It’s Monday, June 17, 2019. Let’s start here.
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1. Data dump
Donald Trump’s campaign has cut ties with some pollsters after leaked internal figures from late March showed the president trailing in key battleground states, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
The data, first obtained by ABC News, revealed a double-digit lead for former Vice President Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, 55-39, and in Wisconsin, 51-41, with Biden also up 7 points in Florida. The Trump campaign told ABC News more recent polls show huge swings in Trump’s favor.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, Trump said his internal polls “show I’m winning everywhere,” and when asked about reports of polls showing Biden ahead of him in key states, he claimed that “those polls don’t exist.”
When internal polls leak, it’s an indication there’s concern inside a campaign, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein says on “Start Here.”
“These numbers don’t typically come out,” Klein tells us. “It means that someone is worried about the strategy. In this instance, I believe there are people in the Trump orbit who think the president himself isn’t listening.”
2. Hong Kong protests
An estimated 2 million people in Hong Kong — more than one-quarter of the population — took to the streets this weekend, according to organizers, in a massive protest over a proposed law that would allow suspected criminals to be sent to China for prosecution.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam suspended work on the bill in the wake of the demonstrations and apologized in a statement from the government, pledging “to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public.”
“As of now,” ABC News’ Bob Woodruff says from Hong Kong, “the extradition law will sit quietly, so this huge march had a very big impact.”
The president has accused The New York Times of “a virtual act of Treason” for reporting that the U.S. is waging a cyber invasion into Russia’s power grid.
…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
“We’re talking about a defensive posture by the U.S. military,” ABC News’ Lana Zak explains. “According to The New York Times, the United States is actually putting its own code within key Russian targets.”
Trump said the article was “not true,” but the Times cites administration officials who said they think the president wasn’t fully briefed on U.S. Cyber Command’s reported efforts. ABC News has not independently confirmed the report.
4. ‘Beyond upsetting’
A confrontation last month between police in Phoenix and a young couple has sparked outrage, including from the city’s mayor, after officers investigating a shoplifting were seen on video pointing guns at the family.
“There’s a mother holding two children, both under the age of 5,” ABC News’ Zachary Kiesch says, describing the bystander video. “There’s officers with their guns drawn threatening to shoot her.”
The couple was handcuffed, but no charges were filed. The incident is under investigation, according to Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, and the officers involved were placed on desk duty.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued an apology for the incident on Sunday: “There is no situation in which this is ever close to acceptable. As a mother myself, seeing these children put in such a terrifying position is beyond upsetting.”
“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.
‘I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again’: Megan Rapinoe, a star on the U.S. Women’s National Team, explains how and why she protests before soccer matches.
‘Very tough kid’: A machete-wielding 11-year-old helps fight off an alleged home invader.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
The Lakers land Anthony Davis. OK — now what?: If the door for contention out in the Western Conference swung wide open this week after a pair of brutal Golden State injuries, it appears that the Lakers just walked right through it.
Doff your cap:
At the age of 13, Tom Sweeney was diagnosed with leukemia. From then on, his main goal was to survive. Graduating from high school would just be a bonus.
“I want to be an inspiration to other people, but I didn’t think this many people would be interested in little old me,” Sweeney told ABC Philadelphia station WPVI.
While spending countless hours at home and in the hospital fighting the disease, Sweeney not only managed to graduate from high school on time, but with honors — and he was crowned prom king.
“Proud, proud, humble, just love — I can’t explain it,” Sweeney’s dad, Tom Sr., told WPVI. “It is just a dream.”