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Biden enters 2020 race, Trump's power grab & the measles spike: The Morning Rundown

"Our core values are at stake," former Vice President Joe Biden said as he announced he was running for president.
Image: Former Vice President Joe Biden announces his 2020 candidacy
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced his candidacy for president in a video released Thursday morning. Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

It's official: Former Vice President Joe Biden has entered the 2020 race for president.

Here's more on that and what else we're watching today.

Biden: 'We are in a battle for the soul of this nation'

Former Vice President Joe Biden launched his third bid for the presidency Thursday, positioning himself as a trusted champion of the middle class eager to take the fight to President Donald Trump.

Biden's long-anticipated entry into the jam-packed 2020 Democratic field was announced in a video released early Thursday morning. The campaign video focused on the racial violence in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017, and what he called the battle to stand up for the "core values" of the country.

First elected to the U.S. Senate at 29 in 1972, Biden has argued that his decades of experience crafting American policy have made him "the most qualified person in the country to be president."

But his long career has also left a paper trail of votes and statements from other political eras that his political opponents are sure to weaponize against him.

Trump is trying to show Congress who's boss

The release last week of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump has unleashed the president's fury.

The result is an escalating assertion of the presidency as the dominant branch of government in a war over the balance of power.

The battle has implications for the rest of Trump's first term, his re-election bid and the institutional authorities at the heart of American democracy, NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes in a news analysis.

Some longtime analysts of the Washington power balance say Trump's latest moves are the most contemptuous in a full-scale effort to stretch the bounds of his office. Al Drago / Reuters

Mueller report shows Trump campaign left door wide open to Russians, officials say

The Mueller report's narrative of secret meetings between members of Donald Trump's orbit and Russian operatives portrays a political campaign that left itself vulnerable to a covert Russian influence operation, former intelligence officials and other experts say.

"The Russians came up against a group of people who were not intelligence savvy and who were predisposed not to listen to the intelligence and counterintelligence community," said Luis Rueda, who spent 27 years as a CIA operations officer.

And Trump's continued unwillingness to call out Russian election interference makes it easier for Russia to succeed in influencing the 2020 election, former senior intelligence officials tell NBC News.

Indeed, the president's re-election campaign has not committed to staying away from hacked materials in the 2020 race.

That's in glaring contrast with the Democratic National Committee and a long list of the party's 2020 candidates who have pledged not to use any hacked materials.

Police shooting near Yale exposes complex racial divide

The shooting of an unarmed black couple in their car in New Haven, Connecticut, last week has stirred up long-simmering racial tensions in the community that circles the Ivy League school.

"We send spaceships to other planets, but we can't build a bridge between the community and the police," said one New Haven resident.

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Can science put a dent in greenhouse gases by reducing cow burps?

The beef and dairy industry in California generates 50 percent of the state's output of methane. Scientists are experimenting with ways to reduce one greenhouse gas contributor: Cow burps.

THINK about it

"Song of the South" and the Jim Crow scene from "Dumbo" won't be available on the family-friendly streaming platform, Disney+, when it debuts in November.

But if Disney+ is meant to celebrate the magic of the studio and its legacy, they ought to let the light in even in the darkest corners, writes film critic Aramide Tinubu.

Science + Tech = MACH

Scientists added human genes to monkeys to gain a better understanding of how human brains develop, but the research has triggered ethical debates.


Here's how we can all make more money, according to "BADASS" best-selling author Jen Sincero.

Quote of the day

“Folks, America is an idea.”

Joe Biden announcing his campaign for president.

One fun thing

It’s an opportunity relished by many: The chance to tour the country in one of Oscar Mayer’s famous “Wienermobiles.”

NBC’s Kevin Tibbles got to ride "shotbun" with a pair of “hotdoggers” driving across America as brand ambassadors.

"We have buns and buns of hot dog puns, let me tell ya," "Deli-Fresh Kelly" told Tibbles as she got behind the wheel of a massive hot dog the size of a bus.

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Thanks, Petra