👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot issued new subpoenas to 10 former Trump White House officials, including Kayleigh McEnany and Stephen Miller. The chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, said his panel “wants to learn every detail of what went on in the White House on January 6th and in the days beforehand,” including “precisely what role the former President and his aides played in efforts to stop the counting of the electoral votes and if they were in touch with anyone outside the White House attempting to overturn the outcome of the election.” Among those subpoenaed to provide testimony and documents include John McEntee (former White House personnel director), Christopher Liddell (former deputy chief of staff), Keith Kellogg (national security advisor to Pence), Ben Williamson (former deputy assistant to Trump and senior adviser to Mark Meadows), and Nicholas Luna (Trump’s former personal assistant). The subpoenas come a day after the committee issued subpoenas to six former Trump administration and campaign officials, bringing the total number of subpoenas issued to 35. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / CNBC)
2/ A federal judge rejected Trump’s attempt to keep more than 700 pages of records from his White House secret. The decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan clears the way for the National Archives to release the documents requested by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol beginning Friday. Trump’s lawyers had argued that the documents requested by the House committee – including White House call logs, visitor logs, and schedules related to Jan. 6, as well as three pages of handwritten notes from Trump’s then-chief of staff – were covered by executive privilege. In her ruling, however, Chutkan noted that the Biden administration had approved the release of Trump’s White House records, saying there can be only one president at a time, and that Trump’s assertion of executive privilege “is outweighed by President Biden’s decision not to uphold the privilege.” Chutkan added: “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.” (Reuters / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)
3/ At least 13 of Trump’s senior aides campaigned illegally for his re-election in violation of the Hatch Act – a law designed to prevent federal employees from abusing the power of their offices on behalf of candidates. The Office of Special Counsel report described a “willful disregard for the law” by senior Trump administration officials who “chose to use their official authority not for the legitimate functions of the government.” Special Counsel Henry Kerner said Trump’s “refusal to require compliance with the law laid the foundation for the violations,” which he called “especially pernicious considering the timing of when many of these violations took place.” The list includes several Cabinet officials and top White House aides, including Mike Pompeo, Mark Meadows, and Kayleigh McEnany. No punishments, however, are expected because the president in office at the time is the only person who can discipline their top employees. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)
4/ Nearly 1 million kids aged 5 to 11 will have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in their first week of eligibility. That represents about 3% of eligible children, with an additional 700,000 have appointments scheduled in the coming days. (NPR / Associated Press)
5/ The Biden administration will invest an additional $785 million to combat the spread of the coronavirus in communities hit hardest by the pandemic and those at the highest risk of death and disease. White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said the additional American Rescue Plan funding will also be used to build vaccine confidence in communities of color, rural areas, and low-income populations. (Washington Post / The Hill)
6/ People are dying from Covid-19 at a rate three times higher in counties where Trump won at least 60% of the vote than in counties where Biden won a similar percentage. In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents in “Trump counties” died from Covid-19, compared to 7.8 per 100,000 for “Biden counties.” October was the fifth consecutive month that the gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened. (New York Times / Business Insider)
7/ Nancy Pelosi called for investigations by the House Ethic committee and law enforcement into Rep. Paul Gosar for posting a video that depicts him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at Biden. Gosar shared the altered, animated video from both his personal and professional Twitter accounts Sunday. Despite violating Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, the tweets have not been removed, but instead labeled with a “public interest notice.” Pelosi urged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to join in condemning the “horrific video” and supporting the investigations, saying “threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated.” (Washington Post / NPR)
8/ The Labor Department reported the largest annual increase in consumer prices in three decades. The worse-than-expected inflation report showed that prices rose 6.2% in October compared with a year ago. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, pointed to the pace of inflation as a reason to pause on the $1.75 trillion social spending and climate package, saying the “threat” of inflation is “getting worse,” and that lawmakers “can no longer ignore the economic pain.” Previously, Manchin suggested that the spending package could worsen inflation and that he wouldn’t support a bill to expand social programs if it “irresponsibly adds” to the national debt. (NPR / Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / CNBC)
poll/ 65% of Americans support the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which Congress passed last week. 62% of Americans support the social safety net and climate bill. 42% of Americans, however, approve of the job Biden is doing as president. (Monmouth University)
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