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Biden: Russia bounty issue shows Trump "doesn't seem to be cognitively aware of what's going on"

Joe Biden used President Trump's denials about intelligence on reported Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan to question the president's mental ability during a campaign appearance on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "He talks about cognitive capability. He doesn't seem to be cognitively aware of what's going on. He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues — and then forgets it — or he doesn't think it's necessary that he need to know it."


  • "So the idea that somehow he didn't know or isn't being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty if that's the case. And if he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that's a dereliction of duty," the former vice president added.
  • "I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive ability with the cognitive ability of the man I am running against."

Why it matters: Biden is trying to turn the tables on the president, who has taunted Biden about misspeaking on the campaign trail.

  • The attack comes as the Trump campaign plans to pivot its messaging to focus on the claim that Biden's mental faculties are diminished, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported.
  • A growing number of Trump's advisers say their best shot is to convince voters that Biden won't really run the show if elected.

The big picture: Biden took questions from reporters on a range of topics — from coronavirus to his future running mate.

  • On his running mate: He said the selection has moved into the "hard vet" phase and noted that "a number of women of color" were under consideration.
  • On whether he's been tested for coronavirus: He said he hasn't because he hasn't shown any symptoms, but will be "relatively soon."
  • On statues: Biden said "the government has a responsibility to protect" statues of George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
  • On his polling lead: "It’s much too early. We have a lot more work to do."

Romney calls Trump's commutation of Roger Stone's sentence "historic corruption"

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday tweeted a scathing response to President Trump's Friday night commutation of former associate Roger Stone's prison sentence, calling the move "[u]nprecedented, historic corruption."

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent Trump critic. He sent shockwaves through Washington after announcing he would vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial — becoming the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote for the president's removal from office. Now he is the first major GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump's Friday night call regarding Stone.

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We're losing the war on the coronavirus

By any standard, no matter how you look at it, the U.S. is losing its war against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The pandemic is not an abstraction, and it is not something that’s simmering in the background. It is an ongoing emergency ravaging nearly the entire country, with a loss of life equivalent to a Sept. 11 every three days — for four months and counting.

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Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, according to two senior administration officials. Stone in February was sentenced to 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

Why it matters: The controversial move brings an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars. He had been scheduled to report to prison on July 14.

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Appeals court denies Roger Stone's call to delay sentence

The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia on Friday denied Roger Stone, President Trump's former associate, a requested delay to his 4o-month prison sentence for lying to Congress during the Russia probe.

Why it matters: Stone is set to report for his sentence on July 14. Trump on Friday said he was "looking at" commuting Stone's sentence, adding his former aide and longtime confidant was "unfairly treated," according to the Washington Post.

Which states have set single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: COVID Tracking Project and state health department data compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti and Naema Ahmed/Axios

13 states this week surpassed records set just last week for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health department data. 16 states in total reported new highs.

The big picture: The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't just due to increased testing — particularly where the number of cases has grown fastest over the last month, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

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The reality of the coronavirus brings death and disruptions

It feels like mid-March in America again. The coronavirus is surging, deaths are climbing and the country is dreading a wave of disruptions, less than four months since the first round started.

The big picture: Lingering under all the happy talk of future plans is the reality of this virus — which thrives in potential super-spreader conditions like mass gatherings.

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Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem

It's often easier to socially distance in rural America, but it can simultaneously be more challenging to get medical care.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the pandemic's urban-rural divide with microbiologist Amber Schmidtke, who has found that coronavirus-related morbidity is higher in many of Georgia's rural counties than in Atlanta.

Biden and Trump tussle over "buy American" proposals

President Trump and Joe Biden are going back and forth over the former vice president's "buy American" economic proposal, which Trump claims Biden "plagiarized" from him.

Why it matters: Biden is directly challenging Trump and his "America First" agenda with the release of his latest plan, focused on economic recovery and re-investing in American manufacturing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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