GOP OPERATIVES SUGGEST TRUMP MAY DROP OUT: A stretch of lackluster polling for President Trump has some Republican operatives nervous about the president’s reelection prospects in November – with some even floating the possibility for the first time that Trump could drop out if his poll numbers don’t rebound (Gasparino, Fox News). “It’s too early, but if the polls continue to worsen, you can see a scenario where he drops out,” one GOP operative who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News. “I’ve heard the talk but I doubt it’s true,” another said. “My bet is, he drops if he believes there’s no way to win.” Gasparino tweeted on Sunday: "Over the weekend I spoke to a sample of major players; one described Trumps current psyche as 'fragile.'”

VACCINE FACES DEFINING SUMMER OF TESTS: People on six continents already are getting jabs in the arm as the race for a COVID-19 vaccine enters a defining summer, with even bigger studies poised to prove if any shot really works -- and maybe offer a reality check (AP). Already British and Chinese researchers are chasing the coronavirus beyond their borders, testing potential vaccines in Brazil and the United Arab Emirates because there are too few new infections at home to get clear answers. The U.S. is set to open the largest trials -- 30,000 people to test a government-created shot starting in July, followed about a month later with another 30,000 expected to test a British one. Those likely will be divided among Americans and volunteers in other countries such as Brazil or South Africa, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told The Associated Press. While he’s optimistic, “we’ve been burned before,” Fauci cautioned. “This isn’t a race of who gets there first. This is, get as many approved, safe and effective vaccines as you possibly can,” Fauci said.

PENCE DOWNPLAYS COVID RESURGENCE: Vice President Mike Pence is downplaying the recent surges of coronavirus cases that are prompting some states to close certain businesses down again (WIBC). Over two dozen states are seeing a spike in the number of people getting sick with COVID-19. Those states include Texas and Florida. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot has told bars in the state to close back down. Pence tells CBS’s “Face the Nation” is acknowledging the surge is a legitimate concern. “It’s clear across the Sun Belt that there is something happening, particularly among young Americans,” Pence said. “That’s why we fully support Gov. Abbot’s decisions to close bars and limit restaurants.” But, Pence is also downplaying the surge. “One of the things that we’ve heard, in Texas and Florida in particular, is that nearly half of those testing positive are Americans under the age of 35,” said Pence. “Those that are requiring to be hospitalized who are testing positive is significantly lower than it was two months ago.” “While we are monitoring about 16 states that are seeing outbreaks, that represents about four percent of all the counties in this country, 34 states are not seeing a rise in positivity,” he continued. “And they have different measures, different requirements in place.

TRUMP DENIES KNOWING OF RUSSIAN BOUNTIES: President Donald Trump has denied that he was made aware of U.S. intelligence officials’ conclusions that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan. The Trump administration was set to brief select members of Congress on the matter on Monday (AP). The intelligence assessments came amid Trump’s push to withdraw the U.S. from Afghanistan and suggested that Russia was making overtures to militants as the U.S. and the Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war. The assessment was first reported by The New York Times and then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and two others with knowledge of the matter. There were conflicting reports about whether Trump was aware of Russia’s actions. The intelligence officials told the AP that the president was briefed on the matter earlier this year; Trump denied that, tweeting on Sunday that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed. The Republican president tweeted Sunday night that he was just told that intelligence officials didn’t report the information to him because they didn’t find it credible.

LAKE LEADS 100 PROTESTERS IN PENCE'S HOMETOWN: It was a scene Jeannine Lee Lake never would have imagined when she first ran against Greg Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s brother, for a rural Indiana congressional seat two years ago: an almost entirely white crowd of more than 100 people marching silently in the Pences’ hometown this month, offering prayers for Black people killed by police and an end to systemic racism (AP). Leading them was Lake, who is in rematch against Pence. She is the only Black woman running for federal office in Indiana this fall. The Democrat, who lost badly in 2018 and again faces long odds in the deeply conservative district, has spent much of the past few weeks at events such as the one in Columbus on Juneteenth. In communities across a district that is 93% white, Lake has talked about seeing her children pulled over by police and “harassed for no reason.” She has spoken the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people killed by police, telling crowds “we’re here to call for change.” “In no way, shape or form is 2018 the same as the 2020 race in regard to the grassroots effort and the galvanization of the movement that is now Black Lives Matter,” said Lake, 50. “It’s just a total shift.”

PROTESTERS SHOW UP AT ALLEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S HOME: Protesters met at Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards’ home to demand she drop all non-violent charges related to protests in May and June. Many were people who had been at the downtown Fort Wayne George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests. They were demanding non-violent charges that some protesters are facing be dropped (WANE-TV). They also wanted her to do something about the way police handled the situation those first two nights of protests. “The militarization of the police force, the way the handle nonviolent protests, it’s not just and it’s not okay,” said protester Ames Neumann. “Especially the way they’re treating the black and brown protesters who are disproportionally being arrested for nonviolent crimes.” Richards did go out and talk to the crowd for some time. People asked her about a range of topics including specific cases, what constitutes a lawful protest, as well as how the judicial process works. Several people asked if any new charges might be brought against protesters or any officers. Richards said they are looking through video from the protests to determine if cases will move forward. The original organizer, Taylor Crane, stopped by WANE 15 to discuss the protest. Crane is also listed as a plaintiff on the ACLU of Indiana lawsuit against the city of Fort Wayne and the Allen County Sheriff. Crane says he is distancing himself from the Karen Richards protest due to legal reasons.

PROTESTS EARLY SUNDAY MORNING OUTSIDE IMPD CHIEF'S HOME: Black Lives Matter protesters honked horns to make themselves heard early Sunday morning outside Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor’s home (Johnson, CBS4). BLM continues to demand action, not only in the case of Dreasjon Reed, but McHale Rose as well. Both men were shot and killed by IMPD on May 6. The group gathered at 62nd and Michigan — where Reed was killed — around 5:30 a.m. From there they headed to Chief Taylor’s neighborhood. They say their voices aren’t heard downtown, so maybe leaders will listen when protesters are at their doorstep. The protesters made a few laps as they honked their horns and made demands. They want the autopsy report in Reed’s death to be released, but they’re asking for more. “We want the officers to be fired in Dreasjon Reed’s case,” said Indianapolis BLM organizer Kyra Jay. “Not only the officer that killed Dreasjon, but the officer that made the comments about him after he was laying there dead. His body was there laying on the ground.”

PORTAGE COPS CONFRONT ANGRY CROWD OF 300:  Numerous law enforcement agencies were called in Saturday night to help local officers disperse a crowd of 200 to 300 people that broke out into "total chaos" among themselves and toward police at Sk8World, a roller skating rink at 3600 Scottsdale St. (Kasarda, NWI Times). "During the chaos, officers encountered numerous active physical fights and attempted to intervene," according to details requested from police by The Times Sunday morning. "At one point an officer fell onto his back, attempting to separate combatants," police said. "Other officers had to force their way into the crowd in an attempt to assist him. Officers then reported approximately 100 subjects advanced on them, continually screaming and pushing. Officers were pinned against the wall of the business and had to force their way out of the crowd." One juvenile was arrested on various charges, but the investigation is ongoing, according to Portage police. A majority of the crowd left before giving statements. Officers arrived from the Porter County Sheriff's Department and Indiana State Police, as well as police departments in Burns Harbor, Ogden Dunes, Chesterton, Hobart and Lake Station.

70 FACE MASK VIOLATIONS REPORTED IN ST. JOE COUNTY: St. Joseph County’s health department has found nearly 70 violations of its mask order among local businesses since May, revealing spotty compliance and confusion as officials lean toward extending it (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). The county hasn’t yet moved to impose fines and has handled the violations so far by instructing store managers and owners on steps they can take to comply with the order. The health department is now planning a new campaign, seeking input from businesses and residents, to publicly praise businesses that are taking the order seriously — while still holding out the possibility of imposing fines if mask use starts to dramatically decline. Since the May 4 order took effect, the health department has found businesses in the county violating it 69 times — during 37 inspections triggered by customer complaints and 32 more during routine food service inspections, according to records The Tribune obtained through a public records request. “I’m a little worried that there’s been a decay in compliance in St. Joseph County,” said Dr. Mark Fox, the county’s deputy health officer.

BANKS FLYING BLIND INTO WHO'S CREDITWORTHY: Banks have pulled back sharply on lending to U.S. consumers during the coronavirus crisis. One reason: They can’t tell who is creditworthy anymore (Wall Street Journal). Millions of Americans are out of work and behind on their debts. But, in many cases, the missed payments aren’t reflected in their credit scores, nor are they uniformly recorded on borrowers’ credit reports. The confusion stems from a provision in the government’s coronavirus stimulus package. The law says lenders that allow borrowers to defer their debt payments can’t report these payments as late to credit-reporting companies. From March 1 through the end of May, Americans deferred debt payments on more than 100 million accounts, according to credit-reporting firm TransUnion, TRU -2.99% a sign of widespread financial distress. The credit blind spot has further clouded the outlook for lenders. For years, strong consumer spending and borrowing helped propel them to record profits. Now the economy is in shambles, and they are trying to figure out what is going to happen to all of the debt Americans racked up in better times.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The Hoosier population is becoming restless. - Brian A. Howey


WEINZAPFEL SAYS OBAMACARE CASE CHALLENGE 'DANGEROUS & WASTEFUL': The Democratic nominee for Indiana attorney general is pledging — if he's elected Nov. 3 — to remove Indiana from a federal lawsuit pending at the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare (Carden, NWI Times). Former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel last week promised "on my first day" to halt Indiana's participation in Texas v. California, a case he described as "dangerous and wasteful." "It's simple. Health care is on the line this November, and (Indiana Attorney General) Curtis Hill is using Hoosiers' taxpayer dollars to try to take it away and end life-saving protections for people who have preexisting conditions," Weinzapfel said. "Not even a global health crisis has stopped his politically motivated pursuit."

Presidential 2020

SUNBELT COVID SPIKE THREATENS TRUMP REELECT: The explosion of Covid-19 cases in Sun Belt states is becoming another albatross for President Donald Trump’s reelection hopes — and creating a new opening for Joe Biden and Democrats in November (Politico). Republican governors in Florida, Arizona and Texas followed Trump’s lead by quickly reopening their states while taking a lax approach to social distancing and mask-wearing. Now each of them is seeing skyrocketing coronavirus caseloads and rising hospitalizations, and Republican leaders are in retreat. It’s hard to overstate the gravity of the situation for Trump: Lose any one of the three states, and his reelection is all but doomed. Liberal outside groups and the Biden campaign have launched digital and TV ads in Florida, Arizona and Texas hitting Trump for allowing a second wave of coronavirus. The developments have buttressed Biden’s main argument against Trump: that he’s incapable of bringing stability or healing in a time of crisis.

TRUMP TO 'REBRAND' BIDEN: President Trump and his top advisers are trying to rebrand Joe Biden as a danger to America — with some aides admitting privately that the "Sleepy Joe" nickname will never gin up the visceral reaction they exploited against "Crooked Hillary" Clinton (Swan, Axios). Driving the news: The emerging strategy is to claim Biden's mental faculties are diminished and say he can't rein in protesters' most controversial excesses, including toppling a Ulysses S. Grant statue, looting stores, burning buildings and vandalizing St. John's Church. Trump is trailing in key states, and some of his advisers say they're running out of time to make suburban moms so scared of "Uncle Joe" that they'll vote for Trump. A growing number of Trump's advisers say their best shot is to convince voters that the avuncular Biden won't really run the show if elected. "We need to be demonizing him," said a Republican lawmaker who talks regularly to Trump. 

TRUMP ALLIES URGE CAMPAIGN SHAKEUP: President Trump and his campaign team are grappling with how to resuscitate his imperiled reelection effort amid a wave of polling that shows him badly trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and losing traction even among core constituencies (Washington Post). Some Trump advisers and allies are privately pushing for sweeping changes to the campaign, including the idea of a major staff shake-up and trying to convince the president to be more disciplined in his message and behavior. But so far, the campaign has settled only on incremental changes — such as hiring and elevating a handful of operatives who worked on Trump’s upset victory in 2016 — and has yet to settle on a clear message for his reelection.

BIDEN TO ZERO IN ON TRUMP COVID RESPONSE: The Biden campaign plans to focus its messages this week on "the difference between what Joe Biden called for and what Donald Trump did at crucial inflection points" since the pandemic arrived in America, according to a Biden adviser (Axios). Expect the Biden campaign to use footage of Trump golfing, holding rallies, complaining about being mistreated by the media and saying he wanted testing slowed down. Plus they'll hammer Trump for continuing his assault on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during this health crisis — noting that if the Supreme Court invalidates the law as the administration is seeking, it could strip 23 million Americans' health care and eliminate coverage for preexisting conditions amid a pandemic.

Sunday Talk

PENCE DEFENDS TRUMP ON MASKS: Vice President Pence defended the lack of encouragement from President Trump for all Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, saying the White House wants "to defer to governors." “One of the elements of the genius of America is the principle of federalism, of state and local control,” Pence said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “We've made it clear that we want to defer to governors. We want to defer to local officials, and people should listen to them.” Guest host John Dickerson countered that “the virus doesn’t know federalism” and called the pandemic “a problem that requires a coordinated national result, which is what these outbreaks are showing.” “If we’d have taken that approach, we'd have never had the success that we had in the greater New York City area,” Pence responded. “We'd have never had the success in Michigan or New Orleans because, from early on, we worked closely in partnership with governors to make sure that they had what they needed when they needed it, tailored to the unique circumstances in their states.”

GOV. INSLEE CALLS PENCE COMMENTS 'MADDENING': Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) blasted the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, accusing President Trump of politicizing mitigation measures and saying Vice President Pence has created an overly optimistic picture of the situation. “When I heard the vice president talk about how things are just hunky-dory, it’s just maddening,” Inslee said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. “The situation is critical in many places across the United States and all the happy thoughts and wishful thinking in the world is not going to wash that away.”

AZAR SAYS 'WINDOW IS CLOSING': Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar offered urgent public health advice to address the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in an interview this morning with Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press." "The window is closing," to slow the COVID-19 spread, Azar said. "We have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibly. We need to social distance. We need to wear our face coverings if we're in settings where we can't social distance, particularly in these hot zones."

GOTTLIEB EXPECTS COVID DEATH SPIKE: Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said a decline in coronavirus deaths even as cases spike is likely temporary. The concentration of new cases among younger patients, and thus the decline in mortality, is “not likely to stay that way,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “We’re likely to see total daily deaths start to go back up again.” In states that have imposed restrictions in response to increased cases, Gottlieb said, “the action is much weaker than a stay-at-home order.” “I think that these states have some difficult weeks ahead,” Gottlieb added, saying that Florida in particular “looks like they may be tipping over into exponential growth.”

CUOMO SAYS TRUMP IN DENIAL: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said President Donald Trump and his administration are “basically in denial” about the coronavirus pandemic and aren’t doing enough to combat it (Politico). Confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. are rising, and the death toll has topped 125,000, leading some states, such as Texas and Florida, to roll back some of the measures they’ve taken to reopen their economies. “This is a continuation of the first wave, and it was a failed effort to stop the first wave in the country,” Cuomo said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If you listen to what the president says, what they said at the White House briefing, they're saying what they said three months ago. They're basically in denial about the problem. They don't want to tell the American people the truth.”

GOV. HUTCHINSON SAYS STATES SHOULDN'T RESTRICT EACH OTHER: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Sunday that states “can’t be putting restrictions on each other” after New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a 14-day quarantine for travelers from states hit hard by coronavirus. The Arkansas governor, whose residents would have to comply with the quarantine, said on ABC News’ “This Week” that it is “understandable” that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) instituted this policy, along with the two other states. “So we're just going to do better to get our cases down in Arkansas, but ultimately we can't be putting restrictions on each other across the country because we do have to do two things -- both manage the virus and manage the growth of our economy,” Hutchinson said.

SEN. SCOTT CALLS STALLED POLICE REFORMS 'CRYING SHAME': South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the Republican spearheading police reform legislation in the Senate, said Sunday it is a “crying shame” that his bill is stalled over partisan differences. “I look forward to having a conversation later this week with some of the House leaders on the legislation, because, if there is a path forward, we should find it. But what we cannot do is eliminate Republicans in the House and have Democrats in the Senate say, I'm not interested in having a conversation about a bill that has so much in common,” Scott said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It is certainly a crying shame that the average person in this nation will not benefit from the parts of the bill that both sides agree upon right now, and not having to wait until November to make it an election year issue,” Scott added.

BOLTON ON TRUMP RUSSIAN BOUNTY DENIAL: John Bolton, a former national security adviser who was forced out by Trump last September and has now written a tell-all book about his time at the White House, said Sunday that “it is pretty remarkable the president’s going out of his way to say he hasn’t heard anything about it. One asks, why would he do something like that?” Bolton told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he thinks the answer “may be precisely because active Russian aggression like that against the American service members is a very, very serious matter and nothing’s been done about it, if it’s true, for these past four or five months, so it may look like he was negligent. But, of course, he can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it.”


HOUSE PREVIEW: The House will vote Monday on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, which would expand on the Affordable Care Act to lower health costs and prescription drug prices (Axios).  Monday: The House will also vote on the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the Financial Services Committee. The measure would prevent evictions, foreclosures and unsafe housing conditions resulting from COVID-19.

Tuesday: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on going back to work and school during COVID-19.

Thursday: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the firing of the State Department's inspector general.

SENATE PREVIEW: The Senate will vote Monday to proceed on the National Defense Authorization Act — the bill to fund the U.S. military. Discussions over police reform following the House passage of Democrats' "Justice in Policing Act of 2020" are expected to continue this week. Tuesday: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on international pandemic preparedness, prevention and response. Also on Tuesday, IRS commissioner Charles Rettig will testify before the Senate Finance Committee on the 2020 filing season and the pandemic. Wednesday: The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on compensation for college athletes.


ISDH: SUNDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) today announced that 362 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 44,930 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s total. Intensive care unit and ventilator capacity remain steady. As of today, nearly 39 percent of ICU beds and nearly 84 percent of ventilators are available. A total of 2,427 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 3 over the previous day. Another 192 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. To date, 470,535 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 463,017 on Saturday. ISDH will be hosting free drive-thru clinics next week in Goshen and Elkhart.

EDUCATION: BSU INVESTING MILLIONS IN COVID SAFETY - An unprecedented scenario of readying a college campus in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic means Ball State University can't yet answer every question about reopening for fall semester two months from now. But it is able to address safety questions (Slabaugh, Muncie Star Press). "Because of our long history of fiscal prudence and financial stability, as well as resources we received from the federal CARES Act, we have the capacity to make substantial investments to make our campus safe,” President Geoffrey S. Mearns said at a June 19 meeting of the board of trustees. “At the same time, we remain committed to providing our students with the distinctive, high-impact learning opportunities that will ensure their academic and professional success.” BSU does not yet have projected housing occupancy for fall 2020, but the plan is to increase the number of students in single rooms and assign single rooms throughout the residence halls to reduce the number of people sharing a restroom and common areas.


WHITE HOUSE: PENCE MEETS GOV. ABBOTT DURING COVID SURGE - Vice President Mike Pence met with Gov. Greg Abbott Sunday, pledging additional resources and testing in wake of what Abbott called “the very swift and very dangerous turn” of the coronavirus in Texas (MSN). “President Trump wanted us to be here today with the developments over the last two weeks with the rising positivity and the rising number of cases with a very simple message and that is to use people of Texas: We’re with you,” Pence said. Before Pence spoke after meeting with state officials, Abbott gave a somber assessment of the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. “We need to understand that COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” he said.

WHITE HOUSE: SPIES, COMMANDOS WARNED OF BOUNTIES - United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said (New York Times). The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said. Armed with this information, military and intelligence officials have been reviewing American and other coalition combat casualties over the past 18 months to determine whether any were victims of the plot. Four Americans were killed in combat in early 2020, but the Taliban have not attacked American positions since a February agreement to end the long-running war in Afghanistan.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - President Trump's schedule, per a White House official: Monday: Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. Thursday: Trump will deliver remarks at a Spirit of America Showcase. Friday: Trump will visit South Dakota for its 2020 Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration in Keystone. Pence on Tuesday will visit Tucson and Yuma, Arizona, and meet with Gov. Doug Ducey and other officials to talk about the spikes in confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Thursday, Pence will travel to Florida to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis.


CONNERSVILLE: COUNCILMAN RESIGNS FOR RACIST POST — A Connersville councilman resigned Saturday after a racist Facebook post was published on his profile (WRTV). Mike Bishop said in a resignation letter he too was upset about the post, but claims he did not post it and isn't sure how it was posted. "However, given the current political climate I understand that remaining in this position of Connersville City Council at Large would remain a distraction to all of the positive changes the Frank Administration has been striving for," Bishop said. "I am sorry that I will not be a part of the good that has already happened knowing the bright future that is ahead for Connersville." Jeannine Lee Lake, who is running for U.S. Representative as a Democrat, held a rally Saturday afternoon calling for his resignation.

ELKHART COUNTY: HEALTH BOARD MOVES ON MASK MANDATES - A face mask mandate could be on the horizon after a vote by the Elkhart County Board of Health (Elkhart Truth). The board unanimously approved a recommendation to the county Board of Commissioners that a mandatory mask ordinance would be beneficial in controlling the surge of COVID-19 cases. It includes a recommendation that other protective measures continue to be encouraged, including social distancing and hand washing.