The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Thursday. 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 each morning this week: Monday, 162,938. Tuesday, 163,465. Wednesday, 164,537. Thursday, 166,027.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act What Kamala Harris' VP nomination means to us Harris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' MORE (D-Calif.) made their first joint appearance as the Democratic ticket on Wednesday, attacking President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE’s leadership with arguments about why they should steer the country through multiple crises beginning in January. 


Introducing his newly minted running mate, Biden heaped praise on the California Democrat and celebrated the historic possibility of electing the first vice president of color. Biden championed Harris’s qualifications, arguing she is the right candidate to join him and is ready to tackle a role he himself held for eight years.


“She knows how to govern, how to make the hard calls, and she’s ready to do the job on day one," Biden said.


Biden and Harris used the event to tear into Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a bruised and battered economy, and the racial tensions that have been intensified in recent months. As The Hill’s Jonathan Easley notes, the two anchored their attacks to the third anniversary of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. It’s the event Biden has said prompted him to mount his third campaign for the presidency.


“The president’s mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we’re experiencing a moral reckoning with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conscience to the streets of our country,” Harris said. “America is crying out for leadership.” 


"[Trump] inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election In a season of bad ideas, one stands out MORE and Joe Biden. And then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground," Harris added.


The Associated Press: Biden, Harris lash Trump in introduction of historic VP pick.


The Hill: Biden hits back after Trump's attacks on Harris.


Throughout the event in Wilmington, Del., the outsize role of the coronavirus pandemic was laid bare. In normal times, the unveiling of a running mate has been marked by a massive rally, followed by the subsequent criss-crossing to events across key battleground states and the party’s conventions. 


None of that was (or will be) the case, as Biden and Harris appeared in the gymnasium of Alexis I. duPont High School wearing masks and practiced social distancing throughout the event, which took place without a crowd. The Democratic pair then took part in a virtual fundraiser.


The Harris announcement also proved to be a financial winner: the Biden campaign raised $26 million in its first day, according to the former vice president. 


The New York Times: Biden and Harris’s incident-free, audience-free debut.


John F. Harris, Politico founding editor: The epic blandness of the Joe Biden campaign.


With the Democratic ticket off and running, Republicans are grappling with how best to attack Harris, with the first 24 hours serving as a prime example as Trump allies were unable to come up with a cohesive message against the presumptive vice presidential nominee. As Brett Samuels documents, the Trump campaign derided her as “weak on crime,” yet also played up her self-described role as a “top cop” when she served as California's attorney general. 


On Tuesday, Trump labeled Harris as “nasty” for her questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSenate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Conservative groups unleash ad blitz in support of Barrett's nomination Two Judiciary Democrats say they will not meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE, even as the campaign worries such rhetoric could turn off the suburban voters Trump needs to secure a second term in office.


“Trump is really — unlike Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump furor stokes fears of unrest Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close MORE, who he successfully branded from day one as a crook — he has not been able to brand Biden in the same way,” said Alex Conant, a former top adviser to Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power McConnell pushes back on Trump: 'There will be an orderly transition' MORE (R-Fla.). “He risks having the same problem with Harris in part because she doesn’t fit into an obvious box.”


The Washington Post: “Extraordinarily nasty”: Trump hurls one of his favorite insults at a new target in Kamala Harris.


The Hill and The Wall Street Journal: Biden asked potential VP candidates what they thought Trump would nickname them. 


The Associated Press: Radical or moderate? Trump paints Democratic ticket as both.


NPR: One tough question for DOJ if Biden is elected: Whether to prosecute Trump.


The Hill: Harris climate agenda stresses need for justice.





Facebook launches new Voting Information Center


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CONGRESS: Negotiations on a massive coronavirus relief package remained at a stalemate on Wednesday, with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' MORE (D-N.Y.) charging that White House negotiators have no interest in meeting them halfway to reach an accord.


Early Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinCentrist Democrats got their COVID bill, now they want a vote The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline MORE told Fox Business that the two Democratic leaders are “unwilling to compromise,” pointing to their repeated need for nearly $1 trillion in funding for state and local governments.  


“Our view is let's spend a little over $1 trillion on areas of the economy that are going to be very impactful now that we can agree on," Mnuchin said. "If we need to do more, we'll come back and do more and work together.”


The remarks prompted a rebuke from Pelosi and Schumer hours later, with the pair saying in a statement that Mnuchin pushed for a new meeting on an aid package but showed no willingness to move off the administration’s negotiating position. They added that any deal needs to be in the ballpark of $2 trillion — a figure Republicans remain reluctant to approach. 


“An overture was made by Secretary Mnuchin to meet and he made clear that his televised comments from earlier today still stand: the White House is not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package,” Pelosi and Schumer said. “Democrats have compromised. … We have again made clear to the Administration that we are willing to resume negotiations once they start to take this process seriously” (The Hill).


Adding to the rhetoric, the president panned Pelosi and Schumer for wanting “ridiculous” items in the bill, including funds for mail-in voting in November.


“Nancy and Chuck haven’t provided anything,” Trump said. “They don’t want to give anything.”


The Washington Post: Mnuchin’s latest overture to Pelosi goes nowhere, and relief talks stall again.


The Associated Press: Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election White House chief of staff knocks FBI director over testimony on election fraud Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid MORE moves from deal breaker to deal-maker?





As The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes, lawmakers are barreling toward a rocky September. With no deal in sight, the perfect storm of legislative matters looms as coronavirus relief discussions could collide with a push to avoid a government shutdown only weeks before the general election.


Lawmakers are already discussing trying to merge coronavirus funding and a continuing resolution just weeks before Election Day, with Pelosi saying that they want a COVID-19 deal before the funding deadline, Sept. 30, but there's no end in sight for the stalemate between the two sides. 


The Hill: Pelosi says COVID-19 aid can't wait until September: “People will die.”


Greg Ip, The Wall Street Journal: Checks and balances erode as Trump flexes power of the purse.


The Associated Press: U.S. budget deficit climbs to record $2.81 trillion.


Politico: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Ginsburg lies in repose MORE (R-Wis.) says committee Republicans are blocking James ComeyJames Brien ComeySteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Judge will not dismiss McCabe's case against DOJ Democrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate MORE, John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanJournalism or partisanship? The media's mistakes of 2016 continue in 2020 Comey on Clinton tweet: 'I regret only being involved in the 2016 election' Ex-CIA Director Brennan questioned for 8 hours in Durham review of Russia probe MORE subpoenas.


CORONAVIRUS: Trump, eager to nudge schools to open this fall for classroom rather than online instruction, on Wednesday unveiled basic hygiene and other precautions suggested to U.S. schools in the form of formal guidance meant to increase precautions against the transmission of the coronavirus.


At a Wednesday event at the White House, Trump said, “Virtual is not as good as being there. Virtual is just not the same thing” (Reuters). He continued during an evening press briefing, asserting that children are short-changed with virtual learning: “When you sit alone in a basement looking at a computer, your brain starts to wither away.” 


The New York Times: 1,193 people have been quarantined in Georgia because students returned to schools with COVID-19 infections, setting off chains of precautionary events. Also in Tennessee, Mississippi and Indiana, for example, suburban and rural schools opened their doors weeks ago.


The Associated Press: School boards are at the heart of the coronavirus-reopening debate in schools.


The Associated Press: At one university in North Carolina, police recently broke up an off-campus student party with 400 people. It was one of 20 parties at which the university police intervened because young people did not heed rules and precautions against COVID-19 transmission.





> Treatments: Companies are rushing to test drugs that deliver antibodies to fight COVID-19 without having to train the immune system to make them. These drugs, given through an IV, are believed to last for a month or more. They could give quick, temporary immunity to people at high risk of infection, such as health workers and housemates of someone with the coronavirus. If they prove effective and if a vaccine doesn’t materialize or fails to work as hoped, the drugs might eventually be considered for wider use, perhaps for teachers or other groups (The Associated Press).


> Dental health during the pandemic: The World Health Organization, in newly released interim guidance on Wednesday, recommended that people delay routine, nonessential dental care until coronavirus transmission rates in patients’ communities are reduced or until national or local officials suggest otherwise. The guidance prompted a rebuttal from the American Dental Association (The Washington Post).


> Bars and restaurants: Eating out. Drinking out. Family gatherings. During the pandemic, these simple pleasures have proved to be dangerous. Data from states and cities shows that many community outbreaks of the coronavirus this summer have centered on restaurants and bars. The clusters seen in data from Louisiana, Maryland, Colorado and other states as well as major cities are worrisome to health officials because many restaurant and bar employees across the country are in their 20s and can carry the virus home and possibly seed household transmissions, which have soared in recent weeks through the Sun Belt and the West. There are no simple answers or solutions for patrons, owners, employees and communities (The New York Times).


> Dog dies from COVID-19: An 8-year-old dog that tested positive for the coronavirus in North Carolina, according to laboratory tests, died this month after suffering respiratory distress. A member of the household had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and subsequently tested negative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there is currently no evidence that pets play a significant role in transmission of the virus (ABC News). 


> Sports: The Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled on Sept. 5, decided to move ahead with some social distancing precautions at Churchill Downs because of the coronavirus and will limit spectators to fewer than 23,000 (USA Today). … Augusta National Golf Club announced on Wednesday that The Masters, set to take place Nov. 12-15, will be held without fans (The Associated Press). … The Washington Football Team will play the 2020 football season without fans at FedEx Field. “The well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedEx Field to start the season,” owner Dan Snyder said on Wednesday (Yahoo Sports). … The Dallas Cowboys plan to play all their home games this season in front of fans, owner Jerry Jones said on Wednesday (NBC Sports).

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


The pandemic has made clear that college students are customers, by Megan McArdle, columnist, The Washington Post. 


Hong Kong still has many ways to resist, by Joshua Wong, opinion contributor, The New York Times. 


How Facebook is preparing for the US 2020 election


— Launched new Voting Information Center
— More than tripled our safety and security teams to 35,000 people
— Implemented 5-step political ad verification
— Providing greater political ad transparency


Learn about these efforts and more.



The House meets at 2 p.m. on Friday in a pro forma session. Pelosi will appear on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” at 8:25 a.m. She will also hold her weekly press conference at 10:45 a.m.


The Senate will convene at 11 a.m.


The president has no public events scheduled.


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize MORE is today in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he meets with Prime Minister Janez Jansa. At midday, the secretary and Foreign Minister Anze Logar expect to sign a 5G joint declaration and hold a press conference. Pompeo will participate in an afternoon meeting about energy issues, followed by a working lunch with Slovenian President Borut Pahor. From Ljubljana, the secretary will continue his travels this week to Vienna, Austria, and Warsaw, Poland before returning to Washington.  


Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 8. Although unemployment has eased, the U.S. labor market is still struggling. 


TODAY at 1 p.m.: The Hill Virtually Live hosts “Breaking Through: U.S. Businesses Powered By Global Exports.” Rep. Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenDemocratic lawmaker calls for stronger focus on trade leverage to raise standards The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden, Harris's first day as running mates MORE (D-Wash.), co-chairman of the congressional U.S.-China Working Group; former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; and others will join a conversation moderated by The Hill's Steve Clemons. RSVP:


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


Trade: U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE late Wednesday announced the Trump administration will leave U.S. tariffs unchanged at 15 percent on Airbus aircraft, and maintain 25 percent tariffs on other European goods, despite moves by the European Union to resolve a 16-year-old dispute over aircraft subsidies. The administration ignored calls from European Union officials and rejected an appeal this week from U.S. lawmakers to drop tariffs on food, wine and spirits from the EU, but did not add tariffs to vodka, gin and beer, as it had threatened (Reuters). … U.S. Wine Trade Alliance President Ben Aneff did not mince words in a stern statement of objection released on Wednesday. “This decision highlights serious questions about how the USTR is currently damaging small, mom-and-pop restaurants and wine businesses throughout our nation, at the height of the worst pandemic in a century,” Aneff said. “The USTR also owes Boeing an explanation. The agency continues to deal out more punishment to small, unrelated U.S. businesses than to Airbus, the recipient of the illegal subsidies at the heart of this dispute.”


Courts: Federal prosecutors charged three men on Wednesday with threatening and intimidating women who have accused Grammy Award-winning artist R. Kelly of sexual misconduct. Among those charged are an adviser of Kelly who threatened to release sexually-explicit pictures of a woman who filed suit against the musician, and a friend who offered $500,000 to a victim to not cooperate with prosecutors (The Associated Press and The Hill).


➔ Administration: Six former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from both parties are calling for a “reset” at the EPA in an open letter published on Wednesday (The Hill). …One of Trump’s pet peeves is a federal regulation affecting water conservation through showerheads. The administration is moving ahead to eliminate some Department of Energy appliance standards, including for showerheads (The Associated Press). ... Following the November election, Trump is considering replacing Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May MORE, who has challenged the president’s inclinations more than once, according to sources in multiple news outlets on Wednesday (Reuters). … Pompeo, during a speech on Wednesday to the Czech Senate, said China poses a threat to the West that is in some ways “worse” than that posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. “What’s happening now isn’t Cold War 2.0,” he said. The secretary said in his remarks that China is a more significant danger to Czech democracy than Russia. The secretary appeared with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (pictured below) (Politico).





And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by the 2020 presidential tickets, we’re eager for some smart guesses about vice presidential running mates.


Email your responses to and/or, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.


In what year did a Democratic presidential nominee choose and campaign with a vice presidential running mate for just 18 days?


  1. 1968
  2. 1972
  3. 1980
  4. 1992


Which presidential nominee “surprised everyone” and “irritated many” during his party’s convention by announcing his VP pick was a Maryland governor?


  1. Michael Dukakis
  2. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election Trump dumbfounds GOP with latest unforced error MORE
  3. Robert Dole
  4. Richard Nixon


According to accounts published by former President Obama’s 2008 campaign strategists, which of these politicians interviewed to be the former Illinois senator’s presidential running mate in addition to then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.)?


  1. Evan Bayh, Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineTrump taps Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, setting up confirmation sprint Supreme Court fight pushes Senate toward brink Trump plans to pick Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg on court MORE
  2. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Warning signs flash for Trump on debates Divided country, divided church TV ads favored Biden 2-1 in past month MORE, Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance Bottom line Polls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday MORE
  3. Ted Kennedy, John LewisJohn LewisHillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel Trump to pay respects to Ginsburg at Supreme Court MORE
  4. Bill Richardson, Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE


Harris on Tuesday made history as Biden’s pick, but not as the first woman chosen to be a VP nominee of a major U.S. political party. Who was the first?


  1. Ann Richards
  2. Phyllis Schlafly
  3. Shirley Chisholm
  4. Geraldine Ferraro