‘Start Here’: Harris and Biden spar, SCOTUS blocks census plan, Twitter makes tweaks

It’s Friday, June 28, 2019. Let’s start here.

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1. Round 2

Democrats were more eager to take on President Donald Trump in the second debate showdown in Miami, but the front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, wasn’t immune to attacks either.

“I was struck by the fact that the former vice president, Joe Biden, really wanted to be on offense,” ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks says on “Start Here.” “Within the first three words of his appearance, he mentioned the president, but pretty quickly that turned and he was really on defense for most of the night.”

In one notable confrontation, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., challenged Biden’s record on race and his remarks about working with segregationist senators, saying, “It’s personal, and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country.”

Biden responded: “It’s a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.”

2. ‘Does not match the explanation’

The Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration on Thursday by blocking the White House from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census.

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four liberal justices and rejected the claim by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the administration that the question was added to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

“Altogether,” Roberts wrote in his opinion, “the evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision.”

Trump blasted the ruling from the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, calling it “totally ridiculous,” and said he asked his lawyers if the census could be delayed.

Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020. I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019

In another decision, Roberts joined his conservative colleagues in ruling that the courts can’t intervene in partisan gerrymandering, leaving it up to states and Congress to police.

“The court slammed shut the door to any kind of judicial resolution of gerrymandering,” ABC News Supreme Court Contributor Kate Shaw says. “They basically said, ‘That’s politics, this is law.'”

PHOTO: The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, D.C., June 20, 2019.J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE
The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, D.C., June 20, 2019.

3. Twitter says it will enforce its own rules

As social media platforms face growing criticism for not taking action against hate speech, Twitter on Thursday announced it will start flagging tweets from high-profile government officials that violate the company’s community safety rules.

“In the past, we’ve allowed certain Tweets that violated our rules to remain on Twitter because they were in the public’s interest, but it wasn’t clear when and how we made those determinations,” a Twitter blog post said. “To fix that, we’re introducing a new notice that will provide additional clarity.”

Twitter’s new policy could affect the way politicians, perhaps even Trump, communicate on the platform, according to longtime tech reporter Laurie Segall.

“I think this is going to change the game a bit,” Segall tells us, “because in this particular instance, I think Twitter is going to make it harder for these types of tweets to spread.”

PHOTO: Twitter announced it will start labeling tweets from world leaders that violate its rules.Twitter
Twitter announced it will start labeling tweets from world leaders that violate its rules.

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


‘You can spend a couple hundred dollars on the internet and order a gram of pure fentanyl and turn that into tens of thousands of dollars really quickly — and in the process, kill people unknowingly’: An uptick in mixing fentanyl with cocaine is fueling a public health crisis.

‘Mental-health crisis’: For the fourth time this month — sixth time this year — a New York Police Department officer commits suicide.

‘Show Me the Tubmans’: Democrats protest the delay of putting someone on the $20 bill who helped slaves escape in place of someone who bought slaves.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

Partisan gerrymandering isn’t the Supreme Court’s problem anymore: Justice Elena Kagan’s dissent was scathing.

Doff your cap:

“Anybody can do drag. You don’t have to be gay, but once you start doing drag, you’ll want to be.”

Those were the words of season nine winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Sasha Velour, as “Good Morning America” got an up-close and personal look at how she gets ready before a big show. She spoke about lessons on glam and style, and about misconceptions of drag culture, saying it usually takes roughly 2 1/2 hours to complete her drag makeup look.

“The best thing about it,” she said, “is that it’s a fantasy that is even more honest, even more truthful than reality.”

VIDEO: Drag queen Sasha Velour gets ready for Pride Play
Drag queen Sasha Velour gets ready for Pride

“Through Sasha Velour, this out-of-this-world character and this extreme confidence that’s so far beyond what I feel day to day, I am able to express a side of myself that feels just as real to me, and that other people are able to see as real,” she added.

For those wanting to try drag for the first time but have reservations, Velour encourages them to push past those fears.

“Don’t be afraid to break the rules, especially if they are rules that have no meaning or purpose … like the rules of what to wear or how to be a specific gender,” she said. “That’s for you to decide, and you should be creative with it.”


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