1/ The New York Attorney General’s Office is investigating whether the Trump Organization and Trump inflated his assets in financial documents to secure loans and get tax benefits. In court filings, Letitia James’ office also asked the court to order Eric Trump to provide testimony after he initially agreed to sit for a deposition on July 22, but then abruptly canceled. “For months, the Trump Organization has made baseless claims in an effort to shield evidence from a lawful investigation into its financial dealings,” James said. “They have stalled, withheld documents, and instructed witnesses, including Eric Trump, to refuse to answer questions under oath.” The state’s top prosecutor opened the investigation in March 2019 after Michael Cohen told Congress that Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements to secure loans and had understated them to reduce his real estate taxes. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has also recently suggested in court filings that it is investigating possible bank and insurance fraud by Trump and the Trump Organization.(Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

  • The Manhattan district attorney’s office agreed to delay enforcing a subpoena for Trump’s financial records until after a federal appeals court has ruled on Trump’s request for a stay pending appeal of his lawsuit. (CNN)

2/ Postmaster General Louis DeJoy denied that the policies he’s implemented have led to the current mail delays and insisted that the changes, including the removal of blue collection boxes and mail sorting machines, had preceded him assuming office June 15. In a contentious hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, DeJoy testified that the cost-cutting measures he put in place were an attempt to have USPS trucks run on schedule, and pushed back against suggestions that the changes were intended to influence the 2020 election by making mail-in voting less reliable. “I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” DeJoy told the committee, calling the claims “misleading.” As DeJoy testified, Trump tweeted his baseless accusations that mail-in voting would be used to rig the November election against him. DeJoy also refused to agree to restore the mail-sorting machines that had been removed from use, but acknowledged that a “deterioration in service” had occurred. Democrats, meanwhile, threatened to subpoena DeJoy for deliberately withholding internal decision-making documents. Robert Duncan, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, also testified. (CNN / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / Reuters / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / CNN)

  • The House passed a $25 billion bill for emergency U.S. Postal Service funding. The bill would also reverse recent cost-cutting operational changes that have slowed mail service around the country. The measure isn’t expected to reach Trump’s desk as the Republican-held Senate is unlikely to vote on it. (Axios / CNN / NBC News / The Hill / Washington Post)

  • Homeland Security’s acting chief said the department does not have the authority to send agents to polling locations despite Trump’s pledge to send “law enforcement” to polling locations to guard against the threat of voter fraud on Election Day. Chad Wolf said: “This is not a mission for the Department of Homeland Security.” (CNN)

3/ Twitter flagged Trump’s tweet that mail drop boxes are a “voter security disaster” and “not Covid sanitized,” labeling it a “misleading health claim that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.” The tweet violated the company’s Civic Integrity Policy and restricted other users from sharing, liking or replying to the tweet. The tweet, however, was allowed to “remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation.” (Axios / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg)

4/ Trump, without evidence, accused the FDA of deliberately delaying coronavirus vaccine trials until after the election, tweeting that “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics.” Dr. Stephen Hahn, who Trump picked last year to head the agency, said earlier this month that the agency “will not cut corners” to approve a vaccine. Five days earlier, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro privately accused the FDA of being part of the “Deep State” during a meeting that was supposed to be about COVID-19 and the Strategic National Stockpile. (CNN / Axios)

5/ The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for blood plasma as a treatment for COVID-19 – one day after Trump accused the agency of moving too slowly. Last week, the FDA declined to back the treatment over concerns from government scientists that there wasn’t enough evidence for the treatment’s effectiveness. Several clinical trials are examining the use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19, but none have been completed and results aren’t expected for at least several more weeks. Trump, however, claimed that convalescent plasma is a “powerful therapy” that the FDA found “safe and very effective,” saying it “had an incredible rate of success.” The FDA, however, said a more rigorous study is needed to prove whether the treatment effective. (Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Bloomberg / New York Times / New York Times)

  • Scientists and FDA officials warned that more rigorous study is needed to prove whether convalescent plasma is an effective treatment for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Experts say the therapy hasn’t been adequately tested. Britain’s public health system, the National Health Service, meanwhile, said that although U.S. studies into the use of the use of blood plasma were “promising,” they were “not conclusive,” and more studies need to be performed. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, meanwhile, exaggerated the efficacy of blood plasma as a coronavirus treatment, urging Americans to disregard any skepticism of the controversial therapy. (CNBC / Washington Post / Politico)

  • The Trump administration is reportedly considering fast tracking an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed in the U.K. for use in the United States. One option being considered would involve the FDA awarding emergency use authorization in October to a vaccine being developed in a partnership between AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca said it hasn’t talked to the U.S. government about an emergency use authorization, and a spokesperson for Health and Human Services said any claim of an emergency authorization for a vaccine before the election is “absolutely false.” A top FDA official, meanwhile, threatened to resign if the Trump administration approved a vaccine before it is shown to be safe and effective. (Financial Times / CNBC / Politico / Reuters)

poll/ 57% of Republicans consider the more than 177,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. “acceptable.” 90% of Democrats and 67% percent of independents said the number of deaths was unacceptable. 73% of Republicans say things are “going well” when it comes to the way the U.S. has handled the pandemic. 75% of Republicans say the country is better off today than it was four years ago. (CBS News)

poll/ 31% of Americans approve of Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic – down from 44% approval in March. (Associated Press)


✏️ Notables.

  1. Trump accepted his official nomination for a second term with a speech complaining about voting by mail while accusing Democrats of “using COVID to steal the election.” As the Republican National Convention got underway in Charlotte, N.C., Trump used a surprise speech at the convention not to preview a second term agenda, but to allege, without evidence, that Democratic-run states might mail ballots only to neighborhoods where members of their own party live. Trump also repeated his unfounded allegations that Obama and Biden had spied on his campaign in 2016, saying “They’re trying to steal the election from Republicans. Just like they did it last time, with spying.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

  2. Trump will speak every night of the Republican National Convention this week. Typically, nominees only speak on the last night of the convention. Trump, however, will deliver his formal acceptance speech from a stage on the South Lawn at the White House. All of Trump’s adult children, including Tiffany, will also speak during the convention. The convention begins tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern. (Axios / New York Times)

  3. Kellyanne Conway will leave the Trump administration at the end of the month. Conway, whose title is counselor to the president, is one of Trump’s longest-serving aides. She was Trump’s third campaign manager in 2016 and the first woman to successfully manage a presidential bid to victory. She says she is leaving the White House to focus on her family. A White House official said Conway met with Trump on Sunday night to let him know she would be leaving. “This is completely my choice and my voice,” she said in a statement. “In time, I will announce future plans. For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama.” (Washington Post / Politico / NPR / CNN / New York Times / USA Today / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

  4. Trump’s sister criticized him for his “lack of preparation” and lying, saying “you can’t trust him” because he “has no principles.” In secretly recorded audio between 2018 and 2019, Maryanne Trump Barry, a retired federal judge, talked candidly to Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, about her relationship with her brother. “All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.” She also criticized Trump’s use of Twitter, saying “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God. I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.” Trump addressed the recording in a statement: “Every day it’s something else, who cares. I miss my brother, and I’ll continue to work hard for the American people. Not everyone agrees, but the results are obvious. Our country will soon be stronger than ever before.” (Washington Post / CBS News / New York Times / Yahoo News / Politico / Washington Post)

  5. Melania Trump’s friend and adviser reportedly secretly taped the first lady making disparaging remarks about Trump and his adult children. (Yashar Ali)

  6. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claimed that Trump doesn’t know much about QAnon because there are more important things to focus on. Last week Trump praised supporters of the QAnon internet conspiracy theory because he heard “they like me very much, which I appreciate.” The FBI has labeled QAnon a potential domestic terrorist threat. (Politico)

  7. Trump reportedly directed Homeland Security officials to get their orders by watching Fox Business host Lou Dobbs “every night.” Former DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor was basically the “shadow chief of staff” for the department and the Trump “would call us and […] he would say, ‘Why the hell didn’t you watch Lou Dobbs last night? You need to listen to Lou. What Lou says is what I want to do.’” (HuffPost)

  8. Attorney General William Barr told Rupert Murdoch to “muzzle” a Fox News personality who was critical of Trump. In an October 2019 column, Napolitano wrote “The criminal behavior to which Trump has admitted is much more grave than anything alleged or unearthed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and much of what Mueller revealed was impeachable.” Trump reportedly “was so incensed by [Napolitano’s] TV broadcasts that he had implored Barr to send Rupert a message in person […] about ‘muzzling the judge.’” (The Guardian)


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