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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Tara Reade speaks after Biden denies assault allegations

Poll: Voters divided on Biden allegations
Poll: Voters divided on Biden allegations 16:22

In her first on-camera interview since Joe Biden denied her allegations against him last Friday, Tara Reade addressed Biden directly in her interview with Megyn Kelly, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports. "You and I were there Joe Biden, please step forward and be held accountable. You should not be running on character for the president of the United States," Reade said. Asked if she wanted an apology, Reade offered, "I think it's a little late."

Reade, who worked as a staffer in Biden's Senate office in the early 1990s, went into greater detail about the alleged assault in her interview with Kelly, though she was still uncertain about the precise location where it occurred.

"I remember going down the Russell building floors, and so I don't know if I was in the first floor or the basement but there's corridors that lead to the Capitol and that kind of thing," Reade said. It was a weekday, she affirmed to Kelly. She said that when she caught up with Biden, he greeted her by name, and she handed him the forgotten gym bag. In fact, as she was "being pushed up against the wall," Reade said she remembered thinking, "where's the bag?"

She also said she "wishes" Biden would drop out of the presidential race but admitted she does not think he would do so. "His campaign is taking this position that they want all women to be able to speak safely, I have not experienced that," Reade told Kelly, highlighting that her social media was "hacked," her personal information has been "dragged," and that she feared for her safety due to previous public posts she made about Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Even the whole thing with being called a Russian agent…that incites people, people actually — I got a death threat from that because people thought I was being a trader to America."

Read more here.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

JOE BIDEN

Nearly an hour after his virtual town hall in Tampa was scheduled to begin, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden began remarks that were hard to hear because of persistent technical difficulties. Campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell reports that the virtual rally was riddled with technical issues that left the live stream picture completely black at one point during Florida Congressman Charlie Crist's introductory remarks. 

During brief remarks — which lasted about 6 minutes — Biden discussed the impact of COVID-19 on small minority-owned businesses and took hits at president Trump's handling of the public health crisis, calling him and his "handlers" incompetent. The former vice president also highlighted the issues surrounding Florida's processing of unemployment claims, saying that former Florida governor Rick Scott "hollowed out" the system.

The virtual rally in Tampa marked the end of Biden's first virtual "travel" day to the battleground state of Florida since the COVID-19 outbreak put an abrupt end to in-person political events. In March, the campaign canceled visits to Miami and Tampa due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. A Florida Democratic Party spokesperson told Mitchell that the virtual events show Biden's commitment to the state and is a way for him to make sure he has a strong and active presence with Florida voters.  

"Something that's important that Joe Biden and his team understands and is really working towards, is realizing how diverse Florida is and making sure he's listening to and speaking with every single community in Florida," said an FLDP spokesperson."

According to a pool report item sent out by the campaign Thursday afternoon, Biden repeated comments that he's made about the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, at the start of the virtual roundtable he held with black leaders in Jacksonville earlier. Arbery was a young unarmed black man who was shot and killed after encountering two armed white men during a jog in his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, in Feburary.

The pool report item sent by the campaign said that during the roundtable, Biden compared the video of Arbery's shooting to seeing him "lynched before our very eyes" before adding that Arbery's family deserves "a swift, full and transparent investigation" into the shooting.

In spite of unforeseen technical glitches, Mitchell reports that the live stream in Tampa began with as many as 2.5k participants tuned in on one platform — 2.4k viewed from YouTube — and ended with 700+ viewers still watching. Tampa is a popular stop for candidates because of its location along the famed "I-4 corridor," which some say is the region of the state that picks presidents. 

In 2016, Donald Trump narrowly won Florida by 1.2% of the votes cast. Both Biden and Mr. Trump won every Florida county in the state's Democratic and Republican primary contests, respectively, in March. A recent Fox News poll showed Biden ahead of the president by 3 points among registered voters in Florida.

"Joe Biden is giving Trump a run for his money in Florida," said an FLDP spokesperson. "Going into 2020, a lot of people thought that Trump just had Florida on lock but I think Joe Biden is proving that that's not the case."

"Joe Biden is giving Trump a run for his money in Florida," said an FLDP spokesperson. "Going into 2020, a lot of people thought that Trump just had Florida on lock but I think Joe Biden is proving that that's not the case."

PRESIDENT TRUMP

The Trump campaign is poised to launch a $10 million national advertisement campaign targeting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga reports. According to a campaign spokesperson, the effort will span cable, broadcast and online platforms. 

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale previewed the onslaught on Twitter Thursday, declaring the ad blitz a "death star." Parscale wrote, "In a few days we start pressing FIRE for the first time." 

The move to target Biden on television airwaves marks a shift in the president's re-election campaign strategy. With the coronavirus pandemic dominating national news, the campaign is cautiously drawing attention toward the Democratic rival, six months ahead of Election Day.

A member of the U.S. military assigned to the White House as a valet has tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House confirmed to the CBS News White House unit Thursday. 

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been tested again since learning of this person's diagnosis and the tests came back negative, according to the president.

"Testing not a perfect art," Mr. Trump said in the Oval Office Thursday afternoon. Trump said the White House would begin testing personnel once a day, but added he had very little "personal contact" with the valet. "I know who he is, he is a good person. But I had very little contact. Mike has had very little contact with him," the president added, in reference to Vice President Mike Pence.

Separately, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway rebuked anti-Trump political action committee "The Lincoln Project," after the group launched a viral attack on the president's coronavirus response. The collection of dissenting and former Republicans with aims to upend the President's re-election includes Kellyanne Conway's husband, attorney George Conway. 

"They've all failed. They've never succeeded the way I have as campaign manager," Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News. She added that the Lincoln Project should "worry the most about" $65 million in booked advertising by pro-Trump super PAC, American Priority, scheduled ahead of November.

And Vice President Mike Pence delivered personal protective equipment to a Virginia nursing home and thanked workers inside the center over the phone while standing outside the building. The vice president hauled boxes of medical equipment from a van and set them out in front of the Woodbine Rehabilitation Center in Alexandria. He said it was one of two deliveries the Federal Emergency Management Agency will send out to over 15,000 nursing homes across the country. The delivery is part of a shipment of 63 million gloves, 14 million masks, 13 million gowns, and more than 1 million pieces of eye protection equipment. 

CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar says Pence told the health care workers the American people understand the "emotional weight" that is placed on them, adding, "but to see the way you have stepped up is inspiring." Pence promised the health care workers at Woodbine that the prayers of a "grateful nation" will be with them "every step of the way." He told them "all along the way, you'll have been the heroes, and when this is all over, you will have the gratitude of the American people."

JUDICIAL WATCH

MICHAEL FLYNN

The Justice Department moved to dismiss its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump's first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. In a motion filed in U.S. district court in Washington D.C. Thursday, federal prosecutors asked a federal judge to toss out with prejudice the single count of making false statements to the FBI, remarking that "continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice." 

During a meeting with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in the Oval Office on Thursday, Mr. Trump called Flynn an "innocent man." The President added, "Now in my book he's an even greater warrior." Trump repeatedly condemned Justice Department officials under former President Barack Obama. "They're scum. Human scum. This should have never happened in this country."

CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge sat down with Attorney General William Barr Thursday. Barr defended the Justice Department's decision to seek a dismissal of its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump's first national security adviser who admitted to lying to federal investigators. Barr dismissed the notion from critics that he is doing the bidding of Mr. Trump.

Read more here. And here's the full transcript.

VEEPSTAKES

STACEY ABRAMS

Stacey Abrams joined a Mother Jones Q&A livestream this afternoon where she was asked about many news of day topics including Tara Reade, Ahmaud Abery, and COVID19. CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte says she was also asked to react to the Justice Department's motion to drop Michael Flynn's case. Abrams took the opportunity to slam President Trump. 

"I think it's indicative of a problem with the person in charge of our country who has not only demonstrated incompetence, but has demonstrated autocratic behaviors that should terrify all of us," Abrams said. She went on to say that the president "does not care about our country" and has "taken away the legitimacy of our system and replaced it with favoritism."

ELIZABETH WARREN

Senator Elizabeth Warren led a group of Democratic senators Thursday in asking Amazon whether the massive online retailer fired whistleblowers for raising concerns about worker conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak says the senators cited four Amazon employees who were fired over the past few months after speaking up about worker safety. 

"In order to understand how the termination of employees that raised concerns about health and safety conditions did not constitute retaliation for whistleblowing, we are requesting information about Amazon's policies regarding grounds for employee discipline and termination," they wrote. In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said the employees were fired for different reasons. 

"These individuals were not terminated for talking publicly about working conditions or safety, but rather, for violating — often repeatedly — policies, such as intimidation, physical distancing and more. We support every employees' right to criticize or protest their employer's working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against any and all internal policies," a spokesperson said, adding that the company planned to offer more details in a response to the senators. 

Warren was a frequent critic of Amazon on the campaign trail, frequently using it as an example of a big tech company that needed to be broken up. She was joined in signing this letter by former presidential primary competitors Sens. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, as well as Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin.

GRETCHEN WHITMER

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced she is extending Michigan's stay at home order through May 28th at her press briefing Thursday afternoon, according to CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman. She also highlighted the six phases to her MI Safe Start plan, which is her administration's plan to start re-engaging sectors of Michigan's economy. 

The six phases include: uncontrolled growth, persistent spread, flattening, improving, containing and post-pandemic. Whitmer said Michigan is currently in the flattening phase, which is the third phase. 

"In order to stay safe as we re-engage these sectors, we need to continue practicing strict social distancing, wearing face coverings, using safe workplace practices, working on - the state will continue to work on our testing capabilities and tracing capabilities," Whitmer said. 

The Democratic governor also said the manufacturing industry can start to phase in to the workplace on May 11th. In a press release, Whitmer noted that the manufacturing facilities must implement safety protocols, including daily screening protocol upon entry for workers and a questionnaire that details symptoms and potential exposure to people who possibly have contracted coronavirus. Whitmer said at her briefing that the Big Three auto suppliers came to an agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to start phasing in to work on May 18. Whitmer added that they will start at 25% capacity and will begin to phase up from that point. 

"This is truly good news for our state," Whitmer said. "It's a major step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly."

ISSUES THAT MATTER

JOBS

Nearly 3.2 million American workers filed for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster says it's the seventh straight week where more than 3 million people filed jobless claims, but down from the peaks of more than 6 million weekly claims in late March and early April. During that seven week stretch, more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment, about a fifth of the American workforce. The Labor Department also reported on Thursday that more than 22.6 million Americans filed continuing claims for the week ending April 25. That represents the number of people who are currently receiving unemployment benefits.  The Labor Department's monthly jobs report is set to be released on Friday. The Associated Press, citing data from FactSet, said the unemployment rate "likely jumped to at least 16%" and could be the highest level since the Great Depression.

KEY CONSTITUENCIES

ASIAN-AMERICANS

More than 11 million Asian-Americans will be able to vote this year, making them the fastest-growing group of eligible voters in the United States, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar reports the number of Asian eligible voters is expected to reach new highs in 2020, with nearly 70% of the voting population made up of immigrants.

Asian-Americans are also the only major racial or ethnic group in which naturalized citizens, rather than U.S.-born, make up a majority of eligible voters. The analysis found that from 2000 to 2020, the number of Asian-American eligible voters grew by 139%, which was similar to the Hispanic rate of 121% growth. The black and white electorates grew at a much slower pace (33% and 7%). 

In 2018, AAPI data found that Asian registered voters tend to lean more Democratic than Republican but that varied by origin group. For example, 50% of Indian-Americans were most likely to identify as Democrat compared to 42% of Vietnamese-Americans who were more likely to identify as Republican. 

Among all eligible voters, Asians have the highest levels of education attainment of any major racial and ethnic group and have the highest annual median household income as well. Half of Asian-American eligible voters have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than white (34%), black (20%), and Hispanic (18%). While Asian eligible voters are spread out across the country, more than half only live in California (3.6 million), New York (920,000), and Texas (698,000).

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

DOCTOR'S ORDERS

The Republican National Convention Committee announced Thursday the addition of a physician as a senior adviser for convention planning to ensure that the in-person convention in August is safe for all who are attending, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson

Dr. Jeffrey Runge is joining the team as a senior adviser for health and safety planning. He has 35 years of medical experience and was also the chief medical officer and assistant secretary for health affairs for the Homeland Security Department during George W. Bush's administration. 

Runge will be tasked with communicating with local and state officials about best practices and will advise the convention committee on safety protocols, including determining the appropriate maximum number of people in venues, according to two convention officials. Runge could bring on other team members later in the lead-up to the convention.

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE HOUSE

Texas 22nd District Republican runoff candidate Kathaleen Wall has released a second ad targeting China and its government, saying "the Communist Chinese government stifles dissent" and that "for Congress, it's Kathaleen Wall against communist China." 

The ad began running in the district Thursday on Fox News, and will appear on broadcast television before the July 14 runoff. Wall is locked in a runoff with Sheriff Troy Nehls; the winner will face Democrat candidate Sri Preston Kulkarni, who was the district's 2018 nominee. CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro says while Kulkarni is not mentioned in the ad, Wall's press release goes after him, calling him a "silent Democrat who refuses to stand up to the thuggish Chinese government." 

In response, Kulkarni said Wall is "following the GOP leaders' playbook" and is "trying to distract the constituents of TX-22 from Washington Republicans' unprepared response to the coronavirus crisis."

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