The Hill's Morning Report - Obama paints Trump as incapable leader; Harris accepts VP nod




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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 170,052. Tuesday, 170,548. Wednesday, 171,823. Thursday, 173,181.

To stir and empower, the third night of the Democratic National Convention spoke to the diverse coalition of young Americans, women and middle-class families the party needs to turn out by Nov. 3 if Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege The No Surprises Act:  a bill long overdue MORE hopes to defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE.


With reminders of America’s rich history, entreaties to “vote like our lives depend on it, because they do,” and calls to battle, such as former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden ahead of pace Trump set for days away from White House: CNN The Senate is setting a dangerous precedent with Iron Dome funding Obama says change may be coming 'too rapidly' for many MORE’s admonition, “Do not let them take away your power,” the party hammered home what it sees as the stakes in the 2020 election: “Vote.” 


The Hill: Biden tonight will accept the nomination, deliver the convention’s closing address and challenge Trump, reports The Hill’s Amie Parnes.


The Associated Press: Democrats pound their message: To oust Trump, you must vote.


The star turns by Obama and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet MORE (D-Calif.) held historical significance for the party, which is proud of America’s first black president and eager to elect the nation’s first woman of color as vice president. The pair also had a multi-pronged purpose in their speeches: To convince those watching that Biden is the right person to take the keys and that Trump is the wrong president in a time of national crisis.


During his 19-minute address from Philadelphia, Obama sought to dismiss Trump out of hand, arguing he has little desire to govern effectively and “no interest” in growing into the presidency, rendering him incapable of handling the role for another four years.


“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously,” Obama said. “But he never did. He’s shown no interest in putting in the work. …  No interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves” (The Hill). 


“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama added.


The 44th president also devoted parts of his speech to talking up his former deputy, rattling off a list of key moments during his presidency when Biden played a role of particular importance, including combating the H1N1 and Ebola viruses, work to pass the Affordable Care Act and overseeing $800 billion in federal stimulus during the Great Recession. 


Jonathan Easley, The Hill: Democratic stars unleash fury of assaults on Trump.


The Hill: Obama casts Trump as threat to democracy.


Dan Balz: Democrats attack Trump as a threat to the country’s foundations, raising the stakes for November.


The Atlantic: Barack Obama is scared.





Harris, who spoke extensively about her mother’s influence, described Biden’s values and America’s struggles with racial injustice.


“There is no vaccine for racism. We’ve gotta do the work,” Harris said, imploring minority communities to come out in droves for Biden (The Hill). 


“Joe and I believe that we can build that Beloved Community, one that is strong and decent, just and kind. One in which we all can see ourselves,” she said. “The road ahead will not be not easy. We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly.”


The two high-profile Democrats also produced reactions from the White House as Trump tweeted three missives in the middle of their speeches, with two directed at his predecessor, and all three in all caps (The Hill).


The Hill: Harris pledges to fight for country's ideals in accepting VP nomination.


The Washington Post: Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff, an attorney, are navigating their first presidential campaign together and will celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary on Saturday.


Jennifer Rubin, opinion, The Washington Post: The Democrats remind us they’re a party of strong and ambitious women.


Wednesday’s presentations moved ever-so-slightly beyond Biden’s good-guy traits and Harris’s history-making bona fides to hint at a governing agenda, if the duo is elected. Aside from navigating through a pandemic and a rocky economy, speakers talked about how Biden and Harris would battle gun violence, defend reproductive rights, unwind Trump’s immigration policies, and lift working-class wages.


Their administration would once again confront climate change by putting the United States back in the Paris climate accord; create “green 21st Century jobs” and devote 40 percent of federal climate change investments in “vulnerable communities,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamDemocrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms Hochul makes New York the 31st state to have had a female governor New Mexico indoor mask mandate returns with new vaccine requirements MORE.


Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats face critical 72 hours The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal This week: Democrats aim to unlock Biden economic, infrastructure package MORE (D-Mass.), speaking from a Massachusetts preschool classroom, assured the audience, “I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has some really good plans.” She said the former vice president would “make the wealthy pay their fair share,” adding that Biden’s administration would address “racial inequities” and “corruption” in Washington. Warren touted the Democratic ticket’s plan to support child care, calling it “infrastructure for families” and a linchpin of economic expansion (The Hill).


Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE, dressed in suffragette-white, asked Democrats to vote “for the jobs that Joe Biden’s plan will for law enforcement…vote for justice.”


And she ruefully reminded Americans that voter turnout to sweep Trump out of the Oval Office has to be massive. 


“Remember, Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me. We need numbers so overwhelming, Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.” 


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats face critical 72 hours Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — 'Too late to evacuate' after wildfire debris Greene fined a third time for refusing to wear mask on House floor MORE (D-Calif.), also attired in white, assured Democrats that the House majority will be larger after November, that Democrats can recapture the Senate majority and that impediments to progressive change, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) and Trump, will be swept aside come January.


The Hill: Clinton rebukes Trump, implores Democrats to vote.


The Hill: Democrats offer emotional calls to end gun violence during convention’s third night.


The New York Times: Democrats have their doubts about Biden’s bipartisan bonhomie.


Tonight at the Democratic convention: In addition to Biden’s acceptance speech, the closing night program features Democrats Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (N.J.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Unanswered questions remain for Buttigieg, Biden on supply chain catastrophe MORE of Indiana, California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia faces flash flood watches amid 'Bomb Cyclone' and 'Atmospheric River' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Ivory poaching changes evolution of elephants California regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes MORE, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsHarris to campaign with McAuliffe in Virginia McAuliffe, Youngkin in dead heat: poll McAuliffe brings in big guns as Democratic worries grow over Virginia MORE, Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinProviding affordable housing to recruit our next generation of volunteer firefighters Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Building back better by investing in workers and communities MORE (Wis.), Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthProgressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Building back better by investing in workers and communities MORE (Ill.), Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBipartisan lawmakers target judges' stock trading with new bill Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal Manchin threatens 'zero' spending in blowup with Sanders: reports MORE (Del.), and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangBill Maher pushes back on criticism of Chappelle: 'What the f--- was that reaction?' Progressive economic theories run into some inconvenient truths Andrew Yang weighs in on Dave Chappelle: Artists should get 'wide berth' for self-expression MORE.  





More political headlines: Trump praises QAnon adherents’ praise for him, adding he knows little about those who traffic in dark falsehoods once relegated to the fringes of the internet. “I’ve heard these are people who love our country,” he told reporters (The Hill). … What is QAnon? (The New York Times). … Tuesday’s primary victory by self-described “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer in South Florida creates problems for the House GOP (The Hill). … Trump says he is considering swapping out Goodyear tires from the presidential limousine known as “The Beast” (The Hill). … Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMcCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral GOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power White House orders release of Trump records to Jan. 6 committee MORE to address GOP convention from the Rose Garden next week (The Associated Press).


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POSTAL SERVICE & MAIL-IN BALLOT DISPUTES: The furor surrounding the United States Postal Service showed no signs of dissipating on Wednesday as top Democrats heaped criticism on Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyDeJoy: Postal Service to add 45 facilities ahead of holiday season America is not delivering David Dayen details unique features of Postal Service banking MORE for not reversing changes already put into place a day after he announce a pause on planned cutbacks.


After speaking with DeJoy earlier Wednesday, Pelosi said that the under-fire postmaster general does not intend to replace USPS sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other infrastructure that were removed before he announced plans to postpone additional changes until after the general election. 


“The Postmaster General’s alleged pause is wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked,”  Pelosi said. “The Postmaster General frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime, which is critical for the timely delivery of mail, are not in the works.”


The Speaker added that the announcement “is not a solution and is misleading” (The Hill). 


Across the Capitol complex, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenators weigh future of methane fee in spending bill Biden hopes for deal on economic agenda before Europe trip The Senate is setting a dangerous precedent with Iron Dome funding MORE (D-N.Y.) called on the Postal Service’s board of governors to release details on the selection process and appointment of DeJoy. In a letter to board Chairman Robert Duncan, the Senate Democratic leader urged them to be "fully transparent" about DeJoy’s selection as he is not a career USPS employee and is, instead, a Trump donor.


"Since assuming his position, Mr. DeJoy has made a series of damaging operational changes that have led to reports of dramatic delays in the delivery of mail, including paychecks, prescription drugs, and mail-in ballots. These delays — taking place during a devastating global pandemic and a national election — have only heightened the need for answers on why Mr. DeJoy was selected," Schumer wrote (The Hill).


The Associated Press: Pelosi says postmaster has no plans to restore mail cuts.


The New York Times: Decision to halt Postal Service changes does little to quell election concerns.


The Hill interview: House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.)  bashes Postal Service cuts: It's a service, not a business.


The turmoil within the Postal Service has prompted some Democrats and local election officials to rethink their vote-by-mail strategies for November's presidential election, shifting emphasis to special drop boxes and early voting that bypass the post office (Reuters). 


With that in mind, House Democrats unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would require same-day processing for mail-in ballots and give the cash-strapped Postal Service a $25 billion infusion while erasing changes pursued by the agency’s new leader, an ally of Trump (Reuters).


The Hill: Trump campaign sues three Iowa counties over absentee mailings.


CBS News: State attorneys general sue Trump administration over Postal Service changes.


The Hill: White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsDemocrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled Report: Rally organizers say GOP lawmakers worked on Jan. 6 protests Three key behind-the-scenes figures in Jan. 6 probe MORE says the postmaster general did not discuss with Trump pausing Postal Service operational changes.


NBC Nightly News: Images show U.S. postal machines removed and dismantled from a location in Waterloo, Iowa.


> Postal Service delays drug delivery: Adding to the problems, Democrats and advocacy groups are growing increasingly worried that mail slowdowns will create delays for individuals receiving medications.


As The Hill’s Nathanial Weixel reports, the Department of Veterans Affairs, which fills about 80 percent of prescriptions by mail, has already reported problems, and has been forced to use alternative methods of shipping prescriptions in certain areas of the country. While the largest pharmacies said they haven't yet seen an impact, a delay could be catastrophic for patients.  


Yahoo News: How to vote early, safely by mail in all 50 states. 


CORONAVIRUS: A major assertion during the Democratic National Convention this week is that Trump made the coronavirus pandemic worse in the United States and that the administration lacks a national strategy to contain COVID-19 while other nations adopted strict measures and made progress against the virus.


Trump, during an evening press briefing, argued on Wednesday without specifics that locking down the economy and closing schools creates depression and difficulty “far more, I would say, than is caused by the virus itself.”


A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS finds that nearly 7 in 10 Americans say the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak makes them feel “embarrassed” and 62 percent believe the president could be doing more to fight the spread of COVID-19. Disapproval of Trump’s handling of the crisis hit a new high of 58 percent. The survey found significant public caution about resuming activities, plus anger and fear that the pandemic will worsen this fall (CNN).


The Associated Press: At recent campaign events, Trump and Vice President Pence sent mixed messages with their own behavior around supporters when it comes to taking appropriate COVID-19 precautions indoors, outdoors and in crowds.


> Data: New York City reported its lowest percent of positive COVID-19 test results on Wednesday (The Hill). The city reported a positivity rate of 0.24 percent.  … One-third of Bronx coronavirus test subjects show antibodies, correlated with the high transmission rate experienced in the borough since March (The Wall Street Journal). … Florida on Wednesday surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 (The Hill). For the fourth time this week, the state reported fewer than 5,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, a modest sign of improvement. The new infections bring the state’s running total since March to 584,047 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (The Orlando Sentinel). … The U.S. fatality rate for COVID-19 is dropping, a sign of improved treatment but also an unwelcome indication that younger people are driving new transmissions (The Hill). The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned that young people are becoming the primary catalyst for the spread of COVID-19 in many countries just as schools and universities are trying to open for the new academic year (The Washington Post).  


> Vaccines: Australia’s prime minister says vaccines should be mandatory when safely developed (AFP and Yahoo News).


> Masks: In France, where face coverings are mandatory on public transportation and in shops, the government said that it would soon also become compulsory for people working in offices to wear masks (The Guardian). On Wednesday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied that the United Kingdom would follow France’s decision to make face coverings mandatory in the workplace. He stressed the importance of COVID-19 testing as a strategy to curb transmission (BBC).


> Air travel, testing and quarantines: Great Britain is working with London’s Heathrow Airport on a plan to use COVID-19 testing to help shorten quarantine times, in an effort to help airlines and airports kickstart travel and the wider economy. British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair have urged the government to allow quarantine to be replaced with testing, saying that Britain should follow Germany, which introduced a mandatory, free single coronavirus test for arrivals from high-risk countries. Current rules in the U.K. require air travelers from the United States, Spain, France and many other countries to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive, deterring travel and squeezing airline revenues. The proposal is for testing and processing to take place at Heathrow. Passengers would have to pay approximately $198 for the test, described as a “gold-standard PCR test,” sensitive enough to detect COVID-19 before symptoms are in evidence (Reuters). 


> Schools: Thousands of U.S. students and teachers are quarantining just days into the school year, highlighting the challenges of resuming in-person instruction during a pandemic. While many schools will not begin the academic year until later this month or in September, those opening now offer a preview of the confusion facing districts this fall, particularly in the South and Midwest where the virus is still spreading. “You go in, people get infected, boom, you close them down. So it’s better to ease in, perhaps with virtual [learning], until you see what’s going on when you’re in a really hot zone,Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCDC director urges Americans to go outside, 'enjoy your trick-or-treating' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems eye legislative deal by the end of the week The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an event on Tuesday (The Hill).  


> Minks infected with COVID-19: The first U.S. cases of infected minks at two Utah fur farms raise new questions about animal-to-human-to-animal transmission of the coronavirus. Dutch researchers have seen outbreaks of the virus in minks in the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain and as a result, more than 1 million of the animals have been killed to try to halt the spread. The researchers say genetic analysis strongly suggests that minks infected with COVID-19 by humans transmitted the virus in turn to two farmworkers in Denmark. That conclusion sparked calls by experts for more study. Minks are related to ferrets, which have been shown to be highly vulnerable to COVID-19 in laboratory tests. A small number of coronavirus infections have been confirmed in dogs, cats and other animals in the United States and other countries (The Washington Post). 




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Picking Kamala Harris shows progress is never perfect, by Deborah Beck, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Democrats offer Trump the chance to be Truman, by J.T. Young, opinion contributor, The Hill.


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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 welcomes Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi of Iraq to the White House, followed by bilateral meetings with Al-Kadhimi, who became prime minister in May. Trump will travel to battleground Pennsylvania in the afternoon to talk about the economy at an event at Mariotti Building Products in Old Forge (near Biden’s Scranton home town) before returning to Washington.


Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 15. 


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International: The United States will demand Thursday that all United Nations sanctions be reimposed against Iran, Trump said. “It’s a snap back,” the president told reporters on Wednesday. Trump predicted if he is reelected, Tehran will approach the United States to negotiate a new nuclear deal but that Iran will “never” develop a nuclear weapon (The Associated Press). … The United States and China agreed to resume trade talks “in coming days” (Reuters). … The United States, as part of Trump’s recent executive order, notified Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday that the United States suspended or terminated three bilateral agreements that deal with the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international operation of ships. “These steps underscore our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose the National Security Law, which has crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” the State Department said in a statement (ABC News). … Alexei Navalny, a top rival to Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinNew hacking efforts show Russia undeterred by US actions Putin blasts cancel culture, calls gender fluidity 'crime against humanity' Russia breaks daily COVID-19 infections, death record MORE, is in critical condition and unconscious after being poisoned, according to his spokeswoman. Navalny started to feel ill before a flight to Moscow, with the plane having to make an emergency landing in Omsk.  “We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed in his tea; it was the only thing he drank all morning,” Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman, said, noting that he is on a ventilator (The Wall Street Journal). … The European Union on Tuesday announced economic sanctions against Belarus (Sky News).


Interior Department: The method for keeping the controversial acting head of the Bureau of Land Management in power even after the White House withdraws his nomination likely is not legal, according to experts who have reviewed the orders (The Hill).


➔ Tech: Trump voiced support on Tuesday for Oracle Corp. to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, adding a fresh wrinkle to the bidding for the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. Oracle is a new entrant in the negotiations for TikTok, whose owner ByteDance Ltd. is facing a fall deadline from the Trump administration to divest itself of its U.S. operations (The Wall Street Journal). … On Wednesday, Apple became the first U.S. company to hit a $2 trillion valuation when its shares climbed 1.2 percent in morning trading. It was another milestone for the maker of iPhones, Mac computers and Apple Watches (The New York Times).





Animals: The Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, best known as the zoo formerly owned and operated by Joe Exotic and featured prominently on “Tiger King,” was shuttered permanently after the Department of Agriculture suspended its license. Jeff Lowe, the park’s current owner, said on Tuesday that the government “folded to the pressures of PETA.” Inspectors found multiple violations at the park, including limited refrigeration storage for animal food (Vanity Fair).


And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by recent current events, we’re eager for some smart guesses about August in the news.


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.


Which administration official or congressional leader has NOT been an instrumental participant in coronavirus relief negotiations in recent weeks?

  1. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows
  2. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  3. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMajor Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report MORE 
  4. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)


During her Democratic National Convention address, Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama says change may be coming 'too rapidly' for many YouTube confirms it picked kids featured in Harris video Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse MORE wore a necklace that featured the word(s) _____?  

  1. Joe 2020
  2. Vote Joe
  3. Vote
  4. Go Joe


What NCAA conference has not canceled college football for the fall?

  1. ACC
  2. Mountain West
  3. Pac-12
  4. Mid-American


Which MLB team has only played 8 games this month due to COVID-19?

  1. Miami Marlins
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Baltimore Orioles
  4. Cincinnati Reds