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12:30 PM ET, June 30, 2020


 Top Items: 
James Laporta / Associated Press:
AP sources: White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019  —  Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported …
Carl Bernstein / CNN:
From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm US officials  —  (CNN)In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues …
New York Times:
Lawmakers Press for Answers on Russian Bounty Offers to Taliban to Kill U.S. Troops  —  The investigation into Russia's suspected operation is said to focus in part on the killings of three Marines in a truck bombing last year, officials said.  —  American officials provided a written briefing …
Dems leave frustrated after White House briefing on Russian bounties  —  Senior House Democrats left a White House briefing on Russian bounties disappointed on Tuesday, saying they were given “no substantive information” about allegations that the Kremlin paid Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops …
Discussion: The Hill, Raw Story, Mediaite and Axios
Martin Matishak / Politico:
Republicans have been skipping House Intelligence meetings for months  —  Democrats see a boycott motivated by partisan politics.  Republicans argue they have legitimate security concerns.  —  Either way, GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee have skipped all but one of the panel's proceedings …
David Ignatius / Washington Post:
Trump doesn't understand that Putin is in the payback business
Discussion: The Week, IJR and New York Magazine
Dan Mangan / CNBC:
Mothers of military sons killed in Afghanistan want probe of Russian death bounties
Discussion: Raw Story
Carl Reiner Dead at 98  —  REMEMBERING CARL REINER  —  Carl Reiner, one of the most prolific entertainers in the history of show business has died ... TMZ has learned.  —  We're told Reiner died Monday night at his Beverly Hills home.  We're told his family was with him when he passed.
Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Supreme Court says Montana program aiding private schools must be open to religious schools  —  A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday endorsed a Montana tax incentive program that indirectly helps private religious schools, a major victory for those who want to see more public funding of religious institutions.
Discussion: NBC News, MSNBC and Althouse
Mark Sherman / Associated Press:
Supreme Court lifts ban on state aid to religious schooling
Discussion: Politico
Washington Examiner:   John Roberts proves he's nothing more than an empty robe
NBC News:
Trump's ‘white power’ retweet set off ‘five alarm fire’ in White House  —  President Donald Trump set off a “five alarm fire” in the White House Sunday morning after he retweeted a video of one of his supporters saying “white power,” according to two White House officials.
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Panic sets in at White House over Trump's re-election prospects
Discussion: Raw Story
Kevin Liptak / CNN:
Trump hoping for Supreme Court vacancy as way to boost a flagging campaign  —  (CNN)As the Supreme Court hands his administration successive defeats at the same time his political standing craters, President Donald Trump has begun to raise both publicly and privately the potential boon another nomination …
Elaina Plott / New York Times:
The Fall of Jeff Sessions, and What Came After  —  The former attorney general is fighting for his political life in Alabama's Senate race, in the shadow of a president who still despises him.  —  To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android.
Discussion: The Week
CBS Denver:
Photos Taken By Aurora Police At Elijah McClain Memorial Under Investigation  —  AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - Three Aurora police officers are under investigation for taking inappropriate photos at a memorial for Elijah McClain, sources tell CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass.
Discussion: The Root and New York Post
Rebecca Shabad / NBC News:
S. Dakota Gov. Noem says ‘we will not be social distancing’ at July 3 celebration with Trump at Mount Rushmore  —  Thousands of people are expected for the event.  Masks are optional, too.  —  WASHINGTON — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the thousands of people who attend the July 3 celebration …
Olivia Nuzzi / New York Magazine:
Remembering My Friend Betsy Rothstein  —  I don't know what I expected Betsy Rothstein to look like, but I guess I wasn't expecting a woman who made her living filleting media personalities and nurturing feuds to be so tiny in stature.  When she approached me on the grass outside …
Tucker Carlson / The Daily Caller:
In Memory Of Betsy Rothstein
Discussion: CNN and Twitchy
Fox News:
RNC reacts to Jacksonville ordering mask-wearing ahead of GOP convention  —  RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tells ‘Fox & Friends’ that the RNC will abide by what the mayor and governor are saying to have the convention in a healthy and safe way.
Discussion: The US Sun and POLITICUSUSA
Quint Forgey / Politico:
‘It would just set a good example’: Trump's allies push him to embrace masks
Discussion: The Sun and CNN
Michelle Roberts / BBC:
Flu virus with ‘pandemic potential’ found in China  —  A new strain of flu that has the potential to become pandemic has been identified in China by scientists.  —  It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say.  —  The researchers are concerned …
Ronald Brownstein / CNN:
The white-collar revolt against Trump is peaking  —  (CNN)From his open defiance of public health officials when holding rallies to his increasingly explicit embrace of White racial backlash, President Donald Trump has set a course for his reelection campaign that could produce the GOP's largest deficit …
Discussion: The Atlantic and
William Feuer / CNBC:
CDC says U.S. has ‘way too much virus’ to control pandemic as cases surge across country  — The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to get it under control as some other countries have, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.
Publisher's wife played undisclosed role for Melania Trump  —  The owner of the news outlet that published the columns at the center of the Ukraine scandal helped secure an unpaid White House position for his wife — a fact the publication did not disclose to readers.
Discussion: Raw Story
Danielle Wallace / Fox News:
Latest Seattle CHOP shooting sees at least 2 injured, police say  —  Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said both victims were African-American  —  A 16-year-old boy has died and a 14-year-old boy has been hospitalized in critical condition Monday following the latest shooting at the Seattle area known …
Ben Kamisar / NBC News:
Trump campaign reserves more than $95 million in TV time for the fall  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump's campaign has booked more than $95 million in broadcast television time this fall, as the re-election has been pushed onto the defensive in recent months in many states key to the president's success in November.
The New York Times Company:
Uppercasing ‘Black’  —  The Times will start using uppercase “Black” to describe people and cultures of African origin, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.  Read more in this note from Dean Baquet and Phil Corbett.  —  Dear Colleagues,  —  At The Times and elsewhere, the nationwide protests …
Jonathan D. Karl / The Atlantic:
The Second Battle of Charlottesville  —  The image of President Donald Trump holding aloft a Bible in front of St. John's Episcopal Church is destined to be a defining one of his presidency.  The events that led up to that moment reveal the essential elements of his rise to power.
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
The Strategies of Dementia Politics  —  Stoke chaos, obstruct economic recovery, and hide Biden in the basement till Election Day.  —  Joe Biden is tragically suffering a mental eclipse and sliding away at a geometric rate.  Understandably, his handlers have kept him out of sight.
Paul Begala / CNN:
This has got to be the worst of Trump's outrages  —  Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and served as a counselor to Clinton in the White House.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
Andrea González-Ramírez / GEN:
In Puerto Rico, an Epidemic of Domestic Violence Hides in Plain Sight  —  After Hurricane Maria, the number of women killed by their partners doubled.  Survivors say the government's misguided response has put more lives in danger. … The night before Suliani Calderón Nieves was murdered …
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 More Items: 
Ben Geman / Axios:
6 takeaways from the House Democrats' climate blueprint
U.S. Jobless-Claims Figures Inflated by States' Backlog-Clearing
Allison Kaplan Sommer / Haaretz:
SodaStream Becomes First Israel-based Company to Join Facebook Boycott
Eliana Dockterman / TIME:
Cops with capes  —  Superheroes have dominated popular culture …
Rory Smith / New York Times:
‘Intelligent’ or ‘Strong’: Study Finds Bias in Soccer Broadcasts
Stacy Cowley / New York Times:
Paycheck Program Ends With $130 Billion Unspent, and Uncertainty Ahead
Joe Concha / The Hill:
Ryan Lizza to McEnany: Does Trump believe ‘it was a good thing that the South lost the Civil War?’
Discussion: Mediaite and The Federalist
Mark Hemingway / RealClearInvestigations:
Momentum Building in States to Require Campus ‘Intellectual Diversity’
Discussion: Real Clear Politics
 Earlier Items: 
Nathan Stone / The Federalist:
Why Rioters Will Eventually Turn Their Rage On Christianity If Not Stopped
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Trump Isn't Even Good at Inventing Mean Nicknames Anymore
Discussion: and National Review
Sky Palma / DeadState:
Christian activist: I'd rather be ‘beheaded’ than be a ‘slave’ who wears a mask
Discussion: Right Wing Watch
Michelle Goldberg / New York Times:
Three Families. Nine Weeks. ‘Things Are Getting Annoying.’
Discussion: Mother Jones
Michael Flynn / The Western Journal:
Exclusive from Gen. Flynn: If We Don't Act, 2% of the People Are About To Control the Other 98%
Josh Feldman / Mediaite:
Grassley Hits Hannity For Interview Question Trump Whiffed On: ‘You Assume Fox News Wants Him to Get Reelected’