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Biden accuses Trump of 'encouraging violence,' U.S. tops 6 million virus cases and the VMAs put masks center stage

Democratic nominee Joe Biden accused President Donald Trump of "fanning the flames of hate," after one man died during the Portland protests.
Image: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stand in flag-adorned pickup trucks during their caravan through Portland
Supporters of President Donald Trump stand in flag-adorned pickup trucks during their caravan through Portland, Oregon, on Saturday. MATHIEU LEWIS-ROLLAND / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The Portland shooting adds to tension on the 2020 campaign trail, the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. tops 6 million and the VMAs find a way to make wearing masks fun.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.

Wisconsin Gov. to Trump: Please don't come to Kenosha, it will only 'hinder our healing'

President Donald Trump on Sunday praised a caravan of right-wing activists whose presence appeared to contribute to violent clashes Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

The day after a man was shot and killed in confrontations between Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters, the president assailed only the anti-racism demonstrators.

In a tweet, Trump shared a video of the pro-Trump caravan driving into Portland and labeled its members "GREAT PATRIOTS!"

Saturday's clashes came days after 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who promoted police support and Trump online, was accused of killing two people during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The White House said Saturday that Trump would visit Kenosha on Tuesday.

But on Sunday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, both Democrats, asked him not to come. In a letter, Evers said Trump's presence in the city would only "hinder our healing."

The violence on the streets of Kenosha and Portland is increasingly seeping into the presidential campaign — especially after the GOP tried to reframe the race as a "law and order" election during the Republican National Convention last week.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden blasted the president and accused him of "fanning the flames of hate" in a statement Sunday.

"He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership — or even basic human compassion," Biden said. "The job of a president is to lower the temperature."

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State of the 2020 race post- conventions

The election is Biden's to lose as he continues to hold a lead over Trump coming out of the Democratic and Republican conventions, which mark the start of the intense fall campaign.

But the future is unknowable. Data has its limits. Surprises happen. The world can change quickly, as anyone who lived through the 2016 election or the first eight months of 2020 knows.

Check out a recap of what we know and, importantly, what we don't know two months before Nov. 3.

Meantime, in 14 states — including some battlegrounds — officials can't even start authenticating early mail-in ballots until Election Day, much less begin tabulating them.

Which means we could all be waiting around for the election results a lot longer than usual.

U.S. tops 6 million coronavirus cases as nation continues to struggle with pandemic

The U.S. has surpassed 6 million coronavirus cases as the country struggles to reopen schools and rebuild its economy as the pandemic rages with no end in sight.

The country has recorded more than 184,000 deaths due to the virus since the outbreak gained global attention in February.

Meantime, the U.S. isn't the only country struggling with the back-to-school conundrum — governments around the world are grappling with how best to get students back into the classroom for the fall term.

While the United Nations warned last week of a "global education emergency" if kids could not return to school after months of lockdowns, teachers are concerned about safety and a lack of contingency planning as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

DNI will no longer brief Congress in person on election security over leak concerns

The office of the director of national intelligence will no longer offer in-person briefings to congressional intelligence committees about election security and foreign election interference, according to a congressional official briefed on the matter.

The decision by the Trump administration to halt in-person briefings on foreign election interference stemmed in part from concerns over leaks, an agency official told NBC News.

But the unprecedented move comes weeks before the presidential election and as Trump continues to downplay the severity of foreign interference.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called the decision "shameful."

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THINK about it

FDA's COVID-19 plasma exaggeration was bad. What it reveals about Trump is worse, Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, writes in an opinion piece.


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Help your child prepare for back to school, whether online or in-person, with these teacher-recommended school supply picks.

Quote of the day

"These shoes give me life. Even though these people are gone, they give me life. They help me find strength to keep fighting."

The Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray after he scored 50-points against the Utah Jazz to force Game 7 in the NBA playoff series between the two teams. He was sporting shoes emblazoned with an image of Breonna Taylor on one foot and George Floyd on the other.

One fun thing

Lady Gaga dominated the MTV Video Music Awards show on Sunday, with a series of visually arresting outfits, masked performances and four wins, including artist of the year.

"Stay safe, speak your minds, and I might sound like a broken record but wear a mask," Gaga said.

Canadian artist The Weeknd won the top prize, taking video of the year for "Blinding Lights."

The show started with a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the actor who died Friday at age 43 from colon cancer, and marked the first major U.S. awards show to take place during the coronavirus pandemic.

It recognized the many contributions of essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis — including their dance moves. (See the video below).

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Thanks, Petra