The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - 'Dark side' to 'Sleepy Joe,' Biden-Trump trade barbs in swing states


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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Friday before Labor Day … yeh! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger has the reins while Al Weaver is off this week. You can find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and please recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe! 

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 183,068. Tuesday, 183,598. Wednesday, 184,689. Thursday, 185,747. Friday, 186,798.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE on Thursday said President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE has "legitimized a dark side of human nature.”  

Making his first trip to swing-state Wisconsin since the pandemic began, Biden appeared at a community gathering at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha (pictured above) to talk about the recent civil unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. The former vice president, who later met with members of the Blake family, said Trump has emboldened racists and inflamed racial tensions at a time when the nation is deeply divided (The Hill). 

Biden’s visit, just two days after the president visited a Kenosha storefront burned during recent demonstrations, was intended to urge community calm rather than advocate for tougher law enforcement. The backdrops Biden and Trump selected — a Black church and a blackened city block — spoke volumes about their respective approaches to the presidential contest.

“Give people light,” Biden said during his convention acceptance speech. “Those are words for our time.” 

Trump told voters during a largely unscripted and rollicking rally at a Pennsylvania airport on Thursday night that Biden would “kill” jobs as president, will “say anything,” is “owned” by China and is in sync with the “deranged” Democratic left. 

“Joe Biden’s agenda is made in China. My agenda is made in America,” Trump said, repeating a line from his Republican National Convention speech last week. 

Supporters in Latrobe, Pa., cheered the president for nearly 90 minutes while crowded on the tarmac shoulder-to-shoulder as Air Force One gleamed behind the president at dusk. “You have to open up this commonwealth,” the president told attendees while defending his handling of the pandemic. But at one point, Trump conceded COVID-19’s dangers. “It’s so contagious,” he said. 

The president accused Pennsylvania Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfEx-GOP Rep. Lou Barletta launches bid for Pennsylvania governor For real attacks on democracy, look to Pennsylvania Pennsylvania lifting COVID-19 restrictions, but not mask mandate, on Memorial Day MORE (D) of overly zealous economic restrictions, asserting that Wolf wants to keep the state “closed” until Nov. 4. “They’re doing this for political reasons,” he said of Democratic governors.   

The Hill: In Pennsylvania, Trump skewers Biden and suggests again that supporters should vote twice to test election integrity. The White House denies the president is encouraging illegal voting. 

The Hill: Biden in Kenosha seeks somber contrast to Trump.

Reuters: Biden speaks by phone with Blake, who is hospitalized.

The Associated Press: Biden, in Kenosha, hails fight for racial progress.

The Associated Press: A federal task force on Thursday killed a man in Lacey, Wash., as agents with the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service attempted to arrest him on suspicion of fatally shooting Aaron Danielson, 39, in the chest last week during a clash among demonstrators in Portland, Ore. A law enforcement officer working on the task force shot Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, described by the Justice Department as the lead suspect.  

The Associated Press: Rochester, N.Y., Mayor Lovely Warren suspended seven police officers on Thursday for their involvement in the suffocation death last spring of Daniel Prude, a Black man pinned to the ground by police with a hood over his head. The event was recorded on body camera video. The mayor accused the chief of police of misleading her for months about Prude’s death.

The Associated Press: More than 250 people have been arrested since the Blake shooting in Kenosha on Aug. 23, with half residing outside the county. 

Augusta Chronicle: Polls find Trump building lead over Biden in Georgia.  

The Hill: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Biden with an 8-point lead in Pennsylvania.

The Hill: Biden narrowly ahead in Florida in new Quinnipiac poll. 





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CONGRESS: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate House extends proxy voting to July On The Money: IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 | One-fourth of Americans took financial hits in 2020: Fed MORE (D-Calif.) informally agreed on Thursday to pursue a short-term measure to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month (The Hill).

That means the stopgap measure needed to keep the government operating beyond Sept. 30, most likely for several months, would be free of controversial policy riders that have bogged down previous funding bills. The tentative agreement significantly lowers the odds of a shutdown leading up to the crucial Nov. 3 elections.

The Mnuchin-Pelosi agreement also means the government funding bill and a new coronavirus relief package, still hotly contested after weeks of wrangling, would remain on separate legislative tracks.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Pro-tax millionaires protesting in front of Bezos's homes Student debt cancellation advocates encouraged by Biden, others remain skeptical MORE (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues on Thursday urging them to push for a more comprehensive coronavirus relief plan than has been proposed by the administration or by Senate Republicans.  

Schumer said the GOP proposals are “inadequate” without more relief funding for housing assistance, food stamps and enhanced unemployment aid. Those provisions, along with money for city and state governments, the 2020 census and “safe elections,” were included in a measure House Democrats adopted in May.  

“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,' but it would be more appropriate to call it 'emaciated,’ ” Schumer wrote. 

Most Senate Republicans later this month are expected to throw their weight behind a bill that would fund another $500 billion for various COVID-19 relief initiatives. House Democrats in May passed a $3.4 trillion bill rejected by the White House and Republicans. Last month, administration officials floated a compromise of $1.3 trillion, which was dismissed by Democratic leaders as insufficient. Lawmakers return to Washington next week to resume the back-and-forth (The Washington Post). 

> Election security briefings: A growing number of House Democrats want leadership to try to compel the Trump administration’s intelligence community to resume election security briefings for Congress by using reauthorization and appropriations as leverage. The pry bar under discussion is legislation necessary to fund the government and reauthorize intelligence programs. However, leaning on the power of the purse as an inducement could complicate negotiations to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1. Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeStrange bedfellows: UFOs are uniting Trump's fiercest critics, loyalists Trump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge MORE, a former conservative lawmaker from Texas and Trump ally, recently told Congress the administration would not provide in-person briefings for lawmakers about the security of the Nov. 3 elections because it fears leaks to the news media (The Hill).   

> Sudan: Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were at odds over whether to include language in a proposed coronavirus relief bill or a year-end spending measure that would remove from Sudan the designation as a state sponsor of terrorism as a swap if Sudan pays to settle with victims of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The Mnuchin-Pelosi agreement to keep a continuing resolution devoid of unrelated provisions this month puts the emphasis on any COVID-19 stimulus measure as the legislative vehicle for other, unrelated priorities (The Hill).  

> To-do about a ‘do: Seeking to keep pressure on Pelosi, the White House opened its Thursday press briefing with video of the Speaker entering a San Francisco hair salon for recent services that apparently violated California’s current ban on indoor salon appointments during the pandemic (The Hill). The press secretary accused Pelosi of getting “special access” to the E SALON SF she visited while at the same time “holding up” coronavirus relief for Americans by not striking a deal with Republicans and the White House. Trump joined in during his rally in Pennsylvania: “The salon turned her in!” he said. “How much does the salon hate Nancy Pelosi?... She is a highly overrated person.” 


MORE 2020 POLITICS: Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergUS billionaire wealth skyrocketed 55 percent during pandemic, accelerating inequality Bipartisan attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap planned Instagram for kids Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' MORE on Thursday announced sweeping new rules on campaign advertising, disinformation and voter suppression in response to complaints from civil rights leaders and other critics about information on its platform. It drew immediate pushback from Trump and some Democrats.

Facebook said it will prohibit new political ads in the seven days before the election, although ads placed earlier can continue running. It will also expand its efforts to remove content that might serve to suppress voting. Campaign claims of victory before results are considered final will be labeled, with users directed to authoritative information. Zuckerberg described the changes as a response to civil unrest and the potential for a chaotic Election Day in which final results could be delayed by a surge in mail-in voting amid the pandemic (The Washington Post and The Hill)

> Kanye WestKanye Omari WestElon Musk asks Twitter for skit ideas ahead of 'Saturday Night Live' appearance After fleeing Trump, will celebs return to DC under Biden? Amazon's shutdown of Parler is a threat to all small businesses MORE: A judge in Richmond, Va., ruled Thursday that West will not appear on the Virginia ballot because of what he called “fraudulent tactics” in the rapper’s campaign to be included as a candidate for president. West, who announced his bid for the White House on July 4, has succeeded in getting on ballots in Minnesota, Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Vermont. Republican operatives have been linked to his attempts to get on the ballot in at least five states (The Hill).

> Primaries: All but three states have already concluded their primary elections this year. The Hill’s Reid Wilson explains five things we’ve learned thus far from the major contests during a bare-knuckled election year. 

> Get out the vote: Political campaigns up and down the ballot are scrambling to turn out college-age voters in an endeavor made exceedingly challenging because of COVID-19. Campaigns are trying to reach students uprooted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in virtual learning at many colleges and universities nationwide (The Hill). … “VOMO: Vote Or Miss Out,” an ABC program airing on Sept. 14 to “encourage electoral participation in the 2020 election,” will include appearances by celebrities and entertainers as well as former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama describes Barack's favorite movies: 'Everybody is sad, then they die' Michelle Obama on coping with low-grade depression: 'Nobody rides life on a high' Sarah Silverman urges Congress to pass voting bill: 'What kind of politician wants to keep people from voting?' MORE; Ann Romney, wife of Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart Top border officials defend Biden policies MORE (R-Utah); Cindy McCain, widow of Arizona Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWill the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE; Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland; and actor and former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. Comedian and actor Kevin Hart hosts (The Salt Lake Tribune).

The Hill: The White House sought to clarify Trump’s remarks on Wednesday advising North Carolinians to try to vote twice, both by mail and in-person, to test the integrity of the state’s election system. North Carolina officials responded by reminding voters it is illegal to cast more than one ballot or to attempt to vote more than once. In Pennsylvania on Thursday, Trump repeated his recommendation to voters to “follow that ballot” by testing the system. 

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic: In an article refuted by Trump and the White House as “fake,” anonymous sources describe Trump’s transactional understanding of patriotism, military service and sacrifice. In public and in private, the president has referred to American soldiers buried in a cemetery near Paris during World War I as “losers,” described John McCain, a former prisoner of the North Vietnamese, as “not a war hero,” dismissed former President George H. W. Bush as a “loser” for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II and puzzled over examples of self-sacrifice. “He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker. There’s no money in serving the nation,” one retired four-star general tells Goldberg.  

The president on Thursday night told reporters in a lengthy denunciation of the article, “It's a total lie. It's fake news. It's a disgrace, and frankly it's a disgrace to your profession” (The Hill). The Trump campaign emailed supporters today with a press release containing quotes and tweets from current and former White House spokespeople describing the magazine report as “lies” and “total BS.” 

The New York Times: Trump angrily denies a report that he called fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers.”



CORONAVIRUS: Everything about COVID-19 is an eye-opener, but what if the coronavirus could burrow into common mammals native to North America and transmit the virus to humans? It sounds like a bad movie, but researchers writing in two new studies (not yet peer-reviewed) focused their attention on deer mice, which can catch COVID-19 in the laboratory and transmit it to other mice. Such rodents are abundant in the wild. But the good news is that they could prove useful as lab subjects for vaccine developers and scientists studying antiviral therapies (The Washington Post). 

Scientists believe COVID-19 may have originated in bats and made the leap to humans in China through small mammals, but the precise route that led to a pandemic remains unknown. There have been a few confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in cats and dogs, with the assumption that the pets contracted the coronavirus from their owners, not the other way around. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk of COVID-19 transmission to humans from pets is “low” but not out of the question. 

> Herd immunity: The White House denies that Trump has embraced a controversial herd immunity strategy for COVID-19, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Thursday. Herd immunity, in the context of COVID-19, is the concept of attempting to limit the human hosts the coronavirus could infect either with a vaccine or global mass infection in which the strongest survive the disease. 

McEnany was responding to reports that new White House pandemic adviser Scott Atlas, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution who is a neuroradiologist, not an infectious disease expert, had advocated for the Trump administration to lift all restrictions aimed at halting transmissions except among those at highest risk of fatalities, such as nursing home patients (The Hill)


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!


Civil unrest isn't just fueling political partisanship — it's undermining the economic recovery, too, by Christos A. Makridis, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3bq1Hkx 

Learning from Lincoln: The importance of presidential humility, by Rabbi Menachem Genaak, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/353BPKk



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The House will convene at 10:30 a.m. for a pro forma session. 

The Senate meets at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session. The full Senate is scheduled to meet on Tuesday. 

The president will welcome Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to the Oval Office at 11 a.m. Trump will participate in a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at 11:05 a.m. with the Serbian president and prime minister of Kosovo, who are meeting to discuss economic ties in the European Union (Foreign Policy).

Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will release a much-watched employment report for August. Analysts expect a fourth straight month of gains across the labor market, even as damaging effects of the pandemic continue throughout the economy. The consensus forecast is for an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent in August.  

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.


Administration: The Justice Department, under the direction of Attorney General William BarrBill BarrGraham: 'I accept the results of the election' Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Lawyer for former officer charged in George Floyd death alleges witness coercion MORE, plans to file an antitrust case against Google and its parent company Alphabet at the end of this month. The internal deadline handed to Justice career investigators is not supported by all on the large team of lawyers and several members left the case this summer, The New York Times reports. Some career lawyers complained the September deadline is arbitrary and that Barr favors speed in order to see action against a powerful tech company under the Trump administration. 

Trump, who has accused Google of bias against him, believes lawmakers from both parties share his worry about the influence of the biggest tech companies over consumers and the possibility that tech business practices have stifled new competitors and hobbled legacy industries such as telecom and media, the Times reports. 

The Treasury Department moved Thursday to sanction six companies for their support of a petrochemical firm that does business with Iran. The six firms, based in China, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, were sanctioned for doing business with Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-based broker that has paid millions of dollars for Iranian petrochemicals, crude oil and petroleum products (The Hill).

➔ Movie theaters reopen: More Americans will make their way back to the movies this Labor Day weekend than at any time since the pandemic shuttered theaters in March. After weeks of catalog films and minor releases, the $200 million “Tenet” is the first must-see main event of the pandemic, a mega-movie litmus test for how ready U.S. moviegoers are to return to cinemas — masks on and socially distanced (The Associated Press). … Here’s one of many reviews of “Tenet” (The Guardian).


And finally … Bravo to the winners of this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Relying on their savvy guessing or perhaps expert Googling, readers knew their history about former U.S. presidents who have interesting ties to law enforcement.

Puzzle masters who went 4/4 this week: Patrick Kavanagh, Daniel Bachhuber, Candi Cee, Mary Anne McEnery, Donna Nackers, Rich Gruber, Lori Benso, William Chittam, John Donato, Donna Minter, Mark Neuman-Scott, Eric Chapman, Mark Davis, Margaret Gainer, J. Patrick White, Mitch Adams, David E. Letostak, Jeff Plaat, Q. Bernard Driskell, Pam Manges, Kathee Dobe-Call, Luther Berg, Sevone Rhynes, Terry Pflaumer, Phil Kirstein and Jerry Sullivan.   

They knew that Ulysses S. Grant, as a sitting president, was placed under arrest after being cited by a Black Washington, D.C., police officer for speeding (while driving a horse-drawn carriage) (The Washington Post).

Twenty-six U.S. presidents have been lawyers.  

Before he was elected president, Theodore Roosevelt served as president of the New York City Police commission (The Atlantic and NPR).  

Ronald Reagan starred as a gun-toting U.S. marshal in the 1953 film “Law and Order” before his ascent to the Oval Office (IMDb).