TRUMP DIDN'T CONFRONT PUTIN ON RUSSIAN BOUNTIES IN 8 CONVERSATIONS: President Trump has never confronted Vladimir Putin with intelligence indicating Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. troops, he told Jonathan Swan yesterday for "Axios on HBO." Trump spoke with Putin on Thursday, and subsequently deflected a question about whether he’d raised the alleged bounty scheme, saying on Monday: "We don't talk about what we discussed, but we had plenty of discussion." In our interview, he was definitive: "I have never discussed it with him.” "I would — I have no problem with it. ... [Y]ou know, it's interesting: Nobody ever brings up China. They always bring Russia, Russia, Russia." Pressed on why he didn’t raise the matter on the call, the president said: "That was a phone call to discuss other things. And, frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news." Trump has spoken to Putin at least eight times since intelligence about the alleged Russian bounties was reportedly included in the President's Daily Brief — his written intelligence briefing — in late February. Trump’s team says he was not verbally briefed on the matter before a June 26 report from the New York Times brought the controversy out into the open. Trump insisted in the interview that he does read the PDB — "they like to say I don’t read, I read a lot" — but stood by the claim that the matter "never reached my desk" because U.S. intelligence "didn’t think it was real."


PENCE CITES WIDESPREAD FRAUD IN VOTE BY MAIL: Vice President Mike Pence is lambasting those who feel mail-in voting should be expanded for the 2020 election (Darling, WIBC). Pence is of the persuasion that expanded mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic will lead to more fraud. He’s mirroring the views of President Trump on the issue, who tweeted his displeasure with the increased amount of mail-in voting in a special election in New Jersey. “We’ve seen case after case across the country where there have been prosecutions. The president spoke about New Jersey and we’ve seen it in other states,” Pence told Fox News. “In my own state of Indiana in 2012, there was a Democrat super PAC that was involved in our election … a group of people was prosecuted for falsifying ballots. In Democrat lead states, there’s an effort for the universal distribution of ballots without the accountability you have with absentee balloting. When you combine that with states like California that actually allows ‘vote bundling’ or ‘vote harvesting’ you see where the potential for widespread fraud is very real.”


INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS TO REVIEW NICKNAME: The Indianapolis Indians minor-league baseball team announced Tuesday it is reviewing its team name, amid pressure from some who view names tied to Native American culture as inappropriate (Shuey, IBJ). The club said in a statement it “will be forming a committee to explore” its name and determine whether a change is necessary, based on dialogue with local organizations and community members. We are prepared to collaborate with our community and appropriate stakeholders,” the statement said. “We understand that our team name has not been endorsed by some but trust they understand the historic and respectful context in which it has been used over the years. We are committed to engage, listen and exchange ideas.“ The team did not say how long the process might last. “We … feel strongly about the relationship we have with our fans, community and corporate partners,” the statement said. “Knowing that the appropriateness of our team name is being questioned, we will be forming a committee to explore it while also gathering community input.” The Triple-A franchise has been called the Indians since its founding in 1902, as a derivation from the state’s name. The organization has long used Native American iconography in its logo, and the team is widely referred to as “the tribe.” It is one of several professional sports teams across the country with nicknames tied to Native American culture.


FED OFFICIAL SAYS INDY OUT OF COVID 'RED ZONE': The state of Indiana is doing “really, really well” in testing people for coronavirus, according to Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health for the Trump administration (WIBC). “This week, Indianapolis has gotten out of the red zone and into the yellow zone. That’s a really good thing. You still have a few metro areas in Indiana that are still in the red, hot zone. You’re doing the things you need to do. Your percent positive in the last seven days for Indiana is about 7%. You’re testing really, really well. You guys have done almost 120,000 tests in the last week in Indiana. Keep the effort up,” said Giroir in an interview Tuesday morning with 93 WIBC’s Tony Katz.


STATE COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS OVER 900: The Indiana State Department of Health reported 809 new positive COVID-19 cases and 16 new deaths totaling 63,678 confirmed cases and 2,725. Additionally, ISDH data shows a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations totaling 907 (Indiana Public Media). This is the greatest number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations since 913 reported June 6. The ISDH indicates 716,809 Hoosiers have been tested with an 8.9% positive return.


INDIANA UNDER COUNTED COVID NURSING HOME DEATHS BY 22%: New data show that Indiana has long been undercounting the state's coronavirus cases and deaths in elder care facilities. An IndyStar analysis found that as much as 22% of the deaths were not represented in the state's numbers until they were revised in recent days. In all, the data show that 356 coronavirus-related deaths and 789 positive cases in facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living communities were previously unreported by the state. In response to questions about the undercount, an Indiana State Department of Health spokeswoman said that the previous data only went back to early April, when state health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box ordered all long-term care facilities to begin reporting cases and deaths. The new data includes cases and deaths going back to March 1.


TRUMP DEFENDS HYDROXYCLOROQUINE, CONTROVERSIAL DOCTOR: President Donald Trump issued a stout defense Tuesday of a disproved use of a malaria drug as a treatment for the coronavirus, hours after social media companies moved to take down videos promoting its use as potentially harmful misinformation (AP). The president, in a marked shift from the more measured approach he’s taken toward the virus in recent days, took to Twitter to promote hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and to amplify criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. In a White House briefing, Trump defended his decision to promote a viral video of a group of doctors promoting the use of the drug Monday, even though his own administration withdrew emergency authorization for its use against the coronavirus. “I think they’re very respected doctors,” Trump said, adding they believed in the drug. “There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it.” The doctors, members of a group called America’s Frontline Doctors, took part in an event organized by Tea Party Patriots Action, a dark money group that has helped fund a pro-Trump political action committee. In the video, Dr. Stella Immanuel, a physician from Houston whom Trump described as spectacular, promotes hydroxychloroquine as a sure-fire cure for the coronavirus. She claims to have successfully treated 350 people “and counting,” including older patients and some with underlying medical conditions. “You don’t need masks, there is a cure,” Immanuel says in the video. But in videos posted to her Facebook page, Immanuel regularly wears masks while preaching during religious events. “I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her,” Trump said of Immanuel, sidestepping questions about her history of dubious medical claims.


RUSSIAN INTEL SPREADING COVID DISINFORMATION IN U.S.: Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November, U.S. officials said Tuesday (AP). Two Russians who have held senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as responsible for a disinformation effort meant to reach American and Western audiences, U.S. government officials said. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.


MLB SUSPENDS MIAMI SEASON; FORGES AHEAD WITH TREPIDATION: Major League Baseball suspended the Miami Marlins’ season through Sunday, and the Philadelphia Phillies will remain idled by the coronavirus pandemic until Friday, while the rest of baseball forges ahead with trepidation (AP). “There’s real fear, there’s real anxiety for me, for all my teammates,” Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun said Tuesday. “I think we’ve found it very difficult to focus on baseball at all the last couple of days.” In the wake of a virus outbreak that infected half the Marlins’ team, Braun said MLB players are constantly assessing whether they should keep playing. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the season could be in jeopardy. But MLB came up with a patchwork schedule for the rest of this week and said that among more than 6,400 tests conducted since Friday, there were no new positives involving on-field personnel from any team other than the Marlins. In a statement, MLB said it wanted to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and to plan for a resumption of play early next week. MLB also postponed the three remaining games in this week’s Phillies-New York Yankees series.


HOOSIERS RECEIVING MYSTERIOUS SEEDS FROM CHINA: Hoosiers are starting to report mysterious packages of seeds showing up in their mailboxes, according to the Office of Indiana State Chemist (WRTV). Indiana is just the latest state reporting the mysterious packages, which appear to have originated from China and contain packages of unknown seeds. Don Robison, Seed Administrator for the OISC, says they have received reports from several agencies across the state about seeds showing up in the mail, although exact locations of where the seeds have been reported are not being released. The OISC is asking Hoosiers who receive mysterious packages containing seeds not to plant them and to turn them over for proper disposal. The Purdue Extension Office in Montgomery County posted an alert on their Facebook page Tuesday warning anyone who receives a suspicious package of seeds from China not to plant them or throw them away. "The package itself may be labeled as 'jewelry' or 'ring' or something along those lines, but end up containing small packages of seeds," the alert said. "We don't know whether these seeds are harmless or potentially invasive."


HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: "I thought she was an important voice," President Trump said about Dr. Stella Immanuel, who said in a video he retweeted said that face masks don't work and claimed hydroxychloroquine is effective against COVID. He also failed to bring up the issue of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan in any of the eight phone conversations with President Putin since it appeared in the President's Daily Briefing last winter. - Brian A. Howey



NIGHTMARE NOVEMBER SCENARIO CONFRONTING HOUSE GOP: A slew of dismal summer polls and a persistent fundraising gap have left some Republicans fretting about a nightmare scenario in November: That they will fall further into the House minority (Politico). Publicly, House GOP leaders are declaring they can still net the 17 seats needed to flip the chamber. But privately, some party strategists concede it’s a much grimmer picture, with as many as 20 Republican seats at risk of falling into Democratic hands. Far from going on offense, the GOP could be forced to retrench in order to limit their losses. There's a growing fear that Trump’s plummeting popularity in the suburbs could threaten their candidates in traditionally favorable districts, and that their party's eagerness to go on offense might leave some underfunded incumbents and open GOP-held seats unprotected. Internal Democratic surveys in recent weeks have shown tight races in once-solid GOP seats in Indiana, Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Montana that President Donald Trump carried handily 2016 — data that suggest the battleground is veering in a dangerous direction for the GOP. "Republicans were jolted by the fact that a lot of white suburban voters abandoned them. The question now is whether that trend will continue," said former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who lost reelection in 2018. "If it does, it could endanger some of those districts, particularly in the Midwest."


INDEMS ASSAIL MASKLESS ROKITA: On Tuesday, "after an event where hardline conservative Attorney General candidate Todd Rokita appeared repeatedly without a mask," the Indiana Democratic Party shipped the Rokita campaign surgical masks and an update to the former Congressman’s eight-page staffing memo. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody believed it was a step toward protecting staffers’ health (Howey Politics Indiana). “Todd Rokita has made a career of putting himself first. He’s either too selfish or stubborn to accept the public health benefits that come with wearing a simple mask,” said Zody. “Just because their boss doesn’t trust the science doesn’t mean Rokita staffers have to put their health at risk. I’m calling on Todd Rokita to commit to a simple step in fighting the spread of COVID-19 and agree to wear a mask,” said Zody. “Yes or no Todd, will you commit to wearing a mask? If we can’t count on Todd Rokita to do something as simple as wearing a mask, how can we trust him to protect the health care of 2.7 million Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions?”


GOP CAUCUS SET FOR HD88: Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer has officially called a caucus of eligible precinct committee members to fill the upcoming vacancy in the office of House District 88. The seat is currently held by former Speaker of House Brian Bosma, whose resignation from the Indiana House will be effective July 31 (Howey Politics Indiana). The caucus will be held at 6 p.m. ET, on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, at the McCordsville Town Hall, which is located at 6280 W. 800 N.; McCordsville, IN 46055. Proper social distancing will be in effect, and facial coverings will be required.  The individual selected at the August 19 caucus will fill the remainder of former Speaker Bosma's term. "Former Speaker Bosma has served Hoosiers for more than 30 years, helping grow Indiana into the fiscal envy of the nation," said Hupfer. "Hoosiers will miss his leadership, and there's no doubt that the new representative for this district has big shoes to fill." Individuals interested in running in the caucus should contact the Indiana Republican Party Secretary at to ensure they file the proper forms prior to the deadline, which is 72 hours prior to the vote. The caucus will be open to credentialed media who pre-register to Holly Lawson at prior to 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 18.


MORNING CONSULT SENATE POLLS: Morning Consult has released polling in five races: Arizona Mark Kelly (D) 52-36% over Sen. Martha McSally (R); Colorado John Hickenlooper (D) 48-42% over Sen. Cory Gardner; Georgia Sen. David Perdue (R) over Jon Ossoff (D) 45-42%; Michigan Sen. Gary Peters (D) over John James (D) 49-35%; North Carolina Cal Cunningham (D) 46-37% over Sen. Thom Tillis (R).


LINCOLN PROJECT BEGINS SENATE ADS: The Lincoln Project, a group founded by "never Trump" Republicans that has produced some of the cycle's most memorable ads, today begins spending $4 million to blitz Senate races in Alaska, Maine and Montana (Axios). "We’re moving into the active phase of the fall campaign as voters, stuck at home because of COVID-19, tune in earlier than ever," communications director Keith Edwards told me. This is the Lincoln Project's biggest buy to date. The Senate ads will air for seven to 10 days in key markets. Two of the ads — "Real" in Alaska and "Strong" in Montana — support challengers to incumbent Republicans. "Trump Stooge," airing in Maine, criticizes Sen. Susan Collins for not standing up to President Trump. "Maine deserves a leader, not a Trump stooge," the ad says.


Presidential 2020


BIDEN MOVES VEEPSTAKES TO 'NEXT WEEK': Former Vice President Joe Biden says he'll have his vice presidential pick ready "the first week in August," which is next week. That would be days before he's expected to accept the Democratic nomination during the Democratic National Convention (CBS News). He made the announcement in his home state of Delaware during a campaign event Tuesday. Biden had originally held out early August as a timeline for announcing his running mate, but appeared to back off on that last week.


BIDEN UNVEILS ECONOMIC PLAN TO COMBAT INEQUALITY: Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious plan to combat racial inequality in the United States that focuses on providing assistance to minority small-business owners and making housing more affordable for families of color, while also lambasting President Donald Trump for "intentionally stoking the flames of division of racism" (NBC News). In a speech from a high school gymnasium in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., Biden spoke about the plan — which represents the last plank of his four-part "Build Back Better” economic revitalization agenda — before slamming Trump's pandemic response and his reaction to protests over racial inequality and policing in the U.S. “Donald Trump faces a real test, and he’s failed it,” Biden said. “The duty to care for the entire country, not just his re-election prospects.”


BIDEN HASN'T BEEN TESTED: Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he hadn’t yet been tested for coronavirus (Politico). Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, made the acknowledgment when a reporter asked whether he could meet potential running mates in person to vet them. He was speaking at an in-person campaign event in Wilmington, Del., where he also urged more testing and contact tracing to combat the spread of Covid-19.


TRUMP WILL ACCEPT NOMINATION IN NC: Donald Trump on Monday said he would accept the Republican nomination for president in North Carolina, marking a return to a state he spurned in June over its restriction of large gatherings due to the coronavirus (Politico). The announcement is the latest development in Trump’s Republican National Convention walk-back and comes days after the president canceled his plans to host the convention's keynote events in Jacksonville, Fla. "I'll be in North Carolina, and that's a very big deal because we have a lot of the delegates there and that'll be a nomination process," Trump told WRAL, a Raleigh, N.C. television station. "And that's essentially where the nomination, where it's formalized. And I'm really honored to do it in North Carolina."


TWITTER RESTRICTS DON JR.'S ACCOUNT: Twitter has restricted Donald Trump Jr.’s account on the social media platform after determining the president’s eldest son violated its policies against spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. Republican political strategist Andrew Surabian, Trump’s spokesman, first shared the news of the partial suspension in a tweet Tuesday morning that mentioned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (Politico). “BREAKING: @Twitter & @jack have suspended @DonaldJTrumpJr for posting a viral video of medical doctors talking about Hydroxychloroquine,” he wrote. Surabian also posted a screenshot of what appeared to be a notice Trump received from Twitter informing him that the company had “temporarily limited some of your account features.”



BANKS WRITES BARR OVER CHINESE SEEDS: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr urging him to investigate seeds from China being sent to Hoosiers (Howey Politics Indiana). "I’m writing to you today regarding reports from many states, including my state, Indiana, of mysterious packages shipped from China containing unknown seeds," Banks said in the letter. "On Monday, the Office of Indiana State Chemist announced that at least two Hoosiers have received packages of seeds from China. The packages are mislabeled as containing “stud earrings” and the shipping labels suggest they were sent from Shenzhen. As of Sunday, agriculture departments in 27 states have issued warnings to residents urging them not to plant or throw away unsolicited packages of seeds. Officials have expressed concern that the seeds might be intended to introduce invasive species or to spread infectious diseases to American crops. This represents a serious threat to states like Indiana, where agriculture contributes an estimated $31.2 billion to our economy and together with forestry, employs about 188,000 Hoosiers."


SEN. YOUNG DISCUSSES COVID RELIEF BILL: During the Senate Republican leadership press conference, U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) discussed several key provisions in the proposed coronavirus relief package released yesterday by Senate Republicans, known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act (Howey Politics Indiana). The proposal includes some principles from Senator Young’s RESTART Act, and his legislation to address unemployment insurance reform, child care, and telehealth. “We still have work to do and I know that Republicans here in the United States Senate are committed to continuing to optimize eligibility requirements and the loan criteria associated with the provisions to help our hardest-hit businesses, that’s certainly my function. We need to make sure that any gaps that exist, and I do believe that some exist, need to be filled so that our hardest-hit businesses will receive the assistance they need and so that employers and employees alike, who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in dire financial circumstances can ultimately find their way through this difficult time,” said Young.


General Assembly


LEGISLATORS REACT TO MASK MANDATE: State Sen. Jim Tomes said he was glad Gov. Eric Holcomb removed a potential criminal penalty from a statewide mask mandate, but he still disagrees with the mandate (Martin, Evansville Courier & Press). Other lawmakers from Southwest Indiana voiced general support for actions the governor took. Tomes, a Republican from Senate District 49 (Posey County and sections of Vanderburgh and Gibson counties), was among five senators who asked Attorney General Curtis Hill to weigh in on Holcomb’s order. “I was disappointed that he issued it to begin with, but I’m glad it’s been rolled back to some degree,” Tomes said Monday. “I don’t like the idea we’re going to punish our people if they don’t have a mask on. It’s ironic we have this when see people on TV demonstrating who aren’t social distancing and don’t have a mask. I’m glad that he’s rolled that back a little bit.”


SEN. BECKER, REP. HATFIELD SUPPORT ORDER: Sen. Vaneta Becker listens during a meeting of the Senate committee on Health and Provider Services at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Becker said she also agreed with Holcomb's decision Friday to strike the misdemeanor penalty provision (Evansville Courier & Press). State Rep. Ryan Hatfield, a Democrat from House District 77 (most of Evansville) also defended Holcomb's right as governor to issue the order without a General Assembly action. Hatfield said the state's emergency statute "allows the governor to do certain things in a crisis. It lays out which crises are included, and it includes a public health crisis. Because he has declared a public health crisis, he is acting under the guidance of law. "The legislature already had had its input by providing him that power in the emergency powers," Hatfield said. "I support the governor's efforts and believe he is acting within the power of law provided by the legislature."


REP. MOED SEEKS DISCUSSION ON COVID AG ISSUES: State Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis), member of the Interim Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, today wrote a letter to Chairman Don Lehe (R-Brookston) urging him to discuss issues that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic in the agriculture industry during the upcoming interim committee (Howey Politics Indiana). In the last few months, multiple issues have arisen in the agriculture industry as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 65 percent of farms reported negative outcomes because of the pandemic, multiple outbreaks occurred at facilities and Indiana farmland has decreased in price. “Farmers and distributors alike are facing unique problems during this pandemic,” Moed said. “The least we can do is listen, learn and support the people who are tirelessly working to ensure our Hoosier families are fed.”




ISDH: TUESDAY COVID STATS -  The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) today announced that 809 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 63,678 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. A total of 2,725 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 16 over the previous day. Another 199 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by ISDH and occurred over multiple days. As of today, 44.6 percent of ICU beds and 83.5 percent of ventilators are available across the state. To date, 716,809 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 707,791 on Monday.


OCRA: TO PARTNER WITH IU IN DAVIESS, DECATUR COUNTIES - The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs is partnering with Indiana University to help manage COVID-19 in Decatur and Daviess counties. The office says the partnership will leverage community networks to set goals designed to meet a range of health objectives (Inside Indiana Business). OCRA is working with the IU Center for Rural Engagement and the IU School of Public Health in Bloomington on the effort. “Every rural community is different, and each brings its own strengths and challenges,” said Dr. Priscilla Barnes, associate professor in the IU School of Public Health and lead researcher on the project. “Rural health partnerships and coalitions have been quick to adapt to the daily changing landscape of public health. Response to unexpected crises is the invisible thread that connects with the existing health priorities, and these plans and their implementation will address both emergent needs and long-term priorities.”


JUSTICE: PUBLIC DEFENDER STUDY RELEASED - Current policies do not provide Indiana public defenders the time they need to offer effective representation, according to a study released Tuesday (Howey Politics Indiana). “Indiana’s caseload standards are a key piece of Indiana’s public defense system,” said Mark W. Rutherford, board chair of the Indiana Public Defender Commission. “This comprehensive study will not just sit on the shelves. It will help guide the Commission’s ongoing work to make our criminal justice system more just and more efficient.” Two main phases comprised the analysis: (1) applying the Delphi Method as a survey process to identify how much time a public or private attorney should spend, on average, providing constitutionally effective representation in varying types of cases pursuant to prevailing professional norms; and (2) analyzing the historical caseloads for public defense in Indiana. For example, the Commission’s current caseload standards would allow a public defender to represent up to 120 high-level clients a year. The study revealed that this number should be closer to 31. “The Commission’s public defense caseloads are based on national standards and assumptions, so some changes were expected,” said Derrick Mason, senior staff attorney with the Commission. “However, the extent of some deficiencies was surprising. Commission staff will consider the results and seek further input from the public defense community before proposing changes to Indiana’s public defense caseload standards.”




WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SENDS CONTROVERSIAL VIDEO - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have taken down a video spreading false information about a coronavirus "cure" that was shared by President Trump. The clip was viewed millions of times before it was scrubbed from the social media platforms (CBS News). The video published by right-wing website Breitbart shows a news conference in front of the Supreme Court steps with South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman and several people claiming to be doctors who have worked with COVID-19 patients. Dr. Stella Immanuel, one member of the group calling itself "America's Frontline Doctors," said hydroxychloroquine, a drug that was touted by Mr. Trump, is a "cure" for coronavirus. "This virus has a cure, it's called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax," she said. "You don't need masks, there is a cure."


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will depart the White House at 9 a.m., headed to Midland, Texas. He’ll arrive at 11:30 a.m. CDT and travel to the Odessa Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Odessa, Texas. He will participate in a roundtable with supporters at 12:35 p.m. Afterward, he will speak at a fundraiser. He will then return to Midland and tour the Double Eagle Energy Oil Rig at 2:50 p.m. Trump will deliver remarks at 3:20 p.m. on “restoring energy dominance in the Permian Basin” and sign presidential permits. Afterward, he will return to Washington, arriving at the White House at 9:05 p.m.


ATTORNEY GENERAL: BARR DEFENDS FED DEPLOYMENTS - Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday rejected accusations that he is working to politically boost President Trump by deploying federal agents in Portland and Washington, D.C. in response to protests over racial injustice and his personal intervention in criminal cases involving the president’s allies (Wall Street Journal). In his first Congressional appearance in more than a year, Mr. Barr said the federal response was needed to confront violent demonstrators and fight crime in cities where local officials had done little to keep their streets and federal property safe. “What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest; it is, by any objective measure, an assault on the government of the United States,” Mr. Barr said, referring to clashes in Portland, Ore., which has become the latest flashpoint in nationwide protests over the May killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.


ATTORNEY GENERAL: BARR COULD RELEASE DURHAM REPORT BEFORE ELECTION - A highly anticipated forthcoming report from U.S. Attorney John Durham on the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation won’t trigger a Justice Department policy against interference in the 2020 presidential race, so the review could be released in the weeks leading up to the November election, Attorney General William Barr indicated to Congress Tuesday (Politico). “I will be very careful. I know what Justice Department policy is,” Barr said during a long-awaited appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. “Any report will be, in my judgment, not one that is covered by the policy and would disrupt the election.”


COVID: 6,300 CASES IN U.S. COLLEGES - As college students and professors decide whether to head back to class, and as universities weigh how and whether to reopen, the coronavirus is already on campus. A New York Times survey of every public four-year college in the country, as well as every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities, revealed at least 6,300 cases tied to about 270 colleges over the course of the pandemic. And the new academic year has not even begun at most schools.




MICHIGAN CITY: SCHOOLS TO BEGIN YEAR ONLINE THROUGH FALL BREAK — All students in Michigan City Area Schools will begin their school year online. The Michigan City district's school board approved a plan Tuesday night for all students to participate in online learning through fall break (NWI Times). Students will return to in-person instruction Oct. 19 based on community coronavirus conditions, according to a district presentation. Parents will have the option to continue with virtual learning after the first six weeks of school if desired.


SOUTH BEND: SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN COMING MONDAY — South Bend school’s Superintendent Todd Cummings says he’ll present a new plan for reopening schools to the board on Monday that’ll involve phasing students back into buildings for instruction “just a few days at a time“ (South Bend Tribune). However, Cummings said during a virtual “Talks with Todd” event on Facebook Live, which was watched by hundreds Tuesday morning, he won’t recommend a hybrid model that mixes in-person and online instruction. “We believe (hybrid) puts the onus on childcare, half and half for students,” Cummings said. “We will likely bring them back every other day. That’s our recommendation.”


FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL PASSES PD BODY CAM ORDINANCE - The City of Fort Wayne City Council has approved an ordinance to require Fort Wayne Police Department officers to wear body cameras Tuesday night (WANE-TV). Several representatives from the department as well as a representative from their union were invited to speak and share their thoughts on the resolution. The police department will be asked to put together policies for camera use. That’s expected to include policies for appropriate usage and storage, response to public inquiries for recorded video and appropriate discipline for any misuse of the camera.


INDIANAPOLIS: CIRCLE OFFICE SPACE OPEN FOR RETAIL - The former Anthem Inc. headquarters on Monument Circle could be divided into multiple suites, as the property’s owner tries to drum up interest among prospective office and retail tenants (IBJ). The 213,600-square-foot structure at 55 Monument Circle has been without an anchor tenant since December 2018. The real estate investment firm that owns the property, Massachusetts-based Franklin Street Properties, has generally dismissed the concept of cordoning off parts of the four-story building for use by multiple tenants in favor of finding a single large user. But over the past several months, that attitude has shifted, said John Vandenbark, an office broker with the Indianapolis office of CBRE representing Franklin Street. “In an ideal world, it would have been one big tenant,” he said. “Then it became, ‘Well, we need a larger tenant to kick it off.’ So, we will look at a multi-tenant scenario … whereas a year ago we wouldn’t have.”


INDIANAPOLIS: HOGSETT RIBBON CUTTING AT HARRISON HOME — Mayor Joe Hogsett will join the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (Indy DPW) and officials from the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site tomorrow for a ribbon cutting ceremony highlighting the completion of recent improvements on Talbott Street in the city's Old Northside neighborhood. Part of the Presidential Site's South Lawn enhancements, the Talbott Street project is one of 10 projects that received funding assistance from Indy DPW through the 2019 Indianapolis Neighborhood Infrastructure Partnership program.


WEST LAFAYETTE: MAYOR DENNIS SUED OVER MASK MANDATE – A West Lafayette man who says Mayor John Dennis’ two-week-old mask mandate and the $100 fine meant to back it up were overreach during the coronavirus pandemic sued the mayor, asking a judge to keep the mayor from enforcing the emergency order signed July 13 (Bangert, Lafayette Journal & Courier). In a case filed July 22 in Tippecanoe Circuit Court, Michael Bryant, a West Lafayette resident, claimed he wasn’t looking “to reach a conclusion on the effectiveness of mask-wearing,” even though the documents filed in court question whether mask orders will play a role in curbing the spread of COVID-19. Instead, Bryant’s suit claimed that Dennis should have asked the West Lafayette City Council to act, if the mask order was necessary, and that the fact that he was no longer in a position to publicly protest the mayor’s mandate without inviting police to intervene and putting himself in a position of being fined.


EVANSVILLE: FEW ATHLETES TEST POSITIVE - EVSC Athletic Director Andy Owen tells us they are monitoring each situation closely. Health and safety remain the priority, but also, Owen wants their athletes to be able to play this fall. Out of the roughly 400 to 500 student-athletes who have been practicing the last four weeks in the school corporation, he says only two have tested positive for COVID-19 (WFIE-TV). Warrick County Superintendent Brad Schneider says one school had three athletes test positive. For EVSC, teams continue to practice. one of the student-athletes who tested positive was able to quarantine by themselves. The other quarantined, as well as a close cohort group that came into close contact with them.


GREENWOOD: COVID CLOSES CITY COURT — Greenwood City Court is rescheduling all of its court cases this week, because of several coronavirus cases (WRTV). Judge Lewis Gregory told RTV6, officials learned last week that three courthouse employees tested positive for COVID-19. The courthouse will be closed all week to disinfect the building. Officials are monitoring the situation closely with their other employees. The courthouse is set to reopen August 10.


CARMEL: CHRISTKINDLMARKT CANCELLED - Carmel has canceled its annual Christkindlmarkt as well as ice skating at the city’s outdoor skating rink due to concerns about the continued spread of the coronavirus (IBJ). The two winter attractions drew more than 300,000 people to the northern Indianapolis suburb over a four-month period last winter, the city said. City officials and the Christkindlmarkt Board of Directors announced the German-themed market’s cancelation and the elimination of this year’s skating season at the Ice at Carter Green ice rink Tuesday afternoon, even though they are months away.


COLUMBUS: CUMMINS 2Q REVENUE DOWN HISTORIC 38% - Cummins stock traded at the highest price ever on Tuesday even after the company announced the largest quarterly drop in revenue in its 101-year history (Columbus Republic). The Columbus-based company’s stock closed up 2.1% at a record $195.02 and traded above $200 for much of the day. The stock has roughly doubled in value since March 23, when Cummins was trading at $102.76. One reason why the company’s stock increased after reporting a historically bad quarter was because Cummins beat Wall Street’s revenue and earnings estimates, local analysts said. Cummins beat the consensus market estimate of $3.75 billion in revenue by around $150 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or “EBITA,” by $206.5 million, according to figures provided by Roger Lee, senior research analyst with Columbus-based Kirr, Marbach and Co.


GARY: MAYOR CLOSES BEACHES DUE TO COVID OUTBREAK — Citing a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the city, Mayor Jerome Prince on Tuesday ordered the closure of Gary's beaches for two weeks beginning Wednesday (Clark, NWI Times). Prince noted in a news release that last week, he instituted a plan to keep the beaches open with social distancing guidelines, "(u)nderstanding that beach goers from our community and the Chicago area have had fewer outdoor venues for exercise and to enjoy the outdoor weather during the pandemic ... " But Prince said Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker recommended the beaches be closed "to effectively control the inundation of our parks by residents and visitors.


GARY: FORMER GENESIS CENTER OFFICIAL GETS PROBATION - A federal judge has placed a one-year term of probation on a Portage woman who embezzled money from Gary’s financially-troubled Genesis center (NWI Times). U.S. District Court Judge Theresa Springmann spared 52-year-old Victoria Wilson prison following Wilson’s guilty plea last September to the theft of $12,727 from the city of Gary. She admitted using her position as bookkeeper and interim executive director of the city-owned convention center between March and October in 2017 to steal some of its revenue.



SPENCER: PRIDE FESTIVAL CANCELLED - Spencer Pride will not host its annual festival for the first time in 14 years because of the coronavirus pandemic (Indiana Public Media). Instead, the group will be expanding its Pride Week activities that would have led up to the festival. Spencer Pride’s “Pride Week” is from Oct. 12 to 18 this year. “We just don't have enough information or confidence that tells us that we're going to be in a better position from a pandemic perspective,” Spencer Pride President Jonathan Balash said. “And so we don't want to worsen the circumstances by facilitating a large gathering of people. And that's our main concern, really, is – we don't want to contribute negatively to the health of our community.”


EVANSVILLE: 2 FORMER BULLDOGS JOIN LICKLITER'S STAFF - Evansville coach Todd Lickliter has hired two former players — Brandon Crone and Thomas Jackson — to be assistant coaches (AP). Both played for Lickliter during his six-year stint Butler’s head coach. The moves come less than a year after the Purple Aces pulled a stunning upset at then No. 1 Kentucky and just six months after Lickliter took over for Walter McCarty, who was suspended and later fired following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and Title IX violations. Evansville went 0-19 without McCarty, the last 13 under Lickliter. Jackson spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA’s G-League after playing 12 seasons in Europe.


VALPARAISO: LAB OFFERS SALIVA COVID TESTS - If you don’t like a medical technician poking a swab up your nose, you might appreciate the ability to spit into a tube instead. Great Lakes Labs in Valparaiso is believed to be the only laboratory in the area offering the saliva test for COVID-19 (Ross, NWI Times). The company has provided forensic services for the criminal justice system for more than a third of a century.


MONROE COUNTY: LANDOWNER REQUEST SPECIAL PROSECUTOR - One of the people involved in the Fourth of July incident at Lake Monroe has filed to intervene in the case against Sean Purdy, who allegedly jumped Vauhxx Booker because of his race (Indiana Public Media). Caroline McCord, who is Purdy’s girlfriend and owns the property where the incident occurred, filed a motion Monday to intervene in the Purdy case and request a special prosecutor, according to court documents. Sean Purdy faces three felony charges: criminal confinement, battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and intimidation, after local activist Vauhxx Booker accused him and a group of his friends of jumping Booker on the Fourth of July and threatening to hang him. McCord does not face charges. A report from the Department of Natural Resources listed charges that could pertain to Booker, including criminal trespass, but were not brought forward.


WARRICK COUNTY: SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN INCLUDES OPTIONS - In Warrick County, the school board met Monday evening to decide whether to approve the district’s re-opening plan (WFIE-TV). With the start of school creeping ever so closely on the calendar, superintendent of schools Brad Schneider, along with the school board, approved the Warrick schools reentry plan. As of now, the plan is to begin school Wednesday, August 12, with two options. Students can either attend classes in person, or they can use the virtual option and take classes via live stream. “We all work together to develop the plan. We have input from teachers, health department, so it’s a compilation of a lot of decisions, a lot of thoughts, a lot of scenarios to prepare for,” said Schneider. “People need to realize this is a living breathing plan, so it’s gonna change often, gonna be changed updated on a regular basis.”


RANDOLPH COUNTY: SOLAR FARMS REQUIRED TO BE POLLINATORS - Randolph County, east of Muncie, has passed an ordinance requiring solar farms to have pollinator habitats. This follows the company EDP Renewables’ plans to build a 200 megawatt farm there (Indiana Public Media). Groups in favor of the ordinance hope it will not only benefit pollinators and other wildlife, but the neighbors as well. “Can you imagine driving down the countryside and seeing just fields and fields of wildflowers that ‘oh hey, yeah, they happen to have some solar panels in them?’ But you know, it's beautiful," said Julie Borgmann, executive director of the Red Tail Land Conservancy.