Morning Report — VIP Democrats want Biden to step aside

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Some Democrats won’t accept “yes” for an answer.

President Biden has been saying for two weeks, following his tremulous debate with former President Trump, that he’s in the presidential race to stay. Period.

His campaign repeated that stance as part of a fundraising email to supporters Wednesday night: “President Biden is in this race until the end, and he’s going to win it.”

But the coffers won’t lie: Major donations to the campaign are set to drop by possibly half this month, according to NBC News, a change that will rattle party leaders even if small-dollar donations trend positively. 

Democrats in the House and Senate, not to mention some celebrity progressives who help raise big money for the party, including George Clooney and Michael Douglas, offered bleak assessments when interviewed, and in some cases, stark predictions that Biden and downballot Democrats are likely to get stomped in November. Every day that passes in which Democrats are in knots over their nominee is a day Team Trump revels in those troubles.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned a deaf ear to Biden’s previous insistence that he’s a Trump slayer Wednesday and instead encouraged him to “decide if he’s going to run,” suggesting she believes a different decision is optimal.

“We’re all encouraging him to make that decision,Pelosi said,because time is running short.”

The California lawmaker — who more than once extended the lease on her own House leadership and is considered expert at counting votes — effectively revived the debate publicly about Biden during her MSNBC interview. 

Post-debate polling has alarmed Democrats who fear the GOP will control the House next year and capture the Senate. Republicans have a two-thirds chance of keeping the House majority, according to a forecast released this week from The Hill//Decision Desk HQ.

The Hill’s Niall Stanage: Five things we now know about Biden and Trump from the post-debate polls.

Democratic Reps. Pat Ryan (N.Y.), who is in a tough race, and Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) joined House colleagues who have called on Biden to step aside Wednesday. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) did the same in a Washington Post op-ed, becoming the first in the upper chamber to take that step publicly. Other lawmakers and observers took notice of Pelosi’s comments. Tuesday had been a decent day for Biden but Wednesday was not. He appeared to be recovering with his party. Not now.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has backed Biden in public since the debate, signaled to some donors he’s open to the idea of another nominee, Axios reported.

Biden this evening will be asked during a solo news conference in Washington whether his political skills and stamina are too crusty and his campaign strategy too unpersuasive to defeat Trump. He’ll be questioned again about his health at 81 and medical tests, and why he believes that he alone in a party with a deep bench of younger, tested candidates is the best option to defeat his 78-year-old predecessor.

The Hill: Here’s how physician-administered cognitive tests work. 

Biden has reached out to members of Congress, Democratic mayors, governors and union leaders to try to shore up his backing, with mixed results. Two senior White House advisers, Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon, and Biden campaign Chair Jen O’Malley Dillon today plan to meet with Senate Democrats over lunch, a sign of growing risk for the president. Schumer organized the session.

The Hill: Democrats fret Biden’s problems could haunt them until the Democratic National Convention next month.

On Capitol Hill, among those defending the president are progressives and members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.


▪ Biden will be interviewed next week while in Austin, Texas, by NBC News’s Lester Holt, for broadcast Monday. 

▪ The much-maligned IRS collected $1 billion in back taxes from high-wealth tax cheats, in part thanks to the agency’s boost in enforcement funding signed into law two years ago, the government announced today. 

▪ As if shark attack headlines aren’t enough, how about bubonic plague in Colorado and dengue fever in New York and New Jersey?


Leading More in Politics Milwaukee 062724 AP Morry Gash

© The Associated Press / Morry Gash | Milwaukee next week welcomes the Republican National Convention. 


AFTER THE GOP PRIMARY, Trump’s main Republican rivals, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, both worked to make amends.

Haley recently released her delegates and encouraged them to support Trump, while DeSantis endorsed the former president. But only the latter will be speaking at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next week. Haley won’t be attending the convention; a spokesperson for the former U.N. ambassador said she wasn’t invited (The Hill and USA Today).

DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS are warning Biden and the Democratic National Committee not to go forward with a virtual roll call of delegates on July 21 to lock up the nomination for Biden. The move would come a month before the party heads to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, but critics on Capitol Hill want Democratic leaders to put more pressure on Biden to drop his reelection bid. 

2024 Roundup:

▪ Voters in recent weeks heard about “Project 2025” from Biden and Democrats as they sound the alarm about a potential second Trump term. Overseen by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the multi-pronged initiative includes a detailed blueprint for the next Republican president to usher in a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch.

▪ A group of conservatives seeks legal revenge against Democrats. “The fight that our founders fought to get rid of governmental tyranny that… pales in comparison to the tyranny we’re dealing with,” Trump’s former lawyer, John Eastman, said at the National Conservatism Conference in downtown D.C. this week.

▪ Trump wants Black and Latino support. But he’s not popular with either group, a new poll analysis shows.

▪ Republicans are fracturing on the economy. Skeptics of big business and free trade are at odds with libertarians over the agenda for a second Trump presidency.

▪ County commissioners in Nevada voted against certifying the results of two local recounts from a primary last month, a move that could have implications for the swing state’s presidential race later this year.


UKRAINE AND ITS BIGGEST SUPPORTERS within NATO are airing frustrations that the bloc is going too soft on Russia, even as the alliance’s summit in Washington is focused largely on Western efforts to rein in Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and leaders of other countries on the frontline with Moscow have said the alliance is watering down language, self-imposing red lines, and holding back concrete commitments to deter and push back Russian aggression in Ukraine and surrounding countries (The Hill).

The New York Times: After decades of viewing China as a distant threat, NATO Wednesday accused Beijing of becoming “a decisive enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

NEW GUY ON THE BLOCK: Former Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the incoming secretary-general of NATO, will have no shortage of issues to tackle come October, but his biggest challenge may be managing a relationship with the U.S. if Trump takes the White House. Concerns about the former president weakening or leaving the alliance are hanging heavy over the NATO summit in Washington this week, sparking questions about how Rutte would handle a potentially volatile Trump presidency (The Hill).

CEASE-FIRE TALKS: A surge of hope for a breakthrough in truce talks between Israel and Hamas drew CIA Director William Burns back to the Middle East this week, but the hopes have been tempered by an Israeli airstrike on a school in southern Gaza (CBS News).


The House will meet at 9 a.m.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. Biden will participate in working session II of the NATO summit before a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at 1:30 p.m. Biden will attend working session III inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and host an event about NATO’s Ukraine Compact at 2 p.m. The president will hold a solo news conference at 5:30 p.m. and return to the White House.

Vice President Harris will fly to Greensboro, N.C., for a campaign event at 2:30 p.m. and return to Washington.

First lady Jill Biden will host a reception and lunch at Camp David.

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. will release the consumer price index for June, an important yardstick for inflation.


ZoomIn Congress LaLota 071423 AP Patrick Semansky

© The Associated Press / Patrick Semansky | Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), a moderate, is involved in abortion issues tied to a funding bill for Washington, D.C..


THE HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS, long known for being at the center of strife in the House GOP, is facing its own internal identity crisis that could leave its influence in question. The group has purged multiple members over the last year who were seen as insufficiently loyal, writes The Hill’s Emily Brooks, the most recent of which exposed bitter division — prompting another member to voluntarily leave the group. A battle over the Freedom Caucus’s future leadership and direction is already getting underway, as its controversial chair, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), heads to a recount in a long-shot attempt to reverse his primary loss. Meanwhile, members are already being floated to replace him.

▪ The Washington Post: Members of Congress and their families would face stiff penalties for trading stocks under new legislation proposed by a bipartisan group of senators.

▪ The Hill: Senate Republicans blocked legislation expressing support for the right to an abortion Wednesday, amid a push by Democrats to put the GOP on defense over reproductive rights ahead of the November elections.

▪ The Hill: House Republicans and a handful of Democrats approved a bill Wednesday that seeks to expand proof-of-citizenship requirements to vote in federal elections.

▪ The Hill: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) introduced articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Wednesday, citing their “pattern of refusal to recuse” themselves from matters to which they are connected and their “failure to disclose” millions of dollars in gifts over decades.

A BILL THAT INCLUDES federal funding for the District of Columbia, which House leaders hope to pass later this month, is in jeopardy for the second consecutive year. The problem among moderate Republicans is a provision that seeks to do away with a local law seeking to ensure workers are protected from employer discrimination for their reproductive health choices, like having an abortion or using birth control. The provision was among the reasons House Republicans struggled to pass the same funding bill measure last year, and if it stays as is, the bill could lose support from moderates again this time around. 

“Last year, I voted against the bill for a few reasons, including that, and I still continue to oppose that provision,” Rep. Nick Lalota (R-N.Y.) told The Hill this week. “If it remains in the bill, I’ll vote against the bill again.”


Elsewhere Courts Cohen 051624 AP Andres Kudacki

© The Associated Press / Andres Kudacki | Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to revive his claim seeking damages for retaliation during his prison sentence. 


Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, a star witness during a Manhattan criminal trial in which the former president was convicted on 34 counts, asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to revive his claim seeking damages for retaliation during his prison sentence. In an interview with The Hill, Cohen said his appeal is about deterrence, suggesting the retaliation he faced is “exactly” what Trump means when vowing sweeping retribution in a potential second term — and that Cohen’s experience was “merely a practice run.”  

But he faces long odds. In a dozen cases over the past 44 years, the Supreme Court has declined lawsuits like Cohen’s, known as a Bivens claim, which seek damages against federal officials for violations of constitutional rights.

The Hill: A New York federal judge will likely dismiss Rudy Giuliani’s bankruptcy case, saying Wednesday that the former Trump ally has used the proceedings to obfuscate his assets and delay paying a significant defamation penalty to two Georgia election workers. 


■ Trump 2025 is coming into view, by Thomas B. Edsall, columnist, The New York Times.

■ U.S. allies still prefer a weak Biden over an erratic Trump, by Hal Brands, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion.


Quiz GWB 011702 AP Doug Mills

© The Associated Press / Doug Mills | Former President George W. Bush in 2002. 

Take Our Morning Report Quiz

And finally … 🩺 It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! We assembled a puzzle about some U.S. presidents, their health and what Americans knew about their medical matters.

Be sure to email your responses to and — please add “Quiz” to your subject line. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame Friday.

John F. Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease and kept that private while running for the White House, even when questioned by journalists. The public was unaware for decades that Kennedy suffered from debilitating pain from multiple maladies and took many medications while president. Long after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, private medical records revealed that he had been on which drug(s) during that standoff?

  1. Antispasmodics to control colitis
  2. Antibiotics for a urinary infection
  3. Hydrocortisone and testosterone, plus salt tablets, for adrenal insufficiency and energy
  4. All of the above

President Woodrow Wilson suffered a severe stroke in 1917. At the time, the public was not informed that __________ handled many executive matters in “stewardship” for Wilson until the end of his term in 1921.

  1. Vice President Thomas Marshall
  2. First lady Edith Wilson
  3. Chief of staff Joseph Patrick Tumulty
  4. The Rev. Joseph Ruggles Wilson, the president’s father

Eight months before his election to a fourth term, an ill President Franklin D. Roosevelt quietly received a complete physical from a team of doctors and was diagnosed with “hypertension, hypertensive heart disease, cardiac failure (left ventricle) and acute bronchitis.” His condition and prescribed treatment were not detailed to the public. What killed Roosevelt a year later?

  1. Heart attack
  2. Massive stroke
  3. Polio
  4. Pancreatic cancer

President George W. Bush in 2002 briefly lost consciousness at the White House, resulting in a bruised lower lip and an observable abrasion on his cheek. What was the circumstance detailed to the news media and the public by the White House and a physician?

  1. POTUS fell off his exercise bike
  2. He choked on a pretzel and tumbled off a sofa
  3. He sustained an accidental whack from a golf club
  4. He passed out at a State Dinner during a bout of influenza

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