The name of the woman who could be the country's first female vice president may be revealed next week, as Joe Biden in Delaware on Tuesday said he is planning to select his running mate in "the first week of August." During a Q&A with reporters, Biden would not say if he plans to meet in-person with the women he is vetting.
For him and his eventual vice presidential pick to make history, Biden may have to offer voters additional reasons to be elected. Some state polls, like our recent CBS News Battleground Tracker of Michigan and Ohio, show a majority of Biden's current support comes from people who are "mainly voting against Mr. Trump rather than for him." Asked about this political predicament by CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe, Biden expressed confidence in his current position: "Look, I am running because Trump is the president and I think our democracy is at stake, for real. And what seems to be the case is many Americans -- those who don't like me and those who do -- view me as the antithesis of Trump and I believe that I am." Biden also told O'Keefe he is "happy" Trump is holding COVID-19 press conferences again but he does not "know what the hell he's adding to it, except it's good he's wearing a mask." And as some pro sports have started, Biden said he wouldn't "opine" on every sport, but he stepped up to the plate on the health safety of playing, saying, "It seems to be that it is probably not going to be able to happen… based on what the leagues themselves are saying."
Earlier on Tuesday—and the reason for Biden's Delaware event—was to pitch his latest plan for greater racial equity in the American economy, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson writes. But one of the topics Biden started his remarks with was an apparent reply to critics who say he has been silent on some of the violence and destruction happening throughout the nation, like in Portland. "I have said from the outset of recent protests that there is no place for violence and destruction of property. Peaceful protesters should be protected and arsonists and anarchists would be prosecuted. And local law enforcement can do that," Biden said, accusing the Mr. Trump administration of using Homeland Security as a "private militia." The presumptive Democratic nominee then turned his attention to Mr. Trump's rhetoric on the protests, saying, "He's determine to stoke division and chaos, it's not good for the country but Donald Trump doesn't care. His campaign is failing and he is looking for political life line. This isn't about law and order it's about a political strategy to revive a failing campaign."
Biden's plan outlines increasing new minority-owned small business opportunities for more access to around "$100 billion in low-interest business loans by funding…lending programs in Black and Brown communities" and tripling federal procurement contracts with "small businesses that have been structurally excluded for generations." For his political appointments, Biden wants to strengthen diversity among the financial regulatory agencies and create a new post to the White House Council of Economic Advisers to focus on closing the wealth gap between white families and families of color in the country.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
A nonprofit watchdog group is accusing Mr. Trump's reelection campaign of violating the law by masking millions of dollars in spending, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. In an 81-page filing, the nonpartisan, Washington-based nonprofit, the Campaign Legal Center, alleged the president's reelection campaign and campaign committee hid nearly $170 million in spending to vendors and Mr. Trump relatives by funneling money through firms led by then-campaign manager Brad Parscale and senior campaign officials. The FEC complaint filed Tuesday claims "American Made Media Consultants" and "Parscale Strategy" — firms founded and operated by campaign officials, including Parscale — acted as "clearinghouse" that disbursed Trump campaign funds to contractors, "effectively shielding the identities of the underlying contractors being paid for Trump campaign work."
The Trump campaign and "Make American Great Again committee" — a joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee, have reported paying both firms nine-figures for services including digital and online advertising, video production, software, fundraising tools, database rentals and subscriptions digital, consulting, print and online advertising, video production, list rental, software and subscriptions. Yet neither American Made Media Consultants nor Parscale Strategy have disclosed records of being paid by the campaign, resulting in violations of Federal Election Commission rules requiring campaigns to itemize disbursements.
"This is pretty much off the charts," Trevor Potter, President of the Campaign Legal Center and former FEC Commissioner told CBS News. "I've never seen anything like this."
"These schemes have disguised millions in payments to companies engaged in significant work for the campaign, as well as payments to Trump family members or senior campaign staff like Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle," the Campaign Legal Center complaint reads.
In a statement to CBS News, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said, "[American Made Media Company] is a campaign vendor responsible for arranging and executing media buys and related services at fair market value. AMMC does not earn any commissions or fees. It builds efficiencies and saves the campaign money by providing these in-house services that otherwise would be done by outside vendors."
"The efficiency is that the campaign writes one check," said Trevor Potter, the former legal counsel to John McCain. "But based on everything we can see on the public record and everything the campaign has said, these entities go out and hire vendors to do the actual work of the campaign. And that's what the public is entitled to know," he told CBS News.
Rapper Kanye West's campaign filed paperwork in Missouri and New Jersey Monday, in hopes of being able to get on the ballot in November. In Missouri, his signatures will have to be reviewed and certified by local election officials by August 25. There has to be at least 10,000 signatures from registered voters. In New Jersey, West filed 1,327 signatures, meeting the 800 signature minimum. There is a period for challenges before West is officially on the November ballot.
West has only secured his spot on the ballot in Oklahoma, as his filing in his home state of Illinois is facing three challenges, including one filed 1 minute before the deadline. Matt Dietrich, a spokesperson for the Illinois State Board of Elections, told CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro that hearings challenging the validity of West's submitted signatures will happen after August 3. On August 21, the board will issue a decision on whether the objections are overruled or sustained and West's ballot eligibility is ended. West's campaign confirmed they are still working to get petitions in states, but did not confirm which ones. Massachusetts and New York both have filing deadlines before the month ends. In New York, West would have to get at least 30,000 signatures, with at least 330 a piece from 14 of the 27 Congressional districts. Massachusetts had their deadline today and requires names of 11 state electors, and at least 5,000 signatures to be turned in to local election offices for certification.
ISSUES THAT MATTER
VOTING IN A PANDEMIC
In the debut episode of the podcast "The Debrief with Major Garrett," CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett does a deep dive into voting during a global health crisis. In interviews with election officials and experts, Garrett explores potential problems heading into November that include recruiting poll workers, counting up results in the days after Election Day and educating voters on how to fill in their ballots correctly and patience. "The coronavirus is a health crisis, of course, and it is an economic crisis. But if the country doesn't act to get ready, it could be a democracy crisis in November," said Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law.
SOCIAL MEDIA & MISINFORMATION
Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter account has been suspended after he shared a video which included misleading and false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga and politics reporter Grace Segers report. Mr. Trump also shared the video — which has since been taken down by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — but his account was not suspended. Twitter's policy says that it assesses world leaders' reported tweets and examines them in accordance with Twitter rules. Trump Jr. frequently shares posts on Twitter and other social media that support his father and denigrate opponents.
The video alleged that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had "suppressed" the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus. Mr. Trump has touted the drug as a treatment for coronavirus, even though the Food and Drug Administration determined in June that the drug is "unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses." The doctor quoted in the video, Stella Immanuel, claimed that wearing a mask is unnecessary, contradicting widely accepted medical advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also claimed, without evidence, that there is a "cure for COVID." Mr. Trump on Tuesday told reporters he does not know why Facebook and Twitter removed the video. "I think they're very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it." Andy Surabian, spokesman for Trump Jr., said in a statement, "It is beyond the pale for Twitter to silence someone for sharing the views of medical professionals who happen to dissent with their anti-hydroxychloroquine narrative."
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
There could be security challenges outside of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, as some police agencies are backing out of agreements to help Milwaukee police with security, according to CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster. Milwaukee Police confirmed to CBS News on Tuesday that more than 100 law enforcement agencies are no longer assisting with the convention. In an interview with WTMJ, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales expressed some concerns about having enough officers and said he's still considering asking the National Guard or federal authorities for help during the convention. The news comes after the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission issued a directive on July 20 for Morales to provide a "full, public, and accurate explanation of the use of tear gas and large volumes of oleoresin capsicum spray (pepper spray) during peaceful disturbances" and said the Chief needs to amend standard operating procedure to "discontinue the use of chemicals mentioned above." William Lamb, the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin police chief and chair of the Wisconsin Police Executive Group (WiPEG), told CBS News that directive on using tear gas and pepper spray was a "breaking point" for his department. "Those tools are a time-proven means of safely and effectively stopping or otherwise controlling protests that have become non-peaceful before they escalate into full rioting and extreme violence," Lamb said in a phone interview Tuesday morning. He added that other departments in the WiPEG would also opt out. The West Allis and Franklin police departments also confirmed to CBS News that they were withdrawing officers, citing concerns about the tear gas directive. Milwaukee Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Sheronda Grant told CBS News that the department's top priority remains ensuring that the convention is a "safe event for all visitors and participants," but would not release staffing numbers for security reasons.
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
Mr. Trump told reporters Tuesday he would accept the Republican Party's nomination on Thursday, August 27, but did not commit to appearing in-person at the site of GOP official business in Charlotte, North Carolina. "We'll be doing a speech on Thursday—the main speech, the primary speech. In Charlotte, they'll be doing nominating on Monday," Mr. Trump said. "That's a different period, a different thing happening." Mr. Trump teased an announcement to be made later this week.
A week out from Michigan's primary, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has a clear message to absentee voters: Turn your ballots in in-person, reports CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster. "This close to the primary, Michiganders should return their absentee ballots to their clerk's office directly, or submit them via their local ballot drop box, in order to ensure their vote is counted," Benson said in a statement. Voters are also urged to request absentee ballots in-person at this point and fill out those ballots during the same visit due to delays with the U.S. Postal Service. Absentee ballots in Michigan need to arrive by Election Day in order to be counted. In March, 4,683 absentee ballots in Michigan arrived after the deadline and were not counted. Overall, 8,034 absentee ballots were rejected that election of the 876,845 ballots returned, although 1,428 of those ballots were rejected because the voter voted at the polls. In May, Benson mailed absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters and it appears to be helping voter turnout. So far, over 900,000 people have returned absentee ballots, nearly three times the amount in the 2016 primary. Overall, nearly 2 million voters have requested absentee ballots. Not all of those voters will return their ballots, but it's close the record 2.2 million people who voted in the 2018 primary. Typically, 1.1 to 1.5 million people vote in Michigan's primary during presidential years.
IN THE SENATE
The publication "Forward" found that Republican Senator David Perdue's campaign was running doctored images of his Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff that enlarged his nose. Ossoff, who is Jewish, called the images anti-Semitic in remarks on Tuesday and called for Perdue to donate the money raised using the manipulated image to groups that promote community healing and tolerance, reports CBS News associate producer Eleanor Watson. "In light of an unfortunate and inadvertent error involving one of our Facebook advertisements produced and placed by an outside vendor, our campaign will be making a change to a new digital fundraising company," Perdue's campaign manager, Ben Fry, said in a statement. "Senator Perdue did not know about nor see the ad before it ran, and he is committed to ensuring future mistakes of this kind do not occur."
IN THE HOUSE
Targeted House Democrats who have their general election matchups set have started to release more campaign ads in the past few weeks, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. On Tuesday, Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia released an ad focused on her background with small businesses, saying "she's fighting for transparency in small business loans." Xochitl Torres Small, who holds one of the most vulnerable districts on the House battlefield in New Mexico's 2nd, took a similar focus on small businesses. In her ads, released in English and Spanish, she says, "It's time to hold the federal government and banks accountable for bailing out big corporations and mismanaging stimulus dollars, and make sure money gets in the hands of small businesses, farmers, and working people that really need it." Cindy Axne of Iowa also has her first television ad going up this week.
Republican Wesley Hunt in Texas' 7th has also released a new ad this week, focused on the Houston area's oil and gas industry. "Houston is the energy capital of the world, we can keep it that way. And as your Congressman, we will," he says. In Colorado, Lauren Boebert, who had the surprise upset primary win over GOP incumbent Congressman Scott Tipton, released a digital ad focused on her bio. Since winning, Boebert's ties to the QAnon conspiracy group has been put under a microscope by Democrats.
Senator Bernie Sanders has waded into his state's Democratic gubernatorial primary, endorsing Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman on Monday, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. Sanders has previously supported Zuckerman in his Lieutenant Governor race, as well as his runs for State House and Senate. In a statement, Zuckerman said he was inspired to run by Sanders over 20 years ago. "As Governor, I look forward to working with him, other elected leaders and activists from across Vermont to create programs and policies that support struggling Vermonters and build a clean, green economy out of this pandemic," Zuckerman said. Zuckerman is one of four Democrats looking to secure the nod and take on incumbent Republican Governor Phil Scott in November. Other candidates running include Rebecca Holcombe, the state's former Education Secretary, lawyer Patrick Winburn and activist Ralph Corbo (who is also running for the state's House seat). Scott is running for his third term, and has seen his approval rating rise due to his handling of the pandemic. He faces a primary challenge from four candidates, including attorney and farmer John Klar. A spokesperson from the Vermont's Secretary of State office said they have received 134,765 requests for absentee ballots so far for the August 11 primary.