Day 135: "To no avail."
1/ Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have fallen to the lowest level since March 2020, when the pandemic began. The U.S. averaged roughly 16,860 new cases per day over the past week, and new cases declined in 43 states, while holding steady elsewhere. (NBC News / Axios)
2/ Unemployment claims fell below 400,000 for the first time since March 2020. 385,000 people, however, filed for first time unemployment benefits last week, and continuing claims rose by 169,000 to 3.77 million. (CNBC)
3/ The Biden administration outlined its plan for donating an initial 25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to help low- and middle-income nations combat the pandemic. The U.S. will distribute about 75% of the doses through the global vaccine aid program COVAX, with the remaining 25% being sent directly to allies and “regional priorities,” including Mexico, Canada, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Egypt, and Iraq. Overall, the White House plans to donate 80 million doses by the end of June, mostly through COVAX. (Politico / New York Times / Associated Press / ABC News)
4/ Biden’s latest infrastructure counteroffer would keep Trump’s 2017 tax cuts intact in exchange for $1 trillion in new spending on top of the $400 billion in baseline spending already approved for infrastructure needs. Instead of paying for the American Jobs Plan by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, the bipartisan infrastructure package would be financed through a 15% minimum tax on U.S. corporations and other tax proposals, including beefing up IRS audits and tax enforcement on the wealthy. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was “absolutely not” abandoning efforts to raise the corporate rate to 28%, adding that it’s a way to “pay for a range of the bold proposals that he has put forward.” Biden has already reduced the cost of his American Jobs Plan to $1.7 trillion from $2.25 trillion. Republicans, meanwhile, have upped their offer to $928 billion from $586 billion, but their proposal only includes roughly $257 billion in new spending on top of the current $400 billion in projected federal spending. Biden wants at least $1 trillion over current levels. (Washington Post / USA Today / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Politico)
5/ The FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for potential violation of campaign finance law. The investigation focuses on allegations that DeJoy pressured employees at his former company, New Breed Logistics, to make contributions to Republican candidates or attend political fundraisers, which he would then reimburse through bonuses. FBI agents have interviewed current and former employees at New Breed Logistics, and prosecutors have also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself for information. DeJoy, meanwhile, denied he ever “knowingly violated” campaign contribution laws. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / ABC News)
6/ Rep. Mo Brooks is reportedly avoiding a lawsuit from his colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell that seeks to hold him accountable for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Swalwell’s attorneys have hired a private investigator in order to serve the lawsuit that alleges he and other pro-Trump allies were “responsible for the injury and destruction” of the Capitol. The investigator reportedly “has spent many hours over many days” since April searching for Brooks, “to no avail.” (CNN / Axios)
7/ The Justice Department is investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz obstructed justice when he called a witness in a potential sex crimes investigation. The obstruction probe stems from an inquiry about whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her travels with him. The witness is one of the women allegedly connected to Gaetz through his “wingman” Joel Greenberg, a Florida tax collector who pleaded guilty to several crimes, including the sex-trafficking of a 17-year-old girl in 2017. While Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing, including obstructing justice or having sex with the trafficked 17-year-old, Greenberg struck a plea deal with prosecutors last month and is cooperating with authorities in the investigation. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)
8/ The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters in 2017 as part of a leak investigation. The Justice Department informed the paper that it had seized the phone records of Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael Schmidt spanning nearly four months in 2017. The department also secured a court order to seize phone logs – but not the contents – of their emails, but “no records were obtained.” Last month, the Biden Justice Department disclosed that the Trump administration had also seized the phone logs of reporters at the Washington Post, and the phone and email logs for a CNN reporter. (New York Times / Washington Post)
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