1/ The Justice Department appealed a district court ruling that ordered it to release the entire memo used in 2019 to justify not charging Trump with obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson accused the Justice Department and then-Attorney General William Barr of being “disingenuous to this court” when describing Robert Mueller’s findings about why he decided not to pursue obstruction charges. Jackson ordered the entire document released. The Justice Department, however, released a partially unredacted version of the Office of Legal Counsel memo – a page and a half were made public. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Politico)
2/ Trump’s former White House counsel agreed to testify behind closed doors about Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation. Donald McGahn will testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week about his role as a key witness in the Mueller report. A transcript of the interview will be released afterward. In 2019, the Trump White House invoked executive privilege and ordered McGahn not to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to Mueller’s investigation. McGahn spent more than 30 hours speaking to Mueller’s investigators, outlining two episodes where Trump asked him to have Mueller fired, and later asking McGahn to deny news reports about that conversation. McGahn rebuffed both requests. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News)
3/ New York federal prosecutors investigating Rudy Giuliani seized email and iCloud accounts they believe belong to two former Ukranian government officials, as well as the cell phone and iPad of a pro-Trump Ukrainian businessman. The attorney for Lev Parnas, an indicted former Giuliani ally, wrote in a court filing that the evidence seized “likely includes e-mail, text, and encrypted communications” between Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, Trump, William Barr, “high-level members of the Justice Department, Presidential impeachment attorneys Jay Sekulow, Jane Raskin and others, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Devin Nunes and others, relating to the timing of the arrest and indictment of the defendants as a means to prevent potential disclosures to Congress in the first impeachment inquiry of then-President Donald. J. Trump.” The court filing also disclosed that federal prosecutors have “historical and prospective cell site information” related to Giuliani and Toensing – both were the subjects of search warrants executed last month. The court filing contained redacted portions, which could be read by copying and pasting them into another document. (CNN)
4/ Trump responded to a lawsuit seeking to hold him accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying he is protected under the First Amendment and had “absolute immunity” while President to contest the election. Trump argued that encouraging his supporters to oppose Congress from certifying the vote during the political rally on Jan. 6 was a constitutionally protected act of the presidency. The court filing was in response to a lawsuit from Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell alleging that Trump “directly incited the violence” by putting out “a clear call to action” and then “watched approvingly as the building was overrun.” (CNN)
5/ Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell both condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for comparing Covid-19 safety measures to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. “Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling,” McCarthy said. “Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language.” McConnell remarked that Greene’s words were “once again an outrageous and reprehensible comment.” The GOP leaders, however, both stopped short of calling for any formal discipline. Greene, a QAnon conspiracy theorist, was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year over comments she made before being elected, including calling school shootings a hoax, and endorsing executing Democratic leaders and federal agents. (NPR / Wall Street Journal / USA Today / CNBC)
6/ Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine provided strong protection in teens ages 12 to 17 in a late-stage trial, and plans to submit the data to U.S. regulators in early June. If authorized, the vaccine would become the second shot available for adolescents as young as 12. The FDA previously expanded authorization of Pfizer’s shot to include kids ages 12 to 15. (Politico / Washington Post)
7/ Half of the adults in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. “This is a major milestone in our country’s vaccination efforts,” Andy Slavitt, a White House senior adviser on the Covid-19 response, said. “The number was 1% when we entered office Jan. 20.” Biden set a goal of getting 70% of adults to receive at least their first dose by the Fourth of July. Nearly 5 million adolescents have also received at least one dose of the vaccine. (NPR / CNBC)
8/ The Department of Homeland Security will issue security directives requiring pipeline operators to report cyber incidents to federal authorities. The planned directives follow the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, which forced a shutdown that triggered a spike in gas prices and shortages in parts of the Southeast for 11 days. The directives will also require each company to designate a point person for cybersecurity. The Transportation Security Administration created pipeline-security guidelines more than a decade ago, but compliance has been voluntary. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
9/ Biden will meet with Putin next month in Geneva. The first face-to-face session between the two leaders will take place against the backdrop of rising tensions over Ukraine, cyberattacks, and new nuclear weapons Putin is deploying. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)
poll/ 81% of Americans say they trust family and friends to be honest about their Covid-19 status. Americans, however, were less likely to trust people about their Covid-19 status outside of their close circles (38%), at sporting events or concerts (25%), indoor restaurants and bars (25%), and airports (24%). (Axios)
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