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(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told Amy Robach on ABC’S "GMA3" that when he heard former vice president and now presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden had chosen California Sen. Kamala Harris as a running mate, he had "goosebumps" -- a nod to the historic nature of the first Black woman and first South Asian woman running on a major party ticket.

"I had goosebumps quite frankly, Amy. This was an historic day, shattering so many glass ceilings, glass ceilings for women, glass ceilings for women of color, and Kamala Harris is ready to govern day one," he said.

Biden, after becoming the sole Democrat left in the race, announced his running mate would be a woman. After months of deliberation, calls got even louder for his pick to also be a person of color.

"He ran a really inclusive process for the vice-presidential determination and I think he picked the perfect running mate," Perez told Robach.

Perez said criticism of Harris as the running-mate pick falls flat when you "look at the facts" of her record.

"Look at the facts, Kamala Harris is a fighter, she took on big banks in California, got a $20 billion settlement for victims of mortgage fraud," Perez said. "She ran the Department of Justice in California. The only Department of Justice bigger than that is the United States Department of Justice -- and she undertook major reforms there, including the use of body cameras to make sure that law enforcement was transparent. Her entire life has been fighting for the underdog."

"I'm so proud to have her on the ticket," he added. "The more you learn about Kamala Harris, the more you will love her."

Perez also touched on the scaled-back Democratic National Convention, which is set to launch Monday after delays and massive changes to the typical programming amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats significantly scaled back the convention, announcing in late June that officials were planning for a mix of in-person and virtual elements. But over the last two months, as the coronavirus hobbled planning, organizers further pared back the event, urging members of Congress, state delegations and delegates not to travel to Wisconsin. Biden, who was scheduled to accept the party's nomination in the key battleground state on Aug. 20, will now accept the nomination from Delaware.

Delegates are also voting entirely by online ballot, which began on Aug. 3 and will run until Saturday, two days before the convention kicks off. The results are expected to be announced on Monday, the first night of the event.

"I think it's going to be an exciting week, it’ll be different than past conventions, there will be less podiums and more conversations around kitchen tables and union halls across America," Perez said.

"You’ll see people that you know and love, like Michelle Obama and Barack Obama and other great leaders of our party, governors and mayors who've led, and you'll also see everyday Americans, ordinary people who have done extraordinary things through this pandemic," he added. "It's about bringing America together. We need to unite this country and we're going to have our unity on full display next week. I'm a big believer that hope triumphs over fear."

Perez said a Biden- Harris ticket is what the country needs to be united through 2021 and beyond -- a theme that will be on full display next week.

"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are two of the most optimistic people I know. You’re going to see that optimism. We’re fighting to make sure we take back our country, we build back a better America, not an America we saw in 2016, but an America we need to have in 2021 and beyond. I'm really excited. And there’ll be a few surprises, too," he said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images


(WILMINGTON, Del.) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris will appear together for the first the time as running mates Wednesday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware, where much of the focus will be on Harris, the first Black and Asian American on the ticket of a major political party for vice president.

The campaign says Biden and Harris will deliver remarks on "working together to restore the soul of the nation and fight for working families to move the country forward." They also will attend a "virtual grassroots" fundraiser in the evening.

But just as Biden had to make the historic move elevating her via a video call Tuesday, their joint appearance Wednesday -- tentatively scheduled for 3:50 p.m. -- might look a lot different from previous vice presidential announcements.

It's not clear whether they will be able to pose together for the classic image of hands united in the air -- or whether they will keep social distance -- and even wear masks. Nor is it clear how many supporters might be on hand to cheer them on in the local high school gym.

Harris had no comment when she and her husband, Doug, left their apartment in Washington, D.C., for Wilmington Thursday morning and the campaign has provided few details about what to expect.

Harris offers the prospect of energizing young, progressive voters who have lamented Biden as the nominee, and it remains to be seen whether Harris, who at age 55 is more than 20 years younger than the 77-year-old Biden, will come across when paired with the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

Their joint remarks Wednesday come exactly one week before Harris is scheduled to address the Democratic National Convention -- now largely a virtual affair because of the pandemic.

In the minutes after Biden announced Harris as his pick for vice president, the Biden campaign had its best hour of fundraising yet, according to the Biden campaign's deputy digital director.

In an effort to build momentum, the Biden-Harris campaign released a video Wednesday showing the moment Harris accepted Biden's offer.

In the video, Biden is shown seated at a desk. He takes off his face mask before speaking into a laptop.

"Sorry to keep you," Biden says in the video connection. "You ready to go to work?"

Harris pauses for a moment before saying, "Oh my God. I am so ready to go to work."

"First of all, is the answer yes?" Biden asked.

"The answer is absolutely yes. I am ready to work. I am ready to do this with you for you. I just deeply honored and I'm very excited," she replied.

Trump and Pence react

Offering a preview of what's to come heading into the election, President Donald Trump was quick to fire insults at Harris, whom he called "nasty," saying she had disrespected both Biden in the primary debates as well as Brett Kavanaugh in his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

"I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate," Trump said at a news conference Tuesday labelling Harris as "phony."

But in its first 24 hours, the Trump team as a whole appeared to struggle with its messaging on Harris.

The Republican National Committee on Wednesday evening sent out an email that claims Biden picking Harris is leading "liberals revolt against Biden." But at nearly the same exact time, an RNC national spokesperson tweeted claiming Harris was "completely controlled by radical left."

Vice President Mike Pence offered his first reaction to the news while at a campaign event in Mesa, Arizona.

"Let me take this opportunity to welcome her to the race," Pence said to laughter. "Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have been overtaken by the radical left, so given their promises of higher taxes, open borders, socialized medicine and abortion on demand. It's no surprise that he chose Senator Harris to be his running mate."

Pence also teased the first the vice presidential debate on Oct. 7 in Utah, adding to his message, "Congratulations. I'll see you in Salt Lake City."


.@KamalaHarris is the daughter of proud immigrants—a mother from India and a father from Jamaica—who raised her to take action.
That’s exactly what this moment calls for: action. And we hope you’ll take action with us: https://t.co/K3mVwfTxXJ pic.twitter.com/MZLAx9IN6C

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 12, 2020


Former campaign trail rivals

During the Democratic primary campaign, Harris -- the sole Black woman in the running -- was amplified as a top contender following a debate performance in which she took Biden to task over his past stances on busing to address desegregating schools in the 1970s.

"There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me," Harris said at the time.

Following the debate, Biden complimented Harris, calling her "a first-rate intellect, a first-rate candidate and a real competitor."

Harris suspended her presidential campaign in early December and endorsed Biden after his Super Tuesday sweep. She served as a top surrogate and fundraiser for his campaign amid the pandemic landscape.

She spoke at Biden's final Biden campaign rally before COVID-19 largely shut down the trail in March.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah CraigheadBy CONOR FINNEGAN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- A new report released Wednesday said that Woody Johnson, President Donald Trump's envoy to the United Kingdom and the co-owner of the New York Jets, made "inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics... such as religion, sex, or color" as ambassador.

In an assessment of the U.S. mission to the U.K., the State Department's Office of the Inspector General -- an independent, nonpartisan federal watchdog -- found faults with Johnson's leadership. But it did not weigh in on allegations that Johnson lobbied on Trump's behalf to have the British Open golf tournament played at his resort in Turnberry, Scotland.

The new OIG report comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his senior aides have gone to battle against the office, having the previous inspector general fired in May and preempting another report's release this week to claim "full" exoneration.

The report applauded Johnson's efforts to reach out to staff and found his leadership improved after the previous deputy chief of mission, an embassy's second-in-command, departed.

But amid media reports that Johnson made sexist and racist comments, the OIG said it "learned, through employee questionnaires and interviews, that the Ambassador sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color."

The report did not offer specifics, but it recommended that the State Department's Office of Civil Rights investigate further.

More broadly, the OIG said Johnson "did not always model the Department's leadership and management principles... regarding communication and self-awareness." It faults him for casting any hesitation or push back from career diplomats as "resistance" and at times questioning embassy staff's motives or tacitly threatening to have them replaced.

"This caused staff to grow wary of providing him with their best judgment," the report found, adding his "demanding, hard driving work style... had a negative effect on morale."

But the report notes that improved when a new deputy chief of mission took over in January 2019, who worked better with Johnson than Lew Lukens, a senior Foreign Service officer who had previously served as U.S. ambassador to Senegal and to Guinea-Bissau.

The report also commends applauds Johnson's effort to reach out to staff and get "to know them better, to convey his appreciation for their work, and to continue to familiarize himself with the many aspects of the complex, multi-agency mission he was leading."

Johnson himself took issue with the report's finding about "insensitive" remarks, writing in a May 27 letter to the OIG, "If I have unintentionally offended anyone in the execution of my duties, I deeply regret that, but I do not accept that I have treated employees with disrespect or discriminated in any."

"I believe that team cohesion in our mission is better than ever," he added, noting the "absence of any official complaints against me" by staffers.

Both he and State Department leadership rejected the OIG's call for an Office of Civil Rights assessment. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Phil Reeker told the OIG in a July 1 memo that Johnson is "well aware of his responsibility to set the right tone for his mission and we believe his actions demonstrate that."

The department said that Johnson watched a video on workplace harassment, had senior embassy staff do the same, and encouraged personnel to take unconscious bias training.

But the OIG was not satisfied with that response -- leaving the issue "unresolved" in its final report and reiterating that Johnson's behavior should be independently assessed.

While the 43-page report focuses on several other issues, from locally employed staff's pension fund to consular office layout, it does not touch on Johnson's alleged outreach on behalf of President Trump to persuade the British government to hold the British Open at his golf course and resort in Scotland.

Johnson told colleagues that Trump personally asked him to do so, according to Lukens, who was in his role at the time but later pushed out. Lukens told ABC News that he counseled Johnson that it would be unethical, but that Johnson did it anyway and raised the issue with the U.K.'s secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell.

Trump denied that was true, and the British Open has not been held at Trump Turnberry. A U.K. government spokesperson told ABC News, "Mr. Johnson made no request of Mr. Mundell regarding the British Open or any other sporting event."

The OIG report said Johnon's "in-country outreach activities" were deemed "consistent" with his "duties to develop local contacts and potential leaders," but it's unclear if that includes any alleged efforts related to Trump Turnberry or whether the OIG investigated the issue in this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


State Department Photo by Ronny Przysucha / Public DomainBy CONOR FINNEGAN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- A new report from the State Department's federal watchdog found that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was within his legal authority to bypass Congress and approve $8.1 billion of arms sales, but it is not the "full" vindication that the top U.S. diplomat says it is.

The report from the State Department's beleaguered Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has been highly anticipated, as the investigation may be one of the reasons why Pompeo had former inspector general Steve Linick fired in May.

At the request of Democratic lawmakers, the OIG probed Pompeo's use of an emergency authority in May 2019 to sell weapons, ammunition and training to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are fighting rebels in neighboring Yemen, even after members of Congress had objected to them and placed holds on their approval.

The State Department took the rare step of briefing journalists Monday, the day before the report was released to the public. A senior State Department official said the report found "the department acted in complete accordance of the law and found no wrongdoing in the administration's exercise of the emergency authorities."

But that's not entirely true. The report said Pompeo's "emergency certification was executed in accordance with the requirements of the" law, but it faulted the department for not meeting its requirement to "fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties."

It also made clear that the OIG was not rendering a judgment on whether there was an "emergency" dire enough to legitimize the use of this special authority, which is relatively rare.

"No one ever doubted that the law provides for the authority to expedite the sale of weapons in the case of an emergency. The question was always, 'Did the administration abuse that authority in order to ram through more than $8 billion in sales to Gulf countries?'" said House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., after the report's release Tuesday. "This report tells us everything we suspected: The emergency was a sham. It was cooked up to get around congressional review of a bad policy choice."

The department's justification to Congress last year was the pressing threat of Iranian attacks and weapons in the region, particularly in Yemen, where it backs the Houthi rebels against the Yemeni government propped up by the Saudi coalition. That May, Iranian vessels attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf with mines, according to the U.S., amid Houthi rocket and drone attacks into Saudi territory.

But the department began work on an emergency certification in early April, according to an un-redacted version of the unclassified report, which was transmitted to Congress but not shared publicly. The OIG said redactions in the unclassified report were made at the State Department's insistence, citing classified information and, in the case of the classified version that was sent to Congress, executive privilege.

Democratic lawmakers like Engel have also seized on the report's finding that only four of 22 packages Pompeo authorized had been delivered by the time the report was concluded in December 2019.

In a statement to the OIG included in its report, R. Clarke Cooper, the top State Department official for arms sales, said, "The most critical deliveries... occurred in the near-immediate aftermath of the certification," but he didn't provide an update on how many packages had been delivered since then.

Cooper also pushed back on the OIG's main concern -- that the department didn't properly take into account its obligation to ensure U.S.-sold weapons didn't kill or injure civilians. The Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes have caused the majority of civilian casualties, according to the United Nations, and many of those weapons, particularly precision-guided munitions or "smart bombs," are American-provided.

Beyond the $8.1 billion of emergency arms, the Trump administration has also authorized since January 2017 $11.2 billion of arms in smaller packages that did not require congressional approval -- bypassing possible obstruction through another technically legal process, including with more smart bombs.

"The department carried out, and continues to carry out, due diligence on all sales to the standards required by law" and acted within its authority on the smaller transfers, Cooper told the OIG.

Cooper has played a central role in the fight, testifying before the House last June, and Democrats attacked him Tuesday, accused him personally of lying.

"This report confirms what we already know: This Administration has no qualms about lying to the American people. Rarely, however, are those lies so blatant and so dangerous as this one," said Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., who questioned Cooper during that hearing last year.

In the face of Democrats' outrage Tuesday, Pompeo again said the report had "fully vindicated" him and his staff, turning as he has repeatedly to attack Democratic lawmakers: "I'm sorry that @RepEliotEngel and @SenatorMenendez misuse their committees for political games," he tweeted.

Pompeo declined to be interviewed for the report, citing his travel schedule, according to the OIG. While its investigation wrapped in December, it did not release the report as it sought that interview and then because of restrictions on personnel due to COVID-19.

Pompeo, who later submitted answers in writing to the OIG, had President Donald Trump fire the inspector general under whom the investigation began, Steve Linick. Calling him a "bad actor," Pompeo at one point seemed to cite the OIG probe of the emergency arms sales for his ouster.

"He was investigating policies he simply didn't like. That's not the role of an inspector general. This didn't have anything to do with retaliation. This was about an IG who was attempting to undermine the mission of the United States Department of State," Pompeo told Fox News on May 28.

After Linick was fired, Trump tapped a Stephen Akard, a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence, to fill in as acting inspector general. But Akard, who also retained his title as director of the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions, resigned from both positions last week after less than three months on the job.

Akard had recused himself from this probe, with Diana Shaw, his former deputy and the new acting inspector general, signing off on the final report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- After a full year of government turmoil, many Puerto Ricans were expecting to exercise their democratic right on the island's primaries Sunday -- but ballots were not ready.

Primaries for the two main parties in Puerto Rico were scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and end by 4 p.m., but by Sunday morning at least half of the island's voting precincts didn't have ballots.

Around 9 a.m., Puerto Rico's Election Committee issued a statement announcing an extension of voting hours to those centers reporting a delay in ballot handouts. The extension made the hours for voting 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"Despite the committee's stepbacks, the people of Puerto Rico can be certain that they will be able to exercise their right to vote in these local primaries," read the written statement.

By noon, some electoral teams were still at the committee's headquarters organizing voting materials, while hundreds of Puerto Ricans kept arriving at voting centers.

Some electoral volunteers were forced to tell voters that "ballots never arrived."

As the situation became dire, presidents of the pro-statehood Progressive New Party (known as PNP in Spanish) and Popular Democratic Party (known as PPD in Spanish) held an emergency meeting with the head of the island's electoral commission demanding answers for the delay.

After the meeting ended, PNP president Thomas Rivera Schatz and PPD's president, Anibal Jose Torres, said they were suggesting the suspension of primaries in centers that had not received ballots by 1:45 p.m.

This determination was later submitted in a resolution by the electoral commissioners' secretary, Angel Rosa Barrios.

What went wrong?

Candidates, including the active governor, Wanda Vázquez Garced, suggested the electoral commission was responsible for this chaotic situation.

"It's clear that the electoral commission has been highly irresponsible," Vázquez Garced said Sunday, while demanding the resignation of the commission's president, Jose Ernesto Dávila.

In an interview with El Nuevo Día, Dávila said the issue was linked to a delay in the handout of ballots from the printing company, leading to a slow preparation of the voting material.

Despite knowing about the delay, Dávila said he didn't flag it earlier thinking they could ultimately complete the task in time.

"No one, including electoral commissioners and myself, raised the issue earlier because we thought we could move forward with the event," said Dávila.

Days before the primaries, multiple local outlets reported issues such as lack of organization, lack of materials and ballot shortages. But despite the uncertainty, Dávila assured El Nuevo Día, at the time, that the primaries would be a "success."

What's next?

Since hundreds of Puerto Ricans across the island weren't able to vote due the halt in primaries, multiple complaints have been filed in courts.

The Puerto Rico Supreme Court intervened and took claim of at least four complaints made by candidates. It has yet to make a decision regarding next steps.

The PNP party has two candidates running for the gubernatorial nomination: Vázquez Garced and Pedro Pierluisi. The PPD party has three candidates running for the gubernatorial nomination: Sen. Eduardo Bhatia, D-P.R., Mayor Carlos Delgado and Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

Mayors, representatives and senators of multiple municipalities in the island were also part of Sunday's primary.

Some candidates are demanding to resume elections as soon as possible, but Dávila said in a radio interview Tuesday that the commission won't be able to resume primaries before Sunday.

While the Puerto Rico Supreme Court has yet to announce a decision, the island is scheduled to have general elections on Nov. 3.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WILMINGTON, Delaware) --  Former Vice President Joe Biden named his former campaign trail rival, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate.

Biden announced the decision in an email to supporters.

"I know a thing or two about being Vice President. More than anything, I know it can’t be a political decision. It has to be a governing decision. If the people of this nation entrust me and Kamala with the office of President and Vice President for the next four years, we’re going to inherit a nation in crisis, a nation divided, and a world in disarray. We won’t have a minute to waste. That’s what led me to Kamala Harris," Biden said in the email.

He also harkened back to the first time he met Harris through his late son, Beau.

"They were both Attorneys General at the same time. He had enormous respect for her and her work. I thought a lot about that as I made this decision. There is no one’s opinion I valued more than Beau’s and I’m proud to have Kamala standing with me on this campaign," he said.


I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020


Soon after the announcement, the Biden campaign announced the pair would deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday.

As the vice presidential search wore on against the backdrop of racial tensions and social change, Biden was frequently questioned about whether he would choose a woman of color as his running mate.

By choosing Harris, who is Black and Indian American, Democrats are sending a powerful and historic statement ahead of the November election as the nation continues to grapple with social change. If elected, Harris would not only be the first woman to serve as vice president, but would also be the first person of color to be second in command and the highest-elected Asian American in history.

The junior senator from California has already achieved a number of historic milestones as the second African American woman and first South Asian American senator in history. She was also the first African American and first woman to serve as California's attorney general. Her friendship with a fellow attorney general, the late-Beau Biden, remains a bond between Harris and the Bidens.

Reaction from the political world

Responses the announcement were swift.

Jill Biden tweeted at Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, who has the potential to become the first second husband in American history.

"Are you ready?" she tweeted, to which he responded, "Ready to work!"

Ready to work! Let’s go @DrBiden! https://t.co/mY4lJhElbb

— Douglas Emhoff (@douglasemhoff) August 11, 2020

Susan Rice, former national security adviser to Obama who was also near the top of Biden's shortlist for vice president, was quick to issue a statement congratulating Harris.

"Senator Harris is a tenacious and trailblazing leader who will make a great partner on the campaign trail," she said. "I look forward to supporting the Biden-Harris ticket with all my energy and commitment."

Obama called it "a good day for our country" in a tweet about the announcement.

"I’ve known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time," he wrote. "She is more than prepared for the job. She's spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake."

I’ve known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing. pic.twitter.com/duJhFhWp6g

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 11, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a statement, called the choice of Harris a "historic and proud milestone for our country."

Both former president Bill Clinton and Democratic nominee for president in 2016 Hillary Clinton tweeted at Biden and Harris welcoming the decision.

Hillary Clinton said Harris has "already proven to be an incredible public servant and leader," an argument the now Biden-Harris campaign is already touting.

I'm thrilled to welcome @KamalaHarris to a historic Democratic ticket. She's already proven herself to be an incredible public servant and leader. And I know she’ll be a strong partner to @JoeBiden. Please join me in having her back and getting her elected. pic.twitter.com/cmtOO8Gqqv

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 11, 2020

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer -- who recently met with Biden, a source confirmed to ABC News -- used "#WeHaveHerBack" in her tweet congratulating Harris.

Florida Rep. Val Demings, another member of Congress who made Biden's shortlist, expressed gratitude for being considered and excitement to help the presumptive Democratic ticket win in November.

"For a little girl who grew up poor, Black and female in the South to be considered during this process has been an incredible honor. I feel so blessed. To see a Black woman nominated for the first time reaffirms my faith that in America, there is a place for every person to succeed no matter who they are or where they come from," Demings said in a statement.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the last to suspend his 2020 presidential campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic, offered his congratulations in a tweet.

"Congratulations to @KamalaHarris, who will make history as our next Vice President," the senator from Vermont wrote. "She understands what it takes to stand up for working people, fight for health care for all, and take down the most corrupt administration in history. Let’s get to work and win."

Congratulations to @KamalaHarris, who will make history as our next Vice President. She understands what it takes to stand up for working people, fight for health care for all, and take down the most corrupt administration in history. Let’s get to work and win.

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 11, 2020

Another former presidential candidate who was also on the vice presidential shortlist, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., added in her congratulatory tweet that she is "so looking forward to seeing Kamala take on Pence on the debate stage.”

President Donald Trump tweeted out a video slamming Harris in response to the news.

Later, during a press conference at the White House, Trump was asked about Harris.

“I was a little surprised at the pick. A lot of people would say that might be the pick," the president said.

"We’ll see how she works out," Trump added. "She did very, very poorly in the primaries, as you know. She was expected to do well, and she was -- she ended up at right around 2%. And spent a lot of money."

He went on to say he wouldn't forget how "nasty" she was to Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court nomination -- and suggested Biden should feel disrespected by Harris too.

"It is hard to pick somebody that is disrespectful. She said things during the debate, during the Democratic primary debates, that were horrible about Sleepy Joe. And I would think that he would not have picked her," Trump said.


In the Senate, Harris serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on the Budget. Her tough questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of the instances that increased Harris’ popularity among Democrats on a national level.

In recent months, Harris advocated for legislative policies aiming to alleviate the aftershocks millions of Americans felt in the wake of the novel coronavirus. She also drew on her experiences as a woman of color to call for change in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Recently, Harris, along with her colleague and former presidential campaign trail rival, Sen. Cory Booker, gave emotional arguments in favor of making lynching a federal crime. The pair, along with other high-profile Democrats, also introduced legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

During the Democratic primary campaign, Harris -- the sole Black woman in the running -- was amplified as a top contender following a debate performance in which she took Biden to task over his past stances on busing policies.

"There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me," Harris said at the time.

Following the debate, Biden complimented Harris.

"She is a first-rate intellect, a first-rate candidate and a real competitor," he told reporters at an event in Iowa last year. "I have mixed emotions about it because she is really a solid, solid person and loaded with talent. I’m sure she’s not dropping out on wanting to make the changes she cares about.”

Harris suspended her presidential campaign in early December, and endorsed Biden after his Super Tuesday sweep.

She served as a top surrogate for the Biden campaign amid the pandemic landscape and was one of his top fundraisers. With traditional campaign events severely limited due to safety concerns, Harris participated in a variety of virtual events to back Biden, including roundtable discussions, state-specific appearances and even a virtual concert fundraiser featuring high-profile DJs.

Harris’ entry to the presidential campaign is likely to see criticism from some social activists who do not feel that she could serve as an agent of change for policing reform given her past record as a prosecutor, a notion Harris adamantly pushes back against.

"This is simply wrong, it's just absolutely wrong. When I was attorney general of California, I instituted one of the first requirements that law enforcement officers receive training on racial implied bias and procedural justice," Harris said during a cable news interview in June.

"I'm the first that created a whole division and approach, that actually became a national model," she added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday again advocated for college football in the fall, falsely claiming that coronavirus "just attacks old people" and that young, healthy college athletes are "not going to have a problem."

"People don't realize it's a tiny percentage of people that, that gets sick," he said in an interview with 'Outkick' on Fox Sports Radio. "It just attacks, old people, especially old people with bad heart, diabetes, or some kind of a physical problem."

A few hours after Trump's comments, the Big Ten Conference announced the "postponement" of football and all other fall sports, including all regular season and tournament contests, after consulting with doctors and an advisory council.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.

Other major conferences could follow suit. The Big 10 decision was made amid concerns about the coronavirus and lingering long-term effects, including a rare heart condition that identified in several college athletes.

Eduardo Rodriguez, a 27-year-old star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was recently diagnosed with myocarditis, heart inflammation that team doctors believe stemmed from his COVID-19 infection, and will not play for the rest of the Major League Baseball season.

While older Americans are considered more vulnerable to COVID-19 and the mortality rates for younger people remains low, hospitals have seen a growing number of younger patients admitted with severe symptoms throughout the summer as the virus has spread across the country.

Public health experts and medical officials have also warned about the potential for long-term health effects from COVID-19 given how little is known about the novel coronavirus. And, officials are concerned that young people who do become infected but don’t exhibit symptoms are spreading the virus to other, more vulnerable individuals.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic National Convention will feature a star-studded array of the country’s most prominent party leaders, key allies of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and rising stars in Democratic circles -- with former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Second Lady Jill Biden, former President Barack Obama, and the former vice president headlining each of the four nights.

Monday, the first night of the convention, showcases a slate of speakers that reflect the ideological spectrum lined up behind Biden’s candidacy, according to a schedule released by the Democratic Party.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the progressive stalwart who was Biden’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination, will speak on Monday evening, the same night that former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former GOP presidential contender who competing against President Trump in 2016, is slated to speak.

Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who is still rumored to be in contention as Biden’s running mate and met with the former vice president on Aug. 2, will all also speak on Monday, along with Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who has opted to remain mostly on the sidelines throughout the 2020 political season, is emerging front and center at a crucial time for the party to project unity, and will deliver the keynote speech on Monday night.

Tuesday features both a look at some of the party's more established leaders and its youngest stars, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former President Bill Clinton.

Former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, who briefly oversaw the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, and Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, a close friend of Biden's who was one of the co-chairs of his vice presidential search team, are also slated to speak Tuesday, while former Second Lady Jill Biden will deliver the night’s keynote speech.

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential nominee, is set to speak on Wednesday, the same night as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and some of the women speculated to comprise Biden’s shortlist for a vice president, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman from Arizona who was severely injured when a gunman opened fire at a campaign event in Tucson, will also speak. The night leads up to a speech by the soon-to-be-named vice presidential nominee, just before Obama is set to close out the night.

The event culminates on Thursday, when a number of the women considered to be in contention to be Biden’s running mate -- including California Sen. Kamala Harris, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth -- speak in the lead up to Biden's speech, during which he will formally accept the party’s presidential nomination.

Other speakers set for the mostly virtual event on Thursday include a number of Biden’s former 2020 rivals -- Sen. Cory Booker and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg -- as well as California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, and members of Biden’s family. While some of the speeches will be live, others will be pre-recorded - a result of the changing circumstances due to the pandemic and the need to minimize any technical issues.

Andrew Yang, a former presidential contender who is not among the listed speakers, expressed some dismay about not being included in the schedule. But Yang is expected to be part of a segment featuring former 2020 presidential candidates.

I’ve got to be honest I kind of expected to speak.

— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) August 11, 2020

All of the speeches are set to take place during two hours of primetime, 9-11 p.m. ET, with each day of the gathering centering around the theme of "Uniting America" -- one that the party views as a sharp contrast between Biden’s vision and leadership and Trump’s and one that also draws on the chief conflict throughout the primary that frequently pitted the moderate faction against the progressive wing.

In the months since wrapping up the Democratic primary and before he formally takes the helm of the party, Biden has attempted to navigate those dueling political currents that he needs to tame to successfully execute his primary goal: to unite the entire Democratic coalition.

The slate of speakers aims to highlight Biden’s efforts to not only court uncertain progressives, but also demonstrate his commitment to broadening the coalition, which includes some disillusioned Republicans such as Kasich, that he hopes will deliver him the White House in November. Additional speakers, including national leaders, advocates and celebrities will be announced in the coming days, according to convention planners.

The convention, which was planned to be in Milwaukee in July, has been hobbled by the virus. Organizers first pushed the date back to August, then pared-back the event by anchoring it in the city with a mix of virtual events and, ultimately, announced earlier this month that the gathering was moving to an almost entirely virtual affair, with Biden scheduled to accept the nomination from his home state of Delaware.

Details around Biden’s speech have yet to be released, but his decision reflects just how much the coronavirus pandemic has transformed planning for the quadrennial event. Delegates and members of Congress, too, were told to stay home rather than travel to Milwaukee.

Less than one week out, an event that historically takes years to plan, is the capstone of the party's nominating process and typically attracts thousands of supporters and party loyalists is still being finalized.

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(WASHINGTON) -- A federal appeals court Tuesday heard arguments over whether a district judge overstepped his authority by not initially accepting the Justice Department's controversial push to drop its criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Late last month, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a three-judge panel's 2-1 ruling that would have ordered D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to accept the Justice Department's request to drop the case.

In Tuesday's hearing, though, several judges appeared to express concern over taking the extraordinary step of intervening in the case before Sullivan holds a scheduled hearing to consider arguments on the DOJ's motion.

"It's the core of any judge's job to assess cases and view the strongest arguments that can be made on both sides," D.C. Circuit Judge Cornelia Pillard said, in an exchange with Flynn's attorney Sidney Powell. "Your position is, 'no,' he can't hear both sides from the law he has to drop the case like a hot potato without adversary closing argument."

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, but later sought to reverse his plea alleging wrongdoing by the agents who interviewed him. Attorney General William Barr earlier this year moved to drop the case after he said a review uncovered evidence that undercut the legitimacy of the FBI's investigation into Flynn at the time of his interview.

In Tuesday's hearing, acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall revealed Barr's motivation for seeking to drop the case was based on information that has been made public as well as other certain "undisclosed" information.

"The attorney general based that decision or that judgment on the basis of lots of information, some of it is public and fleshed out in the motion and some of it is not," Wall said.

Barr has previously said the review of Flynn's case is incorporated at least in part in a broader investigation by U.S. attorney John Durham into the origins of the Russia probe.

The DOJ and Flynn's legal team have since accused Sullivan of impropriety in his appointment of an outside former judge tasked with presenting arguments against the Justice Department, as well as evaluating whether Flynn may have committed perjury by revoking his previous guilty plea.

"General Flynn is a defendant without a prosecutor," Flynn's attorney Sidney Powell said Tuesday. "Only the Department of Justice can decide the public interest and myriad factors inherent in pursuing a prosecution."

Powell argued that the court should not simply overrule Sullivan, but ensure he has no further involvement in overseeing Flynn's case moving forward.

"There are no circumstances now under which Judge Sullivan can continue on this case because his bias demands his disqualification and just the very appearance of bias is enough to demand his disqualification," Powell said.

At times she received skeptical responses from judges on the panel, including D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith who said that it wasn't a judge's job to simply be a "rubber stamp" when an interested party puts forward a motion, like the Justice Department did when it sought to drop the case.

"Do you have a strong case?" Griffith said. "In that case, why not simply appeal [if Sullivan decides not to dismiss the case]?"

Griffith later added that one of the primary reasons judges normally have discretion to decide whether to accept or deny motions is so they could "examine cases of favoritism for politically powerful defendants."

In a blistering line of questioning to Wall, the acting solicitor general, Judge Pillard argued the pattern of facts with the DOJ's extraordinary move to reverse itself that Flynn should face justice for lying to the FBI seemed to clearly justify Sullivan's initial hesitance to accept its motion at face value.

"The district judge at the government's urging accepted [Flynn's guilty plea] as factually supported by the government's evidence -- [Sullivan] didn't dream up this plea of guilty," Pillard said. "And the government demonstrably said it could meet our burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, he looked at that, he scrutinized that. And now your insisting that the district court contradict an order that he previously granted, he got on board -- and now you're saying, 'actually, nevermind.'"

Sullivan's attorney, Beth Wilkinson, has noted that Sullivan has not decided one way or the other on whether to sign off on the Justice Department's motion to dismiss Flynn's case, and that his motivation in appointing an outside judge was to simply hear all relevant arguments.

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hermosawave/iStockBy KENDALL KARSON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The presidential primary comes to an end on Tuesday, with Connecticut bookending a primary season that has spanned more than half the year -- another reflection of the reach of the coronavirus' impact on the 2020 election.

Despite the relatively low-key races in the Constitution State, voters in Georgia, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin are also heading to the voting booth for runoff elections or statewide primaries that bring some high stakes for the rest of the ballot.

A candidate who has espoused racist, anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic views and supported the QAnon conspiracy theory is one runoff election away from becoming the Republican nominee in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of the freshman "squad," faces a tough primary challenge in her deep blue Minneapolis district. Meanwhile, Wisconsin and Georgia, two states whose earlier primaries were plunged into chaos amid the coronavirus, are set to reattempt running elections as the pandemic continues.

Here are four things to watch on Tuesday:

The end of the primary season -- for the presidential race

Connecticut's contest closes out a presidential primary that landed in a far different place from where it began. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was on the ropes throughout the first month of voting in February, is now the presumptive nominee. In-person campaigning is nearly non-existent less three months before November's election, after the coronavirus outbreak upended the election. And now the primary process ends two months after it was intended to finish out.

Voters in Connecticut will be the last to weigh in on the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries that have been settled for months, but still, Tuesday provides election officials with a much-needed test-run ahead of the fall.

Election officials implemented a massive push for vote-by-mail in a state that historically has been resistant to changing its electoral process -- and a similar blueprint is planned for the fall.

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an emergency order allowing for all voters to use absentee ballots -- a departure from previous elections in a state that typically limits absentee voting to only those who are out of state for election day or physically incapable of getting to the polls. And Secretary of State Denise Merrill mailed applications to all registered Republican and Democratic voters -- a total of 1.2 million -- at the end of June.

In-person voting will also be available on Tuesday, and polling locations are expected to undergo deep cleanings to safeguard voters and election workers from the risks of the virus. And for those seven polling locations still without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaias of the 748 polling places statewide, the secretary of state's office confirmed to ABC News on Monday that all seven are using generators to provide them with power to run smooth elections.

Will Georgia Republicans boost a QAnon backer?

In Georgia's 9th Congressional District, which is one of the most conservative in the state, the race to replace Rep. Doug Collins features primary runoffs for both parties. The seat is now up for grabs after Collins, who is one of President Donald Trump's staunchest allies in Congress, opted to run in the Senate special election instead. Tuesday's race will likely determine the solid red district's next member of Congress.

Matt Gurtler, a state lawmaker representing the 8th district in the state House since 2016, is squaring off against Andrew Clyde, who served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years and deployed on three combat missions to Kuwait and Iraq. Gurtler has earned the endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and was the top vote-getter in the crowded June primary, topping Clyde by 3,533 votes, when nine candidates were on the ballot, and the majority of the votes were cast for the other seven candidates.

On the Democratic side, Brooke Siskin, who previously sought political office in 2012 when she ran for the state House, is facing off against Devin Pandy, who served in the U.S. Army.

Siskin received the most votes in June's three-candidate primary. Overall, the total votes cast for Democrats were dwarfed by the amount of votes cast for Republicans.

In the most closely watched primary on Tuesday, runoffs are being held in the deep red 14th Congressional District, where a controversial candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a businesswoman who has embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory, could potentially be the GOP nominee. If she wins, Greene will force national Republicans to wrestle with backing another candidate who supports the fringe movement, which has roiled the party over candidates who openly embrace baseless conspiracy theories.

Greene is facing off against John Cowan, who finished second in the June primary, about 20 points behind Greene. The controversy over Greene's candidacy was ignited when POLITICO unearthed hours of Facebook videos in which Greene spewed racist, anti-Semitic and Islamaphobic views; falsely accused Democratic megadonor and Holocaust survivor George Soros of collaborating with Nazis; said that white men "are the most mistreated group of people" in the country; and targeted Omar, a Muslim, over her religion, saying that members of Congress shouldn't be allowed to be sworn in on the Quran.

While some members of Congress condemned Greene and endorsed Cowan after POLITICO's reporting, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, others have stood by their endorsements, including the House Freedom Caucus's fundraising arm and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemned her comments, but as of last week, McCarthy was "remaining neutral" in the race.

Greene was initially running the 6th Congressional District -- a battleground seat currently held by Democrat Lucy McBath -- but she abandoned that bid in late December after Rep. Tom Graves, a Republican, announced he was retiring after holding the seat for a decade.

Omar's fight tests party's liberal wing

A week after Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib silenced any doubts about her re-election -- securing a 30-point margin of victory in her Detroit district -- another member of the "squad," is poised to defend her seat on Tuesday in one of the most expensive primary campaigns in the state.

Omar, who gained national prominence as a progressive firebrand, has been battling various controversies since she arrived in Washington in 2018. Antone Melton-Meaux, a Black lawyer and mediator, has emerged as Omar's most serious challenger in the Minnesota 5th district race, which includes Minneapolis and its suburbs.

Larry Jacobs, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, said that he expected Omar to face a tough fight, but he still expects her to "prevail" if turnout is in her favor because she is a progressive in a progressive district and she has experience running campaigns, whereas Melton-Meaux is "new to politics."

"All those things most of the time give you a win for the incumbent," Jacobs told ABC News, but added that the overarching storyline in this race is how did "someone who has all those things going in her favor end up in a dogfight."

Both Omar and Melton-Meaux have each raised over $4 million in donations. The large majority of Omar's fundraising comes from small individual donations. Much of Melton-Meaux's funds, however, have stemmed from large donors and from pro-Israel political action committees.

Both candidates have gained a number of notable local and national endorsements. Last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune put their support behind Melton-Meaux, while prominent Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz backed Omar.

Jacobs said there's a lot of "uncertainty" on both sides, but it is still "possible" for Melton-Meaux to win. Many will be voting by mail in Minnesota due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jacobs said that if there's a clear winner he expects the results to be known "within a day or two," but if it's a very close race, "it could stretch on for weeks."

In nearby Wisconsin, another incumbent Democrat is facing a primary challenge in the 3rd Congressional District. Rep. Ron Kind, one of 30 Democrats in a Trump-won district in western Wisconsin that borders Minnesota, is up against Mark Neumann, a doctor, Franciscan friar and missionary, who is seeking to out-flank him from the left.

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, Republicans are hoping to flip a Democratic-held seat in Minnesota's 7th district, where Trump won by a large margin in 2016.

Five Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination to challenge incumbent Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat who has held his seat in Congress since 1991, but who has been losing support in an increasingly conservative district.

The crowded field includes former-Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, who was endorsed by Trump in March, and retired Air Force Maj. Dave Hughes, who won the Republican primary in 2016 and 2018, but failed to unseat Peterson.

"I would say (Fischbach's) got to be the favorite because she has name recognition and she does have the support of the Republican Party," Jacobs said.

Hughes was endorsed by Trump in September 2018 but last December, the Trump campaign called on the Republican to stop touting Trump's 2018 endorsement.

In the state's Senate race, Jacobs said that neither incumbent Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, nor her Republican challenger Jason Lewis are expected to face any real "action" in their primary battles and they have their eyes set on the general election.

Take 2 for pandemic elections

Both Wisconsin and Georgia are aiming to run far smoother elections than those held in the spring and early summer. They were some of the cycle's messiest primaries and foreshadowed potentially graver challenges awaiting in the fall.

Election officials in both states have implemented significant changes to avoid the problems that plagued their ability to conduct elections earlier this year.

In battleground Wisconsin, which was one of the first to hold an election during the pandemic, officials appeared to be learning from what went wrong the last time around.

In Milwaukee, the state's largest city, there will be 168 polling locations on election day, according to the city election commission, a sharp increase from the five that were available for the April 7 primary. There are typically 180 polling sites that are operational on election day in the city. In Madison, the second largest city in the state, there will be 86 polling locations on Tuesday, an uptick from the 66 that were used in April, and only slightly down from the 92 used normally.

Similar to April, the National Guard is being deployed to assist at in-person polling sites as poll workers. Those sites will also have proper sanitation and social distancing procedures in place.

To avoid ballots not arriving in time, state election officials are encouraging voters to drop their absentee ballots at drop-boxes or their normal polling place on election day, rather than through the mail since the U.S. Postal Service advised that it can take up to one week for mail to be delivered, according to the chief elections official Meagan Wolfe. So far, 903,760 ballots have been requested by Wisconsin voters, and 507,709 have been returned, which is already nearly five times the absentee ballot total from 2018 and more than six time the total from 2016.

In Georgia, the runoffs will be held in 94 of the state's 159 counties on Tuesday. That includes a district attorney race in Fulton County, where 70% of the June 9 primary problems took place. It will offer election officials a second chance at a dress rehearsal ahead of November.

For the June primary, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, opted to send all 6.9 million active registered voters absentee ballot applications, and from that, his office created "rollover lists." Anyone who is 65 or older, or disabled will get an absentee ballot mailed to them for the rest of this election cycle. That amounted to about 505,000 voters statewide, and 327,000 of those voters reside in the counties holding runoff elections, Sterling said. Those ballots are mailed by the secretary's office.

With the secretary of state's office blaming most of the issues stemming from the June primary on the lack of poll worker training as opposed to technical issues with the machines, they have since "trained hundreds of field techs" who will be deployed in the four biggest counties -- Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb -- and Chatham, which is home to Savannah, where 93% of the problems were on June 9.

Ahead of the primary, Raffensperger's office distributed thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer and hundreds of thousands of gloves and reusable face masks for poll workers to the counties, and that supply is expected to be used for the runoffs as well. His office also distributed signage explaining social distancing measures and gave guidance regarding how to manage lines.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


U.S. House of RepresentativesBy ARIELLE MITROPOULOS and DEENA ZARU, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is set to defend her seat in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District on Tuesday, in one of the most expensive primary campaigns in the state.

Antone Melton-Meaux, a Black lawyer and mediator, has emerged as Omar's most serious challenger. He has capitalized on the several controversies that have marred the congresswoman's first term, including Omar's criticism pertaining to the influence of pro-Israel donors and accusations of potential campaign finance violations.

In an interview with ABC News, Melton-Meaux described himself as a progressive who wants to address the "underlying systemic issues of racism," the inequities in education, housing, health care and the economy, as well as to move toward reducing the carbon footprint.

He asserted that his background uniquely positions him for the challenges of a polarized nation, depicting himself as a "bridge-builder."

Omar, a Somali-American refugee, rose to the national spotlight when she became the first Muslim woman to be elected into Congress in 2018, along with Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

Omar's national profile gained further prominence as a member of "the squad" -- an informal name for a four-member group of progressive freshman congresswomen: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Tlaib, who have been popular targets of President Donald Trump and his allies.

The catch-22 of celebrity

While her national profile has turned Omar into a progressive firebrand, her opponent has been weaponizing her celebrity status.

Melton-Meaux has repeatedly critiqued Omar as disengaged from her constituents, more focused on achieving personal fame and national celebrity than on resolving the district's problems.

Omar has strongly rejected Melton-Meaux's contentions, defending her record in Washington. The congresswoman told ABC News that "even in the face of death threats, I have made it my top priority to be in the community with Minnesotans and listen to them."

Larry Jacobs, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, said that he expected Omar to face a tough fight, but he still expects her to "prevail" if turnout is in her favor because she is a progressive in a progressive district -- who won by more than 70% in 2018 and has experience running campaigns, whereas Melton-Meaux is "new to politics."

"All those things most of the time give you a win for the incumbent," Jacobs told ABC News, but pointing to the controversies surrounding her campaign, added that the overarching storyline in this race is how did "someone who has all those things going in her favor end up in a dog fight?"

A representative from Omar's campaign told ABC News on Monday that the team is "confident" ahead of the primary.

"We campaign hard because elections are about more than just winning: They're an opportunity to organize your community behind progressive change and get people more involved in our Democratic process," he said.

"In the 5th [Congressional] District we believe in having marginalized voices be prioritized," he added. "We believe everyone should have health care, a roof over their head, and a livable planet. And we believe that this congressional seat is one that belongs to the people and will remain with the people."

Jacobs said it is often difficult to "project" an opponent's turnout and there's a lot of "uncertainty" on both sides, but it is still "possible" for Melton-Meaux to win. ABC News has reached out to the Melton-Meaux campaign, but a request for comment was not returned.

Many will be voting by mail in Minnesota due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jacobs said that if there's a clear winner, he expects the results to be known "within a day or two," but if it's a very close race, "it could stretch on for weeks."

Fundraising and endorsement battle

Both Omar and Melton-Meaux have each raised over $4 million in donations. The large majority of Omar's fundraising comes from small individual donations.

Much of Melton-Meaux's funds, however, have stemmed from large donors, and from pro-Israel political action committees, including $382,000 in donations bundled by the Pro-Israel America PAC. Another group, NORPAC, has raised over $105,000 for Omar's challenger.

He has stated that he does not feel these donations from PACs, which he describes as "nonpartisan organizations that have given to both Democrats and Republicans," will sway any policy decisions.

Melton-Meaux has used his influx in campaign donations to push his message across television airwaves, pledging in one of his advertisements that he would "be chasing cameras or selling books," as he suggests Omar has.

Further, a pro-Israel super PAC called Americans for Tomorrow's Future has spent nearly $450,000 in direct mail advertisements and anti-Omar media placements. The ads portray Omar as corrupt and putting herself first.

Omar, however, has hit back, stating in a new advertisement that Melton-Meaux is not a true progressive, and that "as a partner at one of the worst union-busting law firms in the country, Melton-Meaux defended corporations accused of mistreating workers and firing pregnant employees."

Both candidates have gained a number of notable local and national endorsements. Last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune put their support behind Melton-Meaux for his "strong progressive values," and wrote that "while Omar wants to lead a movement, Melton-Meaux seeks to serve the 5th District."

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz are just some of the few big names backing Omar's re-election.

Minnesota has been the site of massive protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, and both Omar and Melton-Meaux have expressed support for the demonstrations.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump was rushed out of the White House briefing room Monday evening after an officer-involved shooting nearby.

After he returned to continue his coronavirus response briefing, Trump said he had been taken to the Oval Office by the Secret Service and told reporters that law enforcement had shot someone outside the White House.

"There was a shooting, law enforcement shot someone, seems to be someone, and the suspect is on the way to the hospital," Trump said as the briefing restarted following the sudden, but brief, lockdown.

The incident, on 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, did not threaten any Secret Service protectees, nor was the White House complex breached, law enforcement officials said.

"The suspect approached the officer and told the officer he had a weapon," Secret Service Uniformed Division Chief Tom Sullivan told reporters late Monday. "The suspect then turned around, ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew an object from his clothing. He then crouched into a shooter’s stance as if he was about to fire a weapon. The Secret Service officer discharged his weapon, striking the individual in the torso."

Sullivan declined to answer reporters' questions about what the object was.

According to another source familiar with the matter, the Secret Service called for an ambulance at 5:55 p.m. and one came shortly after. The suspect, described as a 51-year-old male, was transported to a hospital in critical condition with one gunshot wound to the upper body, the source said.

Earlier Monday, a source told ABC News that the suspect opened fired on a non-White House employee. Trump also said during the briefing that "from what I understand" the suspect was armed. He said the suspect was shot outside the White House grounds but close to the fence.

"It's unfortunate that this is the world, but the world has always been a dangerous place. It's not something that's unique," he added.

In addition to the Secret Service, the Metropolitan Police Department was assisting with the investigation.

The president was taken out of the briefing room and into the Oval Office for about nine minutes.

"We don't know" if the suspect mentioned a name, he said. "It might not have had anything to do with me."

Trump said he "didn't even think about not coming back" to brief reporters.

Asked what the Secret Service agent told him when he was approached mid-sentence, Trump said, "Just told me when he came up, you pretty much saw it like I did. He said, 'Sir, could you please come with me?' So, you were surprised. I was surprised, also. I think it's probably -- it's pretty unusual but very, very professional people, they all do a fantastic job, as you know."

Responding to a question from reporters, Trump said he does not think the suspect "breached anything."

"It was on the outside grounds, so I don't believe anything was breached. I asked that question. They were relatively far away," Trump said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Cole DeLanceyBY: LIBBY CATHEY

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Monday that he will accept the Republican nomination for president on Aug. 27 at either the White House or at the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War and where Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history.

"We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations - The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C. We will announce the decision soon!" Trump said in a tweet.

Asked to characterize the message that Trump would send, if Gettysburg were his choice, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded, ''I won't get ahead of the president as to what his convention speech will look like. But the president has done a lot to bring this country together.

"We’ve faced unprecedented challenges and he’s worked to make sure that the American people are best equipped and taken care of to rise above the challenges that we face. And he has a strong record of the achievement that he will be touting on that day," she said.

Known to favor dramatic and patriotic backdrops, such as his July Fourth weekend Mount Rushmore campaign-style appearance, Trump likely would take advantage the optics of delivering a speech where Lincoln, emphasizing unity, the founders' ideals, and the soldiers' sacrifice, said, "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure," Lincoln began his 272-word speech on Nov. 19, 1863, ending with the resolve "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Trump has long compared himself to the president who ended slavery, telling Axios in a recent interview he's done more for the Black community than anyone -- "with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln."

As a candidate, Trump delivered a speech at Gettysburg in October 2016, where he called the venue an "amazing place," slammed the "totally rigged" political system and suggested the U.S. was as divided as it was during the Civil War.

Trump also threatened at the event to sue the women who've accused him of sexual misconduct -- but he never did.

Though the Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point for Union forces, memorials to Confederate soldiers are on prominent display around the battlefield and cemetery. Trump has defended keeping Confederate monuments as part of the nation's "legacy."

In July, amid growing calls nationwide to take down Confederate statues, the National Park Service issued a statement on those at Gettysburg, saying "these works and their inscriptions will not be altered, relocated, obscured, or removed, even when they are deemed inaccurate or incompatible with prevailing present-day values," unless directed by legislation or the National Park Service director.

Either venue -- Gettysburg or the White House -- is likely to spark controversy, since both are historic sites on federal government land, and Trump's campaign speeches are, of course, overwhelmingly partisan.

Gettysburg might be the favored option of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows who said he would prefer Trump give his speech "miles and miles away" from the White House after the president publicly floated the idea of having it there.

"Those decisions are still in flux, but I can tell you what I'm advocating for is miles and miles away from here," Meadows said, referring to the White House in an interview with "Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren" which aired Sunday

In a surprise reversal, Trump last month said he told the Republican National Committee to cancel convention events in Jacksonville, Florida, including his acceptance speech, as cases of the coronavirus surged in the state, despite Trump having previously demanded the RNC to relocated events to Jacksonville from Charlotte, North Carolina -- in large part to avoid social distancing and mask requirements.

The battlefield's outdoor venue would allow for a larger crowd and address questions about health concerns for those attending.

Trump said last week delivering the speech from the White House, on the last day of the Republican National Convention, "would be easiest from the standpoint of security."

"We are thinking about doing it from the White House because there's no movement. It's easy, and I think it's a beautiful setting and we are thinking about that. It's certainly one of the alternatives. It's the easiest alternative, I think it's a beautiful alternative," he told "Fox and Friends."

Trump has since faced backlash for that suggestion with some pointing to potential ethics violations.

The president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act, a federal law which forbids the use of executive branch employees and property for some forms of political activity, but ethics experts say the move violates the norm of drawing a firm line between the White House and political campaigns.

Even Senate Republicans raised eyebrows at the prospect.

"I assume that's not something that you could do. I assume there's some Hatch Act issues or something," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the second highest-ranking Republican senator, said last week. "I don't know the answer to that and I haven't heard him say that, but I think anything to do with federal property would seem to me to be problematic."

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., also said the president is "probably not allowed" to give his speech at the White House, adding he "probably shouldn't do it."

ABC News' Will Steakin and Justin Gomez contributed to this report.

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(WASHINGTON) -- The path to peace negotiations between the Taliban and an Afghan national delegation finally seems in sight -- and short.

On Sunday, a special Afghan council agreed to release 400 Taliban prisoners that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said were too dangerous for him to approve releasing on his own authority.

Their release this week should mean that as early as next week the militant group's political leaders will sit with an Afghan delegation to begin negotiations on the country's political future -- and that U.S. troops could fully exit the country in the coming months.

The negotiations are a product of the deal the U.S. and the Taliban signed in February. But a full U.S. withdrawal doesn't depend on them being successful, just them starting -- and President Donald Trump's repeated commitment to pulling out American forces has undermined the Afghan government's negotiating position, according to some critics.

Violence has increased in the months after that deal was signed. The United Nations reported late last month a 33% increase in deaths from Taliban attacks in the first six months of 2020, totaling nearly 1,300 civilians -- although it found a 13% decrease in the total number of killed and wounded civilians.

Despite the sustained violence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said over the weekend that another 3,600 U.S. troops will withdraw by November and the 2020 presidential election -- fulfilling a key Trump campaign promise, but potentially leaving Afghan security forces more vulnerable to Taliban attacks or possibly diminishing joint counter terrorism efforts against the Islamic State's affiliate in the region.

"We think that we can do all the core missions -- first and foremost being ensured the United States is not threatened by terrorists coming out of Afghanistan -- we can do those at a lower level," Esper told Fox News Saturday.

The U.S. has approximately 8,600 troops in Afghanistan now after drawing down from 14,000 as a condition of the U.S.-Taliban deal. Commanders like Gen. Austin Miller had said 8,600 was the minimum needed to sustain key counter terrorism and training missions, but the new draw down will leave less than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Since the February deal, the Taliban have continued to attack Afghan security forces, and with high-profile attacks by ISIS, levels of violence have increased in recent months.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani initially balked at releasing Taliban fighters, but the U.S.-Taliban deal committed his government to releasing 5,000 of them, in exchange for the Taliban releasing 1,000 government and security personnel as a goodwill gesture.

After releasing 4,600 prisoners, Ghani last week convened a Loya Jirga, a traditional council of elders and representatives, to decide on the freedom of the final 400 Taliban prisoners, saying they were too dangerous for him to approve the release of alone.

Under pressure from the U.S., the council voted for their release Sunday, but urged the Taliban to adopt a ceasefire.

A three-day truce for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha largely held at the start of August, but an attack against a military compound on Saturday killed seven military personnel and injured 16 others, according to The Associated Press. The Afghan Interior Ministry also reported Monday that 80 civilians were killed and 95 injured in Taliban attacks across country in the last week, per Afghanistan's 1TV News.

Amid that continued violence, the U.S. has pushed for the peace process to move forward, five months after intra-Afghan negotiations were scheduled to begin on March 10.

Chief U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad heralded the jirga's decision, tweeting late Sunday, "With these bold steps, after 40 years of war, a historic opportunity for peace is now possible; one that benefits all Afghans and contributes to regional stability and global security."

The two sides will meet in Doha, Qatar -- the Gulf Arab capital where the militant group has a political office -- per Khalilzad.

There are reports the first meeting could be as soon as Sunday, Aug. 16.

Calling the jirga's decision "a good step, a positive step," Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said only that negotiations could start within one week of their prisoners being freed, according to The Associated Press.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah CraigheadBy ALLISON PECORIN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Although President Donald Trump this past weekend signed executive actions to address some of his administration's most pressing priorities on COVID-19 relief, many congressional priorities have been left out.

Trump issued an executive order and three memoranda on Saturday dealing with unemployment benefits, protections for renters and home owners, a payroll tax deferral and a deferral of student loans.

He branded the move as swift administrative action after congressional Democrats failed to act and negotiations stalled.

But members of both political parties on Capitol Hill had concerns not covered by the executive actions -- issues they call essential.

In addition, the president has limited authority to mandate federal funding, which, under the Constitution, Congress must approve.

Here's a look at five key congressional priorities on COVID-19 relief not included in Trump's executive actions.

1. Support for schools

President Trump addressed the needs of some students who have taken on debt to fund their schooling, but for millions of students returning to elementary, secondary and university classrooms in the coming weeks, Trump's executive actions do little to help them.

As the virus continues to rage in the U.S., school administrators have said they need more funding to implement Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to keep students safe in the classroom, including assistance in creating more classroom space for socially distanced learning, funding for additional sanitation, and in many cases, financial assistance to launch partial or complete remote learning.

Congressional proposals from both Democrats and Republicans included funding for schools. The initial Democrat proposal including $1 billion to assist schools, and the initial Republican counter-proposal included $105 billion. That money would have gone to schools and universities to help them implement safety standards for students.

2. Additional aid for testing, treating and vaccine development

In most of the congressional negotiations, both parties agreed that additional funding for health care needs and vaccine development would be an essential part of the next COVID-19 relief package.

Democrats have argued that testing and treating is an essential lifesaving measure until a vaccine is on the market, and have advocated for funding on these fronts as well as vaccine development.

"We have to have this comprehensive, strategic testing and that leads to tracing and then that leads to treatment, et cetera," House Speaker Pelosi said on CNBC Thursday.

Republicans have also advocated funding for rapid vaccine development, arguing that the economy cannot fully recover until the virus is tamped down.

But Trump's executive actions on Saturday do not address any health-based aspects of the pandemic. There is no additional aid for health care providers in his actions, nor is there emphasis on testing, treatment or vaccination.

3. Support for the Paycheck Protection Program

Five million small and mid-sized businesses across the country are currently surviving in part because of a federal program implemented in the last stage of coronavirus relief that allows businesses to take out forgivable loans from the federal government in order to keep employees on their payrolls.

The window to apply for funding through this program has now passed despite the fact that some funding for loans remains.

Congress was torn on how to proceed with funding the program, but the belief that at least some sort of aid to small businesses was necessary enjoyed fairly broad bi-partisan support in Congress.

Without the program, many small businesses could go under, potentially increasing the amount of people requiring federal unemployment insurance. Though Trump did address unemployment on Saturday, he made no mention of the Paycheck Protection Program.

4. Assistance to state and local governments

State and local governments that are in some cases cash-strapped after surging funds to combat the virus, would receive no additional support under Trump's executive actions.

A centerpiece of the Democrat-proposed relief legislation is $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments. Republicans are cool to the idea, arguing that much of the state and local funding allocated in the previous coronavirus relief package had not been utilized by the states.

In a CNBC interview Monday morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the $1 trillion proposal "absurd."

President Trump has argued that many states were in financial disarray even before the pandemic, and has said that coronavirus should not be used as an excuse to bail out poorly managed states. He's accused Democrats of being singularly focused on getting aid to Democratic states running deficits.

"They want to be able to make up for many, many years -- in some cases, decades -- of bad management. We can’t do that," Trump said Saturday.

5. Liability protections for schools, health care providers and businesses

From the moment that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell returned to the Senate floor after a prolonged legislative break in May, he set his sites on the implementation of legal protections for schools, businesses and health care providers.

These liability protections, though unpopular with Democrats, were a red line for McConnell and many Senate Republicans who consistently warned of a "second pandemic of frivolous lawsuits" that schools, small businesses and health care providers could face as they attempted to re-open in the midst of the pandemic.

These liability protections were a pillar of the Republican proposal, but they were not included in Trump's executive orders over the weekend.

At the moment, these entities could still potentially be held liable for individuals contracting the virus while working, attending class or seeking treatment.

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