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Inside Kamala Harris' new strategy for the vice presidential debate

President Trump’s hospitalization has changed the game plan for Sen. Kamala Harris for Wednesday's debate.

Between the lines: Harris was preparing to tie Vice President Pence to Trump — then shred Trump on the pandemic, health care, the Supreme Court, civil rights and more. She had planned a handful of anti-Trump zingers. Now, her approach will be less personal, although she won't shy away from the pandemic — or arguing that Pence owns Trump's record.


Team Harris knows Pence is more measured in his delivery than Trump.

  • Pete Buttigieg, a fellow Hoosier and the former mayor of South Bend, is summoning his inner Pence in Harris' debate prep.

As long as Trump is ill, look for an added sensitivity from the Democratic nominees — not because they think Trump would do the same for them, but because of the message they want to send Americans.

  • Sources familiar with the campaign's approach say Biden's speech in Michigan on Friday — which didn't directly attack Trump — will be a guide for Harris.

The intrigue: Harris’ team looked at research on how women are judged more on "likability" and held to a higher standard to prove they're qualified.

  • Harris advisers say their research shows that in public speaking, women are judged overwhelmingly more on physical appearance than on what they say.

The other side: Pence has held at least two 90-minute mock sessions with former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi standing in for Harris.

  • With their similar prosecutorial backgrounds (Harris is also a former state attorney general), Bondi has been trying to channel Harris' slashing debate style.
  • Bondi, a member of Trump’s impeachment legal defense and denizen of cable TV, is dishing out many of the attacks she's received for the last year.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short is running the debate-prep process, ensuring Pence gets advice from all corners, including old friends in Congress and from his time as governor of Indiana.

  • "Pence is a preparation guy," a campaign official told Alayna.
  • The campaign sent "mounds of materials" to Pence's team weeks ago.

The vice president's team and Bondi did not respond to a request for comment.

Merrick Garland: Domestic terrorism is "still with us" and remains critical threat

In his first major speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned the nation Monday to remain vigilant against the rising threat of domestic extremism.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat" to the nation this year, according to U.S. intelligence. Garland has already pledged to crack down on violence linked to white supremacists and right-wing militia groups.

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"Nine minutes and 29 seconds": Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

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European soccer goes to war over wealthy clubs' plans for exclusive "Super League"

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

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81% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive earnings surprise for Q1

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

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NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.

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All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, meeting Biden's April 19 deadline

All 50 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now made U.S. adults over the age of 16 eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, meeting President Biden's April 19 deadline.

Why it matters: The landmark speaks to the increased pace of the national vaccination campaign, but will increase pressure on the federal government, states and pharmaceutical companies to provide adequate vaccine supply and logistics.

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Minneapolis braces for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial

Minneapolis is waking up to images of an occupied city on Monday, as the city and the world await a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

What it's like: Residents running errands, picking up dinner and heading to the dog park in recent days encountered heavily-armed National Guard troops stationed throughout the city.

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Russian authorities say jailed opposition leader Navalny has been transferred to hospital

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been hospitalized, one day after his doctor warned that the jailed Putin critic "could die at any moment," Russia's prison service said Monday.

Why it matters: News that Navalny's condition had severely deteriorated on the third week of a hunger strike prompted outrage from his supporters and international demands for Russia to provide him with immediate medical treatment.

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