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Mid-Week Political Stories Not To Miss

Patrick Semansky
AP Photo
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

During this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Megan Goldberg of Cornell College and Karen Kedrowski of Iowa State University. 

Here are some of the headlines discussed during the podcast.

Trump And The Russian Bounties

President Trump said Wednesday that reports of Russia paying bounties to Taliban-linked fighters to kill U.S. troops and coalition forces in Afghanistan is a hoax, even as his administration continues to brief members of Congress on the matter.

"Do people still not understand that this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party. I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level," Trump said in an additional tweet.

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Joe Biden Weighs In On Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden took direct aim at President Trump on Tuesday, saying that Trump, who once called himself a "wartime president" taking on the coronavirus pandemic, seems to have now "surrendered."

"Remember when he exhorted the nation to sacrifice together in the face of this ... 'invisible enemy'? What happened? Now it's almost July, and it seems like our wartime president has surrendered," Biden said in prepared remarks.

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The Politics Of COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, told members of Congress on Tuesday that although he can't predict the ultimate number of infections and deaths related to the coronavirus, "it's going to be very disturbing."

"When you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they're doing well, they are vulnerable," he said. "We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk. We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around," he told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which convened to discuss plans for reopening schools and offices that have been shuttered by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

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Supreme Court Decisions On Abortion And Religious Schools

"A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court stood by its most recent abortion-rights precedent Monday, delivering a major defeat to abortion opponents who had hoped for a reversal of fortunes at the court with the addition of two new Trump-appointed justices."

"In a major victory for what advocates call the school choice movement, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively killed state constitutional provisions in as many as 38 states that bar taxpayer aid to parochial schools. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the decision for the court's conservative justices."

Read more about the abortion decision

Read more about the religious schools decision

Kim Reynolds 24-hour Abortion Waiting Period

"Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block a mandatory 24-hour abortion waiting period from taking effect.

In the final hours of the 2020 legislative session, the Republican-led legislature introduced and passed a bill requiring Iowans seeking an abortion to attend an extra appointment at least a day before the procedure."

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Joe Biden's Vice Presidential Selection

"Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says she is withdrawing her name from consideration to be Joe Biden's running mate, calling on the former vice president to pick a woman of color.

"Since I endorsed the vice president on that joyful night in Dallas, I've never commented on this process at all," she said on MSNBC Thursday night. "But let me tell you this after what I've seen in my state, what I've seen across the country. This is a historic moment and America must seize on this moment."

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Rick Brewer is a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River