1/ Biden continues to “improve significantly” from his coronavirus infection. “The president is responding to therapy as expected,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote, adding that Biden still has a sore throat, though his cough, runny nose, and body aches “have diminished considerably.” Biden has been taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug that helps reduce the chance of severe illness. (Associated Press / NPR)
2/ Joe Manchin tested positive for Covid-19. “It’s unclear what effect, if any, Manchin’s isolation will have on Democrats’ efforts to make progress on their legislative agenda. The Senate has a little under two weeks before it’s scheduled to start its August recess, and Democrats have indicated hopes in passing bills – from protecting same-sex marriage to increasing funding for semiconductor production in the US and changing laws surrounding prescription drug prices among other issues – before leaving town for about a month.” (CNN)
3/ The first two U.S. cases of monkeypox in children have been confirmed as part of an outbreak of more than 2,800 infections nationwide. “CDC and public health authorities are still investigating how the children became infected. The two cases are unrelated and in different jurisdictions.” (Washington Post)
4/ World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency. “The last time the WHO made a similar declaration was during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in January 2020.” (Bloomberg)
5/ The dystopian American reality one month after the Roe v. Wade reversal. “Bans at six weeks gestation or earlier, before most women know they are pregnant, are in force in 12 states as of Thursday. The bans have forced patients seeking abortions, and who have the time and money, to travel hundreds of miles from home. At times, that travel has also placed friends, family and abortion rights organizations in legal jeopardy, as states have criminalized helping people obtain abortions. Other patients have seen routine care for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies delayed, as doctors fear criminal sanctions should they accidentally violate bans.” (The Guardian)
6/ Biden faces a moment of truth on the economy this week. His advisers are downplaying recession fears ahead of data that could show the economy contracted for a second straight quarter – one common definition of a recession. The White House, however, preemptively “issued a document stating that two straight quarters of negative GDP ‘is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle.’ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen went so far as to say she would be ‘amazed’ if the National Bureau of Economic Research — which determines whether we are officially in a recession — were to declare that. She also stated flatly that we’re not in a recession.” The administration’s message is that a “technical recession” isn’t necessarily a real one. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is expected to raise interest rates another 0.75 percentage point in an effort to tame inflation running at a four-decade high. After raising rates in June by the most since 1994, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues left the door open to a larger, full-percentage-point increase at the July 26-27 gathering. (CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
7/ The criminal case against Trump is getting stronger and “federal and state prosecutors may soon need to decide whether to bring charges against a former president and current front-runner for the Republican nomination.” (The Atlantic)
8/ Through subpoenas and search warrants, the Justice Department has made clear that it’s pursuing at least two related lines of inquiry that could lead to Trump. “One centers on the so-called fake electors. In that line of inquiry, prosecutors have issued subpoenas to some people who had signed up to be on the list of those purporting to be electors that pro-Trump forces wanted to use to help block certification of the Electoral College results by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. The other line of Justice Department inquiry centers on the effort by a Trump-era Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, to pressure Georgia officials not to certify the state’s election results by sending a letter falsely suggesting that the department had found evidence of election fraud there.” (New York Times)
9/ Georgia Governor Brian Kemp will testify before before the grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss in the state. “Fani Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, has also issued subpoenas in recent days seeking testimony from some of Trump’s closest confidantes and allies – including Rudy Giuliani and US Senator Lindsey Graham – and sent letters to 16 Georgia Republican leaders warning them that they are targets in a criminal probe.” (Bloomberg)
10/ Atlanta v. Trumpworld. Eighteen months into a criminal investigation of election interference by Trump and his allies, Fani Willis is “building the framework for a broad case that could target multiple defendants with charges of conspiracy to commit election fraud, or racketeering-related charges for engaging in a coordinated scheme to undermine the election.” (New York Times)
11/ Steve Bannon was found guilty of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony issued by the Jan. 6 committee. “Bannon did not testify in his own defense and faces a maximum of one year in prison for each of the two counts. He will not be detained pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 21.” (CBC News)
12/ The Jan. 6 committee said it’s prepared to consider subpoenaing Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, if she does not appear voluntarily. “The committee requested testimony from Thomas in June, around the same time as news reports of her communications with White House officials and informal advisers, namely Trump attorney John Eastman, about efforts to overturn the election began to proliferate.” (Politico)
13/ Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected. “Trump, in theory, could fire tens of thousands of career government officials with no recourse for appeals. He could replace them with people he believes are more loyal to him and to his ‘America First’ agenda. An initial estimate by the Trump official who came up with Schedule F found it could apply to as many as 50,000 federal workers — a fraction of a workforce of more than 2 million, but a segment with a profound role in shaping American life. The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon.” (Axios – Part 1 / Axios – Part 2 / Government Executive)
poll/ 67% of Americans favor term limits for Supreme Court justices instead of life terms, including 82% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans. (Associated Press)
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