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July 5, 2020

May and June unexpectedly produced strong jobs reports. The unemployment rate, while alarming, is much lower than it was in April after the first surge in coronavirus cases and appeared to skate around economists' most pessimistic projections. But Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Sunday that things are likely to take a turn for the worse.

Zandi said the return of millions of jobs over the last two months is at least in part the result of states reopening businesses too soon amid the pandemic. Now that infections are climbing in several states that mostly avoided the worst back in March and April, those places are "pulling back" their reopening efforts, which hasn't shown up in the data yet. "That's coming down the road," he said, predicting that June's progress is in the rearview mirror.

The most recent spike in states that play a driving role in the national economy, like Texas, California, and Florida, is "very disconcerting," Zandi said, adding that "the prospects of going back into a recession are pretty high." Tim O'Donnell

July 5, 2020

Susan Rice, who has previously served as both the United States Ambassador to the United Nations and former President Barack Obama's national security adviser, is "very much in the mix" to be former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate as he tries to unseat President Trump in the 2020 election, a source close to the Biden campaign told The Hill.

Rice doesn't get as much attention as two other candidates for the job, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but she does appear to have a leg up on the lawmakers in one area. "I know [Biden and Rice] have a good relationship — perhaps the best relationship of anyone on the list," the same source said. "They've known each other for years, they've worked alongside each other and she's been tested in a way that a lot of folks on the list just haven't been."

Biden has gone on the record saying he wants his potential vice president to be someone who is "simpatico." That is, someone who agrees with him on both "philosophy of government" and "the systemic things you want to change." Rice seems to fit the bill in that case — a former Obama administration official said she "makes perfect sense."

On Sunday Rice continued to play it cool, telling NBC's Andrea Mitchell, "let's not get ahead of ourselves" when asked about the possibility, but she did address some skepticism about her lack of experience running for office by noting that not only did she serve in government for years, she's worked on multiple campaigns. Whether she's Biden's running mate or a "door knocker," though, Rice said she'll do whatever she can to get Biden elected. Tim O'Donnell

July 5, 2020

President Trump on Saturday sounded optimistic about the United States' ability to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic sooner rather than later. During an Independence Day speech at the White House, the president predicted a vaccine would be available "long before the end of the year," and also downplayed the threat of the virus, describing 99 percent of COVID-19 cases as "harmless." Those words seemed to place Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn in a tough spot.

On Sunday, Hahn was diplomatic when asked by ABC News' Martha Raddatz and CNN's Dana Bash to respond to Trump's comments. He didn't directly refute his boss, but he did say "we don't want to have any" cases or deaths from the virus and urged people to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so they can protect vulnerable people. "People need to take it seriously," Hahn said.

As for the vaccine, Hahn assured viewers that the FDA is moving at a rapid pace, but because the agency is committed to making sure any potential vaccine or treatment is safe for widespread public use, he can't make any predictions about when one would become available. Tim O'Donnell

June 28, 2020

The United States remains divided over the use of masks amid the coronavirus pandemic, as evidenced by the divergent opinions on the issue expressed recently by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation, Pence said the Trump administration still wants to utilize the "principle of federalism" in dealing with the public health crisis, which he said means deferring to governors and, subsequently, local officials on matters like masks. When host John Dickerson challenged him on that idea, noting that the virus isn't aware of the concept of federalism, Pence said if they had forced a coordinated national response, "we'd never have had the success that we had" in places like New York City, New Orleans, and Michigan.

Pelosi certainly didn't agree with that, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday's edition of This Week that she believes mandating the use of masks in public is "long overdue" and the only reason it hasn't happened is because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn't want to "offend" President Trump. Tim O'Donnell

June 28, 2020

President Trump on Sunday morning retweeted a video that was later removed in which his supporters clashed with protesters in The Villages, a community in Florida. At the beginning of the video, a man driving by protesters in a golf cart can be heard shouting "white power," but the racist incident didn't stop the president from thanking "the great people of The Villages" for sticking up for him.

The video and Trump's endorsement of it led to a wave of criticism, including from in the Republican Party. During an appearance Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) bluntly told host Jake Tapper that Trump shouldn't have retweeted the video and "he should just take it down." Scott said he felt the entire video was offensive and profanity-laced, likely referring to some of the protesters swearing at the Trump supporters driving by, but he did acknowledge the president's retweet was "indefensible."

Scott, the lone Black Republican senator, didn't seem too keen to go into much further detail than that, indicating his succinct statement got his point across. Tim O'Donnell

June 21, 2020

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Sunday warned that some states in the South could soon experience exponential growth of coronavirus infections.

As things stand, he said, states like Florida and Texas are reporting ample hospital capacity, but as previously shown by New York, that can change quickly, and health-care systems could soon be overwhelmed. "Everything looks okay until suddenly it doesn't," he said.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the rise in cases has led him to believe the United States won't face waves of COVID-19, like many public health experts initially thought. Instead, he views the pandemic as a "forest fire" that won't slow down in the summer after all. "Wherever there's wood to burn, this fire's gonna burn," he said. Tim O'Donnell

June 21, 2020

The Trump re-election campaign is doubling down on its claims that concerns about protesters prevented people from attending President Trump's comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, keeping attendance lower than anticipated.

Campaign manager Brad Parscale was particularly aggrieved by reports that TikTok users and K-Pop fans were behind the empty seats after they purposefully booked hundreds of free tickets to make sure the arena didn't fill up. Parscale instead blamed the turnout on "recent images of American cities on fire" and the media for instilling fear about protesters and the coronavirus. Mercedes Schlapp, a campaign spokeswoman, shared a similar point of view Sunday, telling Fox News' Chris Wallace that her own family members who live close to Tulsa were concerned about the protesters, although reports on the ground did not indicate protesters interfered with rallygoers.

It's no surprise the campaign is trying to blame poor attendance on external factors, considering Trump's rallies played a key role in his victorious 2016 campaign and and have remained central throughout his presidency. NBC News' Carol Lee told Chuck Todd on Sunday that they indeed may be Trump's "only play" right now in terms of his re-election campaign. Tim O'Donnell

June 14, 2020

CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday asked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) what she envisions would take the place of the current Minneapolis Police Department should it eventually be dismantled, as she and others — including members of the Minneapolis city council — have argued. The congresswoman didn't have a specific answer other than that the Minneapolis community needs to collectively decide what public safety will look like, but she was clear about one thing: It won't be nothing.

"No one is saying that the community is not going to be kept safe," she said. "No one is saying crimes will not be investigated. No one is saying that we are not going to have proper response when community members are in danger. What we are saying is the current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore."

If real reform is going to happen, she said, it will require putting something new in its place. Omar pointed out that not only has the department struggled with police brutality and violence, as in the case of the killing of George Floyd, it also hasn't been very effective, clearing only a little more than half of murder cases. Tim O'Donnell

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