Day 136: "This is progress."
1/ The economy added 559,000 jobs last month – double April’s total. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%. Despite the gains, the U.S. has only replaced two-thirds of the jobs lost last year – about 7.4 million jobs shy of where it was February 2020. Biden defended the job gains, which were less than the 650,000 jobs economists had predicted, saying “you can’t reboot the world’s largest economy like flipping on a light switch […] This is progress that’s pulling our economy out of the worst crisis in the last 100 years.” Biden added: “We’re on the right track. Our plan is working. And we’re not going to let up now.” (CNN / NPR / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)
2/ CDC Director Rochelle Walensky urged parents to vaccinate their teenagers against Covid-19, citing a rise in the number of teens hospitalized with the disease. The number of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 among U.S. teens in March and April was about three times greater than hospitalizations rates during three recent flu seasons. “Much of this suffering can be prevented,” Walensky said. “Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic.” Meanwhile, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the CDC, said the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic “wasn’t a good performance,” and there’s still “a lot of work to do to get better prepared for the next one.” Schuchat is retiring this summer after 33 years at the agency. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR)
3/ Former White House counsel Don McGahn testified before the House Judiciary Committee about Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation – two years after House Democrats originally sought his testimony. The committee first asked to interview McGahn in 2019, but the Trump White House blocked him from appearing, citing a Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion. McGahn was the most-cited witness in the Mueller report. (Associated Press / NPR / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN)
4/ The senior vice president and controller at the Trump Organization testified before a special grand jury convened by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Jeff McConney is among a number of witnesses that have already appeared before the special grand jury, which will decide whether criminal charges are warranted against Trump, his company, or employees. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has been investigating whether Trump inflated the value of assets to obtain bank loans and deflated the value of those same assets for tax breaks. (ABC News)
5/ Pence called the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot attack on the U.S. Capitol “a dark day in the history of the United States” and that he doubts he’ll ever see “eye to eye” with Trump on the event. Despite distancing himself from Trump, Pence said he was “proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.” Pence then accused Democrats of using the riot to divide the country to “advance their radical agenda,” including what he called “the left-wing myth of systemic racism.” Two days after Biden attended a commemoration the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Pence asserted that “America is not a racist country.” (Politico / New York Times / NPR / NBC News / CNN)
6/ Trump’s Facebook account will remain suspended until at least January 2023 and will only be reinstated “if the risk to public safety has receded.” The decision came after Facebook’s Oversight Board said the platform was justified in removing Trump’s account following the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, but that it had been wrong to impose an indefinite ban. Facebook said that when the suspension is “eventually” lifted, Trump would be subject to a set of “rapidly escalating sanctions” for further violations, including the permanent suspension of his account. Meanwhile, Trump – in an emailed statement – complained that the “ruling is an insult” and that the social media company “shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing.” In a second emailed statement, Trump vowed not to dine privately with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg the “next time I’m in the White House,” adding: “It will be all business!” (Politico / NPR / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)
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