It’s Joe Biden vs. Elizabeth Warren, round 1

(CNN)There will be 10 Democratic presidential candidates onstage Thursday night in Houston, Texas. But all eyes will be — and should be — on only two: Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. They represent, broadly, the two paths before Democratic voters, who will spend the coming months figuring out which option has the better chance of defeating President Donald Trump. And remarkably, they’ve never shared a debate stage before. All of which means we — and they — will be in uncharted territory tonight. Which is exciting!

It’s debate week! (and 4 other big 2020 stories)

(CNN)With148 daysuntil the Iowa caucuses anda barely winnowed Democratic field still vying for the nomination, the 2020 election is already in full swing.Every Sunday, I round up the five BIG storylines you need to know to understand the upcoming week on the campaign trail. And they’re ranked — so the No. 1 story is the most important of the coming week. That means that there will be at least 11 candidates — and two nights of debates — for the fourth debate in October. (All 10 candidates who made it into the third debate also qualify for the fourth.) Who else might get in? Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is now the closest, having met the fundraising threshold (130,000 unique donors) …

Harris releases plan to give VA benefits to veterans with less-than-honorable discharges and reverse military transgender ban

Manchester, NH (CNN)Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris released a new plan Saturday that aims to expand Veteran Affairs health care and housing assistance for some veterans and reverse the Trump administration’s ban on transgender recruits joining the military. “I’ve personally prosecuted homicide cases. I’ve looked at more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you,” she told the silent room. “I have seen more scenes that were the scenes of violent crime than I care to tell you. I have not served in the military, but I have seen acts of some of the worst human behavior enough to know the impact that it has on those who are on the frontlines with boots on the ground.” Harris said the …

Why The Third Man is an essential primer for no-deal Brexit

As the classic noir gets a 70th anniversary re-release, its hard to ignore the parallels between a shattered postwar Vienna teeming with spivs and the future the Brexiters have in mind What perfect timing for The Third Man to step back out of the shadows. Often hailed as the finest film Britain ever made, a 70th anniversary re-release will see it return to cinemas with the government much in the market for symbols of national grandeur. While Boris Johnson has named his favourite film as Dodgeball for once, eerily believable as the great British breakdown goes on it is easy to imagine him waving a tiny Union Jack at Carol Reeds majestic noir. It is true, of course, that there …

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issues 8 executive orders aimed at preventing mass shootings

Washington (CNN)Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued eight executive orders aimed at preventing more mass shootings in the Lone Star State, his office announced on Thursday. Abbott also signed an order to mandate increased staffing at law enforcement fusion centers to better monitor online activity for potential threats and an order requiring that public safety officials work with mental health professionals and schools in creating threat assessment teams for their areas. Counties that receive grants from the governor’s office are to report “at least 90% of convictions within seven business days” to the Texas Department of Public Safety starting January 1, 2020, and the reporting must take place within five business days by January 1, 2021. The governor’s office said the …

Johnson could sacrifice majority by withdrawing whip from rebel MPs

Rebel Tories face deselection over Brexit, as PM abruptly cancels meeting with group including ex-ministers Boris Johnson is prepared to blow up his own parliamentary majority and withdraw the whip from dozens of Conservative MPs if they back plans to stop no-deal Brexit, Tory whips have warned potential rebels, in an extreme move by Downing Street that would pave the way for an imminent general election. As hostilities escalated, Johnson also signalled how serious his intention is to follow through the threat of deselection by suggestion from Michael Gove that the government may not feel bound by the legislation. Ahead of a historic week in parliament, a fierce briefing war erupted across the Conservative party as whips convened for Sunday …

Death and destruction: this is David Koch’s sad legacy | Alex Kotch

Anarcho-capitalism was the real cancer plaguing the billionaire libertarian. And it spread across universities, halls of Congress and the White House In 1992, billionaire industrialist David Koch was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and given just a few years to live. Thanks to his enormous wealth, he was able to purchase the best treatment in the world, and he survived 27 more years until his death last week. For all his adult life, hed led Koch Industries, a diversified manufacturing conglomerate, with his older brother Charles. Now taking in electronics components used in weapons systems. But first and foremost, Koch Industries mines and refines petroleum and operates pipelines to spread it throughout North America. Koch Industries, a private company, is …

Trump is the not-so-happy trade warrior

Washington (CNN)As warning signs of an economic slowdown bubble up at home, President Donald Trump has amped up his trade war with China.And he’s using a … unique … way to do so. Trump appointed Powell the chair of the Federal Reserve in 2018, but has (apparently) soured on the pick. “Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do. They put us at a disadvantage against our competition,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. He also said Wednesday that Powell had raised interest rates “too fast, too furious.” 

Democratic candidates unite in rage at Trump following latest mass shootings

(CNN)The mass shootings in Texas and Ohio have turned the 2020 presidential campaign into an increasingly visceral referendum on the nature of Donald Trump’s presidency and the message that delivered him to the White House. Former Vice President Joe Biden and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker laced their calls for unity on Wednesday with lacerating attacks on Trump in specially scheduled speeches, Biden’s in Iowa and Booker from the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, where nine black parishioners were killed by a white supremacist gunman in 2015. From the beginning of his campaign, Biden has cast the 2020 election as a “battle for the soul of this nation.” But in the video announcing his candidacy, and in …

Democrats toughen stance ahead of gun talks, but could cut deals down the road

(CNN)Senate Democrats are hardening their position over new gun legislation, dismissing attempts to pass narrower measures until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell schedules a vote on a sweeping background checks bill already approved by the House. Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has been dispatched to determine which programs could be strengthened to help treat those who have mental health problems, according to multiple sources. That could include identifying areas where more funding is needed, such as for community health centers and school counselors. Asked about her preference, aides to Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the committee, signaled that her interest instead is on keeping the focus on the House-passed background …

CNN debates could reshape the Democratic White House race

(CNN)CNN’s Democratic debates could significantly reshape the battle for the party’s nomination and will, for the first time, test how its hopefuls handle Donald Trump’s ugly campaign strategy rooted in direct racism. Sen. Kamala Harris, who made her mark last month by skewering Biden on issues of race, faces heightened expectations in the rematch. And Harris enters the second debate facing fresh criticism from her rivals that she is taking both sides on the question of a proposed new health care system, an ideologically defining question for Democrats. But before Biden and Harris clash again, the fight for the party’s Democratic Party’s grassroots will be in the spotlight on Tuesday when Sen. Elizabeth Warren comes face-to-face with Sen. Bernie Sanders, …

Trump signs 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund extension

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Monday signed an act into law which authorizes the extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has served as Trump’s personal attorney, was among the lawmakers in the audience. The family of the late Luis Alvarez, a retired NYPD bomb squad detective who testified before Congress to advocate for the extension of the fund, was also in attendance. The President thanked Alvarez’s family for his hard work. Trump told the crowd of 9/11 first responders and their families that he was also at Ground Zero in the wake of the terror attacks, though he said he doesn’t consider himself a first responder. “I was down there also, …

Michigan governor’s message to Democrats ahead of debate: ‘Focus on the fundamentals’

(CNN)Michigan’s governor has a simple message for the 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls primed to meet in Detroit this week for a second round of televised debates: “Stay focused on the fundamentals.” “I ran on fixing the roads … I ran on cleaning up drinking water,” Whitmer said, referring to the crisis in Flint, Michigan, where the government’s cost-cutting measures led to lead-tainted drinking water. In discussing big issues like health care and the climate crisis, Whitmer said candidates should “attach the bigger ideas out of Washington, DC, into the daily lives of people.” When candidates get caught in the details, she said it “just feeds into people’s anxieties.” Ultimately, Whitmer said there are no tricks to winning votes in Michigan. …

Ambition fulfilled for Boris Johnson. But what next for Britain?

As he becomes PM, new Tory leader knows he has to unite his party and deliver Brexit Boris Johnson will underline his determination to unite a fractured and demoralised Conservative party and deliver Brexit by 31 October as he achieves his long-cherished ambition of becoming Britains prime minister. The new Tory leader has already begun love-bombing sceptical centre-ground MPs as Theresa May prepared to leave No 10 Downing Street after three fraught years. He is at heart a one-nation Tory. Thats who he is and thats how hell govern, insisted a Johnson ally. The former mayor of London swept to a convincing victory over Jeremy Hunt, after securing the backing of ardent Brexiters including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker. Johnson …

Former Florida candidate Elizabeth McCarthy admits to lying about treating Pulse shooting victims, docs show

Washington (CNN)A former Florida Democratic House candidate recently admitted to lying about removing 77 bullets from dozens of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, a claim that led to her being cited with violating state law, according to documents released last week. The documents, however, state that a department investigator found that “since ‘2014 (or) 2015’ (McCarthy) had knowingly been holding herself out as a Medical Doctor” and that she misled the public as she prepared for her campaign. McCarthy “informed this Investigator she never treated any patients the night of the Pulse night club tragedy” and “admitted that she had lied about her education and has never attended medical school,” according to a cease and desist …

‘Send her back!’ chant shows Trump’s ugly plan to get reelected

Washington (CNN)In a moment of unrestrained demagoguery, President Donald Trump presided Wednesday over a crowd chanting “Send her back! Send her back!” about an American Muslim congresswoman who he targeted with racist attacks. “They don’t love our country. They are so angry,” Trump said, lambasting the group as “hate filled extremists.” “If they don’t like it let them leave, let them leave,” Trump said. Other presidents, like Richard Nixon for instance, have used veiled racial messaging in elections. But there is no modern equivalent of a US president so openly encouraging racial and tribal undercurrents on the campaign trail in order to consolidate his own power. “We’ve had racist presidents,” CNN presidential historian Timothy Naftali said on “Anderson Cooper 360.” …