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GOP eyes "nightly surprise" for revamped convention

The reworked Republican National Convention will be a four-night spectacle including still-under-wraps venues, a 10 p.m. "nightly surprise" and guests and themes playing to "the forgotten men and women of America," two senior Trump campaign officials involved tell Axios.

Driving the news: The messaging will focus heavily on "very granular details" of what a second term for President Trump would look like — answering a question Trump left hanging in a Fox News event earlier this summer — and attack cancel culture, "radical elements" of society and threats to public safety.


Details: Trump is to be formally renominated by delegates in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday, Aug. 24.

  • But the aspects that most Americans associate with a convention — big speakers and special events — will be held from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. in and around a "central hub" in another metro area that officials so far have declined to make public.
  • The programming will be a hybrid that mixes in-person and virtual speakers, live and taped appearances. Trump will deliver his acceptance speech live on the fourth and final night of the convention.

What they're saying: "Let the Democrats have their Hollywood A-listers and their political elite class and social elite class," said one of the officials, while the GOP contrasts itself as "the party of real, hardworking Americans."

  • Monday night will focus on America as "a land of heroes."
  • Tuesday: "Land of promise."
  • Wednesday: "Land of opportunity."
  • Thursday: "Land of greatness" and Trump's plan to lead voters to "the great American comeback."

The highest-profile guests will appear between 10-11 p.m. each night during a time slot organizers have set aside for a "nightly surprise factor," when they expect television networks to carry the convention live.

Behind the scenes: Organizers studied the 2012 and 2016 conventions to analyze which speakers made the biggest splashes and how — hoping to create new influencers who can generate breakout coverage through Labor Day and beyond.

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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The U.S. now has more then 200,000 coronavirus deaths

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Whatever contextyou try to put this in, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions — and is yet another reminder of America's horrific failure to contain the virus.

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In UN address, Trump says China "unleashed this plague onto the world"

President Trump used a virtual address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to defend his response to the coronavirus and call on other countries to “hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China.”

Setting the scene: Trump ticked through four years of major decisions and accomplishments in what could be his last address to the UN. But first, he launched into a fierce attack on China as Beijing’s representative looked on in the assembly hall.

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Trump says he will announce Supreme Court pick on Saturday

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he plans to announce his Supreme Court pick on Saturday.

Why it matters: Republicans are moving fast to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which would tilt the balance of the high court in conservatives' favor and have lasting impact on climate policy, immigration and the Affordable Care Act. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who met with the president this week, is a frontrunner for the job.

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