Morning Report — Trump, Biden tout unity while courting donors

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While President Biden was encouraging Western unity among politically weakened world leaders at a summit in sunny Italy on Thursday, former President Trump moved through 90-degree weather in Washington, D.C., to marshal GOP backing on Capitol Hill. Each man declared success.

Biden, who has been trailing Trump in most polls in battleground states, will return from the Group of Seven (G7) summit today and head immediately to Los Angeles for a glittering mega-fundraising event Saturday featuring former President Obama and Hollywood celebrities. A similar event in New York City in March pulled in $25 million.

Trump will do some fundraising off his 78th birthday in West Palm Beach, Fla., today and grinned as lawmakers on Thursday sang “Happy Birthday.” His campaign has narrowed a fundraising advantage the Biden campaign enjoyed for months. Trump’s team and the Republican National Committee reported raising $141 million during the month of May, bolstered by millions of dollars from contributors following the Manhattan conviction of the former president on 34 felony charges.

The presumptive nominees have said they’ll debate one another June 27 during a televised event in Atlanta anchored by CNN. Each is eager to declare their respective parties to be in lockstep, even as swing-state surveys and dismal job approval numbers highlight voters’ doubts and divisions. For the GOP, abortion is a sore point. Trump took time to advise GOP lawmakers to discuss unpopular conservative state abortion restrictions “correctly.” Biden, for his part, continues to be dogged by questions and voter protests focused on his support for Israel’s bloody war in Gaza.

“The biggest hang-up so far is Hamas refusing to sign on, even though they have submitted something similar,” Biden told reporters Thursday when asked about the status of a U.S.-backed cease-fire plan, under negotiation in the Middle East for weeks. “We’re going to continue to push. I don’t have a final answer for you,” he said.

⬇️  For more about Trump’s charm offensive with GOP lawmakers and Biden’s U.S.-led G7 help for Ukraine, announced Thursday with President Volodymyr Zelensky, read below.


Pope Francis today becomes the first pontiff to address G7 leaders. Stronger guardrails for artificial intelligence (AI) is on his mind.

▪ Why did a Chinese corporation buy America’s biggest pork producer in 2013? A global land and water rush from Arizona to Zambia are parts of the story, according to a journalist’s investigation and a documentary filmmaker’s new account.

▪ Navy veteran Jerry Ashton leveraged his experience in the debt collection industry to help wipe out $10 billion in medical debt. Now he’s battling veterans’ debts.


Leading MorePolitics Trump 061324 AP Evan Vucci

© The Associated Press / Evan Vucci | Former President Trump met with congressional Republicans in Washington Thursday.


When Trump left Washington at the end of his presidency, weeks after the Jan. 6. 2021, attack on the Capitol, his goodbye from fellow Republicans was mixed. But Thursday’s meeting on Capitol Hill told a different story, as he was greeted warmly by rank-and-file members and received fist-bump from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose relationship with the former president turned frosty after the 2020 election (Politico).

“There was certainly a sense of unity, the most unified I felt our caucus has been in a long time,” said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.). “I think we passed that magic moment when we are all ready to move forward.”

During the meetings, Trump addressed campaign priorities and policies — focusing on the economy, inflation, tax cuts and immigration. But policy proposals remained vague as the former president delivered bullish remarks on the presidential race, GOP messaging on abortion, his distaste for the Justice Department and his foreign agenda amid ongoing wars (The Washington Post).

As a whole, Senate Republicans seem to have gotten behind Trump, acknowledging that whatever misgivings they may have about his legal problems and character issues, they view their chances of winning back the Senate majority as fully intertwined with his performance in battleground states, writes The Hill’s Alexander Bolton. With Trump leading Biden in six Senate battleground states, he gives those Republican candidates good shots at winning despite Democratic incumbents leading in the polls so far. The lack of a ground game by the Republican National Committee and Trump campaign, however, is a concern for GOP senators. 

“I’ve had a great relationship with just about everybody here, with everybody here, just about all of the senators, and if it wasn’t fantastic, it gets worked out,” Trump said Thursday.

▪ The Hill: Did Trump say Milwaukee, the site of the upcoming Republican National Convention, is “a horrible city,” or a city with crime or something else? His campaign denied Thursday that the former president disparaged the city and Wisconsin Republicans came to his defense. Trump and Biden in recent Wisconsin polls have been neck and neck.

▪ Reuters and CNBC: Trump and Jeff Zients, Biden’s White House chief of staff, on Thursday met with top business leaders in Washington as they seek to curry favor with corporate America months ahead of elections.


▪ Biden at a presidential debate at the end of the month intends to contrast his support for abortion rights with Trump’s view, which the former president restated to lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday. Trump’s position is that abortion restrictions are up to states to decide and he told lawmakers that Republican-backed state abortion restrictions have “cost” the GOP. The former president has declined to back a national abortion ban.

▪ Why do some Democrats view Vice President Harris as the campaign’s secret weapon in battleground North Carolina? The Hill’s Amie Parnes explains.

▪ Trump appeared to endorse former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in the Maryland Senate race on Thursday, just days after Hogan said he would urge “all Americans to respect” Trump’s guilty verdict in the New York hush money case.

▪ Most Democratic leaders want to avoid too much focus on Trump’s felonies. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker feels differently.

▪ A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Education Department’s final Title IX rule, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.


The abortion drug mifepristone — the method most commonly used to end pregnancies in the U.S. — will continue to be available nationwide, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Abortion opponents are expected to search again for plaintiffs who could present a future case and a different set of facts to justices. The high court rendered no opinion about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion drug or its distribution by mail, but took a procedural approach, finding that opponent groups and physicians who brought the appeal did not have legal standing.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the court, said the anti-abortion groups lacked a direct stake in the dispute. “The plaintiffs do not prescribe or use mifepristone,” he pointed out in the unanimous opinion. “And FDA is not requiring them to do or refrain from doing anything… A plaintiff ’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue.”

Biden, meeting with counterparts at the G7 summit, quickly issued a statement repeating Democrats’ defense of reproductive rights and a warning at the heart of his reelection bid. “Let’s be clear,” the president wrote, “attacks on medication abortion are part of Republican elected officials’ extreme and dangerous agenda to ban abortion nationwide.”

The ruling does not change separate restrictions on the abortion pill in more than a dozen states that have enacted near-total bans on abortion since 2022. Such restrictions do not distinguish between medication abortions and surgical terminations of pregnancies.

Meanwhile, France and Italy sparred over abortion at the G7 summit, Reuters reported. The clash undermined efforts to show Western unity.

▪ The Hill: The Supreme Court ruled Thursday for Starbucks in a union case involving terminated employees. The decision makes it harder to immediately block alleged unfair labor practices.

▪ The Hill: “Trump too small” is not a phrase a California lawyer can trademark for T-shirts and merchandise, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, rejecting the man’s free speech claims.

▪ ProPublica: Justice Clarence Thomas did not disclose three previous gifts of private jet travel funded by billionaire GOP donor Harlan Crow, Senate Judiciary Committee investigators found during a probe sparked by ProPublica reporting. Democrats on the committee are seeking enforcement by the Supreme Court of tougher ethics guidelines, but thus far have been rebuffed. Thomas has described Crow and his wife as “personal friends.” The billionaire has business before the high court.

⚖️ Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, 32, jailed by Russia for the past 14 months and deemed by the U.S. to be wrongfully detained on false espionage charges, will stand trial in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. A trial date was unclear Thursday.


The House will meet at 9 a.m.

The Senate will convene Monday at 3 p.m.

The president is in Italy for the G7 summit, which concludes today. Biden will participate in several working sessions and hold a bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The president will meet with the pope before departing Fasano for Brindisi, Italy, then travel to the U.S. He expects to land at Joint Base Andrews near Washington and continue to Los Angeles for a campaign fundraiser scheduled Saturday. 

Vice President Harris heads to Atlanta for a moderated conversation at 1 p.m. a 100 Black Men of America Inc. conference. She will return to Washington at 4 p.m. before departing at 9:30 p.m. for Switzerland, where she will address the Lucerne Summit on Peace about Ukraine.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Italy with the president as the G7 summit ends today.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is in New York City where she will meet privately with select business leaders to discuss the economy. She will return to Washington this afternoon. 

First lady Jill Biden starts her day in California with remarks at a Los Gatos fundraiser at 12:45 p.m. PT. The first lady will fly to Reno, Nev., to speak at 4 p.m. local time at another fundraiser. She will fly to Phoenix in the evening.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will travel to Exeter, N.H., for a 10:30 a.m. campaign event. At 1 p.m., he will speak at a campaign event in Portsmouth, N.H. Emhoff will tour nonprofit Girls at Work Inc. in Manchester, N.H., at 3 p.m. He will join a roundtable in Manchester to discuss gender equity at 3:15 p.m. Emhoff will be joined by Melanie Fontes Rainer, director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Ruth Friedman, director of the HHS Office of Child Care.


Zoom Intl Cease fire 030924 AP Ariel Schalit

© The Associated Press / Ariel Schalit | Middle East talks focused on securing a cease-fire in Gaza continued Thursday that could release Hamas-held hostages, both living and dead.


G7 LEADERS on Thursday agreed to lend Ukraine $50 billion this year — backed by profits from frozen Russian assets — to help the country’s war effort and rebuilding. This plan has been years in the making, and is a win for Biden, who has been pushing allies to agree to the deal, amid hesitation from some European countries. But there are still key details to be worked out; Washington is willing to make a loan of up to $50 billion, though it’s unclear exactly how much the U.S. will end up lending as other counties will pitch in to share the risk (ABC News).

At a Thursday press conference with Biden on the sidelines of the summit,Zelensky marked what he called a “truly historic day” after signing a bilateral security pact between his country and the U.S. (CNN).

“This is an agreement on security and thus on the protection of human life,” Zelensky said. “This is an agreement on cooperation and thus on how our nations will become stronger. This is an agreement on steps to guarantee sustainable peace and therefore it benefits everyone in the world.”

▪ The New York Times: Leaders from India, Brazil, the Middle East and Africa will join G7 discussions today, in a nod to the changing global balance of power.

▪ The Guardian: “All eyes are on her”: Italy’s far-right chameleon, Meloni.

▪ CNN opinion: G7 “family photo” results can be … awkward.

Israel carried out airstrikes in Lebanon against what it said were Hezbollah targets, and Hezbollah later fired more than 40 rockets into northern Israel on Thursday — a second day of ramped-up attacks (The New York Times). The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes in The Memo that fears are rising about a new front in the regional crisis as Hezbollah ups its rocket attacks into Israel while hardline Israeli Cabinet members publicly advocate for an invasion.

The White House said it still sees the cease-fire deal for Gaza as a possibility, based on Hamas’s latest response to an American-backed plan, but likely not very soon. Israel, meanwhile, continues to ramp up attacks around Rafah in southern Gaza (The Washington Post).

“We are working actively to generate a path forward based on what Hamas has come in with,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Thursday at the G7, referring to Hamas’s latest response with an amended proposal. “It gets us to a result that’s consistent with what the U.N. Security Council laid down and consistent with [what] President Biden laid out; we believe that is possible.”

Reuters: The U.S. military said on Thursday it destroyed two Houthi patrol boats, one uncrewed surface vessel and one drone over the Red Sea.


Elsewhere Congress 061224 AP Scott Applewhite

© The Associated Press / J. Scott Applewhite | Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at the Capitol Wednesday ahead of the Senate’s rejection of a messaging bill supporting access to in vitro fertilization (IVF).


SENATORS WILL BE AT WORK on Capitol Hill next week, while House members are out in their districts.

Senate Republicans blockedlegislation to establish a national right to in vitro fertilization (IVF) on Thursday. The bill needed 60 votes to move forward; the final tally was 48-47, with only two Republicans defecting: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). The vote was the latest in a series set up by Senate Democratic leadership about codifying reproductive rights. Democrats want to drive a wedge between Republicans and put them on the record as opposing those efforts as the GOP struggles with how to message its stance on reproductive rights in the wake of the overturning of Roe. Senate Democrats shot down a Republican-backed IVF bill earlier this week, calling it a “PR stunt” that left loopholes to curtail access to the treatment (The Hill).

“Protecting IVF should be the easiest ‘yes’ vote the Senate has taken all year. Republicans cannot say they are profamily and then vote against protecting IVF,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the floor Thursday.

▪ The Hill: How did the two Senate IVF bills differ?

▪ The Washington Post: How every senator voted on the Right to IVF Act.

House Republicans added a host of culture war amendments to the annual defense bill on Thursday, complicating the traditionally bipartisan measure’s path to final passage later this year. Among the additions to the National Defense Authorization Act approved Thursday was a measure to block a Biden administration policy to reimburse service members for the travel costs when obtaining an abortion (The Hill).

▪ CNN: Microsoft “accepts responsibility for each and every one” of the issues cited in a scathing government-backed report on the tech giant’s cybersecurity failings, Microsoft President Brad Smith told the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday.

▪ The Hill: The head of the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday the agency was “too hands-off” when regulating aircraft manufacturers before a door blew out of a Boeing plane in January.


■ We are witnessing a war on women, by Eugene Robinson, columnist, The Washington Post.

■ What JD Vance believes: New York Times opinion columnist Ross Douthat interviews the Ohio senator.


Quiz G7 061324 AP Domenico Stinellis

© The Associated Press / Domenico Stinellis | Leaders of the Group of Seven posed for a “family photo” at the annual summit in Italy on Thursday.

And finally … Congratulations to this week’s Morning Report Quiz winners! Readers puzzled through the history of the G7, a gathering occurring this week and hosted in southern Italy.

Here’s who went 4/4: Lynn Gardner, Phil Kirstein, Richard E. Baznik, Tom Chabot, Stan Wasser, Kathleen Kovalik, Terry Pflaumer, Rick Schmidtke, Randall S. Patrick, Harry Strulovici, Robert Bradley, Jaina Mehta Buck, Brent Tracy, James Morris, Chuck Schoenenberger, Lou Tisler, Linda Kavalsky, John Ciorciari, Sharon Banitt, Jose A. Ramos, Jack Barshay and Steve James.

They knew that India is not a member of the Group of Seven.

The G7 got its start as a meeting of finance ministers ahead of the 1973 oil crisis.

Russia was ousted from the then-G8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea.

A European Union representative attends G7 summits as a “nonenumerated” member.

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