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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:

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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