Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is hunkered down at his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home to mull his choices for vice president, a decision he could announce any day.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) met with Biden last weekend, the Associated Press first revealed late Friday night, signaling that she remains on the short list of potential running mates.

Meanwhile, President Trump is spending the weekend at his private golf resort in Bedminister, N.J., as negotiations over a new coronavirus stimulus package fell apart Friday.

He will hold a press conference there at 3:30 ET before traveling to the Hamptons for two fundraisers.

On Friday night, Trump called an impromptu press conference to discuss plans for executive orders to restore lapsed economic relief. Club members gathered as spectators, standing shoulder-to-shoulder without masks, and booed the press.

Here are some significant developments:
August 8, 2020 at 6:15 PM EDT
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Trump gives golf club guests another show

By Colby Itkowitz

At his private golf club late Saturday afternoon, President Trump gave paying members a front-row seat to a campaign rally, a news conference and the official signing of executive orders all wrapped up into one.

The event was scheduled under the auspices of signing an executive order that circumvents a stalemated Congress on extending unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the president took the opportunity to rant against “radical left Democrats,” his presumptive opponent, Joe Biden, and the “fake news” all while cracking jokes to entertain the sympathetic crowd.

It was an unusual scene for an unusual president, who held a nearly identical event the night before at the club, though that was without the official act of signing the order. Democrats and other critics of the president have criticized his use of his private golf club for official government business.

On Saturday, he accused Democrats of trying to “steal the election,” Biden of wanting to rip down the border wall for “people to pour into our country,” and threatened to name governors as the “good ones and the bad ones” over their handling of the pandemic.

After he signed the executive order, he asked club members if they’d like a souvenir. “Would anybody like a pen? Would anybody like a pen?” Trump said to cheers from the crowd. “We’ll hand these out to you in the back.”

Then he did a riff on marriage, a new addition to his list of dire consequences from quarantining for too long.

“Marriages that were very good turned out to be very bad,” he said. “It’s an amazing thing. Who would think that? But people get along for 20 years, I guess they didn’t know each other very well. And now they’re not getting along.”

The event ended when a reporter asked Trump why he continues to take credit for Veterans Choice — a bill that was signed by former president Barack Obama. Trump tried to ignore the question as his supporters began to clap and cheer over the reporter.

“It was a false statement, sir,” the reporter called out.

There was a pause and then Trump abruptly ended the news conference.

August 8, 2020 at 3:53 PM EDT
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Biden signs go missing in a pivotal Wisconsin swing county

By Holly Bailey

Wisconsin’s Pepin County was one of 22 in the state that flipped from voting for Barack Obama in 2012 to electing Donald Trump in 2016, and Democrats there have been working hard to win the area back, despite logistical challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Two weeks ago, as The Post reported, local Democrats began placing dozens of campaign signs for Joe Biden around the county — a visual show of support in a region where the rural highways are dotted with Trump flags and signs even as many residents remain deeply divided over the president. The Post story, which included photos of Democrats planting Biden yard signs in the village of Stockholm, was widely circulated by local residents on social media, according to Bruce Johnson, the local Democratic Party co-chair.

On Saturday morning, Johnson awoke to word that almost all of the new campaign signs he and other Democrats had placed in the county had been stolen. “We’ll replace them of course, but that’s the state of the campaign in our pivot county,” Johnson said.

The report comes as other Wisconsin counties have reported an uptick in stolen signs in recent weeks — complaints that been lodged not just by Democrats, but Republicans, too. Both Biden and Trump supporters across Brown County, home to Green Bay and an area that both parties say could be a bellwether this November, have lodged numerous missing sign complaints in recent days — surprising local law enforcement, who have said stolen signs are usually more of an issue closer to Election Day.

The act is not just one of political mischief. Under Wisconsin state law, it’s a misdemeanor to steal or damage political signs, while some cities passed tougher ordinances. Perpetrators face prosecution and fines — if they are caught.

August 8, 2020 at 2:01 PM EDT
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Trump ally Joe Arpaio loses primary bid to regain Maricopa County sheriff post

By Colby Itkowitz

Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, known nationally for his militant stance on illegal immigration, lost in a Republican primary to reclaim the Maricopa County law enforcement office.

The election was Tuesday, but the results weren’t finalized until Saturday morning.

The loss is Arpaio’s third since 2016, when he failed to win reelection, in part due to an aggressive grass-roots campaign against him by Latino activists. In 2018, he ran unsuccessfully in a GOP primary for Senate.

Arpaio, a devout Trump ally, was responsible for enforcing the most far-reaching anti-illegal immigration law in the country, which allowed police to ask people for their immigration papers even in a routine traffic stop, which led to the racial profiling of Latinos.

Arpaio, who was also one of the biggest promoters of the baseless birther movement conspiracy theory about former president Barack Obama, was later charged with contempt of court for defying judge’s orders to stop utilizing the Arizona immigration enforcement law.

Before Arpaio could be sentenced, he received a presidential pardon from Trump, who called the sheriff an “American patriot.”

Arpaio, who is 88, had said this would be his last time running for public office.

August 8, 2020 at 1:20 PM EDT
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Biden tells Fox News reporter he’d chosen a running mate. He was kidding.

By Colby Itkowitz

As Biden biked on a quiet road near his beach home Saturday afternoon with a small entourage, he pedaled past a Fox News reporter who asked if he’d picked a running mate.

“Yeah, I have,” Biden answered casually as he zoomed by.

“You have? Who?” Fox News’s Peter Doocy asked.

“You,” Biden quipped.

Fox News shared the short clip of Biden (who, notably, was wearing a mask but not a helmet) as a serious scoop.

But, as many suspected, Biden was not breaking news in the middle of his ride.

“Folks, this is clearly a joke,” tweeted TJ Ducklo, Biden’s press secretary. “When Vice President Biden has made a decision on who his running mate will be, he will let the American people know. And can confirm, it’s not @pdoocy of @FoxNews.”

It’s not unlike Biden to tease in this way, as reporters who have covered him for years can attest. Biden recently joked to NBC News’s Mike Memoli that he’d asked Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) to be his vice president but she’d said no.

That same day — it was the civil rights leader John Lewis’s memorial service on Capitol Hill — The Washington Post’s Paul Kane caught up with Biden and asked when the former vice president might choose his running mate. “You’re not eligible,” Biden jested.

Biden’s encounter with Fox News is an unexpected gift to his campaign, which has been forced to answer attacks by the Trump campaign about Biden’s mental and physical fitness to be president. The clip of Biden riding a bike outside counters the Trump campaign’s narrative of a feeble, old man.

August 8, 2020 at 11:37 AM EDT
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Biden releases policy-laden ad on how he’d fix the post-coronavirus economy

By Matt Viser

Biden released a new digital ad Saturday that attempts to explain some of the policies he has devised over the past month to address the economic devastation from the coronavirus pandemic.

The video is policy-heavy, with Biden sitting at a desk in his home in Wilmington, Del., walking through some of his proposals. The 3½-minute-long video uses charts and graphs, shows black-and-white footage of U.S. manufacturing during World War II and utilizes optimistic clips from speeches delivered by Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Barack Obama.

He outlines plans around clean energy, creating a “caregiving workforce” and trying to address racial inequalities.

Also Saturday morning, Biden tweeted: “No President can promise to prevent future outbreaks. But I’ll promise you this: when I’m President we will prepare better, respond better, and recover better.”

When Biden made the video, presumably in the past several days, he said, “Take a look at America today. Over 150,000 Americans are dead from covid-19.”

By the time the Biden campaign posted the ad, that number was at nearly 158,000, according to data collected by The Washington Post.

August 8, 2020 at 11:23 AM EDT
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Gretchen Whitmer met with Joe Biden to discuss vice presidential nomination

By Matt Viser

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) traveled to Delaware to meet with Joe Biden last weekend as he headed into the final stretch before deciding on a running mate.

The Michigan governor has long been among those that Biden has said he was considering, and people close to the campaign have said recently that she had gained renewed attention in the final days before a decision is announced.

Whitmer is the first potential nominee known to have had an in-person interview with Biden. The meeting, first reported by the Associated Press, was confirmed by two people familiar with the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Read more here.

August 8, 2020 at 11:22 AM EDT
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Postmaster General overhauls mail service, amid growing concern about whether the U.S. can execute a largely mail-in election

By Jacob Bogage

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s mail service, displacing the two top executives overseeing day-to-day operations, according to a reorganization memo released Friday. The shake-up came as congressional Democrats called for an investigation of DeJoy and the cost-cutting measures that have slowed mail delivery and ensnared ballots in recent primary elections.

Twenty-three postal executives were reassigned or displaced, the new organizational chart shows. Analysts say the structure centralizes power around DeJoy, a former logistics executive and major ally of President Trump, and de-emphasizes decades of institutional postal knowledge. All told, 33 staffers included in the old postal hierarchy either kept their jobs or were reassigned in the restructuring, with five more staffers joining the leadership from other roles.

The reshuffling threatens to heighten tensions between postal officials and lawmakers, who are troubled by delivery delays — the Postal Service banned employees from working overtime and making extra trips to deliver mail — and wary of the Trump administration’s influence on the Postal Service as the coronavirus pandemic rages and November’s election draws near.

It also adds another layer to DeJoy’s disputes with Democratic leaders, who have pushed him to rescind the cost-cutting directives that have caused days-long backlogs and steady the Postal Service in the run-up to the election. DeJoy clashed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a meeting on the issue earlier this week.

Read more here.

August 8, 2020 at 11:20 AM EDT
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Russia is interfering with 2020 election, experts warn

By Shane Harris, Ellen Nakashima and Josh Dawsey

Russia is “using a range of measures” to interfere in the 2020 election and has enlisted a pro-Russian lawmaker from Ukraine — who has met with President Trump’s personal lawyer — “to undermine former vice president [Joe] Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party,” a top U.S. intelligence official said in a statement Friday.

The remarks by William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, were some of the most detailed to date about foreign interference in the presidential race and come after earlier criticism from Democratic lawmakers that Evanina had not shared with the public some of the alarming intelligence he gave them in classified briefings.

Evanina also said that the government of China does not want Trump to win reelection in November, seeing the incumbent as “unpredictable.” Evanina described China’s efforts to date as largely rhetorical and aimed at shaping policy and criticizing the Trump administration for actions Beijing sees as harmful to its long-term strategic interests.

By contrast, Evanina described Russia as actively engaged in efforts that are reminiscent of the Kremlin’s attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. “We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former vice president Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,’ ” Evanina said.

Read more here.