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Bob Woodward says it wasn't Trump's idea to restrict travel from China

President Trump's decision to restrict travel from China in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus in February was not his idea, journalist Bob Woodward told NBC's "Today."

Why it matters: Trump has frequently cited the restrictions as his go-to defense of the administration's coronavirus response, claiming that it saved "potentially millions of lives." But the assertion that the policy was singularly his idea — and that "almost everybody," including public health experts, was opposed to it — is "very different" from what actually happened, Woodward said.


  • Woodward reports in his forthcoming book "Rage," that the policy was recommended to Trump by some of the top health experts in the administration, including Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
  • Woodward also notes that there were some holes in the so-called travel "ban," and that thousands of people still traveled from China to the U.S. after the restrictions went into effect.

The big picture: "It is one of those shocks for me, ahving written about nine presidents, that the president of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives," Woodward said, recalling the warning Trump's advisers gave him in January. "Historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February for tens of years."

What to watch: Woodward had 18 conversations with Trump for the book, which is set to be released Tuesday.

Go deeper: Trump told Woodward "nothing more could have been done" on coronavirus

The big business of immigrant detention

Around 70% of all immigration detention centers are run by private companies, including the one at the heart of a new whistleblower complaint that alleges systemic medical neglect and malpractice.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the business of immigrant detention, including oversight and profit incentives, with Jonathan Blitzer, a staff writer for the New Yorker who’s covered the subject for years.

Biden campaign plans travel around competitive Senate races

Joe Biden's campaign is storming states with competitive Senate races this week to help boost Democratic candidates in the run-up to the election.

Why it matters: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death is galvanizing Democrats to fight harder for control of the Senate with less than two months before Election Day.

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Harry Reid on eliminating filibuster: It's a matter of "when," not "if"

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday addressed the question of whether Democrats will eliminate the legislative filibuster if they take control of the Senate, telling CNN that it's "not a question of if it's going to be gone, it's only when it's going to be gone."

Why it matters: Current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that "nothing is off the table" if Republicans move ahead with replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election — a threat that likely includes abolishing the Senate's long-standing 60-vote threshold in order to pass sweeping legislation.

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Philly official warns of "electoral chaos" in Pennsylvania due to "naked" mail-in ballots

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

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Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

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"A long way to go": Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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Beijing draws Chinese companies even closer

Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping announced last week that the party must strengthen its leadership over private companies, and that entrepreneurs must meet the party's needs. 

Why it matters: Xi's new announcement will increase fears that Chinese businesses may serve as a Trojan horse for the CCP.

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Trump to meet with Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa in Florida on Friday

President Trump has arranged to meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, according to two sources familiar with his plans.

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett, but they view the Lagoa meeting as a wild card because they say she has a charismatic personality that would appeal to Trump.

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