Morning Report — Biden faces a tumultuous week as more Dems defect 


On Capitol Hill this week, a defiant President Biden faces a brutal reckoning from within his party that could upend the 2024 race.

A growing chorus of House Democrats say publicly and privately that the president should forfeit his place at the top of the ticket to make way for a nominee with a better chance to defeat former President Trump and to give down-ballot Democrats the best possible chances to win the House majority. But Biden, who has 3,896 delegates going into his party’s nominating convention in August, would need to agree to that switch and he has publicly refused.

Key lawmakers, who return to Washington today, are expressing deep misgivings about Biden’s candidacy and their jitters will become more evident this week.

No Democratic senator has publicly called on Biden to leave the race — and the president has predicted they will not. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) plans to discuss Biden’s future during Tuesday’s regular Senate Democratic caucus luncheon.

Democrats on Sunday during an hour-long call convened by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) continued to search for a consensus plan. Democratic Reps. Adam Smith (Wash.) on the Armed Services Committee; Jerry Nadler (N.Y.) on the Judiciary Committee; Mark Takano (Calif.) on the Veterans Affairs panel, and Joe Morelle (N.Y.) on the House Administration Committee told colleagues they want a nominee other than Biden (NBC News).

▪ The Hill: All eyes on Jeffries.

▪ The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) works to hold the line for the president.

▪ The Hill: Biden is “dug in” as Democrats’ calls to drop out rise.

Biden campaigned Sunday at a Black church in Philadelphia, offering a seven-minute speech he read from notes, and in Harrisburg, Pa., accompanied by stalwart supporter and Trump critic Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), he focused on his backing from organized labor — and drew contrasts with his predecessor.

“The critics say Biden is just a big spender,” the president said during a union headquarters picnic. “First of all, we ended with a surplus but guess what, that other guy has the largest deficit any president has had in history,” he said of Trump.

Politico Magazine: Biden’s survival plan: Decry “elite” critics, appeal to his base.

House members over the weekend joined fellow Democrats who previously aired their doubts about Biden’s reelection chances, including Reps. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Mike Quigley of Illinois, Angie Craig of Minnesota and Scott Peters of California.  

Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who is running for an open Senate seat in California, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Vice President Kamala Harris, formerly a California attorney general and senator, potentially could defeat Trump “overwhelmingly” if Biden stepped down.

“Before we get into a decision about who else it should be, the president needs to make a decision whether it’s him,” Schiff said Sunday.

The New York Times: The reintroduction of Harris.

“I think Biden should take the time talk to people outside of his immediate circle, talk to people he respects, people with objectivity, people with distance, and make the right decision for the country,” he added. “And I’m confident Joe Biden has always made the fundamental distinguishing distinction between he and Donald Trump.”

Rep. Don Davis, a Democrat and Air Force veteran who represents a rural stretch of North Carolina, told Politico Friday, “President Biden needs to show that he is fit to lead the free world and demonstrate his fighting spirit. If he’s going to stay in, he needs to step up.”

Since his much-panned debate July 27, Biden has failed to quiet doubts that at 81 he can win key swing states in November against a former president seen by the party as an existential threat. There is no precedent for reelection by an incumbent presidential candidate with Biden’s [per%20FiveThirtyEight’s%20polling%20tracker.]low job approval, let alone the reelection of the oldest president in U.S. history. However, Americans’ concerns about Biden’s age, cognitive health and his future prospects to perform presidential duties are not exactly new.

CNN, Sanjay Gupta: It’s time for Biden to undergo detailed cognitive and neurological testing and share the results.

The president and his spokespeople deny he’s submitted to cognitive tests (or needs such tests). Biden’s physicians as of February had not observed symptoms “consistent with” Parkinson’s disease and have not diagnosed or prescribed medication to treat Parkinson’s, according to the White House in response to reporters’ questions. Forms of Parkinson’s can produce mild to serious cognitive decline in patients.

A House Republican committee chairman Sunday said he wants Biden’s personal physician to agree to a transcribed interview related to the president’s health and finances. Candidates and presidents are not required to publicly disclose their personal medical information to voters. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act generally protects most private medical information for all Americans.

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) told Biden physician Kevin O’Connor that his panel wants to know if his assessment of the president’s health is influenced by “private business” dealings with the Biden family, including the president’s brother James Biden, involving the company Americore.

3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY 

▪ Hurricane Beryl made landfall in the middle Texas coast near Matagorda early this morning with dangerous storm surge and strong winds. The powerful storm caused at least 11 deaths as it passed through the Caribbean on its way to Texas. 

▪ In case you missed it, a four-person crew from a NASA mission to Mars emerged from a 1,700-square foot living space Saturday evening after a yearlong voyage that never left Earth. They lived since 2023 inside a simulated Mars environment at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

▪ Americano Media, a “Fox News in Spanish” outlet that operated from 2022 to 2023, is making a comeback, financed by a new group of investors, The Hill’s Rafael Bernal reports.

LEADING THE DAY

Leading the day Congress Capitol 022414 AP

© The Associated Press / J. Scott Applewhite | The Capitol in 2014.

MORE IN CONGRESS

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS are aiming their fire at the Supreme Court after last week’s immunity ruling, hoping that a messaging blitz focused on the bench could turbocharge campaigns up and down the ballot in the lead-up to November. They are floating a host of reform proposals, write The Hill’s Mychael Schnell and Mike Lillis, some more aggressive than others, that they’re hoping to adopt if voters deliver them the House majority at the polls.

The list includes efforts to apply term limits to Supreme Court justices; establish a formal — and enforceable — code of ethics; increase the number of justices on the court; and grant Congress greater oversight powers over their conduct.

IVF: Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) has made opposition to in vitro fertilization (IVF) his signature issue. While most Republicans have rushed to express their support for IVF, praising it as a pro-family, Rosendale calls the procedure “morally wrong.” He has proposed an anti-IVF legislative amendment and hung anti-IVF posters outside his office. The outgoing congressman told The Hill his goal is to steer the conversation his way and challenge his colleagues who say they support life at conception. 

“It gets back to the very basic question,” he said. Do you believe that life begins at conception or not?”

▪ The Hill: Congress is moving closer to taking action to rein in the long-troubled F-35 program, which has failed to meet its promises and is facing new problems with the latest generation.

▪ Roll Call: Earmarks are increasing in the House spending bills as Republicans dominate “community project funding” in appropriations bills for the new fiscal year.

WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at noon.

The Senate will convene at 3 p.m.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10:45 a.m. in the Oval Office, accompanied by Vice President Harris.

The vice president has no public events.

First lady Jill Biden today launches “Veterans and Military Families for Biden-Harris,” a voter mobilization effort that will take her to Wilmington, N.C., to speak at 12:15 p.m., then Tampa for a gathering at 3:15 p.m., followed by Columbus, Ga., to speak to political supporters at 6:15 p.m. 

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m.

ZOOM IN

Zoom In More in Politics Trump 062824 AP Steve Helber

© The Associated Press / Steve Helber | Former President Trump in June.

MORE IN POLITICS

CONCERNS ARE MOUNTING over Biden’s ability to win what were once seen as safe states for Democrats in November, as the fallout continues over his calamitous debate performance last week. During a meeting with Biden on Wednesday, New Mexico’sGov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D) and Maine’s Gov. Janet Mills (D) questioned Biden over whether he could carry their blue states in November. Meanwhile, political forecaster Larry Sabato has moved Minnesota’s election rating from “likely Democratic” to “lean Democratic.” While Trump unquestionably faces an uphill battle in states like Maine and New Mexico, strategists warn of the growing possibility that the former president could expand the map amid scrutiny over Biden’s weaknesses.

The possibility of making a play in multiple blue states wasn’t on the radar a few weeks ago, write The Hill’s Julia Manchester, Al Weaver and Alex Gangitano. Trump’s team and Republicans have been laser focused on once again tearing down the “blue wall” that Biden rebuilt for Democrats with his 2020 victory. However, the ongoing tumult for Biden is giving Republicans ideas of even more as they sense an opportunity in New Hampshire, Virginia and Minnesota, putting Democrats in even more peril with four months until Election Day.

ONE BRIGHT SPOT: A Bloomberg News/Morning Consult tracking poll of battleground states, where voters offered withering appraisals of his debate performance amid panic within his party, Trump led Biden by only 2 percentage points, 47 percent to 45 percent.

The New Yorker: The New York Times’s Nate Cohn“There are no precedents in recent memory for presidents to have approval ratings like Biden’s who then go on to win reelection.” 

2024 Roundup

▪ Prominent anti-abortion, evangelical and social conservative groups are pressuring the Republican National Committee (RNC) not to moderate its stance on abortion, ahead of a meeting to draft a new GOP platform this week. 

▪ The left has spent two years galvanizing voters against abortion bans by telling the stories of the women affected by them. Conservatives are now adopting that playbook to turn public opinion in their favor.

▪ Biden and other Democrats are increasingly focusing their attacks on an aggressive right-wing agenda called Project 2025 that is being pushed by Trump allies.

▪ The conservative Heritage Foundation and its president, Kevin Roberts, are facing blowback in the wake of his comment about an ongoing second American revolution that will “remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

▪ Political momentum is building to regulate the spread of nonconsensual explicit deepfakes as the issue of the digitally altered images has moved from a potential threat to a reality. 

ADMINISTRATION

THE SUPREME COURT’S stunning ruling week giving presidents immunity from prosecution for official acts raises serious questions about orders issued by the commander-in-chief to the military, writes The Hill’s Brad Dress, especially if those commands are clear violations of international humanitarian law. A commander-in-chief with absolutely immunity from criminal prosecution would have more power and leeway in issuing controversial orders that the military is in general obligated to carry out.

Some are especially concerned about Trump, who has promised to exact revenge if he retakes the White House. It’s unclear whether such protections would extend to commanders and enlisted servicemembers who carry out the president’s orders as the Supreme Court ruling raises a plethora of fresh and uneasy questions. 

Meanwhile, swaths of Jan. 6, 2021, rioters could face resentencing or additional proceedings this summer after the Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Justice overreached in its sweeping prosecution of the Capitol attack (The Hill). 

ELSEWHERE

Intl French woman 070724 AP Jeremias Gonzalez

© The Associated Press / Jeremias Gonzalez | A woman in western France on Sunday reacted to projected results after the second round of the legislative elections. 

INTERNATIONAL

A LEFT-WING ALLIANCE is projected to beat the far-right in the second round of France’s parliamentary election on Sunday, after President Emmanuel Macron’s gamble of calling a snap vote paid off following a rightward surge during last month’s European Parliamentary elections. The win comes after a tactical voting pact was put in place last week by centrists and the left to hold back the far right. The far-right National Rally party took the lead in the first round, but has fallen into third place, after the leftist New Popular Front and Macron’s centrist party. Who will lead the government remains unclear, with no party having reached an outright majority — setting France up for coalition-jockeying in the coming weeks.

Still, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of La France Nisiuses (LFI), one of the five parties in the left-wing New Popular Front, said Sunday that the French “people have clearly rejected the worst-case scenario” (CNN and The Guardian).

“This is a huge relief for the overwhelming majority of people in our country,” he told cheering crowds. “These people felt terribly threatened. Rest assured, they have won.”

The New York Times: Here are five key takeaways from the French election.

CEASE-FIRE TALKS: Israel and Hamas appear set to resume cease-fire negotiations this week, as the war reached its nine-month mark on Sunday and fighting in Gaza continues. Hamas now appears potentially willing to accept a more gradual approach to its core demands, including a permanent end to the fighting and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza (NPR).

IN IRAN, Masoud Pezeshkian, a cardiac surgeon and relative moderate in the ruling establishment, defeated an ultraconservative former nuclear negotiator in a runoff presidential election on Saturday. Pezeshikan has advocated for moderate policies at home and improved relations with the West. His victory marks a blow to the conservative faction in Iran’s ruling establishment and a major victory for the relatively moderate reformist camp (The New York Times).

The Washington Post: Here’s what to know about Iran’s next president.

COURTS

JUST A MONTH after a New York jury made Trump the first former president convicted of a crime, his guilty verdict is already in peril following a Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity. Trump’s highly anticipated criminal sentencing was set for this week, until his lawyers latched onto the new ruling as a potential reason to get the verdict tossed. Less than 48 hours after the Supreme Court handed down their decision, Judge Juan Merchan slammed the brakes, delaying the sentencing until September (The Hill).

“The biggest hurdle is that the Supreme Court has set up a presumption, which puts a burden on the prosecutor. But it’s not an insurmountable burden,” said Cheryl Bader, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at Fordham University. 

▪ The Hill: Here’s the hush money evidence at the center of Trump’s immunity claims.

▪ CBS News: Trump has asked the judge overseeing his classified documents trial to halt the proceedings until she resolves his pending requests to toss out the charges based on presidential immunity.

OPINION

■ Jim Clyburn is right about what Democrats should do next, by Ezra Klein, columnist, The New York Times.

■ The Almighty calls for Biden, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board.

■ Europe can’t afford the far right’s fiscal idiocy, by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.

THE CLOSER

Closer Mall 042220 AP Andrew Harnik

© The Associated Press / Andrew Harnik | A jogger runs along the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2020.

And finally … 🏃 Sweltering temperatures in Washington, D.C., aren’t dissuading runners. Far from it.

One athlete, Dion Thompson-Davoli, has passed by every house, school, restaurant and grocery store in the nation’s capital in his quest to run along every single street in the District.

(Well, nearly. He skipped the highways and former President Obama’s street in Kalorama.)

Two years and 1,838 streets later, he told The Washington Post, “D.C. is a beautiful, beautiful city, and I think this was such a great way to get to see it — you know, see the whole thing, in all its great — all its different nooks and crannies.”

Running is also a community endeavor. As social running groups have taken off nationwide — especially for athletes of color — Matt Green’s running crew, The District Running Collective, is leading in the capital.

“We bring out anywhere from 400 to 500 a day on Wednesdays and Saturdays to runs,” he told WTOP. “The network of DRC is in the greater thousands.”

Feeling inspired to lace up your shoes this summer? Check out these tips for running in the heat, compiled by experts.

Stay Engaged

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