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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 119,977. Tuesday, 120,402.
Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 9 million on Monday (Reuters).
President TrumpDonald John TrumpBowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary McGrath leads Booker in Kentucky with results due next week NY Republican Chris Jacobs wins special election to replace Chris Collins MORE will head to Arizona today to rally supporters and try and pick up the pieces four and half months before Election Day as voters go to the polls and take part in a number of key primary contests.
The president will make multiple stops in the key Western state today, including one in Yuma to commemorate the 200th mile of new border wall and another in Phoenix to address young voters, all in an attempt to steer the conversation toward immigration as uncertainty surrounds his reelection bid.
As The Hill’s Brett Samuels writes, Trump signed an executive order on Monday to temporarily cut off access to a number of employment-based visas, freezing new H-1B visas for skilled workers and those in the tech industry, H-2B visas for seasonal workers, and J visas for work and study-abroad programs, among others.
The Hill: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBusiness groups hint at lawsuits over Trump order limiting visas On The Money: Trump drags mild-mannered regulator into political firefight | Trump says he supports another round of stimulus checks | Navarro steps back from comments that China trade deal is ‘over’ GOP senator introducing bill to scale back qualified immunity for police MORE (R-S.C.) says Trump’s visa order will have “a chilling effect on our economic recovery.”
Trump also said over the weekend he intends to refile paperwork to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program after the Supreme Court rejected his first attempt to do so. While the issues surrounding “Dreamers” are more politically perilous, officials close to the administration argue Trump has must dig in on immigration or risk alienating his core supporters.
The New York Times opinion by Maria Woltjen: Under the guise of public health, U.S. Border Patrol agents have turned back more than 2,000 unaccompanied immigrant children at the U.S. southern border since March, flouting a federal anti-trafficking law.
The turn toward immigration also comes amid chatter that the president could make personnel changes to his campaign operation. On Monday, Yahoo News reported that the underwhelming rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday could lead to a campaign shakeup, with all eyes pointed at campaign manager Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE.
A change at the top would by no means be surprising given Trump’s history. In 2016, the president had three campaign managers during the course of his bid, with the first change taking place almost four years ago to the day when he canned Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected Sunday shows preview: Bolton delivers bombshell while US tackles COVID-19, police brutality Trump taps Lewandowski, Bossie for Commission on Presidential Scholars MORE in favor of Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected GOP votes to give Graham broad subpoena power in Obama-era probe Will the ‘law and order’ president pardon Roger Stone? MORE. Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump again refers to coronavirus as ‘kung flu’ Lincoln Project hits Trump on testing ‘confession’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected MORE, counselor to the president, carried the ball across the goal line after taking over the campaign in August.
According to Politico, the Tulsa snafu has forced campaign officials to reconsider plans to hold arena-style rallies in the future. Instead, they are kicking around the possibility of holding them in open-air facilities, including airport hangars and amphitheaters.
ABC News: After Trump’s dismal return rally, finger-pointing, blame game intensifies.
The Washington Post: Trump increasingly preoccupied with defending his physical and mental health.
The New York Times: Biden campaign dismisses Trump request for fourth debate as “distraction.”
With the president out West, multiple states will hold key primary contests that could be brutal for a number of longtime incumbents and Democratic establishment favorites, with progressives sensing an opportunity to make their mark.
In Kentucky, Amy McGrath, long viewed as the front-runner to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcGrath leads Booker in Kentucky with results due next week Ocasio-Cortez fends off challenger in House primary Democrats spend big to bolster struggling Hickenlooper MORE (R-Ky.) in November, has found herself in a slugfest with Charles Booker, a black state representative who has forced the former fighter pilot to spend millions in the final weeks as the race has become competitive. Booker’s surge is due in part to the response to George Floyd’s death, with his candidacy buoyed by key endorsements from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary McGrath leads Booker in Kentucky with results due next week Joe Biden wins New York primary MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMcGrath leads Booker in Kentucky with results due next week Democrats spend big to bolster struggling Hickenlooper Biden campaign vetting Congressional Black Caucus chair Karen Bass as potential running mate MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary McGrath leads Booker in Kentucky with results due next week Ocasio-Cortez fends off challenger in House primary MORE (D-N.Y.).
In New York, Democrats are bracing for what could be a turbulent primary day for incumbents. As Jonathan Easley and Julia Manchester write, the lion’s share of attention in the state has been directed at Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelBowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary Ocasio-Cortez fends off challenger in House primary The Hill’s Campaign Report: Primary night in Kentucky and New York MORE (D-N.Y.), who is seeking a 17th term in Congress. Engel, however, is the underdog in his primary against liberal upstart Jamaal Bowman, who has been ascending for weeks ahead of Election Day. Elsewhere, Rep. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeBowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary The Hill’s Campaign Report: Primary night in Kentucky and New York 5 things to watch in Tuesday’s primaries MORE (D-N.Y.) faces a rematch against progressive Adem Bunkeddeko, who fell only 2,000 votes short against her in 2018.
However, the coronavirus pandemic is expected to create what could be a tense few days or weeks of vote counting, with delays in reporting results widely expected as states turn to mail-in and absentee balloting. For example, there is not expected to be a resolution in the Kentucky Senate primary for a week, as Jefferson and Fayette counties — which represent roughly one-third of the vote — will not report their tallies until June 30 (The Hill).
The New York Times: Booker, McGrath intensify advertising blitz in Kentucky.
Niall Stanage: The Memo: Storm brewing after chaotic Geoffrey Berman firing. The Hill: House Judiciary Committee to subpoena Attorney General William BarrBill BarrStone received ‘favorable treatment’ because of relationship with Trump, former prosecutor will testify Bolton says he would consider testifying against Barr Hoyer wants testimony from Bolton MORE over U.S. attorney firing.
Gerald F. Seib: Amid virus fears and racial discord, the world’s bad guys dig in.
Business Insider: The Pences voted by mail in the Indiana primary, trusting the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their ballots using a mansion address they haven’t lived in for four years.
The Hill: Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected GOP rallies around Trump after firing of Manhattan US attorney Susan Collins opposes Trump’s pick for Fifth Circuit MORE (R-Maine), who is in a battle for reelection, voted on Monday against advancing Trump’s pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. A final vote on the nomination is expected this week.
Axios: Stacey Abrams won’t say if she’s still in the running for Biden’s VP.
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LEADING THE DAY
CORONAVIRUS: House Democrats, eager to gather the latest updates from the nation’s top public health experts about COVID-19, are expected to probe the causes of rising infection rates in nearly half the states and Trump’s comment on Saturday that he had asked his team to slow virus testing because it was a “double-edged sword” when reported U.S. infections climb. Trump’s spokespeople later said the president was joking.
Testifying today in person before the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be members of the president’s White House coronavirus task force, whose public advice moved out of West Wing this month and into news media interviews and appearances on Capitol Hill as the president shifted his attention from the pandemic to reopening the economy.
The Associated Press: Surging U.S. virus cases raise fear that progress is slipping.
The Associated Press: Fauci testimony comes at a fraught time for U.S. pandemic response.
Anticipating questions about coronavirus testing, the president’s advisers will assure lawmakers that “the identification and expansion of public and private sector testing infrastructure has been, and continues to be, a priority.” The administration reports that 400,000 to 500,000 coronavirus tests were performed each day as of two weeks ago and that “this number will continue to increase.”
Testifying today will be Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump rallies in Phoenix, claims Democrats trying keep country ‘shut down’ Forget the WHO — where is US leadership at the WTO? Fauci gives Congress COVID-19 warning MORE, a virologist and director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Stephen Hahn, an oncologist and the Food and Drug Administration commissioner; and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, a pediatrician.
In prepared testimony to be delivered by the four physicians, the administration concedes COVID-19 will likely be a public health risk “for some time,” although the duration of the global pandemic “remains unclear.”
New cases per day climbed past 30,000 over the weekend, despite assurances from the administration that COVID-19 is sufficiently under control to end stay-at-home orders to and resume work, school and travel (The Hill).
On Monday, citing the District of Columbia’s shift this week to phase two in reopening, the White House opted to curtail mandatory temperature checks for staff and visitors, used for weeks as COVID-19 screening precautions (The Hill). People who come in close contact with the president and Vice President Pence must still have their temperatures checked and are questioned about symptoms of illness (NBC News).
Coronavirus trends to watch: In some states, COVID-19 is infecting younger people, which is dangerous for the many older people with whom they come in contact (CNN). … A Chinese study raises new questions about the duration of any human immunity against the novel coronavirus. Levels of an antibody found in recovered COVID-19 patients fell sharply in two to three months after infection for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, according to researchers (Reuters).
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
INTERNATIONAL: The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the planet just recorded more than 183,000 new cases of COVID-19, the largest single-day total since the outbreak started. “Some of that increase may be attributed to increased testing … and certainly countries like India are testing more. But we do not believe that this is a testing phenomenon,” said Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert. The coronavirus is hitting large countries particularly hard, including Brazil (Reuters).
> South Korea said on Monday that the country is now seeing a second wave of infections from the coronavirus, stemming from a holiday weekend in May as young people went to bars and nightclubs. The virus remains relatively contained, though, as there were only 17 new confirmed cases on Monday, down from 48 and 67 in the previous days, according to South Korean health authorities (Reuters).
> Top European Union officials on Monday pushed China to step back from imposing a new security law in Hong Kong and called on its leaders to open markets further to European companies during a video call (The Associated Press).
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WHERE AND WHEN
The House will meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. for a pro forma session and resume legislative work on Thursday. Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will question administration officials who are members of the White House coronavirus task force during an oversight hearing at 11 a.m. Livestream HERE.
The Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m. and resume consideration of the nomination of Cory Wilson to serve as a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
The president will fly to Arizona to participate in a roundtable discussion about border security and commemorate 200 miles of wall at the U.S. southern border with Mexico in Yuma. As part of his reelection campaign, Trump will head to Phoenix to address a group of young supporters and return to Washington this evening.
Pence travels to Milwaukee to participate in a school choice roundtable at Waukesha STEM Academy with Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected This week: Congress set for showdown on police reform legislation Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings MORE. Pence will give a speech at a Faith in America event and then return to Washington.
The Washington Post Live hosts a virtual interview at 1 p.m. with John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense: Top Pentagon tech officials resigning | Bolton worried about biological weapons | Trump threatens ‘serious force’ Bolton says he would consider testifying against Barr Hoyer wants testimony from Bolton MORE about his memoir, “The Room Where it Happened.” Information/registration HERE.
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➔ Supreme Court: Justices for a second time on Monday declined to hear a challenge to Trump’s 25 percent tariffs on foreign steel. The case was brought by the American Institute for International Steel, which tried to argue that the legal tool used by the president to impose the tariffs, known as Section 232, was unconstitutional (CNN). … The Supreme Court also declined to hear a challenge to corporate tax regulations, siding with the IRS and costing some tech companies billions of dollars. The justices on Monday left intact a lower court ruling that upheld 2003 requirements (The Wall Street Journal). … On Monday, the Supreme Court also ruled 8-1 that the Securities and Exchange Commission may move to seize illegal profits from fraudulent companies (The Hill).
➔ Protests: In Washington, D.C., demonstrators on Monday night sought to pull down a statue near the White House of former President Andrew Jackson until police intervened with pepper spray and raised batons. Trump tweeted his support for the statue of the seventh president, whose portrait hangs in the Oval Office. Jackson, while a populist politician, owned Mississippi slaves and in the interest of growing cotton, forcibly removed Native Americans from their territory in Southern states, resulting in a “trail of tears and death” (The Washington Post). … Activists on Monday in South Carolina halted street demonstrations seeking racial equality and policing reforms after participants tested positive for COVID-19 (The Washington Post).… Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) moved on Monday to dismantle a blocks-long protest zone of city streets taken over two weeks ago by demonstrators. Trump and administration officials are calling urban protesters “anarchists” (The Associated Press).
➔ Tech: Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday unveiled updates to the software that runs the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, using a virtual event featuring CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives, who spoke to app developers without the usual in-person audience and wild applause. Hardware is Apple’s primary revenue stream, but the company did not announce any new hardware at the conference. Upgrades announced by the company on Monday included iOS14, the new operating system for iPhones (The Washington Post and CNET). The app marketplace was worth about $50 billion in revenues to Apple last year. . … Apple’s App Store, an important feature of the annual WWDC on Monday, is under increased antitrust scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators and competitors. Companies must be approved by Apple to get their apps onto iPhones, giving Apple substantial and lucrative power over smaller developers (The Hill).
➔ The show must go on (with some humor): The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Golden Globes will go ahead on Feb. 28 on NBC, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returning as hosts for a fourth time. The annual awards show had been delayed but jumped on the date after the Academy Awards were postponed until April 25. Key details TBD: Exactly which movies and TV shows will be eligible for honors remains to be seen, given the virus-caused delay in production and long pause for movie theater screenings (The Associated Press).
And finally … We’re putting this in bold typeface this morning: The hangman’s noose found in an Alabama race car garage was a message sent, and roundly, emotionally rejected on Monday.
In an extraordinary act of solidarity with NASCAR’s only African American full-time driver, dozens of drivers pushed the car belonging to Bubba Wallace to the front of the field before Monday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, one day after a noose was found in his garage stall.
Wallace was surrounded by all 39 other drivers in the moments before the race, and they were joined by their crews in a march down pit road as they pushed his No. 43 to the front of the line. Wallace climbed out of his car and wept.
Authorities said Monday that the FBI is investigating the Sunday discovery of the noose, and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) condemned the act against Wallace (ESPN).