The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cuomo defiant as Biden, Democrats urge resignation

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Wednesday! 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 co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 613,228; Tuesday, 613,679; Wednesday, 614,295.

President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE, New York Democrats and leading Republicans lost no time on Tuesday urging a quick exit from office by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo — through resignation, impeachment, criminal prosecution or civil litigation — following an independent determination that he sexually harassed at least 11 women in and out of state government and retaliated against one of his accusers (The Hill).


The governor, who has for months refuted accusations that he groped, kissed and made unwanted advances to multiple women, has long insisted that New York voters would be his judge, possibly for a 2022 bid for a fourth term. In a video statement on Tuesday, Cuomo, 63, denied he had acted inappropriately, as detailed in a 168-page report by two outside lawyers and released by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) (seen below). The governor made clear he had no plans to resign (Reuters). 



New York Attorney General Letitia James



His models of political survival following a public battle tied to scandal: former Presidents Clinton and Trump, elected in 2016 despite accounts of misconduct by dozens of women and an audiotaped concession to Access Hollywood that he touched and kissed women inappropriately.


The intensity of rebukes from within the Democratic Party suggest, however, that Cuomo’s options to hang on are limited. The Democratic governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island issued a joint statement calling on Cuomo to resign. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said if the investigative report is an “accurate representation” of Cuomo’s actions, it will be hard for the governor to continue to do his job ( and The Hill).   


The New York Times: James: “I believe these 11 women.”


The New York Times: What we know so far about the sexual harassment claims against Cuomo.


Niall Stanage: The Memo: Disgraced Cuomo clings to power.


The Associated Press: New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said the Assembly has the power to bring impeachment charges against Cuomo, adding it was clear that the governor could no longer remain in office. Heastie said he would move to complete an impeachment inquiry “as quickly as possible.”


In Albany County, the district attorney is conducting his own criminal probe and requested relevant materials already gathered. The civil investigation against Cuomo will not directly lead to criminal charges (CBS6Albany and The New York Times).


The governor, whose standing soared in polls last year during the worst of the U.S. spread of the coronavirus, had largely retreated from view when faced with the cascade of harassment accusations, described in detail by alleged victims and news outlets. Cuomo in March referred the rising scandal to the attorney general for an independent probe, promised his cooperation and predicted he would be exonerated. On Tuesday, Cuomo rejected the attorney general’s conclusions of sexual harassment, unlawful retaliation under his supervision and an overall hostile work environment.


Biden told reporters at the White House, I think he should resign,” echoing the views of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Of partisan fights and follies, or why Democrats should follow Manchin, not Sanders MORE (D-Calif.) and New York’s Democratic senators, Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees The FBI comes up empty-handed in its search for a Jan. 6 plot MORE. “The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office. We continue to believe that the Governor should resign,” Schumer and Gillibrand said in a joint statement (The Hill).


The Hill: New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) breaks with Cuomo over “repulsive” behavior.


MSNBC quickly created a graphic listing more than a dozen New York officials who called on the governor to step down, including frequent foil New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThree arrested for allegedly assaulting NYC hostess who asked for COVID-19 vaccine proof Letitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (D). The mayor, who has clashed with Cuomo in the past, said he would not rule out a run for governor next year (News10).



A screen in Times Square shows news coverage of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo following revelations over allegations of sexual harassment



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CONGRESS: After a lot of hemming and hawing, the Biden administration on Tuesday announced a limited two-month moratorium on evictions across most of the country amid a pressure campaign by progressives (The Hill).


The Hill: Biden buys time with a new eviction ban.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rolled out the moratorium for 60 days. It applies to counties with “substantial and high levels of community transmission” of COVID-19, according to a statement by the agency (The Associated Press). Roughly 90 percent of the country is expected to be covered by the moratorium after the initial nationwide ban expired on Saturday night (The Washington Post). 


“It is imperative that public health authorities act quickly to mitigate such an increase of evictions, which could increase the likelihood of new spikes in SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFDA panel endorses COVID-19 booster shots for older Americans, rejects widespread use Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows MORE said in a statement (CNN).


The new directive comes after days of back-and-forth between the administration, congressional leaders and top progressives, who traded blame for the expiration of the nationwide moratorium and openly questioned who was able to protect renters from swift evictions. On Monday, the White House said in a statement that the CDC had been “unable to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium” after the Supreme Court ruled in late June that congressional action was needed instead. 


At a news conference before the official order was issued, Biden acknowledged that the CDC’s order may not hold up in court, adding that it would minimally buy time for state and local governments to distribute aid to renters and landlords. 


“Whether that option will pass constitutional muster with this administration, I can’t tell you. I don’t know,” Biden said. "There are a few scholars who say it will and others who say it’s not likely to. But, at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated, it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people who are in fact behind in the rent and don’t have the money.”


After Congress was unable to pass a bill at the last minute to deal with the situation, Democratic leaders called on the administration to act. After the CDC’s announcement, Pelosi labeled Tuesday a day of “extraordinary relief.”


The Hill: “The Squad” celebrates Biden eviction moratorium.



US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House



> Infrastructure: There is more momentum behind the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, but senators are grumbling, with more than 300 amendments having been filed as part of the lengthy lead-up to a final vote on the legislation.


As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, not all members are going to get their proposed changes to the legislation on the Senate floor, upsetting senators as they prepare for a final series of votes this weekend, in all likelihood. The timing is contingent on whether GOP senators believe they’ve been given enough chance to make changes to the legislation. Democrats, however, complain the bill isn’t moving quickly enough.


“There are people holding amendments that they really shouldn’t be,” Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Senate backers of new voting rights bill push for swift passage The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Polls open in California as Newsom fights for job MORE (D-Mont.) said. “Vote up or down. Churn and burn, baby.” 


Tester expects a final vote to take place on Saturday.


Meanwhile the situation surrounding the bipartisan bill coincides with an uptick in GOP criticism of the looming $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal and the upcoming vote on the budget resolution to set the stage for the gargantuan package in the coming months.


As The Hill’s Jordain Carney reports, Republicans are increasingly viewing passage of the bipartisan bill as an inevitability, leading members to refocus their attention on the budget resolution. 


“That’s one that members really want to dig in and fight on,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Manchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican. 


Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunRepublicans unveil bill to ban federal funding of critical race theory Earmarks, the swamp's favorite tool, return to Washington Senate in talks to quickly pass infrastructure bill MORE (R-Ind.), who has opposed the bipartisan infrastructure deal, said that the battle over the looming reconciliation package is the “main event.” 


“I think the real action will be on reconciliation,” Braun said, calling the looming passage of the bipartisan bill a “fait accompli.”


The Hill: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ky.) warns Schumer cutting off debate quickly could stall infrastructure deal.


The Hill: Seven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill.


> Nominees: David Chipman, Biden's nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, faces headwinds from GOP senators who object to his support for gun control. A handful of Senate Democrats have yet to offer their support (The Hill), but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Ill.) went to bat for Chipman on Monday (Fox News)


The Hill: Senate passes bill to award congressional gold medal to Capitol Police.




CORONAVIRUS: News emanating from the Empire State was not limited to Albany on Tuesday, as de Blasio announced that New York City will require individuals to show proof that they have been vaccinated in order to take part in a number of activities, including dining at restaurants and going to the gym.


The program will begin on Aug. 16 and require that individuals have at least one COVID-19 shot in order to dine indoors, go to the gym, or attend performances at theaters or concert halls. After a nearly month-long transition period, enforcement will begin on Sept. 13. The timeline coincides with students returning to classrooms and is part of a push to bring workers back into the office. 


“If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” de Blasio said at a news conference. “It’s time.” 


“This is going to be a requirement,” de Blasio continued. “The only way to patronize these establishments is if you are vaccinated, at least one dose. The same for folks in terms of work, they will need at least one dose” (The New York Times).


According to the city, roughly 66 percent of adults in Gotham are fully vaccinated, while nearly 72 percent have received one dose. The move is in lieu of a mask mandate, which de Blasio decided against reimposing after Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles did so in recent weeks. 


The New York Times: Food and Drug Administration aims to give final approval to the Pfizer vaccine by early next month.


Max Nisen, Bloomberg Opinion: New York's vaccine mandate should be the norm.


The Washington Post fact checker: Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserBiden to GOP governors planning vaccine mandate lawsuits: 'Have at it' Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program Biden nominates DC regulator to federal energy commission MORE’s (D) poor spin about not following her own mask mandate.



A masked man works out at Gold's Gym Islip on August 24, 2020 in Islip, New Yor



De Blasio’s order comes as the U.S. has seen COVID-19 case totals spike due to the delta variant, setting up the country to deal with a tough month and possibly more. As The Hill’s Justine Coleman notes, the daily average of cases has surpassed last summer’s spike and has reached its highest level since February, when the winter surge was dialing down. According to experts, daily case totals could reach 300,000 per day, but even that remains uncertain.   


The Hill: Florida enters crisis territory with COVID-19, setting new infection records this week. 


> COVID-19 closures in Arkansas: The National Archives and Records Administration on Monday temporarily closed the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock “due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Pulaski County, Ark.” The state is experiencing high transmissions of the delta variant (Arkansas Times).


POLITICS: In Ohio, Mike Carey, an energy lobbyist backed by Trump, won the crowded GOP primary race in a special House election Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. State Sen. Bob Peterson, former state Rep. Ron Hood and state Rep. Jeff LaRe rounded out the top four in the primary (The Hill).


Shontel Brown won the Ohio Democratic primary in the Cleveland area Tuesday in the race to succeed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeSanders goes back to 2016 playbook to sell .5T budget Activists detail legal fight against HUD for Philadelphia housing Photos of the Week: Rep. Cori Bush, Beirut clash and duck derby MORE in Congress, dealing a blow to progressives, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersManchin suggests pausing talks on .5 trillion package until 2022: report Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Sanders calls deadly Afghan drone strike 'unacceptable' MORE (I-Vt.), who campaigned for Brown's opponent, former state Sen. Nina Turner. Turner conceded the race in a speech on Tuesday night (The Hill).


The Hill: 5 takeaways from Ohio’s House special primaries.


> Results of Washington State’s primaries on Tuesday, including in the Seattle and Tacoma mayoral contests, are HERE. 


Roll Call: Rep. Billy LongWilliam (Billy) H. LongEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Republicans hit Biden over Afghanistan, with eye on midterms McCarthy: 'There will be a day of reckoning' for Biden MORE (R) joins crowded Missouri Senate race.


The Guardian: Trump’s money hustling tricks prompt fresh scrutiny. “The president deceived his donors. He asked them to give money so he could contest the election results, but then he spent their contributions to pay off unrelated debts,” says Adav Noti, a former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission and now chief of staff at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.


> Unionization push: Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffers are pressing ahead with plans to form a union after months of negotiations. 


Sources told The Hill’s Hanna Trudo and Amie Parnes that discussions kicked off late last year, with the unionization plans getting a jolt from Biden’s 2020 victory and the more progressive mood across Washington. While some Democrats say past unionization attempts did not get much traction, others say the political climate has shifted enough for the new effort to be successful. 


Throughout the week, sources familiar with the ongoing talks indicated that the plans have hit a wall with top DNC officials, with one source saying efforts are being “slow-walked by the c-suite.” 


“There was a push-pull happening for a long time on this,” a second source with knowledge of the dynamic told The Hill. “A lot of people thought the timing was ripe but there are others around here who never believed it could work. … I think there’s still a lot of doubt.”




More administration news: White House officials recently lashed out at what they described as flawed, irresponsible media coverage of new federal guidance on masks and COVID-19 breakthrough cases among vaccinated Americans. Are they right that reporters got it wrong? (The Hill). … At the Defense Department on Tuesday, a police officer within the Pentagon Force Protection Agency was killed during a stabbing attack on the Pentagon Metro bus platform. The assailant was shot and killed, but officials have not disclosed the motive behind the mid-morning violence (The Associated Press and The Hill).  

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Governor Cuomo, it’s time to resign, by The New York Times editorial board.


Where conservatives’ arguments about public health mandates go wrong, by Megan McArdle, columnist, The Washington Post. 


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The House will meet Friday at noon for a pro forma session. Members are out of town for the August recess.


The Senate convenes at 10:30 a.m. to resume consideration of a bipartisan infrastructure measure.


The president and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief in the Oval Office at 10 a.m. Biden will meet at 11:15 a.m. with Eric LanderEric LanderOvernight Health Care — White House proposes B strategy for pandemic preparedness White House unveils B pandemic preparedness plan Biden administration establishes program to recruit tech professionals to serve in government MORE, a White House science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to discuss preparations for future pandemics. 


The White House press briefing is scheduled at 12:30 p.m.


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


INTERNATIONAL: The British navy on Tuesday reported that there was a “potential hijack” of a ship in the Gulf of Oman along the coast of the United Arab Emirates but did not release any further details of the incident. The military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations initially told ships that “an incident is currently underway” off the coast of Fujairah, adding later that what took place constituted a “potential hijack” but did not elaborate (The Associated Press).


ENERGY: The future’s climate-friendly energy mix will rely on renewable resources such as solar and wind, but also on technology that allows scientists to “recreate and control the power source of stars,” according to economist and plasma physicist Arthur Turrell. “Climate change is so important that we are going to need to throw the kitchen sink at it,” the author tells The Hill. Nuclear fusion research, which has attracted $2 billion in private investments over the past five years, could be a critical ingredient to curb greenhouse gas emissions (The Hill). … The world’s first magnetized nuclear fusion plant is to be built by 2025 in the United Kingdom (DeZeen).


WILD HORSES & CONTROVERSY: The Bureau of Land Management has begun emergency roundups of wild horses in places where “chronic overpopulation” of herds “already has stretched the available food and water to its limits.” The government has begun efforts to capture about 50 percent more wild horses than originally planned this year because of severe drought across the West — about 6,000 additional animals primarily in Nevada, Oregon and Colorado. About 1,400 that are rounded up would be returned to the range after they receive contraceptive drugs. But the total rounded up would be more than double the 9,181 gathered last year. The bureau announced last week that it was taking additional steps to ensure that captured horses made available for public adoption do not end up with second hand buyers who ship them to slaughterhouses. That move drew mixed reactions from horse advocates, who welcomed efforts to tighten regulations but said the reforms don’t go far enough and that horses will still end up being slaughtered as long as the government offers $1,000 cash incentives to adopt the animals (The Associated Press).



Wild horses roam free in Utah



And finally … The Morning Report’s Tokyo Summer Olympics coverage today continues with some big headlines, world-class photos and a medal leaderboard.


The United States leads in medals with 76, of which 25 are gold. China has captured 69 (32 gold) while Russia, competing as the Russian Olympic Committee in Tokyo, has piled up 52 medals (13 gold). Great Britain has 47 medals (14 gold), and host nation Japan has 39 total so far, of which 20 are gold. Check out medals, competitions and details at NBC Olympics



Norway's Anders Berntsen Mol reaches for the ball in their men's beach volleyball quarter-final match




Competitors take part in the women's 10km marathon swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games