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12:40 PM ET, July 16, 2020


 Top Items: 
Trump team launches a sweeping loyalty test to shore up its defenses  —  In the middle of a devastating pandemic and a searing economic crisis, the White House has an urgent question for its colleagues across the administration: Are you loyal enough to President Donald Trump?
Asawin Suebsaeng / The Daily Beast:
Team Trump Frantically Plots New Ways to Make Him Feel Good About Himself  —  From the campaign trail to combating coronavirus, the goal is to please the boss.  —  On Tuesday night, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro—whom Donald Trump affectionately calls “my Peter” …
Wall Street Journal:   Trump's Virus Non-Message
Josh Lederman / NBC News:
Trump's coronavirus team puts internal battles on public display
Discussion: Vox, Washington Post and Raw Story
Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Kemp bans cities, counties from mandating masks  —  By Jeremy Redmon - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution J. Scott Trubey - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Willoughby Mariano - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  —  Georgia governor extends coronavirus restrictions while encouraging use of face masks
Associated Press:
Georgia gov. explicitly voids mask orders in 15 localities  —  ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's Gov. Brian Kemp is explicitly banning Georgia's cities and counties from ordering people to wear masks in public places.  He voided orders on Wednesday that at least 15 local governments across the state …
Greg Bluestein / Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Kemp's ban of mask mandates puts Georgia on collision course with its cities
Nate Cohn / New York Times:
Even if the Polls Are Really Off, Trump Is Still in Trouble  —  Joe Biden's lead is sufficient to cover a sizable error.  And several of the biggest problems with polling in the last election have either been addressed or become less relevant.  —  With Joe Biden claiming almost a double-digit lead …
NBC News:
Trump has a 50 percent problem in the new NBC News/WSJ poll  —  WASHINGTON — One figure continually stands out for President Trump in our new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: 50 percent.  —  And not in a good way for him.  —  Fifty percent of all registered voters in our poll “strongly” disapprove of the president.
Vicky Prodeline / Polls:
Biden Leads But Many Anticipate Secret Trump Vote
Jeffrey M. Jones / Gallup:
U.S. Party Preferences Have Swung Sharply Toward Democrats  —  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Since January, Americans' party preferences have shifted dramatically in the Democratic Party's direction.  What had been a two-percentage-point Republican advantage in U.S. party identification and leaning …
Discussion: Washington Post, POLITICUSUSA and UPI
David Harsanyi / National Review:
Who Funds The Lincoln Project? Exactly Whom You Expect
Maggie Haberman / New York Times:
Trump Replaces Brad Parscale as Campaign Manager, Elevating Bill Stepien  —  The replacement of Mr. Parscale with Mr. Stepien, who had served as deputy campaign manager, comes as the president has struggled in public and private polling.  —  President Trump on Wednesday shook up his re-election team …
Will Feuer / CNBC:
Coronavirus data has already disappeared after Trump administration shifted control from CDC  — Since the pandemic began, the CDC has regularly published data on availability of hospital beds and intensive care units across the country.  — But Ryan Panchadsaram, who helps run …
Josh Dawsey / Washington Post:
Republican convention in Jacksonville will be scaled back next month  —  The Republican Party will hold a scaled-back convention in Jacksonville, Fla., next month that includes a mix of outdoor and indoor venues, according to a letter sent to delegates.  —  The Thursday letter …
Fadel Allassan / Axios:   RNC to restrict attendance at Florida convention amid coronavirus surge
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
RNC restricts convention attendance as Florida coronavirus cases climb
Discussion: Reuters and The Hill
Joseph Cox / VICE:
Twitter Is Removing Images of Internal Tool Sources Say Enables Account Takeover  —  After a wave of account takeovers, screenshots of an internal Twitter user administration tool are being shared in the hacking underground.  —  Joseph Cox  —  On Wednesday, a wave of high profile accounts including …
Ashley Parker / Washington Post:
Mary Trump says the U.S. has devolved into a version of her ‘incredibly dysfunctional family’  —  Mary L. Trump, President's Trump's niece, said that watching the country's leadership devolve into “a macro version of my incredibly dysfunctional family” was one of the factors that compelled …
Kelly McBride / NPR:
NPR Let The US Attorney General Tell A Falsehood On The Air  —  NPR's four-member “election security team” is responsible for covering all things about American voting, from access, to fraud to innovations and investments in the process.  It is one of the foundations of NPR's politics coverage.
Alexis C. Madrigal / The Atlantic:
A Second Coronavirus Death Surge Is Coming  —  Editor's Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers.  Find the collection here.  —  There is no mystery in the number of Americans dying from COVID-19.  —  Despite political leaders trivializing the pandemic …
Discussion: Progress Pond
Associated Press:
UK, US, Canada accuse Russia of hacking virus vaccine trials  —  FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus …
Washington Post:
Live updates: Russian hackers attempted to steal coronavirus vaccine research, U.S., Britain and Canada say
Discussion: Townhall
Inspector general: Medicare chief broke rules on her publicity contracts  —  A top Trump administration health official violated federal contracting rules by steering millions of taxpayer dollars in contracts that ultimately benefited GOP-aligned communications consultants, according to an inspector general report released Thursday.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Daniel Bergner / New York Times:
‘White Fragility’ Is Everywhere.  But Does Antiracism Training Work?  —  Robin DiAngelo's best seller is giving white Americans a new way to talk about race.  Do those conversations actually serve the cause of equality?  —  To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android.
Discussion: Althouse and The Federalist
Wall Street Journal:
Republicans Alarmed by Democratic Senate Hopefuls' Fundraising Haul  —  'We're scared to death by what we see,' one Senate GOP strategist says  —  Republicans are sounding alarms after Democratic Senate candidates outraised their GOP opponents in the first six months of the year …
Ronn Blitzer / Fox News:
Trump prepares new arguments as judge sets timeline of New York tax return case  —  A judge set dates for court filings after the Supreme Court sent the case down for further argument  —  President Trump will have less than two weeks to submit new arguments in his case against Manhattan …
Discussion: Reuters and The Hill
Dr. Fauci Says, “With All Due Modesty, I Think I'm Pretty Effective.”  —  Dr. Anthony Fauci and his wife, Dr. Christine Grady, speak with CBS Evening News anchor Norah O'Donnell about a potential COVID-19 vaccine, working with the White House, and what life is like at home.
David Moye / HuffPost:
Donald Trump Poses With Goya Products One Day After Ivanka Tweets Support  —  Both pics may violate federal regulations that forbid government employees to use their positions, titles or authority to endorse products.  —  President Donald Trump may be setting himself for a new gig …
Discussion: The Hill, The Daily Caller and CNN
Lara Seligman / Politico:
Military leaders pressure Esper to ban Confederate flag  —  The leaders of the armed forces are pressuring their boss, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, to ban the public display of the Confederate flag at Defense Department facilities, amid opposition from the White House, according to three defense officials.
Graham Kates / CBS News:
The Trump campaign app is tapping a “gold mine” of data about Americans  —  President Trump's campaign app is targeted to his most fervent supporters, but it is able to collect data about a swath of the American public far larger than his base.  —  The app requests access to significantly …
Discussion: Raw Story
Michael Miller / Washington Post:
A teen led a Black Lives Matter protest in his small town.  A cross was burned in his yard.  —  MARION, Va. — It had been three weeks since the cross burning.  Three weeks since Travon Brown's sense of triumph from leading a Black Lives Matter march was consumed by the fire in his front yard.
Ian Schwartz / RealClearPolitics:
Chuck Todd Claims No Bias At MSNBC: “No Editorial Point Of View On Any Of These Newscasts”  —  Host Chuck Todd informed viewers that there is no editorial point of view on MSNBC after a guest charged that the network is hypocritical for criticizing Trump rallies over masks but not sharing …
Courtney Tanner / Salt Lake Tribune:
In separate rallies, Utahns protest mask mandate and demand in-person classes  —  • As she walked up to the podium to speak, one of the moms grabbed a face mask and spit her gum out into it.  “It's garbage,” she shrugged, wadding it up.  “It doesn't work anyway.  Not for me and not for my kids.”
Discussion: Washington Post and The Hill
Issues & Insights:
Biden Promises To Outlaw Gas-Powered Cars If Elected President  —  Joe Biden's $2 trillion climate change plan, released this week, was described by one liberal outlet as “the Green New Deal, minus the crazy.”  We beg to differ.  Just look at Biden's plan to eliminate the internal combustion engine.
Discussion: Instapundit
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
GOPers Are Trying to Recruit QAnon Voters And Using This YouTube Show to Do It  —  Patriots' Soapbox is unlike any other Q-related program.  And it's begun attracting some actual political figures.  —  As she gathered support for what was then thought to be a long-shot primary bid against Rep. Scott Tipton …
Discussion: Raw Story
Tim Miller / The Bulwark:
The Myth of Trump as a Centrist Dealmaker  —  From vaunted negotiator to feckless ideologue.  —  On a Sunday-morning talk show in December 2015, a rising politician had this to say about Senator Ted Cruz's campaign for president, “Look at the way he's dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there …
Washington Post:
Tens of thousands of mail ballots have been tossed out in this year's primaries.  What will happen in November?  —  More than 18,500 Floridians' ballots were not counted during the March presidential primary after many arrived by mail after the deadline.  —  In Nevada, about 6,700 ballots …
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
The NFL Is on the Brink  —  The league survived all sorts of crises in the past, yet they are in deep trouble like never before.  —  The National Football League celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.  This should be a time of self-congratulation for the brutal sport, which has no similar counterpart outside the United States.
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 More Items: 
Greta Thunberg: World must ‘tear up’ old systems, contracts to tackle climate
Discussion: Breitbart
Tami Luhby / CNN:
1.3 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week
Discussion: The Daily Caller and The Week
Dexter Filkins / New Yorker:
Is the Saudi Government Plotting Against Another U.S.-Based Critic?
Fred Imbert / CNBC:
Weekly jobless claims rise by more than 1 million for 17th straight week
Mike Brest / Washington Examiner:
Charlamagne tha God: Nick Cannon firing over anti-Semitic comments proves Jews ‘have the power’
Ashley Southall / New York Times:
Shootings Have Soared. Is the N.Y.P.D. Pulling Back?
 Earlier Items: 
Rick Noack / Washington Post:
A fight over nude swimming marks return of pre-coronavirus banalities in Europe
New York Times:
Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Cuomo to Back Billionaires' Tax
Discussion: The Hill
Joy Pullmann / The Federalist:
Locking America Down Again Is Exactly What China Wants Because It Will Ruin Us
New York Times:
In Shadow of Pandemic, U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Resurge to Record
Emma L. Briant / Brookings:
We need tougher action against disinformation and propaganda
Stephen Collinson / CNN:
As Trump refuses to lead, America tries to save itself
Discussion: IJR, The Week and POLITICUSUSA
Edward Luce / Financial Times:
Ivanka Trump's ‘let them eat cake’ economics
Discussion: Raw Story