What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
Curated by @matt_kiser

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Day 618: "A work in progress."

1/ The Education Department scaled back eligibility for its student loan forgiveness plan after six Republican-led states sued to stop Biden from canceling up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of borrowers. The lawsuit filed in a federal court in Missouri by state attorneys general from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Carolina, as well as legal representatives from Iowa argue that student loan servicers would see a drop in revenue because borrowers are likely to consolidate their loans under the Federal Family Education Loan program – FFEL are loans that were originally made by private lenders but are guaranteed by the federal government. In response, the Biden administration said it would exclude FFEL from the loan forgiveness program. The move disqualifies roughly 2 million of the 44 million otherwise eligible borrowers. (Politico / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNN)

2/ The Senate approved a temporary spending package to avert a partial government shutdown. The stopgap funding bill extends government funding through Dec. 16. The House is expected to quickly pass the measure and send it to Biden for his signature before funding lapses Friday night. The legislation includes $12.4 billion in assistance for Ukraine, but does not include money for coronavirus or monkeypox vaccines, testing, and treatment. (Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

3/ Mortgage rates surged to the highest level since 2007 with the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage climbing to 6.7%. It was the sixth week in a row of rising rates. A year ago, rates were 3.01%. Applications to refinance a home loan, meanwhile, have declined to a 22-year low. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC)

4/ Biden warned that Hurricane Ian may have been responsible for “substantial loss of life” and approved a major disaster declaration for Florida in what could be the deadliest storm in the state’s history. “We’ve never seen a flood event like this,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, calling it a one-in-500-year flood event that has brought “historic” damage to the state. The National Hurricane Center said Ian brought “catastrophic flooding” over Florida’s east and central regions. More than 2.5 million customers across Florida were without power Thursday morning. Although Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall in Florida’s southwest coast as a Category 4 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said Ian has intensified into a hurricane again after moving over the Atlantic Ocean. It projected to make a new landfall in South Carolina on Friday. Ian is “taking aim at the Carolinas and Georgia with life-threatening flooding, storm surge and strong winds,” the center said. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / CNN / Axios)

5/ Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, testified before the Jan. 6 committee for about four and a half hours. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said Thomas answered “some questions” in her interview, including reiterating her belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. “It’s a work in progress,” Thompson said. “At this point, we’re glad she came.” Thomas repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to find ways to overturn the election, attended the rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol, and emailed with John Eastman, the architect of the campaign to push Pence to reject the 2020 election results during the counting of Electoral College votes. Thomas has also repeatedly claimed her political activities posed no conflict of interest with the work of her husband, who was the lone justice to dissent when the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s effort to block the release of his White House records to the Jan. 6 committee. (NBC News / NPR / CNN / Associated Press)

poll/ 47% of Americans say they trust the Supreme Court and the judicial branch – a 20-percentage-point drop from two years ago. 40% of Americans approve of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job – a record-tying-low. (Gallup)

Day 617: "Obscene."

1/ Biden promised to end hunger in the U.S. by the end of the decade, unveiling $8 billion in public- and private-sector commitments to make food healthier, more affordable, and accessible. It was the first White House summit dedicated to combating hunger in nearly a half-century. “I know we can do this,” Biden said. “This goal is within our reach.” Most of the policy proposals – like permanently extending the child tax credit, raising the minimum wage, and expanding nutrition assistance programs – will require congressional approval. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / Politico)

2/ The Congressional Budget Office reported that the poorest half of Americans – about 150 million people – hold 2% of the nation’s wealth. The top 10% of American families, meanwhile, account for 72% of the nation’s wealth. In 1989, the bottom half of the population held 4% of total wealth while the top 10 held 64%. “This report confirms what we already know: The very rich are getting much, much richer while the middle class is falling further and further behind, and being forced to take on outrageous levels of debt,” Bernie Sanders said. “The obscene level of income and wealth inequality in America is a profoundly moral issue that we cannot continue to ignore or sweep under the rug.” (Washington Post / Common Dreams)

3/ Biden warned that Social Security and Medicare are “on the chopping block” if Republicans regained control of Congress. Some Republicans have called for restructuring or scaling back entitlement programs with Rick Scott going so far as to draft a plan that would “sunset” Social Security and Medicare if Congress doesn’t act. Social Security’s combined reserves, meanwhile, are projected to be depleted in 2035. After that, the program will be able to pay about 77% of the scheduled benefits unless Congress steps in. Roughly 56 million people received retirement and survivors benefits in 2021. (New York Times)

4/ The European Union proposed new sanctions in response to Russia escalating its war in Ukraine by drafting at least 300,000 men into its army, threatening the use of nuclear weapons, and holding “sham” referendums. European leaders also vowed a “robust and united response” to the “sabotage” of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. The White House, meanwhile, said that Russia’s attempts to annex four Ukrainian regions under its control were “illegitimate” and “outrageous.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “The Russian government falsified the results to advance the lie that the Ukrainian people want to be part of Russia.” The Biden administration also announced $1.1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. commitment to more than $16.2 billion. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNBC)

5/ Mitch McConnell endorsed a bipartisan electoral count reform bill in the Senate, which now has the public support from 11 Republican senators – enough to overcome the chamber’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. The legislation aims to stop future presidents from trying to overturn election results through Congress by raising the threshold for lawmakers to object to the electoral count and reaffirm that the vice president only has a ministerial role in the count of electoral votes. The House passed its own version last week. Prior to McConnell’s endorsement, the Senate Rules Committee voted to advance the bill. Ted Cruz was the lone senator to vote against the bill. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Texas Tribune)

poll/ 52% of voters said they support Congress reforming the electoral vote count law, and 53% said it should be more difficult for state governments to override presidential election results. (Politico)

poll/ 5% of Americans – roughly 13 million adults – agree that the use of force is justified to restore Trump as president. About 3.32% of Americans – 8.5 million adults – said they would participate in the use of force to restore the Trump presidency. (CBS News)

poll/ 42% of Republicans identify as “MAGA” Republicans, while 58% disavow the term. (NBC News)

Day 616: "Unprecedented."

1/ The Senate is set to vote on a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running past Friday. In addition to maintaining current funding levels through Dec. 16, the bill also provides more than $12 billion to Ukraine, $1 billion to help families with heating and cooling costs, $2.5 billion to help New Mexico recover from wildfires, and $20 million in emergency funding for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in Jackson, Mississippi. Prior to voting, Joe Manchin asked Chuck Schumer to remove his energy permitting package from the short-term government funding bill. The permitting proposal was a key part of Schumer’s deal with Manchin to pass the Inflation Reduction Act this summer on a party-line vote. Manchin conceded only after several Democrats and Republicans – including Mitch McConnell – threatened to vote against the spending measure and risk a government shutdown. (Politico / Washington Post / CBS News / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home in a truck driven by his wife to avoid being served a subpoena in a lawsuit over funding for abortions. Several abortion rights organizations filed a lawsuit seeking a court order barring state officials from pursuing criminal charges against their employees for providing financial and other aid to Texans seeking abortion services out of state. In a sworn affidavit, the process server said that Paxton refused to accept the subpoena and instead ran from his garage into a truck driven by his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton. (Texas Tribune / NBC News / Bloomberg)

3/ More than 1,000 students walked out of Virginia public schools in protest of the state’s reversal of transgender protections. Earlier this month, Gov. Glenn Youngkin rewrote Virginia’s model policies for the treatment of transgender students, mandating that all students use school bathrooms and locker rooms according to the “biological sex” they were assigned at birth. The new policy also requires parental approval for staff members to refer to students by a different name or pronoun at school. “These revised guidelines will only hurt students in a time when students are facing unparalleled mental health challenges, and are a cruel attempt to politicize the existence of LGBTQIA+ students for political gain,” the Pride Liberation Project, a statewide LGBTQ youth advocacy group, said in a statement. (Washington Post / NBC News / USA Today)

4/ Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 3 storm over Cuba and is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 storm as it approaches Florida’s southwest coast. More than 2.5 million Florida residents are already under evacuation orders. The storm is expected to pass west of the Florida Keys Tuesday and come ashore just south of Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast by Wednesday night. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / Associated Press)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee postponed its next hearing because of Hurricane Ian. It’s unclear when the panel’s ninth and final public hearing will be rescheduled. (Washington Post / New York Times)

6/ European leaders blamed the Kremlin for explosions that damaged three natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. “The damage that occurred in one day simultaneously at three lines of offshore pipelines of the Nord Stream system is unprecedented,” the operating company, Nord Stream AG, said in a statement. The Danish prime minister said she “cannot rule out” sabotage, saying “these are deliberate actions, not an accident. The situation is as serious as it gets.” The Polish prime minister added that “we can clearly see that it is an act of sabotage,” and “probably marks the next stage in the escalation of this situation in Ukraine.” It’s not clear what impact the damage will have on Europe’s energy supplies, but western officials have warned that the Kremlin is weaponizing its gas deliveries to Europe to punish governments for supporting Ukraine. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CBS News / The Guardian)

poll/ 41% of Americans favor charging Trump with crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, while 34% are against charging Trump and another 25% are unsure. (Bloomberg)

Day 615: "We've made that very clear."

1/ An Arizona judge ruled that a 1864 ban on nearly all abortions in that state can be enforced, lifting a 1973 injunction that had barred enforcement of Arizona’s pre-statehood ban. The 1864 law mandates a two- to five-year prison sentence for anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion and makes no exception for victims of rape or incest. The law was updated and codified in 1901. Judge Kellie Johnson cited the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right to abortion as rationale for lifting the injunction. Johnson’s ruling came a day before Arizona’s 15-week ban on abortion was slated to go into effect. Biden, meanwhile, vowed to codify the right to an abortion into law if voters “give me two more senators in the United States Senate.” (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / CNBC / The Guardian)

2/ Trump’s attorneys are attempting to assert attorney-client and executive privilege over grand jury testimony to prevent witnesses from sharing information in the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 criminal investigation. Earlier this month, the federal grand jury issued more than 40 subpoenas to former Trump aides seeking information about the role Trump played in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election, including the plan to create fake slates of pro-Trump electors in swing states that were won by Biden. The legal dispute, which is under seal, will determine how much evidence prosecutors can use from Trump’s conversations in the West Wing and with attorneys as he tried to overturn the 2020 election. (CNN / New York Times)

3/ Mark Meadows texted with an election denier in late December 2020 about attempts to gain access to voting systems in Arizona and Georgia. Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel with ties to Michael Flynn, helped draft language for an executive order directing the Pentagon and Homeland Security to seize voting machines, as well as sending Meadows an “Options for 6 Jan” PowerPoint presentation that outlined a plan for overturning the election. Meadows recently complied with a Justice Department subpoena for information about the 2020 election, including these text messages. (CNN)

  • The White House switchboard dialed a cell phone registered to a Capitol rioter who had stormed the building on Jan. 6. The call was placed at 4:34 pm – shortly after Trump posted a video message on social media telling the rioters at the Capitol, “go home, we love you, you’re very special.” It lasted for nine seconds. (CNN / CBS News / The Guardian)

4/ The Biden administration announced $1.5 billion in grants to fight the opioid crisis. Last year, more than 107,000 people died after overdosing in the U.S. – a 15% increase from 2020. The grants will be used to expand access to treatment and recovery services, invest in better overdose education, and increase the accessibility of naloxone products. (CNBC)

5/ Biden’s plan to cancel student loan debt for millions of American borrowers will cost roughly $400 billion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO expects 90% of the 37 million borrowers with loans from the federal government would take advantage of the plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for lower- and middle-class borrowers. (Washington Post / New York Times)

6/ The U.S. warned Russia of “catastrophic” consequences if Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine. “It’s very important that Moscow hear from us and know from us that the consequences would be horrific,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “And we’ve made that very clear.” National security adviser Jake Sullivan added that “In private channels we have spelled out in greater detail exactly what that would mean.” The comments by Blinken and Sullivan come after Putin addressed Russia last week, saying that if Russia’s “territorial integrity” was threatened, “we will certainly use all the means at our disposal” to retaliate and that “it’s not a bluff.” (Axios / NBC News / New York Times / CNN)

poll/ 23% of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job – its highest rating in 2022. 75%, however, disapprove. (Gallup)

poll/ 66% of voters say the November election is more important than past midterm campaigns. 68% of voters feel that their rights and freedoms are at stake in the midterm election. (Washington Post / CBS News)

poll/ 56% of Democrats say the party should replace Biden as its nominee for president in 2024, while 35% favor Biden for the nomination. 47% of Republicans, meanwhile, think Trump should be their 2024 nominee – a 20-point drop compared with his 2020 nomination. (ABC News)

Notable: Pollsters fear they’re blowing it again in 2022. Democrats seem to be doing better than expected with voters. But if the polls are wrong, they could be disappointed in November — again. [Editor’s note: ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ] (Politico)

Day 611: "Thinking about it."

1/ A federal appeals court ruled that the Justice Department could use the classified documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago in its ongoing criminal investigation, blocking a lower court’s order that had limited the investigation into Trump’s handling of government materials. The three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – two of whom were nominated by Trump – disagreed with Trump’s rationale that the classified documents were his property, rather than the government’s, writing that Trump “has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents.” The court also disagreed with the rationale used by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to order a special master to review the classified documents and deny the DOJ’s request that they be exempted from it. Trump, meanwhile, told Fox News host Sean Hannity that “there doesn’t have to be a process [to declassify documents], as I understand it,” claiming that a president can declassify “even by thinking about it.” (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / CNBC)

2/ The special master overseeing the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation ordered Trump’s lawyers to submit a sworn declaration saying if they believe the Justice Department lied about the documents seized. While Trump has repeatedly claimed that the FBI planted evidence when they searched Mar-A-Lago, his lawyers have not made similar assertions in court. Judge Raymond Dearie set a Sept. 30 deadline for Trump’s lawyers to state in a court filing if the Justice Department included any items on their “inventory” of materials taken from Mar-a-Lago that were not actually seized during the search. (Washington Post / CNN)

3/ Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, agreed to participate in a voluntary interview with the Jan. 6 committee. Thomas repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to find ways to overturn the election and attended the rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol. The committee has also obtained email correspondence between Thomas and John Eastman, the architect of the campaign to push Pence to reject the 2020 election results during the counting of Electoral College votes. The committee will hold its next public hearing next Wednesday, Sept. 28 – likely the last in a series of hearings that began this summer. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NPR / Associated Press)

4/ The House passed an electoral reform bill to prevent future presidents from trying to steal an election through Congress. The Presidential Election Reform Act amends the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act – the law that Trump and his allies tried to exploit in their efforts to overturn the 2020 election – by clarifying the vice president’s role in counting electoral votes as strictly ministerial. It also would raise the threshold for Congress to object to a state’s results. The bill passed 229-203, with nine Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the measure. None of those nine Republican lawmakers will be members of Congress next year. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where a bipartisan group has been working on a similar bill. (NBC News / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ Senate Republicans blocked an effort to require the disclosure of large campaign donations to so-called dark money groups. The Disclose Act, which failed on a 49-49 vote along party lines, would have required super PACs to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)

6/ The Senate ratified a global treaty to phase down the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons – its first international climate treaty in three decades. The planet-warming industrial chemicals, commonly found in refrigerators and air-conditioners, are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide at heating up the Earth. (Politico / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times)

7/ An Indiana judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the state’s near-total ban on abortion a week after it took effect. The decision came as part of a lawsuit brought by abortion providers challenging the state ban, which prohibits most abortion except to save the woman’s life. The judge wrote that “there is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit. (NPR / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

Day 610: "Numerous acts of fraud."

1/ New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and executives at the Trump Organization. In the more than 200-page lawsuit, James alleges that the Trumps enriched themselves through “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations” for more than a decade by “grossly” inflating Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars and deceiving lenders, insurers, and tax authorities with false and misleading financial statements. “For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have operated as if the rules do not apply to them,” James said in a statement. “Donald Trump stands out as among the most egregious examples of this misconduct. With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system.” The civil lawsuit seeks to permanently bar the Trumps from ever running a business in the state again and about $250 million in penalties. In addition, James said she believes Trump and his family business violated several state criminal laws and “plausibly” broke federal criminal laws as well. Her office has referred the matter to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the IRS. “The pattern of fraud that was used by Mr. Trump and the Trump organization was astounding,” James added. (New York Times/ CNN / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / NPR / Axios / Bloomberg / ABC News)

2/ The special master tasked with reviewing documents seized from Mar-a-Lago repeatedly challenged Trump’s lawyers refusal to offer proof that Trump had declassified any of the 100 documents that the FBI recovered from his estate. At the first hearing in the matter, U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie said the Justice Department had presented evidence that several of the documents were classified – noting they are marked as such – and asked James Trusty, one of Trump’s attorneys, to explain why he should question the government’s determination. Trusty, however, repeatedly refused to disclose whether Trump had declassified any of the documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago. At one point, Dearie said that if Trump’s attorneys didn’t directly dispute the government’s argument that the documents are classified, “As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it.” Trusty then called it “premature” for Dearie to consider that issue right now, to which Dearie responded: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Trump has implied that the 11,000 documents taken from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI were declassified, including the 100 bearing classification markings that suggest they contain highly sensitive national security-related intelligence. (Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Axios / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NPR)

3/ Biden condemned Russia’s efforts to “erase” Ukraine from the map after Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim occupied territory. Putin also declared a “partial mobilization” to call up as many as 300,000 reservists to reverse setbacks in his war. At the United Nations, Biden said Putin’s war “shamelessly violated” U.N. principles by “extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state […] and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people,” while calling out Putin for making “irresponsible nuclear threats.” The world’s “blood should run cold” over the invasion, Biden added. On Wednesday, Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons, saying, “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people — this is not a bluff.” Putin’s reference to his nuclear arsenal came a day after four Russian-controlled areas announced “referendums” on the annexation of nearly 15% of Ukraine into the Russian Federation – a plan Kyiv and its Western allies dismissed as a “sham” aimed at deterring a successful counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops. Russian airlines, meanwhile, were reportedly ordered to stop selling tickets to Russian men aged 18 to 65. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / Axios / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Federal Reserve approved its third consecutive 75-basis-point interest-rate hike as inflation remains near a 40-year high. The decision lifts the benchmark federal funds rate to a range between 3% and 3.25% – the highest level since early 2008 – and officials expect to raise interest rates to a range between 4.75% and 5% next year. Officials expect inflation to decline from 6.3% in August to 5.4% by the end of this year before eventually falling back to the Fed’s 2% goal by 2025. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, is projected to climb from 3.7% to 4.4% by next year, and GDP growth is forecasted to slump to 0.2% for 2022. (Bloomberg / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ Sales of existing U.S. homes fell for the seventh straight month in August as mortgage rates climbed toward their highest level in 14 years. The string of monthly sales declines is the longest stretch since the housing market crashed in 2007. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, meanwhile, hit 6.25% last week. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

Day 609: "A brazen scheme of staggering proportions."

1/ A Texas sheriff opened a criminal investigation into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to fly 48 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said the migrants appeared to have been “lured under false pretenses” into staying at a hotel before they were flown to Florida and later Martha’s Vineyard, where they were “left to fend for themselves.” DeSantis, meanwhile, defended his decision, saying outrage over the flights was misplaced because everyone had “signed consent forms.” (CNN / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The U.S. arrested more than 2 million undocumented immigrants along the southwestern border in the past 11 months. It’s the first time that immigration arrests have topped 2 million, exceeding last year’s record of more than 1.7 million. In August, the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras dropped 43% from last August, while the number of Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans rose 175%. Many of the migrants are seeking asylum, which was significantly restricted during the Trump administration. (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ The Justice Department charged 47 defendants with stealing $240 million from a federal program that provided food for needy children during the pandemic – the largest Covid-19-related fraud to date. “This was a brazen scheme of staggering proportions,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a statement. Federal prosecutors said a network of individuals and organizations tied to Feeding Our Future, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, “exploited a program” designed to provide meals for underserved children and that the defendants “prioritized their own greed” by purchasing “luxury cars, houses, jewelry, and coastal resort property abroad.” More than 125 million fake meals are at issue. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post)

4/ Newly obtained surveillance video shows Trump allies and contractors working on his behalf copying sensitive software and data from voting equipment in a Georgia county elections office on Jan. 7, 2021. The group of forensics experts from SullivanStrickler spent eight hours inside the Coffee County elections office examining electronic “poll pads,” which contain voter data and are used to check in voters at polling locations. SullivanStrickler was hired by Sidney Powell, a conspiracy theorist and Trump’s former lawyer. Among those seen in the footage is former Georgia Republican Party official Cathy Latham, who is under criminal investigation for posing as a fake elector in 2020. In sworn testimony last month, Latham said she briefly stopped by the office in Coffee County, but stayed in the foyer and spoke with an official about an unrelated matter at the front desk. The surveillance video footage, however, shows that Latham visited the elections office twice that day and stay for more than four hours in total. She also took a selfie with one of the forensics experts before leaving at 6:19 p.m. (CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ Trump’s lawyers acknowledged that the criminal investigation into his handling of sensitive government documents could lead to an indictment. In a letter to Judge Raymond Dearie – the newly appointed special master – Trump’s lawyers objected to Dearie’s request to “disclose specific information regarding declassification to the Court and to the Government.” Trump’s lawyers argued that forcing Trump to specify which documents he purportedly declassified would “fully and specifically disclose a defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment” and leave him at a legal disadvantage. Trump’s attorneys instead argued that the Justice Department hasn’t proven that the documents with classification markings are actually classified. Dearie has until Nov. 30 to complete his work but has reportedly set a timetable for the 11,000 documents seized at Mar-a-Lago to be inspected and labeled by Oct. 7. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / CNBC / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

  • Trump was warned last year by a former White House lawyer that he could face legal liability if he did not return government documents he had taken with him to Mar-a-Lago. Shortly after the discussion with Eric Herschmann, Trump turned over 15 boxes of material to the National Archives, which contained 184 classified documents. (New York Times)

6/ Adults under 65 should be screened for anxiety and all adults should be checked for depression, according an influential group of medical experts. The draft guidance marks the first time that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended anxiety screening in primary care for adults without symptoms. The task force previously issued similar draft guidance for children and adolescents. Anxiety disorders affect about 40% of U.S. women and more than 1 in 4 men. This summer, more than 30% of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. And, the CDC reports that the percentage of U.S. adults who received mental-health treatment within the past 12 months increased to 22% in 2021 – up from 19% in 2019. Globally, anxiety and depression increased by 25% during the first year of the pandemic. (Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Washington Post)

Day 608: "The pandemic is over?"

1/ Biden said he believes “the pandemic is over” despite the U.S. recording more than 2 million Covid-19 cases and more than 12,000 deaths in the last 28 days. The declaration was an apparent off-the-cuff remark and not part of Biden’s planned remarks, and come as his administration seeks an additional $22.4 billion from Congress for coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments. Biden, however, acknowledged that the U.S. still has a “problem” with the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million Americans. Further, the federal government still designates Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency, and the WHO says it remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. “We are not there yet but the end is in sight,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO. “We can see the finish line, but now is the worst time to stop running.” (Politico / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin restricted the rights of transgender students in the state’s schools, issuing new “Model Policies” that roll back the work of Youngkin’s predecessor, Democrat Ralph Northam. The new guidelines will require transgender students to access school facilities and programs matching the sex they were assigned at birth and mandates that students who are minors must be referred to by the name and pronouns in their official records, unless a parent approves the use of something else. Further, school personnel won’t be required to refer to a student “in any manner” that would run counter to their personal or religious beliefs. The new rules will effect more than 1 million children enrolled in the state’s 133 school districts. (NPR / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ The Justice Department asked an appeals court to let the FBI regain access to about 100 classified documents taken from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, but didn’t try to block Judge Aileen Cannon’s appointment of Raymond Dearie to serve as special master. Last week, Judge Cannon’s granted a special master to review thousands of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. She also blocked law enforcement agencies from using any of the documents for investigative purposes until the review is done. Lawyers with the Justice Department’s national security division wrote: “Although the government believes the district court fundamentally erred in appointing a special master and granting injunctive relief, the government seeks to stay only the portions of the order causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public.” The Justice Department previously argued that delaying its investigation into Trump’s handling of classified government records could result in “irreparable harm.” Separately, months before the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes containing hundreds of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s team claimed that none of the material was sensitive or classified and that Trump had only 12 boxes of “news clippings.” Since the September 2021 call, the Archives and Justice Department have recovered 42 boxes of records from Trump’s estate, including 15 boxes handed over last January and an additional 27 boxes retrieved by the FBI during a court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago last month. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN / NPR)

4/ Trump’s longtime accounting firm started turning over documents to the House Oversight Committee as part of its investigation into his potential conflicts of interest and foreign financial ties. The committee first subpoenaed Mazars USA for Trump’s financial records in April 2019 for information about his dealings from 2014 to 2018. Trump and Mazars USA recently agreed to turn over some “key financial documents” to the committee after the accounting firm said it could no longer stand behind the statements it had prepared for the Trump Organization over a decade. (New York Times / CNN)

5/ At least a dozen Republican candidates for governor and Senate wouldn’t commit to accepting the results of their contests. On the Democratic side, however, all 19 nominees said they would accept the outcome of the November results. Biden, meanwhile, said that it’s “much too early” to make the decision on whether he will run again for president in 2024. “Look, my intention, as I said to begin with, is that I would run again. But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen,” Biden said when asked whether he would run. (Washington Post / New York Times)

Day 604: "Big problems."

1/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shipped about 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard without warning to make a political point about the record number of apprehensions at the southern border. While the two flights were paid for by Florida taxpayers under a state program to transport undocumented immigrants to so-called sanctuary destinations, they originated in San Antonio, Texas. The group of migrants, which included children, were told that they were being transported to Boston. Separately, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott used a state-funded program to send two buses of migrants – between 75 and 100 people – to Harris’s home in DC. The White House, meanwhile, called the actions by the two Republican governors “cruel” and “shameful” political stunts. And, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused Abbott of alerting Fox News to the bus’s arrivals instead of the Department of Homeland Security or the city of Washington. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / Texas Tribune / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Senate delayed a vote to protect same-sex marriage until after the midterm elections. A bipartisan group of senators have been working to alleviate the concerns of Republicans in an attempt to persuade at least 10 of them to support the bill and overcome a filibuster. Despite the efforts, Republicans complained that their 50-member conference would view a vote as politically motivated if Chuck Schumer forced a vote before the midterms. The Respect for Marriage Act would enshrine federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, as well as repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which recognized marriages in the U.S. as between one man and one woman. (Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg)

3/ The White House announced a “tentative” agreement between rail carriers and union leaders to avert a nationwide strike that threatened to cripple U.S. supply chains. After 20 straight hours of negotiations – which included Biden and other administration officials – workers won several of the concessions they were seeking, including better pay and more flexible schedules, like time off for doctors appointments. The parties had been negotiating a new contract for several years and were facing a 12:01 am Friday deadline – the end of a “cooling off period.” Union members, however, still have to vote to ratify the agreement, which is not expected for at least a couple of weeks. Biden called the deal to avoid what would have been an economically damaging strike “a big win for America.” (NPR / Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

4/ Mortgage rates topped 6% for the first time in 14 years and more than double their level a year ago. In an effort to tamp down inflation, the Federal Reserve has raised the federal funds rate by 2 full percentage points over four meetings this year. As a result, mortgage rates have gone up, and with inflation still high in August, the Fed is expected to raise the federal funds rate again when it meets next week. Rates, however, are still below the historical average of 7.8%. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Mark Meadows complied with a subpoena from the Justice Department’s investigation into Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The former White House chief of staff, who turned over the same materials he gave the House committee investigating the attack, is the highest-ranking Trump official known to have responded to a subpoena in the federal investigation. (CNN)

6/ The New York attorney general’s office rejected an offer from Trump’s lawyers to settle the civil investigation into the Trump Organization. Attorney General Letitia James is reportedly also considering suing at least one of Trump’s adult children as part of her inquiry that’s focused on whether Trump fraudulently inflated the value of his assets. Separately, the Trump Organization is going to trial next month for criminal tax charges in Manhattan. (New York Times)

7/ Trump – threatening the Justice Department – warned that there would be “big problems” if he’s indicted over the mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House. Trump, speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, said an indictment would result in “problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before” and that Americans “would not stand” for his prosecution. Trump added that an indictment wouldn’t stop him from running for president again. (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 45% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – up from 36% in July. (Associated Press)

poll/ 70% of Americans don’t think politicians “are informed enough” about abortion to “create fair policies.” 44% believe abortion will become less accessible in their lifetime. (Politico)

Day 603: "It's all changing."

1/ Biden approved the first $900 million in U.S. funding to build EV charging stations in 35 states. The bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Congress approved in November, allocated $7.5 billion to build a national EV charging network. By 2030, Biden wants 50% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric models and 500,000 new EV charging stations. “America is confronting the climate crisis with American workers leading the way,” Biden said. “It used to be to buy an electric vehicle you had to make all sorts of compromises. Not now […] It’s all changing. Today, if you want an electric vehicle with a long range, you can buy one made in America.” (CNBC / CBS News / Reuters / Washington Post)

2/ Amtrak will shut down all long distance passenger trains starting Thursday because of the possible freight rail strike. The majority of Amtrak routes operate on tracks owned by freight railroads. Amtrak trains that operate between Washington, D.C. and Boston, however, would not be affected because Amtrak owns most of those tracks. Two unions representing the engineers and conductors who make up the two-person crews on each freight train are demanding changes to the scheduling rules that keep them “on call” every day they’re not at work and penalizes them for going to routine doctor visits or responding to family medical emergencies. Negotiators face a deadline of 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Friday to avert the freight shutdown. (CNN / Washington Post / Politico)

3/ The EPA’s inspector general office is investigating the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi where roughly 150,000 residents have been under a boil-water advisory for seven weeks. The city issued a boil-water advisory after finding cloudiness in the water that could cause illness. The office issued a memo saying it will look into the federal response, as well as city and state officials. The current crisis began when heavy rains caused the Pearl River to flood and overwhelmed the water treatment plant, which was already using backup pumps because the pumps at the main water treatment facility were already damaged. (CNN / Politico / ABC News)

4/ Marco Rubio will co-sponsor Lindsey Graham’s bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks, which has received a tepid response from Republicans who say they “prefer this be dealt with at the state level.” In Indiana, the first new abortion ban passed by a state legislature since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June will take effect on Thursday. The West Virginia Republican-majority Legislature, meanwhile, passed a near-total abortion ban. Under the new measure, rape and incest victims could obtain abortions at up to eight weeks of pregnancy, but only if they report to law enforcement first. And in Texas, the state delayed publication of its study on pregnancy-related deaths until after the midterms and the state’s upcoming legislative session. The delay means lawmakers likely won’t be able to use the data until 2025. The most recent state-level data available is nine years old. (Miami Herald / NPR / CNBC / NBC News / Houston Chronicle)

5/ The special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to examine the origins of the Russia investigation appears to be winding down after three years. The federal grand jury John Durham used to hear evidence for his investigation has expired, and there are no plans to revive it. Durham and his team are working to complete a final report by the end of the year, which will be up to Attorney General Merrick Garland to decide whether to make its findings public. In 2019, then-Attorney General William Barr tapped Durham to review the FBI’s Russia probe and Barr later upgraded Durham to “special counsel” status shortly before the 2020 election, ensuring that Durham’s work would continue after Trump left office. (New York Times / CNN)

6/ House lawmakers proposed bipartisan legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 – the first major legislative response to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The bill, called the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, is similar to the bipartisan effort in the Senate to clarify the limited role of the vice president in certifying election result, raising the threshold for members of Congress to object to states’ presidential electors, and promoting an orderly presidential transition. (NBC News / Axios)

Day 602: "Out of step."

1/ Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy nationwide. While Graham’s measure stands no chance of enactment, it comes less than two months before the midterm elections when some Republican candidates are walking back their support for a total ban. 56% of voters say abortion will be very important to their midterm votes. Additionally, Mitch McConnell all but rejected the measure, saying that questions about the bill should be directed to Graham and that most Republican senators “prefer this be handled at the state level.” John Cornyn added: “That wasn’t a conference decision. It was an individual senator’s decision.” The White House, meanwhile, criticized the bill as “wildly out of step with what Americans believe.” (Washington Post / Politico / Axios / NBC News / New York Times / NPR / CNN)

2/ Inflation rose 8.3% in August compared with a year earlier. While inflation is down from an 8.5% jump in July and a four-decade high of 9.1% in June, it’s at a slower pace than anticipated given decreases in gasoline prices and other forms of energy fell. Economists expected consumer prices to rise about 8% annually in August. In response, stock markets posted their worst one-day performance since June 2020. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is expected to raise interest rates another 0.75 percentage point next week to slow economy further. The Census Bureau reported that from 2019 to 2021, real median household income decreased 2.8%. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / Axios / NBC News / Bloomberg)

3/ At least 97 current members of Congress reported trades by themselves or family in stocks or other financial assets that intersected with the work of congressional committees on which they serve. Over a three-year span, more than 3,700 trades were reported by lawmakers from both parties that posed potential conflicts between their public responsibilities and private finances. More than half of them sat on committees that potentially gave them insight into the companies they reported buying or selling. (New York Times)

4/ A potential national railroad strike threatens to further disrupt supply chains and cause billions of dollars in economic damage, forcing the Biden administration to develop contingency plans to keep critical supply chains operational as labor talks continue. Railroads and unions have until Friday to resolve a labor dispute when a federally mandated 30-day “cooling off” period ends. The White House is also considering the use of emergency powers to ensure essential supplies like food, energy, health-related products to consumers, and chlorine for wastewater treatment plants, can be delivered in the event of a strike. At issue is a dispute over wage increases and better health coverage between railway carriers and two unions, which represent 57,000 conductors and engineers. The railroads account for about 28% of U.S. freight. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico)

5/ More than 15,000 nurses in Minnesota went on strike after months of contract negotiations failed to produce a new deal that addresses understaffing and overwork. The strike against 16 hospital systems is the largest strike of private-sector nurses in U.S. history. (Bloomberg / CNN / Washington Post)

6/ The National Archives is not certain whether all of Trump’s presidential records are in its possession even after the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago club, the House Oversight Committee said. In a letter to the acting archivist, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney asked the Archives to “seek a personal certification from Donald Trump that he has surrendered all presidential records that he illegally removed from the White House after leaving office.” Maloney added: “I also ask that the agency conduct an urgent review of presidential records recovered from the Trump White House to assess whether presidential records remain unaccounted for and potentially in the possession of the former president,” she adds. On August 24, the Archives informed the committee that the agency didn’t know whether all of Trump’s White House records were accounted for. (CNN / Associated Press / Washington Post)

poll/ 47% of Americans could name all three branches of government while 25% couldn’t name a single branch. (The Hill)

Day 601: "The burden."

1/ Trump asked a federal judge to deny the Justice Department’s request to limit the role of a special master in its review of classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago as part of its criminal investigation. Last week, federal prosecutors – citing the risk of “irreparable harm” to national security – requested that District Judge Aileen Cannon stay the portion of her ruling blocking the government from reviewing about 100 documents with classification markings that were taken during the Aug. 8 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. In a 21-page filing, Trump’s lawyers called the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump “unprecedented and misguided,” and referring to the seized documents as “purported ‘classified records,’” they claimed that the government “has not proven” that the materials marked classified are actually still classified. Instead, they argued, Trump might actually have the right to keep the materials in his possession. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NBC News / ABC News)

  • Trump told aides after his 2020 defeat that he would not depart the White House, insisting: “I’m just not going to leave.” To another aide Trump said: “We’re never leaving. How can you leave when you won an election?” (CNN / Vanity Fair)

2/ The Justice Department issued about 40 subpoenas seeking information about Trump and his associates related to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack. According to one subpoena, the department requested information about any members of the executive and legislative branches who may have taken part in planning or executing the rally, or tried to “obstruct, influence, impede or delay” the certification of the presidential election. The department also seized the phones of two top Trump advisers, Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman. At least 20 subpoenas sent out were seeking information about several lawyers involved in the fake elector scheme, including Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman. Last week, Stephen Miller, Trump’s White House political director, and more than a dozen other people received subpoenas from a federal grand jury seeking information related to the Save America PAC and the alleged “fake electors” plot. (New York Times / New York Times / CNN / CBS News / Politico)

  • The Jan. 6 committee will resume televised hearings later this month. The committee held eight hearings in June and July. (Wall Street Journal)

3/ Child poverty in the U.S. fell by 59% from 1993 to 2019 with the number of children protected by the social safety net tripling from 2 million in 1993 to 6.5 million in 2019. More than one in four children in the U.S. in 1993 lived in families below the federal government’s poverty threshold. Today, roughly one in 10 children live in families below the threshold. The decline of child poverty coincides with the expansion of safety net programs, namely the earned-income credit and the child tax credit. The earned-income credit alone reduced child poverty by 22%. (New York Times)

4/ Biden issued an executive order to encourage biomedical innovation in the U.S. as part of a “moonshot” effort aimed at “ending cancer as we know it.” The order will establish a biotechnology and biomanufacturing initiative to solidify supply chains and center drug manufacturing in the country. Biden also selected Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as the director of the new biomedical research agency, known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. (The Hill / Associated Press / New York Times)

5/ A group of 22 Republican governors urged Biden to withdraw his student loan forgiveness plan, claiming it will “shift the burden of debt from the wealthy” to lower-income families. The Department of Education, however, estimates that nearly 90% of those benefiting from the student loan relief earn less than $75,000 a year, and that no individual making more than $125,000 or household making more than $250,000 will receive relief. According to the Census Bureau, the median income in the U.S. was $65,000 in 2020. (Axios)

poll/ 12% of Americans say the U.S. health care system is handled extremely or very well. 56% said health care in the U.S. is not handled well at all while 32% said it was handled somewhat well. (Associated Press)

poll/ 33% of Americans said they prefer strong, unelected leaders to weak elected ones. 38% agree that the government should act in the interests of the majority even if it conflicts with ethnic and religious minority groups’ civil rights. (Axios)

poll/ 49% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance – his highest rating since April. Among young adults, 51% support Biden’s handling of the presidency following the Inflation Reduction Act and his decision to forgive up to $20,000 in college loans. In August, 40% approved of Biden’s job performance. (IBD/TIPP Poll)

Day 597: "Until the job is done."

1/ The Justice Department appealed a federal judge’s decision to grant a special master to review documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ordered the appointment of an independent attorney “to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege.” Prosecutors asked Cannon to exclude all documents with classification markings from any special master review and to put on hold her directive blocking the Justice Department from using the seized records for investigative purposes while they appeal her decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the filing, prosecutors wrote that allowing a special master to review the classified material would “cause the most immediate and serious harms to the government and the public.” (Washington Post / Axios / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / New York Times / Associated Press)

2/ A federal grand jury issued subpoenas seeking information about Trump’s Save America PAC, which was formed after his 2020 election loss. The Justice Department is investigating the activities leading up the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election. Trump’s Save America PAC raised more than $135 million after the election by baselessly asserting claims of voter fraud they knew were false while consistently pushing supporters to donate. (ABC News / New York Times)

3/ Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that he is “strongly committed” to fighting inflation “until the job is done.” The central bank has raised interest rates four times this year from near zero in March to a range between 2.25% and 2.5% in July. Fed officials next meets Sept. 20-21, and Powell has kept the option open for a third consecutive 0.75-percentage-point rate rise. The average 30-year mortgage rate, meanwhile, climbed to 5.89% – the highest level since 2008. Last year at this time, the average mortgage rate was 2.88%. (CNBC / Bloomberg / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Congress must pass a funding bill before Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown. Bernie Sanders, however said he’d vote against the stopgap funding bill if Chuck Schumer follows through with a side deal he made with Joe Manchin to fast-track federal approvals of energy projects. Sanders said the permitting reform bill is “a huge giveaway to the fossil fuel industry” and that the legislation would make it easier for the fossil fuel industry to receive permits and complete “some of the dirtiest and most polluting oil and gas projects in America.” In order to secure Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act, Schumer promised to pass the permitting reform bill. (Bloomberg / The Hill)

5/ The White House warned that the environmental impact of producing cryptocurrencies could threaten the nation’s climate goals. A new report on the climate and energy implications of the crypto industry by the Office of Science and Technology Policy estimates that the industry is responsible for at least 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year – similar to the annual emissions of the entire U.S. railroad industry. The U.S. is responsible for 38% of the world’s Bitcoin mining, compared with 3.5% in 2020. While stopping short of prescribing specific regulations, the report urged federal agencies to work with states, communities, and industry to develop voluntary environmental performance standards. (Bloomberg / E&E News)

6/ Nearly 650,000 parcels of land in the U.S. are projected to be at least partially under water by 2050, according to a new report by the nonprofit Climate Central. As much as 4.4 million acres could fall below tidal boundaries that mark the line between private property and public land by 2050, which could double by 2100. Louisiana, in particular, is expected to see roughly 8.7% of its total land area – nearly 2.5 million acres – fall wholly below tidal boundary lines by 2050. (Washington Post / Phys.org)

7/ The Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean are warming nearly twice as fast as the global average. Temperatures in the region are projected to rise up to 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. Europe, meanwhile, recorded its hottest summer in history – its second historic summer in a row. (Associated Press / Washington Post)

poll/ 58% of Americans said Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement is threatening America’s democratic foundations. 60% of Republicans said they don’t think the MAGA movement represents the majority of the party. (Reuters)

poll/ 73% of Americans favor maximum age limits for elected officials. About a third of current U.S. senators are 70 years of age or older. (CBS News)

Day 596: "Dignity."

1/ Chuck Schumer promised a Senate vote on protecting same-sex marriage in the coming weeks whether or not there are 10 Republicans votes to pass it. Several GOP senators have already publicly expressed support, including Susan Collins, Rob Portman, and Thom Tillis, while Lisa Murkowski hasn’t committed either way. Ron Johnson, meanwhile, said he wouldn’t support the bill, despite saying earlier this year he saw “no reason to oppose” it. Johnson added that he believes the Supreme Court case giving same-sex couples the right to marry was “wrongly decided.” And, Ted Cruz said he’d vote against the bill to codify same-sex marriage protections into federal law. The House passed legislation to protect same-sex marriage in July, with support from 47 House Republicans. (Politico / Bloomberg)

2/ A Michigan judge permanently blocked enforcement of the state’s 91-year-old abortion ban. The 1931 law criminalizing most abortions in Michigan, which was dormant until the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, violated the tenets of the state Constitution, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled. “A law denying safe, routine medical care not only denies women of their ability to control their bodies and their lives — it denies them of their dignity,” Gleicher wrote. “Michigan’s Constitution forbids this violation of due process.” She added: “Issuing a permanent injunction will cause no damage to the defendant attorney general or the intervenors. The harm to women, on the other hand, is a wholesale denial of their fundamental right to an abortion, necessitating permanent injunctive relief.” The Republican-controlled House and Senate could appeal the ruling. Meanwhile, the Michigan Supreme Court is considering a proposed amendment to the Nov. 8 ballot that would add abortion rights to the state constitution. (Detroit Free Press / Bloomberg / NPR)

3/ Steve Bannon is expected to surrender to New York prosecutors to face a new criminal indictment. Prosecutors alleged that Bannon and others defrauded donors to a private, $25 million fundraising effort, called “We Build the Wall,” to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. The case is expected to mirror aspects of the federal case in which Bannon was indicted but never tried because Trump pardoned him before that could happen. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / NPR)

4/ The FBI found information about a foreign government’s nuclear-defense readiness at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. Some of the seized documents were so closely held that many senior national security officials aren’t authorized to review them. Only the president and some Cabinet-level or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to review these special-access programs. The documents, however, were stored at Mar-a-Lago, with uncertain security, for more than 18 months after Trump left the White House. (Washington Post)

poll/ 67% of independents said they don’t want Trump to run for president in 2024, while 28% said they want him to give it another go. Overall, 61% said they don’t want Trump to run again. Meanwhile, 27% want Trump to run for president even if he is charged with a crime, including 61% of Republicans. (NPR)

Day 595: "The appearance of fairness and integrity."

1/ The FBI found 48 empty folders that contained classified information at Mar-a-Lago. Agents also found 42 empty folders of sensitive documents labeled with instructions to return to the staff secretary or a military aide. In all, the Justice Department’s search inventory list said the FBI seized 18 documents marked as top secret, 54 marked as secret, 31 marked as confidential, and 11,179 government documents without classification markings. The Justice Department did not say whether all the contents of the folders had been recovered. (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press)

2/ A federal judge granted Trump’s request for a special master to review the documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago, temporarily halting the Justice Department’s review of the documents in its criminal investigation. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon — a Trump appointee — authorized an independent third party to review the nearly 13,000 records taken during the Aug. 8 search for anything that may be protected by attorney-client privilege, or executive privilege as Trump is claiming. Cannon wrote that she had made her decisions “to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances.” While Cannon ordered the Justice Department to cease using the records for any “investigative purpose” until the review is complete, the special master appointment will not impede the ongoing national security assessments being conducted by the intelligence community. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNN / ABC News)

3/ Trump’s attorney general said there is no “legitimate reason” for classified documents to have been at Mar-a-Lago. “No, I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they could be taken out of government, away from the government, if they are classified,” William Barr said on Fox News. “People say this [search] was unprecedented, but it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club, okay?” Barr added that he was “skeptical” Trump’s claim that he declassified everything. Trump, meanwhile, posted a deluge of poppycock not worth repeating about Barr in response on his personal social network. (Washington Post / CNN)

4/ Surveillance video shows a Republican county official in Georgia escorting consultants working with Trump lawyer Sidney Powell into the county’s election offices on the same day the voting system was breached. The footage shows that Cathy Latham, a former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County who is under criminal investigation for posing as a fake elector in 2020, escorting a group of pro-Trump data forensics experts into the elections office shortly before noon on Jan. 7, 2021. Two of the men seen in the video with Latham, Scott Hall and Paul Maggio, have previously said that at the behest of Powell they gained access to and copied software and data from the Dominion Voting Systems machines used by Coffee County. Surveillance footage also shows that 11 days later Doug Logan and Jeffrey Lenberg visited the elections office, seeking evidence that Trump’s 2020 defeat was fraudulent. They’re under investigation for separate alleged breaches of voting machines in Michigan. Latham previously claimed in sworn testimony that she taught a full day of school that day and visited the elections office briefly after classes ended. (CNN / Washington Post)

5/ A judge removed a New Mexico county commissioner from office for his role in the Jan. 6 attack. Couy Griffin is the first public official in more than a century to be disqualified from office for violating the 14th Amendment. It also the first time a judge has formally ruled that the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol was an “insurrection.” Griffin was convicted earlier this year of trespassing when he breached barricades outside the Capitol. (New York Times / CNN)

poll/ 195 Republicans nominees running for office fully deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and an additional 61 candidates have raised questions around the results. There are 529 total Republicans running for office. (FiveThirtyEight)

poll/ 60% of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases - up from 55% in March. (Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 80% of Americans believe the U.S. is more divided now than it was during their parents’ generation. 64% of Americans said they think the potential for political violence will increase in the coming years. (CBS News)

Day 590: "Sufficient basis."

1/ The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pressed lawmakers to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in both Arizona and Wisconsin. It was previously reported that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers in November and December 2020, urging them to ignore Biden’s popular-vote victory and instead “choose” their own presidential electors. New emails, however, show that Thomas also urged at least two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin, including the chair of the Senate elections committee, to overturn Biden’s win. The Jan. 6 committee asked Thomas to sit for a voluntary interview in June. At the time, Thomas said she “can’t wait” to talk to the committee, but later said she didn’t believe there was “sufficient basis” for her to sit for an interview. (Washington Post / Associated Press)

2/ A federal judge ordered Lindsey Graham to testify before a grand jury investigating efforts to overturn Trump’s election loss in Georgia. The judge, however, limited the scope of questions that Graham could be asked “about investigatory fact-finding” he conducted in phone calls made to state elections officials. It’s the second time that Judge Leigh Martin ruled that Graham must testify in the probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who intends to question Graham about two phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the aftermath of the 2020 election. (Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

3/ Trump and the Mazars USA accounting firm agreed to turn over some “key financial documents” to the House Oversight and Reform Committee as part of its investigation into his potential conflicts of interest and foreign financial ties. The deal ends Trump’s yearslong effort to prevent Congress from obtaining his private financial records from Mazars USA. In April 2019, the committee subpoenaed Mazars USA for financial information from Trump dating back 10 years. (Associated Press / Axios / CNBC)

4/ 2021 was one of the hottest years on record as the world saw record-high greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat, and sea level rise, according to the annual State of the Climate report. Depending on the dataset referenced, 2021 was either the fifth- or sixth-warmest on record, making the last seven years, from 2015-2021, the seven warmest years on record. The global average sea level rose to a record-high for the 10th consecutive year, and global ocean heat content saw record levels in 2021. (CBS News / ABC News / Axios)

5/ Republicans are exploring potential lawsuits to block Biden’s plan to cancel some student debt for tens of millions of Americans. Although no lawsuit has been filed yet, Republican attorneys general in Arizona, Missouri, and Texas, as well as Ted Cruz and allies of the Heritage Foundation, have discussed a strategy that could see multiple cases filed in different courts around the country. Republicans have called debt forgiveness illegal, fiscally irresponsible, and unfair to Americans who never attended college or already paid off their education loans. (Washington Post)

6/ Math and reading scores for elementary school students fell to their lowest levels in two decades during the pandemic. Math scores dropped seven points during the pandemic – a first-ever decline – while reading scores fell five points – the largest drop in 30 years of National Assessment of Educational Progress testing. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times / Axios)

7/ The average 30-year mortgage rate rose to 5.66% – the highest level since June. The 30-year fixed-rate was 2.87% a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 4.98% from 2.18% a year ago. In August, new listings dropped 15% from the same period a year ago – the biggest annual decline since the start of the pandemic. Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, estimates that the U.S. housing market will end 2022 with an overall 22% decline in new home sales and a 17% decline in existing home sales. Declines are expected to extend into 2023, with new home sales and existing home sales dropping 8% and 14%, respectively. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Fortune)

poll/ 60% of Texas voters said they support abortion being “available in all or most cases,” while 29% said abortion should not be available in most cases, and 11% said abortion shouldn’t be available at all. One year ago, Texas implemented what was then the most restrictive abortion law in the country. (NPR)

poll/ 52% of voters agree that the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago “was part of a legal and proper investigation to determine” whether Trump was involved in any wrongdoing, while 41% view it as “just another example of the endless witch hunt and harassment the Democrats and Biden administration continue to pursue against former President Trump.” (Wall Street Journal)

Day 589: "Very disturbing."

1/ The Justice Department obtained the search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate after receiving evidence that highly classified government documents were “likely concealed and removed” from a storage room as part of an effort to “obstruct” the FBI’s investigation. In a 36-page court filing, federal prosecutors said Trump’s representatives falsely claimed that a “diligent search” had been conducted and all sensitive material had been returned. “The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt wrote. More than 100 additional classified items were found during the Aug. 8 search, including three classified documents in desks inside Trump’s office and material so sensitive that “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.” In total, more than 320 classified documents have now been recovered from Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s team has a deadline of 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday to respond to the government’s filing. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NPR / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

  • Days before Mar-a-Lago subpoena, Trump lawyer claimed she scoured Trump’s office, closets and drawers. “A filing by Alina Habba in the case over Trump’s business empire could create exposure in the matter of classified information being stored at the ex-president’s home.” (Politico)

  • The Justice Department will likely to wait until after the November election to announce any charges against Trump, if any, according people familiar with the matter. “The unprecedented prospect of bringing charges against a former US president is creating intense scrutiny of the Justice Department in the aftermath of its search of his home at Mar-a-Lago. A separate DOJ probe is focused on his effort to overturn the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden.” (Bloomberg)

2/ The FDA authorized updated versions of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 boosters that target the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. The CDC’s vaccine advisory group is set to meet Thursday to vote on whether to recommend the boosters, which means the Biden administration could begin offering boosters just after Labor Day. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

3/ About 3.8 million renters say they’re likely to be evicted in the next two months, according to the Census Bureau. In total, 8.5 million people are behind on their rent, and nearly half of all renters — more than 30 million people — have seen rent hikes in the past 12 months. The median rent in the U.S. topped $2,000 a month – up nearly 25% since before the pandemic. (MoneyWise)

4/ Life expectancy in the U.S. fell in 2021 for the second year in a row – the biggest two-year decline in almost 100 years. In 2019, someone born in the U.S. had an average life expectancy of 79 years, which dropped to 77 years in 2020, and to 76.1 years in 2021. Americans can now expect to live as long as they did in 1996, which Dr. Steven Woolf, a professor of population health and health equity at Virginia Commonwealth University, called “very disturbing” and a “historic” setback. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post)

poll/ 14% of Americans view Covid-19 as a “severe” health risk in their community – down from 33% in January – and 28% of adults said they are “very” concerned about a coronavirus outbreak – down from 46% in January. 34% of “very liberal” Americans, meanwhile, say Covid-19 presents a “great risk” to their personal health and well-being – down from 47% in March. (Morning Consult / New York Times)

poll/ 76% young female voters in key battleground states oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion, while 18% support it. Among young Republican women, 57% oppose the Dobbs decision, while 36% support it. 47% of voters aged 18-35 said they were very motivated to vote in November following the Dobbs decision – up from 38% in March. (Politico)

Day 588: "The minimal solution."

1/ Weather models are warning of a “very dangerous” and “prolonged heat wave” over western states this week and into the Labor Day weekend. More than 55 million people are currently under heat alerts in the west, including 20 of the most populated cities. More than 100 records could be broken. “We will very likely be in the midst of a full-fledged and potentially dangerous heat wave by midweek,” the National Weather Service in Los Angeles said. “Record breaking or not, this prolonged heat wave is going to be very dangerous.” (Washington Post / CNN)

2/ The Education Department will discharge another $1.5 billion in student debt for students who enrolled in Westwood College. The Education Department found that 79,000 borrowers who attended Westwood College, a private, for-profit institution that closed in 2016, were “routinely misled” about their job prospects and expected earnings after graduation. The forgiveness will happen automatically, regardless of whether former students have applied for a borrower defense discharge, the Education Department said. (The Hill / CNBC / CBS News)

3/ The Labor Department reported that there were 11.2 million job openings in July – up from the previous month’s 11 million and in excess of the 10.3 million estimated. Job openings outnumber available workers by about a 2-to-1 margin and have remained above 10 million since the summer of 2021. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Lindsey Graham warned that there would be “riots in the street” if Trump is prosecuted for taking highly classified government documents to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized the “dangerous” comments about violence from “extreme Republicans.” (Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ Trump demanded that the 2020 presidential election be declared “irreparably compromised” and that a new one be held “immediately!” after news that Facebook temporarily limited a controversial story about Hunter Biden’s laptop in users’ news feeds before the 2020 election. Trump was responding to comments from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg made on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that the FBI had warned Facebook to be on the lookout for potential Russian misinformation on the platform. Nevertheless, the twice-impeached ex-president posted to his social media app, which is currently banned from the Google Play Store because of insufficient content moderation, that he should be declared the winner of the election that was decided two years ago, saying “this would be the minimal solution, declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!” Trump, meanwhile, spent Tuesday morning posting more than 60 inflammatory messages on social media, including many from QAnon accounts and 4chan. (Rolling Stone / Daily Beast / NBC News / Business Insider)

poll/ 43% of Americans believe a civil war is somewhat likely in the next 10 years. 54% of Americans who identify as “strong Republicans” say a civil war is likely in the next decade. (YouGov)

poll/ 71% of Americans approve of labor unions – the highest since 1965. 16% of Americans live in a household where at least one resident is a union member. (Gallup)

Day 587: "A lot of classified records."

1/ The Justice Department identified “a limited set” of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago that are potentially covered by attorney-client privilege. The disclosure that a Justice Department “filter team” had completed its review of documents taken from Mar-a-Lago came as Trump’s lawyers pressed a federal judge two weeks after the Aug. 8 search to appoint a special master to review the documents. The filter team is separate from the team involved in the criminal investigation and “is in the process of following the procedures” spelled out in the search warrant to handle any privilege disputes. (New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / Bloomberg / CNN / NPR / Associated Press)

2/ A heavily redacted copy of the FBI affidavit used to justify the search of Mar-a-Lago revealed that 14 of the 15 boxes Trump returned in January contained 184 documents with classification markings, including 25 marked “top secret,” 92 marked “secret,” and 67 marked “confidential.” Several of the documents contained Trump’s “handwritten notes,” some were related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and not meant to be shared with foreign nations, and others refer to the systems used to protect intelligence gathered from secret human sources. The National Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department on Feb. 9 after finding what they described as “a lot of classified records.” The Justice Department wrote in its request for the search that there is “probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found” at Trump’s house. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Associated Press / Axios / New York Times)

3/ The U.S. intelligence community will conduct a damage assessment of the possible risks to national security stemming from Trump’s handling of the top-secret documents stored at Mar-a-Lago. In the letter to the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees, Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, informed the lawmakers that her office would lead an “assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents.” Haines added that the DNI and Justice Department are “working together to facilitate a classification review of relevant materials, including those recovered during the search.” (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

4/ A judge ruled that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp must testify in the grand jury investigating Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Judge Robert McBurney, however, agreed to delay that testimony until after the Nov. 8 election. Kemp is running for reelection against Democrat Stacey Abrams. (NBC News / Politico / Axios / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press)

5/ The Biden administration will end its free at-home Covid-19 test program this week due to a lack of funding. Officials said they want to preserve supply ahead of an anticipated fall surge in cases. (NPR / NBC News / CNN)

poll/ 55% of voters approve of the Inflation Reduction Act, while 45% disapprove. 54% approve of student loan debt relief, while 46% disapprove. (CBS News)

poll/ Democrats have a 67% chance to win the Senate – up from 40% on June 1. Republicans, meanwhile, have an 77% chance to win the House in the midterm elections – down from 86% on June 1. (FiveThirtyEight)

  • Democrats see a narrow path to keeping the House. “While Democrats acknowledge they still face major hurdles, there has been an unmistakable mood shift, according to interviews with candidates, strategists and officials.” (Washington Post)

poll/ 44% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing – up six percentage points since July. (Gallup)

Day 583: "Obstructive acts."

1/ A federal magistrate judge ordered the Justice Department to release a redacted version of the affidavit used to justified the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Judge Bruce Reinhart accepted the Justice Department’s redactions to keep secret the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, people who haven’t been charged, grand jury information, as well as details about “the investigation’s strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods.” Reinhart ordered the government to release the redacted version by noon Friday. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Trump’s lawyers had concerns about the two dozen boxes of presidential records that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago and agreed that the documents should be returned, according National Archive officials. In a May 2021 email to Trump’s lawyers, the National Archives chief counsel wrote: “It is also our understanding that roughly two dozen boxes of original presidential records were kept in the Residence of the White House over the course of President Trump’s last year in office and have not been transferred to NARA, despite a determination by Pat Cipollone in the final days of the administration that they need to be.” Trump eventually returned 15 boxes of documents to the Archives in early 2022 after Gary Stern, the Archives chief counsel, told Trump officials that he would have to notify Congress. After realizing there were hundreds of pages of classified material in the returned boxes, National Archives officials referred the matter to the Justice Department. (Washington Post)

  • The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago took place after Trump tried to delay the FBI from reviewing the classified material he took when he left office for months. “Trump ignored multiple opportunities to quietly resolve the FBI concerns by handing over all classified material in his possession — including a grand jury subpoena that Trump’s team accepted May 11.” (Washington Post)

  • Trump ordered his lawyers to get “my documents” back from federal law enforcement. Trump “has been demanding that his team find a way to recover ‘all’ of the official documents that Trump has long referred to as ‘mine’ — including the highly sensitive and top secret ones.” (Rolling Stone)

  • Trump claimed he needs his White House records back so he can add them to his presidential library. While the National Archives set up a website after he left office for his presidential library, the plans for the library are unclear. (Business Insider)

  • Trump is serving as his own communications director and strategic adviser, seeking tactical political and in-the-moment public relations victories, sometimes at the risk of stumbling into substantive legal missteps. “Facing serious legal peril in the documents investigation, the former president has turned to his old playbook of painting himself as persecuted amid legal and political stumbles.” (New York Times)

3/ The Justice Department released the unredacted memo justifying former Attorney General William Barr’s decision not to prosecute Trump for obstructing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The nine-page memo advised Barr that Mueller’s report “identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constituted obstructive acts, done with a nexus to a pending proceeding, with the corrupt intent necessary to warrant prosecution under obstruction-of-justice statutes.” The Mueller report, however, laid out 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice, including Trump directing his White House counsel to fire Mueller, pressuring then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to narrow Mueller’s investigation, and the firing of the FBI Director James Comey. The D.C. Circuit ordered the release of the full memo, affirming two federal courts decisions that found Barr didn’t rely on the memo and had already made up his mind to not charge Trump before he commissioned the memo. A heavily redacted version of the memo was previously released in 2021. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

4/ The Trump administration pressured the FDA to accelerate the authorization of vaccines and unproven treatments for Covid-19 before Election Day, according to a report released by the House subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis. Senior Trump administration officials also pressed the health agency to reauthorize the use of hydroxychloroquine after the FDA revoked emergency clearance of the drug because data showed it was ineffective against Covid-19 and could cause potentially dangerous heart complications. The report concluded the “crusade” against the FDA “resulted in damaging consequences for the coronavirus response.” (Politico / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press)

5/ Former interior secretary Ryan Zinke lied to investigators several times about whether he wrongly blocked two native tribes from opening a casino in Connecticut in 2017. Investigators found that Zinke and his chief of staff made statements to inspector general’s office “with the overall intent to mislead them.” Zinke is favored to win a House seat in Montana this fall. (Politico / Washington Post)

6/ A federal judge in Idaho blocked part of the state’s abortion ban that criminalizes performing an abortion on a woman to protect her health. Earlier this month the Justice Department sued Idaho, arguing that the law would prevent emergency room doctors from performing abortions necessary to protect the health of a pregnant patient. The preliminary injunction left intact most of the bill’s other provisions, which constitute a near-total ban on the procedure. (New York Times / Washington Post)

7/ Texans who perform abortions now face up to life in prison after the state’s trigger law went into effect. The law criminalizes performing an abortion from the moment of fertilization unless the patient is facing “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy.” The statute also directs that the attorney general to seek a civil penalty of not less than $100,000, plus attorney’s fees. (Texas Tribune)

Day 582: "A tsunami."

1/ Biden canceled up to $20,000 in student debt for Pell Grant recipients, and up to $10,000 for individual borrowers who make under $125,000 per year. Biden will also extended the federal student loan payment pause for what he called the “final time” through Dec. 31. About 43 million borrowers will benefit, and 20 million will have their debt completely canceled. The White House estimates that nearly 90% of relief will go to people earning less than $75,000. Student loan debt in the U.S. totals nearly $1.75 trillion. (Associated Press / NPR / Axios / CNBC / NBC News / USA Today / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Voters in rural western Michigan defunded their town’s only public library over books with LGBTQ content, accusing the librarians “grooming” children and promoting an “LGBTQ ideology.” The Patmos Library was stripped of 85% of its funding for next year and is in danger of closing. Meanwhile, in Idaho, a group of conservative Christians want to ban more than 400 books with LGBTQ characters, scenes describing sexual activity, or invoking the occult from a public library in Bonners Ferry. None of the books, however, are in the library’s collection. (Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

3/ Roughly 20 million U.S. homes are behind on their utility bills – about 1 in 6 American homes. The National Energy Assistance Directors Association said it’s the worst-ever crisis the group has documented as the average price consumers pay for electricity surged 15% in July from a year earlier – the biggest 12-month increase since 2006. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, electric utilities have shut off power to more than 3.6 million households, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. “I expect a tsunami of shutoffs.” (Bloomberg / Center for Biological Diversity)

4/ As many as 1 in 6 trees native to the contiguous U.S. are in danger of going extinct due to climate change. A new study assessing the health of all 881 tree species native to the Lower 48 found that extreme weather and prolonged droughts make trees vulnerable to invasive insects and pathogens – the predominant drivers of extinction risk. Biden’s plan to halve emissions in the U.S. by the end of the decade depends on forests to offset about 12% of its pollution. Meanwhile, a 2019 report from the United Nations estimated that 1 million species are in danger of dying out. (Washington Post)

5/ The U.S. has experienced five separate 1-in-1,000 year rain events in the past five weeks. A 1,000-year rain event has an 0.1% chance of happening in any given year. Since late July, St. Louis experienced its wettest day on record, Kentucky received more than 14 inches of rain over five days, eastern Illinois saw more than 8 inches of rain over a 12-hour period, Death Valley – the driest place in North America – came 0.01 inches shy of its all-time daily record, and Dallas recorded both its wettest day and wettest hour on record. (Washington Post)

6/ California plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The rule will require that all new cars sold in the state by 2035 to have zero emissions – up from 12% today. The ban will also require that 35% of all new passenger cars sold by 2026 have no emissions, which would climb to 68% by 2030. About 16% of new cars sold in California this year have zero emissions. The national average is 6%. The California Air Resources Board will vote on the measure Thursday. (New York Times / Politico / CNN)

poll/ 71% of Americans say they want to see gun laws made stricter, including about half of Republicans. 59% favor a ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles and other semiautomatic weapons and 88% say preventing mass shootings is extremely or very important. 60%, however, also say it’s very important to ensure that people can own guns for personal protection. (Associated Press)

Day 581: "Mine."

1/ The National Archives said it found more than 700 pages of classified material – including some labeled “Special Access Program” – in the 15 boxes recovered from Trump in January. The National Archives informed Trump’s lawyers about the discovery in a May 10 letter, and said it would provide the FBI with access to the documents in order to investigate “whether those records were handled in an unlawful manner” and “conduct an assessment of the potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported and take any necessary remedial steps.” National Archives officials spent most of 2021 trying to get the material back from Trump. His lawyers tried to argue that some of the documents were protected by executive privilege despite Biden deferring all decisions regarding executive privilege assertions to top DOJ lawyers. Two officials tasked with representing Trump to the National Archives received calls trying to facilitate the documents’ return. Trump, however, rejected their efforts, calling the boxes of classified documents “mine.” The Justice Department, meanwhile, said it has recovered more than 300 documents with classified markings from Mar-a-Lago, with each document potentially comprising multiple pages. The first set in January, a second batch was delivered in June, and the FBI seized additional material during its August search. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / ABC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ The Justice Department issued a new grand jury subpoena to the National Archives for more documents as part of its investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Earlier this year, the Justice Department requested the same documents and information that had previously been shared with the Jan. 6 committee. (CNN)

3/ Elections systems data obtained by Trump’s campaign and Sidney Powell was copied and shared with election deniers, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing commentators. SullivanStrickler was hired in Nov. 2020 to access county election systems in at least three battleground states and copy software and other data. The files were put on a server and downloaded dozens of times by “accounts associated with a Texas meteorologist who has appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show; a podcaster who suggested political enemies should be executed; a former pro surfer who pushed disproven theories that the 2020 election was manipulated; and a self-described former ‘seduction and pickup coach’ who claims to also have been a hacker.” (Washington Post)

4/ A jury convicted two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 over her Covid-19 policies. Prosecutors described the plot as a rallying cry for a civil war by anti-government extremists. Barry Croft and Adam Fox face up to life in prison. (New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Biden is expected to announce Wednesday that he will cancel $10,000 of federal student loans per borrower making $125,000 a year or less, as well as extend the pause on student loan repayment for at least four additional months through December 2022. Roughly 45 million Americans have student debt and owe more than $1.7 trillion collectively. Borrowers are expected to resume loan payments Sept. 1. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Voters in New York and Florida head to the polls tonight. Democrats in Florida will pick their nominee to face Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this fall. Manhattan Democrats will decide between House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler and House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney. After their districts were merged, only one can advance. Pat Ryan, a Democrat who serves as the executive of Ulster County, has put abortion rights at the center of his campaign in the special election in New York’s 19th District. Republican Marc Molinaro, the Republican executive of Dutchess County who ran for governor in 2018, has focused more on themes of public safety and inflation. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times)

Day 580: "Reliable."

1/ Dr. Anthony Fauci will leave the federal government in December to “pursue the next chapter” of his career. The nation’s top infectious disease expert has advised seven presidents in more than five decades of public service. (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Texas, Tennessee, and Idaho will enact abortion trigger laws this week. Starting Aug. 25, nearly all abortions in Tennessee will be outlawed, except in cases related to preventing the death or serious injury of a pregnant woman. The law makes no exceptions for rape or incest. Similar to Tennessee, Idaho will impose a near-total abortion ban, but with the exception of rape, incest or medical emergency. And in Texas, doctors can now be sued by almost anyone for performing an abortion, facing life in prison and fines of more than $100,000. (NPR)

3/ Louisiana state officials denied funding a New Orleans flood control project because of the city’s opposition to the state’s near-total abortion ban. It’s the second time that the Louisiana State Bond Commission voted to delay approval of the $39 million infrastructure project that would power the drainage pumps that protect the city’s 384,000 residents from flooding. The New Orleans City Council passed a resolution this summer asking police, sheriff’s deputies, and prosecutors not to enforce the ban, which doesn’t include exemptions for rape or incest. (Politico / CNN)

4/ A federal appeals court temporarily paused an order requiring Lindsey Graham to testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to reverse the 2020 election. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit asked a lower court to consider whether it would be appropriate for a sitting U.S. senator to testify before the grand jury. Graham formally appealed a judge’s order last week that he testify, saying doing so would cause “irreparable harm” that would be “in contravention of his constitutional immunity.” (Washington Post / NPR)

5/ The federal magistrate judge who authorized the warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate suggested that the redacted version of the affidavit could make for “a meaningless disclosure.” U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said that the FBI’s affidavit justifying the warrant was “reliable,” citing the “intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President’s residence” justifies making an effort to unseal portions of it. Reinhart, however, said he agrees with the Justice Department that the “redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure.” Reinhart ordered Justice Department officials to submit proposed redactions by Thursday at noon Eastern time. Trump, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to appoint a third-party attorney, known as a special master, to review the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. (Politico/ Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

  • Trump’s haphazard handling of government documents — a chronic problem — contributed to the chaos he created after he refused to accept his loss in November 2020. “His unwillingness to let go of power, including refusing to return government documents collected while he was in office, has led to a potentially damaging, and entirely avoidable, legal battle that threatens to engulf the former president and some of his aides.” (New York Times)

6/ The congressional intelligence oversight committees asked the Biden administration for the documents seized from the search of Mar-a-Lago. The inquiry from the so-called Gang of Eight follows a similar request from Senate Intelligence Committee for an assessment of possible national security risks related to Trump’s handling of the sensitive documents. The Gang of Eight includes the top two congressional leaders in each chamber, as well as the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate intelligence committees. White House officials, meanwhile, have privately expressed concern over the classified material that Trump took to Florida. (Politico / CNN)

7/ A federal appeals court ordered the release of then-Attorney General William Barr’s secret 2019 Justice Department memo discussing whether Trump obstructed Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Justice Department failed to show that the memo from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel was part of a deliberative process advising Barr about the issue, finding that Barr never seriously considered charging Trump with obstructing the Mueller investigation. Barr told Congress in March 2019 that after “consulting” with top DOJ officials he concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction. After Mueller’s full report was released, however, his office said there was “substantial evidence” of obstruction. Mueller also wrote a letter to Barr saying the attorney general had mischaracterized his team’s work. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post / NPR)

poll/ 57% of voters said the various investigations into alleged wrongdoing by Trump should continue, while 40% say they should stop. 58%, meanwhile, said America’s best years are behind it and 61% said they’re willing to carry a protest sign for a day because they’re so upset. (NBC News)

poll/ 59% of Americans said they are concerned that student loan forgiveness will make inflation worse. Among Republicans, 81% say student loan forgiveness will make inflation worse, while 41% Democrats say the same. About 44 million borrowers owe a collective $1.7 trillion in federal student loan debt. (CNBC)

poll/ 5.6% of Americans described their current life situation as “suffering” in July – the highest level on record and translates to an estimated 14 million American adults. (Gallup)

Day 576: "Brain fog."

1/ A federal judge ordered the Justice Department to redact the probable cause affidavit used to justify the FBI search of Trump’s Florida estate. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said it’s “very important” that the public have as “much information” about the search of Mar-a-Lago and that he was “inclined” to unseal some of the affidavit. The Justice Department argued that unsealing the document could jeopardize the investigation and put witnesses at risk because the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified records is still “in its early stages” and “would provide a roadmap and suggest next investigative steps we are about to take.” A coalition of news organizations argued that the affidavit should be made public given the “historically significant, unprecedented execution of a search warrant in the residence of a former president.” Reinhart said he would give the Justice Department seven days to redact the document in a way that would not undermine its ongoing investigation before making a determination about whether to unseal the affidavit. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

2/ The Justice Department subpoenaed the National Archives in May for all the documents that were given to the Jan. 6 committee. The subpoena asked for “all materials, in whatever form,” including the more than 770 pages of documents that Trump unsuccessfully tried to claim executive privilege over. The subpoena is not related to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. (New York Times)

3/ The Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer pleaded guilty to 15 tax fraud charges. Allen Weisselberg’s plea bargain requires him to testify truthfully as a prosecution witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related charges, as well as admit his role in conspiring with the company to carry out the scheme to evade taxes. Trump himself is not charged in the case and Weisselberg’s plea deal doesn’t require him to cooperate in the district attorney’s broader criminal investigation against Trump. (NBC News / New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / Washington Post)

4/ New coronavirus cases reported globally dropped 24% in the last week, according to the WHO. While global Covid-19 deaths fell 6% last week, they rose in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia by 31% and 12% respectively. The Biden administration, meanwhile, is planning to end the underwriting for Covid-19 shots and treatments, shifting more control of pricing and coverage to the healthcare industry. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

5/ People who’ve had Covid-19 face an increased risk of psychotic disorders like “brain fog,” psychosis, seizures, and dementia for at least two years, according to a large-scale University of Oxford study. The findings, based on the records of more than 1.25 million patients, show increased rates of neurological and psychological problems higher than after other types of respiratory infections. Last year, researchers reported that 1 in 3 patients experienced mood disorders, strokes, or dementia six months after Covid-19 infection. (Politico / Axios / STAT News / Bloomberg)

6/ The Biden administration will make an additional 1.8 million doses of the monkeypox vaccine available, allowing states and localities to start ordering more vaccine doses sooner than originally planned. The Department of Health and Human Services is also preparing an additional 50,000 doses of the antiviral treatment to help those who have already tested positive for monkeypox. More than 13,500 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the U.S. (CNN / Axios / USA Today)

7/ A Florida appeals court upheld a ruling that denied a 16-year-old an abortion because she was not “sufficiently mature” enough. Jane Doe 22-B is parentless and a ward of the state until she turns 18. Under Florida law, an abortion cannot be performed on a minor without the consent of a parent or guardian. (NBC News / Washington Post)

poll/ 54% of Americans – including 76% of Republicans – think there’s an “invasion” at the southern border. 56% of Americans believe immigrants are an important part of our American identity – down from 75% in January 2018. Border Patrol has apprehended migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border more than 1.8 million times since October – a record. (NPR / Ipsos)

Day 575: "Now the real work begins."

1/ The director of the CDC announced a restructuring of the agency to “transform” it to better respond to public health emergencies. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency had failed to effectively respond to the coronavirus pandemic, saying “in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations.” Walensky’s plan calls for less emphasis on the publication of scientific papers about rare diseases and more focus on efforts that prioritize public health needs by more rapidly turning research into health recommendations. The restructuring follows two reviews conducted in recent months into the CDC’s pandemic response and operations. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

  • Monkeypox cases jumped 20% in the last week to 35,000 across 92 countries. Nearly all reported cases are in Europe and the Americas. (CNBC)

  • Inside America’s monkeypox crisis. “100 days after the outbreak was first detected in Europe, no country has more cases than the United States — with public health experts warning the virus is on the verge of becoming permanently entrenched here.” (Washington Post)

2/ Federal Reserve officials indicated that they likely need to continue raising interest rates until inflation comes down substantially. Last month, officials voted to raise their benchmark rate by 0.75 percentage point in July, following June’s increase of the same size – the largest rate increases since 1994. Overall retail sales, meanwhile, were unchanged in July, slowed by the falling price of gasoline. Excluding the sale of gas and cars, retail sales rose 0.7% last month. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / New York Times / Reuters)

3/ Pence said he would “consider” to testifying before the Jan. 6 committee “if there was an invitation.” “I would have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving as vice president,” Pence continued. “It would be unprecedented in history for the vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill. But, as I said, I don’t want to prejudge ever any formal invitation rendered to us.” During the same event, Pence also called on Republicans to stop attacking the FBI over the search of Mar-a-Lago. (Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / USA Today / ABC News)

4/ Liz Cheney lost her Republican primary for Wyoming’s House seat by more than 35 points to a candidate endorsed by Trump. “This primary election is over, but now the real work begins,” Cheney said in her concession speech, noting that she had called opponent Harriet Hageman to congratulate her. Cheney, however, said she plans to be part of a bipartisan coalition that will do “whatever it takes” to keep Trump from holding office again, saying “I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very grave threat and risk to our republic.” Cheney also acknowledged that she was “thinking” about running for president in 2024. Cheney is now the eighth of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to leave the House. Four others have opted against reelection, and four more lost GOP primaries. (NBC News / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post)

  • Six takeaways from the primaries in Wyoming and Alaska. (CNN)

  • Sarah Palin advanced to the general election for Alaska’s House seat. In the Senate all-party primary, Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka will advance to the general election alongside Democrat Patricia Chesbro. (NBC News / New York Times)

5/ The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general refused congressional requests for documents and staff testimony about the deleted Secret Service text messages that agents exchanged during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Joseph Cuffari told Congress last month that Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, had been erased. Cuffari’s office, however, had delayed telling Congress about the missing messages for months. The House committees on Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform accused Cuffari of intentionally delaying their investigation into the Capitol attack, saying his “justifications for this noncompliance appear to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of Congress’s authority and your duties as an inspector general.” The lawmakers also called on Cuffari to recuse himself from the investigation, a demand he refused along with blocking the release some records and interviews with staff members. (Washington Post / New York Times)

Day 574: "Never had a doubt."

1/ The Lower Colorado River Basin crossed an unprecedented water shortage threshold that will require mandatory water cuts. The Bureau of Reclamation declared a “Tier 2” water shortage, which will reduce the amount of water that Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico can draw from the Colorado River starting in 2023 by 21%, 8%, and 7%, respectively. It’s the second year in a row that Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico will face water cuts and the bureau called for water conservation measures through 2026 in all seven states in the Colorado River Basin. The historic drought has drained about three-quarters of the water from lakes Powell and Mead, threatening their ability to generate hydropower. (Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

2/ Biden signed the Democrats’ landmark climate change, health care, and tax bill into law. The Inflation Reduction Act will invest $370 billion into combating climate change and bolstering low-emission forms of energy, while raising about $700 billion through corporate tax increases, prescription drug savings, and stepped up tax evasion enforcement. “This bill is the biggest step forward on climate, ever,” Biden said. The bill, which represents America’s largest investment in fighting climate change, will help the U.S. cut greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. The package, however, falls far short of the $3.5 trillion package Biden initially laid out, with safety net items stripped out by Joe Manchin and tax increases blocked by Kyrsten Sinema. At one point during the signing ceremony, Biden glanced at Joe Manchin and quipped: “Joe, I never had a doubt.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNN / ABC News / Associated Press)

3/ The Biden administration will cancel all remaining federal student loan debt for 208,000 students who attended the now-defunct for-profit ITT Technical Institute. The $3.9 billion in relief brings the total amount of loan discharges approved under Biden to nearly $32 billion. The Education Department found that ITT Tech engaged in widespread and pervasive misrepresentations, recruitment tactics, lending practices, and job placement figures. (CNN / CNBC)

4/ Jill Biden tested positive for Covid-19. She is experiencing “mild symptoms” but was prescribed a course of Paxlovid. (Politico / CNN / Associated Press)

5/ The Justice Department objected to releasing the affidavit used to justify the FBI search of Trump’s home, saying its release “would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation,” “compromise future investigative steps,” and “likely chill” cooperation with witnesses. “The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential for harm if information is disclosed to the public prematurely or improperly,” DOJ officials wrote in response to a request by media organizations to unseal the supporting affidavit. The Justice Department, however, said it intends to unseal less sensitive information associated with the warrant. A federal judge in Florida will hear arguments Thursday over whether to make the affidavit public. (New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Associated Press / ABC News / CNBC / Bloomberg)

6/ The FBI interviewed Trump’s White House counsel and his deputy counsel about the classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago. Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin are the most senior former Trump officials interviewed in the criminal investigation of possible mishandling of classified information and obstruction. The two were designated as Trump’s representatives to handle material requested by the National Archives under the Presidential Records Act. (New York Times / CNN / ABC News)

7/ The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer is in talks with Manhattan prosecutors to plead guilty to more than a dozen tax-fraud counts. Allen Weisselberg, however, will not cooperate with the district attorney’s investigation into Trump. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were charged as part of an “off the books” scheme over 15 years to help top officials in the Trump Organization avoid paying taxes. Weisselberg is expected to be sentenced to 5 months in jail as part of the plea. He faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted at trial. (New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / NPR)

Day 573: "Extraordinary impacts."

1/ The House passed the Inflation Reduction Act over unanimous Republican opposition, sending the multibillion-dollar climate, health, and tax bill to Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation marks the single largest federal investment in addressing climate change and the most substantial change to national health care policy since the Affordable Care Act. In total, more than $370 billion will be dedicated to climate and energy programs aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. (Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ More than 107 million Americans will live in an “extreme heat belt” by 2053 and experience heat index temperatures over 125 degrees at least one day a year – the extreme danger level on the National Weather Service’s heat index. A new report using hyperlocal data and climate projections finds that the future heat belt will stretch from Texas, Louisiana, and the Southeast through Missouri and Iowa to the Wisconsin border. Texas and Florida will bear the brunt of climate change, with the number of extreme heat days nearly doubling in the next thirty years. The model also finds that next year more than 8 million American are expected to experience heat index temperatures above 125 degrees. The heat index is what it feels like when humidity and air temperature are combined. It is commonly referred to as the “feels like” temperature. (NBC News / Bloomberg / CNBC)

3/ A new study finds that California is overdue for a once-a-century “megaflood” that could drop up to 100 inches of rain and 34 feet of snow. California last experienced a month-long, atmospheric river superstorm in 1862. The paper warns of “extraordinary impacts” and reports that such an event could transform “the interior Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys into a temporary but vast inland sea nearly 300 miles in length and [inundate] much of the now densely populated coastal plain in present-day Los Angeles and Orange Counties.” Most of California’s major highways would also be washed out or become inaccessible. A separate study concluded that human-caused climate change will intensify atmospheric rivers and could double or triple their economic damage in the western U.S. by the 2090s. Government agencies last studied a hypothetical California megaflood more than a decade ago and estimated that it could cause $725 billion in damages – three times the projected fallout from a severe San Andreas Fault earthquake, and five times the economic damage from Hurricane Katrina. While researchers can’t say when the next megaflood will strike, forecasters say there’s a 0.5 to 1.0% chance of it happening in any given year. (Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ The Justice Department is investigating Trump for violations of the Espionage Act. A federal magistrate judge unsealed the warrant authorizing the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday, which shows that agents were seeking all “physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of three potential crimes,” including a part of the Espionage Act, which outlaws unauthorized retention of national security information that could harm the U.S. or aid a foreign adversary. The warrant also cited obstruction of justice as one of the potential crimes justifying the search, as well as the possible destruction of government records as another potential charge. Trump, meanwhile, argued that he used his authority to declassify the material before he left office. The three laws cited in the search warrant, however, don’t depend on whether the documents were classified or not. The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities. Federal agents were reportedly looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons in particular, which Trump called a “hoax” before accusing the FBI of planting evidence. In total, agents took around 20 boxes from the property. In June, at least one Trump lawyer certified that all documents marked as classified and held in boxes in storage at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the government. Leaders of the House Intelligence committee and House Oversight committee asked the Director of National Intelligence to initiate a review of Trump’s handling of the documents and potential harm to national security. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg)

  • Intelligence officials sometimes purposely withheld sensitive information from Trump during classified briefings for fear of the “damage” he’d do if he knew. While in office, Trump shared classified information with the public multiple times, including revealing that he shared classified information with Russian diplomats, tweeting a classified satellite photo of an Iranian space facility, and disclosing that he ended a covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria. (New York Times / Business Insider)

  • Rand Paul called for the repeal of the Espionage Act, claiming the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was an “egregious affront to the 1st Amendment.” The Espionage Act made it illegal for people to obtain or disclose information relating to national defense that could harm the U.S. or benefit another country. (NPR / Axios)

  • The National Archives shot down Trump’s baseless claim that Obama “kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified.” In its statement, the National Archives and Records Administration said that it obtained “exclusive legal and physical custody” of Obama’s records when he left office in 2017, and that about 30 million pages of unclassified records were transferred to a NARA facility in the Chicago area and that they continue to be maintained “exclusively by NARA.” (Washington Post)

  • Trump frantically packed up documents to take with him in the last days of his presidency after accepting he was leaving the White House. “West Wing aides and government movers frantically tossed documents and other items into banker boxes that were shipped to a storage room at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida along with other, previously packed records set aside by Trump, sometimes erratically so, according to two sources with knowledge of Trump’s move and records issues.” (NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Business Insider)

  • Trump claimed that he “will do whatever” he can “to help the country” after the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago. Trump, however, added: “The people of this country are not going to stand for another scam.” (Fox News)

5/ The FBI seized Scott Perry’s phone a day after agents searched Mar-a-Lago. While Perry hasn’t said why his phone was seized, the Justice Department’s inspector general has been investigating former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and others as it examines the department’s role in seeking to assist Trump to block certification of the 2020 election results. Separately, the Jan. 6 committee previously subpoenaed Perry for information about his effort to help install Clark as acting attorney general. Perry has has refused to appear. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press)

6/ Rudy Giuliani is a “target” in Georgia’s criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Giuliani is set to testify before the Fulton Country special grand jury investigating the case on Wednesday after trying to delay or avoid travel to Atlanta to testify, citing recent surgery to have a heart stent implanted. Meanwhile, a federal judge rejected Lindsey Graham’s request to throw out a subpoena compelling him to testify before the same grand jury. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / ABC News / NBC News)

7/ A federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack subpoenaed Trump’s White House lawyer for documents and testimony. Eric Herschmann represented Trump during the first impeachment trial. Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel, and Patrick Philbin, who served as deputy counsel, have also been subpoenaed. (Politico)

8/ Lawyers associated with Trump organized a multistate effort to access voting equipment and sensitive voting data in at least three battleground states as part of the effort to overturn the 2020 election. Under subpoena, a forensic data firm turned over documents showing that Sidney Powell and an attorney for the Trump campaign directed and paid for the firm to copy election data in Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada. (Washington Post)

Day 569: "Deplorable and dangerous."

1/ A group of historians warned Biden that the current moment in America is among the most dangerous to democracy in modern history, comparing the threat to democracy to the pre-Civil War era and to pro-fascist movements before World War II. The group of scholars focused on the rise of totalitarianism around the world and the threat to American democracy. (Washington Post)

2/ Attorney General Merrick Garland “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and asked a Florida judge to unseal the warrant. Garland said he filed the motion to unseal both the warrant and the receipt that lists the items seized, citing the “substantial public interest” in the matter. Garland said the Justice Department “does not take such actions lightly” and first pursues “less intrusive” means to retrieve material, referring to the grand jury subpoena Trump received this spring for classified documents he improperly took to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House. Investigators reportedly believed that the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago were so sensitive and related to national security that the Justice Department had to act. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / ABC News)

  • FBI Quest for Trump Documents Started With Breezy Chats, Tour of a Crowded Closet. (Wall Street Journal)

3/ A man wearing body armor and carrying an AR-15 style rifle fired a nail gun into the FBI’s Cincinnati office. The man exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officers after fleeing the area. The attack came days after FBI agents executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, and a day after FBI Director Christopher Wray called the violent threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department “deplorable and dangerous.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / Politico / NPR)

4/ The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the global average over the past 40 years. Scientists previously estimated that the Arctic is heating up about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, yet a new study finds that the region has warmed 3.8 times faster than the globe overall. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / CNN)

5/ Gas prices dropped below $4 a gallon for the first time in more than five months. The national average price has fallen for 58 consecutive days. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)

6/ The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims reached its highest level this year. Initial jobless claims rose 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000 for the week ended Aug. 6 – slightly above July’s peak of 261,000 and above the 2019 weekly average of 218,000. (Wall Street Journal / Reuters)

7/ Rental costs in the U.S. are rising at their fastest pace in more than three decades, with the median rent surpassing $2,000 a month for the first time ever. Over the past year, rent was up 6.3%. In the years before the pandemic, the cost of rent typically climbed 3.5% a year. Mortgage rates, meanwhile, jumped back above 5%, after briefly dipping below that level for the first time in months a week earlier. Last year, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.87%. About 40% of households – roughly 5.4 million households – that are not current on their rent or mortgage payments said they could face eviction or foreclosure in the next two months. (Bloomberg / New York Times / CNN / Yahoo News / Washington Post)

8/ The U.S. murder rate climbed 6% in 2021, a modest increase compared to 2020, when the U.S. murder rate climbed nearly 30%. There were roughly 21 million guns sold in the U.S. in 2020, while in 2021 fewer than 19 million guns were sold. (CNBC)

poll/ 49% of voters approve of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. 42% said Trump either “definitely” or “probably” broke the law while he was president. (Politico)

Day 568: "Absolutely no choice."

1/ Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition with the New York attorney general’s office. Since March 2019, Letitia James’s office has been investigating whether the Trump Organization manipulated asset values to secure more favorable loans and tax benefits. Attorneys for James’ office have said in court that their investigation has collected evidence that Trump and his company have repeatedly used “fraudulent and misleading financial statements,” and that many of those statements were “generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared.” Trump nevertheless said he had “absolutely no choice” but to take the Fifth during his under-oath interview. Trump, Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump all agreed to each sit for sworn testimony after losing a court battle to quash the subpoenas. While it’s unclear whether Ivanka or Trump Jr. invoked the Fifth, Eric Trump did so more than 500 times during a deposition in the same investigation in 2020. At a campaign stop in Iowa in 2016, Trump suggested that people who cite the Fifth were guilty, saying: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico / Associated Press / NPR / CNBC / CBS News)

2/ The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago was reportedly focused on whether Trump and his aides had returned all the documents and other material that were government property. Following a Justice Department investigation into Trump’s handling of classified and other material, officials became suspicious that Trump had not fully complied with requests to return material taken from the White House. While Trump returned 15 boxes of material to the National Archives in January, FBI agents removed another 12 boxes from Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday that had been in the resort’s basement. The warrant authorizing the search was reportedly based on information from an FBI confidential human source, who identified what classified documents Trump was still had and the location of those documents. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Newsweek

3/ U.S. inflation rose 8.5% in July from a year ago, a slight deceleration from 9.1% in June. The slower pace reflects lower energy costs and a drop in the price of gasoline, which has have fallen for 57 consecutive days since reaching a high of more than $5 a gallon in June. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ Biden signed legislation expanding health care benefits to millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service. The bipartisan bill, known as the PACT Act, is the most significant expansion of veterans’ health care and benefits in more than 30 years. (NBC News / ABC News / Washington Post)

5/ The Justice Department charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with plotting the assassination of John Bolton, who served in senior national security positions during the Trump and Bush administrations. Prosecutors said Shahram Poursafi had offered $300,000 to hire someone to kill Bolton at his office in D.C. or his home in Maryland. The Justice Department said the plot was likely in retaliation for the U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. (Washington Post / NPR / Wall Street Journal / Politico / New York Times / CNN)

poll/ 63% of Americans support using the popular vote to select a president, compared to 35% who would rather use the electoral college system. (NPR)

poll/ 70% of Americans say support using a ballot measure to decide abortion rights in their state. 54% said they would vote in favor of making abortion legal if there were a ballot measure. (USA Today)

poll/ 40% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – his highest approval rating in two months. 55%, meanwhile, disapprove. (Reuters)

Day 567: "Another day in paradise."

1/ The FBI executed a federal search warrant at Mar-a-Lago connected to the 15 boxes of presidential documents that Trump improperly took from the White House. The National Archives previously confirmed that it found many pages of classified information in the boxes, which it retrieved in January. The same month, the National Archives asked the Justice Department to examine whether Trump’s handling of White House records violated federal law. To get a search warrant – done under FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed to the role by Trump after he fired the previous FBI director, James Comey – the FBI would have needed to convince a federal judge that it had probable cause that a crime had been committed, and that agents might find evidence at Mar-a-Lago. Trump was in New York City at the time of the search, but released a statement saying his “beautiful home […] is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” adding: “They even broke into my safe!” In June, federal agents – including a Justice Department counterintelligence official – visited Mar-a-Lago seeking more information about potentially classified material that Trump had taken to Florida from the White House. The FBI’s search of Trump’s home is separate from the Justice Department’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack. Trump is also facing four more potential criminal investigations for fraudulent asset valuations at the Trump Organization by New York State, tax avoidance schemes by the Manhattan District Attorney, election interference in Georgia, and efforts to create fake electors and pressure Pence into overturning the 2020 election. Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, suggested that he’ll investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland if Republicans took control of the House in November. Hours after the search, Trump addressed the FBI activity during a tele-rally for Sarah Palin, calling it “Another day in paradise. This is a strange day.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNN / NBC News / New York Times / NPR)

  • Trump argued that he was too busy during his single term in office to sue Hillary Clinton before the four-year statute of limitations expired. Trump claims that Clinton, the Democratic Party, and several others, conspired to falsely accuse him and his 2016 campaign of colluding with Russia. (Bloomberg)

2/ Newly revealed photos show two occasions that Trump apparently tried to flush documents down the toilet. The photos were given to Maggie Haberman, a New York Times reporter, by a Trump White House source, and appear to be written in Trump’s handwriting in black marker. One image is from a White House toilet and the other one is from an overseas trip. White House staff previously reported finding Trump’s toilet periodically clogged with paper. (Axios / CNN)

3/ A federal appeals court ruled that the House can obtain Trump’s tax returns from the IRS. In April 2019, the House Ways and Means Committee requested six years of Trump’s tax returns under a law that allows the disclosure of an individual’s returns to the committee. The Trump Treasury Department, however, refused to comply with the request and the House filed a lawsuit seeking to enforce it in early July 2019. The ruling will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court. (CNN / New York Times / Politico / USA Today)

4/ Trump’s legal team is in direct communication with Justice Department officials about executive privilege issues related to its criminal probe into the Jan. 6 attack. The conversations are focused on whether Trump would be able to shield conversations he had with witnesses while he was president from a federal criminal grand jury. John Rowley, a former federal prosecutor, is representing Trump in talks with the DOJ. Rowley also represents Peter Navarro, who was charged with contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee. The committee, meanwhile, is scheduled to speak with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today. Pompeo and then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were among Trump’s cabinet members who discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after the events of Jan. 6, 2021. (CNN / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg)

  • The Atlanta-area district attorney investigating Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election rejected Rudy Giuliani’s request to postpone his grand jury appearance. Giuliani was ordered by a New York state judge to appear for an Aug. 9 grand jury interview after he failed to appear at a hearing to challenge a subpoena from District Attorney Fani Willis. Giuliani claimed that a recent medical procedure prevented him from flying for several weeks (Politico)

5/ Biden signed legislation providing $52 billion in subsidies to the semiconductor industry. The CHIPS and Science Act provides $10 billion for regional technology hubs, a 25% investment tax credit for the manufacturing of semiconductors and related equipment, and authorizes roughly $100 billion in spending over five years on scientific research, including more than $80 billion for the National Science Foundation. (NPR / Washington Post)

6/ Biden signed ratification documents for Finland and Sweden to join the NATO alliance. In May, both nations formally applied to NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NATO ambassadors ratified the accession protocols in July, and member states are currently in the process of doing the same. Putin, meanwhile, is adamantly opposed to any NATO expansion, calling it an imperialistic threat. (Politico / CNBC / Associated Press)

Day 566: "The Senate is making history."

1/ The Senate passed the largest investment in U.S. history to counter climate change, putting the nation on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40% below their 2005 levels by 2030. The Inflation Reduction Act would also lower health-care costs, reduce the federal deficit, and be paid for through new taxes – including a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and a 1% tax on stock buybacks – and funding to boost IRS tax law enforcement. “After more than a year of hard work, the Senate is making history,” Chuck Schumer said shortly before final passage. “This bill will kickstart the era of affordable clean energy in America, it’s a game changer, it’s a turning point and it’s been a long time coming.” Senate Democrats passed the $740 billion packaged on a 51-50 vote – with all Republicans voting no – after Harris cast the tie-breaking vote. Republican lawmakers, however, successfully stripped a $35 price cap on the cost of insulin for private insurers from the package. More than 1 in 5 insulin users on private medical insurance pay more than $35 per month for the medicine. The bill now heads to the House, which is expected to pass it later this week, and send it to Biden for his signature. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / USA Today / Reuters / Associated Press / NPR)

2/ Climate change could exacerbate 58% of known human infectious diseases. Researchers found that 218 out of the known 375 human infectious diseases were made worse by one of 10 types of extreme weather connected to climate change, such as warming, floods or drought. Flooding, for example, can spread hepatitis, while rising temperatures can expand the life of mosquitoes carrying malaria, and droughts can bring rodents infected with hantavirus into communities as they search for food. Nine pathogens were “exclusively diminished” by climatic hazards. (Ars Technica / ABC News / PBS NewsHour)

3/ Indiana is the first state to pass a near-total ban on abortion since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. The law’s passage came three days after voters in Kansas rejected an amendment that would have stripped abortion rights protections from their State Constitution. The bill, which will go into effect Sept. 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, and lethal fetal anomalies. Doctors in the state who perform illegal abortions will lose their medical licenses. (NPR / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The Biden administration authorized a $1 billion package of ammunition, weapons, and equipment for Ukraine – the largest delivery of military aid yet. In total, the U.S. has committed $9.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began in late February. (Associated Press / Politico / CNBC)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee received about two years’ worth of Alex Jones’ text messages. The messages were handed over to the committee by Mark Bankston, the attorney who represented Sandy Hook parents who successfully sued Jones and won $45.2 million in a civil trial. The committee subpoenaed Jones in November, demanding a deposition and information related to his efforts to spread misinformation about the 2020 election and a rally on the day of the attack. (CNN)

6/ The FBI confirmed that it sent tips the agency had collected about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Trump White House without investigation. FBI Director Christopher Wray also confirmed that the Trump White House directed which witnesses the FBI was permitted to interview. In total, the FBI collected more than 4,500 tips during its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. (Vanity Fair / Esquire / Daily Beast)

poll/ 69% of Americans think the nation’s economy is getting worse – the highest level since 2008. 12% think the economy is getting better, while 18% think it is staying the same. (ABC News / Bloomberg)

Day 562: "Breonna Taylor should be alive today."

1/ The Justice Department charged four current and former Louisville police officers with violating Breonna Taylor’s civil rights, who was shot and killed by police in 2020 while she was sleeping. The charges against Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany, Kelly Goodlett, and Brett Hankison include conspiracy, use of force, obstruction of justice, as well as various civil rights violations. They are the first federal charges in connection with Taylor’s killing. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said, adding that the falsification of the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant needed to authorize the raid had “violated federal civil rights laws, and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.” (CBS News / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)

2/ The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a designation that will free up emergency funds and speed distribution of the vaccine. The declaration comes more than a week after the WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency. The U.S. has confirmed more than 6,600 cases of monkeypox – about 25% of confirmed infections worldwide. Health officials estimate that the government needs about 3.5 million doses to fight the outbreak. The U.S is currently distributing about 1.1 million doses due in part to the Department of Health and Human Services failing to ask the manufacturer early on to process bulk stock of the vaccine it already owned into vials for distribution. The U.S. owns the equivalent of about 16.5 million doses of the vaccine in bulk storage. The next delivery of half a million doses isn’t expected until October. Further, roughly 5 million more doses won’t be delivered until next year. The last time the U.S. declared a public health emergency was in response to Covid-19 in January 2020. (Politico / Axios / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)

3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Tampa’s elected prosecutor for pledging not to prosecute abortions and gender-affirming care, accusing Andrew Warren of “incompetence and willful defiance of his duties.” After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Warren and 90 other elected prosecutors across the country signed a joint statement saying that “enforcing abortion bans runs counter to the obligations and interests we are sworn to uphold.” Warren also signed a statement in June 2021, along more than 70 state prosecutors and attorneys generals, vowing not to prosecute crimes related to gender-affirming care. DeSantis, nonetheless, said Warren had “put himself publicly above the law” by signing the letters, adding: “Our government is a government of laws, not a government of men.” FBI Director Christopher Wray, meanwhile, told senators that the bureau has opened “a number” of investigations into abortion-related violent crime incidents. (Tampa Bay Times / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / The Hill)

4/ Alex Jones conceded that the 20 first graders and six educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 – the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history – was “100 percent real” and not a hoax staged by crisis actors. Under oath and facing $150 million or more in damages for his false claims, the Infowars conspiracy theorist admitted that it was irresponsible of him to declare the school shooting a “false flag” by the government intended to force gun control on Americans. At one point, Jones was told that his legal team had inadvertently sent the contents of his cellphone – including the last two years’ worth of texts – to the lawyers for the Sandy Hook families, which showed that Jones had failed to produce court-ordered documents and contradicted claims that he had made under oath about his finances. Mark Bankston, a lawyer for the parents, asked Jones, “Do you know what perjury is?” Jones replied: “I’m not a tech guy.” (New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee requested two years’ worth of records from Alex Jones’ phone as part of its investigation into the Capitol riot.The committee had previously requested records and a deposition from Jones regarding his role in the pro-Trump rally that preceded the riot. (Associated Press / New York Times / Axios / Rolling Stone)

Day 561: "America can breathe a sigh of relief."

1/ Kansas voters rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have allowed the legislature to ban abortions. About 60% of voters wanted to maintain abortion protections compared with roughly 40% who wanted to strip them from the state constitution. Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions,” Biden said in a statement. (Washington Post / NPR / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg)

2/ Biden plans to sign a second executive order to support individuals traveling out state for an abortion. Both orders direct Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider “all appropriate actions to ensure health care providers comply with federal non-discrimination laws so that women receive medically necessary care without delay.” It also calls for Becerra to “consider action to advance access” to abortion, including through Medicaid, for those who travel out of state. (New York Times / CNN / USA Today)

3/ The Senate passed legislation that expands medical care to an estimated 3.5 million veterans who may have been exposed to toxic burn pits on U.S. military bases. It’s the largest expansion of care in VA history, and is expected to cost $280 billion over a decade. While the House and Senate already passed the measure, a technical error required another Senate vote last week. However, 41 Republican senators voted against advancing the bill after Joe Manchin announced a deal with Chuck Schumer on a separate, unrelated tax and spending bill. The PACT Act was ultimately approved 86 to 11 several days later, and now heads to Biden for his signature. “Our veterans across America can breathe a sigh of relief,” Schumer said. “This is good news.” (Politico / NPR / NBC News / New York Times / Bloomberg)

4/ The Justice Department subpoenaed Trump’s White House counsel as part of its investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection. Pat Cipollone is the highest-ranking White House official known to be called to testify by federal investigators. Cipollone witnessed Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, “including discussions about seizing voting machines, meddling in the Justice Department, and sending false letters to state officials about election fraud.” Last month, Cipollone spoke to the House Jan. 6 committee behind closed doors for more than seven hours. (ABC News / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

5/ The Pentagon erased the phones of Trump’s departing senior defense officials, including text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Court records indicate that the Pentagon “wiped” the government-issued phones of officials in charge of mobilizing the National Guard to respond to the Capitol attack, including then-acting defense secretary Chris Miller and then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. Separately, the inspector general at Homeland Security notified Congress last month that Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 were “erased” as part of a device replacement program. (CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / The Hill / CNBC)

6/ Two Arizona Republicans who participated in efforts to submit fake slates of electors claiming Trump won the state told a Trump lawyer they were concerned that the plan “could appear treasonous.” Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and Kelly Townsend, a state senator, raised concerns to Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer working for Trump’s campaign, about the alternate slate of electors plan because there were no legal challenges that could flip the results of Arizona’s election. Chesebro shared their concerns in a Dec. 11, 2020, email to other members of the legal team, which included Rudy Giuliani. Despite the concern, Ward joined the effort and signed a “certificate of the votes of the 2020 electors from Arizona” and claimed that Trump had won the state’s 11 Electoral College votes. Townsend, however, did not serve as one of the electors. Both have since received subpoenas from the Justice Department asking about the fake electors plan. (New York Times)

7/ A Trump-endorsed election denier won the Republican nomination to oversee voting in Arizona. Mark Finchem will appear on the November general election ballot for secretary of state. Finchem was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and introduced several resolutions this year seeking to decertify the 2020 election in three Arizona counties based on false allegations of fraud. (NPR / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)

Day 560: "Morale, welfare, and recreation."

1/ The U.S. killed al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri in a drone strike. Zawahiri oversaw the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, alongside the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden. The attack against Zawahiri is the first known counterterrorism strike there since U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan last August. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News)

2/ The Justice Department sued Idaho over its near-total ban on abortion – the first challenge since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Idaho’s trigger law, passed in 2020, would make providing abortions a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, with exceptions for rape or incest if reported to law enforcement, or to prevent the death of the pregnant person. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the ban violates federal law that “requires hospitals to provide stabilizing care for a patient who comes in with a medical emergency that seriously jeopardizes their life or their health.” He added: “And where that stabilizing treatment is abortion, they must provide the abortion. They must do so notwithstanding a state law that is so narrow that it doesn’t even protect a woman’s life or health.” (NBC News / Wall Street Journal / CNN)

3/ Kansas is voting on whether to add an anti-abortion amendment to the state’s Constitution. If passed, the measure would add language to the constitution saying the state doesn’t grant a right to abortion and allow lawmakers to regulate it as they see fit. Kentucky will vote in November on adding similar language to its constitution. (Associated Press)

4/ Georgia taxpayers can list embryos as dependents on their tax returns. Georgia’s department of revenue said it would “recognize any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat […] as eligible for [an] individual income tax dependent exemption” up to $3,000. (The Guardian)

5/ Florida ordered its schools to ignore federal guidelines aimed at protecting LGBTQ students and teachers from discrimination. Florida education commissioner Manny Diaz said the Biden administration’s proposed anti-discrimination changes to Title IX is not binding law and that following the guidelines could violate the state’s Parental Rights in Education law. That law, otherwise known as “Don’t Say Gay,” prohibits classroom instructions on gender identity and sexual identity for kids in kindergarten through third grade. Teachers and schools could face lawsuits for violations. (Axios / Politico)

6/ Trump endorsed “Eric” in Missouri’s Republican Senate primary. There are three Erics in the race. When asked to clarify which Eric – Former Gov. Eric Greitens, State Attorney General Eric Schmitt, or Eric McElroy – Trump’s team didn’t provide any clarity, saying only that the “endorsement speaks for itself.” (NBC News / The Guardian)

7/ A music festival in Atlanta was canceled because Georgia’s gun laws limited organizers ability to ban firearms in the public park. A 2014 state law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by then-Gov. Nathan Deal allowed Georgians to legally carry firearms on public land. While there was no legal consensus on whether the law applied to private events on public property, a recent appeals court ruling made it harder for private groups to restrict guns at “short-term events” on public land. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / NPR)

8/ The U.S. military runs more than 3,000 slot machines on American military bases overseas that earn more than $100 million each year from service members. The slot machines are operated by the Department of Defense in the name of “morale, welfare, and recreation.” (NPR)

poll/ 13% of Democrats approve of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job, while 74% of Republicans and 40% of independents approve. Overall, 43% of Americans approve of how the Supreme Court is handling its job. (Gallup)

Day 559: "Playing with fire."

1/ A Trump-endorsed conspiracy theorist is the leading Republican candidate to be Arizona’s next secretary of state. Mark Finchem is an outspoken supporter of Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, signed onto a resolution urging Congress to accept Trump’s fake electors in Arizona, attended the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, and previously identified himself as a member of the Oath Keepers, and embraced the QAnon conspiracy theories. If Finchem wins on Tuesday, he would be a general election win away from running the 2024 presidential vote in the swing state. “Ain’t gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy,” Finchem said. “I’m going to demand a 100 percent hand count if there’s the slightest hint that there’s an impropriety.” (Politico / FiveThirtyEight / New York Times / The Guardian)

2/ A Texas militia member was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 – the longest punishment handed down to any participant in the attack on the Capitol so far. Guy Reffitt was convicted in March on five felony charges, including obstruction of Congress as it met to certify the 2020 election result, interfering with police during civil disorder, carrying a firearm to a riot, and threatening his teenage son, who turned him in to the FBI. The Justice Department asked for a 15-year sentence and requested that Reffitt’s crimes be treated as acts of domestic terrorism. The judge, however, declined prosecutors’ request to treat Reffitt as a terrorist under sentencing guidelines. (Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press)

3/ Matt Gaetz repeatedly assured Roger Stone that “the boss” – Trump – would offer him a pardon if he was convicted of lying to Congress about his communications related to WikiLeaks’ release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. “The boss still has a very favorable view of you,” Gaetz told Stone, before stating that Trump had “said it directly” that Stone would not “do a day” in prison. Gaetz added: “I don’t think the big guy can let you go down for this.” The revelation comes from a hot microphone moment recorded by Danish filmmakers in 2019. Stone was convicted on seven felony counts for lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the House investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election and sentenced to 40 months in prison. Trump, however, commuted his prison sentence and eventually pardoned him. (Washington Post / Daily Beast)

4/ Susan Collins – who supports same-sex marriage – said the Democrats’ unrelated agreement with Joe Manchin on tax and climate change may jeopardize Republican support for the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act. “I just think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue,” Collins said, adding that Manchin and Chuck Schumer’s agreement “destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way.” While Republicans were expected to filibuster the bill in the Senate, five GOP Senators — including Collins — had announced their support. (HuffPost)

5/ Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to visit Taiwan this week – the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the self-governing island in 25 years – despite China’s warnings that a visit would provoke an unspecified response. China warned against the “egregious political impact” of Pelosi’s visit, which is still officially unconfirmed, to the island that China claims as a part of its territory, saying its military “won’t sit by idly” if Beijing feels its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is being threatened. Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Biden last week against “playing with fire” on Taiwan. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Biden tested positive for the coronavirus again Saturday after experiencing a Paxlovid “rebound.” About 5% of people who take the antiviral medication Paxlovid experience “rebound” infections days after testing negative. Biden has experienced “no reemergence of symptoms, and continues to feel quite well” and will, as a result, not resume treatment, the White House said. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

7/ The Biden administration plans to offer reformulated Covid-19 booster shots in September. The updated versions are expected to perform better against Omicron subvariant BA.5. (New York Times)

Day 555: "Get it done."

1/ Biden hailed the Inflation Reduction Act as “a historic agreement to fight inflation” and “the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis.” Biden’s remarks came a day after Joe Manchin blessed the package that would raise $739 billion over the decade in new revenue, including $313 billion from a 15% corporate minimum tax, spend $369 billion on energy and climate change initiatives, allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of some prescription drugs, provide three years of Affordable Care Act subsidies, and make changes to the tax code. Climate and energy provisions in the legislation are sufficient to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 40% by 2030. Kyrsten Sinema, however, hasn’t publicly backed it or commented, and did not attend the caucus meeting. Senate Democrats want to get the bill passed before the chamber’s August recess, which is scheduled to begin August 6. To do that, the bill will first need to comply with the parliamentarian’s strict budget rules, then Democrats will need to have all 50 members to be present and vote for the package – as well as the tie-breaking vote from Harris – for it to pass the Senate with a simple majority. “My plea is: Put politics aside. Get it done,” Biden said. “We should pass this.” (Politico / The Guardian / Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News)

  • What’s in the “game changer” climate bill nobody saw coming. “The bill would use tax credits to incentivize consumers to buy electric cars, electric HVAC systems, and other forms of cleaner technology that would lead to less emissions from cars and electricity generation, and includes incentives for companies to manufacture that technology in the United States. It also includes money for a host of other climate priorities, like investing in forest and coastal restoration and in resilient agriculture.” (Vox)

  • Surprise Deal Would Be Most Ambitious Climate Action Undertaken by U.S. “The bill aims to tackle global warming by using billions of dollars in tax incentives to ramp up wind, solar, geothermal, battery and other clean energy industries over the next decade. Companies would receive financial incentives to keep open nuclear plants that might have closed, or to capture emissions from industrial facilities and bury them underground before they can warm the planet. Car buyers with incomes below a certain level would receive a $7,500 tax credit to purchase a new electric vehicle and $4,000 for a used one. Americans would receive rebates to install heat pumps and make their homes more energy-efficient.” (New York Times)

  • Senate deal could be most significant climate bill yet. “The climate and tax package would bolster American energy production and combat climate change through tax incentives for the renewable-energy sector, increasing wind, solar, battery and geothermal construction. Tens of millions of drivers would qualify for new tax credits to buy electric vehicles. Homeowners across the country would get financial help to pay for heat pumps and insulate their properties.” (Washington Post)

2/ The economy contracted for the second straight quarter, hitting a commonly accepted rule of thumb for a recession. The official arbiter of recessions in the U.S., however, is the National Bureau of Economic Research, which usually doesn’t make a recession determination until long after the fact. Gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 0.9% from April to June – following a 1.6% annual drop from January to March. Most economists, meanwhile, expect the economy to grow in the third quarter and in 2022 as a whole. (CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

3/ Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen rejected claims that the U.S. is in a recession, pointing to the strong labor market, a rebound in manufacturing, and other metrics as signs of its health. Biden said that while “it’s no surprise that the economy is slowing down as the Federal Reserve acts to bring down inflation,” he pointed to strong job growth, unemployment at near record lows, and business investments. “That doesn’t sound like recession to me.” Yellen, meanwhile, noted that recessions are usually marked by substantial job losses, family budgets under strain, and a “broad-based weakening of the economy.” Yellen added: “That is not what we’re seeing right now.” (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

4/ The House passed a $280 billion bill aimed at making the U.S. more competitive in the semiconductor industry. Chips and Science Act would subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and expansion, as well as invest billions in science and technology innovation. Republican leaders urged their members to vote against the legislation after Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin announced a deal on a separate climate, health care, and tax bill. (CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee interviewed Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who reportedly discussed possibly invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The committee will also interview Pompeo as soon as this week and is speaking with former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney today. Mulvaney resigned a day after the January 2021 riot. The committee is also negotiating terms for a potential interview with former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. (ABC News / CNN / CNBC)

poll/ 71% of Americans say political division and polarization is a key problem in the nation’s civil discourse. 47% said they’re “optimistic about the future because young people are committed to making this country a better place to live for everyone.” (Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service)

poll/ 54% of Georgia voters oppose the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, with 49% saying they were “strongly opposed.” 42% of likely Georgia voters said they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to protect abortion rights, while 26% said they’re motivated to vote for someone who want to limit access to the procedure. 55% of voters disagree with Georgia’s new abortion law, which outlaws the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. About 36% of Georgians support the measure. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

poll/ 60% of voters do not want Biden to run in the 2024 presidential election. 57% said Trump should not run again. (The Guardian)

poll/ 31% of Democrats would most prefer Harris as the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee if Biden doesn’t run, followed by 17% who chose California Gov. Gavin Newsom. (The Hill)

Day 554: "Deceitful."

1/ The Justice Department is investigating Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol as part of its criminal probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Prosecutors are questioning witnesses before a grand jury about Trump’s conversations and meetings in December 2020 and January 2021 about his involvement in efforts to reverse his election loss, his campaign to pressure Pence into overturning the election, and what instructions he gave his lawyers and advisers about the fake electors scheme. Investigators have also received phone records of key officials and aides in the Trump administration, including Mark Meadows, and recently seized phone records of top aides, including John Eastman, the lawyer who helped develop the fake electors scheme, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who supported Trump’s efforts to stop Biden from becoming president. Attorney General Merrick Garland, meanwhile, said the department will pursue justice “without fear or favor. We intend to hold everyone, anyone, who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6th, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable — that’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.” (Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)

  • The Justice Department has reached out to more Trump White House officials. “The Justice Department has already brought two top aides to Pence in front of a federal grand jury, a move that signals its probe has reached inside former President Donald Trump’s White House and that investigators are looking at conduct directly related to Trump and his closest allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election.” (CNN)

  • Cassidy Hutchinson has recently cooperated with the Department of Justice investigation into the events of Jan. 6. “Hutchinson publicly testified before the Jan. 6 committee earlier this month, spending some two hours recounting details about what she said went on behind the scenes at the White House leading up to, during, and after the Jan. 6 attack.” (ABC News / CNN)

2/ The Jan. 6 committee and the House Oversight Committee called for a new inspector general to lead the investigation into erased Secret Service text messages related to the Capitol attack. In a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and the head of the Council of Inspectors General, Bennie Thompson and Carolyn Maloney raised concerns about Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s “failure to inform Congress of deleted Secret Service text messages in a timely manner despite being required by law to ‘immediately’ report problems or abuses that are ‘particularly serious or flagrant.’” The lawmakers added: “We do not have confidence that Inspector General Cuffari can achieve those standards.” (Washington Post / NPR / CNN)

3/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the second straight month to cool inflation that is running at a 40-year high. The rate increase is the Fed’s fourth hike this year – the most aggressive pace since the 1980s – lifting their benchmark rate to a range between 2.25% and 2.5%. Officials said they likely needed to raise rates to about 3.4% this year and 3.8% in 2023 to slow economic growth, which could send the unemployment rate up. While Chair Jerome Powell said “another unusually large increase could be appropriate at our next meeting,” he rejected speculation that the U.S. economy is in recession, saying “There’s just too many areas of the economy that are performing too well.” The Fed aims for inflation around 2%. The latest inflation data, however, showed prices increased 9.1% in June from a year earlier. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / CNBC)

4/ Joe Manchin – in a sudden reversal – reached a deal with Democrats on legislation to reform the tax code, combat climate change, and lower health care costs. Manchin agreed to support roughly $370 billion in energy and climate spending, $300 billion in deficit reduction, three years of subsidies for Affordable Care Act premiums, prescription drug reform, impose a 15% corporate minimum tax, and increase investments in IRS tax enforcement. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would “fight inflation, invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030.” Lawmakers could advance the measure as soon as next week if it meets the Senate Parliamentarian’s budget reconciliation rules, which would allow Democrats to pass it without any GOP votes. The reconciliation package was revealed hours after the Senate passed a $280 billion bipartisan bill aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness with China by subsidizing the domestic production of semiconductors. Two weeks ago Manchin abandoned negotiations with Democrats, telling party leaders that he would not support any legislation dealing with climate or tax programs, citing inflation concerns. It’s not clear what changed Manchin’s mind about the plan, but some Republicans accused Manchin of being “deceitful” about his intentions on the reconciliation bill in order to get Mitch McConnell to stop blocking the semiconductor bill. Biden said the deal was “the action the American people have been waiting for.” (Washington Post / CNBC / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Axios / CNN)

poll/ Democrats have a 52% chance to win the Senate – up from 40% on June 1. Republicans, meanwhile, have an 83% chance to win the House in the midterm elections. (FiveThirtyEight)

poll/ 75% of Democratic voters want the party to nominate someone other than Biden in the 2024 election. (CNN)

poll/ 79% of Americans feel that Trump acted either unethically or illegally in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including 45% who believe his actions were illegal. 66% of Republicans, meanwhile, still believe Biden’s win was not legitimate. (CNN)

Day 553: "Kind of wild."

1/ The Senate advanced a bill that would provide $52 billion in subsidies to domestic semiconductor manufacturers to boost U.S. competitiveness with China. The package, known as “CHIPS-plus,” would also invest billions in science and technology innovation, and provide grants, incentives and tax breaks to the sector. If the Senate passes the bill, as expected, it would then move to the House, where it also has the support needed for passage. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNBC)

2/ Biden is reportedly considering another extension to the student loan repayment pause, as well as forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower. The current moratorium on student loan payments expires Aug. 31, but the federal government’s student loan servicing contractors have been instructed to hold off on contacting borrowers about resuming payments. If the administration pushes back the pause on payments, it would be the seventh time the date has been rescheduled since March 2020. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNN)

3/ The U.S. leads in the most known monkeypox infections globally, reporting more than 3,400 confirmed or suspected cases. The Biden administration, meanwhile, is weighing whether to declare a public health emergency, and plans to name a White House coordinator to oversee the response. Almost 18,000 cases have been confirmed in nearly 70 countries, leading the WHO to declare monkeypox a global health emergency. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

4/ Two top aides to Pence testified to a federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and legal counsel Greg Jacob were subpoenaed in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation. Short is the highest-ranking White House official to testify for the panel. Mike Pompeo, separately, is tentatively scheduled to speak with the Jan. 6 committee in the coming days behind closed doors. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

5/ Previously undisclosed emails show how the Trump campaign worked with outside lawyers and advisers to organize the fake elector plan to reverse Trump’s election defeat. Dozens of emails show the lawyers involved repeatedly used the word “fake” to refer to the alternative slates of electors and that the group even appointed a “point person” in seven states to help organize the fake electors. “Kind of wild/creative […] We would just be sending in ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” Jack Wilenchik, a lawyer who helped organize the pro-Trump electors in Arizona, wrote in a Dec. 8, 2020, email to Boris Epshteyn, an adviser for the Trump campaign. In a follow-up email, Wilenchik added that “‘alternative’ votes is probably a better term than ‘fake’ votes.” The group also initially hoped to get Republican state legislatures or governors to join their scheme before Trump’s lawyers turned to pressuring Pence. (New York Times)

6/ A judge barred Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from investigating one of 16 “fake” Trump electors, because she hosted a campaign fundraiser for Burt Jones’ political opponent. Jones is the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. A different prosecutor’s office, as selected by the state’s attorney general, will be responsible for investigating Jones, if one is warranted. (CNBC)

7/ The Justice Department urged a federal judge to reject efforts by leaders of the Oath Keepers to delay their September trial. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and several other members of the group are facing seditious conspiracy charges for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. They asked a judge to postpone their trial, citing the publicity caused by the Jan. 6 committee’s recent hearings. (Politico)

8/ Attorney General Merrick Garland did not rule out prosecuting Trump. “We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding Jan. 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable,” Garland said. “That’s what we do.” (NBC News)

poll/ 22% of New Hampshire residents have a favorable opinion of Biden – an all-time low. Biden also trails potential 2024 candidates in favorability, including Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker. (Politico)

Day 552: "Moment of truth."

1/ Biden continues to “improve significantly” from his coronavirus infection. “The president is responding to therapy as expected,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote, adding that Biden still has a sore throat, though his cough, runny nose, and body aches “have diminished considerably.” Biden has been taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug that helps reduce the chance of severe illness. (Associated Press / NPR)

2/ Joe Manchin tested positive for Covid-19. “It’s unclear what effect, if any, Manchin’s isolation will have on Democrats’ efforts to make progress on their legislative agenda. The Senate has a little under two weeks before it’s scheduled to start its August recess, and Democrats have indicated hopes in passing bills – from protecting same-sex marriage to increasing funding for semiconductor production in the US and changing laws surrounding prescription drug prices among other issues – before leaving town for about a month.” (CNN)

3/ The first two U.S. cases of monkeypox in children have been confirmed as part of an outbreak of more than 2,800 infections nationwide. “CDC and public health authorities are still investigating how the children became infected. The two cases are unrelated and in different jurisdictions.” (Washington Post)

4/ World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency. “The last time the WHO made a similar declaration was during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in January 2020.” (Bloomberg)

5/ The dystopian American reality one month after the Roe v. Wade reversal. “Bans at six weeks gestation or earlier, before most women know they are pregnant, are in force in 12 states as of Thursday. The bans have forced patients seeking abortions, and who have the time and money, to travel hundreds of miles from home. At times, that travel has also placed friends, family and abortion rights organizations in legal jeopardy, as states have criminalized helping people obtain abortions. Other patients have seen routine care for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies delayed, as doctors fear criminal sanctions should they accidentally violate bans.” (The Guardian)

6/ Biden faces a moment of truth on the economy this week. His advisers are downplaying recession fears ahead of data that could show the economy contracted for a second straight quarter – one common definition of a recession. The White House, however, preemptively “issued a document stating that two straight quarters of negative GDP ‘is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle.’ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen went so far as to say she would be ‘amazed’ if the National Bureau of Economic Research — which determines whether we are officially in a recession — were to declare that. She also stated flatly that we’re not in a recession.” The administration’s message is that a “technical recession” isn’t necessarily a real one. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is expected to raise interest rates another 0.75 percentage point in an effort to tame inflation running at a four-decade high. After raising rates in June by the most since 1994, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues left the door open to a larger, full-percentage-point increase at the July 26-27 gathering. (CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

7/ The criminal case against Trump is getting stronger and “federal and state prosecutors may soon need to decide whether to bring charges against a former president and current front-runner for the Republican nomination.” (The Atlantic)

8/ Through subpoenas and search warrants, the Justice Department has made clear that it’s pursuing at least two related lines of inquiry that could lead to Trump. “One centers on the so-called fake electors. In that line of inquiry, prosecutors have issued subpoenas to some people who had signed up to be on the list of those purporting to be electors that pro-Trump forces wanted to use to help block certification of the Electoral College results by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. The other line of Justice Department inquiry centers on the effort by a Trump-era Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, to pressure Georgia officials not to certify the state’s election results by sending a letter falsely suggesting that the department had found evidence of election fraud there.” (New York Times)

9/ Georgia Governor Brian Kemp will testify before before the grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss in the state. “Fani Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, has also issued subpoenas in recent days seeking testimony from some of Trump’s closest confidantes and allies – including Rudy Giuliani and US Senator Lindsey Graham – and sent letters to 16 Georgia Republican leaders warning them that they are targets in a criminal probe.” (Bloomberg)

10/ Atlanta v. Trumpworld. Eighteen months into a criminal investigation of election interference by Trump and his allies, Fani Willis is “building the framework for a broad case that could target multiple defendants with charges of conspiracy to commit election fraud, or racketeering-related charges for engaging in a coordinated scheme to undermine the election.” (New York Times)

11/ Steve Bannon was found guilty of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony issued by the Jan. 6 committee. “Bannon did not testify in his own defense and faces a maximum of one year in prison for each of the two counts. He will not be detained pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 21.” (CBC News)

12/ The Jan. 6 committee said it’s prepared to consider subpoenaing Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, if she does not appear voluntarily. “The committee requested testimony from Thomas in June, around the same time as news reports of her communications with White House officials and informal advisers, namely Trump attorney John Eastman, about efforts to overturn the election began to proliferate.” (Politico)

13/ Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected. “Trump, in theory, could fire tens of thousands of career government officials with no recourse for appeals. He could replace them with people he believes are more loyal to him and to his ‘America First’ agenda. An initial estimate by the Trump official who came up with Schedule F found it could apply to as many as 50,000 federal workers — a fraction of a workforce of more than 2 million, but a segment with a profound role in shaping American life. The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon.” (Axios – Part 1 / Axios – Part 2 / Government Executive)

poll/ 67% of Americans favor term limits for Supreme Court justices instead of life terms, including 82% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans. (Associated Press)

Day 548: "Folks, I'm doing great."

1/ Biden tested positive for Covid-19. The White House said Biden, who is vaccinated and received a second booster shot in March, has “very mild symptoms” and will “carry out all of his duties fully” while isolating and working remotely. Biden is receiving Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to minimize the severity of Covid-19, for his fatigue, runny nose, and occasional dry cough. His physician, Kevin O’Connor, said he anticipates that Biden will “respond favorably, as most maximally protected patients do,” to the treatment. Jill Biden and Kamala Harris both tested negative. Biden, meanwhile, tweeted: “Folks, I’m doing great. Thanks for your concern.” (Axios / New York Times / Associated Press / CNBC / ABC News)

2/ The Jan. 6 committee will hold the eighth and final hearing tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern. The prime-time hearing will focus on the 187 minutes that Trump failed to act on Jan. 6, 2021, but instead “gleefully” watched TV news coverage at the White House despite pleas from aides, allies, and family to call off the attack. The committee plans to argue that Trump was derelict in his duties for “refusing to act to defend the Capitol as a violent mob stormed the Capitol.” The panel will hear testimony from two Trump White House advisers — former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews – about what went on in the West Wing on Jan. 6, as well as recorded testimony from Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel. (New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Washington Post)

3/ Trump had “extreme difficulty” with his taped speech the day after Jan. 6, refusing to say the election was over and attempted to call the rioters patriots. In a three-minute speech on Jan. 7, Trump reluctantly condemned the violence and went to great lengths to not accuse the rioters of any wrongdoing. Adam Schiff said Jan. 6 committee will share some of the outtakes during the hearing, saying the recording show “all of those who are urging [Trump] to say something to do something to stop the violence. You’ll hear the terrible lack of a response from the President, and you’ll hear more about how he was ultimately prevailed upon to say something and what he was willing to say and what he wasn’t.” (Washington Post / CNN)

4/ The Homeland Security inspector general knew in Feb. 2021, that the Secret Service had deleted text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack, but chose not to tell Congress. Starting Jan. 27 2021, the Secret Service began resetting phones used by agents as part of a preplanned, agency-wide device-replacement program – shortly after text messages from Jan. 5 and 6 were requested by the Jan. 6 committee and the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees investigating the agency’s response to the Capitol riot. According to the Secret Service, the Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari first requested the text messages on Feb. 26, 2021, and was informed that they had been erased. Cuffari, however, claimed the messages were erased after asking for the records. Regardless, Cuffari didn’t notify the Jan. 6 committee until July 2022 that the messages had been erased. Cuffari, meanwhile, directed the Secret Service to stop its internal investigations into what happened to the deleted text messages, saying it could interfere with his own criminal investigation into the agency’s destruction of text messages. The months-long delay in disclosing that Secret Service records had been deleted was flagged by two whistleblowers who worked with Cuffari. [Editor’s note: This is such a sad clusterfuck.] (Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

5/ New unemployment claims rose to the highest level in more than eight months as more companies announced job cuts over fears of a recession amid high inflation and rising interest rates. Jobless claims, however, are still close to their levels before the coronavirus pandemic. Home prices, meanwhile, hit an all-time high in June as the median sales price climbed to $416,000 – up 13.4% on the year and the highest since records began in 1999. Mortgage applications, however, fell for the third week in a row and are at their lowest level in 22 years. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 5.51% this week – up from 2.88% from a year earlier. And the European Central Bank raised interest rates by half a percentage point – its first increase in more than a decade and a bigger jump than expected – as it attempts to tame record high inflation. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / ABC News / The Hill)

6/ The House passed legislation to codify access to contraception nationwide with all but eight Republicans voting in opposition. The Right To Contraception Act would establish a federal right to purchase and use contraception without government restriction. The measure, however, is expected to fail in the evenly divided Senate, where the measure will need 60 votes to break a likely Republican filibuster. A federal appeals court panel, meanwhile, allowed a Georgia law banning abortions after about six weeks to go into effect. In the ruling, the panel wrote that the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade “makes clear that no right to abortion exists under the Constitution, so Georgia may prohibit them.” The court’s opinion also referred to the health care providers who filed the lawsuit as “abortionists,” rather than “plaintiffs.” (NBC News / New York Times / Axios / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 53% of Americans said they disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, while 30% approve. 60% want Congress to pass a law guaranteeing access to abortion nationwide. (Associated Press)

poll/ 57% of Americans blame Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. While 50% think Trump should be charged with crimes based on the evidence presented at the Jan. 6 committee hearings, 61% said they don’t think Trump will face any charges. (NPR)

poll/ 31% of American approve of the way Biden is handling his job, while 60% disapproved. 71% said they didn’t want Biden to seek a second term, while 64% said they didn’t want Trump run for president in 2024. (Quinnipiac)

Day 547: "An emergency."

1/ A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal to reform the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act that Trump and his allies tried to exploit as part of their attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. The legislation would clearly define the role of states, presidential electors, and the vice president in a presidential election to prevent the events of Jan. 6, 2021, from happening again. A second bill would increase penalties for threatening or intimidating election officials, as well as clarify how the Post Service should handle mail-in ballots. The proposal, however, still needs to be approved by both chambers and will need at least 10 Republican senators to break a filibuster. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / NPR / CNN)

2/ Trump called Wisconsin’s Republican house speaker “within the last week” and urged him to decertify Biden’s 2020 election win in that state. Robin Vos said he received a call from Trump after the state Supreme Court ruled that most absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin are illegal. “He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin,” Vos said. “I explained it’s not allowed under the Constitution. He has a different opinion.” (CNBC / CNN / Washington Post)

3/ The Trump administration tried to add a citizenship question to the census to help Republicans win elections, not to protect people’s voting rights, according to a report issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The documents, which include drafts of internal memos and secret email communications between political appointees at the Commerce Department, contradict statements made under oath by then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who claimed that the Trump administration wanted to add the question to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and that the citizenship question was unrelated to congressional apportionment. The Supreme Court in June 2019, however, ruled that the rationale “appears to have been contrived,” and a week later Trump abandoned his effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times)

4/ Rudy Giuliani was ordered to testify before a special grand jury in Georgia investigating efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 electoral loss in the state. Giuliani was subpoenaed earlier this month as a “material witness” by the grand jury called to investigate any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections.” The subpoena said Giuliani falsely claimed that there had been “widespread voter fraud” in the state. A New York judge ordered Giuliani to testify Aug. 9 after he failed to appear at a July 13 hearing to challenge the subpoena. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC)

5/ Biden called climate change an “emergency,” a “clear and present danger,” and an “existential threat” but stopped short of a formal climate emergency declaration, which would unlock federal resources to address climate change. Instead, Biden announced a set of executive actions to expand off-shore wind power generation and provide $2.3 billion in funding for climate disaster preparedness and projects like cooling stations in places facing extreme heat. Biden said he’ll announce additional executive actions in the coming weeks if Congress doesn’t act. (Bloomberg / CNBC / Reuters / Politico / NBC News / USA Today / Washington Post / ABC News)

6/ About 105 million people in 28 states – nearly a third of America – are currently living under heat advisories and excessive heat warnings. More than 200 million people in the U.S. will experience highs exceeding 90 degrees for the next three days. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 36% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – his lowest approval rating since taking office. Last month, Biden’s job approval stood at 40%. The 4 percentage-point drop from June to July is attributable to a 9-point decline among Democrats. In June, 84% of Democrats said they approved of the job Biden was doing compared to 75% in July. Meanwhile, 5% of Republicans and 28% of independents approve of the job Biden is doing – unchanged from a month ago. (NPR)

Day 546: "Climate crisis."

1/ Biden is reportedly planning to declare a national climate emergency in an effort to advance his environmental agenda that Joe Manchin has twice sabotaged. After Manchin torpedoed Democratic efforts to pass robust climate change legislation last week, Biden said he would take “strong executive action” on climate, but didn’t provide details. White House officials, however, said Biden will announce new steps to combat climate change on Wednesday, but will stop short of declaring a national emergency. The White House said Biden’s address will focus on “tackling the climate crisis and seizing the opportunity of a clean energy future to create jobs and lower costs for families.” An emergency declaration would unlock billions of federal dollars and give Biden broad executive powers to spend federal funds on clean energy projects, restrict oil drilling, and curb fossil fuel use. More than 100 million Americans are currently under heat advisories or warnings. The U.K., meanwhile, recorded its highest ever temperature for the second day in a row, prompting British officials to declare the first-ever “red” warning for extreme heat in England. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Associated Press / CNN / Politico)

2/ The House passed legislation to codify federal protections for same-sex marriage, including a requirement that states recognize valid marriages performed in other states. 47 Republicans joined all House Democrats in passing the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enshrine marriage equality into federal law. The bill also codifies the right to interracial marriage. Democratic leaders moved forward with the bill after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and suggested that the justices might revisit cases that legalized gay marriage and contraceptive rights. The legislation, however faces an uncertain future in the evenly divided Senate where it’ll need 10 Republican Senate votes to overcome the filibuster. (New York Times / Axios / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The Secret Service said it could not recover the deleted text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack. Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari told the Jan. 6 committee last week that after requesting records of texts related to the Capitol attack he learned “many of these texts were erased as part of a device-replacement program.” Agents were instructed to upload any old text messages involving government business to an internal agency drive before the reset. Many agents, apparently, failed to do so. The National Archives, meanwhile, asked the Secret Service to investigate the “potential unauthorized deletion” of agency text messages. (Washington Post / NPR / NBC News)

4/ Trump’s former deputy national security adviser will testify publicly at Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing. Matthew Pottinger was in the White House during the Capitol riot and resigned shortly after Trump tweeted that Pence should have had more courage. Trump White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews will also testify. Matthews also resigned on Jan. 6, 2021. Meanwhile, Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee, has Covid-19 and will miss Thursday’s prime-time hearing. (CNN / New York Times / ABC News)

5/ The Justice Department said its investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results will continue even if he runs for president again. Recent reports indicate that Trump might declare that he’s running again in the near future in an apparent attempt to shield himself from potential prosecution. Trump wouldn’t legally enjoy any special protections as a candidate for president. The Justice Department has also added prosecutors and resources to its investigation in recent weeks. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 78% of Americans believe we will never be rid of Covid-19 in our lifetime. 29% of Americans, meanwhile, say the pandemic is over and 36% feel like most people around them have moved on from the pandemic, but they haven’t. (Ipsos)

poll/ 61% of Americans think Congress should do more to address global warming, while 52% think the president should do more, and 57% think their governor should do more. (New York Times)

poll/ 67% of voters say that Democratic candidates for Congress in their area aren’t paying enough attention to the country’s most important problems, while 31% say the candidates have the right priorities. Similarly, 65% of voters say that Republican candidates in their area aren’t paying enough attention to important national problems, with 33% saying that GOP candidates have the right priorities. (CNN)

Day 545: "We're all going to die."

1/ Joe Manchin abandoned negotiations with Democrats on an economic package that contained incentives to combat climate change and new taxes on the wealthy and corporations because he’s concerned about inflation. Instead, Manchin said he’s only willing to support legislation to lower prescription drugs costs and extend enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies, suggesting that Democrats wait until September to pursue a party-line climate and tax policy. Manchin killed Biden’s Build Back Better Act seven months ago, where Democrats in the evenly divided Senate needed all 50 members to pass the economic package by simple majority under budget reconciliation rules. Manchin’s latest de facto veto of Biden’s economic agenda follows the June inflation report, which showed annual inflation running at 9.1% – the worst in more than 40 years. Manchin claimed that he’s still open to a deal, but and wants to see July’s inflation numbers before deciding, saying he “believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.” Bernie Sanders, however, accused Manchin of “intentionally sabotaging” Biden’s agenda, saying the “problem was that we continued to talk to Manchin like he was serious. He was not.” Sanders added that Manchin is a “major recipient” of fossil fuel money and that he’s received campaign donations from “25 Republican billionaires.” With climate legislation tabled, the Biden administration’s goal to cut U.S. emissions by about 50% by the end of 2030 — 101 months from this August – is now in jeopardy. The climate package’s tax credits for wind and solar power, nuclear plants, biofuels, advanced energy manufacturing, and electric vehicles, would have cut global warming causing emissions by nearly 40% by 2030. When asked about the consequences of Congress failing to act on climate change, House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth replied: “We’re all going to die.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News / Axios / NBC News / CNN / Talking Points Memo / Washington Post)

  • How One Senator Doomed the Democrats’ Climate Plan. “Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia led his party and his president through months of tortured talks, with nothing to show for it as the planet dangerously heats up.” (New York Times)

  • The hidden absurdities behind Joe Manchin’s ugly new reversal. “The West Virginia Democrat reportedly told party leaders late Thursday that he won’t support any new incentives to combat climate change or any new tax hikes on corporations or the wealthy. The Post reports that in private talks, Manchin appeared close to a deal, only to renege at the last minute.” (Washington Post)

  • Mother Nature Dissents. “From Texas to California, voters are enduring rude wake-up calls about the future of our country.” (The Atlantic)

2/ The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed the Secret Service for text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, after the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general told lawmakers that messages sent by agents on the day of the Capitol attack had been erased. The subpoena demands the production of records by July 19 – tomorrow. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans sitting on the committee, said it was “quite crazy” if the Secret Service deleted the messages. On Thursday, the committee will hold a prime-time hearing that will detail how Trump did “nothing” to stop the riot at the Capitol as it was unfolding, but instead “gleefully watch television during this time frame.” Kinzinger said the session “is going to open people’s eyes in a big way.” (CBS News / Politico / Washington Post / USA Today / The Hill)

  • December 2020: Trump entertained fringe legal advice from a lawyer suggesting that he could declare “martial law” to overturn the election. William Olson’s plan included tampering with the Justice Department and firing the acting attorney general, according to the Dec. 28 memo he wrote, titled “Preserving Constitutional Order.” According to his memo, Olson urged Trump to force the Justice Department to intercede with the Supreme Court to reverse his electoral defeat. (New York Times / CNN)

  • Trump Tells Team He Needs to Be President Again to Save Himself from Criminal Probes. Trump has “spoken about how when you are the president of the United States, it is tough for politically motivated prosecutors to ‘get to you,” says one of the sources, who has discussed the issue with Trump this summer. “He says when [not if] he is president again, a new Republican administration will put a stop to the [Justice Department] investigation that he views as the Biden administration working to hit him with criminal charges — or even put him and his people in prison.” (Rolling Stone)

  • A criminal probe of Trump could complicate Jan. 6 cases. “But if the Department of Justice starts assertively mounting a criminal investigation of Trump, it could create delays in other Jan. 6-related trials because defense attorneys for hundreds of defendants could demand access to much of the evidence against Trump as part of the discovery process.” (Politico)

  • John Eastman loses emergency request to protect his phone data from DOJ investigators. “US District Judge Robert Brack rejected Eastman’s arguments for emergency help from the court in an opinion Friday. Eastman had asked the court to block federal investigators from using the contents of his phone in their probe.” (CNN)

3/ Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent target letters to several prominent Georgia Republicans warning them they could be indicted as part of her criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. State Senators Burt Jones and Brandon Beach, and David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, all received letters. Jones and Shafer participated in a meeting at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in which 16 pro-Trump Georgia Republicans selected themselves as the electors for the state despite having no legal basis for doing so. Willis also subpoenaed Georgia Republican Rep. Jody Hice to appear before the grand jury. (Yahoo News / New York Times / CNN / Newsweek)

4/ The White House abandoned plans to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge after Rand Paul scuttled Biden’s deal with Mitch McConnell to nominate Chad Meredith. Biden had planned to nominate Meredith in a purported deal with McConnell to stop obstructing other judicial nominees in the Senate. “In considering potential District Court nominees, the White House learned that Senator Rand Paul will not return a ‘blue slip’ on Chad Meredith,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said. “Therefore, the White House will not nominate Mr. Meredith.” (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press)

5/ Ted Cruz claimed the Supreme Court was “clearly wrong” and “overreaching” when it legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Cruz’s remarks come weeks after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued in his concurring Roe v. Wade opinion that the court “should reconsider” past rulings, including Obergefell v. Hodges, as well as opinions that protected the right to same-sex intimacy and contraception. The House is expected to vote this week on a measure to codify marriage equality into federal law and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. On Friday, the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act to codify Roe v. Wade into law and protect people who are forced to travel out of state to receive care. All three measures are expected to die by a Republican filibuster in the Senate. (NBC News / USA Today / Washington Post / CNN)

6/ All 208 House Republicans voted against investigating white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the military and federal law enforcement. Despite unanimous Republicans opposition, the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was passed in a 218-208 party-line vote. The “Schneider Amendment” orders the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Defense to publish a report that sets out ways to combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the uniformed services and law enforcement agencies. Once the House passes the $840 billion military spending bill, it will head to the Senate where it will need some Republican support to muster the 60 votes necessary to move the measure through the evenly divided chamber. (New York Times / Vice News / The Hill / Newsweek / Common Dreams)

poll/ 38% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, with 62% disapproving. 12% strongly approve of the way Biden is handling the presidency compared with 43% who say they strongly disapprove of his work. (CNN)

Day 541: "We're gathering evidence."

1/ Texas sued the Biden administration over federal rules requiring physicians and hospitals to provide abortions in medical emergencies, even in states with near-total bans. In its lawsuit, Texas claimed that the new guidance “forces hospitals and doctors to commit crimes and risk their licensure under Texas law.” Earlier this week, the Biden administration said the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act pre-empts state laws that restrict abortion access in emergency situations. Attorney General Ken Paxton accused Biden of trying “to use federal law to transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic.” (Politico / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ Indiana’s Republican attorney general is investigating the doctor who treated a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. Ohio bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest. The child was six weeks and three days into her pregnancy. Abortion in Indiana is banned after 22 weeks of pregnancy, with some exceptions for medical emergencies. Nevertheless, Attorney General Todd Rokita said “we’re gathering evidence” on Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who he called an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.” Meanwhile, a Republican Senator blocked a Democratic request to unanimously pass a bill seeking to protect interstate travel for abortion. The Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022 would also protect health care providers who provide abortions to out-of-state patients. James Lankford objected to the request, claiming that the conversation is “not just about the right to travel and the right to health care it’s deeper than that, it’s the right to live.” (Politico / NBC News / The Hill / CNN)

3/ Trump tried to call a member of the White House support staff involved in the Jan. 6 committee investigation of the Capitol insurrection. Trump allegedly made the call after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about his conduct leading up to Jan. 6. The staffer that Trump tried to contact was in a position to corroborate part of what Hutchinson had said under oath. The Jan. 6 committee, meanwhile, is reportedly discussing whether to seek an interview with Pence and Trump. (CNN / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Secret Service erased text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, shortly after oversight officials investigating the agency’s response requested the electronic communications. The Secret Service said the text messages were erased as a result of a “device-replacement program.” (The Intercept / CNN)

5/ Steve Bannon – again – lost his bid to delay his trial on criminal contempt of Congress charges. A federal judge said Bannon’s trial can start as scheduled next week. Bannon’s attorneys had argued that the publicity ahead of the trial raised the risk of prejudice against him among the jurors to be selected to hear his case. Judge Carl Nichols, however, rejected the arguments, saying the court would question potential jurors to determine whether a fair jury could be seated. (Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / CNBC)

poll/ 1% of 18-to-29-year-olds strongly approve of the job Biden is doing as president. 94% of Democrats under 30 said they wanted someone other than Biden to run for president in 2024. 46% of young voters favored Democratic control of Congress, while 28% wanted Republicans to take charge. (New York Times)

Day 540: "Everything is in play."

1/ Inflation climbed to 9.1% in June compared with a year earlier – the biggest 12-month increase in 40 years. On a monthly basis, the consumer price index jumped 1.3% from May to June, after prices had jumped 1% from April to May. While average wages in June were 5.1% higher than a year ago, energy prices rose by 41.6%, groceries were up 12.2%, and shelter costs were up 5.6% over the year. Further, average inflation-adjusted incomes fell 1% for the month and were down 3.6% from June 2021 to June 2022. The Federal Reserve’s beige book, a summary of the commentary on current economic conditions, reported that businesses “noted concerns over an increased risk of a recession” and that discretionary spending is showing signs of slowing due to higher gasoline and food prices. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75 percentage points last month – the largest increase since 1994. Accelerated inflation, however, may require the Fed to consider a historic one percentage point rate hike later this month to slow the economy and restrain inflation. “Everything is in play,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic said. (Politico / NPR / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press)

  • The inflation numbers are bad, but how bad are they? “Although many economists say inflation will stay at high levels at least through the end of the year, there are some signs that prices could be moderating.” (Vox)

  • Just how high is the risk of another recession? “Inflation is at a 40-year high. Stock prices are sinking. The Federal Reserve has just made borrowing even costlier. And the economy actually shrank in the first three months of this year.” (Associated Press)

  • Five charts explaining why inflation is at a 40-year high. “Persistent supply chain backlogs and high consumer demand for goods have kept prices elevated. More recently, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has strained global energy markets and sent the national average for a gallon of gas above $5 last month.” (Washington Post)

  • 7 takeaways from a hot inflation number. (New York Times)

  • Inflation surge challenges Democrats’ economic plans. “The party is running out of time on prescription-drug, climate and tax proposals.” (Wall Street Journal)

2/ The FDA authorized the use of Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine for adults. The Novavax protein-based Covid vaccine is given in two doses, administered 21 days apart. The Biden administration has secured an initial 3.2 million doses, enough to fully vaccinate 1.6 million people in the U.S. (NBC News / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The Senate approved Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Steven Dettelbach is only the second Senate-confirmed director in the agency’s history. (Politico)

4/ Lindsey Graham asked a federal judge to revoke a subpoena issued by a Georgia grand jury investigating criminal interference in the 2020 election by Trump. The subpoena for Graham’s testimony says that he made at least two calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.” Graham’s lawyers argued that “no extraordinary circumstances exist for compelling his testimony” and “sovereign immunity prohibits enforcement of the state court process on him as a federal officer.” (CNBC)

poll/ 18% of Americans say Biden should run for reelection in 2024, while 64% say he should not run. Among Democrats 41% say Biden should pass on a second term while 35% say he should pursue one. (Yahoo News)

poll/ 41% of voters want Democrats to control Congress following the 2022 midterms, compared with 40% who would prefer Republicans control Congress. (New York Times)

poll/ 53% of voters say America’s political system is too divided politically to solve the nation’s problems, while 41% believe the current system can still work. 58% say American democracy needs major reforms or a complete overhaul. (New York Times)

Day 539: "In no uncertain terms."

1/ In its seventh public hearing, the Jan. 6 committee detailed how divisions between White House lawyers and outside advisers pressing Trump to pursue election fraud conspiracy claims exploded into an “unhinged” meeting that featured screaming, personal insults, accusations of disloyalty, and a challenge to physically fight. Rep. Jamie Raskin said “the meeting has been called, quote, ‘unhinged,’ ‘not normal,’ and the ‘craziest meeting of the Trump presidency.’” Arguments during the Dec. 18, 2020, meeting broke out over Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne urging Trump to declare a national emergency, take voting machines from states, and name Powell as a special counsel to pursue baseless claims of fraud – all in an effort to remain in office. Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone recalled “pushing back” on the group by asking them to provide evidence that the election was fraudulent, but they showed a “general disregard for the importance of actually backing up what you say.” Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann added that at one point he challenged Flynn to a fight as Flynn berating the White House attorneys for being “quitters” and not fighting hard enough for Trump. Herschmann said the group had suggested that Venezuela had meddled with the election and that internet-connected thermostats were changing votes. Cipollone added that he “was not happy to see the people in the Oval Office […] I don’t think any of these people were providing the president with good advice and I didn’t understand how they had gotten in.” The meeting lasted over six hours, beginning in the Oval Office and ending in Trump’s private residence. Hours later, Trump turned to riling up his supporters, tweeting for them to come to Washington and protest the Jan. 6 electoral vote count. “Be there, will be wild!” (Bloomberg / NPR / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNBC / CNN)

2/ The Jan. 6 committee notified the Justice Department that Trump contacted one of its witnesses who hasn’t publicly testified yet. “After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation, a witness you have not yet seen in these hearings,” Liz Cheney said. “That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump’s call and instead alerted their lawyer to the call. Their lawyer alerted us.” It’s not the first time the panel has warned of potential attempts at tampering. In one phone call, according to the committee, a witness was told to be a “team player” and would remain in “good graces in Trump world” if they demonstrate that they were “protecting who I need to protect.” The Justice Department has the power to prosecute Trump if it determines he tampered with a congressional witness. “President Trump is a 76-year-old man, he is not an impressionable child,” Cheney said. “Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices.” (Axios / New York Times / CNBC / Associated Press / Washington Post)

3/ The Biden administration told hospitals that they “must” provide women access to abortions in emergencies, even in states that have banned the procedure following the Supreme Court’s decision to end a constitutional right to abortion. The Department of Health and Human Services cited federal law that health emergencies take priority over state laws banning abortion. “Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care — including abortion care,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “Today, in no uncertain terms, we are reinforcing that we expect providers to continue offering these services, and that federal law preempts state abortion bans when needed for emergency care.” The Justice Department also announced that it’s launching a “reproductive rights task force” to prevent overreach from state and local governments seeking to impose new bans on access. Democrats in Congress, meanwhile, plan to vote this week on legislation that would protect the right to travel for abortion services and explicitly give health care providers the right to provide abortion services and patients the right to obtain them. The bills, however, are all but certain to fail in the Senate where Democrats lack the 60 votes required to break a Republican filibuster. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press)

  • Voters in Michigan will have the opportunity to vote on the Reproductive Freedom for All amendment this November. The initiative, if certified and passed, could enshrine permanent protections into the state’s constitution for abortion and other reproductive health services including miscarriage management, birth control, prenatal care, and in-vitro fertilization. (Politico)
  • A judge in Minnesota struck down several state laws restricting access to abortions. State District Judge Thomas Gilligan said the “laws violate the right to privacy because they infringe upon the fundamental right under the Minnesota Constitution to access abortion care and do not withstand strict scrutiny,” adding: “The parental notification law violates the guarantee of equal protection for the same reasons. The informed consent law also violates the right to free speech under the Minnesota Constitution, because it is misleading and confusing, and does not withstand intermediate scrutiny. Accordingly, this court is declaring those laws unconstitutional.” (NBC News)

4/ Biden still plans to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in Kentucky despite several Senate Democrats promising to vote against Chad Meredith’s confirmation. While Biden has not formally nominated Meredith, the White House informed Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s office in a June 23 email. Biden’s plan to nominate Meredith is purported to be part of a deal with Mitch McConnell to stop obstructing other judicial nominees in the deadlocked Senate. (HuffPost / USA Today)

5/ The Biden administration is working on a plan to allow a second Covid-19 booster shot to all adults, pending federal agency approval. Currently, a second booster shot is available only to those 50 and older or those 12 and older who are immunocompromised. BA.5 Omicron subvariant has recently become dominant the variant in the U.S., accounting for more than 60% of all new infections. Antibodies from vaccines and previous coronavirus infections offer limited protection against BA.5. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times)

6/ Jill Biden apologized for comparing the Latino community to breakfast tacos. “The diversity of this community – distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami, and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio – is your strength,” Biden said in a speech. “And yet, it’s when you speak with one voice – unidos – that you find your power.” Biden also mispronounced the Spanish word “bodegas” in that line of the speech. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, meanwhile, responded: “We are not tacos […] Do not reduce us to stereotypes.” (Dallas Morning News / Business Insider / ABC News / Politico)

poll/ 49% of Republican voters said they would support Trump in the 2024 election, while 25% said they would vote for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. (New York Times)

Day 538: "Out of control."

1/ A federal judge refused to delay Stephen Bannon’s trial on charges of criminal contempt of Congress. After refusing to cooperate with a congressional subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee for nearly nine months, Bannon informed the panel over the weekend that he was willing to testify. Bannon’s reversal came after he suggested that Trump had “waived” his claim of executive privilege and permitted him to testify. Prosecutors, however, disclosed Monday that Trump’s attorney Justin Clark told them Trump “never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials” and that Bannon’s lawyer “misrepresented to the committee what the former president’s counsel had told the defendant’s attorney.” The Justice Department told the federal judge that Bannon’s last-minute offer to testify was a “last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability” and “irrelevant” to whether he will be prosecuted for contempt. Bannon’s trial is set to begin July 18 on two counts of criminal contempt. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico / The Guardian / New York Times / NBC News / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

  • Former Attorney General William Barr was subpoenaed in a $1.6 billion defamation suit brought against Fox News by the voting-machine company falsely accused of rigging the 2020 election. “Dominion Voting Systems Inc. is seeking sworn testimony from Barr, who served as former President Donald Trump’s attorney general, court filings show. Barr contradicted Trump about a month after the election by telling the Associated Press that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the result.” (Bloomberg)

2/ A Fulton County judge ordered Lindsey Graham to testify before the special grand jury in Georgia that’s investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Judge Robert McBurney described Graham as a “necessary and material witness” to the grand jury and ordered him to testify on Aug. 2. The grand jury wants to hear about two phone calls allegedly made by Graham to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to begin “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.” (WSB-TV Atlanta / Reuters)

3/ The FDA is reviewing its first-ever application for an over-the-counter birth control pill – more than 60 years after the hormone-based pills were approved by the FDA. They have always required a prescription. HRA Pharma officials said they expect an FDA decision in about 10 months – typical for over-the-counter applications – meaning it could take until mid-2023 for Opill to be on shelves. Meanwhile, Biden called the Supreme Court “out of control” and its decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion “an exercise in raw political power.” He then signed an executive order that aims to ensure the safety of abortion patients and providers, as well as access to the procedure through mobile clinics near the borders of states that restrict access. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / CNBC / Associated Press)

4/ The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that most ballot drop boxes aren’t allowed in the state – one month before the state’s primary elections. The court also ruled that voters are required to physically return their own absentee ballots – meaning, a voter can’t have someone else return their completed absentee ballot on their behalf. (NPR)

5/ The latest Omicron subvariant has quickly become dominant in the U.S., according to the CDC. In the U.S., BA.5 now accounts for about 54% of all Covid-19 infections. BA.5 is highly transmissible and manages to at least partially skip past some of the immune defenses acquired through prior infections and vaccinations. (NPR / The Atlantic / Washington Post)

poll/ 64% of Democratic voters want someone other than Biden to run for president in 2024, while 26% say they’d prefer Biden to be their party’s candidate. Of the 64% of respondents who want a different Democratic candidate, 33% cited Biden’s age as the reason. At 79, Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history. In hypothetical matchup, however, Biden beats Trump 44% to 41%. (New York Times / Bloomberg)

poll/ 33% of voters say Biden deserves reelection, while 67% say Biden doesn’t deserve a second term. (Gallup)

Day 534: "Entrenched."

1/ Federal Reserve officials expressed concern that elevated inflation posed a “significant risk” of becoming “entrenched” in the economy. According to minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s June meeting, officials said inflation had become “more persistent than they had previously anticipated,” emphasizing the need to raise interest rates faster and to levels high enough to slow economic growth and control cost-of-living increases running at their highest levels since 1981 – even if it meant causing a recession. In June, officials voted to raise their benchmark rate 0.75 percentage point, the largest increase since 1994. Members said the July meeting would likely result in another .50 or .75 percentage point increase, and warned “that an even more restrictive stance could be appropriate if elevated inflation pressures were to persist.” (Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)

2/ The number of open U.S. jobs fell to 11.3 million in May – down from 11.6 million in April. While it was the second straight monthly decline in open positions, there were 5.95 million people unemployed in May – meaning there were nearly two available jobs for every unemployed person in the U.S. The unemployment rate in May was 3.6%, slightly above where it was before the pandemic. New applications for unemployment benefits, however, rose to 235,000 last week from 231,000 the week before. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

3/ Senate Democrats reached an agreement with Joe Manchin to raise taxes on some high earners to keep Medicare from going bankrupt. The plan – effectively a slimmed-down version of the Build Back Better Act that Manchin scuttled last year over fears of rising inflation – would impose taxes on certain income from pass-through businesses. The tax is expected to raise about $203 billion over a decade, which would be used to sustain Medicare’s key trust fund until 2031. The fund is currently projected to start running out of money in 2028. Democrats expect to submit the text of the legislation to the Senate’s parliamentarian in the next few days. If it complies with the chamber’s budget rules, Democrats could avoid a Republican filibuster and pass the provision with just 50 votes. (NBC News / Bloomberg / Washington Post / ABC News / Associated Press)

4/ The IRS audited former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Trump fired Comey in 2017 while he oversaw the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Less than a year later, McCabe was similarly terminated after investigating Trump over the Comey firing. Out of about 153 million individual tax returns filed in 2017, about 5,000 people were selected for this type of audit – or about 1 in 30,600. The IRS, meanwhile, asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration to look into how two perceived enemies of Trump came to be faced with rare, exhaustive audits that the agency says are supposed to be random. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)

  • 📌 [Day 110]: Trump fired James Comey on the recommendation of Jeff Sessions. In a letter dated Tuesday to Comey, Trump concurred “with the judgment of the Department of Justice that [Comey is not] able to effectively lead the bureau.” Earlier today, the FBI notified Congress that Comey misstated key findings involving the Clinton email investigation during testimony, saying that only a “small number” of emails had been forwarded to disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner, not the “hundreds and thousands” he’d claimed in his testimony. The move sweeps away the man who is responsible for the investigation into whether members of Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia in its interference in last year’s election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein laid out the reasons for Comey’s firing, arguing that the handling of his investigation into Clinton’s private server, his decision not to recommend charges be filed, and the news conference he held to explain his reasoning were the cause of his dismissal. Democrats reacted with shock and alarm, accusing Trump of ousting the FBI director to escape scrutiny over his campaign’s Russia ties. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged deputy Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor for the federal probe into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russian officials — warning that failing to do so will lead the public to “rightly suspect” that Comey’s surprise firing “was part of a cover-up.”

  • 📌 [Day 670]: Trump wanted to order the Justice Department in April to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey. The White House counsel at the time, Don McGahn, pushed back, saying Trump had no authority to order a prosecution, and that while he could request an investigation, that could prompt accusations of abuse of power.

Day 533: "Broken."

1/ Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone agreed to testify after receiving a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. Cipollone will sit for a videotaped, transcribed interview behind closed doors on Friday. He is not expected to testify publicly. Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testified last month that Cipollone repeatedly tried to prevent Trump from encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Hutchinson also testified that Cipollone had warned in the days leading up to the attack that Trump and his aides could be charged with “every crime imaginable” if Trump joined protesters at the Capitol. The committee scheduled its seventh hearing for July 12 at 10 a.m. ET. House Republicans, meanwhile, threatened to subpoena unspecified records of the Jan. 6 committee in retaliation if the GOP retakes the majority next year. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / ABC News / Axios / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ Lindsey Graham will challenge the subpoena from a special grand jury in Georgia investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election in the state. In a statement, Graham’s attorneys said the subpoena for his testimony is “all politics” and that Graham “plans to go to court, challenge the subpoena, and expects to prevail.” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ special grand jury wants to hear from Graham because he allegedly made two calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff following the election “about reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.” (NBC News / CNN)

3/ Biden planned to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in Kentucky the day before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. In an email dated June 23, the White House informed Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s office that Chad Meredith was “to be nominated tomorrow” to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The next day the Supreme Court overturned Roe, effectively banning abortion in Kentucky because of its trigger law. While Meredith’s nomination was never announced or submitted by the White House, there has been no indication it has been rescinded either. The nomination was reportedly part of a deal with Mitch McConnell to stop holding up Biden’s other judicial nominations. (Courier Journal / CNN / Wall Street Journal / The Guardian)

4/ The seven states that make up the Colorado River Basin have less than 60 days to come up with a plan to significantly reduce their collective water consumption in the next 18 months or risk a potential collapse of the Colorado River system. Climate change and a two-decade-long drought have diminished river flows and reservoir water levels by about 20%. Scientists estimate that one-third of that loss can be attributed to warmer temperatures. As a result, the Bureau of Reclamation ordered Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Nevada, California, and Arizona to cut their water usage by 2 to 4 million acre-feet in 2023 — which amounts to more than Arizona’s entire annual usage. Under the terms of the 1922 Colorado River Compact, the Upper Basin is made up of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, while the Lower Basin consists of Arizona, California, and Nevada and Mexico. Each basin has rights to 7.5 million acre-feet of water, with an additional 1.5 million acre-feet of water for Mexico. While the upper basin has never come close to using its full share of the water over the past century – using roughly 3.5 million acre-feet annually – the lower basin by some estimates uses more than 8.5 million acre-feet annually. Associated laws and agreements predetermine what happens at various stages of water shortages, and under a 2007 agreement, any shortages in supply would be borne by Arizona and Nevada first. The Bureau of Reclamation gave the states until Aug. 16 to figure out a path to conservation before the Bureau would take unilateral action to protect the system. (Politico / Water Desk)

5/ The Biden administration announced plans to “fix” the “broken” federal student loan system. The proposal would update protections for students defrauded by for-profit schools, overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, changes how interest accrues on some loans. The public has 30 days to comment on the Education Department’s proposals, and the final rules will go into effect no later than July 1, 2023. As many as 40 million Americans could be impacted by the changes. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, trailing heart disease and cancer. Between March 2020 and October 2021, Covid-19 accounted for one in every eight deaths and ranked in the top five causes of death for every age group of people older than 15 years. (JAMA Internal Medicine / Axios / Ars Technica)

poll/ 54% of Americans feel their lives are somewhat the same as it was before the pandemic, while 34% think their lives are not the same. (New York Times)

poll/ 54% of Texas voters oppose the state’s trigger law automatically banning abortions, while 37% support the trigger law. 15% of Texas voters said “abortion should never be permitted.” (University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll)

poll/ 57% of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decisions to overturn Roe v. Wade, while 41% approve. 52% of adults in states that have new restrictions on abortion or where prohibitions are set to soon take effect disapprove of the court’s decision, while 47% approve. 62% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases – largely unchanged since before the court’s decision. (Pew Research Center)

Day 532: "People are gonna be shocked."

1/ At least seven people were killed in a shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, during a Fourth of July parade, and more than 30 people were injured. The suspected gunman, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, had “preplanned this attack for several weeks” and disguised himself as a woman in an attempt to conceal his identity after firing more than 70 bullets from a rooftop using a “high-powered” rifle similar to an AR-15, officials said. Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said that after Crimo fired into the crowd, he dropped his rifle and escaped with the crowd “almost as if he was an innocent spectator,” before walking to his mother’s home and borrowing a vehicle. Police discovered a second rifle inside the car. Both rifles had been legally purchased in the Chicago area. The shooting came a week and a half after Biden signed the most significant gun measure to pass Congress in nearly three decades. (NPR / CNN / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The New York State Legislature passed a measure to enshrine the right to an abortion and access to contraception in the State Constitution. If fully enacted, the Equal Rights Amendment would explicitly add protections for New Yorkers to access abortion care. Amending the State Constitution requires passage by two separately elected Legislatures, and then approval by voters in a referendum. Florida’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, meanwhile, is back in effect after a state court judge blocked it earlier today. And in Ohio, a 10-year-old rape victim was denied an abortion. With the state’s trigger law banning abortions after six weeks in effect, the girl – who was six weeks and three days pregnant – had to travel to Indiana for the medical procedure. Biden, meanwhile, predicted that some states will try to arrest women for crossing state lines to get an abortion. “People are gonna be shocked when the first state […] tries to arrest a woman for crossing a state line to get health services,” Biden said. He added: “And I don’t think people believe that’s gonna happen. But it’s gonna happen, and it’s gonna telegraph to the whole country that this is a gigantic deal that goes beyond; I mean, it affects all your basic rights”. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Indianapolis Star / The Guardian / Reuters / The Hill / Business Insider / Politico)

  • A new Supreme Court case is the biggest threat to US democracy since January 6. “Moore v. Harper is a grave threat to US democracy, and the fate of that democracy probably comes down to Amy Coney Barrett.” (Vox)
  • The Supreme Court’s next target is the executive branch. “There are many ways for the conservative court to rein in federal agencies, and while there may not be a clear consensus on precisely which of those avenues to take at any given moment, one way or another, federal agencies exerting broad-based powers are already losing — and are almost certainly going to keep losing.” (Axios)

3/ Liz Cheney, the Jan. 6 committee’s vice chair, suggested that the panel could make “more than one criminal referral” to the Justice Department over Trump’s role in the attack on the Capitol. While bringing charges against a former president would be unprecedented and “difficult” for the country, not doing so would support a “much graver constitutional threat,” Cheney said. Adam Kinzinger, meanwhile, said that new witnesses have come forward since Cassidy Hutchinson testified. (Washington Post / ABC News / Associated Press)

4/ A Georgia grand jury subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, and five others as part of an investigation into Trump’s potential criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election. In addition to Giuliani and Graham, those being summoned to provide testimony include John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro, and Jenna Ellis, who all advised Trump on ways to overturn Biden’s wins in Georgia and several other swing states. The special grand jury also issued a subpoena to Jacki Pick Deason, a podcaster who also supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. The grand jury, citing Giuliani’s December 2020 testimony claiming to have evidence of widespread voter fraud, believes Giuliani “possesses unique knowledge concerning communications between himself, former President Trump, the Trump Campaign, and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / CNBC / CNN)

poll/ 71% of voters say Biden should not run for a second term. 45% said Biden is a bad president, while 30% said he’s too old, and 26% said it’s time for change. (Harvard Center for American Political Studies and Harris)

poll/ 61% of voters don’t want Trump to run in 2024. 36% called Trump too erratic, 33% said he will divide America, and 30% said Trump is responsible for Jan. 6, 2021. (Harvard Center for American Political Studies and Harris)

poll/ 27% of Americans express “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in U.S. institutions – an all-time low. (Gallup)

poll/ 42% of Americans say they are struggling financially – up 18 points since last year. (Monmouth University)

Day 527: "Running out of options."

1/ The Supreme Court restricted the EPA’s ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, dealing a major blow to Biden’s efforts to fight climate change and shift the nation’s energy production toward renewable sources. In its 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court said the Clean Air Act doesn’t give EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that contribute to global warming, writing that “a decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.” In dissent, the court’s three liberal justices wrote that the majority had stripped the EPA of “the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.” Congress, meanwhile, hasn’t passed major climate legislation since the cap-and-trade bill, which died in the Senate in 2010. Biden called the ruling “another devastating decision that aims to take our country backwards,” accusing the court’s conservative majority of siding “with special interests that have waged a long-term campaign to strip away our right to breathe clean air.” Biden came into office with the most ambitious climate agenda of any president, pledging to cut the country’s pollution in half by 2030 and to have an emissions-free power sector by 2035. The Supreme Court decision, however, will likely limit Biden’s ability to use other departments and regulators to address climate change. The U.S. is the world’s largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases, and fossil fuel-fired power plants are the second-largest source of pollution in the U.S. behind transportation. Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard, said “the court’s ruling is a major setback for EPA’s ability to address climate change, and it could hardly have come at a worse time,” and that the Biden administration is “running out of options right now.” (New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Associated Press / NBC News / CBS News / CNN / CNBC)

2/ Biden called for eliminating the Senate filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade into law and federally protect access to abortion. “We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that,” Biden said. “And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, we provide an exception for this, or an exception to the filibuster for this action.” Biden condemned the “outrageous behavior” of the Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade and revoked the constitutional right to abortion last week, saying the decision is “destabilizing” the country. The filibuster rule could be changed with a simple majority vote, but two Democrats – Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – remain opposed to eliminating or making an exception to the Senate’s rule. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, publicly praised his decision to block Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, calling it his “single-most consequential decision.” McConnell’s refusal to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination 11 months before Trump took office cleared the way for Trump put Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench – his first of three conservative appointees to the Supreme Court. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Axios)

3/ Clarence Thomas cited a debunked claim that all Covid-19 vaccines are derived from the cells of “aborted children.” To be clear, none of the Covid-19 vaccines in the U.S. contain the cells of aborted fetuses. Thomas nevertheless made the baseless assertion in a dissenting opinion in a case that the Supreme Court declined to hear regarding New York’s coronavirus vaccine requirement for health care workers that doesn’t include a religious exemption. (Politico / NBC News)

4/ The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case promoting a controversial legal theory that state legislatures – not state courts – have the authority to decide how federal elections are conducted. Republican legislators in North Carolina are challenging a state Supreme Court ruling that threw out a voting map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature that would give Republicans 10 safe seats out of 14 total. The court said the map was excessively partisan and violated the state constitution. At issue is a legal theory, known as the “independent state legislature theory,” that would give state legislatures sole authority to set the rules for federal elections – even if their actions violated state constitutions. Under the strongest form of this doctrine, state constitutions would cease to provide any constraint on state lawmakers, state courts would lose their power to strike down anti-democratic laws, and state governors would lose the power to veto new state election laws. The outcome could fundamentally change the way federal elections are conducted and have enormous impact on the 2024 election. (NPR / Washington Post / Politico / Vox / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee issued a subpoena to former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to testify. Cipollone has been mentioned in each of the Jan. 6 committee’s six hearings often at key moments before, during, and after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Earlier this week, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about efforts to stop Trump from making a planned trip to the Capitol on Jan. 6. “Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of ‘Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.’” (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 66% of Americans believe Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election results and he should be prosecuted for it. (The Hill / Associated Press)

Day 526: "A better justification."

1/ Virginia Thomas – the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – told the Jan. 6 committee she saw no reason testify. In an eight-page letter to the committee, her attorney said he wants “a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant” before she’ll comply with the request to talk about her role in seeking to reverse Trump’s 2020 election loss. “Mrs. Thomas is eager to clear her name and is willing to appear before the Committee to do so,” her lawyer, Mark Paoletta, wrote. “However, […] I am asking the Committee to provide a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant to the Committee’s legislative purpose.” Paoletta noted that it’s “been a particularly stressful time” amid the Supreme Court rulings to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion and expand gun rights. Thomas exchanged text messages with Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff at the time, urging him to challenge Biden’s victory. The committee also obtained emails between Thomas and John Eastman, the lawyer who promoted the legal strategy that Pence could block or delay the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6, 2021. (Daily Caller / New York Times / NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)

  • John Eastman dropped his lawsuit that tried to block the Jan. 6 committee from getting his call logs after the committee made clear “that they were not seeking the content” of Eastman’s communications – only the call logs from his carrier, Verizon. (NBC News)

2/ Harris called for abortion-rights supporters “to stand together” and “win the midterms,” but declined to support the idea of term limits for Supreme Court justices. “We cannot underestimate the significance of the upcoming elections and the need for all people who care about this issue to understand that we have to have a pro-choice Congress” to pass a law codifying abortion rights, Harris said, mentioning Senate races in Georgia, North Carolina, and Colorado. Republicans, however, are expected to take control of the House, and possibly the Senate, in the 2022 midterms. Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, met with Pope Francis and received Communion despite the church’s strong opposition to abortion. (NPR / Associated Press)

3/ Consumer spending was weaker in early 2022 than previously reported, suggesting that the economy is on weaker footing than previously thought. According to new Commerce Department data, spending, adjusted for inflation, increased 0.5% in the first three months of the year – down from the government’s earlier estimate of 0.8% growth. In the final quarter of 2021, spending grew 0.6%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, meanwhile, said he was more concerned about stamping out high inflation than about the possibility of raising interest rates too high and pushing the economy into a recession. “There’s no guarantee” the Fed can bring down inflation without causing a recession, Powell said, adding that “the process is highly likely to involve some pain.” (New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

4/ Justice Stephen Breyer will retire from the Supreme Court tomorrow, ending a nearly three-decade tenure and clearing the way for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in. Jackson – the court’s first Black female justice – will be sworn in immediately after Breyer’s official retirement. (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 85% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, and 79% describe the economy as poor. 39% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 60% disapprove. (Associated Press)

Day 525: "Real, real bad."

1/ Trump knew some of his supporters were armed when he directed them to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Hutchinson, testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, said that both Trump and Meadows ignored warnings about potential violence on Jan. 6, that they both wanted Trump to join the march to the Capitol, and days before the insurrection Meadows told her “things might get real, real bad” at the Capitol. Hutchinson also detailed how, minutes before he took the stage at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, Trump insisted that Secret Service remove the metal detectors to allow his supporters armed with rifles, pistols, knives, brass knuckles, and other weapons into the rally, saying “‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me […] Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.’” Hutchinson said that Trump wanted to create a photo op of a very large crowd gathered to hear him speak. Trump then urged his supporters, knowing some of them were armed, to march to the Capitol. Hutchinson testified that after his speech, Trump demanded to be driven to the Capitol. His Secret Service detail, however, refused due to concerns of safety. When Trump was informed he would be returning to the White House instead, Hutchinson said, he became so “irate” that he “said something to the effect of, ‘I’m the f’ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now.’” Trump then tried to forcibly steer his limousine to the Capitol from the back seat and lunged for the throat of his bodyguard while wrestling for control of the vehicle. Later, as Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol – some chanting “Hang Mike Pence” – Hutchinson said that Meadows told her Trump “doesn’t want to do anything. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” And, in his one-minute video calling for rioters to leave the Capitol and go home – posted to Twitter more than two hours after the mob overtook the Capitol – Trump reportedly wanted to include language about pardoning the rioters. His legal counsel, however, advised against it. Hutchinson also said that on Dec. 1, after Attorney General William Barr said there was no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, Trump threw his lunch at a White House wall, splattering ketchup on the wall. And, lastly, Meadows and Rudy Giuliani later sought pardons as a result of the events of Jan. 6. Trump never pardoned either adviser before leaving office. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / NPR)

  • ✏️ Cassidy Hutchinson just changed everything. The January 6 hearings have been damning. Hutchinson’s testimony took them to a new level. (Vox)

  • ✏️ 1/6 Takeaways: Angry Trump, dire legal warnings and ketchup. “Hutchinson testified that a defiant Trump was told there were guns and other weapons in the rally crowd at the White House, but sent his supporters to the Capitol anyway and even sought to physically pry the steering wheel from his presidential motorcade driver so he could join them.” (Associated Press)

2/ The FBI seized the phone of the attorney who developed Trump’s strategy to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results on Jan. 6. Federal agents stopped John Eastman and took his iPhone as he was leaving a restaurant last week, according to a lawsuit he filed in New Mexico to recover his property from the government. According to the filing, the seizure of Eastman’s phone came on the same day that federal agents searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who promised to help Trump reverse his election loss by pressuring the agency to promote his false claims of election fraud. Trump briefly considered appointing Clark to run the department because he was willing to declare the election results invalid in some key states. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The White House signaled that Biden will not pursue Senate Democratic proposals to build abortion clinics on federal land, fund people seeking abortions out of state, expanding the Supreme Court, or end the filibuster after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Progressive Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have called on Biden to declare a national medical emergency to acknowledge “the emergency situation and the urgency of getting help out.” So far, Biden’s response has consisted of urging voters to elect more Democrats and the launch of a website by the Department of Health and Human Services to help people find contraceptives and abortion services. Asked by recently if he thinks the Supreme Court is “broken,” Biden replied: “I think the Supreme Court has made some terrible decisions.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / NBC News)

4/ Global methane emissions “appear to be going in the wrong direction” despite a coalition of more than 100 nations voluntarily pledging to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Kayrros, a firm that analyzes satellite data, said methane emissions rose 20% since the easing of the coronavirus pandemic, a development the French methane tracking firm called “worrisome.” (Washington Post / Axios)

Day 524: "Bedrock constitutional principles."

1/ A Louisiana judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a statewide “trigger law” ban on abortion, allowing the state’s three remaining abortion clinics to continue operating. Louisiana is one of 13 states that had trigger laws on the books in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. In several states, including Louisiana, those laws took effect immediately, halting abortion care across the state. The order followed a lawsuit by abortion providers alleging that the state’s “trigger” bans are “vague” because they don’t have a “clear and unambiguous effective date” and “lack adequate standing for enforceability.” A hearing is pending next week. (Axios / CBS News / New York Times / Washington Post / The Hill)

  • 📌 Day 521: In a historic reversal, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion after 49 years. The 6-to-3 decision to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban follows the leak of a draft opinion in May indicating that the court was poised to overturn Roe, which first declared a constitutional right to abortion, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which re-affirmed that right in 1992. The ruling leaves states free to restrict or ban abortions. At least 26 states – where roughly 33 million women of child-bearing age live – are expected to ban or restrict abortions, including battleground states like Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which have pre-Roe bans on abortion on the books. Georgia has a six-week ban in place. More than a quarter of the country’s 790 abortion clinics are estimated to close, and women in those states will have to travel an average of 552 miles to access the medical procedure.

2/ Attorney General Merrick Garland indicated that the Justice Department will protect the right to seek abortions across state lines, calling the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade “a devastating blow to reproductive freedom.” Garland said “bedrock constitutional principles” protect a women’s rights to seek reproductive care, and that the “Constitution continues to restrict states’ authority to ban reproductive services provided outside their borders.” Both Texas and Oklahoma recently passed abortion bans that allow private citizens to sue people who perform abortions or who otherwise help someone get one. In Texas, lawmakers have signaled that they want to make it illegal for people to travel out of state to get the procedure. In his concurring opinion, however, Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that women who travel to another state to receive an abortion would be protected by the constitutional right to interstate travel. Garland also said the department is “ready to work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care,” noting that the FDA has approved the use of Mifepristone and that states cannot ban the medication based on disagreement with the FDA’s judgment. (Bloomberg / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)

3/ A coalition of 22 state attorneys general reaffirmed their commitment to defending abortion rights and expanding access to reproductive care in their states. “If you seek access to abortion and reproductive health care, we’re committed to using the full force of the law to support you,” the attorneys general wrote. “We will continue to use all legal tools at our disposal to fight for your rights and stand up for our laws,” they wrote. The coalition is comprised of the attorneys general of New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. “When it comes to abortion care,” they wrote, “it’s your body and your right to choose.” (CNN / New York Times)

4/ Justice Clarence Thomas indicated that he believes the Supreme Court should reconsider defamation laws as the court declined to revisit the First Amendment decision in New York Times v. Sullivan – a landmark 1964 ruling that set a high bar for public figures to sue news organizations for libel. The Coral Ridge Ministries Media unsuccessfully sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling it as a “hate group” for broadcasting a television program that describes homosexuality as “lawless,” “an abomination,” “vile,” “against nature,” “profane,” and “shameful.” Thomas was the only justice to say he would have heard the case, saying the “actual malice” standard established by Sullivan has “allowed media organizations and interest groups to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.” (Axios / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

5/ The Jan. 6 committee unexpectedly scheduled a hearing for Tuesday to present “recently obtained evidence” and take witness testimony. The committee did not reveal the witness list or topic but said it would “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.” The committee previously said the next set of hearings would take place when Congress returns from its two-week July Fourth recess, sometime in mid-July. Tuesday’s hearing starts at 1 p.m. Eastern and will be the panel’s sixth hearing this month. (NBC News / New York Times / CNN / CNBC / Washington Post)

6/ More than 1 million voters from 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year compared to about 630,000 who became Democrats. While Trump was in office, Democrats enjoyed a slight edge in the number of party switchers nationwide. (Associated Press)

poll/ 59% of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion, including 67% of women. 78% of Republicans were in favor of the decision, 83% of Democrats disapproved. (Bloomberg / NPR)

Day 521: "We dissent."

1/ In a historic reversal, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion after 49 years. The 6-to-3 decision to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban follows the leak of a draft opinion in May indicating that the court was poised to overturn Roe, which first declared a constitutional right to abortion, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which re-affirmed that right in 1992. The ruling leaves states free to restrict or ban abortions. At least 26 states – where roughly 33 million women of child-bearing age live – are expected to ban or restrict abortions, including battleground states like Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which have pre-Roe bans on abortion on the books. Georgia has a six-week ban in place. More than a quarter of the country’s 790 abortion clinics are estimated to close, and women in those states will have to travel an average of 552 miles to access the medical procedure. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 decision “was egregiously wrong from the start” and “must be overruled” because the arguments were “exceptionally weak,” “had damaging consequences,” and “enflamed debate and deepened division” Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined the majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t join the majority opinion, but instead wrote that there was no need to overturn Roe to rule in Mississippi’s favor. In dissent, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan wrote that the court had done damage to women’s equality and that the decision means “young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” because the court’s opinion means that “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term even at the steepest personal and familial costs.” They concluded: “With sorrow — for this court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.” Biden, meanwhile, called the decision a “tragic error” and urged voters to elect members of Congress willing to write abortion protections into law. Speaking from the White House, Biden said: “This is a sad day for the country in my view, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over.” (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / USA Today / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / SCOTUSblog / Bloomberg)

  • Key passages from the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. (New York Times)

  • Abortion is now banned in these states. Others will follow. Not all trigger bans immediately kick in, but abortion will soon be illegal in more than a dozen states. (Washington Post / Politico)

  • ✏️ We’re not going back to the time before Roe – we’re going somewhere worse. We are entering an era not just of unsafe abortions but of the widespread criminalization of pregnancy. (New Yorker)

  • ✏️ America is growing apart, possibly for good. The great “convergence” of the mid-20th century may have been an anomaly. (The Atlantic)

2/ Susan Collins and Joe Manchin claimed that Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch “misled” them about their views on Roe v. Wade and the importance of Supreme Court precedent during their confirmation proceedings in 2017 and 2018. “This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon,” Collins said. In 2018, Collins assured voters that she wouldn’t support a judge who had “demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” saying Gorsuch and Kavanaugh – both Trump nominees – had assured her that Roe was “settled as precedent.” Manchin, meanwhile, said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the justices, adding that he “trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans.” Manchin was the only Democrat to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. The Senate vote was 50-48. (The Hill / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

3/ Trump publicly praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying the ruling “will work out for everybody.” Privately, however, Trump’s told people that he believes it will be “bad for Republicans” because the decision will anger independents and suburban women – a group who helped tilt the 2020 presidential election to Biden. (Washington Post / New York Times / Fox News)

4/ Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, called on the Supreme Court to reexamine cases allowing both LGBTQ rights as well as the right to contraception. Thomas wrote that the court “should reconsider” its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage, calling them “demonstrably erroneous decisions.” Thomas added that the court had a “duty to ‘correct the error’” established in Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, and Obergefell v. Hodges. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / The Hill / CNBC)

poll/ 52% of Americans say overturning of Roe v. Wade it a step backward for the country. 56% of American women say the ruling will make their lives worse. (CBS News)

poll/ 25% of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Supreme Court – down from 36% in 2021 and five percentage points lower than the previous low recorded in 2014. (Gallup)


✏️ Notables.

  1. Biden signed into law the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years. The legislation comes just over a month after the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school killed 19 children and two adults, which came 10 days after a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket, which killed 10 Black people. Biden called the legislation a “monumental day” and said it “it’s going to save a lot of lives.” (NPR / New York Times / NBC News)

Day 520: "Substantial misconduct."

1/ The Supreme Court struck down a New York gun law enacted more than a century ago that limited who could carry a concealed handgun for self-defense in public, ruling for the first time that the Second Amendment protects gun rights outside the home. The 6-3 ruling to limit the ability of state and local governments to restrict guns outside the home marks the widest expansion of gun rights in a decade. At least six states have laws that prevent most people from legally carrying a handgun outside the home. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said that “the constitutional right to bear arms in public for self defense is not a second class right subject to an entirely different body of rules,” and that the Second Amendment is not limited to people who can demonstrate a special need to carry a gun in public. In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer pointed to the nearly 300 mass shootings since January and to data showing “gun violence has now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents.” (New York Times / Politico / NPR / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg)

2/ The Senate moved a step closer to approving bipartisan gun control legislation after clearing the 60-vote threshold needed to break a Republican filibuster. The vote was 65-34, with 15 Republicans including Mitch McConnell joining all 50 Democrats in voting to advance the package. A final vote could come as soon as today, and the House is expected to pass the bill and send it to Biden’s desk for his signature before leaving for a two-week recess. The procedural vote came less than two hours after the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that required people to show a special need to carry a handgun in public. (NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Bloomberg)

3/ The Biden administration plans to reinstate Title IX protections for transgender students that were tossed out by the Trump administration. The proposal would also overhaul a controversial set of rules issued by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that narrowed the definition of sexual harassment, expanded the rights of students accused of harassment, and required schools to allow cross-examination of parties in sexual misconduct complaints. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the proposal would codify the protections of Title IX, which prohibits schools that get federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex, for transgender students and ban “all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation and gender identity.” (NPR / Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times)

4/ The Biden administration agreed to cancel about $6 billion in federal student loan debt for roughly 200,000 borrowers who were defrauded by their college. In 2019 during the Trump administration, a group of borrowers sued the Education Department under a rule known as the borrower defense to repayment, which allows borrowers who believe they were defrauded by their college to request federal student loan relief. According to the settlement, the schools included in the deal – more than 150 – demonstrated “substantial misconduct” and many of them are now out of business. The administration has previously approved $25 billion in loan forgiveness for 1.3 million borrowers. Roughly 43 million Americans have federal student loan debt. (New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Federal agents searched the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who played a key role in Trump’s efforts to get the Justice Department to challenge Biden’s election victory. In the days before Jan. 6, Clark and Trump devised a plan to oust then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and for Trump to then name him attorney general. According to the scheme, Clark would then direct the Justice Department intervene in Georgia and set aside its voting results in order to sway the state toward Trump. The alleged plan to appoint Clark acting attorney general prompted several Justice Department officials to threaten to resign. Trump considered but ultimately abandoned the plan before the Jan. 6 attack. Clark’s conduct is also the focus of today’s Jan. 6 hearing. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / ABC News)

6/ Trump pressured top Justice Department officials to “just say [the election] was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen” in his bid to stay in power, according to evidence presented during the Jan. 6 committee’s fifth hearing. Three Trump-era Justice Department officials recounted Trump’s efforts to enlist the Justice Department into helping overturn the election, including seizing voting machines from states in late December 2020. Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified that the Justice Department didn’t have the legal authority to carry out Trump’s request and that the DOJ “held firm” against political pressure. And, days after Jan. 6, at least five Republican lawmakers asked White House officials whether Trump would pardon them for their activities in the lead-up to Jan. 6. Reps. Andy Biggs Louie Gohmert, Scott Perry, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Matt Gaetz all requested pardons. Rep. Mo Brooks also sent an email asking for “all purpose” pardons for lawmakers who objected to the electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. (New York Times / Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News / NPR)

Day 519: "Breathing room."

1/ The Jan. 6 committee will delay its public hearings for several weeks citing new evidence. Since the hearings started, the committee has obtained footage from a documentary filmmaker who followed Trump and his inner circle spanning “almost a year,” additional Trump White House emails and records from the National Archives, new interviews and depositions, and information left on investigators’ tip line. The committee was expected to hold its final hearings by the end of June. Instead, sessions will resume in July following Thursday’s scheduled meeting, which will focus on Trump and his allies’ efforts to pressure Justice Department officials into helping them overturn the results of the 2020 election. Chairman Bennie Thompson said later “at least two” are planned for next month starting the week of July 11, after the House returns from its two-week recess. (NPR / Politico / Washington Post / ABC News / Bloomberg)

2/ The Justice Department issued subpoenas to people in at least two states as it expanded its Jan. 6 investigation into efforts by Trump supporters to undo Biden’s electoral victory through fake electors. Federal agents issued subpoenas to Brad Carver in Georgia, a lawyer who claimed to be a Trump elector, and Thomas Lane in Virginia, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. After leaving the Trump campaign, Lane went to work on the Republican National Committee’s election efforts in Virginia. Separately, some of the would-be Trump electors in Michigan also received subpoenas. (Washington Post)

3/ The Senate advanced a bipartisan gun safety bill, clearing a procedural hurdle to take up the compromise measures before the Fourth of July recess. Roughly a third of Senate Republicans helped advance the package, which House Republican leaders have formally opposed. Democrats, however, control the House and will likely pass the bill without Republican support. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / NBC News)

4/ Biden called on Congress to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax of 18.3 cents per gallon for three months to give Americans “just a little bit of breathing room.” Biden also asked states to suspend their own gas taxes and urged oil companies to increase refining capacity and pass “every penny” of their savings on to consumers. The administration estimates consumers could save about a dollar per gallon between the suspension of the federal and state gas taxes, and an increase in refining capacity could lower gas prices. The move, however, is unlikely to have the support in Congress needed to pass. And economists, meanwhile, have criticized the idea of suspending the gas tax since federal road and highway programs are funded from fuel tax revenue and the relief to consumers would be limited – the federal gas tax represents less than 5% of the total per gallon cost. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Bloomberg)

  • What a pause in the gas tax would mean for prices at the pump. The White House is desperate to bring down prices, but some experts don’t think Biden’s idea would help much. (Washington Post)

5/ Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that higher interest rates could lead to a recession, saying the central bank is “not trying to provoke” a recession but it’s “certainly a possibility.” Powell, addressing the Senate Banking Committee a week after the Fed ordered the largest interest rate increase since 1994, said the central bank was “strongly committed to bringing inflation back down […] “We need to get inflation back down to 2%.” The consumer price index in May increased 8.6% over the past year, the highest level since December 1981. Economists, meanwhile, put the odds of a recession in the next 12 months at 44% – up from 28% in April. (NPR / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)

Day 518: "A direct and personal role."

1/ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen backed Biden’s position that a recession is “not inevitable.” Yellen acknowledged, however, that she expects some economic slowing as the Federal Reserve aggressively tries to curb inflation with increased interest rates. The year-over-year inflation rate is currently at 9.6% – a 40-year high – and the major stock market indexes are all down more than 20% from their highs. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, however, said all the “precedents point towards a recession,” adding that the unemployment rate would need to rise above 5% for a sustained period in order to curb inflation. Biden, meanwhile, suggested pausing the federal gas tax as a way to reduce prices for Americans. The gas tax adds 18.4 cents total per gallon of gasoline, which currently cost about $5 a gallon on average. Biden is also considering lifting Trump-era tariffs to slow inflation. (Washington Post / Politico / ABC News / Bloomberg)

2/ The Supreme Court ruled that Maine cannot exclude religious schools from a state tuition program that lets parents to use vouchers to send their children to public or private schools. The program that does not allow public funds to go to schools that promote religious instruction. The court, however, ruled that if the state used taxpayer money to pay for students attending nonreligious private schools, it must also allow the use of taxpayer funds to pay for attendance at religious schools. The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal justices in dissent. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / CNN)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee revealed evidence that Trump had a “direct and personal role” in pressuring state and local officials to overturn the 2020 election results, as well as involved in a scheme to put forward slates of fake pro-Trump electors in states won by Biden. The panel’s fourth hearing featured testimony from Republican officials on the receiving end of Trump’s outreach after the election, which showed that Trump knew that his claims of election fraud were unfounded and risked causing violence. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump asked to “find” enough votes to flip the election in Georgia, testified that Trump received fewer votes than expected because roughly 28,000 Republicans who voted didn’t choose a president that year. “The numbers are the numbers,” he said. “The numbers don’t lie.” Arizona House of Representatives Speaker Rusty Bowers testified that Rudy Giuliani – despite acknowledging that he didn’t have any evidence – pressed him to allow a state committee to study evidence of voter fraud and to look into potentially removing Biden’s electors in the state. Bowers also said Trump lawyer John Eastman inquired about decertifying the electors. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, meanwhile, testified that during a conference call, Trump had Eastman talk about helping to assemble the fake electors as a contingency. The committee also presented a text exchange between an aide to Sen. Ron Johnson and an aide to Pence attempting to arrange a handoff of fake electors minutes before Pence began to count electoral votes. The aide, Sean Riley, told Pence’s legislative director Chris Hodgson that Johnson wanted to hand deliver Pence lists of the fake electors from Michigan and Wisconsin to be introduced during the count. Hodgson replied: “Do not give that to him.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / NPR / Associated Press / CNBC)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed a documentary filmmaker for footage of Trump and his inner circle before and after the insurrection. The existence of this footage was previously unreported. Alex Holder confirmed that he had turned over the footage to the committee, which includes “unparalleled access and exclusive interviews” with Trump, his children, Jared Kushner, and Mike Pence both before and after the events of Jan. 6, as well as never-before-seen footage of the Capitol riot. Holder’s cooperation and the footage came as a surprise to several former officials on Trump’s reelection campaign, who all claimed that they each had no idea that a documentary about Trump’s reelection campaign was being filmed. “What the fuck is this?” a former senior official on Trump’s reelection team said after seeing the news. (Politico / Rolling Stone / Washington Post / NPR)

5/ Homeland and national security officials are worried about Russia using Trump’s election lies to exploit U.S. divisions in November’s midterms. Five current and former U.S. officials suggested that Russia could deliberately stage small hacks of local election authorities designed to be noticed in order to seed more conspiracies about the integrity of U.S. elections. (CNN)

poll/ 58% of Americans think Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol – up from 52% in April. (ABC News)

  • Most Americans think Trump should be prosecuted. It’s not that easy. (Washington Post)

  • Despite growing evidence, a prosecution of Trump would face challenges. “If the Justice Department were to bring a case against Trump, prosecutors would face the challenge of showing that he knew — or should have known — that his position was based on assertions about widespread election fraud that were false or that his attempt to block the congressional certification of the outcome was illegal.” (New York Times)

Day 513: "A heated fight."

1/ Trump was told that his plan to overturn the 2020 election was illegal, but pressured Pence to go along with it anyway, according to testimony from the Jan. 6 committee’s third hearing. Conservative lawyer John Eastman, the architect of the plan for Pence to use his authority to unilaterally reject the Electoral College results and overturn the 2020 election, admitted in front of Trump two days before the Capitol riot that his scheme was illegal and would lose at the Supreme Court “nine to nothing.” Even after the attack on the Capitol, Eastman continued to push for overturning the election. According to Pence lawyer Greg Jacob, Pence’s initial reaction to the scheme for him to stop the process of transferring presidential power was that there was “no way” this was “justifiable.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)

2/ Shortly after the Capitol riot, John Eastman asked Rudy Giuliani if he could be on Trump’s “pardon list” despite pushing a plan to overturn the 2020 election that he knew was illegal. “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” Eastman wrote to Giuliani in an email. While Trump issued 143 pardons and commutations on his last night as president, Eastman did not receive a pardon. Meanwhile, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann testified that Eastman continued to press his scheme after the Capitol riot. “Get a great f-ing criminal defense lawyer,” Herschmann said he told Eastman. “You’re going to need it. And I hung up on him.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

3/ John Eastman claimed to have insight into a “heated fight” among the Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments about Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Eastman, who once clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, sent an email on Dec. 24, 2020, saying “the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines […] For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add into the mix.” Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer advising the Trump campaign, replied that the prospect of “‘wild’ chaos” on Jan. 6 could lead the Supreme Court to take up the case before Congress certified the electoral vote count. Five days earlier, on Dec. 19, Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a Jan. 6 “protest” in Washington by tweeting: “Be there. Will be wild!” (New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The Jan. 6 committee has obtained emails between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and John Eastman. The committee said it plans to invite Thomas to testify about the emails and her involvement in Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. “I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them,” Thomas said. (Washington Post / CNN / Axios / Politico / Associated Press / CNBC)

5/ The Justice Department is reportedly pursuing a criminal investigation into the formation of alternate slates of pro-Trump electors seeking to overturn Biden’s victory. A federal grand jury issued subpoenas earlier this year to several pro-Trump lawyers who were working on the effort, including Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, and Kenneth Chesebro. (New York Times / CNBC)

6/ Biden signed an executive order aimed at combating “discriminatory legislative attacks” on the LGBTQ community by Republican-controlled states. The order seeks to discourage federal funding for “conversion therapy” while directing federal health and education agencies to expand access to gender affirming care and advance inclusive learning environments for LGBTQ children. The order is meant to counter 300-plus anti-LGBTQ laws introduced by state lawmakers over the past year. (Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times)

7/ There’s a 72% chance that the Federal Reserve’s attempts to address inflation will trigger a recession by 2024. In February, economic models predicted a 0% chance of a recession. A day after the Fed raised interest rates 75 basis points – its biggest interest rate hike in almost three decades – the Dow ended down 2.4%, the S&P 500 fell more than 3%, and the Nasdaq dropped more than 4%. Strategists said the S&P 500’s declines imply there’s an 85% chance of a U.S. recession, while European equities imply there’s an 80% chance of a recession. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate in the U.S., meanwhile, jumped to 5.78% – the fastest pace since 1987. One year ago, the average rate was less than 2.93%. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times)

poll/ 54% of Americans support the idea of the Justice Department indicting Trump over the Capitol riot, compared to 37% who oppose the idea. 71% of Republicans, however, opposed the DOJ filing criminal charges against Trump. (Newsweek)

Day 512: "Substantial."

1/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points – the biggest increase since 1994 – to tackle the fastest inflation in four decades. Chairman Jerome Powell called the move “an unusually large one,” adding that he expects either a 50 basis point or 75 basis point increase at the Fed’s July meeting. Economic data showed that inflation unexpectedly rose to 8.6% in May. The Fed now expect prices to increase 5.2% in 2022, compared to an earlier forecast for 4.3%, with inflation dropping to 2.6% in 2023 – still above its 2% target rate. On average, Fed policymakers expect interest rates to rise to 3.4% by December, and 3.8% by the end of 2023 – up from the 1.9% they projected in March. And, as a result of its policies, the Fed now expects the unemployment rate to increase to 3.7% this year and to 4.1% by 2024. “We’re not trying to induce a recession now,” Powell said. “Let’s be clear about that. We’re trying to achieve 2% inflation.” (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NPR / Associated Press / Bloomberg / Washington Post / CBS News / Politico)

  • 🤓 WTF is inflation, the Fed, and interest rates: A normal person’s guide. The Federal Reserve’s goal is to keep prices stable and unemployment low. Inflation, however, has pushed prices up 8.6% in the past year. In response, the Fed is raising the federal funds rate to make borrowing money more expensive, which directly impacts things like credit card interest rates, new car loans, and mortgages. By raising rates, the Fed discourages consumer spending, which lowers demand, and allows prices to come down and stabilize over time. However, raising rates too high or too quickly could slow the economy too much, which could cause a recession and lead to layoffs. Fun times. (Washington Post)

2/ The FDA’s independent vaccine advisers voted unanimously to recommend the authorization of two Covid-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old. The FDA is expected to authorize the shots within days, with vaccinations beginning as early as June 21. Pfizer’s three-dose vaccine would cover children 6 months through 4 years old, while Moderna’s two-dose vaccine would cover children 6 months through 5 years old. Meanwhile, every state but Florida has pre-ordered Covid-19 vaccine doses for children under 5. Florida missed yesterday’s deadline to pre-order, guaranteeing a delay in access for parents in the state. (Politico / New York Times / McClatchy DC / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

3/ The U.S. will send an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine. The military equipment will include anti-ship missile launchers, 18 more long-range M777 howitzers, and more rounds for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. The package represents the largest single tranche of weapons and equipment since the war began. Overall, the U.S. has committed about $5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including this latest package, since February. (Associated Press / New York Times)

4/ Trump, Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump must answer questions under oath in New York state’s civil investigation into their business practices. The New York Court of Appeals declined to take up their appeal, saying there was no “substantial constitutional question” that would warrant its intervention. Two lower courts have already rejected the claim that the probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James is politically motivated. Depositions are set to begin July 15. (Bloomberg / ABC News)

5/ A federal judge rejected Steve Bannon’s motion to dismiss the criminal contempt charge against him for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. Judge Carl Nichols rebuffed Bannon’s arguments that the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoenas were illegal and that Trump had asserted executive privilege to block his testimony. Bannon’s trial will start July 18. If convicted, Bannon could face up to a year behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000. A conviction, however, would not require him to comply with the subpoena. (Politico / CNBC / CNN)

6/ A Republican member of Congress led an unofficial tour through the Capitol complex on Jan. 5, which included at least one person who marched to the Capitol the following day. The people who joined Barry Loudermilk for a Capitol tour – which lasted several hours, despite the complex being closed to the public at the time – on Jan. 5 photographed and recorded areas “not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints,” according to the Jan. 6 committee. The tour included a man who later recorded a video threatening members of Congress while marching on the Capitol the following day. “There’s no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler,” the man said in the video. “They’re coming in, coming in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, even you, AOC. We’re coming to take you out and pull you out by your hairs.” (Politico / New York Times / The Guardian)

Day 511: "Never been more optimistic."

1/ Attorney General William Barr told the Jan. 6 committee that Trump had “become detached from reality” while pursing efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. “Before the election it was possible to talk sense to the president,” Barr said. “After the election, he didn’t seem to be listening.” Barr’s testimony, shown at the panel’s second public hearing, portrayed Trump as refusing to believe that the results were legitimate. “I was somewhat demoralized,” Barr said, “because I thought, ‘Boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.’” Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also told the committee that Trump’s world had divided into “Team Crazy” vs. “Team Normal.” Despite repeatedly being advised against pursuing claims that the election was stolen, Trump pressed ahead and raised $250 million from supporters for the so-called “Official Election Defense Fund” – which has never actually existed. Trump instead used the money to create the Save America PAC, sending millions of dollars to allies and former Trump officials. (New York Times / Los Angeles Times / Politico / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNBC)

  • Jan. 6 Committee Hearing Recaps:

  • Day 1: CNN / NBC News

  • Day 2: New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / USA Today / Associated Press / CNN / CNBC / NBC News

  • ✏️ The Fractious Night That Began Trump’s Bid to Overturn the Election. Trump’s advisers urged him not to declare victory on election night in 2020. He listened to the one who told him what he wanted to hear. (New York Times)

  • ✏️ New details emerge of Oval Office confrontation three days before Jan. 6. Jeffrey Clark, a mid-level Justice Department official, wanted Trump to name him attorney general in a plan aimed at potentially overturning the election. (Washington Post)

2/ Rudy Giuliani denied that he was drunk when he urged Trump to declare victory on election night while votes were still being counted, accusing campaign aides Jason Miller and Bill Stepien of perjury. In a pair of tweets that were later deleted, Giuliani claimed that he had “REFUSED all alcohol that evening,” and that he was “disgusted and outraged at the out right lie” by Miller and Stepien. Miller had testified under oath that Giuliani was “definitely intoxicated” on election night 2020. Stepien, however, never referenced Giuliani’s sobriety at the hearing, though Giuliani apparently believed he had. (NBC News / Washington Post)

3/ The chairman of the Jan. 6 committee said the panel will not make a criminal referral of Trump or anyone else to the Justice Department. Bennie Thompson suggested that making a formal referral to the Justice Department is “not our job. Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it and make recommendations after that.” Thompson added: “If the Department of Justice looks at it and sees something that needs further review, I’m sure they’ll do it.” Other committee members, however, pushed back, saying the panel has a responsibility to report criminal activity to the Justice Department and that they have “not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals.” Attorney General Merrick Garland, meanwhile, said he’s watching the House hearings, as are Justice Department lawyers prosecuting cases related to the attack on the Capitol. (CNN / NPR / NBC News / Wall Street Journal

4/ The Jan. 6 committee postponed its public hearing scheduled for Wednesday due to “technical issues” stemming from “overwhelming” demand on staff to produce videos. Wednesday’s hearing had been expected to focus on Trump’s efforts to replace Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was supportive of his fraud claims. The next hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and will focus on Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence to refuse to certify the election results. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times)

5/ Voters have nominated at least 149 Republican candidates for state and federal office who have either repeated Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was rigged or campaigned on “election integrity” platforms. Overall, 108 won their nominations or advanced to runoffs have denied or directly questioned the 2020 election results, while 41 other winners have campaigned on tightening voting rules despite the lack of evidence of widespread fraud. (Washington Post)

6/ A bipartisan group of senators reached a tentative agreement on legislation to combat gun violence. Ten senators from each party signed on to a framework that would pair modest new gun restrictions with new funding for mental health and school security. The deal would also provide incentives for states to implement and enforce “red flag” laws, which allow authorities to keep guns away from people found by a judge to represent a risk to themselves or others. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said he’s “comfortable” with the framework and is inclined to support it. If passed, the proposal would be the most significant gun law to make it through Congress in decades. (Washington Post / ABC News / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

7/ The S&P 500 fell further into bear market territory ahead of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision on interest rates. Before last week’s higher than expected inflation report, the Fed was expected to raise interest rates by half a percentage point this week and then again in July after raising rates a quarter point in March and half a point in May. Traders, however, now expect a more than 90% chance of a 75-basis-point rate hike tomorrow. Despite economic indicators warning of a possible recession ahead, Biden told the nation’s largest federation of labor unions he’s “never been more optimistic about America than I am today.” And, despite U.S. stocks plunging further into a bear market and worsening inflation, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre added that the administration believes Americans are “well positioned” to face these economic challenges. (New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

  • ✏️ How the Fed and the Biden Administration Got Inflation Wrong. Officials applied an old playbook to a new crisis. “We fought the last war.” (Wall Street Journal)

Day 506: "Strategy to subvert the election."

1/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection will present its findings to the American public tonight. The 90-minute hearing is the first in a series of six planned for this month and will lay out the evidence of what happened on the day of the attack, as well as the two months that preceded it as Trump led an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The committee will present previously unreleased video of Trump’s top aides and family members testifying before its panel, footage revealing the role of the Proud Boys in the attack, and evidence showing Trump at the center of a “coordinated, multistep effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” which resulted in a mob of his supporters storming the Capitol and disrupting the peaceful transfer of power. The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, obtained more than 140,000 documents, and issued nearly 100 subpoenas. “We’ll demonstrate the multipronged effort to overturn a presidential election, how one strategy to subvert the election led to another, culminating in a violent attack on our democracy,” Adam Schiff said. “It’s an important story, and one that must be told to ensure it never happens again.” (New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

  • How can I watch the Jan. 6 committee hearing? The committee will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday. All major broadcast and cable news networks will carry the hearing live, except for Fox News, which will “cover the hearings as news warrants.”

  • When will the next Jan. 6 committee hearing be? Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern.

  • Jan. 6: The Story So Far. (New York Times)

2/ A Republican gubernatorial candidate in Michigan was arrested by the FBI on misdemeanor charges for participating in the attack on the Capitol. Ryan Kelley was charged with knowingly entering restricted grounds without authority, damaging federal property, disorderly conduct, and knowingly engaging in an act of violence. All four charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison. (Detroit News / NPR / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ The House passed a broad package of gun control legislation in response to recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. The “Protecting Our Kids Act” passed 223-204 with five Republicans voting for the bill. The measure, however, is not expected to pass the Senate. (NPR / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Unemployment claims increased to the highest level in five months. Initial filings for unemployment benefits jumped to 229,000 – exceeding all estimates – while economists had forecast 195,000 claims. The White House, meanwhile, said it expects U.S. inflation to be “elevated” in tomorrow’s consumer price index report for May. Economists expect the report to show that prices continued to rise in May, on par with April’s inflation of 8.3%. (Bloomberg / NBC News / Reuters / MarketWatch / Barrons)

poll/ 66% of Americans say they expect inflation to get worse in the coming year, while 21% expect it to get better, and 12% think it will stay the same. (Washington Post)

poll/ 59% of Americans think it is more important to control gun violence while 35% say it’s more important to protect gun rights. 92% of Democrats and 54% of independents say it’s more important to control gun violence, while 70% of Republicans say it’s more important to protect gun rights. (NPR / Marist)

Day 505: "Transparent."

1/ A man armed with a pistol, a knife, and other weapons was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home. Nicholas John Roske told the authorities that he traveled from California to kill the Supreme Court justice. Roske told the police that he was upset about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. His plan was to break into Kavanaugh’s house, kill the justice, and then kill himself. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / NPR / NBC News)

2/ Trump, Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump agreed to testify in the New York attorney general’s civil probe into the family’s business practices. The deal comes more than six months after Attorney General Letitia James first issued subpoenas for their testimony, which the Trumps and the Trump Organization have fought. James previously said investigators have found “significant evidence” of wrongdoing in the investigation, which is focused on whether the Trump Organization misstated the values of its real estate properties to obtain favorable loans and tax deductions. The three are tentatively set to begin testifying on July 15. (CNBC / Reuters / The Guardian / Bloomberg / NBC News)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee is in active discussions with Trump’s White House counsel about testifying publicly at one of their upcoming hearings. Pat Cipollone’s testimony, however, will be restricted to the effort undertaken by former top Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark to help Trump attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Following the Jan. 6 riot, Cipollone advised Trump that he could face civil liability in connection with his role encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol. Gregory Jacob, a senior Pence adviser, meanwhile, is scheduled to testify publicly before the Jan. 6 committee about his efforts to help Pence fend off Trump attorney John Eastman’s campaign to disrupt the transition of power. (ABC News / Politico)

4/ The FDA’s panel of independent vaccine experts recommended authorization of Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for the fourth shot in the U.S. The Novavax shot is a protein-based vaccine, given as two shots. Moderna, meanwhile, said its updated vaccine shows a “superior neutralizing antibody response” against the omicron subvariants compared to its original vaccine. The Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 now represent 13% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. – up from 7.5% a week ago and 1% in early May. The Biden administration said it’s preparing for a fall and winter wave driven by Omicron subvariants that could see 100 million coronavirus infections and a potentially significant number of deaths. (ABC News / Washington Post / New York Times / NPR)

5/ The House is expected to pass the most aggressive gun control legislation in years, which will stall in the evenly divided Senate. The House bill would raise the age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, ban high-capacity magazines, require a background check for buying a “ghost gun,” and include safe storage requirements for firearms. House Democrats, however, are forcing a separate vote on each proposal in the legislation, in order to put Republicans on the record on each measure. The Justice Department, meanwhile, named a team of nine people, including an FBI official and former police chiefs, to aid in a review of the law enforcement response to the Uvalde, Texas, shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Justice Department officials said they planned to conduct a comprehensive and “transparent” investigation that would lead to a report in six months. (Politico / New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post)

poll/ 74% of Americans support raising the minimum legal age to buy a gun to 21 years old nationwide, 24% oppose. 57% support stricter gun laws in the U.S. 50% also support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons. (Quinnipiac)

Day 504: "Heightened threat environment."

1/ The World Bank warned that the global economy may be headed for several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth. The bank cut its annual global growth forecast to 2.9% from January’s 4.1%, saying “subdued growth will likely persist throughout the decade because of weak investment in most of the world.” The world economy expanded 5.7% in 2021 following the Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered the deepest global recession since World War II. “The world economy is again in danger,” President David Malpass said in the Global Economic Prospects report. “It is facing high inflation and slow growth at the same time. Even if a global recession is averted, the pain of stagflation could persist for several years – unless major supply increases are set in motion.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, conceded that inflation is at “unacceptable levels” and that she expects “inflation to remain high.” She pointed to “disruptions caused by the pandemic’s effect on supply chains, and the effects of supply side disturbances to oil and food markets resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine” as the primary reasons for high prices. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

2/ Atmospheric CO2 topped 420 parts per million in May – 50% higher than the levels at the start of the Industrial Revolution and the highest concentration ever recorded in human history. Carbon dioxide levels are now comparable to the Pliocene Climatic Optimum – which was more than 4 million years ago. Two U.N. food agencies, meanwhile, warned that “climate shocks,” like drought and flooding, have exacerbated already steadily rising food and energy prices worldwide. (New Atlas / NOAA / Associated Press)

3/ The Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism bulletin warning of heightened domestic extremists threats as the U.S. enters the midterm elections. In the latest National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin, DHS said that the U.S. was already in a “heightened threat environment” but a Supreme Court decision on abortion, an increase of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the midterm elections could worsen the situation and trigger extremist violence over the next six months. The bulletin, which is scheduled to expire Nov. 30, warned of “violence by domestic violent extremists directed at democratic institutions, political candidates, party offices, election events, and election workers” will likely increase through the fall. (Associated Press / CNN)

4/ The Trump campaign directed a group of 16 Georgia Republicans named as “alternate” electors to operate with “complete secrecy and discretion” as Trump attempted to overturn his defeat by Biden. Robert Sinners, the Trump campaign’s election operations director for Georgia, sent a Dec. 13, 2020 email instructing the electors to tell security guards at the building that they had an appointment with state senators. “Please, at no point should you mention anything to do with Presidential Electors or speak to the media,” Sinners wrote, adding: “Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result — a win in Georgia for President Trump — but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion.” (Washington Post / CNN)

5/ The Secret Service said Trump’s call for supporters “to walk down to the Capitol” on Jan. 6, 2021, prompted agents to consider options to secure a motorcade. Ultimately, however, agents found that transporting Trump to the Capitol “would not be feasible.” The Jan. 6 committee has interviewed Robert Engel, the top Secret Service agent on Trump’s protective detail during the Capitol attack. (Washington Post / CNN / Politico)

Day 503: "Delivering for the American people."

1/ Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to boost the domestic production of solar panels and their parts in an effort to shift the country toward clean energy. Biden also declared a 24-month tariff exemption for solar panels from four Southeast Asian nations after an investigation froze imports. The Commerce Department’s inquiry into possible trade violations involving Chinese solar panel- and cell-makers had cut solar installation forecasts nearly in half. In 2020, 89% of the solar panels used in the U.S. were imported. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden invoked the Defense Production act “to make sure that he’s delivering for the American people.” (NPR / Associated Press / New York Times / NBC News / Reuters / Washington Post / CNN)

2/ Biden is expected to decide in July or August whether to partially forgive student-loan debt for 40 million borrowers who owe about $1.6 trillion. Earlier this year, Biden extended the pandemic-related pause in federal student loan payments through the end of August. Officials say Biden is likely to announce his plans closer to when the pause is scheduled to lapse. (Wall Street Journal)

3/ The U.S. has wasted 82.1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses – just over 11% of the doses the federal government distributed. CVS and Walmart were responsible for over a quarter of the doses thrown away. (NBC News / Axios)

4/ Pence’s chief of staff reportedly warned the Secret Service on Jan 5th that Trump was going to publicly turn against the vice president, and there could be a security risk because of it. It is unclear what the agent, Tim Giebels, did with Marc Short’s message. The next day, however, more than 2,000 pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, with some chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” (New York Times / Axios)

5/ The Justice Department charged the former top leader of the Proud Boys extremist group and four other members with seditious conspiracy for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. The men were previously charged in a March indictment with conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 presidential election, and the sedition charges add to the Justice Department’s allegations of an organized plot to use force to either to overthrow the government or to interfere with the execution of federal law. The Justice Department previously charged 11 members of the Oath Keepers and their leader Stewart Rhodes in January 2022 with similar seditious conspiracy charges. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

6/ The Justice Department declined to prosecute former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and communications chief Daniel Scavino despite being referred for contempt for failing to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee. Meanwhile, former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. Navarro is the second Trump adviser to face criminal charges. Steve Bannon was indicted on a contempt of Congress charge in November after he refused the committee requests. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / Washington Post / ABC News / NBC News / CBS News)

Notably Next: The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection of the Capitol will host its first televised hearing Thursday at 8 pm Eastern. After more than 100 subpoenas, 1,000 interviews, and 100,000 documents, the committee said it plans to present evidence from its 10-month investigation that show a deliberate, coordinated effort by Trump and his associates to delay certification of Biden’s 2020 presidential election, and how that led to the violence at the Capitol. At least six hearings are planned, two of them in prime time. (Bloomberg / Associated Press)

poll/ 45% of Americans say Trump is solely or mainly responsible for the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, while 55% say Trump is only somewhat or not really responsible. (Washington Post)

poll/ 83% of Americans described the state of the economy as poor or not so good. 35% said they aren’t satisfied at all with their financial situation. (Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 37% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the economy. 80% say that inflation is also an important factor in how they will vote this November. (ABC News)

poll/ 44% of Republican respondents said deadly mass shootings in the U.S. are something that must be accepted as part of a “free society.” 85% of Democrats and 73% of Independents, meanwhile, said mass shootings are “something we can prevent and stop if we really tried.” (Newsweek)

Day 499: "Common sense."

1/ The House will vote on legislation banning military-style “assault” weapons as early as next week following mass shootings in Texas and New York by 18-year-old assailants who used semi-automatic rifles to kill 31 people, including 19 children. The action, however, will mostly be symbolic with Senate Republicans vowing to oppose virtually any new limits on firearms. Meanwhile, four people were killed, including two doctors, after a gunman opened fire inside an Oklahoma hospital. The gunman blamed one of the physicians for causing him ongoing pain following back surgery in May. Michael Louis bought the AR-15-style weapon about an hour before the attack. Biden is scheduled to give a speech at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on “the recent tragic mass shootings and the need for Congress to act to pass common sense laws.” (Associated Press / The Hill / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)

2/ Biden claimed that he wasn’t aware of the baby formula shortage despite company executives telling him at the White House in February that a shortage would be severe following the closure of an Abbott plant in Michigan. Biden suggested that he was not informed until April. The FDA closed the plant in February after an inspection found samples of a dangerous bacteria. (ABC News / Washington Post)

3/ The Biden administration canceled $5.8 billion in student loan debt for 560,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges, the now-defunct for-profit school network. The debt relief is the largest ever single discharge of federal student loan debt. (CNN / Politico / New York Times)

4/ The EPA will reverse a Trump-era rule and restore authority to states to oppose gas pipelines, coal terminals, and other energy projects that pollute local rivers and streams. For 50 years, states under the Clean Water Act had the authority to review and block energy and infrastructure projects that threatened to pollute or harm waterways within their borders. But in 2020, Trump issued a regulation reining in that power. (New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ The Florida Supreme Court refused to consider a challenge to a new congressional map that gives a substantial advantage to Republicans. The map, which will likely give Republicans a potential 20-8 advantage, is expected to remain in place for this year’s elections. Trump carried Florida by 3.3 percentage points in the 2020 election and was favored by a majority of voters in 20 of the 28 districts. (New York Times / Politico)

6/ Social Security is projected to be able to pay benefits until 2035 – one full year later than previously projected. The rapid economic recovery following the brief recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic means that the program’s combined reserves won’t be depleted until 2035. After that, the program will be able to pay 77% of scheduled benefits – which help support payouts for retirees, the elderly, survivors, and disabled – through tax income unless Congress steps in. About 56 million people received retirement and survivors benefits in 2021. [Editor’s note: While I’m happy that my Boomer and Gen X readers will be minimally impacted by this news, 2035 is about 15 years before I can retire. Who knows what kind of Social Security shit show awaits. And while I’d like to believe that the system and our elected representatives are capable of fixing this, I am also of the mindset that no one is coming to save us. So, if you find my work valuable, please consider becoming a supporting member so I can afford to retire, someday.] (Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNBC)

poll/ 57% of Americans say a woman should be able to get an abortion for any reason – the highest share since 1977. (Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 55% of Americans identify as “pro-choice” – up six percentage points following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade. Pro-choice sentiment is at its highest level since 1995 when it was 56%. (Gallup)

Day 498: "Massive failure."

1/ The Republican National Committee has reportedly recruited an “army” of trained operatives to contest votes in Democratic-majority polling places. The RNC plan, as outlined by Matthew Seifried, the RNC’s election integrity director for Michigan, calls for connecting poll workers directly with party attorneys and district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts. Steve Bannon previously called this the “precinct strategy,” which Trump recently endorsed. Nick Penniman, founder and CEO of the election watchdog group Issue One, said the strategy is designed to “create massive failure of certification” in Democratic precincts to justify intervention by GOP-controlled state legislatures to “throw the choosing of electors to state legislatures.” (Politico)

2/ The Supreme Court blocked Texas’ social media censorship law, which would have allowed Texans and the state’s attorney general to sue social media companies for taking down posts based on a user’s viewpoint. The court’s order isn’t the final ruling on the Texas’ law, which is currently pending before a federal appeals court and is expected to return to the Supreme Court. Under current U.S. law, online platforms are not responsible for what people post and a company’s policies over allowable content has long been considered a type of speech protected by the First Amendment. (New York Times / NPR / Axios)

3/ The Labor Department reported that U.S. job openings fell in April but remained close to record levels. Job openings declined by 455,000 to 11.4 million in April from March’s record high of 11.9 million. Some 4.4 million Americans quit or changed jobs in April, while employers hired 6.6 million people, and layoffs fell to an all-time low of 1.2 million. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, meanwhile, said she was “wrong” about “the path that inflation would take.” In 2021, Yellen projected that inflation would be a “small risk,” adding that she didn’t “anticipate that inflation is going to be a problem.” Inflation is currently running at a near-four-decade high. (Washington Post / CNBC / CNN / Wall Street Journal / The Hill / Bloomberg)

4/ The U.S. and Germany agreed to send Ukraine more advanced weapons to resist Russian forces. Biden, however, stressed that “we are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.” Germany said it will supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and radar systems, while the U.S. said it will provide four medium-range rocket systems and ammunition. The Biden administration also plans to sell Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones for battlefield use. The U.K. also asked the U.S. to sign off on a plan to send advanced, medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine. The Kremlin, meanwhile, accused the U.S. of “pouring fuel on the fire” and Western officials have worried that providing Kyiv with rockets that could strike inside Russia could provoke Putin into escalating the conflict. (NPR / NBC News / Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / Reuters / New York Times)

poll/ 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage. When first polled about same-sex marriage in 1996, 27% of Americans supported legalizing gay marriage, and it wasn’t until 2011 that support reached the majority level. (Gallup)

Day 497: "Critically important work."

1/ Biden, calling inflation his “top economic priority,” met with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and outlined a three-part plan to tackle high prices. Biden said the Fed has “a primary responsibility to control inflation” and that he’s “not going to interfere with their critically important work.” Biden added: “The most important thing we can do now to transition from rapid recovery to stable, steady growth is to bring inflation down.” The Fed is currently in the process of raising interest rates at the most aggressive pace since the 1980s to cool demand to moderate price pressures. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

2/ A lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was found not guilty of lying to the FBI when he shared a tip about possible connections between Trump and Russia two months before the election. The jury verdict in favor of Michael Sussmann was the first courtroom test for special counsel John Durham, who was tasked by the Trump administration three years ago with finding possible wrongdoing among federal agents who investigated Trump’s potential ties with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Sussmann was accused of lying to the FBI in September 2016 when he brought the FBI allegations of a secret computer communications backchannel between the Trump Organization and Russia-based Alfa Bank. Sussmann had claimed that he was not bringing the information on behalf of a client. Prosecutors, however, alleged Sussmann had done so on behalf of the Clinton campaign and technology executive Rodney Joffe. After deliberating for about six hours, jurors found Sussmann not guilty. (Politico / NPR / Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

3/ The Justice Department subpoenaed former Trump adviser Peter Navarro to appear before a grand jury as part of its probe into the Jan. 6 insurrection. It’s the first known instance of prosecutors seeking testimony from someone who worked in the Trump White House. Navarro, meanwhile, called the subpoena the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The House voted to refer Navarro to the Department of Justice on a criminal contempt of Congress charge last month after he refused to cooperate with the committee’s subpoena for testimony and documents. (New York Times / Politico / CNBC / Associated Press)

4/ A Republican lawyer central to the plot to reverse the 2020 election is recruiting an “army of citizens” to monitor elections for fraud. Cleta Mitchell’s network of grass-root groups, which have promoted misinformation and conspiracy theories, have been tapped to surveil and pressure local election officials. rather than ensure voters’ access to the ballot. The Republican National Committee has so far recruited more than 5,000 poll watchers and nearly 12,000 poll workers. Federal investigators, meanwhile, are looking at whether the Trump campaign played a role in the submission of false election certificates, issuing subpoenas related to the alternate electors in Georgia seeking communications with “any member, employee or agent of Donald J. Trump or any organization advocating in favor of the 2020 re-election of Donald J. Trump.” Investigators have also interviewed a Republican who was set to be a 2020 elector in Michigan. (New York Times / CNN)

5/ The House Judiciary Committee called an emergency hearing to consider the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” a package of eight gun control bills that Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said he intends to bring to the House floor “as soon as possible.” The omnibus package would increase the legal purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, ban the import, sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of large-capacity magazines, and establish requirements and criminal penalties to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises. Even if the package passed the House, it would still face a filibuster by Senate Republicans. At least 15 mass shootings have taken place across the United States since the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. (Axios / CNBC / Washington Post)

poll/ 14% of Americans rate economic conditions as either “excellent” or “good,” while 46% say they are “poor,” with another 39% rating them as “only fair.” The Economic Confidence Index, meanwhile, dropped to -45 in May, down from -39 over the previous two months. The recent measure of Americans’ perceptions of current economic conditions and their outlook for the economy is the lowest reading since the tail end of the Great Recession in early 2009. (Gallup)

Day 478: "Headlines and sensationalization."

1/ The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed five House Republicans, including Kevin McCarthy. In addition to McCarthy, the panel sent summons to Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said the Republican lawmakers have information relevant to its investigation and that the panel was forced to issue the subpoenas after all five rejected requests to voluntarily testify. McCarthy indicated he might not comply with the subpoena, while Perry suggested that the subpoenas were “for headlines and sensationalization.” The move marked the first time that the bipartisan investigation has issued subpoenas to sitting members of Congress. The committee’s public hearings are scheduled to begin June 9. (Politico / CBS News / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / NPR / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Biden authorized the National Archives to release an eighth tranche of Trump’s records to the Jan. 6 committee. Biden again declined to assert executive privilege over the records. The documents are set to be delivered to the committee by May 26. (Washington Post)

  • [December 2020] Attorney John Eastman urged Republican legislators in Pennsylvania to retabulate and throw out tens of thousands of absentee ballots in order to show Trump with a lead. Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. (Politico / Washington Post)

3/ A federal grand jury issued a subpoena to the National Archives to obtain the 15 boxes of classified White House documents that Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether the classified White House documents were mishandled, including how the documents made their way from the White House residence to Mar-a-Lago, who boxed them up, and whether anyone knew the boxes contained classified material. (New York Times)

4/ The Biden administration canceled the sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and the coast of Alaska. The Interior Department cited a “lack of industry interest in leasing in the area” for the decision to “not move forward.” The department also halted two leases under consideration for the Gulf of Mexico because of “conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales.” (CBS News / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Finland moved to join NATO “without delay” in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Neighboring Sweden is expected to announce its own NATO bid soon. The Kremlin, meanwhile, warned that Finland’s announcement would “definitely” pose a threat to its security and Russia would be forced to take retaliatory “military-technical” steps “to stop the threats that arise.” (NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press / New York Times)

Day 477: "Failure."

1/ Senate Republicans and Joe Manchin blocked a bill to enshrine abortion rights into federal law, which would guarantee access nationwide even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Democrats needed 60 votes to take up the Women’s Health Protection Act, but all 50 Republicans and Manchin voted against proceeding to debate. The final vote was 49-51. Following the vote, Biden criticized Republicans’ “failure” to protect access to reproductive health care, saying the vote “runs counter to the will of the majority of the American people” and that Republicans “have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives.” Harris added that “the priority should be to elect pro-choice leaders.” (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Politico / CNBC / Bloomberg)

2/ Republican Sen. Susan Collins called the police over a chalk message in front of her house asking her to support the Women’s Health Protection Act. Collins called the chalk message – “Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA —> vote yes, clean up your mess” – a “defacement of public property in front of our home.” Collins, a moderate, pro-choice Senate Republican previously voted to confirm several Supreme Court justices who appear poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Collins also voted against Women’s Health Protection Act. (CNN / Buzzfeed News / Business Insider)

3/ The pace of inflation eased slightly in April for the first time in seven months. The Consumer Price Index increased by 8.3% in April compared to a year ago – below the 8.5% year-over-year increase in March, which was the highest rate since 1981. Prices rose 0.3% on a month-to-month basis. Core inflation, meanwhile, rose 0.6% in April – faster than March’s 0.3% increase. (Politico / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)

4/ The House approved more than $40 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine. The package, which is larger than the $33 billion aid package Biden requested last month, includes more than $18.7 billion in military and security aid, and $8.8 billion in direct economic support for Ukraine. The package now heads to the Senate where it will need 60 votes to advance. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

5/ A New York judge released Trump from a contempt of court order – on the condition that he pays the $110,000 in fines he’s accumulated for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents issued by the New York Attorney General’s Office. The judge ruled that if Trump and his company didn’t pay the $110,000 penalty by May 20, he would reinstate the contempt order and retroactively apply the $10,000-a-day fine. (Associated Press / Politico / New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

6/ Several people who served as fake Republican electors in Georgia are cooperating in the criminal probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. During interviews with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office, witnesses have reportedly provided significant information about what happened on December 14, 2020, when pro-Trump electors met and voted on alternate slates. Trump, who lost Georgia by about 12,000 votes, pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to swing the state to him. The call set off the criminal investigation. The Justice Department is also investigating fake electors and a grand jury recently issued subpoenas. (CNN)

poll/ 57% of Americans say Roe v. Wade should be left in place, while 36% want the Supreme Court to overturn the precedent. 33% of Americans support keeping abortion legal, 31% support abortion rights with some limitations, 26% say it should be illegal except for rape, incest or to save the mother’s life, and 8% say it should always be illegal. 52% of Americans, meanwhile, disapprove of the job the Supreme Court is doing – up from 42% from two months ago. (Monmouth)

Day 476: "The bottom line."

1/ Biden said that tackling inflation is his “top domestic priority” as the average price for a gallon of gas nationwide hit $4.37 – the highest price since 2000 when AAA started keeping track. The Consumer Price Index, which will be released Wednesday, is expected to report that inflation is running above 8% – its highest level in 40 years. Biden also accused Republicans of pursuing an “extreme” agenda that would raise taxes on working class voters and help the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. The GOP plan would require all Americans to pay some federal income taxes, ban debt ceiling increases, and require all federal programs to expire every five years, unless renewed by Congress. About half of Americans do not pay federal income taxes because they do not earn enough. “The bottom line is this: Americans have a choice right now between two paths reflecting two very different sets of values,” Biden said. “My plan attacks inflation and lowers the deficit […] The other path is the ultra MAGA plan.” (New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / CNBC)

2/ A group of House and Senate Democrats are introducing legislation to tighten judicial ethics laws, which would require more disclosure, a Supreme Court code of conduct, and a judicial recusal process. The Supreme Court is the only court that doesn’t follow a judicial code of ethics. The bill comes following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade, and news that the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas repeatedly urged White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to take steps to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Separately, Sen. Bob Casey, a self-described pro-life Democrat, said he would support legislation to codify Roe v. Wade into law. Wednesday’s procedural vote to open the debate on the bill to codify Roe, however, is still expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to proceed in the 50-50 Senate. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

3/ An administrative law judge in Georgia ruled that Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene can stay on the ballot despite claims by a group of voters that she engaged in insurrection due to her support for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. In his 19-page opinion, Judge Charles Beaudrot said the challengers failed to establish that Greene “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or [gave] aid or comfort to the enemies thereof under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.” The ruling allows Greene to stay on the ballot for the state’s 14th Congressional District May 24 primary. (ABC News / Associated Press)

4/ A federal judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit seeking to reinstate his Twitter account, but Elon Musk nevertheless said he would reverse Trump’s permanent ban if his deal to buy the social network goes through. Twitter permanently suspended Trump in Jan. 2021 after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, citing the “risk of further incitement of violence.” Musk called the ban “a morally bad decision” that was “foolish in the extreme” because “It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.” It’s unclear if Trump would rejoin Twitter, but his advisers warned that rejoining would depress the value of his recently launched social media site, Truth Social, which has struggled to gain an audience. (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR)

5/ The Earth has a 50-50 chance of temporarily exceeding the 1.5 degrees Celsius of above preindustrial global warming threshold by 2026, a new report by the World Meteorological Organization finds. The annual average of global near-surface temperatures for any year over the next five years is forecast to be between 1.1 and 1.7 degrees Celsius higher than preindustrial levels – the average temperatures between the years 1850 and 1900. The United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office said there is a 93% chance that the world will set a record for hottest year by the end of 2026, and that there’s also a 93% chance that the five years from 2022 to 2026 will be the hottest on record. (Washington Post / USA Today / CBS News / PBS NewsHour)

poll/ 51% of voters express some confidence in the Supreme Court – down from 70% in Sept. 2020. (Yahoo News)

Day 475: "Serious risk."

1/ The White House warned that the country is at “serious risk” of a nationwide ban on abortion after Mitch McConnell called such a ban “possible” if the leaked Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade became final and Republicans gain control in Washington. McConnell suggested that if the draft represented the final ruling, lawmakers “not only at the state level but at the federal level” could codify abortion bans. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, moved to advance a bill that would codify access to abortion into federal law. The effort, however, seems destined to fail because Democrats would need at least 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. (NPR / USA Today / New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post)

2/ Justice Clarence Thomas – whose wife sent 21 text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows imploring him to take steps to overturn the 2020 election – said he’s worried about declining respect for the Supreme Court. Thomas said the judiciary is threatened if people are unwilling to “live with outcomes we don’t agree with.” He then referred to reproductive-rights protests stemming from the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade as “unfortunate events” and “bodes ill for a free society.” Thomas added that the Supreme Court can’t be “bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want.” (Washington Post / NPR)

3/ Biden signed a bipartisan measure to streamline the process of supplying Ukraine with the military equipment to fight off Russia’s invasion. The measure, updates the World War II-era “lend-lease” program used to help U.S. allies defeat Nazi Germany, will cut some red tape but doesn’t include additional funding. Separately, Biden has asked Congress for $33 billion in aid to Ukraine. Putin, meanwhile, hailed his country’s army for “fighting for the Motherland.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times)

4/ Biden announced that 20 internet companies agreed to provide discounted high-speed service to low-income consumers. Under the Affordable Connectivity Program, an estimated 48 million Americans would qualify for high-speed internet plans that cost no more than $30 a month (or $75 a month on Tribal lands). (NPR / ABC News / Associated Press)

5/ U.S. stock indexes fell to a 13-month low amid high inflation, rising interest rates, and concerns about the Federal Reserve’s ability to avoid a recession. Economists estimate that there’s a 28% probability of a recession sometime in the next 12 months – up from 18% in January. The U.S. economy, meanwhile, added 428,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / NBC News)

poll/ 66% of Americans say Roe v. Wade should not be completely struck down. 59% said they would support legislation to establish a nationwide right to abortion, including 81% of Democrats, 65% of independents, and 30% of Republicans. (CNN)

Day 471: "Appropriate next steps."

1/ Senate Democrats moved to vote on a bill to codify abortion rights into federal law in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would strike down Roe v. Wade. The vote, however, is all but certain to be blocked by Republicans because the bill needs 60 votes to advance. Senate Democrats are also short of the 50 votes needed to eliminate the filibuster. In February, the Senate voted on the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act, which failed to advance in a 46 to 48 vote. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, reiterated that he still supports the filibuster, calling it “the only protection we have of democracy right now.” And Susan Collins, one of two Republican senators who support abortion rights, said she doesn’t support legislation to create a statutory right to abortion because the measure doesn’t “protect the right of a Catholic hospital to not perform abortions.” She added: “It supersedes all other federal and state laws, including the conscience protections that are in the Affordable Care Act.” Nevertheless, Chuck Schumer said the vote would be one of “the most important we ever take.” 52% of women of childbearing age in the U.S. would live in states where their right to an abortion is restrictive if Roe v. Wade is overturned. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / The Hill / NBC News / ABC News / Politico)

2/ Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department “will address appropriate next steps” if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. While it’s unclear what kind of enforcement the Justice Department would use to protect women seeking abortions, Garland said the department has “steadfastly been committed to defending the right to abortion.” White House officials have looked at whether funding, potentially through Medicaid or another mechanism, could be made available to women to travel to other states for an abortion if Congress can’t codify Roe v. Wade. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have discussed potential legislation to restrict abortions nationwide if they gain control of the Senate. (Washington Post / NBC News)

3/ Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito canceled a conference appearance after his draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked. Alito had been set to appear at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ judicial conference, which includes judges from the New Orleans-based federal appeals court and the district courts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A spokesperson for the court gave no reason why Alito canceled and would not attend. (Reuters)

4/ Louisiana House Republicans advanced a bill that would classify abortion as homicide and allow prosecutors to criminally charge patients. The bill would grant constitutional rights to a person “from the moment of fertilization,” which could also restrict in vitro fertilization and emergency contraception. (Washington Post)

5/ The stock market had one of its worst days since 2020 – a day after notching its biggest one-day gain in two years. The Dow lost 3.12% and the Nasdaq fell 4.99% – the index’s worst single-day drops since 2020 – while the S&P 500 fell 3.56%, marking its second worst day of the year. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)

6/ Nearly 15 million people worldwide have died from causes related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new estimate from the World Health Organization. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

Day 470: "Not going to be easy."

1/ Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a Texas-style abortion ban into law, which prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers to enforce the law. The “Oklahoma Heartbeat Act” takes effect immediately and prohibits abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – before many women even know that they’re pregnant. The Oklahoma Supreme Court denied an emergency request to temporarily halt the bill. The measure provides exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest. (CNN / Associated Press)

2/ The National Republican Senatorial Committee circulated a three-page memo of talking points urging GOP candidates to “be the compassionate consensus-builder” on abortion and attack Democrats for their “extreme and radical views on abortion.” The memo also recommended that Republican candidates “Forcefully refute Democrat lies regarding GOP positions on abortion and women’s health care.” (Axios / New York Times)

3/ J.D. Vance won Ohio’s Senate Republican primary with 32% support after a late endorsement by Trump. Prior to Trump’s endorsement, Vance was in third place in polls with about 10% support. Vance will face off against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a 10-term House member and 2020 presidential candidate, who won his party’s nomination with nearly 70% of the vote. Elsewhere, a Republican candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives – who told women to “enjoy” rape – lost his race to represent Michigan’s 74th district. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Axios / The Guardian / NPR / PBS NewsHour)

  • A mole hunt, a secret website and Peter Thiel’s big risk: How J.D. Vance won his primary. “The former Trump critic leaned on a super PAC and his billionaire patron to put him in position for Trump’s all-important endorsement.” (Politico)

4/ Trump’s acting Homeland Security secretary changed and delayed an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2020 election. According to a Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general report, Chad Wolf deviated from DHS standard review procedures and “rais[ed] objectivity concerns” by making changes to key a intelligence report that “appear to be based in part on political considerations.” A Sept. 2020 whistleblower claimed that Wolf had instructed DHS officials to “cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference” and, instead, focus on information related to activities being carried out by China and Iran, which better supported Trump’s reelection bid. (CBS News / CNN)

5/ Trump Jr. met with the Jan. 6 committee. Trump Jr. texted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows ideas for overturning the 2020 election before it was called. Ivanka, Jared Kushner, and Trump Jr.’s fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle have all sat for interviews with the committee. (CNN)

6/ A New York court denied Trump’s request to pause the $10,000 in daily fines while he appeals a contempt order. Trump was held in contempt after failing to comply with a subpoena from New York State Attorney General Letitia James in her civil fraud probe. (CNBC / CBS News)

7/ The Trump Organization and the Presidential Inaugural Committee agreed to pay $750,000 to settle a lawsuit that they illegally misused nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family. The District of Columbia alleged that the inaugural committee coordinated with members of the Trump family “to grossly overpay for event space” at the Trump hotel during his 2017 inauguration. The Trump Organization will pay $400,000 and the PIC will pay $350,000. (New York Times / CNBC / CNN)

8/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a percentage point and plans to shrink pandemic-era economic support to combat the highest inflation in 40 years – the most aggressive Fed tightening of monetary policy at one meeting in decades. The rate increase is also the sharpest since 2000 and the second of seven hikes forecast for this year. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that the central bank’s attempt to combat rapid inflation without causing a recession would be “very challenging; it’s not going to be easy.” The S&P 500, meanwhile, rose 3% – its best day in two years. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNBC / Bloomberg / Politico)

9/ The U.S. surpassed 1 million Covid-19 deaths – 27 months after the country’s first confirmed coronavirus case. (NBC News)

poll/ 50% of voters said Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, while 28% said it should be overturned, and 22% are undecided. 68% of Democrats and 52% of Independents say Roe should not be overturned, while 51% of Republicans say it should. 57% of voters said they hope the Supreme Court supports abortion rights, compared to 28% who hope the justices oppose them, and 15% that said they do not know or have no opinion. (Politico / The Hill)

Day 469: "An egregious breach of trust."

1/ The Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, according to a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. While the draft could change before it’s finalized, the document was circulated among the justices in February and at least five justices – including all of three of Trump’s nominees – voted to overturn Roe, which established a constitutional right to an abortion 49 years ago. Alito writes that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” adding that “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The Alito draft is related to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which challenges a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett voted with Alito after hearing oral arguments in December, while Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are working on one or more dissents. It’s unclear how Chief Justice John Roberts will ultimately vote, and whether he will join an opinion or draft his own, but he is reportedly willing to uphold the Mississippi law. A final opinion is expected later this Spring or early summer, and if the draft opinion is adopted, the court would let individual states determine abortion’s legality. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 468: Antiabortion groups and some Republican lawmakers have started meeting about potential federal legislation to outlaw abortion after six weeks of pregnancy if the Supreme Court weakens or overturns Roe v. Wade this summer. While a nationwide abortion ban would be extraordinarily difficult to pass given the need for 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, antiabortion advocates have spoken with 10 possible Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, about a national strategy. Most of them reportedly said they’d be supportive of a national ban and would make the policy a centerpiece of a presidential campaign. (Washington Post)

  • 10 key passages from Alito’s draft opinion. (Politico)

  • What would the end of Roe v. Wade mean? Key questions and answers. (New York Times)

  • How rare is a Supreme Court breach? Very rare. (Politico)

2/ Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade but said the document is not final. Roberts said he has directed the Supreme Court marshal to investigate the leak, calling the episode “a singular and egregious breach of trust.” Roberts added: “To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.” Susan Collins, meanwhile, called the draft opinion “completely inconsistent” with what Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch told her during their private conversations as Supreme Court nominees. In 2018, Collins cast the vote pivotal in Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. At the time, Collins said Kavanaugh assured her Roe v. Wade was “settled law.” (Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / NPR / NBC News / ABC News / The Hill)

3/ 26 states have laws aiming to limit abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned or weakened, including 9 with pre-Roe bans, and 13 states with “trigger bans” in place, meaning abortion will be banned if Roe is overturned. By contrast, 16 states and the District of Columbia have policies that explicitly protect the right to abortion. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, meanwhile, said she would immediately call for a special session to outlaw abortion in her state, while in Arkansas, Georgia, and Indiana Republican lawmakers have demanded special sessions to pass legislation limiting or eliminating abortion rights following the Supreme Court decision. And Missouri’s attorney general said he’s prepared to “immediately” ban abortion in the state if Roe is overturned. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ Biden blasted the “radical” Supreme Court draft opinion, saying other rights, including same-sex marriage and access to birth control, are in question if the leaked document becomes the decision of the court. “I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned,” Biden said, adding “the rationale used” in the draft opinion “would mean that every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question.” Biden said his administration “will be ready when any ruling is issued,” but warned that if the Supreme Court “does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.” (Associated Press / NBC News / Politico / CNBC / Axios / The Hill / Washington Post)

5/ Chuck Schumer said the Senate will vote to codify the right to abortion into federal law, saying this is “not an abstract exercise, this is as urgent and real as it gets […] Every American is going to see which side every senator stands.” Any such vote, however, would largely be symbolic as Democrats lack the 60-vote supermajority needed to pass Roe legislation in the Senate. Democrats also lack the support to eliminate the filibuster rules thanks to Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who have rejected efforts to drop or alter the filibuster. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, called on Democrats to primary Sinema when she is up for re-election in 2024, because of her resistance to ending the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to protect abortion rights. In February, Manchin voted with Republicans to filibuster a House-passed bill that would codify Roe. The vote was 46-48. Earlier, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, said “The Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans.” They added: “The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.” (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Bloomberg / NPR / CNBC / Axios / ABC News / Politico)

6/ Republicans celebrated the Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade with calls for the FBI to investigate and pursue criminal charges against those responsible for the leak. Mitch McConnell called the leak “an effort by someone on the inside to discredit the institution” and that “the Department of Justice must pursue criminal charges if applicable.” Mitt Romney called the “breach” of the court’s process “an appalling affront against a critical institution and should be fully investigated and those responsible should be punished,” while Ted Cruz said the leak was a “breach of trust” being used to intimidate the high court. Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who recently signed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, suggested that the leak was a “judicial insurrection” intended “to whip up a lot of the public to try and make [the ruling] very political, potentially try to bully [the justices] into changing one of their positions.” Charles Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, tweeted: “The leak was a monumental breach of trust w/in our judicial system. The independent judiciary must remain free from political intimidation & outside influence.” (Politico / New York Times / The Hill / Fox News)

poll/ 54% of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade, compared with 28% who say the ruling should be overturned. 57% of Americans oppose their state banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and 58% oppose limiting abortion to the first six weeks of pregnancy. (ABC News / Washington Post)


Notables.

  1. A record 4.5 million Americans quitting their jobs in March. The number of available jobs, meanwhile, rose to 11.5 million. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)

  2. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates half a percentage point (50 basis points) Wednesday and again in June. In a survey of economists, fund managers, and strategists, 57% said the Fed’s effort to bring down inflation to 2% will create a recession, while 33% said it wouldn’t, and 10% weren’t sure. (CNBC)

  3. Ivanka Trump testified to Jan. 6 committee about what happened inside the White House, as well as Trump’s state of mind during the attack on the Capitol. Ivanka did not invoke the Fifth Amendment or claim privilege during her interview. (CNN)

  4. poll/ 52% of Americans say Trump should be charged with a crime for his role urging supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, while 42% say he should not be charged. (Washington Post)

Day 468: "Strain."

1/ A special grand jury was seated in Georgia to help investigate whether Trump and others tried to illegally influence the 2020 election in the state. The case centers on Trump asking election officials to “find” him enough votes to overturn Biden’s win in that state. Trump lost Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes out of five million cast, and his efforts to reverse the outcome included direct calls to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who oversees elections, and the lead investigator for his office. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation in early 2021, and the grand jury will have the power to subpoena testimony from witnesses and to obtain evidence. The probe is seen as the biggest threat of criminal prosecution that Trump currently faces. (Associated Press / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

2/ New York City entered a higher risk level for coronavirus transmission as cases continue to rise. The city moved into the medium (yellow) risk category with nearly 2,500 new cases per day – a jump from about 600 in March – which could trigger a return to some public health restrictions. Preliminary research, meanwhile, suggests that two new Omicron subvariants – BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 – are about 25% more transmissible than Omicron (BA.2), which is currently dominant nationally. (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reiterated his request from about a year ago for migrants to “not come” to the U.S. southern border. Mayorkas said Homeland Security is planning for the possibility of a record-breaking 18,000 border apprehensions per day if Title 42 is lifted – compared to the current number of about 7,000 per day – which would put a “strain on the system.” In April, the CDC said it would end the Trump-era pandemic restriction on May 23, which has been used to expel more than 1 million migrants at the southern border. (CNN / Politico)

4/ A federal judge allowed the Jan. 6 committee to obtain the Republican National Committee’s marketing email data leading up to the insurrection. District Court Judge Tim Kelly – a Trump appointee – said the committee had demonstrated its need for the RNC’s email data about efforts to fundraise off claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Kelly also issued an injunction to allow the RNC to appeal his ruling by May 5. The committee, meanwhile, said it wants to talk to three more House Republicans linked to the Jan. 6 attack, asking Reps. Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Ronny Jackson to appear voluntarily. (Politico / Washington Post / CNN / NPR / ABC News)

5/ Antiabortion groups and some Republican lawmakers have started meeting about potential federal legislation to outlaw abortion after six weeks of pregnancy if the Supreme Court weakens or overturns Roe v. Wade this summer. While a nationwide abortion ban would be extraordinarily difficult to pass given the need for 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, antiabortion advocates have spoken with 10 possible Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, about a national strategy. Most of them reportedly said they’d be supportive of a national ban and would make the policy a centerpiece of a presidential campaign. (Washington Post)

6/ The primaries for November’s midterm elections begin this month with voters in 13 states heading to the polls. All 435 House seats and 34 Senate seats are up for election in November. In the 50-50 Senate, 14 seats currently held by Democrats are up for election, while 21 are currently held by Republicans. Control of both chambers is in play. (NPR / CNN)

poll/ 47% of voters said they’re more likely to vote for the Republican in their district in November’s midterm elections, compared to 44% who said they’d likely vote for the Democrat. 10% said they were unsure which candidate they’d vote for, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points. (NPR)

poll/ 55% of Americans are in favor of increased military support in Ukraine despite 81% also saying they’re concerned that the war could expand to other countries or involve the possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia. (ABC News)


✏️ Notables.

  1. Biden was warned that immigration and inflation could erode support for him and the Democratic party. “Despite the early warnings from his pollster, Biden and his top advisers have struggled to prevent either issue from becoming a major political liability.” (New York Times)

  2. How Tucker Carlson stoked white fear to conquer cable. “A New York Times examination of the host’s career and influence at Fox News shows how his trajectory traces the transformation of American conservatism itself.” (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3)

  3. Likelihood of a Trump indictment in the Manhattan district attorney investigation fades as the grand jury wraps up. “In the weeks since the Manhattan district attorney stopped presenting evidence to the jurors about Trump, new signs have emerged that the former president will not be indicted in Manhattan in the foreseeable future — if at all.” (New York Times)

Day 464: "A small price to pay."

1/ Biden asked Congress for $33 billion in additional funding for military, economic, and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and “its fight for freedom.” The funding request includes more than $20 billion in military and security assistance, $2.6 billion to support the deployment of American troops and equipment to the region, and $1.9 billion for cybersecurity and intelligence support, as well as $8.5 billion in economic assistance for the Ukrainian government to provide basic economic support. “Investing in Ukraine’s freedom and security is a small price to pay to punish Russian aggression, to lessen the risk for future conflicts,” Biden said. The request is more than twice the size of the $13.6 billion package approved last month and intended to last until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. “The cost of failing to stand up to violent aggression in Europe has always been higher than the cost of standing firm against such attacks,” Biden said. “That is as it always has been, and as it always will be. America must meet this moment, and do its part.” The House, meanwhile, passed legislation allowing Biden to use a World War II-era law to quickly supply weapons to Ukraine on loan. (NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

2/ The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank for the first time since 2020. In the first three months of 2022, gross domestic product in the U.S. declined at a 1.4% annualized rate. Economic forecasts had projected growth of roughly 1%. Last year, the U.S. economy grew by 5.7% – the fastest pace since 1984. Biden blamed the contraction on “technical factors,” citing the Omicron wave of the coronavirus, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, companies with stockpiled inventories from 2021, and a jump in imports with a drop in exports. Consumer spending, however, grew at a 2.7% annual rate in the first quarter despite the Omicron wave, which limited spending on restaurants and travel in January. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the economy. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

3/ Senior Trump administration officials overruled Pentagon officials in 2020 to award a $700 million pandemic relief loan to a struggling trucking company. A report released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis describes career employees at the Defense Department concluding that the trucking company Yellow didn’t qualify for the pandemic loan program because it wasn’t critical to maintaining national security. Corporate lobbyists for Yellow, however, worked closely with Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to secure the loan anyway, with Esper certifying that the Yellow was “critical to maintaining national security.” Yellow lost more than $100 million in 2019 and was sued by the Justice Department over claims that it had defrauded the federal government for a seven-year period. Last month, Yellow agreed to pay $6.85 million to resolve allegations “that they knowingly presented false claims to the U.S. Department of Defense by systematically overcharging for freight carrier services and making false statements to hide their misconduct.” (New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The Oklahoma Senate approved a bill that would ban all abortions in the state and incentivizes private citizens to sue anyone who “performs or induces” or “aids or abets the performance” of an abortion. The “Oklahoma Heartbeat Act” prohibits abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy – before many women even know that they are pregnant – and would immediately cut off abortion access in the state. Oklahoma is the second state to pass a restrictive law modeled after Texas’ six-week abortion ban and the state has absorbed about half of all Texas patients who have been forced to leave their state for abortions. The bill already cleared the Oklahoma House in March and now goes to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it. (CNN / Washington Post / Axios / Axios)

5/ Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp banned the instruction of so-called “divisive concepts” pertaining to race and racism in the classroom. In all, Kemp signed seven education bills into law, including the “Protect Students First Act,” which defines “divisive concepts” as, among others, those that teach “the United States of America is fundamentally racist; an individual, by virtue of his or her race, is inherently or consciously racist or oppressive toward individuals of other races,” and “an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race, bears individual responsibility for actions committed in the past by other individuals of the same race.” The same measure also gives an athletic oversight committee the authority to exclude transgender children from playing high school sports. Also among the measures signed into law is a “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” that codifies the “fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education” of their children, and a measure that bans books deemed “harmful” from school libraries. (NBC News / CNN / Axios / Fox 5 / WSB-TV)

6/ Boeing has lost $1.1 billion so far on costs associated with Trump’s Air Force One contract. CEO David Calhoun said “Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken” the deal to modify two 747 jumbo jets to serve as Air Force One. The deal was negotiated by Calhoun’s predecessor after Trump publicly criticized the existing contract in 2016, tweeting “Cancel order!” Later, in 2018, Trump bragged that “Boeing gave us a good deal. And we were able to take that.” (CNBC / CNN)

7/ Trump claimed that he feared protesters throwing tomatoes, pineapples, and other “very dangerous” fruit could have killed him at campaign rallies. In a videotaped deposition Trump gave in October 2021 as part of a lawsuit filed by a group of protesters who allege they were assaulted by his security guards at a 2015 campaign rally, Trump insisted that fruit can be “very dangerous stuff […] you can get killed with those things.” He added that “tomatoes are bad” and that “some fruit is a lot worse.” Trump told the attorney for the plaintiffs that he expected his security guards to “knock the crap out” of anyone who was “about to throw a tomato” at a rally, framing the violence as “self-defense.” (Daily Beast / Axios / Washington Post / CNN)

Day 463: "Last chance."

1/ The White House is attempting to cobble together a narrower version of Biden’s Build Back Better bill that would win Joe Manchin’s support ahead of November’s elections. “There’s real fear inside the building that Manchin’s stonewalling will run out the clock on Biden’s legislative agenda throughout the rest of the year, leading the administration and congressional Democrats into November without anything else to offer voters,” one White House adviser said. Lawmakers in Congress view July 4 as the deadline for action – even if leaves out most of what Biden had initially hoped to accomplish. Manchin, meanwhile, hasn’t told the White House what, exactly, he would support in a final agreement, but privately told lawmakers recently that he wants Congress to approve a bipartisan energy deal in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and wants Biden to restart new offshore oil and gas lease sales to boost domestic fossil fuel production. Manchin also met with Chuck Schumer to discuss a party-line package focused on raising taxes and reducing the budget deficit to combat inflation. Climate advocates, meanwhile, have scaled back their expectations, saying “this is the last chance” for legislation that speeds the growth of clean energy – even if it requires a short-term boost in fossil fuels – fearing that any chance for climate action will be blocked if Republicans win control of Congress in the midterm elections. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Bloomberg)

2/ Biden expressed openness to forgiving some student loan debt, which could affect more than 43 million borrowers who hold more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt – the second-largest debt held by Americans, behind mortgages. During a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Biden signaled multiple times that he was prepared not only to extend the current moratorium that lasts until Aug. 31, but to take executive action to forgive federal student loan debt outright. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, introduced legislation – called the Stop Reckless Student Loan Actions Act of 2022 – to stop Biden from “abusing” his authority to extend the federal student loan payment pause. (CBS News / Washington Post / NBC News)

3/ Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. is “out of the full-blown explosive pandemic phase,” but made clear that the pandemic is not over and the U.S. could still see new waves of infections from highly transmissible variants. “We are in a different moment of the pandemic,” Fauci said, adding: “we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, renewed its push for $10 billion in Covid-19 supplemental funding, noting that without funding, the U.S. would not be able to secure enough second booster shots for every American if they’re needed this fall. (Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN)

4/ New York’s highest court rejected the state’s new congressional map as unconstitutional. New York Democrats drew a new congressional map that could have gained their party as many as three new seats. The Court of Appeals, however, found that the Democratic-led Legislature lacked the authority to redraw maps and that those they created “were drawn with an unconstitutional partisan intent.” Meanwhile, a state court in Kansas threw out a newly drawn map of congressional districts by Republicans in the State Legislature. The Republican plan divided Kansas City along both racial and partisan lines and would have threatened the only House seat held by a Democrat. (Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico)

5/ Biden reversed a Trump-era policy that relaxed requirements for energy efficient light bulbs. The new energy efficiency regulations will phase out old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs and require lightbulbs to emit 45 lumens. The new standards will save consumers $3 billion each year in utility costs. In 2019, Trump complained that energy efficient light bulbs make him “always look orange.” (CNBC / Axios)


🐊 Dept. of Swamp Things.

  1. The New York grand jury hearing evidence in the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances expires this week. The six-month special grand jury will not be extended and last heard evidence last year. (CNN)

  2. Text messages show that Rep. Scott Perry urged Mark Meadows to have the then-Director of National Intelligence investigate baseless conspiracy theories of election fraud. After top Justice Department officials refused to intervene in the election process on Trump’s behalf in late December, Perry repeatedly pushed Meadows to give Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Clark the “authority to enforce what needs to be done.” (CNN / New York Times)

  3. Text messages between Mark Meadows and dozens of congressional Republicans, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, cast a renewed spotlight the Trump White House and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The newly revealed text messages have prompted calls for the Jan. 6 committee to issue subpoenas or other punitive measures against lawmakers involved. (Washington Post)

  4. Text messages show that Fox News host Sean Hannity promised Mark Meadows he would push an Election Day get-out-the-vote message as part of the broader pro-Trump campaign. Meadows asked for Hannity’s help with messaging and offered a slogan. Hannity responded: “Yes sir. On it,” before adding, “any place in particular we need a push.” Meadows suggested Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada. Hannity replied: “Got it. Everywhere.” (Washington Post / CNN)

  5. Kevin McCarthy defended his recently leaked comments saying Trump was to blame for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and pledge to urge him to resign. McCarthy suggested that the leak was all part of an attempt to divide the Republican conference ahead of the midterms. (CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)

  6. Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn was cited for bringing a loaded handgun through a TSA checkpoint at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. It’s the second time that Cawthorn has been stopped at an airport in his home state for carrying a weapon. (CNN / CNBC)

Day 462: "Bluster."

1/ Kamala Harris tested positive for Covid-19, making her the highest-ranking Biden administration official to report being infected. Harris received positive results on both rapid and PCR tests after returning from a weeklong trip to California, and “has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the vice president’s residence,” according to spokeswoman Kirsten Allen. Harris isn’t considered a close contact of Biden (she was last with Biden on April 18 at the White House Easter egg roll). (CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)

2/ The CDC estimates that nearly 60% of the U.S. population has Covid-19 antibodies due to past coronavirus infection. About 75% of U.S. children and teens have been infected – an increase of about 30 percentage points since December. The researchers examined more than 200,000 blood samples and found the presence of antibodies in 33.5% of Americans in December – when the Omicron wave began – which jumped to 57.7% in February. The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases was 47,029 on Monday – up from about 38,000 the week prior. (Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press / New York Times / CNBC)

3/ The Biden administration secured 20 million treatment courses of Pfizer’s antiviral Covid-19 pill and plans to nearly double the number of pharmacies that carry the antiviral pills. Studies have shown that Paxlovid can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by about 90% when taken within three to five days of the start of symptoms. Paxlovid is authorized for use in patients 12 and older who test positive for Covid-19 and are at a high risk for developing a severe case. (Washington Post / CNN / NPR / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of pursuing a proxy war and warned there’s a “serious” risk of nuclear war over Ukraine. “The danger is serious, real. It can’t be underestimated,” Russia’s top diplomat said. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, speaking to reporters at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, said “any bluster about the possible use of nuclear weapons is dangerous and unhelpful.” Austin added that Putin “never imagined that the world would rally behind Ukraine so swiftly and surely.” The Biden administration, meanwhile, said that it supports Ukraine becoming a “neutral” nation in any possible peace deal. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, however, said there’s been “no sign to date” that Putin is serious about “meaningful negotiations.” (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ A federal judge temporarily blocked the Biden administration from ending Trump-era pandemic restriction at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy, known as Title 42, allowed U.S. immigration officials during the pandemic to quickly expel migrants without letting them seek asylum. Title 42 prevented more than 1.7 million attempts to cross the U.S. border since March 2020. The CDC announced in April that the policy would be rescinded on May 23. A suit brought by 21 Republican-led states, however, challenged the plan, claiming it would create a surge of migration from Mexico. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays said he would grant a temporary restraining order blocking the end of Title 42. Summerhays was appointed by Trump. (The Hill / Politico / USA Today / CNN / CBS News / New York Times / NBC News)

Day 461: "Get organized."

1/ A New York judge held Trump in contempt of court and fined him $10,000 a day for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general. Judge Arthur Engoron said Trump failed to abide by his order to comply with the subpoena, and that his attorneys hadn’t shown they had conducted a proper search for records sought by state Attorney General Letitia James for her civil fraud investigation. Trump plans to appeal the decision, saying there are no records in his possession that match what James has asked for. (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ Mark Meadows texted with Trump’s family, Trump associates, Jan. 6 rally organizers, Fox News hosts, and over 40 Republican members of Congress before and after the violence at the Capitol. The tranche of 2,319 text messages show how Meadows was the Trump administration’s point person for the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and how Trump’s supporters reaffirmed their support for Trump in the aftermath. Marjorie Taylor Greene in particular was in frequent contact with Meadows during this timeframe, urging Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020 “to get organized for the 6th,” and on Jan. 17 that “the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law,” calling for Trump to “declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” [Editor’s note: There’s no way to summarize 2,319 text messages. Read the CNN article for a comprehensive overview.] (CNN / Washington Post / Axios / Rolling Stone)

3/ Mark Meadows was warned that Jan. 6 could turn violent, but went ahead with the “Stop the Steal” rally anyway, according to the Jan. 6 committee. In a 248-page filing, lawyers for the committee highlighted the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a White House aide in Meadows’s office: “I know that there were concerns brought forward to Mr. Meadows,” adding: “I know that people had brought information forward to him that had indicated that there could be violence on the 6th. But, again, I’m not sure if he — what he did with that information.” Meadows was also told that Trump’s plans to try to overturn the 2020 election using alternate electors were not “legally sound.” Douglas Letter, the general counsel of the House, wrote in the filing: “But despite this and other warnings, President Trump urged the attendees at the January 6th rally to march to the Capitol to ‘take back your country.’” Meadows is trying to block the committee’s subpoenas, including one sent to Verizon for his phone and text data. (New York Times)

4/ Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the social media company and take it private. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement. Musk previously said he believes that “timeouts” from Twitter would be better than permanent bans, suggesting that Trump could possibly rejoin the platform. Twitter banned Trump following his tweets during the Jan. 6 insurrection, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.” Trump, meanwhile, assured Fox News that even if Musk reinstates his Twitter account, he will not return. Instead, Trump said he will officially start posting “truths” to his own social media startup, Truth Social, over the next seven days, as planned. (CNBC / Reuters / The Verge)

5/ Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. hopes the war in Ukraine will result in a “weakened” Russia that no longer has the military capabilities to invade its neighbors. Russia “has already lost a lot of military capability,” Austin said. “And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.” Austin’s comments come following a trip to Kyiv with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to pledge U.S. support in the war. They also announced that U.S. diplomats would be returning to Ukraine. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 41% of Americans ages 18-29 approve of Biden’s job performance – down from 56% last spring. 40% of young Americans approve of congressional Democrats’ job performance, down from 52% in March 2021, and 31% approve of congressional Republicans’ performance – little changed from 28% last spring. (CNN)

Day 457: "A critical window."

1/ Biden announced another $800 million in military resources to Ukraine, calling it an “unmistakable message” to Putin that “he will never succeed in dominating and occupying all of Ukraine.” Biden added that the war was entering “a critical window.” The package, which includes heavy artillery and tactical drones, brings the U.S. support to over $2 billion since the war’s start eight weeks ago. Biden also said the U.S. will no longer allow Russian-affiliated ships to enter American ports. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Justice Department appealed a federal court ruling striking down the mask requirement for passengers on public transportation after the CDC said the mandate was “necessary” to curb the spread of the coronavirus and protect public health. The decision came two days after U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ordered an injunction against the mandate, saying the definition of masks as a form of sanitation were not within the agency’s authority to require that people wear them. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post)

3/ Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell – days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol – told associates they believed Trump was responsible for inciting the riot. McCarthy reportedly planned to tell Trump to resign, but ultimately backed off, fearing retribution from Trump and his supporters. (New York Times)

4/ Top members of the Oath Keepers discussed plans to provide security for Trump allies like Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Ali Alexander, and Michael Flynn on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. Several members of the group are now facing seditious conspiracy charges. (Politico / The Guardian)

5/ Alex Jones offered to be interviewed by federal investigators about his role in the Jan. 6 rally near the White House that preceded the attack on the Capitol. Jones has requested immunity from prosecution. (New York Times)

6/ The Florida House passed a new congressional map after Democratic lawmakers shut down the special legislative session for more than an hour with a pray-in and sit-in. The new map eliminates a Black-heavy congressional district and gives Republicans the chance to capture as many as four new seats. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)

7/ The Florida House revoked Disney World’s special tax district in retaliation after Disney criticized the Parents Rights in Education legislation, which prohibits discussions about gender-related issues in public school up to third grade. The bill would terminate the 25,000-acre Reedy Creek Improvement District that Walt Disney World uses to operate as its own municipality, along with five others. (New York Times / CBS News / Washington Post / CNBC)

8/ The Supreme Court ruled that Congress can continue excluding residents of Puerto Rico from a federal disability insurance program. The case involves the Supplemental Security Income that is available to those living in the 50 states who are older than 65, blind or disabled, but not those in Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories. (Politico / CNN)

Day 456: "Food for thought."

1/ The Biden administration is prepping another $800 million in weapons and assistance for Ukraine, which could be approved within the next 36 hours. Last week, Biden approved a package of aid for Ukraine that would provide “new capabilities include artillery systems, artillery rounds, and armored personnel carriers” as well as the transfer of additional helicopters. The Biden administration also leveled a new round of sanctions against a Russian commercial bank, a Russian oligarch, and “companies operating in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry.” Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Ukraine’s Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko, and several other finance ministers and central bank governors walked out of a closed-door G20 session when the Russian delegate started talking. (Bloomberg / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN / Politico / CNN)

2/ Russia test fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a move Putin said would “provide food for thought” for those “trying to threaten our country” to “think twice.” Putin added that the launch as a show of strength “will reliably safeguard Russia’s security from external threats.” A small group of senior Kremlin insiders, meanwhile, are reportedly quietly questioning Putin’s decision to go to war, believing the invasion was a mistake that will set the country back for years. Some said they are increasingly worried that Putin could use nuclear weapons if faced with failure. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / The Hill / Bloomberg)

3/ The White House has discussed delaying the repeal of Title 42 border restrictions to avoid an influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, which are already at the highest level since 2000. Title 42 is scheduled to end May 23. Trump issued the order in March 2020, using the pandemic as a reason for turning away migrants attempting to enter the U.S., without the chance to seek asylum. Meanwhile, some ICE and Customs and Border Protection operations are projected to run out of funds by July. Those projections are based on estimates that as many as 14,000 migrants could begin crossing the U.S.-Mexico border per day after Title 42 ends – nearly double March’s record high. (Axios / NBC News)

4/ The Florida Senate approved a new congressional map proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that gives Republicans a significant advantage over Democrats. The new map, one of the nation’s most aggressive, creates 20 seats that favor Republicans compared to eight that favor Democrats. As a result, Republicans are expected to hold 71% of the seats. Trump won Florida in 2020 with 51.2% of the vote. The Florida House is expected to pass the map this week. Democrats assailed the proposed map as unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition on racial gerrymandering. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

5/ The judge who tossed out the federal government’s transportation mask mandate received a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association in 2020. Nevertheless, the Senate voted confirm U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle to a lifetime appointment following the 2020 presidential election. The Biden administration had relied on the Public Health Service Act to defend its Covid-19 mask mandate on public transportation, which gives the government broad authority to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. The administration argued that masks qualified as “sanitation” under the law, but Mizelle disagreed and instead used her own, much narrower interpretation of the term. Legal experts said she misunderstood how the federal government operates during a national public health emergency. Meanwhile, a new Omicron variant is gaining a foothold in the U.S., the CDC reports. The new strain, called BA.2.12.1, makes up about a fifth of all new Covid-19 cases. (NPR / CNN / NBC News / Vanity Fair)

poll/ 56% of Americans support mask mandates on planes, trains, and public transportation, while 24% are opposed and 20% have no opinion. (Associated Press)

Day 455: "A whirlpool of colliding interests."

1/ The Biden administration will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that lifted the nationwide Covid-19 mask mandate on public transport if the CDC decides to extend the requirement, which is set to expire May 3. The Justice Department and the CDC “disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health,” the department said in a statement. Following the Florida judge’s ruling that struck down a federal mask requirement on airplanes, trains, buses, and other public transportation, TSA said it would stop enforcing mask mandates, as did most major U.S. airlines on domestic and some international flights. Earlier, Biden said Americans should decide for themselves whether to wear masks, saying the decision to mask is “up to them.” (New York Times / CNBC / Politico / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The Supreme Court ruled that the Pentagon may take disciplinary action against an Air Force Reserve officer who refused to be vaccinated against the coronavirus on religious grounds. Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Dunn, who was seeking to avoid being shifted to the Individual Ready Reserve, said he decided that the coronavirus vaccine violated his faith after seeing Biden speak about it, which led him to conclude that “the vaccine ceased to be merely a medical intervention and took on a symbolic and even sacramental quality.” The Supreme Court, however, issued a brief, two-sentence order refusing to intervene. Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented. After being ordered to choose among being vaccinated, resigning, or refusing the vaccine in writing, Dunn instead sent a one-word memorandum to a two-star general: “NUTS!” (New York Times / The Guardian / Bloomberg)

3/ The Biden administration plans to scrap a Trump-era rule that allowed healthcare providers to refuse performing abortions or other medical services that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs. The so-called “conscience rule” was unveiled by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2018 and finalized in 2019, but it never took effect after dozens of states, cities, and advocacy groups sued. Trump’s HHS said the rule fulfilled a “promise to promote and protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious liberty.” HHS is expected to rescind the rule as soon as the end of this month. (Politico / Reuters)

4/ Biden will restore stricter environmental standards for approving new pipelines, highways, power plants, and other infrastructure projects, reversing another Trump-era environmental rollback. The rule requires federal agencies to assess the climate impact of projects under the National Environmental Policy Act. The 1970 law required an assessment of the environmental consequences of federal actions, like oil and gas pipelines. In 2020, Trump claimed that the regulations needlessly hindered infrastructure projects, exempting projects from review to speed up the approval process. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

5/ The Education Department will grant federal student loan borrowers additional credit toward loan forgiveness. The changes would apply to an income-based program for repaying student loans and bring more than 3.6 million people – nearly 10% of all student loan borrowers – closer to debt forgiveness, including 40,000 who will be immediately eligible. The current income-based repayment program allows borrowers to pay a capped percentage of their income on loans for 20 to 25 years and then have the rest of the balance forgiven. A 2021 study, however, found that 32 borrowers out of eight million enrolled in the program successfully had their debt forgiven. The program has existed since 1992. The department, meanwhile, promised to address “historical failures in the administration of the federal student loan programs.” (Washington Post / NPR / Wall Street Journal / CNN / CNBC)

6/ A federal judge allowed a group of Georgia voters to move forward with their attempt to disqualify Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for reelection, citing her alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The effort is based on the Constitution’s 14th Amendment – know as the “Disqualification Clause” – which bars members of the Confederacy from holding office, as well as any person who has taken an oath to protect the Constitution and “engaged in insurrection” against the United States or “given aid or comfort” to its “enemies.” District Judge Amy Totenberg denied Greene’s request to stop the lawsuit, saying “This case involves a whirlpool of colliding constitutional interests of public import.” (New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

poll/ 70% of the 111 candidates Trump has endorsed for governor, federal office, attorney general or secretary of state believe that the 2020 election was fraudulent. (FiveThirtyEight)


✏️ Notables.

  1. Democrats’ worst Trump nightmare. “Unless we see big structural changes in the Democratic party’s coalition,” the 2024 outcome could be “Donald Trump winning a filibuster-proof trifecta [House, Senate, White House] with a minority of the vote.” (Axios)

  2. Democrats are sleepwalking into a Senate disaster. “Overall, the combination of decreasing incumbency advantage and a poor national environment for Democrats means we should probably expect Democrats to control between 46 and 47 Senate seats after 2022.” (Slow Boring)

  3. 5 plot twists that could upend the midterms. “The House is about as good as gone for Democrats, but holding the Senate is still within reach if things break their way. Republicans are also poised to make gains in governor’s races.” (Politico)

Day 454: "We must prepare for that​."

1/ A federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s Covid-19 mask mandate for public transportation. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Trump appointee, said the CDC exceeded its authority and had incorrectly claimed the mask mandate was a form of “sanitation.” Mizelle wrote that “Wearing a mask cleans nothing. At most, it traps virus droplets. But it neither ‘sanitizes’ the person wearing the mask or ‘sanitizes’ the conveyance.” The White House, meanwhile, said the CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks on public transportation and that the Justice Department will determine whether it will appeal the ruling. (CNN / CNBC / Associated Press / Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / NPR / Politico)

2/ At least 10 mass shootings across the U.S. this weekend left eight people dead and dozens injured. The violence comes following Biden’s announced tougher gun regulations last week. In 2022, there have been 144 mass shootings, and total gun deaths for the year have reached more than 12,600. (CNN / Associated Press / NBC News)

3/ Alex Jones’s Infowars filed for bankruptcy in an effort to settle defamation lawsuits over his comments that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. Jones and his companies last year were found liable in a defamation lawsuit brought by the relatives of the 20 children and six teachers who were killed in the 2012 shooting. Jones called the massacre a hoax and that crisis actors faked the shooting in an effort by the government to take away guns and restrict firearms. The bankruptcy filing puts civil litigation on hold while the business reorganizes its finances. (NPR / Associated Press / Reuters / Bloomberg)

4/ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that “all of the countries of the world” should be prepared for the possibility that Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons. Zelenskyy added that there is a “possibility” that Putin could turn to either nuclear or chemical weapons because he does not value Ukrainian lives. “We shouldn’t wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons​,” Zelenskyy said. “We must prepare for that​.” (CNN / The Hill)

5/ The Biden administration will resume selling onshore oil and gas leases on federal land to boost oil production in the U.S. amid soaring prices partly from the war in Ukraine. The Interior Department said the land offered for auction is 80% less than the 733,000 acres nominated and that royalties will also rise from 12.5% to 18.75% to “ensure fair return for the American taxpayer” – a 50% jump and the first increase to royalties since they were imposed in the 1920s. On the campaign trail, however, Biden called for an end to drilling on federal lands. (ABC News / CNN / NPR / Axios / CNBC)

6/ The Florida education department rejected 54 math books for its K-12 curriculum because they “contained prohibited subjects,” including critical race theory and Common Core learning concepts. Florida said 12 books were rejected because they didn’t meet the state’s benchmark standards, while 14 were rejected because they included prohibited topics and failed to meet curriculum standards. Overall, 41% of the 132 books submitted for review were rejected. (NPR / Washington Post)

Day 450: "Strange."

1/ Russia threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea region if Finland and Sweden join NATO. The threat came a day after Finland and Sweden officials suggested that they were stepping up consideration of joining the military alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas, however, said Russia already has nuclear weapons in the Baltic region. “The current Russian threats look quite strange, when we know that, even without the present security situation, they keep the weapon 100 km from Lithuania’s border,” Anusauskas said. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Reuters / CNBC)

2/ The Republican-led Kentucky legislature override the governor’s veto to enact strict abortion restrictions that will force the state’s two clinics to stop providing abortions immediately. The new law makes Kentucky the first U.S. state without legal abortion access since the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade established the right to end a pregnancy before the fetus is viable. House Bill 3 imposes limits on medication abortion, requires the cremation or burial of fetal remains, bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and requires an in-person examination at least 24 hours prior to the medication abortion. An exception is allowed if the woman’s life is in danger, but there is no exception for rape or incest. (Washington Post / The 19th / Reuters / ABC News)

3/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban into law. The new Florida law, which takes effect July 1, provides no exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking. Abortions must also be reported to the state, along with information on why the procedure was provided. (Associated Press / NPR / Axios / Washington Post / CNN)

4/ Ron DeSantis proposed a new congressional map that would create four more Republican-leaning districts by breaking up a largely Black district. The DeSantis administration submitted its plan days after Florida’s legislators said they would defer to DeSantis on the new congressional boundaries. Last month, DeSantis vetoed a set of maps from the Republican-controlled Legislature that would have created less of a GOP advantage. (NBC News / Politico)

5/ The Republican National Committee unanimously voted to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, accusing the bipartisan commission of being biased in favor of Democrats. The RNC will also require GOP presidential candidates to attest in writing that they will only appear at party-sanctioned debates. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Chuck Schumer suggested that Biden “seems more open” to canceling student debt “than ever before.” On the campaign trail, Biden pledged to cancel $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but since then he’s wanted Congress to pass legislation to do so, which he would then sign. “I have talked personally to the president on this issue a whole bunch of times,” Schumer said. “I have told him that this is more important than just about anything else that he can do on his own.” Meanwhile, the Education Department extended the pause on federal student loan repayment, interest, and collections through August. It was the fourth extension of the pause on student loan payments. (Business Insider / The Hill)

poll/ Biden’s job approval among Generation Z and millennials is down roughly 20 points since 2021. (Gallup)

Day 449: "Fundamental changes."

1/ The Biden administration extended the coronavirus public health emergency for another 90 days, allowing millions of Americans to keep getting free tests, vaccines, and treatments for at least three more months. The CDC, meanwhile, announced that it would extend the federal transportation mask requirement for an additional two weeks. The mask mandate is now extended through May 3. (New York Times / Associated Press / Bloomberg / Reuters)

2/ The U.S. will send an additional $800 million worth of military and other security assistance to Ukraine to help fight against Russia’s invasion. After speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Biden said that the “new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided, and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine.” The U.S. will also expand the intelligence it provides to Ukraine’s forces so they can better target Russian military units in Donbas and Crimea. Separately, Finland and Sweden are expected to seek NATO membership as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland issued a formal “white paper” on the “fundamental changes in the security environment,” designed to inform parliamentary debate on the issue. Finland’s prime minister said she expects a decision would be made “within weeks.” Sweden’s prime minister, meanwhile, said she sees “no point in delaying this analysis or the process” over whether to join the alliance. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg)

3/ Mark Meadows was removed from North Carolina’s voter rolls as state officials investigate whether he committed voter fraud during the 2020 election. Trump’s White House chief of staff, who promoted baseless claims before and after the 2020 presidential election, was registered to vote in both Virginia and North Carolina. Last month, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s office asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into Meadows’ voter registration. Meadows reportedly filed his voter registration in September 2020, listing his address as a mobile home in North Carolina that he didn’t own and had never lived at. Meadows voted absentee by mail from that address in the 2020 election. In 2021, however, Meadows registered to vote in Virginia, where he and his wife own a condominium. Property records show that Meadows and his wife bought the unit in July 2017. (Asheville Citizen Times / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / CNN)

4/ Two of Trump’s top White House lawyers met with the Jan. 6 committee. While neither Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin were under oath and their interviews were not transcribed, the two could return for formal testimony later. Biden, meanwhile, authorized the National Archives to hand over more of Trump’s White House documents to the Jan. 6 committee. Biden declined to assert executive privilege over the records. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ The State Department is unable to compile a complete list of gifts presented to Trump, his family, Pence, or other U.S. officials by foreign governments in 2020. Under federal law, government departments and agencies are required to submit a list to the State Department of gifts over $415 received from foreign governments to guard against potential conflicts of interest and undue influence over American officials. The department, however, said the Trump administration left office without providing an accounting of gifts. The report comes as House lawmakers investigate the boxes of classified materials Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office. (Associated Press / CNN / New York Times)

poll/ 74% of Americans think the worst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is yet to come, while 11% think the worst is over. (Quinnipiac)

Day 448: "Deeply concerning."

1/ U.S. inflation hit a 40-year high of 8.5% in March – the sharpest year-over-year increase since December 1981. It’s the sixth-straight month of inflation above 6%. The Federal Reserve’s average target is 2%. From February to March, inflation rose 1.2% – the biggest month-to-month jump since 2005 – with gasoline prices tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine driving more than half that increase. Since then, however, the national average for a gallon of gasoline has dropped to $4.10 – down from $4.33 – and several economists say March may be a high-water mark for overall inflation. (Associated Press / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)

2/ The Biden administration will temporarily allow E15 gasoline to be sold this summer to help ease gas prices. Gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend is usually banned from from June to September under the Clean Air Act because the blend’s higher volatility contributes to smog in warmer weather. The White House believes that the use of E15 can shave 10 cents off each gallon of gasoline, casting the decision as a move toward “energy independence.” Energy experts, however, say it would have a marginal impact at the pump because E15 gas is only available at about 2,300 fueling stations. Biden acknowledged that the move is “not going to solve all our problems, but it’s going to help some people,” adding that Americans’ ability to fill their gas tanks should not “hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away.” (NPR / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / NBC News)

3/ Putin declared that peace talks with Kyiv had reached a “dead end” and that Russia’s “military operation will continue until its full completion” and its goals are met. Putin also dismissed evidence of Russian atrocities – dead civilians lying in the streets with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds to the head, and signs of torture – in Bucha as “fake.” Separately, the U.S., Britain, and Australia said they were investigating an allegation that Russia had used “a poisonous substance of unknown origin” in Mariupol that may have sickened a handful of people. The Pentagon called the potential use of chemical weapons “deeply concerning” and said it was planning to expand the weapons it’s sending Ukraine to include Mi-17 helicopters that can be equipped to attack Russian vehicles, armored Humvees, and a range of other arms. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / BBC)

4/ The U.S. ordered all non-emergency staff to leave its consulate in Shanghai as more than 200,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported since the start of March – its worst outbreak since the initial phase of the pandemic in early 2020. Most of Shanghai’s 25 million residents have been confined to their homes for up to three weeks as China maintains its “zero-Covid” strategy of handling outbreaks. The State Department had issued a travel advisory on April 8 warning U.S. citizens about “arbitrary enforcement of local laws” and Covid-19. restrictions. (Bloomberg / NPR / CNBC)

5/ Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law that makes performing an abortion a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The bill does not provide exceptions in cases of rape and incest – only in the case of a medical emergency. (CNN / Associated Press)

6/ Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation that makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming medical care to people under 19. The law makes Alabama the third state in the country to pass a restriction on gender-affirming care for minors, though it is the first state to impose criminal penalties. Ivey also signed legislation that requires students to use school facilities for the sex listed on their original birth certificates and prohibits classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-5 – adopting language used in Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. (NBC News / New York Times)

Day 447: "We control them all."

1/ The Jan. 6 committee reportedly has enough evidence to refer Trump for criminal charges, but it’s concerned that making a referral to the Justice Department would politicize the investigation. While the panel plans to issue a detailed report of its findings, members and aides said they’re reluctant to support a criminal referral because it would create the impression that Democrats had asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Trump. Rep. Liz Cheney, however, added that “there’s not really a dispute on the committee” that Trump and a number of people around him knew their actions were “unlawful” but “did it anyway.” She said the committee has “not made a decision” regarding a referral. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News / The Guardian)

2/ Trump Jr. texted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows ideas for overturning the 2020 election before it was called. On November 5 – two days after the 2020 election – Trump Jr. texted Meadows: “This is what we need to do please read it and please get it to everyone that needs to see it because I’m not sure we’re doing it,” adding: “It’s very simple […] We have multiple paths We control them all.” The text messages outlined strategies the Trump team went on to pursue, including disseminating lies about election fraud and pressuring state and federal officials from certifying their results. Biden was declared the winner of the election two days later on November 7. (CNN / The Guardian)

3/ A leader of the Proud Boys pleaded guilty to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department. Charles Donohoe pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting an officer. He faces more than seven years in prison. (CNN / Washington Post)

4/ Philadelphia reinstated its citywide indoor mask mandate after a 50% increase in Covid-19 cases in the past 10 days. The order, which takes effect April 18, makes Philadelphia the first major U.S. city to reinstate an indoor masking, and comes just over a month after it was officially lifted. (New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Biden announced a new federal rule to regulate homemade guns known as “ghost guns” more like regular guns, including requiring serial numbers and background checks for purchase. The new rule expands the definition of a “firearm” to cover “buy build shoot” kits that people can buy online or from a firearm dealer and assemble themselves. About 20,000 suspected ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement last year during criminal investigations. Biden also said he was nominating Steve Dettelbach to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been without a Senate-confirmed director since 2015. (NPR / NBC News / ABC News / Washington Post)

6/ The White House warned that the Labor Department’s consumer price index report will show that inflation is “extraordinarily elevated.” Jen Psaki said the previous report — which showed prices rising 7.9% over the last 12 months in February – doesn’t reflect the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on oil and gas prices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will issue its March update to the consumer price index on Tuesday. Biden’s top economic adviser, meanwhile, said that while the U.S. economy is “facing a lot of uncertainty, we are facing rocky waters,” the U.S. is “probably better positioned than any other major economy to navigate effectively through them.” (CNBC / Bloomberg / Axios)

poll/ 71% of Americans blame Putin for the recent increase in gas prices, while 68% blame oil companies, and 51% blame Biden. (ABC News)

Day 443: "A more perfect union."

1/ The Senate voted 53 to 47 to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th Supreme Court justice, making her the first Black woman to serve on the high court. “This is one of the great moments of American history,” Chuck Schumer said before the vote. “Today we are taking a giant, bold and important step on the well-trodden path to fulfilling our country’s founding promise. This is a great moment for Judge Jackson but it is an even greater moment for America as we rise to a more perfect union.” Biden, meanwhile, called the vote a “historic moment” for the nation, saying “We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America.” Jackson will be sworn in when Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer. (New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / NBC News / CNN / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

2/ New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a Manhattan judge to hold Trump in contempt of court for refusing to comply with a court order to turn over documents for her investigation into his company. James also asked the judge to fine Trump $10,000 for every day he fails to surrender those documents. In February, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to “comply in full” with James’ subpoena seeking documents and information. Trump, however, missed the March 31 deadline to hand over records. “Instead of obeying a court order, Mr. Trump is trying to evade it,” James said, adding that Trump “did not comply at all,” but instead sent a response “raising objections to each of the eight document requests in the subpoena based on grounds such as overbreadth, burden, and lack of particularity.” (CNBC / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg / CBS News)

3/ The Manhattan district attorney said the criminal investigation into Trump and his company is continuing, despite the recent resignation of the two senior prosecutors leading the case. “It’s open, it’s active, we have a great team in place of dedicated career prosecutors working every day,” Alvin Bragg said. “We’re exploring evidence that’s not been previously explored. We will leave no stone unturned.” The future of the investigation, which produced tax-fraud indictments of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, was called into question after prosecutors Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz resigned in February. In his resignation letter, Pomerantz said Trump “is guilty of numerous felony violations,” but that the case had been “suspended indefinitely.” While Bragg said “the investigation is very much ongoing,” he wouldn’t place a timeline on the case other than to say that “investigations are not linear.” (Wall Street Journal / CNN / Bloomberg / ABC News)

4/ The Justice Department is investigating the 15 boxes of White House records that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office. The Justice Department is reportedly in the “very early stages” of an investigation into possible mishandling of government records, some of which were labeled “top secret.” The Justice Department is also blocking the National Archives from sharing details on the 15 boxes with the House Oversight Committee, which has opened its own investigation. In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney accused the Justice Department of “interfering” with its investigation by preventing the National Archives from cooperating with the panel. (Washington Post / CNN / NPR)

5/ The House voted to recommend criminal contempt of Congress charges against Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, after the two former Trump aides defied subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee. The 220-203 vote refers the two former Trump aides to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. Two Republicans – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – voted in favor of the referral. (New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Congress voted to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status and banned the import of Russian energy into the U.S. The House voted 413-9 to strip Moscow of its preferential trade status following a unanimous 100-to-0 vote in the Senate. Three Republican lawmakers in the House – Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Thomas Massie – opposed the trade bill, while nine lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, opposed the legislation banning Russian energy imports. (New York Times / CNBC / Bloomberg / NBC News)

7/ The U.N. General Assembly suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council, approving a resolution that cited reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” in Ukraine. The resolution passed with 93 votes in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstentions. (NPR / CNN / Associated Press)

poll/ 70% of Americans view Russia as an enemy of the U.S. – up from 41% in January. (Pew Research Center)

Day 442: "Outraged by the atrocities."

1/ The U.S. imposed new sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institution, its largest private lender, and Putin’s adult children, as well as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife and daughter, and members of Russia’s Security Council, including former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and current Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Biden condemned the atrocities taking place in Ukraine as “major war crimes” and called on “responsible nations” to come together to hold Russia accountable, adding that he would be signing an executive order to ban all new U.S. investment in Russia. The sanctions against two of Russia’s largest banks, Sberbank and Alfa Bank, freeze all assets from going through the U.S. financial system and bar Americans from doing business with those two institutions. Sberbank holds nearly one-third of all the assets in Russian banks, while Alfa Bank is Russia’s largest private lender. “Our partners are outraged by the atrocities that are being committed in Russia, as we are,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. “And we are working very actively with them to impose new sanctions that will cause Russia significant pain.” (Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / CBS News / Bloomberg / New York Times / CNBC / ABC News)

2/ The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs warned that the “potential for significant international conflict is increasing, not decreasing.” Gen. Mark Milley, appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “the greatest threat to peace and security of Europe and perhaps the world” in his 42 years serving in the U.S. military. More than 60 Republicans, meanwhile, voted against a symbolic resolution affirming support for NATO and its “democratic principles.” The “no” votes represent more than 30% of the party’s conference. (CNN / Business Insider / The Week / Washington Post)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee obtained emails belonging to Trump’s lawyer. John Eastman had sought to keep the 101 emails secret – exchanged between Jan. 4 and Jan. 7, 2021 – which contain extensive communications between Eastman and others about plans to obstruct the certification of Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. The emails were released to the committee after Judge David Carter ruled that Eastman hadn’t made a sufficient claim to attorney-client privilege. (CNN / The Guardian)

4/ A Virginia state court has disbarred an attorney who represented several high-profile Jan. 6 defendants, including a member of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy. The Virginia State Bar said it found that Jonathon Moseley violated “professional rules that govern safekeeping property; meritorious claims and contentions; candor toward the tribunal; fairness to opposing party and counsel; unauthorized practice of law, multijurisdictional practice of law; bar admission and disciplinary matters […] and misconduct.” Moseley’s clients include Kelly Meggs, one of 11 Oath Keeper facing seditious conspiracy charges, and Zachary Rehl, a Proud Boys leaders charged with conspiring to obstruct Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. (Politico)

5/ The bipartisan $10 billion Covid-19 relief bill stalled in the Senate after Republicans blocked the measure from moving forward. Republicans demanded a vote on an amendment to prevent the Biden administration from ending a Trump-era border restriction that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The CDC announced last week it would lift the pandemic-era rule, known as Title 42, because of improving public health conditions. The impasse means lawmakers will depart for a two-week recess without passing aid. (Bloomberg / CBS News)

6/ A federal judge ruled that Trump administration officials involved in the “zero tolerance” immigration policy that separated thousands of immigrant families at the southern border cannot be sued. Judge John Hinderaker dismissed 15 Trump administration officials from the case, ruling they can’t be held personally liable for the government’s conduct. The Trump-appointed judge, however, rejected the government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed in 2019 by the ACLU seeking damages for families affected by the policies. More than 5,000 families were separated from mid-2017 through June 2018 as part of the policy. It’s estimated that roughly 1,000 are still separated. (NBC News / Bloomberg)

7/ The House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a closed-door meeting to discuss how they could address ethical and conflict-of-interest concerns against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife. Some lawmakers have suggested legislation to create a code of ethics for Supreme Court justices, while others have floated investigations or public hearings to pressure the justices to enact their own code. It was reported last month that Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, exchanged 29 text messages with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows imploring him to take steps to overturn the 2020 election in the weeks after Election Day. (NBC News)

poll/ 37% of registered voters said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should “definitely” recuse himself from any cases related to the 2020 presidential election, while 16% said he “probably” should. 28% percent of voters said Thomas shouldn’t recuse himself, and 19% don’t know. (Politico)

Day 441: "The height of hypocrisy."

1/ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of committing a broad range of “the most terrible war crimes” since World War II. During a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Zelenskyy urged members to do more to stop Moscow’s atrocities, saying Russia was abusing its veto powers at the Security Council to block peace efforts and that Russian leaders and soldiers should face a special tribunal like the one established at Nuremberg after World War II. Zelenskyy, appearing via video from Ukraine, said Russian forces killed unarmed civilians and children. “They cut off limbs, cut their throats. Women were raped and killed in front of their children. Their tongues were pulled out only because their aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them.” Zelenskyy added that Russia should be removed from the U.N. Security Council or it should otherwise be dissolved. The Security Council hasn’t taken action against Russia because Moscow and its ally China are permanent members of the council and hold veto power over any measures it might take. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, meanwhile, said she will seek to remove Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council. “Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose purpose is to promote respect for human rights,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “Not only is it the height of hypocrisy, it is dangerous. Russia is using its membership on the Human Rights Council as a platform for propaganda to suggest Russia has a legitimate concern for human rights.” A suspension would require a two-thirds vote by the 193-member General Assembly. Separately, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court at the Hague opened an investigation a month ago into possible war crimes in Ukraine. (NBC News / NPR / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

2/ The U.S., European Union, and G7 are coordinating on a new round of sanctions on Russia following allegations of potential war crimes in Ukraine against civilians by Russian forces. The new sanctions package will ban all new U.S. investment in Russia, increased sanctions on financial institutions and state-owned enterprises in Russia, and sanction Russian government officials and their family members. “It’s a part of the continuation of our efforts to put consequences in place, hold Russian officials accountable,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, adding that an announcement would come Wednesday. The European Commission, meanwhile, proposed a ban on imports of Russian coal, a ban Russian vessels from E.U. ports, as well as blocking the access of Russian road and shipping goods carriers into the E.U. The E.U. sanctions will also target two of Putin’s daughters. (Bloomberg / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

3/ The Treasury Department blocked Russia from withdrawing funds held in American banks to pay its debt obligations. The move is designed to force Russia into either depleting its international currency reserves or spending new revenue to make bond payments to avoid its first foreign currency debt default in a century. The Treasury Department said the action was taken on Monday, when more than half a billion dollars in Russian sovereign debt payments came due. Before it invaded Ukraine, Russia had more than $630 billion in foreign currency reserves, and continues to receive billions of dollars a week in payments under oil and gas contracts with customers in Europe. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Senate negotiators announced a deal on a $10 billion coronavirus aid package, which would largely repurpose unused money from earlier bills passed by Congress. The package falls short of the initial $22.5 billion requested by the White House. Lawmakers are pushing to pass the aid package before the end of the week, when both chambers are scheduled to leave for a two-week recess. However, Mitt Romney, one of the key negotiators of the deal, is also still working to get 10 Republican senators to join with all 50 Democrats to clear the Senate’s 60 vote threshold. (ABC News / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Politico)

5/ The Biden administration will extend the moratorium on federal student loan payments through the end of August. The move applies to more than 43 million Americans who owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student debt held by the federal government. The announcement is due Wednesday, marking the sixth extension since the coronavirus pandemic-era relief policy took effect in March 2020. (Politico / Associated Press / Bloomberg / USA Today)

6/ Ivanka Trump testified before the House Jan. 6 committee. “She’s answering questions,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the committee, said. “I mean, you know, not in a broad, chatty term, but she’s answering questions.” Ivanka was with Trump for most of Jan. 6, including key Oval Office meetings, and was one of several aides who tried to persuade him to call off the violence that injured more than 150 police officers, and sent lawmakers and Pence fleeing for safety. Jared Kushner answered the committee’s questions for more than six hours last week, providing what one member of the panel described as “valuable” and “helpful” information. “There were some things revealed, but we’ll just share that a little later,” Thompson said of Kushner’s testimony. (NBC News / CNN / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

7/ Oklahoma lawmakers approved a near-total ban on abortion. The measure would make performing an abortion “except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency” a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. With little discussion and no debate, the Republican-controlled House voted 70-14 to send the bill to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who previously promised to sign “every piece of pro-life legislation” that came to his desk. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

Day 440: "It’s now or never."

1/ The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will likely be irrevocably out of reach within eight years. Holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would require emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas to peak before 2025, and for nations to collectively reduce their emissions by roughly 43% by 2030. “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C,” the report’s co-chair, James Skea, said. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.” At the same time, the report finds that the world still has time to avoid the most extreme dangers of climate change. Doing so would require a “substantial reduction” in the use of fossil fuel coupled with a rapid adoption of renewable energy sources like wind and solar – economically viable replacements for fossil fuels that are becoming cheaper by the day. In 2021, the world generated a record-setting 10% of its energy from wind and solar. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the report revealed “a litany of broken climate promises” by governments and corporations, calling it a “a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track toward an unlivable world.” The World Health Organization, meanwhile, reports that 99% of the global population breathes air that doesn’t meet its standards for air quality. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNN / CNBC / NBC News)

2/ Biden called for a war crimes trial against Putin following reports of indiscriminate killings of civilians and mass graves in Bucha, Ukraine. “This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it,” Biden said, adding: “I think it’s a war crime.” After Russian soldiers withdrew over the weekend from Bucha, a city on the outskirts of Kyiv, images emerged of dead civilians lying in the streets with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds to the head, and signs of torture. “You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” Biden said. “Well, the truth of the matter — we saw it happen in Bucha — this warrants him — he is a war criminal.” Biden added that he is seeking additional sanctions on Russia and will continue to supply weapons to Ukraine. The Biden administration also said it would work with allies to transfer Soviet-made tanks to Ukraine. (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / NPR / NBC News / CNBC)

3/ The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The 11-11 tie forces Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to set up an additional floor vote for the Senate, where a simple majority (51 votes) is needed to move Jackson’s nomination forward. That vote is expected to succeed, setting up a final vote to confirm Jackson as the Supreme Court’s 116th justice – and its first Black woman – by the end of the week. (Wall Street Journal / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / CNN / CNBC / NPR)

4/ A New York judge blocked the state’s new congressional map, which would have given Democrats the advantage in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional seats. State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister ruled that the map by the Democratic-controlled legislature “was unconstitutionally drawn with political bias.” McAllister ordered Democrats to come up with new “bipartisanly supported maps” by April 11. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)

5/ The Biden administration will end the Trump-era policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The CDC said the order, known as Title 42, will end on May 23 to give the Department of Homeland Security time to setup up a vaccination program for migrants crossing U.S. borders. Human rights groups have denounced Title 42 as a blanket deportation policy that violates U.S. and international asylum law. Immigration advocates, meanwhile, sued the Biden administration to lift the order, arguing Title 42 was being used as an immigration enforcement tool rather than a legitimate public health measure. (NBC News / Associated Press / CNBC / NPR)

poll/ 55% of Americans disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president – the lowest mark of his presidency. 40% approve. 51% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, while 63% disapprove of his handling of the economy and 51% disapprove of his handling of foreign policy. 46% of registered voters, meanwhile, said they preferred a Republican-controlled Congress after the 2022 midterm elections, compared to 44% who said they want Democrats in charge. The 2-point GOP lead, however, is within the poll’s margin of error (3.49%). It’s the first time that Republicans have lead on this question since 2014. (NBC News)

Day 436: "Fairly significantly."

1/ Senators reached a bipartisan deal “in principle” for $10 billion in new Covid-19 funding. The scaled-back compromise, however, is less than half the White House’s original $22.5 billion request. Lawmakers hope Congress can approve the legislation next week before leaving for the two-week April recess. (New York Times / CNN / ABC News)

2/ Biden ordered the release of roughly a million barrels of oil a day from the nation’s emergency reserves to counteract the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The release of as much as 180 million barrels of oil over the next six months from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would be the largest-ever since the emergency stockpile was established in the early 1970s. The White House called it “unprecedented,” and Biden said he expects that gasoline prices could drop “fairly significantly.” Gas is currently averaging about $4.23 a gallon, compared with $2.87 a year ago. “This is a moment of consequence and peril for the world and pain at the pump for American families,” Biden said. (USA Today / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

3/ The Justice Department expanded its Jan. 6 investigation to examine the fundraising and organizing for the rally that immediately preceded the riot at the Capitol, as well as attempts to obstruct the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. In the past two months, a federal grand jury has issued subpoena requests to government officials in Trump’s orbit who assisted in the rally, as well as the push by Trump allies to promote alternate slates of fake electors. One of the subpoenas sought information about people “classified as VIP attendees” at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN)

4/ Trump used an official White House phone to place at least one call during the Jan. 6 attack, which was not reflected in the official presidential call log. The Presidential Records Act mandates the preservation of White House records pertaining to a president’s official duties. According to Republican Senator Mike Lee, Trump called him on the day of the insurrection from the number 202-395-0000, which is a placeholder that corresponds to an official White House phone. Lee said Trump had meant to call Sen. Tommy Tuberville. Rudy Giuliani also left Lee a voicemail, which was allegedly meant for Tuberville. Trump’s official White House records are also missing seven hours and 37 minutes of phone logs, which correspond to the attack on the Capitol by his supporters. (The Guardian)

5/ A federal judge ruled that sections of Florida’s new election law were unconstitutional and racially motivated. “In the past 20 years, Florida has repeatedly sought to make voting tougher for Black voters because of their propensity to favor Democratic candidates,” Judge Mark Walker wrote in the decision. Walker overturned a provision limiting when people could use a drop box to submit their ballot, along with a section prohibiting from engaging with people waiting to vote, which he said “discourages groups who give food, water, and other forms of encouragement to voters waiting in long lines from continuing to do so.” Walker also placed the state under a 10-year order to receive clearance from the federal government before changing key parts of its voting laws again. The decision, however, is certain to be appealed and is likely to be overturned either by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta or the Supreme Court. (Associated Press / New York Times)

Day 435: "The Achilles' heel of autocracies."

1/ U.S. intelligence officials believe Putin is “being misinformed by his advisers” who “are too afraid to tell him the truth” about his military’s struggles in Ukraine and the effect of sanctions on the Russian economy. “We have information that Putin felt misled by the Russian military which has resulted in persistent tension between Putin and his military leadership,” White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said, adding that the U.S. was sharing this information now to show “this has been a strategic error for Russia.” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby added that Putin hasn’t been kept informed by his Defense Ministry, saying: “It is his military. It is his war. He chose it. So the fact that he may not have all the context, that he may not fully understand the degree to which his forces are failing in Ukraine, that’s a little discomforting.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken also acknowledged that Putin has been misinformed by his advisers, saying “[…] one of the Achilles’ heel of autocracies is that you don’t have people in those systems who speak truth to power or who have the ability to speak truth to power. And I think that is something that we’re seeing in Russia.” (Bloomberg / New York Times / Associated Press / Reuters)

2/ Trump called on Putin to release information regarding Hunter Biden’s alleged dealings with Eastern European oligarchs in an interview with a far-right journalist whose previous coverage about the Bidens’ ties to Ukraine has been discredited. The claim is unsubstantiated. Trump previously pressured the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on Hunter and Joe Biden, which lead to his first impeachment, and during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump urged Putin to hack Hillary Clinton’s personal emails. (Politico / NBC News / CNN)

3/ Susan Collins said she will vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, becoming the first Republican senator to support for Biden’s nominee. Collins support all but guarantees that Jackson will become the first Black woman on the court. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Jackson’s nomination April 4, and Democrats plan to quickly move it to the Senate floor for a final vote before the start of a two-week recess. (New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ The White House launched a Covid-19 website to help Americans navigate access to testing, treatment, vaccines, and masks. Biden, meanwhile, pressured Congress to approve billions in emergency coronavirus relief aid, saying: “This isn’t partisan. It’s medicine.” The website, COVID.gov, consolidates efforts launched earlier in the pandemic, and includes information on local virus spread, travel rules and restrictions, and information about to receive immediate antiviral treatments if you have Covid-19. “We’re now in a new moment in this pandemic,” Biden said. “It does not mean that Covid-19 is over. It means that Covid-19 no longer controls our lives.” The Biden administration has spent weeks calling on Republicans in Congress to approve $22.5 billion in emergency aid. The Senate, however, is still trying to reach an agreement on a $15 billion Covid-19 aid bill – similar in size to the one abruptly removed from the spending package earlier this month – before members leave for a two-week break at the end of next week. (NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

5/ The Biden administration plans to end Trump-era pandemic border policy restrictions that largely blocked migrants from entering the U.S. The change is expected to take effect in late May and would halt use of public health powers to set asylum limits at the U.S.-Mexico. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, at least 1.7 million migrants have been sent back to Mexico or their origin country since March 2020. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Biden is expected to invoke the Defense Production Act to help secure the minerals needed for the batteries used in electric vehicles and power storage on the electric grid. Adding minerals like lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt, and manganese to the list of covered materials could help mining companies access $750 million under the DPA’s Title III fund. And while the U.S. possesses many of the minerals needed for clean energy technology, it relies primarily on imports from China, Russia, South Africa, and Australia. Russia, in particular, is a leading producer of nickel, copper, and other battery minerals, and the invasion of Ukraine has sent the necessary mineral prices soaring. (Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

7/ The Biden administration will spend $3.16 billion to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes in low-income areas, with the goal of making them more energy efficient. The funding for the federal Weatherization Assistance Program comes from Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and will allow the program to modernize about 450,000 homes with cost-effective upgrades like adding insulation to attics, swapping older appliances for more efficient models, and replacing leaky windows and doors. Trump proposed eliminating the program in 2017. (Washington Post / CNBC)

poll/ 47% of Americans say they worry a great deal about the cost of energy – up from 37% a year ago and is more than double the percentage in 2020. (Gallup)

poll/ 30% of Americans say inflation is the most urgent issue facing the country today, followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (14%), immigration (9%), climate change (7%), health care (6%), and Covid-19 (3%), among others. (Quinnipiac)

Day 434: "Do your job."

1/ Trump’s Jan. 6 White House records are missing seven hours and 37 minutes of phone logs. The gap, which extends from a little after 11 a.m. to about 7 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, corresponds with the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters. The lack of an official White House record also stands in contrast to public reporting about conversations Trump had during the attack, which included calls with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Sen. Mike Lee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection has subpoenaed the phone records of more than 100 people and is now investigating whether Trump communicated that day through backchannels, including the phones of aides or “burner phones.” (Washington Post / CBS News / Associated Press / CNN)

2/ Two dozen Democratic lawmakers demanded that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “promptly recuse himself” from future cases related to the attack on the Capitol or efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The group urged Thomas to “immediately issue a written explanation for his failure to recuse himself” from such cases following reports that his wife had pressured Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to try to overturn Biden’s victory and was involved in the “Stop the Steal” movement. Thomas was the only justice to dissent in Trump’s request to block documents from being released to the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. The lawmakers also called on Chief Justice John Roberts to create “a binding Code of Conduct for the Supreme Court” that would require all justices to “issue written recusal decisions.” (Washington Post / CNBC)

3/ The Jan. 6 committee urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to criminally charge Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress, saying “the Department of Justice has a duty to act on this referral and others that we have sent.” In December, the full House voted to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress over his refusal to cooperate with the committee’s investigation. Adam Schiff warned that “without enforcement of congressional subpoenas, there is no oversight, and without oversight, no accountability.” Rep. Elaine Luria added: “Attorney General Garland, do your job so we can do ours.” The committee, meanwhile, voted to hold former Trump aides Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas. The full House is expected to vote to send both of those referrals to the Justice Department later this week. (Politico / Washington Post)

4/ The New York attorney general’s office said it has “uncovered significant evidence” suggesting that Trump “falsely and fraudulently valued” real estate assets for more than a decade. The potentially misleading valuations “and other misrepresentations” were used by the Trump Organization “to secure economic benefits, according to a court filing by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The filing was made in response to Trump, Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump appealing a Feb. 17 order requiring them to sit for depositions. James said their sworn testimony was necessary to determine if fraud occurred “and who may be responsible for any such fraud.” (CNBC / Bloomberg / Politico)

5/ Russia said it will “drastically reduce military activity” near Kyiv and northern Ukraine after Ukrainian negotiators said they had offered a peace proposal to their Russian counterparts. Russia also said it was ready to set a meeting between Putin and Zelensky once a draft peace agreement was ready. Biden, meanwhile, said he would reserve judgement on Russia’s claim that it will move forces, saying “we’ll see if they follow through on what they’re suggesting.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken added that the Kremlin’s negotiators hadn’t shown “signs of real seriousness,” saying “There is what Russia says and there is what Russia does.” (Politico / Bloomberg / ABC News / New York Times / Associated Press / NPR / NBC News / Washington Post)

6/ The FDA authorized a second booster of Pfizer and Moderna for adults 50 years and older, making more than 34 million Americans eligible for a fourth shot. The CDC, meanwhile, reported that the more contagious omicron subvariant, BA.2, is now the dominant version of Covid-19 in the U.S. The subvariant now accounts for more than 54% of cases nationally – up from 39% the previous week. (Politico / CBS News / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

poll/ 44% of Americans say they regularly wear a face mask in public – down from 65% in January. 40% say they’re avoiding nonessential travel, compared with 60% in January. And 47% say they regularly stay away from large groups – down from 65% in January. (Associated Press)

Day 433: "The illegality was obvious."

1/ A federal judge asserted that Trump “more likely than not” committed felony obstruction in his effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote, ordering the release of 101 emails from Trump adviser John Eastman to the Jan. 6 committee. The committee had subpoenaed Eastman’s university email account, which he used to send key legal memos aimed at overturning Biden’s victory, but Eastman sued to prevent the committee from obtaining his emails from the school, claiming attorney-client privilege. “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Carter wrote, rejecting Eastman’s effort to shield the documents, saying Eastman and Trump “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history […] it was a coup in search of a legal theory.” The ruling has no direct role in whether Trump will be charged criminally. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Politico / ABC News / Associated Press / NBC News)

2/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife sent 21 text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows imploring him to take steps to overturn the 2020 election in the weeks after Election Day. Virginia Thomas (who goes by Ginni) regularly checked in with Meadows to encourage him to push claims of voter fraud and work to overturn the election. Thomas also shared several false QAnon-related conspiracy theories, including that Trump had deliberately “watermarked” mail ballots to find potential voter fraud. In February 2021, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s effort to block a Jan. 6 committee subpoena for White House records related to the certification of the election and the Capitol insurrection. Instead of recusing himself from the case, Thomas wrote in a dissent that it was “baffling” and “inexplicable” that the majority had decided against hearing the cases. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection said it will seek an interview with Virginia Thomas. (Washington Post / CBS News / CNN / New York Times / The Guardian / Business Insider / Wall Street Journal / NBC News)

3/ Jared Kushner is expected to voluntarily appear before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. In text messages to Mark Meadows, Ginni Thomas suggested that she was in contact with Kushner regarding Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who promoted false conspiracy theories about widespread voting fraud. (ABC News)

4/ Biden stood by his ad-libbed comment that Putin “cannot remain in power,” claiming he was expressing “moral outrage” rather than “articulating a policy change” during his Saturday speech in Warsaw. “I’m not walking anything back,” Biden said of his unscripted comment. “I make no apologies for it.” Biden added that it was “ridiculous” for any one to view his comment as a call for regime change, saying: “Nobody believes […] I was talking about taking down Putin.” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Washington Post / CNBC / Associated Press / NBC News)

5/ Biden proposed a $5.8 trillion budget, which calls for deficit reduction, a new minimum tax on billionaires, and increased funding for police and gun violence prevention. The 2023 budget proposal in fiscal 2023, which begins in October, calls for $1.6 trillion in discretionary spending – a 7% increase over current levels. The White House projects that the proposed budget would reduce the federal deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next decade. Congress, however, is in charge of writing the federal budget and often ignores White House proposals. (NPR / New York Times / Bloomberg / USA Today / Associated Press / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

6/ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The measure — titled the Parental Rights in Education bill — prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s public schools and allows parents to sue their school district over violations. (ABC News / NPR / NBC News / Associated Press)

poll/ 40% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – the lowest mark of his presidency. 71% of Americans said they believe the U.S. is on the wrong track, while 22% said they believe it’s headed in the right direction. (NBC News)

poll/ 56% of Americans said Biden has not been “tough enough” on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, while 55% said they believed the U.S. should sanction Russia “as effectively as possible,” even if it hurts the U.S. economy. (Axios)

Day 429: "What will stop him."

1/ The U.S. and its allies imposed new sanctions on more than 400 Russian individuals and entities, including lawmakers, and defense companies. Biden said that while “sanctions never deter,” the “maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain” on Putin is “what will stop him.” Administration officials said the sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have taken a severe toll on Russia’s economy so far. Forecasts project that the Russian economy will contract by 15% this year, wiping out 15 years of economic gains. (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters / CNN)

2/ Biden called for Russia to be removed from the G-20 group of the world’s largest economies, but added that the decision was up to the group. Biden suggested that Ukraine should be allowed to participate in the meetings if member nations didn’t agree to the expulsion. In 2014, Russia was ejected from the G-8 – a smaller group of the world’s largest economies – following its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Putin, meanwhile, still plans to attend the G-20 summit hosted by Indonesia later this year. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News)

3/ Biden warned that NATO would respond “in kind” if Russia used chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine. Biden declined to share any specifics, but said NATO’s response “would depend on the nature of the use.” NATO allies also agreed to provide Ukraine with equipment and training to deal with a possible Russian attack using chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. The G-7 nations, meanwhile, issued a statement warning Putin against using chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons in Ukraine. (Washington Post / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

4/ A Manhattan prosecutor who investigated Trump’s financial dealings said he believes Trump is “guilty of numerous felony violations” and that it’s “a grave failure of justice” not to hold him accountable. The prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz, resigned in February after the new Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, abruptly stopped pursuing an indictment and “suspended indefinitely” the Trump investigation “contrary to the public interest.” In his resignation letter, Pomerantz said “the team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did.” Pomerantz added that the potential felonies are related to the “preparation and use of his annual Statements of Financial Condition,” which “were false.” Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, another top investigator on the team probing Trump and the Trump Organization, planned to charge Trump with falsifying business records, specifically his annual financial statements. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / The Guardian)

5/ Trump repeatedly pushed Republican Rep. Mo Brooks to “rescind” the 2020 election results, “remove” Biden from office, and redo the last presidential election in several conversations last year. Brooks disclosed his conversations with Trump after Trump withdrew his endorsement of Brooks in the Republican U.S. Senate primary election in Alabama. Trump “has asked me to rescind the election of 2020,” Brooks said. “He always brings up, ‘we’ve got to rescind the election. We got to take Joe Biden down and put me in now’.” When asked if Trump still says that to him, Brooks replied: “yes.” Brooks played a central role in challenging the election, including discussing plans to object to the election with Trump at the White House and speaking during the “Stop the Steal” rally at the ellipse that preceded the Capitol attack. Brooks told the crowd that they needed to “start taking down names and kicking ass.” (ABC News / New York Times / CNN / Business Insider)

6/ The Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack will vote on Monday to hold two former Trump White House advisers, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino Jr., in criminal contempt of Congress. The committee subpoenaed Scavino last September and Navarro in early February. Neither cooperated or provided testimony, but Navarro did call the investigators “terrorists.” If the full House also approves the referrals, it would then move onto the Justice Department for potential prosecution. Navarro was the former trade adviser, while Scavino was former deputy chief of staff. (NPR / Associated Press)

7/ Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic confirmation hearings concluded after hearing from outside witnesses. Members of the American Bar Association, which gave Jackson its highest professional rating, praised her as a “first rate” judge who would bring “impeccable” credentials to the job “without any biases.” The ABA said they found no evidence to support Republican allegations that Jackson was lenient in her sentencing as a federal trial court judge. Republicans on the committee, meanwhile, indicated that they don’t plan to delay or block Jackson’s confirmation vote, which is expected to take place early next month. Jackson would be the first Black woman on the court in its 233-year history. (Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal

8/ Biden threatened to remove two Trump-appointed members of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition if they didn’t resign. Dr. Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker are currently Republican Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and Georgia, respectively, despite the Biden administration’s policy prohibiting candidates for federal office from serving on boards and commissions. Trump reappointed Oz and Walker to two-year terms on the committee in December 2020. (NBC News / CNN / USA Today)

9/ Microplastic pollution was found in human blood for the first time. Scientists said they found the particles in almost 80% of the analyzed blood samples from 22 anonymous donors. Half the samples contained PET plastic (e.g. drink bottles), while a third contained polystyrene (e.g. food packaging), and a quarter of the blood samples contained polyethylene (e.g. plastic bags). The impact on health is unknown. [Editor’s note: Have a nice day.] (The Guardian)

poll/ 43% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president; 68% think the country is heading in the wrong direction; and 56% feel that Biden’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not been tough enough. On a positive note, 53% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. (Associated Press / AP-NORC)

Day 428: "Saber rattling."

1/ The U.S. government formally accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine – four weeks after Russia launched its invasion. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that “based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” noting that many of the buildings Russian forces have targeted are “clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians” in Russian “in huge letters visible from the sky.” The International Criminal Court on March 1 opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine. (CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Washington Post)

2/ Putin’s press secretary refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Dmitry Peskov said Putin would consider using nuclear weapons in the case of “an existential threat for our country,” adding that “Putin intends to make the world listen to and understand our concerns.” Peskov repeated Putin’s “main goals of the operation” are to “get rid of the military potential of Ukraine,” to ensure Ukraine is a “neutral country,” to get rid of “nationalist battalions,” for Ukraine to accept that Crimea is part of Russia, and to accept that the Moscow-backed separatist Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk “are already independent states.” The Pentagon, meanwhile, called the remarks “dangerous,” saying that’s “not the way a responsible nuclear power should act.” Putin previously warned countries that interfere in Ukraine should be prepared to face “the consequences you have never seen in history.” (CNN / Washington Post)

3/ NATO will double its troop presence on the alliance’s eastern flank in response to Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the deployment will consist of four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. NATO will also provide Ukraine with equipment to protect against chemical, nuclear, or biological weapons. Stoltenberg called on Russia to stop its “nuclear saber rattling,” saying the use of chemical, nuclear, or biological weapons would be a “blatant violation of international law” and would fundamentally change the nature of the conflict. (Politico / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / BBC)

4/ Russia’s climate envoy resigned and left the country, citing his opposition to Putin’s war in Ukraine. Anatoly Chubais is the highest-level official to quit since the invasion of Ukraine. Separately, Russia’s central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina tried to resign following the invasion. Putin, however, rejected the bid. Nabiullina was nominated for a new five-year term last week. (Bloomberg / NBC News / New York Times)

5/ Paul Manafort was blocked from leaving the country because he tried to use a revoked passport. Manafort attempted to fly from Miami to Dubai before Customs and Border Protection barred him from boarding the plane because of an issue with his passport. Although Manafort is not legally prevented from leaving the country or from applying for a new passport, he tried to travel using a passport that was revoked in October 2017 after his arrest. It was not clear why he tried to travel using an invalid passport. In 2018, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, and he later pleaded guilty to financial crimes, violating foreign lobbying laws, and attempting to obstruct justice. At the time of his arrest in 2017, Manafort had three active passports, each with a different identification number. (Associated Press / CNBC / NBC News / CNN)

6/ Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson continued to defended her record against increasingly aggressive and contentious questioning from Senate Republicans that fact-checkers and Democrats have debunked and criticized. During her second day of questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Jackson faced accusations from Lindsey Graham that she had been too lenient in her sentencing as a federal trial judge, but repeatedly interrupted her before she could give an answer. Ted Cruz also used his time to accuse Judge Jackson of not answering his questions despite continually interrupting her whenever she started to respond to his questions. And, Marsha Blackburn demanded that Judge Jackson “provide a definition for the word ‘woman.’” Judge Jackson replied: “I’m not a biologist.” Throughout the day, Judge Jackson repeatedly said that as a judge, she operated within the parameters of laws passed by Congress and that her overall record showed that her sentencing decisions were consistent with what the law recommended. Republicans, meanwhile, have started pressuring Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to oppose Judge Jackson in the 50-50 Senate. (CNBC / Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / New York Times)

poll/ 58% of Americans say the Senate should confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Only Chief Justice John Roberts, at 59% in 2005, had a higher level of support. For comparison, 51% of Americans were in favor of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, 45% supported Neil Gorsuch, and 41% were for accused sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. (Gallup)

poll/ 40% of Americans say the U.S. should have a “major role” in the Russia-Ukraine war. In February – just before the invasion began – 26% of Americans said the U.S. should have a major role in the conflict. (Associated Press)

Day 427: "Sickening and egregious."

1/ The Biden administration has exhausted the funds needed to purchase a potential fourth coronavirus vaccine dose for all Americans, unless lawmakers pass the $15 billion funding package. “Right now, we don’t have enough money for fourth doses, if they’re called for,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said. While federal regulators have secured enough doses to cover a fourth shot for Americans age 65 and older as well as the initial doses for children under age 5, analysts say the U.S. would need to purchase hundreds of millions of additional doses to ensure that every American could receive four shots, if necessary. In the United Kingdom, Covid-19 cases have jumped more than 36% over the past week, while in the U.S. the omicron subvariant BA.2 now represents between 50% to 70% of all Covid cases. Meanwhile, the number of at-home Covid-19 tests shipped each week by manufacturers in the U.S. has fallen by more than 50% over the last month. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Politico)

2/ White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for Covid-19 for a second time in five months. Psaki was scheduled to join Biden on a diplomatic trip to Europe tomorrow to attend a NATO summit, meet with G-7 leaders, and join a scheduled European Council Summit. Psaki said that she had “two socially distanced meetings” with Biden on Monday that were not considered to be in close contact, according to the CDC. Biden tested negative for the coronavirus on Tuesday. (CNN / New York Times / ABC News)

3/ Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson rejected misleading accusations by several Senate Republicans that she imposed lenient sentences in child pornography cases, asserting that “nothing could be further from the truth.” On her second day of confirmation hearings, Judge Jackson pushed back on the notion that she was tolerant of child sex-abuse, calling the crimes “sickening and egregious” and that she imposed “strict sentence[s] and all of the additional restraints available in the law.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, called the misleading claims by Josh Hawley and Marsha Blackburn “extreme” and “meritless.” Ted Cruz, meanwhile, used his time to question Judge Jackson about her views of critical race theory and called the nomination of enslaver Bushrod Washington not “controversial,” while Lindsey Graham used his allotted time to air grievances about the treatment of past Republican Supreme Court nominees and to attack Biden and other Democrats. (New York Times / Washington Post / The Hill / Politico / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

4/ A federal judge convicted an elected official from New Mexico of illegally entering restricted U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. Couy Griffin, who waived his right to a jury and elected to have U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden decide his case, is the second Jan. 6 defendant to go on trial as part of the Justice Department’s prosecution. Griffin was acquitted, however, of engaging in disorderly and disruptive conduct during the riot that disrupted Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. (Politico / Associated Press / CNN)

5/ Biden confirmed that Russia has used a hypersonic missile in Ukraine, saying it’s “the only thing that they can get through with absolute certainty.” Biden added: “It’s a consequential weapon […] it’s almost impossible to stop it. There’s a reason they’re using it.” Hypersonic missiles are capable of adjusting course and altitude to evade radar detection and missile defenses. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, meanwhile, said it expects Russia to “increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength” as the invasion of Ukraine stalls. And… at least seven forest fires have broken out near the Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant, raising fears that radiation could spread from the defunct facility. (ABC News / New York Times / CNN / Politico / Washington Post)

Day 426: "Civility and grace."

1/ The Senate Judiciary Committee held the first day of confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden’s Supreme Court pick. Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, pledged to decide cases “without fear or favor” if confirmed, and vowed to make equal justice “a reality and not just an ideal.” Jackson told a divided Senate panel she was an independent thinker who decides cases “from a neutral posture,” and that she hoped to embody the “skill and integrity, civility and grace” of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she seeks to succeed. Sen. Josh Hawley, meanwhile, attacked Jackson in his opening statement, accusing her of issuing “lenient” sentences in child pornography cases as a trial judge. The White House called Hawley’s criticism “toxic and weakly presented misinformation,” adding that in the vast majority of Jackson’s cases involving child sex crimes, the sentences she imposed “were consistent with or above what the government or U.S. Probation recommended.” (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN)

2/ Justice Clarence Thomas was hospitalized with an infection after experiencing flu-like symptoms. Thomas, the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court and second-oldest justice, is being treated with intravenous antibiotics and his symptoms are reportedly improving. His illness is not related to Covid-19. (ABC News / Washington Post / USA Today)

3/ A federal judge ruled that former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis knowingly violated the rights of same-sex couples by denying them marriage licenses. The ruling clears the way for a jury trial seeking damages against Davis as an individual. In 2015, Davis repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Kentucky, despite the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage and a letter from the governor instructing all county clerks to issue the licenses. Davis claimed that issuing the licenses would violate her Christian values. (NBC News / CNN / NPR)

4/ Biden warned that Russia is “exploring options for potential cyberattacks” against the U.S., advising U.S. companies to “harden your cyber defenses immediately.” In updated national cybersecurity guidance, the administration said Russia “could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States […] as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed” in response to the Ukraine invasion. A senior NATO intelligence official, meanwhile, said the Russia-Ukraine war was “rapidly approaching” a stalemate, adding that “neither side here can win. Neither side will capitulate.” Separately, the U.S. sent Soviet-made air defense systems it had secretly acquired decades ago to Ukraine to help the country establish a de facto no-fly zone. (Politico / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNBC / New York Times)

5/ The House passed the Crown Act, which would ban “discrimination based on an individual’s texture or style of hair.” Crown stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, and now goes to the Senate. (NBC News)

6/ Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is under investigation for alleged voter fraud in North Carolina. The investigation comes after it was reported that Meadows registered to vote shortly before the 2020 election at a mobile home in Macon County, where he never lived or visited. Macon County District Attorney Ashley Welch requested the probe. (CNN / Salon)

7/ Mark Meadows was reportedly involved in efforts to encourage Trump’s supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a person who overhead the conversation that took place on a speakerphone. Scott Johnston, who worked on the team that helped plan the Ellipse rally, said he overheard Meadows, and Katrina Pierson, Trump’s national campaign spokeswoman, talking with Kylie Kremer, the executive director of Women for America First, about plans for a march to the Capitol and how to “make it look like they went down there on their own.” Johnston testified to the House committee investigating the Capitol attack in December. (Rolling Stone / Washington Post)

Day 422: "Consequences and implications."

1/ The House passed legislation to revoke Russia’s “most-favored-nation” trade status, which would allow the U.S. to impose higher tariffs on Russian goods. The legislation would suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, as well as require the U.S. trade representative to urge Russia to be suspended from the World Trade Organization and to stop Belarus’s membership application process. The bill now heads to the Senate, where the chamber already has a matching bill with bipartisan support. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / NPR)

2/ Biden’s national security adviser warned Moscow that there would be unspecified “consequences and implications of any possible Russian decision to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.” According to a new global threats report, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency assessed that “Russia likely will increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength to its internal and external audiences.” Putin already has put Russia’s nuclear arsenal on a state of higher alert. Prior the report’s release, Russia threatened the U.S., saying it had “the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place.” Putin, meanwhile, promised to cleanse Russia of the “scum and traitors” who disagree with him, claiming that “a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country.” Biden called Putin a “murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.” (New York Times / Reuters / Bloomberg / New York Times / Bloomberg / The Hill / The Guardian / CNN)

3/ Senior Biden health aides are concerned that Covid-19 cases could soon rise again as a more contagious Omicron subvariant has rapidly spread in Europe. While cases in the U.S. are at an eight-month low, about a dozen European nations are seeing spikes in coronavirus infections caused by the subvariant, with Germany and Austria approaching or having exceeded record caseload levels. The White House Covid-19 task force and the CDC, meanwhile, have met to game out how to respond if cases begin to rise drastically. More than $15 billion in Covid-19 funding has stalled in Congress, despite the White House warning that the U.S. will soon run out of funding for future Covid-19 booster shots, new treatments, and testing efforts. And, the White House coronavirus coordinator announced he was leaving the administration next month. Jeff Zients will be replaced by Dr. Ashish Jha. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / Associated Press)

4/ A federal appeals court lifted a ban that blocked the federal government from accounting for the social cost of carbon when issuing new regulations, approving infrastructure projects, and other projects. On his first day in office, Biden issued an order that estimated each ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere would cause $51 in societal damages. The Trump administration had reduced the figure to about $7 or less per ton. The court’s decision reverses a February ruling by a district judge, who had sided with 10 states with Republican attorneys general that the carbon metric could cause them a real injury. (Politico / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

5/ Joe Manchin advised a conference of oil and gas executives that they should look for a “return on investment” when making campaign donations. Manchin, the Senate’s top recipient of coal, oil, and gas donations, said fossil fuel executives should “demand more” from politicians who solicit donations, which he referred to as the “mother’s milk.” Manchin added: “We haven’t been good at […] We haven’t told our story. There’s an old story in politics: Tell your story before someone tells one on you. It’s hard to play defense. It’s much easier to run an offensive play, then make your adjustments.” (The New Republic)

Day 421: "Do more."

1/ Ukraine President Zelensky invoked Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 terror attacks as he pleaded with the U.S. Congress for more help, telling lawmakers “we need you right now […] I call on you to do more.” The Ukrainian leader urged the U.S. to establish a no-fly zone over his country – a proposal that the Biden administration and NATO allies have rejected — and the delivery of advanced antimissile defense systems. “This is a terror that Europe has not seen, has not seen for 80 years and we are asking for a reply, for an answer to this terror from the whole world,” Zelensky said. At the conclusion of his remarks, Zelensky urged Biden to do more, saying: “You are the leader of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.” Following Zelensky’s address to Congress, Putin accused the West of trying to “cancel Russia.” (Associated Press / CNN / NBC News / CNBC / Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)

2/ Biden called Putin a “war criminal” and said he will commit $800 million more in military aid to Ukraine. The new funding comes from the $13.6 billion aid package Biden signed into law Tuesday and the total amount of funding allocated this week to Ukraine to more than $1 billion. The new aid package includes 800 anti-aircraft missiles, 9,000 anti-armor systems, 7,000 small arms, like machine guns, shotguns and grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of ammunition, body armor, and drones. “This could be a long and difficult battle. But the American people will be steadfast in our support of the people of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s immoral, unethical attacks on civilian populations,” Biden said. “We are united in our abhorrence of Putin’s depraved onslaught. And we’re going to continue to have their backs as they fight for their freedom, their democracy, their very survival.” The Kremlin, meanwhile, called Biden’s rhetoric “unacceptable and unforgivable.” (CNN / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg / The Guardian)

3/ The International Court of Justice ordered Russia to “immediately suspend” its military operations in Ukraine, saying the Kremlin justified its invasion on the false pretext that Ukraine was committing genocide against Russian-speakers in the east of the country. The ruling is largely symbolic despite being legally binding because Moscow is not expected to comply with the ruling. Countries who refuse to abide by court orders can be referred to the U.N. Security Council, where Russia holds veto power. The vote was 13-2, with judges from Russia and China dissenting. Officials from Ukraine and Russia, meanwhile, said they have made progress on a tentative 15-point peace plan. The proposed deal includes a ceasefire and Russian withdrawal if Ukraine declares neutrality and agrees to not join NATO. (ABC News / Financial Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

4/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point – the first increase since December 2018. Policymakers also signaled six additional similarly sized rate hikes this year to rein in the highest inflation in 40 years. Policymakers expect inflation to remain elevated, ending 2022 at 4.3% – well above the Fed’s 2% goal – before coming down to 2.3% in 2024. Based on the Fed’s median projections, rates are expected to rise to about 2.8% by the end of 2023. (Associated Press / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ The Republican National Committee sued its own email vendor in an effort to stop it from complying with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee for data on RNC and Trump campaign fundraising practices. Last week, the RNC sued the House committee, complaining about the Salesforce subpoena’s breadth. The subpoena calls for Salesforce to produce “all performance metrics and analytics related to email campaigns by or on behalf of Donald Trump for President, Inc., The Republican National Committee, or the Trump Make America Great Again Committee” for the period between Nov. 3, 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021. Salesforce, meanwhile, said it will begin producing documents to the committee imminently unless a court intervenes. Separately, the committee said it does not plan to subpoena to members of Congress who allegedly have information regarding the events leading up to and surrounding the attack on the Capitol. (CNN / Politico / Axios / ABC News)

6/ The Senate confirmed Shalanda Young as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, making her the first Black woman to hold the Cabinet-level position. Young was confirmed in a bipartisan 61-36 vote after serving as acting director for the past year. (NBC News / CNN)

7/ The Senate approved legislation to make daylight saving time permanent starting next year. If passed in the House and signed by Biden, Americans would never again have to change their clocks twice a year. At least 18 states have passed laws to permanently switch to daylight saving time, though federal law must first change to allow it. (NPR / Axios / NBC News)

poll/ 69% of Americans favor sending U.S. troops to support European allies as a deterrent to keep Russia from invading those countries. 69% of Americans are also concerned that the conflict will lead to the use of nuclear weapons, while 30% are not worried. (Monmouth University)

poll/ 35% of Americans approve of the U.S. “taking military action even if it risks a nuclear conflict with Russia,” while 62% say they’re opposed to military action in this scenario. Overall, 47% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the Russian invasion, while 39% disapprove and 13% say they are not sure. (Pew Research Center)

Day 420: "Not a close call."

1/ The White House will wind down a Covid-19 program that pays to test, treat, and vaccinate people who don’t have health insurance unless Congress approves more funding. The Biden administration also warned that the U.S. will soon run out of funding for future Covid-19 booster shots, new treatments, and testing efforts if the spending legislation remains stuck in Congress. Last week, lawmakers declined to add $22.5 billion in pandemic funding to the government spending bill because of a dispute over whether $7 billion should come from funds already allocated to states. As a result, uninsured Americans will no longer be able to submit claims for tests or Covid treatments starting next week. The government will also cut supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments to states by 30% after cancelling an order for hundreds of thousands of treatments. “We want to be clear, waiting to provide funding until we’re in a worse spot with the virus will be too late,” a senior administration official said. “Importantly, when you consider the cost of all these investments compared to the cost of what we will prevent in terms of hospitalizations, death and damage to our health care system and our economy, it is not a close call.” (NPR / Bloomberg / ABC News / NBC News / Politico / New York Times)

2/ Biden signed a $1.5 trillion government spending bill that will provide $13.6 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The bill also funds the government for the current fiscal year. “With this bill,” Biden said, “we’re going to send a message to the American people, a strong message that Democrats and Republicans actually come together and get something done right now and to fulfill our most basic responsibilities to keep the government open and running for the American people.” The funding legislation did not include supplemental coronavirus relief that was originally included. (The Hill / CNBC / Washington Post)

3/ The Russian Foreign Ministry sanctioned Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and other top officials in response to sanctions imposed by Washington on Russian officials. Others sanctioned include White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Biden’s son Hunter Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and CIA Director William Burns. White House press secretary Jen Psaki shrugged off the announcement, joking that the sanctions wouldn’t have much of an impact because “President Biden is a junior, so they may have sanctioned his dad, may he rest in peace.” Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, ridiculed the sanctions on her, tweeting: “I want to thank the Russian Academy for this Lifetime Achievement Award.” (CBS News / The Hill /New York Times / NBC News / The Guardian)

4/ A nine-page document found in the possession of the former leader of the Proud Boys outlined a plan to surveil and storm government buildings around the Capitol on Jan. 6. The document, titled “1776 Returns,” was broken into five parts — Infiltrate, Execution, Distract, Occupy, and Sit-In — and recommends recruiting at least 50 people to enter seven government buildings on Jan. 6 for purposes of “causing trouble.” The document, however, does not specifically mention attacking the Capitol building itself. A federal judge, meanwhile, ordered Enrique Tarrio to remain jailed pending trial on charges that he conspired with followers to obstruct certification of Biden’s electoral college victory. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)

5/ The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas attended the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally to protest Biden’s election. Ginni Thomas said she attended the rally in the morning but got cold and left before Trump addressed the crowd and before a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol. In December, Ginni Thomas was among a group of conservative leaders who co-signed a letter criticizing the work of the bipartisan House committee as “overtly partisan political persecution” and called for House Republicans to expel Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from their conference for joining the committee investigating the attacks. The next month, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s effort to block a congressional subpoena for White House records related to the certification of the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 riot. Instead of recusing himself from the case, Clarence Thomas was the only justice to say he would grant Trump’s request. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times)

6/ Joe Manchin, who has taken more money in political donations from fossil fuel interests than any other senator, said he is “very reluctant” to see the proliferation of electric vehicles. The centrist Democrat said he has “a hard time understanding” why the federal government would invest in a network of electric car charging stations, which Biden’s championed as part of his plan to grow the EV market in order to tackle the climate crisis. “I’ve read history, and I remember Henry Ford inventing the Model-T, but I sure as hell don’t remember the U.S. government building filling stations,” Manchin said. “The market did that.” Biden’s Build Back Better plan included half a trillion dollars in clean energy tax credits, as well as rebates for electric car purchases to speed up adoption. Manchin’s opposition, however, has stalled efforts to pass major climate legislation so far. (The Guardian)

7/ A Democratic super PAC accused Trump of violating campaign finance law by spending his existing political funds on a 2024 presidential run without declaring himself a candidate. Federal rules require those who raise or spend more than $5,000 in support of a presidential campaign to register with the FEC. (New York Times)

poll/ 52% of Americans don’t expect Biden to run for re-election in 2024, while 29% believe he’ll pursue a second term and 19% are undecided about his future. Among Democrats, 41% said they believe Biden will run again, while 32% disagree. (Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 39% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of “the situation with Russia and Ukraine” – up from 34% two weeks ago. Biden’s approval on Russia and Ukraine among independents also climbed 12 points to 38%. (Yahoo News)

Day 419: "Fabrication of lies."

1/ NATO Secretary General warned that Russia’s false claim that the U.S. is working with Ukraine to develop biochemical weapons could be used by the Kremlin as a pretext for the use of chemical weapons. “We must remain vigilant because it is possible that Russia itself could plan chemical weapons operations under this fabrication of lies,” Jens Stoltenberg said. “That would be a war crime” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby added: “It is of the Russian playbook that that which they accuse you of they’re planning to do now. Now, again, we haven’t seen anything into it indicates some sort of imminent chemical or biological attack right now, but we’re watching this very, very closely.” Kirby also said Russian forces are “broadening their target sets” after rockets hit a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border. (Politico / Reuters / ABC News / Washington Post)

2/ The Kremlin instructed Russian state media to feature Fox News host Tucker Carlson “as much as possible,” according to a leaked memo produced by the Russian Department of Information and Telecommunications Support. The 12-page war memo told Russian media that it is “essential” to use more Carlson segments in their coverage because he “sharply criticizes” the actions of the United States and NATO and his position on the war in Ukraine is “Russia is only protecting its interests and security.” On March 9, Carlson repeated Russian disinformation that the United States set up biowarfare labs in Ukraine were “totally and completely true.” The following day, a “recommendations for coverage” memo from the Russian agency advised state media to relay the message that “activities of military biological laboratories with American participation on the territory of Ukraine carried global threats to Russia and Europe.” The document also encouraged hosts to allege that the “the United States is working on a ‘biogenocide of the Eastern Slavs.’” The claims of U.S.-run “biological research facilities” in Ukraine are not true. (Mother Jones / The Guardian / Business Insider / ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post)

3/ Russia asked China for military equipment as well as economic assistance to circumvent the sanctions that the U.S. and its allies have imposed on Putin and his regime. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, however, warned China not to try to “bail out” Russia, saying “there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts […] We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki added that China will face “significant consequences” if it violates the international sanctions against Russia. (CNN / Financial Times / New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / Washington Post / Reuters)

4/ The Biden administration approved an additional $200 million in arms and equipment for Ukraine, which includes Javelin antitank missiles and Stinger antiaircraft missiles. Altogether, the administration has authorized $1.2 billion in weapons for Ukraine. Separately, 58 members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus urged Biden to facilitate the offer from Poland to deliver MiG-29 airplanes to Ukraine. The Pentagon struck down the proposal, saying fighter jets departing from a U.S. or NATO base could be seen as an escalation of the United States’ role in the war. On Friday, Biden announced that in conjunction with other G-7 nations and the European Union, the U.S. will revoke “most favored nation” trade status for Russia, which would allow the U.S. and others to impose tariffs on Russian goods. (New York Times / Washington Post)

5/ Joe Manchin said he opposes Biden’s nominee for the Federal Reserve’s top job overseeing banks over her focus on climate change and its threat to financial stability, effectively blocking Sarah Bloom Raskin’s confirmation from advancing to the Senate floor. Manchin, who has close ties to the fossil fuel industry and has rejected Biden’s climate agenda, said the Federal Reserve “is not an institution that should politicize its critical decisions.” Raskin previously called for stronger climate policies, writing last September that regulators should “ask themselves how their existing instruments can be used to incentivize a rapid, orderly, and just transition away from high-emission and biodiversity-destroying investments.” Raskin would need at least one Republican to support her to be confirmed. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)

Day 415: "Preposterous."

1/ The Biden administration warned that Russia could be preparing to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine after Russian officials accused the U.S. of funding “secret biological experiments” at laboratories in two Ukrainian cities. The State Department responded to the allegations, warning that “Russia is inventing false pretexts in an attempt to justify its own horrific actions in Ukraine.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki added that Russia’s accusations were “preposterous,” saying “Russia has a history also of inventing outright lies like this.” (Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

2/ The 2020 Census missed 18.8 million Americans – the biggest net undercount in three decades. The Census Bureau said that while the overall population total of 323 million was accurate, it undercounted the number of Hispanic, Black, and Native American residents and overcounted white and Asian residents. Census results are used to guide voting districts, congressional representation, and the allocation of an estimated $1.5 trillion in federal funds each year for health care, education, transportation, and other public services. (New York Times / Politico / NPR / Washington Post)

3/ The Consumer Price Index rose by 7.9% over the past year – the fastest pace of annual inflation in 40 years. The Labor Department also reported that inflation rose 0.8% from January to February – up from the 0.6% increase from December to January – reflecting the higher cost of gasoline, food, and shelter. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is expected to announce the first of a series of interest rate hikes next week aimed at slowing inflation. (Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

4/ TSA will extend its travel mask mandate for airplanes and other public transportation through mid-April. The mandate will extend at least through April 18 while the CDC works “with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor.” TSA said it expects the average daily passenger traffic to be above 90% of prepandemic levels for the rest of the month due to spring break travel. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / New York Times)

5/ Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Jan. 6 investigation will continue until “we hold everyone accountable,” calling it “the most urgent investigation in the history of the Justice Department.” Garland added that the Justice Department will “not shy away” from investigations that may be seen as “controversial or sensitive or political.” Last week, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot alleged that Trump and his allies “engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States” to overturn the 2020 election. (NPR / USA Today)

6/ The Republican National Committee sued the Jan. 6 committee, seeking to block the panel’s subpoena of data from the RNC’s fundraising platform vendor. The House committee said it needed the Salesforce data to investigate how Trump and the RNC used the platform to disseminate false statements about the 2020 election and how they impacted supporters who read them. According to committee spokesman Tim Mulvey, the Trump campaign and the RNC solicited donations by pushing false claims of widespread voter fraud between November 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021, and sent emails that “encouraged supporters to put pressure on Congress to keep President Trump in power.” (Axios / Washington Post)

7/ Michael Flynn testified before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. In November, the committee sent Flynn a letter demanding that he testify about a December 2020 Oval Office meeting where Trump and others discussed declaring a national emergency and seizing voting machines. Flynn, however, didn’t answer any questions, exercising his 5th Amendment right. (NBC News)

Day 414: "We must continue to fight."

1/ The Pentagon rejected Poland’s offer to transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S. for delivery to Ukraine, saying “we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one” because there are “a range of logistical operational challenges” that would come with delivering the warplanes. U.S. officials added that they were blindsided and not consulted by the Polish government ahead of the public proposal, which attempted to shift the responsibility for delivering the aircraft. Russia’s Defense Ministry warned on Sunday that any country supporting Ukraine’s air force would be considered a participant in the conflict. (Politico / CNN / Axios / Associated Press / Washington Post)

2/ Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan agreement to send $13.6 billion in new humanitarian, military, and economic aid for Ukraine. The package is part of the $1.5 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September, which must pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. The Biden administration had requested $6.4 billion in aid for Ukraine. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)

3/ House Democrats stripped Biden’s $15 billion coronavirus relief package from the $1.5 trillion government funding bill amid disputes about how to cover the cost. More than a dozen lawmakers objected to how the bill would have clawed back about $7 billion in previously approved but unspent funds from state governments to offset some of the cost of the supplemental pandemic response measures. Republicans had opposed allocating more money for the pandemic until earlier funding were spent. Lawmakers from affected states, however, refused to let the spending package move forward, threatening to vote against the motion unless the earlier funds their states were supposed to receive were protected. After deliberating with lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Covid-19 funding would be dropped and that lawmakers would instead proceed with voting on just the government funding package, which includes the emergency aid to Ukraine. “It is heartbreaking to remove the Covid funding, and we must continue to fight for urgently needed Covid assistance,” Pelosi said. “But unfortunately that will not be included in this bill.” (Politico / Associated Press / New York Times / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

4/ Biden directed the federal government to explore the possible uses and regulations for cryptocurrencies. The executive order instructs federal agencies to produce a series of reports to better understand the risks and opportunities presented by digital currencies, including the impact on financial stability and the climate. (Washington Post / Politico / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times)

5/ The Biden administration restored California’s authority to set its own tailpipe pollution standards for cars, which are stricter than federal standards. In 2019, the Trump administration revoked California’s waiver that allowed it to enforce more stringent rules. The EPA also withdrew the Trump-era regulation that blocked other states from adopting the state’s greenhouse gas standards. At least 15 states and the District of Columbia follow California’s vehicle standards. (New York Times / Politico / Associated Press)

6/ The Senate approved a $107 billion overhaul of the Postal Service – the largest reform in nearly two decades. The Postal Service Reform Act requires retired postal service employees to enroll in Medicare, impose new transparency standards, and repeals a requirement to pre-fund retirement benefits 75 years in advance. The bill passed with bipartisan support and heads to Biden’s desk to be signed. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Axios)

Day 413: "It's going to cost us as well."

1/ Biden banned all imports of oil and natural gas from Russia, punishing Russia for its “vicious war of choice” in Ukraine. “The United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy,” Biden said. “We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war.” Biden, however, warned that the decision would mean higher prices for energy and at the gas pump, saying “defending freedom is going to cost […] It’s going to cost us as well, in the United States.” 79% of Americans, meanwhile, said they favored a ban on Russian oil imports even if it increased energy prices in the U.S., while 13% said they opposed it. The U.S. move was matched in part by the U.K., which announced that it’ll phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022. The European Union also took steps to scale back imports of Russian energy by approximately two-thirds this year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, said the House plans to vote today on legislation to ban U.S. imports of Russian fossil fuels, calling it “an urgent imperative – both morally and for our security interests.” In addition to banning Russian oil, the bill would empower Biden to impose tariffs on other Russian products, take steps to suspend Russia from the World Trade Organization, and reauthorize and strengthen the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which allows the U.S. to impose sanctions on countries in response to human rights abuses. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Associated Press / CNN / CNBC / NPR)

2/ Poland offered to transfer all of its Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets “immediately and free of charge” to a U.S. air base in Germany. Russia has warned that delivering the jets to Ukraine would be seen as a provocation. Over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would give a “green light” if Poland or another NATO member sent jets to Ukraine and that the U.S. could “backfill” those jets with F-16, though it’s unclear where the U.S. would pull the jets from in order to send them to Poland. Also, by giving the planes to the U.S. rather than directly to the Ukrainians, the Polish government sidesteps the logistical challenge of transferring the jets themselves. Poland has 28 of the Soviet-era MiG-29 jets. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / The Guardian / NBC News / CNN)

3/ CIA Director William Burns said Putin is “angry and frustrated” with his invasion of Ukraine and will likely “double-down […] with no regard for civilian casualties.” Speaking before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Burns said Putin doesn’t appear to have a “sustainable political endgame in the face of what is going to continue to be fierce resistance from Ukrainians.” The likely result, Burns said, is “an ugly next few weeks” of fighting. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines added that Putin “is unlikely to be deterred […] and instead may escalate — essentially doubling down to achieve Ukrainian disarmament and neutrality to prevent it from further integrating with the U.S. and NATO if it doesn’t reach some diplomatic negotiation.” The Russian foreign ministry, meanwhile, reportedly suggested that Russia wants to go back to “peaceful co-existence” with the U.S., like during the Cold War. (Politico / NPR / ABC News)

4/ The Senate unanimously approved a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime – punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act was approved by the House last month and now heads to Biden’s desk for his signature. It took more than 100 years and 200 failed attempts to outlaw lynching since the first anti-lynching legislation was introduced in 1900 by Rep. George Henry White. (NPR / CNN / New York Times)

5/ The first Jan. 6 defendant to take his case to trial was found guilty of all five charges he faced related to his role in the attack on the Capitol. A jury found Guy Wesley Reffitt, a Texas Three Percenter, guilty of leading a pro-Trump mob against the police at the Capitol, obstructing Congress’s duty to certify the 2020 election, carrying a firearm during the attack, and threatening his teenage son and daughter to keep them from turning him in to the FBI. Reffitt faces a maximum of 20 years in prison from the obstruction count alone and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8. On Christmas Eve, Reffitt’s son Jackson submitted an online tip to the FBI warning that his father was planning to do “some serious damage.” No one responded to the tip until after the riot. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / CBS News)

6/ A federal grand jury indicted the longtime leader of the Proud Boys with conspiracy to obstruct Congress related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, making him the second leader of a far-right group to face charges in the past several months. The indictment alleges that Enrique Tarrio “led the advance planning and remained in contact with other members of the Proud Boys during their breach,” including taking credit for what had happened on social media and participating in a private Telegram group chat during and after the attack. In January, prosecutors charged Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia, with seditious conspiracy for his months-long effort to violently disrupt the transfer of power. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)

7/ Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a controversial bill that forbids lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. The legislation, which Democrats and LGBTQ activists have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has signaled his support for the measure. The bill bans “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade or “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” Parents would be able to sue districts over violations. (Associated Press / NBC News / CNN / HuffPost / Washington Post / Politico)

Day 412: "Tipping point."

1/ A bipartisan group of lawmakers reached a deal to ban the import of Russian energy and suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The bill also provides Biden with the authority to increase tariffs on both countries, and would require the U.S. trade representative to seek the suspension of Russia’s participation in the World Trade Organization, as well as try to halt Belarus’s attempt to join the global trade organization. It’s unclear, however, if Biden would sign the legislation if it reaches his desk. Over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he “would support” a ban on Russian oil imports. The prospect of Russian energy sanctions sent oil prices to a 14-year high, with the average national gasoline price exceeding $4 a gallon. Putin, meanwhile, told a group of Aeroflot flight attendants that Western sanctions on Russia were “akin to a declaration of war.” (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / Politico)

2/ The Biden administration has discussed a possible deal to send Poland’s Soviet-era MiG fighter jets to Ukraine. In exchange, the U.S. would replace Poland’s planes with American-made F-16s. Ukraine’s government is interested in the old planes because the country’s military pilots already know how to fly them. Putin, however, warned that Moscow would view any Western attempts to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine as “participating in the armed conflict” against Russia. Separately, nearly all of the troops Russia amassed on Ukraine’s border are now fighting inside the country and the U.S. doesn’t believe that Russia is “preparing to move additional battalion tactical groups from elsewhere in the country to shore up what they’ve put into Ukraine.” Instead, Moscow is reportedly recruiting Syrians skilled in urban combat to fight in Ukraine. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico)

3/ After Trump described Putin as “smart,” “savvy,” and “a genius,” Pence said there was no room in the Republican Party for “apologists for Putin.” Trump, while insisting that the attack on Ukraine never would have happened on his watch, told the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend that “The problem is not that Putin is smart, which of course he’s smart, but the real problem is that our leaders are dumb. Dumb. So dumb.” Former Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, suggested that he would vote for Trump in 2024 despite believing that Trump was “responsible in the broad sense of that word” for the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. “I think the whole idea was to intimidate Congress. And I think that that was wrong,” Barr said, adding that he hasn’t seen evidence that Trump “was legally responsible for it in terms of incitement.” Trump, however, continued to repeat his false claims of election fraud, saying that Barr “wouldn’t know voter fraud if it was staring him in the face—and it was. The fact is, he was weak, ineffective, and totally scared of being impeached, which the Democrats were constantly threatening to do.” (CBS News / Washington Post / Politico / Axios / NBC News)

4/ The National Archives delivered Trump’s White House visitor logs to the Jan. 6 committee. Trump had tried to block the release of the logs, but Biden rejected the claim that they were subject to executive privilege “in light of the urgency” of the committee’s work and Congress’s “compelling need.” The archives also turned over Pence’s records. (Reuters / The Guardian)

5/ Researchers identified Covid-associated brain shrinkage equivalent to as much as a decade of normal aging, according to a study published in Nature. The study used before-and-after brain images of 785 British people and found that even a mild case of Covid-19 may cause greater loss of gray matter and tissue damage in the brain than naturally occurs in people who have not been infected with the virus. The death toll from Covid-19, meanwhile, eclipsed 6 million. (New York Times / Bloomberg / USA Today / Politico)

6/ Florida’s surgeon general recommends against vaccina