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7:36 AM ET, July 2, 2020

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 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Afghan Contractor Handed Out Russian Cash to Kill Americans, Officials Say  —  A small-time businessman became a key middleman for bounties on coalition troops in Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence reports say.  Friends saw him grow rich, but didn't know how.  —  KABUL, Afghanistan …
RELATED:
Washington Post:
White House does not plan any immediate response over intelligence reports on Russian bounties targeting U.S. troops  —  The White House is not planning an immediate response to intelligence reports of Russian bounties given to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition forces …
Jim Sciutto / CNN:
Trump's resistance led intel agencies to brief him less and less on Russia  —  Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's resistance to intelligence warnings about Russia led his national security team, including those who delivered the President's Daily Brief to brief him verbally less often …
Michael McFaul / Washington Post:
Trump would do anything for Putin. No wonder he's ignoring the Russian bounties.
Fox News:
National security adviser says Trump's CIA briefer decided not to share Russia bounty intel
Discussion: The Hill and The Daily Caller
The Daily Beast:
Russian Bounties for Killing Americans Go Back Five Years, Ex-Taliban Claims
Discussion: The Guardian
Shane Goldmacher / New York Times:
Biden Outraises Trump for Second Straight Month, With $141 Million June Haul  —  Hours after President Trump's campaign announced an enormous cash influx of $131 million last month, Joe Biden's team said it had brought in even more.  —  Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr …
RELATED:
Washington Post:   Biden fundraising tops that of Trump, as both announce big June hauls
Elena Schneider / Politico:   Record cash floods Democrats, Black groups amid protests and pandemic
Washington Post:
Trump set to headline high-dollar fundraising dinner at a private Florida home next week
Elena Schneider / Politico:
Trump, RNC raised $131 million in June
Discussion: Townhall
The Daily Beast:
The RNC Is Paying a Former Apprentice Hand Accused of Having Trump Dirt  —  Chuck Labella worked on Trump's show for years.  Now, despite having no ostensible political work on his resume, he's helping with the 2020 convention.  —  Last year, the Republican National Convention began cutting checks …
New York Times:
Tell-All Book on Trump Can Move Forward Pending Hearing, Judge Rules  —  The decision reversed a lower court's ruling that had temporarily halted publication of the book by the president's niece, but it didn't address whether she violated a confidentiality agreement.
RELATED:
Michael Kranish / Washington Post:
New York court sides with publisher of explosive book by President Trump's niece  —  A New York court on Wednesday lifted a temporary restraining order against the publication of a book by President Trump's niece, enabling publisher Simon & Schuster to continue printing and distributing the explosive insider account by Mary L. Trump.
Discussion: Politico
James Hibberd / EW.com:
Vanilla Ice throwing Fourth of July concert: 'We didn't have coronavirus' in the '90s  —  The ‘Ice Ice Baby’ singer will perform for thousands in Texas, where coronavirus cases are surging.  —  Alright ... stop.  —  Vanilla Ice is throwing a Fourth of July weekend concert deep in the heart of pandemic hotspot Texas.
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Kevin Curtin / Austin Chronicle:
In Austin, Where Nearly All Concerts are Canceled, Vanilla Ice Set to Perform Friday  —  Relive the Nineties, “When we didn't have coronavirus!”  —  Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order last Friday closing all bars due to an expected surge in COVID-19 cases effectively put an end to those in-person concerts still taking place locally.
CNN:
Trump's aides debate a new virus approach as President claims it will ‘disappear’  —  (CNN)A divide has emerged inside President Donald Trump's inner circle over whether he should turn his attention back to the coronavirus pandemic or continue to focus on reopening the economy, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
Discussion: Raw Story
RELATED:
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Scoop: Trump regrets Kushner advice on prison reform
Aidin Vaziri / San Francisco Chronicle:
More than 40 Bay Area school principals in quarantine after in-person meeting  —  More than 40 school principals in the South Bay are in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 during an in-person meeting held by the Santa Clara County Unified School District.
Bill Hutchinson / ABC News:
Alabama students throwing ‘COVID parties’ to see who gets infected: Officials  —  Rising infections prompt Gov. Kay Ivy to extend ‘Safer at Home’ orders.  —  Students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have been attending parties in the city and surrounding area …
Washington Post:
Coronavirus cases rose by nearly 50 percent last month, led by states that reopened first  —  Coronavirus infections in the United States surged nearly 50 percent in June as states relaxed quarantine rules and tried to reopen their economies, data compiled Wednesday showed …
Discussion: Wall Street Journal and The Week
RELATED:
Christopher Flavelle / New York Times:
Inquiry Prompted by Trump's Hurricane Dorian Claim Is Being Blocked, Investigator Says  —  The Commerce Department is impeding findings into whether it coerced the top NOAA official to support President Trump's inaccurate claim that Dorian would hit Alabama, the department's inspector general said.
Jared Holt / Right Wing Watch:
​Popular Pro-Trump ​Digital Strategist Made Racist Comments on a Secret Twitter Account  —  Caleb Hull, ​a digital communications strategist popular with pro-Trump Republicans, made racist ​and inflammatory​ comments, including the use of the n-word …
Discussion: Big League Politics
RELATED:
Mediaite:   Pro-Trump Operative Caleb Hull Has History of Racist, Anti-Semitic, Homophobic Posts
Politico:
Senate Republicans can't catch a break  —  The high point of 2020 for Senate Republicans — if there is one — may have been Feb. 6.  —  The Senate had acquitted President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial the day before, and he held an hour-long “victory celebration” in the East Room of the White House.
RELATED:
Sahil Kapur / NBC News:
McConnell warns Democrats about changing Senate rules to kill the filibuster
Washington Post:
In wake of Trump's Tulsa rally, his campaign is still contending with the fallout  —  It was just hours before President Trump was set to take the stage for his rally in Tulsa last month when the news broke: Six staff at the site had just tested positive for the coronavirus.
Berkeley Lovelace Jr / CNBC:
Official U.S. coronavirus death toll is ‘a substantial undercount’ of actual tally, Yale study finds  — The 781,000 total deaths in the U.S. in the three months through May 30 were nearly 19% higher than what would normally be expected, the study said.  — The number of excess deaths …
Discussion: Daily Kos and Political Wire
Stephen Dinan / Washington Times:
D.C. sued over Black Lives Matter painted on city streets  —  Judicial Watch went to court Wednesday demanding access to paint the streets of Washington with its own political message after the city wrote “Black Lives Matter” on one street and allowed protesters to paint “Defund the Police” next to it.
Discussion: Althouse and Judicial Watch
James Palmer / Foreign Policy:
Beijing's New Security Law Is a Warning Sign  —  By silencing Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party shows it prioritizes ideology over pragmatism.  —  Welcome to Foreign Policy's China Brief.  The highlights this week: Beijing's new security law takes effect in Hong Kong …
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Sara Fischer / Axios:
Scoop: Twitter removes photo from Trump tweet after NYT copyright complaint  —  Twitter has removed a picture from a tweet by President Trump on Tuesday after it received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint from the New York Times, which owns the rights to the photo.
New York Post:
Harvard grad Claira Janover says she's lost Deloitte job over TikTok ‘stab threat’  —  The Harvard graduate who said in a TikTok video that she would “stab” anyone who told her “All Lives Matter” revealed in a new pair of recordings that she has lost her job over the perceived threats and ensuing furor.
New York Times:
How Mount Rushmore Became Mount Rushmore  —  The South Dakota landmark has drawn criticism over the land it occupies, the main sculptor behind it and the legacies of the men it memorializes.  —  This year, for the first time in more than a decade, there will be a major fireworks display …
RELATED:
USA Today:
South Dakota tribal leader joins call to remove Mount Rushmore ahead of Trump visit
Discussion: Townhall and The Hill
Peter Hamby / Vanity Fair:
A Warning For Democrats: Handling the Economy Is Trump's Last Remaining Bright Spot  —  The president's approval numbers are catastrophic.  And he has no ability to change course.  But some voters still trust him on the economy.  Can Biden take away Trump's last advantage?
Heather Mac Donald / City Journal:
Breakdown … The unwinding of law and order in our cities has happened with stunning speed.  —  Public safety  —  The Social Order  —  It took several months for the first iteration of the Ferguson Effect to become obvious.  Michael Brown was fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri …
Julie Bosman / New York Times:
Amid Virus Surge, Republicans Abruptly Urge Masks Despite Trump's Resistance  —  Masks became a political cause for some in the early months of the pandemic.  A growing set of Republican leaders are suddenly pushing Americans to wear them.  —  CHICAGO — Protesters marched on the State Capitol in Texas …
Washington Post:
Remains of missing soldier Vanessa Guillén likely found, family says, as suspect kills himself  —  The family of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén said Wednesday that her likely remains were found in a shallow grave near the Army installation in Texas, possibly bringing a months-long search for her to a tragic end.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Joel Kotkin / The American Mind:
Triumph of the Oligarchs  —  A new class of overlords are making …
ABC News:
Service has shaped Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Is her next post in the White House?
Discussion: Washington Post
CNN:
America's Postal Service is made up of real heroes. This is no time to let it die
Justice News:
Novartis Admits to Certain Conduct Alleged in the Lawsuit and Agrees to Strict Limitations …
Amy Johnston / LifeZette:
Virginia Democrats draft proposal to reduce assault on law enforcement officers from felony to misdemeanor offense
Discussion: The Western Journal
Nathaniel Meyersohn / CNN:
Here's what happens when a neighborhood's only grocery store closes
New York Times:
U.S. Reports Nearly 50,000 New Coronavirus Cases, Another Single-Day Record
Discussion: Blue Virginia
 Earlier Items: 
Benjamin Siegel / ABC News:
5-term GOP congressman loses primary to owner of Colorado restaurant with gun-toting servers
Discussion: Roll Call and NPR
Politico:
Unemployment is probably worse than reported as states close down again
New York Times:
Late Action on Virus Prompts Fears Over Safety of U.S. Diplomats in Saudi Arabia
Maria Copeland / Campus Reform:
Fresno State faces calls to remove Gandhi statue
Discussion: The College Fix and Breitbart
Isabel Wilkerson / New York Times:
America's Enduring Caste System
Discussion: Townhall
6abc:
Whipping post removed from outside Sussex County Courthouse
Discussion: New York Post
ProPublica:
Internal Messages Reveal Crisis at Houston Hospitals as Coronavirus Cases Surge
Discussion: Off the Kuff