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10 Things in Politics: Biden’s playbook for Hunter attacks

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Here’s what we’re talking about:

One thing to watch for: Former President Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will tour a section of the unfinished border wall in the state.


Hunter Biden and Joe Biden

Then-Vice President Joe Biden (R) speaks as his son Hunter Biden looks on in 2016.

Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA


1. THE GOP CAN’T QUIT HUNTER BIDEN: Republicans are pledging to go after Hunter Biden again if they retake control in next year’s elections. Democratic strategists say the White House should be ready for all possibilities as the GOP takes another swing at the president’s son and past business deals.

Insider spoke with eight Democratic strategists and operatives about the ways Biden can prepare:

Dust off the old playbook: Many in the White House experienced responding to attacks on Biden’s son firsthand. Strategists say they should be prepared to recirculate earlier statements and point to the voluminous fact checks that debunked many of the Trump campaign’s attacks.

  • Others advise not losing focus on what’s really important: “[Republicans] can flog the dead horse until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, what this administration will be judged on … is the progress we’ve made on ” the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recovery, Sen. Tom Carper told Insider.

Turn the tables: Some suggest letting the American people hear from witnesses in Trump’s first impeachment trial again to remind them of the lengths to which Rudy Giuliani and others went to dig up dirt on Biden’s family. “It’s an opportunity to impeach Trump again,” said Adam Goldberg, special associate counsel to former President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.

More advice here.


 2. Death toll from Florida condo collapse grows to 12: Friends and family still await answers for the 149 people still missing six days after a Surfside condominium building partially collapsed. President Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan to travel to the site on Thursday. Rescue crews continue to work nonstop, though one official told CNN collapsed bedrooms are buried under 13 to 16 feet of concrete. 

  • Multiple investigations will soon begin: Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said she plans to request a grand jury to investigate the situation. More on that here.

3. Not all post-pandemic booms are created equal: The majority of states saw their economic outlooks rebounding from months prior, but most still remain well below pre-pandemic levels, according to new data.

Some states that either never fully shut down or quickly reopened, like Utah and Montana, are seeing significant growth. Places that were particularly pummeled by the pandemic (New York, Massachusetts, and Hawaii) are posting gains, but they are still far below their pre-pandemic levels. More on how states are faring.

State economic data



Insider



4. The NYC mayoral race is a mess: City officials are redoing the first rounds of ranked-choice vote tabulations for the city’s mayoral election and other contests after mistakenly including 135,000 test votes in their tabulations. This also marks the latest saga of decades of incompetence and dysfunction for the troubled New York City Board of Elections, which is overseeing the city’s first-ever use of ranked-choice voting. New results should come later today.


5. House easily passes a bill to remove Confederate statues: House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly by a 285-120 vote to remove a bust of the Supreme Court chief justice responsible for the Dred Scott decision as well as statues of those who either fought for or served in the Confederacy, the Associated Press reported. The legislation faces an uncertain future in the Senate. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy voted for it, but pointed out that the statues being removed are all of Democrats.


6. Top US commander in Afghanistan says a civil war could happen soon: “Civil war is certainly a path that can be visualized if it continues on the trajectory it’s on,” Gen. Austin S. Miller told reporters, per The New York Times. His assessment underlines the tension between the Pentagon and the White House over the complete withdrawal of troops from America’s longest war.


7. A Tennessee GOP megadonor is paying for the South Dakota National Guard to deploy to the Southern border: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who is testing the waters on a 2024 campaign, said she would use a private donation to pay for the deployment of up to 50 guard troops on the border. A historian for the state’s National Guard told the AP that the use of private money “doesn’t even make sense to me.” The expert could think of no parallel for using private donations to cover a deployment.


 8. NSA denies that it’s spying on Tucker Carlson: The Fox News host is refusing to back away from his claims that the National Security Agency is spying on him in a bid to get his show off the air — even after the NSA issued a statement calling the allegations “untrue.”

  • With friends like these: Carlson’s own colleagues appear to be responding to his claims with skepticism. CNN reported that no one else on Fox News covered the claim on Tuesday morning. Fox’s top brass also didn’t release a statement chastising the NSA for spying on Carlson, as would typically be expected in a situation like this. 

One image of a smiling Bill Gates on the left, a stern Melinda Gates in the center, and a thinking Bill Gates to the right on a black background



Chesnot/Getty Images; Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images; Hou Yu/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider


9. What Bill Gates is really like: Reports of Gates’ extramarital proclivities exposed cracks in his persona, and insiders say he’s long kept his personal life separate from his wife Melinda.

Read more: Insiders say Bill Gates was an office bully who pursued sexual affairs, and that his squeaky-clean image was merely good PR.


10. How baristas really feel about you camping out at their coffee shop: While businesses are excited to see customers returning after the pandemic, they have some tips for remote-work etiquette. If you’re inclined to trade in your home office for a cafe table, check out baristas’ tips for working respectfully away from home.


Today’s trivia question: What year was it when every single state finally had two statues in Statuary Hall? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].



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