Morning Report — Biden waves off debate detractors

President Biden is determined to plow ahead with his campaign to try to defeat former President Trump in November, he and his surrogates said over the weekend.

They spoke ahead of expected new polling that will gauge the thinking of an estimated 51 million viewers who watched portions of Biden’s jumbled, raspy, blank-faced performance Thursday, plus the millions of potential voters deluged with news accounts in the days that followed.

Biden’s allies scrambled to silence media commentators and hand-wringing Democratic donors and candidates who said publicly and privately that the president owes it to the country to clear a path for a younger, vigorous party nominee — especially after years of advising voters to “watch me” when asked whether he was too old for the job.

Without Biden’s concurrence that he has cognitive or other deficits that jeopardize his presidency and his campaign, others turned to the Democratic National Committee to come up with a plan. Some noted that if the president reversed course and decided to make way for a new contender, a backup strategy would be required.

“We need to have a process in place so that if [Biden] were to get out, we would not have chaos and pandemonium,” Jeff Weaver, a former presidential campaign adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), told NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday” during an interview. 

▪ The Washington Post: How Biden could be replaced as his party’s nominee, in four scenarios.

▪ CNN: What would happen if Biden decided not to run?

“The president is the only person out there who has ever beaten Donald Trump and will do it again. And we’re all going to work together on this,” White House senior adviser Anita Dunn told MSNBC during an interview, describing conversations she’d had with members of Congress.

“Maybe it wasn’t a great debate, but he has been a great president and that is the case he’s going to take to the American people,” Dunn added.

The Washington Post: What happened to Biden at the debate? Days of prep with aides did not prepare them for the result, according to interviews.

Biden’s defenders argued that the focus should be on comparing Trump with the president’s overall record, even as they’ve acknowledged in recent months that voters are ho-hum about the job Biden has been doing to lower inflation, tackle immigration and end the war in Gaza.  

Pundits and opinion writers in The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution urged Biden, who will be 82 in November, to quit the race and get behind a nominee who could rescue democracy from Trump. But that recommendation is considered by many to be unlikely and unworkable.

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock from swing state Georgia defended the president by shifting the spotlight to Trump’s “lies.” He told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, when asked if Vice President Harris should be at the top of the Democratic ticket, “I think it is quite unhelpful to be imagining about a scenario other than the one that’s in front of us.”

Democrats worry that Biden’s troubles could scuttle the party’s slim chances to maintain a Senate majority in 2025. But for now, Senate Democrats are sticking with Biden, who has 3,894 pledged delegates ahead of the August nominating convention.


▪ The Justice Department wants Boeing to plead guilty to criminal fraud in connection with two deadly plane crashes involving its 737 Max jetliners in 2018 and 2019. The company has a week to accept the offer, which would include Boeing’s acceptance of an independent monitor. Families of crash victims are unhappy.

▪ 🌀 Storm Beryl is a Category 3 hurricane, the first of the season, as it heads toward landfall in the Windward Islands today north of Venezuela.

▪ 🏃🏿‍♂️ From the classroom to Paris: The journey of U.S. student athletes to the summer Olympics.

📺 Sunday talk shows: Trump’s advocates sidestepped repeated questions during weekend interviews and implicitly defended some of the former president’s most prominent falsehoods and incorrect statements made during Thursday’s debate with Biden. North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, who is on the former president’s short list to be his running mate, suggested that because Trump had reprised assertions he’s uttered for years, including statements with no supporting evidence, the news coverage was overblown.

“I mean, everything that he said on Thursday night, he’s been saying before. I mean, so this is “not news,” Burgum told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”


SupCrt term ends 110420 AP J. Scott Applewhite

© The Associated Press / J. Scott Applewhite | The Supreme Court building in 2020.


THE SUPREME COURT WILL CLOSE OUT its term with a blockbuster decision on presidential immunity. The court is weighing if Trump has immunity from criminal prosecution, a monumental decision that comes just days after the court dropped a decision throwing into doubt charges against hundreds of Jan. 6, 2021, rioters and Trump himself.

The stakes are as high as Trump’s ask of the court is broad. The former president is pleading with the court to toss his federal Jan. 6 case with his claims of immunity. While the court could well reject the sweeping immunity sought by Trump, several justices signaled an openness during April arguments to carving out some form of protection from criminal prosecutions for former executives (The Hill).

In addition to Trump’s immunity, these are the cases left for the court to decide.

▪ CNN: A major Supreme Court ruling Friday that shifted power from the executive branch to the judiciary stands to transform how the federal government works.

▪ The Atlantic: Corporations are the big winners of this Supreme Court term. A set of major decisions will give them more opportunities to roll back regulations they don’t like.

Trump ally and former White House adviser Steve Bannon is scheduled to report to prison Monday.


Veepstakes: Vice presidential contenders on Trump’s list are jockeying for primacy ahead of the former president’s announcement of his running mate. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Burgum and Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) — considered the top three contenders — went to the Atlanta debate last week as surrogates for the former president.

“This is the moment. This is a key moment for them,” Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said of Trump’s would-be running mates. “It’s a real test on whether they rise to the occasion and they defend Trump and go on the attack.”

The New York Times: To woo Trump, VP contenders show off their rich friends. Vice-presidential hopefuls are posturing as part of a bid to highlight their ties to wealthy donors.

Trump ramped up his post-debate ground game efforts in Virginia this weekend in a sign that Republicans are viewing the state as winnable in November. While Biden headed to battleground North Carolina for his post-debate rally, Trump traveled to Chesapeake, Va. to share the stage for the first time with Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R). The governor notably avoided appearing with Trump when he ran in 2021 due to the political implications (The Hill).

“We’re not talking about Florida and Texas or other fringe states that the left would like to target, we’re talking about a state that Biden won by 10.2 [points],” said Zack Roday, a Virginia-based Republican strategist who formerly worked with Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC. “Gravity could still come home for Virginia but it doesn’t mean there’s not a shift that clearly has happened in polling.”

2024 Roundup

▪ In Virginia, Trump and his supporters reveled in the moment, and mused about a shadowy Democratic plan to shift candidates.

▪ Biden’s administration celebrated Pride Month. But the National Park Service’s decision to bar employees from wearing their uniforms at Pride events sparked a firestorm.

▪ Trump’s campaign advisers are pushing to significantly simplify and streamline the official platform of the Republican Party.

▪ House progressives have aimed their fury at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) because of its heavy spending leading up to the defeat of one of their own, New York Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman, in last week’s primary.


Welcome July!

The House will meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The Senate will convene at noon Tuesday for a pro forma session. Senators return to Washington on July 8.

The president is at Camp David where he will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden and first lady Jill Biden will depart at 7:30 p.m. and return to the White House tonight.

Vice President Harris is in Los Angeles and has no public schedule.


Health Measles 012519 AP Eric Risberg

© The Associated Press / Eric Risberg | Officials in New Hampshire and Massachusetts last week issued warnings about potential measles transmission, akin to information pictured in California in 2019.


⚖️ Abortion: Is federal law protective of terminations of pregnancies in cases of medical emergencies? The Supreme Court’s decision last week in an Idaho case involving emergency abortions offered no long-term clarity to patients and physicians who live and work in states that ban abortions.

🧠 Brain blast damage: Hidden in plain sight: A Defense Department lab found brain damage from blast waves in the brains of Navy SEALs who took their own lives, but the discovery was not shared for years. And evidence suggests that the damage may be just as widespread in SEALs who are still alive, according to an investigation by The New York Times. The Navy was unaware of the department lab’s findings until informed by the Times, it said in a statement.

🌬 MeaslesNew Hampshire and Massachusetts residents received official warnings over the weekend about potential exposure to contagious measles.

🦠 COVID-19: The coronavirus is still among us. Here are three things to know about FLiRT and LB.1, new strains of the virus.  


Intl Macron on Sunday 063024 Reuters Yara Nardi

© The Associated Press / Yara Nardi, Reuters | French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party lost support among voters this weekend after the first round of parliamentary elections.


ELECTIONS ARE HAPPENING ACROSS EUROPE this summer and world leaders are braced for a surge in right-wing populist parties and upheaval in Britain, where the years-long Conservative rule may be challenged.

In France, French voters Sunday appeared to boost the far right’s prospects while potentially shattering the centrist alliance of President Emmanuel Macron, in projections released after polls closed in the first round of legislative elections this month. Projections show the far-right National Rally, guided by Marine Le Pen and her protégé, Jordan Bardella, securing the top spot ahead of the July 7 runoff (The Washington Post).

The New York Times: Here are four takeaways from round one in France.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dismissed suggestions that his party was headed to defeat in the July 4 general election on Sunday. Sunak told the BBC that he believed he’d still be in power by the end of the week, despite opinion polls that have found the Conservatives trailing far behind the opposition Labour Party of Keir Starmer (ABC News).

▪ Politico: Ahead of the 2025 elections, the heat just cranked up on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following a surprise defeat to his party’s candidate in a special election for a seat long considered safe.

▪ The Hill: Trump’s performance in the presidential debate Thursday night has added urgency to efforts underway by world leaders to prepare for a second Trump administration, despite international audiences preferring Biden.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials have signaled a shift in the way the country approaches the war in Gaza: a new and less intense “phase” in the fighting, aimed at freeing up personnel and equipment for the fight with Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia based in neighboring Lebanon. But for some, the transition has also been seen as a tacit admission that Israel’s dual military objectives in Gaza are impossible to achieve in tandem (NBC News).

▪ Reuters: Israeli forces advanced further on Sunday into northern Gaza and also pushed deeper into western and central Rafah in the south.

▪ The Hill: The U.S. military has failed to deter Houthi rebels from attacking merchant ships in the Red Sea after half a year of conflict. Yemeni fighters continue to sink commercial boats and disrupt global trade. 

▪ The Hill: The Biden administration is expanding a humanitarian program to allow an estimated 309,000 Haitians in the United States to stay and legally work.


■ Emmanuel Macron’s revolution screeches to a halt, by Lionel Laurent, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion.

■ The mess Democrats have made, Kamala Harris edition, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board.


CLOSER Fireworks 041509 AP

© The Associated Press / file photo | Washington, D.C., fireworks on the Fourth of July in 2007.

And finally … 🎇 With 4th of July coming up this week, the National Mall is one of the best places to catch the fireworks in the nation’s capital. Not in D.C.? Watch a livestream of the display from a camera situated atop the Washington Monument here.

Axios has rounded up a list of small towns in the Washington area you can visit for fireworks, parades and nostalgic festivities.

And here is a list of the best cities to watch fireworks from the water — or boat!

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