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The Hill’s Morning Report – Jill Biden urges country to embrace her husband

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 170,052. Tuesday, 170,548. Wednesday, 171,823.

The young, diverse new leaders of the Democratic Party and the old guard, represented by two now-aged white men from the South who each occupied the Oval Office decades ago, joined forces on Tuesday night to endorse Joe Biden as the nation’s best chance to defeat President Trump.


Last to speak on Tuesday was Jill Biden, who reminded voters that her 77-year-old husband was once a young, single father who reckoned with the deaths of his wife and daughter in a car crash that injured his two young sons. Son Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.


An English teacher, “Dr. Biden,” as she is often introduced, spoke from her former classroom in Wilmington, Del., to describe how her husband’s personal tragedies help him understand the pain and troubles in the lives of everyday Americans.


The Hill: Democrats officially nominate Biden for president.


The Hill: Jill Biden gives personal portrait of husband Joe.


Like former first lady Michelle Obama on Monday, Jill Biden brought intimacy and directness to her messages about the Democrats’ new standard bearer. 


“How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding—and with small acts of kindness. With bravery. With unwavering faith,” she said. 


“The burdens we carry are heavy, and we need someone with strong shoulders. I know that if we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours: bring us together and make us whole,” she said in conclusion. The former VP, referring to himself as “Jill Biden’s husband,” joined his spouse at the speech’s conclusion, embracing her as “the rock of our family.”


“God love ya,” the former vice president said with a kiss on his wife’s forehead.





Early in the evening, former President Clinton, his voice a gravelly rasp in remarks he prerecorded from his home in Chappaqua, N.Y., described the 2020 election as a contrast between Trump’s “blame, bully, belittle” approach to governing and Biden’s “go-to-work” experience in bettering Americans’ lives. “Biden won’t just put his name on a check and try to fool you into thinking it came from him,” Clinton taunted, his blue eyes flashing. “It’s a clear choice. The future of our country is riding on it.”


Niall Stanage: The Memo: Democrats pitch Biden as the back-to-normal candidate.


The Washington Post: Convention’s big message: Biden is a good guy.


Clinton’s presence during the convention is awkward for Democrats during the #MeToo era and as the unsettled party moves away from the centrist politics he espoused. But his administration is remembered for the creation of 23 million jobs over two terms, a balanced federal budget and for turning “saving Social Security” into a popular battle cry. 


Clinton left office boasting of job approval more than 20 points higher than Trump’s ratings, even after impeachment and acquittal — a political reckoning the 42nd and 45th presidents have in common. 


“Donald Trump says we’re leading the world,” Clinton continued, taking direct aim at the Biden-focused themes of leadership, economic equity and competency that Democrats say is missing from the current White House during a pandemic. 


The Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes — his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there,” he continued during the 11th convention speech of his career (The Hill).


John F. Harris: An old president learns a new trick: Brevity.


Former President Carter, along with wife Rosalynn Carter, hailed Biden in recorded remarks accompanied by photographs dating to the 1970s. The 39th president, now 95, called Biden, a “loyal and dedicated friend [who] understands that honesty and dignity are essential traits” necessary in the Oval Office. He said the former vice president “must” be elected the 46th president.


The second of four-nights at any traditional political party convention, with its long roll call of state delegate counts and nationally unfamiliar array of participants, is not always exciting programming for voters and viewers. A virtual convention this year injected new challenges. The first night of the Democrats’ program drew about half the network television audience the party attracted four years ago when Hillary Clinton was the party’s nominee (5.7 million vs. 11.6 million) (Bloomberg). But virtual programming this week added a sizable audience online


In a moving segment meant to convey that Biden cherished enduring friendships with many Republican colleagues over the decades, Cindy McCain helped narrate a video in which her late husband, 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), lauded Biden. Shortly after, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, made a surprise appearance during Tuesday’s program to endorse the former vice president and talk up his foreign policy bonafides.


“With Joe Biden in the White House, you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries — never the other way around,” said Powell, who has endorsed every Democratic nominee dating back to 2008. 


The Hill: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) pledges bold and dramatic change if Democrats win a Senate majority, seen as a realistic ambition. “Donald Trump has quit on America. … Democrats must take back the Senate,” he said with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.


After a lighter Tuesday night on the speaking slate, Democrats tonight have a packed program with the party’s stars, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who faces a crucial task of convincing multiple factions of the party to support the Democratic ticket in November. 


As The Hill’s Marty Johnson writes, Harris, the first woman of color to appear on a presidential ticket, will attempt to ensure that young voters and voters of color come out in droves for the former vice president. However, perhaps a taller task will be convincing progressives to do so after Biden defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the party primaries and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was passed over to become the vice presidential nominee. Four years ago, some in the progressive bloc stayed home, playing a role in Trump’s win, and Democrats are keen to avoid a repeat.


Hillary Clinton will deliver her first primetime address since she lost the White House four years ago, The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports. Her live speech is expected to paint a picture of what a second term under Trump would mean for the country. 


“This is a chance I’m sure she’s been looking forward to for a very long time,” one longtime Clinton ally said.


Tonight’s Democratic speakers: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Hillary Clinton, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Harris and former President Obama. DNC program is HERE.





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CONGRESS: A day after Congress and state attorneys general, who were heading to court, ratcheted up pressure on the United States Postal Service, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced the agency will pause planned operational changes until after the November elections. 


“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in a statement (The Hill).


DeJoy’s move comes on the heels of bipartisan criticism this month about changes at the Postal Service alleged to be connected to Trump’s antipathy for mail-in voting. On Monday, House Democrats announced they will reconvene on Saturday to vote on legislation to block recently implemented Postal Service cost-cutting measures, and DeJoy agreed to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday on the same topic. 


House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that while DeJoy’s decision to freeze administrative changes was welcomed, lawmakers still plan to take up legislation. Pelosi reacted to the news during a virtual live interview with Politico shortly after it broke.


“Well, he should,” Pelosi said. “They felt the heat. And that’s what we were trying to do, is to make it too hot for them to handle” (The Hill).


The New York Times: DeJoy, appointed in May, earned millions from a company with financial ties to the Postal Service.


Reuters: Trump campaign sues New Jersey after its decision to mail ballots in November election.


The Wall Street Journal: Rep. Ross Spano (R-Fla.) becomes eighth House lawmaker defeated in primaries.





> Russian interference in 2016 election: The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released findings after years of digging into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including evidence of the Trump campaign’s acceptance of help from Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s involvement in a plan to meddle in the U.S. election. The Republican-led committee split along partisan lines about evidence of criminal conspiracy between Moscow and the Trump campaign (The New York Times and The Hill). 


The report’s conclusions confirmed evidence reported by former special counsel Robert Mueller as well as independently reported accounts by major news outlets. The bipartisan findings in the nearly 1,000-page report detailed numerous contacts between Trump’s advisers and Russians, including Konstantin Kilimnik, identified for the first time as a “Russian intelligence officer.” 


The New York Times: Senators split along partisan lines over whether to absolve or condemn the Trump campaign …  and seven other takeaways from the Senate Committee report on Russian interference.


Trump has been reluctant to accuse Russia of interference in U.S. elections and has called investigations involving his campaign’s activities a “witch hunt.” On Tuesday, he told reporters while traveling that he had not seen the Senate report. “What was in the report? That I don’t know. But I know one thing that was in the report, that Donald Trump had absolutely nothing to do with it or with Russia,” he said.


The Hill: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy in 2019 and now serving a more than seven-year criminal sentence under home confinement since May, shared information with a Russian intelligence officer, the Senate Intelligence Committee reported.


Findings on Putin: “The Committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian effort to hack computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and leak information damaging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president. Moscow’s intent was to harm the Clinton Campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration, help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the U.S. democratic process.


On Manafort: The campaign manager’s “proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump Campaign. Taken as a whole, Manafort’s high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat.” 


On the Trump Tower meeting: “The Committee found evidence suggesting …it was the intent of the Campaign participants in the … meeting, particularly Donald Trump Jr., to receive derogatory info. … from a source known, at least by Trump Jr., to have connections to the Russian government.” 


On the Trump transition: “Russia took advantage of members of the Transition Team’s relative inexperience in government … and Trump’s desire to deepen ties with Russia to pursue unofficial channels through which Russia could conduct diplomacy.”


CORONAVIRUS: In-person instruction in schools in some states ended this week just days into the academic year because students and teachers tested positive for COVID-19, forcing quarantines. 


School districts in Arizona and Mississippi are examples of the shift by some schools to online learning as well as school closures because of strained staffing levels as teachers quit because of the perceived health risks (Arizona Republic and Clarion Ledger). 


In Utah, 79 Salt Lake County teachers have resigned or retired early because of the risks of potential exposure to COVID-19 as the school district plans for in-person instruction in an area of the state hit hard by the virus. At least 16 teacher resignations occurred this month as the first day of class approaches (Salt Lake Tribune). 


The Washington Post: Many parents say their return to work depends on how schools reopen. Around the country, parents report frustration and uncertainty.


On the college scene, Michigan State University announced on Tuesday it will conduct all classes remotely. In a letter to students and the community, Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley asked all students who live in residence halls to instead stay home for the fall semester.


“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, but the safety of our campus community must be our paramount concern,” Stanley wrote. “Please know that we are making choices based on reliable public health data, updates from local and state officials and our understanding of the science and research available to us on the novel coronavirus.”


The Wall Street Journal: After reopening, the University of Notre Dame will move classes online for at least two weeks due to coronavirus cases.




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Bernie Sanders decided that the stakes were higher in this election than his agenda, by David Von Drehle, columnist, The Washington Post. 


Remote college is still more valuable than a gap year, by Teresa Ghilarducci, opinion contributor, Bloomberg Opinion. 


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The House holds a pro forma session at noon on Friday. Members will convene for legislative business on Saturday at 10 a.m.


The Senate next meets on Friday at 11:15 a.m. for a pro forma session. The full Senate is scheduled to meet on Sept. 8.


The president will receive his intelligence briefing at 1 p.m.


The Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its July 28-29 meeting. Chairman Jerome Powell said at the conclusion of that meeting that the Fed would continue to deploy emergency lending powers “until we are confident that we are solidly on the road to recovery” and would hold its rates near zero “until we are confident that the economy has weathered recent events.”  ➚  The S&P 500 hit a record high for U.S. stocks on Tuesday, ending the shortest bear market in history (The Washington Post).


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International: Protests and opposition continued to grow in Belarus against longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday, but he showed no indication of plans to step down as decried the formation of a council by his political opponents as an “attempt to seize power.” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who lost to Lukashenko in the Aug. 9 election that Western nations have refused to recognize, is expected to return to Minsk after fleeing the country following the election to serve as the guarantor of the new council as protests continue to build (Reuters). … The victims and families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are urging Congress not to move forward on removing Sudan from the list of state sponsor’s of terrorism in a deal they say would rob them from holding Khartoum accountable in a court of law (The Hill). 


Administration: If you are one of the 13.9 million individual taxpayers who filed 2019 taxes before July 15 and received refunds, about 12 million will get interest from the government through the same bank account on file while the remaining taxpayers will receive checks from the Internal Revenue Service (averaging about $18). Any interest payment above $10 is considered taxable income (The Hill). … Trump says he’ll pardon Susan B. Anthony posthumously. She was arrested for voting in 1872 in violation of laws permitting only men to vote (The Hill). The Trump administration’s move to lease more than 1 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling will run up against legal obstacles, according to experts who expect to assist environmental and other challenges to the administration’s policy (The Hill).


➔ State Watch: Mississippi is nearing the final stages of selecting a new state flag as a group recommended five final designs on Tuesday after legislators retired the old state flag, which included the Confederate battle emblem in June. Of the final designs, three include a magnolia blossom, while the other two feature a magnolia tree and a shield that has wavy lines representing water, respectively (The Associated Press).





And finally … For years, Tiger Woods has been the standard bearer on the golf course. But during his struggles over the years, golf fans have wondered about his successor. Well, how about his son? 


Recently, Charlie Woods, the golf savant’s 11-year-old son, took home the title at a nine-hole U.S. Kids Golf event at Hammock Creek Golf Club in Palm City, Fla., winning the 11-and-under group by shooting a bogeyless round of 3-under 33. 


Oh, and he had pops serving as his caddie. 


“He’s starting to get into it,” Woods, a father of two children, told GolfTV in July, referring to Charlie. “He’s starting to understand how to play. He’s asking me the right questions. I’ve kept it competitive with his par, so it’s been just an absolute blast to go out there and just, you know, be with him. It reminds me so much of me and my dad growing up” (The Washington Post).




–This report was updated at 7:51 a.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer Colin Powell Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Joe Biden John McCain Konstantin Kilimnik Louis DeJoy Michelle Lujan Grisham Michelle Obama Nancy Pelosi Paul Manafort Robert Mueller Ross Spano Steny Hoyer Tony Evers Vladimir Putin
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