1/ The U.S. is track to add nearly $19 trillion in new debt over the next decade – $3 trillion more than previously forecast. The Congressional Budget Office added that the federal deficit will hit $1.4 trillion this year, and that deficits will average $2 trillion annually over the next decade, as tax receipts fail to keep pace with the rising costs of mandatory spending on programs like Medicare and Social Security. The nation’s debt currently exceeds $31 trillion. (New York Times / Politico)
2/ The U.S. could default as soon as July if the Congress doesn’t reach an agreement on lifting the debt ceiling. Although the Treasury Department is using so-called “extraordinary measures” to continue making good on federal obligations, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the Treasury “could run out of funds before July.” Republicans, meanwhile, have refused to raise or suspend the cap unless Democrats agree to unspecified spending cuts. Biden and the Democrats, however, have rejected negotiations on spending cuts, arguing that lawmakers should raise the debt limit without any other conditions. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated that an “economic and financial catastrophe” would ensue if Congress doesn’t act. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)
3/ The 19-year-old white supremacist who killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket was sentenced to life in prison without parole. “There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances,” Judge Susan Eagan said, telling Payton Gendron “there is no place for you or your ignorant, hateful and evil ideologies in a civilized society.” Gendron pleaded guilty in November to 15 criminal charges, including murder and first-degree domestic terrorism motivated by hate – a charge that carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole. Gendron also faces 27 federal hate crime and firearm charges, which could make him eligible for the death penalty. (Associated Press / NPR / CNN / ABC News / New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ The Justice Department closed its sex trafficking investigation into Matt Gaetz and will not charge the congressman. Federal prosecutors and the FBI began investigating Gaetz in 2020 over allegations that the congressman had violated federal law by paying for sex, including sex with a minor that he transported across state lines to engage in prostitution. Gaetz’s close friend, Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty in 2021 to six federal crimes, including sex trafficking involving a person under 18 years old, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison. (CNN / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)
5/ Federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents asked a court to force one of Trump’s lawyers to answer questions before a grand jury. The Justice Department cited the “crime fraud” exception to attorney-client privilege, saying they have evidence that some of Trump’s conversations with his lawyer, Evan Corcoran, were used to carry out a crime or fraud. Although Corcoran already appeared before the grand jury, he repeatedly invoked attorney-client privilege in declining to answer certain questions. The Justice Department’s motion is seeking to compel Corcoran’s testimony. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / NBC News / Associated Press)
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