandemic has all but halted that trend as his approval ratings have also fallen in recent months. In recent weeks, Biden has also made his economic pitch to voters, attempting to weaken the president on the topic. 

The Hill: Jobless claims raise stakes in battle over COVID-19 aid.

CNBC: Jamie Dimon’s warning for the U.S. economy: Nobody knows what comes next.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 

OPINION

The world John Lewis helped create, by Adam Harris, staff writer, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3eQthYA  

Behind the HHS-CDC disagreement, by Scott Gottlieb, opinion contributor, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/2BcxpEe

 

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WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 9 a.m. Pelosi will make morning appearances on “CBS This Morning” (8 a.m.) and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (8:30 a.m.). 

The Senate reconvenes at 3 p.m. and proceeds to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Russell Vought to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The president participates in a political roundtable event at 6:15 p.m. with supporters at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo says he and Pentagon warned Russia against bounties on US troops in Afghanistan US blocking private charter flights to Cuba China's Confucius Institute designated as a foreign mission of Beijing MORE is traveling to the United Kingdom and Denmark beginning today. In the U.K., where the secretary is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London on Tuesday, he says a topic of discussion will be China. On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Raab told Sky News the U.K. government intends to be tough on China, especially over Hong Kong, but on its own terms. "I think the U.K. should have its own independent foreign policy rather than dance to the tune of the Americans, like what happened to Huawei," he said.

INVITATION: The Hill Virtually Live event Tuesday at 1 p.m., “Advancing America's Economy: The Role of Private Capital,” with Reps. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyLawmakers weigh in on role of private equity firms in economic recovery The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Coronavirus relief negotiations underway with lawmakers back in Washington The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided GOP to unveil COVID-19 bill MORE (D-Fla.) and Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and other experts, along with The Hill's editor-at-large Steve Clemons. Registration HERE.

INVITATION: The Hill Virtually Live event Thursday at 1 p.m. “Diabetes & the COVID Threat,” focuses on effective diabetes care during the COVID-19 crisis, with Reps. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteIt's past time to be rid of the legacy of Jesse Helms Diabetes Caucus co-chairs say telehealth expansion to continue beyond pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin previews GOP coronavirus relief package MORE (D-Colo.) and Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedHouse approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic Diabetes Caucus co-chairs say telehealth expansion to continue beyond pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin previews GOP coronavirus relief package MORE (R-N.Y.), the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Diabetes, plus a panel of health experts. Moderator: The Hill's Clemons. Registration 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 http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube

ELSEWHERE

➔ International: The Hill’s Rafael Bernal interviews Colombian President Ivan Duque (pictured below), who calls for multilateral COVID-19 solutions. Colombia has reported 190,700 cases of the coronavirus. … The European Union today entered an unscheduled fourth day of wrangling over a proposed $857 billion coronavirus recovery measure (BBC). … British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab indicated that the United Kingdom could be on the verge of suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong on Monday and will give Parliament an update later today on the matter. Earlier this month, Australia suspended its own extradition treaty with the former British territory after China imposed a security law that significantly harms the “one country, two systems” principle (Sky News). … In Afghanistan, hopes for peace remain as dim as ever as a U.S.-Taliban agreement to end violence passed a 135-day mark last week, the point by which the U.S. military needed to draw down to 8,600 troops. The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel describes precarious conditions in a part of the world home to what was once called “the forgotten war.” … The United Arab Emirates sent its Amal (“Hope”) spacecraft to Mars today from a launch site in Japan. The seven-month journey is the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission (The Associated Press).

 

 

Tech: Twitter revealed that high-profile hacks, which infiltrated the accounts of Biden, former President Obama, Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskHillicon Valley: GOP lawmaker says 'no place in Congress' for QAnon after supporter's primary win | Uber CEO says app could temporarily shutdown in California if ruling upheld | Federal agency warns hackers targeting small business loan program Top Republican criticizes Twitter's briefing on massive hack SpaceX is building the road to the moon and Mars in Texas MORE and others, targeted 130 people. The company, which said it is “embarrassed” and “disappointed,” expressed regret that passwords of 45 of those accounts were able to be reset by the scammers. “More than anything, we’re sorry. We know that we must work to regain your trust, and we will support all efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Twitter said in a weekend blog post (The Associated Press). … The New York Times reports on Twitter’s mystery hackers, who made off with more than $100,000 in Bitcoin from gullible users. … The Twitter experience revealed a lot we should worry about when it comes to an election system teeming with political disinformation risks (The New York Times).

➔ Sports: NFL training camps are set to open in the coming days, but players aired concerns Sunday on Twitter over the league’s lack of a health and safety plan. Star players, including Drew Brees and Richard Sherman, criticized the league for not listening to the medical professionals and experts about the return to play, with almost every player using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. “What you are seeing today is our guys standing up for each other and for the work their union leadership has done to keep everyone as safe as possible. The NFL needs to listen to our union and adopt the experts' recommendations,” tweeted JC Tretter, the president of the NFL Players Association (ESPN).

THE CLOSER

And finally … It’s a cold case that scientist-sleuths want to close. They’ve been arguing for decades about whether dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid strike or volcanic eruptions 66 million years ago. New research says the climate and habitat calamity on Earth was definitely asteroid-created and that a volcanic eruption in what is now India may have been a blessing, warming the planet faster during the decades-long winter created by the asteroid, thus allowing more mammals to survive. 

The new research was published in the most recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

An estimated 75 percent of the planet’s plant and animal species disappeared in a relative blink of an eye during the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous Period. Previous research had pointed to a giant asteroid impact, at Chicxulub in what’s now the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, that released enough ash, dust and gases to block out the sun and dramatically cool the planet for an extended period of time (Science News).