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Trump campaign requests call with debate commission, Biden campaign

The Trump campaign is taking yet another crack at the Commission on Presidential Debates in its unsuccessful push to move up the start of the general election debates — this time asking for a conference call with Joe Biden's campaign to at least talk about it.

Why it matters: The president's campaign team says it's convinced Trump will outperform Biden, and that given the anticipated surge in early voting they want to give as many Biden-leaning voters as possible a reason to think twice before they cast their ballots.


Driving the news: Trump's personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, made the request in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by Axios.

Details: It's the latest of several attempts by the Trump campaign to change the debate schedule.

  • It comes as Trump campaign officials are increasingly concerned about Biden's strong polling numbers, which they expect will get a further boost from this week's Democratic National Convention.
  • The debates are scheduled to take place on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Oct. 15 in Miami, and Oct. 22 in Nashville.

Be smart: There's no reason to think this will change. Rejecting an earlier Trump campaign request, the commission indicated it would only consider adding another debate to the schedule if both candidates were to advocate for the addition.

What they're saying: The Biden campaign referred Axios to its previous response, with spokesperson Andrew Bates saying, "Joe Biden will appear on the dates that the commission selected and in the locations they chose."

Read the letter:

Fauci clashes with Rand Paul at COVID hearing: "You're not listening"

Top health expert Anthony Fauci rebuked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a hearing on Wednesday over his suggestion that New York's COVID-19 infection rate is low because the population there has reached herd immunity.

The big picture: Paul, a libertarian who has criticized government lockdown measures as "authoritarian," has clashed with Fauci in previous hearings. Paul accused Fauci of being a "big fan" of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his lockdown restrictions, while Fauci said the Kentucky senator has repeatedly "misconstrued" his comments.

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FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

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CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years, but still remains at decade low

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

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Career official says White House political appointees "commandeered" Bolton book review

A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."

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House Democrats unveil sweeping reforms package to curtail presidential abuses

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled sweeping legislation aimed at preventing presidential abuse and corruption, strengthening transparency and accountability, and protecting elections from foreign interference.

Why it matters: While the bill has practically no chance of becoming law while Trump is in office and Republicans hold the Senate, it's a pre-election message from Democrats on how they plan to govern should Trump lose in November. It also gives Democratic members an anti-corruption platform to run on in the weeks before the election.

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TikTok's content-moderation time bomb

When the dust finally clears from the fight over TikTok, whoever winds up running the burgeoning short-video-sharing service is likely to face a world of trouble trying to manage speech on it.

Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.

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Making sense of China's very vague new plan to reach "carbon neutrality"

Major climate news arrived on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would aim for "carbon neutrality" by 2060 and a CO2 emissions peak before 2030.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So its success or failure at reining in planet-warming gases affects everyone's future.

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Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball

In addition to keeping out the coronavirus, the NBA bubble has also delivered a stellar on-court product, with crisp, entertaining play night in and night out.

Why it matters: General managers, athletic trainers and league officials believe the lack of travel is a driving force behind the high quality of play — an observation that could lead to scheduling changes for next season and beyond.

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