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8:40 AM ET, July 2, 2020


 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 …
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:
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 …
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 …
Discussion: Mediaite
Trevor Hunnicutt / Reuters:   Biden pulls together hundreds of lawyers as a bulwark against election trickery
Alexandra Jaffe / Associated Press:
AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsely asserts Biden was fed questions
Discussion: Breitbart
Natasha Korecki / Politico:
Biden again blows by Trump in cash race
Discussion: The Week and Associated Press
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
Discussion: The Hill
Washington Post:
Trump set to headline high-dollar fundraising dinner at a private Florida home next week
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.
Michael Kranish / Washington Post:
New York court sides with publisher of explosive book by President Trump's niece
Discussion: Politico
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
Trump says he's ‘all for masks,’ but believes coronavirus will ‘disappear’
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Greg Jaffe / Washington Post:
His troops have suffered a very different fate.  —  Only a few hours had passed since President Trump pardoned 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and the men of 1st Platoon were still trying to make sense of how it was even possible.  —  How could a man they blamed for ruining their lives …
James Hibberd /
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.
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 …
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.
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
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
Mediaite:   Pro-Trump Operative Caleb Hull Has History of Racist, Anti-Semitic, Homophobic Posts
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 …
Stanley Greenberg / The Atlantic:
This Isn't Hillary Clinton's Polling  —  Recent polls could hardly be more reassuring for voters who want to be done with Donald Trump.  “Biden Builds Largest Lead This Year,” a CNN headline declared.  “Biden Hits 55%-41% Against Trump in Biggest National Poll Lead Yet,” reported The Daily Beast.
Discussion: Chicago Tribune and Slate
Alex Heath / The Information:
Zuckerberg Tells Facebook Staff He Expects Advertisers to Return ‘Soon Enough’  —  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees he was reluctant to bow to the threats of a growing ad boycott, saying in private remarks that “my guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
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.
New York Times:
The U.S. Is Lagging Behind Many Rich Countries.  These Charts Show Why.  —  The United States is different.  In nearly every other high-income country, people have both become richer over the last three decades and been able to enjoy substantially longer lifespans.  —  But not in the United States.
David Siders / Politico:
Democratic ad makers think they've discovered Trump's soft spot  —  Donald Trump wasn't halfway through his speech in Tulsa, Okla., and Democratic ad makers in Washington and New York were already cutting footage for an air raid on the slumping president.  —  They didn't focus …
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.
New York Times:
How to Build a Stronger Nation  —  America needs some repairs.  Here's where to start.  —  The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values.  It is separate from the newsroom.
BuzzFeed News:
The Coronavirus Spread In A Dallas Megachurch's Choir And Orchestra.  Then It Hosted Mike Pence.  —  A group of First Baptist Dallas choir and orchestra members contracted COVID-19 in the lead-up to Vice President Mike Pence's visit on Sunday.  An infectious disease expert called it “appalling.”
Charlie Warzel / New York Times:
Facebook Can't Be Reformed  —  We need to reimagine the social network or find a way to survive its dominance.  —  Opinion Writer at Large  —  “We know we have more work to do.”  —  That was the line from numerous Facebook representatives last week in reaction to the #StopHateForProfit advertising boycott campaign.
Kenneth Garger / New York Post:
Campaign bus for Jeff Sessions' primary opponent goes up in flames  —  A campaign bus belonging to Jeff Sessions' opponent for Alabama's Senate seat burst into flames on a highway Wednesday night.  —  The driver of Tommy Tuberville's bus escaped injury after the vehicle caught fire heading northbound …
Kyle Kondik / Sabato's Crystal Ball:
The House: Democratic Murmurings in the Texas Suburbs - and Elsewhere  —  11 rating changes, most in favor of Democrats  —  KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE  — Joe Biden's currently strong lead in the presidential race is being felt in the suburbs, which if it lasts could imperil Republicans in some of their formerly dark red turf.
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
Wall Street Journal:
Sheldon Whitehouse's Favors  —  The Senator intervened for a company after campaign cash flowed.  —  By The Editorial Board  —  Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse makes a habit of accusing his opponents of corruption.  So let's take a look at an example of the Senator's political mediation …
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.
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 More Items: 
Windsor Mann / The Bulwark:
Donald Trump Is All Done Caring
Suzan Fraser / Associated Press:
Turkey: 11 detained over tweets dealing with leader's family
Adam Kredo / Washington Free Beacon:
Trump Admin Vows to Secure Permanent U.N. Arms Embargo on Iran
NBC New York:
Rockland County, Probing New Cluster, Uses Subpoenas as People Resist Contact Tracing
Cathy Young / Arc Digital:
Viral Racist Videos Gone Wild
Joel Kotkin / The American Mind:
Triumph of the Oligarchs  —  A new class of overlords are making …
 Earlier Items: 
ABC News:
Service has shaped Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Is her next post in the White House?
Discussion: Vox and Washington Post
James Palmer / Foreign Policy:
Beijing's New Security Law Is a Warning Sign
Heather Mac Donald / City Journal:
Breakdown … The unwinding of law and order in our cities …
Peter Hamby / Vanity Fair:
A Warning For Democrats: Handling the Economy Is Trump's Last Remaining Bright Spot
Julie Bosman / New York Times:
Amid Virus Surge, Republicans Abruptly Urge Masks Despite Trump's Resistance
Discussion: Raw Story
New York Times:
U.S. Reports Nearly 50,000 New Coronavirus Cases, Another Single-Day Record
Discussion: Blue Virginia
Isabel Wilkerson / New York Times:
America's Enduring Caste System
Discussion: Townhall